The Team Mystery/Thriller promo returns this month with another round of free titles on the 20th and 21st of August. I do not have a pony in the race this go around, but I still plan to do my part to pay-it-forward and promote those who do. With that in mind, this weekend I will be spotlighting two of the books and their authors. Today, we're spotlighting author M.W. Griffith.
Michael Griffith was born in Carthage, Tennessee, and now lives in Murfreesboro TN after marrying his best friend. He is the author of several bestselling mysteries, including The Truth About Alex and Monsoon Morning. He is currently studying history at Middle Tennessee State University. Always a storyteller at heart, Michael enjoys nothing more than sharing his tales with the world.
There's nothing worse than not knowing...
On a hot summer evening, a young woman’s body is discovered in a small Tennessee town. When another girl vanishes on her way home from work, Special Agent Selena Marrenger takes on the case. All signs point to a terrifying serial killer with a unique modus operandi: a chemical used in state executions that isn’t found in Tennessee.
As Selena inches closer to the unnerving truth, she starts to believe that something much larger - and sinister - is at play. Probing local law enforcement for answers unearths a well-hidden secret woven into the fabric of truth, justice, and madness…
In this fast paced novel where nothing is quite what it seems, M.W. Griffith leads readers on a dangerous, twisting quest to bring justice to families whose lives have been changed forever by tragedy.
It had been another sweltering day in Middle Tennessee. Kristi Gillings’ mother told her it was too hot for kids to be running around and driving her crazy. A broken air conditioner meant they were all sweating in the late afternoon.
It was time to play outside.
Nobody had to tell Charlie, Kristi’s older brother, twice. He ran into the front yard with their younger sister, Elissa, carrying icy cold push pops and holding them up in the air just out of both girls reach. When Elissa began to cry, Kristi kicked her brother hard in the shin. He toppled over in the grass, and she snatched up her sister’s frozen treat.
“I’m telling!” Charlie’s voice squeaked. He scrambled to his feet, red-faced. “You’re going to be in big trouble. Mom already told you, remember? One strike left. You are so dead!”
Kristi bent down and handed the push pop to her sister. “Go on and do it then.” She directed a glare at Charlie. “You’re just a tattle-tail. Momma ain’t always gonna be there for you to run to!”
When her brother stomped up the steps and through the screen door, Kristi panicked.
She grabbed her bike from the garage and sped off down the road, leaving Elissa bewildered in the yard.
Kristi just needed to cool down. There was no way she would be able to face a third strike from her mother. Summer wouldn’t last forever, and she didn’t want to spend the rest of it grounded to her room. She was eleven years old, for crying out loud! When was she going to be treated like it? Just because Charlie was thirteen didn’t mean their mother always had to take his side.
Her bicycle tires crunched through the dirt along an uphill path less than a mile away from home. Thunder rolled faintly in the distant west. It was just after five, and the sun was drifting down in the late summer sky. The clouds became tinged with orange and red.
Kristi had to turn around. She knew the distance. She could make it back before the first droplets fell if she hurried.
The road was still, quiet. It cut a gash through the woods and wound like a snake across the hills. A cool evening wind pushed against the trees, lifting her corkscrew pigtails, and the sound reminded her of the ocean in Florida. They had vacationed there with relatives when school first let out. Silently, she smiled at the gentle waves crashing against the shore of memory.
Fireflies danced between the trunks. She watched them streak by as she peddled up the hill. Her legs burned from the effort, but when the road leveled out, she glided along and enjoyed the air on her freckled cheeks.
Lightning pulsed between heavy clouds. The storm was getting closer. Thunder cracked above, making her heart leap. Ahead, there was a turnoff leading back to her neighborhood. Almost there, she thought. Time to deal with that third strike.
* * *
Julia Fowler and Dylan Farrow sat on a grassy outcropping overlooking the carnival lights below. The two teenagers had just finished taking a dip in the creek behind her house. They snuck a six pack of beer from the refrigerator in his dad’s garage earlier; a locally brewed pale ale that was stronger than what they were used to, but they planned on celebrating before school started back.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered, the lights sparkling in her eyes.
“I’ll say,” he breathed, sliding a hand along her lightly browned skin.
Julia pulled her chocolate brown hair back into a loose ponytail. She wore the green two piece bathing suit especially for him. “Not what I meant, but okay.”
Lightning lanced across the sky, followed by a deep concussion of thunder.
“Shit,” she said, leaning into his gentle nibbles along her neck. “Maybe we should head back.”
“Are you kidding me? That storm’s at least five miles away. We can hang out here for a little bit longer.” He moved his hand to her thigh. “You’re so hot.”
Julia let him kiss her ear, down to her bare shoulders, savoring each movement. All the while, her eyes remained locked on the lights from the summer carnival below. It was a tradition in Cedar Brook that had spanned almost fifty years. She remembered riding the Ferris wheel when she was little, and the sinking feeling in her gut when it rose to the highest point and the entire town sprawled out before her.
Dylan abruptly rose. “Sorry.” He laughed, covering the erection in his swim trunks with both hands. “I really gotta piss. Been holding it and I didn’t want to ruin the mood.”
Julia rolled her eyes. “Fine,” she said before putting earbuds in and switching on her iPod. “Make it quick, Romeo. That storm is moving in pretty fast.”
* * *
Dylan Farrow stepped into the surrounding woods and glanced over his shoulder at his girlfriend. She arched her back, both eyes closed, and lit only by the town beneath the outcropping. He could imagine that she was a dream, and that any moment he would wake up to the boring life he’d had before she came along. There was a gentleness to her, a classic sort of beauty he didn’t find in other girls.
Finally, he turned around and moved an appropriate distance away. There was a large tree with a hole in the trunk, split open by lightning long ago. He stepped forward and placed a hand on its ancient bark. Sometimes, he wondered what sort of things trees have seen in their lifetime. The comings and goings of nature, and people like himself sneaking off into the woods to get it on.
When he was finished, he made his way back. The wind had picked up, brushing coldly over his bare skin. More lightning bloomed above the little town.
Julia wasn’t there.
“Jules? Hey, Jules where’d you go?”
He stepped closer to where they had been sitting only moments before. The half empty six pack was sill where he remembered next to her open purse. The headphones and iPod lay in the grass a short distance away. He looked east and then west, peering in the near dark with squinted eyes. Finally, he stepped towards the outcropping and looked down.
The lights from the carnival rides were turning off one after the other.
“Jules?” Where was she?
Instinctively, he pulled his phone out and dialed her number. Julia’s phone lit up and buzzed inside her purse. He hit the end button and then dialed 911.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“My girlfriend’s gone,” the words shot out of his mouth.
“Your girlfriend left you?” The operator sounded like she had heard the same thing a million times that day.
“No, I mean she was here one minute and the next she’s just gone.”
“Did you and your girlfriend have an argument?”
“No!” He ran a hand over his shaved head. “Even if we did, she wouldn’t just up and leave without her cellphone or her purse. That’s not like her.”
“I can send a patrol car. What’s your location?”
“122 Hillcrest. It’s her parents’ house.”
“Are her parents home now?”
“Okay, I’m sending an officer out there. Are you inside the house?”
“No. We cooled off in the creek around back. There’s a clearing in the woods on the other side.”
“Stay where you are, okay? An officer will be there shortly.”
“Thanks.” He stuffed the phone into his pocket just as the first cold drops of rain began to fall. It would be completely dark soon. When he turned to face the woods, Dylan couldn’t help but to wonder what the trees saw.
If you'd like to check out MW's books, his links are just below. Or to check out the promo, go to Renée Pawlish's website where all of the books in this giveaway are available.
Newsletter Sign-up: sign-up
Amazon Kindle Bestselling Books By M.W. Griffith
The Runaway Train - Buy At Amazon
The Truth About Alex - Buy At Amazon
Monsoon Morning - Buy At Amazon
Tanglewood - Buy At Amazon