MAD ABOUT MOON by MELISSA FOSTER COVER REVEAL @Melissa_Foster

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36411

(`*•.¸ Pre-Order Your Next Whiskey Book!¸.•*´)  

Can true love strike twice in one lifetime? Find out why Josie is MAD ABOUT MOON in the next emotionally captivating, sexy Whiskeys series romance.
Josie Beckley refuses to believe there is a limit on happiness. A decade after she escaped her abusive parents and lost touch with her siblings, the death of her husband leaves her and her son homeless. But Josie has never been one to wallow in sadness, and when she takes a chance on reconnecting with her siblings, a sinfully handsome bright light from her past shows up and offers to help her find a way out of the darkness.
Most people wouldn’t see Jed Moon as someone to look up to. He’s been in and out of jail and has lived a less-than-stellar lifestyle. But years ago one woman saw through his crap, and he’s never forgotten her. Now she’s back in his life, and as a prospect for the Dark Knights motorcycle club, Jed promises to keep an eye on the sassy, sexy single mother who has never stopped lighting his fantasies on fire.
Jed and Josie’s combustible connection is stronger than ever. Having Josie and her son in his life brings out all of Jed’s protective instincts—and visions of a future he never imagined having. But when a shocking revelation knocks the insatiable lovers to their knees, it forces them to make choices that could change their lives forever.
For more hot Whiskey love, check out Melissa’s other Whiskey novels.
And don’t miss RIVER OF LOVE, the first story in which the Whiskeys were introduced!

VIOLIN WORDS by TAYLOR DEAN BLAST

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36427

Violin Words

by Taylor Dean


WHO IS THE AUTHOR?

When Jade Lockwood begins to receive anonymous love letters, she becomes a woman on a mission. She’s determined to figure out who wrote the flowery, over-the-top letters filled with the sweetest violin words she’s ever heard.

She’s neglected her love life, concentrating on Lockwood Cabins, the business her father built from the ground up. But her sweet letters have awakened something inside of her, something that can’t be ignored.

Facing Christmas alone this year, her emotions are already fragile. Add in a mysterious burglary, a handsome stranger, and a little deceit, and it just might be the most eventful Christmas she’s ever endured.

Will Jade find her happy ending? Or will her love letters prove to be nothing more than a sinister ploy?

Find out in this charming Christmas novel.

Get your copy on Amazon

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

 

Praise for Violin Words

Don’t miss this fun, perfect holiday read by a master storyteller!
Mylissa Demeyere, Author of The Songs of You and Me and The Songs that Brought Me Back

A sweet, heartwarming romance with a twist of mystery and suspense, all wrapped up in Christmas magic that makes this one hard to put down.
Charissa Stastny, Author of The Ruled Out Romance Series

 

Excerpt

I have no clue whatsoever as to The Author of the one and only love letter I’ve ever received. I’ve neglected my love life, giving all of my attention to Lockwood Cabins. Now I realize what a mistake that has been. When I read the letter, I’m filled with sensations I didn’t know existed.

It’s as if I can physically feel the depth behind his words. I’m taken away to another world and I just want to float away, wrapped in his love.

The Author’s words are flowery and eloquent, stirring and moving. They’re as lyrical and achingly sweet as a few strokes from a violin.

Violin words.

Yes.

My letter is filled with violin words. All meant for me. And I love them.

A few simple chords from a violin inspires soul soaring emotion within me and leaves me breathless. Somehow the sound speaks to me and I have to close my eyes and thank God that I’m alive, if only to hear such a precious sound.

But when I read my love letter, my reaction is the same. Words alone have never had this effect on me. Plain and simple words—twenty-six letters all strung together in thousands of combinations—and together they form the most beautiful thoughts. I hold the letter to my chest and absorb the love.

It’s the sweetest torture, the most exquisite agony. I welcome it. To feel is to live, I know that now.

Wow. Just wow. Are those violin words really directed toward me? I always figured I’d meet someone and get married one day. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine a man would speak to me like that. It sends a thrill through my body. Every time.

 

Author Taylor Dean

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Newsletter

 

Blast Giveaway Details

$50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Ends 12/12/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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THE HAUNTED GROOM by KARLY STRATFORD 99¢ SALE

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36423


The Haunted Groom

by Karly Stratford

 

How much would you bet on first love this Christmas?

The generous and good-looking, Evan Cook, outside tackle for the Denver Storm, grew up in a bad part of Milwaukee where he did things he’d rather forget. His Christmas plans include starting a foundation to help kids get out of his old neighborhood. However, quarterback Will Kent throws a wrench in Evan’s plans with a bet. A bet for Evan to contact his first love, Anna Jordan, and try to win her back. To his surprise, Anna–now the hottest actress in Hollywood–agrees to help him with his foundation. Anna brings her feisty, ninja-like bodyguard along, and suddenly Evan has a problem.

The beautiful and tough, Henley Keaton only wants a drama-free Christmas. When Evan Cook calls Henley’s employer, to Milwaukee to help with some foundation, she’s overjoyed. She can avoid the yearly family fight and eat deep-fried-cheese-curds and relax for Christmas. But when Anna gets sick and forces Henley to go on a date with Evan Cook in her place, Henley’s plan begins to crumble. When Henley and Evan engage in a spirited duel of Shakespeare quotes, things get…complicated.

After tragedy strikes, and it looks like Evan’s haunted past is going to catch up with him, he must decide if he’s willing to walk away or let Christmas miracles come true.

 

Praise for The Haunted Groom

This was a great read! I loved the characters and I loved the story. This wasn’t just a strong boy saves helpless girl story. The boy is strong but the girl isn’t helpless. A great story of redemption and giving back! I loved it! ~ Mariah S.

 

Get your copy for just 99¢

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimted

 

JUST A NAME by BECKY MONSON

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36395

Just a Name

by Becky Monson

Holly has a plan for everything. But she never could have planned for this.

If there’s one thing Holly Murphy loves, it’s a solid plan. She has her entire life figured out—or so she thinks. But when life pulls the rug out from under her, she’s left to deal with a canceled wedding—hers, to be precise. And the promotion she’s worked toward for years is now in jeopardy because the team she supervises doesn’t like her management style.

Thinking that Holly is too tightly wound and needs a break from everything, her boss demands she take a vacation. But how can she take a vacation when her promotion is on the line? Trying to help out, her best friend, Quinn, suggests she still go on her honeymoon and conduct a nationwide search to find a man with the same name as her ex-fiancé to use his plane ticket. Leaving Holly to wonder if she’s the only sane person left on the planet.

Yet when her boss gets wind of the idea and loves it, Holly finds herself in a corner she can’t get out of. And when handsome Nate Jones from Newport Beach gets picked to go with her, she wonders if this whole thing won’t be so bad after all.

Can Holly learn to let go? Or will this crazy adventure send her running right back to her safety net?

Get your copy on Amazon

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

 

Praise for Just A Name

“Just a Name is a delicious escape! I devoured every character, every moment, and every quirk and couldn’t get enough. This book is Becky Monson at her finest!” – Author Whitney Dineen

“Becky Monson has outdone herself with Just a Name. It’s FANTASTIC! I’m still swooning.” – Author Jennifer Peel

“Fans of romantic comedies should grab a copy of Just a Name; it has the perfect balance between sweet and sassy.”- Readers’ Favorite

“Full of fun, swoon, and humor, all topped with unexpected twists. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in these pages!” – Katie’s Clean Book Collection

“I loved it. Becky Monson is so good at writing humor into her books. Sarcasm and wit reign supreme right along with a slow growing romance.” – Aimee Brown from Getting Your Read On

 

Excerpt

I hate today.

Which doesn’t bode well, since it’s only eight thirty in the morning.

This is par for the course with my life right now, since the past three weeks haven’t particularly been my favorite either. Before that—which feels like ages ago—I was feeling like I was on the right path. Like everything I had planned for myself was happening. And I actually remember thinking, “Life can’t get any better.” Clearly, I jinxed myself.

Because my life is not on track. Not even close.

Lately, every morning I wake up with hopes that this will be the day when things will look up for me. The day my life will take a turn for the better and I’ll get myself back on track. Apparently, today is not that day.

Right now, I’m sitting in an air-conditioned office, holding a piece of paper in my hands, staring at the words in front of me and trying to make sense of it all. The top of the paper, in bold lettering, says, “CT Anderson Bank,” and underneath it, “Holly Murphy—Supervisor Assessment.”

Under that are a whole bunch of words I can’t believe I’m reading. Words like “too controlling” and “micromanaging” and “not a team player.” It’s all there, in Times New Roman, eleven-point type. Coincidentally, these are some of the words Nathan—my ex-fiancé—used when he called off our wedding nearly three weeks ago. He even used the words “not a team player”—whatever that’s supposed to mean. And this was all only a little over two months before we were to marry.

Way to kick me when I’m down, Life.

 

Author Becky Monson

By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. An award-winning author, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last… but it probably won’t.

 


Giveaway Details

$50 Amazon Gift Code or $50 in PayPal Cash

Ends 11/27/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via PayPal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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MY HANDS HOLD MY STORY by BETHANY SWAFFORD BOOK REVIEW

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36398

 

 

For fans of A Knight of Silence and Read My Lips comes a YA historical western full of grit and heart…

In 1874, Ivy Steele’s deafness is more than a handicap. It’s a disease. Surrounded by a family that doesn’t understand her, she’s learned to cope and find solace where she can. Then, the unexpected happens. Her aunt dies, and her uncle sends her away to rejoin her father’s family in Montana.

Left to fend for herself, after the companion hired to escort her abandons her, sixteen-year-old Ivy faces continual hardship and danger. Several men see an unaccompanied Ivy as a flower ripe for the picking, and things only get worse when masked men hold up their stagecoach.

Barely scraping through, Ivy makes it to Montana with her nerves shaken and what little money she has in her boot. Expecting a peaceful if not affectionate welcome, Ivy finds herself in greater hardship than she’s ever known.

Surrounded by a stepfamily that hates her, and flung into a life where hearing is vital, Ivy finds solace in a handsome cowboy named Remy. But things with her new family are not what they seem. And Ivy is about to find out that the danger she faced on the journey west, has followed her to Montana…

Bethany Swafford dazzles with her stunning young adult debut, introducing a strong heroine, the hardships of frontier life, shocking twists, and a slow-burning romance that will leave you wanting more.

Third place winner of the 2018 Rosemary Award

~ Universal Amazon Link ~

~ Goodreads ~

 

 

For as long as she can remember, Bethany Swafford has loved reading books. That love of words extended to writing as she grew older and when it became more difficult to find a ‘clean’ book, she determined to write her own. Among her favorite authors is Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer.

When she doesn’t have pen to paper (or fingertips to laptop keyboard), she can generally be found with a book in hand. In her spare time, Bethany reviews books for a book site called More Than A Review.

~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~

~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~

 

I finished reading My Hands Hold My Story by Bethany Swafford and I was left sitting in my chair waiting for something more! Surely the story wasn’t finished!

My Hands Hold My Story by Bethany Swafford is an awe-inspiring tale of one young deaf woman’s journey across an unknown country to a family that she hasn’t seen in ten years.

Ms. Swafford’s words paint a portrait on each page as she builds the story and each of her characters. The story is filled with intense emotion and she writes such incredibly life-like characters that are easy to either love or hate!

The ending of the story wasn’t so much of an ending as it as, what I hope, is the beginning of another story!

I highly recommend My Hands Hold My Story By Bethany Swafford! I give this book five steaming hot cups of Reviews by Room With Books cups of coffee!

©November 14, 2018

Patricia, Reviews by Room with Books

 

 

Character Casting

Katie Leclerc as Ivy Steele

Colin Ford as Remy Prater

Tom Hardy as Mr. Steele

Kaitlyn Dever as Anna

Amy Adams as Cordelia Steele

Cody Christian as Simon Steele

 

 

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page

 

 

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99 CENT SALE THE BETTING GROOM by TAYLOR HART

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36391


Grab your copy of The Betting Groom by Taylor Hart for just 99¢ today!

The Betting Groom: Last Play Christmas Romances:

The Legendary Kent Brother Romances

by Taylor Hart

 

How much would you bet on true love this holiday season?

After getting caught in a media frenzy at a charity event, Will Kent, Quarterback for the Denver Storm and five of his buddies found themselves in jail—with no one coming for them. After bemoaning their situation, Will challenges the guys to a Christmas Bet to find the woman they had always loved, the one who had gotten away…and kiss her by Christmas Eve.

Tara Lighthouse never would have expected to find herself barefoot, on a ledge, in the middle of a snowstorm. But the recent divorce and the pregnancy test made her feel hopeless. After saying a prayer, she is shocked when Will Kent shows up at her door. And even more shocked when he offers to hire her as his PR consultant for the next four days.

After playing Mr. and Mrs. Claus, buying Christmas for a bunch of children, skiing, and spilling secrets, both of them recognize something magic is happening between them.

When the truth comes out, they are left with a choice: forgive or walk away from the only love they’ve ever wanted.

 

From the Author
Oh man, I can’t even tell you how much I love Will! Not only is he fun, loving and generous-he’s also…good. Really good.
He has a depth that most people don’t see in him because he keeps it hidden.
And the love he has for Tara is inspiring!
Cheers- Taylor


Praise from Readers

Such a great story! She turned him down once but will she give him a second chance? Sweet romance at it’s best.

I’m rarely surprised by a Taylor Hart book because they are nearly always good…but this one took me by surprise…because it’s pure gold!

Another Kent brother bites the dust in this 2nd chance love story. A sweet story of finding your HEA with your one true love.

As someone who has loved, lost, and loved again, it’s so nice to have stories that inspire the hope for those of us who have relationships that have ended in loss.

Grab your copy now!

THE HOLISTIC GUT PRESCRIPTION by LAUREN DEVILLE, NMD BOOK TOUR

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36385

 

The Holistic Gut Prescription is designed to be a simple guide to healing the gut, based on the following premise: if people give the body what it needs to heal itself and remove the obstacles to its cure, then within reason, healing will follow.

Nature Cure is not easy to employ, but it is usually easy to understand. There are only so many building blocks, and there are only so many possible obstacles to cure. The physician’s job is not to “make someone well,” but rather to facilitate the process of healing.

In this guide, Dr. Lauren helps readers recognize which obstacles to a healthy gut they face, how to remove them, and how to supply the specific building blocks they lack so that they can create their own personal path to optimal digestive wellness.

~ Universal Amazon Link ~

 

Dr. Lauren Deville is board-certified to practice medicine in the State of Arizona. She received her NMD from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ, and she holds a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Arizona, with minors in Spanish and Creative Writing.

She also loves yoga, piano, and good audiobooks. She writes fiction under a pen name in her spare time.

~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~

~ Pinterest ~

 

 

 

“The Holistic Gut Prescription is the most thorough guide to intestinal wellness I’ve seen to date. Readers can learn detailed programs to reverse leaky gut, chronic infections, candida and chronic inflammation. The book also gives deep perspective on how multifaceted the connections between gut health, lifestyle, and mindset are. Highly recommended.”Alan Christianson, NMD, New York Times bestselling author of The Adrenal Reset Diet

 

 

Top Ten List

  1. Food: Flourless chocolate cake or chocolate ganache cake from Trader Joe’s. Basically anything dark chocolate, though.
  2. Song: Right now, “Satisfied” from Hamilton: An American Musical.
  3. Book: Can I cheat and say the whole Harry Potter series
  4. Television show: Most recently, “Sherlock.”
  5. Movie: Again, can I cheat and say the whole Harry Potter series?
  6. Band: Artist maybe? Sara Bareilles
  7. Sports team: I really don’t care but if you twisted my arm, I’d say New Orleans Saints (a family team)
  8. City: Norwich, England
  9. Beverage: either coffee or red wine, depending on the time of day!
  10. Season: Christmastime!

 

 

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

 

 

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NISSA by ZINA ABBOTT BOOK BLITZ

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36378

 

My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen I use for my historical novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”

I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.

I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.

~ Facebook ~ Website ~

~ Amazon ~ Blog ~

~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads ~

~ Google+ ~ Newsletter ~ Booklinker ~

 

 

A widow with two small children, Nissa Stillwell was forced out of the mining supervisor’s house after her husband died in the mine disaster in Wildcat Ridge, Utah. She quickly learns before his death, he went heavily into debt. She leaves what few possessions remain behind and contracts with the Ridge Hotel to do their laundry and live in the laundry shed and drying yard next to the hotel. She is able to make ends meet—barely.

Being left with only the furnishings and personal items that make up James Stillwell’s estate, Mortimer Crane goes after Nissa to pay the balance owed. She refuses, but he insists she work off the debt in his Gentlemen Only Salon.

Rancher Dallin Walsh has been too busy building up his spread in the isolated mountains of western Colorado to look for a wife. He comes to Wildcat Ridge for a big horse auction. Between Crane and three drifters, he comes to Nissa’s defense more than once. Desperate to leave Wildcat Ridge, Nissa asks him to hire her as a housekeeper. Does Dallin want a housekeeper—or does he have something else in mind?

Hal and Buck, two wranglers who work for Dallin, soon find most women in town are as eager to find husbands to move to Wildcat Ridge so they can keep their homes as they are to sell horses. A woman in difficulty captures Hal’s attention. Another woman finds Buck, but he definitely is not interested in a wife.

Who will go to Colorado, and who will stay in Wildcat Ridge?

 

~ Universal Amazon Link ~

~ Goodreads ~

 

 

Snippet

A light nudge on the bottom of his boot jolted Buck out of a deep sleep. He scrambled to his feet in an instant. With one hand on the butt of his pistol, he tossed aside his bedroll. It was only when, through his bleary sleep-hazed eyes he recognized Hal, he let out a sigh of relief and settled to a sitting position on the straw. Leaning back against the short wall where the roof joined it just above his head, he raked his fingers through his sleep-mussed hair and scratched his head. “What did you go and do that for? Took about ten years off my life.”

Unrepentant, Hal leaned against the flat side of the livery building near the edge of the loft where the roofline was high enough he could stand at his full height. “You’re getting soft being in town. It’s daylight. Time to be up.”

Buck grumbled as he pulled one boot off and wiggled his toes. “Says the man who spent the night in a soft bed at the hotel. You got to sleep all night without a care in the world. Me, on the other hand, every time one of these horses started to snort or stomp, I got up and climbed down the ladder to take a look-see, make sure everything was all right.”

“Must you take those boots off, Buck? The stink of those socks is enough to stampede the horses right out of here.”

 

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page

 

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CAMOUFLAGE BY IVY KEATING & SCOTT SPOTSON SPOTLIGHT TOUR

https://roomwithbooks.com/?p=36374

 

CAMOUFLAGE

BY IVY KEATING & SCOTT SPOTSON

A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

Grab your copy now!!

Amazon ~ Champagne Books ~ Goodreads

Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world.

A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions. This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England.

An area that inspired the question… what if?

www.ivykeating.com ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

 

The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.

The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.

The next paragraph got him thinking.

A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.

He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.

Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.

He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.

The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.

He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”

Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.

He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.

Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”

“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”

“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”

“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.

“Have a seat.”

“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”

Sean nodded.

“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”

“What did she say?”

“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”

“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”

“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”

“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”

“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”

“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.

“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”

“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.

“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”

“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”

“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”

“Yes. Do that.”

He nodded. “Right away.”

“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”

“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”

Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.

After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.

“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.

“How come?”

“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”

Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”

“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”

“Someone filmed it?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”

“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”

“Sure. Let me see.”

“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”

“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.

Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.

The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?

The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.

“Do we know what happened to it?”

“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”

“Who gave you the video?”

“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”

Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”

“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”

“Why? Who is he?”

“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”

“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.

“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”

“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”

“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”

“Okay, can you send me the video?”

“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”

Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?

 

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