Peter Archer’s Dynasty Release Blitz&Giveaway

When Heather Grey received the phone call from Merce Archer that her brother was dead, she wasn’t surprised, but when her sister-in-law, Judy Grey, claimed to be pregnant with her brother’s child, Heather knew better than that. There was no way in hell that child was his. Heather decided right then and there that she’d go to the small town and set things straight.

Peter Archer was acting as the Archer family’s attorney. He was looking into the possibility that an employee of theirs, Judy Grey, had embezzled money from one of the business owner’s personal accounts.

When Heather stormed into their lives, bringing her mentally challenged aunt with her, demanding Judy be investigated for her brother’s death, Peter was captivated with her. And when Heather said they came as a package deal, Peter didn’t hesitate because from the moment he kissed her, his life had changed forever.

AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/3IrJrXm
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/3rBona8
AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/3ApVFNq
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peter-kathi-s-barton/1140921780?ean=2940160825281
ITUNES http://books.apple.com/us/book/id1606562461
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/peter-48
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Peter?id=6oJaEAAAQBAJ
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1128822
PAPERBACK https://amzn.to/3qRc6iK

Add it to your Goodreads list

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60185284-peter

Merce was a go-getter. She ran a contracting company with her father, and when she saw something that needed to be done, she did it. Archer’s company had a new product that needed to be produced, and Merce knew her company was in a perfect position to fulfill that order. She just didn’t understand why they weren’t on the list for consideration. She’d see about that.

Del was exhausted. The banging on his front door in the middle of the night was beyond infuriating. He didn’t bother getting dressed to answer it. If whoever was at the door didn’t like it, then so be it. That’s what they get for being so rude.

In all his naked glory, Del threw open the front door. Merce didn’t skip a beat in getting right to the point of her visit. The sparks fly as two stubborn souls clash for the first time….

Delmar https://amzn.to/34b1Fu3

Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform

Congratulations to the winners !!!!!!!
Elizabeth Bardorf Mystery Prize
Barbara White Signed Paperback

Packages will be mailed out on
Tuesday, Jan 25th, 2022

Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Elizabeth Bardorf Mystery Prize
Barbara White Signed Paperback

If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@gmail.com

Happy Reading,

Prologue


Merce didn’t want to make this call, but she’d made a promise, one that she intended to keep. As she pushed in the numbers, she thought of how she was going to tell this woman that her brother was gone, and though he’d already been cremated, his ashes were not going to be picked up by his wife. “Hello.” The voice sounded happy, almost too cheerful, and Merce hated this even more. Asking to speak to Heather Grey, she heard the other woman laugh. “This is her. You can tell me anything you want, but I’m not buying anything. That gets me into trouble.” An odd way to answer the phone, she thought, but Merce began speaking. “I’m sorry, Ms. Grey, but I’m calling to let you know that your brother is dead.

He was killed several days ago.” Not knowing what to expect, Merce jerked the phone from her ear when Heather began wailing and screaming about her brother. The pain in her voice was palpable. She either hadn’t heard Merce telling her she was so sorry, but she had more information, or was ignoring her. It wasn’t until another voice sounded that Merce listened to the newcomer with more interest. “What the fuck, Hey-hey? What’s the matter with you?” In a babbling voice, Heather explained to the other woman that her brother was dead. “Yes, he is. It was my dad.

Why are you—? Is someone on the phone talking to you?” “Yes. She said he was killed.” The other voice said he’d died a while back, and there wasn’t any reason for her to bet getting upset now. “Oh. I guess I don’t need to be crying either, huh?” “No. It’s been a long time. Who is that you’re talking to?” Heather told her she didn’t know who was on the phone. “Why don’t you let me have it, and I’ll figure it out for you? That way, you can go and eat your breakfast and get ready for your job.” “Okay.” The singsong voice told Merce she might well have had the wrong person. “I’m going to have to tell Mr. Watson I got to answer the phone. Maybe he’ll let me answer it at work.”

“Don’t count on it, Hey-hey. You did get upset for nothing. Go eat, and I’ll take you to work.” The voice of the stranger was soft. Playful to Heather. But when she spoke to her, Merce could tell how protective she was of the other woman. “What the fuck are you calling here for and upsetting Hey-hey? Whoever you are, you’d better believe she isn’t going to be harmed by your shit again. Do you understand me?” “She’s mentally challenged, isn’t she?” Merce didn’t know why she’d said that aloud, but she knew it to be true.

“You’re the Heather Grey I think I was supposed to talk to. I thought the other woman said she was Heather, but I don’t know for sure now. Are you the sister of Mark Grey?” “She is Heather Grey as well. I’m her niece. And yes, I’m the sister of Mark Grey.” Before she could tell her the news, Heather began speaking again. “Mark is dead then. I guess I assumed it was a scam to get my aunt to give you money. Not that it matters to you, but you’re right on her being challenged.

Thank you for that, at least— not calling her retarded. What happened to Mark?” “He was being arrested for several things at once but grabbed an officer’s weapon two different times. The second time he killed an officer at the scene. The second officer died later of his wounds. Mark was killed justifiably.” She said she didn’t doubt it. “You’re aware, I’m assuming, that he was married.” “Yes. Judy Grey. I’ve never met her. Mark would call here, telling me about the shit she was supposed to have done to him. I didn’t believe it, of course. Mark could never tell the truth because a lie was easier for him. Is she dead?”

Merce told her she was in the hospital but doing much better. “He told me he had to knock her around a little. I would have helped her, but I had had enough of his shit when he was living around here. And my aunt had as well. Besides, my thinking was if she didn’t want to be knocked around, she should have gotten herself a gun and blown his fucking head off. But then, that’s just me. What else did you want? If you think I’m going there for any reason, then you can get that shit out of your head right now. I don’t now or ever want to have anything to do with Mark, or his death, for the rest of my life.”

“What about your sister-in-law? She might need you.” Heather told her that she had enough dealing with her aunt. “You’re caring for her then?” “I am. I have been since I was eighteen, and she needed someone other than a nursing home, which would take what little money there was for her. Or I should say what little money was allotted to her. My father thought she was a burden, just not his.” Merce told her she was sorry. “No worries on your part. Hey-hey and I are getting along just fine on our own. So you can understand why we’re not going to be sucked into any drama. We have enough here on our own.” “I guess I can understand that. Judy is the one that asked me to find you and let you know that Mark was dead.

Also, she’s going to have a baby. There had been many before this one, but without Mark around to knock her about, she might be able to bring this one to term.” There was silence on the other end, but Merce thought she might not get a second chance to tell the other woman this. “There was insurance as well. I’m not entirely sure how much there is, but Judy should be all right.” There was very little noise in the background. Merce might have thought she’d been hung up on but for the singing from Hey-hey that she could hear. Just as she was going to ask Heather what was going on, she spoke again. “Hey-hey and I will be there in a few days. If you can stop her from getting the insurance, I’d appreciate it. I don’t want any of it.

I’m going just fine on my own here, but if Judy is saying she’s having my brother’s child, she’s lying.” The line was cut off this time, and it left Merce with more questions than it did answers about a great many things. Putting her phone on the desk, she sat there staring off into space, letting her mind think about what was going on with Judy and Mark. “Are you all right?” She kissed Del when he interrupted her thoughts. Smiling at him, she thought of the best way to ask him what was forefront in her mind. “What is it? You know you can ask me for the moon, and I’ll give it to you.”

“That’s just what I need. The moon in my pocket.” Kissing him again, she stood up and asked him to have a seat. When he was settled, she sat on his lap. “Now, I want you to think about this before you say anything. Do you trust Judy Grey? I mean, in all the time she’s worked for you—how long has that been?” “Just over five years, I guess. And do I trust her? I’ve had no reason not to have trusted her. Why are you asking?” She told him of the conversation she’d had with Heather. “So she didn’t explain what she meant by that. Do you think there is a cause for her to be suspicious of Judy? As I said, I’ve not had a reason to not trust her. However, we never let her into our accounts. There was never a time when she was in charge of the money, nor did she go to the bank for us. At least that was what we said.

I’ll talk to David and see what he has to say.” “Could you do it now? I don’t know why I think Heather is telling me the truth, but I do. There hasn’t been any reason for me to not trust Judy like you said, but now that it’s been put out there, I’m a little wary of what Heather might mean.” He picked up the house phone he used instead of his cell. She’d noticed he did that when at home. Del would put his phone near the front door rather than carry it around. “Don’t tell him what I’m thinking. Just sort of work up to it.” “Hey, David. Merce was just talking to Judy’s sister-in-law and wonders if there is any reason for us not to trust Judy.” She smacked him on the chest, and he laughed. “She told me to work up to it, but I thought this way was better.

We don’t beat around the bush anyway. I think we’ve been friends too long for that.” He paused again. “Yes, I can put it on speakerphone. Merce is right here with me.” “Merce?” She said she was there. “It’s funny you should be asking about that today. I just got my bank statement from my personal account, and there is just over ten grand missing. I’ve called the bank, and they’re looking into it. I don’t normally keep that much in there, but my wife and I are thinking of getting a boat to do some traveling with, and it’s not there. I’ve checked with my wife, and she said she would never do that. She wants to go boating as much as I do.”

“Did you ever give Judy your account information?” He said he’d not. “Do you leave out your checkbook? Something she could use to get the information she’d need?” “No.” Then she heard his fingers snap. “Wait. I didn’t use her for banking, but there was one time when there was an issue with my mail she got from the post office for me. When we were first using Judy to go to the post office to get company mail, she picked up mine as well. When I got it from her, there were several envelopes open. Two were credit card offers, and one of them was my statement. I never thought of it again until just now. Do you suppose she did it then? Got what she needed to use?” “It would certainly make it so you’d not be suspicious of her if it turned up now.”

Asking him to hold on, she called Peter to have him come over and see what he could make of it. “Peter said for you to put a seal on your account. He also wants to know if the money was taken out all at once or over a period of time.” “All at once.” She relayed the information to Peter. “This is insane, Del. I mean, she’s been working for us for about five years now, right? Why now? And I’m assuming you found the same thing.”

“I’ve not, no. But as I said, Merce contacted Mark’s sister, and she wasn’t coming here until she heard there was insurance. I’m not sure why it was the mentioning of the baby, but that got her coming here, and I think that’s a good thing.” David answered a few more questions for her as he spoke to Del. “Was there any time when we sent her to the bank for the company that you remember? I don’t. Not even to give her a credit card to order supplies for the office when she needed them.” “We didn’t even open an account she could have used.” Things started to fall into place while speaking to Peter and listening to the men. This woman was far smarter than anyone thought. Peter even said that Del and her should put a hold on their accounts too. At least until they found out more about Judy.

“I’m going to look into some things here in the meantime. Until you hear from me or Merce, I’d not let her even go to the post office for the company anymore. It’s much too dangerous feeling now.” David agreed, and when he hung up, Del looked at her. His face told her a great deal. He didn’t care for not trusting someone that worked for him. Also, she’d bet anything that his mind was working on other things he’d seen but not noticed until he had to think about them. “Peter is going to have someone look into her life. Also, other things, like if her name really is Judy. I’m worried more about David than I am us.” Del told her that David was going to be all right too, or he would have told him differently. “I’m glad to hear that. No one wants to feel they’ve been cheated.

Especially if she’s been playing him for the last few years.” “Did you ask her what she meant by what she said?” Merce told him she’d never gotten the chance. “I see. Well, I don’t, but I can understand how you came to see what we know. I can make a call or two. If I were to call my mom, she’d be able to find out a great deal. She’s been in this town all her life, and she might just be able to make a few calls of her own and find out exactly what Heather is talking about.” “What if it’s nothing more than a sister-in-law that is out to make trouble?” He asked her if she thought that was the case. “No. As I said, I don’t think Heather was going to come here at all until I mentioned the baby. For all we know, there might not even be one of those.

Or worse yet, there never was a child at all. She didn’t tell us how many she’d lost, but I would think it would be something a woman would just know. Not just how many, but the date and time as well. I would, I think. By the way, we need to get ready to go and see to the kids tomorrow. I don’t want them to have to stay in that place any longer than they have to.” The plan had been to go and get the kids a few days ago, but they had to wait on paperwork to be completed. Mostly it was to prove they were related to the children and could afford to take all four of them into their home.

Even Peter wanted things to go well for them, and he’d been working nearly nonstop in getting everything ready. Tomorrow they had an appointment to meet the kids, then later in the day to meet with the judge. “I’m not wearing a suit, as you suggested. Neither is Peter if he gets to see the kids as well.” She nodded, telling him they might be frightened by the sight of such huge men in suits.

“I don’t know why, but I think you’re just telling me that to make me feel better.” “No. I’ve looked at the paperwork on your cousin. He’s only five feet six inches tall, and a hard wind would blow him away. You guys aren’t nearly that tiny, and it might be too much for them.” Del told her he thought she was correct. “You had better be learning to say that more often. I’m nearly never wrong.” They were both laughing as they headed to dinner. Tonight it was just the two of them. Merce was about as excited as she’d been in some time to have dinner alone with a man. Especially this one. He was, as far as she was concerned, the best man in the world. ~*~

Todd held his two sisters’ hands as they waited in their room. Brian was with them, but he wasn’t allowed to get up and move around too much. He’d come to the place with a broken leg a few days ago, and it was still painful for him. Brian told him that his mom’s new husband had beaten him up when he wanted to go out to dinner with them. He told him they left him at home all the time with just cold pizza and soda pop. Soda pop was something that none of the kids liked. “Who do you think they are, Todd?” He told Amy he didn’t know, but they were going to have to be quiet, or they’d be put to bed again without supper. “I know. But these people, do you think they’re going to ask us questions that will make us cry?

Poor Jane didn’t like being told she wasn’t going to get to go back home ever again.” He didn’t either. But that was what the police had told them two days after they arrived here. That their father had turned their care over to the orphanage, even though they weren’t orphans, and said he didn’t want them anymore. Every time he thought of that, it made his heart hurt more. His momma had died, then his daddy said he didn’t want them. Not that he didn’t believe he’d say that about them. Since their momma had died, their father had been saying all kinds of things to them. Like he didn’t want them. That they were the scourge of the earth.

He’d had to look that word up, and it dug into his heart that someone would say that about their own kids. Todd could still see each word as he had read it to his sisters. A scourge is like being the scum of the earth. There was nothing worse than being called a scourge. Low as a thing could get. A disgrace to the world. Nothing or anything. Just flat-out gross. When the door opened to their room, he and his sisters stood up. “You’ll behave yourself, or you’ll not have dinner again, do you hear me?” They nodded. “And you’ll not be whining and blustering about how you want to go home.

I told you, and that officer told you. He doesn’t want you anymore. None of you. Your father has moved on, and you should as well.” “Yes, ma’am.” Todd watched as they wheeled Brian into the large room. He thought it was funny that this room was the only one that was decorated. The rest of the rooms looked as bare as the trees did in the winter. But he also knew that when spring rolled around, the rooms would be the same, and the trees would be pretty again.

They were seated just as two women and two men came into the room with them. The younger woman smiled at them, but he was afraid it was a trap. Everything was a trap nowadays. Every move he and the others made was thought of over and over to look for traps and such to get them into some kind of trouble. He was sick to death of not having food when he wanted it. Or being able to talk about anything that he wished with his sisters. Even Brian, who he’d only heard of until the other day, was someone he wanted to talk to.

“My name is Merce Archer.” Todd squeezed tightly on his sister’s hands. When she squeaked, he let them go and stared at the woman when she laughed. “I take it you know who the Archers are. I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of terrible stories about the person. Is it Katie? Katherine Archer that you’re afraid of?” Todd wanted to tell her but looked around the room. The people, all four of them, looked as well. Then the big man sitting next to Merce stood up. Todd felt his butt tighten up so tight he was afraid it would never open again. “We’d like to speak to the children alone.” The woman that had brought them into the room said that wasn’t allowed.

“I’m sure under normal circumstances, you don’t allow it, but that’s what we’re going to do. Or you can allow us to take them out to dinner, as we said we were going to do when we got here, without any trouble. That is still going to happen, by the way. As soon as the police arrive.” “Why is it that every time someone comes here, they think to change the rules to suit themselves? I’ve explained to you that we don’t allow the children to have time alone with people we don’t know. Also, leaving this facility is against the rules for all children. You’ll just have to deal with me being in here and not taking them anywhere. As I have told you twice now.” When the police arrived, the children were led out to a long limo and put in the back with the big people. Even Jane had a nice car seat, and Brian was put into a special harness thing that held him still while they were getting ready to leave.

It all happened so fast that Todd wanted to stick his tongue out at Mrs. Shelby and give her the finger. Not that he’d ever done that before, but he thought this was a good time to start. Instead, he and the others just sat there holding hands. “Now. I want you to know that this is your great Aunt Katie. Her sister was your grandma. Not that you ever met her, but that’s who she is. She also raised James and Mary when they were smaller, and their mother and father died.”

Todd knew that but kept his mouth shut. “You can talk freely if you want. No one here will say a word to that old bat.” “She’s mean.” Todd tried to shush his sister Amy. “She is. You know it too. We might not get any dinner for the next hundred years, but that don’t change up that she’s mean to us.” “You must be Amy.” Amy nodded at Merce. “I’m happy to hear that you guys haven’t had your tongues cut out. As I said, you can say what you want. Also, I want you to be aware that there will be no more skipped meals for you. I’ll take care of her if she tries that.”

“I believe you.” The adults laughed at Brian, but none of them thought it was funny. They were trapped as surely as if someone had stuck them into a cage and never was going to let them go home. “My mom said I wasn’t going to do her any good with me hanging on her tit. I had to ask Todd what it meant. She’s not all that nice either. Uncle James told her what he was doing with his kids, and she thought she’d do the same. My daddy said she was a follower but wasn’t smart enough to think up anything on her own.” “That’s about right. However, can you tell me why your father didn’t come and get you, Brian?” He told her about the divorce and what the lawyer told her.

“Did your dad ever try and harm you?” “Nah. He and me, we were buddies. But he’s away now. I think he’s in a place called Gurwanda. I don’t know where that is, but I heard my mom telling Uncle James that she’d taken care that he was never coming home. None of us are going to get to go back to our homes.” Merce asked Brian if it was called Grenada. “Yeah, that’s it. He is stuck there without papers. I guess I can understand that. My mom had all the stuff in his office burned up the day he left on a business trip. Then she told me he had left us. I didn’t believe her. Dad would never leave me without saying goodbye and giving me a hug.” While Brian cried, Todd watched the two men.

When one of them put out their hand, he flinched from it, sure he was going to be hit again. The man seemed angry for a second or two, then he smiled. It was tight like he was still mad, but he didn’t yell at him. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m assuming you’ve been hurt by someone recently.” Todd looked at his sisters, then back at the man. “You don’t have to worry about any of us harming you guys. And I can swear to you that I’ll kill anyone that tries.” “I’ve heard that before.” He nodded to his cousin. “His mom’s boyfriend thought it would be fun to break his leg before they brought him to the orphanage. My father would knock us around enough he’d have to take us to the hospital. We were never allowed to say anything like it happened, so we learned really early not to trust anyone.”

“Do you know that I came to see you once?” He barely remembered the older lady, but for some reason, he’d been told not to ever trust an Archer. “I see by your face that you were told about me and what a horrible person I was to your father. He isn’t a nice man. But these two men are my sons. And this is my son Del’s wife, Merce. My name is Katie. You can call me aunt if you wish, but I’m hoping that after today you’ll be my first grandchildren.” He didn’t understand how that worked. Since he’d never met any of his relatives before, he wasn’t sure of a lot of things. However, Todd didn’t think that just because you were an aunt to someone, you eventually became a grandma. “We’d like to take you home with us.” Todd sat there for a minute or two before realizing they were waiting on him to get out of the limo. Sure they were going to be back at the home. He was tense until he realized they were in front of a restaurant, one he’d never been to before.

Del got down on one knee and looked at all four of them. “I’ve just been thinking that this isn’t going to be a place you’re going to enjoy. I was thinking steaks, but I’m now wondering if you’d like a pizza or some burgers more.” “Burgers. I love hamburgers without any cheese on it, but cheese on my French fries.” He looked at Amy when she spoke. “Well, I do. What do you want to eat? Whatever they plop down in front of you like they do at that place? If they take our food from us for being here, don’t you want something you’d like to remember?” “I don’t want you or Jane to be without at all.” She hugged him, and Todd felt his eyes fill with tears. “I love you guys, and I don’t want you to starve because of this night, Amy. You’re all I have.” They were loaded back into the car and taken to a hamburger place he’d seen commercials about when he lived at home.

Going inside, Del picked up Jane when she started to fuss about the little fall she’d taken, and they all found a table. Almost sick with worry, Todd let someone order for him. Peter sat beside him and let him see a folder he had with him. It was adoption papers. It had not just his name on them, but his sisters’, as well as Brian’s. Todd asked the big man what that meant. “Just as Del told you. He and his wife are going to take you home with them as their children. They’ll take good care of you, and you’ll never have to worry about them giving you away to a place like you’re in now, or I’ll personally kick their butts. But that’s not going to happen. They’ll be good parents, and you’ll want for nothing.” He said all he wanted was a bed and food all the time. “I’m sure you do, son. I’m sure you do. However, there are a lot of things they’ll be able to give you that I’m betting you’ve not had from your parents. Your mother, more than likely, but not your father.

They’ll both love you all like you’re all the candy in the world wrapped into a nice box with a bow.” He couldn’t help it. Todd had been trying for so long to be brave for his family, but it was just too much right now. Crying hard, his body shaking with it, it wasn’t until he was lifted up and put over a strong shoulder that he knew he was going to be able to talk to Del. They were outside on a bench when he was asked if he was all right. “Yes, sir. I’ve been making sure my sisters were all right since Momma died, and I’ve been scared to death that someone would take them away and I’d never see them again. Then my cousin, who I never seen before, comes along, and I have to take care that he’s not hurt either. That woman, she’s meaner than a snake and takes our food from us when we’re bad.” He looked up at Del.

“I promise you, if you take my sisters and not me, they’ll be as good as gold. Just make sure my father doesn’t try and sell them off like he wanted to. He would have, too, if not for the social worker coming by all the time after Momma died. Now we’re in this home that I don’t know, and we got nothing from our home. I just don’t think I’m going to make it. I’m going to have me a heart attack before I can relax again. You understand?” “I do, and I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all that. No seven-year-old should have to be stressed out over keeping his sisters safe. But you’ve done a good job, Todd. They’re very safe, and it’s all do to you.” Todd thanked him. “Now, later today, we’re going to go see the judge about the adoption.

We want all four of you, but my wife is going to see if she can find Brian’s dad and get him home for him. Also, we’re never going to have to worry about your father. I’m going to take care that he understands what he’s done is wrong.” “You gonna kill him?” Del didn’t answer, and that scared Todd just a little. Then he realized it was all on his father and not him, so he smiled at the big man. “You can beat him up, but if you go to jail, they’ll not let us go home with you. And I’d surely like to go there. I don’t care what sort of house you have either, so long as we can have a warm bed and some food when we want it. We’ll be good too.” “I’ve figured that out as well.” Todd nodded.

“All right. Let’s go back in and have some lunch, talk about some of the things you’d like to see in your room when we get home, as well as some of the things you’d like to have for school and such. My mom, Katie, she’s wanting a hug too, if you can find it in you to give her one. She’s been more worried than you have about the four of you.” “She must have had some really bad dreams then. I know I have.” Del told him she’d never tell them that, but she more than likely had. “You’re not kidding us, are you, Del?

I mean, you’re not going to just take us back there and never come back? I’d understand it, I would, but it would hurt badly if you did.” “I’m going to talk to Peter about having you stay with us while we’re here. That way, you don’t ever have to go back. Then when that meeting is over, you’re going to have to brace yourself. I have four more brothers at home and a grandpa of my own, as does Merce. You’re going to have so many relatives around you that you might wish you were back at the home.” “Never.” Del nodded at him, and they went back to their seats. His burger and fries were waiting for him as soon as he settled. Taking his first bite of a hot French fry he’d had in forever, it seemed, Todd hoped the man was right. He surely did. It would be nice to have a hot meal all the time again.

Joel Tate’s Crossing Release Blitz&Giveaway

Caitlynne’s job was difficult. Doing what she did for the government not only put herself at risk but any friends or family she had could become a target. When her sister was hurt, she blamed herself even though it had nothing to do with her directly. It didn’t matter. It was time for her to quit before someone she cared about ended up dead.

Joel Tate had been in the building to meet with Becca Jacobson when she was attacked. To save her, Joel had to change her into what he was, a wolf. More or less guarding her in the hospital, Joel met her sister, Caitlynne, when she was brought to the hospital to see her sister. As soon as Caitlynne was close enough to him to get her scent, he knew she was his mate.

Caitlynne’s disappearing act from her job started things rolling. Her boss wasn’t taking I quit as an answer. When they tried to kill her by setting her apartment on fire, Joel thought it was time to take the situation into his own hands….

AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/3n8ztC2
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/32YRnAk
AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/3JUGzUD
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/joel-kathi-s-barton/1140857339?ean=2940160969428
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Joel?id=MDhYEAAAQBAJ
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1125570
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/joel-26
ITUNES http://books.apple.com/us/book/id1603936261
PAPERBACK https://amzn.to/3JS6s7t

Add it to your Goodreads list

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60059395-joel

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 4c99c-22188-images2b252812529.jpg

Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pick-your-prize.png
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ab532-winners.jpg

Congratulations to the winners !!!!!!!
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback

Packages will be mailed out on
Tuesday, Jan 11th 2022

If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@gmail.com

Happy Reading,


Joel glanced at his watch when it vibrated on his wrist. Christ, he’d been here for nearly an hour longer than he had planned and still hadn’t talked to the manager of this place. Whatever was going on, it— “Mr. Tate, I’m so sorry about your wait, but I assure you, Ms. Jacobson only went to lunch. And she’s never late. There must have been a problem.” It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her she was going to have a bigger problem when someone touched his mind. Joel, I saw your car in the garage here. Please tell me you’re in the Jacobson Building. He said he was and that he was just about to leave, as Ms. Jacobson was late. Yeah, about that. Come to the garage.

There has been an attempt on her life. I need you to help me out, as I think someone interrupted the person before they could finish her off. “I have to go.” The secretary asked if he could reschedule, and he told her he’d contact her. Tell me what you need, and I’ll be on the outlook for it on my way down. As Officer Donnie Phillips filled him in on what he would need from him, he felt his wolf shiver in response to what had happened to the woman. Getting off the elevator, he could see he’d not only beaten the ambulance but there was only one cruiser in the lot. It was parked near what looked like, from where he stood, a puddle of blood. “Thank goodness you’re here.

I think she might well have gotten off a couple of shots when she was attacked. There is a blood trail to the other elevator that I would like you to, if you’d not mind, follow to see if you can sniff this person out.” He said he could do that. “Thank you. If you wanna shift behind my ride, no one will see you. It’ll give you the opportunity to save your clothing too.” As soon as he was his wolf, he made his way to the woman again. At first, all he could smell was fresh blood, then he got the scent of something else. Male. Human. As he told his friend what he’d been able to find out, he was taken to the elevator to see if he could find what floor the person got off on and if he was still in the building.

“I have no reason to believe he was able to just walk away. There are only two entrances to the place from here—the elevator you took and the service elevator. Can you manage the buttons? If you can, I’m going to wait on the ambulance and backup. My captain knows you’re helping out.” Going to the elevator, he pressed his paw against the up button. As soon as it opened, he turned to Donnie.

“You’ll be fine. If anyone sees you, it’ll help me clear the building.” Donnie was still laughing as the doors closed behind him. Shaking his head, he got off on the first floor and didn’t find the man’s scent anywhere in the hallway, so he got back onto the elevator. Joel didn’t find anything on the second or the third floor. Just as he was going to press the button for the next floor, a man, a vampire, appeared in the opening with him. As soon as the door closed, he turned to him.

“Joel Tate, I presume.” Joel nodded. “The young woman is a dear friend of mine, and I should like to help you on your search. I also would like to exchange a little blood with you so I can speak to you.” He put out his hand, and Joel eyed the cut and the oozing blood there. “I shan’t hurt you, Joel. On my honor as a very old vampire, I shall never harm you. But I cannot help without being able to speak to you.” Licking the blood at the same time, the man bit into his paw, the power of it knocked him back to the other wall. Before he could stand, Joel, staggered to his feet twice before realizing a couple of things.

He was his other self again, and he was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. “What the hell did you do to me?” The man said nothing, but he was a little off-balance as well. “That was more than just an exchange of blood. I feel like I’ve stuck my finger in a light socket while standing in a puddle of water.” “I feel the same, young Joel. You’re more than a simple wolf, as I first thought. Aren’t you?” He said nothing but did stand up. “If I’m right, and about magic, I’m rarely wrong; you’ll be able to shift now and have your clothing on when you shift back. Something I didn’t count on, but a good thing, I believe.”

When nothing more was said, and they both could stand on their own two feet, the man pressed the button for the ninth floor. When the elevator stopped again, he turned to him, and Joel could see that he was indeed a very old vampire. Magic seemed to surround him from head to toe. “My name is Hudson. I no longer remember if it is my first or last name, but that is what I go by. When pressed, I simply use Smith. Much easier to remember for me. The young woman, her name is Rebecca Jacobson, saved my life a very long time ago and has come to mean a great deal to me. By the way, she goes by Becca.” He asked him if he was going to help Becca live. “I cannot. She made me promise her I would not enhance her life, nor would I save it when it is her time to go. She has…Becca has lost a great deal in her lifetime, and I think she wishes her life to end sooner rather than later.

Hurt is the only thing she knows, I believe. But the man who has dared touch her, he is dead. Not by my hand, though I wish it were so, but by Becca. She was able to shoot him three times before he ran off like the mongrel he was.” “Then why are you bringing me up here? I mean, I don’t mind helping out the police, but you could have found him for them.” He said he didn’t want the publicity. “All right. I can understand that. I’ll let Donnie know he’s dead and that he’s up here. Where am I going to be leading them?” The man had managed to make it all the way to the bathroom door before he finally died from his wounds. She’d gotten him in the chest twice and once in the neck. He would have to tell her she’d done a great job of it, too.

The man had suffered badly, Joel would bet before he finally crawled away just as Hudson had told him he had. The police were on their way up to the floor when Hudson said he was going to check on Becca. As soon as he disappeared, Joel sat down on the floor with his hands where the police could see them. He knew all the men and women on the force, but this could get his ass killed if someone was a little jumpy.

As soon as he was cleared, he stood around waiting for someone to tell him what he needed to do. There was talk about him going to fill out a report on what he’d seen, but Donnie said he’d done them a solid and wasn’t to be mentioned as being there. “Thanks for that.” Reaching out to his brothers, all five of them, Joel made his way home. There wasn’t going to be a meeting with Becca, so there wouldn’t be any reason for a follow-up. He was going ahead with the plans he and Becca had made via email. Calling in the construction company they used, he got them set up with credit at the local lumber stores as well as two more places they’d used before when working on projects. He’d been planning to lend her the money anyway, so he was thinking while she was laid up, he’d get things going for her.

He would cover her expenses, what she’d been wanting to borrow money for in the first place, so they could start on the improvements. The company, Jacobson Toys, had been stuck in the same building for the last thirty or so years. She’d told him the plans she had to expand. Also, what she planned on doing with the extra room. The toys were wonderfully whimsical and well made. He had a few of them on his desk at the office. Joel headed there now. When he got there, both Saul and Loren were there waiting on him. It wasn’t unusual for any or all of his brothers to be at the office, but he’d had a weird morning and had shit to do. Not bothering to interrupt their argument, he headed to his office and turned on his computer. Saul flopped down in the seat to his left, and Loren headed to the fridge.

Taking out three bottles of water, he handed one to him and to Saul before he started talking. “There is a great number of foreclosed buildings and houses going up for auction in the next couple of days. Loren and I have the addresses of the homes. We’re going to go in the morning to have a look at them. The bank holds the note on those.” He asked him about the buildings. “There is where it gets tricky. The city is holding onto those, but they want them gone. Problem is, they put so many stipulations on them it’s not worth the purchase even if you could get them for a hundred thousand bucks. The two buildings that are nearer to us that I’d be interested in are well over four million dollar buildings. One of those is only a few years old.” “What sort of stipulations? Anything we can just agree to?”

“Because they’re greedy, or they are worth whatever they’re wanting?” “They’re worth it. But they’re demanding that each of the buildings be purchased as a unit. Then there are the improvements that have to be made to each building. Joel, as I said, one is new, and one of them won’t take much to bring it to code. However, two of the others need to be torn down. They’re old and outdated, not to mention the cost of upgrading them, if someone wanted to try, would be triple what the place would be worth. They’re not in a good neighborhood. No parking to speak of, and we’d be responsible for sidewalk improvements and paying for water and sewage to be brought in. Wiring alone would be astronomical.” Loren said it would cost more to do that.

“Sounds to me like you’ve made your decision.” He nodded but didn’t look like he’d actually decided anything. “What is it, Saul? You know something more. Tell me or get out. I’ve so much to do now that I’ll be here until midnight as it is.” “I heard about the attempted murder. I’m sorry you were involved. But it did turn out well.” Joel thanked his brother. “No, I’m not sure about the buildings. The newer building would be great for several companies wishing to expand. The building is over two million square feet, not counting the parking garage. It’s in mint condition as well. When it was finished, the people didn’t get to move in because of billing issues or something.” “That’s a big building.” Joel leaned back in his chair.

“Say we do this with the city and the two buildings we’re not wanting aren’t up to code. What happens then?” While Saul looked over the contract on his laptop he was never without. Joel asked Loren if he had any plans for the houses. Loren smiled at him with what his dad would have called a shit-eating grin. “There are two streets of houses we’re going to purchase. Eighteen homes in all. Most of them have been rentals for a long time and need some major overhauling. After we finish up on that, we’d be able to get about four times the amount of rent from them.” He asked what his plans were for the people living in the houses. “For the most part, they’re empty.

There are a couple of renters in three of them. An older man that is willing to be put in a nursing home if he can afford it. He told me he’s been saving for it all his life. Another one has an older couple in it. The missus is very ill and needs constant care. Their rent is only about two hundred a month—that’s how much they’ve been paying since moving in. But it will be difficult for them to make any kind of nursing home rent with their income. I’m having Dad look into a couple of charities to help out.” “That’s a good idea. And the third one? What sort of people live there?” Loren handed him a file. Opening it up, he could see the house was literally falling down around the edges.

The roof was nearly collapsed. There was plastic on the windows. “How the hell is anyone living in this place? Christ, I don’t think I’d allow anyone to live under those conditions.” “I wouldn’t either. The man that lives there is a cat. Lion, I believe he told me. He’s been living there, squatting, for the last five or so years. He’s afraid to complain about the house for fear that someone will make him pay rent for the time he’s been there. Joel, he’s in terrible shape.

Not just because of how he’s living, but he’s malnourished, as well as badly dehydrated. I was going to call the local leap, but I wanted to see if you’d do it. I don’t know the history there, but I have a feeling he’s hiding out from them.” “We’ve all heard the stories that are going on with the leap,” Loren said that was another reason he’d not called. “Let me think on it for a bit. In the meantime, have someone take him some food and a case or two of water. Better yet, get him set up in one of the houses we have. Then feed him. Anyone else I should be made aware of? Unless you’ve already done that.”

“I have. But I do appreciate that we’re on the same page with it. There is also his daughter, Harlin. I don’t know her at all, but Mr. Jason Lambert, the lion I was telling you about that is living in one of the falling down houses, said Harlin works for the leap leader and is terrified of him. I’m going to move her as well if you don’t mind.” Joel nodded just as Saul laughed. “I’m assuming you’ve found a loophole?” “I have. Just as you said, Joel. If they’re not up to code, we’ll be required by law to take the buildings down. We’re only buying it for the land anyway. So the improvements they’re requiring us to make are to knock the ones down that aren’t up to code.” Joel told Saul to wait until they made the purchase before he called them in.

“Can do. Thanks. You’ve just made us about fifty million. When I sell off the building, and I have a couple of buyers already lined up, we’ll make all of our money back, and then some.” ~*~ Caitlynne was tempted to pull out her gun and blow the five men in front of her to hell. They’d been called to her office an hour ago, and all she’d been able to say was that she wanted them to report on the shipment that was to go out in four days. Now they were arguing about who was going to tell her. Mother fuck, there were days she hated being a boss. “Ms. Jacob, there is a phone call for you on line three. Also, I’m told they’ve been trying to reach you on your cell. Whichever way you’d like to talk to them.” She asked what it was about.

“I don’t know. All he’d tell me was his name was Hudson.” Every hair on her body seemed to dance with fear. Putting her fingers in her mouth, she let go of the loudest whistle she could manage, which was saying a lot. Someone had told her once that she could shatter glass when she did it. The five men turned to her. “I thought we had a meeting.” She told the first man she’d thought so too, but she was moving on. “But we need to make sure the shipment is going out as planned. Don’t you want to know what is going on?” “The shipment is weighed and packed, correct?” Like stupid puppies, they all nodded. “Is the paperwork filled out? Filed? The addresses have been triple-checked?” “Yes, all of that. Like we do every time.”

His face flushed. “Except for that one time. But we don’t skip steps anymore. I like this job.” “Good. It sounds like you’ve taken care of it just the way you’re supposed to. However, if one thing isn’t right, the five of you will lose your jobs. This contract is important to me, and if you fuck it up again, there will be heads rolling. Understand?” Again with the nodding heads. “Now get out. I have shit to get done, and I can’t with you bickering all the time.” Picking up her phone, she had to put it back down before she could hold it steady. When she thought she was able to handle it, she decided to lock her door and then call. After returning to her desk, she turned on the white noise generator. Picking up the phone again, she called the last number that was there. She glanced at her clock to see it was well after sunset, so Hudson would be awake.

“Hello? Are you there? Who is this?” “It’s Caitlynne. You called here and asked for me to call you. Hudson?” The man said his name, but she didn’t catch it. Before she could ask him to repeat himself, he started talking. “I didn’t know she had a sister until this morning. Before I get too much further into what happened, you should know she’s on the mend. Beaten to shit, but she’ll be all right in a few weeks.” She let out a breath she’d been holding since Mary had told her about the call. “She was coming back from lunch—we know that because she had it in a bag with her. Someone, a man by the name of Benson Tuple, caught her off guard, or she might well have killed him before he hurt her. As it was, she shot him three times, twice in the chest and once in the neck. He died of his wounds.” “Where is she—?

Wait. Hudson was the one that called here. Is he all right too? I’ve never met him, but Becca talks about him a great deal. We, Becca and I, can’t make it public that we’re related. My business would get her killed.” The man said Hudson had stayed at the hospital and he’d come back to work. “I didn’t catch your name. I’m sorry. You also said Becca is all right. Can I speak to her? When do you go back to see her? I can’t acknowledge her in any way, but I need to hear her voice.” “Joel Tate. And sure. I was going to go in and spell Hudson for a little while anyway. You said you didn’t know him. I wanted to let you know Becca had told him a while back that he wasn’t to save her if she was close to death. I…so I did it. She was as near to death as anyone I’ve ever seen. If that pisses either one of you off, then I’m all right with that too. She does some fantastic work, and it would be a shame for her to die and not be able to work on her dream.”

Caitlynne started crying as she spoke to the stranger. “I don’t know what her dreams are anymore. I work for the government in inspecting cannabis and then shipping it out to distribution centers. If people were to know I have a sister, they’d hurt her to get at me. I’m so stressed out all the time I don’t know which way is up or down. I practically live here. I even have a cot in the other room that I use when I’m too exhausted to go home. Now my baby sister is hurt, and I’m sitting here at my desk wondering if it’s worth all this.” He didn’t say anything, for which she was grateful as she continued to sob. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I’m telling you this.

You could very well do the same thing I was just talking about. Don’t hurt her. Please?” “I’d never do that to either of you. However, you should take some time off, even if you only go home for a day or two. I was like that until recently. It took me having a panic attack in the middle of a meeting for me to realize I’m working myself into an early grave. Just breathe, honey. You’re doing just fine now.” She did as he said, breathing in and out with each command. “You’re going to be all right. Becca is in good hands. And when I’m not there with her or Hudson, one of my brothers is. Nothing will harm her.” “Thank you for that.” He said it was fine. “You said you helped her to live. I’m assuming you’re not human. What are you?”

“Wolf.” She asked him what sort of wolf. “No one has asked me that before. We’re timberwolves. Or I guess you could call us grays. My dad is a wolf as well, as all of us are purebloods. As I said, no one will harm your sister while we’re around.” “Thank you again for that. I’d love to go and see her, but things here aren’t the best.” He said he understood that so long as she remembered no job was worth dying over. “I guess that’s true, but my bosses at the White House think that way.”

She glanced at her calendar as he laughed. “You’re like my dad, I think. He has this thing about him that makes you either want to punch him to death or hug the stuffing out of him. I have no idea why, but I just think that.” She smiled. It was the nicest thing that had been said to or about her for a long time. “I tell you what. Hudson is good at popping in and out of places. He’s gotten us some really good—never mind. But dinners have been hot. Anyway, maybe I can see if he can come and get you and pop you here. Becca is still in a coma to keep her from fighting the meds, but you could just come and see her at least. I could keep you updated on her progress as well. I more than likely should have said this from the start, but she had a broken wrist and elbow. Fifty stitches in her head, mostly caused by her falling.

She has a great many superficial wounds all over her body that are healing, thanks mostly to my blood. Her left leg is broken, and her right ankle is sprained badly. She’s doing well now that they have her stitched up and put into casts. The doctor said she would make a full recovery.” “I’d like for you to talk to Hudson for me. I’d love to just reassure myself that she’s doing well.” He said he was going to the hospital in a few minutes, and he’d talk to him then. “Thank you for that. You’re a very kind man. I hope someone tells you that daily.” “Mostly, my brothers are there to point out the shit they think I’ve done. But they’re all right. Okay, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” She thanked him for what seemed like the hundredth time.

“No need for that, Ms. Jacob. I’m sure if you were in the same situation, you’d do the same for me. I’ll call you back.” When they hung up, she felt like she could take on the world and come out a winner. She’d not seen Becca in a couple of years now. It was dangerous for them to be seen together. Caitlynne had had that happen before, where someone decided to take a friend of hers hostage and try to get her to do what they wanted. It didn’t end well for the man. Caitlynne was clearing her desk of all paperwork when a man just suddenly appeared in the room. Glancing at the white box, what she called the device that the government had given her to use in the event someone was using a recording device when in this room, she could see it was still turned on so no one would ever be able to repeat what was said in here. Good. She had a feeling she was staring at Hudson. “Will you come with me willingly?” It was an odd way of putting things, but she nodded. “I should like for you to quiz me, young lady. Just to make sure you’re not going with anyone else. The man you spoke to, what was his name?” She told him. “Very good. He told me something you admitted, and it hurt him, so you understand. Can you tell me what that was?”

She had to think. “That I’ve not seen my sister in some time.” He nodded, and she stood up this time. “Will this hurt me? I mean, will I have any ill effects from this?” “Not at all.” Suddenly she was in a bathroom. Turning toward an odd sound, she saw a half-naked man taking a piss. “Joel, cover-up.” “Holy fucking Christ, Hudson. You couldn’t allow me a few seconds’ warning? I’m taking a leak here.” She couldn’t help it. Caitlynne started laughing. “This isn’t funny. He never warns me about shit when he’s…could you please turn around while I redress myself?” She couldn’t help but stare at the man when he turned at his shoulder and looked at her.

Christ, he was the most gorgeous man she’d ever laid eyes on. And his body? Well, hell, she’d be glad for just a touch. Hudson took her chin into his fingers and turned her head. As he washed his hands at the sink, Joel bitched at Hudson, mostly telling him what a cad he’d been, a word she’d not heard in a long time. Also that he should be banned from entering a bathroom when there were plenty of other places he could pop in and out of. “But, and pardon me for being so wrong, I thought this the safest place for me to pop, as you called it. I hadn’t any idea you’d be in here. Though I will admit, you’ve given this old man a great deal to laugh about.” Joel glared at the vampire. “Oh, come now, young man. You do have to admit this was very funny.” “For you, perhaps, but not me. Damn it. I was peeing.”

Hudson left the two of them standing there, and she put out her hand. “I’m Joel, in the event you didn’t get that.” “Yes, I heard. I’m Caitlynne Jacobson. But I go by Jacob. I’m so happy you talked him into coming to get me.” Joel said he was, too, as a matter of fact. “Good. Do you think it’s safe to see my sister now? I promise the next time I pop in, I’ll make sure it’s clear in here.” “You can try to tell him that, but even after spending only a few days with the man, I’ve come to the conclusion he pretty much does what he wants.” She started for the door. “Caitlynne, there is something else you should know before you go out there to your sister. I’m your mate.” He moved around her to be standing in front of her. With a quick kiss on her mouth, so quick she didn’t have time to react, he was gone.

It took her befuddled mind a few more minutes and a knock on the door for her to get moving again. He was her mate? Not the other way around, but that he was hers. Like he belonged to her. Going to the bed to see Becca, she let her thoughts go out of her head. Her sister was here. She was breathing but hooked up to all sorts of monitors. Gently taking her hand into hers, Caitlynne kissed it and held it to her cheek. “I’m here, Becca. Get better for me, please? I’ve missed you so much.” She decided right then and there that she was finished with her job. It was taking too much from her. Not just her health, but her sister as well. “I’m going to go back to work and send in my resignation. I’ve missed so much, and I want to be with you.

I love you, Becca. So much.” She was able to sit with her sister for an hour. The staff came in and out, but Hudson had made it so that they’d not see her. They were taking good care of her, very gentle when they needed to move her or anything, even telling her what they were doing and how it would affect her. She looked at Joel when they were alone in the room. “My family donates a great deal of money to this place. Not that she’d not be getting good care anyway, but they’ve put on extra staff just so they could take care of her. I told them she was my cousin. I hope that was all right.” Caitlynne said it was wonderful. Then she asked him what he’d meant by him being her mate. “We can hold off on that for now. I will tell you anything you want to know, but you visit with your sister now. My brother Jeremiah is bringing in dinner for us. I hope you like pasta.”

“I do. It goes straight to the hips, but I love it.” He told her she’d not gain any weight from now on because of him. “Well then, bring it on. Thank you for this. It seems so inadequate for me to keep saying that, but you’ve no idea how much I needed this. I just wish she’d wake and talk to me so I’d feel better.” “She will. She’s doing well.” He sat down across from her on the other side of the bed. “I’m going to just sit here. If you have any questions, just ask. But I will give you the straight-up answer.” “Good. I’d have it no other way.” Caitlynne tried not to think of the beautiful man sitting there with her. He was, too, from his long dark hair that he’d pulled back in some kind of ponytail to the five o’clock shadow on his face. She found herself staring at him several times throughout the rest of the evening. Then his brother showed up. Christ, they must have been cut from the same mold. They were both like looking at candy you couldn’t get enough of.

Cassidy Foster’s Pride Release Blitz & Giveaway

Sarah had been on the run her entire adult life. As soon as she found out she was pregnant, she faked her death to keep her children safe from the prick who’d fathered them. Now, nine years later, her twin boys were her entire world, and she was petrified he would find her. When she received the voicemail from Cass, she thought the end had finally come for both her and her boys.

Cassidy Foster was only helping a client find his long-lost grandchildren when he contacted Sarah, but when a distress call came in from one of her boys, Cass told the boys to hide before Cass’s lion took him. It only took that split second for him to know the woman inside screaming was his mate. Would he be too late to save her?

AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/3Hdn6Mu
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/3Fwv3fn
AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/32rkX19
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassidy-kathi-s-barton/1140819992?ean=2940160736235
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Cassidy?id=zm9WEAAAQBAJ
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1123188
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/cassidy-10
ITUNES https://books.apple.com/us/book/cassidy/id1602029531
PAPERBACK https://amzn.to/3z0wd0d

Brook Garrett had learned to live by her wits. When she was very young, she lost her father to a car crash. When her mother remarried, her nightmare really began. A few years later, her mother died the same way. She was next.Ronan Foster was an officer out on medical leave. He was a lion and wasn’t hurt in the least, but the guy responsible for shooting him would go free if he didn’t take the sabbatical. The guy was for much more than shooting him, and justice needed to be served. Trust was hard for Brook. Her stepparents had seen to that. Now the big lion was telling her that they were mates and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She had been doing just fine without a man in her life….

Parker Carter spent eight years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit—murdering her father. Now that the justice system had finally admitted their mistake, Parker was set free. Parker could have left anytime she wanted, she was a powerful witch, but for reasons of her own, she had remained locked up and didn’t use any of her magic.
Donahue Foster, a teacher at the local school, was having a hard time resting. Taking a run and stretching his legs as his lion was something he hadn’t done in a while. He hadn’t gotten far when he noticed two things, he smelled fresh blood, and he felt a presence. Don was dumbfounded when the woman used a mind link to communicate with him. She told him her name was Parker Carter, she didn’t like people, and she was his mate.
Don was so stunned with that news that he was nearly run over by the night hunters Parker chased off.
Now that Parker was back, her past needed to be settled. Half-truths and well-kept secrets needed to be exposed. And the possession of her mother, Meggie, was the most mind-boggling of all. What kind of screwed-up magic was this?

Quinlan 453x680

Sometimes, Rogue didn’t much care for her job, but it paid well, and she was damn good at it. As a forensic photographer, Rogue’s job was sometimes a bit more than she could handle. Especially when there were kids involved. But she could always vent to her college buds, Loman and Cass Foster.

Quin had heard all about Rogue from his brothers, and he was anxious to meet her. Loman and Cass said they owed their lives to Rogue, but they wouldn’t give Quin any of the details.

As soon as Rogue arrived, Quin realized she was his mate, but as soon as she met Don’s mate Parker, it was chaos, leaving Parker heartbroken and Rogue hurt. Rogue was steaming mad, and Quin’s lion wanted to protect her, but Parker was family too. Quin was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

RONAN https://amzn.to/2sXcAsi
DONAHUE https://amzn.to/2ZGMaYf
QUINLAN https://amzn.to/3f9x0Cn



Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform

Congratulations to the winners
Eva Millien Signed Coloring Book
Maria Dalmau Signed PaperBack
Your prizes will be mailed
Monday, Dec 27th 2021

Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery
Julie Swaney Mystery Prize
Susan Thomas Mystery Prize
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas Mystery Prize
Julia Bystedt Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Mystery Prize
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Jaunita James Signed Cup
Robin Dennison Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Cup
Sonja Zucker Mystery Prize
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Joy Lanham Mystery Prize
Renee Johnson Mystery Prize
Katy Bennett Mystery Prize
Robin Brockett Signed Cup
Stephanie Simeon Signed Paperback
Debbie Hudson Signed Coloring Book
Reda Blair Signed Cup
Donna Steppig Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Joyce Estelle Mystery Prize
Brenda lukas Signed Paperback
Ruthenia Dillon Mystery Prize
Joyce Mirabello Signed Paperback
Donna Steppig Mystery Prize
Teri Bellville Signed Paperback
Debbie Whitley Signed PaperBack
Eva Millien Signed Coloring Book
Maria Dalmau Signed PaperBack



If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@gmail.com

Happy Reading,

Prologue


Cass sat down next to the man he’d come to respect a great deal over the last few days. Robby Quarter was not only a good man, but he was very troubled. The word had come to him that there was a child out there that belonged to Robin, and Robby had jumped at the chance to go see the child and mother. Not that they had DNA proof it was his child, they did have a whereabouts for it that the two of them had followed to where they were now. “I’ve spoken to the principal of the school the child might be attending, and she told me if it’s who she thinks it is, they’re in financial trouble. Also, if this is Robin’s, there are twin boys, not a single child as we were looking for.” Robby looked at him with so much hope in his eyes that it hurt Cass to have to tell him the next part. “The woman, their mother, is working several jobs and sleeps while they’re at school.

I have, with my own money, deposited two hundred dollars. Even if she’s not who we think she might be, I have to help her out. She really is in trouble.” “I’ll pay you for that. Yes, you’re right. Even if it’s not Robin’s children, they shouldn’t have to go without. What do we do now? I mean, I’m guessing we don’t just go up to her and tell her who we are.” Cass said that was exactly what they were going to do. “Oh. I guess I figured you’d be a bit on the squeamish side. That’s not true. I’m a lot on the squeamish side of doing this. I don’t know what I’d even say to her about all this.” “You tell her the truth. That you have only just found out about her. However, I’d start by telling her that Robin is in prison and that he won’t be getting out. From the stories I’ve heard about Robin, it might well be the reason she’s living here and not closer to anyone she knows.” Robby also knew the sadistic things Robin had done to women.

Things he’d also done to men that, in Robby’s mind, had been horrendous. “Robby, we don’t have to do anything but make sure this woman has money to feed her children and pay her bills.” “Where do we go from here, Cass? I’m not going to have done all this only to sit by and wonder if they might need me. As I said before, this is the only hope I have right now that makes me feel as if I’ve not been a complete failure as a father and a man.” Cass told him he wasn’t even close to being a failure at anything. “Perhaps not now, but I worry. Robin might well have had something wrong with him all along. I don’t know. But I do know this family might need me, and I want to help them.” “I understand.” He handed him the paperwork he’d gotten at the school board. “This isn’t much, but it’s the best I could do until we get the rest of the information back. And talk to the mother. She’ll be able to give us everything you want if she wishes. Otherwise, I’d advise you to help from a distance. We don’t want to piss her off and have her bring charges against you for being a stalker or something along those lines.”

The pictures he’d been able to collect showed two little boys, aged nine, playing in the yard. There were also infant pictures of them, as well as a couple of school pictures Cass had been able to unearth. Robby was staring at the two little boys lying in a crib at what he assumed was a hospital. “I don’t remember Robin being this tiny. I’m sure he was at some point, but all my head can think about is that he’s an adult. I bet your momma can remember how much each of you weighed when you were born and the exact time.” Cass didn’t answer him. Not that he required an answer, but he just kept to himself that she most assuredly did know those facts. “Let’s go and see this young woman, Cass. Make an appointment or whatever we need to do. I’ll abide by what she tells me.

Even if my heart tells me something different.” It took him over three hours to get a phone number for Sarah Linton. She did indeed sleep during the day, according to one of the places that came up on her information. It was, he said, “damned difficult” to call her in early when they needed her. She worked nearly thirty hours a week at two different restaurants as a waitress and another twenty-five at a place where she sold timeshares. According to that boss, she was a good person to work with, but she was exhausted all the time. He said it made her less friendly to the people there wanting to date her. Neither place seemed to know she had children. Nor did they know where she lived. A post office box number was all they had.

The lady that lived in the apartment below her had two children as well. They would, when necessary, trade-off sitting each other’s kids, so they didn’t have to pay a sitter. The third job was for her kids to go to a private school. Sarah graded papers for the local teachers at the school where her boys went to pay for extras. Like their lunches. Tuition was paid by her cleaning the place on weekends, with her boys helping. Cass hurt for the way she was struggling to make ends meet. Once he had the phone number, he was able to leave a message for her. All he said was his name and that he had some information she needed concerning Robin Quarter. Also, he made sure he told her Robin was in prison. Either she’d call him back, or she’d not—it was up to her now. Almost as soon as he closed the connection to his phone, his cell rang back that it was her. “What do you mean calling me at my home about Robin Quarter? What business is it of yours that—?

You said he was in prison. You’re sure about that? Last time I heard, he was above such laws and did whatever the fuck he pleased.” He heard one of the boys telling her to put a penny in the jar. Cass listened as she told the child she was sorry, then he heard a door closing, shutting off the sounds of the household. “Why are you calling me? Has he told you what he did to me? Do you think to get something from me? I’ll tell you right now, I don’t have anything, thanks to him. I don’t get to see my parents. My sisters and brothers. I lost my job.” She sobbed, and he wanted to go there now and take her into his arms. “What is it you want, Mr. Foster? The only thing in the world I have is my sons, and I’d rather die than to let that bastard near them.”

“Are they Robin’s children?” She said they were. “What do you know of Robin’s father? Mr. Robby Quarter.” “I thought he was dead. That’s what that prick told me. That he owned his family ranch and that I should feel privileged that— Why is it I’m telling you this? Do you have some kind of mystical powers? Are you a shifter? That’s it, you’re making me tell you this personal stuff.” “I am a shifter, Miss Linton. A lion, as a matter of fact. However, I’m not making you tell me. I think you’ve been through enough without having someone make you relive it. No, I’m not making you. But I will tell you that I have the same strange feelings toward you. That I need to protect and take care of you. I’m sorry about all this, all the things that have happened to you, but Mr. Quarter, Robby, would like to meet you. And the boys. He’s only just found out about you three.” She asked him why she should believe him. “You shouldn’t, I suppose, believe me or him. But what harm can it do for you to meet with us? If you need proof that Robin is in prison, pull up the paper in his hometown. Read how he was arrested for the murder of several people.

That rather than stand trial and more than likely get the death penalty, he decided to tell the state where the bodies were and spend the rest of his life in prison, without the chance of parole.” “I don’t have a computer. I don’t have enough money to pay the electric bill that is overdue at the moment. I’m sure if you’ve been looking into our lives, you know a good deal more about me than I do you.” He told her he was sorry. Then he told her about the money in the bank. “I’m not even going to tell you that you shouldn’t have done that. Bouncing a single check could be a trickle-down disaster for us right now. Look, let me talk to my sons. Tell them what’s going on and who it is that wants to meet them. I’m not making any promises.

They’re leerier of people than I am.” “Thank you for this.” She said she’d not done anything as yet. “No, but you’ve given Mr. Quarter a chance, and that’s much more than he had before. You call us back at this number and tell us where we can meet you if you decide you will, and we’ll be there.” After hanging up, Cass had to calm himself before he spoke to Robby. He didn’t want to sound hopeful and then for her call and tell them she’d decided not to see them. But he had enough information now to do some of the things he and Robby had spoken about before. Putting those things into action took a great deal less time than he thought it would have.

Reaching for the phone to call Robby, it rang. Letting out a long breath, he tried his best to sound upbeat while answering. But as soon as he heard the voice on the other end, his lion nearly took him. “Are you the attorney that talked to our mom? The one that is a lion?” He told the young man he was. “You’d better get over here right now. The man that comes by to get the rent money is going to hurt her again.” “Call the police.” He told him he’d done that. “Good. I’m on my way. You and your brother, hide. Someplace where the man can’t get to you.” “Good idea.”

The phone was dropped, and he could still hear screaming in the background. Going out the door, he held the phone tightly against his ear as he drove like a madman to the address he’d found while doing some work. He was pulling in just as the police were. When he heard a gunshot sounding, his lion simply took him. As he was racing to the door, it came open, and the children were there. Pushing them out of the way as gently as he could, he moved into the house, smelling blood as he moved. The man in the kitchen was standing over a woman, and rage rolled over him in a way that made Cass sick to his stomach. Blacking out for a few moments, as if he’d been hit in the head, Cass woke lying in the grass out back of the house.

He was clothed and in his human form, and an officer was standing near him. Sitting up, he saw the man turn to him, asking if he was all right now. “I don’t know. What happened?” He told him he’d dragged him out when more police had shown up. “I’m assuming there was a reason for that? Also, that you pulled me out as my other self.” “Yes, you were a lion. Big fucker too. Pardon my language, sir. But yes, I pulled you out so they’d not know what was going on. Parker Foster showed up too. I don’t mean she came in the door saying howdy doody. She just was there when you were finished taking care of Mr. Crabtree. Mrs. Foster said you were her brother-in-law.” He nodded and nearly had to be sick from the movement. “She took care that the body wasn’t anything like he was. You killed him. Good thing too. He was ready to kill Miss Linton. I’m aware that I’m not making much sense, but this hasn’t been an ordinary domestic house call.” “I’m not sure if it’s me or what, but it’s like you’re talking to me in disjointed sentences.” He said it was him.

That he was scared out of his mind right now. “If Parker said she’d take care of things, she will. Tell me what happened. All I remember is hearing the gunshot, and then nothing after my lion took me.” “My partner and I pulled in the same time as you. I wanted to tell you that telling those boys to hide was a good idea. They were coming out to us when you went into the house.” Careful not to nod too much, he said he’d had an abusive father. “Miss Linton was in the kitchen telling her landlord, Mr. Crabtree, that she had the money for the rent. He seemed to think she had other means to pay. Needless to say, she took objection to that.” “I just bet she did. Then what happened? Was he going to make her have sex with him?”

The officer nodded and said that had been his plan. “Then I showed up.” “Yes, you did. Took his head right off him. Miss Linton had been shot once in the belly by the time you entered. It wasn’t until we entered that I realized we might well be in over our heads. I should have waited, but I called in the extras. Mrs. Foster showed up. Just like that, she just appeared and started telling me and my partner what we had to do. She sure is a bossy thing, isn’t she?” He looked around, almost as if he was afraid she might have heard him. “The body was lying there with his head off and blood all over the place when the others showed up. They saw what we were told to say.

That Miss Linton had saved herself by stabbing him in the chest. Then they took her off to the hospital. Funny thing, though—she was about healed by the time they got here.” It took him a few moments to realize what he’d said. After he sat there for a little while longer, all his thoughts centered on Sarah. He had a feeling she’d healed because of him. When he was ready to stand up, Parker met him at the doorway to the house. She looked like she was as happy as he was. “She’s going to be just fine. They took her to the hospital right after it was determined it was self-defense. I’ve called Robby in. He’s with the boys now. They’re getting to know one another. Are you all right?” He shrugged. “Good. There are several things you should be made aware of.

First of all, you weren’t here. I’m sure you might have guessed that part, but I just need to put that out there. Second, the house is now a part of the Foster group. We purchased it just today, so we have the right to do with it as we want. Which will be tearing it down as soon as the police are finished with it. No one needs to be seeing this place and thinking about the death that occurred here. Especially not those young boys. Who I like, by the way.” “I’ve not met them yet.” She nodded and didn’t continue. Nor did she seem inclined to tell him anything else. “What are you not telling me? Just tell me, Parker. You look like you have a fart crosswise, and it’s paining you.” “You Foster men. I do have something to tell you, but I think you might well be aware of it already. She’s your mate. Also, the kids are Robin’s. I’m assuming that was why you were coming out here.” Cass told her about one of the boys calling him. “They’re not speaking.

Not to any of us. When asked how the man had gotten into the house, they clammed up tighter than you can be when you’re on a case.” “Are you thinking they might have let him in and are feeling badly for it?” She said she knew that was what had happened. “Are they hurt? Where is Sarah? I know you said she was taken to the hospital, but the young cop told me she’d started to heal. I’m guessing either you did something to her, or it was me being her mate.” “You. The kids were hurt, but not terribly. That is what I’ve been working up to. He’s been bullying them all along.

Making them let him in the house when she’s not at home. Or worse yet, when she’s sleeping. I’ve heard of this happening before, but this guy would take pictures of her sleeping. The boys are sick with it, the worry that they caused their mother to nearly die. Which she did, by the way. They need to be sat down and told what the hell is going on. Also, they weren’t the least bit afraid of you showing up as a big badassed lion. I guess their mother told them what you were.” “Yes. I’m assuming so too. The one that called me, he knew what I was. When I told him to hide with his brother, he just dropped the phone and bugged the hell out. I wonder how they knew to call me.” Parker said his phone number was by the phone when she’d gotten there. That Sarah must have written it down. “And they were supposed to talk about us coming to meet them.” “Sounds about right.” She asked him where he was going now. “I’m guessing the hospital. If so, I’d like to ride along. I want to check on the boys as well as Sarah.

You’ll have to talk to her soon, and I would like to be there in the event she has any questions about the magic I can only assume she got.” “Why? I mean, other than mine, you’re assuming she got something from you as well?” Parker nodded but didn’t look very happy. “What happened, Parker? Am I going to be afraid of her when I go see her? To be honest with you, I’ve only ever seen a picture of her and the boys. Not to mention the one of her was slightly blurry, and the boys were just school pictures. Those never show what a child really looks like.” They spoke all the way to the hospital.

By the time they arrived, he was ready to go back to the house and wait. Nothing, he thought, could have prepared him for the shit Parker knew about his mate and children. Nothing that would have been on paper anyway. “She had this good life—a wonderfully supportive family—and Robin took it all away by taking her from her date, who he killed, then raping her. The fucker then shot her three times in the chest and left her for dead. If not for the police being called when they were and them knowing about the death of Dennis, her then-boyfriend, it might well have been too late for her.” Cass listened to Parker, but his mind was centered on the fact that she might well have died twice before he would have met her. “As it turned out, Robin found out that she was alive and tormented her for the next several months.

When she found out she was going to have his child, they faked her suicide, and she moved out here to raise them on their own. I’m going to have someone notify her family that she’s safe now, as soon as we can get her and the boys together.” He was as ready as he’d ever been, he supposed when he knocked on the door to her room. Even as he opened it, he could hear crying. The children were on the bed with her, and Robby was sitting in the chair. All four of them looked like they’d been talking and crying for some time now. ~*~ Hanging up the phone, Tommy had a few minutes to himself as he stood there thinking of what he’d just been told. Robin Quarter was in jail, and his little girl had met someone.

Not that he didn’t believe his little girl could care for herself, but he liked that Ms. Foster had filled him in on Cassidy Foster and what sort of means he had to take care of the three of them. “Tommy, what is it? You sounded upset.” He told his wife of nearly fifty years what the call had been about. Michell sat down on the chair. He was glad there had been one there for her to use. “Is she coming home?” “She’s in the hospital. I was told it’s nothing more than a precaution. The landlord she was renting from, he tried to hurt her.” He didn’t say more. Michell seemed to understand. “We were asked to decide what we want to do about seeing her. And the boys. Like that would ever be something we’d have to think about.” “Who called you?” He had to glance at his notes, knowing he had to get the name right the first time or he’d not remember it. “An FBI agent? In the family? My goodness. Whatever are we to think about that?” “Nothing. The man that is Sarah’s mate—she did say, mate—is an attorney. A good one, too, apparently. He works for the family. And even had she not told me, I know who the Fosters are.”

She said she had heard of them as well. Tommy sat down. “Do we tell the others or wait until we know things? I haven’t any idea what that might be, but you tell me, and I’ll call them. Jude will be thrilled beyond words. He’s missed his sister.” Jude didn’t know who his sister was, but he thought saying it like he had made his wife feel better. Jude had been born with the cord wrapped tightly around his little throat and had suffered brain damage. He was a good boy at thirty-six, and perhaps he did miss Sarah, but not as his sister, Tommy thought. Just someone he’d not seen in a long time. “We’ll have a hotel room set up for us, she told me. Also that if the others were wanting to come, they’d send their plane for us.” He had to laugh a little. “Their plane. I don’t know if I’ve even been on a domestic flight, much less a private one.” “Yes, you have. Our honeymoon.” He was joking but again kept it to himself. This was serious business here, and he didn’t want his wife upset. “Should we call the others?”

“Yes. If we don’t tell them, they’ll be upset. Not that they’ll be upset for long, but it might be nice to have them with us when we meet her new family.” He thought of the boys and the pictures he had of them that were almost as old as they were now. “They’d be nine about now. I’ve only seen them the one time, and that wasn’t nearly enough. Grandsons. I need to see them as much as I do our Sarah.” “Me as well, Tommy. I’ve so missed her.” She stood up, then sat again. “I just want to think about this for a moment longer. The thought of seeing them all, it’s just like a dream, and I don’t think I ever want to wake from it. Are you sure that man is in prison? He should have gone long ago, but we just didn’t have the money to sue him. And Sarah wouldn’t hear of it. Oh, Tommy, I want to have a hug from them so desperately. Did this woman say when we could go?”

“Today if we’ve got a mind to.” He wanted to leave right that moment, but he knew there were things to be planned and such. “She told me that Robby Quarter is there with her. That he’d only just found out about Sarah and the boys. I don’t know why, but I had it in my head that we were told he was dead.” “Yes, we were told that. But then every other thing coming out of the monster’s mouth has been nothing but bologna. It’s a small wonder he’s been put away. Did she tell you how he was caught?” Tommy said he’d not thought to ask. “Well, I suppose we can get to that when we get there. I’ll call the girls, you call Michael. Tell them….

I guess we should plan on this trip for the morning if they’re really going to send something to go in. It certainly will be much cheaper this way.” “I agree.” He didn’t tell her they’d offered to pay for them to be in a hotel if they were all to come. Remembering to do that so she could tell Shelly and April so they’d not be out anything but a couple of days work, he called his son. Michael was about as thrilled as he’d been when he’d heard they could see Sarah. “I’d have to see about money, Dad. As much as I’d love to go and give her a hug, I can’t afford much right now.” He told him what the Fosters had said. “For all of us? I mean, my wife and child too?

Dad, Sarah hasn’t met Belinda or my son yet. We were married after she left home to hideout. I’d love to be able to take them too. You see, and if that can be done, I’m all in for it. I’ll be there whenever they tell us to be.” After finding out his daughters had said the same thing about having things paid for, he was happy to know they were willing to drop everything to go see their sister. He’d not thought of how she might not have seen some of the kids yet, and that made him cry just a little. Sarah had missed so much. They’d missed so much too. He made a headcount and was sure they’d tell him it was just too many people. Fourteen of them converging on a generous family was a lot to deal with. Not to mention hotel accommodations.

So when he called Mrs. Foster back, Tommy was prepared for her to tell him just that. However, she was excited that Sarah would see her entire family and didn’t say a word about how many. “You tell me how many per room, Mr. Linton, and I’ll work that into the hotel. Also, we’ve rented out a restaurant that was being fixed up to feed us all tomorrow night.” He couldn’t believe people were being this nice to his family and told her that. “You’re going to be our family as well, and we make sure family is all taken care of. You’ll get to meet all of Cass’s family too. I did tell you they were lions, correct? So don’t be surprised if they’re a little larger than normal men.”

“My daughter-in-law, Belinda, is a lion. We know a few other shifters as well.” Parker, as she told him to call her, was happy to hear that. “Parker, this is going to be expensive. I mean, I’ve heard about your family, and I still think this is a great deal of money to be putting out for a family you don’t know.” “No, it’s not. We’d pay more just to have Sarah happy. I think she’s a little down with all this going on. By the way, she has no idea you’re all coming. We thought it would be a lovely surprise for her and the boys to see you all.” He said it certainly would. Then he told her about the nieces and nephews she’d not met. “Then it will be twice as wonderful for her. Tommy, you leave the arrangements to me, and we’ll have a party like no one has ever seen before.” “I’m sure of that.” He laughed when she did. “All right. If you can make the arrangements for us to come there tomorrow, we’ll be at the airport. There are a lot of us, so we might have to make a couple of trips to give me some time.” “I’m sending limos to get you all.” He nearly sobbed when she told him it was part of their welcome to the family plan.

“It would be wonderful if you could make sure everyone is meeting up at your home. It will save us some time to get you out here.” He called his family back and told them what was going on. All of them were going to come home tonight and be there in the morning. Since he knew it would take them a while to get packed and such, he told them they’d have dinner here, and that should give them plenty of time. Glancing at his clock, he thought that in eight hours, his kids, for the most part, would be all under one roof for the first time in ages. Bedtime came later than he wanted, but it was wonderful to see his kids. Jude had to be taken outside a couple of times—it got to be too much for him. But he loved the kids, and he played with them as much as they did each other. He could only imagine what the Fosters would make of him when he was upset.

At eight sharp, the limos pulled into their drive. The neighbors were out looking at the sight as he started loading up suitcases into the vans. He didn’t care. Tommy was going to see his little girl, and they could fly a fig for all he cared. Once the men had the vans loaded up, they went ahead to the airport to start on the trip. Car seats had been provided, which he thought was very nice, as well as snacks for the kids to munch on. There were even some things for Jude, which he thought was well beyond a nice thing anyone could have done for them. Loading into the plane took less time than he thought it should have, and a few minutes after he was seated and buckled in, they were in the air. Christ, he thought, looking around at his family.

This was all possible because of the kindness of strangers. A man came back to speak to them just as the seatbelt sign was turned off. “Hello, everyone. My name is Cassidy Foster. Everyone calls me Cass. Sarah is my mate.” The applause had the younger man’s face turning bright pink. “I came along to answer any questions I could about not just Sarah and her being hurt, but anything else I can do for you. But in the meantime, I’ve brought you a little surprise.” The boys came out of the cockpit, and Tommy nearly knocked his wife out of the way to get to them. My goodness, Tommy thought, they are handsome little men. All of them hugged them, telling them how excited they were to come along, and by the time they were landing in the little airport near a city called Zanesville, Toby was sitting on his lap, and Mike was sitting with his grandma. “You’ve given us a great gift, young man. Not just in having the boys here, but with bringing us to my daughter.”

Cass said it was his pleasure, but he’d wanted to meet them as well. “Yes, well, you might want to take that back when we all converge on my daughter’s room and drive you insane.” “Mr. Linton, I have a very large family myself. I know loud. But Sarah is at the hotel now. They released her this morning, and my brother made sure she was taken there for us to have more room. My sister-in-law, Rogue, has a Ph.D. in forensic photography, but she is also a good doctor. She’s making sure she doesn’t overdo it before we arrive.” He was impressed at the jobs they all had. “You weren’t told this, and I’m sure you’ll find out anyway, but Parker, you’ve spoken to her, she’s a witch. An honest to goodness witch. We’re all sorts of things when you get right down to it.” There was a lot to think about, but he pushed it all to the back of his mind. The ride to the hotel seemed to take forever, but it was made easier with Toby and Mike with them.

The boys told them all about their life. He was sure there was worse than they were saying, but they were happy, and to Tommy, that was more than enough. Pulling into the parking lot of not a cheap hotel as he had thought, but a very nice one, Tommy suddenly had second thoughts. He wasn’t sure she’d welcome them. That Sarah had somehow changed. But when Toby pulled him free of the first luxury he’d had in forever, Tommy went into the hotel. There his Sarah was talking to Cass, who had left ahead of them. “Daddy? Mom?”

That was all it took for him to lose it. Sarah hugged them all, marveling over the babies and her family. Even Jude was excited and hugged Sarah several times, as they all did. It was a homecoming he was glad the Fosters had made possible for them all.

Clyde Release Blitz & Giveaway

Gracie had just lost the one person that meant the most to her. Craig, the ancient vampire that had raised her. He wasn’t just a father figure. He was her best friend. Now, she had been shot too, but she would honor his final wishes, find Bancroft, the king of the vampires and go to him. She wasn’t a vampire. She was so much more. The problem was that Gracie trusted no one.

As soon as she was around him, Gracie knew that Clyde, an ancient vampire, was her mate, but she was in no hurry to tell him. She had to deal with Bancroft first. The one responsible for Craig’s death was plotting to kill them all.

AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/3oMPij8
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/3oPBmoD
AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/3EUtzeO
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/clyde-kathi-s-barton/1140778177?ean=2940160937847
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Clyde?id=HmpUEAAAQBAJ
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1120600
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/clyde-6
ITUNES https://books.apple.com/us/book/clyde/id1599950556
PAPERBACK https://amzn.to/3IJsOrc

Kelly Roman was good at her job. As a forensic anthropologist, she could help the dead and help the families find closure. The one thing she hated about her job was her boss, Shamus Van. That man was out to sabotage everything she did. And when he brought in the new chief of police, Bancroft Dalton, to make her look bad, that was the last straw. She’d quit before they had a chance to fire her.

When Bancroft showed up at her front door, he asked to be invited in, and when he told her he couldn’t lie to her, it set off all kinds of bells and whistles in Kelly’s suspicions. It wasn’t the fact that he was a vampire that bothered her, it was the part about him not being able to lie to her. She knew shifters couldn’t lie to their mates. There was no way in hell she was letting a man barge into her life and take over….

Elizabeth Strickland, Lizzy, to her friends, found herself in a predicament. The last thing she remembered was attending her own bachelorette party, then waking up in a cave with six other women. They all had wounds, just like hers, only they were dead. Lizzy had awakened as a newborn vampire. She had no idea why they died, and she had lived, but she had wished every day that she had died with them.

Stanley Remy, better known as just Remy, was an old vampire and close friends with Bancroft, their leader. He had his own issues. He was being falsely charged with making baby vamps and leaving them to fend for themselves.

Lizzy just wanted the bodies of the other women found. Once they were, she had every intention of meeting the sun. What she didn’t need were two overbearing old vampires dictating to her what she could and couldn’t do. She had killed her maker, she wouldn’t hesitate to take them out if they didn’t let her be.

But then Remy gifted her with something she never thought she’d have again. To feel the sun without burning. She could have her life back. Maybe this mate thing wouldn’t be so bad after all.

If only it were that simple….

Donald had been in the room with the women for a while. He knew one of them was his mate, but their scents were so similar he couldn’t tell which one it was. He took the women home one at a time. CJ and Rachel were the last to leave. It was then that Donald knew which one was his mate. He didn’t know which one of them was taking it harder, either.

  1. Bancroft https://amzn.to/2KPuxOP
  2. Stanley https://amzn.to/33rA2O3
  3. Donald https://amzn.to/32NsC6w

Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform

Congratulations to the winners
Teri Bellville Signed Paperback
Debbie Whitley Signed PaperBack
Your prizes will be mailed
Tuesday, Dec 14th, 2021


Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery
Julie Swaney Mystery Prize
Susan Thomas Mystery Prize
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas Mystery Prize
Julia Bystedt Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Mystery Prize
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Jaunita James Signed Cup
Robin Dennison Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Cup
Sonja Zucker Mystery Prize
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Joy Lanham Mystery Prize
Renee Johnson Mystery Prize
Katy Bennett Mystery Prize
Robin Brockett Signed Cup
Stephanie Simeon Signed Paperback
Debbie Hudson Signed Coloring Book
Reda Blair Signed Cup
Donna Steppig Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Joyce Estelle Mystery Prize
Brenda lukas Signed Paperback
Ruthenia Dillon Mystery Prize
Joyce Mirabello Signed Paperback
Donna Steppig Mystery Prize
Teri Bellville Signed Paperback
Debbie Whitley Signed PaperBack



If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@kathibarton

Happy Reading,

Prologue


Gracie watched the water flow over the dam. She’d been coming here to this spot for years now, and it was always different. Today there were families having a nice day in the warm sunshine with a picnic basket and all. There were dogs, too, playing with their masters and retrieving whatever it was they tossed for them to return. Small and big kids were chasing each other, some of them racing the clouds as well. When someone sat down beside her, she didn’t bother looking. She had an idea she knew just who it was. “Why anyone would want to eat out of doors is beyond me. Bugs and grass all over a person. And the food is forever cold. Even things that should not be.

Who would have believed that humans would eat a cold chicken leg?” She smiled at Craig. “What have you been doing since we spoke last? Have you gotten things on your end under control yet?” “I have. There are two shipments going out in the morning. Hopefully, they’ll end up where they’re supposed to be. Yesterday there was a big brew-ha-ha over some damaged merchandise that was sent to them by mistake, but they got it taken care of quickly.” He asked her about the trip that was being planned for next week. “I still can’t find anyone that is going. There is a flight plan made out for the company jet, but no names on the schedule. I’ll keep working on that.

I have about four days left to find the manifest of who is going.” “The boss would like you to pull yourself from the job site a few days earlier than we planned. He thinks that once things start falling apart around them, they’ll start looking harder at the people who were only just hired. You’ve been there how long now?” She told him. “Yes, well, I’ll see what he wants you to do. Getting fired might be hard for you. I’m hearing about how much you’ve contributed to the work there.” “It’s all right. Whatever is needed.” She looked out beyond where they were sitting at the families again. “Do you suppose there is a person out there for us, Craig? I don’t mean a family, but someone we can have some fun with and perhaps share a good bottle of wine with?”

“It’s doubtful to me that anyone would want an old queer vampire to share anything with them.” She laughed but kept watching the families. “Why are you asking? I’ve never heard you wish for bedpartners or even someone to share a meal with before. Are you getting too old for this, my dear?” “No. Goodness, no. And before you ask, no, I’m not bored either. I’m just being silly, I guess.” She saw that someone was setting up a few tables. Perhaps a party was going to be going on. Gracie loved birthday parties for the little ones. As she watched the people putting tablecloths on the long tables, she spoke to Craig without turning. “When I was a child, there was a kid in my class that was having a party. Everyone was invited, even me this time. But once at the house, I knew I’d only been invited because his mother had insisted everyone be there. The gift I had was cheap and not wrapped as well as the other things.

I never went to another one after that. Have you ever been to a child’s party, Craig?” A playpen was set up for a baby, and Gracie wished she was close enough to see the child. She’d bet it had pudgy little legs and fat cheeks. The cutest babies always seemed to be ready to explode with good humor and chubby legs. Turning to ask Craig if he heard her, she saw that he was gone. “Not nice, Craig.” Before she turned back to the scene below her, she saw that there was ash on her clothing. A great deal of it. Counting to fifty slowly so she could think, she knew it was important to get her ass in gear and out of there. Still seated, she took the briefcase Craig carried with him everywhere he went and shoved it up under her shirt.

Then she pulled out her weapon, checking to make sure it was loaded and ready to go. Reaching down to pretend to tie her shoes, she pulled out one of the extra clips and put it in her front pocket. Stretching and looking around, she stood up and made her way out of the area as quickly as she could without drawing attention to herself. It took her four hours to lose the tag she had on her. Then another hour for her to find the man and kill him. Before she could pull the trigger on her weapon to take him out, he shot her once in the shoulder. Christ, it had knocked her back on her ass, but she’d been able to get up and get rid of the bloodstain before anyone could get to it. Chemicals were forever on her for that very move.

Whoever he was working with, they’d prepared their shooter well. He didn’t have prints on his hands or anything that would tell him apart from every other male in the world. She did, however, take a bit of his blood in a vial and put it in her case. Knowing that going home would be a terrible move, she made her way to the safehouse she had set up. There she’d be able to get money, a list of contacts, as well as more weapons. Gracie would also be able to fix her wound and get a grip on herself. It wasn’t that she would freak out, but she needed to know who would kill an operative while sitting right next to another one. After pulling the bullet free of her shoulder and cleaning up the wound, she took a large bottle of whisky off the shelf and drank straight from the bottle. Sitting down in the kitchen, she opened Craig’s briefcase and was startled to see her name on an envelope.

Getting herself a glass, knowing that Craig would be looking down on her, upset that she was drinking from the bottle, she poured the liquid to the top and sat back down. Emptying out the rest of the things in the case, she set the letter aside. Her employment file was in his case, along with his own. She set those aside, wondering why he’d have them on his person. Then she looked at the map he had, as well as a few notes that had been written on it. Craig would never stoop to using GPS. He told her it was too easy to trace. She didn’t use it either. Nor even a cell phone. Putting the things in piles, Gracie put her hands over the case to see if he had hidden anything else in the thing that no one would be able to find without her kind of magic.

Finding the small piece of silver there, she knew without looking at the note with it that it was what had killed his lover. Contrary to what he said to people, Craig was a heterosexual and had had a very long and wonderful life with his wife Margaret before her death, before Gracie had even been born. Pulling the envelope to her, she opened it up carefully and laid not only the money to the side but what looked like a passport.

Opening the letter, she read what her only friend in the world had left her. “If you’re reading this, I’m dead. If I am, I hope you have the good sense not to call it to the office nor to let anyone else know. I’m dead—having others know will not bring me back no matter how much you’ll miss me.” She would too. More than she would anyone. Taking another drink from her glass, she refilled it as she continued. “You’ve more than likely gone over everything I have in this case before reading this letter. Good girl. I’ve taught you well. However, don’t let that go to your head. There are things afoot that you must now be made aware of. Like there is someone in the office looking for you. Through me. I do believe he will likely kill me to get to you.

Don’t go looking for him. If you do, you might as well sign your own death warrant. You’ll need to get yourself someplace safe for now.” She had to pause in her reading. Gracie knew he’d make sure she was safe, even after death. The man had a way about him that would make her pissed off at him one minute, then wondering how she’d ever lived without him. The living without him was hitting her very hard right now. “There is a man that I neither know nor have spoken to other than through our link. He is the king of all our kind. You must go to him. Don’t even think about telling me no. You will do it because I’m dead, if for no other reason than that. I cannot go to the afterlife wondering if you’re safe too.” Nodding to the letter, she said to him that she’d go. “Good for you, my dear child. His name is Bancroft Dalton. He is, by all accounts, a good man, as well as a man that gets things done.

You will go to him, and he will not only keep you safe, but he will make sure justice will be served for my death.” After reading the rest of his missive to her, she found out that she was his only heir. Not that she really was, but he told her she was his child, no matter that he didn’t sire her. After gathering up the other things he’d sent with her, she found the key he’d mentioned too. She’d be able to get in and out of the bank holding whatever he wanted her to have without anyone being the wiser. Gracie made plans to leave this place first thing in the morning. There was nothing here to indicate she’d been here at any time, but she would still destroy the place after she left.

Not a soul lived in the building but her, and even though she owned it, no one would ever be able to track down the rightful owner. She had learned a great deal from her friend, the vampire. Gracie took a long hot shower and figured out her plans for the next morning. Gathering up all the things she would need—guns, ammo, as well as her first aid kit— she put it all in her magical backpack. It would hold a car, and she’d be able to carry it if it came down to that. Studying the passport and gathering the money up with what Craig had given her, she ate a bowl of cereal that had expired three years ago dry and set up her bed. Tomorrow she’d be leaving this country forever.

There wasn’t any reason for her to return now that her friend was gone. By six the next morning, she was inside the vaults at the bank. The key she had opened one box that led her to three more. Taking all the money and gems out of them, she put them in the bag. Also, she was able to find Craig’s will, along with the deeds to all his properties. Not bothering to read them right now, she slipped out of the vault, then the bank, before anyone came into work. The second place she went to was an unmarked grave. There were no dates on it. Nothing to indicate that someone was buried beneath the large headstone.

She took out the bullet that had been left on the seat where Craig had been sitting and shoved it into the ground along with the little piece of silver. Putting her hand on top of the ivory stone, she felt the marker give under her fingers and pulled the last thing she needed with her. A thumb drive. It was updated daily and brought here under cover of darkness and vampire skills. She didn’t know what was on it but had been told no less than fifty times a day that she was to get it and take it with her if she needed to run. Today was the first time she’d been able to open the mechanism. More than likely because the magic knew Craig was gone. There were two cars for her to use. Gracie took the one that had fewer people lingering outside the building.

She didn’t recognize anyone as being operatives, but it made her no less careful of getting in and out. By the time she was pulling into the airport to get a flight out of the country, not only was the building she’d been in last night nothing but rubble but Craig’s place, as well as his desk at work, were destroyed. She never worked there often enough to have a desk, and Craig had already taken her file. The flight took off on time, and she settled down to sleep. Or at least pretended to do so. She was wearing enough of a disguise that no one would recognize her. And since she’d been getting magic from Craig, no one would be able to describe her the same way as the other patrons on the plane. She was a ghost.

What most of the people called her where she had worked. By the time the latest plane she was on landed at the airport in Columbus, Ohio, she’d been around the world three times. Getting off the plane at each stop made it easier for her to see if she was being followed. However, her shoulder was aching badly by then, and she was exhausted. Without any kind of driver’s license or even a photo identification, she wasn’t able to rent herself a car. But that was easy enough to work around. Stealing one of the cars from the lot, she was well on her way to the king’s house four days after Craig was murdered. The car, like the other things she’d used, would be destroyed when she got to the king. He’d better not be some blowhard, or she’d have to figure out a way to kick his ass. Settling into one of the empty buildings on the outskirts of town, she was ready for some sleep. Pulling out a sleeping bag as well as some clean clothing, Gracie closed her eyes and fell into a fitful sleep.

Gracie would do as the king wanted, but only so far. She wanted to take some of the money she’d saved up and buy an island. Someplace accessible either by flying in or taking a ship. After her years of service to her government, Gracie felt as if she deserved something nice. To not give a shit about anything else was her plan. ~*~ Bancroft hung up the phone. Craig Anderson had been killed five days ago. Not only had he been killed, but someone had gotten into his bank and taken everything he’d had stored in there. Bancroft hoped it was his friend, Gracie James, and not some random ass that had just happened to know where to look. When Kelly joined him in the office, she sat on his lap and asked him if he was all right.

“I am. We’re to have a visitor in the next few days. I don’t know anything about her other than her name. Grace James. I’m not entirely sure that is her real name either. She was a friend of someone that contacted me a month ago when he was having trouble at his work.” “The Anderson man.” He nodded. “You said he worked for the IBC. I don’t remember what you told me that meant.” “Identity-based cryptography. I’m not sure in what capacity he worked for them, but I know it was very hush-hush. The woman, as I said, I don’t know anything about. But she meant a great deal to the man, and he wanted me to protect her at all costs.” Kelly asked him if she worked there as well. “I don’t know. She might well have. When he called me, he told me there were some very unsavory people looking to get to Gracie—that’s what he called her. And if they got her, they’d not kill her but use her. Again, I haven’t any idea what that might mean.”

“More than likely, she’s magical. But not a vampire.” Bancroft told her he didn’t believe she was. “I guess we’ll find out when she arrives. Do you know when?” “That was her on the phone. She called to tell me she’d be at the restaurant in town at six tonight and that she’d see us there. I don’t think she’s all that trusting. If I were to bring anyone with me other than you, I can kiss her ass goodbye. I’m not sure what that means either, other than literally kissing it goodbye, but she said I was to go only with you.” Kelly asked him if he would. “Yes. I’m not sure why, but I feel like I can trust her to do what she says. The girl knows she can’t kill me, but she can put me in a world of hurt. I believe her. Also, and this is from Craig, Gracie is a good deal stronger than she looks, and I’m not to let her wallow in her own pain of losing him if I can help it. They were very close.” “All right. Do you think she’ll stay here?” Bancroft shrugged. “Does she need medical attention? Clothing? Money, or even a nice warm meal?”

After each question, he shrugged. When she smacked him on the chest, he told her once again that he knew nothing about her. The one and only thing he did know about her was that she needed to be protected. That it was for all mankind. However, he didn’t tell Kelly that. That would be just like telling her to go see the woman and get answers. By the time they were ready to go, he was no closer to getting information than he had been before. He’d not done any kind of search on either Craig or Gracie. But he did hear about the explosion of a building, as well as a stolen car at the local airport.

Nothing more than that was out there, but he had a feeling it was Gracie. At five-thirty, they were seated in the only sit-down restaurant in town. He noticed that Clyde and Brian were there as well but didn’t invite them to join them. Bancroft hoped that Gracie didn’t think they’d been asked to come here on his behalf. Talking to this woman was his top priority. He ordered a glass of wine from the waitress that came by, and Kelly asked for some juice. Looking around the place, he wondered why they’d not eaten here before. Taking a small sip of the wine, he noticed a small piece of paper was sticking out of the butter. He might not have noticed it at all, but when Kelly had cut into it, it stuck out. Pulling the note out, he read it. What surprised him the most was that it was written in the old language of the vampire. The second thing was that his waitress was Gracie.

She came back with a second basket of bread when he was trying to decide what to do now. “The room is on pause.” He looked around and was dismayed to see that Kelly was not moving either. “I don’t know her. I don’t know your ass either, but I was told you were a good man. I have to have a doctor see me as soon as possible. Only someone you trust. I was shot the day Craig was killed, and it’s not healing well.” “Can you heal yourself?” She told him she couldn’t but could heal others. Even so far as to bring them back from death. “I see. Actually, I don’t know what to think about that. Where are you staying?”

When she didn’t answer him, Bancroft put out his hand. “You don’t trust well, I was told. I will give you a sip of my blood so you can speak to me at any time.” I don’t need it. I don’t even need to touch you to be able to speak to you like this. His heart started racing when she did speak to him. “I’m not sure what else I might have gotten from Craig’s death, but enough to get me in and out of situations that aren’t of my making. I was human when I met him. A child. He took me in, trained me, and kept me out of trouble. I owe him my life and anything else he might have wanted from me. But he asked for nothing. I was told you could protect me.” “I can. I will.”

She nodded and stood up. “What happens now? Those others over there. I didn’t know they would be here.” She just smiled at him as the room began moving again. Gracie asked him if he was ready to order. After placing an order, he told Kelly what had happened. Just as he’d thought she would, she was pissy. Then she thought it was funny. He’d been out-magicked by a young woman. When their dinner was brought to them, not only was the meal perfect, but their waitress was different. He supposed she’d gotten what she wanted from him and would get back to him later. The man Brian is in trouble with his family. Nothing new, it sounds like, with the people you hang around with. He will need you to help him with money very soon, or he’ll go to prison. Not a good place for a vampire, I’m guessing. He told her it wasn’t. The other man, Clyde, he’s having a wonderful time staying at your home. However, he’s bored out of his mind and wishes you’d give him something to do.

He needs neither money nor anything else. He’s just a man used to having plenty to do all the time. The others in your household seem to be doing well. Are you going to go to my home? I’m assuming you know where it is by now. She told him she did but wasn’t going there just yet. She had two things to fix yet. Something I should be aware of? No. But the new queen of faeries needs someone to slap her around. She’s in over her head and is going to fail, she thinks. I don’t know how she thinks she will since she’s been taking care of the little people for some time now. Just hit her upside the head, and she’ll be fine. He said she’d hurt him if he did that. Yes, I suppose she would. I was going to ask if you’d do that when I was around, but that might distract me too much from my job.

Also, the man Ramon, he’s a physician. I’ll need him to look over my wound as soon as tomorrow. I’ll meet him at your home. There was no more communication from her for the rest of the night. He did have a splendid meal with Kelly, and the food was fantastic. His bill, he was told, was paid already, and he only needed to leave a tip. The note with his paid bill said he was to leave a good one or someone would take him to task. Bancroft was still laughing as they headed home. While he didn’t know anything about Gracie, nor what sort of trouble she might be in, he was looking forward to tangling with her. He had a feeling she was a hellcat like the women in the family. Kelly, too was happy to know she could hold her own with him. He was just too pleased to get upset about anything right now.

Mark A Cross To Bear Release Blitz and Giveaway

Jamie Kemp was good at her job. Working for the FBI in search and rescue as a dog trainer and handler was fulfilling work. Never laying down many roots, Jamie was ready to head out on assignment with her dogs at a moment’s notice.

Mark Cross and his family had lived in the Smoky Mountains for ten generations, and he loved the land, but of late, he was feeling rather lonely. Mark and his entire family were bears, black bears that blended into the wooded areas better than any wild ones in the park.

Jamie and her dogs were called in to find a missing woman. Instead, Jamie found herself in the crosshairs of a serial killer. Mark showed her pictures of the women this maniac had killed, and she could be their twin. And to complicate things more, Mark was her mate….

AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/3DC8pBk
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/3FCA7P3
AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/3x7Vkxi
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mark-kathi-s-barton/1140547149?ean=2940161052648
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Mark?id=_QpQEAAAQBAJ
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1116399
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mark-75
ITUNES https://books.apple.com/us/book/mark/id1596607828
PAPERBACK https://amzn.to/3HMAYhS

Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5c8b0-winners.jpg
Congratulations to the winners
Joyce Mirabello Signed Paperback
Donna Steppig Mystery Prize
Your prizes will be mailed
Tuesday, Nov 23rd, 2021


Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery
Julie Swaney Mystery Prize
Susan Thomas Mystery Prize
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas Mystery Prize
Julia Bystedt Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Mystery Prize
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Jaunita James Signed Cup
Robin Dennison Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Cup
Sonja Zucker Mystery Prize
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Joy Lanham Mystery Prize
Renee Johnson Mystery Prize
Katy Bennett Mystery Prize
Robin Brockett Signed Cup
Stephanie Simeon Signed Paperback
Debbie Hudson Signed Coloring Book
Reda Blair Signed Cup
Donna Steppig Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Joyce Estelle Mystery Prize
Brenda lukas Signed Paperback
Ruthenia Dillon Mystery Prize
Joyce Mirabello Signed Paperback
Donna Steppig Mystery Prize



If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@kathibarton

Happy Reading,

Mark counted to ten, then counted again. Looking at the mother and the three kids with her, he could only think they had been told to be like this. There wasn’t any way he would believe someone could allow their children to behave like these were and think it was all right. It wasn’t. “Ma’am, you’re going to have to control your children. We’re walking into dangerous territory, and I wouldn’t want to see them get hurt.” He might if he had to put up with this much longer. “Could you please restrain—?” “Are you telling me I should lock my children up?” He said he’d not said that. “Yes, you did. You told me to restrain them. Well, I’m not going to. We’re outside.

They’re not hurting anyone, and I’d think you’d be thrilled to have someone come on this walk with you. You’ve been quite boring if you ask me.” “He didn’t.” They all turned to the elderly man that had come on the tour too. “And if you would pay attention to what is going on around you, you’d see it’s not the least bit boring at all. Don’t you see what a wonderful treat we have right here in this man? He’s very knowledgeable. If you’d listen.” “Whatever.” She looked at her three children, two boys and a little girl. Mark figured they were about the same age, twelve to fourteen.

Tall for their age if they were any younger. “My kids are here because they wanted to be out in nature. We’re in nature. In the event that it slipped your mind, it is your job to entertain them. You should be doing a better job of keeping their attention rather than complaining about how they’re acting. Again, we’re outside. A little noise is to be expected.” “Ma’am, I’d really appreciate it if you and your children would keep it down. Loud noises will attract the bears. They’ll want to come out and see what the commotion is all about, and that—” “Did you hear that, kids? You’re doing a better job than Ranger Rick here in showing us nature at its finest.”

The woman looked at him. “That’s the only reason we’ve come on this little walk of yours. To see some bears. It’s what we all want. I would love to have a great big bear not only come and see what is going on but to come up close and personal with us. How about any of the rest of you?” Mark pulled out a bear claw he’d found earlier today. He showed the woman how large it was. Even compared to his own hands, it was massive. Mark took a step toward the woman, hoping to scare her, but she just grinned at him.

“This would cut out your throat in a split second. The bears here aren’t domesticated. They’re dangerous killers. This is their land we walk upon. Their territory that they eat and sleep in. We’re only visitors to them. And if we, any of us, gets in their way, disturbs their sleep or whatever they’re doing at the moment, they’ll not come up and thank you politely for making them nervous.” “I know better.” He asked her what she knew better. “I’ve seen online how people get their pictures taken with all kinds of animals around here. And we’d better see a bear today, Ranger Rick, or I’m going to complain to your boss.”

“My name is Federal Wildlife Officer Mark Cross. Not Ranger Rick.” He looked at the others and decided he’d had enough of the family. “Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to go back to your car. This trip is too dangerous for you to be on if you’re not going to follow—” “Listen here, buster. I am not going back to my car or my cabin. I am not going to do anything but stay on this shitty walk with you. There is nothing for them to do there but whine and drive me up the wall. We’re here, and you’d better be getting a move on.

I have shit to do later. You’d better pray I see a bear, or I’m telling you right now, we’ll make such a ruckus on our way back that the dead animals will come to investigate what’s going on.” Counting to fifty didn’t help. Turning on his heel, he drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly four times before he turned back to the group. He was finished with the family and wasn’t going to let them bother them one more minute. He hoped. Pointing out the vegetation was one of his favorite things to do. Even as he walked this particular path a thousand times a season, he still found things to marvel at. His family had lived in the Smoky Mountains for ten generations, and he loved every aspect of it. You all right, big brother?

Sighing, he told Gibb what was going on. I think I might have encountered them the other day. Three brats and a woman? Yes, that’s them. Mark let the others view the area from where they were, high atop the mountain. She threatened me and said she’d better see a nice cuddly bear, or she was going to go over my head. I really don’t care. I know for a fact that this group was told four times that I wear a body camera with sound on it. Let the higher ups come out here and deal with her if they think I messed up. Frazier is out running this morning. An idea came to him, and he loved what Gibb was suggesting. Let me find him and get right back to you.

She’ll get her bear and the scare of the lifetime if I tell him what’s going on with your people. Mark and his entire family were bears, black bears that blended into the wooded areas better than any of the wild ones here in the park. And because they were protected, they could run in any field or pasture they wanted and not have to worry about being seen. Mark did wonder what his grannie would say if she found out what he and Gibb were planning. Grandda would think it the funniest thing ever, but Grandma would be— He’s not too far from where you are on the trail at Abrams Falls.

Frazier and Ewing are out there playing in the water. There aren’t any humans around, he told me, but he can hear those kids coming. Mark said he was about fifty yards from the falls. Good. Just keep on the path for a few more minutes, and he said they’d be ready for you. They’d done this before, come to the park for a person to see a bear. Mostly they did it for children, never getting too close but letting them see them. Mark would bet most of the millions of pictures taken of bears in the park included one of them. Today was going to be something none of them had ever done before—scare someone that had come to the park for a visit. “Look, I see a bear.”

He was startled from his thoughts when one of the men spoke in a whisper. Of course, the mother and her brats didn’t do anything like that but started whooping and yelling for them to come to them. One of the kids even pulled out a large cow bell and started shaking it like his life depended on it. “Christ, they’re big, aren’t they?” Before he could take action in getting the humans to remain quiet, the bears, three of them, charged. Mark knew immediately that they were not his brothers, nor were they going to stop until he killed them. Pulling out his rifle, he shot the first large male in the head.

He dropped quickly. The second bear, this one limping, was coming at an alarming rate that had him wondering if he was going to be able to put the other one coming down on time. Number two dropped too—he was only about four feet from them. A third shot and the third bear dropped as well, sliding to his death no more than six inches from his booted foot. There wasn’t a sound in the air. Nothing was chirping, singing about the beautiful weather. The three kids were finally not acting up. Mark let what he’d just had to do settle around his mind. He’d killed three bears, his kind. Ones he shouldn’t have had to murder because of the people with him.

He was turning on his heel. Mark was ready to blast the family when the elderly man from the beginning of the walk beat him to it. Christ, he was glad for the camera on his vest. Mark thought he could go on watching this for the rest of his life. But he had to take care that the animals were cared for first. Calling it in, it was Gibb that he spoke to. All his brothers worked for the forestry in some way. Even their grandparents. Gibb was the dispatcher. Mark, as calmly as he could, told him what had happened. “Are you all right?” He said he thought he was. “Grandda was here.

He heard what you said when calling it in. He’s going to go out with the rangers.” Then through their link, he asked Mark about their brothers. They weren’t here. I knew these were wild bears as soon as they started after us. I hope they’re far away about now. He told him they’d both gone home when they heard the shots fired. Good. I should have known this was going to be a bad idea. Hopefully, however, the kids got a scare out of it. Just as he was closing the connection to Gibb, the mother of the brats slapped him hard, enough to make him off balance a little. Had it not been for the tree behind him, he would surely have fallen. He asked her what she thought she was doing. “You killed those innocent bears. Don’t you think you could have just wounded them?”

He said no, that would have made them twice as dangerous. “You fucking bastard. How am I supposed to explain this to my children? They’ll have nightmares for a month. They were only coming to see us. You just had to shoot them and ruin all our fun. You fucker. I’m going to make sure you lose your job over this.” “Ma’am.” She turned and looked at his grandda. Every part of his body was tense in the event this bitch took her anger out on him. “Fifty years ago now, I was out with a bunch of my buddies when we came across some bears getting their fill at the falls.

Catching salmon, they were. We didn’t think anything of it—it was a cold day, and we were downwind from them.” “So? Why do I care what you did fifty years ago, you old man? This person here, he killed those bears like they were nothing. They weren’t going to hurt anyone. I even have some jerky I brought to feed them. See?” Mark knew then that was what made them charge. They could smell the opened package of fish jerky because they weren’t downwind of them. Grandda asked if she’d had it out when they arrived at the falls. “Yes. Duh. How were we supposed to attract them to us if we didn’t wave it around all the time? You people need to take a chill pill.

Nothing was going to happen. You all know, too, if you’d think for one moment that my putting out a bad review for this place would totally shut you down. I’m an influencer. That’s right. I make or break companies like this one every day with just my review alone. I can take a five-star place, give it one bad review, and they’re out of business.” “Excuse me. You think that because you put out a bad review about this national forest, no one will come here again? Just all by yourself?” The elderly man looked at him, then at Grandda before he laughed.

“Go on, mister. You show her what a bear will do to you when they’re angry and denied whatever some idiot is waving around them. Because as surely as I’m standing here, that woman right there killed those three bears as surely as if she pulled out a gun and fired it.” “I wasn’t worried about that shit. I have my own gun.” She was on the ground with dirt in her mouth before she got her gun all the way out of the back of her pants. When it went off, hitting his grandda in the foot, all hell broke loose. “What the fuck are you doing to me now? Christ, it’s not like I killed him or anything. It was a fucking accident.

Get off me, you shits. I’m going to sue you all for this.” The other guests were taken back to the parking lot where they’d started out this adventure. Mark stayed with his grandda until the other rangers came back and took pictures. Of course, it was all on all their cameras, from different views, as a matter of fact, but they’d need to document this so that when the arrest warrant was filled out for the woman, they’d have all their shit together. “You all right, son?” He told his grandda he didn’t know. “Yeah, I can see that written all over your face. Seems to me people are getting more salty daily.

What do you think?” “Salty? I suppose that’s as good a term as any. Are you all right, Grandda?” He lifted up his foot to show where the bullet had gone right through the top. “Grandma is going to be seriously mad at you. I’d not expect her to make you any pie for dinner tonight either. She doesn’t like you or any of us to be hurt.” “You think she’ll be a little less fussy with me if I tell her a madwoman did this to me? And that you had to kill three bears to save the life of eight people, three of them kids?” Mark pretended to think about it and then told his grandda he didn’t think it would be any different. “Yeah, I don’t think she’ll be any happier anyway I tell her.” ~*~ The body was still where he’d left her. The rangers, he knew, were busy this time of year—early spring meant spring breakers of all sorts. Deciding he’d have to do a better job of putting them out in the open, he decided to find himself another woman to kill.

Women were too stupid to realize they were being targeted. The Smokies were the perfect place for him to have his fun. He’d been out west at one of the larger parks, but that had become boring. There were too many visitors out there year round to make it so he could do his thing. Really, all he did was murder women, lay them out in an open field, and watch as the other animals tore into them. He didn’t rape them or mutilate them in any way that would get him caught. Just popped them in the head or heart with a bullet, then he’d lay in waiting while something found them. Usually, it was a wolf, but lately, in early spring, there had been a lot of other animals coming around to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Making his way back to his truck, he saw the commotion going on near one of the falls. Just wandering over there to see what had happened, he saw that someone had shot three bears. He thought of their size. Most people thought of black bears as being huge. He supposed the bigger ones could be six hundred pounds tops, but little did they realize there were much bigger bears in the wild that were not only larger but more vicious than a black bear. Grizzlies were large, but the Kodiak bear was bigger by far. They were taller, being as large as ten feet tall when standing, and had a larger bone structure as well. The most dangerous bears were the grizzly and the polar bear. However, there were none of either of these bears in this park.

Sadly. When the ambulance showed up, and an old man was loaded into it, he watched for a few more minutes to see if anyone would say anything he might be able to use. But all they did was do their job quietly and with a great deal of efficiency. He knew the bears would be left where they were. The path would be closed to visitors until such time as they were taken care of by the other animals in the park. The eco system worked well here.

Watching while they drew blood, skin tissue, and other things he’d not seen them do before, he found himself a better place to watch, which had him backing into a tree and sliding down it. There hadn’t been a sound made. He was sure of it. Not a whisper of a leaf falling. Nothing shifted under his feet. Yet right now, he would swear the younger man in a ranger uniform was looking directly at him. As if he had peeled back the veneer of the forest and seen right into his head. Staring back at him, making sure not to even breathe too quickly even though he was terrified for the first time in longer than he could remember, he sat that still.

Finally, when the man broke his peering into his head—what it seemed like even now— he found himself breathing harder than he had since he’d first come to this place and had to climb the mountain. Getting down on his hands and knees, he made his way out of the area. Not sure if he was being watched anymore, he made sure he was careful where he’d put his hands and knees, never breaking a twig or crushing a leaf. As soon as he was over the hillside from them, he stood up. It took all of his willpower not to take off running the rest of the way into the town.

It was busy this time of the day, but not nearly as bad as it would be later tonight. Careful not to get too close to people, he knew that in the short walk to his favorite place to eat, he’d been brushed against by at least two dozen people. Slipping inside, he was seated right away and brought a large glass of sweet tea. The nectar of the gods as far as he was concerned. “What are you having tonight, Jon? We’ve a special running on chili mac.” He’d nearly looked around when his waiter called him Jon. It startled him that he knew his name. Not that he really knew his name, not really, but he’d been going by Jon Smyth for a few weeks now, and it seemed to suit everyone’s curiosity.

Jon told the waiter he’d have lasagna. “Yes, sir. Coming right up.” Jon Smyth. Such a stupid name now that he thought on it. However, no one questioned why he was called such a fake name. Going with it at the time had seemed like a brilliant idea. But his name, his first anyway, was really Jon. He’d have to be more careful in the future. His salad was set before him, and he picked at it. Jon wondered why anyone would eat a special in a place. Basically, it was whatever crap they had left over from the night before—or worse yet, something that was nearly ready to turn green. They’d mix it with other crap they had, and poof, they had a special.

Some people would fall for just about anything, he supposed. Like him. Jon didn’t have much in the way of confidence in people telling the truth. It stemmed, he supposed, from his mom telling him that his daddy was coming to get him and the bastard never showing up. Lies—all of them lied to him. When he’d been old enough, just barely into his teens, he’d hunted his father down and killed him. Precisely what he’d done was shove him into moving traffic, but he had done the pushing. He’d wanted to kill off his mom too, but he needed her more than he wanted her dead. There had been a couple of times he’d made her suffer at his hands. She would sometimes not give him what he wanted. Or would make him do something he didn’t think was his job. Like cleaning his room.

Christ, why did parents want you to clean your room all the time? So what if it was messy? Don’t open the door if that was your issue. Laundry wasn’t getting done? Okay, who cares? It’s his stuff. If he wanted to stink all day, then that was his problem, not hers to harp on. Besides, if he wanted clean clothing, he only had to go down to the local stores and steal what he wanted. They, too, knew better than to fuck with him. Everyone did by the time he was sixteen. His food was put in front of him, and his drink was refilled. Then the pitcher was set on the table with him. It had taken only one time of him not being happy with being hovered over while he ate before they just left him alone. No asking if everything was all right.

He was eating it, wasn’t he? There was no seeing if he needed anything else with his meal. Had he wanted anything else, he would have ordered it when he sat down. Jon often times wondered if there was a person that told the waitstaff to bother the fuck out of someone while they were eating. He didn’t get it at home, so why did he have to put up with it when he paid someone else to cook for him?

Even his check was put down without any fanfare. No pointing it out—just drop it off and take themselves elsewhere. Just the way he liked it. After eating his big lunch, he made his way back to the other end of town. There were as many attractions at this end as there were at the park entrance, but he would walk this way, head up in the woods, and make his way back to his place through the wooded mountain tops. Smiling to himself, he thought of the first time he’d done this. Jon had thought himself in fairly good shape. He didn’t exercise at all, but he did chop wood for himself. Climbed stairs when he needed to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b.’ Then he’d moved here. The very first time he had to go through the woods to his shack, he thought he was going to die.

The air was thinner the higher you got. He knew that. But what he’d not counted on was just how difficult it was to do simple tasks, like chopping wood, building himself a better shelter, or digging a hole. Christ, he thought for sure when he got out of bed that first morning, after digging a hole deep enough to put a refrigerator in, that he’d pulled every single muscle in his body. Some he was sure that even scientists hadn’t ever encountered. After digging the second hole to put his refrigerator in, lying on its side with the lid to open up for him to store things in, he didn’t hurt as badly. The blisters had even turned to callouses, and he felt better.

The third and fourth ones were a piece of cake. Now he had a cooler system that needed no electricity to keep his perishables cold. It had been the heat that had caused him the most issues. The first time he’d set a fire in the new digs he’d built, it had smoked him out. It had taken him three more tries to figure out how to make it smokeless, so he’d not draw attention to himself. Small fires, using only dried wood, had been the trick. So when winter set in, which was earlier up here in the mountains, he was as prepared as he’d ever been. Walking along the path he’d made for himself, he was just about to cross over the fence when he heard a noise behind him. Dropping to the ground, he laid still as he waited for the sound to come again. It hit him almost as soon as he saw them that it was a sleuth of bears. A large group of them, too. He’d never seen a bear play around like these seemed to be doing. Wrestling around in the dirt, they seemed to be having a great time.

As he watched them carefully, he made his way back by sliding his body along the rocks and dirt. When he was out of sight of them, he still crawled for another fifty feet or so until he was sure they couldn’t see him. Christ, that had been scary. Getting to his home a little later than he’d thought he would, Jon was happy for the bed he’d brought up with him. The fact he’d had to bring things up in the summer made it difficult, with all the tourists around, but he’d managed to get not just a stove for his heat, but a cot with a good mattress, the refrigerators, as well as a chair. He’d made his own table, but the chairs he’d tried weren’t cutting it. Lying on his bed, he thought about what he was going to do tomorrow. The first thing he was going to have to do was find himself another woman to kill.

This time, he was going to make sure her body was found sooner. It was one thing to get his jollies in killing them, but he wanted someone to find them so they’d be worried. Rolling to his side, he thought of the first woman he’d killed since arriving here. She’d been too easy to follow. Oblivious to her surroundings, he’d killed her without much in the way of thought as to why she might be standing so close to the edge of the falls.

Hitting her in the back of the head with an ax he’d just happened to be carrying around, she was considered an accident. Falling into the water, she’d been beaten up badly, he supposed, and his hitting her hadn’t been an issue. Damn it. He’d not gotten the attention he so desperately wanted. Jon wasn’t stupid enough to think he’d not be caught killing women. He had a backup plan he carried around with him all the time. It had cost him a great deal of money and pain to have one of his teeth drilled out so the little capsule would fit inside of it. A cyanide pill that would kill him instantly.

Well, not instantly, but he’d be dead all the same. He wasn’t going back to prison. Juvie hadn’t really been a prison, he supposed, but it had been prison-like. He was monitored all the time. He didn’t get to sleep when he wanted or eat when he was hungry. It was no less than he deserved, he continued to tell himself. When you act out, as they called it, there were consequences to your actions. His had been a consequence he never wanted to repeat. Closing his eyes, he let sleep take him under. Jon wasn’t plagued with nightmares about his deeds. Nor did he have a moment’s hesitation in thinking he was some sort of monster. He did what he did because women were too stupid to realize they were the lesser sex and should have a man at their side to keep them safe. It was exactly what got his mom killed.

She’d been too carefree with her body, and someone, not him, had killed her when she didn’t put out when he was there to save her. Of course, he’d been the one that had been beating her up and only stopped when she was unconscious. But his mom hadn’t been grateful enough, as the man had thought she should have been, to suck him off. Yet another prime example of women being stupid. Waking in the middle of the night, he went out into the moonlit night to take a piss. There were creatures close by—he could see them scurrying around. Jon never bothered with a light. That would get him caught. But he did keep an eye out for anything larger than he was, as well as sliding snakes that would crawl up his pant leg in a minute. Going back inside, washing up at the water bowl he’d rigged up to take in water off the roof, Jon went right back to bed and to sleep. Tomorrow was going to be a good day. He could feel it in his bones.

Booker Wilkerson Dynasty Release Blitz and Giveaway

Charlie had been gone from the small town for several years, attending medical school with Rayne. She only returned when she got the news that her mother, the sitting judge, had been murdered. Rayne convinced her to come back home. The town needed good doctors.

Booker had just bought a huge, empty house. His cousins were going to a huge estate auction, and he figured he’d go to find some deals. His cousins were meeting their wives there. It would be fun.

Booker was having a wonderful time when he met Charlie. A spirited young woman who captured his heart from the moment they met. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

Booker was caught up in Charlie’s enthusiasm as a first-time bidder until she got into an argument with another bidder, a bully who would win the bid even if he had to take it by force. Booker didn’t like bullies, especially a man who bullied women. Booker jumped to Charlie’s defense. That’s when things got dicey….

AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/3mMt9Al
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/3CVWqhy
AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/3qeS8yf
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/booker-kathi-s-barton/1140483520?ean=2940160763200
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Booker?id=ZSNMEAAAQBAJ
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1113549
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/booker-2
ITUNES https://books.apple.com/us/book/booker/id1593423603
PAPERBACK https://amzn.to/3GTXXr7

When Marsden Wilkerson received the phone call that his mother had been in a car accident, he wasn’t letting anything get in his way to get to her. Not a pushy boss, and especially not his Aunt Eita. Then his world crumbled when the doctors told him that his mother, Holly, didn’t make it.
Gabriella Farley, Abby, could hold her own, and she wasn’t about to take any flack from a rich bitch like Penelope Wilkerson.

All the Wilkerson women, with the exception of Holly, could fit that description. Abby stood up for Mars at the funeral home even though she really didn’t know him. What she did know was his mother, Holly, was a fine woman, and the family had given them both the shaft Mars’s entire life.

Mars wanted to apologize for his Aunt’s actions, but there was something about Abby that sparked a flame in his heart. From the first kiss, they knew they had something special, but going against the Wilkerson family could be very dangerous. Will this new love be doomed from the start?

Amy Hamilton never had much of a home life growing up. Her sister Phoenix and her mother demanded all the attention, so much so that she and her father didn’t have a relationship at all. Now that her father was filing for a divorce, he felt guilty for not being a part of her life and wanted to make up for it, but Amy wasn’t sure she was ready for that.

North Wilkerson had a similar upbringing. Although his mother was dead now, before her death, she was an awful person and an even worse mother. After having sworn off family ties to his parents, he was just now allowing his father back into his life.

Amy and Booker Wilkerson were close friends in college. Amy was only supposed to be in town for a few days, and when Booker called inviting her to dinner, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to catch up on old times. When Booker’s cousin North and his uncle joined them for dinner, they all had a blast.

But when North just showed up at her father’s house and took over, Amy wasn’t sure what to think of him. What did he think he was doing? She barely knew him. Amy needed to nip this in the bud before it went much further. She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She didn’t need a man now, or would she ever need a man, any man….

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 70241-synopsis.jpg
Rayne just wanted to finish nursing school and take care of her grandda. He was all she had left. She had only left the house for a short time, and when she returned, he was gone, and there was blood everywhere. She panicked. She called the number her grandda had written down for emergencies.
When Watson answered his phone, he had trouble understanding the hysterical young woman on the other end. And when he got her to calm down enough to find out what was going on, being a doctor, he was ready to help where needed. When he arrived at Mr. Oliver’s house, he was met with the most captivating woman he’d ever seen. She was perfect. Wats was so smitten, he was afraid he’d screw up before he even had a chance to ask her out.

Marsden https://amzn.to/38Zq06Y
North https://amzn.to/3jln3TR
Watson https://amzn.to/3298RG1

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 4c99c-22188-images2b252812529.jpg


Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!





https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pick-your-prize.png
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5c8b0-winners.jpg
Congratulations to the winners
Brenda lukas Signed Paperback
Ruthenia Dillon Mystery Prize
Your prizes will be mailed
Monday, Nov 8th, 2021


Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery
Julie Swaney Mystery Prize
Susan Thomas Mystery Prize
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas Mystery Prize
Julia Bystedt Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Mystery Prize
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Jaunita James Signed Cup
Robin Dennison Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Cup
Sonja Zucker Mystery Prize
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Joy Lanham Mystery Prize
Renee Johnson Mystery Prize
Katy Bennett Mystery Prize
Robin Brockett Signed Cup
Stephanie Simeon Signed Paperback
Debbie Hudson Signed Coloring Book
Reda Blair Signed Cup
Donna Steppig Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Joyce Estelle Mystery Prize
Brenda lukas Signed Paperback
Ruthenia Dillon Mystery Prize



If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@kathibarton

Prologue


Charlie wasn’t sure what the hell she was doing. Not just here, but what she was to do if she wanted to bid on something. Abby and Amy had talked her and Rayne into coming up to this auction today to fill out their homes. She thought they had nice homes, but what did she know about being wealthy? Not a single thing. The man she’d been sort of following was helping another man in things that he should bid on and how much. She had also learned not to take the first amount that the auctioneer put out there. It was only a starting point. “Hello.” She looked around when the man she was following spoke to her. “You haven’t any idea what you’re doing, do you?” “Nope. I will admit I’m in well over my head. Like I need all kinds of things for this house I’m going to live in, but I haven’t any idea how to go about it. Like, this table here. I love it. But I don’t know what would be a good price to bid or how to even make that happen.” He asked her if she had a number yet. “Yes. I got that when we first arrived. Abby told me about that.” “Abby? You’re here with Abby Wilkerson?” She nodded, and the man laughed. “Well, isn’t this a small world. I’m her cousin-in-law, Booker Wilkerson. I’m here with my cousin, Brandon.” “Will you help me?” He said he’d love to. “Good. First thing, this table. What is a good price to pay?

I don’t want to get caught up in the bidding and forget that I’m on a budget, somewhat.” “It’s not old if that’s what you’re thinking.” She asked him how he could tell that. “Look around at all the other pieces out here. What is the one thing they have in common? I know you can see it, but it never occurred to you yet.” She knew he wasn’t talking about the age of the piece. To her, they all looked like they’d been around a long time. Then she noticed a few things she’d not before. Looking at Booker, she smiled. “Someone has taken the time to dust this piece. Why would they do something like that to a piece that’s just a table?” He told her. “I guess I can see that. Polish it up so that it’s more appealing to someone. Eye-catching, I guess you could call it. So it will more than likely go a little high when it’s probably just a table that isn’t going to last all that long. Thank you.” “You’re so very welcome. Also, you should never, if you can help it, linger too long when looking at a piece. That gives away that you’re interested. Sort of casually look at something, then look around while keeping an eye on other people that look at it. You can figure out your competition that way.” She giggled. Charlie told him he was wonderful for helping her. “I’m enjoying myself too, so it’s good for us both.” They walked around together for the next half hour. Booker pointed out things she could bid on and how much she should go. He told her when she asked him if he’d help her when the bidding started that he’d love to, but he also had to help Brandon.

“Oh, I’m sorry. You did tell me you were here with him. You have given me a lot to go on, and I appreciate that.” He told her he wasn’t going to leave her. “But what about Brandon? Won’t he be upset?” “Right now, I don’t care. You’re much prettier than he is. Plus, he’s hanging out with Abby. Who is, I might say, good at this too.” The announcement was made that bidding would begin in five minutes. “Something else you might want to do when you go to an auction is to find out who the auctioneer is and make a mental note to watch how he does things. I ask where he might be starting when he begins and also if he will have a second auctioneer selling in another area. There is only the one person here until noon. Then they’re going to sell the house and land around it. But he’s going to start with the box lots. Those are the boxes of stuff that they deemed not worth too much, and they’re getting rid of it. I find a lot of good things in those sort of boxes.” “Like what?” They were headed to the box-lots area now. “Oh, I understand now. They’re literally boxes of just stuff. I think getting a couple of those would be a blast just to go through and see what junk you can find.” She laughed. “You’d be amazed at the things my Aunt Holly and I found in them.”

She was enjoying herself so much that she nearly forgot that they were here for a purpose. “Okay, remember what I said. Stick with the price you want to pay for it, and don’t take the first amount he puts out there.” She didn’t want anything in the box he was trying to sell off, and neither did anyone else, it seemed. As the bidding didn’t generate even a buck, he added another box, then another. The box next, the one with the office things in it, was something she was interested in. When Booker leaned down and whispered in her ear, all thoughts of bidding flew out of her head. “You’ll have to take them all—remember that when you buy a bunch of boxes.” She nodded, and when the auctioneer said a dollar, she raised her hand. While she had no idea what was in the boxes that she’d want, the office equipment appealed to her. Someone put their hand up, but he was only waving at someone across from him. The auctioneer asked him to conduct his conversations elsewhere and looked at her. “You won, missy.” She jumped for joy. Laughing, she went to the auctioneer and hugged him before she realized what she was doing. Telling him it was her first auction and bidding, he laughed with her. “Well, I’m glad you came here today. Thanks for the hug too.” When she started to go for her boxes, Booker told her to wait. No one would bother with them. He purchased the next lot of eight boxes, and she bought two more at the end that were filled with glasses, as well as wine glasses that she really liked. The two of them, she thought, had gotten a lot of junk with their stuff. They started a pile by one of the trees. Booker even purchased a chair so she’d have something to sit in under the tree. When the rest of the boxes were sold off, her buying two more lots for a total of ten, the other Wilkersons joined them. They had twenty minutes before the bidding began on the furniture. “Are you having fun?” She told Abby she was having too much fun, she thought. She didn’t know how she was going to get everything in her car. “Don’t worry about that.

I called Mars, and he’s going to rent one of those hauling things to bring our stuff home in. I missed the box lots, but I see you didn’t. Would you mind if I went through them with you? Just to look at the things people consider junk?” “I’d love that.” Booker bought her lunch, as well as two bottles of water. The house, it seemed, wasn’t selling for much, and she watched Booker when he decided it would be a good investment. Charlie moved closer to him when he started to tense up when the bidding started. “You can do this.” He only glanced at her, but she could see that he was happy she’d said that. His face not only relaxed, but he wasn’t fisting his hands either. Putting her smaller hand into his much larger one, she felt like she was centered. It was a strange way to feel with only just meeting the man. Booker bought the house, or so they all thought. Since it had gone well under what they should have gotten for the place, the auctioneer had to speak to the family. Booker kissed the back of her hand when he was asked to wait until the auctioneer returned. “Thank you.” She told him he was welcome and that he had calmed her as well. “We’ll go to the furniture next. Are you ready for that?” “I believe I am.” She watched as the household things were brought out where the boxes had been. The big bed that came with several pieces of furniture caught her eye. Admiring it from a distance, she watched as others went over the stuff like they were searching for something special in it.

“Are they serious about buying it for that price? I’ve heard that some of them are only willing to go to less than a hundred dollars. That seems cheap to me.” “They’re putting that out there so that others around, like you, would hear it. They want you thinking it’s not worth all that much. But I’ve seen it in the bedroom before you got here, and it’s well worth a thousand or more. It’s very old and made of mahogany. It looks to me like it might have been handmade right here on the property. That is a really good piece.” She nodded but didn’t go near the bedroom set. She didn’t have the kind of money that would justify her paying that much for just a bedroom suite. Charlie did have her inheritance, but she was saving that for a rainy day. Booker laughed when she told him that. “My aunt would have told you that there are forever going to be rainy days, and you won’t be able to save for all of them. What you should do is make each day count so that when the rainy day does come, you have your comfort in the things you did when you had the money and time.” “I think I might have liked your aunt.” Booker kissed her then. Just a quick kiss on the mouth. “That was nice. Booker, I’m beginning to like you a great deal. Is that odd?” “No. It’s the way it should be. Come on, let’s get us a place to bid on the things that we want. If you want the bedroom suite, then you get it. I’ll even help you pay for it if it comes to being close to your limit.” It didn’t bother her that he was willing to do that. For some reason, it seemed right that they purchased the set together. Shaking her head at the nonsense in it, she moved to the group of people that had gathered around not just the bedroom suite but the table and chairs that had been brought out as well.

“That is beautiful. Don’t you think?” “It is.” A thought popped into her head in that moment. Of him sitting at one end of the table and her at the other, with people seated down either side with children in their arms. The thought, or vision, was so vivid that her breath caught when she realized this was their children and grandchildren. “Booker, something isn’t right about this.” “I know.” She had a feeling he did know, and she nodded too. “We’ll figure things out when we get back home. All right. Today, let’s just fill out our home.” She nearly missed bidding on the bedroom suite. Her mind was filled with words like home. Our. Even the vision of them and a large family. When Booker poked her in the ribs, she looked at the auctioneer when he started the bidding out at six thousand dollars. When he got back down to a hundred dollars, a man in the crowd behind her said, “Here.” She didn’t turn and glare at him as she wanted to do but kept her eye on the man doing the fast-talking. Booker told her to wait to see where it went and if anyone was going to bid with them. When he told her now, she lifted her hand up to bid one-fifty. The man behind her moved up to where they were standing. She saw him out of the corner of her eye and didn’t like that he was staring at her. When Booker moved between the two of them, she felt better. The man started cursing quietly at first, then he started getting a little louder.

“Nothing is going to happen to you, love. All right? Just do what you’re doing, and it’ll be all right.” Then the man shoved Booker into her. It wasn’t a light push either. Both of them nearly tumbled to the ground. “Excuse me. You nearly knocked us down.” The man bumped Booker in the chest with his belly. Then he started talking to him in another language. While she had no idea what was being said, Booker did and was talking to the man calmly and without raising his fists up like the other man was. “Hey. Hey now. What’s all this about?” Booker told the auctioneer that the man had insulted his wife. Had called her a slut, and said that she only wanted the bed to entertain other men on. “He said that to you? What the hell—pardon me, ma’am—but what the hell is he being upset about? It’s only an auction.” The man said something else, and Booker looked at the auctioneer. There were some very tense-filled moments there while neither of them spoke as the man went on and on about something. Not only did Abby join them, but all the Wilkersons stood up behind them. “Mars, are you with this group?” He said he was. That this was his family. “This isn’t right. Not to you or anyone in your family. But to be insulting like this to a pretty woman is just beyond what I think is right.” “I agree, Mr. Shadow.” He asked the man to leave, and he just stood there, staring at her. Finally, when she’d had enough, she pushed her way in front of Booker, and he put his hands gently on her shoulders.

“You’re a nasty bully.” She asked Booker to translate for her. He said that he understood what she was saying. “You are the meanest man I’ve met. We were all having a good time until you had to get all up in arms about a bedroom suite. What is the matter with you? Don’t you have any man—?” The blow to her face knocked her back. She not only saw stars, but she was sick with the pain of it. Closing her eyes when it became too much for her, Charlie wondered what her mother would say to her now. She’d think it was funny, she’d bet. There were noises going on, cursing too, but in the end, she just let go. Letting the pain take her under so that she’d not feel it for a while. ~*~ Wats was as pissed off as he’d ever been. Someone had actually hit a woman because she was bidding against him. Every time he thought about him hitting Charlie, he had to stop what he was doing and take a deep breath. “This will go a good deal faster if you would just let your wife fix me up.” He said he knew that, but he was safer in here. “Why? The guy was arrested, you told me.” “But I know where they took him.” Charlie laughed, then moaned. “I’m sorry you were hurt. But if it’s any consolation, you got the bedroom suite for nothing.” “Booker told me.” She looked around, then back at him. “May I ask you a question? You don’t have to answer, but please don’t make fun of me. All right?” “Yes. But you should know that I don’t lie.

If you ask me something, you’d better be prepared for the answer. Ask me.” She did. He had to think about his answer hard before he answered her. “You’re worried that you’re falling in love with my cousin? How is that something I’d make fun of you about?” “I’ve only just met him today. I mean, literally today. He’s kind and wonderfully sweet. He doesn’t rush into things. Nor does he, and this is a biggy, treat me like I’m some sort of bimbo that he needs to protect.” He laughed with her. “I suppose looking at me, you’d think I do need a protector. But he didn’t shove me out of the way when I went to talk to the man. I know it was a stupid thing for me to do. I mean, I should have let someone handle it for me, but he didn’t do anything.” “Actually, he did.” She asked him what he was talking about. “My wife can’t come here and take care of you because she’s taking care of Booker. He has a broken wrist as well as needing stitches in both his lip and his hand. He knocked the man to his ass with one blow. He came up with a gun, believe it or not. But Booker didn’t back down, he— Where are you going? I still need to stitch you up.” “Where is he?” Wats followed her, but not too closely. He could tell that she was pissed off, and he didn’t want to come between her and her anger. “Booker Wilkerson, where the hell are you?” He yelled that he was here, so she went to find him. As soon as they entered the room he’d been put in, Wats cringed. It was going to take him longer to heal from his wounds than it would Charlie, of that he was sure. Charlie asked him if he had a brain injury that she needed to be made aware of.

“Not that I’m aware of, no.” Wats noticed that everyone seemed to leave them alone except him and Rayne. He was staying for the fun—he had no idea why Rayne was. “I was mad that he hit you.” “I was too, but you should have let the police handle it when he pulled out a gun.” Booker looked at him, then back at Charlie. She did the same but looked at Booker. “What? Something you’re not telling me.” “He was going to kill you.” Charlie looked at Wats again. At his nod, she turned to Booker again. “I was willing to let the police handle it. I was sure that if I started on him, I would have killed him. But he pulled out the gun with the intention of killing you. He announced to everyone that you were one dead slut.” Booker stood up and made his way to Charlie. When she went into his arms willingly, Wats asked if they could finish stitching them up. They didn’t want the swelling to get too much before they could get that done. “I missed getting that table for our house.” Wats didn’t say anything about what Charlie said, but he did glance at his own wife. “This is so unfair. My very first auction and I have to get next to some dummy head that had to ruin it all for me.” “They stopped the auction.” Charlie asked Rayne what she meant. “No one here wanted to go on without you there. The police are still here, of course, but the others voted to wait to see if you were going to join them again.

The people here, they’re really impressed with the two of you.” “We didn’t do anything,” Wats told her what he’d seen. “Okay, we did take on a bully, but we wouldn’t have had to if he’d been a nicer person. What did he say to you?” Booker said it wasn’t nice, and wanted to leave it at that. Wats was sure that Charlie was going to push it, but she laid down on the bed that Booker was on so she could be stitched up as well. It took them more time than it normally would have because the two of them were talking to each other. Wats thought he was seeing the first blossoms of love. When they were released to go back to the auction, people cheered for them. A couple of women told Booker he could defend their honor anytime he wanted. It was embarrassing to him. Wats could tell. Everyone was good-natured about it, and the police asked if they could talk to the two of them when the auction was over. Wats was very proud of his family right then. Mars said he’d bid for them, but Charlie declined. She said her fun had been delayed, and she wanted to get back into it now. But she kissed him on the cheek for being so sweet, and then she turned to the auctioneer, asking him if he was ready. “Yes, ma’am, I am. I have to tell you, I was never so terrified in my life as when that man said he was going to kill you. I thought for sure my heart was gonna stop when that husband of yours just stood up and knocked his gun away. Goodness.” Charlie thanked him. “My wife, she said she’s going to be watching for you from now on. You surely do get the job done when someone is nasty to you.” There was some fun made when Charlie bid on the dining set. They teased them both about being careful not to bid against them. As was Booker’s nature, he got a kick out of it and didn’t anger.

Wats only then realized it was the first time he’d truly ever seen his cousin pissed. He was usually one that would just walk away. This was a first for all of them today. Not only did she win the dining set, but she also was able to bid and get two more bedroom suites. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he’d found someone that loved auctions as much as Booker and Aunt Holly had. She was getting good at knowing when to stop, too. As they were loading up the things on the truck Wats had gotten, Booker asked him for something for his headache. After checking him out, he told him he wanted some pictures of his head if he didn’t mind. When he agreed, that worried him just a little, but Booker assured him it was only a headache. Uncle Josiah showed up just as the auction was coming to an end. “There you are.” Booker shook hands with the auctioneer and told him he ran a good auction. “You’re a good man to have around. I don’t suppose you have yourself a shop, do you? I mean, the way your missus was buy—” “Missus?” Uncle Josiah looked around, then at his son. “Oh, yes. All right. But we do need to talk about some things later, son. All right?” Uncle Josiah looked confused, but he wasn’t going to embarrass them by asking questions now. Charlie asked him what he had in mind when the auctioneer asked about the shop. “Well, you see all this stuff that people leave behind? Some of it is worth a little bit. A lot of it they just leave behind because they’ve realized they don’t have the room to take it with them. I need someone I can call on to come and pick it up for me, and I’ll pay you to do it. It won’t be a lot, mind you, but a couple of dollars a box should cover you coming and getting it. If you’ve got a mind to.” Booker looked at his dad.

“Will you go into partnership with me, Dad? I’ve decided I’ve had enough of teaching for a while, and I want to do something different. With you.” Uncle Josiah looked like he was going to cry, and Wats patted him on the back. “We just purchased a house that I think will be perfect for odds and ends. My wife here is a doctor now, so she can afford to keep me in pocket money.” “I’d love nothing more.” While Wats didn’t know what house Booker was referring to, everyone was happy all the way around. “But first, I’d like for you to get to the hospital. The police said they’d make sure that the bill was paid by that moron.” “Do you want this to start now, Mr. Shadow?” Wats had forgotten the man’s name and was glad that Charlie knew it. “We have enough help here today to load this up if you want. I mean, if that’s all right with the rest of you.” “I have a better idea.” Mars looked at Booker, then at him. “You go to the hospital with these two and make sure they’re all right. The rest of us will do the cleanup and take it where you want.” “I bought this house. I think it will be perfect for where we can start out.” They began to take the boxes and other things into the truck while he and Rayne loaded the two of them up in his car. He was beginning to worry about Booker, as he was too agreeable to going.

He was going to keep him overnight just to make sure, no matter what the X-ray told them. The ride to the hospital was quiet. He could hear Charlie and Booker talking to each other, but they were too quiet for him to hear. When Rayne took his hand into hers, he looked over at her. “She loves him.” Wats said he could see that too. “I think he loves her as well. He surely has taken a beating for her if he doesn’t.” “They’ll be all right, don’t you think?” She asked him if he was worried about Booker. “Yes. He’s not himself. I’m worried that there is something more wrong with him. I only checked his head. What if he was hurt elsewhere? I’m going to keep them both overnight, even if I have to beat the two of them into submission.” Rayne agreed with him. And that made him more worried than he’d been before. ~*~ Rayne read the X-rays three times before she was satisfied with the results. Not that she was happy with what she saw, but she knew they were lucky that she and Wats had brought them into the hospital. Charlie had a concussion and two broken ribs, more than likely from falling over when hit. Wats joined her just as she was going to go see Charlie. “He was shot. The shithead was shot, and he didn’t say a word about it.” Rayne asked how bad it was. “He was shot. Bad enough that I’m worried.” “You’re worried because he’s your relative.

Tell me what you really think, like he’s no relation to you.” Wats said it was serious, but not that bad. “Good. She has a concussion. So getting them to stay will be easier since they’ll both be here.” “I have him going into surgery now. I can’t join him there, but I can be with him when he gets out. He also has a concussion and four broken ribs. I’m sure he’s also got a couple of broken fingers.” Rayne said he was a good man. “What do you mean? He was shot and didn’t tell anyone.” “He didn’t want to freak you out. Or, for that matter, Charlie.” He’d not thought of that. “Would you have let them stay there had you known? I wouldn’t have. But Charlie got to have a good time, and her day wasn’t totally ruined by that man. Booker was a good man in being stoic and not worrying her or any of us too much.” “You know, he’s always been like that. I remember once him having a broken hand during a football game.” She asked how he’d gotten it. “He was the quarterback. I guess he was too good, and the other team thought they could take him out. But he played the rest of the game and even won before he let on that he was injured. I should have remembered that.” Rayne went to tell Charlie that she was spending the night. Wats told her that Booker was going to be fine but that he’d sustained a larger issue. Charlie had to threaten his life before he finally told her what had happened. She sat there for several moments without speaking, only to look at them with tears in her eyes. “He said he loved me. We only met today, but it seems right. I don’t know what to do about it. I mean, we only just met.” Rayne asked if she loved him. “Yes. I don’t know how that happened either, but knowing what he did for me today makes me love him all the more.

Does that make sense to you?” “Absolutely. It’s the same thing for Wats and I.” Rayne sent Wats on an errand while she sat on the side of the bed with Charlie. “He’s going to be fine, you know. And if he won’t behave, one of the others will sit on him until he does.” “Wats asked me to be his partner in his office. Are you going to be all right with that?” Rayne told her she was, that she was family now. “I guess I will be. Josiah, he was certainly confused. But he was really nice about not giving us up about the lie. It was nice, too, being called Mrs. Wilkerson.” “It is. Very nice. And you couldn’t be joining a better family.” Rayne called in the staff to make sure they started an IV for her, and told her that she’d let her know when Booker was out. Then when she left Charlie to her nurse, she stopped at the desk and asked if they could put Booker into the room with Charlie. “They’ll be roaming the halls if you don’t.” “We can arrange that, Dr. Wilkerson. My goodness, there are going to be a lot of you Wilkersons around here, aren’t there? We’ll have to make sure we use your initials, or we’ll all be messed up.” Rayne nodded and left to find Wats. It was the first time she’d been called Doctor Wilkerson by staff. It felt damned good. As they waited for Booker to come out of surgery, Rayne made a couple of phone calls. One to her aunt to let her know where they were, and the second call to Josiah.

He had asked her to call when they found out anything. He told her that he’d be right there. Wats went home to get Louis so that he could hang out with the others. He was becoming a wonderful part of the family quickly. Rayne’s phone rang, and she almost didn’t answer it. Her aunt had called her several times over the last few days, and she wasn’t ready to talk to her yet. But this time, armed with her anger that her newest family members had been hurt, as well as liking Charlie, she answered the phone with her title and Wilkerson. “Where is Selma?” Rayne asked who it was, knowing full well that it was Aunt Becky. “Don’t be a smart ass. Tell me where that sister of mine is. I have a mind to give her a piece of my mind.” “I’m sure you couldn’t afford to give her any of your mind. You have seemed to lost your marbles anyway if you think that she’s going to forgive you for treating her and me the way you did.” Becky snorted. “You think I’m kidding? I’m not. I’m happy. I have children that I love and Aunt Selma to talk to when I need an adult. You were never there for me. While you didn’t beat me, you were so verbally abusive to me that it made me feel like shit all the time.” “I kept you in line.” This time she snorted. “Where is she? I want to know why she’s changed the locks on our house. I need to get in and get some things out of it.” “Not without the police and Aunt Selma there you’re not. Besides, it’s not ‘our’ home. It’s Aunt Selma’s. She told me how you moved in with her like she needed you.” Aunt Becky said she had. “Nope. Aunt Selma is a good deal stronger than you’ve ever given her credit for. Besides, I’m thinking you need to find yourself a home anyway. She’s selling that one soon.”

“Why would she—? You did that, didn’t you? Just to see me on the streets. Well, I have money, so I can buy any home I want. You just wait and see.” Rayne told her she didn’t care if she had a house or not. “What a rude person you’ve turned out to be. My goodness, I should probably have beaten you once or twice to get that nastiness out of you. You should be nicer to me. I’m the only relative you have besides Selma. Did she tell you that she’s dying? Well, she is.” “We’re all dying, Aunt Becky. And you both being in your seventies isn’t a big stretch in knowing that you’re going to die too. But if you mean the cancer, yes, she told me about it. She also told me she’s in remission. I have a feeling you would have left that part out had I not heard.” Nothing. Not a denial or anything. “By the way, Grandda is fine as well. He’s been having fun with our children. He said it makes him feel decades younger to be a great grandda.” “He should have died long ago, the old buzzard. He’s just hanging on because he wants one of us to die first.” She thought that was as good a reason as any and told her aunt that. “Have you always been a terrible person, or am I just noticing it?” “Always have been. Always will be.” She saw the surgeon coming down the hall. Charlie was just joining them in a wheelchair when he stopped to talk to them all. “I have to go. I’m not asking you for permission to hang up, Aunt Becky, because I know you well enough to not allow it. But I’ll talk to you some other time.” Simply closing the connection, she stood up when Doctor Moran Davis sat across from Charlie. Since he and everyone else was going on the notion that she was Booker’s wife, he was going to speak to her first. “He’s come through well. The bullet didn’t do much damage.

But he will need to rest up and behave himself for the next week or so. He had a lot of injuries and is lucky his head is hard.” He looked at Wats. “I did take a look at his head. You’re right. It was a good-sized gash. I opened it up while I was in the sterile room and washed it out while I had him under. I hope you don’t mind that I did that.” “No. I’m glad you did it. I don’t want anything to happen to him.” Wats looked relieved. “I was concerned when he wasn’t arguing with us about bringing him in. He’s not one to go to the doctor all that well.” “Well, he’s in good hands, I believe.” Doctor Davis looked at Charlie. “I’m to understand that you’re going to be a physician here as well. You need anything, Charlie, you just let me know. I’m new as the head of this department, and I’m trying to make my way into getting things on a better standing between doctors and nurses. If you need anything, I’m serious, you just call me or come by.” It was another hour before they got to see Booker. Rayne could tell he was in a great deal of pain, so when he was taken to his room, sharing it with Charlie, she rushed the rest of them out of the room so he could get some meds and rest. Yes, Rayne thought this was a good family to be in with. Louis was holding Wesley’s hand when he got off the elevator. It was a good sight to see, the two of them. When he saw her, he came to her slowly. As soon as he was close enough, she gave him a big hug, then pulled out her phone to show him what they’d gotten for him today.

“The bunk beds will be nice if you want to have someone stay over. And look at this old flag. I thought if you wanted to, you could hang it on your wall.” He looked at the pictures as she showed him, and she knew he had questions. “If you don’t like it, Louis, we can sort that out later. I just thought bunk beds would be nice for your new room.” “Are you going to send me back?” She asked him where she’d send him. “To my dad. He will come and get me. I don’t ever want to go back there again. I like having stuff I can wear that is clean and stuff.” “I like you being there with us too, Louis. But in answer to your question, no, he’s not going to get you again. They found your momma. Did you hear that?” He nodded. Louis had told the police that she had been buried in the back yard near the apple tree. “And Brenda is in jail too. They’ll never get by any of us to get to you again. I swear to you on my life.” He played with her badge while he stood there next to her. She didn’t rush him. The teachers she’d spoken to about Louis said he was a thinker and that if someone rushed him, he’d tighten up tighter than a rubber band around a wrist. When he did look up at her, she smiled at him when he grinned. “Grandpa Wesley said him and me would go fishing.

I’ve never been, but when he told me he’d not been in years, I thought for sure he was kidding me.” Rayne couldn’t imagine the man with a fishing pole in his hand. “He told me if I wanted to, and I got good grades, him and me could have a lot of first times together. He even wants to go camping with me. I’ve slept outside before. I don’t think it’ll be the same with him, do you?” “No. I’m sure you’re going to have all the things necessary to make it a safe and fun trip. You might even make your food over an open fire.” He warmed to that idea, then looked at her pictures again. “Do you not want the bunk beds?” “No. I want them. That way, when Grandpa Wesley comes to read to me, we can rest up in the same room. He’s pretty tired when he leaves me at night.” She’d known Wesley was reading to Louis, just not that it had been nightly. “I’ll be a really good boy for you, Mrs. Wilkerson. I promise you.” “I know that, Louis. But not too good, all right? I mean, we have to be able to ground you to the house so we can spend more time with you once in a while.” She tickled him until he yelled for mercy. When Wats joined her in their talk, she went to check on Charlie. She woke her up, she thought. “I’m sorry.” “Don’t be. I was watching Booker.” Coming into the room when asked, she stood by the bed so she could see how Charlie was doing. “I think my mom wouldn’t be the least bit surprised that I fell for a Wilkerson. I mean, sheesh, she surely did talk about them a great deal. I’m so happy I’m going to be a part of this family that I could bust.” “I know how you feel.” They both watched Booker breathing. “I just learned that you’re going to have to keep an eye on Booker. He’s sometimes a little stubborn when he’s hurt and won’t go to get checked out. They all have stories about him doing that.”

“I will.” Charlie took her hand into hers. “Thank you.” Rayne asked her for what. “Not treating me like I wasn’t good enough for him. For welcoming me to the family with open arms. I can’t believe it’s only been a few days, but I feel like I’ve known you all forever. It’s a wonderful feeling.” “It really is.” She sat there with Charlie for a little while longer. As her eyes finally closed, she checked on Booker and left them there. She was glad to have a family like this one. Rayne would be on her toes to keep them healthy and well, but she was looking forward to that as well.

Heath Release Blitz and Giveaway

Paige Avery had been deep, undercover with her brother, James. Their target had been spotted, but something went wrong. The bullets came from everywhere, killing most of the people in the room. Sent to retrieve them, Rebel Marshall popped in and took the unconscious Page and James back to her home to recover. If Paige and James hadn’t already been immortal, they would have died for sure. As it was, Paige was too weak to shift, and until she could, it would be a long recovery.
Heath found James in the barn. The man seemed friendly enough, but Heath didn’t trust strangers easily. Heath was ready to go about his business when he smelled the boy. The boy was hurt and hiding it well, that is until he crumpled from the pain. Heath called for Rodney, and they got the boy back to the house.  
Paige shouldn’t have been out of bed, but her concern for her nephew had her moving slowly. Told to sit in a chair before she hurt herself further, Paige caught Heath’s scent and realized he was her mate, and a string of curses flew out of her mouth in seven different languages.

AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/3lPlq45
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/3DPRg72
AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/3p75wnP
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heath-kathi-s-barton/1140375957?ean=2940160933979
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Heath?id=bqFIEAAAQBAJ
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1110148
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/heath-17
ITUNES COMING SOON

Harrison Parker had no family and no ties. She was invisible to be traced. Her job with the government was top secret. So secret that she only reported to two people. Now, she was the target and she had to figure out who wanted her dead. Hurt, and laying low, she reached out to the only man she trusted, an old man she had befriended in the cemetery, Sheppard Marshall.

Sheppard Marshall had been grieving the loss of his Millie for the last fifteen years. He would sit by her grave every day. He was an old man of ninety, and he looked forward to the visits he received from the sassy woman, Harrison Parker. Over time he had grown very fond of her, and when he received the message that she needed his help, Sheppard would help her or die trying.

His grandson, Sheppard or Shep, wasn’t letting the old man go alone. If he got hurt, Shep wouldn’t be able to live with himself. Even though the Marshall men were jaguars, that didn’t mean the old man couldn’t get into a situation that got him hurt or possibly killed.

The bullet had gone clear through, but the poison it had been laced with left Harrison with a high fever and near death. Shep didn’t know what this woman was into, but he knew two things—she was dangerous, and she was his mate. What kind of mess had the old man gotten him into now?

Isabella Booth was tired of all the sexist crap handed to her on a daily basis.  When her father wouldn’t even consider her as an heir to his lawn care business because she wasn’t a man, and left it to her brother Hunter instead, she had done the next logical thing. She opened her own lawn care business, and it thrived.

Dean Marshall was renovating his family home. As far as the landscaping was concerned, he was told to go big or go home. When Shep invited the owner of the landscaping company to his home for dinner, Dean wanted to be there to see about getting some things done for his place. He didn’t mean for his jaguar to knock the woman to the ground.

Bella was thoroughly pissed when the big cat ruined her jeans and favorite shoes, and when he announced that they were mates, Bella was seeing red. No way, no how, was she having another sexist, overbearing man in her life. Not if she could help it….

Lachlan Russell had been rushed into emergency surgery. Her boss’s daughter took exception to Lach, telling her no, and went ballistic, throwing anything and everything she could at Lach until Lach finally collapsed from her injuries. Lach was also pregnant at the time, tricked into being a surrogate to carry her sister’s child.

Harris Marshall, Shep’s wife, was called in on the case. Lach’s boss and daughter were now both in jail, but Lach’s family was another matter—they were worse. Harris would make sure this woman pulled through if she had to kill Lach’s family to see to it. Calling in reinforcements, her brother-in-law, Oakley, was the first to arrive at the hospital.

Oakley was thrilled to have found his mate. As far as he was concerned, Lach was perfect. But her sister and brother-in-law were both insane. Would he and his family be enough to protect her from their madness?

Rebel had been called to the US when she’d been informed that her brother was dying, but she arrived too late. He left behind a devastated wife, two small children, and a load of debt. Rebel stayed to help out as best she could, taking a job at the local hospital, but working conditions there were unbearable, and she had no choice but to quit or kill someone—namely the head nurse. And as a doctor, she had taken an oath to save lives, not take them.

Rodney ran a small practice. He handled the medical care for the local schools and worked at the hospital when needed for emergencies. And when a little boy came into his office to get stitched up from being ambushed by bullies, Rodney knew he had to get to the bottom of the problem. When the boy’s Aunt Rebel shows up and takes over, Rodney instantly knows who she is to him—his mate. Having to approach her with the subject had his cat curling up inside him. He had watched his brothers flounder around with their new mates, and he didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

It didn’t take but a minute for Rebel to assess the new situation, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about it. She also needed a job, not a handout. She was a doctor, damn it, and a good one. No man, especially one she didn’t know, was going to order her around. If he thought he could, she’d let him know fast that she was no pushover.

 

Marshall’s Shadow
1.Sheppard http://amzn.to/2IgAcvw
2.Dean https://amzn.to/2H88RM4
3.Oakley https://amzn.to/3i0qNci
4.Rodney https://amzn.to/2Pgepf9

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 4c99c-22188-images2b252812529.jpg


Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!





https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pick-your-prize.png
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5c8b0-winners.jpg
Congratulations to the winners
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Joyce Estelle Mystery Prize
Your prizes will be mailed
Monday Oct 417th 2021


Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery
Julie Swaney Mystery Prize
Susan Thomas Mystery Prize
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas Mystery Prize
Julia Bystedt Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Mystery Prize
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Jaunita James Signed Cup
Robin Dennison Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Cup
Sonja Zucker Mystery Prize
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Joy Lanham Mystery Prize
Renee Johnson Mystery Prize
Katy Bennett Mystery Prize
Robin Brockett Signed Cup
Stephanie Simeon Signed Paperback
Debbie Hudson Signed Coloring Book
Reda Blair Signed Cup
Donna Steppig Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Joyce Estelle Mystery Prize



If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@kathibarton

Leslie Morgan’s Leap Release Blitz & Giveaway

Leslie Golden and his five brothers were the first of their kind. Born leopards, they were blessed with the magic of being the first leopard shifters. Morgan, their mother by proxy, raised them to blend in with humans and to be good men. Blessed with immortality, they all lived together on Morgan’s Leap, a sanctuary for all nature.

Venetia had been thrown from a vehicle and left for dead at the edge of the Golden’s property. When found by the Goldens, she couldn’t remember what had happened to her.

It didn’t take long for Leslie to realize who Venita was to him. Everything was happening so fast to him and all his brothers. Now, a car crash at the edge of their property left them with three kids to raise. Then it hit him all at once. He had a mate, and he was a father… What else would be in store for his new family?

AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/3l0ZJO0
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/3mn7j5f
AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/3D5h7Y5
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/leslie-kathi-s-barton/1140252071?ean=2940162559283
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Leslie?id=9OJFEAAAQBAJ
I TUNES Coming Soon
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1107490
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/leslie-4
PAPERBACK https://www.amazon.com/Leslie-Morgans-Leopards-Shapeshifter-Romance/dp/1956788034/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=leslie+by+kathi+s+barton&qid=1633262788&sr=8-1

Carroll Golden and his five brothers were the first of their kind. Born leopards, they were blessed with the magic of being the first leopard shifters. Morgan, their mother by proxy, raised them to blend in with humans and to be good men. Blessed with immortality, they all lived together on Morgan’s Leap, a sanctuary for all nature.

Hanna March worked for the FDA. She had always wanted to visit Morgan’s Leap, but it was closed to the public, so when she was given the opportunity to inspect their orchard on some bogus complaint, she jumped at the chance. The place was beyond anything she ever expected, and Morgan was the perfect host. But when someone took a pot shot at Morgan from the field, a huge leopard came out of nowhere and took them both down. Hanna, hitting her head on the way to the ground, was down for the count.

Carroll shifted back to human as soon as the women were out of danger, but finding out the pretty FDA agent was his mate took Carroll by surprise, and boy was she going to be mad when she woke up.

Carroll https://www.amazon.com/Carroll-Morgans-Leopards-Shapeshifter-Romance-ebook/dp/B08Y7VVLJL/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=carroll+by+kathi+s+barton&qid=1633185135&sr=8-2

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 4c99c-22188-images2b252812529.jpg


Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!





https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pick-your-prize.png
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5c8b0-winners.jpg
Congratulations to the winners
Debbie Hudson Signed Coloring Book
Reda Blair Signed Cup
Donna Steppig Signed Paperback
Your prizes will be mailed
Monday Oct 4th 2021


Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery
Julie Swaney Mystery Prize
Susan Thomas Mystery Prize
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas Mystery Prize
Julia Bystedt Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Mystery Prize
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Jaunita James Signed Cup
Robin Dennison Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Cup
Sonja Zucker Mystery Prize
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Joy Lanham Mystery Prize
Renee Johnson Mystery Prize
Katy Bennett Mystery Prize
Robin Brockett Signed Cup
Stephanie Simeon Signed Paperback
Debbie Hudson Signed Coloring Book
Reda Blair Signed Cup
Donna Steppig Signed Paperback



If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@kathibarton

Happy Reading,

Leslie made his way to the side of the house, where the wraparound porch made the corner. Sliding to the floor, he stretched out his legs and let out a long slow breath. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t used to having the house at high decibels all the time. It was just too much with all the women and others there as well. When the door opened and closed at the front of the house, Leslie wondered if his mom was coming out to scold him or to join him. He was surprised to see Venetia standing at the railing, not five feet from where he was sitting. “I’m remembering more and more all the time.

There are a great many things I’d like to forget, but one I did want to share with you is that I knew that Betty and Sherman weren’t my parents. They told me when I fell from the bleachers at school and broke my ankle. They didn’t know any of my history.” She looked at him. “Are you unhappy with me being your mate?” “Not at all. Nervous? Yes, I’m that. But not unhappy. I was overwhelmed by all the noise in the place.” She nodded as if she understood that as well. “Would you like to take a walk? I can show you around, and we can get to know one another.” “I’d love that.”

He got up and stretched. “You’re very tall, aren’t you? I was going to say large, but that’s not all. You’re in great shape and have good bones.” “It’s the magic that keeps us trim. And the fact that we all work around here. I’ll point out some of the things going on as we walk if you’d like.” Again, she said that would be good. “We’ll start this way. I’ve been craving an apple for most of the morning. Mom handed them out to your parents, which is good. I’m glad everyone is enjoying the fruits of our labors and—I’m babbling. I don’t usually get all tongue-tied when I’m talking. I think it’s mostly because you’re so beautiful, and I want to make a good impression.”

“You have. All of you have. I don’t know my biological parents all that well, but they’ve been singing your praises since they arrived.” They started for the woods as she continued to tell him what her parents were saying. “I like your mom, too. And Hanna. She’s very intense, but I like her very much.” “She and Carroll are going to have a baby. We’re all still trying to figure out how that is going to work.” Venetia asked him what he meant. “We’re the first shifters, and since we were made by two leopards, we’ve no idea if she’ll have kittens that will shift or humans that will shift. But whatever they have, we’ll all love them and protect them with our lives.”

“I don’t know you well enough to judge, but it’s been my experience that people talk a big game and don’t follow through on their promises.” He said they would. “As I said, I don’t know you well enough yet to say yes or no. I’m not trying to pick a fight with you, Leslie. I believe you when you say it, but humans aren’t usually so good about following through on promises. You do know I’m a witch, don’t you?” “I do. I didn’t until you found out, but yes. It doesn’t bother me if that is what you’re asking. In fact, I’m glad that if something—” “Your lordship.

You must go to the river. Now.” He took off in the direction of the river after asking Venetia to please be careful. The urgency of Hale’s voice had him running. Shifting to his cat so he could move faster, he arrived at the river’s edge in record time. “There. See it?” The car was upside down in the water. Shifting once again, he was able to roll the car to an upright position. It was then he saw the car had two children inside, with two adults in the front. Smashing one of the windows, which were all closed, he pulled the man out first. “I can bring the car to the edge.” Venetia did just that, pulling the car right out of the fast-moving water and onto the edge of the shoreline.

“I’m sending the faeries up and down the river to see if there are any others around.” “Good thinking. Thanks.” Coming out of the water, he was embarrassed slightly that he’d not thought to dress himself. As soon as he did, he laughed when Venetia’s cheeks were as red as he was sure his were. “I didn’t think beyond getting the people out of the car.” “That’s fine.” The two of them pulled the people from the car. “Can you save them?” “Yes. However, not the man. He’s been dead too long for me to be able to bring him back without consequences.” Nodding, he pulled the smallest child—he thought her to be about six or seven months old—from the car seat and laid her on the ground.

They realized the little boy was hurt badly after she was able to bring him back. “They were drugged. There is a great deal of something in their system. They would have not been able to survive had you not been warned. The poison in their bodies was lethal.” “Do you know what it was?” She said it was heroin. “All of them, or just the children? The reason I ask is, the man was shot in the head, and the gas pedal was pushed down. Also, and I have no idea why this just popped into my head when I opened the door just now, the lights came on, as well as the sounds. So I’m thinking they weren’t in the water very long.” “I think you might be correct.”

Leslie reached out to his family and let them know what was going on. The baby started crying but quieted down some when the little binkie thing was put into her mouth. “There are things about this that make me think the woman was supposed to live. She wasn’t buckled in, nor did there seem to be much in the way of drugs in her system.” Just as Venetia was going to say more, the woman woke up and started screaming. Nothing she was saying, however, was helpful in getting to the bottom of what had happened here today. “My babies. My little babies. They’re dead.” Venetia told her that they weren’t, actually. The look of shock was there and gone so quickly that had he not been looking at her, he would have missed it. “They’re all right? When we went into the water, I thought we were all dead.”

“No. Just the man there.” She looked in the direction that Venetia pointed. “He didn’t drown, either. I think he was murdered before going into the water.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She looked around. “Where is Wendy? She was in the backseat as well.” Looking along the shoreline, he saw Hale, Venetia’s faerie, and Noodle, his faerie, laying a child on the ground. When he started for them, Noodle told him to stay away, then came to stand on his shoulder so she could speak to him. “The child is fine, your lordship.

She is afeared of her mother. Wendy, her name is, said her mother shot her daddy. She thought her asleep, as the others were. The little tyke said she pretended to fall asleep with the others so she could save them. But she hit her head and must have fainted before she could act.” He asked if she could be taken to the house to be kept safe. “Yes. I’ll take her myself. Also, you should know that the babe has been drugged before. The mother isn’t a nice person.” “I’d say you were right.” He asked if they had a name other than Wendy. Noodle told him all he knew was the child’s first name.

“My family is coming here now. Go to my mom and tell her what you told me. Then if you could have Daniel come here in the cruiser, we’ll get this straightened out quickly.” The children were still upset, and the boy—his name was Sammy, it turned out—was sick. Twice now, he’d thrown up, and his mother ignored him for the most part. Looking at Venetia when she coughed, he watched as she put her finger to her lips and pointed at the woman. She was talking to herself, thinking that neither of them could hear her.

“What the fuck? What the glorious fuck? You couldn’t even make sure you weren’t found, could you, Samuel?” Leslie watched as she kicked the dead man. “I was going to be saved while you and the brats were dead. Mother fuck, I hate you more now than I did when you were living.” “Hello, son.” He turned and hugged his mom while she fussed over the children. Handing each of them a bottle of juice, she changed out the one for the baby to a bottle of milk. “There you go. You just drink that down, and you’ll feel so much better.” Mom picked up the baby and looked at Leslie.

“Daniel is on his way. Noodle is getting things ready at the house for our guests. The dray horses are being brought in to pull the car to the driveway so it can be taken away as well. Are you all right, Venetia?” “Yes. Just peachy.” There was a tone there that made him think she was far from peachy. But she did smile at Mom. “I’m assuming you’ve been privy to the things going on around here?” “Yes. Hanna has been keeping us all updated.” Mom winked at him before speaking to the other woman. “This is Mrs. Rebecca Canavan. Her husband was Samuel. The two children here are Sammy and Bethy.”

“Where is Wendy? When you were saving the rest of us, where is Wendy?” Mom told Rebecca she was safe at her home. “Your home? Why? How did she get there? She was in the car with us when my husband decided to take a leap into the river.” “I don’t think so.” Hanna hugged first Venetia then him as she continued. Rebecca asked her what that was supposed to mean. “Samuel was dead a full hour before you put him in the car.

The children had been drugged about the time you decided you didn’t want them around you anymore either. You’ll not lie to anyone again, Rebecca. By the way, your lover has been taken into custody. He is singing to anyone that is willing to listen about how you had the perfect plan. You should have made sure you really had drugged the children before you assumed they were unable to listen to your plans.” “What did that brat say?” She seemed to realize what she’d said and smiled. “I’m a little stressed about all this. What did Wendy have to say about anything going on? Just so you know, I’ve had disciplinary trouble with her for the last few years.”

“Yes, you have. But only because you didn’t like her telling Samuel there what you were up to. Why don’t you tell us how you worked the plan out, Rebecca? I’m sure now that the police are here, you’d like to get it off your chest.” Rebecca bit her lips so hard they were bleeding profusely. “Tell us. Now.” “I hate them all. All of them were sucking the life right out of me. I wanted to get the insurance money so I could go off and reinvent myself.” Mom asked about Samuel. “Samuel? Christ, if there was a more stupid father and lackluster person in the world, I’d never want to meet them. He would do anything for me but have his body thrown from the car so he’d not be found until he was nothing more than fish food. The kids too.

Christ, how did Wendy survive that shit? I’ll tell you how. She has nine lives. If you knew how many times I tried to rid my body of her before she came squirting out, you’d give me the golden ring. Then, after she was born, all she did was try and find ways to make me look bad. I should have shot her too. All of them.” Sammy got up and came to sit on Leslie’s lap. Mom was feeding the baby still, and Venetia stood nearby. Rebecca was unhinged. Not only that, he was sure this wasn’t her first attempt at getting rid of her family. She kept talking about how she would try again and that she’d win next time.

Win what, he didn’t even want to hazard a guess about. Daniel kept telling Rebecca that he was recording everything she said. The horses arrived just as a couple of Feds walked onto the scene. They were still in town for the things that had been found on the Mission property. Once she was taken into custody, kicking and screaming about how it was Samuel’s fault they were all alive, Mom handed him the baby. Hooking up the car to the horses didn’t take any time at all, and they were on their way in a few minutes.

When they arrived at the house, he handed the baby over to Venetia so he could talk to Daniel first, as he had been first on the scene. Venetia would too, but he wasn’t going to mess this up for the kids. Their mother was going to prison, hopefully for a very long time. Leslie had been a police officer before. He, along with his brothers, had been a lot of different things. Being a cop was something he didn’t like at all, not even on the best days. Daniel seemed to be having a better time than he’d been having before. Having had his Parkinson’s taken care of certainly made him more relaxed about everything, he thought. Rebecca was taken away once she was able to tell her story again. It seemed like a slam dunk, but he knew better than to count on that. Stranger things had happened before.

As he held the baby while Venetia told her side of what happened, Wendy came to sit next to him and her sister. “She’s so little, and Mom wanted her dead.” Leslie told her he was sorry for that. “Me too. I tried hard to make sure she was no trouble, but I couldn’t take her to school with me. She would give her drugs while I was gone. I’m so sorry about that.” “You did everything you could, honey. Including telling the police what you’d seen at the time of your father’s death.” She nodded as she held onto Bethy’s hand. “My brother, the doctor, Marley, said all of you are in good shape but need to eat better. I don’t think you’ll have that trouble for very long. My mom and my brothers will keep you here until someone can be notified to come and get you. Do you have any aunts or uncles that might want to take care of you guys?”

“Nobody is left. Mom had a brother, but he killed himself a few years ago.” She looked up at him with shock on her face. “Do you think she killed him too? I’d not put it past her anymore. She killed the lady that came to dust the house too. The police officer wants me to go and show him where the bodies are.” “Bodies?” She nodded and watched her sister fall asleep. “You can stay with us for as long as you need to, Wendy. We’ll never let anything happen to you. I swear it.” “Thank you, Mr. Leslie.” Putting Bethy on the blanket on the floor, he went to find his mom. He knew where she’d be.

The kitchen was a place she’d go when she had something to work out. He only hoped she wasn’t trying to make bread again. It wouldn’t be fit to eat if she was. ~*~ Venetia watched Morgan as she stirred the chips into the cookie batter. They’d not be chips for long, more like shavings if she kept at it the way she was. Taking the bowl and the spoon from her, she told her to have a seat, and she’d take care of the cookies. Venetia was just putting the first batch of cookies in the oven when Leslie came into the room. “We’ll need you to go into town and find something for the kids to wear. Also, bottles. I have plenty of milk from the cows this morning but no bottles.”

Venetia said she and Leslie would go after the cookies were done. Then she winked at Leslie when he whispered, asking about his mom. “Thank you. And I’m doing just fine, Leslie. Don’t be rude. We’ll need some cloth diapers too. I’m not even sure they make them anymore.” “I think so, but I’d not use them either. They’re full of chemicals to make them not stain as much. I can take care of that and the bottles for you.” Morgan nodded and seemed to be lost in thought. Venetia looked at Leslie when he took a hot cookie from the sheet pan.

“Hale told me that he was my faerie. Noodle also introduced herself to me.” He said he was sorry about that. He’d meant to do it today. “No reason to be. It’s not like we’ve had a normal day so far. Anyway, Noodle and Hale are going to fashion a baby bed for Bethy. If you’ve no problem with them being with us, I’d like to make sure the kids have a place to sleep that they can call their own.”

“Wendy and I were just talking about that. I’d very much like it if they would be our children if you would like that. I also should have told you I have a place for us to live.” She asked him where it was. “Here. The seven of us, including Mom, have lived here our whole life, and with the magic we were gifted, we were able to take our rooms and make them into something much larger than it appears from the hallway. You and I have four bedrooms, living, dining, and a few other rooms in the one we have. Also, we can change it around any way you wish, but I think we can be comfortable living here.

If not, then we’ll think of something else.” “No. I think I’d like to be right here. This is the heart of this family, and I like that we can live here and be separate from the rest when we want to. All right. I’ll make sure things are set up how the kids will want them. If, as you said, they need or want something different, then we can work on that. Do you know if there is anyone else we can contact?” He told her what Wendy had said to him. “I can look into that, but I’d have to be with the body. I’m to understand that Hanna can do that sort of thing. Find lifelines to people with only their name.” Leslie laughed and said she could do amazing things. “Yes, well, I’ve picked up a couple more things too since coming here.

I can—” “The children. They’re going to need someplace to live. I can make sure they’re well fed, but as far as raising them, I’m not sure how good I’d be any more at being a motherly type. I’m a great deal older than I used to be. I wouldn’t know the first thing about new rules and such.” They all laughed about that. Venetia didn’t tell Morgan when she spoke up that they’d already discussed that very thing. Instead, Leslie told his mom what he was thinking, and she nodded at him. “They’ll be safe here. Also, they’ll get some good food in their bellies. I’m thinking they’ve not had much in the way of home cooked anything for a while, if ever.” “Mom, are you all right?”

Morgan stared at Leslie when he asked her. “You seem to be thinking very hard about something. Tell us so we can help you.” “She was willing to kill her own children.” Venetia had an idea that was what was bothering the other woman. Leslie hugged his mom as she sobbed out her hurt at what had been done to the children. “I can’t stand the fact that she isn’t going to die the same way she hoped her children would have. People, humans, aren’t even nice to their own offspring. Are they, Leslie?” “Mom, I was going to talk to Venetia later about this, but I’d like to adopt the children. All three of them.” Venetia said that was what she was hoping to do as well.

“Then it’s settled. You’ll have three more grandchildren to spoil rotten and fatten up as much as you wish. If we can convince the courts to allow us to have them.” “They’d better if they don’t want me to come down on their asses.” Morgan perked up after that. She even smiled when she took one of the cookies off the cooling rack. “Let me make a few phone calls on your behalf. I think they’ll be good for all of us around here too. What with Hanna and Piper having babies, it’ll be like we’ve finally got something to celebrate at the holidays. Thank you both for this.” Morgan left them, and Venetia finished up the cookies. She noticed that Leslie only ate them when they were hot out of the oven, but he didn’t eat all that many either.

Thinking of being a mom to three kids, she wondered what else was going to be in store for the two of them when Leslie spoke, interrupting her thoughts. “We should get married. I know this is fast, but I think we’ll stand a better chance of getting the children if we’re a married couple.” She told him that was fine by her. “Whether you want a large or small wedding, it can be easy enough to arrange. However, we have people that can file that we’re already married now so that when Mom makes her calls, the paperwork will be finalized.” “I’ll talk to my parents, but go ahead and have everything filed.

Also, so you’re aware, I’m in love with you.” He stood up so quickly that she backed away from him. “Did I say something wrong?” “Never, when you tell me you love me. I love you as well.” He moved toward her slowly. “I’d like to kiss you right now. I’d like to take you upstairs and make you mine, but I know there are things going on that are going to need our attention right now.” She kissed him anyway. Knowing that at any moment anyone could walk in on them, she pulled away when he tried to lift her up to the counter.

It took her fuzzy mind a few seconds to realize that the timer was going off for the next batch of cookies. Pushing him to the side, she scolded him for being in her way. All he did was laugh. “I’ll be back later. My room is the one at the top of the stairs on the left. It has a yellow door.” She turned and looked at him, asking if he wanted her to wait on him. “No reason for that. You make notes of whatever you think we’ll need, as well as the kids. Hale will be with you if you need something right away. Barring that, you can have him bring in the faeries and take care of most anything you wish.

Also, just to give you a heads up, they take everything you say literally. Like, if you tell them you want the room painted, you must tell them the walls. Otherwise, they’ll have the entire room the same color. Same with the kitchen appliances. I know we’re going to need a larger refrigerator, but tell them you want one that’ll fit a certain space. For some reason, they think the bigger things are, the better you’re going to like it. Trust me on this one. We’ll have a walk-in refrigerator if you’re not specific with them.”

She thought he was kidding her, and after he left, she put the cookies that were cooled enough in a tin she’d found. Her sister joined her as she was pulling things out of the pantry to make some other kinds of cookies for the kids to snack on. “Did you know they send their wheat out to be milled, and that’s why they have flour?” She told Zippy she’d not seen that as yet. “They do everything right here. When Bailey told me that, I thought he was joking. They don’t even own a car or truck but use horses to do the plowing and moving of the foodstuffs. I’ve not had an opportunity to talk to you much since we arrived. How are you, Veni?” Smiling at the shortened version of her name, she answered her. “I’m doing well now that I have my memories back.

Some I wish I’d never had, but they’re all there. I’m a good deal stronger as a witch than I was before. Do you suppose it has to do with being here?” Zippy told her that was something she was working out too. She was mixing the batch of coconut cookies when Zippy asked her if she hated her. “Why on earth would you think I hate you?”

“I should have gone back for you. I tried to find what happened to you, but you were so small when you were taken that your magic hadn’t been acquired by you yet. I could have found you easier if I had had some kind of tag to look for. I’m so sorry.” Veni held her sister as she cried, telling her over and over that it was all right. She’d had enough to deal with in taking care of their parents.

“Did the other family treat you well? That’s all I’ve been thinking about since I heard you’d been found.” “They were nice to me. I knew from an early age I wasn’t theirs. I didn’t know the entire story, but most of it. I thought my parents were dead. I don’t know that they knew about you at all. It was never something that came up.” She went back to making the batter for the cookies while her sister composed herself. “I was working for the FBI about Henderson and Applegate. I was getting very close to having all the information needed to bring them in when they caught me one night looking in files that I had no access to during working hours. Luckily I was able to send off what I had before I was tossed from the car.”

“I’d like to be a part of making them pay for what they did to you. To all of us.” Veni told her she’d have to stand in line. So would her new brothers. Zippy smiled then. “It’s strange, isn’t it? That both of us are mated to brothers. Our children will be double cousins or something. Don’t you think?” Wendy came into the room then with Bethy in her arms. Zippy took her from the older child and put her in the highchair she was sure wasn’t there before. As soon as Bethy was strapped in, Wendy asked if they could have a snack. Since she’d baked the kids the cookies for after dinner, she cut them both up an apple—smushed up for Bethy and sliced for Wendy—then after cutting grapes into smaller pieces for the baby again, Veni put some grapes on the plate, and gave both the little girls some juice.

“When we lived at home with Momma, she wouldn’t let us have any juice. She said it was for mixing whiskey in and not for brats.” Veni looked at her sister when she started to speak. Shaking her head just enough, Zippy asked Wendy how often she would be putting juice and whiskey together. “Every day. She’d give a bottle of it to Bethy, too, when she was fussy. That seemed to be all the time. But she’d pinch her too.” “Your mother would pinch the baby?” Morgan came in and sat down at the table with the girls and shared the grapes she was cutting in half for Bethy. “I’m assuming she did similar things to you and your brother?” “Yes. Mostly it was to lock us in the room.

We called it that because that’s all it was. No lights or rugs. There wasn’t even a window we could open. Just a pot in the corner for us to do our business in.” Wendy handed Bethy a sippy cup that Morgan had. Things were popping up all over the place for the children, Venetia thought with a laugh. “I saved all the bottles she gave us to drink from too. I didn’t ever drink enough to go to sleep, as Bethy and Sammy did. Someone had to watch them. So the night we were put in the car, I was wide awake, and I got out before the car flipped over. I couldn’t save them then. I got tangled up in some branches that hung me in the water for a long time. Until Noodle came to rescue me.”

After finding out where Wendy had hidden the half-empty bottles of water, Veni, a nickname that was growing on her, told Leslie where she was going. He told her he’d meet her there with the police and for her to be careful. I’m going to kill her is what I’m going to do. He asked her to wait on that. I’ll give it my best shot. But she drugged these children—they’re very lucky to be alive, I’m thinking, after the way they were treated. Damn it, Leslie, I’m pissed. So am I, honey. I’ll meet you at the house. Be careful. And bring Zippy with you. I think between the two of you, we’ll have no trouble finding all the little things around the house that were used against our kids. She liked the sound of that and told him so. I like it too. I love you, Venetia. So be careful. She decided to tell him her new nickname later. Right now, she needed to put her focus on the task at hand and look for enough evidence to put Rebecca Canavan behind bars forever.

Edwin Release Blitz & Giveaway

Edwin Griffin was looking forward to his retirement from the Army. But it seemed his superiors were having trouble letting go. As a wolf shifter and an immortal, Edwin’s senses were keen. He had no intention of “keeping in touch” or to continue working for them, for that matter. Something about them felt off, and Edwin had no intention of being a pawn in whatever scheme they were plotting.Storm was very protective of her sister, Rain. Their parents had somehow found them, and Rain was vulnerable to their influence. The sisters both possessed magical talents that were growing stronger daily. When Charlie Griffin offered to help, Storm jumped at the chance to protect her sister.Edwin was a bit surprised to find the feisty woman Storm to be his mate. She had a hard time with trust, but Edwin was determined to work on that, but he had his own issues to resolve.Although retired from the military as well, Storm would still take on an occasional assignment. But when the assignment from her superiors was to do something about her mate. Well, things just got a bit more personal….

Amazon USA https://amzn.to/3lxsAso

Amazon UK https://amzn.to/3tQXhwu

AMAZON AU https://amzn.to/3kklUyu

B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/…/edwin…/1140174090…

Google Play https://play.google.com/…/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Edwin…

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1104839

KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/edwin-6

I Tunes https://books.apple.com/us/book/edwin/id1586698450

Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Edwin-Griffin-Brothers-Paranormal-Shifter-Romance/dp/1955086931/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=kathi+s+barton&qid=1632226283&sr=8-1

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 4c99c-22188-images2b252812529.jpg


Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!





https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pick-your-prize.png
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5c8b0-winners.jpg
Congratulations to the winners
Katy Bennett Mystery Prize
Robin Brockett Signed Cup
Stephanie Simeon Signed Paperback
Your prizes will be mailed
Monday Sept 20th 2021


Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery
Julie Swaney Mystery Prize
Susan Thomas Mystery Prize
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas Mystery Prize
Julia Bystedt Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Mystery Prize
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Jaunita James Signed Cup
Robin Dennison Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Cup
Sonja Zucker Mystery Prize
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Joy Lanham Mystery Prize
Renee Johnson Mystery Prize
Katy Bennett Mystery Prize
Robin Brockett Signed Cup
Stephanie Simeon Signed Paperback


If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@gmail.com

Happy Reading ,

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cropped-cropped-a929a-e812d-03kathisbartonlogotransparent.png

Prologue


Charles—Charlie, to most people who knew him—was so lost he hadn’t any idea if he was walking on the ground or the sky. He knew the difference, of course, but it was so dark out tonight that if there had been a moon shining, he couldn’t see it. When he sat himself down on a log to get his bearings again, he paused in his thinking to look at what could have made the sound he’d heard. Terrified out of his mind when he saw glowing eyes looking at him, Charlie sat as still as he could. The eyes grew larger and incredibly more shiny as the beast made its way to him. He didn’t run, knowing that even if he knew where he was at the moment, the wolf would know it better. It would chase him down and kill him without any hesitation. The wolf, a big gray fella, just stood there within a few inches of Charlie’s outstretched legs. When he laid down, putting his heavy head onto his leg, Charlie had another moment of fear. The thing never took his eyes off him. As soon as he felt he was brave enough to try and talk to the wolf, he was gone, and in his place was a man.

A fully clothed man with the gray of the wolf’s fur colored into his hair. Even his eyes were the same as the wolf’s, Charlie thought. Still, neither of them moved until the man sat back on his butt and regarded him. “You live on the property not far from here, is that correct?” Charlie told him he was only squatting there until they found him. But he was a mite lost. “Yes, I’ve been following you for some time. And in all that time, you did not harm any other animal you came across, and there were plenty. Why is that?” “You mean the rabbit and the family of deer?” The man nodded. “I don’t have a need for meat just now. I only kill when I have to. When my belly feels like it can’t go another minute without some meat in it. And even then, I use it up the best I can. What I can’t use, I leave out for some other animal that will use the rest.

Why do you ask?” “I’ll get to that. You didn’t seem that surprised when I changed from wolf to man. Can you tell me why that is?” He nodded and told him what he’d been seeing a lot of lately. “Yes, wars—including the current Comanche War—have made a man wish for better times. So you were surprised but just wrote it off as being another strange thing that had no explanation. That’s a very good explanation, I think.” “They say that the war is about over. I don’t know much about that. I can still hear shooting when I’m out and about. I don’t have any land left because the soldiers took it all when they was coming through. Not that it was much more than a bunch of rocks and stumps, to begin with.” The man only nodded. “I’m Charles Griffin. Most call me Charlie. A great deal more names, but I ignore them. Not everybody was able to go to school all the time. I had my family to feed when my daddy up and got sick. Momma died a few weeks ago, and I’ve been roaming around since looking for work. I don’t suppose you know anyone around here that might be wanting an extra hand or two, do you?”

“I do, as a matter of fact. My name is Romeo Hank. The Hank is for when I need a last name. But I do have something I’d like to propose to you if you’ve got the time to listen.” Charlie told him he didn’t have anything but time right now. “All right. I have a medium sized pack. You can see a few of them over there watching over us. They’re all just wolves. I’m the only wolf shifter I know. They’re a good bunch. Hungry most of the time, but then all of us are, correct?” “Yes. Some more than others. At least I can find me a bit of string and fashion me up a hook to use.” Romeo told him that was excellent. “You need me to fish some fish out for you and your pack? I don’t mind at all doing that for you. In fact, I’d be powerful happy to help you out.” “Not just yet. But I think I will take you up on it soon. I have a daughter. Her name is Luna. Such a beautiful name, don’t you think?” Charlie asked if it meant moon. “It does. Thank you. You’re very well educated for a man with no means of living.”

“My mom was a school teacher when I was born. They fired her, of course, when she had me. She taught me to read and to figure. I can write too, but I do have to think about the spelling of things. Can you write?” Romeo said he’d been given a great gift in that. “I think so too. When I find me a newspaper or some little old book, I treasure it for a bit. Then I pass it on if I can. I don’t have to know the people in the paper. I just like reading about their stories. Are you going to tell me what this is about?” “I am. I was working up to it, but I believe you to be a man that can be trusted with things in life. I would like to change you into a wolf, one such as I am. You’ll be a man when you wish, a wolf when necessary. There will be magic, as well as wealth.” Charlie told him he didn’t have use for wealth, but food all the time would be nice. “That is precisely what I’m speaking about, Charlie, my good man.” Throughout the rest of the night and well into the morning, they spoke of things that Romeo needed from him. It wasn’t brought up again about him being changed, but Romeo did tell him more about his daughter and that he, plain old Charlie, was her mate. The soul reason he’d not been harmed while wandering around in the woods. “Do you understand what it is I want you to do?”

Charlie said he thought so. “No. I’m sorry, I can’t allow you to go into this, only thinking you understand. Please, ask me anything you’d like. You must be clear on this. I need you to be clear on how it is I wish you to someday take over for me.” Romeo never got upset with him when he asked his questions. If Charlie was honest with himself, which he usually tried to be, he was afraid that Romeo had picked the wrong man. That he’d be better off finding himself someone else to take over his empire. “You’re the right man, Charlie. When I told you I’d been following you around, I want you to know it wasn’t just last evening, but for some time now. I’ve seen you share your last bit of food with people. Work for someone that cannot do for themselves and not take anything but a bit of bread and water. You’re a very good man. A better man than I am.” Charlie started to protest. “No. I’m correct in picking you as my replacement. And if that is some of your worry, being an alpha, you’ve no worries there either. I will not leave this earth for the next until you are comfortable with what is needed of you.

Now. If you’ve no more questions, I shall leave you to allow you to think on it. I’ll be back here tomorrow so you can tell me your answer. I know I have picked the right man, Charlie. It’s something you can do easily to save this pack and my daughter.” Luna followed him as he walked around. He’d thought about calling back Romeo and asking more questions, but he didn’t. Sitting down again, his leg bothering him from sitting so long, he looked at the big, beautiful wolf. “You’re not really his daughter, are you?” She shook her head. “I didn’t think so. Are there any more of the others that he claims are his children?” She nodded this time, and he determined by asking questions that it was one other female. “I don’t know what to think about all this, to be honest with you. Are you my mate? Is he telling me the truth? I just don’t know what to think.” She nodded or shook her head after each of the questions he put to her.

Yes, she was his mate. Yes, Romeo was telling the truth. There were many more questions and answers. He was headed back to the area that he’d first seen Romeo when he felt the pain take his breath away as it slammed into his left shoulder. Falling back, he hit his head and laid there while trying his best to catch his breath. That was when he heard the other gunshots, the wolves howling and trying to hide. Pulling Luna toward him, he whispered harshly into her ear, hoping that at least she’d understand him enough to know that she must warn the others. “Go. Tell Romeo to hide the pack. To make sure you and your sister are safe.” She didn’t want to leave him, whimpering at him as she laid her head on his shoulder. “Go. Please. Run and escape before they hurt you too.” When she left him, Charlie closed his eyes. Opening them when he felt the shadow darken over him, he looked up in time to see the barrel of a large rifle. He was a goner. He knew that. He could only hope that Luna and the others were safe.

Madden Release Blitz & Giveaway

Gabby Thomas wasn’t sure which end was up. Was everyone in this town crooked? Everything at the police station was in disarray, and now she found herself the new police chief. She had to fire the lot of them and start from scratch. Working with the Feds wasn’t proving to be the easiest solution either. Thank goodness she had found her mate, Madden. He was her rock.
Madden McCray wasn’t expecting to find his mate when he sat down with the new police chief, but he was glad he did. Gabby was proving to be just what he needed.
Gabby and Madden share an epic love, but with Gabby’s visions of the future, will love alone be enough for what lies ahead? Find out in the final installment of McCray Bruin—Madden.

Amazon USA https://amzn.to/3n1MuhD
Amazon UK https://amzn.to/3jM0V7u
Amazon AU https://amzn.to/3tfeNu1
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/…/madden…/1140135142…
Google Play https://play.google.com/…/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Madden…
Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1102683
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/madden-3
ITUNES https://books.apple.com/us/book/madden/id1585213024

Demi Morgan was good at keeping her identity hidden, so when an attorney found her at a restaurant she owned, she was more than a little angry. Very few people knew how to find her, and she took her privacy seriously. His news that her mother had passed, several months ago, did nothing for her. Her family had never wanted her, and in turn, she didn’t want them either. He knew her family, and he understood her feelings, but the will had to be read.

Reluctantly, Demi made her arrangements to travel back to her hometown in Ohio. Her intentions were to either decide to stay, or to sell the home her grandmother had left her. Living in the same town as her brother and sister didn’t appeal to her at all. When her brother, Nathan, cold-cocked her in the elevator, an unlikely savior came to her rescue, Madden McCray.

Demi wanted to hire Madden to be her bodyguard while she was in town. Madden said as much as he could use the money, he told her he already had a job, but his brother, Lucian could use the work.

Lucian wanted to meet Demi before he accepted the job, and when her scent hit him between the eyes, his bear rolled over him—she was his mate. But reality hit him like a freight train. She had money—a lot of money—and he and his family had always been dirt poor. He wanted his mate too—more than anything, but he’d have to get past his pride first….

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is josiah-453x680.jpg

Meadow Springs had been locked away in a hospital for several years. At sixteen she was a victim and sole survivor of the mass murder of her family. The ordeal had left her semi-comatose for a long time. Since she was the only survivor and couldn’t talk, the police tried to pen the murders on her, but it didn’t stick.

Josiah McCray was there the day that Meadow was brought to their home to go into hiding. The beautiful blonde in the wheelchair was a shadow of the woman she should be. All Josiah saw was his mate, and he loved her no matter what.

The killer was still out there, and Meadow had his identity locked inside her mind and the killer knew it. Everyone previously in charge of her care were now dead. There was no way that was a coincidence.

Meadow was a loose end, the one that got away. There was no way the killer could let her live….

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gannon-750x1125-1.jpg

Melody Austin was afraid of nearly everything, but like it or not, she was a survivor. When she was seventeen, she had survived a harrowing attack that left her mentally and physically scarred. Now, ten years later, her brother, Daniel, repeatedly asked her to talk about the disturbing events, to tell him what happened so that he could understand, but she remained silent.  She knew he meant well, but telling him a bear was behind the attack at the school would get her locked up in a mental institution. No one would believe that story, and she couldn’t blame them.

Daniel had taken a job working for the McCrays. He made Mel promise that she’d join him in just a few days, but instead, Daniel received a call that his house was on fire, and Mel had been burned in the process. Daniel took Gannon with him to check on his sister.

Daniel had told Gannon that Mel was a bit skittish before they arrived on the scene. But the moment Gannon caught her scent; he knew she was his mate. He meant to reassure her by telling her that she was his mate and that everything would be all right, but the instant she heard that he was a bear shifter, she went wild, running back into the fire to get away from him.

When Gannon discovered that a bear was the cause of all her fears, he didn’t know how he could get past this. He couldn’t change what he was…. Was this doomed from the start?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ian-453x680-1.jpg

Things hadn’t been going very well for Lucy and her two sisters. When their parents died, their uncle had moved in and took over. The girls, apparently, were too much trouble to worry about, so he’d dumped them onto the streets to fend for themselves.

It was just luck that Ian McCray and his family had found Lucy that day. Both Lucy and her sister, Jilly, were in bad need of medical attention. Ian was just thrilled to have found his mate alive. In their situation, it could have been much worse.

Lucy was thankful for the help, but she was just going from one man to another lording over her and dictating what she could and couldn’t do. It was marry Ian or lose her sisters for good. Ian was a nice man, but she was tired of everyone telling her what to do.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pierce-453x680-1.jpg

Joey wasn’t dealing with the best of news. The phone call informing her that her niece was dead was bad enough, but her great-niece, Becky, was also in danger. Then finding out her twin sister, Margie, had Joey’s office bugged just about sent her over the edge. And now her mother’s life was being threatened for information on Becky. Joey was going to have to kill someone before this was all over with.

Pierce was having a time dealing with stress lately. Trying to please everyone and not giving himself any slack was about to do him in, and no one was helping him at all by telling him he needed to find a mate. Just thinking about that prospect was stressful too.

Pierce was gifted. Not only was he a bear, but he could read the minds of others. He was a great profiler. Meadow sent him to help Joey find the spies in her organization. As soon as Pierce met Joey, he knew he had found his mate at long last, but telling her would have to wait. With everything else she had going on, that information might make her head explode.

Lucian https://amzn.to/2V5qhib

Josiah  https://amzn.to/2SyOLzG
Gannon  https://amzn.to/2WsiyxT
IAN https://amzn.to/33Iw7gk
PIERCE https://amzn.to/37ADBmC

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 4c99c-22188-images2b252812529.jpg


Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A Signed Mystery Paperback
Or Signed Cup or Coloring Book Or a Mystery Prize!!!





https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW1YKjLULnu7B7M4tlxYyvErItxTLIIUvlGrlJFi9t5MQR9w/viewform
Congratulations to the winners
Renee Johnson your package will
mailed this week.


Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery
Julie Swaney Mystery Prize
Susan Thomas Mystery Prize
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas Mystery Prize
Julia Bystedt Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback
Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Mystery Prize
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Jaunita James Signed Cup
Robin Dennison Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Cup
Sonja Zucker Mystery Prize
Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Mystery Prize
Tracy Kolberg Signed Paperback
Joy Lanham Mystery Prize
Renee Johnson Mystery Prize


If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@gmail.com

Happy Reading ,


Prologue


The phone ringing pulled her from a deep sleep. Or was it just the beginning of her sleep? Whatever it was, Gabby was as pissed as she’d ever been at being woken up. Pulling the cell to her ear, she took a deep breath to blast the person on the other end when he spoke to her. “Gabby, there’s been an incident.” She sat up in bed, untangling her hair from her face as she asked the officer what had happened. “Hailey is hurt. Badly. She’s been beaten to shit, and the guy she was with is dead.” “I’m on my way. Did you call her dad?” Paul told her she’d asked for her. “All right. Paul, send a car for her dad in about five minutes. That’ll give me— Where is she anyway?” “Shanks farm. Right along the road. It’s bad, Gabby. The kid looks like she’s gone a few rounds with a fighter. But she’s hanging on.” She got outside and into her truck just as she saw an ambulance race by her home. “I’m going to tell her you’re coming.

All right. Hurry. I don’t rightly think she’s going to die right now, but I just don’t know how she’s still hanging onto consciousness as bad as she looks.” “I’m leaving my house now. I’ll be there before you know it. Send someone for Harry. Don’t tell him the way you have me. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t let him drive.” She was pulling up in front of the cruisers that were all over the road. Gabby only had to show her badge to one person, and she was let through. Whoever the guy was, she didn’t know him. More than likely, she thought, one of the guys from the county over. Going to the car, she had to look for her niece. Hailey was sitting on the ground leaning against the car, a bloodied, broken mess of a seventeen-year-old kid.

“Hey, babe. Isn’t it a little cold for you to be sitting in the cornfield like this?” Hailey asked her if it was her. “Yes, honey, it’s me. The medics are here to take you in. You look like hell.” Her eyes were swollen shut, and it looked like her nose had been broken too. With her eye hanging oddly, Gabby figured someone had broken her eye socket as well. “I told him no. Over and over, I told him no. He just kept trying to get me to touch him. His dick, I mean.” She asked her what had happened. “I don’t remember right now. But I told him no. I fought him off like you told me, and he ran off.” Paul just shook his head when she looked at him. “Hailey, the men here want to take you into the hospital. I’ve sent for your daddy and told them not to allow him to drive.” “I kept telling him no, Aunt Gabby. But he kept hitting me. Harder than when he knocked me against the car window the first time.” Gabby could tell her jaw was broken, or at least in terrible shape. Hailey was holding her jaw tight as she spoke to her. “He just kept hitting me and hitting me.” The medics moved in when she stepped back. Them pulling her from the car had her nearly pulling her gun out and killing them for making Hailey scream, but Paul was there to hold her back.

Even as they laid her on the gurney, Gabby could see there was more damage done to her than just what she could see on her face. As soon as they gave her something to knock her out, the medical team assessed her injuries. They were vast and painful looking, to say the least. As soon as Harry was out of the car, he came running to where they were. It was all she could do to hold him back while she told him she was still alive. “What happened to her?” Gabby told her older brother what she knew and what she’d been told by Hailey. “I thought she was home. I asked Rose where she was when I got home, and she said she was in her room. Then when the cop showed up, she wouldn’t even speak to me. This is it, Gabby. I can’t have her treating Hailey like this. Not anymore.” “Keep your voice down.” He looked around when she did. “Do you want everyone running back to her with what you’re saying?

Christ, Harry.” He started crying when he got to the gurney to look at his daughter. The two of them spoke quietly while the medics told them what had happened to her. While they were working on getting her in a position to move her, Gabby went to the other side of the car to look at the dead body. “She didn’t kill him. I mean, she had something to do with it, but she didn’t kill him.” Paul showed her what he’d been able to see that she couldn’t in her position standing by the body. “He got the shit beat out of him too, it looks like. But the only thing she said to me when I got here was that he’d run off when she’d kicked him in his dick. It looks like he got out of the car to do whatever and fell on one of the frozen corn stalks. See here? It caught him right in the throat and severed the arteries. Bled out while she called us to come and get you.” “Have the parents been notified?”

He said they’d not yet, waiting on making sure that Hailey got what she needed before anyone left here. “Good idea. Once she’s on her way, have someone go with you. Wear your body cams too.” “I will. I know this kid, Gabby. I have to tell you, I’m surprised he’s not been killed before now. Or killed someone else. He isn’t the type of person that takes no as an answer. As you can see.” She nodded and asked him if there had been reports from him before. “Ten at least. He’s a twenty-two-year-old senior at the high school. His last year if I don’t miss my bet.” “Are you serious? He’s not graduated from high school, and they allowed him to keep going there? Christ.” Paul told her who he was. “Why do I know that name? Chip Brunswick? It’s not the mayor’s son, is it?” “His nephew. I think he’s been staying with his uncle since the Christmas break. But he does live here. His parents have gone on a cruise or something. We were asked to go by their house a few times a day to make sure Chip here wasn’t having any parties.” She stood up when she’d seen all she could in the darkened area. “This is going to hit the fan, you know that, don’t you? I mean, you being a cop, your brother acting judge on a major case coming up. People are going to have a field day with all this other shit too.”

“I’m not going to work on this with you. But I would like to be kept in the loop, quietly if you can.” Paul promised her he would. “I don’t know if what I’m thinking is going to pan out or anything, but do me a favor and pull this kid’s phone records and Rose’s. I have no idea why, but I think she might well have planned this sort of thing. I could be wrong.” “You’re never wrong when it comes to shit like this.” He made himself a note. Paul was old school. He literally wrote it down on a small pad of paper rather than on his phone like most people did. She did the same thing, as he’d been the one that had trained her. “I’ll let you know as soon as I do. Also, I’d like it if you had a burner so I can talk to you without anyone tracing it.” She said she’d get herself one. The body was taken away soon after the coroner arrived. Doc Massey should have retired years ago, but he was the best there was at his job. Being in his late seventies, the man didn’t miss a beat. He used the newfangled equipment, what he called it, like the new kids on the block. He took one look at the car, then at the body, and nodded.

“Couldn’t have happened to a better person if you ask me.” He also didn’t have a filter between his brain and his mouth most of the time. “I got me a couple of reports, Paul, that I’ll make sure you get. Two other girls have been done in by this kind of shit. Who’s the young lady? I’m assuming she made it.” “My niece.” Massey looked at her, shocked. “Yes, she’s been beaten up badly. The medics said she had five broken ribs on her right, as well as two on the left, broken right arm and wrist—a bite out of her ear. You might want to dig around for that while you’re in there, Massey. If you’d not mind.” “No. I’ll find it or know the reason why. How’s Harry taking this? Not good, I’m betting.” She said he was at the hospital now. “That Hailey is a good kid. She’s one of the bravest kids I know, next to you, Gabby. Here’s hoping she comes out on top of this.” The body was turned over, and she could see that his jaw was broken too. Not only that, but it looked like he might have had his hair pulled out in a few places, as well as what appeared to be nail cut marks on his cheeks.

Just as Paul said, the stalk of corn, cut off at an angle when the crops had been brought in, killed him by going through his neck. The medics with Massey left it where it was when the body was turned over and put on the other gurney. “They’ll need to see what happened. I like a little drama when I have to show people how their loved one died. However, in this case, I’m thinking he wasn’t loved all that much.” It was Paul that asked Massey how he knew that. “About six months ago, I heard they were sending him to some kind of military place. To get his head on right. He’d gotten to be too much for him. Hell, I think he was too much for the two of them when they brought him home from that place. He’s not theirs, and I’m betting every day they wish they’d not adopted him. As I said, I’ll get you a couple of files I have that have his fingerprints and DNA all over the body. But old Fussy Ass wouldn’t allow me to use them.” Massey laughed. He sounded like a braying jackass when he was tickled like he was. “I had him sign off on it. For my eyes only, I told him. Hell, if that shit comes back to try and bite me in the ass, I’m going to show it to the queen herself if it’ll get me out of trouble.”

The cleanup wasn’t anything she could help with, as she wasn’t there in a professional capacity. Getting back in her truck, she let the thing warm up this time, thanking her for getting her to Hailey in time. As she sat there, she thought about what Massey had told her. Two bodies. Two young girls that had been killed by this kid. Pulling into traffic, she headed to the hospital. Gabby also thought about how Rose was involved in this if she was. It would be just like her to have someone beat the shit out of Hailey so her daughters would be prettier. It was a sad case of the Little Cinder Girl all over. Except this evil stepmom was going to get her ass in trouble if she was even remotely in on anything that had happened here or in the last two deaths by Chippy. The hospital wasn’t busy this early in the morning. When she got up to the third floor where the operating rooms were, she found her brother still in his robe and slippers. She asked him if she needed to go get him something to wear. “Birdy is going to find me some scrubs to put on. I want you to stay with me.” Gabby asked if there had been any news. “Not yet. She was whisked away to surgery as soon as we got here.

They were ready for her. She coded on the way in, Gabby. I don’t know what I’d do if she were to leave me like this. Christ, I love that kid more than I do myself sometimes.” “I do too. She kept telling me she fought him off like I’d taught her to do.” He hugged her, telling her he was so glad she’d talked him into letting her do that. “I know young boys and their parents much better than you do, Harry. They’re all pieces of shits. You’re the only man in the world I will ever love.” “You’re hard on men, Gabby. I have pointed this out to you before.” She was glad to see her brother smile at that. The two of them were still waiting on news when their parents showed up. She didn’t know who had called them but was grateful that someone had. In all the things going on tonight, she’d forgotten they’d moved to this town a few weeks ago to be closer to them. “The doctor is going to do his best with her.

I know she’s young and strong, so I’m hoping for the best here.” Harry didn’t mention that she’d coded, and Gabby was glad. There were some things you didn’t tell your parents, and she thought this was one of them. They weren’t young, their mom and dad, and had seen a great deal, but no one wanted to know that their granddaughter had died once already tonight. When it rounded up to six hours in surgery, Gabby found herself a quiet place to do something she told herself she’d never do and had told the other person she’d never call on her either. Reaching out into the cold dark night, she called for Gaea, the Mother to All Creatures. “I felt her blood stain the ground, my child.” Gabby cried a little, telling her what Gaea probably knew better than she did. “You know I will do whatever you wish. I owe you so much more than even this, helping a life for you.”

“I don’t want to tap you out, overwork your noddle here, Gaea, but I told you before, I was just in the right place at the right time, that’s all.” She nodded as she did each time the two of them spoke. Gaea was the reason she was such a good cop. The older woman would help her with things when she felt the earth. “She cannot die. Hailey is the best part of her dad and my parents. I love her too, but I’m alone, and they will be should she pass away. Especially from something like this.” “The man, he is dead. It took me a moment to make sure the stalk was in the precise place when he stumbled onto it.” Gabby asked her if she was being serious. “I am. Had I not intervened when I did, Gabriela, he was coming around the car to pull her from it and rape, then kill her. It was in his mind, you see, that she should have suffered a great deal. Be disfigured too. You would not have found the body either without my help. The deed wasn’t finished until there was nothing left of her but a stain on the ground.” “Did Rose help him?” She nodded. “Was she fucking him? I’m assuming she was because that sounds exactly like something she’d do.”

“Fucking. It is a terrible word for making love. But in this case, you have gotten it right. They were fucking. Like little bunnies without a care in the world.” Gaea smiled, but it was far from friendly. “I will help where I can. There are things in motion that will help you along with her as well. Do not be fooled by Rose’s acts, Gabriela. You know her to be evil, but she is so much more than that.” “I don’t know what could be more evil than evil, but I’ll take your word for it. I think Harry has had enough as well.” She told her good. “You’ll help her then? You’ll make sure Gabby doesn’t die?” “Yes.” She started to fade out but came back for a moment as a solid person. “She will no more die than you will, Gabriela Thomas.” Then she was gone. ~*~ Pierce wandered around the halls just as he was told to do. There was going to be a reckoning here soon. Not really that bad, but it had to be taken care of now, or someone was going to be killed. The jail that was just outside of their little town, but still the one they used, was so run down, overpopulated, and in bad shape that he was surprised someone hadn’t mentioned it before now.

“I’ve been taking pictures of the shit I’m finding. I might as well have been using a video recorder for as much is wrong here. What are you doing?” He told Madden he was measuring the walls. “I’m assuming it has something to do with the overall building?” “There are codes that say how large a cell should be, and with that, how many people it can hold. The cells, according to the American Correctional Association, or the ACA, should be seventy square feet per prisoner. With overcrowding, they have been putting in a second bunk for an upper person.” Madden asked him how large these rooms were. “Forty-eight. With three prisoners in the room when they’re in a pinch. Which seems to be happening a great deal.”

“Christ.” Pierce agreed with him. “So we have these overcrowded cells, one shower stall for everyone to share, as well as the worst kind of conditions for the bathrooms. Demi is going to have a cow when she hears how bad this place really is.” “There’s more. From what I’ve been able to find, there isn’t a yard for them to walk in that’s secure. So they’ve been having them walk around the commons area in a circle to give them exercise. Since the kitchens are in such poor shape, they’re bringing in fast food that isn’t fit to eat when they order it, much less when it travels all the way here in the back of a van.” Pierce went over the list he’d been making since he arrived. “This place should have been shut down years, if not decades ago. I mean, just a few minutes ago, I had to go outside to pee. I was terrified of what would befall me if I were to have gone into that room.” They both laughed, but he’d been really worried. He wasn’t a little guy. “My bear curled up around me and seemed to be more afraid of going in there than he might have been on the darkest nights.” “I hear you.” They walked around for a little while longer together, then they parted ways again when they got to the next part of the building. Pierce was finding it hard to navigate through the halls. It seemed to him that someone had blocked off places that should have been halls and closed up rooms too. He was standing in front of what he thought should have been an office when he heard from Joey. I’m going to go and see Margie now.

I wanted to let you know so that if you feel me getting angry at her, you’ll know the reason for it. He told her she’d do fine. I do hope so. All I’ve been thinking about is how this is going to be coming to a head soon, and she’ll be out of our life. Did you hear about the kids found not far from where you are in the jail? The girl and the boy out on a date? Yeah, the cops here are telling us that this little bitty thing of a girl beat this guy to shit, then lived to tell about it. I guess it was touch and go for her for a while, but she’s going to pull through. She told him she was one of their nieces’ age. Yes. I can’t imagine what would be going through my head if anything were to happen to one of my nieces. I guess the cop that works here part-time is her aunt. I’ve never met her, have you? No. Her brother is acting judge until Barker gets back from vacation. He’d not known that part. Okay, I’m here. I have her things that I told her that I’d bring, and I’m going to make a big deal about how this is going to work out for her.

Also, I’ve got a list of things I’m to ask her about. But not in an I’m-needing-more-information sort of way. Whatever the hell that means. He was still laughing about her when he stared at the door again. Or where the door should have been. Looking around, he shifted himself to his big bear and slammed his body against the wall. Pierce felt it budge, and some of the drywall crumble, but it was still blocked. The voice behind him told him he should have been paying more attention than he had been. “I tried that before. Not as a bear, but that is a good thing to use. I only got as far as using a reciprocating saw. As you can see there, I got it in before the whole place shut down because I blew the single fuse that covers here. Not a good thing to happen in a place full of criminals, I’d think.” Turning slowly, he regarded the woman standing there. “Gabby Thomas. I’m assuming you’re with the pretty lady in the office screaming at the mayor and the captain.”

He nodded. While Pierce knew he could shift and dress at the same time, he wanted to get this doorway open. She asked if she could help him. When he nodded again, she came at him with her hand out. Pierce noticed that not only was it not trembling, but she didn’t seem to care overly much that he outweighed her by about three hundred pounds. Biting gently into her hand so they could talk, she asked him if he’d hit the wall again. After the third try, not only did they have the wall knocked down, but it showed him that there were several such doorways along this hall. They were on the fourth door when he heard from Demi. I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep it up. You’re scaring the hell out of the men I’m in here with. They think I’ve opened up the gates of hell and am bringing the devil himself down on them. I love it. Pierce told her what they were doing and who he was working with. As his bear. Good job. And so you know, Gabby needs to take this place over. The moron that works here thinks a good day at the office is not showing up at all.

I’m about to go to prison for killing the lot of them. There are several rooms here, cluttered with boxes of things I’ve not had a chance to look into. Gabby is. But she is sort of just taking glances and mumbling a great deal to herself about penmanship or something. They look to me like old evidence. But then, I’m not the type that would know anything about that. Also, these rooms look a great deal like classrooms, all the way to the chalkboards on a couple of walls. She asked him if she could find him easy enough. I don’t know why not. I mean, if I’m thinking this is laid out right, I’m right behind the captain’s office. Or thereabouts. If there is so much overcrowding, why aren’t they using these rooms for something other than collecting dust? I don’t know, but I plan to find out. She said she’d be there in about half an hour and for him to find a place to shift. You might want to tell Gabby to take off too. Someone has a real hard-on for finding her. She’s in trouble about something that occurred last night. Apparently, she was at the scene where her niece was hurt, and the boss is giving her shit about it.

By the way, you found the rooms like they are now. I don’t want us getting into any shit about breaking down walls. Pierce told Demi about the accident and how her niece was hurt. After shifting and dressing, he told Gabby what was going on. She took off before he got a chance to thank her for her help. He had no idea where the thought came from, but he’d bet anything she knew more about these rooms than anyone did. And he’d bet she was able to get in and out of them without anyone noticing too. Standing at one of the windows when Demi arrived, he was immediately asked what the fuck he was doing there. If not for Demi, he was sure he would have been arrested. He was also glad that not only had Gabby left, but he’d had the forethought to wipe up her shoe prints. ~*~ Gabby held onto her brother’s hand as the surgeon told them what he’d done to ensure there wasn’t any permanent damage done to Hailey. Mostly it was to her face, but her entire body had been beaten badly, he told them.

“She’s in recovery now, which I have to say surprised me somewhat. But I also know Hailey was in good shape and that her being young played a big role in her coming out of the coma so well.” Harry nodded. Gabby knew why she was out of the coma but hadn’t told Harry. She wasn’t sure if she ever would. “I know you’ve heard this list before, but I want you to know the extent of her injuries. The only reason I can think she’s lived through this is the reasons I said—being young and in good health. Harry, she’s going to need a lot of physical therapy as time goes by. Not just to walk, but to use her right hand.” “You said it had been broken.” Doctor Montrose said that it had been crushed. It appeared to him that it had been crushed by the glove box over and over before she’d been able to free herself from it. “She’s been taught by the best on how to take care of herself. If not for Gabby here, she’d be dead, I’m thinking.”

“By all accounts, she should be.” Both of them knew that. Even before Gaea had gotten to her that night, Hailey had coded again. It was only magic that had kept her from staying dead. “You should thank your sister daily for what she did. You’re right. This would be a different scenario altogether without that. As I was saying. She had a crack in her skull that concerns me a great deal, but her memory and skills at recalling things are still intact. I would say her head was banged against the closed window on her side at least ten to fifteen times before it was stopped. Her jaw is broken as well but has been wired closed to heal. I think the fact that she was able to speak that night shows again how resilient the young are. The left ankle is broken but set in a cast. Eight ribs are broken, another three are cracked. Her right lung is healing, as well as the damage that was done to her liver. I’m thinking that with her broken hip, she was jerked against the lap belt with enough force to have sliced into her leg and displace the bone enough that it cracked under the pressure. She’ll walk, but it might be a long time before she can do so without a limp.”

He went on to tell them of the cuts and the number of stitches that had to be used to put her back together. Her eyes were still swollen shut, but he said that was a good thing. It had protected her eyes from whatever damage might well have been done to them. She was going to live. That was all she was going to let herself think about now. And the last words Gaea had said to her as she left that night. They would never die. When her brother poked her, she looked around. They were alone again, in the room they’d been using as a place to rest and to gather themselves together. He asked her where she’d gone. “I don’t know that I could tell you what I might have been thinking about.” He told her he’d been feeling the same way for the last couple of days. “Did you get the locks changed on the house?

And an attorney for you?” “I did before coming in here yesterday on both things. Rose had taken her daughters to the zoo. She couldn’t be bothered to come here to see my daughter, but she could go to the fucking zoo? Doesn’t she know it’s like twenty-five degrees outside?” She cocked her brow at him. “All right, I’m better now. Anyway, I changed the locks, hired that pack like you said, and have an off-duty hanging around the house until further notice. Do you really think she hired Chip to kill my daughter, Gabby?

That is just so…I don’t have words for it.” “I’m not the investigating officer, but she and Chip have been having an affair for the last year and a half. They called each other a total of fifty times right up until he picked Hailey up. Then nothing from him afterwards. She made four to his cell phone that we’ve been able to trace back to her phone.” Harry asked her if she knew why Hailey was with the man. “You know her friend Jolie? Well, she had called Hailey to tell her she was on her way to get her. Asked her if she’d wait outside her house for her, as they were running late for the meeting with the other girls on the project they’d been assigned. There wasn’t a date between Chippy and Hailey, but Hailey going to the library before it closed to get a start on the project that was due in a month. Sounds like her, doesn’t it?

Getting started on it the same day.” “Yes, she would have treated it like they were behind right up until they were finished with it. No last-minute things for my girl.” Harry asked her why she’d gotten in the car with him if she knew. “I mean, I know for a fact she didn’t like him. She thought him a pest when he came around the house to do chores. I’m guessing now he wasn’t getting paid with cash.” “Don’t go there, Harry. You know, as well as I do, that’ll only make you insane. Well, in your case, insaner. But no, she didn’t like him.” Gabby knew he wasn’t going to like this next part at all. “Rose helped him get her into the car. The neighbor across the street had called the police and told them they thought someone was being kidnapped. When they arrived at your home about twenty minutes later, Rose assured them it was a little joke, that Hailey was on a date with a nice young man. He picked her up at about six-thirty, an hour before the library closed up.” “Why did it take until three in the morning before anyone knew anything?” She knew the answer to that as well.

Gabby had been going to the office off and on for the last several days. Mostly to just hear something different than medical terms, the police ones weren’t all that much different—but the smell was an improvement over the hospital—the information she was giving her brother from the reports copied for her every day. “I mean, that’s a good eight hours. What the hell did he do in all that time?” “She killed him sometime between ten and midnight. It’s difficult to get a good reading, as the ground he was on was frozen. But that’s about what Massey has estimated.” Harry said it was still a few hours. “I’m going to tell you something that you cannot repeat, Harry. If you do, then it’s all over. Got it?” He nodded. “Is it Rose? Did she have more to do with this than just helping him get her into the car? She was drugged, wasn’t she?” She slapped her palm to his forehead and told him to stop finding shit. “I can’t help it.

I just don’t see that Hailey would have willingly gotten into the car with him.” “I already told you she was helped into the car, didn’t I? Now listen. Hailey was being drugged. Over a long period of time too. Not only is Rose complicit in her being hurt, but it looks like she’d been feeding her arsenic for the last year. Little bits at a time, but that had nothing to do with the four hours.” He let the tears fall as she sat there with him. The room was the only place she trusted to talk to him in. She went over it daily with the little extra that Gaea had given her some years back.

“You know I have friends in weird places, right?” He nodded, then looked around. “Gaea told me she’d tried her best to intervene on Hailey’s part by getting Chippy lost on the way to the cornfield he took her to. Once they were there, Rose was waiting on him. I have no way of proving this, so I’m just letting you know so you watch your back. All right?” “Does she know what happened while they were there?” Gabby nodded. “Do I want to know? Am I going to lose my shit once I find out?” “You will. Suffice it to say that the two of them together are two of the sickest fucks I’ve ever heard of.” He sat there for several seconds, then jumped up. Barely making it to the trash can, he threw up three times before he simply slid to the floor, looking up at her. “You have a little puke on your lip there, Harry.” “Fuck you.” She nodded and waited for him to speak again. “They had sex right there where they wanted my daughter to die, didn’t they?” She nodded again. “More?” “Yes. Are you sure you want to hear it?” He said he didn’t but thought that he should. “They put her on the hood of the car while they fucked each other over her.

Not only that but there was semen on Hailey that didn’t come from Chippy.” “Christ.” He was sick twice more when he told her no more. But she knew that in a couple of minutes, he’d be asking her for the details. “Who was it?” “His uncle.” Nodding, he stayed where he was. She knew this was hard on him. It had made her sick as well. All these people conspiring against a teenager for no other reason than she was pretty. “There is a new group of people coming into the station house. They’re all bears. I’ve met one of them. Pierce McCray. I think you might have met some of them today in the courtroom. I’m thinking as soon as they get in the house, things are going to start coming to light. Like the back rooms.” “Do you still think they’re using those rooms for sex?” She said she didn’t know, but that was high on her list. “Why would they do that? In a police station, of all places.” “Why would anyone look there? I mean, think about it, Harry. What better place to make movies than to do it right there in the station house? The room Pierce and I were able to get into was window dressing. Nothing in there.

Dust out the ass, and all the windows were opened for anyone to look into. I’ll get to the other rooms now that I have help. Having a bear help means there aren’t any fuses to blow that alert them that I’m snooping around again.” He asked her if she was being careful. “Yes. More than I ever have been in my life. But I have to tell you that you need to be more careful than me. They’ll get to you or Hailey to get to me. Don’t let that happen. I’m begging you.” “I’ll be on the lookout for them.” She nodded. “You think I should start carrying a gun again? I know I told you it went against everything I believed in. But this isn’t anything that I signed up for.” “Yes. And like I’ve told you before, Harry, shoot to kill, not maim. Hurt people are dangerous people, and they can come back. Kill them if it means you live.” He told her he loved her. “I love you too. Please, you have to believe me when I tell you, this is going to be dangerous for everyone until we get this taken care of.”

“I believe you.” He finally stood up with her help. “You’re stronger, aren’t you? I haven’t wanted to ask you this, but is Hailey—?” “Yes. I asked for help with her.” He nodded and hugged her. Gabby hadn’t realized how much she needed him until then. “I’ve taken some leave time, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be in the loop. Stay with me. You can stay in my apartment rather than being cornered at the house. All right?” “Yes. I like that. It’s closer to the hospital too.” There was so much she could tell her brother. So much he needed to know. But for now, they were being watched over. Then tomorrow, she was going to meet with Gaea and figure out what she could do now that she’d not been able to do before. ~*~ Madden didn’t care for the police chief. Nor did he care for most of the people in the station house. They were lazy and pissed off that cameras that should have been put in place months or even years ago were being installed. He was Pierce’s backup man, but he was also keeping an eye on the shit going on around them. I’ve been thinking about a couple of things I’d like to run by you. He smiled when his mom spoke to him. This is purely something I’ve been thinking of, but I’m not sure I can figure it out on my own. You’ve always been my most supportive child. I see. Who else did you ask before I became the most supportive? I’m thinking Lucian.

She told him to behave. What is it, Mom? I’m here for you. The jail that is being put in. Is it going to be larger than the one there? I’m looking over these blueprints, and I can’t make heads nor tails out of it. It seems to me the place is about half again as big as I think they’re using. He told her what Pierce had figured out. That makes sense. I found some entries from the books I got from Meadow and the others. That jail wasn’t built to be a jail at all but a home for the homeless. I don’t know where things changed around yet, but after a few months of building the home, someone got the idea to use it as a jail. To me, that seems like something you’d have to figure out from the beginning. You know, for security purposes. I don’t know.

But did you happen to figure out when this place was built? She told him what she’d found. The late forties? That seems dangerous. I mean, we’re talking decades of no upgrades or any kind of security for the place. Well, not only was the place built back then but there is a building someplace that holds more evidence than what you found in that storage locker the other day. Mom asked him to wait, and she’d get him the address. It says here that it’s on Maple Avenue. The building number is blurred. It’s four numbers, and the first one is a nine. I’d say it’s not much in the way of a large building. The places along the area, I’m thinking, are just run-down houses that need a good kick in the bottom to get cleaned up. Does it tell you what the building was built for? I mean, there couldn’t have been enough evidence when it was first built to warrant the need for an entirely new building. She told Madden what the entry said. So they were going to use this place as a hideaway for women that were hurt in some way. All right. Very forward thinking for the times, but was it ever used for that?

Not that I can see right now. She said she loved this kind of sleuthing. I’m going to see what else I can find. There is something afoot here, and I need to solve it. Oh, before I forget to tell you, I’ve filed my bid to get to be mayor, and your dad is gathering up people to help me campaign. I think I can make a good dent in some of the things that are going on without even leaving the house. Madden told his brother what he’d been talking to Mom about. And about the building she had found. Pierce told him they’d take a drive by there when they were finished up. “It could be that the building or whatever has long since been torn down or even used for housing or something.” For some reason, Madden thought it was being used for just what it said, evidence. “I’m trying to be positive for a change. I just heard from Joey. Margie is going to prison for life without parole. And all the money and properties that had been signed over to Joey are now going to be used for the city, with the exception of what is set aside for Becky. The red tape, I’m to understand, for a corporation to build something like this is a nightmare.

I guess Meadow and Mel are working through it.” “The adoption paperwork has gone through for Becky too. She is excited to be living with her grandma close to her aunt.” That made his brother smile. “You’re all sappy again. Do you suppose that ever wears off?” “Christ, I hope not. I love my wife.” As his brother came down off the ladder he’d been on, Pierce told him he only had two more to go. One of them was in the chief’s office. “I’m thinking I’m going to run into trouble with that one. So be ready for anything.” They were ready, he supposed. Madden was carrying a gun now, and he didn’t hide the fact that he was. Even Pierce was carrying one. They had come in by order of the state of Ohio to do this project. If anyone were to try and detain or stop them from doing their duty, they were told to shoot to kill. Madden thought the man was kidding when he told him that. “I don’t kid about shooting someone, Mr. McCray.” He told the governor he was sorry.

“Don’t be. I’m just glad your sister-in-law was able to spare the two of you for this. I’m also looking into a few other things while I’m working on things here.” Without any trouble from the men, they set up the cameras in the last two places. No one here would have access to the recordings, but it would be manned all the time. They were driving down Maple Avenue around five when they realized the building could have been one of a dozen homes and buildings in the area where Mom told them it was. “None of them scream the year time frame. But that doesn’t mean much. Put some siding on a home, and it will hide all kinds of things from a person.” Madden agreed. “I say we get back to the house and see what else Mom has— Look there, Madden.” The man going in and out of the building was none other than the mayor. He was with two other people, both of them dressed in black. They were carrying what looked to him like boxes and also some camera equipment. Madden recorded what they were seeing on his phone while Pierce called Demi.

She said someone would be there in five minutes, but for them not to engage. They didn’t want to, so that was an easy thing to follow. Within minutes not only had the FBI shown up, but SWAT was pulling in as they watched. While he hadn’t any idea what was going down, he thought his mom was going to be mayor before the election. Things were surely moving in her favor.