BOOK SALE SUNDAY: It's Christmas in July!

BOOK SALE SUNDAY: It's Christmas in July!

Hey there, Storygrapher!

Welcome to my bonus book for winners of The Trouble and Crimsy
. The link to the Free book -- Silhouette: Murder, Politics, New Orleans -- will be active for 3 days on Amazon starting at midnight tonight (Feb. 23) until midnight PST Saturday Feb. 25.

Here's the book page:

If you are outside the US, the links are trickier. Go to your country's Amazon site (e.g., .in, .ca,, etc.) and just search for "Silhouette" with my author name. 

Simply inserting the country code into the .com URL doesn't always work.

-- Cheers!  Mike Martin



Thirty-something single dad Ben Harper is on the case of a murdered political kingmaker's wife in SILHOUETTE -- FREE at Amazon Feb 23-25.

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. 



Cracks in the marriage of New Orleans Mayor Jarman Martrell and his architect-wife Madelyn turn into fault lines by Chapter 27 of SILHOUETTE, as multiple murders, a secretive love affair, and a politically-charged investigation engulf the Mayor's inner circle.


JARMAN STOOD with his shirt off in the light from the open refrigerator door, drinking orange juice from the container. He was still wearing his suit pants, dress socks, and belt from the workday.

“Naughty boy.”

He flinched, startled. Madelyn strode up to him in a loose robe and grabbed his belt. She leaned down and peered over his neck at the orange juice and open refrigerator. “How many times have I told you not to do that?” She kissed his neck.

“I’ll put my name on it with a marker pen.”

“This isn’t a dorm.” She smelled his neck with a big, deep breath. “I got so hot for you the other night at that debate.”

“I was that good?”

“Ohh, yes.” She pulled him closer to her. “I’m hot for you now,” she said.  

“Just look at you, standing here like a bad little boy, shirt off, smelling all kingly.” She licked his ear and whispered. “I want some tongue. I want some cock. I want it inside me. And I want it now.” She pressed into him.

“Whatchoo drinkin’?” he asked.

“You,” she said. “I’m going to drink you all in.”  

“What if I don’t feel like getting drunk?”

“I don’t care,” she said. “I want my man. I need him.”

She wrapped her hands around the orange juice container and directed it back into the refrigerator. She grinned, mussed hair in her eyes and around her mouth, just like when she would get on top of him, moving her ass and whispering her pleasure. She kissed him, turned him and took his hand and put it through her robe, on her body.

“That feels so nice,” she said. “Doesn’t that feel nice.”

She tugged him by the belt away from the refrigerator, toward the open door through the kitchen to the backyard.

“How about outside?”

He barely moved.

She saw a glass on the granite island. “Bad boy. There’s the glass you were supposed to use.” She waltzed him to it and picked it up. “The glass. See?” She smiled and kissed him again, but he was flat. She raised the glass and her face changed. She brought it down with a shattering crash on the counter top.


“See?” She picked up a shard with her bleeding hand. “See how easy it is to break something? See?”

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Wrong with me, Jarman? Wrong with me? I told you what’s wrong with me. I want the man I adore like nothing else in the world, and he won’t even touch me. Ben asked me if you had changed. I didn’t tell him about the biggest change of all.”
“Ben? When was this?”

“Yesterday. What—is there someone else? Some little bitch somewhere you’ve carefully hidden?”


“Then how,” she started tearing at her robe, shoulders first. “Could you—” Tearing it off. “Not.” Tearing it more, getting blood on it. “Want this?” She stood before him naked.

“Maddie.” He walked around the island to the sink and wet a dish towel under the faucet.

“Answer me,” she said. “How? Look at this body. Does your little bitch have a body like this?”  

He walked to her and tried to take her hand. She snapped it back.

“Don’t touch me,” she said.

He waited. He went for her hand again. She tried to pull it back, but he held firm. He pressed the towel against it. He took the towel away and she resisted as he looked at her palm.

“I hope it doesn’t need stitches,” he said.  

He set her hand on the counter and curled her fingers around the towel and went upstairs and returned with his robe. He went to put it around her shoulders. She shrugged it away.

“Why were you talking to Ben?”

“Why does it matter? I can talk to whomever I want.”

The robe in one hand and her towel-wrapped hand in the other, her husband led her to the couch. He coaxed the robe around her and they sat.

“What else did you tell him?”

“Don’t worry,” Madelyn said. “There wasn’t anything to tell him.”

Her long body stretched beyond the couch armrest, so she tucked in her legs.

“Okay,” Jarman whispered.

She started to relax. As the tension dissipated, she cuddled against her husband.
He smoothed his palm along the side of her thigh, raising his fingers toward the end. He raised his hand, but she put it back on her thigh. He ran his fingers along it and smothered his lips in her hair and kissed her head and held her and in time, heard the deep breathing of her sleep.





Thank you so much for reading! Until next time,

Michael Martin