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The Second Chance Series by Marsha R. West is a recommended read #laterinlife #romanticsuspense



Title Second Act, Book 1 The Second Chances Series

Author Marsha R. West

Genre Later in Life Romantic Suspense

Publisher MRW Press, LLC


Book Blurb


Addison Jones Greer, divorced mother of two teens, is the executive director of Cowtown Theatre. When someone murders a member of the board in the costume room, suspicion rests on everyone involved with the theatre, including Addie. She has angered some board members because she wants to fire the artistic director. Although she’s warmed him several times, he continues to go over budget for productions.


Mike Riley, Fort Worth homicide detective, hates that he caught this case. His sister-in-law dragged him to a theatre fundraiser where he met Addison, the first woman he’s wanted to pursue a relationship in a long time. Not about to happen now.


Addison hasn’t ventured into romance since she caught her now ex-husband in their bed with his secretary. Trust isn’t something she’s good at. How could she trust someone who seems determined to think she’s capable of murder? Or worse, thinks that her kids might be involved?


Excerpt



“You, okay? People aren’t generally thrilled to see me, but they don’t usually choke.”


Still gasping, all she could do was nod her head while tears trickled from her eyes.


“Seriously, you okay? I can do the Heimlich.”


Finally, Addie gulped and whispered, “I’m okay.” While she thought she might like to see how the good detective’s arms felt around her, the Heimlich wasn’t exactly what she had in mind.


She took another swallow of water and breathed in deeply. “Okay. I’m fine, now.” She wiped tears from her eyes, certain from the heat she felt that red covered her face. “I’m sorry for the unorthodox greeting. I was taking a couple of pills for a headache. Have a seat, please.” She waved to one of the chairs in front of her desk. She should’ve worn something nicer than warm-ups, but she’d had no appointments out of the office and wanted to be comfortable. “Do you have any more information about the murder?”


“We’re still investigating.” He lowered himself into the chair she’d indicated. “I wanted to follow up on something I’ve heard—”


“I’m sure it’s about the fight Clay and I had,” Addie jumped in. “I think everyone heard us. The door was open.”


“Yes, we heard about it from almost everyone. Seems like you said—”


“That if he messed with the theatre, I’d make him sorry. I guess if he were the one dead, I’d be your prime suspect.”


“Yep.” He nodded.


“Why do I get the feeling there’s something more here.” Addie fiddled with a pencil, rolling it back and forth across her desk. It made a clicking sound as it passed underneath a silver ring on her right hand.


“It’s this whole issue about your intent to fire Clay Bennett. Is that your intent?”


Addie hiked up her shoulders and released them before leaning back in the chair. “Detective, the theatre is having money problems. It’s important to be able to put on shows that come in on or under budget. Clay Bennett has trouble ensuring that happens. I’ve talked with him several times and documented those chats in his personnel file.”


“As I understand, you can’t fire Bennett without a supermajority of the Board.”


“That’s right. I had no reason to want Shannon DeWitt dead. She told me she agreed with the firing.”


“Is there any way you can substantiate that?”


“Probably not. I told a couple of people. Pete Talmadge, Cindy Riley. But that’s just my word.” She dropped her head into her hands. “This is such a nightmare.”


“With her gone, can’t you do what you want?”


She sat up and looked directly at the detective. If only she’d met him at another time. “No. The bylaws are written in a screwy way. So even though we have a vacancy, we have to operate as if we have all of the members. I’d have to get James Duffy or Linda Alexander to support the firing, and I don’t believe there’s any likelihood of that happening.”


Mike nodded. “Okay, I think that explains things for me. We will find who did this, Addie. Have faith.”


“Thank you.”


Mike stood. “I’ve got work to do, and I’m sure you do to. Take it easy.” He opened the door and left her office.


“Oh, my goodness.” Addie groaned and collapsed against the back of her chair. Did he realize he’d called her by her nickname? She straightened her shoulders. Eventually, they’d move past all of this. She hated to think someone associated with the theatre had killed Shannon, but she’d been attacked here, and that made it likely. If that were true, Addie knew a murderer.


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Title Act of Trust, Book 2 The Second Chances Series

Author Marsha R. West

Genre Later in Life Romantic Suspense

Publisher MRW Press, LLC


Book Blurb


A widow since 9/11 and a mother of grown daughter, Kate Thompson wants to keep her and her daughter safe, but the inheritance of land in Maine pushes her out of her comfort zone in Texas and into the arms of a Maine lawyer. Maine lawyer and environmentalist, Jim Donovan wants to protect Aunt Liddy’s land and keep it from falling into the hands of the developers, but first he has to convince Kate Thompson she should hold on to the family land when she doesn’t even want to go look at it. However, he’s unprepared for the attraction each feels for the other but denies exists.


Will they be able to settle the land deal before anyone else is killed or they break each other’s hearts?


Excerpt


Jim Donovan flipped open the laptop and then touched the screen a couple of times. “Look at these. I only need you to give me a few minutes.”


She sat silently while he flipped through pictures of forests, fields, and several amazing vistas, which looked out over vast expanses of water.


“These were all taken on your Aunt Liddy’s land.”


“Actually she was my late husband’s aunt.”


“You were family to her.” Kate didn’t miss the hint of censure in his voice.


“I can’t deny the pictures are beautiful, Mr. Donovan, but I’m a city gal who has no interest in your northeastern woods.”


“There are several small towns nearby.”


“What’s nearby? And how small is small?”


“Oh, ten to fifteen minutes. And about 2500 excluding the tourist season, when we grow to over 5000.”


“I didn’t notice any other houses nearby in these pictures of Aunt Liddy’s.”


“None right next door. Liddy’s house sits on the crest of a hill overlooking the mouth of the Damariscotta River. The nearest house is a mile in either direction.”


“Well, Mr. Donovan. I grant you the views are amazing, but I don’t want the land. I want to sell.”


“Listen, Ms. Thompson—Kate—that’s how Liddy spoke of you. The land was important to her. It is to me, but not to everyone. A group of us, including your aunt set up a conservancy.”


“What is that, Mr. Donovan?”


“Our website explains that we’re an organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlifeand wildlife habitats along the Central Coast of Maine. We’re nongovernmental and non-profit. There are several in our state and other states as well as around the world.”


“That’s lovely, but what does it have to do with me?” Her fingers tapped on the arm of the sofa.


“Our conservancy is called the Maine Coast Conservancy Trust. Many people don’t value the land the way we do. Your aunt wouldn’t want one of the unscrupulous companies to be able to concrete over it all with condos or worse hotels.”


“Mr. Donovan, I appreciate your sentiments, but there’s no reason for me to own land in Maine.”


Donovan rose and paced back in forth in front of her. Kate reached for her wine, and the short gulp resulted in a coughing fit. The energy radiating off the man made her nervous. After all, what did she really know about him? He claimed to be Aunt Liddy’s lawyer, but did she know that? She’d been stupid to let him in without checking any identification. She must’ve taken leave of her senses.


He jerked around and crossed toward her, his lips clamped in a straight line. “Come with me to look at it.”


“What?” Kate leaned away from him. His intensity bombarded her, making her feel like a wave on the beach had caught her up and was about to smash her against the bottom. He must be nuts. The beginning of her victim’s flush crawled up her neck.


“Come with me to look at Liddy’s property.”


“I don’t fly, Mr. Donovan.” Her hands clenched at the mere idea.


“I know, Kate. Liddy told me how you lost your husband, her nephew. There are no words to express how sorry I am for you. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult that had to be. I do know how hard it hit Liddy.” He paused, then in two steps was next to her on the sofa. He sank down so close his leg brushed hers. His large hand folded over hers resting in her lap.


Her heart jerked at his touch. Was the man crazy? By now, the flush had grown to full-blown across her cheeks. She was helpless to stop it. Her heart beat at an ever-increasing rate.


“This land has been in John’s family for generations. Wouldn’t he want it to stay that way?”


Her eyes filled with moisture. Damn if she’d cry in front of this man. She blinked several times and dug for composure. “How dare you?” She yanked her hand away and leapt from the sofa. Distance from Jim Donovan a must. “You presume to know what my husband would or wouldn’t want?” The words tumbled out vibrating with the pain rising from her middle. Despite many years of counseling, the devastating events of September 11, 2001 still clamped her in a vice.


Her husband’s voice on the phone came through loud and clear in her head, when he told her how much he loved her. When he told her how much he loved Blair. When he told her, he hoped she’d get on with her life without him. “Ahhhh.” She folded in on herself, sinking to the floor with loss engulfing her, shocking her in its intensity. The pain hadn’t hit her like this in many years.


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Grab your e-copy for 99 cents on sale May 5 – 12!



Title Act of Betrayal, The Second Chances Series, Book 3

Author Marsha R. West

Genre Later in Life Romantic Suspense

Publisher MRW Press, LLC


Book Blurb


A self-employed cosmetics company owner in Dallas, Devon Moore, wants to save her company from bankruptcy, but her ex-husband’s embezzlement puts her, her daughter, and her parents in danger. Will investigator Brett Townsend keep them safe when he’s not sure how much the red-headed beauty knows about the schemes? A wife has to know, doesn’t she?


Excerpt


Devon glanced in the large mirror hanging in the dining room of their Highland Park home. She reapplied her lipstick and fluffed her dark red hair, which fell past her shoulders. Her slim black skirt, matching jacket, and white silk blouse looked professional, feminine, but not sexy. She never wanted to do anything to appear sexy. The chimes at the front door made her catch her breath. She had no fondness for Franklin except as Bailey’s father, and he’d better give her a darn good explanation for what happened to all the money.


She walked into the entryway. Franklin’s reflection came through the cut glass on the door.


Her hand paused above the knob. She sucked in a big breath and yanked open the door. “Hello, Franklin.” He stepped into the entry way. Heat smacked her in the face before she could get the door closed. “Thanks for stopping by on such short notice.” She turned and led him into the living room, her high heels clicking on the hard wood floors.


His heavier steps echoed behind her. “Your curt message surprised me. Is Bailey all right?”


“She is.” Devon sat in one of the large burgundy wingbacks arranged in front of the stone fireplace. She gestured, and Franklin sat across from her. Her fingers gripped the chair arms. She crossed and uncrossed her leg then planted them firmly on the floor. Might as well jump right in.


“Franklin, I’m missing money from my business credit card account.”


“Really? How much?” Franklin’s face expressed curiosity. Like he had no idea about what she was talking.


“$350,000.” She held his gaze.


“Damn. That’s quite a bit. How’d you misplace that? You need to be more careful with your money, Devon. Your accountant, what’s her name?”


“Karen Johnson,” Devon supplied through almost clenched teeth.


“That’s right, Johnson. She’s never been good enough to keep things straight.

You’re too softhearted for business. Because she needed a job, didn’t mean you

had to hire her.” He crossed one leg over the other, straightened the crease, and eased back in the chair, as if he had not a care in the world.


Devon leaned forward, resting her hands on her knees. “Franklin, only three of us have access to the business account.”


“And that would be?” His eyebrows rose in question.


“Karen, me,” she paused, “and you.”


Franklin waved his hand. “Just what I’ve said all along, Karen is no good.”


“Karen didn’t take the money,” Devon stated in her sternest voice.


“And you know she didn’t because?” Still, he sat relaxed and untroubled.


“She told me.”


“Oh, Devon, Devon. How naïve. And you believed her?” He switched legs and did the same business with the crease in his pants.


“Yes. I did.”


“So, you borrowed from your own account, Devon? What did you need the money for, and why didn’t you come to me? I could’ve helped.”


Anger burned up Devon’s throat. “Well, as a matter of fact, Franklin, I’m wondering what the reason was you needed the money.”


“What? Are you suggesting I took the money?” He rose from the chair and paced across the room. “Are you nuts? I don’t need your money. Seriously, Devon. Is this why you asked me to come by, interrupting my busy day?”


She rose and stepped in front of him. “Did you take the money, Franklin?” She had to ask him point-blank.


“I’m offended you’d ask.” He moved past her. “If you don’t have anything else, I’m leaving. Have a good day, Devon.” He crossed the room, opened, and then closed the front door with a slight thump.


The starch went right of her Devon. She reached for the back of the nearest chair, missed. Her trembling legs couldn’t hold her up, and she sank to the floor. She closed her eyes and drew in several slow, deep breaths. Franklin didn’t exactly deny he took the money. He only got all huffy that she suspected he had.


What was her next step? To begin with she got up off the floor and walked to the kitchen. She needed iced tea in the worst way and fixed a glass. The cold fruity liquid trickled down her dry throat. The caffeine gave her a bit of a punch, and the cold helped cool her blood.


Carrying the glass back into the living room, she settled into the high-backed chair, retrieved her cell phone from the pocket of her jacket, and punched in Addie’s name. One of her best friends since meeting at camp when they were in elementary school, Addison Greer lived in Fort Worth and had recently married a homicide detective, Mike Riley. Between them, they’d have advice for her. Middle of the afternoon, Addie, the Executive Director of Cowtown Theatre could be busy right now, but she’d get back to Devon as soon as possible. That’s the kind of friends they were.


“Devon?”


“Yes, Hey, Addie. I’m glad you answered. Do you have a spare moment? I need to pick your brain about something.”


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Title Act of Survival, Book 4 The Second Chances Series

Author Marsha R. West

Genre Later in Life Romantic Suspense

Publisher MRW Press, LLC


Book Blurb


Encouraged by her friends to protect herself, Kim Mason Dennison is determined to divorce her abusive husband. An attorney, Cooper Wray, assures Kim that her husband, Hunter, can’t keep the proceedings from moving forward because Texas is a no-fault divorce state. But why is Hunter doing everything he can to stop the divorce? And will that even include murder?


Excerpt

Kim reeled backward and lost her balance. Her middle exploded with pain from the force of her husband’s blow. Her head shattered with agony when she fell and hit the coffee table. Hunter delivered his punch to her midsection with deliberate accuracy to avoid injuries showing up. He hadn’t counted on her hitting her head.


“Damn. You can’t even fall right. But we will not get a divorce. Get that out of your mind, and don’t mention such a stupid idea again.” Hunter turned and stormed from the living room. The sound of the door slamming told Kim he’d exited the house.


“Oh,” Kim moaned, grasping her head. Her fingers came away covered with blood. The room spun, and her stomach heaved. She couldn’t lie here and let the housekeeper find her, but damn, standing might take more strength than she had now. Slowly she rolled to her side and closed her eyes for a moment to stop her head from spinning. She must’ve passed out.


“Mrs. Dennison, are you all right? Did you fall again?” The words came from far away, but appeared to be from the housekeeper, Nora Jean. A hand brushed across Kim’s head. “Oh, God. You’re bleeding. I’ll call an ambulance.”


Kim couldn’t let her bring in anyone else. “No, I’ll be fine. Please, help me stand.” Nora Jean took both Kim’s hands and hefted her upright. She stumbled to the leather sofa and sank into the soft plushy cushions Hunter loved, and she hated. “Let me sit here for a few moments.”


“I’ll get you an ice pack for your head.” She hurried out of the den. The solicitous woman didn’t really work for Kim. She worked for Mrs. Dennison, her mother-in-law who’d hired her.


Thank God, Kim didn’t have any Junior League meetings on the calendar for this afternoon. She was a sustainer now, not attending everything, but keeping her hand in and helping when needed. Today, Kim couldn’t have pulled herself together enough to go. Her stomach clenched, and she feared she’d throw up, which would only make her head hurt worse.


Kim had wanted out of her sham of a marriage for a long time, but until her parents were killed last year in a senseless accident while riding in the Wichita Falls Retirement Center van, she couldn’t figure out how it was possible to get away from Hunter. She needed his money to help support them in the center, which they could never afford on their own. Kim had no money in her own name, only what Hunter chose to give her. And he only gave it to her to make sure she lived up to the standards of his family. He and his mother had decorated and redecorated the house to their tastes, never considering her or what she wanted.


Her parents had been excited about the trip from Wichita Falls to see the special exhibit at a Dallas museum. Then an idiot ran a red light and broadsided the van from the retirement center killing her parents and injuring several others. Their deaths had crushed Kim. She loved that they lived nearby, and she could drop in to see them whenever she wanted. After the accident, it was like her life was over.


Even then, she struggled to find the courage to stand up to Hunter. If she hadn’t talked with her camp friends about it when they visited Devon’s house last fall in Dallas, she’d never have taken steps to end the marriage. Devon gave Kim the name of a divorce lawyer in Wichita Falls who could help her, but she hadn’t found the courage to contact him yet. She kept hoping Hunter would stop. But he hadn’t.


Perhaps she should have spoken to the attorney before telling Hunter she wanted a divorce. While his response was not unexpected, it hurt like the dickens. No one in his family had ever divorced. His mother had never liked Kim, calling her “poor white trash” because her parents hadn’t attended college.


“Here you go, Mrs. Dennison. This ice pack will help.” Nora Jean bustled in and held out the blue, round bag.


“Thanks.” Kim took the bag and laid it gingerly on her head. She jerked at the pain, and her stomach roiled, but she put it back, hoping to numb the injury and stop the bleeding.


“Can I get you anything else?” Nora Jean’s gray eyebrows drew down in concern.


“Yes, if you don’t mind. Can you bring me a Sprite?” Maybe that would settle her stomach.


“Of course.” The woman left Kim sitting on the sofa, trying to limit her movements to keep the nausea at bay.


“Here you go, ma’am.”


Kim took the glass and swallowed a small sip. Immediately, her stomach settled. “You’ve been a big help. I’ll be all right. You go on back to the kitchen to whatever you were doing.”


The housekeeper nodded and left Kim to pull herself together. She took a couple more sips with the bubbles tickling her nose. Carefully, she set the glass on the side table close to her. Making it to the marble and glass coffee table in front of her was impossible. Any movement made her head spin. Hunter’s reaction shouldn’t have surprised Kim. He always reacted negatively when she did something he didn’t approve of.


She should’ve left him a long time ago. First, she worried about their son, Robert, named for Hunter’s father. After Robert left for college, she worried about her parents. How could she help care for them if she left Hunter? Never seemed to be the right time. However, the loss of her parents, while tragic and Kim and would hurt for a long time, freed her to get out of the hateful marriage. With Robert settled in Colorado, she could, after many years, do something for herself.


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Author Biography




She’s a member of North Texas Romance Writers, Authors Marketing Guild LLC, & the WORD BY WORD Blog. She has her own weekly blog and monthly newsletter. Her books can be found on AMAZON, B & N, KOBO, iTunes and other sites. Print books are also at Draft 2 Digital, Indie Lector Stores, and Amazon. Blurbs for each of her books with links can be found on her website.


Social Media Links


Contact her at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow her on…

2 Comments


Marsha Riegert West
Marsha Riegert West
May 05, 2023

Thanks fir having me. This series was fun to write.

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N. N. Light
N. N. Light
May 05, 2023

Thank you, Marsha, for sharing your book series with us! It sounds like such a great series.

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