Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"Tail of the Dragon" by Connie di Marco

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Tail of the Dragon
(Zodiac Mystery Book 3)
by Connie di Marco

Tail of the Dragon (Zodiac Mystery Book 3) by Connie di Marco

Tail of the Dragon, the third book in the Zodiac Mystery series by Connie di Marco, will be released 8 August but is currently available for pre-order. Also available: The Madness of Mercury (read my blog post) and All Signs Point to Murder (read my blog post).

The Madness of Mercury by Connie di MarcoAll Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco


Tail of the Dragon is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


For another book by this author (writing as Connie Archer), please check out my blog post on Ladle to the Grave.

Description
San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled–the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life.

Excerpt
I pulled up to the garage door and searched for the opener.  It wasn’t in my purse, the last place I had seen it.  I checked the glove compartment.  Empty.  Where had it gotten to?  I gave up the search, backed out to the curb and climbed out.  I’d have a search for it tomorrow.  I climbed the stairs, unlocked the door and called to Wizard.  He didn’t come to greet me.  I heard his bell jingle somewhere in the apartment.  It wasn’t like him not to rush to the top of the stairs to greet me.  I turned on the lamp on the hallway table and spotted his paws underneath. 
“Wiz, what are you doing?  Come on out for a hug.”  I petted his paws and made kissing sounds.  Wiz returned the affection with a gurgle and rushed out to my arms.  “What are you doing hiding there?”  I cuddled him as I walked into the living room.  I flicked on the wall switch and stood in stunned horror.  My apartment had been trashed.
The room was in shambles.  A ceramic vase lay shattered in a hundred pieces on the floor.  Books had been tossed off the shelves and two of the sofa cushions had been ripped open.  I couldn’t breathe and could barely move.  Wizard mewed and snuggled closer in my arms.  I went back to the hallway, terrified something might have happened to my bronze Buddha.  It was still in its place, probably because it weighs a ton and it’s impossible to lift.  I sighed, it hadn’t guarded my nest very well tonight.  In the kitchen, dishes from the cabinet were smashed.  Food from the refrigerator, what there was of it, had been thrown against the walls to drip on to the floor.  Bureau drawers had been dumped out, jewelry flung all over the room.  The pillows on the bed and the comforter were slashed.  The clothes hanging in the small closet, mostly just a couple of suits and some jeans and sweaters that I had been wearing that week had been ripped off the hangers and cut to ribbons.
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  My hands started to shake.  I knew now why Wizard had been hiding under the table terrified.  Then the thought occurred that someone could still be in the apartment.  Perhaps I had just interrupted the intruder.  I lowered Wizard gently onto the floor and shushed him.  I made a dash for the small coat closet in the hallway where I keep a toolbox.  Opening the door as quietly as possible, I released the catches on the metal box and grabbed a long thick screwdriver.  It was the only thing I could think of in a hurry.   If I had to defend myself, there was a good chance I could do a job on someone with this.  I slipped off my shoes so I could walk silently and, against my instincts, returned to the bedroom where I peeked under the bed.  My hands were still shaking.  Wizard had followed me and now was hiding under the tall bureau, his tail sticking out.  I was tempted to join him.  I picked up the phone and dialed Gale’s number, praying she’d answer.  She picked up on the third ring. 
“Gale.  It’s me.  Can you come right over?”
“Julia?  Sure, honey.  What’s wrong?”
“Tell you when you get here.”  I hung up.  Tiptoeing softly, I walked to the end of the corridor and the office.  Nothing in there had been touched.  Thankfully, the computer was in one piece.  The charts were still stuck on the bulletin board, so whoever it was had either taken no interest in this room or had been interrupted.  I checked the desk drawer where I store my laptop.  It was intact.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  The filing cabinet with hard copies of client charts, just as a backup, was undisturbed.  Everything seemed in order. 
There weren’t too many hiding places in my apartment, and the ones that did exist I knew very well.  I looked in the large walk-in closet in the hallway where most of my clothes were stored.  As usual when I pulled on the knob, the door stuck.  I leaned all my weight on the handle and it released.  If that clothing had been destroyed, it would have been a real blow.  I checked the bathroom, the shower stall and peeked under the bed again for good measure.  I walked very softly down the hall to the living room, made a circuit of that room, checked the coat closet by the top of the stairs again, and the small laundry room next to the kitchen.  Then I went back to the bedroom and pulled out the small case I keep under the bed.  It holds a flashlight, a small radio and a pair of tennis shoes in case of earthquake.  There was only one possible hiding place left and that was the storage area under the stairway.  I tiptoed down the stairs.  The triangular-shaped door is painted the same color as the wall of the hallway and the handle of the door is camouflaged by color as well.  Anyone who wasn’t familiar with the apartment might not even notice this.  I steeled myself in case my intruder was hiding there and lunged out at me.  I pulled open the door and stepped back quickly.  Nothing happened.  I had been holding my breath.  I shone the flashlight around the almost empty space.  Nothing but two boxes of old tax papers and files and a large plastic storage container for extra blankets.  I shut the door and turned the hasp to lock it.  The doorbell rang.  I jumped involuntarily.  It took me a moment to catch my breath.  
I called out, “Who is it?”
“It’s me,” Gale called out from the other side of the door.  I opened it and let her in. 
“How did you get here so fast?” 
“I was just down the street on Clement having a drink.  Are you okay?  Gale took my hand.  What’s going on?” She glanced at the screwdriver I was clutching tightly.  “Holy crap, put that down.  You look like you’ve seen a ghost.  Let’s go up to the kitchen.” 
“Somebody broke in.  Go have a look.  You won’t believe it.” 

Praise for the Book
“The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. It is written in a such a way that the reader cannot help but be pulled into the story. I found myself reading much later into the night than I had planned.” ~ MJB Reviewers
“This author knows how to get a reader’s attention right from the start. Blood, mystery, murder within the first few pages sure gets a gal excited to read the rest of the mystery.” ~ Bibliophile Reviews
Tail of the Dragon is an edgy mystery that combines astrology and murder to create an engrossing, pulse-pounding tale.” ~ Cozy Up With Kathy
“... the protagonist is unique and the plot multi-dimensional, fleshed with a well developed main character ...” ~ Rosepoint Publishing
“I don’t know what it is about mixing the astrological stuff with murder but it really makes for a great mystery I must say.” ~ Books a Plenty Book Reviews
“If you want a surprise ending, this the book to read! I was blown away by the twist at the end.” ~ Storeybook Reviews

About the Author
Connie di Marco
Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mystery series from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti.
Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook
Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She grew up in New England and now lives on the other coast.



Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five print (US only) or ebook copies of Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco.

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