Thursday, June 10, 2021

On the Spotlight: The Art of Betrayal, by Connie Berry

AUTHOR: Connie Berry

WEBSITE: https://www.connieberry.com

PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane

FIND OUT MORE: 

1. Amazon: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery: Berry, Connie: 9781643855943: Amazon.com: Books

2. Barnes&Noble: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery by Connie Berry, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

3. Booksamillion: The Art of Betrayal : A Kate Hamilton Mystery by Connie Berry (booksamillion.com)

4. Indiebound: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery | IndieBound.org


ABOUT THE BOOK: 

American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is spending the month of May in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, tending her friend Ivor Tweedy’s antiquities shop while he recovers from hip surgery. Kate is thrilled when a reclusive widow consigns an ancient Chinese jar—until the Chinese jar is stolen and a body turns up in the middle of the May Fair. With no insurance covering the loss, Tweedy may be ruined. As DI Tom Mallory searches for the victim’s missing daughter, Kate notices puzzling connections with a well-known local legend. Kate’s most puzzling case yet pits her against the spring floods, a creepy mansion in the Suffolk countryside, the murky depths of Anglo-Saxon history, and a clever killer with an old secret. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Connie Berry is the author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. During college she studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany and St. Clare's College, Oxford, where she fell under the spell of the British Isles. In 2019 Connie won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery and was a finalist for the Agatha Award’s Best Debut. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and is on the board of the Guppies and her local Sisters in Crime chapter. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Emmie. 


FOLLOW CONNIE BERRY: 

Website: www.connieberry.com

Facebook: https://facebook.com/thekatehamiltonmysteryseries

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@conniecberry

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/conniecampbellberry

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/@conniecampbellberry




Wednesday, June 9, 2021

🏰Read the First Chapter from MEANINGFULL: 23 LIFE-CHANGING STORIES OF CONQUERING DIETING, WEIGHT & BODY IMAGE ISSUES by Alli Spotts-De Lazzer #FirstChapter


T
itle: MEANINGFULL: 23 LIFE-CHANGING STORIES OF CONQUERING DIETING, WEIGHT, & BODY IMAGE ISSUES
Author: Alli Spotts-De Lazzer
Publisher: Unsolicited Press
Pages: 282
Genre: Self-Help / Memoir

BOOK BLURB:

MEANINGFULL: 23 LIFE-CHANGING STORIES OF CONQUERING DIETING, WEIGHT, & BODY IMAGE ISSUES is a blend of motivational self-help, memoir, psychology, and health and wellness. Alli Spotts-De Lazzer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an expert in eating and body image issues, and a woman on the other side of her own decades-long struggle with food and body.

A $702 billion global diet/nutrition and weight loss industry shows that people worldwide are devoted to achieving maximum health and their desired bodies. Yet mainstream approaches are failing these individuals, and sadly, science proves this. Intent on gaining the “health” and “happiness” that diets promise, consumers keep trying. They become sad and frustrated, believing they’re failing when they’re not. They simply need a legitimate, alternative path, which MeaningFULL offers. Through the contributors’ diverse, real-life mini-memoirs followed by Spotts-De Lazzer’s commentaries, readers will learn about themselves and discover their unique, unconventional formulas for conquering their issues. Along the way, MeaningFULL will also guide them towards more self-appreciation, wellness, and fulfillment.

PRAISE

“Have you ever thought that the painful experiences you’ve had after falling off a diet or being uncomfortable with your body are yours alone? No one else could have ever felt as sad, frustrated, or disappointed as you have! No one else could have struggled with self-esteem or a lack of inner trust as you have! The truth is that these feelings and experiences are universal in a world of diet culture, that only values you for an idealized size or shape of your body and judges you for your eating choices. MeaningFull is a relatable, down-to-earth book that can help you to not feel so alone and isolated in your relationship with food and your body. By reading the stories of a multitude of people who have found their way out of the trap of diet culture and by reading the clear and valuable guidelines and advice that Alli Spotts-De Lazzer presents, you will finally find the hope for a future of joy and satisfaction in your eating and a sense of respect and dignity for the miraculous body that is yours.”

-Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, FAND, Nutrition Therapist, Author of The Intuitive Eating Workbook for Teens and The Intuitive Eating Journal, Co-author of Intuitive Eating, The Intuitive Eating Workbook, and The Intuitive Eating Card Deck

In “Meaning Full” Alli Spotts has put together a trove of inspiring stories for anyone interested in tackling problems with eating, weight and body image. The various contributors in the book take readers on a summary of their own healing journey providing useful ideas and strategies that others can apply where appropriate. Readers not only get honest, personal, accounts, but Alli’s summary at the end of each case provides clarification, cites research, and gives further resources on the various subjects brought up. It is refreshing to read a book where individuals dealing with weight and body image struggles describe overcoming their plight.

-Carolyn Costin, Director of the Carolyn Costin Institute, 8 Keys To Recovering From An Eating Disorder

For parents who have a child struggling with any kind of eating or body image issues, it’s common to feel isolated, scared, confused, and even ashamed. The stigma and stereotypes around these issues and sometimes serious illnesses add an extra burden for so many families, and it can be hard to find other people who truly “get it.” Parents looking for hope, insight, and connection will find many poignant stories in MeaningFULL. Caring for a young person through healing from these issues-from seemingly minor self-image problems to serious eating disorders-can take an emotional toll, and families often need a lot of support. Alli Spotts-De Lazzer’s collection of diverse personal stories can help parents feel less alone, shed the guilt or self-blame, and start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

-Oona Hanson, MA, MA, Educator and Parent Coach






Chapter One


Never Going to be Perfect

Anonymous


THE BABY WANTED “junk food.” Every day.

I ballooned up during my pregnancy because I didn’t crave celery. I craved cookies and ice cream, the same things that I denied myself while I danced professionally. After the birth, I planned to resume my normal eating and go back to my dancing as usual.

I’m a petite, curvy, half Japanese woman who spent the first part of my life performing next to six feet tall, ultra-thin dancers with legs up to my shoulders. Because the professional world of dance placed so much focus on a dancer’s looks, shape, and weight, I had to work extra hard to get jobs amid those girls. Fortunately, I kept getting hired because I loved to dance, I’m good at it, and I worked my ass off.

However, the costumes were usually geared towards slim, long-legged women; they didn’t look good on me. In this one vertically striped unitard, the other girls showed three stripes across the thigh. Me? Five. When I split the butt of a different costume, I got a write-up; the dance captain told me to lose weight. I felt shocked and concerned that I might get fired because the old satin bottoms had worn thin in the rear and ripped. I had already lost weight since the beginning of that show. It was so unfair!

Daily, I desired that unachievable, unattainable, tall and thin body that, at the time, permeated the dance industry. Even when I got skinny, I still had hips because my bones are shaped that way. My boobs sunk in. I accepted, “This is just how I am.”

I disliked my genetic imprint. I disliked me.

An extra hard work ethic helped me to repeatedly manage the body loathing that dominated the first half of life, as well as the emotional eating that heavily influenced the second part, which you’ll now see.

Suddenly and without warning, my world flipped on its axis. I gave birth to this infant whose unexpected prognosis devastated me. My boy was likely not going to live for even a year and had received a provisional diagnosis of cerebral palsy. My existence played like a country song: in a short period of time, my husband left, my mom passed away from cancer, and my cat got eaten by a coyote.

Extraordinarily alone as I was, my seizing baby needed me 24/7. I loved him so much, and I didn’t want him to die. I tried to manage his care, see all the recommended specialists, handle what became an expensive and long divorce, deal with the heartbreak of losing my mom and cat, and just get through each day.

Food wound up as my only comfort because I didn’t have anybody to hug me. I didn’t have anybody or anything that felt solid. I couldn’t put a nipple on a vodka bottle, sit in the back of my closet, and hide from everyone. Smoking pot would have left me too impaired. So whenever I felt overwhelmed and very alone—both happened often—I turned to food for solace and as my friend.

Cookies were heaven. I remember I had been living at the hospital while my son had pneumonia. After his fifth consecutive admission, I questioned if he was going to pull through. After I finally got to bring him home, I went to the store. As a relief and a reward, I bought two bags of cookies and mindlessly ate.

To bring you now to the present, it has been 18 years since his birth. My son is debilitated, but he is alive. My stressors have been constant, and most of these years, I have been an “emotional eater.”

Not too long ago, I realized that stress and emotional eating had taken a toll on my health; I received some medical diagnoses. At nearly 60, this news shocked me into choosing health over emotional eating, body image, and stuff like that. Of course, I still sometimes feel overwhelmed and devastated, like when my son is sick and might die, or he’s in pain that I can’t fix, but I handle it differently now.

To begin to change the emotional eating, I first had to stabilize my life. This meant getting used to it and accepting whatever it was. Then, I had to make some time for me. Enlisting nursing to aid with my son’s 24/7 care helped, but even that took around eight years before I could begin to power down.

I gradually found my freedom from both my emotional eating and that preexisting body loathing through looking inside, learning, and changing. Here are the main components that I found to be my fixes. I hope that some might support you, too.

*************

Ask for help.

I had to be able to ask for help, which is hard for me, an independent woman. What was the alternative? Sitting there in the depths of grief. Eating. Staying stuck in that awful, awful place.

I sucked at relationships. So I never got support from a romantic partner, but I got it in spades when it came to friends. There were days I’d pick up the phone. My friend would say, “Hello.” Trying not to cry, I couldn’t talk. Silence. He knew it was me from caller ID, and he’d say, “Doll, what do you need?” Silence. “Do you need to come over?” I’d croak, “Yes.” He’d say, “Tell me when.” Me: “Tomorrow afternoon.” He’d say, “Okay.” And that was it. He’d hang up.

Sometimes I just needed somebody to care. I was so overwhelmed and not handling it. They, the people I reached out to, gave me love. Asking for their support got me through some of the hardest times.

Find a mentor.

I found a therapist who specialized in services for family members with disabilities. She helped me traverse the systems that could assist with my son’s disability. She understood how to navigate the bureaucratic shit that is part of life, and she became my advocate. Her support helped put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Open up.

I opened myself to everything I could find that might help—alternative medicine, healers, anything.

Eat mindfully.

I wasn’t feeling great. My moods and energy were crap. Wanting to feel better and improve my health pushed me into being more mindful about eating, taking pleasure in food, and honoring both cravings and what I’m needing for nourishment.

Include contentment in your life.

To me, contentment is that feeling of being centered in my life. Through mindful eating and acquiring the practices of meditation and gratitude, I brought more contentment into my life.

Meditate.

I had no idea if it would help, but I kept doing free meditations I found online. This really alleviated my stress and increased my awareness as far as gratitude was concerned.

I still don’t know why the meditations helped so much. I just know that after about a week of practicing them, I was driving around and I noticed I felt happy, fulfilled, and grateful. I wondered, “What the hell? Where did this come from?” I felt better.

Identify what you’re grateful for.

While grasping for things to hold onto, something Oprah said on her talk show struck me. She spoke about writing daily in a gratitude journal. I started one. I wrote in that sucker every day the year my son was born. It did not make everything better, but it helped. Forced to find a few things to be thankful for, I started building this habit of trying to find gratitude in any given instant.

After all these years, I still make sure I have a moment each day where I give thanks, and it can be for whatever. When I’m driving to dance class, I may thank God (for me it’s God, but for you, it might be different) for this beautiful day and that my body is healthy enough to take a dance class.

My whole perspective has changed. I went to another country four years ago. The public toilet was a porcelain hole and a bucket of water with a scoop to flush. When I gave my porter a tip, he said, “I’m going to use this money to buy electricity.” Electricity? I thought, “Oh my God. I have so much.”

I realized that some of my eating, stress, and body-loathing stuff had been about feeling a “lack,” believing that I don’t have abundance in my life. But I do. I have more than I need.

Here’s the shocking conclusion I’ve reached. Mitigating my stress is not about eating. Mitigating my stress is about meditating, exercising, getting outside, spending time with friends, and cuddling my cat. It can be about advocating for my family and myself when it’s needed, even if that means battling hospitals and medical bureaucratic monsters. For me, it’s about finding and maintaining a space of gratitude.

*************

Steel is forged in fire. Walking through the fire of my life, I grew stronger and learned to look at my world in a way I may have otherwise missed. The feel of my son’s velvety cheek, the sun on my face, and a book in my lap—these are perfect moments. When I am truly living in these instants and not in the “I need to be at the grocery store, then at the—” I am more than okay.

Shit’s never going to be perfect. But we, you and me, can notice and appreciate a moment of perfection—like laughing your butt off with a friend; it’s in that moment. And those moments add up to a level of contentment.

The one thing that keeps me away from both emotional eating and body loathing is gratitude. You cannot treat yourself cruelly while in the midst of gratitude.

Note from Alli:

When you think of remedies for body hate and emotional eating, what comes to your mind? Many of us probably go to what seems logical regarding dissatisfaction with the body—change the body to dislike it less. Advice to correct emotional eating? That often includes controlling the food intake, removing tempting items from the house, and increasing discipline. Unfortunately, those methods can be unreliable. Instead, our Storyteller learned to use different, personally effective, maintainable practices. Her shifts in attitude and actions helped her to heal from body hate and emotional eating while also enriching her life.

I want to mention “junk food” here because exploring our preconceived notions can be part of our conquering expedition. With that said, I ask you: what if having “junk food” as we desired it instead of forbidding it might prevent a later episode of emotionally eating, overeating, or bingeing it? This might not be for everyone, but for some, the food then loses its power over us. That sounds useful, not junky at all.

Among the components described in this narrative, our Storyteller points out the practice of meditation as a distinct turning point for her. There are different ways to meditate, and the benefits of it have been well-documented (may reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, increase ability to relax, and so on). If you feel curious about meditation, an accessible overview of research can be found in the online article, “Meditation: In Depth,” by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.[i]

If you’ve already tried meditation and it didn’t work for you, that’s okay! But before you cross it off the list completely, I encourage you to ask yourself: “Did I practice a form that I could connect with?” and “Did I try it for long enough?” The same questions apply to gratitude practices and any other conquering approach you may test. Here’s why.

If something resonates—or could resonate—with you, then you’re more likely to do it than if it didn’t. You might even want to eventually adopt it as a part of your lifestyle. About duration, while researching an article I was writing, I read a lot about habits and the brain. I discovered that contrary to popular belief, there seems to be no “‘X’ number of days” that assures the formation of a habit. It can require more time and attempts than anticipated. With an open mind and inquisitiveness, you’ll likely notice if and when changes happen for you.

When emotional eating has become a primary coping skill, it can feel impossible to stop. Instead, try adding methods to help you cope, like those in this story. Use a skill or two—maybe a few—before going to your emotional eating. The more skills you can enlist, the less you may need to rely on emotional eating as a mainstay.

[i] National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Meditation: In Depth, (2016). 


ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3grTb9i

Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/32w6XzE

Unsolicited Press → https://bit.ly/3ej7Zo0






Alli Spotts-De Lazzer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and eating and body image specialist with a private practice in Los Angeles, California. Alli has presented educational workshops at conferences, graduate schools, and hospitals; published articles in academic journals, trade magazines, and online information hubs; and appeared as an eating disorders expert on local news. A believer in service, she has co-chaired committees for the Academy for Eating Disorders and the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (“iaedp”), facilitated an ongoing eating and body image support group, and created #ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance! – a series of public events sparking conversations about self-acceptance. She was named the 2017 iaedp Member of the Year, and Mayor Garcetti recognized July 13, 2017 as “#ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance! Day” in the City of Los Angeles. MeaningFULL: 23 Life-Changing Stories of Conquering Dieting, Weight, & Body Image Issues was inspired from both Alli’s personal and professional experiences.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE 1 | WEBSITE 2 | TWITTER | TWITTER 2FACEBOOK | FACEBOOK2

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Read the First Chapter from THE PILATE SCROLL by M.B. Lewis #FirstChapter


THE PILATE SCROLL
Author: Michael Lewis
Publisher: SATCOM Publishing
Pages: 354
Genre: Christian Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

A quest to save the world . . . a secret that could change it. Forever.

Kadie Jenkins is a survivor. Now part of an elite group of scholars and scientists, their mission is to stop an impending global terrorist threat. But when a colleague is murdered in Egypt, Kadie finds herself pitted against a foe more terrifying than the one they were trying to stop. Teaming up with a renegade pilot and her younger brother, they find themselves in a race against time, greed, and certain death. Can they uncover a 2000-year-old legend to save themselves and possibly the rest of the world?





Chapter One

Chapter 1

Port Said, Egypt

The Market District

 

Samuel Jacobson was a dead man. Or at least he thought so. His phone call had been erratic, anxious—almost in a panic.

“Brian, we have to go.” Kadie Jenkins stood and slid her iPhone back in the cargo pocket of her tan 5.11 cargo pants. She grabbed her purse and rose from the table in the back of the tiny restaurant, dragging her nineteen-year-old brother out before they had a chance to order their dinner. The restaurant sat tucked between shops selling hookahs on one side and women’s clothes on the other. The aroma of fresh bread and grilled meats dissipated, replaced by the pungent scent of car exhaust and camel dung.

“It’s only a fifteen-minute walk back to the hotel,” Kadie said. “I bet we can make it in ten.”

Brian stumbled behind her as they hurried along dusty streets. They turned into the souk, or open-air market, the brick-laid section of the market that was pedestrian-only this time of night. While many of the shops had their “roll-up” metal security doors pulled down, the market bristled with life. 

Vendors waved items in their faces, children tugged on their pant legs, and beggars held their palms up hoping for a handout. Her eyes studied everyone who came close, gauging their intentions in a moment’s glance. She was one of only a few women in the market not wearing a hijab, thus identifying her as a tourist.

“Kadie slow down,” Brian said. His breathing came deep and awkward, despite being a regular participant in the Special Olympics.

“Sorry, Brian. We could get a cab at the other end of the market. But by the time we find one, describe our hotel, and negotiate a price, we could walk to the hotel.” While she relished the exercise, she worried her pace was too much for him. He was fit for a young man with Down syndrome, but she moved swiftly.

Their team had been in Egypt for almost three weeks. Starting in Cairo, the small group of seven from GDI, the Global Disease Initiative, had been scouring the city for clues to an ancient cure. Their quest had led them from the United States to Cairo, then to Port Said. Their four days here had not yet proven fruitful.

The goosebumps on her skin reminded her of Samuel’s phone call. His message was brief yet concise: his life was in danger because he knew what they were really searching for. What did he mean? Their team was one of four positioned across the Middle East in search of their goal. Now, for some reason, Samuel questioned what that was.

GDI had been contracted by the United States government to locate an ancient cure for an even older virus—the hantavirus. Kadie researched the topic before they left for Egypt. Rodents generally spread it, and this strain was a particularly virulent “Old World” virus that had proven resistant to modern medicine.

The Central Intelligence Agency learned that ISIS weaponized the hantavirus in aerosol form and planned to unleash it across the West. The virus was known at the CDC to cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Initial symptoms include fever, chills, blurred vision, back and abdominal pain, and intense headaches known to bring a grown man to his knees. Later, those exposed would experience shock, low blood pressure, kidney failure, and vascular leakage—all in all, a nasty virus to thrust upon any population. The logistics involved in treating the virus were obvious.

The unique thing about the “Old World” hantavirus, was that it had predominantly appeared in Europe and Asia. GDI discovered that the virus had been eliminated in the Middle East, which was odd, as rodents were prevalent throughout the region.

Through one of their many connections, GDI learned of a legendary cure developed in ancient Israel around 30 A.D. The virus had a different name back then, but the symptoms were the same. The cure was a simple combination of plants and minerals. The formula was stored in a vase with Aramaic writing on the side and lay hidden for millennia. That was why she was here. Kadie was fluent in Latin, Greek, and Aramaic. The executive vice president for the Science and Technology Division of GDI had contacted her personally, telling her she was “uniquely qualified” for this job. Kadie was enthralled to join the team when the offer came.

Samuel was in his early sixties, and he and Kadie had struck up a friendship at the beginning of their journey. He became her mentor and father figure, occasionally giving her advice on what to do with her career. Samuel was the team’s expert on carbon dating. His equipment was state-of-the-art, but other than testing its functionality the day after they arrived, he hadn’t used it. So, what did he discover? What did he know that was worth killing for?

Halfway to the hotel, she mumbled something she shouldn’t have as she pulled out her phone and dialed. Her eyes darted toward her brother.

“Do not c-cuss,” Brian said between heavy breaths.

Brian. Her moral compass there to steer her back on course. She squeezed her brother’s hand. Brian always kept her grounded. What would she do when he was gone? But he was here now, and she needed to make sure he would be safe, something she had done for him since the day he was born.

“Sorry, Brian. I just remembered I need to call Curt. He’s probably on his way to the restaurant to meet us.”

“He is probably s-still wor—king.” Brian’s eyes darted back and forth. His speech impediment that made his ‘r’s sometimes sound like ‘w’s wasn’t nearly as bad as it was when he was younger, and his stutter only showed up when he was nervous.

Kadie grimaced. Curt didn’t answer his phone. He was GDI’s security man and the only full-time employee on their team. Kadie left a message, telling him she was sorry, but she had to leave the restaurant. They’d talk later.

Next, she called Samuel. He didn’t answer either. She slipped her phone back in her cargo pocket and glanced at her brother. He was doing all he could to keep up with Kadie and avoid the distractions of the numerous shops in the marketplace. Gasping, his jaw jutted forward, brow furrowed, and his eyes bulged. He had been reluctant to leave the restaurant; he must be starving. She had to plead with him to get him to budge.

“We did not stay—for food. I am hungry,” Brian said.

“I know. I’m sorry. I am, too.” Her eyes darted back and forth in search of something they could eat. A few moments later she smiled. Near the end of the market, a vendor baked and sold bread. They stopped next to the giant metal oven that extended back into a yellowing mud-brick building. The bread rolled out of the front like doughnuts at Krispy Kreme, and two men placed the warm food on a rack woven out of sticks to cool. Her limited vocabulary in conversational Arabic helped her in situations like this. Kadie bought two loaves of Aish Baladi, an Egyptian flatbread made with whole wheat flour, similar to a pita. Handing the bag of bread to Brian, they continued on their way.

The dust of the market peeled away as they rounded the corner and their hotel came into sight. Well-lit against the black sky, it sat on the edge of the water where the Suez Canal merged into the Mediterranean Sea. An outdoor restaurant sat to her left; the numerous tables had their umbrellas open, lit candles centered on each table. To her right, a small mosque lay nestled amongst other buildings. This street was far less crowded than the souk.

“What do you think about Curt?” Her chestnut-brown hair bounced as she slowed her pace so Brian could keep up. She needed a conversation to take her mind off Samuel.

“He is okay.” Brian looked away when he answered. Kadie knew what that meant. Brian’s instincts on people were spot on, and he wasn’t very fond of Curt. She wasn’t sure why; she was still trying to figure him out herself. Curt was a few years older than her. He was handsome, dashing, and brave—former Delta Force. There was something to be said for that.

They entered the newly renovated hotel, leaving the Third World atmosphere behind them. Kadie sighed as they weaved through the crowded lobby and lumbered up the stairs to their room on the second floor. She dropped Brian off in their room before she went to check on Samuel.

“Don’t leave,” she said. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

“Okay.” Brian moved to the couch and pressed the big green button on the television remote.

Kadie closed the door; the hairs on the back of her neck bristled, and her heartbeat raced higher than usual. She hurried down the hall to Samuel’s room. Inside, she heard a loud crash and the sound of something hitting the wall, followed by a solid thud.

That’s not good, she thought.

Kadie tried the door handle. Locked. She pulled a small FOB out of her pocket. It was called a Gomer, a new device that opened almost any electronic lock. It had wreaked havoc on the hotel industry, but she had picked one up back in the States knowing she’d be living in hotels abroad for three months.

She was hesitant to use it. She shouldn’t just barge into his room. Then came a second thud, followed by a muffled cry.

Kadie swiped the FOB across the lock and pushed hard against the door. The door cracked open about two inches and abruptly stopped; the chain secured on the inside.

“Samuel?” She peered through the gap; a body lay on the floor. Oh my, he’s had a heart attack. Kadie lowered her shoulder and bulldozed the door. It started to give way. On the second try, the chain burst free from the wall and the door flew open.

Kadie gasped. In the center of the room, a large man stood over Samuel’s body, wearing a faded brown futa, the traditional Yemini male shirt, and black pants. A black keffiyeh covered his face, with only his eyes exposed.

The man stood over Samuel, the bloody knife in his hand dripping on the floor.

* * *

 

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iBooks → https://apple.co/307m29p

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M.B. Lewis is an Amazon #1 International Bestselling Author, and his books have also been on the Bestseller lists on Barnes and Noble Nook and Kobo platforms. The author of the award-winning Jason Conrad Thriller series has been on numerous author panels at writer’s conferences such as Thrillerfest, The Louisiana Book Festival, The Pensacola Book and Writers Festival, and Killer Nashville.

A 25-year Air Force pilot, he has flown special operations combat missions in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan in the AC-130U Spooky Gunship. Michael is currently a pilot for a major U.S. airline.

A proud Christian active in his community, Michael has mentored college students on leadership development and team-building and is a facilitator for an international leadership training program. He has participated as a buddy for the Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine” and in his church’s Military Ministry program. Michael has also teamed with the Air Commando Foundation, which supports Air Commando’s and their families’ unmet needs during critical times.

While his adventures have led to travels all around the world, Michael lives in Florida with his wife Kim.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website:  www.thepilatescroll.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mblauthor

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/michael-byars-lewis

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3bWiOv2