MANGROVES AND MONSTERS (second edition released 9/21/2013): For five long years Charlie Cooper’s love survived while he searched for Angeline St. Cyr, the supermodel presumed dead. Will finding her cost Cooper his life?
HOODOO MONEY (second edition released 9/21/2013): Can love, the very thing successful children's author Braeden McKay wants no part of, be the one force greater than any adversary - even a hoodoo curse?
MANGROVES AND MONSTERS, CHAPTER ONE
Wounds heal in stages. Numb one day, ants crawling under your skin the next. Itchy in the sweltering heat; achy in the cold. Weird. Charlie Cooper scratched the three-inch scar in his shoulder where he took a knife’s blade during the botched kidnapping of a student nine years ago.
Despite a Herculean effort by police, the poor boy died anyway — a few months shy of his eighth birthday.
“Sorry, kid.” Cooper yanked off his New Orleans Zephyrs cap and tossed it in the bistro chair next to him. Sorry for what? Christ. That he survived three days in an abandoned well, and his student didn’t? That he carried this damn scar as a constant reminder he failed to save the boy?
That only a few years after the abduction, still blinded by revenge, he couldn’t see the jewel he’d found in Angeline St. Cyr? Almost five years had passed since the auto-pedestrian accident that reportedly killed the supermodel — reportedly being the operative word. Which brought him to the only reason he had journeyed to Jacqueme Dominique, an island the size of Vermont, located east of the Lesser Antilles.
Call him fanatical or foolish, delusional even, but he had never bought into the hype regarding Angeline’s sudden death and subsequent cremation that her boss had fed to the press.
If Cooper saw her again, he knew he would recognize Angeline no matter how horrendous her scars. Hell, they’d lingered in his bed the entire weekend before the accident, and he had memorized every delectable inch of her.
Charmed by Angeline’s quirks, Cooper had both cursed her annoying habits and admired her tenacity. He had loved the supermodel, and loathed her. Now he only wanted the truth, even if it left him twice devastated. (To read the complete chapter, visit my website)
HOODOO MONEY - PROLOGUE
Sweating profusely, Lee Allen Dalrymple carted his 280 pounds up a second flight of stairs. “Damn elevator,” he huffed. “Been on the fritz more times than not since I moved into this overpriced apartment.” But a broke-down elevator was the least of his aggravation. Braeden McKay had fl at refused to give him the crime scene photos from the Dodding murder. “Bitch.”
New shoes pinched Dalrymple’s swollen feet. His head ached. Perspiration stung his eyes and plastered his white shirt to his back under a suit jacket that cut into his shoulders.
“McKay’s the cause of all my misery.” He lumbered through the door of his darkened apartment juggling mail, his laptop, and battered valise.
During this most recent trip to Texas, he had called forth every ruse concocted in nineteen years of free-lance journalism. Three days of impromptu meetings, deep-fried meals, and all-out groveling, and he hadn’t worn her down a lick.
He kicked the door shut, and the vibration skewed the lithograph on the wall next to the framed dust jacket of The Stoning of Renzo De Benedictis, his one and only bestseller. “Integrity’s for Boy Scouts,” he grumbled. People had lewd appetites, and satiating those appetites had made him a lot of money.
He couldn’t recall any other time a woman had looked him straight in the eyes and told him her conscience wasn’t for sale. But McKay leaned across a glass of expensive merlot, shook his hand, and said in that irritating drawl of hers, “My decision is final, Mr. Dalrymple. Herbert Dodding is dead. I can’t change that. But neither will I contribute to a tell-all book that will follow those boys for the rest of their lives. You understand, sir, I’m sure.”
Like hell, he understood.(To read the complete prologue, visit my website)
fiction, suspense, mystery, ebook, romance
Like most writers, I always had a head bursting with scenarios and a. . .drawer, shoebox, folder. . .of unfinished manuscripts. My first short story, "McTammany's Bed of Roses," appeared online in The Emporium Gazette, Issue 46, February 2003. With that sale, I earned enough to buy a novel in the paperback section at Wal-Mart or a couple of trade-ins at the local paperback swap-n-shop.
But I was a published author at age 54 - and I was flying!
Why did I wait so long? I grew up during a time when parents believed their daughters should take typing and shorthand, master that keypunch machine, become competent fodder for the secretarial pool. You can't make a living as a writer, you know.
So I worked in office and museum and university settings, and typed words dictated by others. I became a file clerk, an executive secretary, an office manager. I married my favorite protag - no regrets there - raised three most excellent children, who later gave us five most excellent grandchildren.
But in my head and heart, the dream still simmered. And my favorite protag knew this. When I left my last job, he said enough, and threw his full support behind me.
Now my short stories have appeared in numerous online and print venues, with anthology contributions to The Rocking Chair Reader in the Coming Home edition (2004) and Family Gatherings (2005), A Cup of Comfort for Weddings: Something Old, Something New (2007), and Good Old Days Magazine (March, 2007). My debut novel, Hoodoo Money, was released by Draumr Publishing in May 2008 and followed by the sequel, Mangroves and Monsters, in November 2009.
Thank you, most favorite protag. . .
Sharon Pennington’s newest novel whisks the reader to a tropical paradise where the hunt for lost love and a maniacal killer race to a page turning climax. Old love rekindles, new love sparks, and ever-present danger lurks in the shadows. Well developed characters and palpable tension make Mangroves and Monsters a must read. ~ Jake Steele, Writing Well (October 23, 2009)
Mangroves and Monsters is another masterpiece of crime romance heaped with suspense and tension from Pennington. You can sense the oppressive heat of the Caribbean mangroves, taste the exotic delights of embryonic love and rampant passion under a broiling sun while killers, traitors and every form of lowlife stalk the shadows. Fresh words from a fresh imagination. A delight to read. ~ B.J.Kibble, author of Dry Rain and Legion (October 25, 2009)
Hoodoo Money was like ice cream. I just couldn't put it down! Every time I looked up from my Kindle I couldn't fathom why I wasn't in New Orleans, or Galveston. I could feel the heat, taste the mugginess. AND your mouthwatering descriptions of all those foods! OMG! Could I get a kitchen, please? I absolutely ate up the ending - and then it was gone. ~ Jodi (March 2012, Goodreads.com)
Sharon Cupp Pennington's debut novel strikes it rich in Hoodoo Money. With heroes to die for and evil lurking from all corners of New Orleans and Galveston, Hoodoo Money contains all the ingredients for a summer beach read or a cozy day in front of a fire. Either way, you won't put it down until the last page. I've read it, I own it, and I don't intend to let someone borrow it for fear I won't get it back. ~ C. Hope Clark, author of Lowcountry Bribe and owner of www.FundsforWriters.com (June 18, 2008)
Pennington's book is a breath of fresh air in the genre. Her subtle yet uncompromising characters weave a unique story of unrequited desire, power and lust, which spiral into self-fulfillment, the hope of love, ultimate loss and murder. Every facet of the human condition is painted skillfully across the broad canvas of a vibrant and often dark New Orleans, where curses are weighed on a single nickel - or are they? A pure delight to read. ~ B. J. Kibble, author of Chasing the Wind and Dry Rain (May, 28, 2008)
GREAT FUN: HOODOO MONEY is simply a fun, great read! Romance, the tradition and history of New Orleans and a lead character that's as spunky and spicy as Cajun food all combine to make Sharon Cupp Pennington's book a page turner. ~ Rebbie Macintyre, author of Cast the First Stone (October 7, 2008)