Tag Archives: robbery

Excerpt & Giveaway: Stolen Obsession by Marlene M Bell


Annalisse Series, Book 1
Marlene M Bell
Genre: Spicy Romantic Mystery
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: March 20, 2018
Number of Pages: 284

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Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.
Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.
Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.
Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.
But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?

Hold on for a heart-thumping adventure through exotic lands in this fast moving, romantic suspense mystery by Marlene M Bell.



EXCERPT: Chapter Six, Part Two

From Stolen Obsession

By Marlene M Bell


Click to read part one on Lone Star Book Blog Tours 3/2/18 blog stop!

Annalisse walked over to the officer while he bagged and sealed the card.

“This message could just be a prank,” he said.

“I’m no detective, but Ismail lives means something to someone. Do you know what information Agent Norcross wants?”

“You have a translation?” Mooney removed a notepad from his breast pocket. “I wouldn’t worry, Ms. Drury. Harry was a very simple man and had few close friends. That brother-in-law of his could barely string three comprehensible words together. We’ll talk to him again when he’s sober.”

“It’s unusual to find him snockered this early, but he’s alcoholic and won’t admit it.”

Norcross joined them, with Alec and Generosa in tow.

Generosa offered, “The guest book showed one-hundred-eighty-three guests at my party. Any one of them could’ve left the card.”

“Was anything inside the case missing?” Norcross asked. “Or anywhere else?”

Annalisse replied, “Chase cleared all of the jewelry displays after the party. Isn’t that right, Gen?”

Generosa nodded slowly at Annalisse. “I don’t leave jewelry displayed at night. It’s always locked in my safe.”

“And you know Chase Miller?” The agent addressed Annalisse. Her honeyed twang seemed out of place, but she had the practiced intimidating look down perfectly.

“Yes. I’ve explained the relationship. You spoke with him about Sam that day, too, remember?”

“Of course. Yes.” Norcross scratched something in her notebook and turned to Generosa. “How about the security system? Any issues when you opened this morning?”

“Colum, you followed us out last night when we closed. Chase set the alarm—come to think of it, the security panel didn’t beep today like it normally does when we unlock. I thought it was odd.” Generosa pointed at the alarm panel.

Mooney walked beneath one of the matte black motion detectors near the door. “These units should show an active red light. This one doesn’t.”

“I’ll check the one upstairs.” Alec moved to the bottom of the steps. “Dark here, too.”

Mama Mia. My system’s off. For how long? I’m sure it was working last night.”

“Detective, let’s bring in a tech team. No one touches anything.” Norcross took the mystery card from Mooney, studied it front and back, then stashed it in her jacket. “Damn Mafia.”

“Good lord! Here in my shop? I don’t deal with garbage business types.” Generosa’s shoulders sagged. “I can’t tell Pearce. He’ll be worried sick.”

Alec moved close to Annalisse; she felt his warmth on her skin.

“How do you know we had a break-in, Agent Norcross? Couldn’t someone have stayed behind after Mom’s party and fooled around with the alarm as a joke? It was nuts around here.”

“The security company should’ve notified the station of a breach. A joke, no. He, or she, may have tried to destroy the security video and found a way to circumvent the alarm and detectors. Gen, we’ll need the names from the catering company and all guests who signed in. Including those invited who may not have attended,” Mooney said.

“None of this makes any sense. Nothing’s been stolen. All for a silly note? Colum, really.”

“That’s it, then. Mom, the gallery closes.”

“But, son, that’s foolish. It’s an insignificant scribble.”

“We won’t open again until every inch of this gallery’s been scoured,” Alec said. “We had a death here and with all that Annalisse told us—”

Both Mooney and Norcross alerted.

“About the loss of her friend. That’s all I meant.” He chewed the corner of his lip.

“I’d post a security guard, too. Your card is more than scribbles, Miss Generosa, if I may call you by your first name. We believe Carradine’s death was no accident and the card you found—let’s just say, fits a certain profile we’ve been monitoring. I spoke out of turn earlier, about the Mafia. I’m sorry.” Norcross looked at her watch. “We’ll take the card down to forensics.”

“Gen, my partner knows a reliable man. Ex-military. He moonlights as security when he isn’t working as a private dick,” Mooney added.

“I still can’t believe Harry had any enemies. That poor, poor man.” Generosa swiped an eye.

The detective handed her a tissue from inside his jacket.

Alec took Annalisse aside while Generosa and the officers wandered to the middle of the foyer. “Are you all right?”

“I will be.” She gripped the seam on her jeans to hide the shakes. “There’s lots Norcross is keeping to herself. She’s uncovered more about Sam. How can we be sure other people weren’t exposed to the same poison as Harry?”

“We can’t be.”

“Shouldn’t Gen notify her guests?”

“Of their possible poison exposure?” He dimpled one cheek. “Let’s wait and see what develops before we open a legal nightmare. Harry could’ve been poisoned before he got here.”

“True. Blabbing to the world without knowing the facts wouldn’t be smart.” She glanced at her watch and gasped. “Crap. Chase is going to send out the military. It’s nearly nine. Here comes Gen.”


To be concluded with part three on Lone Star Book Blog Tours 3/9/18 blog stop!


Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

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MARCH 1-10, 2018
(Open Internationally)


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Review & Giveaway: Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

Elite Guardians, Book 4
Lynette Eason
  Genre: Romantic Suspense / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
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Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.
When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan’s life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her—and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories—and the depths of the heart—Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit.
Praise for the Elite Guardians Series:
“A thrill ride from the first page until the last.”
—RT Book Reviews, top pick, 4½ stars for Always Watching
“Witty dialogue and a simmering attraction will have readers flying through this tension-laced thriller.”
—Family Fiction on Without Warning
“Fast, furious, and flirty, Lynette Eason’s relentless suspense barely gives her readers time to catch their breath.”
Relz Reviews on Moving Target

Girls who kick butt have been all the rage for a while now, and I will admit that this isn’t the first novel that I’ve reviewed here featuring a beautiful, law enforcing woman. But this book proves to be in a class of its own when we find out that Haley Callaghan, a member of the all-female Elite Guardians agency, might be the lone survivor of a massacre 25 years prior. If Haley is Aileen Burke, then she is the heiress of Rock Moran Castle in Ireland and stands to inherit a fortune.
When Haley is off duty from her bodyguard gig, she mentors troubled teens at a center she runs on the rough side of town. It seems that as soon as she tries to help a new kid who crosses her path, the bullets start flying. Haley thinks the neighborhood thug is behind the attempts on her life, but we know that someone has been tailing her for some time and is probably trying to figure out her true identity.
Lucky for Haley, she is friends with local law enforcement who have her back. Steven, the new guy on the town’s police force, especially has his eye on her. Steven grew up in the area but hadn’t lived there for years. Eason shares what memories haunt Steven gradually as she also allows Haley to remember snippets of her escape from a violent demise. As Haley tries to help heal Steven of his past, Steven tries to prevent Haley’s past from stealing her future.
I have to stop here because I don’t want to ruin the end. I can usually guess who the bad guy is, but I was wrong on this one. Drop me a comment if you guessed right. This book was all kinds of suspenseful and I plan on reading the rest of the Elite Guardians books.

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, and Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, and Moving Target in the Elite Guardians series.

She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in South Carolina.

Grand Prize:
Booklover Basket (18 items including a coffee mug, retro library memo cards, coffee & tea, delicious snacks) & Set of the Elite Guardians Series
First Runner-Up:
Personal library kit & Set of the Elite Guardians Series
Second Runner-Up:
$10 Barnes & Noble gift card and Set of the Elite Guardian Series
August 1 – August 10, 2017
(U.S. Only)

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Review: Guardians in Blue by Ken Bangs

Ken Bangs 

Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date of Publication: March 31, 2016
# of pages: 382


A fatherless boy growing up in a small Texas town is taken under wing by the local lawmen. They work with the town leaders to provide his basic needs and help him escape the shame and poverty of his circumstances. One in particular becomes his guardian.

He teaches the boy about life, how to face his fears, that honor is more important than comfort and that defending those who cannot defend themselves is the highest duty of a man.    


The boy learns the lessons well. He hears the call and his heart opens to it. He too becomes a Guardian.


This is the novelized story of the authors’ thirty-seven years service in law enforcement and public safety. It is unique in that the reader is given an inside look at what motivates one to the calling and the process of becoming a police officer.


It is told from the first person perspective of one who walked a beat in downtown Dallas at the age of 19, answered the calls as a radio patrol officer and worked the cases as a detective.


It gives an inside look at the understanding of not only the criminal act but the issues that lead to criminality and the processes by which criminal justice professionals identify and apprehend those responsible for given crimes.  
Drawing on interviews/interrogations of criminals the author provides an exposé of the experiences, the anger, and the fantasy that captures the mind and controls the will of those who rape, rob, and kill.




“As a man who was privileged to work the streets with Ken Bangs, I can tell you that he was the Guardian.  If you want to understand police work at the base level, then The Guardians is a must read.  It goes beyond the violence and the sensationalism and gives you a window into the hearts and souls of those men and women who ride toward danger when everyone else runs away.” 
Doug Sword, Captain of Police (Retired), Dallas Police Department


Guardians In Blue is an action packed book about actual crimes from the Dallas Police


files.  These cases as retold by Ken bangs come alive in a format that makes you feel

like you are at the location and involved in the investigations.” 
Gary Holly, Retired Police Officer
“The story is so realistic; it so reveals the rawness of life experienced by a police officer that any who have ever worn the badge will be drawn in as they see themselves in the Guardians.” — G. David Payne, Lieutenant of Police (Retired), Dallas Police Department




Although this is a novelized version of Bangs’ life as a police officer, you get a very real sense of what it might have been like to be him. When a police officer comes to his aid as a child, you start to understand that law enforcement has to make judgement calls every day, and they just hope that they’ve made the right one. Seeing how much K.W. cares about the safety of the people under his protection, I think that the police officer made the right call for turning a blind eye all those years ago. I’m not a fan of small-town thinking, but the men in that town rallied around a little boy and made sure he grew up to be a good man.
I hadn’t thought much about what kind of “razzing” or hazing police officers go through, but I thought it was pretty funny. And when K.W. becomes a trainer himself down the line, the jokes and old stories come full circle. I suppose it’s as much character building as a bonding experience. It also made me think that all the crap he took from his senior officers prepared him for the army as well.
Bangs paints a vivid portrait of a town I’m not too familiar with (Dallas) at a time I wasn’t yet conceived. But I’ve watched some old copper shows, and found his stories much more interesting. Some of the bad guys made my spine tingle in a bad, bad way. The descriptions made my nose wrinkle a few times since Bangs often liked to describe the stench of someone’s bowels letting loose in death. But that’s real, right? And I like that he admits to his rookie mistakes and has to often write “Dear Chief” letters as a result.
The story of an officer losing his life after not following the protocol of his beat and not working the safety properly, was sobering. It gave me a deeper respect for all the training and regulations that police officers have to follow. Also, seeing how dangerous it can be to train a rookie opened my eyes. With all the negativity toward law enforcement lately, I think that people don’t realize how nerve-wracking it is to be on the firing end of a gun. That an officer might have only a split second to react, which might end with his/her own death or an innocent civilian’s.
My only notes on this book: K.W. knew at age 10 that he wanted to be a police officer and to find a Godly woman to marry. I wanted to know more about his wife. Maybe the next novel?

Ken spent 35 years in public safety. A veteran of the United States Army, he was with the military police in the Alaskan Command.  He holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University, M.S. in Human Relations / Business Management from Amberton University, and a Doctorate of Ministry in Christian Counseling from Jacksonville (Florida) Theological Seminary.  Ken and his wife, Trudy, have been married 46 years. They live in McKinney, Texas.


Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

6/28     My Book Fix Blog – Review
6/29     Books and Broomsticks – Excerpt #1
6/30     Missus Gonzo  – Review
7/1       The Crazy BooksellersPromo
7/2       StoreyBook Reviews  Author Interview #1
7/3       The Librarian TalksReview
7/4       It’s a Jenn World – Guest Post
7/5       The Page Unbound  – Excerpt #2
7/6       Country Girl Bookaholic  – Review
7/7       Margie’s Must Reads Author Interview #2


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