Wednesday, October 18, 2017

SOUND OF FEAR Excerpt

Here's an excerpt from my new book, coming November 1st:


                         SOUND OF FEAR

By Marta Perry

 

Chapter One

 

     Amanda Curtiss had hoped that going back to work would distract her from the grief that threatened to drown her. It didn’t work. Every person at the veterinary practice felt they had to commiserate on her loss.

     “So very, very sorry about your mother’s death. So shocking, to have one of Boston’s most noted artists taken away by a random street crime.” Alicia Farber’s prominent blue eyes, so like those of her pampered Pekinese, welled with tears. “Pookie is sorry, too. Aren’t you, Pookie?”

     Pookie’s expression exhibited its usual distain for lesser beings. The sight of Amanda’s white lab coat always brought out the worst in him, and he bared his teeth.

     “Let’s just see what’s going on with Pookie, shall we?” Amanda lifted the small dog to the exam table with gentle hands, careful to stay out of the way of his needle-sharp teeth.

     “He’s been barely eating a bite of his food.” Alicia hovered anxiously. “I just knew you’d want to see him. Tell me the worst. I can take it.”

     To do her justice, Alicia was genuinely apprehensive. They all were—all the owners of pampered pets who came through the doors of one of Boston’s most successful veterinary services. Amanda’s job, as one of those at the lowest rung of the ladder, was to reassure the owners while treating their pets. And to refrain from pointing out that both pets and owners would benefit from more exercise and less rich food. No one took that kind of advice well.

     By the time Amanda was ushering Alicia and her pet out of the exam room her head was throbbing and her throat was tight, as it had been since the police officers had come to the door with their grim news.

     Gracie, the receptionist, caught her as she passed. “Dr. Curtiss, there’s someone here to see you.” Lowering her voice, she added, “He said it was personal business, so I put him in an empty exam room. Number Four.”

     “Thanks, Gracie.” Brushing any stray Peke hairs from her lab coat, Amanda headed for the exam room, her stomach clenching. Personal business had taken on an ominous sound lately, since it invariably had to do with her mother’s death.

     But when she opened the door, her face relaxed into a smile. Robert McKinley was not only her mother’s attorney but a long-time family friend as well…Uncle Robert until she’d felt she was too old for the term.

     “Robert. I didn’t expect you…” She stopped, her brain catching up with her tongue. Robert wouldn’t come to her workplace on anything routine. “What’s wrong?”

     “Why should anything be wrong?” He kissed her cheek, and she smelled the faint aroma of musk that always advertised his presence. “Are you sure you should have come back to work so soon? It wasn’t necessary.”

     Maybe not financially, but it was for her mental health. “I’d rather be busy. I need something to occupy my mind.”

“If you’re sure.” He didn’t sound convinced, and Amanda read the uneasiness behind his warmth.

 “You wouldn’t come here unless something had happened. Out with it.” Amanda fought to keep her voice steady. “Whatever it is, it can’t be worse than what’s already happened.”

     Nothing could be worse than losing her mother is such a brutal way…never again to see her forehead wrinkle in absorption over a new painting, never to feel the warm of her hug, never to hear the laughter in her voice…

     Robert frowned, taking a step away. “I know.” His voice wasn’t entirely steady either. He’d adored Juliet in his own staid way. “It may be nothing, but one of the detectives dropped by with the coroner’s report. It had raised some questions in his mind.”

     “Questions?” Her mind shied away from imagining a coroner’s report.

     “Perhaps I’m making too much of this. You might already know.” He shook his head slightly, as if to clear it. “The autopsy confirmed something that seemed…odd.” He held up a hand to silence her when she would have burst out with a demand to hear it, whatever it was. “It seems that Juliet Curtiss, your mother, never had a child.”

     Amanda froze, staring at him. The words were in English, all right, but they didn’t make any sense. “What do you mean? Of course she had a child. I’m standing right here.”

     “Juliet never bore a child,” he repeated. “There isn’t any doubt, Amanda. I read the report for myself, and then I called the coroner for confirmation. Juliet had never had a child.”

     Her sluggish wits started to work. “You mean I’m adopted? But why on earth wouldn’t she have told me?”

     Robert shrugged, seeming relieved that the worst of his news-breaking was over. “I believe specialists do recommend that the child be told, but it could be that Juliet couldn’t bear the idea that your feelings about her would change if you knew she wasn’t your biological mother.”

     At some level she wanted to laugh at that, because it was so ridiculous to think of Juliet in those terms. But if she started to laugh, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to control her emotions.

“Be serious, Robert. Juliet wasn’t a clinging mama. That wasn’t the sort of relationship we had.”

     Amanda paused to consider what she’d just said. She and her mother had certainly been close, but Juliet didn’t dote. It hadn’t been in her nature. True, Amanda had lived at home since her practice and her life had fallen apart in Pennnsylvania, but they’d lived very independent lives. Juliet had her work, and Amanda had hers.

     “You never thought…” Robert began, stepping delicately in what no doubt seemed like a minefield to him.

     “Never,” she said flatly.

     “You see the problem,” he said, frowning again. She thought he held back impatience when she looked at him blankly. “Legally,” he amplified. “Your mother…Juliet…must have adopted you prior to the time I met her. You’d have been about eight, I think, when she bought the brownstone. That was the first bit of business I did for her.”

     Obviously Robert expected her to concentrate on the problem. She tried to rein in her wandering thoughts. Focus, she ordered herself. “Yes, I’d have been eight when we moved uptown. She’d had her first really successful show, and our lives changed.”

     Not that she’d minded the life they’d had before that. The tiny apartment in one of Boston’s many ethnic neighborhoods had been home. But Juliet had wanted more…for herself, but certainly for her daughter.

     “If you don’t remember any other life, Juliet must have adopted you when you were quite small.” Robert wore his worried look. “There surely are papers to that effect somewhere.”

     “Aren’t all her legal documents at your office? She always said she didn’t have the talent or the energy to deal with things like that. Her work…”

     “She was an artist, of course. But that’s no excuse for not having your affairs in order.” That was as close as Amanda had ever heard him come to sounding critical of Juliet. “You can see the quandary that leaves us in now. We must establish your legal position in regard to your mother’s estate.”

     “But she had a will. You showed it to me, remember?”

     “At my insistence, she did.” He sounded grim. “It leaves everything of which she died possessed to her daughter, Amanda Elizabeth Curtiss.”

     “Well, then…”

     “Come, Amanda. Concentrate. You’ve always been the practical one. If you’re not her biological daughter, the language becomes ambiguous.”

     “You mean our home might not be mine?” That possibility did penetrate the fog in which she groped. The brownstone was home. It might be lonely without Juliet, but every inch of it was filled with memories.

     “If someone contested the will on the grounds that you are not Juliet’s daughter, that might well happen.” Robert clasped her hands in a firm grip. “There must be someone who knew Juliet longer than I did. They might know the circumstances of your…your adoption. Who were her oldest friends?”

     Amanda released her hands to rub her temples. “But I don’t know of anyone. All of the people in our lives dated from the time we moved uptown.” Then it struck her. “But what about her brother, George? They’d been estranged for a long time, but he did come to the funeral. Surely he’d know…” Know where I came from. She finished the sentence in her mind.

     This was crazy. It was like spinning around on the ice in an out-of-control car. Every anchor she reached for slid from her grasp.

     “George Curtiss is the last person I’d confide in at this point. Don’t you see, Amanda? He can’t know there’s any question, or you can be sure he’d have brought it up.” Robert’s frown deepened. “There were good reasons for the breach between him and your mother. If half what she said about him is true, he’d be contesting the will in an instant if he even suspected.”

     “Then what should I do? How can we find out?” If her uncle didn’t know…but he wasn’t her uncle, it seemed, any more than Juliet had been her mother.

     “First of all, it’s essential that we find any documents relating to you. You’d better have a good search throughout the house for papers. You must have a birth certificate, at least. We may want to hire a firm of private investigators to look into it. And whatever you do, don’t talk about this to anyone but me.”

     She blinked at that. “But my closest friends…”

     “Not your friends, not anyone. Not until we have a better handle on your identity than we do now.”

     Her identity. Amanda had always known who she was and where she belonged. Now it seemed she didn’t know at all. Who was she?

 

Monday, October 16, 2017

WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Here are the winners of a copy of the first book in the Echo Falls series, Echo of Danger: Tracie Nolan, Virginia Sticklin, Nelida Esparza Lopez, Nancy Wallace, and Linda Critcher! Winners, e-mail me at mpjohn@ptd.net with your name and mailing address so I can send you your book!

And watch next week for a giveaway of the latest Echo Falls book, SOUND OF FEAR.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

LOOK WHAT'S COMING SOON!

Look what's coming out the end of October--SOUND OF FEAR, Book Two in the Echo Falls romantic suspense series! Pre-order your copy today!




In the sweet subtle wind of a Pennsylvania Dutch town, a lost woman and a man of duty will risk their lives to uncover her true identity 

The foundation of Amanda Curtis's very existence cracks the moment she discovers the woman she thought was her mother has never given birth. Where she belongs is a question she can't put to rest. But when the clues lead her to a charming yet chilling small town, the threat against her begins to unfold.

Trey Addison is a fixture in Echo Falls. The town and the people are his to protect. He was born to take his place in the family legal firm, but now that a stranger desperate to unlock her past is depending on him, he's forced to make an impossible choice. If Trey doesn't protect Amanda, she'll walk straight into a deadly trap. If he helps her expose the secrets that haunt her, the truth could shatter them both.

Monday, August 21, 2017

WINNERS!

And the winners are: Donna McCoy, Jane Reeves, Sherry Lynn,
Sharon Pray, Alice Wagner, Marsha Cole, Ann Carlton, Jane Dumey, Vanda Human, and Denise Greenacre! Please e-mail me your address to mpjohn@ptd.net. Congratulations!
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CHANCE TO WIN!

Enter for a chance to win one of ten copies of Second Chance Amish Bride! Comment below with your email address or, if you prefer, leave a private message at facebook.com/MartaPerryBooks. Winners will be announced on Monday, Aug. 21st at noon.

Second Chance Amish Bride will be available in stores August 26th...first in a new Amish series!

Friday, June 2, 2017

SPECIAL EVENT!

I have some happy news! My Amish Romantic Suspense book, MURDER IN PLAIN SIGHT, has been chosen for the Kindle Monthly Deals by Amazon. This means you can download an e-book copy for $1.99 during the month of June. So if you haven't read it, or you'd like to read it again, don't miss this opportunity!

Monday, April 24, 2017

ECHO OF DANGER Sale Coupon


My latest book, ECHO OF DANGER, releases tomorrow! And here's a coupon for you!

If you enjoy romantic suspense, you won't want to miss the start of a new series of Amish-set romantic suspense novels. Get your copy now and save $1 on either the print or e-book version.

Here's how:

Use coupon code ECHODANGER1 to receive $1 OFF the print or ebook version of ECHO OF DANGER on
Harlequin.com. In order to redeem this offer, please add the print or ebook version of ECHO OF DANGER to your shopping cart and then enter the coupon code at checkout.

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Echo Of Danger


 

 

 Enjoy the opening scene from Echo of Danger, coming soon!


 

 

 

ECHO OF DANGER

By

Marta Perry

Chapter One

 

     Her father-in-law set down the coffee she’d poured for him and glanced dismissively around Deidre Morris’s sunny, country-style kitchen. “I’ve found a buyer for your house.”

     The seemingly casual words, dropped into what had supposedly been an impromptu visit to see his grandson, sent ripples of alarm through Deidre. Her own cup clattered, nearly missing the saucer. “I…what did you say?”

     Judge Franklin Morris gave her the look he’d give a recalcitrant defendant in his courtroom. “I said, I’ve found a buyer for you. He’s offering the best price you can expect for a place like this. And you’ll be able to move into Ferncliff by the end of the month.”

     Deidre pressed suddenly cold hands against the top of the pine table that had belonged to her grandparents. She should have guessed that there was something behind this visit. Judge Morris was far too busy to drop in on anyone. And nothing he said was ever casual.

     She was going to have to take a firm line, clearly, and that wasn’t easy with a man who was accustomed to speak with the force of law. Stupid, she lectured herself. He can’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do, even if he is Kevin’s grandfather.

     “I’m afraid there’s some misunderstanding. I have no intention of selling this house.” And certainly not of moving into the chilly mansion where every moment of the day was governed by her formidable father-in-law’s wishes.

     “I realize you have a sentimental attachment to your family home.” He spoke with a tone of barely controlled impatience. “But since you won’t have any need of the house once you and Kevin move in with us, selling seems the sensible solution. You can invest the money for the future. However, if you prefer to rent, I suppose that can be arranged.”

The judge’s face had stiffened, making it look very like the portrait of him that hung in the county courthouse, marking his twenty years on the bench. The firm planes of his face, the small gray moustache, the piercing gray eyes—all seemed granted by providence to make Franklin Morris look like what he was.

But she wasn’t either a plaintiff or a defendant. “I don’t want to rent or sell. This is my home, mine and Kevin’s. This is where I plan to live.” Surely that was clear enough.

The chink of a glass reminded her that they were not alone. Kevin sat across from her, his blue eyes huge and round above the chocolate milk that rimmed his mouth. Deidre’s heart clenched. A five-year-old shouldn’t be hearing this conversation.

“Kevin, why don’t you run upstairs and finish the get-well card you’re making for your grandmother. That way Grandfather can take it with him when he goes.” She gave him a reassuring smile, wishing someone would send reassurance her way about now.

Kevin nodded, his chair scraping back. Without a word, he scuttled from the kitchen like a mouse escaping the cat.

Her son’s expression reminded Deidre of the most important reason why they’d never be moving into Ferncliff. She wouldn’t allow Kevin to grow up the way his father had, doubting himself at every turn, convinced he could never measure up to what was expected of him. She turned back to the table to be met by a stare that chilled her.

“Deidre, what is this nonsense? I could understand your reluctance to make a move in the immediate aftermath of Frank’s death. But you’ve had nearly a year. It was always understood that you and Kevin would move in with us. We have plenty of room, and it’s the sensible thing to do. With Frank gone, I’m the only father figure the boy will have.”

And that was exactly what Deidre feared most. This was her own fault, she supposed. She should have stood firm when the subject had first come up, but she’d still been dazed at the suddenness of Frank’s death, unable to come to terms with the thought of the screaming, shrieking crash of his treasured sports car against the bridge abutment.

She hadn’t been in any condition then to mount a major battle with the judge, so she’d taken the easy way out, claiming she couldn’t possibly make any more abrupt changes in their lives until they’d become accustomed to the tragedy. When both the family doctor and her minister had chimed in with their support, the judge had graciously backed down.

But now it was the day of reckoning. Taking the easy way out had only postponed the inevitable.

“I realize that you hoped to have us close, especially after Frank’s death.” Deidre chose her words carefully. No matter what damage she considered he’d done to Frank by the way he’d raised him, the judge had lost his only child. “But Frank and I chose to live here, and all of our plans for the future included this house as our home.”

“All that has changed now.” The judge brushed away the years of her marriage with a sweeping gesture of his hand. “Without my son…” He paused, and she feared his iron control was going to snap.

He’d never forgive himself or her if he showed what he’d consider weakness in front of her, and a spasm of pity caught at her throat. His only child gone, his wife an alcoholic…small wonder he had all his hopes centered on his grandson.

The judge cleared his throat, vanquishing whatever emotion had threatened to erupt. “I’m only thinking of what’s best for Kevin. We can offer him so much more than you can alone. Surely you realize that. An appropriate school, the right background…these things count for something in the world beyond Echo Falls.”

Ambition, in other words. That was what he’d wanted for Frank, and he’d never let Frank forget what he’d supposedly given up by coming back to Echo Falls and marrying her instead of going out into the glittering future his father had wanted for him.

But she could hardly use that as an argument with her father-in-law. “Kevin’s only five. There’s plenty of time to be thinking about the right school for him. At the moment, he needs security, warmth, and familiarity in his life, and that’s what he has.” She saw the argument shaping in his eyes and hurried on. “Please don’t think I don’t appreciate all that you and Sylvia do for Kevin. You’re a very important part of his life and nothing can change that.” She managed a smile. “After all, we’re less than a mile away as it is.”

Less than a mile, yes, but to her mind there was a huge difference between the comfortable family house on the edge of town, surrounded by fields, woods, and Amish farms, and the cool, elegant mansion on the hill.

Her father-in-law’s chair scraped back as he rose, standing rigid to look down at her for a long moment. “I’m sorry you can’t see the sense of my offer, Deidre. It would be easier all around if you did.”

He turned, stalking without haste from the room, down the hall, and toward the front door. Deidre, hurrying after him, reached the door in time to have it close sharply in her face.

Well. Her hands were cold and trembling, and she clasped them together, needing something to hold onto. Surely she must be imagining what seemed a threat in the judge’s final words. Hadn’t she?

“Mommy?” Kevin scurried down the stairs, waving a sheet of construction paper. “Grandfather left without the card I made.”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart. I guess he forgot.”

Deidre put her arm around her son to draw him close, taking comfort from his sturdy little body. She held the picture he was waving so she could see it. Kevin had drawn himself, holding a handful of flowers in all sorts of unlikely shades of crayon. He’d printed his name at the top in uncertain letters.

“But my picture…” He clouded up. “I made it especially for Grandma.”

“We’ll put it in an envelope and mail it to her right now, okay?”

That restored his sunny smile, and Kevin ran to the drop-front desk in the corner of the living room. “I’ll get an envelope.”

“Good job, Kev. I know this will make Grandma feel better.”

She hoped. A report that Sylvia was ill usually meant that she’d gotten hold of something to drink. Once started, she couldn’t seem to stop. Much as Deidre grieved for Sylvia, she didn’t mean to expose Kevin to the difficulties inherent in living with her.

That was one more reason why the judge’s plan was impossible. She just wished she could get rid of the sinking feeling that Judge Franklin Morris didn’t give up on anything until he had what he wanted.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Time for a Book Giveaway! In anticipation of my new romantic suspense, ECHO OF DANGER, coming the end of the month, I'm giving away 5 copies of the last book, HOW SECRETS DIE this week. Just send me your e-mail address by Friday, April 7 at noon to be entered. Either reply, message me on Facebook, or email me at marta@martaperry.com. And watch for a giveaway of the new book coming soon!


Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Book Coming!

NEW BOOK COMING!
In one month, ECHO OF DANGER, first book in my new suspense series, will be in stores. Pre-order it now at https://www.amazon.com/Echo-Danger-Romance-No…/…/ref=sr_1_1…


 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Time for a book giveaway! Would you like to win a signed copy of WHEN SECRETS STRIKE? If so, leave your name and e-mail contact in a comment or e-mail me with the information at marta@martaperry.com. Winners will be announced on Friday, Feb. 10th.




Good luck!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Newsletter Coming!

Enjoy Pennsylvania Dutch cooking? Then sign up for the next issue of the Marta Perry newsletter at http://www.martaperry.com/lists/?p=subscribe. When you sign up, you'll receive an e-copy of my brochure of Pennsylvania Dutch recipes with some of my favorite family recipes.

This issue of the newsletter, in addition to information about upcoming books for 2017, also includes my favorite soup recipe along with an opportunity to share your best soup recipes with other readers. So don't be left out in the cold without some hot soup to cheer you in the winter chill!



Monday, January 16, 2017

The Winners!

And the winners are: Marie Stoutenborough, Joan Hoffman, Rebecca Skelton, Tonya Stewart, Pauline Osborne, Terri Duran, Jenny Propst, Cheryl Baranski, Karen Dowdy, and Sherry Kemp. Congratulations! Please send your mailing address to me at mpjohn@ptd.net as soon as possible so I can mail your book. Thanks for playing!

Marta

Friday, January 13, 2017

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Time for a giveaway! If you like to receive a free, signed copy of one of my older books, DANGER IN PLAIN SIGHT, sign up with your email address. Either leave a comment, message me, or email me at marta@martaperry.com. Be sure to include your email address so I can reach you! I'll announce ten winners on Monday, Jan. 16th.