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Excerpt: One Wrong Word by Hank Phillippi Ryan

One Wrong WordA heart-racing new psychological thriller from USA Today bestselling and multiple award-winning author, Hank Phillippi Ryan. Coming February 6th, 2024!

One Wrong Word stars crisis management expert Arden Ward. And here, in her beloved office, she is about to get a surprise from her boss, Warren Carmichael. This scene picks up in the middle of the chapter.


Warren actually gulped. She’d never seen his face so ashen.

“Listen, Arden. I don’t like this any more than you will. But understand.

The Swansons are major clients. Lucrative clients. Company-supporting clients.”

“Well, I know. I brought them to you. When we met at my Saving Calico childhood leukemia fundraiser. Remember?”

“Oh. Right.” Warren picked up his glass, rattled the ice. “I didn’t think anything could make this more difficult.”

“Make what?”

“So Patience Swanson thinks you and her husband have a . . . thing. That he gave you the Joy.”

“The perfume?” Arden clapped a palm to her chest. “She’s insane.”

“Possibly. Probably. But that doesn’t change anything. She demands that we let you go.”

“She? Demands? You let me go?” Every nerve cell in Arden’s brain burst into flames.

“I have no choice.”

“Choice? Of course you do.” Arden took a step toward him, arms spread in exasperation and disbelief. “Who does she think put her husband where he is today?”

“I’m sorry, Arden. It’s a situation. I don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t? Well, I do.” She jabbed toward him with a forefinger. “You can say ‘she’s lost her freaking mind.’ You can tell that woman I’m a valuable employee who brings in big bucks, and new clients, and will continue to do so. And who, it goes without saying, is not having some sort of sordid affair with her vile entitled husband who clearly she has problems with. But the ‘problems’ are not me. A situation? It’s my life!”

“I’m sorry, Arden. Unless you can prove he didn’t give you perfume. Unless you can prove he didn’t—”

She rolled her eyes to the heavens, then harnessed her outrage. “I’m not going to prove one thing on this planet. Ask him, right? First of all, I can’t prove something that didn’t happen, that’s through the looking glass, and I cannot believe you’re even asking me that. Is that what you think of me? Let me ask you that. That this is true?”

“No, of course not, no.” Warren lurched to his feet, turned away, not looking at her, looking at every place else but her. “He’ll deny it. So I can’t force him to—”

“Ah. I see. Warren. Look at me. So you believe her, not me? Is that what you’re saying? Because if that is what you’re saying, Warren, I could file so many lawsuits it’d make your head spin. Hey. You’re a pro.Imagine the headlines. Blame the victim? Or wait, would you paint me the vixen, the temptress? Oh, yeah, do it. Please do that. I’d love that. Bring it.”

Warren had to know this was bull. “Are you hearing me?” she persisted.

“Are you ignoring me? Look at me. I know the rules. I know the deal. You cannot do this. I’ll go to HR so fast it’ll—”

“Be careful, Arden.” Warren interrupted her. “Take a beat. If you sue me, well, that’s not gonna help you, is it? Suddenly you’re . . . a problem employee. A liability. On the defensive. It’s not a good look. You know that.”

“What I know—and what you know—is that it’s not true.”

“What I know is that if the Swansons leave us, if they take their billings, I’d have to fire three other people to make up for it. Do you want to be responsible for that?”

“Oh, no. No. That’s not fair.” Arden wiped away the space in front of her, erasing Warren’s words. “Do not make me feel guilty about people losing their jobs over a lie.”

“We won’t let this get out,” Warren said. “It’ll stay between us.”

“Right. Between us.” She choked down a bitter laugh, focusing her anger. “And Patience Swanson. And Arthur Swanson. And whatever gossip mongers and sycophant confidantes and social media jackals—I cannot believe I’m saying this. A secret. As if anyone could keep a secret.”

She drew in a breath, her judgment obliterated by expanding rage. Narrowed her eyes. “Unless they’re dead.”


Click below to pre-order your copy of One Wrong Word, available February 6th, 2024!

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Forge’s January eBook Deals!

New Year, new eBook deals! Now that the holiday craziness has come and gone, this is the perfect time to cozy up and relax with your eReader! Cheers to kicking off 2024 by reading some incredible books at an awesome price!


The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The House Guest

After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.

But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.

Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall

Land of Shadows

Along the ever-changing border of gentrifying Los Angeles, seventeen-year-old Monique Darson is found dead at a condominium construction site, hanging in the closet of an unfinished unit. Homicide detective Elouise “Lou” Norton’s new partner, Colin Taggert, fresh from the comparatively bucolic Colorado Springs police department, assumes it’s a teenage suicide. Lou isn’t buying the easy explanation.

For one thing, the condo site is owned by Napoleon Crase, a self-made millionaire. . .and the man who may have murdered Lou’s missing sister, Tori, thirty years ago. As Lou investigates the death of Monique Darson, she uncovers undeniable links between the two cases. But her department is skeptical.

Lou is convinced that when she solves Monique’s case she will finally bring her lost sister home. But as she gets closer to the truth, she also gets closer to a violent killer. After all this time, can he be brought to justice. . .before Lou becomes his next victim?

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Forge Your Own Book Club: The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The House GuestBy Ariana Carpentieri:

With spring right around the corner, there’s no better time to spruce up your home and refresh your bookshelf. Spring cleaning, am I right? And boy, do we have a book for you the cleans up real nice. Meet The House Guesta diabolical cat-and-mouse thriller from USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan.

After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.

But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.

The House Guest is the perfect pick for your next book club discussion. Here’s a breakdown on what to watch, what to eat, what to drink, and what to listen to while you read it!


What to Watch

The Weekend Away film poster

Divorce. Life changing as you know it. Luxurious lifestyles being threatened. Wealth slipping through your fingers. Friendships not truly being what they seem. All of these mysteriously fascinating topics are not only highlighted in The House Guest, but also in the movie The Weekend Away. This Netflix thriller is about a woman (Beth) who travels to Croatia for a weekend getaway with her best friend (Kate) because Beth’s marriage has hit a dull patch and Kate is recently divorced. So a quick vacay is just the medicine both ladies are looking for. But on this fateful trip, Kate suddenly goes missing and it’s up to Beth figure out what exactly happened. As Beth’s investigation unravels, secrets are revealed and everything she thought she knew about her best friend is called into question. Perhaps Kate isn’t so innocent…and perhaps neither is Beth.

What to Eat

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This thrilling book features a (twisted) female friendship. And when I sit down to spill the tea with my girlfriends, I love to order some avocado toast. This dish is not only delicious but also very satisfying—just like how reading The House Guest feels! The best part about avocado toast is its versatility—there are endless ways to customize it to your liking. Personally, I always order mine with a sunny-side-up egg on top. It’s a game-changer.

What to Drink

Free Orange Juice in Clear Drinking Glass Stock Photo

Keeping within that same brunch theme, mimosas are an absolute must when hanging out with your gal pals. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or brunching at your favorite local restaurant, having a mimosa with the sun shining down and a gentle breeze in the air just hits different. But if alcohol isn’t your thing, then a mimosa mocktail would make for a fabulous substitute!

What to Listen to

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I am convinced that there is no better song to accompany reading this book than Vigilante Sh*t by the one and only Taylor Swift. Now she gets the house, gets the kids, gets the pride / Picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife / And she looks so pretty driving in your Benz / Lately she’s been dressing for revenge. It’s giving I-may-have-killed-my-snake-of-a-husband-but-I’m-pretty-enough-to-get-away-with-it vibes. It’s about female empowerment, enacting revenge on men, a potential (albeit fake) murder confession, and dark secrets coming to the surface. It’s basically a song that’ll make you feel like a total baddie, which is the same exact feeling you’ll get from reading The House Guest.

Click below to order your copy of The House Guest, available now!

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Take The House Guest Quiz to Find out What Type of House Guest You’d Be!

The House GuestThe House Guest is another diabolical cat-and-mouse thriller from USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan—but which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?

After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.

But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.

Take the quiz below to find out what type of house guest YOU’D be!




Click below to order your copy of The House Guest, available now!

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Forge January eBook Deals!

New Year, new e-Book deals! Gear up for next month’s release of The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan with one (or both) of these searing thrillers—now on sale for $1.99, all month long!


The Murder ListThe Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is–she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

Trust MeTrust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

There are three sides to every story. Yours. Mine. And the truth.

An accused killer insists she’s innocent of a heinous murder.
A grieving journalist surfaces from the wreckage of her shattered life.
Their unlikely alliance leads to a dangerous cat and mouse game that will leave you breathless.
Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself?

 

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Excerpt Reveal: The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan

The House GuestThe House Guest is another diabolical cat-and-mouse thriller from USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan—but which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?

After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.

But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.

The House Guest will be available on February 7th, 2023. Please enjoy the following excerpt!


CHAPTER ONE

Alyssa swirled the icy olives in her martini, thinking about division. She stared through her chilled glass to the mirrored shelves of multicolored bottles in front of her at the hotel bar. Division, as in divorce.

Not only the physical division, hers from Bill, but what would happen after the lawyers finished. They’d already created a ledger of their lives together, then started the Macallens’ financial division. Which would be followed by the devastating subtraction.

Bill had subtracted her from his life, that was easy math. With a lift of his chin and a slam of the front door and a squeal of Mercedes tires. She’d asked him why he was leaving her, begged to know, yearned to understand. But Bill Macallen always got what he wanted, no explanation offered or obligatory. She had done nothing wrong. Zero. That’s what baffled her. Terrified her.

She jiggled the fragments of disappearing ice. Division. The Weston house. The Osterville cottage. The jewelry. Her jewelry. The first editions. The important paintings. Club membership. The silver. Money. The lawyers, human calculators who cared nothing about her, would discuss and divide, and then Bill would win. Bill always won.

All she’d done for the past eight years was addition. She’d added to their lives, added to their social sphere, organizing and planning as “Bill’s wife,” fulfilling her job to make him comfortable and enviable and the image of benevolent success. She’d more than accepted it, she’d embraced it, and all that came with it. And then, this.

I need a break, he’d told her that day. She pictured that moment now, a month ago, could almost smell him, a seductive mixture of leathery orange-green aftershave and his personal power. Bill talking down to her, literally and figuratively, wearing one of his pale blue shirts, expensive yellow tie loose and careless, khaki pants and loafers.

A break! As if his life with her was a video he could casually put on pause while he did more important things. What things?

The music from the speakers in each corner of the Vermilion Hotel’s earnestly chic dark-paneled bar floated down over her, some unrecognizable tune, all piano and promises, muffling conversations and filling the silences. A couple sat at one end of the bar, knee to knee. On vacation, on business, clandestine. Impossible to tell.

At the other end, a sport-coated man, tie askew, used one finger to fish the maraschino cherry out of his brown drink, popped it into his mouth, and licked his fingers before he went back to scrolling the phone in front of him. Alyssa was in the middle. Alone. She drew in a deep breath, all peaty scotch and lemons and strangers and elusive perfume. Alone.

Alyssa felt her shoulders sag, assessing the other parts of her life grouped on Bill’s side of the ledger. She understood, she did, it was difficult when a couple split. Social allegiances were tested. Loyalties strained. She jabbed at the closest green olive with the little plastic stick. But Bill had taken the friends. Every single one of them.

And now—at the Club, at the gym, at the mall—Alyssa got only pitying glances. Fingertip-hidden whispers. As if they, in their hothouse world of affluence and connection, understood something she didn’t.

When she and Bill first met, that night at the charity event, they both had big plans. Now only he had them. When she wasn’t Bill’s wife anymore, who was she? And did she have the power to change that?

Her phone lay on the zinc bar, its glowing screen taunting her with the proof. No matter how many times she looked at it, her calendar messaged her new reality.

You have no events. No. Events. Only blank days, one after the other, calendared out in front of her. She scrolled back through her past, the listings grayed out now, ghosts of occasions. Charity balls, gala dinners, speeches by successful entrepreneurs, and a fundraiser where they’d auctioned off A Day with Bill Macallen. That went for thousands. Everybody loved Bill, and somehow, calculating again, Alyssa was the plus-one. Now, in the excruciating math of marriage—addition, division—she was the minus.

Nothing had changed for him. Bill was always jetting off, to New York, or Chicago, or someplace exotic. She reached into the shoulder bag hanging from the curved back of her barstool, slid her hand into a side pocket, and pulled out a postcard showing palm trees, like they used to see in St. Barts. Bill, she knew it was Bill, had sent the unsigned postcards, pictures of tropical flowers and cobalt skies, simply to provide his own manipulative entertainment. Here’s where you aren’t. He was taunting her, distant and nasty and gloating. Here’s where you will never be again.

Here in Weston, where she was, she had slush. Spring in Massachusetts. Her husband, fifteen years older, was off having fun. That didn’t seem fair.

She imagined Bill walking in and seeing her, alone on a Saturday night, on this well-worn stool at a suburban hotel bar. Her brown roots showing. Manicure failing. And courtesy of the doomed-to-divorce diet, gone almost scrawny at five pounds thinner. If Bill had caught her here—which he wouldn’t, she’d picked this place because it was out of their orbit—he’d have sneered that dismissive sneer at her vodka with three, now two, olives. Alyssa Westland Macallen, almost-divorced at thirty-five.

“May I get you another?” The bartender, high cheekbones and multi-pierced ear, paused in front of her, wiping out a champagne flute with a blue striped towel.

She looked at her watch, pretending. “Oh no,” she said. “How did it get to be so late? Everyone will be expecting me.”

“Ah.” The bartender held up the flute to the row of tiny lights twinkling above them. “Of course. If you’re sure?” Alyssa watched as he checked the glass for spots, then, turning away from her, slid it into place on a thin wooden rack.

Bill. William Drew Macallen. Where are you? And with who? There could be no other reason but that he was prowling for wife number two.

She stared at the pale place on her finger where, for eight years, three months, and twenty-seven days, her wedding ring had been. A piece of jewelry the universe prescribes to indicate one is married, and happy, and off-limits. There was no piece of jewelry denoting sorrow, or confusion, or disequilibrium. Or fear. Now her once-welcoming home was empty; and when the nights got dark and long, it terrified her. She knew Bill was lurking. Watching. Waiting. Bill was present in every shadow. Every noise. She hated being alone in that house. Hated it.

She’d rather be in a random bar alone than be by herself in that house. Maybe she’d simply drive around. Forever.

“Just the check,” she said to the bartender.

“But it’s early.”

The voice beside her—inquiring, hesitant—startled her. She hadn’t noticed anyone walking up behind her, and Alyssa was not here to find companionship or conversation. In fact, the last thing she wanted was to talk to anyone. What would she even say? Even the simplest of questions—How are you?—could send her to tears.

The newcomer’s fingernails were bitten and nubby, and her pilling sweater just the wrong shade of blue and uneven across the shoulders. She slung a raveled canvas tote bag over the back of her stool. Her curly-wild hairstyle had been an unfortunate decision, as was her hair’s artificially not-quite-auburn color.

But that was . . . unfairly judgmental. And the world wasn’t all about Alyssa Westland Macallen. It felt like it right now, but this woman was proof it wasn’t. To this newcomer, the world was about her. That was just as valid. Alyssa should at least be civil.

“Early? Oh, well, maybe, but I have to get home,” Alyssa said. No reason to take out her personal bitterness on a complete stranger. “Tough day,” she added, explaining.

“Tell me about it.” The woman shot her one sarcastic glance, then looked back down at the polished metal bar.

Not a chance, Alyssa thought. She poked at her last olive. The well of her loss could not be filled with chitchat. But a weight seemed almost visible on this woman’s thin shoulders. She’d made herself as small as she could, elbows close to her body, bare legs twisted around each other, one chunky heel of her scuffed black shoe hooked in the rung of her barstool.

Alyssa fingered her right-hand diamond, embarrassed at its extravagance. Her birthstone, a gift from Bill during the first April they’d known each other, and not even her seething annoyance with him would convince her to take that off. She turned her hand palm up, hiding the ring.

“I’m sorry,” Alyssa said. “Better days will come.”

“Huh,” the woman replied, more a huff than a word. She shrugged, one pilled blue shoulder briefly raised. “Have a nice night.”

She’d hardly looked up, which gave Alyssa a chance to look at the newcomer in the expanse of mirror across from them. Dancers, the skilled ones, can express themselves with simply a gesture, or a posture, becoming a dying swan or an ill-fated fairy. Poor thing, the words came to Alyssa’s mind at this woman’s body language. She swiveled her stool toward the stranger. Not an invitation, simply an acknowledgment of shared humanity. The music from the dining room behind them drifted in, silkier now, an encircling shimmer.

“You okay?” Alyssa had to ask.

“Sure,” she said. “Thanks.”

Alyssa recognized the sorrow in her voice. Maybe—defeat.

“Get you something, miss?” Even the bartender’s voice had softened.

“My treat,” Alyssa said, surprising herself. She hadn’t meant to say anything.

“Oh, I—” The woman had turned on her stool, and now looked almost grateful. “Couldn’t possibly.”

“I insist.” Alyssa felt her shoulders square, and a glimmer of empathy. Even the background music had shifted to a major key, optimistic. This was good. This was positive. This was progress. Maybe if she heard someone else’s troubles, it would diminish her own. It couldn’t make them worse.


Click below to pre-order your copy of The House Guest, coming February 7th, 2023!

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Forge December eBook Deals!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to cozy up at home with your e-reader! Read below to check out what we have on sale for $2.99 during this upcoming month!


Her Perfect Life-1Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.

Her own.

Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips—but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he—or she—know the truth?

Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world—and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.

How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?

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What’s New from Forge this Winter

A new year is upon us, which means a slew of new books are arriving on the scene from Forge! We’re so excited to share the lineup of amazing books we have coming your way this winter. If you’re on the hunt for some books to curl up with during these chillier months of the year, take a look at what Forge has in store for you!


Cutthroat Dogs by Loren D. Estleman

Image Place holder  of - 31“Someone is dead who shouldn’t be, and the wrong man is in prison.”

Nearly twenty years ago, college freshman April Goss was found dead in her bathtub, an apparent suicide, but suspicion soon fell on her boyfriend. Dan Corbeil was convicted of her murder and sent to prison. Case closed.

Or is it?

Available to read now!

A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

A Thousand Steps-1Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment.

Matt Anthony is just trying get by.

Matt is sixteen, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom’s a stoner, his deadbeat dad is a no-show, his brother’s fighting in Nam . . . and his big sister Jazz has just gone missing. The cops figure she’s just another runaway hippie chick, enjoying a summer of love, but Matt doesn’t believe it. Not after another missing girl turns up dead on the beach.

All Matt really wants to do is get his driver’s license and ask out the girl he’s been crushing on since fourth grade, yet it’s up to him to find his sister. But in a town where the cops don’t trust the hippies and the hippies don’t trust the cops, uncovering what’s really happened to Jazz is going to force him to grow up fast.

If it’s not already too late.

Available to read now!

Margaret Truman’s Murder at the CDC by Margaret Truman and Jon Land

Margaret Truman's Murder at the CDC2017: A military transport on a secret run to dispose of its deadly contents vanishes without a trace.

The present: A mass shooting on the steps of the Capitol nearly claims the life of Robert Brixton’s grandson.

No stranger to high-stakes investigations, Brixton embarks on a trail to uncover the motive behind the shooting. On the way he finds himself probing the attempted murder of the daughter of his best friend, who works at the Washington offices of the CDC.

The connection between the mass shooting and Alexandra’s poisoning lies in that long-lost military transport that has been recovered by forces determined to change America forever. Those forces are led by radical separatist leader Deacon Frank Wilhyte, whose goal is nothing short of bringing on a second Civil War.

Brixton joins forces with Kelly Lofton, a former Baltimore homicide detective. She has her own reasons for wanting to find the truth behind the shooting on the Capitol steps, and is the only person with the direct knowledge Brixton needs. But chasing the truth places them in the cross-hairs of both Wilhyte’s legions and his Washington enablers.

Coming 2.15.22!

The Chase by Candice Fox

The Chase

“Are you listening, Warden?”

“What do you want?”

“I want you to let them out.”

“Which inmates are we talking about?”

“All of them.”

With that, the largest manhunt in United States history is on. In response to a hostage situation, more than 600 inmates from the Pronghorn Correctional Facility, including everyone on Death Row, are released into the Nevada Desert. Criminals considered the worst of the worst, monsters with dark, violent pasts, are getting farther away by the second.

John Kradle, convicted of murdering his wife and son, is one of the escapees. Now, desperate to discover what really happened that night, Kradle must avoid capture and work quickly to prove his innocence as law enforcement closes in on the fugitives.

Death Row Supervisor, and now fugitive-hunter, Celine Osbourne has focused all of her energy on catching Kradle and bringing him back to Death Row. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading…

Coming 3.8.22!

Assassin’s Edge by Ward Larsen

image alt textA U.S. spy plane crashes off the northern coast of Russia at the same time that a Mossad operative is abducted from a street in Kazakhstan. The two events seem unrelated, but as suspicions rise, the CIA calls in its premier operative, David Slaton.

When wreckage from the aircraft is discovered on a remote Arctic island, Slaton and a team are sent on a clandestine mission to investigate. While they comb a frigid Russian island at the top of the world, disaster strikes yet again: a U.S. Navy destroyer sinks in the Black Sea.

Evidence begins mounting that these disparate events are linked, controlled by an unseen hand. A mysterious source, code name Lazarus, provides tantalizing clues about another impending strike. Yet Lazarus has an agenda that is deeply personal, a thirst for revenge against a handful of clandestine operators. Prime among them: David Slaton.

Coming 4.12.22!

Traitor by David Hagberg

image alt text1When McGarvey’s best friend, Otto, is charged with treason, Mac and his wife, Petey, set out on a desperate odyssey to clear Otto’s name. Crossing oceans and continents, their journey will take them from Japan to the US to Pakistan to Russia. Caught in a Kremlin crossfire between two warring intel agencies, Mac and Petey must fight for their lives every step of the way.

And the stakes could not be higher.

Coming 4.26.22!

And here are some great books coming out in trade paperback!

Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton

Waiting for the Night Song-1Cadie Kessler has spent decades trying to cover up one truth. One moment. But deep down, didn’t she always know her secret would surface?

An urgent message from her long-estranged best friend Daniela Garcia brings Cadie, now a forestry researcher, back to her childhood home. There, Cadie and Daniela are forced to face a dark secret that ended both their idyllic childhood bond and the magical summer that takes up more space in Cadie’s memory then all her other years combined.

Now grown up, bound by long-held oaths, and faced with truths she does not wish to see, Cadie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves, as drought, foreclosures, and wildfire spark tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals.

Waiting for the Night Song is a love song to the natural beauty around us, a call to fight for what we believe in, and a reminder that the truth will always rise.

Available to read now! Reading group guide also available.

My Brilliant Life by Ae-ran Kim; translated by Chi-Young Kim

My Brilliant Life-1Areum lives life to its fullest, vicariously through the stories of his parents, conversations with Little Grandpa Jang—his sixty-year-old neighbor and best friend—and through the books he reads to visit the places he would otherwise never see.

For several months, Areum has been working on a manuscript, piecing together his parents’ often embellished stories about his family and childhood. He hopes to present it on his birthday, as a final gift to his mom and dad; their own falling-in-love story.

Through it all, Areum and his family will have you laughing and crying, for all the right reasons.

Coming 2.1.22! Reading group guide also available.

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Her Perfect Life-1Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.

Her own.

Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips—but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he—or she—know the truth?

Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world—and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.

How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?

Coming 3.8.22! Reading group guide also available.

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove-1Sadie Way Scott has been avoiding her family and hometown of Sugarberry Cove, Alabama, since she nearly drowned in the lake just outside her mother’s B&B. Eight years later, Sadie is the host of a much-loved show about southern cooking and family, but despite her success, she wonders why she was saved. What is she supposed to do?

Sadie’s sister, Leala Clare, is still haunted by the guilt she feels over the night her sister almost died. Now, at a crossroads in her marriage, Leala has everything she ever thought she wanted—so why is she so unhappy?

When their mother suffers a minor heart attack just before Sugarberry Cove’s famous water lantern festival, the two sisters come home to run the inn while she recovers. It’s the last place either of them wants to be, but with a little help from the inn’s quirky guests, the sisters may come to terms with their strained relationships, accept the past, and rediscover a little lake magic.

Coming 3.1.22! Reading group guide also available.

The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinska

The Widow QueenThe bold one, they call her—too bold for most.

To her father, the great duke of Poland, Swietoslawa and her two sisters represent three chances for an alliance. Three marriages on which to build his empire.

But Swietoslawa refuses to be simply a pawn in her father’s schemes; she seeks a throne of her own, with no husband by her side.

The gods may grant her wish, but crowns sit heavy, and power is a sword that cuts both ways.

Coming 3.15.22! Reading group guide also available.

Comes the War by Ed Ruggero

Comes the War-1April 1944, the fifty-fifth month of the war in Europe. The entire island of Britain fairly buzzes with the coiled energy of a million men poised to leap the Channel to France, the first, riskiest step in the Allies’ long slog to the heart of Germany and the end of the war.

Lieutenant Eddie Harkins is tasked to investigate the murder of Helen Batcheller, an OSS analyst. Harkins is assigned a British driver, Private Pamela Lowell, to aid in his investigation. Lowell is smart, brave and resourceful; like Harkins, she is prone to speak her mind even when it doesn’t help her.

Soon a suspect is arrested and Harkins is ordered to stop digging. Suspicious, he continues his investigation only to find himself trapped in a web of Soviet secrets. As bombs fall, Harkins must solve the murder and reveal the spies before it is too late.

Coming 3.29.22!

A Dog’s Courage by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's CourageBella was once a lost dog, but now she lives happily with her people, Lucas and Olivia, only occasionally recalling the hardships in her past. Then a weekend camping trip turns into a harrowing struggle for survival when the Rocky Mountains are engulfed by the biggest wildfire in American history. The raging inferno separates Bella from her people and she is lost once more.

Alone in the wilderness, Bella unexpectedly finds herself responsible for the safety of two defenseless mountain lion cubs. Now she’s torn between two equally urgent goals. More than anything, she wants to find her way home to Lucas and Olivia, but not if it means abandoning her new family to danger. And danger abounds, from predators hunting them to the flames threatening at every turn.

Can Bella ever get back to where she truly belongs?

A Dog’s Courage is more than a fast-paced adventure, more than a devoted dog’s struggle to survive, it’s a story asking that we believe in our dogs as much as they believe in us.

Coming 4.5.22!

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Forge Your Own Book Club: Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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By Julia Bergen

One of the best things about fall isn’t just the pretty leaves, hot drinks, and chilly weather, it’s that book clubs are starting up again! If your book club is reading Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan and needs a little inspiration, we’ve got tips on what to watch, what to drink, what to eat, and what to discuss!

 

 


What to Watch:

We’re in a golden age of twisty films and tv shows with strong female leads, which is the perfect energy to help your book clubs pull apart all the surprises in Her Perfect Life. Nine Perfect Strangers would make a great pairing, especially the way it deals with the quest for perfection, and the secrets we carry. Or, if you want a closer examination of life in the public eye, watch The Morning Show.

What to Drink:

If your book club has a dark sense of humor, have a bottle of rosé on hand. I can’t say why without spoiling an important scene, but if you’ve read the book you’ll know why. Characters are also constantly drinking coffee, which would add some extra buzz to your discussion.

What to Eat:

Her Perfect Life takes place in Boston, so you’ll want to pair this Bostonian book with some Bostonian goodies!

The classic choice is a nice Boston cream pie. Created by the famous Parker House Hotel, it’s the official dessert of Massachusetts. Another good option is a plate of cannolis. Boston has a huge Italian community, and the North End area has the most amazing Italian bakeries, which are most famous for their cannolis. On any given weekend you’ll find lines stretching down the street, people waiting for hours to get in and try some.

Or, keep it simple, with some treats from Dunkin’ Donuts. Bostonians love Dunkin’ Donuts to an almost unhealthy level. Back Bay Station, a relatively small train station, has two Dunkies so close together you could easily throw a jelly donut from one to the other. Serving a plate of donuts or a box of munchkins will give you an authentic Boston experience.

What to Discuss:

Download the Her Perfect Life Reading Group Guide for insightful questions to get the discussion going.

Her Perfect Life Reading Group Guide DIGITAL

Order Your Copy of Her Perfect Life—Available Now!

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Hank Phillippi Ryan on Her Two Big Mistakes

Placeholder of  -59We’ve all been wrong about something in our lives, and author Hank Phillippi Ryan can sympathize with that. To celebrate the release of her newest book Her Perfect Lifeshe shares the story of two of her biggest mistakes and helps us remember that no one is perfect.


by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Have you ever been wrong about anything? Of course you have, we all have. And if we are lucky, the mistake doesn’t matter, and if we are even luckier, no one will ever know.

Think about how difficult it is to live your life without error. Every single decision you make–you have a choice, you take action, and then, there’s a result.  And you cross your fingers that the result is a good one.

Now imagine being a reporter working on a story. You’re doing interviews, tracking down clues, following leads, gathering information and doing research and in the end, writing a story, and putting it on the air.

Putting it on the air. In front of hundreds of thousands of people. Now think about making a mistake.

Now it’s not just you. Now, if someone else is harmed, every television viewer heard it and saw it. Now it’s on tape.  Now you are embarrassed, and angry, and your TV station gets sued for millions of dollars.

As a television reporter for the past 40 years, I know that the daily pressure, that absolute necessity never to make a mistake, is relentless. I can never choose the wrong word, never miscalculate, never call someone the wrong name, never make an inaccurate statement, never misunderstand a statistic.

I can never be one second late. And I have to try to do the whole thing— often in front of a live camera–with perfect hair and make-up, and with hundreds of thousands of people watching and listening and judging.

I’ve made two big mistakes on the air. Happily, neither were career-ending errors. In fact, they were both pretty funny. And more about that in a minute.

But the pressure to be perfect–whether on TV or in your personal life–is never-ending. And think about it, a person in the spotlight is always in the spotlight.  Recognized. So any error they make–at any time of the day, no matter where they are–might be magnified and amplified and weaponized.

And under that constant spotlight, what if you were trying to hide something?

Fictional television reporter Lily Atwood, the star of my new thriller HER PERFECT LIFE, is seemingly so perfect her fans have made a hashtag for her, #PerfectLily.   She has a beloved seven-year-old daughter Rowen. She has a devoted nanny, a devoted producer, and fame and fortune and Emmys. She also has a big ugly dark secret.

And to keep her perfect life, that secret must be kept. But every day, and in every place she goes, someone is watching her. That’s part of the spotlight, of course, but it is also part of the danger. Because it’s not just “her public” that’s watching her. It’s one person in particular. Or maybe–two.  And they know her perfection is just a fragile perception.

If Lily makes a mistake–if she trusts the wrong person, if she reveals the wrong information–her own perfect life will be threatened.

That constant fear, that constant scrutiny, that constant pressure to be perfect—that’s the focus of HER PERFECT LIFE. Because of course the title is ironic, and a little sinister. No one can be perfect. And Lily soon learns the spotlight may be the most dangerous place of all.

My two errors? I’ll confess them now. But don’t tell, because I’m hoping everyone who witnessed them has forgotten.

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The first was an investigation we did looking into the safety of labs that stored radioactive material. Turned out the security was very lax, and a quantity of the radioactive isotopes they held were unaccounted for. (And lots of changes ensued after our story aired. Hurray.)

However. One of the radioactive ingredients was the element krypton.  But in my story, I called it kryptonite. Yes, kryptonite. Like in Superman. Two editors read the story, and they did not catch the error.  Dozens of scientists did.

 After it went on the air.

It was before the days of email, but my phone seemed to never stop  ringing. I could hear the laughter even before my callers started talking. “Have you been reading too many comic books?” they would ask.

I still feel myself blush when I think of it.

The other time? I was filling in as an anchor person one Saturday night. It was back when the scripts were not on computers, but were only typed on special paper, which, through a complicated system of mirrors and conveyor belts and scotch tape, was rolled in front of the lens for the anchor person to read.

The mantra from the producers was: just read the prompter. Read the prompter. No matter what it says on the back-up printed script you’re holding, read what it says on the prompter.

When it came time to say good night, my co-anchor, R.D. Sahl, read the prompter, as instructed, and said, “Good night everyone, I’m R.D. Sahl.”

And, then it was my turn.  I looked into the prompter, smiling, and read what it said. And to hundreds of thousands of people, I said: “And I’m Kate Sullivan.”

I stopped, surprised. And, live on the air, I burst out laughing.  I had called myself by the wrong name.

Hey. Like the book says. Nobody’s perfect.


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the USA Today bestselling author of 13 psychological thrillers, winning the genre’s most prestigious awards: five Agathas, four Anthonys, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, winning 37 EMMYs. Book reviewers call her “a master of suspense” and “superb and gifted storyteller.” THE FIRST TO LIE garnered a Publishers Weekly starred review and is nominated for the Anthony Award for Best Novel and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Watch for HER PERFECT LIFE on September 14, which received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, which called it “A superlative thriller.”

Order a Copy of Her Perfect Life — Available Now!

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