A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.
When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.
The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.
From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.
He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?
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Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world.
A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions.
This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England.
An area that inspired the question… what if?
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The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.
“The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.”
The next paragraph got him thinking.
“A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.”
He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.
Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.
He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.
The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.
He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”
Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.
He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.
Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”
“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”
“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”
“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.
“Have a seat.”
“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”
“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”
“What did she say?”
“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”
“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”
“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”
“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”
“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”
“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.
“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”
“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.
“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”
“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”
“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”
“Yes. Do that.”
He nodded. “Right away.”
“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.
“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”
“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”
Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.
After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.
“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.
“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”
Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”
“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”
“Someone filmed it?”
“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”
“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”
“Sure. Let me see.”
“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”
“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.
Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.
The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?
The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.
“Do we know what happened to it?”
“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”
“Who gave you the video?”
“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”
Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”
“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”
“Why? Who is he?”
“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”
“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.
“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”
“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”
“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”
“Okay, can you send me the video?”
“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”
Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?
walk out of his life. He wasn’t ready for the marriage noose then and never
thought he would be. Single, free to do as he pleases, and running the
Promise Point Horse Rescue Ranch are the things that make him sure he was
right to let Eleanor go… This is until she comes back to town with a
daughter he never knew about in tow.
he can be when he wants something, so she’s more than cautious about
his charming words and cocky grin when she comes home to arrange the
sale of her grandparents’ ranch. But when a flat tire in a thunderstorm
introduces four-year-old Sophie to her daddy, Eleanor knows McCrea’s love
for his daughter is genuine. Can she trust it will be the same for her? As
the icy walls around her heart begin to melt, Eleanor must find the courage
to trust her heart or run away from the man who has always owned it.
let Eleanor or Sophie walk away. It’s time to prove he’s a man who believes
in love and happy-ever-after.
About Mina Beckett
Can the sweetness of rekindled love temper the bitter tang of murder?
Despite a difficult childhood, Felicity Stilton never gave up on her dreams. Now, as an adult, she and her Golden Retriever, JJ, help special needs children pave the way for their own futures. Everything is perfect, until she gets the one call she never expected to receive.
Officer Darren Willis hates that it falls to him to tell the beautiful and inspiring Felicity her birth mother has taken her own life. Although the case appears to be open-and-shut, the grieving daughter insists something foul is afoot. Will he be brave enough to follow dark clues into the past alongside the one woman with whom he just might want to make a future?
Only Darren believes Felicity’s suspicions and is willing to help investigate what really happened to her long-lost mother. When the signs begin to point to murder, Darren worries Felicity might be next… But should he abandon the case to protect her even if it means losing the woman he loves forever?
Find out if JJ will be able to keep his humans safe as they race to find a mysterious killer and clear her mother’s name. This sweet tale of suspense, intrigue, and surprises is one you won’t want to miss… Order your copy and start reading today!
Finding Felicity is book five in the Gold Coast Retrievers series. Each book stands completely on its own, but you’ll have more fun if you read them all together!
Months after ending a long-term relationship, Bryony Murphy still lets it control her. She’s scared to let anyone else in, just in case her ex, Tara, comes back to torment her again.
It isn’t easy to keep her heart to herself around beautiful journalist Georgia Bing, who works with Bryony on the TV show Crooked Cowboys. Georgia makes Bryony want to forget everything else and enjoy simply her.
After a one-night stand with Bryony, Georgia wants more with the lovely researcher. She knows Bryony’s hurting, but she also knows of Bryony’s past. Georgia is willing to go slow at first, but soon the sexual tension becomes too much to bear and she just has to make Bryony her own.
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Katharine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She wrote her first novel when she was 15. In her A-levels, she spent lessons preparing dialogue for scenes. Then she studied Creative Writing and Film and TV Studies at Derby University, graduating in 2010.
For a few years, Katharine worked in the community as a care support worker before becoming a stay-at-home parent. In 2015, she made the leap into becoming a freelance ghost writer of romantic fiction. Since then, Katharine has written over 300 short stories, novellas and novels for various clients.
In June 2018, her first novella, A Day to Remember, was published. Katharine lives in Derby with her fiance, a mental health nurse, and their two children.
Find Katharine online
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
“Oh, hello, Georgia. Fancy meeting you here.”
“How much have you had to drink?”
“I don’t know. I’ve lost count.” Bryony downed the rest of her glass, slamming the glass down on the countertop. “But I’m going to keep drinking until I don’t remember my own name.”
Georgia was not having that. She caught the barman’s eye and signalled him over.
“Get me a strong coffee. And don’t serve anymore alcohol for this one.” She indicated Bryony. “She’s had enough.”
The barman nodded and moved away. Bryony scowled.
“Why are you spoiling my fun?” She grumbled.
“This is hardly fun.” Grabbing the woman’s arm, Georgia helped her off the stool and led her towards the booth. “You and I are going to sit down and talk.”
Bryony tried to pull away but Georgia wouldn’t let go. She wasn’t about to let Bryony bolt. Nudging Bryony into the booth, Georgia sat beside her, effectively crowding Bryony against the wall. Bryony grumbled and glared at her but Georgia didn’t react. They sat in silence until the barman brought the coffee, giving them both curious looks before leaving. Georgia nudged the coffee cup towards Bryony.
“I thought you could handle this assignment, Bryony.”
“I can.” Bryony protested. “This has nothing to do with it.”
“I think it does. We had cameras watching you, remember? Joyce also told me about your reaction. Now tell me drinking yourself into a stupor when you’re supposed to be in the office is nothing to do with your breakdown earlier.”
Bryony glared at her. Her pupils were wide, almost swallowing the color of her eyes.
“Save your journalism for your job, Georgia, not for analysing me.”
Georgia pushed the coffee towards her and leant forward, placing her hand on the back of Bryony’s neck. Bryony didn’t shake her off. If anything, her breathing seemed to get faster.
“Bryony, we’re all worried about you. I’m worried about you.” That much was true. “Please, just talk to me.”
It was all she could do not to pull Bryony into her arms. Georgia wasn’t one to do public displays of affection but she was tempted with this woman.
Bryony looked like she wanted to run. But she slumped, leaning into Georgia until her head rested on Georgia’s shoulder. Georgia didn’t say anything, simply leaning back to settle against the booth, her arm going around Bryony’s shoulders. Bryony let out a shuddering sigh.
“Tara and I were together since I was eighteen and she was twenty. We would’ve been together fifteen years this week. And for the first twelve years, it was amazing. Tara was amazing. But then she changed. She got into a car accident and was diagnosed with bipolar. Tara had to go on pain medication and meds to control her bipolar. Her mother, Krista, found out and accused me of making Tara into an addict.” Bryony sniffed and reached for her coffee. She lifted her head enough to take a sip and placed the cup back down, snuggling against Georgia again. “She’s always hate me, Krista has. She decided to mess about with the meds and eventually stole them, telling Tara she didn’t need to take them. Tara didn’t do anything; she had started developing psychotic delusions and believe Krista that I was the one at fault. So she started lashing out at me.”
Georgia had suspected something like that. She had been there at Tara’s trial and sentencing while Bryony had been in hospital but because Tara had pleaded guilty early on, she hadn’t heard everything. Just hearing all this made the anger bubble up.
“Did you call the police?”
“You know I did.” Bryony sniffed. “And you know what happened at Thanksgiving.”
Georgia did know. She had come into the office early and had found Bryony unconscious. She looked as though she had been hit by a car and was bleeding from the neck. Georgia had called for an ambulance and got the whole story. Tara had tried to come to the hospital but Georgia and a few of their co-workers had blocked her way. Tara had screamed at them and tried to attack Georgia but security had dragged her out.
Georgia wasn’t about to forget that day in a hurry.
Santa Fe Woman: An American West Story (American West Series Book 3)
Only, when a Union officer comes into her work for a quick alteration of his Sunday clothes, she wants to learn more about him.Captain Patrick Sinclair is leaving with his soldiers for Fort Dodge, Kansas. But when he meets Rachel, he is smitten. He tries to imagine ways to come back to Missouri and see her as he leads the men on to their new assignment.
(American West Series Book 1)
(American West Series Book 2)