And it’s a big, warm welcome to the lovely Zanna Mackenzie today – thanks for appearing on my blog. Zanna is the author of some of my favourite light, romantic reads and here she’s offering us an except of her latest book – On Trial – No.5 in the Amber Reed Mystery series. It’s currently on offer at 99p at the moment on Amazon so grab a coffee, pull up a chair and enjoy. Scroll down for buy links.
“Romantic comedy meets celebrity cozy mystery”
Standing between Amber and her chance at getting a dream job with the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency (CCIA) is one final challenge, just one last critical assignment.
Whisked away to a luxury hotel where the rich and famous are frequent guests, she has only 24 hours to track down who kidnapped the bride-to-be moments before her celebrity wedding.
The case may be a pretend one, a test of her recently acquired investigative skills, but the stakes are still high.
An exciting new life, career and the chance to work alongside her CCIA special agent boyfriend Charlie are all tantalizingly close…but can she remember everything she’s learnt, manage to keep her head, and solve the case before the deadline?
A cozy mystery series with oodles of fun, romance and the smart, sassy special agents from the CCIA – otherwise known as the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency. Books 1, 2 and 3 in the series are available now. Coming soon – Amber Reed Mystery Book 4, due autumn 2015.
Universal buy link for On Trial:
And here’s an excerpt:
I struggle to catch my breath. Tucking a strand of sweaty strawberry blonde hair behind my ear I gasp, “You’re sure?”
James, my agency trainer and mentor, nods and smiles. “Yep. I’m sure.”
When I signed up for the chance to become a support officer for the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency (otherwise known as the CCIA) I knew my apprenticeship would be tough. I’ve fought to put aside the aching limbs, lack of sleep and mental demands of these past few months and keep my eyes firmly on the prize – my dream job.
If I do manage to complete my apprenticeship, and still be alive at the end of all of this, then hopefully the agency will offer me a job as a support officer. Right now though, I’m wondering if James is right. Am I really ready for the next stage of my training? It doesn’t feel like it. Despite all the efforts to build up my fitness I’m still gasping and out of breath after facing the assault course from hell. I have to confess, I didn’t realise throwing myself into muddy ditches, climbing trees and being abandoned in the middle of nowhere with just a map, compass and bottle of water would be the type of assignments I’d be put through. I mean, I’m applying to be a support officer, not a special agent. But as James pointed out, if I get this job I will work alongside agents, and where they go in order to solve a case, then so do I.
The steady beat of helicopter blades makes me shield my eyes and peer into the skies above the hundreds of acres of woodland, moor and hills which surround agency training camp.
“That’s our lift,” James says, gesturing towards the helicopter now coming in to land in the field just across from us. “You’ve got ten minutes to pack your stuff and meet me back here. This will be your final challenge. Fail this one and you’ll be on your way home with no job.”
Nerves and anxiety bubble up inside of me. This is it. My last chance to prove myself. My last training exercise. Whatever I am about to face will determine my life from this point on. “Only ten minutes? Where are we going anyway?” I shout above the sound of the sinister-looking black helicopter.
“Yes, you’ve only got ten minutes, so you’d better get a move on,” James shouts back. “I’ll explain later where we’re going and why.”
I sprint for my cell-like bedroom in the training block and throw clothes, toiletries and my How To Be A Support Officer course folder and notes into my suitcase. As I tug the case down the hallways, dashing back to meet James, my mind is whirling. What will my assignment be? Where will it be? What if I fail?
James is waiting for me with his holdall slung over one shoulder. “OK, Amber. Let’s get this show on the road. Well, I suppose in this case I should say let’s get this case up in the air instead!” He laughs and nods towards the helicopter. “After you.”
I step forward but stop as James tugs gently at my arm. “You can do this, Amber. Just remember everything you’ve learned these past few months.”
“Everything?” I gulp. “That’s a lot of stuff to remember.”
James winks then pushes me forward, placing a hand on top of my head to indicate I need to stay well below the blades of the helicopter which are now powering up, ready for take-off. Clambering into my seat I fasten my seatbelt. My stomach is in knots. I’ve never flown in a helicopter before and I’m feeling a tad nauseous as we lift off. The land drops away below us and we soar over the forests and hills, off to goodness knows where.
“Hey,” a voice says to the right of me. “I’m Mitch.”
Caught up in what’s going on, I hadn’t even registered the fact there are two other people sitting beside me. Some support officer I’ll make. I definitely need to get to grips with being more observant. I also need to remember absolutely everything I’ve had drilled into my mind during training as well. Not an easy task. If I fail this assignment everything I’ve gone through so far will be for nothing. Plus, I’ll never get to work with Charlie. I need to do this, and I need to do it right.
Zanna Mackenzie lives on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border in the UK with her husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.
Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!