Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Terry Ambrose - The Scent of Waikiki is featured on the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Terry Ambrose's New Book: The Scent of Waikiki.

Author Terry Ambrose is the author of the McKenna Mystery series and the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery series.

The Scent of Waikiki

Trouble in Paradise Book 9

Author: Terry Ambrose


Honolulu landlord Wilson McKenna can smell a scam from across the room. So when one of his tenants loses everything in a work-at-home scam involving a new perfume, he’s shocked. With his wedding just weeks away, McKenna has to make a tough decision. Does he evict a woman who’s down on her luck? Or take time out from wedding planning to help his tenant?

Turning the case over to his PI-in-training friend Chance Logan seems like the perfect solution—until Chance tells McKenna he needs a wingman for a visit to fragrance entrepreneur Skye Pilkington-Winchester. McKenna’s sure he can keep everyone happy by helping Chance this one time. But nothing is ever as easy as it seems, and soon McKenna’s up to his board shorts in hot water. His tenant’s simple fragrance scam might involve industrial espionage, Skye’s assistant is murdered, and McKenna’s bride-to-be accuses him of having cold feet.

As McKenna and Chance dig deeper, it seems so much of what they’re being told doesn’t pass the sniff test. And the only way to get his life back is to find the dead girl’s missing boyfriend, unmask a killer, and finish up in time for the wedding. Other than that, it’s just another day in paradise.

Excerpt from The Scent of Waikiki

Chapter 1

The sun had dropped below the horizon and evening colors were in their final moments when the front doorbell rang. It was eight-fifteen. Who would be stopping by now? No sooner had the question popped into my head than a woman’s singsong voice called out from the other side of the screen door.

“Yoo-hoo! McKenna!”

Experience had taught me the screen was far more effective at keeping out flying pests than the office hours sign was at deterring the two-legged kind. The voice was not one I recognized, so I looked at Benni. She shrugged and hooked her thumb over her shoulder. Got it. You’re the apartment manager; go see who it is.

A woman with her arm in a sling peered at me through the screen door. Oh my God, it was one of my tenants. “Grace? Are you okay?” I should have recognized Grace Takahashi right away, but between the security lighting in the hallway and fine wires of the mesh, her features appeared surreal. Then there was that cast.

“Yah, McKenna, I’m okay.”

“What are you doing here at this hour? Is something wrong in the apartment?”

“No, no. The apartment is fine.” She grimaced as she clasped her right shoulder with her left hand.

I pointed at the sling, being careful not to mention that right now she looked like a victim in a zombie movie. “That looks painful.”

“Could I talk to you for a minute? I’d rather not do this out here.”

I unlatched the screen door, popped the handle, and made way for her to enter. “No worries. Come in.”

“Mahalo,” she muttered as she slipped by me.

I’ve managed the Sunsetter Apartments for several years now. The owners have told me how good I am at my job. One reason they like me is I’ve heard all the excuses before. In my former life, before the role of apartment manager, I was a skip tracer. It had been my job to find deadbeats when they tried to disappear. I'd learned to read a lot of different things—people, their reactions, the subtext between the lines, and the realities of when to keep going and when to call it quits.

For the record, knowing when to call it quits is not the same as actually doing it. I never gave up on a skip. The phrase, “dog with a bone,” was one description used for me. The people I found often had their own more graphic renditions. They frequently also had suggestions about what I might do to myself—quite inappropriate suggestions.

Like the owners, my tenants appreciated me. With them, I'd exercised the same zeal I’d shown as a skip tracer, telling them they could contact me any time they had a problem. The operative word in that permission statement was “problem.” So, what was Grace’s?

Gone was her normally friendly smile and her aging society-girl image. She was someone who had some sort of difficulty niggling at her—and I was somehow involved.

When Grace saw Benni sitting at the table, she stopped and turned to face me. “This can wait if you two are busy. I know you have a wedding to plan.”

Benni stood and came to join us. The two of them exchanged a hug, but Benni avoided touching the arm in the sling. “Did you have an accident?”

“If you don’t want to talk about it, it’s okay,” I said.

“No, no. It’s part of the reason I’m here.”

“Do you need me to leave you two alone for a bit?” Benni asked.

But Grace didn’t hesitate, she just backed up a step and grimaced. “It’s about the rent.”

Uh-oh. Not a good opening. I had a full-blown landlord panic attack going on. I didn’t really want Grace parking herself on my couch, but something told me this was going to take some time. “Would you like to sit?”

“I can’t pay my rent this month,” she blurted. “I lost everything to one of those scam guys you’re always talking about.”

Grace? Scammed? She was so level-headed. My jaw worked a couple of times. Nothing came out.

“I know,” she continued. “It was stupid. The guy was so convincing. Yah? Isn’t that what you always say? The smoother they are, the slipperier they are?”

“I’ve never...said that before.” To make her feel better, I added, “But it’s a good line.”

“I’m so sorry.” Benni stepped forward to give Grace another hug. “What happened?”

Oh, yeah, that should have been my reaction. Apparently, I was in full stupid-me mode. Anything I said was only going to help me dig a hole deep enough to bury myself and my personal belongings. I could use a backhoe. That would let me finish the job sooner.

Benni held my gaze, sighed and shook her head. She had one of those stop-being-pathetic looks on her face. “McKenna would like to say he’s sorry, too, but I think he’s having a brain aneurysm.”

“Call 9-1-1.” I shot back with a look that said, “take that.” I turned to Grace and said, “So tell me what happened.”

Grace shrugged. “There was this guy—I met him online. I gave him money for a sales display kit. I never should’ve done it. It was a stupid mistake because the next day somebody cleaned out my account.”

“They got everything?”

“Yah. And I never even got the display kit!”

“Wow. How can I help?”

Grace looked delighted. Benni stared at me like I really was having that aneurysm. And I realized that in my effort to not sound pathetic, I’d violated McKenna’s Skip Tracing Secret #6—people have a weakness, find it and use it against them. It was a solid violation. No gray areas whatsoever. I’d used my own penchant for helping others against myself.

When I proposed to Benni, I promised that I was done fixing other people’s problems. I swore to her and to myself I would never become involved in any kind of untoward activity again. That meant no scams, no murders, not even a parking violation. The worst part was I hadn’t even meant to ask the stupid question.

But it was too late. The words were gone. Irretrievable. I’d volunteered to help Grace, so I sighed and waited as the backhoe did its thing and buried me in a load of quicksand.

Author: Terry Ambrose

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Funny Mystery, Suspense

Website: Terry Ambrose - Mysteries with character
Twitter: @suspense_writer
E-Mail: info@terryambrose.com
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Google+: Check Out Google+
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Amazon Author Profile

Author Description: Terry Ambrose started out skip tracing and collecting money from deadbeats and quickly learned that liars come from all walks of life. He never actually stole a car, but sometimes hired big guys with tow trucks and a penchant for working in the dark when “negotiations” failed. A resident of Southern California, he loves spending time in Hawaii, especially on the Garden Island of Kauai, where he invents lies for others to read. His years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons including—always keep your car in the garage.

Author's Book List
Maui Magic - A McKenna Mystery - Trouble in Paradise Book 8
The eighth Trouble in Paradise island mystery featuring senior sleuth McKenna and his PI-wannabe sidekick Chance Logan.

Whatever happened to easy? McKenna had the perfect cover for his plan to propose marriage. He and his girlfriend Benni would help his elderly tenant, Mrs. Nakamura, fly to Maui for a visit with her pregnant granddaughter. Then, he’d take Benni for a walk on the beach. He had a ring, but did he have the courage to pop the question?

The minute they land, McKenna’s perfect plan hits a snag. Mrs. Nakamura’s grandson-in-law is being accused of murder—and she wants her amateur sleuth landlord to investigate. Reluctantly, McKenna agrees to take the case with his friend Chance. They dive into an investigation that starts in a seedy hospitality club and goes straight downhill. Before they know it, the battle for Maui’s water is raging around the amateur sleuths and they have too many questions to answer.

Why was the murder victim living under a fake identity? Why is their client claiming he committed the crime? And, who is the mystery man stalking them?

On a dusty cane road, McKenna must answer the toughest decision of his life—live rich or die poor? There's no way it's the question he wanted to face, but if McKenna doesn’t think fast, he may never ask another.

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Barnes and Noble

A Damsel for Santa - A McKenna Mystery - Trouble in Paradise Book 7
Not even the freak hurricane bearing down on Honolulu can dampen Wilson McKenna's holiday spirit. His girlfriend is coming to town, and they'll be celebrating their first Christmas together. Everything changes though when Chance Logan shows up and begs McKenna to help with a big charity event.

Chance wants his best friend to take the role of Santa in the Christmas play he's directing. The previous Santa claims to have malaria, and dress rehearsal is only hours away. McKenna agrees to help, but trouble strikes during rehearsal when the storm hits town. There's a city-wide power outage, the phone lines and traffic are snarled, and when the lights come on, one of the elves is dead.

When McKenna and Chance decide to investigate, the child star insists on being Santa’s helper. Now, McKenna has questions galore and no answers. Is the killer the Shakespeare-quoting Scrooge? The secretive Jack Frost? Or the way-too-friendly elf with more personalities than he can count? Should he give Assistant Elf Investigator Holly the promotion she's demanding? And what should he do about the Santa suit? It's giving him itches in places he can't even mention in public.

This year, Hawaii's best amateur sleuth has a short Christmas wish list. He wants to find a killer before the curtain comes down on this production. And, he'd kill for a sturdy backscratcher.

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North Shore Nanny - A McKenna Mystery - Trouble in Paradise Book 6
Some secrets are too dangerous to reveal...

McKenna and his friends are taking a sunset cruise off the coast of Honolulu when they discover a stowaway. The stowaway turns out to be ten-year-old Kai Palakiko, one of O‘ahu’s best young surfers.

Kai insists she needs to hire a private investigator so she can prove her nanny isn’t a murderer. McKenna reminds everyone he’s only an amateur sleuth, not a PI. Kai’s determination and charm endear her to his friends on the cruise and, despite his better judgement, McKenna agrees to help.

Almost immediately, McKenna realizes Kai will be the worst possible client. She’s precocious, strong-willed, and has a nasty habit of interfering in the investigation. He also discovers the woman he’s trying to help appears to be lying about her involvement in the murder. The worst part is she’s somehow involved in a government cover-up involving the US Army and secrets nobody wants unearthed.

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

Mystery of the Lei Palaoa - A McKenna Mystery - Trouble in Paradise Book 5
A precious necklace…an arrogant stranger…an unsolvable murder…

Apartment manager Wilson McKenna just got a gift card to Honolulu's newest, upscale coffeehouse from his rich, PI-wannabe tenant, Chance Logan. Wouldn't you know it? Trouble breaks out during their first visit when the barista confronts an arrogant customer over the lei niho palaoa he wears around his neck. McKenna knows the lei palaoa is only worn by Hawaiian royalty—and this guy is anything but.

The argument turns violent and a short time later, the troublemaker is found murdered, and the lei palaoa is missing. The cops have one suspect in their sights—the store owner.

McKenna and Chance set out to find the real killer. As the investigation expands, they realize dead men tell no lies, but the living certainly do. Can they crack a case with no clues, no evidence, and no witnesses?

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Honolulu Hottie - A McKenna Mystery - Trouble in Paradise Book 4
When a con man dies, no one cares…except his killer.

Apartment manager Wilson McKenna’s day tanks when the cops accuse an old friend of killing a ruthless Honolulu scammer. McKenna hates to break the “no more amateur sleuthing” promise he made to his new girlfriend, but his buddy is desperate. He's got no alibi. Made threats against the dead man. And, his gun was the murder weapon. Talk about a guy with big trouble.

McKenna turns to his private-investigator tenant, Chance Logan, for help. Too late, McKenna discovers Chance isn’t really a PI. Now, McKenna’s stuck with an investigation he doesn’t want, is mentoring a PI-wannabe, and hiding it all from his girlfriend.

A string of shattered lives—and suspects—lie in the dead man’s wake. Can McKenna and Chance find a cagey killer who's always one step ahead? Or, will a dead con man ruin another life?

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

Big Island Blues - A McKenna Mystery - Trouble in Paradise Book 3
McKenna flies to the Big Island of Hawaii to see his best friend’s niece, Andi Kapono, make her singing debut at the Big Island Jazz Festival. McKenna is barely off the plane when he learns that Andi is missing and her mom wants the former skip tracer to find her daughter before the festival.

No sooner has McKenna’s investigation begun than he’s got a teenage hacker messing with his investigation, has uncovered deep family secrets, and is caught in the middle of a twenty-year-old plan of revenge. When he keeps digging, he pisses off a Hawaiian cowboy who claims to be Andi’s real father. Now, he’s got a killer on his trail and is worried he’ll let down his best friend’s very hot sister.

This time, McKenna’s got more than trouble in paradise, he’s got a volcano ready to blow.

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

Kauai Temptations - A McKenna Mystery - Trouble in Paradise Book 2
When Wilson McKenna’s bank tells him he’s written $4,000 in bad checks on an island he’s never been to, he’s one unhappy haole. Things get worse when he’s nearly arrested for impersonating himself, the woman who trashed his credit turns up dead, and he realizes he’s up to his ‘umi’umi in hot lava.

"More delicious than a Coconut Mocha Frap (and that's saying something), this rambunctious, character driven whodunit, kept me laughing out loud while I wallowed in the exotic locale beside the engaging amateur sleuth Wilson McKenna as he unraveled a timely case involving identity theft and murder. Terry Ambrose has penned a truly engaging, page turner of a mystery in Kauai Temptations." — Jenn McKinlay, New York Times Best Selling Author of the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover's Mysteries!

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

License to Lie - A McKenna Mystery - Trouble in Paradise Book 1
Never trust a soul—even your own. With Five Million Dollars and their lives on the line, can a determined criminologist and a beautiful con artist learn to trust each other—or themselves? Both are experts in the art of communications. Both are driven by their goals—but they’re on opposite sides of the law. When her father is kidnapped, they join forces—and learn that it’s hard to trust each other—or themselves.

Book Trailer: License to Lie

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

CLUES IN THE SAND - A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery Book 2
To Rick Atwood’s dismay, the police find a body on the beach near his Seaside Cove B&B. The dead woman held a pottery shard from an ancient rice bowl, which the cops believe is a clue to her murder.

The chief suspect is Flynn O’Connor, a female archaeologist known for her hatred of treasure thieves. Trouble is, Rick’s daughter Alex sees Flynn as a role model and will not believe her friend is a killer.

Alex pressures her dad as only a ten-year-old can to prove Flynn is innocent. The mayor is also making demands—for Rick to stay out of the investigation. With his daughter and the mayor at odds, Rick sees trouble brewing. He knows too well how much Alex loves sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Especially when there’s murder involved.

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A Treasure to Die For - A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery Book 1
A sunken Spanish galleon brings eight treasure hunters—and murder—to quaint Seaside Cove.

Bandit gold and sunken pirate ships. What could be better for the reputation of a quaint coastal California town like Seaside Cove?

Local eyebrows go up when eight friends come searching for a 16th Century Spanish galleon. After all, everybody knows there’s no such thing as Spanish gold off this part of the California coast.

The group’s visit turns ugly when a killer strikes and leaves Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast owner Rick Atwood with a trunkful of questions. Who murdered one of his guests? Will his precocious ten-year-old daughter stop interfering in his investigation? And can he squelch the latest town gossip? Which is, of course, can Rick and his daughter do what the cops can’t and solve the crime?

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Barnes and Noble

Photo Finish
Catch island fever with this funny Hawaiian mystery set on the beautiful island of Oahu.

Wilson McKenna's newest tenant is hot, gives great hugs, and just saw a dead body being thrown from a plane. McKenna's not one to get involved in other people's problems, especially those of a woman half his age, but before he knows it, he's volunteered to track down the plane and its owner. In no time, McKenna has uncovered an island drug ring, pissed off a sociopath, and set himself up as the victim in a beautiful woman's con that could cost him his life.

Trouble? Oh, yeah. McKenna's found it. If only trouble didn't have such great legs.

Book Trailer: Photo Finish

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

Tough Choices - The Lei Crime Series - A Hawai'i Parkour Adventure Book 1
Marty Fitch might be living in paradise, but he's operating in a world where lies are the norm, retribution is swift, and danger lurks around every corner. With the police on his trail, a killer hunting him, and a friend's life in the balance, Marty must choose his next move carefully. Otherwise, his new career as a crime-fighting video blogger might be over before it starts.

Tough Choices takes place during Black Jasmine and Shattered Palms. The story brings Pono to Honolulu for a temporary assignment on an interagency drug task force.

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Life's Shorts
A collection of short stories and vignettes on life, Hawaiian style, with a twist of grumpy. When you need humor, look to McKenna for a twist of grumpy. McKenna’s always a good lead-off player and his fans call him everything from delightful to a dirty old man. Sometimes, a look at the tragic side of life is just what we need and this short story of how quickly life can change will warm your heart. Hawaiian style is a taste of the islands…light and breezy with moisture-laden air, pupus, and even a talking duck.

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Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
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Indie Author’s Corner
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Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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