Friday, 3 January 2020

COVER REVEAL: NEVER TOO FAMOUS


Happy New Year and best wishes to all. I’m delighted to be able to start 2020 with the cover reveal for my next book Never Too Famous which will be published by Pride on 10th March.




  

They’ll do anything for fame, whatever the cost.

Harry Alexander and Grant Hunter are big names in reality TV, but they couldn’t be more different. For Harry, fame happened by chance. He was working as a marine engineer on a cruise ship when the liner became the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary series. Harry’s good looks and charming personality made him an immediate hit with viewers, and he became the break-out star of the show.

Grant Hunter took no chances in his pursuit of fame. Having starred in the outrageous reality show Sexy Northerners, he grabbed success with both hands and didn’t let go. Grant is prepared to do whatever it takes to stay at the top—red-carpet appearances, parties, high-profile romances and X-rated videos. He’ll do anything in the name of self-promotion to maintain his notorious reputation.

When Harry arrives in Grant’s home city of Manchester, they have preconceived ideas about each other. As they realize they have more in common than they ever thought, they must overcome prejudice, rivalry and the social and professional barriers placed before them, if they’re ever to get together.

General Release Date: 10th March 2020


Never Too Famous is a novella and the first book in the Success series.

Fame, money, power. Some men will do anything for them. In every field, it’s a cut-throat race to the top, littered with deceit, passion and love. For those strong enough to get what they want, maintaining it is never easy.

Reality TV stars, footballers, lawyers, singers and movies stars—join them as they discover what they’re each prepared to pay to preserve their success.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Author Interview: Ryan Ringbloom The Whiskey Series



Join me for a quick chat today with Ryan Ringbloom, information about her Whiskey Series and the chance to win an Amazon giftcard.
Ryan, do You See Writing as a Career?
For many people, yes I do.
What was the Hardest Part of Your Writing Process?
Sometimes it’s just - ass in seat issues. I need to make myself sit down and freaking write!!! 
I think all writers will agree with you there. Did you have any One Person Who Helped You Out with Your Writing Outside of Your Family?
I have a bunch who I shall not name for fear of leaving one out.
What is next for your writing?
Something with some serious positive vibes.
o you have an addiction to reading as well as writing? If so, what are you currently reading?
 I do. It comes in spurts. I tend to binge read. I am currently reading Second Down by Kata Cuic.

This or That?

#1 - iPd or Mp3? ipod.
#2 – Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
#3 – Mashed Potatoes or French Fries? French Fries all day!
#4 – Comedy or Drama? That’s a mood thing.
#5 – Danielle Steel or Nicholas Sparks? Nicholas Sparks
#6 – Fantasy or Reality? Mix ‘em up.
#7 – Call or Text? Text
#8 – Public School or Home School? Public
#9 – Coffee or Hot Chocolate *Please chant - Coffee Coffee Coffee Coffee!
#10 – eBook or Paperback? BOTH!!!!





The Whiskey Series
RomCom
Date Published: September 1st 2019

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Four books. Four whiskey-fueled romances.


Dick: Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It's a fluke. Too much whiskey. Believe me when I say, it will NEVER happen again.

I’m trying not to take it personally. Sh*t happens. It’s not a reflection on me. He claims it was too much whiskey. A one time occurrence. And I believe him.

But then why the hell does it happen a second time?



Chick: Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It's a fluke. Too much whiskey. Believe me when I say, it will NEVER happen again.

I’m trying not to take it personally. Sh*t happens. It was a blind date. She drank too much whiskey. I hope it wasn’t a reflection on me.

Okay, so the first date didn't work out. But what happens when the second one doesn’t either?



Trick: Everything usually goes my way. Life’s good. But after a bad breakup, a few problems emerge that I need help fixing.

He has problems all right. Sure, I’ll help. Just because I’m unlucky in love doesn’t mean the next girl should be too.

But maybe those problems aren’t so bad after all?



Flick: Everything usually goes my way. Life’s good. But after a bad breakup, a big secret unfolds that no one can ever know.

She has a secret all right. Sure, I’ll keep it. Just because we can’t tell anyone doesn’t mean we can't make it work.

But maybe some secrets do need to come out?

*F/F Romance



About the Author

Hi, I’m Ryan Ringbloom, a Jersey girl who doesn’t write Alphas. I couldn’t if I tried. Social Media stresses me the frick out, yet I can’t seem to walk away from it. I love to binge watch TV. I think cats are awesome. I’m obsessed with coffee and Fireball. But never together. I am counting down the days until self-driving cars are the norm. And if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, I won’t even try to run. I will let the first one I see eat my brain and get it over with.



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Friday, 20 September 2019

Book Blitz: Eyes Wide Open – MMF BDSM Erotic Romance by Lucy Felthouse


Blurb:

A chance meeting opens Fiona’s eyes to some very sexy possibilities.

Recent graduate Fiona Gillespie is stuck working in a grimy pub in London’s East End, and living in a horrid flat. It’s only while she figures out what she wants to do career-wise, but that’s easier said than done.

When she sees an advertisement for a job at a plush Mayfair hotel, she jumps at the chance. Determination and a spot of luck land Fiona her dream role—and it comes with accommodation included.

Her job and living situation sorted, things are on the up. Unfortunately, her personal life is lacklustre. It doesn’t bother her, though—not until she meets businessmen James and Logan, and her head is well and truly turned.

When a misunderstanding leads Fiona to James and Logan’s sumptuous top-floor hotel suite, she has no idea what she’s about to uncover. Her imagination runs wild, but not wild enough to get to the truth—James and Logan are a couple, and they’re into some seriously intriguing activities.

Fascinated, she launches herself into a whole new world with the two men. But is this just physical, or is their arrangement set to become something more?

*Eyes Wide Open has been re-released with a stunning new cover and has been re-edited.







Excerpt:



Continuing to surreptitiously peer at the men over the rim of her glass, it hit her that this was the first time in months she’d looked at a man with interest, much less two men—and at the same time! She was ready to snatch her gaze away if one of them happened to glance at her, but it wasn’t surprising the pair had attracted her attention.

The tailored business suits would draw the eye even on someone unremarkable. But on these two, the fine clothing was practically an orgasm for the gaze. They sat opposite each other, and their angle to her meant she had a view of both their profiles—lucky her.

The one to her right had very dark, almost black hair, with a bit of a curl to it, a long straight nose, a trimmed goatee and, if she wasn’t mistaken, deep blue eyes. It was hard to tell for sure from this distance and perspective.

The one on her left had lighter, shorter hair, stubble that by some magical feat still looked smart, and the most sinful lips she’d ever set eyes on. And speaking of eyes, she thought perhaps his were green. What she wouldn’t give to go and check both of them out close up, preferably naked.

Shocked at her own sudden lustful thoughts, she inhaled more than drank another sip of the juice. Unfortunately, it hit her throat all wrong and she almost slammed the glass down as she started to cough. She tried so hard to suppress the cough, eager not to draw attention to herself, that she made it worse. Snatching up the thick linen serviette from the table, she held it to her mouth as she spluttered in a most embarrassing manner, and tears began to roll down her cheeks. By now, she was sure the whole damn restaurant was staring at her, and she wished the tablecloths reached the floor, like the ones in the restaurant upstairs, so she could hide under the table until she regained her composure.

Swallowing repeatedly to try to soothe her irritated throat, she gasped as a gentle hand laid on her shoulder, which set her off all over again.

“Oh God,” came a voice. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you jump. I just wanted to make sure you were all right. See if I could help.”

Unable to speak, Fiona waved a hand to try to signal that she’d be okay, but unless the guy was a mind reader, he’d have no luck figuring that out. Blinking through the tears that marred her vision, her urge to hide underneath the table grew stronger. Christ, it was only the hottie with the blue eyes. And, if she wasn’t mistaken, his sexy friend with the green eyes was also hovering close by, concern etched into his handsome features.

Managing to drag in a breath, she huffed out, “Thank you.”

Just then, Jeremy arrived with a carafe of water, complete with ice, and poured her a glassful. “Here you go, Fiona. Drink this. Are you all right? Anything else I can get you?”

She picked up the glass and took a tiny sip of the freezing cold liquid, hoping it wouldn’t make her cough again. She seemed to have got a handle on it, though her now-sore throat wasn’t at all happy with her. After taking several more tiny sips, she let out a sigh of relief—it seemed her mortifying coughing bout was over. Then she moved on to bigger gulps, buying herself some time to think of something witty to say, anything to convince the three men looking at her that she wasn’t some kind of imbecile who couldn’t even manage a glass of juice without choking.

Unfortunately, her creative brain, which had been on fire up until she’d started lusting over the hotties, had taken its leave. So she decided to opt for the truth. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you. My juice just went down the wrong way, that’s all. I’m fine, really. I’ll just finish my drink and be on my way. Thank you for the water, Jeremy.” She aimed a weak smile in his direction.

Blue Eyes turned to Jeremy. “Yeah, thanks, buddy. If you need to get on, we’ll keep an eye on her for a bit, make sure she’s okay. Don’t worry.”

A little warily, Jeremy looked at the two men, then at Fiona. “Are you going to be all right, Fiona? Do you need me to call someone and let them know you’ll be late or anything?”

She shook her head. “Honestly, Jeremy, I’ll be fine. It was just a coughing fit, that’s all. No lasting damage, except maybe to my makeup. And no, nobody will be missing me yet. It’s fine. Thank you so much, though.”

“Just give me a wave if you need me,” he said, backing away.

“Will do.”

With that, he morphed from concerned acquaintance into efficient waiter in an instant and went back to looking after his tables and the patrons frequenting them.

Knowing she’d now have to address the two men who’d caused her blush-worthy incident in the first place, she took yet another huge gulp of the icy water, then dabbed at her face with the serviette. Putting it down, she turned to Blue Eyes, who still stood by her side, but had removed his hand from her shoulder, with a wide smile.

“I’m so sorry,” she said again. “Please excuse the state of me, I’m sure I must look terrible. Thank you so much, both of you, for coming to check on me, but I’m really fine. No Heimlich manoeuvre required. I’ll just finish my drink… drinks… and be on my way. Please feel free to go back to your meeting.”

Green Eyes stepped a little closer. “You look just fine, sweetheart, except for being a little flushed, but that’s no bad thing.” He shot an almost imperceptible glance at Blue Eyes, and Fiona had to wonder if she’d imagined it. And if not, what on earth did he mean by that, anyway?

“Yes,” his friend chipped in, moving around so that he, too, could look at her face. “You look great. We’ll be just over there if you need us, all right? Don’t you hesitate to call out or wave, okay?”

Fiona wished they’d stop making such a fuss. But they were just being polite, she supposed. So, fixing the smile back on her face, she said, “Thank you. And I will. I promise.”

She waited until they’d retaken their seats before she started to make preparations for leaving hers. She didn’t want to dash off straight away as that might concern them further and send Jeremy into a tizzy, so she acted as coolly and calmly as possible, finishing the water, then the juice, as she continued making notes on her tablet. Finally, feeling able to leave without raising any eyebrows, she got up and collected her things.

Her movement attracted the attention of Blue Eyes and Green Eyes, and she gave them both a smile and a nod before moving off. She didn’t see Jeremy, who must have been in the kitchen collecting something, so she made a mental note to thank him when she next saw him. That was the downside to posh material serviettes and electronic devices—it meant there was no paper or pen handy to scrawl him a little note with.

She wasn’t quite ready to head back to the PR & Marketing Suite yet, at least not until she’d fixed her no doubt ruined makeup—which would raise a few eyebrows and spawn some questions—so she decided she’d dash up to her room for a few minutes and sort herself out.

After pressing the button for the elevator, she swiped through some of the photos she’d taken on the tablet as she waited for it to arrive. A couple of minutes later, the car arrived with a ping and a swish of doors. She stepped in, pressed the number for her floor and moved back. Just as the doors began closing, she realised the table the two men had been sitting at was visible from her position.

They were still there, and she was glad no one could see or hear her reaction as she looked at them, only to find two pairs of very arresting eyes looking right back at her—with interest.

And, as her view of them grew narrower and narrower until only a sliver was left, Blue Eyes flashed her a positively wicked grin just before he disappeared altogether.

Clinging onto the brass handrail behind her to steady herself, Fiona willed herself to get a grip. She’d been having a really good day, right up until those two had somehow awakened her hormones and made her bloody fruit juice go down wrong. And the way they’d clearly been watching her… and that smile! Shaking her head, she wanted desperately to believe they were some kind of dodgy perverts who frequented hotel restaurants to prey on lone young women, but common sense and cold, hard facts told her that wasn’t the case.

For one, what had they done? Offered help, and concern. That was all. What had they gained? Nothing, except maybe peace of mind in knowing she was okay. Her tablet and phone were still in her possession, so they weren’t thieves. Dodgy folk didn’t spend time in The Portmannow Hotel. It just didn’t happen.

So if they weren’t dodgy perverts and were just two relatively young businessmen, why had they been watching her like that? Their expressions, the looks in their eyes, indicated something altogether different from innocent concern for her wellbeing. The smile Blue Eyes had thrown her had been nothing short of sinful. Lustful, even. One Lucifer himself would have been proud of.

God, was it possible that they… found her attractive?



*****



Author Bio:




Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.






Friday, 13 September 2019

News Update


Hi all 

I hope everyone has enjoyed the last days of summer and the beginning of autumn. September to December is my favourite time of the year. I love the changing colours, the brown and coppery tones, the shortening days and the cooler nights. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy summer, especially when the weather is good, but I don’t function well in extreme heat, and autumn is the ideal time for me. I like it when the nights draw in. Getting home to turn on the lights, draw closed the curtains and lock the rest of the world out. Bliss. 

As one season ends and another starts, it seems like a good time for a news round up. In terms of new releases my next one is still some way off–March 2020–so I won’t go into much details yet, just to say that it’s the first book in a loosely linked series coning from Pride Publishing.  By the time this update is posted, I’ll have completed the first draft of the second story in the series, a contemporary romance, this one set in Ibiza. Again, there’s not a lot I can say yet, but I hope to have a big update on the series soon.  

I’ve also completed the final draft on a new novel which I submitted to my publisher last month, a romantic suspense set on the North-East Coast of England. This was a really exciting book to write and I can’t wait to share it. I’m probably going to write a standalone story next, based on my trip to Iceland earlier this year, followed by the third novella in that new series.  

I’m already making plans for my writing in 2020. I’d like to maintain the pace I’ve set this year with one novel, two novellas and a short story or two. 

In terms of what I’ve been reading, I’ve just finished Sylvia Day’s Butterfly in Frost which I really enjoyed and almost finished book one of Lily Harlem’s His Vampire Harem. I also read the first book in Mortica Knight’s Sin City series All Fired Up and am looking forward to the follow up books. I’ve downloaded book two Copping an Attitude to read on holiday.





On TV I caught up with the Netflix series What/If starring Renee Zellweger. Now, I can’t totally recommended this as a good show, but as a fan 1990s erotic thrillers, I absolutely loved it. Basic Instinct, Sliver, Body Of Evidence, I love all those films, and What/If is a throw back to that high octane, highly sexed era. Check that one out if you’re a fan of top-drawer trash. I’ve also been enjoying the new series of Peaky Blinders and I loved Fosse Verdon shown recently on BCC 2. And as a fan of cookery shows I’m totally into the new series of Great British Bake Off and Celebrity Master Chef. 

I’m heading off on my travels again this weekend, to explore the Baltic Sea. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time. It will be my first time visit for all the places we’re stopping at, the highlight of which is an overnight stay in St Petersburg, Russia. Like all of my cruises I hope to pick up a lot of inspiration for future books and romances. Then as soon I get back, it will be full steam ahead on the second draft of my novella while plotting out my next book. 

Have a great autumn whatever you have planned. 

Thom xxx




Thursday, 12 September 2019

Blitz and Giveaway: 13 Steps to the Cellar by Teresa Mathews


Mystery
Date Published: September 4, 2019
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

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Thirteen Steps to the Cellar. They were steep; they were narrow—but was a fall down them enough to have caused the twenty-seven deep lacerations to her aunt’s head? 

Callie Harris travels from her home in Alabama to her aunt’s former mansion in Maine to unravel the haunting forty-year-old mystery of Dr. Laverne Harris Doss’ brutal death.

Why wasn’t a murder weapon found? Was her uncle justly convicted of the killing? Was his mistress involved? Or was the murderer the bearded stranger rumored to have arrived by train that night?

In the charming town of Richmond, located on the banks of Maine’s historic Kennebec River, Callie uncovers the community’s darkest secrets—a botched police investigation, a betrayed widow’s lie, a dead woman’s blackmail, and a wealthy philanthropist’s shame. The web of intrigue extends far beyond her suspicions and its connection to her personal story pierces Callie to her core.



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About the Author

TERESA MATHEWS is a graduate of The University of South Alabama.  She’s a member of the Mobile Writers Guild and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association.

An avid gardener and artist, she has multiple book covers to her credit. Several years ago after visiting the site of her real-life aunt’s murder, Teresa discovered a third passion–storytelling. Although inspired by an actual tragedy, Thirteen Steps to the Cellar is fiction.

Raised on the Gulf Coast, Teresa, her husband, and son now live on a farm with a second home on the sparkling white sands of Fort Morgan, Alabama. This is her first novel.

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Blitz: Taken by A.L Long


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Last Chance Series, Book 3
Erotic Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 2019


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“If we could never be together, I would forever remember his touch.”



Alannah’s life was right on track. She knew what it meant to love and be loved. All of that changes when Winston Nelson steps back into her life and takes away everything she longed for. Hidden away where no one can to find her, Alannah once again has to submit to the man she swore would never control her again. Day by day, the hopes of a normal life begin to disappear along with her desire to live




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Other Books in The Last Chance Series:



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Slaved
Last Chance Series, Book 2
Published: June 2019


“I could feel her heart beat
even though we were miles away”

Rescued from the only life she had ever known, Alannah Jackson learns what it means to be loved and not controlled. Finally able to let go of her past she begins a new life with the man who has shown her what love is. Faced with the truth, Alannah finds she can never escape her past or who she is. She will never love, only serve.

Roman’s love for Alannah is tested when he finds that she has been slaved by a man just as ruthless as Winston Nelson. Against his better judgement, he accepts Martin Holland’s offer to help retrain Alannah and he begins to question the love they shared. After Martin Holland makes it clear of his intentions, Roman stops at nothing to get her back. There is no room for another man in her life.

Contains adult content 18+








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Bought
Last Chance Series, Book One
Published: April 2019
The last memory that Alannah ‘Lanie’ Jackson has of her father is the day he went away. Hidden away in an attic from the rest of the world, the only thing that Alannah ‘Lanie’ Jackson can hold on to is the memory of her father and the hope that one day he will come for her. Every day that passes, the memory of her childhood disappears and she learns that her only purpose now is to please. Trained to act a certain way, the day comes when she can finally be free. She only hopes that the man who purchases her will be kinder than her current master.





About the author:


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Award-winning Author of the Independent Press Award and NYC Big Book Award. A.L. Long is also the recipient of the National Indie Excellence Award.

My love for writing began several years ago after an early retirement from a demanding job that I loved, but also hated because it consumed so much of my time. Now, I am able to focus my time on what I love. Writing romance has been a life long dream and to actually say that I am a published author is beyond what I would have ever expected.

Even though some may say I have a little naughtiness in my books, I look at it as an added bonus for my readers. After all what is a romance book without a little spice.

When I am not writing, I enjoy spending time with friends either at home or out on the town. Mostly, I enjoy a relaxing night at home where I can enjoy a glass of wine in the company of a good book.




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Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Free Book Blitz: Ruckus by Zoe Dawson


SEAL Team Alpha, Book 1
Romantic Suspense


Promo Special – Currently Free in ebook format at all online retailers.


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For U.S. Navy SEAL, Bowie “Ruckus” Cooper, going on a mission into the most dangerous place on earth wasn’t new, neither were the orders to tag and bag an international criminal, but when Bowie finds a captive American reporter, that wasn’t exactly run of the mill. Neither was getting separated from his team, teaming up with her or protecting her against all odds, while working to keep his hands from around her neck and off her delectable body.



Other Books in the SEAL Team Alpha Series:




Kid Chaos

SEAL Team Alpha Book 2



Cowboy

SEAL Team Alpha Book 3



Tank

SEAL Team Alpha Book 4



Blue

SEAL Team Alpha Book 5



Scarecrow

SEAL Team Alpha Book 6



Wicked

SEAL Team Alpha Book 7



Hollywood

SEAL Team Alpha Book 8



Dragon

SEAL Team Alpha Book 9






Excerpt

Turbo, Columbia, South America


Heading into the world’s most dangerous jungle hadn’t  been on Dana Sorensen’s radar until months ago when she’d gotten an email from her dying mother asking Dana to do something for her. Tell these peoples’ stories. Let the public know what was happening. It had been the last correspondence Dana had received before her mom, her brave, beautiful, accomplished mom had lost her fight with cancer.

As a surgeon involved with Doctors Without Borders, her mom had met and married Dana’s dad, who was a nurse also serving with them. She often wondered if she could even live up to her mom’s ability to be so selfless. Even as the tears moistened her eyes, Dana tried to tell herself that she had no way of knowing her mom was going to go so fast, before Dana could get home. And, with guilt pressing in from all sides, eating at her, the grief still fresh, Dana was going to fulfill her mom’s dying wish. Come hell or high water.

She’d pitched her mom’s story to the editor for Trek Magazine about migrants traveling through the Darién Gap to make it from Colombia to Panama, then up through the Central American peninsula with the final destination the US. It had all stemmed out of her mom’s last trip to Asia where she’d found out that a lot of migrants were heading through South America to bypass the routes that had dried up due to stronger restrictions. And it wasn’t just Asia, but a slew of foreigners looking for a better life free from war and persecution.

But here she was standing on a dock in Turbo, Colombia, a disreputable port town rife with violence on the coast of Colombia and in the horseshoe of the Gulf of Urabá to fulfill her mom’s wish. It was just before dawn, the sun nothing but a glimmer on the horizon. She waited for a boat that would take her and her crew into the Darién Gap, a place that was teeming with dense jungle, dangerous wildlife, impenetrable swamps, wary guerrillas, intense paramilitary, deadly drug traffickers, disreputable guides and no marked trails.

The Darién might be a ten-thousand-mile swath of inhospitable land, but Dana was a correspondent who, due to her mom and dad’s noble example, had given up reporting about the war in exchange for pieces on the human condition. She was now a writer, photographer, filmmaker and contributing editor to International Humanitarian Journal. From her war correspondent experience, she could handle stressful encounters and dangerous people as situations that were all in a day’s work. She’d had some harrowing experiences in her life, but had gotten the story every time. This piece was timely, a hot button and would allow her to showcase what people would do for freedom and a better life along with keeping her promise to her mom. But going into the Gap was risky. She was well aware of the dangers, but had never let that stop her before. These stories needed to be told.

She needed to tell them.

There were several people with her from her film company, along with porters heading to Domingodo to meet up with a representative from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, Cuba-backed guerrillas who had been at war with Colombia since 1964. They controlled the most direct route through the Gap, and it would be her best chance of meeting and talking to migrants attempting the crossing. Permission had been obtained from an official in Havana to pave the way for her and her crew to do this timely story.

The soft drone of an outboard motor broke the predawn quiet. James Quinn, a freelance videographer she’d hired to document the trip leaned over and said, “Are you ready for this?”

She smiled. “I was born ready.” He and her South African producer and naturalized American, Liam Nelson were the two crew members accompanying her on the trip. Her cell chimed and she pulled it out of her cargo pants and read the screen. Jeffrey. He had been calling ever since she’d left San Diego and her office to make this trip.

She hit the accept button and said, “Hi, there.”

“Dana, geez woman, you’ve been a hard one to get a hold of. I really needed to talk to you before you left. It was important.”

“I know, but the okays came through for this trip and I had to go. You understand.”

He sighed heavily. “I do. I know how much your mom meant to you.” At his words, her eyes filled, and she worked at not losing it. “Look I’d be the first one to say what you do is great. You have more courage than some men I know. I would never stand in the way of that, but—”

“I know, and I promise to make time when I get home.”

She wiped her slick palm on her pants. Why was this simple conversation with Jeff making her palms sweat? She swallowed and kept her voice nonchalant. Because she had been sure that he was going to pop the question. That’s what he wanted to talk to her about—getting married. She wasn’t sure she was ready for that. If she would ever be ready for that.

She squeezed her eyes closed on that thought, the unnamed emotion clogging her chest. Every time she thought about marriage it would crop up like some kind of plague. She’d been in some pretty scary situations, so why did marriage make her want to run for the hills like a scared little girl?

“Promise?” he said.

“Promise,” she replied. The motor boat pulled up beside the dock along with another boat whose engine had been drowned out by their transportation. It was a ferry to Sapzurro and Capurganá where migrants could then traverse overland to La Miel, Panama. These migrants weren’t forced to go through the Gap as they had documentation that would allow them to pass without a problem. That wasn’t the route of her story.

People without documentation were forced to hire coyotes, part of the Clan Los Piratas who would charge between five hundred to seven hundred dollars, and transport them in poorly maintained boats, often leaking. But were also notorious for conscripting migrants as mules, then disposing of them.

That was her story.

The most dangerous clan in the area, Clan Los Piratas was a neo-paramilitary group with upwards of twenty thousand members. Dana had read that they had murdered several Americans, many DEA agents in the area and were on the US government’s list. They had a stronghold in the Darién Gap, but she was confident they wouldn’t bother them with their FARC approval and their sanctioned story about the migrants.

Even as the sun rose and the misty jungle lay like a dense, dark giant across the river, she shivered in the steamy air.

As her crew loaded up their gear into the motor boat, Dana disconnected the call. She’d worry about Jeff when she got home. She didn’t need distractions on this trip. After meeting their contact, Captain Enrique Escobar, a middle-aged, dark-haired man with gray at the temples and in his close-cropped beard, his sharp eyes and features telling Dana he had seen plenty in the Gap. During the dire week, with the constant threat of robbery, kidnapping, and death, he and his men hiked the route, while she and her crew recorded one of the world’s most dangerous journeys. She and her crew had hacked through spiderinfested mangrove swamps, walking for days in muggy, ninety degree temperatures, the migrants surviving on crackers and gulping river water. Each of these people—a man from Jafar,  Bangladesh trying to escape its cutthroat political gangs and miserable working conditions; another Bangladesh woman, not much more than a girl—a rural laborer who’d gone to the jam-packed cities for work and found herself locked in the bowels of unlicensed garment factories working for twenty cents an hour; and countless others, Syrians, West Africans, and Cubans. She’d interviewed many of them who told their heartbreaking stories. She and her crew documented everything on memory cards and they were carefully kept in a waterproof bag in her pack. By accident, she found some old footage of her and her mom when she’d met up with her overseas and interviewed her for a piece that had never been aired. Stupidly, she’d forgotten about it and realized this was her only copy. She’d edit this and get it aired when she got home. She’d contact someone she knew at 60 Minutes or National Geographic who would jump at the chance. Once they reached their destination, they were stopped by Senafront, Panamanian soldiers who guarded the border, the travelers’ hopes of freedom and respite were dashed. The migrants were denied entry into Panama, everything they had suffered and endured had been in vain. Fighting her sense of justice, she tried to tell the Panamanian patrol what kind of journey they had made, how courageous they had been. The officer was sympathetic, but he had no choice, he had to follow orders. There was nothing she could do. All that was left for her was to tell their story, document their journey so that their efforts meant something. A painful discomfort under her sternum along with a healthy dose of guilt suffused her as she boarded a piragua to take them to Panama City and the airport for their trip out of the Gap. Home to San Diego to civilization, concrete and glass, teeming with urbanites. But her uneasiness wouldn’t go away. She tried to think about processing this film and documenting the trip. Her heart was heavy, real sorrow for the plight of the people she’d gotten to know so well in the week of traveling with them through the dangerous and deadly Gap, an emptiness deep inside she couldn’t name for fear of… what?

As a storm came up quickly and violently out of the south, they were forced to pull to the bank to wait it out. Dana pitched her waterproof tent and settled inside, lying down on her side. As the leaded sky darkened, she fell into a fitful sleep.

She woke to the crack of gunfire, screaming and running feet. Before she could move, a gun was shoved into her back. She looked over her shoulder at the merciless dark eyes of the man holding the weapon.

“Hello, Dana Sorenson. I’ve got a job for you.”

Before she could gasp a response, he had her out of the tent.

“Who are you?” she demanded. “What do you want?”

“Oh, before too long you will know who I am and what I want.”

A black hood descended cutting off light and hope.

When she fought, someone clipped her on the back of the head and she fell to the ground.

She’d been taken.

Kidnapped.



About the Author


Zoe Dawson, the author of 40+ books had always dreamed of becoming a full-time romance writer. Her other passions include traveling the world, owning a beach house (she believes she was a mermaid in another life), and seeing her books in movies. When she’s not writing, she’s painting or killing virtual MMORPG monsters in World of Warcraft. She lives in North Carolina with her two grown children and one small, furry gray cat.



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