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THE WIDOWER’S WIFE

by Cate Holahan

Ana Bacon, a young housewife, tumbles off a cruise ship into the dark and deadly waters, but did she take her secrets with her?

Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten million dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall. So the official ruling seems to be substantiated.

Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall.

Cate Holahan looks at the dark underbelly of a marriage from the perspectives of the detective and the victim in her tense and enthralling page-turner, The Widower’s Wife.

Available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

 

CATE HOLAHAN TALKS ABOUT  THE WIDOWER’S WIFE

1.) What inspired you to write The Widower’s Wife?

Many of my thriller ideas come from things I am afraid of in my own life.

Before starting The Widower’s Wife, my husband and I bought our first house. We have a mortgage that is heavily dependent on his salary. I worried what would happen to our family if my spouse ever lost his job and, simultaneously, our house lost value—a position that so many families found themselves in during the recent recession. Jokingly, I told my husband that we might have to rely on my life insurance policy. Once I’d verbalized the idea, I realized it would make a compelling story. 

2.) What kind of research went into this book?

For this novel, I studied the insurance industry. What are the rules for life insurance policies? What kind of odds are considered when pricing policies? I learned a ton of statistics about various insurable interests: lives, cars, marriages, etc. Some of these facts were worked into my main investigator character.

 3.) Can you tell us about some of the creepy things you had to Google while writing The Widower’s Wife?

I really hope Google knows that I am a writer. Otherwise, there’s definitely someone at the FBI looking into my web searches. I did a lot of research into how drugs and people are smuggled into the U.S. from the Caribbean. Revealing anymore would spoil elements of the plot.

 4.) Did you speak with any experts in the fields of statistics, insurance policies, etc during your research?

I am fortunate to know several people in the insurance industry who let me pick their brains on what kinds of considerations go into issuing policies. I also think being a business reporter for years allowed me to parse some of the statistical data myself.

 5.) Investigator Ryan Monahan is an incredible character with a statistics driven brain. What was it like getting inside the mind of this character?

I loved thinking like Ryan. I tend to be a more passionate, emotionally driven person so I enjoyed trying to see the world with his analytical gaze. He’s a skeptic who distrusts most of the information he is given and is always weighing it against his own database of stats and odds. He’s constantly asking: is this assumption likely? What are the chances this isn’t true?

Personally, I could use a bit more Ryan in my life. Despite writing thrillers, my default assumption is that everyone that I meet is fundamentally honest, keeps their word, means what they say and has other people’s best interests at heart as well as their own. I still think this is primarily true. But, I am learning that in certain circumstances my world view can be a bit naïve.

6.) Would you consider writing another book with Ryan as investigator?

I would love to write another book with both Ryan and Ana. I think Ryan is a great character that seems to have resonated with a bunch of people. Jeff Ayers wrote for RT Book Reviews that he was “so intriguing that readers will be anxious to read about his further adventures.” I think he could have other insurance crime based cases. I also think that Ana’s position at the end of the book would be interesting to explore. I’d really love to continue the series.

 7.) Ana’s parents back story adds a great layer to the tale. Did you decide to

bring them into the story early on or was this a later development?

I always wanted Ana to be the American born child of deported immigrants. The struggle to fit in without a support system and the pain of not having her family around for her formative years is central to who she is and, I think, what makes her a compelling character. It’s why she is so self-sacrificing for her family. Also, having her parents removed when she was a pre-teen, made her a survivalist in some respects. That kind of I-just-have-to-make-it-through attitude can lead to questionable moral choices, which makes her more complex. And she pays dearly for some of those choices.

8.) Do you have any writing rituals?

I write everyday from 9a.m. until 2:30 p.m., stopping midday for 20 minutes to walk the dog. I edit after everyone in my house goes to sleep, including my husband. Usually from 11 p.m. on…

9.) Are you attending any writer’s conferences this year?

I am attending Bouchercon (September 15-18), and I will be on a panel Saturday at 4:30 p.m. about pacing. The lineup is great. I am excited to meet Sara Blaedel and Suzanne Chazin, among others.

10.) What are you working on next?

I am working on a novel about a writer with a shady past who explores the whole art imitates life vs. life imitates art battle. It’s a taut, creepy mystery, and I am definitely excited about it.

 

 

 

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About Cate Holahan

CATHERINE “CATE” HOLAHAN is an award-winning journalist and former television producer. Holahan’s articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record and on web sites for CBS, MSN Money, NorthJersey.com, BusinessWeek.com, and CNBC. Her short fiction won first place in the 19th annual Calliope competition, a magazine published by the writer’s group of American Mensa.

She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, ages 6 and 4, and dog.

The Widower’s Wife is her second novel, published by Crooked Lane Books. Dark Turns was her first.’

 

9780373659708

 

PUPPY LOVE FOR THE VETERINARIAN

by Amy Woods

Blurb

A New Leash On Love

When June Leavy finds two puppies abandoned outside during a storm, she immediately feels a bond with the adorable animals. Swindled out of her life savings by her no-good ex, she, too, was left with nothing but heartache and struggles of her own. But when she arrives at the local veterinary clinic, June is met by dangerously handsome Dr. Ethan Singh, whose sexy smile threatens to disarm her hard-won emotional strength.

Back in Peach Leaf, Texas, to recover from an ugly breakup, Ethan gently tends to the puppies and their charming caretaker. But as the storm rages, so does the electric attraction between Ethan and June. Is this real, or a cruel phantom of lost love? Stranded alone at the clinic, only one thing is certain: they’ve got all night to figure it out…

 

In one of my favorite scenes from Puppy Love for the Veterinarian, June bakes up a special treat for Ethan. Stranded overnight during a snow storm, June shows Ethan how to whip up brownies in a mug. The warm, gooey goodies are just the beginning of June working her way into Ethan’s heart on a cold night, and I know you’ll enjoy them just as much. Happy baking!

Brownie in a Mug (from SimplyRecipes.com)

*Some mugs don’t microwave well because there is metal in their ceramic glaze. They’ll work, but they may get very hot. Best to use a plain old everyday un-fancy mug.

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: 2 minutes

Yield: Makes one serving

Ingredients:
-1/4 cup flour (50 g)
-1/4 cup sugar (70 g)
-2 Tbsp (13 g) cocoa (natural, unsweetened)
-pinch of salt
-tiny pinch of cinnamon
-1/4 cup water (60 ml)
-2 Tbsp canola oil or vegetable oil (NOT extra virgin olive oil)
-1 to 2 drops vanilla extract
-1 small scoop of ice cream or 1 or 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream to serve

Method:
1. Place flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a microwave safe ceramic mug. Stir with a fork or spoon to mix well and break up any clumps.

  1. Add the oil, water, and vanilla to the cup and stir until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.
  2. Place in microwave and heat on high until the mixture is cooked through, about 1 minute and 40 seconds for a 1000 watt microwave. You may have to experiment and adjust the time for less or more powerful microwaves. If you don’t know the power level on your microwave, start with 60 seconds and increase until the brownie is done. It should still be moist when cooked through, not dry.

4. Let cool for a minute and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a teaspoon or two of whipping cream poured over.

 

About Amy

Although she’s wanted to be a writer since learning to read, Amy Woods took the scenic route to her job as an author. She’s been a bookkeeper, a high school English teacher, a claims specialist, and a call-center worker, but now that she’s tried making up stories for a living, she’s never giving it up. She grew up in Austin, Texas, and still lives there with her wonderfully goofy, supportive husband and a very spoiled rescue dog. Amy looks forward to getting to know her readers and can be reached on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website.

Tough Luck Hero--Maisey Yates

 

TOUGH LUCK HERO

by Maisey Yates

Blurb

Can the golden boy of Copper Ridge, Oregon, get a second chance at happy-ever-after?

Ranching heir Colton West knew his wedding would be the talk of the town. But he didn’t expect to get left at the altar—or to escape on the next flight to Vegas with Lydia Carpenter, the woman who gets under his skin like no one else. The only thing crazier than honeymooning with Lydia is waking up married to her. So why does he find himself entertaining his new wife’s desire to stay married—and fantasizing about a real wedding night?

As Copper Ridge’s prospective mayor, Lydia can’t risk a divorce scandal so close to election time. But pretending to be blissfully in love with her new husband is more confusing than she’d thought. For a man who’s always rubbed her the wrong way, Colton suddenly seems to know exactly what to do with his hands. And his lips. Now Lydia’s wildest mistake could turn out to be her luckiest move, if they’re both willing to take the ultimate gamble…

 

EXCERPT

Colton West couldn’t remember the last time he had gotten blackout drunk. Maybe college? Maybe. It was hard to say if in those scenarios he had passed out because of the alcohol or because they were still awake at five in the morning after some ridiculous party.

Though at none of those ridiculous parties had he married anyone.

And, judging by the messages overflowing his phone, he had gotten married last night.

Which wouldn’t be that weird since yesterday was supposed to be his wedding day. The weird part about it was that he had married a bridesmaid. Not the bride.

And not just any bridesmaid.

Lydia Carpenter.

There were three other bridesmaids. All of whom he was more likely to get drunk and marry in Vegas than Lydia. Or at least, he would have thought so if asked prior to his hasty Vegas marriage.

Actually, had he been asked prior to his hasty Vegas marriage he would have said there was no way on earth he would ever get drunk and marry anyone spur of the moment. He was not a spur-of-the-moment kind of guy. Colton was a planner. Colton had never set one foot out of line.

After his older brother had taken off and completely abandoned the family, it had been up to Colton to establish himself as the likely heir to his father’s business. It had been up to him to be the son his father needed. And he had taken that duty very seriously.

Hell, the wedding yesterday was a prime example of that.

The wedding that had originally been scheduled, not the wedding that had ultimately taken place.

This was a nightmare. Unacceptable in every way.

So take it back.

It was the only thing to do. Unlike his brother, who had run when he didn’t want to deal with his life, and unlike his father, who had buried his mistakes, Colton would meet his head-on.

He looked up from his phone at his scowling—he winced—wife.

“Well, I can honestly say this is the last situation I ever expected to find myself in,” he said.

“No way,” she said. “You do not get to look this annoyed about the situation. This is your fault.”

“How is this my fault?”

“Granted my memory is questionable, but if I remember right, we were drinking in Ace’s. Then you were the one who suggested we go somewhere. You were the one who said you had the time off and wanted an escape. You are the one that facilitated the car to take us to the airport and said we needed to get a nonstop flight to somewhere that would be fun. And lo, we boarded a plane to Vegas.”

“At no point did you say no,” he said, wishing he could remember the events a little bit clearer. Maybe she had been hesitant. Maybe she had said no and he’d talked her into it.

But he was going to bluff his way straight through, dammit.

She folded her arms across her chest, crinkling the ridiculous lavender fabric of the bridesmaid dress she was wearing. One of Natalie’s choices. And honestly, he hadn’t cared. Not about the entire spectacle that she had put together with his mother from top to bottom. It hadn’t concerned him at all. The only thing that mattered to him was that Natalie was an appropriate choice. She’d been raised in a family like his. Highly visible in the community, with a lot of concern given to appearances. There were expectations placed on her as the daughter of the long-term mayor, and they matched the expectations placed on him. Plus, he was attracted to her. He liked her. A lot.

He’d liked her more before the wedding plans had started to get really intense. But, ultimately he had been confident in her as his choice of bride. So, the wedding had seemed like an incidental detail to him. Something that would have to take place to appease his mother, Natalie’s family and the populace of Copper Ridge, before he could get on with his life.

He hadn’t paid attention to things like bridesmaid dresses. And now he wondered if he hadn’t paid enough attention to Natalie, either. Well, obviously, since she had left him standing there at the altar without anything other than a quick apology text.

Actually, it hadn’t even really been an apology.

One line, obliterating a relationship that he had spent two years building. A relationship that was supposed to shore up the foundation of his life. And she’d just knocked it all down.

I can’t do this.

That was all she’d said. And he didn’t even get the message until later, after the ceremony that wasn’t. When he was already at Ace’s ordering the kind of hard liquor he never, ever drank in a public space. And definitely not to excess. Then Lydia had shown up.

Fast-forward a little bit—through scenes he couldn’t even remember—and here they were.

 

About Maisey

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Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffeemaker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three, Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily-ever-afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth, and light, sexy contemporary romances set practically in her backyard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world. For more information on Maisey, visit her website at MaiseyYates.com.

9780373756254

A Texas Soldier’s Family

by Cathy Gillen Thacker

 

Blurb

DON’T MESS WITH THIS TEXAN!

On the last leg of his tour of duty, Captain Garrett Lockhart is summoned home to Laramie, Texas, to handle an urgent family matter—a scandal that could destroy the enduring legacy of the Lockharts. Except it’s already being “handled” by Hope Winslow, a professional crisis manager.

Hope is also the beautiful single mother of the most adorable baby boy the Army doctor has ever seen. Garrett is resisting Hope’s efforts at damage control—and pushing her clearly defined boundaries. Too bad she can’t resist him…and fantasies of a future with her Lone Star soldier!

 

Triple Berry Scones

2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tsp grated orange or lemon zest

¼ tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

6 Tablespoons salted butter/room temperature

1 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, and use a pastry cutter to mix, until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add berries to flour mixture and toss carefully to coat.

Whisk buttermilk, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Gently mix wet and dry ingredients just until combined. Flour hands and pat out into an 8 inch circle ¾ inch thick.   With a sharp knife, cut into eight pie shaped wedges and place on parchment paper, leaving spaces in between. Brush with extra buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 14 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cool on wire rack, and enjoy!

Cathy_Gillen_Thacker_Scones

 

Texas Coleslaw

A recipe of your favorite cowboy-barbeque dish for summer nights.

1 bag 16 oz. coleslaw mix

¾ cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 medium Granny Smith Apple, diced

Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, and lime juice in small bowl. Add coleslaw mix and apple, and combine well. Chill and serve.

This is the perfect side-dish for smoked brisket, sausage and or ribs.

 

About Cathy

Cathy Gillen Thacker is a full-time wife, mother and author who began writing stories for her own amusement during “nap time” when her children were toddlers.
Twenty years and more than fifty published novels later, Cathy is almost as well-known for her witty romantic comedies and warm, family stories as she is for her ability to get grass stains and red clay out of almost anything, her triple layer brownies, and her knack for knowing what her husband and children are up to almost before they do!
When writing, Cathy’s greatest goal is to entertain and uplift. “To give people the power and courage to dream.”
Cathy’s books have made numerous appearances on bestseller lists and are now published in 17 languages and 35 countries around the world.
She says the most satisfying aspect of being a writer is hearing from her fans. “I love hearing from readers. Knowing just one person really enjoyed a book makes all the hard work seem worthwhile.”

 

9780373279944

 

COLTON COWBOY HIDEOUT

by Carla Cassidy

Blurb

After years in hiding, Josie Colton has her life back. But to settle a family promise, she must find an old clue buried at the Colton Valley Ranch. She enlists the help of ranch foreman Tanner Grange—in exchange for working as his twin toddlers’ new nanny. On their search, the single dad soon begins to lasso Josie’s heart.

Tanner agrees to assist Josie and is alarmed by how the Colton beauty fits so perfectly into his life. He’s got his hands full investigating the disappearance of his boss and caring for his little girls. When it’s clear someone will kill to stop Josie from uncovering the clue, Tanner vows to protect her…for life!

Available at booksellers everywhere or at Harlequin.com.

 

Carla Cassidy’s Easy Cowboy Barbecue Wings

I love a good meal that is also easy to prepare. These wings fit the bill!

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

3 lbs of chicken wings

Salt and pepper

Your favorite barbecue sauce (mine is Ott’s Silver Dollar City Sweet Hickory)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and then put wings on sheet.

Lightly salt and pepper

Bake until crisp, about 45 minutes

Warm sauce in pan. Add the cooked wings to the sauce and toss.

That’s it and they are delicious!

 

About Carla

Carla Cassidy is an award-winning author who has written more than 55 books. In 1995 she won Best Silhouette Romance of 1995 from Romantic Times Magazine for Anything for Danny. In 1998 she also won a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times Magazine for Best Innovative Series, and her 1998 release, Pregnant With His Child, was both a nominee for Best Silhouette Romance from Romantic Times Magazine and a RITA nominee in the Best Traditional category.
She has been a professional cheerleader, an actress, and a singer/dancer in a show band before settling into her true love…writing.
Carla loves to order items she’ll never use from catalogs and believes all exercise should be banned. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, Frank, and their dogs, Sabra and Spooky. She believes the only thing better than reading a good book is creating a good story.

Her Rancher Bodyguard_Minton

HER RANCHER BODYGUARD

by Brenda Minton

Blurb

Bodyguard Boone Wilder isn’t keen on his latest mission: watching over a pretty politician’s daughter. Boone is from quiet Texas Hill Country, and Kayla is a showy city gal. But once safely settled at the Wilder Ranch, Boone watches Kayla enjoy cooking with his family, caring for his relatives and bottle-feeding calves. There’s more to her than he ever knew. Still, the former soldier’s wounds are way too deep to let Kayla close. But when he discovers that someone wants to hurt Kayla, Boone must risk his heart to protect what he cares about most.

Available at booksellers everywhere and directly from Harlequin online.

 

“One of our favorite recipes for a light lunch, a snack, or appetizer is Smoked Tuna Dip. Since I tend to make up recipes as I go, this is ‘too taste.’”…. Brenda Minton

SMOKED TUNA DIP

4 cans Albacore tuna, drained

6 ounces softened cream cheese. (must be soft to blend)

½ cup Miracle Whip

2-3 teaspoons liquid smoke

A few dashes of garlic powder

Creole Seasoning, several dashes (too taste)

A dash or two of salt

Mix and serve with crackers. Even my kids love this recipe

Brenda Minton

About Brenda Minton

Brenda Minton lives in the Ozarks with her husband, three children, a horse, a few cats and a couple of dogs. What she says about herself probably isn’t as important as what others say. Her daughter says she is “coffee crazy.” She isn’t afraid to share that news with complete strangers. Her middle son thinks she is really embarrassing when she wears fuzzy pink slippers to pick him up at school. Her oldest son doesn’t comment. He’s a smart kid.
Brenda is a country girl who loves to travel. Her dream home is a house on the beach, waves crashing against the shore and a deck where she can have coffee and watch the sun come up.
What does she do when she’s not writing? Her kids say she talks on the phone a lot. That’s probably true. She’s looking into a twelve-step program, but unfortunately she has a lot of enablers who also like to talk on the phone.
She does have other hobbies. She loves to canoe, camp and hike. And of course, drink coffee on the front porch. You can e-mail her at Brenda@brendaminton.net.

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BOUGHT FOR THE GREEK’S REVENGE by Lynne Graham

Blurb

Ella Palmer hasneither the money nor the connections to warrant the interest of Nikolai Drakos’sarchenemy. Yet the unassuming beauty has done just that—and claiming her will beNikolai’s ultimate satisfaction!

The ruthless tycoon will use any meansnecessary to ensure Ella’s compliance, so he buys out her family’s debts. Debts he’ll forgive if Ella becomes his mistress. But when he discovers the true extent of herinnocence, Nikolai is forced to consider something new; it appears the indomitable Greekis about to take a bride!

Congratulations, Lynne Graham, on OVER 35 MILLIONcopies sold worldwide with Harlequin®!

Available at booksellers everywhere and directly from Harlequin online.

 

What’s it like to be a writer? Here’s what Lynn Graham says about her prolific career.

Where the magic happens…

Every writer has a different process, but for me one of the most important parts of creating a story is where I do it. I have a room in my house that is solely mine. I fill it with all the things that inspire me. It has hundreds of books, maps, guides to far flung places where I set my romances. But it’s very much a working room.

I start writing at 9.00 am and work on through to 5.00pm. The only members of the family allowed in to my writing room are my three dogs. They curl up underneath my desk and keep me company. Most of the time they behave! Occasionally if I’m stuck on a plot, then I’ll take them for a walk and by the time I’m back in my room, all the kinks are magically resolved.

At Christmas my writing room has its own Christmas tree that is full of bright pink decorations – these are the ones that are full of glitter, sparkle and feathers. (Both me and my husband agree that it’s the best place for them!) I have candles that cover every surface, and fairy lights around the fire place. It’s the coziest, most beautiful room in the house!

It also contains my collections. I like collecting small frog figurines – if they have crowns! I also like stone animal figures. I have to keep an eye on what I collect, because if I don’t, they’ll get out of hand and I’d be buried under small animals rather than the beautiful worlds of faraway places, and brooding heroes and innocent heroines.

I also have a house in France. It’s a beautiful rural cottage near Eauze in the Gers region. It’s filled with bookshelves, just like my house in Belfast and is an absolute delight and inspiration to write in.

About Lynne Graham
Born of Irish/Scottish parentage, Lynne Graham has lived in Northern Ireland all her life. She has one brother. She grew up in a seaside village and now lives in a country house surrounded by a woodland garden, which is wonderfully private.
Lynne first met her husband when she was 14. They married after she completed a degree at Edinburgh University. Lynne wrote her first book at 15, and it was rejected everywhere. She started writing again when she was at home with her first child. It took several attempts before she sold her first book and the delight of seeing that first book for sale in the local newsagents has never been forgotten.
Lynne always wanted a large family and has five children. Her eldest and her only natural child is 19 and currently at university. Her other children, who are every bit as dear to her heart, are adopted. She has two 9-year-olds adopted from Sri Lanka and a 3- and a 5-year-old adopted from Guatemala. In Lynne’s home, there is a rich and diverse cultural mix, which adds a whole extra dimension of interest and discovery to family life.

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