Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cathy Perkins – The Holly Price Mystery Series is featured at the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Today the HBS Author's Spotlight is showcasing Author Cathy Perkins A Holly Price Mystery series. These are some of the BEST DEALS from outstanding Authors for the Kindle at Amazon.

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The Holly Price Mysteries

Author: Cathy Perkins

Author: Cathy Perkins
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Suspense

Website: Cathy Perkins
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Twitter: @cperkinswrites
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Author Description:
An award-winning author, Cathy Perkins works in the financial industry, where she's observed the hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters' lives. A member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death chapter) and International Thriller Writers, she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, handles the blog and social media for the ITW Debut Authors, and coordinated the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for CYPHER, HONOR CODE and THE PROFESSOR, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Double Down

A Holly Price Mystery Novella

Author: Cathy Perkins

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Murder isn’t supposed to be in the cards for blackjack dealer Maddie Larsson. Busted takes on a new meaning when her favorite customer, a former Poker World Tour champion, is murdered. His family claims—loudly and often—Maddie is the gold-digging murderer. She better prove she’s on the level before the real killer cashes in her chips.

If the victim’s body had been dumped five hundred yards up the road, Franklin County Sheriff’s Detective JC Dimitrak wouldn’t have been assigned to the Tom Tom Casino murder case. Instead, he’s hunting for suspects and evidence while dealing with a nemesis from the past and trying to preserve his own future. He better play his cards correctly and find the killer before an innocent woman takes the ultimate hit.

DOUBLE DOWN Excerpt – Meet Maddie Larsson

The group shuffled away and Maddie glanced at the remaining players. Fascinated shock splayed across the woman’s features. The last guy rose, winked and slid a chip toward her. His behavior flashed across her mind as he moved in the opposite direction from security. Purposeful but discrete, he walked with the same under-the-radar style he’d displayed at the gaming table. Now that she thought about it, he’d been counting cards as well, but using the more obvious, inexperienced guys for cover. She turned to signal security, glanced back, but the guy was already gone.

“Well. That was different.” The woman gathered her chips and also slid one forward for Maddie. “I think I’ll call it a night.”

Maddie smiled her thanks while scanning the casino for possible players. Having the entire table empty wasn’t the way to attract people. It screamed both “problem” and “cold table.”

The gamblers at the surrounding tables turned back to their cards, as if the scene were part of the evening entertainment. The other dealers kept their focus on their own tables. She wasn’t sure if it was deliberately distancing themselves from a train wreck or making sure their own charges weren’t cheating.

An empty table.

Keeping a warm smile pasted on her lips, she let her eyes drift over the crowd, looking for the pit boss. It was almost time for her break. She could use the rotation of dealers as a way to attract a new group of gamblers afterward. Just as she located the pit boss, a man dropped into one of the chairs.

“Daniel.” The warmth in her voice was real. The old man came into the casino often and always sat at her table.

He dropped some cash on the table.

Maddie tucked the currency into the drop box and pulled chips from the rack. As Daniel Kaufman place his first bet, she automatically slid two cards across the table and dealt her own.

A two and a ten for Daniel. She had a five showing. Her hole card was probably a face card. Not that she was counting or anything.

Daniel’s lucky charm appeared—a World Poker Tour championship chip. A nick marred the bold blue border surrounding the tour’s logo. A chip in the chip. Her smile broadened. An image of Daniel clenching the disc in his teeth, testing it like gold, immediately surfaced. One day she’d ask him how he’d damaged it.

He rolled the chip across his knuckles like a coin, then tapped the uppermost card. “Hit me.”

A five joined the twelve he had showing. With a laugh, he waved her off. “What do you have?”

She flipped over a queen to pair with her five, and then threw a seven to bust. She slid chips to Daniel and cleared the table. “You okay? What did you do to your eye?” A yellowing bruise marred the left side of his face.

Daniel sighed and looked away. His sigh ended in a deep cough, a rattling, rasping sound that would’ve made Maddie haul Caden into the pediatrician’s office. With Daniel’s cough, she would’ve called it a smoker’s cough—they still had too many smokers in the casino—except she knew Daniel didn’t smoke.

“It’s time for my break. I could use a soda. Come on. Join me.” Maddie signaled the pit boss. A moment later, another dealer stepped up to the table.

Maddie led the way to the snack bar. Minutes later, they were seated at a small table tucked into the far corner of the lounge. “What happened?”

“Why can’t that kid be more like his older brother? Or like you? Look at you. Working. Going to school and taking care of your son.”

“This isn’t about me. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine.”

He stared into his drink and swirled the scotch over the ice cubes.

She sipped her soda and waited, quietly studying the older man. Beyond the black eye, his color looked bad. Now that he was still, without the usual animation lighting his face, she noticed the fatigue and sheen of perspiration. “Is your insomnia kicking in?” teetered at the edge of her tongue.

“My youngest, Owen, hit me up for money again.” The words were abrupt. He still wasn’t looking at her.

She joined his wince at the word choice.

“I’d had it with him. Had a Come to Jesus session about working and responsibility.” Daniel’s fingers gingerly poked his face. “He didn’t take it well.”

“I’m sorry. Is that why you haven’t been in this week?” Stress, she decided. It did bad things to your body.

Daniel nodded. “I had some decisions to make. About me. About the kids. The older three are fine. Ryan works hard. He’s got a good job, a nice place for his family. My daughter’s able to work part-time while her kids are in school. Her husband’s got a steady job. Same for Jeremy. So how in the hell did Owen end up such a slacker?”

Maddie shook her head. “Asher’s the same way. Always an excuse why something—a job, a class, you name it—wasn’t working for him. I made the mistake of pointing out the operative word was ‘work.’“ Asher had hauled off and hit her too. She should’ve throw him out then. Part of their divorce decree had been a restraining order that mandated he couldn’t see her—or Caden—unless he participated in AA. He’d been pretty consistent until last week when he’d fallen off the wagon. She rubbed the bruise on her forearm. It was still sore where he’d grabbed her when he showed up drunk last week.

“Yeah. It’s like the kid expects me to support his lazy ass instead of getting out there to earn his own.” Daniel took a long swallow of his drink, then carefully positioned the glass in the center of the napkin. “Look, I wouldn’t have said anything except...well...I made the mistake of using you as an example since he’s tired of hearing about ‘Saint Ryan.’ Owen made some...wild accusations.”


“You and me. Mostly you. I don’t think he’d do anything, but I wanted to warn you.”

“He threatened me? My job? My family? My child?” Her voice rose as outrage warred confusion.

“No, no, no.” Daniel made patting gestures with his hands. “Nothing like that. He.... He claimed you were ‘after’ me. That you were after my money.”

Heat flooded her cheeks. “I never—”

“I know you didn’t—you wouldn’t—but in case Owen shows up here looking for me. Says something.” He lifted one shoulder. “Causes a scene. I wanted you to be prepared.”

“How do you prepare for something like that?”

So About the Money

A Holly Price Mystery

Author: Cathy Perkins

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KOBO Store

When Holly Price trips over a friend’s dead body while hiking, her life takes a nosedive into a world of intrigue and danger. The verdict is murder—and Holly is the prime suspect. Of course, the fact that the infinitely sexy—and very pissed off—cop threatening to arrest her is JC Dimitrak, Holly’s jilted ex-fiancé, doesn’t help matters.

To protect her future, her business...and her heart...the intrepid forensic accountant must use all her considerable investigative skills to follow the money through an intricate web of shadow companies, while staying one step ahead of her ex-fiancé. She better solve the case before the real killer decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass...and the next dead body found beside the river is Holly’s.

So About the Money Excerpt – meet Holly Price

Holly Price never expected to be back in Richland, Washington. She’d bolted out of the small town in eastern Washington for college—with no intention of returning. She also never expected her father to have a mid-life brain-fart and run off with his yoga instructor. His defection stranded Holly’s mother both personally and professionally. Without Holly’s CPA license, her mother would have to close the family accounting practice.

And absolutely the last thing Holly expected was for a hike to turn into the date from hell:

Big Flats, eastern Washington

Holly Price picked the wrong moment to admire the Snake River. She managed a quick glimpse of blue water rushing between barren black cliffs before she tripped and staggered off the narrow trail.

Alex Montoya glanced back. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” Her hiking boot caught another of the rocks littering the sagebrush-studded plateau. Arms windmilling, she fought to stay on her feet. Don’t face plant. Do. Not. Face plant.

She stumbled through a clump of tall grass and a pheasant burst out the other side.

“Rooster!” Alex snapped his shotgun against his shoulder, pivoting to track the bird.

The pheasant struggled into the air with a flurry of feathers. A handful of pellets dropped as it made a break for freedom. Who knew “scare the crap out of you” could be literal, was Holly’s next thought—and probably the bird’s last.

Two seconds later, a head-rocking blast hit Holly’s ears and the pheasant tumbled from the sky.


“Did you miss?” She tried to suppress the hopeful note.

“I winged him. Find him, Duke.”

The German shorthair raced ahead, intent on the falling bird.

“It’s alive?” She gave the rocky field a dubious inspection—not many places for an injured bird to hide.

“Don’t worry.” Her date tossed the words over his shoulder. He jogged to the edge of the cliff. “Duke’ll find him.”

Holly’s shoulders sagged. “Great.”

She followed Alex, but stopped a cautious two feet from the dropoff. Below her, Alex scrambled toward the mushiest patch of ground she’d seen since moving back to godforsaken eastern Washington. “Why are we going down there?”

“That’s where the bird went.” His teeth gleamed against his tanned skin. “Stay close.”

Feet sliding on the rocky soil, he charged after his bird dog and vanished into the tangled foliage lining the Snake River.

Well, damn.

When he’d invited her to Big Flats, she’d heard “hike,” while he meant “hunt.” Given the glorious fall day—sunshine and a blue sky that went on forever—she’d expected another picnic. Two weeks ago, Alex had taken her to a mountain meadow. A sandwich and a bottle of wine later, they’d kissed like teenagers and she’d thought about throwing both caution and her clothes to the wind.

Today, he’d morphed into some kind of Neanderthal maniac—me mighty hunter, you Jane. It was a mixed metaphor, but a slow burn started in her belly. She’d tried to be a good sport, but this was ridiculous.

She checked the land behind her—a dry plain dotted with stunted sagebrush, cheatgrass, and jumbled rocks—as if a giant “exit here” sign might appear.

No such luck.

She could probably find the parking lot.


Ditching Alex held a huge appeal, but the thought of quitting chaffed as badly as the grit in her boot.


Hands spread for balance, she eased down the goat trail to the boggy tract. She dodged some blackberry canes and stepped onto a line of broken reeds that marked the path through the underbrush.

Alex had been so proud of the first rooster he’d shot that morning. He’d held it out, expecting praise the way her mother’s cat, Fonzie, did when he laid something brown, furry, and dead at her feet. All Holly had seen was the beauty of the mottled breast feathers, the brilliant bands of neck color, and the lifeless flop of the pheasant’s head.

She sighed, resigned. Chasing birds and shooting at them didn’t even register on her Fun Things To Do list. She and Alex really didn’t have much in common. Maybe she shouldn’t keep dating him.

Even if he was fun.

When he wasn’t playing with guns.

She shoved further into the thicket and followed the faint trail of bent stalks. Getting lost was so not on her agenda. She never had trouble with directions in the city, but out here she couldn’t tell one bush from another.

The trail split, the narrow ribbons churned to muck by hunters’ boots. She glanced behind her. She didn’t have any breadcrumbs to mark the way back to the cliff.


Only vague thrashing sounds answered her.

Okay, she could figure this out. The left-hand side looked slightly more trampled, so she pushed past the leaning cattails. Willows, canes, and some kind of bushes towered overhead, crowding the boggy track. Soft mud sucked at her boots. The air stank of rotting vegetation and gulls squabbled in the distance. A dozen yards later, the trail divided again.

She peered forward and behind. “Alex,” she called, louder this time. “Where are you?”

She might be the commitment-phobe in this relationship, but surely Alex wouldn’t leave her out here. Everywhere she looked, dangling leaves and dried canes blocked her path. The sharp staccato of a dog’s excited bark broke the silence. Duke—ahead and to the right. The dog must have found the wounded pheasant.

She edged past a mushy spot. A harsher tang that reminded her of the dead fish they’d passed earlier grew stronger with each step. Nose covered with her hand, she rehearsed choice phrases to unleash on Alex when she finally found him, starting with a sarcastic, “Thanks for your concern,” before descending rapidly to “asshole.”

Something big rustled in the dense undergrowth behind her. Heart pounding, she spun around and peered into the thicket. They had coyotes out here. And drug grower/dealer guys. The only person they’d seen between the gravel parking area and this jungle was an Aryan Nation skinhead dude. Her heart stutter stepped. Oh, crap. What if this was his territory?

The noise from something plunging through the brush grew louder, closer. Blindly, she turned and crashed through the tangled foliage.

The rushes ended at a mound of dirt. She staggered into the clearing, her gaze zeroing in on Alex. Leaning over something on the ground, he tugged at Duke’s collar. The dog struggled, twisting his body in a muscular objection.

“Alex. Thank God.” Her knees felt weaker than she wanted to admit. “I heard something in the bushes back there.”

“Probably a deer. Stay back.” He wrestled the dog to the side.

His brusque tone shattered her mini-panic.

Well, don’t I feel silly.

A quick glance around registered the details. A drooping cottonwood canopied the clearing. Sunlit water lapped at the muddy shore. Gulls whirled overhead in a protesting flurry, lingering in a swirling complaint of dirty white feathers. The clearing looked like a teenagers’ party spot. Tattered food wrappers and empty beer bottles littered the ground. Filthy, torn clothing formed a soggy heap at the water’s edge.

The wind gusted off the inlet, carrying a stench across the clearing.

“Phew.” As bad as it smelled, she wondered if a dead fish was caught in the trash. A few birds remained near the river, their wings raised high, voices screeching defiance.

The pile of clothes had female-shaped contours. Eyes narrowed, Holly gave it a closer look. A pale, mud-streaked foot extended toward her. “Is that a woman?”

She moved closer, curiosity overriding her earlier fear. “Is she drunk?”

“Don’t come over here.” Alex clipped a short leash to Duke’s collar.

Harsh, abrupt. He’d never spoken to her like that before. A hint of unease coiled around her chest. She took in his grim expression. “What’s wrong?”

One of the gulls lunged. It stabbed through the matted hair screening the woman’s face and pecked at a glittering object.

"Stop it." Holly rushed forward, flinging out her arms. "Leave her alone!"

The birds scrambled away.

Alex grabbed her arm. “Don’t.”

Tugging against his restraint, she took another step, then gagged as the condition of the woman’s body registered. Unnatural stillness. Carrion birds. Waterlogged, rotting skin.

Missing parts.

Not drunk.


“Oh my God.” She backed away. Bile crept up her throat.

Focus on something, anything except the body.

Unable to look away, the golden shape at the woman’s throat caught Holly’s attention—a pair of hearts, a large diamond at the juncture. Recognition rippled a chill through her that had nothing to do with the wind. She immediately rejected the possibility—dozens of people could own a necklace like that.

The breeze ruffled the corpse’s dark hair and revealed more of the ravaged face. Memory replaced the dead woman's missing features. Laughing eyes filled empty sockets. Rosebud lips covered gaping teeth.

Holly’s head acknowledged what her heart already knew. The necklace was a custom piece—and she’d seen it a dozen times.

“It’s Marcy.”

A roaring started in her ears and her breakfast splattered her boots.

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