Thursday, August 10, 2017

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Thief's Mark by Carla Neggers + Giveaway (US/Can)

Thief's Mark (Sharpe & Donovan #7)
Carla Neggers

A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man's search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel

As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.

Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma's grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York's country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.

As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver's account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver's small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the United States, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.

New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers delivers the gripping, suspense-filled tale readers have been waiting for.


Colin remained on his feet. “What’s in the box, Wendell?”

He clearly didn’t want to answer, but Emma knew. She sighed. “It contains the stone crosses our serial art thief sent Granddad after his heists.”

“Oliver York,” her grandfather said. “I don’t mind saying his name out loud.”

Emma noticed a muscle work in Colin’s visibly tight jaw but he said nothing. For most of their Irish honeymoon, they’d managed to avoid talking about, thinking about or dealing with Oliver, a wealthy Englishman with a tragic past. He was a self-taught expert in mythology, folklore and legends, a black belt in karate, a sheep farmer, a dashing Londoner with an apartment on St. James’s Park and an international art thief. He’d launched his art-theft career on a bleak November night ten years ago when he’d slipped into a home in Declan’s Cross, a small village on the south Irish coast. He’d walked off with paintings—including two prized Irish landscapes by Jack Butler Yeats—and an extraordinary sixteenth-century silver mantel cross. The police came up empty-handed in their investigation. Six months later, after a small Amsterdam museum was relieved of a relatively unknown seventeenth-century Dutch landscape, Wendell Sharpe received a package containing a brochure of the museum and a polished stone, about three inches in diameter, inscribed with a Celtic cross, a miniature version of the one stolen in Declan’s Cross. More thefts followed in at least eight cities in England, Europe and the US. After each brazen heist, another package with another cross-inscribed stone arrived at Wendell Sharpe’s Dublin home.

Last fall a murder in Boston put Emma and Colin in contact with an eccentric mythology consultant advising on a documentary—Oliver York, it turned out, working under an alias. He was their elusive art thief. Without question. That didn’t mean he would ever face prosecution. He knew it, and they knew it. Over the winter, the stolen art—every piece except an unsigned landscape stolen on that first heist in Declan’s Cross—had been returned to its owner, anonymously and intact. Oliver, in the meantime, had put his unique skills, knowledge and experience to work for British intelligence.

Given the unique relationship he and her grandfather had, Emma wasn’t surprised to hear Oliver York’s name, but she’d have preferred not to.

She shifted back to her grandfather. “Is anything else in the box?”

“A few photographs I took years ago in Declan’s Cross.”

“Would they explain to an intruder the significance of the stone crosses?”

Her grandfather shrugged. “Probably not by themselves. They’d be a clue, though. There’s nothing specific in the box or anywhere else in here that connects the stones and the photographs to the thefts or to Oliver. Nothing’s missing. The box lid was on crooked. That’s the only reason I know the intruder got into it.”

“Had the box been sealed?” Colin asked.

“No. Our perp didn’t need to use his glass shard to cut through tape.”

Emma forced herself to stay focused. Her grandfather was restless, fidgety. “You’re sure the box was opened during the break-in?” she asked. “Could someone else have opened it on a different occasion and you didn’t notice?”

“I’m positive,” he said without hesitation. “And I didn’t leave the lid on crooked and forget.”

Colin’s gaze steadied on her grandfather. “You have a soft spot for Oliver.”

“He’s an interesting character.”

“You visited him at his farm in January. You stay in touch.”

“So?”

Stubborn as well as fidgety and restless. Emma eased onto her feet. “Granddad, as you pointed out, Colin and I have no jurisdiction here. We’re family. We want to help.”

“I know you do.” He uncrossed his legs and tapped his fingertips on his knees. “I didn’t want to involve you. It’s your honeymoon.” “Have you told Lucas about the break-in?” Emma asked him.

“No. No point. There’s nothing he can do. He’s in New York on business. With the time difference and everything—no point bothering him. I didn’t tell your father, either. I can handle this situation on my own. I’m not five.”

“You need to get the police in here, Wendell,” Colin said.

He rose stiffly, with a small grunt, as if he was in pain. How much was a bit of an act Emma didn’t know. Colin sucked in a breath—it was a sign, she knew, he was on his last thread of patience. She pointed toward the back of the house. “Did you go straight to the kitchen when you got in?”

Her grandfather nodded. “Yeah. Maybe I heard something. I don’t know.”

“Was the back door open or shut?” Colin asked.

“Partially open, like it hadn’t been latched properly and the wind caught it. Then I saw the glass and went into the bedroom and saw the broken window. I figured whoever it was must have heard me coming in through the front door and bolted out the back door. Someone looking for cash, drugs—maybe just getting out of the rain.”

Colin shook his head. “People don’t break a window to get out of the rain.”

Emma appreciated the back-and-forth between them. They were both strong, independent-minded men, each in his own way. Her grandfather grunted. “You know how to sweat a guy, Special Agent Donovan.”

He grinned. “You’re just out of practice. That was nothing. We’ll see what the gardai want to do.”

“Lock me up.”

“Can’t say I’d blame them but they probably won’t. At least not tonight.” Colin dug his phone out of his jacket. “Catch your breath, Wendell. I’ll make the call.”

About the Author


Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe & Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries.

Active in the writing community, Carla is a founding member of the New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America and has served as vice president of International Thriller Writers and president of Novelists, Inc. She has received multiple awards for her writing and is a recipient of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for romantic suspense.

In addition to writing, Carla is a dedicated runner, recently completing the Covered Bridges Half-Marathon in Vermont, a whiskey enthusiast and avid traveler. She and her husband are frequent visitors to Ireland and divide their time between Boston, home to their two grown children and three young grandchildren, and their hilltop home in Vermont.


Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Thief's Mark—yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
Have you ever had anything stolen from you?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Carla and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Aside from petty incidents like childhood friends taking random toys or my roommates "stealing" toiletries/food/etc., I don't think I've ever had anything major stolen from me!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harlequin MIRA!
Giveaway ends August 24th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!