Ruler of Demons, by Scott Lerner
Only eleven shopping days till Christmas. And less than a week to save the world.
Three nuns—in Chicago, Paris, and Jerusalem—have been killed in a religious ritual. The choice of victims and the macabre details of their deaths indicate that someone is following a recipe provided on an ancient text—a recipe to unleash the forces of hell on earth. The final sacrifice must occur on the Winter Solstice.
Samuel Roberts, a small-town attorney in Urbana, Illinois, knows a bit about the supernatural, having triumphed at least once over the forces of evil. Thanks to a friend who is aware of Sam’s little known previous efforts on behalf of mankind, Sam is hired by a big Chicago law firm to take on a sensitive case. His mission? Nothing less than halting the impending apocalypse.
Sam and his good buddy Bob travel first to Jerusalem then Paris in a desperate race to save mankind.
Ruler of Demons is the sequel to Cocaine Zombies, which won a Bronze medal in the 2012 IPPY Awards.
Feb. 1, 2014
Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind, by Carla Kelly
Orphaned as a child, Miss Jane Milton lives to serve her Stover cousins, tending to their every need. Her beloved cousin Blair suffered a slow and painful death from wounds received at the Battle of Waterloo, and now, ten months later, Miss Milton feels utterly forlorn. Her one solace is caring for Lord Canfield’s orphaned son, Andrew, a sad boy dogged by rumors that he was conceived before Lord Canfield married his mother. Is the source of these rumors Miss Milton’s second cousin, the imperious Lady Carruthers, who seems determined to disinherit Andrew in favor of her own profligate son? If only Miss Milton could stand up to the horrid woman and her insults.
Miss Milton finds herself spending more and more time in the company of her neighbor, a handsome tradesman. Mr. Butterfield, said to “smell of the shop,” in fact smells deliciously of lavender. He has an encouraging effect on Miss Milton, helping her to understand that her world will not collapse if she learns to speak her mind.
As her regard for her neighbor grows, Miss Milton remains aware of the many reasons they cannot be together. Fifteen years older, Mr. Butterfield is dangerously liberal-minded and earns his fortune through hard work. And she, whose aristocratic relatives look down on men of his ilk, is an impoverished spinster, almost thirty years old. In truth, the real gulf between them lies in the many guilty secrets they and others seem determined to guard at all costs.
First published in 1998.
The Royal Mile, by Mary Daheim
As her father lies on his deathbed, Dallas Cameron joins the crowd gathered at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh to witness the triumphant entrance of Mary Stuart into Scotland in 1561. On Dallas’ way home, she is rescued from a group of lecherous ruffians by a dashing stranger. Iain Fraser escorts her home, where Dallas’ mortally ill father recognizes her savior’s name and tells him a secret he has never shared with anyone—the identity of Iain’s father.
Donald Cameron’s death leaves Dallas and her two sisters destitute. She tries to earn money by selling meat pies and family heirlooms, but her efforts are in vain. Taking pity on the poor lassie, Iain spares her further humiliation by giving her a loan. Later, she accidently stumbles across his ship hidden in a cave and discovers that not only is Iain one of Queen Mary’s favorite courtiers, but he’s also a pirate. To ensure her silence, Iain agrees to marry her, but love isn’t part of their strange bargain. She gains respectability and security while he moves on to enjoy his freedom.
Iain’s dedication to Scotland and the Queen often takes him away from his wife, whose loyalty wavers during times of loneliness. As Dallas’ passion is awakened, she realizes that the only man she really loves is her lawful husband. But before they can attempt to heal the emotional wounds they have inflicted on each other, they must first find a way to survive the political and religious turmoil plaguing the dangerous court of Mary, Queen of Scots.
First published in 1983 as Love’s Pirate.
Chicago, The Windigo City, by Mark Everett Stone
No Rest For The Weary
Kal Hakala is the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation’s best agent, but even he needs a break after his last case, which brought him a hair’s breadth from death and killed the fiancée of his best friend, a Mescalero Apache agent named Canton Asate. Kal’s temporary desk-job is nothing less than leadership of the entire BSI. Now it is on his head to assemble teams of agents to fight the latest Supernatural incursions and man up if they fail.
Evil Has An Appetite
Windigo spirits in Chicago are possessing human beings and transforming them into ravenous cannibals. Canton is the natural choice for a team leader because of his knowledge of Native American lore. Is Canton, a legend with a knife, ready to strike again, so soon after his fiancée’s death? What about Kal’s own girlfriend, Jeanie? Can he stand to put her in danger and beyond his protection? Kal is forced to use the BSI’s cutting-edge virtual reality system to see what makes them both tick. Will the experience of virtually living their lives afford him the will to send those he loves into danger? Can an emotionally damaged man who has never led a team and a woman who traveled through time from the 1940s make the cut?
For Kal, the choice isn’t easy, but for the other two, it could be deadly.
The Assassin’s Heart, by J.A. Kazimer
When CIA assassin Hannah Winslow mistakenly kills the wrong man, she vows never to take another life. Unfortunately Hannah’s superiors believe the killing was intentional. Now Hannah is the target.
Hannah always knew it might come to this. Surprising her colleagues, she manages to disappear completely into a new, screamingly dull life, assuming a fake identity, shacking up with an overweight cat, and starting a new career as an ad executive.
Hannah’s past finally catches up with her at a company retreat in Hawaii, where her former partner Benjamin Miller has tracked her down. Is it a coincidence that assassination attempts on her life are now as common as rum, suntan lotion, and tiny umbrella drinks? What is the real reason for Ben’s presence? Will he be her savior or her assassin?
The Infinity Program, by Richard H. Hardy
Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.
Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways—Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn’t know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.
Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office’s Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.
Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.