Book Launch – Crisis of Serenity – Denise Moncrief


Available from 5 Prince


Genre: Fiction, Romance, Suspense

Release Date: July 17, 2014

Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-047-3   ISBN

10: 1-631120-47-6

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-63112-048-0      ISBN 10: 1-631120-



Crisis of Serenity

Tess Copeland lives a quiet life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Thanks to the government’s witness protection program, she enjoys the freedom

of never having to glance over her shoulder to see if someone is following her.

Life has become safe, serene…and boring. Her heart longs for something more

than just existing…until a ghost from her past shatters her serenity.

Once upon a time, Tess was caught between the FBI and the

men the feds were trying to take down. Jake Coleman is the U.S. Marshal who extracted

her from the jam she was in with the FBI, a man she could have fallen

for…hard…if she had let herself. It’s been a year since she last saw Jake,

and in all the months that have passed, he’s never tried to find her. The

longer he keeps his distance, the more she wonders why his absence hurts so


When a stranger comes to town searching for her, all of

Tess’ old fears are resurrected. Asking Jake for help with her current crisis

might lure him into a dangerous trap involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge.

When Jake and Tess come face-to-face with the past, they will have to use all

their wits to survive.


About the Author:

Denise is a Southern girl. She has lived in

Louisiana all her life, and yes, she has a drawl. She has a wonderful husband

and two incredible children, who not only endure her writing moods, but also

encourage her to indulge her writing passion. Besides writing romantic suspense, she enjoys traveling, reading, and


Accounting is a skill she learned to earn a

little money to support her writing habit. She wrote he first story when she

was a teen, seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious

rip-off of the last romance novel she had read. She’s been writing off and on

ever since, and with more than a few full-length manuscripts already completed,

she has no desire to slow down.

Public contact information


Excerpt of Crisis of Serenity




state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled

Chapter One

It was seven a.m. and Sadie’s Pancake Kitchen had just hit its peak occupancy. Morning

rush was prime time, but the pace never slowed from the time the restaurant

opened to the time the last customer waddled out the door at night. Sadie’s

served breakfast all day, every day.


As soon as I walked in the door around six, Wendy, the hostess, didn’t waste any

time assigning me a section on the top floor. She did it on purpose because I

had once complained about the trip up and down the stairs. When I worked the

top, I had to climb those stinking stairs fifteen jillion times a shift. The

owner, whose name was Helen, not Sadie, kept telling us she was going to

install an upstairs kitchen or a food service elevator. Yeah, right. Wendy told

me to suck it up and do my job, as if she were my boss. I called her Princess

behind her back one day and the rest of the wait staff picked up the nickname.

The nasty wench obviously held a grudge.


After I cleaned the coffee maker and set a fresh pot to brew, I wrapped my apron

around my waist and stuck a pencil behind my ear. Once I entered the dining

room, routine set in. What do you want to drink? What will you have today? Can

I refresh your coffee? Is there anything else I can get you? Slap the check on

the table.


I’d never been a waitress before, but I found I wasn’t half bad at waiting tables. Sadie’s

wasn’t the best job I’d ever had, at least not since the feds decided my life

would be so much better if I was placed in their questionable witness protection program, but the steady

paycheck served my purpose. The waitressing gig kept my wallet fed. No extras.

Just subsistence. That’s all I asked. All I needed. Anything more might bring

unwanted attention to my existence. After all, the FBI wanted certain

individuals to think I had disappeared from the face of the planet so the bad

guys would stop searching for me. Because I had dared to testify against Bennie

the Goon in federal court, something that didn’t ensure a

long life, I had to cooperate with the feds. I liked living and I liked living

on the outside. I don’t do well in prison.


Life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, had settled into a comfortable pattern. Get up at

five. Take my niece to daycare. Bum a ride to work. Roll silverware. Brew

coffee. Clean teapots. Wait tables until my shift was over at three. Catch the

trolley. Pick up my niece from daycare. Go home. Feed the kid. Stuff a few

bites of food into my mouth. Soak my feet. Put Joyce to bed. Watch TV. Pass

out. Rinse and repeat.


Some of the patrons at Sadie’s were tourists, but quite a few locals breakfasted

there several times a week, some every morning. After a few months, faces, and

then names had blended into my daily grind. The monotony of the ordinary

promised me safety and few surprises. For the first time in years, I wasn’t

looking over my shoulder every second and wondering who was stalking me. The

sameness of my days appealed to me, better than the life I’d led after I

escaped from the Illinois corrections system and the Fugitive Task Force began

looking for me. There was never a dull moment as a fugitive. By the time I came

out of hiding, the FBI had taken an interest in my case and coerced me into

rolling on Bennie. That’s when the feds immersed me in the witness protection



sighed, set Jim Owens’ cup in front of him, and poured coffee from the fresh

pot I’d just made. He smiled at me, revealing a perfectly straight set of

ultra-white teeth. He had one of those symmetrical faces that cameras love. Why

was the guy a cop instead of a movie star? For the first time since I met him, I

smiled back. Just because I felt like it.


After a year of living—no, more like hiding out—in Gatlinburg, my stomach had stopped

churning every time a member of law enforcement spoke to me. Sadie’s was a

popular cop hangout early in the morning. If I had known, I would have taken

the job at the souvenir store down the street, despite the fact the owner of

that fine establishment couldn’t keep his eyes off my assets. Where his eyes

roamed, his hands were likely to soon follow. I didn’t need that grief.


The ticket booth position my handler had obtained for me at Zombiemania when I

first arrived in Gatlinburg went away when the attraction went out of business.

After that, I found employment on my own. I figured I could do a better job

hunt than the federal agent that couldn’t care less if I survived or not.


So I was settled in Tennessee, at least for a while. I gulped down my distrust

every single day and served Gatlinburg’s finest their breakfast, even though I

had certainly had my fill of cops. This particular patrol officer seemed nice, but I

swore I’d never trust

a cop again. Ever.


“Thanks.” Jim flashed his gorgeous smile. “How are you today, Tess?” His eyes gleamed

with expectation.


“Good. You want the usual?” I asked him the same question every Friday at seven a.m.

He always sat at his favorite table. The one that offered the best view of

Parkway. Jim was predictable. I liked that in a man. My ex-boyfriend Trevor was

anything but.


“Hmmm. Let’s see… Yeah.” His order never varied. Four buttermilk pancakes. Four crispy

pieces of bacon. Two eggs—over easy.


shiver of dread snaked along my backbone. My head snapped up and I peered

through the window. A thin ribbon of sidewalk separated the two-story-high plate

glass from the roadway. The clink of silverware and restaurant grade china clattered

against the background noise of cars stopping and starting. I wiped my bangs

from my eyes and studied the flow of traffic on the street below. Two lines crept

bumper-to-bumper in view of the restaurant, a small percentage of cars making it

through the green light in one cycle. Stoplight #6 was always busy. A patrol unit

had stopped at the signal. The officer turned his head my way. Our eyes met and

held, and then my heart skipped a few beats. What was he doing here in

Gatlinburg? I thought I had left him behind in



Nothing on earth could have dragged me away from his stare. Life as I knew it had changed,

and my monotonous existence didn’t feel so safe anymore. The uncontrollable

urge to escape overtook me…again. I had always been good at running.

“I was thinking…” Jim’s voice drifted in and out of my consciousness.


“Huh?” “Tess, are you all right? You went pale all of a sudden.”

“I’m okay.” I turned my attention back to him. “I’ll put your order in.”

left before he could hint that he wanted to take me out. He was predictable

about that as well. Today wasn’t a good day. There might never be a good

time—not with a ghost from my past invading my newly acquired contentment.


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