Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New from E.E. Burke: Fugitive Hearts

What would you sacrifice to give someone you love a second chance?

“Sheriff…I just killed my husband.”

Hotel owner Claire Daines is a respected member of the community. Until she shocks the entire town by rushing into a saloon wearing only her nightclothes and confessing to very inebriated lawman.

Is she a killer? Is she crazy? Or is she covering up something worse?

For years, Claire hushed up her husband’s dangerous condition to guard his reputation. When tragedy strikes, she puts her own life at risk when she vows to keep another terrible secret.


Sheriff Frank Garrity must get to the truth, although the tough, hard-drinking lawman hides his own secrets and would rather walk a lonely path than face his demons. But as Frank unravels Claire’s subterfuge and unlocks her heart, he’s torn between his desire to save her and his duty to bring her to justice.

Here's an excerpt

Upon reaching the oaken and etched-glass hotel door, Frank stopped. He searched for the handle with his fingers, and using the toe of his boot, managed to coax the door open without releasing the trembling woman in his arms.
Inside, half a dozen men milled about the lobby, situated between an ornate mahogany reception desk and a carpeted stairway leading to the second floor. Claire put her arms around his neck and hid her face in his shoulder.
“Don’t worry,” he murmured reassuringly. “I won’t leave you out here in your nightclothes. Where are your quarters?”
“Upstairs, in the back,” came the muffled reply.
The anxious guests converged on Frank about the time a clock started chiming.
“We heard a gunshot.”
Chime.
“There’s a dead man up there.”
Chime.
“Are you the sheriff?”
Chime.
“Thank you, I know. Yes.” Frank fired off short answers without slowing down to talk. He’d take Claire to her rooms and learn what happened first hand before he started interviewing anyone else. As he climbed the stairs, the chimes continued. Eleven. When he got a moment, he needed to jot down the time in the small notebook he carried in his pocket.
The woman in his arms still shook despite the air being warmer inside. Maybe it wasn’t from cold as much as from shock. If her husband had ended his life in front of her, that would explain her fragile state and bizarre behavior. He’d been acquainted with Claire Daines for the past two years, and in all that time he’d never seen her leave the hotel with so much as a hair out of place.
Her reclusive husband, on the other hand, could be a ghost for all Frank knew. Frederick Daines kept to his rooms, didn’t even go to church on Sundays. According to his wife, he suffered from war injuries and had trouble getting out. She took care of him without complaint while running a busy hotel and more recently raising an orphaned boy, Billy Frye.
“Where’s Billy?”
“In bed,” came her muffled reply.
Odd. Nobody else seemed to be.
Apprehensive guests peeked out of their rooms. They held lamps and candles aloft, the flickering light casting eerie shadows on their faces and the rose-patterned paper lining the hallway.
Frank cradled the trembling woman closer. Not because he felt any more protective toward Claire Daines than he would any other woman. He’d keep telling himself that until he believed it.
When he reached the back, a flickering light shone from a gas lamp on the wall. These rooms weren’t marked with numbers. Near the end of the hall, a door stood ajar. He hesitated, not wanting to take her inside if her husband lay dead in that room. “Is there somewhere else you can wait while I take a look inside?”
“Jail,” she murmured in a resigned tone.
He huffed with annoyance. “Stop talking about going to jail. You need a doc.”
“I’m not sick.”
“Is there a cure for hardheaded?”
Using his elbow, he nudged open the door. Cold air escaped the dark room and his nostrils flared at a charred odor. “Smells like something burned…”
Inside, Frank set his charge on her feet. She maintained a fixed stare. Reminded him of the expression he’d seen on the faces of young soldiers who’d gotten their first taste of war. Without thinking, he cupped his hand on her head and gently stroked her disheveled hair.
Desire buzzed through him. He’d never touched her before and had wondered what might happen if he did. Now he knew. Didn’t come as a surprise.
He drew his hand away. “I need to look around. Wait here.”
She didn’t speak but he got a nod.
The room was awful dark. He fumbled in his pocket for a pack of lucifers and struck one. A quick survey revealed singed curtains fluttering over a partially opened window. That explained the chill and the smell. Nearby, a candle lay on the wood floor in a puddle of water and some papers were strewn around, a few of them charred. Fortunately, someone had put out the fire before it took hold. A blaze could’ve burned down the wood-frame building in no time.
He retrieved the candle and, after a few matches, got the damp wick dry enough to light. Then wedged the taper into its stand and set it on the desk. That’s when he saw the body.
A man in his dressing robe lay sprawled face down on a floral carpet. Frank squatted by the still figure, detecting a faint scent of gunpowder and a sharper stench that indicated loss of bodily functions. No pulse, mottled skin, ice cold…
He rolled Daines over. The body remained flaccid, which meant he couldn’t have been dead for long—less than a few hours. Sightless eyes stared upward. Blood and powder burns stained his white nightshirt around a neat hole drilled in his chest. Whoever shot him had been close.
Frank’s heart commenced to pounding, every thudding beat resounded in his head, and a bitter taste filled his mouth. Had to be the effects of the whiskey he'd consumed because he’d seen more than his share of dead bodies and in much worse condition than this one. 
He drew a deep breath and released it. Forced his mind to focus. He couldn’t allow anything to cloud his thinking—not whiskey, not even his sympathy for the young widow. Frederick Daines had been shot through the heart. His wife just admitted to killing him. One question remained. 
Why?

E.E. Burke


Weave together rich historical detail, passionate romance, add a dash of suspense and you have books by E.E. Burke. Her chosen settings are the American West, and her current series takes place during the tumultuous era of America's steam railroads.
Her writing has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including the prestigious Golden Heart®. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream...writing stories readers can get lost in.

#BestOfTheWest Heroes and Book Release Party


Tomorrow you can party with some of your favorite Western romance authors who are joining E.E. and co-host Angi Morgan to celebrate the release of Fugitive Hearts.

We'll be sharing about our favorite Western heroes, including the ones in our books, and there will be presents galore--FLASH giveaways every hour, along with fantastic drawings held by each author during their guest appearance. 

Here's the all-star line-up:
Kirsten Osbourne
B.J. Daniels
Becky Lower
Linda Broday
Cindy Nord
Kaki Warner
Beth Williamson
Kathleen Rice Adams
Rosanne Bittner

The fun starts at 11 a.m. and goes non-stop through 10 p.m. You're all invited. To RSVP, just comment here and I'll send you an invite. (I'll need your Facebook name).


You can earn extra points in my drawing just by coming to the event and bringing a friend. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

2 comments:

  1. Glad to help out my buddy, E.E. with her new debut.
    You can never know what will happen in a FB party !! Hope you join us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Angi! You are my hero! :)

      Delete