Sunday, 25 September 2016

Cover reveal . . . BELONGING


Introducing Belonging by Selaine Henriksen, due for release on 16 October 2016.



Summary

Morgan Campbell doesn’t know what is wrong with her. She is seeing things in the shadows everywhere—a dog that could be a wolf and a man staring up at her window. She feels like she’s losing her mind.

When she is summoned to her grandfather’s sickbed, she jumps at the chance to leave the city, and her messy life, behind. But, after a less than warm welcome at the creepy old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with its strange inhabitants, she’s not sure she made the right decision.

And then there is the hot man who appears, naked, to save her from a pack of wolves when she strays off the track in the woods.

What Morgan discovers about the truth of her heritage will change her life forever. 

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Belonging


The book will be available for sale

16 October 2016


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Sunday, 18 September 2016

New Release . . . CRASHING WAVES

Congratulations C. J. Baty on the release of Crashing Waves, Book 2 in the Warfield Hotel Mysteries series.



Summary:

Justin Warfield ran away to Italy to put the events of last summer and a certain dark-haired private eye behind him, to no avail. If anything, he can’t help but rehash what happened over and over. When he finally returns to South Carolina, the hotel he runs with his brother has suffered a series of incidents that are starting to look less accidental after a death threat is received.

Not satisfied that Moses Lee and his local police will find the culprit, Peter Warfield calls in the services of his good friend Marcus Drummond to help. Marcus is torn. He wants to help his friend, but he also knows that if Justin has moved on after their failed flirtation last summer, he will be devastated.

Tensions mount as danger seems to follow them at every turn, stalking them as they get closer to solving the mystery of who is behind the sabotage of the hotel. 



Excerpt:

Enjoy this first look at Crashing Waves.


JUSTIN WARFIELD WRAPPED the blanket tighter around his body. Though the ocean didn’t quite reach the dune where he sat this early in the morning, the air was chilly and damp. It was mid-October, and the beach was deserted. Even the locals didn’t spend much time here at this time of the year. Waves crashed and pummeled the tiny shells and rocks into submission along the shoreline. Seaweed and driftwood littered the sandy beach going north and south as far as the eye could see.

The sky was overcast, gray. Dark clouds sure to bring a heavy rain storm later in the day matched Justin’s mood and his thoughts. Not for the first time, Justin realized this place—the ocean, the beach, the dunes—were a part of him. At any given time, he could come here and see his life played out in nature. He picked up a nearby stick and began to draw circles in the sand by his feet. His shoulder ached, a constant reminder of the events from the past summer. His thoughts drifted exactly where he knew they would. He didn’t want them to go there, but it was no use to try to stop them.

Marcus Drummond had been gone for three months, but Justin had been unable to get him out of his mind for a single day. If he wasn’t in his thoughts, then he dreamed of him. Going to Italy for a much-needed vacation should have helped, but if he was honest with himself, he’d been hiding. He had run away after being forced to come out publicly and the fear of what an open relationship with Marcus meant. Of course, now that he was home, he thought of Marcus even more.

It was beginning to be ridiculous. After all, he’d pushed the man out of his life, driven him away. Marcus had done exactly what Justin had wanted him to do. He’d left Beaufort and moved on. At least that was what Justin told everyone he wanted. The truth was a lot more complicated. He was afraid. Afraid of failing Marcus on every level. As foolish as everyone thought he was, suddenly being thrust from the safety of his locked-tight closet after so many years was not an easy thing for Justin. His younger brother, Peter, had hounded him for weeks to contact Marcus, to go after him, but had finally dropped it after he saw just how much pain it caused Justin to keep bringing up his best friend now that he was gone.

He didn’t want to think about Marcus. It only added to the maelstrom of conflict that he was still riding. Justin’s emotions ran the gambit on a daily basis. One minute, sure of who he was and what he wanted. The next moment he would plunge into despair and sadness so deep he physically ached from it. When he’d returned from Europe two months ago, he moved out of the hotel into the family home and that had helped. Surrounded by the loving support of the Manor’s caretakers, Michaels and Winnie had helped even more. They were more like parents than his actual parents had ever been. The sweet couple was helping him to restore the Manor. They never asked about his personal affairs or lack thereof. The only thing they wanted to do was make him feel comfortable and take care of his needs. He’d been able to work through his own messed up thoughts as he worked to restore the Warfield Manor to its glory days. More importantly, the Manor had no memories of the brief time he and Marcus had shared together. The hotel was filled with them.

The cell phone inside Justin’s pocket vibrated and pulled him away from his thoughts. One look at the incoming text message had him on his feet.

Come to the bar. Hurry!

Peter needed him.

He made his way back across the dunes to the flat sandy field sparsely covered in grass between the beach and the Warfield Hotel. He entered through the door on the left side of the back veranda and quickly made his way up the hall to enter the bar from the back.

“There’s too much of a coincidence. All of these accidents happening within the last few months. Peter, someone is sabotaging the hotel. It’s the only explanation. I’ll be right back.”

Robert Wyler sounded agitated, so Justin quickened his pace to see what had happened now, only to find Robert had left the bar through the main doorway and was heading down the hall toward the offices. As he took another step into the room, broken glass crackled under his shoes and wetness seeped into the canvas.

“What the hell?”

Peter was standing in front of the back wall of the bar but swiveled around at the sound of Justin’s voice. As he moved, Justin caught sight of red paint scrawled across the glass mirror.

Get out before it all comes falling down around you and someone dies.

Shivering, Justin briefly wondered if this had anything to do with Caroline and the other deaths last summer. It didn’t seem likely. Caroline was dead now, and even though he didn’t like to think it true, his wife had admitted to killing his former lovers. This must be something entirely different. He just couldn’t think of who would want to do this.

“Peter,” Justin said as he clasped his hand on his brother’s shoulder. “I don’t know who is doing this, or why, but now that I’m back, we’ll figure this out together.”

“Why would anyone want to destroy the Warfield? It just doesn’t make any sense. Who could hate us this much?”

Justin had hardly ever seen his younger brother this troubled. He was usually the happy go lucky one of the two of them. It hurt to think that he had somehow let his brother down . . . again, by not being here when Peter had needed him.

“I don’t know, but I do know we’re going to get to the bottom of this,” Justin assured Peter.

Their conversation quickly came to a halt when a familiar voice caught both brothers off guard.

“Goddamn, can’t you Warfield boys stay out of trouble for more than a day or two,” Chief Moses Lee said, clearly not expecting an answer.

“Who the hell called you?” Justin asked as he glared at the big black man. This was the last person on earth he wanted to see in his hotel again.

“I called him, Justin. We all know someone is causing this shit, and he needs to do something about it,” Robert answered, joining the group gathered in the bar.

Robert looked toward Justin. A subtle grin spread across his face. Justin felt his cheeks flush, and he turned away quickly to face Chief Lee.

Moses Lee took out a notebook and walked around the room. His boots made squishy sounds as they tramped across the damp carpet. He stopped in front of the large plate glass mirror behind the bar. He made a few more marks in his notebook then closed it.

“I’ve got a forensic crew on the way, though I doubt we’ll find any prints. Don’t start your clean up until they’ve finished. I’ll have them take several shots of the message,” he said as he pointed his notebook at the mirror. “Seems like you’ve made yourselves an enemy.” He smiled and added, “Two of my deputies will be taking your statements and talking to a couple of the guests. I’ve got to see to another matter. See you boys later.” Then he left as quickly as he had appeared.

“I get the feeling that he isn’t taking these accidents seriously,” Robert growled as the police chief exited the building. “Why send deputies to question us when he’s right here?”

“What can we do about it? He is the Chief of Police,” Peter replied.

Justin shrugged and turned to survey the mess again.

“There’s going to be a lot of cleanup work to do. Let me know as soon as the deputies and forensic team get here. I’ll call and rent some equipment to help clean up this mess. Then I’ll call Joe and have him and Alexander go by Duke’s Hardware to pick it up. I’ll be in the office if you need me.”

Two hours later, all three of them had given their statements to the deputies and the forensic team had finished and gone. Justin had finally reached Joe, and he was on his way to pick up the needed equipment. Justin needed Peter or Robert to take a complete inventory of the stock that was destroyed, and he’d forgotten to mention it earlier. He left his office and headed back to the lounge. He hadn’t meant to overhear their conversation, but Peter’s words stopped him as he rounded the corner.

“So how have the dates been going?” Peter asked between the sounds of glass shattering in a trashcan.

“Dates?” Another bottle landed in the trashcan.

“Dinner dates. You know those couple of times you and Justin . . .” Peter trailed off.

“I wouldn’t exactly call them dates. We’ve shared a meal twice and one of them was lunch in the hotel. It’s pretty clear Justin isn’t ready for any kind of relationship, other than friendship at this point.” Robert’s voice quieted before he added, “I’m not going to push him, Peter.”

“Have you told him how you feel,” Peter asked between more glass shattering.

“No, and I don’t plan on it, so can we just let it go?”

Neither man said another word. Only the sounds of their continued clean up of the bar could be heard. Justin swallowed the breath he’d been holding and slipped down the corridor to the manager’s office and closed the door quietly behind him.

Sitting at the large oak desk in the middle of the room, Justin studied the view from the office window. Robert’s words came floating back. Was he ready to move on? Was he ready to become involved openly with another man? An image of Marcus, his hair dripping with water from a rain shower they’d been caught in, formed before his eyes. His heart ached for what never had a chance to begin between them.

The morning he’d sat on the beach last May contemplating turning forty played in his mind as well. Two things stood out . . . he was still drifting, and he was still alone. He’d screwed up majorly with Marcus Drummond, and there was no way to fix that now, even if he could admit he wanted to. Would it hurt to try with someone else? Robert? He would never want to hurt or lead Robert on. Robert was a good man and had been a huge help to Peter while Justin had been away. He’d have to be honest about everything, including his confusion over Marcus. A soft knock at the door drew his thoughts away from the path they were headed.

“Just wanted to know if you’d called Duke’s and Joe?” Robert asked from behind the partly open door.

“Yes, the equipment is ready for Joe now. Is there a another problem?” Justin asked, looking at Robert closer than he had before.

Robert had rolled the sleeves up on his white dress shirt while he’d been working in the bar. Justin knew a little further up his arms barbed wire tattoos circled his biceps. Soft-gray eyes looked across the room at him, as Robert shook his head no. His ponytail of dark blond hair was pulled to the back of his head and held tight by a leather strap. It hung softly over his shoulder. Though he and Robert were probably close in age, Justin had learned the hard way that age had nothing to do with being attracted to someone.

“No, just don’t forget we need something that will suck up all that liquid.” A smile crossed Robert’s lips after he registered the double meaning of his own words.

“You know I meant a shop vac . . . right?”

Justin laughed and said, “Yes, I knew what you meant.”

His smile fading, Robert nodded. “The sooner Joe gets here the better. I don’t think we’re going to be able to open the bar again until we see if the carpet can be saved.” Robert waved and started to close the door, calling out, “Later.”

Justin made one of those spur of the moment decisions he hoped he wouldn’t regret. He stood from his desk and called after Robert, “Wait.”

Robert pushed the door open again and stepped into the office, a questioning look on his face.

Suddenly more nervous than he had ever been in his life, Justin took a deep breath and went for it. “Would you . . . I mean, I know things are a little hectic around here but . . .”

Robert smiled softly and Justin relaxed.

“Would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow night? I heard about a new place in town. Thought we could try it out?” Justin was proud he hadn’t stumbled over one word that time.

The half grin Robert had been wearing morphed into an eye-twinkling smile. “Yes, I would like to have dinner with you. Seven-thirty okay with you?”

Justin’s head slipped up and down slowly.

“Later,” Robert said again as he walked backward through the door and closed it softly behind him.

Suddenly, even with a destroyed bar and a death threat, Justin’s world looked a little brighter than it had this morning.


Add on Goodreads:

Crashing Waves (The Warfield Hotel Mysteries, #2)


Find Crashing Waves at:



Author profile:



C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio. Her heart, however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

She has a loving and supportive family who don't mind fixing their own meals when she is in the middle of a story, and a network of friends who have encouraged and cheered her on in her quest of being an author.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: “You are never too old to follow your dream!

Find C.J. at:



Sunday, 11 September 2016

#samplesunday - DRIFTING SANDS

In readiness of next week's release of Crashing Waves by C.J. Baty, Book Two in The Warfield Hotel Mysteries, today's #samplesunday is another preview of MM Mystery Romance Drifting Sands.



As he approaches his fortieth birthday, Justin Warfield feels alone, drifting like the sand that blows along the beach near his family’s hotel. He has done exactly as his father wanted. Married the right girl and carried on the family tradition of running the Warfield Hotel. On paper things seem perfect, but happiness hasn’t been a part of his life for a very long time.

Marcus Drummond once spent a summer with his best friend Peter at the Warfield Hotel and fell hard for Peter’s much older brother. Five years later he’s back, and this time hopes that Justin will see him as more than his kid brother’s friend.

Sparks fly when the two meet again, but there are a few things standing in their way. The closet that Justin has himself buried in and someone on a killing spree, dumping bodies on the Warfield beach . . . victims that indicate Justin may be involved in some way.


Please enjoy this sample chapter from the book . . . 

CHAPTER SIX

MOSES LEE LOVED a crowd to play to. Having the beach littered with onlookers was a good thing. It made him look important, and he was all for that. He motioned for two of his deputies to keep the crowd at bay while the ambulance with the coroner made its way onto the beach for the second time in less than a month. Lee motioned to another officer to cut the sirens. He couldn’t hear himself think with all that damned noise going on. The flashing red and blue lights left an eerie glow highlighting the body partially buried in sand.

Doc Martin pulled up behind the ambulance and alighted from his Jeep. He headed across the sand to where Chief Moses Lee stood waiting for him. Moses knew Doc hated working with him, but he had little choice in the matter since the good people of Beaufort kept electing him Chief of Police over and over again.

“What do we have, Chief?”

“Same MO as last time, Doc. Two shots, one through the heart and one in the balls. I sure hope the bastard got the one in the heart first.” Lee laughed at what he thought was a funny line and watched as Doc Martin cringed at his words.

“Let me take a look,” Doc stated as he moved past the Chief. “And for God’s sake keep those people out of here and away from the crime scene.”

Moses watched as Doc took a small tape recorder out of his coat pocket and knelt by the body.

“Male Caucasian approximately thirty-five to forty years of age,” Doc spoke into the recorder then moved closer to the body.

“First gunshot wound in the upper left chest area, most likely through the right atrium. From the amount of blood, the bullet might have nicked the aorta.”

“Yeah, so that matches the last one,” Chief Lee added.

Doc looked up at Moses and said nothing else until the Chief took a step back.

“Second gunshot wound appears to be through the genitals.”

“What the hell do you mean appears? Looks like his nuts were blown off if you ask me.”

Moses watched as Doc stood to his feet and placed the recorder back in his pocket. The look of disgust on Doc’s face didn’t bother or intimidate Lee in the slightest. “As you said, it’s the same MO. I can’t really tell much out here. The sooner we get the body back to the morgue the better,” Doc stated and walked right by Lee headed toward his Jeep.

“We’ll get right on that, Doc, as soon as I finish collecting any evidence lying around,” Lee said. “And I see someone I’d like to talk to. Go ahead and have your guys bag him, and I’ll come see you in the morning.”

Chief Lee watched the medical examiner drive his Jeep over the sand and back toward the road that ran in front of the Warfield Hotel. He smiled to himself when he saw Justin Warfield and his brother, Peter, headed his way.

“Peter, nice to see you home again.”

“Chief Lee.” Peter nodded toward the Moses. “It’s good to be home.”

“What’s going on, Moses?” Justin asked, trying to see around the Chief.

“We’ve got ourselves another murder. Same as the other one,” Lee answered and watched as Justin’s face, for one fraction of a moment, showed surprise.

“Another . . . one?” Peter asked his brother.

“It happened about two weeks ago. We found an old friend of your brother’s shot, not a hundred feet from where this body was found.”

Moses watched as Justin and Peter seemed to have some sort of silent conversation. Moses wondered if Justin could be hiding something. He certainly looked scared.

Stepping away from the brothers, but still watching them, Lee ordered his deputies to disperse the crowd of onlookers. Everyone watched as two paramedics put the black-bagged body onto a gurney, then carried it across the sand to the waiting ambulance. The gurney was lifted and shoved into the back end of the vehicle and the doors were slammed shut.

“I’ll be around first thing tomorrow to speak with your staff and maybe a guest or two. It’s just routine, and I’d like to keep you in the loop, of course.” Moses watched as Justin nodded, and without saying a word, turned and headed back up the beach to the Warfield. Peter quickly followed him.


MARCUS STOOD on the dunes directly behind the Warfield and watched the scene going on up the beach from him. The ambulance was just pulling away, and the crowd was slowly breaking up. Peter and Justin walked close together and talked as they headed back to the hotel.

Marcus had just finished a conversation with Stony Whitecastle. The man needed an update on what was happening in Beaufort. Stony was Marcuss first client for his new private investigator business and a dear old friend. Ian McAlister had been Stony’s partner, and Stony wanted Marcus to find out who had murdered him.

Stony and Ian had been together for nearly ten years. They met when Ian was a regular at the club Stony owned in Atlanta: the Gentleman’s Club.

The exclusive club catered to a specific clientele—southern men who enjoyed the company of other men. In places like New York or California, being gay was becoming a more open way to live, but not in the South; being gay here still held a stigma that was hard to shake. No one wanted to do business with a fag. That was just the way it was.

Marcus knew that Ian had started coming to the club while he was in college at South Carolina and that he had been Justin’s roommate. After college, Ian joined a brokerage firm in Atlanta and continued to visit the Club where he eventually met the owner. The two finally became a couple a few years later. They moved to Miami Beach where they had lived for the last ten years. Ian had opened his own firm and had done quite well for himself. Stony still owned the club, but someone else managed it now. Marcus thought back on the telephone conversation they had shared before he’d come to Beaufort.

“Marcus. I need your help. I returned from Beaufort this morning after retrieving Ian’s body and his belongings.” Stony’s voice had an edge to it.

“Why was he even in Beaufort?” Marcus wondered if Justin had anything to do with Ian’s visit.

“I have no idea,” Stony stated, then added, “He’d been quiet for a few days before he left. More withdrawn than usual, and he wouldn’t answer me when I asked what was wrong.”

“All right, so why do you want me to look into things. The police are investigating—”

Stony interrupted before Marcus could finish. “That black bastard doesn’t give a shit about what happened to my Ian!”

After Marcus finally got Stony to calm down, his friend also mentioned that Ian’s key card to the Gentleman’s Club was missing from his wallet.

Marcus concentrated on that one phrase—the key card to the Gentleman’s Club was missing from his wallet—as he turned and headed back to the Warfield. He had a bad feeling about what was going on. With the new victim having been shot in the same fashion as Ian, were the two men connected in some way? Was there a connection to the Gentleman’s Club? Who had taken it and why? Every member of the Club got a special key card that identified them as a member. Marcus had one himself, and he assumed Justin had one too, since he’d seen him at the club several times over the years.

Most men came to the club just to be able to be themselves, relax, have a few drinks, dance with a good looking guy, or find someone to connect with. There was no prostitution in the club, but if you met someone there and you hit it off, there were rooms available for limited amounts of time. Marcus knew this because he had spent a night in one of those rooms with Justin.

It had also become clear from their earlier interaction in the bar that Justin hadn’t recognized him, or remembered the one night they had shared. Marcus knew he shouldn’t have been upset that Justin didn’t remember, after all he had been very drunk that night, but it still had hurt. Though feeling disappointed didn’t stop him from hoping. He wanted a chance to see if things could be as good with Justin as he’d always fantasized about. There was no doubt that the sex would be great, but there was more to a relationship than that. Those were the things Marcus wanted with Justin.

With a sigh, Marcus turned and headed back to the Warfield. He had a bad feeling about what was going on. Who would have kept Ian’s Club card and why? Could the body on the beach tonight be connected to Ian’s murder in some way? Did any of it have anything to do with Justin Warfield? The last question weighed heavy on Marcus. He didn’t want to believe that Justin had anything to do with these murders, but he wondered where Justin had been when these two men were being killed.

As Marcus approached the hotel, Peter’s distinct laughter echoed across the deserted beach. Looking up, Marcus saw the silhouette of a man leaning over the banister of a balcony on the top floor. It wasn’t Peter, so Marcus assumed it was Justin. The man, whoever he was, was running his hands through his hair and talking to someone behind him in the shadows. At that moment, Peter came out onto the balcony, and Marcus knew he had been correct. It was Justin. Justin sipped from a glass of something that Peter had just handed him. Lingering only a moment longer, they both turned and went into the room behind them.


It was going on two in the morning when Marcus let himself into his suite on the third floor of the hotel. He had walked along the shore for some time after everyone left. On his first visit with Peter, they had stayed at the family home, which was located on the west side of Beaufort itself, but only Caroline lived there now. With Justin living at the hotel permanently, Peter had wanted to be where his brother was, so Justin had arranged for the two friends to have adjoining suites that connected with a pass-through door. There was no noise coming from the rooms that Peter occupied, so Marcus assumed he was already in bed or still with Justin in his suite on the top floor. Exhaustion overtook him, and he peeled off his clothes and climbed into the bed. The fresh cotton sheets felt smooth and cool on his bare skin. Marcus had always slept in the nude for just that reason; the feel of the material next to his skin was such a relaxing end to the day. Sleep didn’t come as easily as he had hoped. His mind was filled with Justin’s face or body or eyes or just . . . Justin.

$4.99
(ebook only)

Drifting Sands is available in e-book and print from all major sellers. Details for Drifting Sands, including sellers' links, are at:

Bottom Drawer Publications

Also available at:


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Apple

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And remember, the much anticipated second book of the Warfield Hotel Mysteries series, Crashing Waves, by C.J. Baty, will release 18 September 2016.



Summary:

Justin Warfield ran away to Italy to put the events of last summer and a certain dark-haired private eye behind him, to no avail. If anything, he can’t help but rehash what happened over and over. When he finally returns to South Carolina, the hotel he runs with his brother has suffered a series of incidents that are starting to look less accidental after a death threat is received.

Not satisfied that Moses Lee and his local police will find the culprit, Peter Warfield calls in the services of his good friend Marcus Drummond to help. Marcus is torn. He wants to help his friend, but he also knows that if Justin has moved on after their failed flirtation last summer, he will be devastated.

Tensions mount as danger seems to follow them at every turn, stalking them as they get closer to solving the mystery of who is behind the sabotage of the hotel. 

Add on Goodreads:

Crashing Waves (The Warfield Hotel Mysteries, #2)



Find C.J. at:

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C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio. Her heart, however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

She has a loving and supportive family who don't mind fixing their own meals when she is in the middle of a story, and a network of friends who have encouraged and cheered her on in her quest of being an author.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: “You are never too old to follow your dream!