Category Archives: Romantic Suspense Books

Vanessa Is Finally FREE! #giveaway #FreeBooks #KindleBargain

AliceOrr_AVillainForVanessa_HRGet your free copy of A Villain for Vanessa. Available for 5 days only – Sept. 29 thru Oct. 3 https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B01FFZEZSW …

What Readers Say about A Villain for Vanessa by Alice Orr.  “Tightly written suspense wields tension, shifts and twists that don’t let you look away.”  “I was gripped before I was off the first page. That’s a writers’ big gift at work.”  “The mystery gets tighter and tighter while the romance gets hotter and hotter.”  “Gains power like a train descending a mountain, surprising at each unforeseen turn.”  “After this story, I have become an Alice Orr fan.”  “I’m grateful she’s writing in series.”

A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4 – A story of tangled roots and tormented love. Two families are shaken to their roots. Vanessa Westerlo must find her roots. Bobby Rizzo is torn between Vanessa and his true roots. They are all tormented by love, both past and too present. Meanwhile a man has been murdered. And that is the most tormented tangle of all. Alice Orr is known for “Delicious Suspense spiced with Romance.” She does it again in A Villain for Vanessa.

 A Villain for Vanessa features the Kalli family and the fortunate people who find safety and welcome at the Kalli homestead. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series and A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2. A Vacancy at the Inn is Book 3 and introduces the Miller family. Find all of Alice’s books at http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E.

RR

I’m grateful for the generous reviews that have greeted A Villain for Vanessa and made me feel even more at home in the world of series writing I love. Diving deeper with each book into the town and families and deadly intrigues that are the core of the series is an adventure for me. My sincere thanks to everyone who has supported me. I love you all. I hope you will love A Villain for Vanessa too.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com

RR

 

How I Almost Became Riverton Roadkill

A Villain for Vanessa ECover (1) 100 x 150px - 14.6KB - SmallThis boulder was a doozy. In fact it was the mother in law of boulders. Worse than a mother as mothers in law often are. I know because I am one and I suck at it at least half the time.

Back to the boulder. Did you notice how I was avoiding the subject? Because this subject is that painful. It’s about how an entire book died one day. How I got up one morning and knew my current beloved opus couldn’t be allowed to live.

I’d been writing merrily merrily down the plot stream for months. I have the dates somewhere to specify precisely how many months. I can’t look them up because it would make me want to eat my innards.

You know how it is when something you really care about is going smoothly. You chug on with heaven at your heels feeling as if you might break into song and dance at any moment.

Then that story – the one of this joyous experience – takes an unfortunate turn into a byway not even on your map. You had no idea this danger detour existed. If there was a warning sign you weren’t able to see it through your euphoria-tinted glasses. Here’s how that story went for me.

Once upon a morning the princess with a pen awoke in her cozy bed. The one just like her grandma used to make with downy coverlets and tatted pillowslips and everything so white and bright the world sparkled.

Princess yawns and stretches in luxurious anticipation of a creatively fulfilling day ahead. Then she commits her fateful error. The inciting incident that starts the narrative tumbling downhill pell-mell over euphoria smashed flat as Road Runner on the blacktop.

What was the princess’s error? She opened her eyes. Did she find a handsome prince gazing down at her with love and future promise aglimmer between his lush lashes? Fraid not. She found reality beaming ice blue laser shards into her warm reverie. Freezing it tomb cold.

“I can’t write this story,” she cries as the icy razor tip hits its deep down mark and opens the road to devastation.

I cannot tell you how I let this happen because I do not know. The only possible explanation is that an amazing scenario sunk its tentacles into my imagination. With pathos and tragedy and struggle toward redemption all happening to characters we can’t help but love. I leapt into that stream and let myself be carried blissfully onward by its ever-mounting momentum.

Except that – as the fierce glare of my morning revelation made abruptly clear – this wasn’t a story from my imagination. This was a story from my life populated by characters who weren’t characters at all. They were facsimiles of people I cared for who would cease caring for me if I published this book.

The ritual that ensued was fraught and perfunctory at the same time. Notebooks were discarded. Computer files were excised. Sticky notes were unstuck and tossed in the trash.

No evidence of my dumbass brain-fogged maneuver could remain in case I should succumb to a fall on my fat head. No writer detritus from this particular faux pas would be left behind to do its hurtful worst.

I don’t recall exactly how long I languished in the wallow that followed. The boulder continued to block that previous path and would not be moved. I had two choices. Quit. Or put the boulder at my back and begin again. I did the latter.

The result is A Villain for Vanessa – Book 4 – skimming toward you soon along the unobstructed lane of Riverton Road.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.

 

Bad Cop – Bad Cop

A Wrong Way Home - Final Cover - 200x300 px version“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton could have been talking about Riverton, New York. The smallish town setting of my Romantic Suspense Series is a lovely place to live. So lovely – on the surface at least – it may be too good to be true.

Anything that appears too good to be true probably is. I have no idea who first said those words but I believe them. Lift even a slight wrinkle at the corner of a too-good surface and see what creeps out. Among those creeps in Riverton is the local police force.

They’ve been nicknamed the Grays for their precisely tailored gray uniforms. With creases so severely pressed “you could cut your fingers on them,” Matthew Kalli observes in A Wrong Way Home. Matt has personal experience of how cutting the Grays can be. That experience goes way back. Especially with the Gray in this scene.

Matt grew up with scary stories about the Grays. The scariest stories were always about one cop in particular. His name was Joseph Prozin­ski, but everybody called him Joe Pro. Prozinski was a police sergeant back when Matt was a senior in high school.

His younger brother Luke was the third in the Kalli boy line. Luke was just about out of middle school then, but he was already growing into his own nickname. The one he’d picked for himself from the title of an old black and white movie called The Wild One.

He loved to quote a Marlon Brando line from that movie. Luke would challenge anybody he could talk into it to ask what he was rebelling against. He’d plaster a wide grin on his face and answer.

“What ‘ya got?”

There was no way a kid in Riverton with an attitude like that was going to avoid trouble with Joe Pro. The trouble Matt remembered most happened late on a spring afternoon. That was the time of day Luke came home from school to grab a bite to eat before heading out again with his friends.

The gang of them would roar up the Kalli driveway crammed into whatever pickup truck or broken down car was available to whichever kid had a legal driver’s license at the time. Luke was too young to be licensed, but his friends tended to be older than he was.

They’d slam on the brakes inches short of the massive doors to Gus Kalli’s garage with Kalli Contracting painted in tall letters across the front. Luke would jump out from the seat where he always insisted on riding shotgun because it was the cool place to be.

Luke wasn’t riding shotgun on that afternoon, and he wasn’t in a friend’s pickup truck either. A police car brought him home, and when he got out it wasn’t with his usual swagger. He was pulled out of the car by Joseph Prozinski.

Matt was already working after school for Kalli Contracting in those days. He’d been crouched on the roof of the house replacing asphalt shingles when he heard the police cruiser pull into the driveway and roar up to the house.

He dropped his tools and climbed to the roof peak just in time to see Prozinski kick the car door shut and shove Luke hard up against it. Joe Pro slapped Luke then, not once but three times, back and forth across the face. Bam. Bam. Bam.

Luke’s head snapped from side to side like a punching ball on a stand. Joe Pro did that slapping with his back to Matt, but he could still tell that, for this cop, beating up on Luke was no different than punching a ball would be.

“Get your hands off my brother,” Matt bellowed from the top of the roof.

Joe Pro turned away from Luke and directed his nasty sneer straight up at Matt. He’d never forgotten the chill that sneer sent knifing through him or how small and powerless it made him feel. Like a bug crushed into the gravel driveway by Joe Pro’s heel.

Matt forced himself past that feeling and scrambled down the back slope of the roof to the ladder. By the time he reached the ground and ran to front of the house, his mother was there and Prozinski had backed off. Even Joe Pro knew enough not to tangle with Angela Kalli. Otherwise, Matt might have ended up in jail after all, with his brother Luke for a cell mate.

There it is. The corrupting influence of power and what may lie beneath an apparently too-perfect surface. The trouble right here in Riverton makes it a fertile setting for suspense. As in the nasty things folks sometimes do to each other and how all of that turns out.

The trouble in Riverton has a lot to do with power. Who has it and who doesn’t and how that mix can erupt when the two factions collide or when they try to coalesce. Those eruptions can be murder. That’s what makes Riverton more interesting than “too good to be true.”

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.

Real Life Heroism & Why I Write Suspense – Riverton Road Monday

Heroism imageI write suspense because I’m inspired to tell heroic stories. This inspiration doesn’t come from my personal experience with the kind of plot situations I write. I’ve never chased down or vanquished a murderer. As far as I know I’ve never met anybody who has.

My inspiration comes from the day-to-day heroism I witness in real life. Over and over I see and hear about people stepping into danger. Observing these everyday heroics – and sometimes living through them myself – helps me write my more outlandish heroism more realistically.

I’ve observed and experienced how we step up to perilous challenges one toehold at a time. We don’t often leap into the abyss. Leaping is common to the old fashioned storytelling we find in movies starring John Wayne et.al. I try to avoid writing old fashioned stories.

The exception to the non-leaping pace of real life heroism happens when somebody is under immediate threat. Somebody we care about or could care about simply because they’re human beings as we are. Then we may leap into the abyss in order to yank them out of it.

I think of these instances as fireworks heroics complete with crashing sound effects and cascades of colored light. They’re real but rarely necessary or so we hope. Everyday heroics are less spectacular but equally or even more amazing – partly because they are much more frequent.

What amazes me is that day-to-day heroism doesn’t involve split second no-time-to-think-about-it action. Day-to-day heroism is thought about and thought through upfront. The possibility of disaster is well understood. But we act anyway.

We step up – one fully aware step at a time. I’m not suggesting there’s no fear in the mix. Quite the opposite. The heroism arises from the fact that fear is definitely in the mix and we step up all the same.

Something horrible happens or is likely to happen. We’re shocked and frightened. We weep or curse or throw something or go out and drink too much or all of these. Then we grit our teeth and wade in to do what must be done. We may complain and let loose the less attractive aspects of ourselves but we wade in anyway.

Grace – which doesn’t always need to look entirely graceful – under pressure. This is the heroism I find inspiring. This is the heroism that inspires me to write suspense. Calamity happens. My characters are taken aback for a bit. Inevitably they stand up and step up – one often uncertain and always precarious action at a time.

What will happen to them? We don’t know. Will they triumph? Not always. Will they overcome in the end? If so – how will they manage that against the formidable odds I’ve mounted against them? We must read – or write – the story to find out.

Meanwhile I watch the people around me and feel the experience of my own existence. I ask those same questions about actions and outcomes. I see stories unfold and the courage it takes to get life done – sometimes only by the skin of our teeth.

Between and among the folds and the courage and the skin of our teeth lie the greatest of all page turner yarns. I may amplify the details but basically I pay attention and allow myself to be inspired.

What results is a suspense novel – with some romance thrown in – because hardly anything is more dangerous than falling in love.

RR

A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. It is also FREE at Barnes & Noble and iTunes and KOBO and other online platforms. A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is $2.99 at those same platforms including http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZBOTH5O. These are my 12th and 13th novels and they are all about heroism. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.

 

Free Sample of a Free Book – Riverton Road Monday

Free - Image 1A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1

Prologue

 Anthony Benton

Anthony Benton wasn’t in the habit of walking across the lawn to his condo complex, especially not on a miserable night like this one. He valued his Bruno Magli’s too much for that. What if somebody saw him slipping and scrambling through wet leaves like a snake in the grass?

Good thing nobody important enough to care about would be out here in this damned weather. It was supposed to be spring, but you’d never guess that in this godforsaken place.

Spindly young trees whipped in the wind as far as their short trunks would bend while Anthony counted the weeks backward in his mind – one, two, three, four, a month. This crap had only been going on for a month. Aggravation made it feel a lot longer.

He woke up each morning with anger churning inside him. He could barely remember when he didn’t have to think about things like whether taking the straight route across the lawn was safer than the longer way around the curved sidewalk.

How could he have ended up in such a humiliating position? Scurrying from his car to his house like a scared animal. He’d worked too hard making himself into Anthony Benton for this to be happening. Worst of all, there was nowhere in this jerkwater town he could turn for help.

What was he supposed to say? “My dim bulb ex-wife is persecuting me?”  He’d be the butt of jokes from every hayseed in the county. Too many people envied him, and most of them were dim bulbs too. He’d have to put up with their sneers or be roasted all the more. That’s how it was in a place like Riverton.

The damp mist had turned into steady drizzle. Anthony cursed under his breath and walked faster. He’d left his umbrella in the car. A month ago he would never have made that miscal­culation.

He’d have had a plan all laid out in his mind with each step thought through and not a single flaw in the thinking. He’d have grabbed the umbrella from under the driver’s seat and had it at the ready in the outside pocket of his briefcase.

He’d parked under those dripping trees tonight because the walkway to the complex was only a few yards across the macadam from there. He’d done that because of her, to cut down on the chance she’d catch up to him between the car and the building, the way she did two nights ago.

She’d shouted and sniveled and grabbed at his clothes. He was sure some of his neighbors must have witnessed the scene from their windows. She’d made threats, too, said she’d get a gun and come after him.

He’d itched to pick her up and throw her as hard as he could onto the pavement right then. He was plenty strong enough to do that. He’d picked her up and thrown her before, but that was in private. If he laid a hand on her in public and somebody saw it, he’d be the one in trouble.

That’s how it went these days with bitches like her. They’d whine about being victims and everybody was on their side. But he knew what to do about that. When payback time came for all of this, he intended his revenge to be very sweet, with an extra measure of punishment for the soggy leaves on his car. And he’d make sure payback time came soon.

The wind picked up in a chill, wet blast down Anthony’s neck. He didn’t have a raincoat any more than he had an umbrella. He hunched as far as he could into his saturated shirt collar. Payback was on its way for this, too. He’d make her regret every discomfort he’d suffered because of her. He’d commit himself a thousand percent to that happening.

She whined about how unhappy he’d made her in the past. Those days would feel like a kindergarten picnic compared to what was coming in return for these past four weeks. With tonight at the top of his list of reasons for making her sorrier than she ever thought she could be.

He hated her so much it almost warmed him up on this frigid night. He hated her so much he’d love to choke her dead with his bare hands, squeeze harder and harder till he felt her bones snap under his fingers.

As soon as he could figure out a way to kill her, he’d do it, not with his own hands because he’d be too likely to get caught. He’d have her killed without a second thought or a single regret. He knew guys who’d do that for a price, one guy in particular.

The bitch deserved it, but that pleasure would have to wait. Right now all he wanted was to get out of this rain and into the classy condo he loved almost as much as he loved his car.

Anthony flashed on an image of Victoria opening the door the way she liked to do every now and then, wearing nothing but the fur coat he bought her last Christmas. She wasn’t anything like his ex-wife.

Victoria was the kind of woman who knew how to make a man feel good. He almost smiled. Maybe it was the vision of Victoria slowly opening the coat for him that caused Anthony to relax his cautiousness for just an instant.

Or, maybe he was forced to pay too close attention to his footing. The harsh Northern New York State winter, the first since this condo complex was com­pleted, had already heaved some flagstones out of line with the others, making for treacherous walking in the cold April rain.

Whatever the distraction may have been, Anthony didn’t hear the footsteps behind him or sense the jagged rock lifted above his head as he finally reached the top of the stairwell leading down to the basement service door that was the building entrance closest to the parking area.

He did have time to feel the edge of sharp pain and hear a voice echo out of long-ago memory. It was his mother calling to him, though she’d been dead a dozen years.

“Be careful, Tonio!  Don’t fall!”

Then everything went black and silent for Tonio Bento, aka Anthony Benton, and would remain that way forever.

RR

 A Wrong Way Home – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. Also at Barnes & Noble and iBooks and KOBO. This is my 12th novel and I’m thrilled to make a gift of it to you. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.

 

Let’s All Be Free at Last – Ask Alice Saturday

Celebration image 5Question: It’s Independence Day. What do you want to be free of as a writer?

Answer: I wish for myself and all of my writer friends to free ourselves from the tyranny of our expectations.

I launched a book several days ago. Yet my celebration of that accomplishment is shadowed by my disappointment with myself. What did I not do well enough? What did I do too much?

I’m not saying a thorough debrief isn’t called for at the end of any major undertaking. Of course we should evaluate. Of course we should learn from our mistakes.

What I am saying is this. I find myself and too many other writers failing to congratulate our achievements. Failing to say – “I did that just right.” Or even – “I did that just right enough.”

Someone else had to remind me. “Look how far you’ve come in the past year. Look how much you’ve learned.” Typically I responded with a litany of my sins of omission. The things I’d left undone.

I was altogether wrong in that. A backward glance was in order. As I have absolutely no doubt it is also in order for you. Where were you a year ago today? Where was your career twelve months in the past?

Stop a moment right now. Take out a piece of paper and a pen. Cast yourself back a year. Ask yourself this question. “A year ago what were the 3 things I most wanted to accomplish in my writing career?”

Don’t overthink it. Let your first 3 thoughts be your best 3 thoughts. Write each down and leave a generous space blank after it. Put the paper aside and come back here with me for a bit.

In my opinion the worst of our sins of omission is committed when we fail to relish our experience. Stop another moment now and consider what it is we do. We set down words in a configuration that is brand new. Entirely our own creation.

We invent stories. We articulate thoughts. We build pictures from syllables. And if we are doing these precious activities as we should – we enjoy most of it.

This is a gift we’ve been given. A gift worthy of recognition and reveling. When we fail to do so we’ve fallen victim to the tyranny of our own expectations. We have forgotten to honor what we did accomplish by wallowing in what we haven’t yet accomplished.

Return to the piece of paper and your 3 hopeful ambitions for the year just past. After each one record every step you’ve taken along the path to that goal. The short steps – the long strides – the hops and hobbles in between. I’ll do it with you.

Fill the blank spaces. Carry onto the back of the page and across the desk and up the wall. Crowding the room with a record of our writerly deeds. We’ll read them over. Recognize and revel. Then we will have triumphed over tyranny and be free at last. Happy Independence Day.

RR

My current novel is A Year of Summer Shadows – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 2 – available in eBook and paperback at amazon.com/author/aliceorr and other outlets online. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – the eBook – will be free for download soon at those same outlets. These are my 12th and 13th novels and I set myself free at last to honor them both. Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

 

Daughters and Their Mothers – Riverton Road Monday

Mother-Daughter Split imageA Year of Summer Shadows is the second story in my current romantic suspense novel series and it is a hotbed of daughter-mother contention. As follows.

I’m Hailey. My mother is Annemarie Lambert and she’s a stranger to me. I was my father’s girl until he died and left me to watch my mother falter and stumble in a daze from one foolish choice to the next.

Too many of those bad choices involved men. A string of them – each more useless than the last. We live in a small town called Riverton. Everybody saw my mother’s behavior and gossiped about her in hushed tones. I heard them anyway and felt ashamed.

She still lives in our old house on Academy Avenue which has deteriorated along with my mother since Dad died. I go there as little as possible and try to live my life in an upstanding and responsible way so I may never be mistaken for Annemarie.

I’m Julia. My mother is Virginia Hargate and I wish I could get free of her. She’s loomed over me for as long as I can remember and dictates every moment of my life according to what she thinks I should be. She even took my best friend Hailey from me when I most needed her.

My father was an important man in Riverton but he was a busy man too and hardly ever anywhere but his office. So I rattled around alone in our huge house on Blakely Street doing my best to keep out of range of the sound of Virginia’s harping voice.

She wants more than anything for me to be a lady the way she sees herself to be. Admired and envied. Perfect in every way. Her desire for that has given me my revenge. I’ve made myself into the opposite of a lady. I’m neither admired nor envied. I am Virginia’s shame.

I am Angela Kalli. I have four sons but no daughter. I made a special room in our house at on Riverton Road – yellow and pale blue and empty except for the occasional guest. I go there when my husband Gus is away and daydream about the little girl who might have grown up here.

These are the daughters and mothers of A Year of Summer Shadows at the beginning of my story. Will they be changed at the end? We will simply have to read and see.

 RR

 A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – Mark & Hailey’s Story. Launched with summer on June 22nd at amazon.com/author/aliceorr. This is my 13th novel. I am its mother and it is my daughter. We had a contentious relationship but now we’ve reconciled. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.

 

A Year of Summer Shadows – Riverton Road Monday

 

A DELETED SCENE

A Year of Summer Shadows - Final Cover -JPG file smallThe memory rush didn’t happen immediately.  Todd unlocked the door while Hailey stood behind him on the wide veranda.  He swore softly as he fumbled with the key.  He’d had some trouble getting it in the hole, and when he did the key wouldn’t turn.  She wondered if he might have had a drink or two earlier, before the club.  She took a step backward and pretended to look out over the vast lawn toward the street.  She didn’t want him to know she’d observed his fumbling.  She was that careful of people’s feelings, at least some people’s feelings.

He turned and looked at her, a fleeting glance in the dim light from the carriage lamp wall fixtures on either side of the double, glass-paned door.  Each of the two panes was etched in a smoky pattern of scroll shapes around an M for Massey in script at the center of the design.  Hailey didn’t so much see as remember that monogram in the dim light, but she could see the expression on Todd’s face.  His eyes were uneasy and his smile unnatural, as if to convey that everything was all right while he felt anything but.  Hailey understood then that his problems with the key had nothing to do with how much he’d had to drink.  Todd was nervous.

She wondered if he might be thinking about how she’d never been invited to this house when she was growing up in Riverton.  She and Todd had gone through junior and senior high school together.  He and his family gave lots of parties in that time, but Hailey hadn’t been on the guest list for any of them.  She wasn’t the sort the Masseys wanted in their circle, not back then anyway.  She felt a stir of anger, not untinged by triumph as he finally succeeded with the key.  She was here now, wasn’t she?  If there was ever to be a concrete Riverton affirmation of her current status as a successful woman, a hometown nobody who made good, standing here on this veranda just might be one.  Walking over the thres­hold into the Massey house was another.

She had actually been here once before, but that didn’t count because she was only tagging along with Julia at the time.  Her mother Virginia had insisted on it as one of her very occasional attempts to make a silk purse out of Hailey’s sow’s ear.  The evening didn’t turn out well, but the full picture of its disas­ter didn’t become a visual recollection until Hailey was inside the house and Todd had switched on the lights.  They were standing at the top of the two carpeted oak steps that led down into the gra­cious living room.

Hailey didn’t remember this room at all.  She’d been a junior in high school at the time of her one previ­ous visit.  She imagined the place had been redecorated since then, maybe more than once.  Mrs. Massey had always been known for her exquisite home.  She was most likely the type who updated that exquisiteness, and added a notch to her reputa­tion as a decorator, regularly.  What Hailey guessed to be an Aubusson carpet on the living room floor attested to that reputation being well de­served.

Hailey turned away, partly to squelch the distaste she generally felt in reaction to shows of wealth.  That was when she saw the staircase and the memory picture came.  She’d brought her friend Lucy with her that one other time she was here.  Hailey had understood she was the poor friend Julia had been forced to drag along to the Massey party. Hailey would be on her own once they got here.  The thought of that had terrified her.  What if nobody spoke to her?  That was entirely possible among the snobby types Todd and Julia hung out with.  Hailey knew how humiliating such a snub would be.  Her solution was to bring Lucy.

Even at the time, Hailey wasn’t sure why she’d picked Lucy for that honor.  Maybe because Lucy would jump at the chance to rub shoulders with Todd and his rich friends.  Hailey had been right about that. Lucy was in her glory, or so she thought.  She’d come dressed in her version of high style – a low-necked, tight-bodiced, short-skirted dress and too-high heels.  Her toothy smile clearly signaled that she was ready to make that shoulder-rubbing quite literal with whatever guy might indicate an interest.

Hailey only half-noticed Lucy’s mention that she was going upstairs to “powder her nose” before she’d hip-swayed off and Hailey suddenly realized she was alone.  Just as she’d feared, nobody spoke to her.  Nobody seemed to notice she was there.  Julia had long since disappeared into a crowd of her cronies.  By the time Lucy started back down the staircase from the second floor powder room, Hailey was anxiously awaiting her return.  She smiled upward at Lucy whose own smile swept the room in accompaniment to what she obviously intended as a grand entrance.

Lucy’s smile faded only a little when the slip first happened, and a slip was what it had to be.  If she’d caught her heel in the stair runner, she would have pitched forward.  Instead, she went down backward, onto her rump, but she didn’t stop there.  She continued to slide down the stairs, from one to the next in a bouncing motion, all the way to the bottom.  Hailey should proba­bly have run to the rescue, but she didn’t.  All she could think of at the time was how much she hoped no one would remember she’d come to the party and how much more likely it was that they’d never forget.

RR

 A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – Mark & Hailey’s Story – Launches with summer on June 22nd at amazon.com/author/aliceorr. This is my 13th novel. When you read it see if you can figure out why this scene didn’t make the cut. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.

 

Hello & Goodbye to the Victim – Riverton Road Monday

A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Mark & Hailey’s Story – Riverton Road Series – Book 2  Contemporary Romantic Suspense

 Finley Yates

 A Year of Summer Shadows - Final Cover -JPG file smallFinley Yates was bigger in bulk than he was in character. He’d have said that about himself with a sneering laugh, but he wasn’t sharp enough mentally to think that way. He wasn’t ashamed of the kind of man he was either. Finley didn’t bother himself with useless feelings like shame or guilt.

“Why waste your head on crap like that,” he’d say.

Finley had enough to do just carrying around a body that could fill up a closet or maybe even half of a small room. He preferred planting himself in a sitting position as much as possible, and once he got into that position he wasn’t going to use up his time or energy worrying about useless crap. He was going to put his feet up and let the punks around him do the worrying.

Finley really didn’t like to bother with dragging himself out of doors after dark on a night like this, or any other night for that matter. It might be summer, but he’d rather be indoors in his oversized chair, taking a load off in front of the TV. The news guy had been bragging about how beautiful the temperature was, but Finley didn’t care a rat’s behind about that.

Those weather jerks got all worked up about summer because this place was so far north in New York State it was almost Canada. Any weather that wasn’t a blizzard was news in this town. Summer went into winter, bang, just like that, so you hardly got to notice any fall. Still, Finley wasn’t going to send up fireworks just because it was warm outside for a change.

Besides, it wasn’t that warm tonight. Whose idea was it to meet outdoors anyway? Not Finley’s, that’s for sure. He had more sense than to come up with crap gangster movie stuff like having everybody get together in a parking lot late at night. He’d been in on enough left side of the law deals to know most of these meet-ups happened in barrooms.

He’d love to be in a barroom right now. The Tick Tock Tavern was his favorite. It was so loud in there nobody’d be able to listen in on what they were saying or anything else. At the Tick Tock, he’d be tossing back a shot with a cold beer to wash it down. Instead, he was out here messing around in a parking lot on the back end of town.

This is what happens when you do business with amateurs. You end up dragging yourself outside on a damp night, thirsty for a beer and a bump, shuffling through gravel, stepping in who knows what. He’d just as soon take off out of here right now, and he might do that. Except then he wouldn’t get the money.

A grin cut a crease across Finley’s lumpy face, and for half a minute he stopped thinking about all the stuff he didn’t like about tonight. What he did like was the money. Lots of it, in his own damned hand pretty damned soon now. He was getting a kick out of the thought of that so much he didn’t notice the low rumble of an engine at first, off to his right.

You’d think a guy like Finley would get a tipoff from somebody when the big one was coming his way. Small time connected was all he’d ever been, but connected all the same, and that meant he had ways of knowing what was going down. From day one, he’d been real careful too and never let his guard down like he was doing right now for a minute or two.

That’s all it takes to do you in sometimes. A minute or two. He’d tell you that himself, if he had time left to tell anybody anything. Maybe it was because of it being amateurs he was dealing with. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t paying tiptop attention tonight.

The bottom line is this. Finley didn’t figure out what was happening soon enough to save himself. By the time he heard the car engine and wondered why he wasn’t seeing any headlights to go with it, his ticket was punched for good.

He didn’t really feel it happen either. The bumper caught him from the side, aimed square and hard enough to knock him down flat so fast he almost didn’t feel a thing.

“What in hell’s going on here?”

That was the last thing he asked himself before the car barreled all the way over him and put him under so far he didn’t mind that in the next minute the engine revved again and the tires screeched into a tight turn then headed back at high speed toward the spot where the bloody, fleshy layers of Finley Yates lay waiting.

 RR

 My next story is A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – Mark & Hailey’s Story. Available May 15th at amazon.com/author/aliceorr. This is my 13th novel and the above is the dramatic opening.

 Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com

 

Catastrophe Looms – Riverton Road Monday

Excerpt from A Wrong Way Home by Alice Orr.

Dramatic North Country SkyMatt had to get back to Kalli Corner and tell Kara, but first there was one more thing he needed to know from Junior Dawson.

“Why are you telling me all of this?” Matt asked.

Dawson shrugged.

“Let’s just say my loyalty was to Tony Benton. I got no loyalty to nobody else. I could have helped this damned fool, but he wasn’t smart enough to do what he had to do to make that happen.”

“What did he have to do?”

Dawson rubbed his greasy fingers together in a gesture Matt recognized to mean money, probably a lot of money.

“I gave him a chance, but he wouldn’t come across,” Dawson said. “So I’d just as soon see him go down.”

Matt remembered what Kara had seen through the window. Dawson being threatening, except that maybe Dawson didn’t have solid evidence like Benton did. If that was true, Dawson’s threats would have been as empty as his eyes were now.

Telling all of this to Matt could be Dawson’s way of getting even. He was left out in the cold now that Benton wasn’t around to offer a cut in his dirty deals in return for whatever equally dirty jobs Junior was willing to perform. He’d tried for a final payoff, but that hadn’t worked out either. Now Dawson was having his revenge.

“So did you get what you came for?” Dawson asked.

Matt hesitated before answering. He couldn’t help feeling a little dirty himself from just talking to this guy.

“Yeah, I got what I came for.”

Matt didn’t say thank you. He walked fast to his truck and drove away even faster. Away from Vincent’s Garage and Junior Dawson. Matt drove with one hand and clicked Kara’s number on his cell phone with the other. Several rings later, she answered, but it was only her recorded message.

“Leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you.”

Matt reacted to the sound of her voice by pushing the gas pedal closer to the floor.

“It’s Matt. I’m on my way home. Call me when you get this.”

Matt put the phone on the dashboard and concentrated on piloting the speeding truck in the direction of Riverton Road and Kalli Corner. Something told him he’d better get there soon, not just because of what he had to tell Kara or even because of how much he missed her. Like a premonition, something told Matt that Kara needed him, and she needed him right now.

He spun the steering wheel and roared into the Kalli driveway with gravel spraying from his truck tires. The front door of the house flew open, and his mother hurried across the porch and down the steps. One look at her face made Matt’s heart clench with the terrifying recognition that his premonition had been correct.

“Kara’s gone,” Angela shouted as he screeched to a stop. “I thought she was resting in her room, but I just went up to check on her and she’s gone.”

RR

My latest story is A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #1 – Matt & Kara’s Story. Available at amazon.com/author/aliceorr. This is my 12th novel and this post is a dramatic excerpt.

 Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com