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Justice Betrayed – Excerpt 2

JUSTICE BETRAYED
A MEMPHIS COLD CASE MYSTERY, #3
by
PATRICIA BRADLEY
Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: June 5, 2018
Number of Pages: 352
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It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators—one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken—she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?
When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?
The third installment of Bradley’s Memphis Cold Case series focuses on a cold case related to a homicide detective’s past…Bradley includes the unique character of Erin who seems as if she is a real person and takes great care to portray her respectfully.”
RT Book Reviews
 
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EXCERPT: CHAPTER 1, PART 1

JUSTICE BETRAYED

BY PATRICIA BRADLEY

(used with permission)

Click to read the Prologue on the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/15 tour stop!

1

August 2017

Elvis is in the building, and he wants to see you. 🙂

Homicide detective Rachel Sloan stared at the screen on her phone and then glanced at the clock. Four fifty-five on Friday after­noon was no time to joke around about the possibility of staying late.

She frowned and rolled her chair so she could see around the partition that boxed her in. Her heart sank at the sight of an aging Elvis look-alike in a white sequined jumpsuit standing at office manager Donna Dumont’s desk, talking to one of the sergeants in Homicide.

The middle of August in Memphis meant Elvis Week and a city full of Elvis wannabes, but why did one of them want to see her? And where was Donna?

She rolled back to the desk she’d just cleared off for the weekend and dialed the number on the text. “What does he want?”

“He won’t say, just that he needs to see you,” the detective said.

“He called me by name?” She slipped off the heels she’d worn for the court appearance earlier in the afternoon. It’d been the DA’s idea for her to wear the heels with a knee-length skirt and white blouse under her suit jacket. He’d said it would make her look professional, but the two male jurors ogling her hadn’t escaped her attention.

“Yes. He actually asked for Det. Rachel Winslow Sloan . . . oh, and his name is Vic Vegas.”

“You’re kidding.” She wiggled her toes. “Tell him to give me five minutes,” she muttered and glanced toward the cubicle across the aisle. Her gaze collided with Lt. Boone Callahan’s dark brown eyes as he stood in his doorway. The air between them crackled with electricity, and Rachel quickly dropped her gaze.

She thought he’d left for the day. No, she’d hoped he’d left. She and Boone had gone out a few times before she joined the Homicide division, but then she broke it off with him. Since then, they’d mostly avoided each other, him working the shift opposite hers until this week.

“Do you need something?”

His rich baritone sent shivers down her arms. “No. I thought you’d left for the gym.”

“Gym?”

“Yeah, getting ready for tomorrow’s competition.” He was determined to beat her time. But that had never happened and wasn’t happening tomorrow, either.

Rachel had inherited her father’s competitive gene, a trait that had surfaced before kindergarten. Even as a four-year-old, she had to be the best dancer, then in school she went after the top honors, and athletically, she pushed herself, practicing until she was the top player, no matter the sport. That hadn’t changed when she became a cop, and tomorrow would be no different.

“I’m ready for you,” he said with a slow smile. “Tomorrow I’m taking that trophy.”

 

“Not happening, Boone.” She tried to ignore the way her heart beat against her rib cage like a bird trying to escape.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” He nodded. “See you tomorrow.”

“You’re the one with the bad math,” she called after him. Her shoulders slumped as he turned the corner. If her heart kept whacking out every time he spoke to her, it would be impossible to work the same days as Boone, but there was nothing she could do about it. She was on loan from Burglary and had no seniority. And it was clear she still had feelings for him. But he was her supervisor now. As long as she was in Homicide, there could be no relationship. It was against the rules. She’d known that when she
trans­ferred in.

She waited until she was certain Boone had left, then walked up to the front entrance where Vic Vegas waited.

“Miss Rachel?” the man asked, a questioning smile on his full lips. Then he nodded and hooked his thumbs in the huge rhinestone belt encircling his ample waist.

“Yes. We can talk at my desk.”

Once they were in her cubicle, he said, “The last time I saw you, you reminded me of a colt—all legs and trying to get your feet under you. I understand you married . . . and that your husband died. So much tragedy in your life. I’m sorry.”

A chill shivered down her spine. How did he know so much about her? She didn’t remember ever seeing this man before in her life. The creepiness factor even overshadowed the usual lead weight of guilt that settled in her stomach when Corey was mentioned. “Do I know you?”

His shoulders drooped. “You don’t remember me?”

She studied him. A faint memory tickled her brain. Her mom with an Elvis look-alike on either side of her. One of them had called her Miss Rachel. “Maybe. It was a long time ago.”

“Seventeen years,” he said.

“A charity event,” she replied, still searching her memory bank. “An Elvis tribute affair . . .”

“That’s right. For St. Jude. It was a competition at the convention center. I’m on my way now to one being held at Blues & Such tonight.”

Rachel sneaked a peek at her watch. “How can I help you?”

He indicated a chair beside her desk. “May I sit?”

She mustered a smile. The day had just gotten longer. “Of course.”

He settled in the straight-backed chair and arranged the white cape attached to his jumpsuit so that it didn’t wrinkle. Then he took a photo from his shirt pocket and handed it to her. “This was taken the last time I saw you.”

Rachel stilled. Her fingers shook as she examined the picture. Four Elvis impersonators stood beside her mother and Rachel, who was presenting a trophy to the winner. She remembered exactly when the photo was taken because later that night, her mother had died. The gala was the last thing they had done together. She swallowed. Her entire life had changed the night her mother was murdered.

She’d been pushing memories of that night away for the past week.

Focus. Trying not to look at her mother, Rachel studied the men in the photo. It took a second look to recognize that the man standing next to the winner was the one sitting across from her. He appeared to be in his late thirties in the photo, but the intervening years had not been kind to Vic Vegas. Seventeen years would only put him in his midfifties, but he looked older. Maybe it was the jet-black pompadour and long sideburns . . . or the forty pounds he’d added. She lifted her gaze. “I’m not sure I understand.”

“It’s the last time we were all together. I’ve written everyone’s name on the back,” he said.

She tried again. “I still don’t understand.”

“A few nights after this was taken, Harrison Foxx was murdered. He’s the one you’re handing the trophy to. His murder has never been solved.”

 

Click to read Chapter 1, Part 2, coming on the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/22 tour stop!

 

Patricia Bradley is the award-winning author of Justice Delayed and Justice Buried, as well as the Logan Point series. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Mississippi.
 
 
 
————————————— 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
GRAND PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series + Elvis Umbrella + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series
+ $15 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3RD PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series
+ $10 Starbucks Gift Card
(US ONLY)
August 15-24, 2018
 
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
8/15/18
Excerpt Part 1
8/15/18
BONUS post
8/16/18
Excerpt Part 2
8/17/18
Review
8/18/18
Author Video
8/19/18
Review
8/20/18
Character Interview
8/21/18
Review
8/22/18
Excerpt Part 3
8/23/18
Excerpt Part 4
8/24/18
Review
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The Hope of Azure Springs – Blitz

THE HOPE OF
AZURE SPRINGS
 
by
RACHEL FORDHAM
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance 
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Revell
Number of Pages: 336

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK: 

Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.
Welcome to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.
 
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PRAISE FOR THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS: “In her promising first novel, Fordham assembles an endearing cast of characters in the rugged Midwest plains for a tale about surviving and thriving. . . .Fordham depicts heartbreaking emotional and physical suffering, while beautifully illustrating the power in simple acts of kindness to foster healing, hope, and happiness.”
Booklist

EXCERPT: PROLOGUE
FROM THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS

Iowa, 1881

     She dead?”
     Em heard a man’s voice from somewhere above her. A strange thumping pulsed through her with each word he spoke. Her throat burned, screaming for water, but she could not cry out.
     “There’s life in her. Not much of it though,” a second, raspier voice answered. She felt a hand press against her throat and then move over her body, gently probing. “She’s bleeding pretty bad.”
     “Gunshot?” the first voice asked.
     If only her eyes would open, and she could see them. Straining, she struggled to pull her heavy eyelids open. Finally, bits of light darted in front of her eyes, but she could not focus. The faces above her were fuzzy and indiscernible.
     Fear swept through her, suddenly waking her battered body. Afraid the men from before had returned, she opened her eyes wide, finding strength that only moments before she had lacked. With thrashing arms, she flailed at the men. Her arms flopped about but offered little defense—she was too weak from blood loss. And then they moved no longer, subdued by large, strong hands.
     “Easy, girl. We aren’t going to hurt you. We just want to help. Take you into town, that’s all. There’s a good doctor there.” The man’s deep voice sounded gentle, but still she did not trust him. Voices could be deceiving. Arms could hurt as well as help. She knew these things well.
     Soon she felt her body being raised above the ground, and moments later the hard planks of a wagon became the resting place for her injured frame. Too weak to move, she lay looking at the sky, wishing there were a way to end the agony, but knowing that for Lucy she would fight on.
     Once the wagon lurched forward, she lost track of everything again. The wheels bouncing over ruts made her pain so intense that everything closed around her and then faded to black.
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Fordham started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. She hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.

 
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