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New Release | Ballroom Fever by Natalie Cross #romanticmystery #mystery #newrelease #bookrec

Title: Ballroom Fever

Author: Natalie Cross

Genre: Mystery with romance, Romantic Mystery

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Book Blurb:

Anita Goodman and Patrick O’Leary have weathered the trials from six months ago, and are ready to waltz off into the sunset. He’s fine, she’s fine, everything is perfectly fine. Right? After an injury sidelines Patrick, he and Anita find themselves center stage in a sinister drug plot. When he believes he witnesses the murder of their neighbor, a series of events spirals out of control, revealing the cracks not only in their relationship, but in their families and beloved small town. With the help of Deputy John Flaherty and a teenaged murderino, they must unveil uncomfortable truths, all while facing family secrets that could never stay buried. As their foundation crumbles around them, endangering their lives and loved ones, can their relationship survive?


Patrick wasn’t sure what was worse, the itching, the burning, the aching, or the disappointment that hunched his shoulders.

No, it was definitely the pain. Broken legs hurt like a beast.

He refused Anita’s outstretched hand, preferring to wrestle his new crutches out the side of her little hatchback like some macho meathead. He was a meathead. Of all the stupid stuff he had done in his life, this had to take the cake. This was going to make her resent him. What good was he to her now?

Anita stood before him, arms crossed over her chest, a bemused grin playing around her mouth.

“What?” he barked, wincing at his tone, but she took it in stride. Because she was amazing and he was a twit.

“Sometimes, you can let people help you.” She linked her arm under his shoulder, her touch rocketing through him. He really didn’t deserve her.

He hobbled awkwardly beside her as they walked through the studio and to the stairs. She paused at the bottom, chewing on her bottom lip. “Are you going to be okay on the steps?”

Something black and toxic coiled in his stomach. “Of course I’ll be fine. I’m not a child.”

She arched an eyebrow at him. “Yeah, that tone is very convincing. Would you rather I throw the blankets downstairs and you can sleep on the floor?”

His cheeks flushed and he hung his head. He mumbled something even he couldn’t understand and set to the task of hauling himself up the stairs.

She helped him despite his behavior. Because she was an Amazonian goddess in a neat little ponytail and he was an ogre.

After what felt like seven years but in all likelihood was less than five minutes, he arrived at the landing, huffing and puffing, every muscle in his body screaming and crying and begging. Athletic, his ass. He was a glorified couch potato.

“I’ll get your laptop from your apartment tomorrow morning.” Anita cleared a hollow through the mass of throw pillows on her couch and nestled him into it. She put one hand on his broken leg, lifting it onto a pile of pillows. His skin thrilled traitorously despite his black mood. “Did you want something to eat?”

He shook his head. He knew he was wallowing and seventy-five percent of him didn’t care. His leg ached and burned and itched. It was beyond maddening.

She shrugged and sashayed into the kitchen, her oversize cardigan hanging around her hips in such a way to accentuate her perfect bottom. Under normal circumstances, he would move behind her, wrap his arms around her waist, and breathe in her scent. She would lean into him, like they belonged together.

But these were not normal circumstances and he was stuck on the couch in this confusion of throw pillows with absolutely no way to relieve his angst.

He hated paintball.

He looked out the window, searching for anything to distract himself. Same old Lewis, same old town he had known since he was seven.

He craned his neck, noting that the streetlight right outside the studio’s small parking lot wasn’t working. Shadows pooled and swirled, causing his stomach to clench and furl. He’d have to check it tomorrow and see if he could change the bulb or something. Though of course that would necessitate descending the stairs and his leg was currently screaming at him not to do something so completely idiotic.

He had had enough of his own idiocy.

He glanced at Anita. She was busy in the galley kitchen, turning on the kettle, and heating up some soup on the small stove. She hummed to herself, her hips moving to her own tune. The pain softened as he watched her.

He should have asked her to marry him weeks ago. She probably wouldn’t even have him now.

Drowning in his own melancholy, he turned his gaze back to the darkened parking lot. His eyes narrowed. This was new.

Two white vans, with their lights off, drove into the parking lot behind the studio, reversed into the spots in front of the antiques store, and idled there.

He cocked his head, his mind whirling. Nothing good ever came from an unmarked white van. He opened the camera app on his phone and tried to zoom in on the front bumpers, but there were none. While Pennsylvania didn’t require front license plates, it was possible these had been removed.

“What are you looking at?”

Startled, he whipped his head around and noted Anita standing behind him, holding an enamel tray with a bowl of soup and a large glass of iced water. She peered over his shoulder.

“Do you see those vans?” He pointed. “It seems a little weird that they’re outside the antiques shop so late on a Sunday night. They pulled in without their lights on. Does she do online orders?”

Anita snorted in response to his question. “Mrs. DeVeaux?”

“It might explain why they’re here, if she has to ship items by a certain time.” Though Patrick didn’t think that was it at all.

Anita shook her head. “Mrs. DeVeaux stopped by earlier and said she was expecting a delivery. I’ve never really paid attention to when her deliveries arrive or leave.” She pulled up a side table and set the tray upon it.

“Unmarked white vans always seem super suspicious. They’re not loading or unloading anything. They’re just sitting there.”

Anita followed his gaze, then set one of her hands reassuringly on his shoulder and kissed the top of his head. “I’m sure it’s all right, Patrick. You’ve had a terrible day. Eat something. Rest. I’m sure it’s nothing.”

Patrick begrudgingly turned to his soup, ignoring the siren of pain in his leg. Even small-town Lewis could have its peace and tranquility thrown for a loop.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

Author Biography:

A lifelong lover of the written word, Natalie used to spend her school recess hours reading Michael Crichton and Jane Austen. Not much has changed, except now she writes stories about smart, kickass women and the people who adore them. Natalie lives in Los Angeles, where she is married to a man who literally brings life into the world. She is mom to two lovely young munchkins who despise brushing their hair and eat way too much cake. She is unapologetically terrible at taking selfies.

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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Oct 18, 2023

Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your new release with us!

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