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FINAL EXIT – The Explosive Conclusion to the EXIT Trilogy

It’s here! The last book in the EXIT Inc. trilogy, FINAL EXIT!

FinalExit-HighRez

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FINAL EXIT is the story of washed-up FBI agent, Kade Quinn, trying to redeem himself and rehabilitate his career after a personal tragedy sent him on a downward spiral into addiction. Rounding up all of the Enforcers who used to work for EXIT, so they can be re-trained and sent back out into society without the controls and oversight of their former agency, seems like “the right thing” to do. And Kade is proud to be a part of this mission. Until he meets Enforcer Bailey Stark. Her resistance to being taken, and her repeated assertions that the government is killing Enforcers instead of retraining them, is met with denial and then shock as Kade begins to suspect she might be right.

While Kade and Bailey work together to bring down the evil forces behind EXIT Inc. once and for all, they fall in love along the way. Of course! This is, after all, a romance. It’s full of action, like all of my stories. But I’m particularly pleased with the romantic arc of these two very damaged people. And if you’re a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, I really think you’re going to enjoy this one.

As with all of the EXIT books, there’s a host of sexy alpha-male secondary characters from earlier books, including the Buchanans from my Deadly Games series. The below flowchart is something I put together to show the connections between the characters in the DG series. (Yes, I’m a nerd, who loves flowcharts and spreadsheets.) You might have to click on the chart to enlarge it and see it better.

Lena Diaz Buchanan-family-tree

Did I mention that I love flowcharts? Here’s another one, showing an overview of the EXIT series. (Click on the chart to enlarge it and see it better.)

 

Lena Diaz exit-series-family-tree

So how are these series linked? The picture below is a BIG hint. Devlin (Devil) Buchanan is one of the brother’s from the Deadly Games series. Unbeknownst to his family, he’s also an Enforcer for EXIT Inc. In TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP, Devlin’s two world’s collide and he fights to protect both the woman he’s starting to love and his family from the employer he’s trusted his entire adult life. The aftermath of that struggle is the creation of the Equalizers, a group of former EXIT Enforcers and others who join together to fight against what EXIT has become. That struggle continues throughout the EXIT series, beginning with EXIT Strategy and ending in an explosive climax in FINAL EXIT.

Lena Diaz series-for-katLena Diaz Website Books Page with Buy Links

It was so much fun bringing in the Buchanan’s and even Logan Richards (a friend of the Buchanan’s from HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT) as secondary, but extremely important, characters throughout the EXIT series.

Although the four-book Deadly Games series and the three book spin-off EXIT series are incredibly fun to read in order, each story contains a unique and fulfilling love story and can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book. You’ll understand what’s going on even without reading the earlier stories.

I hope you’ll give FINAL EXIT a try. And let me know what you think! Shoot me an email through my website. And please join my newsletter list if you’d like to receive notifications of future releases or giveaways. Sometimes I do giveaways ONLY to my subscribers, like last week when I gave away ten books to randomly drawn names from my newsletter list.

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Cover Reveal for STOLEN

Hi guys!

I am thrilled to reveal the cover of my upcoming release STOLEN right here on Kiss and Thrill as well as on my facebook page. If you haven’t already, please jump over and find me on facebook so we can chat and please sign up for my newsletter on my website. I’ll post links below for my social sites as well as a preorder link  to STOLEN for those who are interested. I’ve also posted Chapter One below for those who want a taste of the story. Thanks for all your support and as always thanks for reading!

Carey

stolen-finalIs she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.

Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

STOLEN

Chapter One

 

Twilight

Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains

 

Consciousness was the enemy and Laura Chaucer its captive. No matter how badly she wanted to flee into a dark, unseeing void, the menacing chill of the knife pressed against her neck forced her to keep her chin high and her eyes open. As her pulse raged, pounding against the deadly blade, she wondered, horrified, if it was possible for her throat to slit itself.

If only her mind would drop into an abyss. If only she could crawl into a black hole and escape awareness, at least then she wouldn’t suffer. Cowardice dragged her eyelids shut.

Stop running away.

From deep within, a voice demanded she bear witness to her own death.

Like broken wings beating against a gale, her eyelids fluttered up. Evil had been swirling around her for as long as she could remember, but she’d never had the courage to face it. Now, in her last moments, she must find the will. Before she left this twisted world, she needed to know the truth.

Who are you?

The answer she’d been running from her entire life loomed right behind her.

But the knife prevented her from swiveling her head to confront the bastard. A defiant move like that would surely cost her whatever precious seconds she had left. His breath, warm on her cheek reeked of booze, its stench curdling in her already woozy stomach.

Careful not to move her head, she braved a glance down and noted a wood floor.

Where am I?

A candle nub flickered in the dark, its yellow light illuminating patches of dust caked on an uneven plank tabletop. Bare log walls surrounded her. Eager for more clues, she sniffed. The scent of rain and earth hung heavily in the air. He must’ve stolen her from her room and brought her to a cabin—a primitive one.

Who was he?

You know, the voice within insisted. Stop pretending you don’t.

“I-I don’t know anything,” she answered, as if he and her thoughts were one and the same. “P-please, just let me go.”

The knife slipped across her throat, leaving fire trailing in its wake. Blood, warm and sticky, dribbled down her chest. Her head became heavy. The room spun. It would be so easy to let her chin fall, to drift into blessed unconsciousness, to leave it all behind.

But that would mean dying the same way she’d lived: running from the truth.

It’s not too late. As long as you have one breath left, there’s still time to change your craven ways.

Watching the blood, already darkening from contact with the air, snake between her breasts, she took it all in, and a gasp agonized its way up her throat.

She was naked.

Bound around the waist, chest and ankles to a chair.

It all seemed so…unreal. But the scrape of splintered wood beneath her bottom, the shivers that wracked her body from the frigid air, told her this was no dream. This wasn’t another one of her ubiquitous nightmares.

If she closed her eyes now, she’d never wake up.

Her throat burned with the urge to scream. But sensing that might give him pleasure, she clamped her teeth together, stuffing her fear down deep. She inhaled a fortifying breath through her nose. Wiggled her freezing fingers. But when she tried to shift her arms into a more comfortable position, she found that they, too, were tied to the chair, just up to the elbows. He’d left her hands and lower arms free, giving her enough slack to cross her palms in her lap and cover herself. Tears of gratitude for this small kindness welled in her eyes.

Maybe he of the knife had a tiny, shriveled semblance of a heart.

He proved he did not by dragging the jagged blade across her neck again—a shallow retracing of its former path that produced exquisite pain and more hot red blood. The need to cry out shook her body so hard the legs of the chair rattled against the floor. Then he pressed the knife’s point into the hollow of her neck—that spot that ought to be reserved for a lover’s kiss. It was as if this monster could not decide whether he wanted to kill her with a long, decimating swipe or by a swift, stabbing impalement. She didn’t know whether he was deliberately prolonging her agony or working up his nerve.

A spasm of fear knotted her toes. Her vocal chords trembled from the impossible effort of restraint. Finally, she opened her mouth, releasing a hysterical noise.

He wanted to hear her scream? Let him hear her laugh instead. Her pulse bounded harder against the blade, but she no longer feared the consequence.

Whether he revealed himself to her or not, she suddenly didn’t care. It didn’t matter who he was. It only mattered who she was. Relief flooded her entire being, drenching her in joy.

Her death would be a victory.

Because it answered, once and for all, the question that had haunted her since the age of eight.

She was not a murderer.

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The FBI’s Most Wanted (Profilers, That Is)

 

AMAZON BARNES&NOBLE iBOOKS

NotoriousDr. Caity Cassidy and Special Agent Atticus Spenser are topping the most wanted profilers list at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And I’m thrilled to report they’ve just been spotted in Dallas!

In my latest release, NOTORIOUS, our intrepid heroes rush to Texas to aid a fellow agent-turned-murder-suspect.

I’m so excited about this third installment in my Cassidy & Spenser Thrillers. There are lots of revelations in this one, including some deep secrets from Spense’s past. And I know many of you having been waiting patiently (or impatiently) for Spenser & Cassidy to make some tough decisions about their off-duty relationship. I think you’ll be pleased with how things unfold in NOTORIOUS. But no spoilers here. I love that my editor said she never saw the twists coming. I hope you’ll be caught by surprise, too!

I’ll paste the blurb for Notorious below, but first I want to THANK YOU! Because of you, my fabulous readers, Caity and Spense have had a banner year.Fallen-high-res

On December 10, FALLEN, soared to the top of the bestseller lists across all major online retailers becoming the number one bestseller in Nook mysteries. That same day, FALLEN hit the top ten mysteries on Amazon taking the number one best seller spot in psychological fiction and number two in romantic suspense! FALLEN also topped the charts at iBooks and Kobo. That was quite a day for me, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now here’s the scoop on NOTORIOUS. I hope you read and enjoy.

The woman everyone loves to hate is dead.

Dallas socialite Cynthia Langhorne is infamous for her beauty, her philanthropy, and her home wrecking–until she’s found shot through the heart and posed nude at a fundraising ball. The case is high profile, and there’s a bigger problem: Cindy is the wife of a decorated FBI special agent–the prime suspect in her murder.

When the Bureau sends FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy to Texas on behalf of Dutch Langhorne, the special agent-turned-suspect, they’re suspicious of the very man whose interests they’re supposed to protect. But with a psycho hitman on their heels and a trail of evidence leading up the food chain, it quickly becomes clear this is no ordinary case. The truth points to someone–or something–larger than Spenser and Cassidy ever thought possible. Solving this case is no longer a matter of clearing Dutch’s name–it’s a matter of national security.

Published by William Morrow

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You can order NOTORIOUS on AMAZON BARNES&NOBLE iBOOKS and wherever e-books are sold. Print version available 4/5/2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criminal Profiling: Art, Science or Both?

brainWhen I set out to write my upcoming release, JUDGMENT, I knew I had a lot of research to do, since the male lead is an FBI profiler, and it’s very important to me for my stories to be as authentic as possible. So I read more than a dozen books on profiling and the FBI, attended the writers’ police academy, made myself a pest on the crime-scene writers’ loop, and interviewed my local law enforcement resources. Then, armed with my pre-research, I went straight to the source- the FBI- for fact checking. You may or may not know that the FBI has a bureau of public affairs that provides specific avenues for writers and other artists to help them get their facts straight. Pretty cool, I think.

The real profilers, or more accurately, criminal investigative analysts, are a dedicated and courageous group, comprised of some of the brightest minds in the FBI. Most criminal investigative analysts start out as field agents before moving on to profiling, so they have experience and street smarts that round out their analytic skills.

But contrary to popular belief, profiling didn’t start with the FBI. Many consider New York psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, to have created the first criminal profile. Dr. Brussel astounded the police and public by providing a detailed psychological and forensic portrait of a serial bomber who had been terrorizing New York City. Burrows used deductive reasoning, psychological theory, and crime-scene analysis to come up with a finely tuned description of the culprit. When the Mad Bomber was apprehended, he fit the profile well, reportedly down to the buttoned up double-breasted suit he was wearing. One might speculate that the profile was so accurate, there might have been a little magic mixed into the process.

Which brings me back to the question. Is profiling an art or a science? John Douglas (one of the first FBI criminal profilers) and others have now developed standardized analytic techniques and a classification system, based on both their experiences and on data gathered from the study of serial murderers. But there is no doubt that the scarcity of serial killers available for analysis and the retrospective and subjective nature of the case studies, create major obstacles to verifying the scientific validity of claims made by profilers.

Nevertheless, FBI profilers are highly sought after by law enforcement to assist in their most baffling cases. The proof of their value can be seen in their high success rate. What impresses me most about these intrepid men and women is their willingness to burrow deep into the darkest recesses of the human mind. I find both the profiler and the process fascinating.

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

A Cassidy and Spenser Thriller

In JUDGMENT, I hope to convey a glimmer of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a criminal investigative analyst. I loved writing this book, and I hope you’ll enjoy the series. You can read an excerpt of Judgment or sign up for my newsletter at CareyBaldwin.com.

The human brain fascinates me. What fascinates you? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Manda Collins upcoming Christmas novella, ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS KISS on release day. Winner’s choice of e-book or print.Once-Upon-A-Christmas-Kiss

The News: Shelley Coriell’s Apostles Series is here!

THE AUTHOR

Shelley_Coriell

No one was more excited than the authors at K&T when we heard The News that our Golden Heart sister Shelley Coriell  was writing a romantic suspense series. The first book in the series THE BROKEN has finally arrived in the stores, and more importantly, on our bookshelves. And even better still, Shelley is spending the day at K&T to talk about The Apostles series. Before I introduce her, let’s start with The Buzz. And don’t stop reading before you find out about The Giveaway. Shelley’s Book Birthday Bash and Book Giveaway is AMAZING!

THE BUZZ

“… the suspense is top-notch, with so many twists and turns that even the most astute reader will be riveted to the stunning conclusion.” — Publishers WeeklySTARRED REVIEW

“TOP PICK, 4.5 Stars. Coriell’s latest grips the reader from the first page. A definite must-read.” — RT Book Reviews Publishers Weekly — Best Summer Books 2014

THE BOOK

The_Broken

THE BROKEN (Apostles Series #1)

He took her life, but left her alive.

Three years ago, reporter Kate Johnson was the first victim-and only survivor-of the Broadcast Butcher. Scarred both physically and psychologically by the brutal serial killer, Kate lives life on the run, knowing that one day, he will find her and finish what he started.

In the pursuit of justice, you sometimes have to step outside the law.

Agent Hayden Reed spends his life chasing monsters. The only way to stay sane is to detach, but the second the Broadcast Butcher case crosses his desk, Hayden knows this is the case that might just cost him his soul. To catch this vicious murderer before he strikes again, Hayden must find Kate and earn her trust. For it’s her darkest secrets that hold the key to stopping this madman once and for all . . .

THE INTERVIEW

KH: Congratulations on such stellar reviews, Shelley! How did you come up with the idea for the maverick team of elite FBI agents called the Apostles? Did you do any special research for this story?

SHELLEY: I kept writing stories about law enforcement officers who weren’t afraid to break a few rules when it came to fighting evil. Since my hunky crime fighters worked outside the box and at times outside the law, I knew they wouldn’t fit in with the Blue Suits at the FBI. That’s when Parker Lord popped into my head. A childhood friend of the president of the United Sates, he’s a legendary FBI agent who is now wheelchair bound and living as a semi-recluse along the rocky cliffs of Northern Maine. Over the past five years, Parker has hand-picked a select group of agents who, like him, are a little maverick, a lot broken, but in the end, fierce champions of justice. As for research, I went through an eight-week citizens police academy where I trained in everything from fire arms to crisis negotiations to forensics. That’s also where I learned how to throw a 250-pound man over my shoulder in hand-to-hand defensive training.  Take that, bad guys!

KH:  Why did you start the series with Agent Obscenely Thorough aka Special Agent Hayden Reed?

SHELLEY: Hayden is a world-renown criminal profiler who “sees everything but feels nothing.” I loved the idea of creating a romance hero who spent so much time in his head that he wasn’t in touch with his heart. Early in the book, one of the minor characters—Detective Lottie King—likens Hayden to peanut brittle, “all shiny and polished, hard as hell, too. In order to get to that stage, you got to boil the shit out of it. So I figure you’ve done some boiling in your life.” It was fascinating to see Hayden’s pains and past, and eventually his heart, revealed.

KH: You have a colorful cast of characters in THE BROKEN. Which one was the most fun to write? Which one ended up surprising you?

SHELLEY: Detective Lottie King was hands-down the most fun to write. She’s a sixty-something grandma and homicide detective with no filter. She and her four-inch stilettos have walked some rough roads, and she swears like a trucker. Lottie is raw and honest, has a giant capacity for love, and is key in softening the heart of my guarded-heart hero, Hayden. She was such a strong voice in my head that she now has her own series of short stories.NewShoes_small

As for surprises, heroine Kate Johnson threw me for a loop. Kate had a rough childhood and stabbed twenty-five times by a serial killer. She’s broken and scarred, BUT she has a great sense of humor, which you see through her interactions with the cantankerous but lovable Smokey Joe. Then I got to thinking, Why should I be surprised? Humor and laughter are great healers.

KH: Lottie was one of my favorite characters too. I didn’t realize, however, that she was wearing Louboutins 😉 Way to go, Lottie! Where did the idea for Agent Reed’s custom painted silk ties come from?

SHELLEY: I needed an anomaly, something in marked contrast to Hayden’s exquisite custom suits, fancy Italian shoes, and Egyptian cotton shirts. And because Hayden is such a “head guy” I knew this “something” needed to come from the heart, such as art. Hand-painted silk neckties were a perfect fit.

KH: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

SHELLEY: I’m a former restaurant reviewer, food retailing magazine editor, and avowed foodie. I love everything about food. I haunt local farmers markets, go to wine tastings, putter in my kitchen, and adore sharing good food and great wine with people I love.

KH: Tell us about your rescue weimaraner? (Then I’ll have an excuse to tell you about my puppy Rosie.) What makes her the world’s neediest dog? Rylee_

SHELLEY: We rescued Rylee four years ago from a local weimaraner shelter and were told up front that she had “issues.” She had fear-based aggression while on a leash, abandonment anxiety, and health problems. At least two adoptive families had already returned her. During a home visit, Rylee charmed us. She was sweet-natured, adored our three teen-age daughters, and knew basic commands. We had hope. We moved forward with the adoption in part because I work out of the home so Rylee wouldn’t have to be alone during the day. Long story short, we’ve been working with her for four years, but she still has issues on all fronts, especially with being alone. If she gets lonely while I’m working at my desk, she climbs into my lap…all 65 pounds of her, and when my husband and I are gone, she sneaks into bed with one of the girls. She’s clearly a dog who had a good deal of trauma in her early life, but at least now she has love.

Okay…now you, Krista, we all need Rosie details. And pictures! Rosie 7

KH: How wonderful that you found each other–the magic of three. Rylee meet Rosie. She’s a 4-month-old chocolate Lab puppy with one white paw. Twenty-five pounds of pure energy! The word that best describes her is: beguiling. But I digress.. How many books do you plan to write for The Apostles Series?

SHELLEY: That is very much up to readers. I have three Apostle books under contract with Grand Central Forever. Hatch Hatcher, the team’s crisis negotiator, is featured in THE BURIED, and bombs and weapons specialist Evie Jimenez gets her time in the spotlight in THE BLIND. If the series takes off and readers want more Apostles, I have at least five more elite crime fighters who’ve popped into my world, including a missing and endangered child specialist, gem and jewelry specialist, forensic artist, forensic linguist, and a sharp-shooting assassin.

KH: I’m excited to see that smooth-talking, southern charmer Hatch Hatcher is front and center in book 2 THE BURIED. How long am I going to have to wait to get my next Apostles-fix?

BuriedCover

SHELLEY: Six months. THE BURIED comes out on Oct. 28, 2014. But Hatch is so worth the wait. Gotta love a man who lives on a 35-foot sail boat called No Regrets. I’m equally thrilled about Evie’s story, THE BLIND (January 2015). Evie is the “kid sister” to all of my yummy Apostles, but as a bombs and weapons specialist, she holds her own and then some. I have never had a character take over a story like fiery, big-hearted Evie. The world has been warned.

THE GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of THE BROKEN, Shelley is giving one lucky reader TEN SIGNED books from her favorite thriller/romantic suspense authors with new releases from Lisa Gardner, Allison Brennan, C.J. Lyons, Sandra Brown, Laura Griffin, and Kiss & Thrill authors Carey Baldwin and Rachel Grant! Enter to win at Shelley’s Book Birthday Bash & Book Giveaway.

THE QUESTION

Shelley’s heroine Kate Johnson is a justice-seeking investigative reporter, but readers quickly discover she’s also an artist. She designs and sells tourmaline jewelry. Art also plays an important role in Hayden’s past (hint – it has to do with those hand-painted silk neck ties). If you could create any type of art and do it well, what art would you chose? Anything is game…fine art, performing art, technical arts!

See, I told you Shelley has an awesome giveaway! Thank you for joining us at K&T, Shelley. I know our readers will love your new series as much as we do!

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and novels for teens. Her debut romantic thriller, THE BROKEN, was named one of the Best Romances of Summer 2014 by Publishers Weekly and a Top Pick/4.5 Stars by Romantic Times Book Reviews. An avid foodie and former restaurant reviewer, Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner.

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