FREE Pre-Release Copy; Adult Romantic Suspense

My second book in the DENVER AFTER DARK Romantic Suspense Series, CRIES IN THE NIGHT, will be released in early October.  Book #1, AFTER MIDNIGHT

  • Was a finalist in The Best Indie Book of 2013 competition and
  • Garnered 3rd place in the Readers’ Favorite competition for 2013.

I am looking for readers of adult suspense who are interested in receiving a FREE copy in exchange for a review. Here’s the blurb followed by chapter #1.

Interested? EMail me at kathy@nightwriter93.com If not please share this blog.

Thank you, Kathy

CRIES IN THE NIGHT 09012013

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CRIES IN THE NIGHT

Who saves a hero?

Julie Lawrence is a Victim’s Advocate for the Denver PD. Her job is to help people deal with their darkest moments.

Rusty Wilson is a firefighter with a reputation for working hard and playing harder. He meets Julie while he is trying to save a burning house and she is protecting a battered wife. Their love affair starts in the heat of passion and ends when he finds out her secrets.

A stalker is out to kill her. In her line of work, there are a lot of people who want her dead. Rusty joins forces with her to figure it out before it’s too late.

Someone is watching . . . and waiting. Julie has dedicated herself to saving other people. Who’s going to save her?

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CHAPTER ONE

 The back door slammed with such force that the small house shuddered.  In the back bedroom the woman froze in front of the ironing board, the iron paused in mid-air.  Steam poured out of the holes with a hiss, but she didn’t notice.  Instead her gaze raced across the room and met the wide eyes of her son who had been playing with Matchbox cars.

He dropped the tiny red Matchbox car he had been holding and scuttled backward, disappearing under the bed.  No words had been spoken, but he knew the drill.  This wasn’t his first rodeo.  He had learned early that out of sight also meant out of the line of fire.

The woman wasn’t so lucky.

Heavy, quick footsteps signaled his approach down the hallway.  Her heart pounded in her chest, and she realized she hadn’t taken a breath since he had entered the house.  She exhaled slowly, trying to calm her nerves and steel herself for the battle ahead.  Even before she saw his face, she knew he was angry . . . at her, at his son, at his boss, at life.  It didn’t really matter.  He always came home to share his dissatisfaction with her.

“Where the hell is he?”  The man wasn’t large, but when he was in one of his moods, he seemed to expand in size until his presence filled the doorway.

“Who?” she managed to ask, struggling to keep her expression under control.  For some reason, it made him angrier if she showed fear even though her legs were trembling.

He threw his car keys at her.  She tried to dodge, but the unexpected movement and her own swollen bulk slowed her.  The keys smashed into her left cheek, then fell to the floor.

“You know who.  That piece of shit kid.  He left his goddamn sled in the driveway and I ran over it.  Twenty bucks.  Trashed.  I work hard and get paid shit.  And he just throws his toys around.”

“He’s usually really careful . . .”

He cut her off.   “Didn’t he go to school today?”

“They had a teacher’s workday.”

“Then he has no excuse for not bringing in the garbage cans.”

“It was snowing too hard.”

“Not too hard for him to play.”  He kicked the basket of laundry against the wall.  “You fuckin’ baby him too much.”

“He’s only six.”  She knew that arguing only made him angrier, but her motherly instinct was to defend her young.

The man’s dark gaze raked the room before focusing on the abandoned Matchbox cars.  His nostrils flared and he moved toward the bed, knowing it was the most likely hiding place.

“No!” the woman cried.  “Leave him alone.”  She reached out to grab him, but he swung his arm to fend her off as if he was swatting away an annoying insect.  She reacted by striking back.  Unfortunately, the iron was still clenched in her hand.  The hot surface landed flat against his forearm and the back of his hand.  Steam oozed out of the holes as the skin sizzled.

With a guttural roar, he jerked back as quickly as possible and looked down at the arced-shaped blisters that had already bubbled up.  Like an enraged bull in the ring distracted by the matador’s cape, he turned his attention back to her.

“What the fuck?”  He knocked the iron out of her hand and grabbed the front of her sweater in his meaty fist and pulled her forward, over the ironing board which clattered to the floor.  Her feet scrambled to keep upright as he dragged her over the metal legs.

“I . . . I’m . . . sorry, Carlos.  I didn’t mean to . . .”

He silenced her with a punch so hard that her teeth rattled.  Momentarily dazed, she didn’t struggle as he slammed her back against the door frame.  Her head cracked against the wood and she could feel the sharp edges biting into her back.  She didn’t fight back as he hit her again and again.  She knew she deserved this.  If she hadn’t hit him with the iron, he wouldn’t have come at her like this.  The skin over her eye slit under his knuckles, and she could feel the warm flow of blood pour down her face.  But as bad as it hurt, she knew it was nothing like the pain he was feeling from the burn.  So she let him take it out on her.  She owed him that.

It wasn’t until his blows moved lower that her defense mechanism got its second wind.  His fist buried into her breast.  Swollen from the imminent birth of her baby, the pain shot through her like a lightning bolt.  He drew back and would have landed a blow in her expanded abdomen, but she collapsed, trying in the only way she knew how to defend her unborn baby.  He released his hold on her sweater, but instead of stepping away, he kicked her.

She curled her body in a protective shell, putting all the flesh and bone she could between his steel-toed boot and her stomach.  He kicked her again and again, cursing her with words that burned her soul as much as her ears.  Finally, she blacked out.

A child’s scream woke her.  She struggled to open her eyes, but one was swollen shut.

“Mama, mama!” the little boy cried.

Her hands slid in the puddles of blood on the floor as she struggled to push into a sitting position.  Her blood.  She could see it staining the white yarn of her sweater.  In the back of her mind was the abstract thought that that was her favorite sweater, and now it was probably ruined.  She had so few clothes that still fit.

Her son’s small hands wrapped around her wrist and she stifled a scream as he pulled.   Pains shot up and down her arm telling her it was probably either broken or badly bruised.  Her brain struggled through the fog as she tried to remember where she was and why she was bleeding and aching all over.

Carlos!  She straightened and tried to look around.  Was he hurting Mattie?  Her son seemed to sense her fears and with a maturity well beyond his years, he comforted her.

“He’s gone.  But he hurt you,” he told her.

“I’m okay,” she lied, trying, as always, to protect him from the truth.  But this was worse than the last time which had been worse than the time before that which had been worse than the time before.  She could remember them all.  In a twisted measure of time, each marked a new ending and a new beginning of sorts.  She had never doubted that she had done something wrong to deserve his anger, and she had never doubted she would survive.  This time, she wasn’t so sure.

A searing pain, much deeper than all the others pierced through her, starting deep in her stomach and radiating out.  She heard another scream and was surprised that it had come from her mouth.

“Mama . . .?”  Mattie’s voice was terrified.

The room began to swirl around her, and her vision blurred.  Another pain doubled her over and she slid back to the floor.

HER CELL PHONE began ringing as she juggled the bag of groceries in one arm and inserted the key into her back door lock.

“Hold on, hold on, hold on . . .,” she chanted as she hurried inside, dropped the bag on the table and pulled her phone out of her purse.

“This is Julie,” she spoke into the small receiver.

“We’ve got a domestic and fire at 238 W. Maple Ave.,” the voice recited crisply.

“I heard it on my scanner.”  As she spoke, Julie held the phone against her ear with her shoulder and jotted down the address on a piece of unopened mail.  “I’m on my way.”

“I’ll notify the officers on scene.  What’s your ETA?”

“I’m pretty close.  I’ll be there in ten.”

The line clicked off and Julie let the phone slide off her shoulder and into her hand.  She grabbed the perishable items out of the bag and tossed them into the freezer or onto a shelf in the refrigerator and left the rest of the items away when she got back.  She hadn’t even had time to take off her coat, so she picked up her keys, checked to make sure her billfold was still in her pocket and left.  She didn’t bother taking the address with her.  She knew it by heart.  She had been there before.

Less than ten minutes later, she found a parking space several houses down.  It had been snowing off and on all day, and it had picked up again just before she arrived.  Julie looped her scarf around her neck, buttoned her coat up, pulled on her gloves and got out of her car.  A ladder truck and a pumper were parked directly in front of the house and their hoses snaked across the snow.  The generators rumbled, the radios crackled with sporadic chatter and the firemen shouted back and forth to each other as they focused a steady stream of water on the blaze that had gobbled up the right side of the house.

Julie quickened her pace, as quickly as she dared on the icy sidewalk that was made worse by the steady flow of water that was draining from the house.   An ambulance was at the end of the driveway.  The back doors were open, but the stretcher was out.

“Hey Julie.  Sorry to get you out on a night like this,” one of the cops said as he approached her.  He flipped his little spiral notebook closed and tucked it into the breast pocket of his shirt.

“Is she alive?”  Julie held her breath, afraid of the answer.

“Barely.  He beat the shit out of her again.”

“No surprise there.  Why can’t you guys put him away for good?”

The cop shrugged.  “She always bails him out.”

“I thought she had a restraining order against him.”

“She does.  But an RO is only paper.  It doesn’t stop fists.”

Two paramedics pushed the stretcher down the driveway from the house.  A thin blanket covered the woman’s prone body.  Her young son walked beside it, his hand on his mom’s arm, a gesture that was probably reassuring for both of them.  It wasn’t until she got closer that Julie noticed the advanced term mound showing the woman was pregnant.

“Oh my God,” Julie cried and hurried over to the stretcher.

The woman looked up at her . . . or tried to.  Her swollen and battered eyes clearly hampered her vision, but she was able to recognize Julie.  An expression flashed across her face, one that was part embarrassment and part happiness to see someone she knew.  “Julie . . . I know what you’re thinking . . . don’t be mad at me,” she said in a voice that shook with pain.

“Gloria, you don’t have to apologize to me . . . or to him,” Julie rushed to calm her.  She gently took the woman’s hand and walked next to the stretcher as the two paramedics struggled pushing it through several inches of snow and over the shattered remains of a sled.

“He didn’t mean to hurt me,” the woman told her.

Like hell he didn’t, Julie thought, but aloud she said, “How do you feel?”

Gloria lifted her other hand that already had an IV attached and rubbed her belly.  “Not so good, but I’m most worried about my baby.”

Julie looked up at one of the paramedics and he shrugged.  “They’re going to do everything they can to help you both,” she told the woman.

“I burned him with the iron.  That’s why he got so mad,” Gloria continued, anxious that Julie know why the event had happened.

“You need to focus on yourself and your baby,” Julie spoke soothingly.  “I’ll stay with Mattie until someone comes.  Have you called your mother?”

Gloria’s turned her head as if afraid of being overheard.  “No, would you do that for me?  Her number is in my phone . . . you know, the one you gave me.  It’s hidden in the laundry room.  Mattie will show you.”  She tried to give her son a smile, but she could manage only a stiff grimace.

The little boy looked at Julie and nodded shyly.

“We’ve got to go,” the female paramedic said as the stretcher reached the ambulance.  She and her partner prepared the stretcher for loading and Julie reached out for Mattie’s hand.

“Only my mother,” Gloria pleaded, twisting around and leaning toward Julie.  “Don’t let him go with anyone else.  Promise me.”

“Don’t worry about him.  I promise I won’t leave him until your mother comes for him,” Julie assured her, and Gloria relaxed back against the cushion.  The two women weren’t long-time friends or even acquaintances.  Their relationship had started almost two years ago when Julie had responded to a domestic call.  That one hadn’t resulted in hospitalization.  But it had been the first in several similar events that had created a trust great enough that Gloria knew she could leave Mattie in her care.

Mattie trembled but didn’t pull his hand away as he watched his mother being loaded into the ambulance.  The red and blue lights bounced off the surrounding trees and houses, magnified by the stark whiteness of the snow and turning the still-falling snowflakes into confetti.  Julie looked down at the little boy whose gaze followed the twinkling lights as they disappeared down the street.  She realized he wasn’t wearing a coat.  She unbuttoned her own coat, took it off and knelt down in front of Mattie.  Even though it was much too large and drug on the ground, he burrowed gratefully into the warmth of the wool.  Shivers of cold and lingering fear shook his tiny body.  “They’re going to take good care of your mama.  But right now we need to call your grandma.  Can you tell me your mom’s secret hiding place?”

“It’s in the house,” he told her, then lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper.  “In the smelly things.”

Smelly things?  Her mind scrambled for what that might mean.  “Dirty clothes?” she asked.

“No, the good smelly things.  You know, the ones with the little bear on the box,” he whispered back.

“Dryer sheets?”

He nodded.

Julie looked around.  Apparently the fire was out.  Smoke no longer billowed from the roof, and the firemen were straightening out the hoses in preparation of rolling them back up.  One of the firemen walked out of the house with an axe swung over his shoulder.  She lifted her hand and waved at him.  She recognized him from several other fires she had been called out to.

He must have noticed because he walked toward them.  He was tall, well over six feet.  Dressed in full firefighting uniform, he looked big and menacing, sort of like an urban alien.  Steam radiated from his long black coat and the top of his dark helmet.  He had an air canister strapped on his back, but he had unfastened his respirator and it hung off to one side.  His face was smudged with a layer of carbon, marked with paths where sweat and water had dripped down.  After giving Julie a crooked grin, he swung the axe down to the ground and knelt down in front of Mattie, as if he knew what an imposing sight he must be.

“You must be Matthew,” he said to him.  “I saw some amazing drawings on the refrigerator.  I was hoping I would get to meet the artist.  Were those yours?”

Mattie nodded solemnly, but Julie could see that he was flattered.

“And that must have been your room with the race car posters.”

Again Mattie nodded.  “Did my room burn up?”

“No, we were able to stop the fire before it got to your room.  But I’m afraid some of your things got a little wet and are going to smell like smoke.”

“How about my baseball cap?  The doctor people made me leave so fast I didn’t get it.”

The fire fighter said, “Oh yeah, I remember seeing a couple caps in there.  They’ll be fine.”  He took off his helmet and held it out to Mattie.  “Maybe you’d like to wear my hat.”

Mattie’s brown eyes stretched wide.  “Oh yes, sir.”

The man set the hat on the boy’s much smaller head and it settled down to cover his ears and his face all the way down to his nose.  Instead of taking it off, Mattie lifted his chin and looked out from underneath it.  But most noticeable was the twitch of a smile that softened his tense lips.

The fire fighter stood and turned his attention to Julie.  He pushed the heavy cloth hood off his head, revealing rumpled dark brown hair.  As he looked at her, she was struck by the clarity of his bright blue eyes.

“You’re Julie, aren’t you?” he asked.

She was a little surprised that he knew her name because they had never actually spoken.  But she wasn’t exactly a stranger to any of the public responders because she or one of her volunteers showed up at all of the more serious crime scenes.  “Yes, I am.  And you’re . . .?”

“Rusty,” he answered and pointed toward his last name the was printed on his jacket as he added, “Wilson.  I’m sure you know my younger brothers.”

“Oh, so you’re that Wilson,” Julie teased.  She was very well acquainted with his brothers.  Sam was a Denver cop who she worked with often, and Chris, the youngest, was a paramedic.  He wasn’t one of the ones on scene tonight, but their paths had crossed often in the course of their jobs.

He held up hands.  “Whoa, you can’t believe everything you hear about me.”

“Why do you assume it’s all bad?” she asked.

“Because I’ll admit to some of it.  But they like to exaggerate my . . .”  He grinned.  “Transgressions.”

Julie shrugged.  This was not a point she wanted to debate in the middle of a snowy night when she was without a coat.  “I was just wondering if someone could take me inside for a minute.  I need to get some of Mattie’s things and . . . well, something else.”

“Sure, I’ll take you in, but he needs to stay out here.”  Rusty called over one of the other firemen.  “Jackson, would you hang with my friend Matthew for a few minutes?”

Jackson who had just finished shutting off the hydrant and screwing the cap back on, nodded and knelt down next to Mattie.  “Hey buddy.  My name is Jackson.  Do you mind keeping me company while they go get some of your clothes.”

Mattie nodded, solemn again.  But his gaze followed Julie.

“Don’t let anyone take him away, okay?” she asked Jackson.

“Got cha,” Jackson confirmed.

After giving Mattie a reassuring pat on the head, she turned to follow Rusty.

“Don’t forget my cap,” Mattie called after her.

“I won’t,” she called back.

“Watch your step,” Rusty cautioned.  He took a flashlight out of his utility belt and turned it on.  Apparently, the electricity was off, and the dark house took on a sinister spook house sort of feeling as they stepped over the threshold and into the smoldering interior.  “The fire didn’t make it to this part of the house, but the back two bedrooms are pretty much gone.”

“Any idea what caused it?” she asked as she followed directly behind him, keeping her hand on his back because she couldn’t see anything outside the beam of his light.

“Looks like an iron on the carpet.  But the investigators will find out for sure.”

They picked their way along the soggy carpet of the hallway.  Even though the flames hadn’t made it into the hallway, the sheetrock was damp and there was a heavy, acrid smell that burned her lungs.  When they arrived at Mattie’s room, she hurried to collect a few items of clothing, including his Little League baseball cap that was sitting on his chest of drawers.  She also scooped up the stuffed monkey that held an obvious position of importance on his pillow and stuffed it all into his Cars backpack.

“We need to get out of here,” Rusty reminded her.

“I have one more thing,” she told him.  “Did you happen to notice a laundry room?”

“Not in this part of the house.  Maybe off the kitchen?”  He led the way back down the hall and across the small living room to the kitchen.  Sure enough, in the mud room that led outside was a small stackable washer and dryer that had probably been one of Gloria’s prized possessions.  But Julie had eyes only for the box of Snuggle dryer sheets on the shelf next to it.

“Really?” Rusty asked when he saw her pick it up.

She didn’t answer, but pulled out the sheets until she reached the bottom of the box.  Nestled there, just as Mattie had told her was the emergency cell phone she had given Gloria the last time Julie had been called out to this house.  She was glad to see that Gloria had listened to her cautions to hide the phone in a safe place where Carlos wouldn’t find it because Gloria clearly hadn’t paid any attention to Julie’s other advice.  Julie held up the phone so he could see it, then followed him out the back door and back to the driveway.

Once back outside, she took deep, cleansing breathes of the crisp cold air.  “I don’t know how you guys do it,” she admitted to Rusty.

He flashed her a grin, his teeth looking incredibly white against his soot-blackened face.  “Are you kidding?  I’d do this even if they didn’t pay me.  But don’t tell anyone.”

Julie flipped open the phone, turned it on and watched as it booted up.  “Hey thanks,” she told him.

“No problem.”  His expression sobered.  “You do good work, you know.  They need someone like you to help them after all this.”  He motioned around them at the devastation.  Yes, they had saved most of the house, but the smoke and the water had ruined much of what the flames hadn’t consumed.  These people had lost a lot, if not all they had, and they would need all the help they could get.

“Hey Wilson.  We’re ready to roll,” the captain called and gave Julie a wave of acknowledgement.

She and Rusty walked back to where Mattie and Jackson waited.  He reached down and lifted his heavy helmet off of the boy’s head.  “Thank you for taking care of my helmet for me.  It looks good on you, but I’m going to need it in case I have to go to another fire tonight.”

“Sure,” Mattie said with pride at having accomplished something so apparently important.

“Maybe you can get your mom to bring you by the fire station sometime when she feels better,” Rusty suggested.  “I’ll give you a tour and let you sit in a fire truck.”

“Really?  Wow, okay,” Mattie agreed.

Rusty looked back at Julie.  “And I’ll see around.”

“Yeah, we seem to hang out at the same places.”  She smiled.  “Thanks again.”  She nodded her head toward Mattie, indicating that his kindness toward the little boy hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Rusty dismissed it with a shrug, but he gave her another grin as he put his helmet back on and headed toward the waiting fire truck.

“Julie, we’re finished here, too,” the police officer who had been standing nearby talking to the captain told her.

“We can sit in my car and wait for his grandmother,” she suggested, but the officer shook his head.

“I can’t leave you here.  It’s still a hot scene.”

Julie glanced around, suddenly nervous.  “You mean he’s not in custody?” she asked while being careful to keep the conversation as neutral as possible.

“He was gone when we arrived, but you can bet he’ll come back.”

She shivered, not just because of the cold that was penetrating her heavy sweater.  She had never actually met Carlos, but she had seen his handiwork on at least three occasions.  “Let me make a quick call to his grandmother so she can be on her way.”  She went to the contacts’ list.  There were only two numbers in it.  Gloria’s mother and Julie’s cell phone.  Even though she had encouraged Gloria to call her if Carlos came back, it was now clear that that hadn’t happened.  She clicked on the word “Mom” and put the phone to her ear.

It rang five times before a sleepy voice answered, “Hello.”

Julie turned away so Mattie couldn’t hear the conversation as she gave Gloria’s mother a quick summary of the evening’s events.  “I’m taking Mattie to the police station, and we’ll wait for you there.”  She gave the woman the address, and after getting her confirmation, she hung up.

“Okay, Mattie, we’re going to get to ride in a police car.  Have you ever done that before?”

He shook his head, but there was a spark of excitement in his eyes.

“But first, I’m going to trade you coats,” she told him.  She released his parka from his backpack where she had clipped it and handed it to him.  He took off her coat, and they exchanged them.  She welcomed the warmth as she slipped her arms into the sleeves and buttoned it up.  Mattie had a little trouble with his zipper, so she helped him get it started, then reached into the backpack and pulled out his cap.  The first genuine smile of the night spread across his face as he put it on and tugged it into position.  She didn’t even need a voiced “thanks” because his expression said it all.

The police officer unlocked the doors of his cruiser and opened the backdoor for them.  Julie glanced back at her white Kia that was parked down the street.  She knew it was city policy that she not carry civilians in her personal vehicle, and she had promised not to leave Mattie’s side until his grandmother arrived.  That left her no choice but to ride with him in the cruiser to the station.  She would worry about getting a ride back to pick it up later.  Since the grandmother lived in Longmont, it would take her over an hour to get dressed and drive to the station.

The spotlights that had illuminated the scene switched off as the fire trucks prepared to leave.  With only the red and blue emergency lights still flashing, the night seemed darker and the shadows deeper.  Julie glanced around.  She had the uncomfortable feeling that Carlos was there, out of sight, but watching as she took his son away from him, hopefully forever.  She shivered again and silently urged Mattie to hurry up.  She wanted to be inside the safety of the cruiser.

As soon as he was inside, she climbed in after him and tried not to notice the telltale smell of urine and vomit that usually clung in the air of the back seats of all the cruisers.  It had been a long day and was turning out to be a long night.  But she, like Rusty, loved her job and would rather be here than any place she’d ever been.  Only she knew how desperate she was to never go back.
.

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READERS’ FAVORITE on AFTER MIDNIGHT

The Readers’ Favorite organization provides a very credible and professional service for readers and authors by conducting reviews of books.  You can find them on the web at http://www.readersfavorite.com.

For 2013 we submitted two books for award consideration and in the past we have also received reviews outside the competitive process.

One of the books entered was AFTER MIDNIGHT, book #1 in the Denver After Dark Suspense series and it won 3rd place!

Here’s is the review and the book can be found on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/AFTER-MIDNIGHT-Denver-Suspense-ebook/dp/B009CGO8N8 and for the Nook on Barnes & Noble at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/after-midnight-a-denver-after-dark-suspense-kathy-clark/1116872311?ean=2940148410812

AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED
Book Review
Readers\' Favorite Book Contest Award WinnerReviewed by Samantha Rivera for Readers’ FavoriteSo what do two cops, two actors and a reporter have to do with each other? Absolutely everything. In this fast-paced crime drama (with plenty of romance thrown in) you’ll find all five and they will definitely surprise you with their antics. The story of a struggling actress desperate to make it no matter what and a cop who gives his all for the job has many strange twists you wouldn’t see coming. Not only that but the action is enough to keep you turning pages for as long as it takes you to finish the book.I really liked the way the author was able to make the characters come alive. With so much happening throughout the book the author still managed to make each character have their own personality and their own thoughts. The lead-ins from one point-of-view to the other were very smooth so that it was easy to understand who was talking and who was thinking what at any given time. I thought that Kate and Sam definitely made a great impression and they were very relatable characters. In this story not everyone is who you thought they were and they do not fall into the stereotypes either. Each character is distinctly different from what probably popped into your mind when I rattled off the career paths. In fact, the bad guy is someone you would never suspect. But of course I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice it to say that I’m definitely interested in reading the next book in this series.

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Here’s a few additional thought about the Readers’ Favorite organization.

Readers’ Favorite is the recipient of the “Honoring Excellence” and “Best Websites for Authors” awards by the Association of Independent Authors, and are members of the National Book Critics Circle and the National Education Association.

Awards and Logos

Readers’ Favorite has been awarded the Association
of Independent Authors Honoring Excellence award, which
recognizes businesses and organizations that offer exceptional
products and services for independent authors.
Association of Independent Authors
Readers’ Favorite donates many of the books we review to the following charities, along with annual financial donations. We make sure your book and some of the money you spend on our site is used to bring comfort and aid to those in need.

Donation Partners

On behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,
and especially on behalf of the children and their
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authors for your kindness and generosity.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

DENVER AFTER DARK…book #2 coming….CRIES IN THE NIGHT

My DENVER AFTER DARK series is a serious suspense with book #1, AFTER MIDNIGHT, launched late in 2012. Book #2, CRIES IN THE NIGHT, is coming out this Fall…and it’s a little gritty…reader beware. So here’s an excerpt of the first chapter that will likely have you downing one more beverage before turning in.

You can of course find AFTER MIDNIGHT on Amazon athttp://www.amazon.com/AFTER-MIDNIGHT-Denver-Suspense-ebook/dp/B009CGO8N8/ and averages a 4.4 STAR rating.

Mainly because some people picked up a book labeled suspense and then thought it wasn’t a very good mystery? Go figure. It also was 3rd place in the READERS’ FAVORITE in 2013 and named THE BEST INDIE BOOK ADULT SUSPENSE of 2013. I’m proud of that and CRIES IN THE NIGHT, as you can tell from the opening, is an edgier book…

So here’s the excerpt…raw, un proofed, a WIP…but it gives you and idea and cover reveal too!. After being a victim’s advocate I had to write this one in the series.

CHAPTER ONE

The back door slammed with such force that the small house shuddered. In the back bedroom the woman froze in front of the ironing board, the iron paused in mid-air. Steam poured out of the holes with a hiss, but she didn’t notice. Instead her gaze raced across the room and met the wide eyes of her son who had been playing with Matchbox cars.
He dropped the tiny red Matchbox car he had been holding and scuttled backward, disappearing under the bed. No words had been spoken, but he knew the drill. This wasn’t his first rodeo. He had learned early that out of sight also meant out of the line of fire.
The woman wasn’t so lucky.
Heavy, quick footsteps signaled his approach down the hallway. Her heart pounded in her chest, and she realized she hadn’t taken a breath since he had entered the house. She exhaled slowly, trying to calm her nerves and steel herself for the battle ahead. Even before she saw his face, she knew he was angry . . . at her, at his son, at his boss, at life. It didn’t really matter. He always came home to share his disappointment with her.
“Where the hell is he?” The man wasn’t large, but when he was in one of his moods, he seemed to expand in size until his presence filled the doorway.
“Who?” she managed to ask, struggling to keep her expression under control. For some reason, it made him angrier if she showed fear even though her legs were trembling.
He threw his car keys at her. She tried to dodge, but the unexpected movement and her own swollen bulk slowed her. The keys smashed into her left cheek, then fell to the floor.
“You know who. That piece-of-shit kid. He left his goddamn sled in the driveway and I ran over it. Twenty bucks. Trashed. I work hard and get paid shit. And he just throws his toys around.”
“He’s usually really careful . . .”
He cut her off. “Didn’t he go to school today?”
“They had a teacher’s workday.”
“Then he has no excuse for not bringing in the garbage cans.”
“It was snowing too hard.”
“Not too hard for him to play.” He kicked the basket of laundry against the wall. “You fuckin’ baby him too much.”
“He’s only six.” She knew that arguing only made him angrier, but her motherly instinct was to defend her young.
The man’s dark gaze raked the room before focusing on the abandoned Matchbox cars. His nostrils flared and he moved toward the bed, knowing it was the most likely hiding place.
“No!” the woman cried. “Leave him alone.” She reached out to grab him, but he swung his arm to fend her off as if he was swatting away an annoying insect. She reacted by striking back. Unfortunately, the iron was still clenched in her hand. The hot surface landed flat against his forearm and the back of his hand. Steam oozed out of the holes as the skin sizzled.
With a guttural roar, he jerked back as quickly as possible and looked down at the arced-shaped blisters that had already bubbled up. Like an enraged bull in the ring distracted by the matador’s cape, he turned his attention back to her.
“What the fuck?” He knocked the iron out of her hand and grabbed the front of her sweater in his meaty fist and pulled her forward, over the ironing board which clattered to the floor. Her feet scrambled to keep upright as he dragged her over the metal legs.
“I . . . I’m . . . sorry, Carlos. I didn’t mean to . . .”
He silenced her with a punch so hard that her teeth rattled. Momentarily dazed, she didn’t struggle as he slammed her back against the door frame. Her head cracked against the wood and she could feel the sharp edges biting into her back. She didn’t fight back as he hit her again and again. She knew she deserved this. If she hadn’t hit him with the iron, he wouldn’t have come at her like this. The skin over one eye slit under his knuckles, and she could feel the warm flow of blood pour down her face. But as bad as it hurt, she knew it was nothing like the pain he was feeling from the burn. So she let him take it out on her. She owed him that.
It wasn’t until his blows moved lower that her defense mechanism got its second wind. His fist buried into her breast. Swollen from the imminent birth of her baby, the pain shot through her like a lightning bolt. He drew back and would have landed a blow in her expanded abdomen, but she collapsed, trying in the only way she knew how to defend her unborn baby. He released his hold on her sweater, but instead of stepping away, he kicked her.
She curled her body in a protective shell, putting all the flesh and bone she could between his steel-toed boot and her stomach. He kicked her again and again, cursing her with words that burned her soul as much as her ears. Finally, blessedly, she blacked out.
A child’s scream woke her. She struggled to open her eyes, but one was swollen shut.
“Mama, mama!” the little boy cried.
Her hands slid in the puddles of blood on the floor as she struggled to push into a sitting position. Her blood. She could see it staining the white yarn of her sweater. In the back of her mind was the abstract thought that that was her favorite sweater, and now it was probably ruined. She had so few clothes that still fit.
Her son’s small hands wrapped around her wrist and she stifled a scream as he pulled. Pains shot up and down her arm telling her it was broken or badly bruised. Her brain struggled through the fog as she tried to remember where she was and why she was bleeding and aching all over.
Carlos! She straightened and tried to look around. Was he hurting Mattie? Her son seemed to sense her fears and with a maturity well beyond his years, he comforted her.
“He’s gone. But he hurt you,” the little boy told her.
“I’m okay,” she lied, trying, as always, to protect him from the truth. But this was worse than the last time which had been worse than the time before which had been worse than the time before that. She could remember them all. In a twisted measure of time, each marked a new ending and a new beginning of sorts. She had never doubted that she had done something wrong to deserve his anger, and she had never doubted she would survive. This time, she wasn’t so sure.
A searing pain, much deeper than all the others pierced through her, starting deep in her stomach and radiating out. She heard another scream and was surprised that it had come from her mouth.
“Mama . . .?” Mattie’s voice was terrified.
The room began to swirl around her, and her vision blurred. Another pain doubled her over and she slid to the floor.

JULIE LAWRENCE’S CELL PHONE began ringing as she juggled the bag of groceries in one arm and inserted the key into her back door lock.
“Hold on, hold on, hold on . . .,” she chanted as she hurried inside, dropped the bag on the table and pulled her phone out of her purse.
“This is Julie,” she spoke into the small receiver.
“We’ve got a domestic and fire at 238 W. Maple Ave.,” the voice recited crisply.
“I heard it on my scanner.” As she spoke, Julie held the phone against her ear with her shoulder and jotted down the address on a piece of unopened mail. “I’m on my way.”
“I’ll notify the officers on scene. What’s your ETA?”
“I’m pretty close. I’ll be there in ten.”
The line clicked off and Julie let the phone slide off her shoulder and into her hand. She grabbed the perishable items out of the bag and tossed them into the freezer or onto a shelf in the refrigerator and left the rest of the items to be put away when she got back. She hadn’t even had time to take off her coat, so she picked up her keys, checked to make sure her billfold was still in her pocket and left. She didn’t bother taking the address with her. She knew it by heart. She had been there before.
Less than ten minutes later, she found a parking space several houses down. It had been snowing off and on all day, and it had picked up again just before she arrived. Julie looped her scarf around her neck, buttoned her coat up, pulled on her gloves and got out of her car. A ladder truck and a big white engine truck were parked directly in front of the house and their hoses snaked across the snow. The generators rumbled, the radios crackled with sporadic chatter and the firemen shouted back and forth to each other as they focused a steady stream of water on the blaze that had gobbled up the left side of the house.
Julie quickened her pace, as quickly as she dared on the icy sidewalk that was made worse by the steady flow of dirty water that was draining from the house. An ambulance was at the end of the driveway. The back doors were open, and the stretcher was out.
“Hey Julie. Sorry to get you out on a night like this,” one of the cops said as he approached her. He flipped his little spiral notebook closed and tucked it into the breast pocket of his shirt.
“Is she alive?” Julie held her breath, afraid of the answer.
“Barely. He beat the shit out of her again.”
“No surprise there. Why can’t you guys put him away for good?”
The cop shrugged. “She always bails him out.”
“I thought she had a restraining order against him.”
“She does. But an RO is only paper. It doesn’t stop fists.”
Two paramedics pushed the stretcher down the driveway from the house. A thin blanket covered the woman’s prone body. Her young son walked beside it, his hand on his mom’s arm, a gesture that was probably reassuring for both of them. It wasn’t until she got closer that Julie noticed the advanced term mound showing the woman was pregnant.
“Oh my God,” Julie cried and hurried over to the stretcher.
The woman looked up at her . . . or tried to. Her swollen and battered eyes clearly hampered her vision, but she was able to recognize Julie. An expression flashed across her face, one that was part embarrassment and part happiness to see someone she knew. “Julie . . . I know what you’re thinking . . . don’t be mad at me,” she said in a voice that quivered with pain.
“Gloria, you don’t have to apologize to me . . . or to him,” Julie rushed to calm her. She gently took the woman’s hand and walked next to the stretcher as the two paramedics struggled pushing it through several inches of unshoveled snow and over the shattered remains of a sled.
“He didn’t mean to hurt me,” the woman told her.
Like hell he didn’t, Julie thought, but aloud she said, “How do you feel?”
Gloria lifted her other hand that already had an IV attached and rubbed her belly. “Not so good, but I’m most worried about my baby.”
Julie looked up at one of the paramedics and he shrugged. “They’re going to do everything they can to help you both,” she told the woman.
“I burned him with the iron. That’s why he got so mad,” Gloria continued, anxious that Julie know why the event had happened.
“You need to focus on yourself and your baby,” Julie spoke soothingly. “I’ll stay with Mattie until someone comes. Have you called your mother?”
Gloria’s turned her head as if afraid of being overheard. “No, would you do that for me? Her number is in my phone . . . you know, the one you gave me. It’s hidden in the laundry room. Mattie will show you.” She tried to give her son a smile, but she could manage only a stiff grimace.
The little boy looked at Julie and nodded shyly.
“We’ve got to go,” the female paramedic said as the stretcher reached the ambulance. She and her partner prepared the stretcher for loading and Julie reached out for Mattie’s hand.
“Only my mother,” Gloria pleaded, twisting around and leaning toward Julie. “Don’t let him go with anyone else. Promise me.”
“Don’t worry about him. I promise I won’t leave him until your mother comes for him,” Julie assured her, and Gloria relaxed back against the cushion. The two women weren’t long-time friends or even acquaintances. Their relationship had started almost two years ago when Julie had responded to a domestic call. That one hadn’t resulted in hospitalization. But it had been the first in several similar events that had created a trust great enough that Gloria knew she could leave Mattie in her care. It wasn’t a friendship so much as it was a support system.
Mattie trembled but didn’t pull his hand away from Julie as he watched his mother being loaded into the ambulance. The red and blue lights bounced off the surrounding trees and houses, magnified by the stark whiteness of the snow and turning the still-falling snowflakes into floating confetti. Julie looked down at the little boy whose gaze followed the twinkling lights as they disappeared down the street. She realized he wasn’t wearing a coat. She unbuttoned her own coat, took it off and knelt down in front of Mattie. Even though it was much too large and drug on the ground, he burrowed gratefully into the warmth of the wool. Shivers of cold and lingering fear shook his tiny body. “They’re going to take good care of your mama. But right now we need to call your grandma. Can you tell me your mom’s secret hiding place?”
“It’s in the house,” he told her, then lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “In the smelly things.”
Smelly things? Her mind scrambled for what that might mean. “Dirty clothes?” she asked.
“No, the good smelly things. You know, the ones with the little bear on the box,” he whispered back.
“Dryer sheets?”
He nodded.
Julie looked around. Apparently the fire was out. Smoke no longer billowed from the roof, and the firemen were straightening out the hoses in preparation of rolling them back up. One of the firemen walked out of the house with an axe swung over his shoulder. She lifted her hand and waved at him. She recognized him from several other fires she had been called out to.
He nodded and walked toward them. He was tall, well over six feet. Dressed in full firefighting uniform, he looked big and menacing, sort of like an urban alien. Steam radiated from his long black coat and the top of his dark helmet. He had an air canister strapped on his back, but he had unfastened his respirator and it hung off to one side. His face was smudged with a layer of carbon, marked with paths where sweat and water had dripped down. After giving Julie a crooked grin, he swung the axe down to the ground and knelt down in front of Mattie, as if he knew what an imposing sight he must be.
“You must be Matthew,” he said to him. “I saw some amazing drawings on the refrigerator. I was hoping I would get to meet the artist. Were those yours?”
Mattie nodded solemnly, but Julie could see that he was flattered.
“And that must have been your room with the race car posters.”
Again Mattie nodded. “Did my room burn up?”
“No, we were able to stop the fire before it got to your room. But I’m afraid some of your things got a little wet and are going to smell like smoke.”
“How about my baseball cap? The doctor people made me leave so fast I didn’t get it.”
The firefighter said, “Oh yeah, I remember seeing a couple caps in there. They’ll be fine.” He took off his helmet and held it out to Mattie. “Maybe you’d like to wear my hat.”
Mattie’s brown eyes stretched wide. “Oh yes, sir.”
The man set the hat on the boy’s much smaller head and it settled down to cover his ears and his face all the way down to his nose. Instead of taking it off, Mattie lifted his chin and looked out from underneath it. But most noticeable was the twitch of a smile that softened his tense lips.
The firefighter stood and turned his attention to Julie. He pushed the heavy cloth hood off his head, revealing rumpled dark brown hair. As he looked at her, she was struck by the clarity of his bright blue eyes.
“You’re Julie, aren’t you?” he asked.
She was a little surprised that he knew her name because they had never actually spoken. But she wasn’t exactly a stranger to any of the public responders because she or one of her volunteers showed up at all of the more serious crime scenes. “Yes, I am. And you’re . . .?”
“Rusty,” he answered and pointed toward his last name the was printed on his jacket as he added, “Wilson. I’m sure you know my younger brothers.”
“Oh, so you’re that Wilson,” Julie teased. She was very well acquainted with his brothers. Sam was a Denver cop who she worked with often, and Chris, the youngest, was a paramedic. He wasn’t one of the ones on scene tonight, but their paths had crossed often in the course of their jobs.
He held up hands. “Whoa, you can’t believe everything you hear about me.”
“Why do you assume it’s all bad?” she asked.
“Because I’ll admit to some of it. But they like to exaggerate my . . .” He grinned. “Transgressions.”
Julie shrugged. This was not a point she wanted to debate in the middle of a snowy night when she was without a coat. “I was just wondering if someone could take me inside for a minute. I need to get some of Mattie’s things and . . . well, something else.”
“Sure, I’ll take you in, but he needs to stay out here.” Rusty called over one of the other firemen. “Jackson, would you hang with my friend Matthew for a few minutes?”
Jackson, an equally buff black man who had just finished shutting off the hydrant and screwing the cap back on, nodded and knelt down next to Mattie. “Hey buddy. My name is Jackson. Do you mind keeping me company while they go get some of your clothes.”
Mattie nodded, solemn again. But his gaze followed Julie.
“Don’t let anyone take him away, okay?” she asked Jackson. “And I mean anyone.”
“Got cha,” Jackson confirmed.
After giving Mattie a reassuring pat on the head, she turned to follow Rusty.
“Don’t forget my cap,” Mattie called after her.
“I won’t,” she called back.
“Watch your step,” Rusty cautioned. He took a flashlight out of his utility belt and turned it on. Apparently, the electricity was off, and the dark house took on a sinister spook house sort of feeling as they stepped over the threshold and into the smoldering interior. “The fire didn’t make it to this part of the house, but the back two bedrooms are pretty much gone.”
“Any idea what caused it?” she asked as she followed directly behind him, keeping her hand on his back because she couldn’t see anything outside the beam of his light.
“Looks like an iron on the carpet. But the investigators will find out for sure.”
They picked their way along the soggy carpet of the hallway. Even though the flames hadn’t destroyed it, the sheetrock was damp and there was a heavy, acrid smell that burned her lungs. When they arrived at Mattie’s room, she hurried to collect his coat and a few items of clothing, including his Little League baseball cap that was sitting on his chest of drawers. She also scooped up the stuffed monkey that held an obvious position of importance on his pillow and stuffed it all into his Cars backpack.
“We need to get out of here,” Rusty reminded her.
“I have one more thing,” she told him. “Did you happen to notice a laundry room?”
“Not in this part of the house. Maybe off the kitchen?” He led the way back down the hall and across the small living room to the kitchen. Sure enough, in the mud room that led outside was a small stackable washer and dryer that had probably been one of Gloria’s prized possessions. But Julie had eyes only for the box of Snuggle dryer sheets on the shelf next to it.
“Really?” Rusty asked when he saw her pick it up.
She didn’t answer, but pulled out the sheets until she reached the bottom of the box. Nestled there, just as Mattie had told her was the emergency cell phone she had given Gloria the last time Julie had been called out to this house. She was glad to see that Gloria had listened to her cautions to hide the phone in a safe place where Carlos wouldn’t find it because Gloria clearly hadn’t paid any attention to Julie’s other advice. Julie held up the phone so he could see it, then followed him out the back door and to the driveway.
Once outside, she took deep, cleansing breaths of the crisp cold air. “I don’t know how you guys do it,” she admitted to Rusty.
He flashed her a grin, his teeth looking incredibly white against his soot-blackened face. “Are you kidding? I’d do this even if they didn’t pay me. But don’t tell anyone.”
Julie flipped open the phone, turned it on and watched as it booted up. “Hey thanks,” she told him.
“No problem.” His expression sobered. “You do good work, you know. They need someone like you to help them after all this.” He motioned around at the devastation. Yes, they had saved most of the house, but the smoke and the water had ruined much of what the flames hadn’t consumed. These people had lost a lot, if not everything, and they would need all the help they could get.
“Hey Wilson. We’re ready to roll,” the captain called and gave Julie a wave of acknowledgement.
She and Rusty walked back to where Mattie and Jackson waited. He reached down and lifted his heavy helmet off of the boy’s head. “Thank you for taking care of my helmet for me. It looks good on you, but I’m going to need it in case I have to go to another fire tonight.”
“Sure,” Mattie said with pride at having accomplished something so important.
“Maybe you can get your mom to bring you by the fire station sometime when she feels better,” Rusty suggested. “I’ll give you a tour and let you sit in a fire truck.”
“Really? Wow, okay,” Mattie agreed.
Rusty looked back at Julie. “And I’ll see around.”
“Yeah, we seem to hang out at the same places.” She smiled. “Thanks again.” She nodded her head toward Mattie, indicating that his kindness toward the little boy hadn’t gone unnoticed.
Rusty dismissed it with a shrug, but he gave her another grin as he put his helmet back on and headed toward the waiting fire truck.
“Julie, we’re finished here, too,” the police officer who had been standing nearby talking to the captain told her.
“We can sit in my car and wait for his grandmother,” she suggested, but the officer shook his head.
“I can’t leave you here. It’s still a hot scene.”
Julie glanced around, suddenly nervous. “You mean he’s not in custody?” she asked while being careful to keep the conversation as neutral as possible.
“He was gone when we arrived, but you can bet he’ll come back.”
She shivered, not just because of the cold that was penetrating her heavy sweater. She had never actually met Carlos, but she had seen his handiwork on at least three occasions. “Let me make a quick call to his grandmother so she can be on her way.” She went to the contacts’ list. There were only two numbers in it. Gloria’s mother and Julie’s cell phone. Even though she had encouraged Gloria to call her if Carlos threatened her, it was now clear that that hadn’t happened. She clicked on the word “Mom” and put the phone to her ear.
It rang five times before a sleepy voice answered, “Hello.”
Julie turned away so Mattie couldn’t hear the conversation as she gave Gloria’s mother a quick summary of the evening’s events. “I’m taking Mattie to the police station. We’ll wait for you there.” She gave the woman the address, and after getting her confirmation, she hung up.
“Okay, Mattie, we’re going to get to ride in a police car. Have you ever done that before?”
He shook his head, but there was a spark of excitement in his eyes.
“But first, I’m going to trade you coats,” she told him. She released his parka from his backpack where she had clipped it and handed it to him. He took off her coat, and they exchanged them. She welcomed the warmth as she slipped her arms into the sleeves and buttoned it up. Mattie had a little trouble with his zipper, so she helped him get it started, then reached into the backpack and pulled out his cap.
“It’s a little wet. Sorry,” she said.
“That’s okay. I get it wet all the time, and it dries out good,” he told her. The first genuine smile of the night spread across his face as he put it on and tugged it into position.
She didn’t even need a voiced “thanks” because his expression said it all.
The police officer unlocked the doors of his cruiser and opened the backdoor for them. Julie glanced back at her white Kia that was parked down the street. She knew it was city policy that she not carry civilians in her personal vehicle, and she had promised not to leave Mattie’s side until his grandmother arrived. That left her no choice but to ride with him in the cruiser to the station. She would worry about getting a ride back to pick her car up later. Since the grandmother lived in Longmont, it would take her at least an hour to get dressed and drive to the station.
The spotlights that had illuminated the scene switched off as the fire trucks prepared to leave. With only the red and blue emergency lights still flashing, the night seemed darker and the shadows deeper. Julie glanced around. She had the uncomfortable feeling that Carlos was there, out of sight, but watching as she took his son away from him, hopefully forever. She shivered again and silently urged Mattie to hurry up. She wanted to be inside the safety of the cruiser.
As soon as he was inside, she climbed in after him and tried not to notice the telltale smell of urine and vomit that usually clung in the air of the back seats of all the cruisers. It had been a long day and was turning out to be a long night. But she, like Rusty, loved her job and would rather be here than any place she’d ever been. It was the only life she had.

CRIES IN THE NIGHT 09012013AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED

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Find book #1, OMG on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/CUL8R-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00AF2Q30E/

Find BION, book #3 on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Believe-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00E5141ZK/

You can find BRB on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Right-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00C8SK9JO/

My home page is http://www.nightwriter93.com/ and website for the young adult series is http://www.cul8rseries.com/

Looking for great book ideas stop in at the virtual book fair athttps://www.facebook.com/events/387674678021918/

Wowee! We’re Finalists In Two Categories of the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards for 2013!

TAKEN FROM THE PR WEB PRESS RELEASE OF JULY 1, 2013

AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED

Life on Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado where the story begins.

BRB eBook Cover 2

Time Travel can be murder.

2013 Reader’s Choice Award Finalists announced for Kathy Clark’s After Midnight, a romantic suspense novel and is book #1 in her Denver After Dark series. Kathy co-writes with her husband under the pen name Bob Kat and their second book in their CUL8R [See you later] teen time travel mystery BRB [Be Right Back] was also named a finalist in the Young Adult Mystery category.

“Awards from a professional competition are a great way to help establish credibility
with potential readers,” Kathy said when contacted. “We have been so fortunate to have won or placed as a finalist in all of the contests we have entered this year.”

“We are thrilled to announce two of our books are finalists in the Reader’s Choice Awards for 2013,” Bob added. “These awards give readers an independent recommendation that the books contain a good story, well-told, compared to the other books in the genre. I, too, am very grateful as it validates our work…our creativity.”

BRB [Be Right Back] has been named a finalist in the Young Adult Mystery category and After Midnight in the fiction Adult Suspense in the Readers’ Choice Awards for 2013. The final awards will be announced September 1st.

BRB is the second book in the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery series and joins OMG, book #1, which was a first place winner in The Best Indie Book of 2013 in the Young Adult mystery category. OMG was also a finalist in the Beverly Hills Books Awards in 2013. Book #3, BION [Believe It Or Not] will be released in July, 2013. “This series has been awesome to write and we have several new books plotted and researched,” Kathy noted.
After Midnight had won first place in The Best Indie Book of 2013 earlier in the year. The second book in the Denver After Dark series, Cries In The Night, will be released in late 2013.

All these books can be seen on the author’s website at http://www.nightwriter93.com/ .

The CUL8R Teen Mystery series has its own website at http://www.cul8rseries.com.

All books can be acquired through Amazon at http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

Kathy Clark’s first 23 romance / women’s fiction novels were published by several publishers, including Harlequin and Dell and sold more than 3.2 million copies globally in at least 11 different languages. Her books have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Recommended lists and have received numerous industry awards including Romantic Times Readers’ Choice Awards and numerous regional and state awards.

After several years of writing screenplays she came back to the novel-author role with new skills, insight and storytelling capacity. Kathy Clark still writes adult books but now they are focused on romantic suspense. Book #1 in the Denver After Dark suspense series, After Midnight is about one of three brothers, a cop, and takes place in Denver. The next two books will be about the fireman and the paramedic, all public servants in Denver and will be released during 2013 and early 2014. After Midnight won The Best Indie Book of 2013 award and is a finalist in the Reader’s Choice awards in 2013.

Under the name of Bob Kat, Kathy now writes with husband, Bob Wernly. OMG was first in their new young adult-centered CUL8R Time Travel Mystery series and was recognized as The Best Indie Book.

OMG eBook 3

Book #1 in the CUL8R Teen Time Travel Mystery series, voted best Indie Book in 2013 for young adult / teens

Also in late 2012, Bob Kat published a New Adult Romance that takes place in 1969 – 70.  Every New Adult Romance criteria is fully met and Life’s What Happens is unique in that it is one of the few to not be set in today but is contemporary is very respect.  The story centers on the tumultuous times of 1969 and 1970 at Kent State University and how the New Adults then dealt with the issues and changes of the times.

Life's What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

Life’s What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

2013 is a busy year with third CUL8R young adult mystery time travel series being released in April and book #2 in the Denver After Dark series, Cries In The Night   being worked on daily for an end of year release.  A prolific writer, Kathy, with Bob in a research role, will be releasing a New Adult age novel in a new series SCANDALS  in the fall.

Another Excerpt For the eBook Virtual Book Fair, A New Adult Romance

Before the fair closes up today we wanted to make everyone aware of our first New Adult Romance…and here’s an excerpt from the book..It is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/LIFES-WHAT-HAPPENS-ebook/dp/B00A14STPS/

And to taste the times here’s the trailer…We also wanted to introduce readers to a New Adult Romance, Life’s What Happens. The excerpt is on our blog at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDTibRqRL4o

 

Life's What Happens NEW GIRL

FROM LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS by Bob Kat

From the outside, the coach house appeared to have undergone more renovations than the exterior of the fraternity house itself.  Don pulled open the door and allowed Jennifer to enter the building and climb the single set of narrow wooden stairs.  A wave of aroma from years of beer-soaked boards flowed down the stairs and hit them as they entered the building.  As Don walked up the fifteen steps, he automatically counted them.   The exact number had been a pledge test on oddities and trivia about the fraternity property.  He also recalled the number of windows in the house, the steps leading to the front porch and how many trees were in the backyard.  All critical knowledge needed to be recalled at times of duress like hell week and was, even after all this time, still stuck in his memory.

The stairs entered the second level through the center of the floor.  The old basketball half court remained on the left side and the right side had been carpeted since he had been here forty years earlier.  There were folding tables arranged in a giant rectangle shape for meetings.  The far wall was covered floor to ceiling with the signatures of all the seniors who had ever graduated Kent State as a Phi Psi brother.  Jennifer and Don gravitated toward it, drawn by all the voices from the past.

Together, they stared at the signatures written with scores of ball point pens, felt tip markers, colored pencil and even quill pens that had been the weapon of choice by those who had graduated from the very demanding architecture school.

“What’s this all about?” she asked as she walked along the wall.

“It was a tradition that all seniors had to come up here on graduation day and sign the wall.  As you could guess, there are hundreds more now than when I left.”

Don slowly shuffled his way along the wall, carefully touching the inked signatures with his fingertips.

“You’re looking at those names like you’re at the Vietnam memorial in DC.”

Don turned to Jennifer and blinked against the tears that welled up in his eyes. “You really get to know someone when you go through college, growing up with them.  Being with them as they met and lost girlfriends, pass and fail classes and especially the hell we all went through our senior year.  They were always there for me.  But we’ve lost touch.”

“Did Mr. Harrigan sign it?” she asked.

“Sure.  He’s way over to the left and toward the top,” Don said as he pointed her in that direction.  “He was in one of the first classes to live in this house.  I guess he bought it after he graduated and got rich.”

“Whose is this?”  Jennifer pointed to a mostly illegible autograph that included a rough drawing of the iconic Playboy bunny logo.  “What’s with the rabbit?”

“That was Cliff Baker.  His nickname was Hef.”

“Ahh, I see.  After Hugh Hefner, right?”

“Yeah.  Cliff used to be a photographer.”

One perfectly waxed eyebrow arched with the unasked question that would naturally follow such a confession.

“They were art shots,” he defended his brother without apology.  “Remember, it was the Sixties.  It was all about freedom and beauty and love.”

“Where’s yours?”

Don pointed to a spot about five feet off the floor and left of the window overlooking the parking lot.  “Right there.”

“The one with the little rocket?”

“Yeah, that’s it.”  He smiled at the memory that invoked.  He hadn’t thought about that in years.

“You’re living in Texas now, aren’t you?”

“Yes, for the last few years.  My wife grew up in Austin.  She had to stay behind with our daughter who’s expecting our first grandchild any minute.”

“That must be nice.”  Jennifer glanced at her watch, clearly moving her focus back to the meeting.  “Do you know who is planning on making it?”

Don shook his head and shrugged.  “I have no idea.  I never even heard who was invited.”

Jennifer walked over to the meeting tables, and laid her briefcase on one of them.  “I didn’t send you the list?  My assistant must have forgotten to put that into your package,” she told him as she shuffled through her briefcase.

“I guess we’ll both know soon enough,” Don commented.

“I left my phone in the car.  I’m going to run down and call the office and make sure the food I arranged for is on the way,” she told him.  “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Don turned back to the wall.  He moved slowly, looking for familiar names and stopping to touch the inked signatures with his fingertips.  With each one he recognized, he’d stop, smile and sometimes nod as he recalled his experiences with every brother whose name he found.

Larry Reed with a small baseball drawn over his name.  Stanley Freeman.  Jeff Tallmadge accented by the faces of comedy and tragedy.  Frank Pucci.  Ted McCoy.  Barry Smith next to a drawing of two sticks that no one but the class of 1970 would understand.  Ira Schwartz.  Rick Rogers.  Alfonso Garcia and a paw print of a monkey with the name Carlos, inked above it.  Someone, probably Jeff, must have added the tiny paw print after Alfonso signed because Alfonso and the monkey’s hatred for each other had been legendary.  There was Kevin Nash and Mike Anderson with an airplane drawn near his name.

Those guys had been his best friends, and yet he hadn’t heard from any of them for years, not since the day they closed the campus.  He was overcome with all the memories that flooded back.  It was as fresh as if it was . . .

Suddenly he heard the sound of a basketball bouncing, then something hit him in the back of his knees so hard his legs almost buckled.

“Hey,” Don yelled as he whirled around to see who else was there.  “Watch what you’re doing.”  He hadn’t heard anyone come up the stairs.

From the dimly lit basketball court about fifty feet away he heard someone yell “Come on, Don!  A little help here.  We want to finish our game before registration.”

Romance Collections Three and Four

Dear readers,

Wine flights, also sometimes referred to as tasting flights, are tastings of multiple wines, which allow tasters to get a feel for breadth or depth. They are usually intended for those new to the experience of tasting wine, or those who want to increase their understanding of a specific region, vintage, or varietal.

A romance collection is very similar but with added advantages. It includes either two or three romance novels but not just a taste. They are full length unabridged romance novels that allow the reader to get a feel for the breadth and depth of the author in a singular sub-genre or type of story.

Today two Collections are being released. Pregnant and Alone and Single Dad’s. A great romance novel isn’t just about the sex and not everything in life is pretty, free or easy.

Pregnant and Alone consists of two of my all-time best-selling novels. In both books, the heroines find out they are pregnant. Neither are married, but both are delighted at the prospect of becoming mothers. Their circumstances are very different, but each is faced with the complications of adding the father back into their lives. Caution: these books are emotionally charged. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry along with Lauren and Jessica. They will touch your heart forever.

COLLECTIONS Pregnant and Alone

Single Dads consists of two of my all-time favorite novels. These are both romantic comedies because any time you have a child in the mix, things seem to quickly get out of control.

COLLECTIONS Single Dads
The three boys in Count Your Blessings are actually based on my own three sons, Greg, Adam and Scott. It was a lot of fun to write their characters.  Look for this book a future collection or order it directly on Amazon.com.

Romance Collection for Best Of The West

Hello again past, present and future readers,

As I mentioned in my earlier blog, in 2012 I made 21 of my 23 novels previously published through several mainstream publishing houses available on Amazon.com. In late 2012 I began to publish my suspense and young adult fiction as an Indie author. And while my career has taken a turn from romance to suspense and time travel mysteries I have decided to also take the time and effort to answer both an old and new reader request, making the books available as several collections.Earlier today I was pleased to announce that I am taking the 21 novels and grouping them in a collection of books. I believe this is a good solution to reader queries and requests.

The books are being separated into 9 different collections of similar sub-genres and reader interest. Remember these are the original full length unabridged books. All of the collections of either two or three books each, are published direct to the reader at a price that will save them money. It is the start of the summer reading season so enjoy!

This morning it was Men In Uniform and now here is a brief blurb for the second romance collection, Best Of The West.

COLLECTIONS Best Of The West

Many fans have requested that I offer boxed sets of my romance novels, so I have grouped them into categories that share themes.  This one I’ve titled Best of the West because the two novels take place in the modern-day Wild West states of Colorado and Montana.  Goodbye Desperado and Cody’s Last Stand were two of my favorites, partly because they both have lots of horses, but mostly because the two heroes are super-sexy macho studs.  For those of you who love sensual, but emotional love stories, I think you’ll enjoy spending some time with Matt Montana and John Cody.