Happy New Year!

Every year I donate 10% of my profits from book sales to charity, and the donations for 2019 are now done. You can learn more about the charities here. Thanks so much for buying my books and making this possible.

All my best,
Barb

I’m so excited to share Maggie and the Empty Noose with you. This was the book that first inspired me to write the Carita Cove series, and the opening scene below was the very first scene I wrote for the entire series:

Stanley John Tibbets, known to the world as Reese Stevens, former rock star, current movie star, last year’s number one box office draw, this year’s sexiest man alive, former drug addict, currently clean and sober for 4234 days, was awake.
He came up to consciousness slowly, like swimming toward the light out of deep, swirling water. Finally he reached some semblance of alertness, to find himself face down in his own bed, and tangled in the sheets. His head felt like it had been kicked by steel-toed boots, and he was sweating, the dampness making his hair cling to his scalp and his eyes sting as the perspiration ran down his face.
Had he been sick? He turned his head a fraction of an inch and almost howled at the pain.
With a huge effort, he kicked himself free of the damp sheets and turned over on his back, throwing his arms up over his face to block the baleful morning light glaring in the French doors at him and burning his eyes.
His elbow hit something and he opened his eyes to see what it was.
A pair of green eyes stared back at him.
He knew those eyes.
Knew them like you knew the eyes of a lover.
Knew them like you knew the eyes of an enemy who was threatening everything that mattered to you.
For the eyes belonged to the person who was both of those things: former girlfriend, current enemy, and the one person on Earth he could truly say he wished was dead. Olivia Sigworth. Blond, beautiful, and evil. The mother of his child. The woman who called herself Olivia Stevens to capitalize on his fame. The woman who marketed their teenage son like a product to further her own ambitions. The woman he’d sworn to stop, at any cost.
He would have said something to her, would have told her not to give him that look, that smug look she always gave him when she was feeling full of herself and was sure she could get away with pulling one over on him.
But he couldn’t find the words. His mouth was full of cotton, and his head roared like all the seas in the world were on top of him, pushing him under and churning menacingly all around him.
It wouldn’t have mattered.
Wouldn’t have mattered at all if he could have unstuck his tongue, worked it around in his bone-dry mouth, struggled through the confused thoughts bubbling in his brain to express some coherent message to the woman he hated more than anyone in the world.
It wouldn’t have mattered at all.
Because those green eyes were empty. They were simply blind, glassy marbles with no thought or expression behind them.
Because Olivia was dead.
In his bed.
With him.

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Get this exclusive holiday story now for FREE: Lori DiPietro is spending her first Christmas Eve at the island lighthouse in Pajaro Bay. But danger’s about to crash this party. She’ll have to use all her wits to make it through the night if she hopes to witness A Christmas Miracle in Pajaro Bay.

In this sneak peek, it’s after midnight on an icy Christmas Eve, and Lori finds herself alone in the village, with danger on her tail:

All over the hillside stones reared up in the darkness, and she realized this must be the cemetery next to the mission church. She had never walked through it. The church’s parking lot was on the opposite side. This side was silent and dark, as expected of a cemetery on a winter night.
The paths were clear through the graveyard though, the gravel neatly raked, forming pale ribbons against the shadow of the grass on the graves themselves. Here in the lee of the hill she could no longer see the lights from the mission church above. But the sound of singing came wafting down toward her, faintly carried by the cold wind.
The church held people, and singing, and safety. She started to follow the path toward the comforting sound.
But then she heard a door slam somewhere back behind her and her heart seemed to jump into her throat.
She took off like a shot, stumbling along in a panic until she tripped over a granite marker and fell….

A Christmas Miracle in Pajaro Bay is only available in the mailing list gift box set of six exclusive short stories. You can get it right now by signing up for Barb’s newsletter list HERE.

Need a fun break from the holiday hustle and bustle? Maggie and the Mourning Beads, the third book in the Carita Cove romantic mystery series, is available now.

Can Maggie find the real killer when her teenage student threatens to strangle someone with a jet-black necklace… hours before the woman is found dead? And what deep, dark secret is movie star Reese Stevens hiding from the world? Can Maggie help him face the truth?

Here’s an exclusive sneak peek:

“Magdalena Lopez McJasper!”
The deep masculine voice boomed through the massive living room of Casablanca, Maggie’s elegant beach house.
She was on her knees, scrubbing a stubborn spot on the fireplace’s stone hearth.
She sat back on her heels. “What?!” she replied, in an equally annoyed tone.
The man who had yelled her name came closer until his crisp white Vans stopped about two feet away from where she knelt.
“This is ridiculous, Maggie,” he said.
She gazed up at him. Up and up, past the perfectly faded Levis that fit him like an old glove, to the plain white tee that outlined a physique like a movie star’s, all the way up to the face that made it clear that was exactly what he was.
He held out a hand and helped her to her feet.
She automatically reached for her back, rubbing the sore muscles there, and glared at him.
Reese Stevens stood there in all his glory, impossibly beautiful, with golden blond hair cut deliberately shaggy by the best stylist in LA. He had just enough stubble to add depth to the perfect bone structure of his face, and those famous eyes that usually showed a wit and charm to make her automatically smile.
But not now. Now those eyes showed nothing but annoyance.
“What on Earth do you think you’re doing?” he growled.
“I think I’m scrubbing the spot where you spilled pizza sauce on the custom stone hearth,” she growled right back at him. “You got a problem with that?”
“Yeah. I have a problem with that.”
A lock of her hair had escaped the messy bun she was wearing and hung down in her face. If she weren’t too tired to lift her arms, she’d push the hair out of her eyes.
She had tried to convince herself she was wearing the messy bun look because it was trendy, and not because she was exhausted from overwork and didn’t have the money for a proper blow-out.
Reese reached out and tucked the stray hair behind her ear. “Maggie,” he said softly. “Look into my eyes.”
She was not a short woman, but still she had to crick her sore neck to gaze up into his stunning cobalt blue eyes, the same eyes that had stared out from the cover of last month’s California Lifestyle magazine under the headline, Reese Stevens: Aging Like Fine Wine.
And he was. Aging like wine, though it was a horrid turn of phrase to use for the recovering alcoholic and addict who’d almost died after an overdose eleven years ago. But still, the phrase was accurate. As he neared forty, Reese was probably in the best shape of his life, and the most successful he’d ever been in his long career. And he was, if such a thing were possible, even more gorgeous than he’d been when he burst onto the world all those years ago as a fresh-faced teen fronting a rock band.
“I will not have my friend kneeling on the floor scrubbing my house. I won’t have it.” His voice had gone from angry to gentle, and the kindness in it made the whole situation worse. It made her want to agree with him, and that made her mad….

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