Karen’s Killer Book Bench: Diners, Dives & Dead Ends by Terri L. Austin


Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where, every Wednesday, readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!


Book Blurb

As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out.

With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.


Scotty waited for me at the door of my sister’s mini-manse.  By the time my feet hit the narrow porch, he was out of the house and launching himself at me like a missile.  I stumbled back from the surprise attack, but kept upright as I bear hugged him.

“Hey, Sport, how are you?”

“Good.  I want to go to the park.  Can we go to the park?  Please, Aunt Rose, please?”

I looked down at the tow-headed love of my life and smiled.  “Sure.  But you need a jacket.”

He flew back into the house and I followed at a slower pace.  My sister, Jacks, her blonde hair in a twist and her pretty face makeup-free, stepped into the marbled foyer.

“Did he talk you into taking him to the park?”


“You’re such a softy, Rose.”

Rose Strickland, part-time student, full-time softy.  “How can you say no to that sweet, little face?”

“He sure has you fooled.”

Scotty, soccer ball in hand, sped down the stairs as fast as his short legs could manage.  “Got to go, Mom.  See ya.”  Then he ran out the front door and I swear my hair blew back from the breeze that kid created in his wake.

“See ya.”  I gave my sister a finger wave.

Scotty and I walked to the park, which was a block away.  The large houses in this neighborhood sat on small lots, with the occasional tree dotting the yard.  It was early October.  Only a few leaves had changed color, but the weather was in flux.  Cold mornings gave way to mostly warm afternoons.  As the sun started to fall, so did the temperatures.

The park was a hotbed of elementary action—swings, jungle gyms, those little cartoon characters on springs—all teeming with screaming kids.  More nannies than moms stood off to the side and sat on benches, watching the mayhem.

Scotty ran ahead.  “Let’s go.”

I ran after him to a relatively clear spot on the edge of a wooded area.  We spent half an hour kicking the ball back and forth, until I kicked it too far, and it whizzed past Scotty into the woods.

“I’ll get it, Sport.  You stay right here.”

I trotted off, my eyes scanning the ground for a sign of the white and black ball.  I finally spied it wedged against a sapling.  I picked it up, and when I straightened there was a man in a dark suit standing a few yards in front of me.

I gasped and dropped the ball.  It rolled toward him, hitting his shoe.  He did some fancy maneuver with his foot and suddenly the ball was in his hands.  With long fingers he twirled it in the air.  “Tell your friend Axton I’m looking for him.  Tell him I want what’s mine.”  His voice was deep—smooth and polished.  The afternoon sun at his back made it impossible to see his face clearly.

My heart started to pound, and despite the fact my legs felt wobbly, I walked toward him.  “Who the hell are you?”

“He’ll know.”

   Meet Terri L. Austin, Author….   

When I’m not writing, I enjoy eating breakfast at my local diner, watching really bad movies, and hanging out with my kids when they’re home from college. I live in Missouri with my funny, handsome husband and my high-maintenance peekapoo. Follow me on one of the Social Media sites (check out the bottom of the page) and send me a message. I love to hear from readers.


For more about Terri L. Austin and her books.

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**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Enter to win one of three hard copies of Diners,  Dives and Dead Ends by leaving a comment along with your email  address.  Drawing takes place on Aug. 31.  Continental US and Canada  only. Thanks, Terri, for sharing your book with us!
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8 Responses to Karen’s Killer Book Bench: Diners, Dives & Dead Ends by Terri L. Austin

  1. I love this first meeting of Sullivan. When I read it the first time my heart raced. Scary and smooth as good gravy. Yum!
    I can’t wait for the second book to come out! It’s such a funny series! Great job, Terri!

  2. sparks says:

    I would love to win! I can’t wait to start reading this series!!

    sarah2323 at gmail dot com

  3. This was also one of my favorite scenes. Sullivan is such a great character. I love the layers of “not a good guy, but not an evil guy.” I can’t wait to see what happens to Rose next!

  4. Mari Collier says:

    Good review on good writing.

  5. The series sounds great, can’t wait to read it.

  6. Thank you, everyone! And Sullivan, well, yeah. Mmmm mmmm good.

  7. Great pick for an excerpt, Terri! I’m a Sullivan fan as well. 🙂 I’m looking forward to spending more time with him and Rose!

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