Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Theif's Mark by Carla Neggers ~ Excerpt & Spotlight

About Thief’s Mark

Series: Sharpe & Donovan (Book 8)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: MIRA (August 29, 2017)

A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man’s search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel

As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.

Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma’s grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York’s country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.

As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver’s account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver’s small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the United States, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.

New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers delivers the gripping, suspense-filled tale readers have been waiting for.

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Emma folded her hands on her middle, eyeing her grandfather with a cool steadiness Colin had come to know and appreciate. “Thank you, Granddad, that’s generous of you, but we’d have been happy in your guest room.”
“You’ll be happier here.”
Emma unfolded her hands and touched a fingertip to the rim of her champagne glass, nothing casual about her move. “Are you sure this is a wedding present and you’re not having your place painted, or you didn’t suddenly discover mold in the walls? It’s not a problem if it’s inconvenient for you to put us up. We could find somewhere to stay. The Shelbourne is gorgeous, but having a drink with you here is a great wedding gift. We don’t want you to go to any big expense.”
Her grandfather looked around at the bustling bar. “Princess Grace stayed here back in the day. You’ve seen pictures of her. She was a beauty. Tragic end to her life.” He shifted back to his guests. “This place was built in 1824. I saw that when I booked your room. These walls ooze Irish history.”
Wendell was engaging in pure, in-your-face evasiveness. No wonder he’d stuck to sparkling water. Colin snatched up his pint glass and nodded to Emma. “Do you want to get the truth out of him or do you want me to…or just forget it and pretend drinks and a night at the Shelbourne are a last-minute wedding gift?”
“They’re a surprise wedding gift,” Wendell said, unruffled. “They’re not last-minute.”
Emma sipped her champagne, returned the glass to the table and turned to her grandfather. “But Colin’s right, isn’t he, Granddad? You are hiding something.”
Wendell leaned forward, plucked the slice of lemon out of his glass, squeezed it, then tossed it back in and took a drink. “You two missed your jobs while you were on your honeymoon, didn’t you? You’re rested and ready to pounce on an old man. I shouldn’t have mentioned expensive whiskey and being retired. Put you on alert.”
“When someone does something out of the blue, out of character, most people will notice,” Emma said. “It doesn’t take being an FBI agent.”
“Helps, though.”
Colin gritted his teeth. “Spit it out, Wendell. Why don’t you want us at your place?”
The old man locked eyes with his new grandson-in-law. “All right. I give up.” He paused. “My place is a crime scene.”
Emma stiffened visibly. Colin noticed a renewed strain in her Sharpe green eyes. “What kind of crime scene?” she asked quietly.
“Break-in. Someone slipped inside while I was out for a walk after lunch. I didn’t have much time to think before you two arrived in town. Putting you up here was the easiest way to handle you until I could figure out what to do.” He waved a bony hand. “One of the hazards of having FBI agents in the family.”
“You didn’t call the police,” Colin said, making it a statement.
“No point. Nothing they can do.” Wendell gave another sigh. “Damn, I’m getting old. Fifty years ago I wouldn’t have spilled the beans this fast. Ten years ago. I should have just had you over to the house and handed you a broom to clean up the glass.”
Emma’s chin shot up. “Glass?”
“Guest-room window. That’s how they got in. Do you have a car? Where are your bags? You can check in after your drink. I booked your room under Donovan. I assume you’re using Sharpe professionally?”
“Unless you land in prison,” Emma said. “Then I might reconsider.”
“I wouldn’t blame you.”
“We turned in our rental when we arrived in Dublin and took a cab here. We left our bags with the bellman while we had drinks with you.” Emma leaned toward Wendell and put a hand on his thin wrist. “Why don’t we finish our drinks and then walk over to your place and have a look?”
“Check in and get settled first. I’ll take a cab back to my place and meet you there. A one-way walk’s my limit these days.”
“You can call the gardai in the meantime,” Colin added.
Wendell scowled at him but turned to Emma with a smile. “Take your time. I won’t touch anything, but I’m not involving the gardai and the FBI has no jurisdiction here. Just so we’re clear.”
“Have you told anyone else about the break-in?” she asked.
“No, and I don’t plan to. I didn’t plan to tell you but Colin here had his thumbscrew look on and I caved.” Wendell raised his glass. “Bottoms up, kids.”

About Carla Neggers

Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe and Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit CarlaNeggers.com.

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