Welcome to week 8 of the 2022 IHL Sapphic Reading Challenge. Before we get to the books, we want to remind you of two ways you can interact with other readers to enhance your experience during the challenge this year.
First, you can join the I Heart Lesfic Facebook reader group. Every Monday we will announce the category for the week, and every Wednesday you will have the opportunity to post what book you are reading and be entered into the monthly drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. (For those who are not on Facebook and still want to enter, remember you can email your reading selection to email@example.com).
Second, we have created a Goodreads group where readers can discuss books, swap recommendations, and generally have a good time.
Now, to get to the task at hand. We paired suspense with the end of February, because TB loves reading suspenseful reads on cold, winter nights. And yes, she checks behind the shower curtain and under the bed before turning out the lights.
Below you’ll find reading suggestions. Better yet, 6 of them are on sale, so scoop up a suspenseful read at a bargain. Before you click any buy buttons, please ensure the sale price matches. (Some international prices may vary.)
The following books are on sale to celebrate suspense week: February 28 through March 4
by Barbara Winkes
$4.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Romantic suspense with a dystopian twist…
What happened behind these doors?
In the summer of 2003, three young women and a teenage girl take a trip to New York City. Only three of them return.
Paige’s disappearance marks deep incisions in the women’s lives, impacting friendships, relationships and careers. Joy retreats. Paige’s older sister Alice seeks solace in alcohol. Dani vows to leave no stone unturned, feeling guilty and conflicted after seventeen-year-old Paige revealed her crush to her shortly before she vanished.
More than a decade later, Dani uncovers the shocking truth…
by Alison Solomon
WHOSE MEMORY DO YOU RELY ON IF YOU CAN’T TRUST YOUR OWN?
Wynn Larimer has a terrible memory but doesn’t believe she could have abducted two teenagers even though the police say they have irrefutable evidence that she did. Her partner Barker, is desperate to help Wynn, but she’s caught in the middle, since the missing girls are her foster care clients. As Wynn and Barker struggle to uncover the truth, the two women discover life-changing secrets about each other that throw their lives into turmoil.
by Nicole Pyland
$7.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
Twenty years ago, Ripley Fox’s entire family was killed in a fire. After years in the foster care system and trying to rebuild her life, she’s once again confronted not only with the horror of what happened that night, but also with the truth about who was responsible.
Kenna Crawford is the very definition of a hard-nosed reporter. She always gets her story, never takes no for an answer and never lets go once she’s got something or someone in her sights. When she comes across the story of Ripley Fox, she’s not only intrigued by it but also by Ripley herself.
As the two women attempt to discover if there’s something between them, they’re forced to deal with the realities of what happened to Ripley and how Kenna’s career doesn’t make it easy for Ripley to let go of what she’s tried to forget for the past twenty years.
The Woman Who Made Me Feel Strange
by Anna Ferrara
A psychological mystery full of clues hidden in plain sight. Can you figure out what’s really happening to the lesbian protagonist before the novel ends?
In 2030, Lane Thompson, a ‘nobody’, sat on the edge of a rooftop in New York and smoked a cigarette. Moments after, her body was found on the concrete fifty floors below, broken and soaking in blood.
Three years later, Lane wakes up at the Wonderdrug Psychiatric Centre, fully recovered. Her doctor doesn’t allow her to leave because she doesn’t remember wanting to kill herself and she doesn’t even mind because she thinks living at the Centre for free is way better than struggling financially on the outside.
Her plan to stay on forever is thwarted by Paul, a woman and fellow patient, who manipulates her into leaving. Paul insists the Centre is not what it pretends to be and drags Lane through the underbelly of New York as she tries to prove that they are so much more than mere ‘nobodies’.
What Lane soon discovers about herself and the woman she last loved dearly—movie star, Arden Villeneuve—makes her question everything she thought was true.
Problem is, how do you find out what’s really going on when you can’t trust anything anybody says?
by S.M. Skyborne
As if it’s not hard enough ‘coming out’…. Imagine being wrenched from the closet in the midst of a dangerous serial killer case by your new nemesis and your best friend.
Toni Mendez, an ex-cop turned private investigator in London, takes on a case to find the truth behind the violent murder of the young wife of a successful entrepreneur, Lucille Ransom-Evans. Little did she know that this case would bring to her door Maxine Bennett, a feisty, opinionated, American detective, on the hunt for a serial killer. Maxine not only infiltrates Toni’s working life presenting a sore reminder of a profession she once loved, as a British detective, she also invades her private life by seducing her best friend, Lizbeth Du Cannon.
As the action-packed investigation continues, Toni is engulfed, both professionally and privately, into a racy subculture she knew only from a distance – the LGBTQ+ world. She is forced to reassess everything she thought she knew about herself, her sexuality and the foundations (repressed romantic feelings) of her long-term friendship with Lizbeth.
by Stephanie Shea
$5.99 (Also in Kindle Unlimited)
A missing sister, an unexpected romance, an impossible mystery…
Nothing ever happens in Whispering Oaks.
The air is clean; uncorrupted by a tawdry downtown. Birds twitter. Crime is nigh non-existent. It’s the picture-perfect suburb with all the effects of classy restaurants and diverse nightlife. Not to mention block parties marked by face-forward flattery and back-biting.
Cassidy Linden hates it. Rather, the false mystique of it all disturbs her.
Nothing ever happens in Whispering Oaks.
So, when Cassidy’s younger sister vanishes one night, it’s not just surprising, it’s unfathomable—the only trace of her disappearance a trail of red petals and her cell phone left in the grass of her backyard.
A police department who claim to be doing everything they can, and the poorly-timed return of a family friend.
When a one-night stand with the charming, enigmatic Ashlyn Castille reveals an unforeseen connection, Ashlyn and Cassidy realize they have more in common than either expected.
But one thing is certain, seventeen-year-old girls don’t just disappear. Someone must have taken her. Can Cassidy prove it in time to bring her little sister home? Or is she a fated anomaly?
Keep scrolling for more suggestions!
by C.L. Cattano
It takes true love to survive secrets, lies, and betrayals from within and without.
Rafaella Salvaggio’s life has been spiraling out of control and the past is catching up with her. She will have to fight to get her life back – even if it means leaving everyone behind including Eden Kingsley, the love of her life, and her daughter Bronte
Eden Kingsley receives a mysterious envelope and the information it contains sends her into a panic. Feeling like an outcast since she left Rafe she knows can’t look for help from her former friends, or from Rafe. She must handle the situation herself.
Will the two former lovers be able to overcome the events that led to the end of their relationship? Will they be able to just get along for the sake of their daughter? Will the secrets, lies, and betrayal pull them further apart? Or will true love help them see the truth?
by Cade Haddock Strong
Kay Corbett is a newly minted vice president at Logan, one of the largest airlines in the world, and she’s fallen smack-dab in the middle of a massive plot to swindle the airline’s passengers and defraud its investors. There is only one way out. Earn the trust of the ringleader while simultaneously working to bring him down and put an end to his elaborate scheme.
Things get a lot more interesting and a lot more complicated when she becomes entangled with Riley Bauer, the brilliant beauty in Finance. They form an imposing team both in love and in the fight for justice. As they race against the clock, each woman must decide how much they are willing to risk in order to expose the truth.
by Gemma Johns
Available in Kindle Unlimited
One murder. Two ex-wives. Who did it?
Hot shot HR executive Cassandra lives in a gorgeous Sydney home with her wife Jade Somerset. Life really couldn’t get any better, but it wasn’t always that way. Before coming out, she lived in turmoil with her husband Patrick Henderson, but now life is happy and drama free.
Fiona Henderson, has always felt second best to Patrick’s first wife. And despite the way he treated her, she can’t help but hope that one day… maybe… they could just reconcile. Or maybe she doesn’t want that at all. Enlisting the help of Cassandra might be one way to stay committed to her resolve and get to the bottom of Patrick’s secret.
When Fiona reaches out, Cassandra is wary of inviting drama into their happy life, but can’t stop her curiosity. It turns out that Cassandra and Fiona are so physically alike, they could be twins – but that’s where the similarities end.
United, Patrick’s ex-wives are a force to be reckoned with, but once Patrick realises they are working together, he panics.
An unlikely friendship between two ex-wives. What could possibly go wrong?
by Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue
When Parker Avery takes Olivia Nelson’s case, it sends her, Kay, and Iris to Nelspruit in search of a missing watch, but as they soon find out the watch is more than a sentimental possession. It is an efficient device used to disarm large safes and assist in burglaries, and Olivia Nelson isn’t the only one after it. The Avery Detective Agency finds themselves in conflict with a local group of criminals that want the watch just as much as they do, and in the midst of chaos, they are at risk of more than just losing a case.
by Gerri Hill
Lauren Voss has a nice, quiet, orderly life running her grandmother’s Heron Bay Resort on the Texas coast. Three years removed from a break-up that left her ex—and her life—behind in San Diego, she’s adjusted to the slow pace in Rockport, seeking out neither new friends nor lovers. Vandalism at the resort’s clubhouse—and a cryptic message written in blood—brings Detective Harley Shepherd, with her obnoxious Hawaiian shirts, into her life.
A tragedy sent Harley Shepherd running to the sleepy fishing village of Rockport, where violent crime is rare. So different from her life as a homicide detective in a large city, she embraced the quiet and easy-going attitude of the town, determined to put her past behind her.
Was it luck or fate that had her catch a case of simple vandalism? The lovely Lauren Voss made no attempt to hide her dislike of both her—she reminded Lauren of her ex—and her Hawaiian shirts.
Was the vandalism a prank, as Lauren suspects? When a body is found floating near the resort’s pier, Harley is convinced it’s related. As the formality and animosity between them changes and a friendship forms, the women find themselves growing closer as a killer terrorizes the peaceful town they both now call home.
by Harley Slate
She won’t be fooled by a beautiful woman’s bag of tricks. Not this time.
Forced to put her FBI training on hold, Lana Jones finds herself working eye in the sky for the least glittering casino in Vegas. Running down slot machine scammers is hardly the pot of gold at the end of her rainbow.
Melody Lysander is a cut above the usual crop of shady drifters who wander into Lana’s third-rate clip joint. But the seductive redhead doesn’t seem to comprehend the first law of Vegas: The house always wins.
In a million-dollar game of cat and mouse, who is the cat? And who is the mouse?
by Ellen Simpson
Life gets weird for Marcey Daniels when art thief Charlie Mock dies and leaves her a curious and much sought-after book.
Suddenly a determined Interpol agent, Wei Topeté, is sniffing around. Everything’s gone sideways for the agent since Mock’s death – a man she’s been chasing for half her career.
Enter the mysterious, flirtatious, Kat Barber, a slow-moving accident who has been bargaining for her freedom with things that don’t belong to her. She expected she’d have the pick of the estate of her criminal mentor. Now Kat desperately needs that book and will do whatever it takes to pry it from Marcey’s hands.
Everyone has their own agenda in this intricate suspense thriller. Surrounded by a diverse cast of queer and lesbian women, and with double-crosses piling up, will Marcey see the trap in time?
by Tiffany E. Taylor
When Rowan Holland of Woodbridge, Virginia lands squarely in the crosshairs of a psychotic stalker, fleeing to Whimsy, Florida might be her only chance of escape.
There, she’ll meet the head of lesbian-owned Armstrong Protection Services. Possessive. Protective. Deadly.
Bryn Armstrong, one of the owners of APS, is immediately captivated by an equally-mesmerized Rowan, and vows she will do everything in her power to protect Rowan from this psychopath.
When the stalker follows Rowan to Whimsy, staying hidden in the shadows, it’s up to Bryn—along with her twin, Riley, and “the Seven,” the butch management team of APS—to cut him down and put an end to Rowan’s nightmare.
But, as the stalker draws closer to Rowan and the increased danger to Bryn’s woman becomes more real, Bryn and her team know they must find and stop the psychopath, who just may be a killer in disguise.
by Charlotte Mills
A moving, lesbian romantic suspense about taking a chance on love after loss.
London-based abstract artist Noa Stevens has turned her back on the world after too much loss. First her brother disappeared in a storm years ago, then she lost her wife. Noa’s perfectly content to bury herself away rather than face the pain and risk that comes from embracing life. She’s certainly not looking forward to an enforced break in rural England that her worried agent’s sent her on in some misguided bid to break her out of her rut and inspire new art.
Busy district nurse Paige Clarke has a lot on her plate right now so a chance meeting with some hobbling, stubborn out-of-towner just adds to her workload. But for some reason the intriguing Londoner stays in her head, and the more she sees of her, the more Paige craves of her. It’s a shame Noa has such a resistance to new romance.
Noa’s torn between protecting her heart and trusting it, just as strange notes start appearing about her brother’s disappearance. As ghosts from her past surface, she wonders if now’s the time to risk it all?
by Ali Vali
Hit woman and thief Reed Gable works for the highest bidder, no matter where the job takes her. An orphan of circumstance, Reed knows the streets of Las Vegas better than anyone. Growing up rough has gotten her to the top of her profession, and she plans to stay there.
Accountant Brinley Myers, a recent hire at the Moroccan Casino, discovers a money laundering operation orchestrated by the New York mob and suddenly her life and the people in it become collateral damage.
Reed has Brinley in her sights and is ready to close the contract when she sees Brinley’s son in the car with her. Even hard-hearted Reed can’t kill a mother in front of her child. Before Reed can come up with a plan to finish the job, she’s double-crossed. It’ll take all her street smarts to keep herself, and her surprisingly beautiful mark, alive.
by Jessica L. Webb
Constable Bridget “Marley” Marlowe is always doing the wrong thing for the right reason. This time she’s skating the line of police procedure by protecting a young girl caught up in her father’s designer street drug ring. But when Marley gets injured, she needs help from someone she can trust.
Dr. Devon Wolfe is a burned out psychologist on leave from her job in a busy hospital trauma unit. When Devon meets the injured Marley, she doesn’t know what to make of the bright and beautiful—and occasionally rogue—cop. Devon decides to help Marley and gets mixed up in the world of addictive street drugs, a young girl who knows something but won’t speak, and the uncertainty of knowing right from wrong. All Devon knows is she and Marley are in this together.
by Charlotte Greene
When Gwen picks up a pretty hitchhiker on the side of a lonely Texas highway, she has little reason to suspect that her entire life is about to change.
Annie has just broken out of prison, and she needs more than a ride—she needs Gwen’s help to recover the money she stole.
With other more dangerous criminals trying to stop them and the police on their tail, Gwen and Annie will have to decide what’s more important: the money or each other.
by VK Powell
Jeri Wylder is a dedicated police officer doing her job, paying her way, and looking for Ms. Right, until a call at a drug house goes terribly wrong. She’s suspected of a crime she didn’t commit and is forced to do two things that go against her beliefs: see a therapist and prove a fellow officer is corrupt.
Simone Sullivan is trying to save her historical apartment complex and its occupants from redevelopment, but someone wants to see the building destroyed. When Jeri arrives on her doorstep after a vandalism incident, Simone’s life takes a turn that challenges her personally and professionally.
Simone is the woman Jerri has been waiting for her entire life. Love would be a lot simpler if the threat of arrest wasn’t hanging over her head. But when the perpetrator sets their sights on Simone, Jerri will risk everything to save her.
Miranda & TB
Thanks so much for all the great suggestions. I’ve read Along Came the Rain by Alison Solomon, but it was before the challenge was introduced. Does it still count?
Only books read during 2022 count.
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