THE CHRISTMAS WITNESS By Susan Sleeman

When a criminal threatened to kill Megan Cash if she testified against him, she didn’t back down. Years later, he’s out of jail and ready for revenge against Megan and her daughter. The only one who can protect them is the former FBI agent who broke Megan’s heart.

But Reid Morgan isn’t the same man—he’s now a widowed father with a harrowing past. . .and a heart more guarded than ever. Still, he’s the only one who believes Megan when she says she’s in danger. Because someone wants to make this a Christmas she won’t live long enough to forget.

Excerpt:

Norman Fowler was free to terrorize her again.

Icy-cold fear slid over Megan Cash. She’d imagined this day. How she’d imagined it.

Terrifying, breath stopping, the man who’d held her at gunpoint during a bank robbery coming back into her life. Now he was here, striding across the gas station lot, heading toward her car. Had he seen her? Worse yet, followed her to make good on his threat?

Averting her face, she considered flooring the gas pedal and fleeing, but where could she go?

Two cars in front. One behind. Three at the island to the side. All with nozzles feeding gas tanks. She was trapped unless she wanted to jump from the car and take off running, making herself even more of a target.

C’mon, Megan. Deep breaths. Maybe it’s not him.

She’d seen him hundreds of times in the twelve years since she’d testified against him. The pockmarked face with the long jaw jutted out in anger, a tattered Tacoma Rainiers baseball cap snug on his head and hiding long dishwater blond hair, thinning in the back.

Hundreds of times she’d been wrong. Had to be wrong. He occupied a federal prison cell for robbing the bank where she’d worked. But today was different. He’d served his twelve-year sentence and could be free.

A hard knocking on the window startled her, dropping her heart to her stomach.

“You want gas or what, lady?” the attendant’s voice shot through the open window.

She’d make a small purchase so she didn’t draw attention to herself. When the cars in front of her moved, she’d race away. She fished through her wallet and withdrew her credit card. Keeping her face averted, she slid it through the gap at the top of her window.

“Ten dollars. Regular.” She shrank back and watched in the mirror as he went to pump her gas.

Who knew Oregon’s law forbidding consumers to pump gas might save her life. With Fowler advancing across the lot, her car provided better cover than standing next to the pumps.

“Hey, dude,” she heard her attendant call out.

Was he talking to Fowler? If so, maybe this meeting was just a coincidence.

She risked a quick peek and spotted the sharp profile of the lunatic who terrorized her in the bank, chatting with the string bean of an attendant on the far side of the pumps.

A shudder of revulsion swept through her body, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him. Not yet. Not until she was certain he was the man she’d stared at for the three long hours he’d held her hostage at the bank.

She didn’t know why he’d singled her out, but as the FBI negotiated with him, he’d traded the other hostages for supplies and transportation. But not her. No, he decided to take her with him when he fled.

His angry eyes declared he wouldn’t hesitate to kill her when he no longer needed her. So in a moment of distraction, she grabbed a letter opener from the desk, plunged it into his thigh and fled for her life. A sniper had taken him down, and he blamed her for his injury. He threatened to get even once he was free again.

“What time you off?” he asked the attendant.

“Six,” the attendant answered.

“Wanna get a drink to celebrate my freedom?”

Fowler’s raspy voice was seared into her memory, but this guy’s tone was less grating. Maybe age had changed the timbre. Or her mind could be playing tricks on her.

Was this even Fowler? Physical appearance changed a lot in twelve years.

What does Susan Sleeman want the readers of THE CHRISTMAS WITNESS to take away with them?

THE CHRISTMAS WITNESS is a romantic suspense book and it deals with revenge, murder and kidnapping, all things that you expect to find in a suspense book. But underneath it all is a message of hope. Hope for a better future. Hope for relief from bleak medical issues. Hope for love. And to me, there is no better time to focus on the message of hope than the birth of our Savior. So I’d love for the readers to finish the book and come away with hope and know that whatever they are facing there is always hope for a better future.

 

If your main character wanted to give your readers a Christmas blessing, what would that be?

Both of my main characters, Megan and Reid, plus their daughters Jessie and Ella have faced cancer or have loves ones with cancer. Reid’s wife lost her battle and Megan’s daughter is battling the disease for the second time. Plus after losing her mother, Jessie decided to use her pain to help others by training her dog Bandit to be a therapy dog. Now, along with her father, Jessie and Bandit visit children in the hospital to bring cheer in their difficult time.

So I know without a doubt that these characters would want anyone in the world who is suffering from cancer or a critical illness to be healed from their disease. And if this wasn’t possible, they would want them and their loved ones to have peace in this very difficult time.

 

Author bio:

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan visit her website  http://www.susansleeman.com ,Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanBooks or Twitter  http://www.twitter.com/SusanSleeman

Purchase Links:

Amazon (Including Kindle).  http://tinyurl.com/754dtsq

Barnes & Noble (including Nook). http://tinyurl.com/738yup6

 Christianbook. http://tinyurl.com/7olkvx9

Love Inspired. http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=24904&cid=359

A Crime Fiction Christmas

I’m dreaming of crime fiction novels that make me feel like Christmas. They might have horses dashing through snow and sleigh bells ringing, or chestnuts roasting, or angels on high. Or they might conjure up ye olde Yuletide feeling…that sitting before a roaring fire feeling.

GOLD FRANKINCENSE AND MURDER by Barbara Early

High school geometry teacher, Donna Russell likes her life well-ordered and logical, even if it is a tad solitary at times. But when a charming co-worker at the local food bank disappears just before Christmas, Donna is left with more questions than solutions.

After the missing man’s neighbor, muscle-bound EMT Sam Holton, volunteers as Donna’s crime-fighting sidekick, sparks fly between them. Donna wonders if Same can be trusted, or if he’s trying to throw an unknown into her calculations–and her life.

And when police recover a body from the icy Niagara River, Donna is faced with the most frustrating equation of all: can murder plus mayhem ever equal romance?

GOODBYE NOEL by Nike Chillemi

The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes head long out a window. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?

Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother’s flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she’s willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant’s best interests at heart, even the man she’s growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover at a cult as well as at a fancy ball.

Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he’s drawn to. Is there’s something he’s overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?

SEASON OF DANGER by Hannah Alexander

After sabotage strikes the Vance Rescue Mission, volunteer Sean Torrance tries to guarantee the mission a safe Christmas. But can Sean protect Tess Vance when the sabotage becomes poisonous — with Tess as the target?

MISTLETOE AND MAYHEM by Kate Kingsbury

At the Pennyfoot Hotel, Cecily Sinclair Baxter and her staff are hustling and bustling more than ever. Cecily’s dear friend Madeline arrives with her new baby and adds a kissing bough to the holiday decorations. But after a footman and a new maid are seen kissing under the bough and turn up dead, the staff is convinced a serial killer is spending the holidays at the Pennyfoot. And when Madeline’s baby disappears, Cecily has her hands full desperately trying to find the child. If she doesn’t catch the killer in time, everyone’s cheer will quickly turn to fear…

FALLING TO PIECES, An Innovative Amish Mystery by Vannetta Chapman

As many of you know, I’m always attracted to new ideas in fiction, to new angles and new ways of doing things. Today I’m thrilled to be featuring Vannetta Chapman’s wonderful and inventive Amish-cozy mystery, FALLING TO PIECES. This is Amish with a bit of a new twist.

In the Amish community of Shipshewana, two women — one Amish, one English — reluctantly join forces for a short-term business venture. Neither is looking for friendship, but when the town’s newspaper editor is murdered, and an unexpected prime suspect is identified, the women form an unlikely alliance to solve the mystery.
In this first book of a three-book series, a fresh twist is brought to the popular Amish fiction genre. She blends the familiar components readers love in Amish books — faith, community, simplicity, family — with an innovative who-done it plot that keeps readers guessing right up to the last stitch in the quilt.
When two women — one Amish, one English — each with different motives, join forces to organize a successful on-line quilt auction, neither expects to gain a friendship. As different as night and day, Deborah and Callie are uneasy partners who simply want to make the best of a temporary situation. But a murder, a stubborn detective, an unlikely suspect, and the town’s reaction throw the two women together, and they form an unlikely alliance to solve a mystery and catch a killer.
Set in the well-known Amish community of Shipshewana, FALLING TO PIECES will attract both devoted fans of the rapidly-growing Amish fiction genre, as well as those who are captivated by the Amish way of life. This is a novel both traditional Amish fans and also cozy mystery fans will love.

Purchase Links:

Vaneerta’s blog. http://www.vannettachapman.com/falling-to-pieces.html
Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Pieces-Shipshewana-Amish-Mystery/dp/0310330432/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315314440&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falling-to-pieces-vannetta-chapman/1102909224?ean=9780310415855&itm=2&usri=falling%2bto%2bpiec

Author Bio:
Vannetta holds BA and MA degrees in English and has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen award from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She previously published an Amish novel with Abingdon Press, SIMPTLE AMISH CHRISTMAS.