MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
What better way to celebrate the end of 2022's rising interest rates and high inflation than with more FREE AND DISCOUNTED BOOKS from me and your friends at BookFunnel.
A month-long twist on Black Friday, this week's BookFunnel novels offer crime, thriller, suspense, and even some horror. I'm introducing each free book with Amazon reader reviews, rather than my own take or an author's plot summary.
My own SILHOUETTE, about murder and politics in New Orleans, is on Santa's list. It's FREE until midnight tonight!
But first, congratulations to recent FIRES OF LILLIPUT winners Dana Riggs, of St. Louis, Mo; and Teresa Lavender of Copperas Cove, Texas. They each won a paperback copy, postage paid, of the bestselling story, about a Holocaust-era Catholic saint and the Jewish woman who becomes his greatest advocate before the Vatican.
As always, if and when you read any of these novels, please do leave a rating or write a review. Good, bad, or ugly, ratings and reviews are the life blood of writing these days, with readers and authors counting on them more than ever to make a big decision: how to spend that invaluable quiet time called reading.
Now onto today's FREE books, tales of crime, mystery, and mayhem that put the black into Black Friday deals.
Thirty-something single dad Ben Harper is on the case of a murdered political kingmaker's wife in SILHOUETTE -- FREE TODAY at Amazon.
District attorney Ben, his physician wife Cynthea, and daughter Jamie leave New Orleans complexity for small-town comfort just beyond the Big Easy's borders.
But crime and the city won't let Ben go. Newly widowed after Cyndee dies in a head-on collision, Ben is forced into a high-stakes political game when the wife of a prominent political donor turns up dead and dismembered in his jurisdiction.
And she's just the first.
In this excerpt from Chapter 47, we eavesdrop on the thoughts of suspect Madelyn Martrell, wife of New Orleans' Mayor Jarman Martrell, as she sets out to confront her husband's young mistress.
MADELYN WALKED down the third-floor breezeway toward a courtyard. Her heart raced as she came to the corner. She looked right and left and over the courtyard balcony, to a perfunctory fountain, where a chipped granite angel, weathered and dirty, blessed a pool of stagnant rainwater.
Madelyn slipped along the balcony, trying to check her breathing: deep breath, quiet sigh, deep breath, quiet sigh.
She was stunned to be at the door so soon and gathered herself. Would she catch them together? She would knock, she would be calm, she would ask if this woman was sleeping with her husband.
And if she was right, she would demand, nicely, to know why.
Then she would kill the little bitch herself. Forget Billy and Mary.
But when she raised her hand to knock, she brushed the door and it moved with a hinge squeak.
She stopped herself. Now what? Should she just go in? She was all ready to knock, pound even, and take the time before the door opened to sharpen her focus, figure out just what she was going to say.
Now, she stood without wanting to make a sound.
Was the girl home? Did she hear the door?
Madelyn listened. Someone was inside. She thought she heard them. She knew she sensed them. She put her hand against the door and pushed it, deftly, so the hinge stayed silent.
She pushed the door open just enough and stepped into a small, shadowy foyer, a limbo where she was neither in the apartment nor out of it.
She stepped on the balls of her feet, almost on tiptoes, felt her heart pound, held her breath. It was so quiet she could hear music from the ear buds the girl was wearing.
Bad Bad Thing, Chris Isaak. How alarmingly apropos.
Madelyn peered around the arched entryway into the tiny apartment. The sight of the girl jolted her. She was on the edge of her bed, naked, scrolling through her cellphone, oblivious in its revealing light.
“She looks so young,” Madelyn thought.
The girl was fit, her skin had that taut sheen that looks flawless to anyone of a certain age. The lamplight in the room accentuated the way her leg curved to her butt, and how the muscles flexed and jumped in her calves.
The girl set the phone down and Madelyn saw its neon green case and the slender cord from the girl’s earbuds across her breast. The girl took out the earbuds, stood and opened the window as the song entered the room.
She picked up a bottle of lotion and rubbed palm fulls of it along her arms, around the curvature of her shoulders, up her neck and down, between her breasts.
Down and over the delicate brown bumps of each nipple, to her stomach, gliding over shiny perspiration in the still, humid air.
Madelyn smelled the scent of the lotion.
Like a taunt, the girl smoothed the glistening oil along the convexity of her thighs, then down, where her hand grabbed her calf like a football and massaged it. The girl turned and Madelyn saw her eyes, dark and immature. Her rival had expected an older woman.
But this was a child, twenty-two, twenty-three at the most.
She imagined the defiance she might encounter: More like a teen defying a parent than an opportunistic mistress confronting the devastated wife. She wondered if this oblivious child even knew that her lover was married. “Rich, powerful, older man” may be as far as the girl’s understanding ever got.
Instead of lunging at her throat and strangling her until that flawless body squirmed to a slunk, Madelyn stood, denying herself anything more than an audible breath.