Sunday, March 3, 2013

Melissa Foster - Traces of Kara is featured on HBS Mystery Reader's Circle

Melissa Foster is in the HBS Mystery Book Reader's Circle.

Author Genre: Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Melissa Foster
Author's Blog: Melissa Foster Blog
Blog: The Womens Nest
Twitter: @Melissa_Foster
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Author Description:
Award-winning, bestselling author Melissa Foster is a touchstone for the indie publishing community and a tireless advocate for women. She is the founder of the World Literary Café, Fostering Success, and The Women’s Nest , as well as a Community Builder for the Alliance of Independent Authors . Melissa writes emotionally-driven contemporary fiction and suspense with passionate characters that remain with the reader long after they’ve read the last words. Melissa is a friend, mentor, brownie connoisseur, and book fiend.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Traces of Kara

Author: Melissa Foster
Book Trailer: Traces of Kara

From International bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster comes her newest pulse-pounding thriller and Kindle Bestseller (Amazon US & UK)

Kara Knight can't wait to leave her hometown for the promise of nursing school and a fresh start on her future--leaving behind an over protective mother, a broken heart and painful memories. However, twenty-five miles away, the twin she doesn't know exists is determined to be reunited with the sister he cannot forget.

Kara is abducted and thrown into her obsessive captor's delusional world. As the past she thought she knew unravels around her, Kara struggles to make sense of the memories that come creeping back, threatening her sanity and her safety. Meanwhile, Kara's mother races against time to save the daughter she fears she will lose when a long-held secret is revealed. The hours tick away as her captor plays out his plan--to take Kara with him into death at the exact moment of their birth, never to be separated again.

TRACES OF KARA is an action packed, pulse pounding psychological thriller/suspense novel that features a determined killer who slowly loses his grip on reality as his carefully detailed plan starts to fall apart and a heroine determined to move forward with her life who now must reconcile everything she believed to be true about her family with the reality of their tragic past.

"What sets Melissa Foster apart are her compelling characters who you care about... desperately. This is psychological suspense at its most chilling. I dare you to read the first chapter and not be hooked."
International bestseller, M.J. Rose

"Psychological suspense at its best, weaving a tight-knit plot, unrelenting action, and tense moments that don't let up, ending in a fiery, unpredictable revelation." Midwest Book Review

"TRACES OF KARA is a twisted, eerily atmospheric tale with an ending that will shock you." Author Barbara Taylor Sissel

"Hannibal Lector, Freddie Kruger and the Tami Hoag villains combined with the emotional bond of Jody Picoult, Jane Fitch, and Steel Magnolia." Author Clare Ayala

"TRACES OF KARA is a minute by minute thriller...[it] will test your bravery, loyalty and make you want to hug your own family." Stephanie, Beauty Brite Blog
Chapter One

He sat on the edge of his queen-sized bed, the morning light streaming across his knees as it crept between the slats of the metal blinds. His dirty t-shirt hung loose over his protruding stomach. His thick, hulking shoulders rounded forward, lifting and falling with each heavy breath. He could feel the photographs on the wall opposite the bed calling out to him, taunting him. He clenched his fingers until his gnawed-off nails dug into his palms. He leaned forward, the streaks of sun shooting across the room and bouncing off the mirror with blinding heat.

He pushed himself off the bed with a groan, arching his chest forward in an awkward stretch. Each day the waiting became more difficult, weighing on him, suffocating his thoughts. His greasy brown hair stuck to his forehead in thin strands as he turned to face the wall opposite the bed. The edges of his lips curled upward in a sinister grin. He lumbered forward and leaned his enormous palms against the wooden dresser. His eyes, riveted to the photographs that surrounded the tall mirror, narrowed and widened as they shifted from one photograph to the next. His heartbeat quickened. He reached one sausage-like finger up and ran it over the beautiful blonde woman’s hair.

“Marissa,” he whispered.

He dropped his finger to the map he’d spent weeks poring over, memorizing, scrutinizing. He knew every inch of the town where she lived, the route she took to work.

He clenched his teeth, thinking about the bastard who’d been taunting her. Roland’s chest tightened and his hands fisted. It would be so easy to snap his wormy little neck, or to introduce him to the riverbed, face first, until his body went limp. Sweat beaded down the back of Roland’s neck. He reached for a particular picture, worn and gray with age, the veins in his massive forearms bursting with adrenaline. In the picture his child-self beamed. His arm was around Marissa, the newly formed scars and disfigurement on the right side of his face angry and pink. He hated the way Marissa looked, as if she were pulling away from him. Roland rubbed the photo of Marissa with his calloused thumb. The paper beneath was crinkled, faded, from this habit. He was careful never to rub over her face. He closed his eyes, slowing his breathing to an even pace. He had to bide his time, or his plan would fall apart. It had taken him eight years to track down Marissa, and eight months to develop his plan—a plan to keep them from ever being separated again.


It was another rainy, gray afternoon, the kind that drained the energy right out of most people—but not Kara Knight. Kara had a smile on her lips and a thin white envelope in her hands. She bit her lower lip, running her finger across the return address: University of North Carolina. She’d waited weeks to see if she’d been accepted to nursing school, and if she opened the envelope now, she’d have her answer. Her nerves were afire. What if she didn’t get in? She’d be stuck in this Podunk town forever. Her dreams were bigger than the small industrial town of Williamsport, Maryland, and she hoped to break free from the heartbreak that surrounded her like an inescapable fog. The edges of her smile drew south. She flipped the letter over in her hands, playing with the edge of the seal. She couldn’t bear the thought of not getting accepted. Kara pulled open a kitchen drawer, dropped the letter in, and slammed it closed. She turned away with a loud sigh, then turned back, reaching for the drawer. Even if she was rejected, she’d be damned if she’d be stuck in this crappy little place for another twelve months. A rejection would be a minor setback, not a deal breaker.

Kara took a deep breath, pulled the drawer open, and picked up the letter with shaking hands. “Here goes,” she whispered, and tore open the envelope. Her eyes slipped over the contents, her heartbeat quickening with each word. “Yes!” She pumped her fist, jumping up and down. “Shit!” She laughed, and reread the acceptance letter. “I did it. I freaking did it.”

Excitement danced in her chest. This was just the beginning. Soon she would submit her resignation at the power plant and start her new life. The job at the plant was a stopgap, a means to an end. She had begun working there shortly after she and Daryl were married, pushing her desire to complete school aside for the need to generate an income. She’d tried to do it all—work, go to school, and maintain her relationship with Daryl—but Daryl had felt neglected, and something had to give. School was that something. Now, she wished she’d had the foresight to see that Daryl hadn’t been ready for a monogamous commitment any more than she’d been ready to give up her dreams.

Kara felt her face glow. She was on her way. Now there was nothing standing between her and a real future. She set the open letter on the counter, grabbed her light blue windbreaker, and headed for the door of her second-story apartment.

Kara reached for the doorknob just as the phone rang. Mom. Her hand hovered over the knob. Her mother had taken to calling her three times each day since she and Daryl had separated. The last thing she needed today was her mother prodding her to fall back into Daryl’s arms. Kara didn’t have the heart not to answer. Sighing, she walked back to the phone that hung on the wall by the stove.

“Hi, Mom.” Her mother hadn’t been supportive of her applying to a nursing school that was so far away. Kara wasn’t sure if her lack of support was driven by her crazy notion that one day Kara might actually take Daryl back, or by her desire for her only child to remain nearby. Whatever the reason, Kara had a plan and she was sticking with it. Nothing Mimi said would dissuade her from moving on with her life.

“Oh, good, I caught you. Ted wanted to know if you could come get those boxes from the recreation room. He wants to set up a dart game with—”

“Yeah, sure. Tomorrow, when my car gets out of the garage.” She tapped her foot, anxious to tell her mother her news.

“Kara, it’s been two months.”

After two years of marriage, Kara’s worst fear had come true—Daryl had been having an affair. He’d lied to her about Kelly Parnell, and though her mother didn’t want to believe that he would be unfaithful, her marriage was over. Kara was well aware that it was taking her longer to pull her life together than Ted, her stepfather, might have liked.

Ted had not been happy about her moving back in with them after he’d finally had her mother all to himself, and the tension had been thick between them. Then, when she’d finally moved out, he’d made no bones about his displeasure at her leaving items behind, though she’d had no other choice.

Megan's Way

Author: Melissa Foster
Book Trailer: Megan's Way

Barnes and Noble
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What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she'll be faced with the most difficult decision she's ever had to make. She'll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she'd made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia's world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there's nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan's closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts.

"[Foster] drew me into this amazing tale easily, with masterful yet not overly complex language that flows beautifully into a story one will remember always...Though clearly creatures of fiction, the characters in Megan's Way are wonderfully three-dimensional, brought vividly to life by Foster's careful details, from their unique back stories to the idiosyncrasies that make each person believable and real. To put it succinctly, Foster knows her stuff.

Whether conveying Megan's soulful struggle over continuing her treatment, or delving into the fears of a teenager forced to deal with situations beyond her tender years, Foster does so skillfully and poignantly." --Barnestable Patriot

Summer 1988

Megan and Holly ran, weaving their way through the crowds of the carnival and hollering to hear over the thick cheer that permeated the festive evening. Two teenage boys looked them up and down as they passed. Megan yanked Holly by her arm and pulled her into a long shadow cast by the colorful lights that illuminated a rickety roller coaster. They huddled together, giggling. A moment later, the roller coaster whooshed by, sending them scampering through the mass of carnival-goers, engulfed in uncontrollable shrieks of laughter.

A small red tent with a psychedelic sign that read “Psychic Readings! See Your Future! $3!” caught Megan’s attention. She dragged Holly to the entrance, and they peered into the smoky gloom as they parted the curtain of stringed glass beads, which clinked and jingled as they were pushed to the side.

Holly pulled at Megan’s sleeve, “Let’s get out of here.”

Megan distractedly shrugged off Holly’s hand. She was mesmerized by the rush of the unknown, spellbound by the eccentric woman sitting within the darkened tent. A chill ran up Megan’s spine. The woman looked into her eyes and beckoned her forward. Megan reached behind her and grasped Holly’s hand, pulling her into the tent against her will. She reached into her pocket and, barely able to take her eyes from the old woman’s, fumbled to count her money and then shoved six crumpled dollar bills into a glass jar that sat on a pedestal by the entrance.

The cacophony of the rides and the crowds seemed to fall away as a hushed stillness closed in around them, save for the crackle of the flickering flames dancing on their wicks. The girls’ hands trembled. They were equally scared and excited by the mystical old woman shrouded in veils. Several bracelets clanked and dangled from her thick wrist as she motioned for them to sit around the small round table. They startled when the old woman grabbed their hands with her rough, plump fingers, then she slowly and dramatically closed her eyes.

Her hands tightened around theirs. The woman gasped a deep breath, and her body rose up and back, as if she were being pushed against the back of her chair. She held her breath, then let it out in a rush of air. Her hands fell open, releasing theirs. Her shoulders slumped forward, and her head followed.

Holly snapped her head in Megan’s direction and mouthed, “What the hell?”

The woman opened her heavily-painted eyes, which grew wide and laden with concern, and stared into Megan’s eyes. Megan felt riveted to her chair. The woman reached across the table and touched her hand, sending a jolt of energy up Megan’s arm. Megan pulled her hand away, frightened. The woman whispered to her, “Ah, High Priestess, my teen querent. She will need you, and you will know.”

Megan’s legs trembled, her heart pounded in her chest. Her breaths came in short, clipped bursts. She and Holly turned wide, scared eyes toward each other. The woman moved her vision to the space between Megan and Holly. “Three of Swords pierce a heart. Against the background of a storm, it bleeds.” She closed her eyes again, and whispered, “I see death.” Her eyes slowly opened and she squinted, as if she were watching a scene unfold of a different time and place, her eyes darting without focus. Then seeming to recite, she intoned, “Blood or poison will come: Transformation—passage—truth.”

The girls reached for each other’s shaking hands. Holly’s eyes welled with tears, her head visibly shook. Megan remained focused on each word the old woman said, unable to turn away.

The psychic turned those same concerned eyes to Holly. They glazed over with a look the girls could not read. Fear? Hatred? Understanding? She pointed a long, painted fingernail at Holly and hissed, “Judgment asks for the resurrection to summon the past, forgive it, and let it go.” She lowered her hand and said, “One will be released,” then quietly, under her breath, “and returned after death.”

After a moment of panicked silence, the girls stood, sending their chairs flying askew. Then they fled, running fast and hard into the chaos of the carnival, caught in a frenzy of fear and hysterical laughter.

The psychic screamed into the night behind them. Her words trailed in their wake and echoed in Megan’s ears for days, “With this spell, I empower thee. I empower thee!”

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