Saturday, December 30, 2017

WeWriWa - 30 December 2017 - Where's Michelle

30 December 2017:

A Happy New Year to all my fellow authors/bloggers, and to our readers as well. I hope 2018 will be healthy, prosperous, and everything you hope for and more.
As Christiane France, I write LGBT, MTS, PA, and RO. My alter ego, Chris Grover, writes MTS. This is a weekly blog hop where participants post 8-10 sentences from a published work or a work in progress. The blog posts go live between 12:00 noon Saturday and 9:00a.m. Sunday. It’s a great way to discover new authors and expand networks. So be sure to visit www.wewriwa.com and check out all the WeekendWritingWarriors blogs.
For this week’s edition of WeekendWritingWarriors  www.wewriwa.com I have a final snippet from my romantic mystery-suspense, Where’s Michelle.



Where’s Michelle
By Chris Grover
https://www.amazon.com/Wheres-Michelle-Chris-Grover-ebook/dp/B07663J7P8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507309595&sr=1-1&keywords=Where%27s+Michelle
Also available at Apple iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble

https://www.books2read.com/u/bOaJq0



          The dagger was displayed in a red velvet-lined box, and there was an indentation where its mate had once rested. The hilt was elaborately carved with an enameled coat of arms, and she knew she'd seen one like it before. Maybe on TV, or in a museum. She enjoyed historical movies and browsing around antique stores. It was obviously one of a pair, so perhaps—
          A cold shiver prickled her skin, and she felt a sudden rush of unbridled fear. Of course she'd seen it before! Its twin was buried in the dead man's back at the cottage up the hill.
          And the dagger hadn't walked up there by itself. The people who owned this house were away, and the only person left...was the old man?
         
^ ^ ^
Where’s Michelle is a story about a woman whose child disappears in the chaos of a traffic accident.
American Julie Leighton knew almost nothing about her husband, other than the fact he was English. Then Vic was killed, apparently the victim of a mugger, while he was away from Boston on a business trip. A short time later, Julie received a call from a man who claimed to be her father-in-law, inviting Julie and her nine-year old daughter, Michelle, to visit him and his wife in England.
          Shortly after they arrive at London's Heathrow Airport, the trip becomes a nightmare. The hotel shuttle bus is involved in a traffic accident, and Julie wakes up in hospital to find Michelle has vanished.
As Julie is leaving the hospital in search of her daughter, she runs into Simon Winter. Simon was also on the bus and, like Julie, sustained a few minor injuries in the accident. He has no idea what happened to Michelle, but offers to help Julie find her.
Julie accepts, unaware Simon is posing as a businessman and fellow traveler to gain her confidence. He’s actually Detective Inspector Simon Winter, a member of a special security unit whose job is to protect members of the British government from harm. They recently received a tip Julie's late husband was blackmailing a prominent British politician, and that Julie intends to pick up where Vic left off.
          Whether it’s true or not, it needs to be checked out, and Simon’s had Julie under surveillance from the moment her plane landed.

^ ^ ^

Don’t forget this is a blog hop. You can check out all the other contributors’ blogs by following this link:   www.wewriwa.com

 ^ ^ ^

Cool mysteries and hot romance - http://www.chrisgrover.ca
https://www.amazon.com/author/christianefrance
https://www.facebook.com/chris.grover.71
http://twitter.com/chrisgrover2

http://christianefrance.blogspot.ca/ 

2017 in review

The best and the worst of 2017…

When I look back, a lot happened during 2017. Some of it good, some of it not so good.



This year my eldest kitty (he’s the black one), Toby Diamond, turned 15. After suffering vertigo back in September of 2015, he’s still a bit unsteady on his feet and loses his balance if he turns corners too sharply. But he’s not one to give up or give in. My motto has always been Onward & Upward and it’s his as well. It took two years before he could again jump back and forth from the sofa to the coffee table. And now that he can, he does it all the time.

The younger one, Domino, celebrated his tenth birthday with a makeover—his trip to the vet to have four teeth extracted also included a free mani-pedi and grooming. Did I mention his doctor just loves kitties? Apparently, Dom likes him, too. I’ve had to take him back twice since then—once for ulcers under his upper lip and more recently for an ulcer in his right eye which I’m glad to say I caught in the very earliest stage. He didn’t much care for all the meds, but at least they worked and he’s just about back to normal.

The loss of All Romance eBooks was a huge blow to both authors and publishers alike. I’d hoped to see a replacement, but with so many complaints about poor sales I won’t hold my breath.

On the good side, I’ve joined a couple of blog hops: Weekend Writing Warriors at http://www.wewriwa.com/ and MidWeekTease at http://midweektease.blogspot.ca/. Both of which are great places to discover new authors and new books. In October I finally got the last of my back list reissued which was also good. Or so I thought until I received news of the impending closure of Loose Id LLC. This means I’ll have 4 more orphans to rehome when I receive the reversal of my rights in June 2018.

I have a bunch of works in progress, and I’d hoped to finish and release something new this year: the first in a new m/m gay series, Stories from The Fountain, and another book in the Amethyst Cove series. But for various reasons none of that happened. I could probably come up with a dozen different excuses as to why. Such as the strange up and down weather we had for most of 2017, or the fact that last Christmas I was given two industrial-size garbage bags of yarn which sent my creative urges in a whole different direction. I solved most of my Christmas list by crocheting afghans as gifts for friends, and I also knitted a bunch of scarves and headbands for the residents at the local YWCA.

2017 may not have been my best year, but it was far from the worst. 

Happy New Year! 

Christiane

Cool mysteries and hot romance - http://www.chrisgrover.ca
https://www.amazon.com/author/christianefrance
https://www.facebook.com/chris.grover.71
http://twitter.com/chrisgrover2
http://christianefrance.blogspot.ca/


Saturday, December 23, 2017

WeWriWa - 23 December 2017 - Where's Michelle (12)

23 December 2017:

Merry Christmas/Season’s Greetings to my fellow authors/bloggers, and to all our readers as well.
As Christiane France, I write LGBT, MTS, PA, and RO. My alter ego, Chris Grover, writes MTS. This is a weekly blog hop where participants post 8-10 sentences from a published work or a work in progress. The blog posts go live between 12:00 noon Saturday and 9:00a.m. Sunday. It’s a great way to discover new authors and expand networks. So be sure to visit www.wewriwa.com and check out all the WeekendWritingWarriors blogs.
For this week’s edition of WeekendWritingWarriors  www.wewriwa.com I have another snippet from my romantic mystery-suspense, Where’s Michelle. Julie still hasn’t found her daughter. It seems for every step she takes forward, something happens to push her at least half a step back.


Where’s Michelle
By Chris Grover
https://www.amazon.com/Wheres-Michelle-Chris-Grover-ebook/dp/B07663J7P8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507309595&sr=1-1&keywords=Where%27s+Michelle
Also available at Apple iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble

https://www.books2read.com/u/bOaJq0



          An inch of flickering candle stuck on a chipped saucer threw ghostly shadows around the walls, revealing damp spots and patches of peeling paint. But what really caught her attention was the man sitting in one of the wooden chairs, half-sprawled across the kitchen table, his left hand wrapped around a cell phone.
          Assuming he was asleep, she took a step closer.
          But as she reached out to touch his shoulder the candle spluttered and flared, glinting off the handle of a knife buried deep in the man's back.
          Shock sent the blood rushing through her veins like a river in flood. Her legs threatened to give out, and she grabbed at the table for support.
          She felt dizzy, nauseous, and she couldn't stop shaking. Her stomach cramped and bile burned her throat.
          She closed her eyes tightly to block out the gruesome sight and pressed her hot face against the cold damp wall. After a few deep breaths, the nauseous feeling receded and she opened her eyes.
         
^ ^ ^
Where’s Michelle is a story about a woman whose child disappears in the chaos of a traffic accident.
American Julie Leighton knew almost nothing about her husband, other than the fact he was English. Then Vic was killed, apparently the victim of a mugger, while he was away from Boston on a business trip. A short time later, Julie received a call from a man who claimed to be her father-in-law, inviting Julie and her nine-year old daughter, Michelle, to visit him and his wife in England.
          Shortly after they arrive at London's Heathrow Airport, the trip becomes a nightmare. The hotel shuttle bus is involved in a traffic accident, and Julie wakes up in hospital to find Michelle has vanished.
As Julie is leaving the hospital in search of her daughter, she runs into Simon Winter. Simon was also on the bus and, like Julie, sustained a few minor injuries in the accident. He has no idea what happened to Michelle, but offers to help Julie find her.
Julie accepts, unaware Simon is posing as a businessman and fellow traveler to gain her confidence. He’s actually Detective Inspector Simon Winter, a member of a special security unit whose job is to protect members of the British government from harm. They recently received a tip Julie's late husband was blackmailing a prominent British politician, and that Julie intends to pick up where Vic left off.
          Whether it’s true or not, it needs to be checked out, and Simon’s had Julie under surveillance from the moment her plane landed.
^ ^ ^
Don’t forget this is a blog hop. You can check out all the other contributors’ blogs by following this link:   www.wewriwa.com
 ^ ^ ^
Cool mysteries and hot romance - http://www.chrisgrover.ca
https://www.amazon.com/author/christianefrance
https://www.facebook.com/chris.grover.71
http://twitter.com/chrisgrover2

http://christianefrance.blogspot.ca/ 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

MidWeekTease - 20 December 2017 - Chance Encounter (8)

20 December 2017:

First, I’d like to wish my fellow bloggers and all our readers the Merriest Christmas ever and all the very best for 2018.
Thanks as always to Angelica Dawson for hosting the MidWeekTease - http://midweektease.blogspot.ca/ It’s a great way to learn about other authors and their work.
This week I have one more excerpt from Chance Encounter, a contemporary m/m romance about three missing teenagers and the reunion of former lovers.


Chance Encounter
by
Christiane France
Available at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo - https://www.books2read.com/u/mYjwd4
https://www.amazon.com/Chance-Encounter-Christiane-France-ebook/dp/B06XF5KGBT/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Blurb:

In high school and through their first year of college, Jase Thoman and Matt Lester were best friends and lovers. Then Matt’s family moved, Matt transferred to another school, and they drifted apart.
Ten years later, they meet again by chance. Jase is a private investigator, desperate to find his kid brother (Donny) who, in addition to two other teenage boys, disappeared after last being seen at a local gay bar. Matt is an undercover police officer, brought in by the local police department in the hope he can succeed where they’ve far failed.
Matt is the only man Jase has ever really loved, but ten years is a long time. They’re not the same people they once were. When Matt tries to pick up where they left off, Jase takes a step back. His first priority is finding his brother. As far as Matt is concerned, Jase feels how he imagines a deer would feel when caught in the headlights of a vehicle with little or no chance of escape—confused, unsure, and at the same time, positive whatever he does will be the wrong thing.

Excerpt:

Figuring the man for a closet queen, looking for a bit of rough on the sly, Jase went ahead and used the facilities. But as he started to wash his hands, he noticed the guy still rubbing away at the exact same spot on the jacket. His body language was jumpy and nervous, as if he was scared or something bad had happened, and in view of the bar’s reputation, Jase wondered if he needed help. However, before he could open his mouth to ask, the guy stopped what he was doing, dropped the paper towel he’d been using in the trash container, and took off.
Jase was no more than two steps behind him. In fact, the door was still in the process of closing as he pulled it open to leave himself, but instead of the man heading back toward the bar, all he saw was a stretch of empty hallway. There was absolutely no way he could have made it through the door into the bar that fast, so unless he’d evaporated or pulled some kind of disappearing trick…
He took a quick look in the other direction. The doors were closed to some of the rooms available for customers’ use, so there was a chance he could be in one of those. In that case, though, he would have expected to hear voices or the snick of a door closing. Something.
He continued in the same direction, past the rooms and toward the back of the building. A couple of jogs in the hallway finally brought him within sight of the back door and one of the bouncers sitting on a stool.
“Don’t suppose you happened to see an older guy come this way?” he inquired. “He’s wearing an old denim jacket and jeans. Mousy looking dude, about five-ten, medium brown hair, probably mid-fifties.”
“Ain’t no one on staff fits that description so he must be a customer, and customers ain’t allowed to leave by this door,” the bouncer said flatly. “You supposed to be meeting him back here?”
“No. It’s just that one minute he was right in front of me, going out the washroom door into the hallway, and the next he’d disappeared. I thought it kind of weird is all.”
“Figured he’d vanished like one of them kids?” the bouncer said with a throaty chuckle. “Nah. Dollars to doughnuts he was meeting someone in one of them rooms we have back there. The ones that are available for the added enjoyment of the customers,” he said with a wink and a chuckle.
Figuring the bouncer knew what he was talking about, Jase gave up and returned to his table. At least his beer was still there, exactly the way he’d left it. He removed the coaster and took a sip, all the while keeping an eye on the door, waiting for the guy to reappear.
Customers went through the door and eventually came out again, but when the band stopped for a break and there was still no sign of the older man, Jase’s curiosity had reached an all-time high. Either the old dude was having himself one helluva session or, like the three boys, he’d vanished into thin air.

^ ^ ^
Don’t forget this is a blog hop. You can check out all the other contributors’ blogs by following this link: http://midweektease.blogspot.ca/

^ ^ ^

Cool mysteries and hot romance - http://www.chrisgrover.ca
https://www.amazon.com/author/christianefrance
https://www.facebook.com/chris.grover.71
http://twitter.com/chrisgrover2
http://christianefrance.blogspot.ca/


Saturday, December 16, 2017

WeWriWa - 16 December 2017 - Where's Michelle (10)

16 December 2017:

As Christiane France, I write LGBT, MTS, PA, and RO. My alter ego, Chris Grover, writes MTS. This is a weekly blog hop where participants post 8-10 sentences from a published work or a work in progress. The blog posts go live between 12:00 noon Saturday and 9:00a.m. Sunday. It’s a great way to discover new authors and expand networks. So be sure to visit www.wewriwa.com and check out all the WeekendWritingWarriors blogs.
For this week’s edition of WeekendWritingWarriors  www.wewriwa.com I have another snippet from my romantic mystery-suspense, Where’s Michelle.


Where’s Michelle
By Chris Grover
https://www.amazon.com/Wheres-Michelle-Chris-Grover-ebook/dp/B07663J7P8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507309595&sr=1-1&keywords=Where%27s+Michelle
Also available at Apple iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble

https://www.books2read.com/u/bOaJq0



          “You don't know me, so we won't bother with names, lady,” the male caller said hurriedly. “I'm calling about the kid. I'm taking a big chance calling you direct like this, but I don't agree with snatching small kids, see. Mixes up their little heads if you know what I mean. Anyway, I thought perhaps you and me could come to an agreement.”
          Julie found the caller’s strong accent a little difficult to understand, but she got the general idea what he was talking about. “You know where my daughter is?” she asked, her heart pounding with excitement. “Can you take me there?”
          “I can tell you where she is. After that, then I'm afraid it'll be up to you, lady.”
         
^ ^ ^
Where’s Michelle is a story about a woman whose child disappears in the chaos of a traffic accident.
American Julie Leighton knew almost nothing about her husband, other than the fact he was English. Then Vic was killed, apparently the victim of a mugger, while he was away from Boston on a business trip. A short time later, Julie received a call from a man who claimed to be her father-in-law, inviting Julie and her nine-year old daughter, Michelle, to visit him and his wife in England.
          Shortly after they arrive at London's Heathrow Airport, the trip becomes a nightmare. The hotel shuttle bus is involved in a traffic accident, and Julie wakes up in hospital to find Michelle has vanished.
As Julie is leaving the hospital in search of her daughter, she runs into Simon Winter. Simon was also on the bus and, like Julie, sustained a few minor injuries in the accident. He has no idea what happened to Michelle, but offers to help Julie find her.
Julie accepts, unaware Simon is posing as a businessman and fellow traveler to gain her confidence. He’s actually Detective Inspector Simon Winter, a member of a special security unit whose job is to protect members of the British government from harm. They recently received a tip Julie's late husband was blackmailing a prominent British politician, and that Julie intends to pick up where Vic left off.
          Whether it’s true or not, it needs to be checked out, and Simon’s had Julie under surveillance from the moment her plane landed.
^ ^ ^
Don’t forget this is a blog hop. You can check out all the other contributors’ blogs by following this link:   www.wewriwa.com
 ^ ^ ^
Cool mysteries and hot romance - http://www.chrisgrover.ca
https://www.amazon.com/author/christianefrance
https://www.facebook.com/chris.grover.71
http://twitter.com/chrisgrover2

http://christianefrance.blogspot.ca/ 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

MidWeekTease - 13 December 2017 - Chance Encounter

13 December 2017: 

Sorry! I’m late posting again this week. Blame it on me trying to get everything done, so I don’t get caught up in a last-minute Christmas frenzy.
Thanks so much to Angelica Dawson for hosting the MidWeekTease - http://midweektease.blogspot.ca/ It’s a great way to learn about other authors and their work.
This week I have another excerpt from Chance Encounter, a contemporary m/m romance about the reunion of former lovers.


Chance Encounter
by
Christiane France
Available at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo - https://www.books2read.com/u/mYjwd4
https://www.amazon.com/Chance-Encounter-Christiane-France-ebook/dp/B06XF5KGBT/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Blurb:

In high school and through their first year of college, Jase Thoman and Matt Lester were best friends and lovers. Then Matt’s family moved, Matt transferred to another school, and they drifted apart.
Ten years later, they meet again by chance. Jase is a private investigator, desperate to find his kid brother (Donny) who, in addition to two other teenage boys, disappeared after last being seen at a local gay bar. Matt is an undercover police officer, brought in by the local police department in the hope he can succeed where they’ve far failed.
Matt is the only man Jase has ever really loved, but ten years is a long time. They’re not the same people they once were. When Matt tries to pick up where they left off, Jase takes a step back. His first priority is finding his brother. As far as Matt is concerned, Jase feels how he imagines a deer would feel when caught in the headlights of a vehicle with little or no chance of escape—confused, unsure, and at the same time, positive whatever he does will be the wrong thing.
Excerpt:

Matt knew Jase was right to put the brakes on. He still loved Jase, at least he was pretty sure he did, and he was reasonably certain Jase felt the same way about him. Even so, taking time out to be sure about their feelings was a good idea, and one he was more than willing to go along with. Living in Toronto was okay, if you liked big cities, but there was something warm and welcoming about the old steel town on the shores of Lake Ontario where he’d been born. He still had a couple of cousins and a few old school friends living here, and if things worked out with Jase…
“Sorry, but I’ve really got to get a move on,” Jase said, intruding into Matt’s thoughts. “I just need to use the bathroom, then we’ll go.”
“Yeah, me, too,” Matt said, and then he added, “Will I see you later on tonight?”
“That’s the plan. I can be at Rafe’s right when they open at nine if that’s okay.”
“Fine with me. That’ll give us plenty of time to do some serious snooping around for those hidden doors your caller mentioned.”
“That’s if they exist,” Jase said with a sigh.
“But why mention them if they don’t?”
Jase shrugged. “Beats me. But he must have had his reasons. And he said ways in which doesn’t necessarily mean a door. It could be anything from an unlocked window to an opening of some kind that’s been boarded over because it’s no longer in use.”
“Like one of those ramp things they used to roll the beer kegs down? I remember they had one at a tavern near where I lived as a kid.”
“Hey, good thought because way back before Rafe’s took over and tarted the place up it was a regular working man’s tavern. They probably took the ramp out years ago, but it’s worth double checking to make sure.”
After leaving Jase outside the drycleaners, Matt stopped at a drugstore to replenish his make-up supply for his role as Blade, the back-up singer. During his teenage years, he’d been split between the idea of a career in the entertainment business and one in law and order. But a summer gig with a local band in cottage country had been a big eye-opener. It had shown him a self-indulgent, vagabond lifestyle was one thing his orderly mind could never accept.
In fact, working with Dean and his boys was like taking a step back in time. Between containers of stale fast food, spills that were never cleaned up and an almost total absence of personal hygiene due to limited washroom facilities, the tour bus had a lot in common with the back of a garbage truck. As far as Matt was concerned, his current assignment couldn’t be over fast enough.
During the bus ride back to Rafe’s, Matt tried to envision the area behind the bar in his mind’s eye…the kitchen, the toilets, the storerooms, the rooms that were rented by the hour to customers, and the hallway that meandered through the building from the bar at the front to the delivery door in back. If there was another exit, he couldn’t even hazard a guess where it might be. But then everything was painted dark blue—doors, walls, even the ceilings, and the lighting was so bad if there were any secret doors or sliding panels they’d be exceedingly difficult to see.
After a lengthy stop-and-go ride through heavy, late afternoon traffic, the bus finally reached his stop, and, as he got off, Matt made a mental note to put the flashlight he kept with his personal possessions in his pocket. Maybe Jase didn’t believe in the existence of other exits, but Matt did. The building that housed Rafe’s was both large and sprawling, built the best part of a hundred years ago. The kind of place that was usually full of unexpected nooks and crannies if you had the patience to look, but without a decent light, they weren’t likely to find shit.

^ ^ ^
Don’t forget this is a blog hop. You can check out all the other contributors’ blogs by following this link: http://midweektease.blogspot.ca/

^ ^ ^

Cool mysteries and hot romance - http://www.chrisgrover.ca
https://www.amazon.com/author/christianefrance
https://www.facebook.com/chris.grover.71
http://twitter.com/chrisgrover2
http://christianefrance.blogspot.ca/


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Holiday reading

If you're looking for something to read over the holidays and you like full length romantic/mystery/suspense stories...


Where’s Michelle
By Chris Grover
https://www.amazon.com/Wheres-Michelle-Chris-Grover-ebook/dp/B07663J7P8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507309595&sr=1-1&keywords=Where%27s+Michelle
Also available at Apple iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble

https://www.books2read.com/u/bOaJq0


Where’s Michelle is a story about a woman whose child disappears in the chaos of a traffic accident.
American Julie Leighton knew almost nothing about her husband, other than the fact he was English. Then Vic was killed, apparently the victim of a mugger, while he was away from Boston on a business trip. A short time later, Julie received a call from a man who claimed to be her father-in-law, inviting Julie and her nine-year old daughter, Michelle, to visit him and his wife in England.
          Shortly after they arrive at London's Heathrow Airport, the trip becomes a nightmare. The hotel shuttle bus is involved in a traffic accident, and Julie wakes up in hospital to find Michelle has vanished.
As Julie is leaving the hospital in search of her daughter, she runs into Simon Winter. Simon was also on the bus and, like Julie, sustained a few minor injuries in the accident. He has no idea what happened to Michelle, but offers to help Julie find her.
Julie accepts, unaware Simon is posing as a businessman and fellow traveler to gain her confidence. He’s actually Detective Inspector Simon Winter, a member of a special security unit whose job is to protect members of the British government from harm. They recently received a tip Julie's late husband was blackmailing a prominent British politician, and that Julie intends to pick up where Vic left off.
          Whether it’s true or not, it needs to be checked out, and Simon’s had Julie under surveillance from the moment her plane landed.

Excerpt:


Julie Leighton awoke with a pounding headache and the feeling she'd been run over by a truck. Even her eyes hurt. All she could see was a strange, shimmering, iridescent haze which seemed to increase and diminish in size as it wavered back and forth.
          She groaned and closed her eyes. Her fault for drinking wine with her dinner on the plane. Wine gave her a headache. Flying gave her a headache. She hadn't slept properly in weeks and lack of sleep always gave her a headache as well.
          A couple of hours in bed, and she would feel better. Michelle would understand...
          “How are we feeling, Mrs. Leighton?”
          The brisk, unmistakably British voice jerked Julie back to consciousness.
          “Lousy.” She struggled to sit up while wondering what the maid was doing in her room. Her friend and lawyer, Yvonne Martineau, raved about the hospitality of British hotels, but this was ridiculous.
          “Head hurt?”
          “Yes, it does. So, will you please—?”
          “Just try to relax.” The light pressure of a cool hand on her forehead came as a complete shock. Julie forced her eyes open and tried again to sit up. She could see just fine now, but the smell of antiseptic coupled with bright overhead lights and a uniformed nurse standing by the bed made it clear she was in a hospital rather than a hotel. She experienced a rush of panic.
          “What am I doing here? Where is my daughter? What happened?” She glanced at the IV in her right hand, then around the partially curtained cubicle. “Am I sick or what?”
          The blonde-haired nurse drew the curtains completely around the bed. “You don't remember?”
          Julie frowned and slumped back against the pillows. The throbbing in her head made it difficult to think. Her name was Julie Leighton. She and her daughter, Michelle, lived in Boston, and last night they’d flown to England for a vacation.
          She clearly remembered arriving at Heathrow Airport and getting on the hotel bus. Traffic into London had been slow, stop and go for miles. She'd been completed absorbed in her book when a coat fell from the overhead rack. As she stood up to put it back, a truck had almost side-swept the bus, then tried to cut in front of the vehicle ahead.
          She vaguely recalled the screech of brakes and being thrown forward...the sound of someone screaming...then...then nothing!
          “There was an accident.” She pushed back a strand of hair from her face. “The bus driver wasn't able to stop in time.”
          “Very good. You do remember.”
          As the nurse smiled and started to move away, a tremor of fear raced through Julie's body. She remembered enough to realize she'd been thrown off balance and knocked out cold, but what about Michelle?
          Grabbing the side-rail of the bed with her free hand, she finally managed to pull herself into a sitting position. “Where is my daughter? Was she hurt?”
          “Calm down or you'll disconnect your IV.” The nurse checked to make sure the needle was in place. “Your daughter was with you on the bus?”
          “Of course she was with me. Will you please find out if she's somewhere here in the hospital?”
          “Certainly. As soon as I finish what I'm doing here.” The nurse reached for Julie's other wrist and took her pulse. “In the meantime, try not to worry, Mrs. Leighton. The doctor will be with you shortly.”
          The only thing Julie was worried about was Michelle. Was she okay? Or like Vic, was she-- Unable to complete the terrifying thought she pulled free of the nurse's grasp. “Never mind me. I need to find my daughter. I have to know if she's hurt. How long have I been here?”
          The nurse recaptured Julie’s wrist. “Please, you really must try to be sensible and calm down. You're only making things worse for yourself. Your daughter can't be far away.”
          Julie was in no mood to be sensible. She had to find Michelle. Now! She tried to push the nurse away and get off the bed, but all she succeeded in doing was to increase the pounding in her head. The room gave a dizzying tilt, and she pressed her fingers hard against her temples. “Please, help me.” She grasped the nurse’s hand. “I've got to find Michelle.”
          “We will, don't worry.” The nurse settled Julie back on the bed. “I have a daughter myself, so I can imagine what you're going through. How old is Michelle?”

          “Nine. She's wearing blue jeans and a pink tee-shirt, and she has long dark hair like mine.” She hesitated, then forced herself to ask the question uppermost in her mind. “Was it a...a very bad accident?”



Without A Clue
by
Chris Grover

TRS  Capa Award Nominee
Best Romantic Suspense!

Without A Clue
by
Chris Grover
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B076635N3Q/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507235492&sr=1-2&keywords=Chris+Grover

https://www.books2read.com/u/boYak1



Nine months ago, within hours of purchasing a valuable antiquarian diary for their grandfather, Paula Sinclair's brother, Eric, was killed by a car bomb and the diary disappeared.

Private investigator, Luc Dupré, along with the police, insist the diary was destroyed in the explosion. Paula isn't convinced. No trace of either the diary or Eric's briefcase was found in the rubble, and she takes it to mean the diary was stolen. The diary wasn't insured and with the bank still owed half a million dollars, Paula cannot sit idly by and watch her beloved grandfather forced into bankruptcy.


Following a mysterious phone call and a series of cryptic postcards, Paula returns to Paris to hear a rumor that the diary is being offered for sale by secret auction. She also finds out that the diary once belonged to Luc's family. When her relationship with Luc takes a sudden change from business to personal, she's positive he's using her and his job to get it back.
Excerpt:

For dinner, they went to a tiny Italian restaurant on the Right Bank, not far from l'Opéra, where Luc held her hand and they drank dark red Italian wine to go with their pizza. The candlelight and the Neapolitan music playing softly in the background were overwhelmingly romantic, but Paula's nerves were in knots. She wanted to snatch her hand out of Luc's grasp, tell him she'd found proof of what he was up to, and then leave. But since she couldn't explain how she'd come by that proof, she refilled her glass with wine and took a very large sip.
Instead of pastry for dessert, they decided on expresso and small glasses of Strega. After the waiter moved away from their table, Luc leaned back in his chair, his dark eyes half-closed and unreadable in the dim light.
She watched him across the narrow table. He'd been fine during dinner, now he appeared tense, on edge. Recalling the click she'd heard while in the den, she wondered if he knew she'd searched his apartment. She'd thought he was still asleep when she went back into the bedroom, but then she'd thought a lot of things about Luc that weren't true. She'd even been naïve enough to think he was taking care of her interests. "You look very serious. Is something wrong?"
He moved his hand so their fingers were firmly interlaced. "Don't go back to Montreal. Stay here with me."
As in forever? "Stay here?" Paula repeated, positive she'd misunderstood. "I don't understand. Why would you want me to stay here?"
"I want you to live here with me."
"With you?" She had no idea if she was being proposed to or propositioned. Or if it was all part of the plan to divert her attention while he made off with the diary. She forced a smile. "Nice idea, but it's out of the question. I have too many responsibilities at home I can't ignore. For one thing, there's my job. My grandfather depends on me to run the bookstore. Anyway—"
"You think once this business with the diary is concluded, I will tell you adieu?" He grabbed the sugar bowl, dumped half the contents in his coffee and gave the resultant mess a vicious stir. "Or did what happen between us mean nothing more to you than a vacation adventure? Something to tell your friends about when you return home."
Although afraid that was how Luc viewed their lovemaking, Paula swallowed her feelings of hurt and forced her mind back, beyond what she'd found in his den to what they'd shared earlier. Luc's betrayal over the diary didn't alter the fact there were strong feelings between them. She loved him, and he'd said he loved her. But that was as far as it could ever go. Asking her to stay meant nothing. In fact, his edgy attitude was undoubtedly frustration with a situation he knew to be hopeless. For her, the situation had been hopeless even before she'd found the file and the postcards in his den.
"So, which is it?"
"Neither, actually." She looked at him for a moment, then shrugged and lowered her gaze. "My grandfather is too old for radical change, and I'm all he has left. I can't turn my back on him. I can't, and I won't." To her annoyance, her eyes filled with tears, and she reached blindly for the paper napkin in her lap. "So, please, don't ask me to make impossible choices."
"I would never do that." He took the crumpled napkin from her hand and gently blotted her tears. "But if things were different, would you want to stay here with me?"
"If things were different? But they're not, are they? Until the situation with the diary is resolved, I don't know what I want. Except—"
I know I won't sit quietly by and allow you to force my grandfather into bankruptcy.
"I just wish whoever is arranging this auction would get on with it," she finished with a sigh.
"And when it is, I hope you will talk to your grandfather. Tell him about us. He loves you, so he may be more understanding than you think."
Us? She picked up a teaspoon and added sugar to her own coffee. "He's a wonderful and very special man. When Eric and I were very young, our parents were killed in a boating accident. My mother had no family they knew of, so Gramps and Grandma brought us up. He needs me, Luc. Running the store by himself is just too difficult. Then there's the house. It's big, but he's lived there all his life, and he wouldn't want to move. We have a housekeeper, but it's not the same. I can't live here. Don't you see that?"
"No, I do not see that." He reached for her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "I realize you love your grandfather and that you don't want to hurt him. But shouldn't he be allowed to speak for himself? If he is as wonderful as you say, he will want you to be happy. Montreal is not the end of the earth. It's only a few hours away by air. You can see him whenever you wish."
Paula was beginning to wish she'd told Luc a simple no rather than bother with explanations and excuses. "You're right, he would never stand in the way of my happiness. But it's not that easy. And it's not only the bookstore and the house. There are other complications that would be difficult if not impossible to arrange. So, unless you would like to give up your business and move to Montreal, can we please drop this?"
"Nothing is impossible if it's what you really want," he countered, his thumb caressing the back of her hand as he leaned forward. "I know you won't turn your back on your responsibilities. And I'm not asking you to do that. But talk to your grandfather. I'm sure a way can be found."
"You could move to Montreal."
"I could, but I couldn't operate my business from there. What I do is very specialized and I doubt if there would be that much call for my services in Canada. I would have to find another occupation."
She plastered another phony smile on her face. "They're always looking for people to stock the shelves in supermarkets. It only pays minimum wage—"
"No matter. If that is the only way, then I will do it."
With Luc determined to brush away any and all obstacles, Paula searched her mind for a way to make him back off without admitting she knew all about his dirty little schemes and plans. About how she'd found the postcards, and that she'd also found confirmation of what she'd learned from de Valois.
Oddly enough what she now knew about Luc made her more sad than angry. Maybe he really did love her, but he loved possessions more and there was nothing she could say or do to change his mind. All the talking in the world wouldn't change the fact he was a liar and a cheat. And talking wouldn't pay back the half million dollars her grandfather owed the bank. In the absence of cold hard cash, only bankruptcy and the sale of the bookstore would satisfy the bank. The bookstore was her grandfather's pride and joy. No way would she stand idly by and allow him to give it up.
Keeping the smile in place, she said, "I wish there was a way, I really do. But there isn't. Granddad and I have certain obligations we must meet, and that's fact, not an excuse."
"In other words, he borrowed the money to buy the diary?"
"Every last penny. It seemed like a good idea at the time. If things had worked out, he would have turned a very handsome profit."
"If Philippe de Valois is able to get the diary back, perhaps he still could."
"How? The only way Philippe will get the diary back is if he pays for it." She sighed, then picked up the glass of Strega and took a tiny sip of the strong, sweet Italian liqueur. "Life would be a snap if it wasn't for all the lousy ifs."
"But if it wasn't for the diary, we wouldn't have met."
"And if we hadn't met, you could have found yourself a nice French girl to have fun with."
"Is that what you think I want. Just someone to have fun with?"
"I have no idea what you want."
"I want you."
Paula's hand trembled slightly as she put down the glass. "Too bad I'm not available."
"Then I'll wait until you are."
She knew Luc was only talking for the sake of talking, and she wondered why he didn't give up. He didn't want a future with her; he was obsessed with restoring his precious family's wretched collection. And if that necessitated pushing an old man into bankruptcy, then presumably that was just too damn bad. "It could be a very long wait."
"Maybe so. But this is the twenty-first century. Between the phone and the airlines, we would be able to manage."
"I don’t understand why you would even want to bother with a long distance arrangement where there's no end in sight. It could take years for us to pay off the bank."
"So you said. If it takes too long, I will have to apply for that job in the supermarket."
"You're crazy."
"No." He smiled as he took her hand and pressed a kiss in the very center of her palm, then carefully closed her fingers over it. "Je t'aime, chérie. Je t'aimerai pour toujours. Pour toute ma vie."
Or until he got his hands on the diary?


Seeing Is Believing
by
Chris Grover
TRS Capa Award Nominee
Best Romantic Suspense!
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B076631Y49/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507235492&sr=1-3&keywords=Chris+Grover

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For the past fifteen months, American Liz Moretti has lived and worked in a small English town located on the River Thames. Then, one beautiful summer morning, her life goes spinning out of control. The body of Tony Almington, her business partner in Almington's Accounting & Secretarial, is found in the trunk of her car and Liz is arrested on suspicion of murder. Between the company's current financial woes and Tony's refusal to pull his weight, the British police are convinced Liz had all the necessary means, motivation and opportunity to commit the crime. To make matters worse, they've been in touch with the Las Vegas Sheriff's Department and know this isn't her first brush with a suspicious death.
Liz believes someone is trying to frame her. She has no idea who, and she has no idea why. But if she doesn't figure things out really fast, she could find herself on trial for murder...
Genres: Mystery / Detective


Excerpt:

          The custody sergeant asked if there was anyone she wanted informed of her arrest, but Liz shook her head. Since coming to live in England, she'd been too busy with the business and the house to spend much time socializing. Now, with Tony dead, except for his Uncle Rod and his best friend, Ian, there was no one she knew well enough to call.
          Ian would have been her first choice. Ian was a businessman, the kind who got things straightened out in no time flat. But Ian was out of town at a family wedding, and there was no way she could even think of calling on Rod Stanton for help. She'd been arrested for murdering his sister's son for heaven's sake.
          The only other person was her stepfather, and she didn't want to alarm him unnecessarily. Anyway, Joe was in Vegas, thousands of miles away. There was nothing he could do except worry.
          She suddenly remembered Sylvie.
          "On second thoughts, could you call my office in Medlow Green? Ask to speak to Sylvie Pratt and tell her where I am."
          "You don't wish to call a solicitor?"
          "I don't need one. I haven't done anything wrong."
          "In these circumstances, I really think you should consider calling one," the arresting officer put in firmly.
          Surprised by the man's show of concern, she spared him a brief sideways glance. "Sorry, but I don't. Unlike most Americans, I do not suffer from paranoia."
          "DS Wrayford! Do you mind?" the custody sergeant interjected. "I'm quite capable of advising the prisoner as to her rights. I'm also quite capable of doing my job. I don’t need your assistance, thank you very much."
          Once the custody sergeant had finished with her, Liz was taken to a room and told to stand on a paper mat where she was subjected to the humiliation of being undressed and searched by a couple of very efficient tight-lipped female officers. When they were through, each article of her clothing was put into a separate brown paper evidence bag.
          Doing her desperate best to ignore the fact she was completely naked, she watched as the officers sealed the bags and attached exhibit labels. By concentrating all her attention on one of the bags, she managed to control the urge to shiver. Hopefully, they would give her something to wear. And soon. It had been warm enough outside, but the temperature in the room felt close to freezing.
          A second paper mat was produced for them to take her hair combings. When this was complete, the mat was rolled up, bagged and labeled for forensic examination in the same manner as her clothes.
          "Here. Put these on." One of the officers handed Liz a deep blue paper jumpsuit and matching slippers. "If you're cold, say so and I'll find you a blanket."
          "This will be fine." Liz quickly scrambled into the suit and closed the front fastenings. "What happens next?" she asked.
          "The officers are still making enquiries, so I imagine it will be some time before you can be interviewed."
          "Any idea how long?"
          "Depends." The younger of the two officers shrugged. "We're going to put you in a cell for now. When they're ready to talk, someone will come and get you."      
          As the two officers left the cell and closed the door behind them, Liz sat down on the dark blue padded plastic bench that doubled as a bed and stared fixedly at the pale cream walls.
          Tony was dead. Stone cold, one hundred per cent dead. She would never talk to him again, never get mad at him again. And never ever see him again.
          Her vision blurred as the tears rolled down her face. It wasn't fair! How in hell could she manage without Tony? He was her best friend and her business partner, and for a while, at the beginning, she'd hoped it could be more. For sure, Tony had driven her crazy at times. But Tony had been...Tony. Warm, lovable, irresponsible, with an insatiable curiosity that had almost certainly caused his death.
          And the stupid cops actually thought she'd killed him!
          Leaving the bench, she grabbed a handful of toilet tissue and scrubbed it roughly over her face, almost relishing the harsh scratchy feel of the cheap paper against her skin.
          She needed to calm down, and she needed to think. The one thing she could not afford to do was allow herself to panic.
          She hadn't done anything wrong.
          From what she'd been told, she'd been taken into custody on suspicion of murder, pending further investigations. She hadn't actually been charged with anything. She knew the US Embassy would be informed of her situation because the desk sergeant had said so. He'd also said the Embassy wouldn't do anything unless she specifically asked for their help. Which was just as well. She didn't want her stepfather involved in this craziness unless it became absolutely necessary. Although if the British police were on the ball and checked with the FBI...

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