Category Archives: Books

Most Likely to Die

A Miranda and Parker Mystery #16

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Just a few weeks ago, PI Miranda Steele thought the love of her life was dead.

Parker believed the same about her.

Miraculously, they made it through the worst ordeal of their lives, and have retired to the peace and quiet of the North Georgia Mountains.

But it’s a little too peaceful here, and Miranda is getting restless.

As a diversion they decide to attend a high school reunion party in Chicago. Nothing dangerous about that, right?

But when a former classmate is found dead, Miranda and Parker are pulled out of retirement to investigate what could be a bizarre murder. Not exactly what they had planned.

Once again things are about to turn deadly.

This time, they might not survive.

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CHAPTER ONE

This was going to be the best night of her life. Or at least one of them.

Turning this way and that, she carefully checked herself over in the full length mirror in the hotel’s elegant marble bathroom.

She smiled at her reflection.

Her hair was perfect, cut to just the right length and falling over her shoulders in the way that always made men swoon. Her makeup was just right, too. She’d used that new eye shadow method she’d found on YouTube recently.

And the nightgown? Well.

The black Victoria’s Secret special in scalloped eyelash lace hugged her curves as if she’d been poured into it. And its dramatic plunge down the front showed off her best feature in a way that would have him eating out of the palm of her hand the second he arrived.

She knew her assets. And how to use them to get what she wanted.

Lipstick. She could do with a bit more.

She grabbed the tube, drew it over her lips, smacked them together.

Perfect.

With a squeal of excitement, she put the tube away and danced into the bedroom, the fabric of her negligee flowing behind her like a regal robe.

She eyed the clean sweeping lines of the light colored furnishings and the pretty blue and white carpet. It wasn’t the suite she’d asked for. It was just a room with a king size bed. But it was nice. And in one of the best hotels in Chicago, in fact.

She wasn’t going to let him put her in some fleabag motel. Not with the kind of money he had.

She went to the table near the window and touched the champagne bottle chilling on ice in its decanter. The two flutes beside it reflected the lights from the magnificent view of the city below. They were going to have fun tonight.

She looked at the clock. He’d be here any minute.

Her heart beating in anticipation, she went to the door, unlatched it, and left it ajar. That would make him feel welcome and spike his curiosity at the same time. She wasn’t worried about anyone unwanted busting in on her. She had her little snub-nose eight shot revolver in the nightstand, and she knew how to use it.

It was legal and all. She had the proper ID and license for concealed carry.

She knew how to take care of herself.

Crossing to the bed, she laid down on the thick satiny duvet. Resting an arm on one of the embossed pillows, she struck a pose she knew would make his brows rise—and something else, as well.

She sighed happily.

No, this wasn’t about money. And it wasn’t going to be a one-night fling. This was more. She hadn’t thought she could feel this way again. All tingly and giddy and schoolgirlish. Not after all these years and so much water under the bridge.

But she did.

Tonight would be the start of something new. Something life altering.

She looked at the clock again and scowled. He was late.

He used to pride himself on being punctual. Oh, well. Some things were worth waiting for, weren’t they? She closed her eyes and imagined how she’d feel in his arms again.

Minutes passed. An hour. Another hour. And another.

At one a.m., she got up and checked on the champagne. The ice was melted, the bottle’s contents were probably near room temperature.

She didn’t care. She popped it open, poured some into one of the flutes, and swallowed a big mouthful.

She stomped over to the door, anger burning inside her. Nobody stood her up. Nobody humiliated her like this.

But he had. And it wasn’t the first time.

Gritting her teeth, she turned the lock and went back to the bed. At least she’d have a night in a nice hotel room.

Then she opened the drawer of the nightstand and stared down at her snub-nose revolver. Nobody did this to her. Nobody got away with something like this.

She’d make him pay.

She took out the gun, released the cylinder, and checked the bullets. All eight were there. She snapped it shut and blinked back the tears that were starting to come.

She knew what she had to do. It was clear as day. Simple.

She had to kill him.

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RETRIBUTION (#15) NOW AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED!

I’m so excited to share this new release with my readers!

A Miranda and Parker Mystery #15

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IS WADE PARKER DEAD?

Almost three weeks ago on a cold dark pier in Boston, PI Miranda Steele saw her beloved husband shot down before her eyes.

Now she and her team are on a quest to find his body and bring it back to Atlanta.

But the criminal mastermind who gunned down Parker has a plan that’s more devious and evil than anything Miranda could ever have imagined.

If she can’t bring him down, it could be the end not only of her and her team, but of the whole world.

Can she stop him before it’s too late?

Find out now.

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Chapter One

Six weeks prior

Just after dawn in a port in Odessa, Ukraine, Boris Petrov stood on the deck of a sixty-thousand-deadweight-tonne cargo ship barking orders at the man operating the crane high above.

“Careful! Slowly now.” Ignoring the chill in the air, Petrov scratched his dark beard and signaled to the left.

The wooden crate dangling forty meters overhead at the end of the heavy chain was huge. The first of almost a dozen, it was giving Petrov an ache in the stomach.

Though it was padded with foam, Petrov was not certain of the box’s strength. In his opinion, they should have used regular containers. But those who were above him had decided the interchangeable metal containers would draw attention, and possibly inspection.

That could not happen.

As extra cargo loaded with the usual scrap metal the ship carried, the crates were less likely to be noticed.

But as the heavy box was lowered into the first hold, Petrov’s anxiety only grew.

“Gently, gently,” he shouted to the men who were guiding it into place. “Handle her like a woman.”

“She is fine,” a young man called back with a too confident grin. “I know how to handle the fairer sex.”

Petrov did not like the man.

His name was Andruko. He had arrived from Kiev yesterday evening begging for a job and telling horrific stories of a shootout in a parking lot. The contraband Petrov himself had loaded into a truck days ago had been seized by the police, Andruko had said. All two hundred and forty kilos of it gone.

There was more. Udar had been raided and shut down by the authorities. Sergei Chumak and Irina Savko were dead.

Unbelievable. The details made his head ache.

How could this have happened?

He had checked and double-checked the texts on his encrypted phone. Was the voyage today canceled? No. He was to proceed as ordered.

A week ago the funds had been wired by a senator’s aide in Washington. Today’s cargo had been packaged and shipped to port from somewhere in the east. No one knew where. It was unnecessary information.

No time to ponder it. The next crate was being lowered into the hold.

He had a vague idea of what each one contained. The boost controls, the body section, the cable assembly, and so forth. And most importantly, the warhead itself.

That would go on the upper deck under strict watch.

And then it would be off for the long trip to the island south of the United States.

Petrov had been ordered to travel with the ship to ensure the cargo’s safe arrival and to help with the unloading at the destination. Experts would be in place there to reassemble the thing.

He wanted no part of that.

But it was by no means certain they would arrive. If the sea did not behave, if the cargo shifted too much? Well, he and all the crew could wind up as fish food on the bottom of the ocean.

Why take such a risk? Because it was orders. Petrov always obeyed orders. And this time, the reward was too handsome to turn down. Not that he had a choice.

What his boss had in mind with such a weapon as this, he could only guess. He only hoped it would bring power back where it belonged.

He guided the next crate into the hold and wished for the best.

He did not have answers. All he knew was to obey and keep his mouth shut. It was all he needed. Once he was paid, life would be better. The risk was worth it. Besides, one did not question the Man in Boston.

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Predator

A Miranda and Parker Mystery #14

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What’s wrong with Mackenzie?

PI Miranda Steele knows something has been eating away at her teenage daughter for months now. Does Mackenzie know her real father was a psychotic serial killer?

Miranda’s afraid to ask and this time, Parker has no answers.

But when her precious daughter goes missing, Miranda goes into a tailspin. Now she’s forced to ask the most painful question of all.

Has Mackenzie’s emotional state caused her to fall victim to a sexual predator?

You’ll want to read this exciting, fast-paced thriller because it’s a story readers say they can’t put down.

Get it now!

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Chapter One

She plodded along the concrete walkway of the interstate bridge, head down, barely aware of the cars whizzing past her.

She felt numb and yet she shivered a little in the chilly March wind. She’d worn too light of a jacket. Not that it would matter soon.

It was her time.

Everyone has a time, her mother used to say.

She’d been thinking about her mother a lot lately. The headaches brought on the memories. In her mind, she could see her mother stretched out on the old worn couch, dressed in the robe with the pretty blue flowers she used to wear, her hair a tangled mess. She could smell her breath. The odor made her sick, just like it used to.

She hadn’t learned until much later it was the smell of alcohol. She’d been too young to recognize it then. But she could remember those words.

Everyone has a time.

Her mother had been talking about her father.

She had never known him. He’d left before she was born. Her mother would call him names and cuss at his imaginary figure going out the door. Then she’d call her names. “You’re too stupid for words,” she’d say. “Why did I ever have you?”

And then one day she’d told her her father was dead. When she asked how that could be, all her mother had said was that it had been his time.

“Everyone has a time,” she’d told her.

The wind grew stronger as she reached the edge of the bridge where the railing stopped and the concrete barrier began. Her head pounding, she stared up at the chicken wire fence mounted high atop the ledge.

She peeked over the barrier and saw a small concrete platform about five feet down. That would work.

She blinked at the cars buzzing by down below the overpass. So many of them. All going so fast. Where were they heading? To soccer practice? To games? Shopping? It was the weekend.

How nice it would be to know who you are and where you were going every day.

She never had.

And then there was that girl at school. The junior with the perfect brown hair. The words she’d said about her at lunch on Friday still burned in her heart. Even now, she could feel her cheeks reddened. She’d been so humiliated.

The girl hadn’t been mean, exactly. Just superior. Far above her, anyway.

That’s when she’d known she’d never be good enough. Not for her faceless father. Not for her drunken mother. Not for the kids at school. Not for anyone. She’d never ever be good enough.

That’s when she knew it was her time.

She took off her jacket and laid it over the rail. The wind whipped through her, rippling her lightweight short-sleeve top.

Closing her eyes, she put her hands on the concrete and drew in its rough cold surface.

Minutes went by. Her hair blew around her face as her brain swam with hurtful words from her past, from her mother, from the girl at school, from deep inside her own mind. She breathed in the cold air, searching for the courage for what had to be done.

A shout made her open her eyes again.

The cars down below were slowing. There must be a traffic jam up ahead. She thought she heard tires screech behind her. And a cry.

But her head was so fuzzy with memories, she couldn’t make out anything.

She had to go.

Then a strong female voice came from the sidewalk beside her. “Hello, young lady.”

She turned and saw a police officer coming toward her.

No.

“Don’t be alarmed. I thought you might like to talk a little.”

Talk? What was there to talk about? Nothing would change. Nothing would ever change.

Again she peered over the railing. Cars were stopped in their lanes. Flashing lights came from a fire truck a few yards beyond the overpass. A group of firemen were assembling a large yellow inflatable thing just below her. It looked like a raft she’d been on at summer camp one year.

They were trying to stop her.

No.

She slung a leg over the rail.

“I just want to ask you a question.” The woman sounded friendly, but she wasn’t. “What’s your name, honey?”

She didn’t answer.

Instead she held onto the rail, pulled her other leg over, and let herself drop down to the concrete platform. It was only about a foot wide. She had to be careful or she’d land in the trees.

“C’mon, sweetheart. Don’t do that.”

“Leave me alone.” Trying to position herself, she clung to the iron bar of the railing now over her head.

“I just want to talk to you.”

The woman leaned over the rail and a strong hand gripped her arm.

“Let go of me.”

“I’m sorry I can’t do that.”

The grip was tight. The pain confused her. “You’re hurting me.”

“I don’t mean to do that. I’m just here to help.” The woman kept on talking, but she couldn’t make out the words.

She was in too much of a panic. She looked down. The men below were pointing up at her and moving the yellow raft thing so it would catch her.

If she was going to do it, it had to be now.

She looked up and glared at the woman. “Let go of me, I said.”

She pulled her arm away as hard as she could. The officer’s nails scraped her skin as she lost her grip.

She lost her balance and fell backward.

Her feet left the narrow platform. She tumbled down toward the pavement below. Down past the bare tree branches. Past the beams of the overpass. Past the stains on its concrete supports.

Down, down, down. And into darkness.

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Vanishing Act now available in Kindle Unlimited!

Hello again Miranda and Parker fans!

I’m so excited to announce Vanishing Act (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) #13 is now available in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

I’m thrilled to share this riveting story with my wonderful KU readers. Links and details are below.

Enjoy!  🙂

Linsey

A Miranda and Parker Mystery #13

Amazon | FREE on Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Five thousand miles away from Atlanta.

A young man is killed.

A young man with secrets.

When Parker’s father asks him to travel to Ukraine to find someone who’s been missing over a decade, Parker flatly refuses. But Miranda can’t say no to Mr. P.

And so they board the plane.

After a long flight and a futile search, they are about to give up. Until they rouse the ire of a very dangerous group. People with secrets. People who will kill to keep them. People who now want Parker and Miranda dead.

You’ll want to read this next adventure, because secrets are about to be revealed.

Get it now!

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Chapter One

It was two o’clock in the morning.
The motor of his cycle growled beneath him as fear pounded in his temples.
Faster. Faster. Faster.
The cold November wind whipped his hair over his face, into his eyes and his mouth. Above the highway, streetlights twinkled against the blue velvet of the sky and the river below.
Kiev lay to the left of him, the lights of its majestic old buildings and ancient cupola-topped churches shimmering with the mystique of a beautiful woman attempting to seduce him.
He had always fallen for her charms, though he wished he hadn’t. Tonight he wished he had stayed in his little village and been content.
Too late for those wishes.
He could not think about home now. He could not stop. He had to keep going.
He had to get away.
He had left the club perhaps only fifteen minutes ago. He had taken what he had in his satchel and snuck out the back.
He had thought he had not been seen.
But now, as he raced along the wide highway that bordered the Dnieper River, he knew someone from the club was behind him.
If he could just make it across the river. Back to Troieshchyna and his bleak little apartment, he would be all right. That dingy living space fourteen stories up in the cheap Soviet era building. Olga deserved better than that. He had wanted to give it to her.
He had failed.
Just as he made it to the straightaway, a shot rang out from behind him.
Sergei. He had followed him.
He swerved, and the bullet missed him.
But he could taste the fear in his mouth.
Where was the politsiya? The police did not patrol this part of town so well as the wealthier sections.
Sergei was the enforcer. A huge man five years his senior. He could beat him to death with his bare hands if he caught him. He could easily shoot him. But it was difficult to aim well on a motorcycle.
Another shot spat over his shoulder. Sergei’s aim was better that time.
The vehicles around him began to slow, the drivers no doubt wondering what was going on. Why was there a gunfight on Naberezhno-Rybalsak in the middle of the night?
He sped up, swerved around a car on his left, another on his right. He took the curve to the bridge as fast as he dared.
He could not fall now.
Focusing on the tall buildings far away in the distance across the river, he ignored his pounding heart.
He could get there. He had to.
His motor roaring, he reached the bridge and swung out onto traffic without yielding. A little Lada blared its horn at him as they nearly collided.
Ignoring the driver’s protests, he zoomed ahead.
He was over the river now. In a month, the water would be frozen and children would come to skate along the banks.
But tonight the Pivnichny Bridge seemed to stretch across the world.
No, it was only a few more kilometers to home.
Would Sergei follow him there? The little flat would not provide much protection. He had not thought of that. Perhaps he should head south and into the forest, toward his old village instead.
He was almost to the left bank now.
He swerved past a Renault on the side closest to the railing. Between the iron barrier and the road lay a path bicycle riders used to travel back and forth across the river to their jobs on the right bank.
He had such a job once. And he had Olga. What would she think of him now?
He would never know.
Another bullet came from Sergei. This time it hit his rear tire. He spun, veered in a circle. He lost his balance and the cycle went down and slid out from under him. The pavement dug into his jeans, tearing his flesh.
No time to think of that now. He put a palm onto the asphalt to lift himself up.
Before he could rise, Sergei was on top of him, the short red curls atop his head glistening in the street lights.
His massive body hovered over him like the prize oak in the Buda village.
“Where is it?” His face was like a snarling leopard.
He would pretend not to know. “Where is what? Why did you shoot at me, Sergei?”
“Where is it?” Sergei shouted, ignoring the ploy.
He tried again. “I do not know what you mean.”
It was not a good answer. He saw the reply come in the form of Sergei’s boot.
He rolled, but not in time. The kick caught him hard in the kidney and he cried out in pain.
Yet somehow, he managed to get to his feet. If it was a fight Sergei wanted, he would give it to him.
He swung and grazed his chest as Sergei stepped back. Then the large man returned a jab.
He ducked, an American move, and Sergei missed.
He swung again, but once more missed the treelike target.
Sraka!” Sergei growled. “How dare you steal from us? From those who care for you?”
He wanted to deny it, but he could not lie to this man. Looking down at the pavement, he tried to find the words to say.
The hesitation was a mistake. He looked up just as Sergei’s fist flew toward him like a flash of lightning.
It connected with his jaw, shooting incredible pain through his skull. He stumbled back, tasting his own blood in his mouth.
He should not be tangling with Sergei. This man was one of the top fighters in the MMA club where he worked. Sergei’s footwork and balance were impeccable. His blows were like iron.
But he had little choice now.
He swung again and somehow landed a punch to the stomach. The leather of his jacket softened the blow, yet he heard Sergei groan.
And then Sergei’s face became a wall of stone.
“That was your last chance.” Sergei’s arm flew back. The blow sped toward him, too fast for him to duck this time.
He felt the cartilage crunch as Sergei’s knuckles landed against his nose. He crumbled to his knees, blood dripping onto the pavement.
And then he saw it.
His satchel lay along the railing, its strap just beyond reach. Biting back the pain, he crawled forward. Grabbing onto the leather band, with all his effort he pulled himself to his feet.
“What are you doing?” He heard Sergei yell behind him.
Too late. He took the satchel and hurled it over the railing as far as he could.
Into the air it went, then down into the river below. Never to be found again.
Bracing himself against the railing, he turned around. “And now we are even, no?”
Sergei did not reply. Instead he drew his pistol and aimed it at his chest. “You have betrayed us. You know what happens to traitors.”
He did.
There was no reasoning with the man now, if there ever had been.
And so he was not surprised when Sergei pulled the trigger and the final bullet hit him dead center in the chest.
His body recoiled with incredible pain. He felt himself fall backward. Felt his feet leave the pavement. His arms flapped the air like a young bird trying to take flight.
But he was no bird. He could not fly.
Instead he plunged head down into the river. All the way into the depths of the Dnieper.
And disappeared.

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The #Audiobook is HERE!

At long last,  Someone Else’s Daughter is now available as an audiobook narrated by the fabulous Kristin James.

I can’t wait for everyone who loves the Miranda and Parker stories to hear it! Kristin really brings these characters to life.

Amazon | Audible | iTunes

PLUS – I’m giving away FIVE Audible coupons (US) for a FREE copy of the audiobook.*

Enter the contest here:

Audiobook Giveaway

More changes to win when you share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

The giveaway ends soon, so be sure to enter right away.

Good luck to you and thank you for your support.

Happy listening!

Linsey

PS: If you enjoy this audiobook, feel free to leave a review, especially on Audible. It means a lot to Kristin and me. Thanks in advance!

* Sorry, I can only give away coupons for the US. You also must have an audible or Amazon account to redeem the coupons.

The Stolen Girl is available on Amazon!

The Stolen Girl (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) #12

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On a sunny winter afternoon in West Hollywood, California, a seven-year-old girl gets into a car with a stranger.

Two hours later a single mother receives a call telling her not to go to the police.

On the other side of the country, Miranda and Parker are sparring in the gym—until a colleague tells them her sister’s daughter is missing and begs them to help.

A kidnapping? A missing little girl?

Of course, they have to help. With thoughts of the desperate search for her own daughter, Miranda boards the next plane to LA, along with Parker and the team.

But when they arrive in tinsel town, the clues are sparse. Locating the little girl seems hopeless, and soon they find themselves at the kidnapper’s mercy.

But is this just a kidnapping?

Or is it something much worse?

You’ll want to read this next installment in the Miranda and Parker Mystery series, because it will keep you guessing.

Get it now!

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Chapter One

Imogen Wesson didn’t always like the teacher at her elementary school in West Hollywood, but today she thought she was just great.
Ms. Bishop told the class they would be going into second grade soon, and it was never too early to think about the future. Their assignment was to write about what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Imogen knew what she was going to write about. And as the bell rang and she pulled on her backpack and headed out the door, her mind raced with ideas.
She wanted to be either an astronaut or a zookeeper. Or a rock star.
A zookeeper, she decided following the rest of the kids out to the waiting buses. She loved animals.
She’d been begging her mother for a puppy. In fact, she’d asked for one that morning before school. But Mommy said they couldn’t have one in their apartment. And they were both too busy to take care of a puppy. She’d gotten mad at Mommy and said she didn’t care about her. She said she bet her Daddy would let her have a puppy.
She hadn’t mean that.
She was sorry she’d said that to Mommy. When she got home, she’d tell her so. And maybe if she made good grades, maybe Mommy would let her have a puppy for her birthday.
Though that was a long way away.
No, not a zookeeper, she thought. She wanted to be a veterinarian.
Thinking about what it would be like to play with puppies and kittens every day, Imogen lingered along the blue fence. As she peered through the gate, something caught her eye.
A squirrel was sitting on the lawn in front of the school chewing on a nut he held in his little paws. He was looking straight at her. She glanced back at her bus. Most of the other kids were climbing aboard, but she still had a little time.
Trying to be quiet, Imogen opened the gate and took a few steps toward the animal.
“Hello, there,” she said, grinning.
The squirrel froze, dropped its nut, and scampered away across the grass and up a nearby tree.
“Oh, you didn’t have to run away,” Imogen pouted, wondering if she really could be a veterinarian.
Then her gaze drifted to the street.
A man stood behind one of the skinny trees growing in the sidewalk. Imogen had always thought it was funny to plant trees in the cement.
The man was tall and dressed in black leather. He had tattoos on his arms, like her daddy. Was it her daddy? She hadn’t seen him in so long, she wasn’t sure.
He was staring at her and smiling. He seemed friendly in a scary sort of way. And familiar.
Slowly she inched toward him.
He bent down and his smile grew bigger. “Hello there, Imogen.”
She sucked in a breath. The man knew her name. “Daddy?” she said softly, her heart starting to beat faster.
“I’m a friend of your Daddy’s. He’d like to see you.”
“He would?”
The man nodded. “He sent me to get you and take you to him.”
“He did?” She’d dreamed about her father coming to get her.
“C’mon. My car’s right over there.” He held out a hand to her.
It was big and rough. Don’t go with strangers, Mommy always told her. But this man wasn’t a stranger. He was Daddy’s friend.
She put her hand in his and let him lead her to the car. It was an old car. The side was dented. As she climbed inside, she saw the seat was torn. The man closed the door, then came around the other side and got in beside her.
He snapped a seatbelt around her. “Don’t want anything to happen to you,” he chuckled, then he started the car and drove away.
She watched the apartment building across the street fade away as they rolled down the street. This was the same direction the bus took every day. She recognized the bushes and the houses.
Was this man taking her to Mommy’s shop? Was Daddy with Mommy? Were they getting back together?
But then they were on the big street with the tall palm trees, and she was sure the bus would have turned by now. They passed a place with a big orange machine. A crane. They were building something here. Green pipes held up a ceiling with no walls.
She turned around and peered out the back window. She didn’t see the bus anywhere.
They were on a wide highway now, with grassy places and lots of trees. She didn’t recognize it.
They drove and drove.
“My Daddy must live very far away,” she said at last.
“It’s only a little longer.”
“Maybe he’ll take me for ice cream when we get there.”
“Maybe.” But there was a scary sound in the man’s voice now.
Mommy never let her have ice cream after school. She made her eat a sandwich. If she finished all her dinner later, then she might get ice cream, but she usually didn’t.
The man made so many turns, Imogen didn’t know where she was. They were on a big street she didn’t recognize at all, with lots of auto repair places. “Trans—mis—sion,” she read on one sign.
Then the man turned down a side street, drove a few blocks, and slowed.
They were at a light green two-story house with dark red trim and a short driveway. It looked funny. It didn’t have a front door. Imogen wondered how they would get in. Then the man turned into the drive, pressed a button, and the garage door opened. He drove into a tidy garage and pressed the button again to close the door behind them.
It was dark in here, and Imogen was frightened. “Where’s my Daddy?”
“Inside. I’ll take you to him.”
She didn’t believe the man, but it was too late to change her mind now.
She got out of the car and followed the man up a short step and into a kitchen. It was small and the edges of the countertops were chipped. On the other side of the refrigerator there was a door. It smelled bad in here. Like someone had forgotten to take out the garbage.
She moved away from the man and hurried into a nearby living room. The furniture looked old and worn here, but there was nobody here.
“Where’s my Daddy?”
“He’s at work. He’ll be home soon.”
“I think you should take me back home now.”
“Sorry. Can’t do that.”
“What if I run away?”
“You’re not going anywhere.”
“Yes, I am. I’m going right out that door.” She pointed toward the kitchen.
Though she had no idea what she’d do outside. Would someone help her? Mommy made her memorize her address, but right now, she couldn’t think of it.
She moved toward the kitchen again. The man blocked her.
“I said, you’re not going anywhere.” He sounded mean now.
“Yes, I am.” She tried to go past him.
Before she could get around him, he bent down and picked her up in his arms. She beat against him with her fists, but it didn’t do any good.
He carried her down a hall to a small room. She kicked and screamed, trying to get away from him, but he was too strong.
He stuffed her under one arm and opened the door to the room. It was a dirty place with a mattress on the floor and a wrinkled blanket on top of it. It smelled bad in here, too. He wasn’t going to make her lay down on that. She wouldn’t.
But instead he carried her to the corner and opened another door. A closet.
Was he going to put her in there? No! She screamed again. Then she did the only thing she could think of. She bit his arm.
“Ow. You little bitch, you.”
But he let go of her and she dropped to the floor.
She ran.
She almost got to the hall. Almost got away. Then he lunged for her. His big hand clamped around her arm hard, making her cry out.
“Leave me alone!”
“Shut up.” He picked her up and carried her to the closet.
He slung open the door, tossed her inside and shut the door in her face.
She could hear him locking it from the outside. She banged on the door. “Let me out of here.”
“Shut up, I said.”
“My Mommy will call the police. They’ll put you in jail.”
“No, she won’t. Not if she knows what’s good for her.”
And then she heard the man walk away.
She sat down on the floor. It was dusty and smelly like the rest of the place. She began to cry. Why hadn’t she listened to what Mommy told her? Why had she got into the car with that bad man?
Where was her Daddy? Gone. He had been gone for a long time. He was never coming back.
“I’m sorry, Mommy,” she blubbered into her hands. “I’ll never be angry with you again.”
All she wanted was to go home, but she had no idea how to do that. She didn’t know what to do.
Except cry.

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Mind Bender (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) #10 – Now Available!

It’s finally here! The tenth Miranda and Parker Mystery is now available.

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Book #10 in the gripping mystery-thriller series from bestselling author Linsey Lanier

A shooting. A bank robbery. A car chase. A kidnapping. And that was just PI Miranda Steele’s morning.

After a relaxing vacation in the North Georgia Mountains with her sexy husband and boss, Miranda Steele gets mixed up in a bank robbery that leads to a desperate hunt for a missing woman. Never in her life would she have guessed it would be that woman, but she can’t give up now. The woman’s life may be in danger, as well as the trust of Miranda’s new team at the Parker Investigative Agency.

On a twisted trail of violence, kidnapping, and mind control, Miranda is forced to face a frightening question: Can someone brainwash you to do something that’s not in your nature? Like rob a bank and kill everyone in your way?

Miranda and Parker are about to find out.

Mind Bender is the tenth book in the Miranda and Parker Mystery series, a continuation of the popular Miranda Steele, private investigator, stories from bestselling author Linsey Lanier (the Miranda’s Rights Mystery series). Buy this exciting, fast-paced thriller for a story readers say they can’t put down.

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Chapter One

She was so excited, her skin tingled.

She could feel her own heartbeat as she listened to the murmur of Friday business being conducted around her.

As she waited in the roped-off line, she bounced on her toes and gazed up at the tall glass façade of the front wall and entrance to the downtown Buckhead bank. Ten minutes ago she’d marched through those doors, her first paycheck tucked in her pocketbook under her arm.

Well, it wasn’t her very first paycheck.

She’d worked all kinds of jobs back in Austin. She’d waitressed in dives, cleaned houses, even tried a little panhandling. But she’d gone to school and taken acting lessons for the past eight year, and all that effort had finally paid off.

She was in a real movie being filmed in Atlanta.

She was about to deposit her first check from the production company.

Okay, she wasn’t a star yet. She was only an extra, and the part was only supposed to last a few days. But the second assistant director seemed to be taking a liking to her. He’d asked her to stay on another week, and she thought he might give her a line in one of the upcoming scenes. Who knew where that could lead? She was on her way. She could feel it. The sky was the limit. Someday, she would be a star. She always knew she would be.

She couldn’t stop smiling.

Bouncing on her heels with excitement, she glanced around at the other customers waiting in line and the busy bank clerks behind the counter. The place was crowded and felt close. She could smell the colognes and body washes of the customers near her. One large man in a suit grumbled impatiently. She should have expected the bank would be busy on a Friday just before noon. Everyone was here to cash their own paychecks and go out for a good time.

She wasn’t in a hurry.

She was done for the day and didn’t have plans for tonight. She’d be heading home after this stop. So why was she suddenly feeling so anxious? Maybe because Drew had promised he might stop by later.

She’d only known him a week, but she really liked him. She’d met him back in Austin and he’d asked her out. When she told him she was trying to get into the movies, he said he had some connections and might be able to get her something in Atlanta if she was willing to start at the bottom.

At first she’d thought it was a come on line. But there was something about Drew that made her trust him. But leave home and go all the way to Atlanta with him? It might have been risky, but she’d decided to do it. And it had worked out. Drew hadn’t been lying. Here she was, cashing her first paycheck.

She felt a hand on her shoulder. As if he’d materialized from her own thoughts, Drew appeared at her side, wearing that heart-stopping smile of his.

“Hey, honeybun.”

“Hey,” she breathed in answer.

He was so handsome. Tall and broad-shouldered, dressed in jeans and his leather motor-cycle jacket, his thick black hair tousled as if he’d just been on a ride. His face was to-die-for. He was part Asian and his dark exotic eyes always made her knees feel like jelly.

“Cashing your check?”

“Making my first deposit.”

“We need to go out and celebrate tonight. My treat.”

She bounced on her toes again. Could this day get any more perfect?

Drew touched her shoulder again and she caught a whiff of that sexy aftershave he always wore.

It smelled like honeysuckle and cinnamon—and something else she couldn’t quite identify.

The man behind her stepped a little too close. Feeling suddenly claustrophobic, she glanced around at the crowd. She was uncomfortable, antsy. She started to perspire. The A/C was on, but her skin felt like it was on fire. There were too many people in here.

She heard a voice calling to her.

“Ma’am?”

Looking up, she saw the clerk standing behind the counter. A fuzzy red haze surrounded her.

The clerk beckoned her forward. “Can I help you ma’am?

Awkwardly she stepped toward the window.

“What can I do for you?”

The clerk was wearing a ridiculous smile. She reminded her of Emmy Holt, a girl in high school who’d always made fun of her.

Suddenly, she hated that clerk. Who did she think she was, anyway?

“Would you like to make a deposit?” The woman prompted.

“Deposit?” She put a hand to her forehead and tried to think.

She couldn’t remember what she was here for. She opened her pocketbook and stared down at its contents. There was a check, but she didn’t remember putting it there. She saw lipstick, tissues, a cell phone—and tucked neatly beside the phone was a small handgun with a pink handle.

How did that get in there?

“Ma’am?” The clerk said again.

The red haze grew dark. Blue and purple clouds began to form around the edges of her vision. She felt dizzy, sick.

“Ma’am? Are you all right?”

And all she wanted was to make that clerk shut up. She reached into her purse, pulled out the gun, and fired at the woman.

The clerk crumbled to the floor as a collective scream rose from the crowd of customers.

She spun around flailing the gun at the sea of terrified faces. Suddenly, she knew exactly what to do.

“All of you,” she growled. “On the floor or you’ll be next.”

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Kobo books are 50% OFF!

Kobo is having a 50% OFF sale from now (June 25) until June 27, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST!

If you’re a Kobo reader in any of these countries you’re eligible:

U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand.

Just enter promo code 50JUN when you check out (for me this was on the second page).

For your convenience here are the links to all my books on Kobo. If you’ve been wanting to get more Miranda stories (or any of my other books), now’s the time to stock up.

Happy reading at half price!

~Linsey

THE MIRANDA’S RIGHTS MYSTERY SERIES
Someone Else’s Daughter
Delicious Torment
Forever Mine
Fire Dancer
Thin Ice

THE MIRANDA AND PARKER MYSTERY SERIES
All Eyes on Me
Heart Wounds
Clowns and Cowboys
The Watcher
Zero Dark Chocolate
Trial by Fire
Smoke Screen
The Boy

OTHER SUSPENSE BOOKS BY LINSEY LANIER
Chicago Cop (A cop family thriller)
Steal My Heart (A romantic suspense)

THE PRASALA ROMANCES
The Crown Prince’s Heart
The King’s Love Song
The Count’s Baby

Note: If for some reason a link does not work, please navigate to your Kobo site and enter “Linsey Lanier” in the search box.

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The King’s Love Song – Now Available for Preorder

The second Prasala Romance, The King’s Love Song will be released February 14, 2016. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Darcy Matthews doesn’t believe in love.

But she’s thrilled to travel to Prasala for her sister’s royal wedding. What big sister doesn’t know is the day after the ceremony Darcy plans to head to LA to start the singing career she’s dreamed of all her life.

Katy doesn’t want her to go but Darcy’s mind is made up.

Except for the dark, knife-like stare of the seductively handsome King. The look that sends shivers down her spine. That might make her put her plans on hold for a while. Maybe.

Six months ago Leopold de Chambonay was crowned King of Prasala by a quirk of fate. Now he must prove that act was not a mistake. He longs to be a great King like his father. But the graceful carefree creature who is now his sister-in-law has cast some sort of spell over him. He finds himself drawn to her, longing to forget his duty and take her in his arms.

This cannot be. He must rid himself of her before he does something that might threaten the kingdom.

Why should Darcy care what the enigmatic King thinks of her? This crazy yearning in her heart for him doesn’t mean anything. Besides, she would never pine over a man. After all, love is just a game.

Isn’t it?

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Chapter One

This really was going to be a fairytale wedding, wasn’t it?

Darcy Matthews could feel her heart thump as she peeked out from the high scrolling arches of St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral at the excited throng on the sidewalk.

In the shadow of the tall Byzantine spires and ancient gargoyles, the streets were filled with Prasala’s faithful. For hours they had stood in the afternoon sun—warm for early spring, so she’d heard—in honor of their new Prince.

Everyone was waiting for a glimpse of his Princess Bride.

Suddenly a clip-clop sounded, the church bells rang out above, and everyone turned toward the far end of the street.

Around the corner a gilded rose-covered carriage appeared, drawn by the ebony stallion and chestnut filly Katy had told Darcy so much about. The coach moved slowly, majestically over the cobblestone lane, and after what seemed like half an hour came to a halt along the curb. A footman riding along the side disembarked and opened the door.

He extended a hand to help the lady down from carriage, and she waved graciously to the crowd.

As she made her way to the cathedral’s massive entrance the people shouted for joy.

Darcy’s heart swelled.

She was used to seeing her sister in jeans and old shirts with her blond hair tousled by the wind. She’d never seen her quite like this before.

But there she was in a stunning strapless designer creation of white satin and veiled lace scattered with floral appliqués and studded with pearls and diamonds. The matching veil had a real diamond tiara and the train was so massive it took three ladies-in-waiting to carry it.

Katy looked like a real princess.

Well, she was a real princess. Or she would be in a few minutes. Darcy would have to get used to that.

She stepped forward to speak to her sister but the thin dark woman who was in charge of the ceremony—and who reminded Darcy of the wicked witch in fairy tales—ushered her back inside.

“It is almost time for the bridesmaids to go down the aisle,” the witch woman whispered in a thick Prasalian accent.

“Okay, okay.” Darcy hissed under her breath.

The woman’s eyes flashed with indignation but luckily there wasn’t time for a conversation.

The music had started.

As she took her place under the archway of the crowded church with a bouquet of ladyslipper orchids and pale yellow roses in her hands, Darcy wished she’d had a moment to apologize for the fight she’d had with Katy last night. She hadn’t wanted to spoil her day.

But no, it was too gorgeous to spoil. Too thrilling. Too fairytale-like.

Her heart beating anew with excitement, Darcy began the slow procession down the long flower strewn aisle toward the huge, elaborate altar at the front.

Megan Russell, Katy’s best friend from back home, preceded her. Second in line, Darcy took fashion-model-like steps in time to the soft strains of Handel from the colossal pipe organ. Behind her were seven other bridesmaids, three flower girls, and a young ring bearer.

The ladies-in-waiting who had escorted Katy from the coach weren’t in the wedding party. They were real ladies-in-waiting, part of the royal court.

Court. Wow.

Goose bumps prickled on her arms. She wanted to pinch herself. Was she really here in Prasala? In her sister’s royal wedding? Was she really marching down the aisle in a mermaid-cut gown of blackberry and tea-rose, created by the incomparable Valsois?

She couldn’t believe it.

Gazing up at the tall flying buttresses of the massive church, Darcy felt she had stepped into a fairy tale herself.

Prasala.

If love were real, this exotic southeastern European country would definitely be the place for it. It had been for Katy.

But Darcy knew it wouldn’t be for her.

She didn’t even believe love was real. Not for her anyway.

She’d built a high impenetrable wall around her heart long ago—when her father died when she was thirteen. She’d been devastated by his loss. While other girls her age were starting to date and form crushes on the popular boys in school, she’d remained unmoved. Her heart didn’t work that way anymore. As the years went by that wall remained. Darcy had never felt anything she could call love.

She had been Daddy’s little girl. No man could ever live up to him.

Of course, that didn’t mean a girl couldn’t have a little fun.

She eyed the dignitaries and nobility from all over the world who were crowded together in the pews.

On one side a handsome blond guy, well-groomed and all dressed up in a fine tux might have just winked at her. Across from him a whole row of young men seemed to be selecting partners from the procession of bridesmaids. One of them caught her eye and she risked a flirtatious grin. An older man standing next to what must have been his mother looked as if he were making a mental note to dance with her later on.

She might. After she made him wait his turn.

Oh, she was going to have a good time at the reception tonight.

She reached the alabaster stairs and grinned at the dark, handsome groom awaiting his bride. There he was. Julio de Chambonay, Prince of Chevalia, one of the country’s provinces. Dressed in full Prasalian uniform, the man was absolutely stunning.

Now there was a reason not to believe in love.

Despite his amazing good looks, Julio de Chambonay had broken her sister’s heart in two a few months ago. Darcy had witnessed firsthand the pain Katy had endured, had listened to her cry herself to sleep every night. And Julio’s mother, the Queen, had had something to do with it, too. The woman was sitting in the front pew now and Darcy had avoided even looking at her.

According to Katy all was well now. Of course it was or this day wouldn’t be happening. But Darcy kept her reservations about the man.

Katy had never told her the details about how things had worked out. She’d run off somewhere with Julio right after he’d come to Kentucky.

All Darcy knew is that she would never go through that for a man.

Beside her Megan cleared her throat. Oh, right. Turn and face the entrance. She’d missed most of the dress rehearsal and Megan had gone through the ceremony with her that morning.

She pivoted carefully, hoping to focus on her mother who was sitting on the opposite side from the Queen. Darcy knew she’d been beaming with pride and joy for both of her daughters.

Instead Darcy caught sight of the dark mysterious man standing next to the groom.

Like Prince Julio he was clad in the country’s uniform and girded with sash and gold epaulets at the shoulders. The pair looked enough alike to be twins, though this one was taller and infinitely more handsome, in her opinion. With his regal dress and the shining medallions decorating his broad chest, he exuded strength and power.

That was right. He was Julio’s brother.

The reigning king.

She wished she could have gotten here earlier so she would know everyone better.

Darcy winced, thinking again of the harsh words she and Katy had thrown at each other last night. Katy had wanted her here in Prasala a week ago for the wedding preparations, but Darcy had had a farewell concert with her band back in Kentucky. She couldn’t miss that.

Katy didn’t understand why Darcy had changed her plane reservation and arrived late yesterday instead.

And to top it off, Katy told her the wedding planner—the wicked witch lady—had selected a local singer for the reception. Darcy wouldn’t be allowed to sing at her own sister’s wedding.

Okay, she could understand her timing was bad. She’d missed rehearsals. And the type of music they wanted wasn’t her usually thing. But she could have handled it. She was a professional, after all. Why hadn’t Katy stuck up for her?

She knew why. Katy thought her singing was a silly hobby and that Darcy needed to settle down and get serious about life.

That was what stung the most.

Katy might think she was frivolous and shallow but making music was as important to Darcy as Katy’s horses were to her.

If only her sister got that.

It didn’t matter, she told herself, battling down the angry memory. She would show Katy and everyone else, too.

This wedding was going to be a turning point for her. From this moment on her life would be different. For years, she’d put her own dreams on the back burner while she’d helped her mother with the family’s struggling horse farm back home. But with Katy’s marriage to Julio those days were in the past.

At last she was free. At last her time had come.

No one knew it yet, but tucked in her bags back in the palace was a plane ticket and it wasn’t for a return trip to Kentucky. She wasn’t going back to her boring dead-end paralegal job. She was starting a new adventure.

A hush came over the crowd.

The organ filled the vaulted ceiling with loud, majestic chords. At the end of the aisle the bride appeared.

Darcy sucked in her breath.

“Isn’t she beautiful?” Megan whispered.

“She’s gorgeous.” Darcy blinked back a sudden rush of tears, all anger forgotten.

In that amazing Valsois gown, Katy looked as if she were floating in a dream. Darcy was overjoyed for her sister. She hoped she would be happy with her Prince. Suddenly Darcy realized how much she was going to miss her.

But things were changing and life went on.

For her, traveling to Prasala for Katy’s royal wedding was just the first step in her plan. Next stop was Los Angeles and a singing career. She might not have started with the best voice in the world but she’d worked long and hard to develop it. And she wanted a career as a singer more than anything.

It was time for some adventure—high time she struck out on her own and started going after her heart’s desire.

It would all start tomorrow morning.

Once more Darcy’s gaze drifted to the man beside Julio. Hmm. Talk about desire.

Suddenly she was caught up in his aura of power.

How the royal colors of his deep blue and purple attire set off his rich black hair and intense features. How seductively handsome he was. How his presence seemed to fill the room.

And most of all, she was carried away by his dark, piercing stare. The one that was sending shivers down her spine—right to her very toes.

###

Leopold de Chambonay found himself taken off guard.

His senses betrayed him, sending his mind reeling, his thoughts out of balance.

Who is that woman?

She was dressed in the same garb as the other females of the wedding party but somehow she stood out from the others like no woman he had ever seen. She had an unmistakable glow.

What was it about her?

The rich dark hair piled under her veil? Her alabaster skin? Those dark, inviting eyes? That pearl-like mouth with the teasing smile?

She was a vision of pure loveliness. And just now she was making him want to run his hands over that delicate skin, his fingers through that hair, to taste those lips. He wished he were alone with her. In his rooms at the castle. At the seashore. In a hotel suite in the city. Anywhere but at his brother’s wedding.

With a jolt he snapped back to the present. Where in the world had his mind gone?

Shame filled him.

What inappropriate thoughts to have on today of all days. His brother’s wedding day. His brother, to whom he owed all he was.

And then he recognized the shape of the woman’s face. It was the bride’s sister. His new sister-in-law.

This was no way for a king to behave. His father would have been sorely disappointed. But no worse than he was with himself.

Chastising himself for his indiscreet thoughts, he turned away from the delectable sight and concentrated on the ceremony.

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