Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Book Blast & Review: Cries in the Night & After MIdnight By: Kathy Clark

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Denver Heroes Book One
Kathy Clark
Re-Issued June 9th, 2015

Perfect for fans of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards, Kathy Clark’s suspenseful, seductive Denver Heroes series kicks off as a dedicated cop and a beautiful actress get wrapped up in a world of danger and desire.

Aside from the reporter riding along in the passenger seat of his cruiser, it’s a typical Saturday night on the job for Sam Morgan of the Denver Police Department. Then shots ring out, and a routine stop involving a pimp and a hooker spirals into senseless violence. Now Sam is lying in a hospital bed, haunted by fleeting memories of the stunning blonde who saved his life—and then just disappeared.

Kate McKinney was hired to play a prostitute on a reality-TV show, not stand around as actual bullets start flying. Unable to shake the feeling that trouble is stalking her, Kate turns to the only man she can trust: the wounded cop whose blue eyes send chills through her body. He doesn’t believe she was just playing a role, but the predator hiding in the shadows is all too real—and, as Sam and Kate edge closer to the truth, so is the heat that ignites between them.


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Denver Heroes Book Two
Kathy Clark
Re-Issued June 9th

Fans of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards will love this pulse-pounding novel of romantic suspense, as a red-hot firefighter reaches out to save a courageous beauty from the terrors of the night.

As a victim’s advocate for the Denver Police Department, Julie Lawrence is always on call for survivors of abuse, fighting for the justice she never got for herself. It’s a high-risk job that makes a lot of enemies—one of whom seems to be now targeting Julie. But teaming up with firefighter and local hero Rusty Wilson sparks a different kind of danger. As Julie surrenders to intoxicating passion, she finds herself breaking her own rules, caring about Rusty in a way she thought she’d sworn off forever.

When a domestic incident escalates into a deadly hostage crisis, Rusty is willing to risk everything to protect those who really need his help—like Julie, the breath of fresh air who fills his days with purpose and his nights with pleasure. He just hopes he’s not too late to stop a chillingly orchestrated act of payback that puts the woman he loves at the mercy of a madman’s rage.

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Kate was still so shaken by last night that she muffed her cues and scrambled her lines until she was practically in tears by the end of rehearsal. The small acting troupe at Heritage Square Music Hall were, of course, unaware of her part in last night’s drama on Colfax, but they were friendly and supportive and, most of all, patient.

Live theater in the Denver area struggled but somehow survived through recessions and competition by the multitude of other forms of entertainment in the area, not the least of which was the lure of the great outdoors. Heritage Square Music Hall enjoyed one of the longer runs and managed to put out four new shows each year, written and choreographed by the actors themselves. Each show consisted of a two-act melodrama, followed by a musical comedy revue.

With only six actors making up the core ensemble, there wasn’t a lot of room for outside performers, so Kate had felt lucky to make it through the audition process and be chosen to be part of the talented group. The pressure of being the new kid on the block was tough enough, but her horrible performance today made her feel even more vulnerable.

After tripping on her own feet and nearly taking down her partner during a dance number, she sat on the stage and buried her face in her hands. Andy, one of the regulars, tapped her on the shoulder, then helped her back to her feet.

“Are you okay?” he asked, genuine concern showing on his handsome face.

“I’m fine.” A flush of embarrassment burned her cheeks. “Guys, I’m so sorry,” she apologized with a shrug. “I’ll do better. I promise.”

Carrie, who while only in her midthirties was the senior female member of the troupe, shrugged it off. “Don’t worry about it. We all have bad days.”

Andy snorted. “Be glad you’re getting it out of the way in rehearsals. Usually our biggest screwups are during a show.”

“Yeah, remember when Matt tripped over the chair and fell off the stage into that old lady’s lap? She thought he was her door prize and didn’t want to let him go.”

“Or the time Carrie got tangled up in that pink boa and disappeared behind the couch? She was laughing so hard that we all lost it. It took us ten minutes to get it together enough to finish the play.”

Their stories got crazier and funnier until Kate found that she was relaxing and enjoying herself. Surrounded by these incredibly talented and surprisingly warm people, she was momentarily distracted. She managed to finish the rehearsal without doing any more damage.

Everyone walked together to the parking lot. Kate wished someone would suggest dinner or even drinks, but all the other actors called out their good nights and separated into their own vehicles and drove off. Kate climbed into her bright yellow Ford Escape and sat, too drained to even start the car.

It was after seven, but the sun was still shining brightly over the Rockies. Sounds of screams and laughter echoed off the foothills that surrounded the parking lot. The lights on the Ferris wheel flickered on and the horses on the merry-go-round waited patiently for their riders to settle onto the wooden saddles before easing into a new lap of a never-ending race.

The Music Hall was part of Heritage Square, a small amusement park that in the 1960s had originally been planned as a scaled-down Disneyland. But investors had dropped out and money dried up, so the park had transitioned through several owners, eventually finding its own identity as a local favorite. It was located about fifteen miles from Denver, closer to Morrison, nestled between the first row of foothills and the Front Range in a relatively isolated area.

It was the perfect location for a family or anyone who wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and, after just a short drive, be surrounded by the beauty and ruggedness of the Rockies for an afternoon or evening’s entertainment. The fabricated small town embraced its western flavor. Main Street and two intersecting streets were lined with colorful Victorian-style buildings that housed restaurants, shops, and studios where artists showcased and sold their work. A lively assortment of kiddie rides sprawled to one side, and an alpine sled tubular track snaked up the side of a mountain behind the complex.

Kate leaned her head back on the headrest and watched the activity. Everyone looked so happy, so carefree. She knew that couldn’t possibly be true. Beneath the smiles were men and women worried about jobs or house payments or cheating spouses. Everyone had problems. Everyone had fears. Possibly a few of them had seen someone get shot, or had even seen someone die at their feet.

Twenty-four hours ago, she wouldn’t have thought it was possible for her to fall in that latter category. A shiver shook her so violently that she dropped her keys and had to fumble on the floorboard to find them. “Calm down,” she cautioned herself. “Take a deep breath.” She sucked in a lungful of the clean mountain air and slowly let it escape between her lips.

It had been horrendous, but it was over. She had bundled up the ruined clothes and dropped them in a Dumpster behind a Target store miles from her apartment on her way to the Music Hall today. Luckily, the blond wig hadn’t sustained any damage, so she was able to slip it back into the wardrobe department, its brief absence never noticed. And she had safely hidden the hundred-dollar bill inside the purple Beanie Baby that sat on her pillow. All other evidence of last night’s events had been completely removed from her possession. All that were left were the memories.

Suddenly, she was anxious to get back to her small, safe apartment. A bowl of soup, a good book, and an early night snuggled in her bed sounded like heaven. If only she’d done that last night instead of—

Stop it. It wasn’t your fault. You’re going to get past it and everything will be okay. God, she was talking to herself a lot lately. She shrugged and started the car. Well, she’d add that to her list of things she needed to worry about tomorrow. Tonight she needed sleep—deep, peaceful, dreamless sleep. Yeah, right. Like that was going to happen.

Kathy Clark is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have sold more than three million copies in eleven languages. Her plot lines have always championed women’s empowerment, placing strong female characters in real-life situations. Her stories will make you laugh and cry, and her characters will live in your heart forever. She lives with her husband and co-author, Bob Wernly.

***I received these stories for free in exchange for an honest review***

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