Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Arleen Alleman - Currents of Sin is featured in 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 Arleen Alleman's New Book: Currents of Sin.

Award-Winning Author Arleen Alleman is the author of the Darcy Farthing Cruise Crime Adventure series.

Currents of Sin

Darcy Farthing series

Author: Arleen Alleman

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Homeless teens are disappearing off the streets in Las Vegas. Investigative reporter Darcy Farthing travels to Sin City to find a missing girl, Pammie Fleetfoot. Working with her friend and former LA cop, Tom Smythe, she soon learns the tragic reality of street teens caught up in human trafficking for prostitution controlled by Asian gangs. Darcy and Tom form a bond with two frightened teen prostitutes, but soon after they confront their young pimp, he is brutally murdered. Darcy blames herself and fears for the girls’ safety. They refuse her offer of help and will not leave the streets because a self-styled neighborhood preacher has a mysterious hold on them. Meanwhile, violence is escalating on the streets.

While in Vegas, Darcy is staying with her best friend, Sid, who is threatened by an anonymous caller. Darcy fears that her meddling with traffickers is endangering Sid. In a shocking twist, a horrific car accident changes everything for Darcy and Sid. Darcy is convinced it was deliberately orchestrated. Despite being injured, she won’t leave Vegas until she determines who is responsible and what has happened to Pammie. Darcy’s husband, Mick, a government investigator who’s been fighting depression, rushes to join her. With his help, she discovers a startling connection between the human traffickers, the accident, and an old enemy intent on more revenge. When the police and FBI finally raid the traffickers’ prostitution ring, Darcy is caught between two vicious criminal networks.

Excerpt from Currents of Sin



The garage door wasn’t opening fast enough for my level of impatience, so I bent at the waist to squint into the dim interior. The blast of superheated air that hit my face was nearly as oppressive as the boiling miasma outside. The forty-five-minute air-conditioned drive from Southwest Florida International was pleasant enough, but as soon as I stepped out of the rental car, there was no doubt about where I’d landed.

In the middle of June and despite the efforts of the nearby gulf to spread a cooling breeze across the land, Marco Island could do nicely as a sauna. Still, I love the island and this three-bedroom peach-colored Florida-style home that backs up to one of the town’s many canals.

Adjusting my vision to the dim interior, I stood up and approached Sunny with one arm outstretched. Head down, peering closely, I took my time probing along her hot body for telltale marks—indications of abuse. Grateful, I let out the breath I’d been holding. She was in the same shape as when I left her. My bright yellow 2003 Mustang GT was still my baby even though she was trapped down here at the bottom of the country while I was living in DC.

Stepping around her to enter the house, I was already on the phone.

“Hey, Darcy, you made it?”

“Yep, I’m here. Thanks for taking good care of Sunny, Tom. She looks fine.”

“No problem.” He chuckled. “I love driving her too. Should I come over?”

“Sure, why don’t you pick up something cold to drink on the way?”

I hadn’t seen Tom Smythe for months, and I’d missed him. He’s a dear friend who suffered a number of personal setbacks, not to mention physical injuries, over the past few years. I hated to admit that all his troubles were due to his involvement with me to a greater or lesser extent.

His apartment on Bald Eagle Drive was only a mile from the house, so he arrived fifteen minutes later, carrying a six-pack of Corona and a lime. We embraced, then exchanged small talk pleasantries while I cut up the fruit.

Soon he drifted toward the living room. I watched his back as he gazed at the yard through the large sliding glass doors. I decided he looked fit and relaxed in shorts, a loose Hawaiian shirt, and flip-flops. With a deep tan and sexy spiked hair, he seemed a million miles and years away from the dowdy uptight ship’s security chief I first met nearly five years ago.

I had to admit the screened lanai with its colorful tropical print furniture beckoned invitingly. Beyond the patio, the lush densely landscaped yard sloped to the canal and the unused boat dock. I too thought the little slice of paradise was a lovely sight. He turned from the view and smiled, nodding at the window.

“Kinda hot out there, I guess.”

“Yes, let’s opt for air-conditioning, if that’s okay.”

He came back to the kitchen. After opening our beers, he pushed a lime wedge into the neck of each bottle. Handing me one, he returned to the spacious living area and looked back at me for direction.

“I don’t care. Anywhere is fine.”

We settled next to each other on the seafoam couch, and I sat back to take in the room’s pastel ambiance. It wasn’t my style. I prefer a more neutral palette with primary splashes over this hopelessly dated peach and green décor. The look still belonged to Mick’s mother.

Mick’s parents were killed in a freak winter accident in Colorado about seven years ago, and he’s done nothing with the interior of the house they left him. I supposed he would not mind me making changes, but considering the little time we’re down here, I wasn’t sure if or when I would get around to it.

Thinking of my husband brought down my mood a little, which would be out of the ordinary to anyone who knows us. In fact, since meeting Mick, I’ve been happier than I deserve to be. We’ve faced a few obstacles along the way, but we’ve been able to overcome them … until now.

Been happier than I deserve to be. We’ve faced a few obstacles along the way, but we’ve been able to overcome them … until now.

I glanced at Tom and realized he was studying me as he sipped his beer. I peered into the kind gray eyes, a little more hooded than I remembered. Graying brown hair and weathered features suggested his age, but his physique looked strong, his stomach flat.

“You look really good, Tom. Still working out?”

“Yeah, doing a little running over on Tigertail too if I can get up early enough to beat the heat.”

My thoughts flipped to the beautiful stretch of beach estuary near the north end of the island with its resident egrets, cranes, pelicans, storks, eagles, cormorants, and ibis, not to mention the plethora of fish and small mammals. This entire area really is paradise for nature and wildlife lovers, and that was a reason for my being here. Ever since Mick introduced me to this populated nature preserve, I’ve found that it provides therapeutic solace.

“And how is work, Tom? Everything okay over there?”

“Going well, after the rocky start.” He chuckled and leaned forward to set his nearly empty bottle on the coffee table.

I nodded but decided enough had been said in the past about the scary situation we faced a couple of years ago. Tom was charged with the attempted murder of a deputy sheriff just after he started work as the administrative officer for the Geneva County Sheriff’s Department. Thankfully, we sorted that problem out after a few months, and he settled into the new position.

“Do you want another beer?” I asked instead.

“Sure, but I’ll get us both another one.” He was already heading for the kitchen.

Do you ever think of leaving Marco Island and moving closer to work?” I called.

“Sure, the forty-five-minute commute gets old, but I love it here near the coast. Besides who would keep an eye on this place and Sunny for you?”

“Right, and I don’t blame you for wanting to stay. I love it here too.” I glanced around the room and didn’t bother to suppress a sigh.

After handing me a beer, he plopped back down on the couch and squinted over the top of his bottle.

“Sure, Darcy, I know you do. But I can tell something is going on with you. You don’t seem as happy and, you know, effervescent as usual.”

That made me laugh. “Is that what I am? Sounds like the description of a bubbly teenager.”

He was clearly embarrassed. I reached over and touched his arm. “Thanks, Tom. I guess you know me pretty well. Of course I’m here to check on the house and relax for a few days, but you’re right. There’s something more personal, I’m afraid.”

He stared at me for a moment, then looked at his lap while I collected my thoughts. There was no question that I was going to confide in one of my closest friends. It was hard, though, because every instinct I possessed told me not to say out loud what I’d been thinking for the past few weeks. I knew if those words and feelings lived outside of me, they would become real—tangible—and I would have to face them. And then what?

Denial becomes harder to maintain when the issues are open for discussion. After all, we don’t have to worry about anything that isn’t part of the real world—even when it’s buried in our minds because, well, it doesn’t seem real.

In any event, I didn’t want to spill a lot of detail about my marital relationship. On the other hand, I knew from past experience that Tom could be a great sounding board. I leaned back and gulped my Corona before it got too warm.

“Okay, you’re right. Mick and I are in a little bit of a rough spot, or I should say he’s in one, and I’m probably not handling it as well as I should.”

Tom slowly brought his eyes back up to mine and shook his head. Almost in a whisper, he asked, “Is it the PTSD again?”

I shook my head a little too vigorously. A sharp pain shot across the back of my eye—the residual remnant of an injury I sustained months ago in Seattle at the hands of a vicious murderer who was threatening some dear friends.

“No, not that. He’s been fine for, what, almost three years now? This is something else, and it’s so damn strange because it’s as if there’s a role reversal or something. I mean I’m the one who should be struggling with what’s happening.”

He leaned back. “Ah, Rachael?”

“Yes, have you heard from her?” I knew how much my daughter liked Tom, just as I did, and I could envision her staying in touch with him.

“She called me just before she left Kenya to go to Australia. Sort of a formal goodbye is how it felt at the time.”

I nodded in agreement. “I know what you mean. We hear from her every month or so. Of course we can call or Skype anytime, and I have. The thing is, something happened to Mick when she took the baby and went to live with her parents.”

I explained how we initially thought her trip to Africa was no big deal. We knew she wouldn’t want to raise little Anna there despite the presence of Anna’s father, Gerald. But when she decided to relocate with her folks to Australia, that was something entirely different.

Last year on a cruise down under, we saw firsthand how great Sydney and other Australian cities are. The Alosas, my biological daughter’s adoptive parents, will be stationed for a number of years at the US consulate in Sydney. I can’t blame her for deciding to stay there with them.

“Who knows how old Anna will be when we see her again.” I hated my own whiney tone.

“I understand, but I’m sure a lot of people don’t get to see their grandchildren as much as they’d like.”

“I know that, and I can get over it.”

“So you’re saying Mick is more upset about losing Anna than you are?”

“I hate to admit it, but yes, that’s putting it mildly.”

I had difficulty explaining Mick’s attitude to myself, never mind to someone else, but I tried. “You know, now that we’re into our forties, we’re not going to have other children. You also know very well how we found each other and overcame so much trauma over the past few years. And of course I found Rachael after eighteen years apart from her, which was an amazing thing in itself.”

I had to stop and think about the root cause of my husband’s problem. “I think Mick deeply bought in to the dream of us being a family. He and I, Rachael, and sweet little Anna. He loves that baby so much, Tom. He works hard, and he’s such a good person. He deserves to experience having a family. It’s just that …”

I felt wetness on my cheeks and tried to suppress the tears before I really broke down. I’d been holding in the sadness for months, trying to be strong for Mick. But lately, I was becoming annoyed and disappointed with his inability to move on. Unfortunately, it was a too-familiar feeling.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Author Arleen Alleman
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Twitter: @aallemanwrites
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Author Description: Arleen Alleman is a former analyst with the Government Accountabililty Office, where she wrote extensively on many topics ranging from satellite systems to endangered species. She has also worked as a fashion model, insurance adjuster, jewelry designer, and owner of a home decor shop. Her interests include health and fitness, world religions, travel, and she is an avid reader. The Darcy Farthing Adventures: Six exciting, contemporary, suspense-filled mysteries--Download to your Kindle now or buy a book to discover this unique thought-provoking series for yourself.

Arleen says that traveling is not only fun, but the various world locations supply backdrops and narration for her fictional stories. Born in England and raised in New Hampshire and Nevada, she lived in Colorado for many years. She and her husband, Tim, recently moved to Southwest Florida. For more information about the author, visit her website at http://www.arleenalleman.com

The series is unique in that it addresses contemporary social issues along with the murder-mystery elements of the stories. Themes addressed in the series include, humanism, crime, family issues and adoption, PTSD, alternative lifestyles, government corruption, and cruise ship safety.

"Currents of Sin" is the sixth and final book in the series. It explores the very real problem of human trafficking for prostitution among homeless teens in Las Vegas, while wrapping up the characters lives.

The fifth Darcy Farthing adventure, "A Current Deception", explores themes of computer hacking, identity theft, and long-held grudges and revenge played out on a cruise ship sailing around Australia. Murder-mystery with the added plots of a yellow crazy ant infestation as well as food-borne pathogens.

The fourth Darcy Farthing adventure "Alternate Currents" was a finalist in Foreword Reviews Magazine's 2013 Indie Book of the Year Awards. This is a timely topical story of mystery, child abduction, and murder set in Seattle, WA. Darcy rushes to the aid of good friend, Don Freeburg, when his partner, Charlie Scott, disappears. She is soon immersed in a murder investigation and the shocking abduction of Penelope, Don and Charlie's daughter by surrogacy.

The first two novels in the series are based on crime and mystery aboard cruise ships. The third in series "Current Assets" is set in South Florida and involves local corruption, terrorism, and the U.S. Marshals asset forfeiture program.

Author's Book List
A Current Deception - Darcy Farthing series
Freelance reporter Darcy Farthing boards a luxury cruise ship for a trip to beautiful Australian seaports with family and friends, where a baffling murder mystery challenges her investigative skills. The crimes begin when a small-town Kansas woman traveling with a class reunion tour group is plagued by an attack of yellow crazy ants—a dangerous, invasive species—as well as an illness caused by mysterious foodborne bacteria and the odd cancellation of an onshore tour. The bizarre but relatively minor incidents escalate when the ants injure more passengers and crew members. Soon, a peculiar death on the streets of Adelaide and attempted murders on board the ship threaten to cause panic. It is obvious that a crew member or passenger is targeting individuals, but who is it and why?

Meanwhile, Darcy is distracted by daughter Rachael’s uncharacteristic behavior and intense friendship with a handsome passenger. Reluctant to make waves, Darcy tries to suppress her concerns. She turns her full attention to the crimes when evidence is found in Brooks’s stateroom and the security chief names him as the sole suspect. Brooks is clearly innocent, but the chief is inexplicably reluctant to conduct a more thorough investigation to clear him; then Darcy’s best friend, Sid, who is also Brooks’s fiancé, becomes the latest victim. Clue by clue, with Mick’s help, Darcy uses her skills to reveal a homicidal master of disguise and world-class computer hacker intent on exacting revenge related to a twenty-year-old crime.

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Alternate Currents - Darcy Farthing series
Author Darcy Farthing is living in Washington, DC, with her fiancé, Mick Clayton. They are enjoying a much needed respite from trauma and crime fighting while preparing for a wedding and a romantic cruise. Everything changes when an alarming phone call halts their plans. A good friend, Charlie Scott, has mysteriously disappeared—the apparent victim of an abduction.

Against Mick’s wishes, on an impulse and without much thought of consequences, Darcy flies to Seattle to help Charlie’s partner, Don, and their daughter, Penelope, cope with the loss. She is worried about Mick’s negative attitude about the couple and worries that he is prejudiced toward her friends. As a result, she finds herself reevaluating the direction of her personal and professional life.

Soon after her arrival in Seattle, she becomes immersed in the unfamiliar world of domestic partnerships, birth surrogates, and assisted reproductive technology. Don and Charlie, who became unlikely heroes in the first novel in this series, Currents Deep and Deadly, have their lives turned upside down by elusive kidnappers with no apparent motive. At the same time, their well-intentioned decision to pay a surrogate to bear their daughter for them turns into a nightmare, when the biological mother returns after eight years, claiming that Don and Charlie are not Penelope’s fathers as they believed, and she wants her child back. This revelation sets in motion a series of tragic events that threatens to destroy a parent-child bond, and worse.

Before the police and FBI are able to solve Charlie’s kidnapping, an even more devastating case materializes when Penelope also vanishes. The FBI and Seattle police detectives frantically look for clues. In the process, they implicate a local antigay organization and its leader, two local business owners who are being harassed by antigay demonstrators, a flamboyant stalker who is obsessed with Don, and the birth mother herself. There is no hard evidence against any of the suspects, and the leads are curtailed when two of them are murdered. The authorities are no closer to finding Penelope and now worry that she has been abducted by a vicious killer.

In the midst of turmoil surrounding Penelope’s birth status and abduction, true to her nature, Darcy tries to help her friends. When she ventures into the midst of the case by conducting a freelance interview with a local clergyman, she is nearly killed in a vicious attack by an unknown assailant. Mick rushes to her side and soon overcomes his reluctance to get involved with Don and Charlie’s plight. Together they try to gather information to help solve the case. Before the hostility ends, Don also becomes a victim and then a hero, and Mick must fight an unbalanced killer intent on revenge.

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Current Assets - Darcy Farthing series
Author Darcy Farthing is writing at her new home in Marco Island, Florida while her boyfriend Mick Clayton conducts a GAO investigation of government property-asset forfeitures-stolen from under the noses of U.S. Marshals and a sheriff's office. When close friend, Tom Smythe, is arrested for attempted murder of a deputy sheriff, the couple tries to identify who is behind the property thefts and corruption. When more deputies are attacked, Darcy and Mick are drawn into a bewildering government investigation and an alarming web of murder and conspiracy with a surprising link to Middle East terrorists; as well as a smuggling operation on a luxury yacht. As they inch closer to identifying a vicious murderer, the violence hits close to home when desperate criminals target Darcy and her deeply troubled daughter, Rachael.

Book Trailer: Current Assets

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Currents of Vengeance - Darcy Farthing series
The Darcy Farthing cruise adventure continues with Currents of Vengeance, a visually and emotionally rich story of personal greed and desperation set on an exquisite state-of-the-art luxury cruise ship and in beautifully historic South American seaports. Plots and subplots abound in a delicious blend of fiction and fact, brought to life with vivid descriptions and characters. This novel explores the timely and all-too-real issues of crime, terrorism, and legal justice in international waters.

In this sequel to Currents Deep and Deadly, Darcy Farthing is home in Colorado adjusting to the press coverage of their ill-fated South American cruise on the Sea Nymph and the success of her budding writing career. She is juggling her work at Schrinden Pharmaceuticals with trying to understand boyfriend Mick Clayton's mysterious depression and anxiety, which apparently relate to the life-threatening wound he suffered on the cruise. Darcy wonders what has happened to their romance, which blossomed a year ago on the ship, but now seems to have fizzled. To make matters worse, her "new" daughter, Rachael, is encouraging Darcy's unexpected attraction to her successful and wealthy travel industry executive ex-husband, Brooks Larkin.

In a surprising turn of events, one year after their horrific cruise adventure, Darcy and Rachael agree to accompany Mick and now-unemployed Tom Smythe, once the chief of security on the Sea Nymph, on a second cruise around South America. This time, Mick and Tom have teamed up to conduct a joint GAO-FBI congressional investigation of the serious issue of unprosecuted crimes committed on cruise ships. They plan to use the project as a means to find evidence linking Paul Denezza, a ruthless Las Vegas casino owner, to the violence on the previous cruise.

Instead of the relaxing vacation Darcy expects, she and her travel companions encounter more violence and madness when currents remaining from the first cruise rise to the surface threatening to pull them under. They soon realize that once again, the World of Seas Cruise Line cannot protect them when crimes on and off the ship become much too personal. Before this voyage is over, Mick's emotional crisis nearly ends his life, Tom faces a surprising attacker with a bizarre weapon, and young Rachael experiences tragic violence that changes her life forever. A series of dangerous encounters reveals a quirky cast of psychologically flawed passengers who are intent on seeking revenge against Darcy, her travel companions, and the cruise line.

Book Trailer: Currents of Vengeance

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Currents Deep and Deadly - Darcy Farthing series
In her travel log of murder, romance, and a personal journey of discovery aboard a cruise ship, Darcy Farthing manages to entertain the reader with her descriptions of Caribbean and South American ports, while also detailing the horrific and wondrous events that take place during her four week adventure. A pragmatic scientist by nature, she says she has given up all belief in a spiritual component to life and knows that coincidences are either man-made or chance occurrences that seem related but have no significance. That is, until a series of unbelievable coincidences challenges her belief.

In telling her story, she lays bare her "non-existent" soul and the deeply hidden emotions she has kept in a fragile prison of cold logic and denial for 20 years. She is a savvy, professional woman who has been fighting her internal demons ever since she made a colossal mistake in her personal life from which she knows she can never recover. But on a hastily planned cruise with Dr. Peter Johnson, her latest romantic interest, Darcy's non-belief system is shaken when she is confronted with a set of bewildering and frankly unbelievable coincidences that bring together a tangle of strangers, and people and events from her own past. Darcy is already feeling trapped on the gigantic floating village when she accidentally overhears discussions about a murder for hire plot. Then when members of the crew begin to die under suspicious circumstances, she learns the hard way that she cannot trust anyone onboard the ship. She is forced to run for her own life as she tries to identify both the intended victim of the plot and the murderer before even more disaster strikes.

Finally, as the cruise sails through its final week the mystery appears to be solved and Darcy believes that further tragedy has been averted. Onshore in a beautiful Argentine city she experiences the pain of breaking out of her emotional prison when she meets the one person who will either fulfill her life or destroy her completely. While Darcy finds much needed closure to one chapter of her life, the cruise sails on to what promises to be a restful and romantic end. However, just short of their destination Darcy and Mick meet with unimaginable violence and loss when they are finally forced to confront and battle a vicious killer.

Book Trailer: Currents Deep and Deadly

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