Tag Archives: scandal

Between Hurt and Healing by Jackie Melvin

BETWEEN HURT AND HEALING
by 
Jackie Melvin

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Date of Publication: February 2, 2016
# of pages: 424
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 

 

Introverted Denise Staukhill just wanted a quiet life.  She never dreamed she would find a man like Darren Olsen to share it with.  An unexpected tragedy ends their fairy-tale romance, and Denise once again finds herself alone and devastated.

 

 

Years later, the handsome head football coach from the local high school and Darren’s best friend, Eric Ortellio, tries desperately to help her find peace.  As their relationship starts to grow, the manipulative Coach Nick Nelson, trying to protect his secretive past, steps in to ruin both of them.

 

 

Will Denise and Eric’s friendship sustain the lies and manipulation that the evil Nelson has weaved?  Can Denise find the strength to let go of Darren and hold on to Eric, or will her faithfulness to Darren keep Eric out of her life forever?

 

Visit the author’s WEBSITE for best pricing
or purchase from:

 

    Amazon          Tate Publishing

 

 Denise talking to her twelve-year-old daughter Cissy, about her own mother:

 

 

“She loved color in her drawings, bright colors: greens, reds, blues, yellows. All her pictures were happy. She told me when I was your age to take whatever makes you sad and color it in. I guess she just meant that colors are happy and sad is black and white.”

 

 

Cissy’s response:

 

“Maybe that’s what Grandma meant when she said, “color it in.” Celebrations are colorful like birthday balloons and wedding cakes. Funerals are black, and hospitals are white. Funerals are always sad and hospitals can be sad sometimes too. So if you find what makes you sad and color it in, you can be happy.”

 

Review
Watching the courtship of Denise and Darren unfold makes you forget for a while that Darren is going to die. You get so wrapped up in the great little details of the blossoming relationship and the makeup of each character, you forget that this book is about hurting and healing (yeah, I just went there). You get the feeling that Eric will be the new love interest, but he’s still married. But don’t worry, he doesn’t stay that way. There is nothing that Denise and Eric can do that will make you dislike them. And that is how you know that the evil Nick will not prevail.
I could not put this book down. As despicable as the crimes/scandals Nick sets up for our protagonists, they are all very realistic. And Melvin does an excellent job of showing how the terrible events affect everyone, including the children. Her depiction of the sisters, in particular, I felt were very realistic. Melvin must know some preteen and college-bound girls in real life. My only nitpick about the characters are that the sister names are too similar (Cissy and Cassidy). Kind of a no-no in publishing in my opinion. Every once in a while I had to pause and look back to make sure I was thinking about the correct sister.
I know this is out of left field but it just occurred to me. Eric keeps assuring Denise that he doesn’t expect her to forget about Darren, and that he understands that she will always love her deceased husband. But they don’t discuss Eric’s ex-wife at all. No discussion about the possibility that Eric might have any lingering feelings or that the ex would have issues with the relationship. I don’t know why but that kind of strikes me as odd.
The storyline about no-cutting in school athletics was interesting to me, and I liked Melvin’s use of it throughout the book. It’s not what the book was about at all, but the issue with this touchy subject was the catalyst for all the drama. Having a son about to start sports soon, I personally dislike the everyone is a winner mentality. That trophy he will get at the end of the soccer season? I will probably donate it to Goodwill. But I digress.
Growing up with Texas sports (specifically football), I don’t doubt that there are some shady things going down in the name of having an outstanding sports program and winning. Melvin’s novel manages to be suspenseful and heartwarming at the same time.

 

Jackie Melvin is a hopeless introvert: hasn’t seen the inside of a movie theater in a decade.  She is despairingly sappy: will cry at commercials, songs and memories.  She is a disheartened housekeeper: good before the kids, great with the kids, now the laundry room doubles as the master closet.  An unexceptional athlete, the weather matters!  A wanna be nutritionist, if only chocolate had nutritional value.   A mediocre musician: been playing the same songs for thirty years.  A happy wife, she married up.  A reluctant empty- nester, miss those kids so much.  And she is a writer: the author of a series of children’s books, and Between Hurt and Healing is her first novel.

 

She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, her dog, and her cat, and spends as much time as possible visiting those kids.

  
 FACEBOOK        INSTAGRAM
 
GIVEAWAY! One winner gets signed copies 
of Between Hurt and Healing and 
all of Jackie’s Bartholomew Bear Series

 

February 22-MARCH 3, 2016
 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=Jackie+Melvin&search-alias=books&field-author=Jackie+Melvin&sort=relevancerank
 
Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

2/22   Missus Gonzo  – Review
2/23   All for the Love of the Word – Author Interview
2/24   The Crazy Booksellers – Promo
2/25   The Page Unbound  — Review
2/26   Hall Ways Blog – Author Interview
2/27   Books and Broomsticks – Guest Post           
2/29   My Book Fix Blog – Promo
3/1     A Novel Reality  — Author Interview
3/2     The Librarian Talks  — Promo

 

   
blog tour services provided by
 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Stillwater by Melissa Lenhardt

STILLWATER

by
Melissa Lenhardt
 

Big Secrets Run Deep.

Former FBI agent Jack McBride took the job as Chief of Police for Stillwater, Texas, to start a new life with his teenage son, Ethan, away from the suspicions that surrounded his wife’s disappearance a year earlier.
 
With a low crime rate and a five-man police force, he expected it to be a nice, easy gig; hot checks, traffic violations, some drugs, occasional domestic disturbances, and petty theft. Instead, within a week he is investigating a staged murder-suicide, uncovering a decades’ old skeleton buried in the woods, and managing the first crime wave in thirty years.
 
For help navigating his unfamiliar, small-town surroundings, Jack turns to Ellie Martin, one of the most respected women in town—her scandal-filled past notwithstanding. Despite Jack’s murky marriage status and the disapproval of Ethan and the town, they are immediately drawn to each other.
 
As Jack and Ellie struggle with their budding relationship, they unearth shattering secrets long buried and discover the two cases Jack is working, though fifty years apart, share a surprising connection that will rattle the town to its core.
 
BUY LINKS:
 
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR STILLWATER:
 
“Secrets, lies, and betrayals run through STILLWATER like irrigation through dry land. Melissa Lenhardt’s writing drips with detail to create a story that rushes like a wave toward an ever-twisting ending. Don’t let the name fool you; STILLWATER’s threats lie right below the surface.” —Diane Vallere, bestselling author of the Material Witness, Madison Night, and Style & Error Mysteries
 
“Dangerous things lurk beneath the placid surface in Stillwater, Texas. Secrets shunning the light of day, decades-old betrayals, lies that have taken on a life of their own.  Moody and atmospheric, utterly compelling, you don’t want to miss Melissa Lenhardt’s marvelous debut novel, STILLWATER.” —Harry Hunsicker, former Executive Vice President of the Mystery Writers of America, author of THE GRID
 
“Crisp and pacy writing pulls you in deep from page one, when Jack McBride strides into a crime scene and a world of trouble. STILLWATER is the perfect combination of a tightly plotted tale peopled by rich, complex characters (plus one or two deliciously hateful true baddies). Slashed budgets, racial tensions, messy pasts – this small town is anything but cozy. The mystery itself is a classic puzzle, though: clever and convincing. Roll on Jack #2!” —Catriona McPherson, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity–winning author of the Edgar-nominated The Day She Died
 
Small-town loyalties and long-simmering secrets combine for  a compelling page-turner!  A fish-out-of-water lawman and his adolescent son try to escape the past in not-so-cozy Stillwater, Texas –but soon they’re battling corruption, revenge, and murder. Fast-paced dialogue, an authentic setting, and engaging characters–Stillwater is a one-sitting read.
Hank Phillippi Ryan – Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Daphne and Mary Higgins Clark award winning author
 
STILLWATER runs deep with intrigue, passion, and long-buried secrets. Melissa Lenhardt weaves a rich tale of suspense as hot as the east Texas town in which it’s set.
Annette Dashofy, USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mysteries
 
With a twisting plot, nonstop action and a sexy, complex protagonist you’ll root for from page one, Lenhardt brings the town of Stillwater, Texas (pop. 2,436), and all its long-buried secrets, to life. Fast-paced and tightly-written, STILLWATER is a must-read for anyone who loves great crime fiction. Book two can’t come soon enough!
Wendy Tyson, author of Killer Image and Deadly Assets.
 
Chapter One
Thursday
 
A line of flashing blue and red lights led the way to a pale green single- wide trailer. Firemen, sheriff deputies, and EMTs huddled in front of the house, talking, looking around, and laughing. All eyes turned to Jack McBride’s car as it pulled into the dirt-packed front yard, which doubled as the driveway.
Jack set the alarm on his phone. “Stay in the car,” he told his thirteen- year-old son, Ethan. He opened the door, got out, and leaned back in. “I mean it.”
 
“I know, Dad.”
 
Neighbors grouped behind yellow crime-scene tape. Some wore paja- mas, others wore work clothes. Women held babies, children craned their necks to see better, eager for information to share at school. A young officer guarded them—Officer Nathan Starling.
 
It was his file that had fallen from Jack’s lap when he was startled awake by the early morning call. If Jack hadn’t read Starling was the youngest and newest member of the force, he would have guessed it from his role as crowd control. Starling shifted on his feet and looked over his shoulder at the crowd, as if debating whether he should leave his post to introduce himself or stay put. Jack waved an acknowledgment to him and moved toward the trailer.
 
Jack nodded at the group of first responders as he walked by and received a couple of muttered hellos in return. Some looked from Jack to Ethan and then back. Jack climbed the uneven concrete steps, stopped at the door, and put on paper booties and gloves. Behind him, he heard a low conversation start back up, the words alone, wife, and no one knows carrying across the yard as if announced through a bullhorn. The screen door slapped shut behind him, cutting off the rest of the conversation.
 
The smell of chili, paprika, and cumin hung in the air of the trailer. Flimsy wooden cabinets topped with a chipped orange Formica counter were wedged against the back wall of the main room by a strip of ugly, peeling linoleum. Brown shag carpet, flattened by years of traffic, marked off the living area of the room. Left of the door, under a loud window unit dripping condensation, sat a couch of indeterminate color too large for the room. A black-haired man with bloodshot eyes and a green tinge underneath his dark skin sat on the couch, chewing his nails. He looked up at Jack and stopped chewing—a signal for his leg to start bouncing. A bull-necked police officer, his thumbs crooked underneath his gun belt, stood guard over the man.
 
“Officer Freeman,” Jack said.
 
If Michael Freeman was surprised Jack knew who he was, he didn’t show it. His face remained expressionless.
 
“Chief McBride.”
 
A third officer stood at the mouth of the hallway to the right with a portly, elderly man. Relief washed over the officer’s face. He moved for- ward, hand outstretched. “Chief McBride,” he said. “Miner Jesson. This here is Doc Poole.”
 
Jack shook their hands.“Sorry to meet you under these circumstances, Dr. Poole.”
 
“Helluva case to get on your first day, eh?” the doctor said.
 
Jack nodded and gave a brief smile. He pulled gloves and more paper booties from his coat pocket and handed them to Jesson and the doctor. Jack walked down the hall and entered the room. Jesson stopped at the door.
 
“Gilberto and Rosa Ramos,” Jesson said. “Found dead this morning by Diego Vasquez.” He jerked his thumb in the direction of the man sitting on the couch. “Says he’s Rosa’s brother. He don’t speak much English, but from what I gathered, he came to pick Gilberto up for work and heard the baby screaming. When no one answered, he let himself in. Door was open. Found them just like that.”
 
They were both nude. The woman lay face down, covering half of the man’s body. The right side of the man’s head was blown across the pillow. Blood and brain matter were sprayed across the bed, under the woman and onto the floor. A clump of long dark hair was stuck to the window with blood. Her right arm extended across the man’s chest, a gun held lightly in her grip.
 
Jack walked around the bed.
 
Doc Poole stood next to Officer Jesson. “It takes a special kind of anger to kill someone you are in the middle of fucking, doncha think?” Doc Poole said. “Ever see that in the F-B-I?” Derision dripped from every letter.
 
Jack ignored him. “Where’s the baby?”
 
Jack hoped the revulsion on Jesson’s face meant scenes like this were rare in Stillwater. If he had wanted to deal with shit like this on a regular basis, he would have taken a better-paying job in a larger town.
 
“Officer Jesson?” Jack said. “Where’s the baby?” “Oh. It’s with a neighbor.”
 
“Has anyone called CPS?”
 
“Why?”
 
“To take care of the baby.”
 
“The neighbor offered.”
 
“And what do we know about this neighbor?”
 
He shrugged. “She didn’t speak much English.”
 
“So, she could be in the next county by now?”
 
“Oh, I doubt that,” Jesson said. “She seemed like a nice sort. Very
motherly.”
 
Jack cocked his head and puzzled over whether his most senior officer
was ignorant, naive, or an amazing judge of character.
 
He turned his attention to Doc Poole. “What’s the time of death?” “Sometime last night.”
 
“Can you be more specific?”
 
“Didn’t see the need. Seems pretty obvious what happened.”
 
“Oh, are you a detective?”
 
“No. I’m a general practitioner.”
 
“You’re the JP, aren’t you?”
 
“No. I used to be.” He chuckled. “Too old for this now.”
 
“Yet, here you are.”
 
“JP is on the way, Chief,” Jesson said.
 
Jack kept his focus on Doctor Poole. “So you heard this over the radio
and decided to come? Or did someone call you?”
 
“Well,I—”
 
“Do you have the instruments necessary to establish a time of death?” “Not with me, but—”
 
“Then get off my crime scene.”
 
The little man straightened his shoulders and lifted his chin. “I can
see why Jane Maxwell liked you.” He started to leave but turned back. “We do things different here in Stillwater.”
 
“Not anymore we don’t,” Jack said.
 
 
Melissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a board member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.


blog tour service provided by
 

Leave a comment

Filed under Lone Star Book Blog Tours