Annalisse Series, Book 1
Marlene M Bell
Genre: Spicy Romantic Mystery
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: March 20, 2018
Number of Pages: 284
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PEOPLE DIE, BUT LEGENDS LIVE ON.
Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.
Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.
Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.
Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.
But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?
Hold on for a heart-thumping adventure through exotic lands in this fast moving, romantic suspense mystery by Marlene M Bell.
WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER FOR STOLEN OBSESSION:
“What a mess.” Generosa hugged Annalisse and sniffed. “Alec’s right. I’ll close the gallery and post a guard inside until this sorts out. This is a good time to go to Greece—and Pearce. I’ll schedule the jet for Crete. Pearce has wanted to meet you in the worst way, Annalisse. Why don’t you and Alec come with? October is beautiful on the island.”
“No complaints here.” Alec’s eyes lit up.
Annalisse squeezed her knees together. She didn’t trust herself with him on an island in paradise. Although the thought of Alec’s warm caress sent a parade of tingles down her back.
“I’d love to meet Pearce, but I have a job. As thrilling as it sounds to play in the sand and bake on the Aegean, I can’t shirk my responsibilities. Peter won’t let me off, anyway.”
“Pooh. I’ll talk to Chase. He’ll take over your gallery duties for a few days while you relax in the sunshine. I’ll fix everything.”
“You’re so thoughtful.” Annalisse hugged her. In her own way, Generosa filled the motherly affection gap.
Harry would expect her to stick around Westinn and sort out his business. One he never left in Peter’s hands. But her tortured mind could use a dose of rest.
“You must come.”
“I’ll work on it, Gen, but I have to go. Chase is waiting.” She could feel Alec’s eyes on her. “Agent Norcross, find Sam’s killer soon—please. I’ll sleep again once I know that filth can’t do those things to another beautiful soul.” She glanced at the clock, blinking back a tear. “I’m so late for an appointment. Alec, would you walk me out?”
Four uniformed cops filed through the glass entrance.
“Go ahead, son. I have all these nice officers to protect me.” Generosa smiled, with a quick wink at Annalisse. “We aren’t done with this conversation, dear.”
Annalisse snatched her tote and waited for Alec. Once on the sidewalk, she adjusted the wide leather straps cutting into her shoulder.
“Darn it. I didn’t get a chance to take photos. A lot of good it did to substitute camera for pistol.”
“You carry a gun? Why?” Alec’s jaw went slack.
“Since last year. Seven months to get my concealed carry permit.”
“Art Lady, you do amaze.”
He held her transfixed in his platinum gaze until he ran his thumb across her cheek, bringing her back to earth.
“I need to be safe when I travel alone on appraisals. Perverts can come from anywhere.”
“What about now?”
“Are you a pervert?”
“Depends.” Alec laughed. “No. The answer is, no. You don’t have your gun with you. What if you need it before you get home?”
“Then I might be in deep shit—or not.” She slid off one of the tote straps and dug into an inside pocket. “This works as backup.”
He stepped closer, staring at the pink tube she held up. “Mace?”
“Pepper spray. Shoots a mist everywhere. That’s why I prefer my Lady Smith. Point it, and the shot goes where it’s supposed to.” She slipped the tube back into her purse and hooked the side pocket. “Alec, don’t let Gen out of your sight. If you can’t be with her, don’t wait for Mooney’s security, get her a bodyguard.”
“It’s not so bizarre. This new wrinkle with Harry, and the creepy card…we’re being manipulated. I can feel it. I’ll call you if Chase and I dig anything up. Your mother’s like my own. I won’t lose her, too.” She gently squeezed his arm.
Shoving his hair from his forehead, Alec’s expression changed from pensive to playful.
“Since you seem to have my number, shouldn’t I add you to my contacts?” He raised a brow.
She turned away long enough to wave down the next cab and give her stomach flutter time to dissipate.
“Gen gave me—there’s a good reason why I have your number.” She stroked the textured side of her purse strap, searching for an excuse. She spotted Generosa eyeing them. “You know. In case of an emergency. For Gen.”
From his crooked smile, she could tell he hadn’t bought it.
Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.
Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.
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