Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Tear Drop

Tear Drop
by Joanne Clancy
Series: Detective Elizabeth Ireland, Book 1
Genre: Mystery/ Police Procedural
Release Date: August 27, 2015

The crimes of the past echo in the present...

Ross Campbell vanished almost a decade ago, and since then nothing has been heard from the serial killer known as Teardrop...until now.

An Irish newspaper receives a chilling letter claiming to be from Campbell, which promises a new reign of terror. As death stalks the dark streets of Cork City, it soon becomes clear to the police and the media that a serial killer is on the loose.

Elizabeth Ireland, a former detective with The Metropolitan Police, was the lead investigator on the original case when Campbell vanished. However, only she believes that Campbell didn’t send the letter.

She embarks upon a frightening psychological journey to uncover the killer's identity, where she's pulled into a lethal game in which the killer sets the rules and waits for her next move. With the crimes of the past echoing in the present, can she find the killer before he comes for her?

Chapter One

The cold rain fell relentlessly, shrouding Cork City in its misty veil. Elizabeth Ireland sat by the window of her favourite coffee shop, where the smell of fresh scones and strong coffee cocooned her from the encroaching winter. The place was quiet and rundown but it was the one place in the city that cherished silence as much as she did.
Elizabeth scanned BBC London's website for any news from home. She glanced up as the door chimed and watched the man violently shake off the rain. A moment before their eyes met, she averted her gaze, knowing he was looking for her; Brendan Mahon didn't have the intelligence or subtlety to feign an accidental meeting. She ignored him, hoping that he'd take the hint and leave her in peace, instead he headed straight for her table.
"Good morning, Elizabeth," he said, revealing a smile that didn't reach his hazel eyes.
"Morning," she said curtly. She watched him run his fingers through his dirty blond hair, in a way that someone with a cruel sense of humour must have told him was attractive.
"It's a day for the ducks," he said.
She shrugged and turned back to her iPad.
Brendan Mahon was a journalist with The Examiner, one of Ireland's leading newspapers. When his editor couldn't find anyone with anything more incisive to say, Brendan was handy to fill a column or two. Elizabeth had never liked him, and she had no problem making her feelings known.
"May I join you?" he asked.
"No.'' She sighed at his predictability.
He laughed and pulled up a chair anyway. It amazed her how he always took her blatant rudeness for sarcasm. He placed a brown envelope on the table between them. She didn't give him the satisfaction of looking at it. If he wanted something from her, he’d have to ask.
"Would you like anything?" he asked instead.
"I've been coming here most mornings for the past nine years, Brendan. I think I can order for myself."
"What did you have to eat?" he asked, ignoring her brusque tone. He picked up the menu, and she closed her iPad, already missing her lost solitude.
"Same again, please, Nora," Elizabeth said to the waitress.
"I haven't seen you in here before," Nora smiled down at him.
"This is Brendan, a reporter from The Examiner.''
Nora's tired eyes lit up. "A reporter? How exciting."
Brendan leaned back in his chair and basked in the unexpected attention.
"He'll have an Americano and a scone, please," Elizabeth interrupted, not in the mood for flirting at that hour of the morning.
"Coming right up." Nora scurried away.
"Let's skip the niceties and get straight to the point, shall we? What can I do for you, Brendan?"
"I need your help."
"What sort of help?"
"I have a story."
"It must be big news if you're talking to me."
"It's big."
She glanced at the envelope that sat tantalisingly between them, and silently cursed for showing an interest. "Spit it out!" she snapped.
"A letter was delivered to my office."
"For you?"
"Yes, for me; it happens, occasionally. It arrived a few days ago. Only my editor and I know about it. We want to publish it, but first we want to check the facts."
"And you'd like me to check them out?"
"Yes, if you're interested." He smirked.
"So I'd be a consultant?"
"You'd be our expert. You'd write a few background and follow-up pieces with your impressions and opinions. You'd be paid, of course."
"Of course you'd bloody well pay me. I won't write for your rag for less than twenty grand."
"Don't be daft." He sat bolt upright. "That's crazy money."
"Okay, fifteen, but that's my final offer."
"My editor's a reasonable man. He'll be more than happy to offer you a fair deal."
"Okay," she said, relenting. "I'm interested but why me? I'm sure I wasn't top of your list." She averted her gaze from the sight of him stuffing a scone into his mouth as if it had been days since he'd last eaten, then again, maybe it had been days; he was certainly looking skinnier than usual.
"Someone you used to know sent the letter." Time stood still. She knew what he was about to say. The name chimed in her head before his lips formed the words. "Ross Campbell aka Teardrop." She glanced out the window at the rain and the dark streets, longing to close her eyes and make Brendan disappear. "Did you hear me?" He searched her face that had turned pale beneath her tan.
"I heard you." She gulped her coffee, willing her face to return to normal. She looked at him over her cup, but he didn't seem to realise that anything was wrong. For once, she was grateful for his stupidity.
"Do you remember him?" he asked.
"Of course I remember him. How could I forget?"
Nine years previously, she had arrested Ross Campbell on suspicion of the murder of five women in London. The killer had carved a teardrop on the victims’ faces and left a note with quotes from the Bible on their bodies, shoved inside their underwear or grazing their skin in a final, vicious act of intimacy.
Campbell was picked up in one of London's notorious red light districts. Licence plate checks proved that he'd been in the area on the nights when two victims had disappeared, DNA evidence linked him to their deaths.
Predictably, he protested his innocence, hounding newspapers and some influential acquaintances with his plight, but he was charged with the murders. However, the prosecution's case against him collapsed when Elizabeth was falsely accused of planting DNA evidence to secure a conviction.
When she won her case for defamation against The Met, she decided to retire to Ireland, where she had spent many happy childhood summers. Shortly afterwards, Campbell vanished, and no one had heard from the killer known as Teardrop, until now.
"Ross Campbell is dead," she said, realising that the silence had gone on too long.
"Vanished isn't the same as dead," Brendan replied.
"Nobody's seen or heard from him in almost a decade. People like Campbell are noticed, whatever they do; they can't help it. Someone somewhere would have seen him."
"Maybe not. I've read about serial killers lying dormant for years."
"Trust me, serial killers can't stop killing."
"Not according to the letter." He pushed the envelope towards her. “Apparently, he's alive and well."
"Does it explain why he's suddenly reappeared?"
"He wants to set the record straight."
"Why did he contact you?"
He looked at her indignantly. Elizabeth stifled a smile. She knew all about the book on serial killers that Brendan had recently written, but she wanted to see him squirm. The book was mostly sensation and an insight into Brendan's uninspired mind. "He wants to correct some facts in my book and he wants us to publish his letter."
She burst out laughing. "Are you seriously planning on having a serial killer write a column in your newspaper? Maybe he should take over the problem page. I know: he could be your new resident agony uncle."
"Keep it down," he hissed, glancing over his shoulder at Nora who was busy behind the counter. "We need to keep this quiet for now."
"I suppose it's good publicity for your book." She gazed out the window at the city that was slowly coming to life. The first of the early-morning commuters were venturing out. "What else is in the letter?"
"He says he'll kill again."
"Any details?"
"He gave a name."
"Does he say when or where?"
"Not really. The letter's vague, but he says it will happen in Cork."
"Have you taken the letter to the police?"
"Not yet. It could be a hoax. Don't look at me like I'm some moron. This is a good story. We'll pass it on to the police when we're ready."
"How do I fit into your little plan?"
"We'd like you to read the letter and tell us if it's genuine. You know Campbell."
"I knew him: past tense."
"Okay, you knew him. Sorry. You knew him better than most. Read the letter and tell us if it's him, that's all we want to know." He paused, waiting for her reply, but she wasn’t going to make it easy for him. Besides, his use of "we" and "us" was starting to irritate her. Clearly, he was getting too friendly with "the powers that be", as he liked to call them. If it meant so much to him, she'd make him beg.
"Please, Elizabeth. Will you read it?"
"I'll think about it, that's all I'm promising. Call me later."
"It'll be worth your while. This is front-page news. There'll be big money in it for all of us."
"I thought you weren't sure about printing it yet."
"Well, you know how it goes."
She knew.
"I have to go." She stood up and pulled on her black parka. She was tall and striking. Her dark looks, which she'd inherited from her Italian mother, made her exotic among the mostly pale-skinned, freckled Irish. Her nose was slightly crooked from a childhood accident, and there was an edginess about her, like a bird about to swoop on its prey.
"Don't forget the letter.'' He picked it up reverently. “Promise you won't show it to anyone?"
"Of course I won't show it to anyone." She reached for the envelope in irritation.
"Promise me?"
"I promise. Give me the bloody envelope."
He handed it to her solemnly, and she grabbed it, stuffing it unceremoniously into her cavernous bag. She tossed her long, black hair over her shoulder and went outside into the rain, leaving Brendan to pay.
She sensed him watching as she forced herself not to run. There were only a few more steps before she turned the corner, out of sight. No one believed that Campbell was dead because only she knew the truth. Campbell had haunted her from the last moment she had seen him. He wasn't coming back. He was dead, and she knew it because she'd killed him herself.

Joanne Clancy is a Kindle All-Star and an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarter-finalist. Joanne is an Irish mystery writer, from Cork, Ireland. She is an avid reader, a self-confessed Kindle addict, and a tea fiend!

Her books combine murder, mystery, and suspense with a twist of psychological drama.

Her crime books have consistently hit the Amazon paid bestseller lists in Crime, Thrillers & Mystery.

Joanne's latest release is TEAR DROP (Detective Elizabeth Ireland Crime Thriller Series, Book 1). She is currently working on her twenty-sixth book, INSINCERE (Detective Elizabeth Ireland Crime Thriller Series, Book 2) which is available to pre-order now at Amazon and will be released in October 2015.

Sign up for Joanne's mailing list at to receive three best-selling mystery books for FREE!

**Crime Novels:
*Tear Drop (Detective Elizabeth Ireland, Book 1)
*Insincere (Detective Elizabeth Ireland, Book 2)

*Open Your Eyes
*Return to Me
*I Should Have Told You
*Before I'm Gone
*The Gift
*The Detective's Wife
*If You Tell Anyone

*Killing Time
*A Daughter's Secret
*Killer Friends
*The Offering

**Romance Novels
*The Unfaithful Series:
*Unfaithfully Yours
*Web of Deceit

*The Secrets & Lies Trilogy:
*Secrets & Lies

*Unforgettable Embrace
*The Wedding Day

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Falling For Her

Falling For Her
by Sandra Owens
Series: K2 Team, #3
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 29, 2015

Known to the K2 Special Services team as “Saint,” Jamie Turner lives by his own strict rules to compensate for his past sins and the two-ton boulder taking residence in his heart. He doesn’t drink or smoke. He never swears. And he only dates nice, safe women until he meets Sugar Darling, the fill-in receptionist at K2. She’s as sweet as her name, but this wild woman is definitely trouble, with something to hide. He knows he should avoid her…but can he?

Sugar isn’t hiding something—she’s hiding everything. And K2 seems like the perfect place to lie low, thanks to the big, protective guys who work there. The drop-dead-handsome Saint makes her heart race, yet he keeps his distance. When Sugar’s traumatic past rises up to haunt her again, she desperately turns to Saint for help, and he has to decide what’s more important: playing it safe or risking everything for love.

Jamie backed the twenty-three foot Sea Ray away from the dock. Sugar sat on the padded seat next to him, her arms wrapped tightly around her waist. He loved his boat and wanted her to love it, too. Why that mattered, he chose not to think about.
By the color of her face, however, he thought she was only minutes from hanging her head over the side. It hadn’t occurred to him to ask if she was prone to seasickness, but they were only a few yards from the marina, the water as smooth as glass.
To divert her attention, he slipped his arm around her and pulled her onto his lap. “You steer.”
“Shit, no.”
She tried to scramble away, but he held onto her. “Easy, sweetheart. Just put your hands here.” He brought up her unwilling hands and wrapped her fingers around the wheel. Her knuckles turned white. “I won’t let you run into anything.”
An annoyed breath huffed from her. “Shows what you know. If there’s anything within a hundred miles I shouldn’t run into, you probably won’t be able to stop me. Have you already forgotten the beer truck near miss?”
“I remember. Gave me nightmares.” Jamie pressed his mouth to the side of her neck and grinned, although the reminder should probably have him quaking in his flip-flops and in fear for the life of his boat. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, she liked having control. Already, her fingers were turning back to a healthy pink, and the green was fading from her cheeks.
As she darted alert glances left and right, he eased up the throttle, giving her a little more speed. Minutes later, she gave a delighted laugh as they bounced over the small waves coming in from the inlet.
“Where am I supposed to be going?” she called over the roar of the motors.
“Straight ahead.” He wrapped his arms around her waist, liking the feel of her against his body.
She peered back at him, her eyes as wide as saucers. “In the ocean?”
“You a scaredy cat?” Unless he missed his guess, the woman wouldn’t refuse a dare.
Her lips thinned into a determined line. “Hell, no.”
It took every bit of his control not to laugh when she tossed her straw hat aside, stood and practically pressed her nose to the windshield. Any desire to laugh died at the sight of her eye-level bikini clad bottom clearly visible through the gauzy cover-up. Unfortunately, the parrot painted on the back blocked out enticing parts of her. Figuring more speed would keep her focused on her driving, he moved the throttle forward some more.
“Just keep going in the direction you are. You want to keep inside the red and green buoys.” He’d checked the weather before inviting her, and knew there’d only be slight swells on the gulf.
“Piece of cake,” she said, and he heard the excitement in her voice. “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.”
Her steady stream of self-encouragement brought a grin to his face. “What are you, the little choo-choo that can?”
Laughter flowed from her. “Yep, that’s me.”
Giving in to the need to touch her, he placed his hands at her knees, then trailed his fingers up her legs, his thumbs stroking the soft flesh of the inside of her thighs. He slipped under the cover-up, and when he reached that lovely ass in front of his face, her rounded cheeks rippled as the pads of his fingers danced over her skin. So, she liked that.
And he liked the little yellow bikini. Very much. All he had to do to get it off was pull the bows dangling down the sides of her hips. To test her reaction, he gave one a light tug and got swatted.
“Stop it.” She brushed his hand away. “I can’t concentrate when you do that.”
He’d get her out of it before the afternoon was over. He hoped. For now, she was coming up on the inlet, and she didn’t have the experience to get them through the pass. Standing, he pressed against her and eased back on the throttle. With his hands on her shoulders, he talked her past the shoals and incoming waves.
“I did it!” she cried when the last of the rock wall was behind them.
“You certainly did.” The excitement dancing in her eyes when she looked back at him reminded him of a child on Christmas morning. Once into the Gulf of Mexico, the boat rode the gentle swells as easily as a bobbing cork. He reached his arms forward and put his hands over hers, turning the wheel to the left.
She laughed, then pushed his hands away. “This is so great. I’ve never been on a boat before, and I love it.”
Jamie sat back down, letting her have the wheel. His Sea Ray was his one true love, and his heart gave a little flip at her words. The October day was perfect, warm enough not to be chilled by the wind, but not so hot they were sweltering. A line of pelicans flew overhead, their fat bodies and long beaks outlined by the stark blue sky.
When they took the lead, Sugar bounced on her feet. “Can we go faster? Please. Oh, pretty please.”
“The throttle’s there at your right hand. Just remember, we’re not on a NASCAR racetrack and you’re not Earnhardt.”
She let out a shriek and pushed the throttle forward, catching up with the pelicans. “Y’all have nothing on me, ya beady-eyed bastards,” she yelled heavenward, shaking a fist at them.
Her enthusiasm was contagious, and laughter spilled out of him, coming from places he thought he’d closed and locked the doors to forever. He tried to imagine Jill—or any of the other women he’d dated the past ten years—racing a flock of birds and…giving them the finger?
“Sore losers,” she muttered.
Jamie glanced behind him to see the pelicans veer off toward shore. “Appears they are. Is this where I’m supposed to soak you with champagne?”
“A simple, you’re awesome, Sugar, will suffice.” She glanced back and shot him a grin.
The woman was pure awesome, a fact he couldn’t deny. A funny thing happened then. As clear as day, he saw a fork in the road. One kept him going in the direction a scared, young man once decided was his destiny, a way to honor the parents he’d killed. The other might lead him to hell or heaven. There was no way to know which, only that a beautiful, vibrant woman with the unlikely name of Sugar Darling dared him to follow.

A best selling, award-winning author, Sandra Owens lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her family and friends often question her sanity, but have ceased being surprised by what she might get up to next. She’s jumped out of a plane, flown in an aerobatic plane while the pilot performed thrilling stunts, has flown Air Combat (two fighter planes dogfighting, pretending to shoot at each other with laser guns), and rode a Harley motorcycle for years. She regrets nothing.

Sandra is a 2013 Golden Heart® Finalist for her contemporary romance, CRAZY FOR HER. In addition to her contemporary romantic suspense novels, she writes Regency stories.