M. M. DeLuca
THE PERFECT FAMILY MAN
Five years ago, my little boy went missing. Now my husband’s vanished, too.
I wish I could say that the tragedy of little Jack disappearing brought me and Nate closer together. But my husband is more distant from me now than he’s ever been. Perhaps that’s why I don’t ask him exactly where he’s going when he sets off on another business trip.
Or perhaps I was too distracted by the woman moving in across the street with bouncing blonde hair and a cherubic toddler boy. He reminds me so much of the child I lost. But his mother doesn’t seem to properly watch him. And I can’t be sure, but I’m sure Nate and this woman share a look of recognition before he leaves.
The first day Nate’s away, things feel okay, even though I know when he returns we’re going to have to discuss what I found in his coat pocket. But one day turns into two, and then three. I don’t want to seem like the crazy wife, but I have to call his work and ask what’s going on. And that’s when they tell me the shocking truth.
Nate hasn’t worked for the company in six months.
Once I’ve found this lie, it’s hard not to pick at the scab of our marriage, see what other secrets lie beneath his apparent love for me. By the end of the week, I hope I might finally learn the truth about my husband, about the woman across the street, and about what really happened to my little boy.
THE SAVAGE INSTINCT
May 18th 2021 (Inkshares)
In the lineage of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, The Savage Instinct is the chilling story of one woman's struggle for her sanity, set against the backdrop of the arrest and trial of Mary Ann Cotton, England’s first female serial killer.
England, 1873. Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never—ever—return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton—England’s first female serial killer—accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.
Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor—and perhaps accomplice—in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.
THE SECRET SISTER
March 25th (Canelo)
Anna’s done bad things before. Neglected and unloved as a child, she had to do whatever it took to keep herself and her little sister, Birdie, safe. But the worst thing she’s ever done is let her sister walk out of a diner when they were teenagers. She would never see her sister again.
Years later, and Anna is a new person. After a whirlwind romance, she’s married handsome, successful, and generous Guy. She has a steady job and a new life of comfort. Things seem perfect.
But she hasn’t told her husband about her dark past or about Birdie, that she’s still looking for her. It’s not about his too-perfect veneer, or her suspicion that he flirts with other women. It’s that he has a complicated past and family secrets, too. Secrets that might be more entwined with hers than he knows.
After all this time, one thing about Anna remains the same. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her sister. And when she finds out who’s kept them apart for all these years, there will be hell to pay.
THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER
When Crag Street, a grimy row of colliery houses, is torn down and rebuilt in an outdoor museum, new divorcee, Rita receives an unexpected invitation to the Grand Opening. The visit forces her to relive painful memories about her past and to finally face the man she’s loved all her life.
Rita Hawkins fought all her life to escape from Crag Street, deep in the East Durham coalfield. A place where gossip reigned, tuberculosis killed, and mining families slaved to make ends meet. There she meets George, the last surviving son of a poor family, forced to leave school to work as a miner at fourteen. Love eludes them, though events in their lives constantly throw them together. George the high-minded idealist gets caught up with the miner’s union, while cold, hard cash drives Rita towards independence and success in business. Their relationship is complicated by the tragic Maggie, abused mother of seven children and Ella, the childless street gossip with her nose in everyone’s business.
A vivid tale of love and loss, joy and tragedy, The Pitman’s Daughter spans five decades and portrays the colorful tapestry of life in a Durham colliery village. Filled with unforgettable characters it is also a story of ambition and identity that shows no matter how hard we try, we can’t escape our past since it shapes us into the person we become
Journalist, Nick Hendricks is coasting on auto pilot with his job, his relationships and his life. All that changes one snowy night when the beautiful and mysterious Lilah arrives in sleepy little Silver Narrows. Caught hopelessly in her spell, Nick begins to investigate some tragic disappearances from the town’s past. Soon he realizes that there are guilty secrets lurking beneath the town's cozy exterior. Secrets some of the town’s long-standing citizens want to keep buried. But he can’t help wondering where Lilah came from, why she’s there and what connection she has with the unexplained disappearances of four teenagers. Nick’s investigation sets off a string of disturbing events as he struggles to answer these questions and come to terms with unsettling secrets from his own past while falling crazily in love with the elusive Lilah.
Paige is a Forever, genetically altered to stay nineteen forever and live in the secret Iduna Corp compound, a place where age reversal and immortality has been perfected. But when her friends start disappearing Paige suspects there’s a darker side to their luxurious prison. The official word is they’ve been kidnapped by criminals on the outside who want to use them as feeders. Feeders have a short and brutal life – kept in captivity and sucked dry of all their youth cells so the Crime Lords can enjoy eternal youth. Her friend Junius involves her in planning a daring escape from the compound so they can infiltrate the IdunaCorp organization and find out what’s really happening to their missing friends. They’re joined by the charismatic and musical Chale, whose attraction to Paige causes tension between her and Junius. What will they find on the outside? How has the quest for immortality changed humanity? The journey becomes so dangerous Paige is forced to push herself to the limits of her endurance and to make tough decisions about who she can trust – Junius or Chale?
Paige is in Carter City, Junius's idyllic home. Life seems to be perfect until Paige uncovers a darker side to the peaceful paradise. Before she can confront Junius about it, they're whisked away on a secret mission to infiltrate the Crime Lords. After a dangerous and grueling training period, Paige and Junius plunge into the strange, ruined world of Sin City and the Crime Lords, whose lives are defined by death defying feats and undying loyalty in battle. They meet Antoine, the charismatic but dangerous leader of the Snakes, who draws them into the wild and crazy Sin City lifestyle, and reveals the gruesome methods used to access the forever serum from the captured feeders. Paige makes some unexpected discoveries about her past, and Chale’s sudden reappearance forces her to make decisions and take risks she never imagined, to ensure his safety. One thing never changes - the people with power will do anything to gain control of the Forever technology. But who will gain the upper hand? The Crime Lords or the wealthy ARPS backed by Iduna Corporation? Or maybe someone else Paige never suspected.
Paige returns to Carter City with Chale, determined to find her father on Masalina Island, a place that could provide permanent sanctuary for the Forevers.
But Marcia has other ideas and when Junius’s father shows up unexpectedly, plans for the next mission to save Junius go into high gear. Meanwhile a shocking discovery among the ARP residents of Golden Heights threatens Yul’s entire empire making him desperate to get to Paige and her father who may hold the key to the survival of The Iduna Project.
Paige must find the courage to outwit Marcia and Yul otherwise she’ll always be a pawn in the race for immortality. But she faces a tough road and unexpected dangers and revelations in her search to uncover the truth about all the players involved in the Iduna Project.
Can Paige finally find freedom and happiness? Find out in the gripping final episode of The Iduna Project.
Doll's Eyes and Other Stories
A clown doll with a strange mission, a motherless boy with a humanoid nanny, an orphan girl cursed with a legacy of fire and a paranoid young mother. These are the players in this haunting, magical, but slightly bizarre collection of short fiction for adults and young adults
Chasing a Thrill
On her morning run, seventeen year old Katie discovers a frozen body lying on the snowy forest trail. The story goes back three months to trace the events leading up to the tragedy as seen through the eyes of:
Mike, the import car fanatic who worships his older brother, Frankie, a hotshot graduate who’s gone East and developed big spending habits fuelled by poker winnings.
Jay, the budding musician whose father wants him to be an NHL player even though he hates hockey.
Kim, the math whiz and talented artist whose mother recently died and left her alone with a cold, abusive father who spends most nights at the casino.
Nick, forced to be a parent to his two kid sisters while his single mom goes off for days at a time and drowns herself in booze .
Lured by the thrill of gambling, their lives spiral out of control until events come to a head in a gripping final showdown. Along the way they’ll learn about love, heroism, sacrifice and failure, but someone pays the ultimate price and dies on the snowy forest track.