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Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Release--Shootout in Old Amarillo by Sara Barnard--Giveaway!

Could the Dairy King restaurant be a portal to the past? Kelly will find out on Halloween night.


Halloween night can't get any worse when her boss, Joseph Clanton, is a no-show and Kelly is stuck closing up the Dairy King alone . . . or so she thought. A cryptic order from an empty room and late-season twister combine to make Kelly's Halloween night a truly unforgettable one by sending her spiraling back through the folds of time and depositing her smack in the middle of an ancient grudge match between none other than Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton. Can Kelly survive the shootout in the streets of Old Amarillo while dodging Virgil's knife and denying Doc Holliday's romantic advances all while trying to find her way back home?


I sighed as the icy Amarillo breeze skittered a handful of dead leaves across the blacktop. Leaning farther out of Dairy King’s drive-through window, I inhaled deeply and willed the heat that burned in my cheeks to cool. Still no sign of Joseph’s car.
The luminous moon, high in the inky sky, had long since risen overhead and beckoned all the little hobgoblins home to sort their candy and deal with the obligatory bellyaches that came with Halloween night. “So much for Dorie Smith’s Halloween party.” I leaned out farther and peered down the deserted highway. Sure enough, candlelight flickered in the old forgotten graveyard across the street. I should be there right now, having a séance with my friends, calling back the ghosts of the Old West.
The heat flared in my cheeks again as I pulled head back in the window and glanced at my watch for the thirtieth time. “Not the best first day of work ever, but I had never figured my boss not to show up and help me close, like he’d promised. He’s not even answering his phone.” I glanced over at the large strawberry milkshake that the last drive-thru customer had ordered then forgot to pick up. Picking it up, I slurped a long gulp and walked back out to the front. Not bad, once I’d figured out how to use the agitator without crushing the Styrofoam cups.
Flicking off the lights, one by one, I swallowed back the anger that tightened my throat behind the thick ice cream. “If I could lock up and just leave, I would.” I hit the last light switch hard. “But no. Joseph said he’d be here with the keys to help me through the last part of my shift then lock up. In plenty of time to get to my Halloween party.” My palm throbbed as I sucked up another soothing drink of milkshake. “Worst. Boss. Ever.”
With a trembling hand, I pulled my phone from the back pocket of my newly-bought-and-freshly-stained khakis. “Since he can’t bother to call or text to check on his new employee, I’m going to send Joseph Clanton a message to end all messages. Then, I’m leaving.” Suddenly aware of the heavy darkness that surrounded me in the empty dining room, I ignored a shudder and moved through the thick plastic doors to the back, where I’d left one light on. “If the place gets looted, it’s his own fault.”
I’d just managed to get my phone unlocked when a familiar buzz met my ears. Before my thumb could hit the text message icon on the touch screen, I froze. Utter terror gripped my bones as I registered the noise I’d heard all too often that day. An order ticket being printed.
The cooks had left much earlier, all having Halloween parties of their own to get to. I was the only one left in the building…wasn’t I?
Slowly, I turned around. Sure enough, a freshly printed ticket stood straight and crisp from the machine nearest me. The strawberry milkshake bubbled in my stomach with a nauseating roil as I reached and tore the ticket free. “Sent from Station One, the cooks’ station, to Station Three, the drive-thru window.” I gulped. Casting a glance over my shoulder at the darkness that loomed behind the metallic freezers, I could have sworn I heard the creak of a door.
Panic began to build in my feet, making my toes twitch in my black Nikes. With adrenaline charging through me, I took one last look at the ticket. The cryptic words sent a final shudder down my spine. “Why r u wet?”
    I gripped my phone so tightly that I feared I would crack the screen as I gave the ticket a fling and pushed through the heavy curtains, back into the dining room. Without looking back, I shoved open the double glass doors and raced into the parking lot. Every horrific scene from every horror movie I’d ever watched flashed through my mind. Bad things always happen in dark parking lots. Tears filled my eyes as I struggled to open the keypad so I could dial 9-1-1 on the touch screen.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

PPB New Release -- Shooting the Moon by RIchard Prosch

Richard Prosch is giving away one free ecopy of Shooting the Moon to one lucky person who comments, so be sure and leave your contact information.

Jo Harper looked forward to the Willowby, Wyoming fall festival all year, but will an explosive bank robbery blow up her career as a law woman?  Going it alone under the harvest moon, the twelve-year old deputy constable will question everything she stands for and push her skills to the limit to save her friends from enemies old and new.

A fiery explosion! A jail break! A ghost town! Jo Harper's most dangerous adventure is here in this exciting sequel to ROPING A PLANET.


October, 1910

    By four o'clock on Friday afternoon, Willowby, Wyoming's Fall Festival was well underway with a jillion people filling the town square. Twelve-year-old Jo Harper had looked forward to the yearly mix of farmer's market, circus carnival, and musical variety show for eleven months, 29 days and three hours. She just naturally kept track of the time. It wasn't like she was counting or anything!
    For a block in every direction, the brick-laid streets of Broadway and Main were closed off to automobile and horse traffic, and decorations were everywhere. Cornhusks tied in tall shocks with colorful ribbons, pumpkins piled high, and clean straw bedding made the streets come alive. Tables stocked with scores of winter goodies led the way to and from a central pine-board bandstand where The Sleepy Settlers would pick up their fiddles and rosin up their bowstrings for a dance on Saturday night. Acres of cozy quilts and thick blankets hung next to jars of fruits, vegetables, and canned meats. The moms traded coats, hats, and mittens. Dads traded jack-knives and know-it-all opinions.
    The sky was as blue as Jo could remember, and though Willowby had recently seen a dusting of snow, it wasn't winter quite yet. There were still a few leaves on the trees and most of the people at the festival had on light flannel jackets or simple yarn sweaters. Jo brushed a speck of dust off her leather jacket, walnut brown with fringes. Normally, she pulled her long black hair into a sturdy braid, but today she let it fly every which way in the autumn wind. She wore a green plaid shirt, tan corduroy trousers, and high lace-up boots. On her jacket, she'd pinned a polished deputy constable's star, but nobody noticed it.
    Probably they just pretended not to notice it.
    Perched on a bench beside the Congregational Church ice-cream stand, directly in front of the brick bank building, Frog Carpenter was dressed in his usual red flannel shirt, overalls and cap. Jo figured she wouldn't see him wear a coat until mid-winter. Not because his adopted parents, the Beemers, couldn't afford one. There were few families in Willowby as wealthy as the Beemers. It's just that Frog rarely slowed down long enough for the cold to touch him.
    "I've already et my supper and dessert," he said, cheeks full of chocolate cake. "And my noon-time dinner was hours ago. What do I call it when we sit down to eat tonight? I can't call it lunch. And I can't have two suppers. Can I?"
    "It's eaten, not et, and I'd call it a vulgar display of over-indulgence," said Jo, practicing her best high-falootin' vocabulary.
    "A booger's play of what?"
    "A vulgar display," said Jo.
    "Whatever that means," said Frog, washing down the cake with a fast swallow of bottled lemon-lime soda. "You're just sore because I got the last hunk of cake." Frog held his plate close to his chest, protective of the small bite that remained.
    Jo sniffed loudly. "Am not," she said, real snooty-like. Well, really. Her, angry with him? Over a piece of cake? The very idea.
    Frog was eleven years old; but next month, Jo would turn thirteen. She was certainly above being envious of Mrs. Beemer's German Chocolate Cake.
    Good as it was. And, it was rrrreeeeeaaally good.
    "Heard your dad was walking around on his stilts?" said Frog.
    Every year, Cecil Harper dressed up and strapped the stilts to his feet for the festival. Usually, Jo was embarrassed by the clown act. But this time, it might be a nice distraction.
    "He's right over there," said Jo, pointing straight into the crowd.
    When Frog turned his head, Jo scooped up the remains of his cake and stuffed it into her mouth.
    Frog stared at his empty plate with surprise. "Did you just steal my cake?"
    "Who's stealing what?" said a familiar voice, and Jo jumped up with a smile.
    "Hi, Abby," she said.
    "Jo stole my cake," said Frog. "Arrest her."
    Willowby's tough lady constable stepped past a pair of bearded homesteaders and stopped beside Frog's bench. She was dressed in her official best, a tan colored buckskin outfit, black string tie, and white Stetson hat. Around her waist, she buckled the weathered leather gunbelt she'd had since her days in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, and she carried an old-fashioned black-powder Colt Paterson five-shooter in her holster.
    "Hope you two are enjoying yourselves," said Abby, with a wide smile that emphasized the deep grooves time had whittled around her eyes and cheeks. Happy grooves when she smiled, but grooves laid in by anger and sadness too. With more than sixty years living and working in the West, Abigail Drake had seen it all. She'd been a trick-shot and a tracker, a bounty-hunter and a judge. Once, when she’d been careless with a firearm, she’d paid for it by losing an eye. She taught Jo that one serious mistake was all it took to change your outlook on everything.
    "Hope you two are being careful," said Abby.
    Jo thought Abby's glass eye was a good reminder to always be careful. But why had she mentioned it today of all days?
    "Is something wrong, Abby?"
    "Maybe." She put an arm around each of them and led Jo and Frog into the intersection.   "Somebody I saw in the crowd. A man I thought I'd never see again. Seeing this owlhoot here, today of all days, got me to thinking.” Abby pointed at the Willowby Savings and Loan building. "Do me a favor and keep watch on the bank."
    Jo's heart skipped a beat.
    The bank?