Announcing: DEADLY DESIGNS Release ~ Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes Novel, Book 2

Deadly Designs 1400

DEADLY DESIGNS: Fast paced whodunit, with dry humor. Sweet, romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.

 

*****

 

DEADLY DESIGNS in a nut shell…
Private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels teams up with Deputy Dawson Hughes to find a geeky radio broadcaster’s missing wife and young daughter. They fear the woman and child were taken by Islamic terrorists as revenge against the husband’s pro-Israel, conspiracy theory broadcasts.

Hughe has recently been promoted to lieutenant in the Taylor County, Texas Sheriff’s Department. He’s on leave on a special assignment with Authorized Operations (AO), a clandestine, quasi-government agency operating out of a sea-side mansion in Hither Hills, NY. The only thing is, many powerful politicians, and government big-wigs claim Authorized Operations doesn’t exist.

Ronnie is furious at both Hughes and the broadcaster for waiting thirty-six hours to start the search. She knows the longer it takes, the less chance there is of finding the child alive. The problem is, radio talk-show host Ed Harper has been hoping-against-hope that his pot-smoking, model wife is on one of her esoteric experiences and has simply taken the child while she romps for a few days. He doesn’t want to seriously consider the other, more hazardous possibility… that his radio broadcasts have angered some very dangerous people.

The investigation takes Ronnie and Hughes from a manicured Connecticut estate, to interviews with an elitist A-List society crowd, and run-ins with cranky local police detectives. Then they plunge deep into the seamy, drug-riddled underbelly of the fashion world, with the specter of international terrorism hovering. All the while they know, the sooner a child is found, the better.

 

Excerpt: from Chapter Two,,,

I rang the bell and a geeky guy with squarish horn-rimmed glasses opened the door. Dawson Hughes stood several feet behind him.

A shadow passed over the man’s eyes and they narrowed. I couldn’t determine if it was confusion, or guilt and remorse. He took a faltering step back. “Um, come in, won’t you?”

I did, and marched directly to Hughes. “We’re thirty-six hours into a missing child case. Why haven’t the police been called?”

Hughes grimaced and held both hands up, palms out, in a stopping stance. “Whoa. Janus Agard notified the authorities over an hour ago.”

“I’m thrilled somebody finally decided to do something. Just who is Janus Agard, and what’s he got to do with the case?”

The nerdy guy stepped toward me, and his head bobbed. “Please, sit down in the living room and I’ll explain everything. Can I get you some coffee?”

“No, on the coffee.” I walked into a room furnished with comfortable, contemporary pieces in beige tones. A watercolor seascape, with a shimmering golden sun sinking below the horizon, hung over the couch. A large swirling, blue-glass bowl, filled with sea shells, graced the coffee table. My best guess was the missing wife had acquired the bowl. It had a feminine feel to it. This was the kind of place a young professional couple, just starting on their career paths, might have.

A man, who had been sitting in an easy chair, rose to his feet. He wore a black tee, relaxed-fit jeans, thick leather boots, and sported an eagle tattoo on his forearm. Light brown hair raised from his forehead, the back ends curling just above the tee’s collar. A leather jacket lay over the arm of the chair he’d just vacated. No doubt this was the owner of the Harley.

He stepped toward me and extended his hand. “Gary Olsen.”

I shook the biker’s hand. “I’m Veronica Ingels, private detective from Cooney Investigations.”

Hughes introduced the geek to me and brought me up to speed on the facts of the case.

“Ronnie, I only found out about Mr. Barton’s missin’ wife and child two hours ago, not two days ago.”

“So, when you say, your boss… this Janus Agard guy… phoned the authorities, that doesn’t necessarily mean he called the local police?”

Hughes nodded. “Good instincts on your part. He phoned someone, who, in turn will notify the Dunst PD.”

I paced back and forth. “How long does it take to make a few phone calls and for the cops to drive across this itsy village and get here?”

Before I could take off on another rant, a black sedan pulled into the drive and two men in suits, who had the look of detectives, got out.

Barton darted for the front door, nearly tripping over his own feet.

I looked at Hughes, then pointed at the husband. “Pretty jumpy, isn’t he?”

“Not unusual with his wife and daughter missing. He’s skittish as a gun-shy dog.” Hughes let out a long sigh.

“Well ‘Suspect 101’ in any police academy puts the husband at the top of the list.”

Hughes shrugged and we walked toward the front door.

Barton let the men into the small foyer.

The tallish, muscular one sported close-cropped hair that was nearly platinum. Not expecting that, with my usual lack of social acumen, I stared and had to tear my gaze away. He wore a black, off-the-rack suit with a white shirt and a red tie that had some kind of dots in it. Him taking an ‘at ease’ stance, gave away he’d been in the military. When he leveled his gaze to scrutinize us one-by-one, I didn’t feel so bad having gawked at him.

The older, shorter, balder one approached Barton. His suit was gray and a bit rumpled. He had a few acne pockmarks on his chin. “I’m Detective Campo. We need to get this investigation moving.” He inclined his head toward his partner. “This here is Detective Quinlan.”
Hughes introduced himself and me.

Campo’s eyes narrowed. He swung around to face Barton. “You hired PIs before you called the police?”

This was not off to a good start.

 

Cover of Book One, HARMFUL INTENT

Harmful Intent 300 P

Goodbye Noel ~ if you’re into Christmas in July

Goodbye Noel

 

Many thrill to Christmas in July. If you’re one of those, my classic 1940s mystery novel GOODBYE NOEL would be the perfect read for you. Especially now that World War II and post WWII novels are the new Amish.

 

 

GA Winner 2011Historical Romantic Murder Mystery, set in the mid-1940s
—murder/mayhem/kidnap/romance
—Sweet romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully
—Won the 2011 Grace Awards Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Historical Suspense category

 

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?

GOODBYE NOEL on Amazon

 

Just The Facts Ma’am ~ Life Before Technology and Miranda

Police Car, 1950s 2

Fingerprints were the de rigueur means of positive identification from the 1920s to the 1950s. In 1903 the New York State Prison system began the first systematic use of fingerprints in the United States for criminals. By 1904 Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas and the St. Louis Police Department had begun using finger printing. They were assisted by a Scotland Yard sergeant who had been on duty at the St. Louis World’s Fair Exposition guarding the British exhibition. In 1908 the first official finger print card was in devised.

In my Sanctuary Point series, set on the south shore of Long Island after World War II, stalwart detective Ian Daltry brings in suspects, gets out the marble slab, the ink, and the cards to finger print suspects. He then sends them to the lavatory where they endeavor to wash the mess off their hands with Lava soap.

At that time, every state and the FBI maintained voluminous, manually compiled, classified, and sorted finger print files. It would’ve been nigh a miracle to make a cold hit. There was nearly no way a latent print from a crime scene could be searched against all the various data bases country-wide as it can be done today with the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The data bases were just too spread out for that type of search. However, once a suspect was developed through investigation, comparison of latent prints from the crime scene to the fingerprints of the suspect cleared lots of cases.

In those days, cases were solved the good old fashion way, going door-to-door looking for witnesses and asking questions. Developing strong investigative skills was a must. And circumstantial cases that would stand up in court were built by detectives, who had no computers to rely upon. Blood typing was available, but not conclusive. Still it would be compelling circumstantial evidence if the suspect had blood of the same type as the victim’s on his clothing.

Driver’s license and automobile license plate information was stored state-by-state in large, hand written ledger books. It took a phone call from local law enforcement to the state police or to the state’s motor vehicle department to get a look up. There was no NCIC computer system until 1967. Prior to that, the only way to find out if a car was stolen was by a telephone check of local police department hot sheets that were published daily in most cities. Police cars were radio equipped but there were no portable walkie-talkies. Most cities had call boxes scattered around town where police officers could periodically check in with headquarters. Every officer carried at least one dime with him in case he had to use a public phone booth. And it was a he. There were no female police officers.

There were also no tazers or pepper spray, so an out-of-control criminal would get a not so gentle tap of a black jack, sometimes called a sap or night stick. In my series the Sanctuary Point Police Department had a black jack hanging on the wall near the holding cells. In my Christmas whodunit, GOODBYE NOEL, it was used to threaten two mobsters who were getting out of hand during the booking process. There was also no Miranda warning during the detainment or arrest process. Detective Daltry simply pointed his revolver into the face of the bigger of the two and then marched them to the station. There was no doubt if they made a physical move on him that he would shoot.

Goodbye Noel, Amazon

 

 

 

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?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon/Kindle.  http://amzn.to/12nzi3j

Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/11L7quZ

Recipes From the Kitchens of Sanctuary Point

Baking, Apfelstrudel, Apple Strudel

Some say I write “Foodie Fiction,” while others say I’m a crime fictionista. I’m okay with both of those. How about I’m a crime fictionista who writes foodie fic that also happens to be action packed, classic, historical whodunits with romance set in the mid-1940s?

Whatever the case may be, I love to pour over recipes. And here are two favorite recipes of mine that would’ve been used my characters in my Sanctuary Point series.

Apple Strudel is mouth watering. My paternal grandmother used to make this delicacy and our entire family enjoyed it so much. It’s a fairly complex confection to bake. There is several steps to it. The end result is well worth the effort. An amazing thing happened after I had finished writing BURNING HEARTS and my editor had the manuscript. I was reading it over and realized Mrs. Brogna was amazingly like my grandmother. I remember my grown father stealing a confection before she was ready to set it out on the table. She smacked him on the behind with a towel and chased my dad around the kitchen table while he laughed. That is something Mrs. Brogna would do.

Apfelstrudel – If I had Mrs. Brogna’s old-fashioned apple strudel recipe, this would be it.

Apple Strudel Dough:

2 ½ C flour

¼ tsp. salt

2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil

13 tbsp. water

1. Combine the ingredients in a bowl.

2. Stir with a spoon until the dough forms a ball.

3. Knead the dough until it is smooth and no longer sticky.

4. Form the dough into a ball and coat it with additional oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour.

5. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 9X13 rectangle.

6. Keep surface well-floured and gently flip the dough rectangle, keeping the long side toward you. Roll out as thinly as you can without breaking the dough. About 3 ft. X 2 ft. or slightly more.

Apple Strudel Filling:

½ C dark raisins

6  medium to large chopped, peeled and cored Granny Smith apples (not as fine as diced)

¾ C granulated sugar

1 tsp. lemon zest (grated lemon rind)

4 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Mix all ingredients together.

Preparing the Apple Strudel:

1 C melted butter

½ C white unseasoned breadcrumbs

1. Brush dough with slightly more than half the melted butter.

2. Evenly sprinkle the buttered dough with breadcrumbs.

3. Spread the filling along the longest edge of the dough as if it were a log.

4. Begin to roll the dough and the log of filling, slowly and gently.

5. Place the rolled strudel seam down in a horseshoe shape on a greased baking sheet.

6. Brush the remaining butter over the top of the strudel. Sprinkle a tiny bit of granulated sugar    on top.

7.Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

BH, Paper Back

BURNING HEARTS:

Can a sheltered young seamstress, disillusioned by the horrors of WWII, escape an arsonist/murderer who has killed her employer and mentor, while trying to decide if she can trust the dashing war hero who’s ridden into town on his Harley—who some say is the murderer?

Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. Many boys she grew up with had fallen in the WWII, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her most desperate need. A woman who is her close friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. After making an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Erica stands by as this man rushes into the inferno and carries her friend’s lifeless body out.

Lorne Kincade can’t out run his past on his Harley Davidson WLA, the civilian model of the motorcycle he rode in the war. He’s tried. He’s been a vagabond biker in the year since the war ended. His Uncle Ivar bequeathed him a ramshackle cottage in Sanctuary Point, on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY and now he’d like to hope for a future again, repair the miniscule place, and settle down. The only problem is, a young woman with hair the color of mink is starting to get under his skin and that’s the last thing he needs

Amazon/Print and Kindle. http://amzn.to/1b9pulE

Barnes and Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/16A4y0b

Kolache

Kolacke (the precursor of Linzer Tarts)

Renata Lenart made hers with raspberry jam and served them on New Year’s Day in GOODBYE NOEL, the Christmas/New Years themed novel in the Sanctuary Point series. If I had Renata Lenart’s recipe, this is what it would be.

1/2 C butter, softened
1 small package cream cheese (3 oz.), softened
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C jam (raspberry, strawberry, or apricot)
1/4 C confectioners’ sugar

1. Cream butter and cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer, until fluffy. Add flour, and mix well.

2. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into circles with a 2-inch round cutter.

3. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon of the jam on each cookie; fold opposite sides together slightly overlapping edges.

4. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes.

5. Remove to wire racks to cool; sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar while still warm.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Goodbye Noel

GOODBYE NOEL:

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?

Amazon/Kindle. http://amzn.to/11L4fUc

Barnes and Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/18TPVLc

Do you love delish baked goods? Love to pour through recipes? I especially love to do that right before a holiday. I’ll pile up stacks of cookbooks, some of them quite old, many of them with outstanding food photography. Then about a week before the holiday I’ll make myself a strong cup of black tea (perhaps Irish) and spend hours looking through recipes and making my holiday menu.

Nike. Pix

Do you enjoy reading “foodie fiction”?

What do you love about baking and baked goods?

Leave a comment…

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…