One Week to Pub Date = One More Chance to Win The Dollmaker

THEDOLLMAKER_280x459One week to go until the November 15 release of The Dollmaker, the second of my The Forgotten Files novels.That’s time enough for one more Flash Giveaway starting now and ending midnight on Wednesday, 11/9. Enter for a chance to be the winner of an early copy of The Dollmaker.  Meet Tessa, Dakota and a killer whose penchant for real life—if not live—dolls accelerates as each deadly case emerges.
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The Dollmaker Featured Excerpt #3

The Dollmaker Featured Excerpt #3

Tessa and Dakota meet for the first time since their separation.

“Why the meeting, Tessa?”

“I wanted to let you know I’m back in Richmond. I’ve applied for a yearlong fellowship at the medical examiner’s office. In fact, Dr. Kincaid just offered me the job. I start in the morning.”

A muscle pulsed in his jaw. “She’s smart. Manages a good shop. Why tell me?”

Ice coated each word. He wasn’t attempting cordial. But then it had never been easy with him. “We’re going to run into each other. In fact, the medical examiner’s office has one of your cases on the docket for tomorrow.”

The muscle in his jaw pulsed again. “You could have told me all this in a text.”

“I know you don’t like texts.”

As he sat back, his jacket opened a fraction, offering a glimpse of his badge clipped to his belt, inches from the grip of his weapon. He waited.

She tucked another strand of hair behind her ear. “I understand this victim is young.”

He impatiently tugged at the edge of his jacket. “When you officially start, we’ll talk about it.”

Old frustrations stirred, and she remembered he could be abrupt, his tone blunt when he was upset. She knew he was angry with her. She’d blasted out of his life on a rush of emotion and little thought.

Now, she wanted to say the right words to mend a once-strong connection now shattered into so many pieces, words alone felt inadequate.

Dakota’s question was as piercing as a honed blade. “So that’s it? You wanted to give me a heads up?”

“That was part of the reason.”

He didn’t speak. Barely seemed to breathe.

“I wanted to see you. To see for myself you’re doing okay.”

He shook his head, as if he were bracing for a second shoe to drop.

“I also wanted you to know I remembered today is Kara’s birthday. I haven’t forgotten.”

He didn’t blink. “Okay.”

“She was my friend, too. What happened to her changed my life as well.” Her thumb rubbed the underside of her ring finger as if expecting to feel her wedding band.


“Yes.” She’d hoped mentioning Kara would chip away at the wall between them, but it only added more bricks. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to rub salt.”

A weary sigh leaked from his lips. “I assume you’re now making small talk and screwing up the courage to talk about a divorce.”

Their broken marriage dangled between them like glass shards. Hardly anyone would have noticed any hope glinting around the jagged edges. “No, I’m not.”

“No, you’re not what?”

This was the moment she’d rehearsed a hundred times on the long plane ride home. “I’m not filing the papers.”

His gray eyes narrowed. “You want me to?”

“No,” she blurted.

Wariness flashed as his eyes narrowed. “Why not? A clean break means you can get on with your life.”

If this had been a tug-of-war game, she’d have been digging in her heels. “Is that what you want?”

Staring. Silent. Still. He was giving her no glimpse of his thoughts. She’d have to work for every inch of progress.

“I’ve done everything I can think of to get free of you. I was sure ten thousand miles would do the trick. But no luck.” As the words rushed over her lips, she regretted them immediately.

Challenge sharpened already keen features.

A cold chill swept over her and threatened to scatter whatever hopes she’d painstakingly collected over the last weeks as she continued, “I thought eight months apart would mellow us both.”

“I haven’t changed and neither has my job, Tessa. It never will. I don’t know why you imagined I’d change.”

“I’ve changed.”

Shaking his head, he rose as if he could no longer stay still. “Do yourself a favor and move on with your life. File the papers, and I’ll sign them.”

She stood quickly, again bumping the table, sloshing more coffee. As he turned away, she fired back, “I never figured you for a chicken, Sharp.”

His face in profile now, a muscle again pulsed in his jaw. He might recognize her outburst as one of the investigative techniques he used interviewing a hostile witness, but that didn’t mean he was immune when the tables were turned. “Provoking my temper won’t work, Tessa.”

“Figured you were more of a fighter,” she pressed. What the hell did she have to lose now? “Never pegged you for a quitter.”

Unruffled, he reached for his sunglasses. “I’m a realist. We are not suited for each other. I know. You know it.”

She moved a step closer to him, knowing the sunglasses were one of his tells. He put them on when he was rattled. She’d hit her target. “I’m not filing papers.”

“And then what? We remain in limbo?”

“No. We figure it out. We make our marriage work.”

Copyright 2016 © Mary Burton

Enter to Win One of Two Copies of The Dollmaker

The cover of Mary Burton's The DollmakerTwo weeks and counting down until the November 15 release of The Dollmaker, the second of my The Forgotten Files novels. I’m excited to soon be introducing everyone to medical examiner Tessa McGowan, her not-yet-ex, Virginia State Police Agent Dakota Sharp, and the serial killer whose twisted pursuits surprised even me. Want to meet them sooner? Enter and you may be one of two winners. Hurry. The Dollmaker Two Weeks, Two Books, Two Winners Flash Giveaway ends Wednesday at midnight.


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Countdown To Vulnerable Grab Bag Giveaway #2

Mary Burton VULNERABLE image hi resJust under two weeks to go until VULNERABLE, forensic specialist Georgia Morgan’s story. Time for the sixth of my Grab Bag Giveaways and just one more to go before publication date! I’m happy to see so many of you entering and to have the chance to share some of my  previous novels.


Needless to say, with on sale date looming, I keep revisiting the book in my head  and I find myself enjoying Detective Jake Bishop more and more.  Especially knowing that when he first shows up in VULNERABLE he has no idea what he’s getting into when he’s partnered with Georgia on a reopened cold case.


I especially enjoy rereading this scene between Jake and KC  at Rudy’s bar.


When Jake arrived at Rudy’s, he was dog tired but had heard from Rick that Georgia had landed a slot onstage at the last minute. As much as he needed to work, to sleep, he couldn’t resist seeing her sing.


The bar was crowded and most hovered close to the stage where Georgia held the mike close to her mouth and sang Faith Hill’s “Breathe.” As her voice echoed through the room, energy moved through him, tightening around his heart like a fist. What the hell was it about her that got under his skin?


She leaned into the microphone, closed her eyes, and her voice summoned sadness, loss, and frustration from the song. She could hit all the high and low notes with perfect pitch, but it was the emotion she so freely injected into each note that grabbed her audience and held them tight. Emotions he’d kept long locked in a very secure place burned in the center of his chest and coaxed feelings he’d not had since Boston.


“She’s so good,” KC said as he dried a tumbler with a bar towel. “Hard to take your eyes off her.”


Jake turned, surprised to be caught staring. “She’s great.” He reached for the half-full glass of ice water and took a long drink, astonished that his throat was so dry.


“I’m puzzled someone hasn’t snapped her up,” KC said, a teasing note woven around the words.


“She’s mean as a snake,” Jake said, setting down his glass harder than he anticipated. “Pretty to look at and nice to listen to, but don’t get too close. She’ll bite your head off.”


KC laughed as he carefully stacked the glasses next to a dozen others.“That’s what keeps it interesting, don’t you think? That’s what I loved about my late wife. So nice and kind to many, but she kept me on my toes. She never minced words when she was pissed at me.”


“How long were you married?” His gaze followed a drip of water down the side of the chilled glass.


“Twenty-five years.”


“That’s something.”


KC’s eyes dulled a fraction. “Sounds like a long time, but now it just seems like a blink.”


Jake had been engaged to Alice less than two months. They’d planned a spring wedding. That moment went by so fast there were days he wondered if it were real. “Life goes so fast. It’s over before you know it.”


“Yeah.” KC set the bar glass down as Georgia finished her song. “So you gonna nut up and ask her out?”


Jake carefully pushed his glass a few inches away. “Who?”


KC snorted a laugh. “Don’t bullshit me, son. You know who.”


Jake shrugged, deciding he’d rather play it dumb than out his feelings for Georgia Morgan and suffer her wrath. “As soon as I get my tetanus shot.”


I hope you enjoyed this  sneak peek at Jake as I celebrate the sixth “romantic suspense weekend” in my Countdown to Vulnerable. Want to read more? If you haven’t already, check out the excerpt on my site. And please don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a Grab Bag of my titles.



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Countdown to VULNERABLE Grab Bag Giveaway #3

Mary Burton VULNERABLE image hi resThree weeks to go until VULNERABLE, my new Morgan Family novel! So let’s hear it for the fifth of my Grab Bag Giveaways counting down the weeks until the March 29th pub date. For those of you who haven’t been introduced to the Morgans, they are Nashville’s preeminent law enforcement family, siblings Deke, Rick, Alex and Georgia. Georgia, a forensic specialist, takes the lead in this story of a cold case gone hot.


It seems the more I look forward to you all reading the book, the more I reflect on  how writing it raised my awareness of those around us who are vulnerable in ways we can’t even imagine. And when we do see or suspect their vulnerability, how difficult it may be to help them.  Here’s Georgia reaching out to a woman she’s certain is in danger both emotionally and physically.


The rattle of glasses had her turning to Carrie, who carried a tray completely filled with empty beer bottles. As the singer’s set concluded and she announced to the crowd she was going to take a break, Carrie approached Georgia.


“Hal told me he came to see you. He was pissed more than usual but I got him to calm down. I can take care of myself and the baby.”


She scanned the young waitress for more bruises. She spotted a dark purple ring around her right wrist. He’d grabbed her and wrenched her arm. “He’s still hurting you. Why stay?”


Carrie shook her head, dismissing Georgia’s logic. “He’s having a rough go of it. He lost his job and he’s worried about taking care of me and the baby. He doesn’t like it that I have to work.”


“Where’s the baby, Carrie?”


“She’s with my neighbor. She’s okay.”


“My offer still stands for a place to stay, Carrie. You don’t have to live this way. Think about the baby.”


A stick-thin man with a handlebar mustache held up an empty glass to get Carrie’s attention. She grinned broadly at him. “Be right there, sugar.” The spotlight overhead caught the bruise across her cheekbone, covered almost completely with makeup.


Georgia shoved back a mouthful of anger.


Carrie turned back to Georgia. “I got to get back to work, but thank you.”


“You can thank me by moving out.”


“I can’t leave Hal now.”


Georgia drew in a breath, realizing her message was not being received. Again, she worried how violent Hal would have to be for Carrie to take a stand. She watched the waitress hold her tray high as she angled her slim body through the crowd.


I hope you enjoyed the above sneak peek celebrating the fifth “romantic suspense weekend” in my Countdown to Vulnerable. Ready to read more? If you haven’t already, check out the excerpt on my site. And please don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a Grab Bag of my titles.



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