The Lost Great Dane by B.L. Blair

The Lost and Found Pets Mysteries, Book #1

Cozy Mystery

Date Published: December 1, 2016

 

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The Lost Great Dane is the first novella in the Lost and Found Pets series.
Alexandra Prescott is a licensed private investigator specializing in
finding missing animals. Reuniting pet and owner is more than just a
job.

While looking for a lost cat, Alex finds a weak and injured Great Dane. The
dog has no collar, no tags, and no microchip. And the only person looking
for him is a man who might have murdered his own wife.

Within 24 hours, Alex has a hunted dog, a cryptic message, and a hitman
after her. She realizes the only way out of this mess is to solve the
mystery of the lost Great Dane.

 

 

Excerpt

“You have got to be kidding me,” I said, staring at the small hole in the chain-link fence. The little bit of grass on the other side was mostly dead, and the yard was full of debris. There was an old building not far from the fence that appeared to have been a small barn at one time. An abandoned pickup truck was nearby, but there wasn’t a house or other livable structure. The ground was damp and muddy as it had recently rained. I glanced down at my new, expensive tennis shoes before looking at my companion.

“Are you sure?” I asked. The only response was a sharp bark and pawing on the ground. Hero is a trained search-and-rescue dog, and he is very good at his job. He barked a second time and sat by the fence. I leaned over and gave him a brisk pat. “Okay, give me just a minute.”

Retrieving my cell phone from the pocket of my jeans, I placed a call. Although the property looked deserted, I wasn’t about to go traipsing around without verification. Claire answered on the first ring.

“Lost and Found Pets. This is Claire. How may I help you?”

Claire is my complete opposite. She is short and just a little chubby. She has long blond hair, pretty blue eyes, and a sweet smile. Her bubbly personality comes through with every word she speaks. She is friendly, kind, and supportive. How the two of us became friends is still a mystery to me.

“I need you to do a property search,” I said as soon as she finished her greeting. “Hero found Mr. Fluffy’s trail, but it leads to a fenced property.”

“What’s the address?”

I gave her the particulars and waited while she performed the search. Mr. Fluffy was the lost cat that I was currently trying to locate. The Lost and Found Pets agency tries to live up to its name. We attempt to find lost pets.

I have always loved animals, and I discovered that there was a need for someone to look for lost pets. People love their animal companions. They are willing to pay a great deal of money to find their furry friend. Our clientele consists mostly of those who have money to burn and prefer someone else do all the work. They may be young, up-and-coming professionals who want someone to come home to but don’t have the time to search for them should they get lost, or the elderly whose loss of a pet upsets them so much they have difficulty navigating a basic search for an animal. We also get clients who have exhausted all their own resources and turn to us as a last resort. Lost and Found Pets is a licensed private investigations firm. We are just very specialized.

“It looks like the last owner died about three years ago, and the property hasn’t been claimed. There are a couple of years of back taxes on the books but nothing else. I’m surprised no one has claimed it yet. It’s in a prime spot.”

“Okay, that’s what I needed to know. Thanks, Claire.”

Hero and I were standing on what was probably once a gravel road. Now it was just a large opening dividing several acres of land. I couldn’t see a gate or opening anywhere. It was probably on the other side of the property. If we went around, Hero might have lost Mr. Fluffy’s scent so I reached into my backpack and pulled out a pair of wire cutters. Searching for lost pets often takes me to hard-to-reach places. I carry a whole arsenal of tools. I made quick work of the fence. Hero bounded through first. He is a large brown German Shepherd, but I had to cut the fence even more before I could squeeze through.

After stepping through the fence, I gave Hero the command, and he took off running. I followed a little more slowly, hoping to avoid the muddier areas. Hero headed to the back of the barnlike structure. It was small and falling down. Whoever had owned the place hadn’t done any work on it in years. I heard Hero bark and sped up my pace. When I rounded the corner, I saw at once that I didn’t need to hurry.

“Damn it,” I said softly as I approached the doorway to the barn. The poor cat was dead. His collar had caught on a nail, and it looked like he might have choked to death. There were signs of a struggle. His collar was torn in places, but he hadn’t managed to tear it completely. Mr. Fluffy had been an indoor cat, and his collar was pretty but not designed to break away or stretch. He hadn’t been dead long as his body was still intact. The owners had only realized he was missing that morning. They contacted me midday after a brief search. It was a very typical scenario.

About 50 percent of the time, we are able to find the lost animal. Unfortunately, sometimes we find them too late. Like now. I blinked back tears as I pulled a plastic container from my backpack and gently placed Mr. Fluffy inside. Most of my clients don’t want to see their dead pet, but sometimes they need proof that the animal is actually gone. Hero whined softly. I handed him a treat, which he took but ate slowly, giving me a sad look. I rubbed his head.

“I know, boy. Me too.”

About the Author

B. L. Blair writes mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been
writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the
time to finish them.

She is the author of the Leah Norwood Mysteries and the Lost and Found Pets
Mystery Novellas. She loves reading books, writing books, and traveling
wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on
her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

 

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Darkness Hides by JC Gatlin

Mystery-Suspense

Date Published: Apr 27, 2021

Publisher: Milford House Press, Inc.

 

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A former Fish & Wildlife Officer conducts an off-the-book investigation
when a murder appears to have a connection to her deceased nephew, just as a
hurricane hits her Florida beach town.

 

 

Excerpt

Kate found a battery-operated Coleman lantern discarded on the kitchen floor and flipped it on. It lit up the room, and she carried it upstairs, where Elise sat alone in Noah’s bedroom.

“I want to be alone,” Elise said, sitting in the rocker.

Kate didn’t respond, listening to the rain and wind pummel the house. The walls creaked so eerily in the gale-force winds that she wondered if they could collapse around them. Stuffed animals above the bed trembled. Her pet squirrel, Doc, raised up on her shoulder, swishing his bushy tail. The lantern cast a pale glow around the bedroom. With the windows boarded up, any area outside the lantern light was lost in thick, inky blackness. Though she couldn’t see the lightning, she could hear the angry thunder compete with the rain beating the roof.

The bookcase rattled, keeping her on edge. She glanced at Elise, huddled in the rocking chair. Her sister wrapped the afghan tighter over her shoulders and locked her arms around her knees.

The walls trembled with another thunderclap, shaking the bookcase, and knocked the worn copy of Where the Darkness Hides to the floor. Kate jumped at the loud thump. Doc jumped too and leaped to the floor to investigate. She raised the lantern and looked around the room. Many of the stuffed animals had fallen onto the small bed. A model airplane dangled from the ceiling, swaying violently from the turbulence. A toy box sat positioned under the window.

Letting out a breath, she shut her eyes and focused on the rain thumping the roof. It intensified, then quieted. The sound was hypnotic, and she didn’t even hear Doogie enter the bedroom. He shined a flashlight in her direction and paused in the doorway.

“Sebastian made landfall”—his voice rose above another loud boom of thunder—“south of Sarasota.”

Kate couldn’t see him behind the blinding light in his hands, and when he lowered the flashlight, it still took a moment for her eyes to adjust. She sensed him stepping beside her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Doc dash across the floor toward him.

“We’ve just got to make it through the night.” He walked over to the rocking chair and put a hand on Elise’s shoulder.

Doc followed, cautiously investigating the cuff of his right pant leg.

“It’s about to get worse,” Kate said.

A corner of Elise’s mouth turned upward, but her smile was without humor. She turned to Doogie. “Why didn’t you sell her to gypsies or leave her in the woods somewhere?”

The wind howled at the window, and a sudden gust ripped the plywood from the casing. The glass shattered. Wind and rain blew into the room.

Elise screamed. The rocker overturned, spilling her to the floor. Kate and Doogie rushed to the bed, flipped the mattress off it, and forced it to the open window. They fought the incoming wind. The force bent the mattress, folded it like a sheet of paper, and pushed them back. Doogie shoved the mattress against the window and held it there. He yelled at Kate to move the bookcase. She got to one side of it and scooted it across the carpet to the front of the mattress.

The mattress shuddered in front of the broken window. The wind squealed and screamed like a dying thing. Kate and Doogie were silent for a couple of minutes, staring at each other.

“It’s not going to hold,” Kate yelled to him over the wind.

“We need to go downstairs.” He pointed toward the bedroom door. “It’s not safe in here.”

Elise turned the rocker right side up and sat down. “I’m not leaving Noah’s room.”

Doogie stepped to her, knelt beside the rocker. “C’mon, kid. It’s not safe.”

Kate watched her sister look up at him.

“I’m not leaving.” Gripping the edges of the afghan and pulling it taut against her back, she sank deeper into the cradle of the rocking chair. Her voice sounded raspy and tired, and a clap of thunder tapped her willpower.

The wind grew louder. It sounded like a howling wolf for a second and then a train. The roar became deafening. Debris hit the house. The roof rattled and banged.

Kate looked up.

Doogie moved the box spring and bedframe to the window, struggling to position them against the mattress. He looked back at Kate.

Elise picked up the weathered copy of Where the Darkness Hides from the floor. With the soft lantern light illuminating her face, she set the book in her lap and opened the cover.

Doogie looked puzzled. “We don’t have time for this.”

Elise read out loud, raising her voice over the shrieking wind.

“We don’t have time for this,” Doogie yelled. He turned to Kate. “Do something.”

Kate listened to the roar of the wind. Something massive hit the side of the house. The impact was loud and shook the walls. What could she do? If their number was up, she couldn’t possibly do anything to prevent it. And at least they’d be going as a family, together. She dropped to the floor, next to Elise. Doc scurried to her, his tail raised high, and hopped onto her thigh. He stood on his hind legs and pawed at Kate with his single arm.

Thunder rocked the house, and Elise stopped reading. She turned toward the bedroom door. Doc let out a series of warning chirps and clicks. Kate heard it too. A pounding that seemed separate from the rain beating the exterior of the house. BAM! BAM! BAM! Intense. Determined. It sounded different from the wind.

It was coming from downstairs.

The hairs on the back of Kate’s neck rose. Another BAM! BAM! BAM! She definitely didn’t imagine it. She turned to Doogie. His eyes widened.

“That’s the front door,” he said. “Someone’s at the door.”

About the Author

JC Gatlin is a Mystery Suspense author living in Tampa, Florida. He
self-published three mystery novels, including 21 DARES–which topped
Amazon’s Mystery-Suspense chart in 2016. Milford House Press published his
next mystery, H_NGM_N: MURDER IS THE WORD, and it won the Royal Palm
Literary Award for Best Mystery-Crime Fiction in 2019. His new mystery,
Darkness Hides, is scheduled for release on April 27, 2021.

 

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Vow Unbroken – Faerie Tales, Book 3

Faerie Tales, Book 3

Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Release Date: May 28, 2021

In the third book of the Faerie Tales series, the story expands. In the outset story, Fergus, Aoife, and Niamh hunt down the reincarnation of Tamlin so that they might break the curse.

On the inset story, Aoife attempts to find Cu Roi Mac Daire’s weakness, so she can use it against him. She finds darker secrets await outside his castle’s walls.

Fagan, now going by Fergus, takes up Tamlin’s offer to train with the fae warriors so that he might gain favor with Mab. The prospect of ever seeing Aoife again is bleak until the legendary Cuchulainn, Mac Daire’s sworn enemy arrives.

(This book is written to stand alone, but reading Warrior Tithe will give you the backstory of the characters.)

If you’re a fan of Maas, Black, Armentrout, or Martin, you’ll love this take on the fae and legends of ancient Ireland.

Tam Lin: A Modern, Queer Retelling

Faerie Tales, Book One

Published: October 2020

Never break a promise to the fae…

After a fight with his fiance, Tom Lane needs a change of pace–more accurately, an escape so he can lick his wounds. He travels to Ireland in search of his Ulster-Scots roots.Though he was adopted as a child, Tom is adrift in adulthood and hopes the history of his biological family will help him understand himself and what he truly desires.

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Tom soon learns the truth of his past…and the history of his legendary ancestor. The stories he’s heard his entire life aren’t stories at all: they’re warnings. But when Tom finds himself facing the Wild Hunt, it might be too late to listen.

Warrior Tithe

Faerie Tales, Book Two

Published: March 2021

Sparks fly between an unlikely pair with a spurned sorcerer hot on their trail.

Aoife, a kelpie, flees a marriage trap laid by her father, Mannan mac Lir and the sorcerer king Cu Roi mac Daire, only to fall prey to an iron snare in the mortal realm.

Fagan, a poor cottar, with nothing left to lose takes pity upon the kelpie he finds in his snare, setting her free. When the kelpie transforms into a beautiful fae maiden and offers to take him to the queen of Sidhe to repay him for his kindness, he joins her on her journey.

However, Aoife is keeping secrets.

Her betrothed Cu Roi mac Daire will not let his betrothed go so easily. His life and his kingdom depends on it.


About the Author


T.J. Deschamps likes to build worlds with words. She lives in the American Pacific Northwest with her three children, two cats, and a very friendly tortoise. In her spare time, she loves to enjoy her beautiful state, read, dance, lift weights, and might possibly be a dragon.

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My Job Gen Z: Finding Your Place in a Fast Changing World

Finding Your Place in a Fast-Changing World

Non-Fiction, Careers, Business

Date Published: March 2021

Publisher: Skees Family Foundation

Nonfiction business/career studies, sociology of work, real-life vignettes of young people at work along with how-tos for job hunting and career building.

MY JOB Gen Z:

–provides hope and help to young adults launching careers during a pandemic and recession,

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–offers resources on how to identify your skills, apply for internships and jobs, negotiate terms and salary, work remotely, and forge ahead with your dream job in a fast-changing world.

MY JOB Gen Z, written by and for Generation Z (born in and after 1995), combines research into the unique experiences and qualities of this rising generation with the results of our own global survey.

We compare what the “”data”” say about Gen Z with who YOU say you are, including an array of real-life profiles of ordinary Gen Zers–how they feel about work, what they want most from their careers, and the challenges they encounter along the way.

We spotlight famous Gen Zers who’ve already had impact on society, built companies, and made millions–and reveal what drives them to succeed.

Then we guide you through best practices for creating your own resume and professional profile, applying for internships and jobs, conducting online and in-person interviews, discerning your valuable skillset and pursuing your own dream job.

The real-life examples and pragmatic advice offered in MY JOB Gen Z will convince you that you are not alone, in an often-challenging and isolating world. It will leave you inspired by your peers doing amazing things and motivated to pursue your own dream job.

About the Authors

SUZANNE SKEES works in international development as director of the Skees Family Foundation and as a storyteller who travels from schools to slums, prisons to farms, writing for nonprofits and their courageous clients who toil every day to end poverty and create equality. She holds masters’ degrees in English literature from Boston College and world religions from Harvard Divinity School.

SANAM YUSUF is a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, focusing on religious studies and diplomacy/world affairs. She was trained in dialogue and conflict resolution at Seeds of Peace International Camp and spent five years as a delegate with Model United Nations (MUN). Through these experiences, she was able to truly see the power of narratives and storytelling–which is why she’s so excited to coauthor this book!

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A Wider World by Karen Heenan

The Tudor Court, Book Two

Historical Fiction

Release Date: April 25, 2021

Publisher: Authors 4 Authors Publishing

Memories are all he has…

Now they could save his life.

Returning to England after almost five years in exile, Robin Lewis is arrested and charged with heresy by the dying Queen Mary. As he is escorted to the Tower of London, Robin spins a tale for his captor, revisiting his life under three Tudor monarchs and wondering how he will be judged—not just by the queen, but by the God he stopped serving long ago.

When every moment counts, will his stories last long enough for him to be saved by Mary’s heir, the young Queen Elizabeth?

Other Book in the The Tudor Court Series:

Songbird

The Tudor Court, Book One

Publisher: Authors 4 Authors Publishing

Published: November 2019

She has the voice of an angel…

But one false note could send her back to her old life of poverty.

After her father sells her to Henry VIII, ten-year-old Bess builds a new life as a royal minstrel, and earns the nickname “the king’s songbird.”

She comes of age in the decadent Tudor court, where the stakes are always high, and where politics, heartbreak, and disease threaten everyone from the king to the lowliest musician.

Her world has only one constant: Tom, her first and dearest friend. But when Bess intrigues with Anne Boleyn and strains against the restrictions of life at court, will she find that constancy has its limits?

You’ll love this richly-detailed historical novel, because we all want to know what goes on “backstairs at the palace.”

Amazon

About the Author


Karen Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia. She fell in love with books and stories before she learned to read and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams—which include gardening, sewing, traveling, and of course, lots of writing. She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with four cats and a very patient husband.

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