Book Blast: Child’s Play by Merry Jones

Child's Play by Merry Jones

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Child's Play by Merry JonesGenre: Thriller, Suspsense
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 1608091910 (ISBN13: 9781608091911)
Series: Elle Harrison Thriller #3 (Each can be read as a Stand Alone Novel)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

 

 

Synopsis

Since her husband’s murder two years earlier, life hasn’t been easy for Elle Harrison. Now, at the start of a new school year, the second grade teacher is determined to move on. She’s selling her house and delving into new experiences―like learning trapeze.

Just before the first day of school, Elle learns that a former student, Ty Evans, has been released from juvenile detention where he served time for killing his abusive father. Within days of his release, Elle’s school principal, who’d tormented Ty as a child, is brutally murdered. So is a teacher at the school. And Ty’s former girlfriend. All the victims have links to Ty.

Ty’s younger brother, Seth, is in Elle’s class. When Seth shows up at school beaten and bruised, Elle reports the abuse, and authorities remove Seth and his older sister, Katie, from their home. Is Ty the abuser?

Ty seeks Elle out, confiding that she’s the only adult he’s ever trusted. She tries to be open-minded, even wonders if he’s been wrongly condemned. But when she’s assaulted in the night, she suspects that Ty is her attacker. Is he a serial killer? Is she his next intended victim?

Before Elle discovers the truth, she’s caught in a deadly trap that challenges her deepest convictions about guilt and innocence, childhood and family. Pushed to her limits, she’s forced to face her fears and apply new skills in a deadly fight to survive.

Excerpt

I was the first one there.

The parking lot was empty, except for Stan’s pickup truck. Stan was the custodian, tall, hair thinning, face pock-marked from long ago acne. He moved silently, popped out of closets and appeared in corners, prowled the halls armed with a mop or a broom. In fourteen years, I couldn’t remember a single time when he’d looked me in the eye.

Wait—fourteen years? I’d been there that long? Faces of kids I’d taught swirled through my head. The oldest of them would now be, what? Twenty-one? Oh man. Soon I’d be one of those old school marms teaching the kids of my former students, a permanent fixture of the school like the faded picture of George Washington mounted outside the principal’s office. Hell, in a few months, I’d be forty. A middle-aged childless widow who taught second grade over and over again, year after year, repeating the cycle like a hamster on its wheel. Which reminded me: I had to pick up new hamsters. Tragically, last year’s hadn’t made it through the summer.

I told myself to stop dawdling. I had a classroom to organize, cubbies to decorate. On Monday, just three days from now, twenty-three glowing faces would show up for the first day of school, and I had to be ready. I climbed out of the car, pulled a box of supplies from the trunk, started for the building. And stopped.

My heart did triple time, as if responding to danger. But there was no danger. What alarmed me, what sent my heart racing was the school itself. But why? Did it look different? Had the windows been replaced, or the doors? Nothing looked new, but something seemed altered. Off balance. The place didn’t look like an elementary school. It looked like a giant factory. A prison.

God, no. It didn’t look like any of those things. The school was the same as it had always been, just a big brick building. It seemed cold and stark simply because it was unadorned by throngs of children. Except for wifi, Logan Elementary hadn’t changed in fifty years, unless you counted several new layers of soot on the bricks.

I stood in the parking lot, observing the school, seeing it fresh. I’d never paid much attention to it before. When it was filled with students, the building itself became all but invisible, just a structure, a backdrop. But now, empty, it was unable to hide behind the children, the smells of sunshine and peanut butter sandwiches, the sounds of chatter and small shoes pounding Stanley’s waxed tiles. The building stood exposed. I watched it, felt it watching me back. Threatening.

Seriously, what was wrong with me? The school was neither watching nor threatening me. It was a benign pile of bricks and steel. I was wasting time, needed to go in and get to work. But I didn’t take a single step. Go on, I told myself. What was I afraid of? Empty halls, vacant rooms? Blank walls? For a long moment, I stood motionless, eyes fixed on the façade. The carved letters: Logan School. The heavy double doors. The dark windows. Maybe I’d wait a while before going inside. Becky would arrive soon, after she picked up her classroom aquarium.

Other teachers would show up, too. I could go in with them, blend safely into their commotion. I hefted the box, turned back to the car. But no, what was I doing? I didn’t want to wait. I’d come early so I could get work done without interruption or distraction before the others arrived. The school wasn’t daring me, nor was I sensing some impending tragedy. I was just jittery about starting a new year.

I turned around again, faced its faded brown bricks. I steeled my shoulders, took a breath and started across the parking lot. With a reverberating metallic clank, the main doors flew open. Reflexively, I stepped back, half expecting a burst of flames or gunfire. Instead, Stan emerged. For the first time in fourteen years, I was glad to see him. Stan surveyed the parking lot, hitched up his pants. Looked in my direction. He didn’t wave or nod a greeting, didn’t follow social conventions. Even so, his presence grounded me, felt familiar.

I took a breath, reminded myself that the school was just a school. That I was prone to mental wandering and embellishing. And that children would stream into my classroom in just three days, whether I was ready or not.

 

Author Bio

Merry Jones

 

Merry Jones is the author of some twenty critically acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been translated into seven languages. Her previous Elle Harrison novels have been THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE and ELECTIVE PROCEDURES. Jones lives with her husband in Philadelphia.

Catch Up with Merry online:
Website 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗

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Book Blitz: Indomitus Est by Robert W. Brady, Jr.

 

Fantasy, Historical Fantasy

Free Until the End of 2016

 

Imagine yourself, born into the suburbs, your parents working class people, your school nothing special.

Imagine that, for some reason far beyond your understanding as a very young child, a god that you didn’t even know existed ear-marked you as his bargaining chip in a trade across realities.

Imagine that, from the time of that first first meeting and for your next eighteen years, that god – Anubis – threw everything he could think of at you, to break you, to torment you, to forge you into this thing to be traded.

And imagine that, at the end of it all, you passed all of the tests, leaving your life in a shambles, never knowing that you were being tested at all and, when the time came, Anubis appeared and tricked you into giving up your soul to him, only to make the trade and give you over to another god, named War, who by comparison made Anubis seem like a pretty nice guy.

I’m Randy Morden – welcome to my world. A world named ‘Fovea,’ where magic is real, technology the stuff of fantasy, and warriors with swords ride horses into battle, trying to stay one step ahead of their gods’ will. I didn’t ask for this life, but I promise you: before anyone ever knocks me down again, I’m going to have their blood on my knuckles, because a man can only be pushed so far!

 Available on Amazon.

 

Other books in The Fovean Chronicles Series

Indomitus Vivat

Epic Fantasy

 

King Glennen of Eldador gave me a job to do – avenge his wife’s death – and hey, you know me, I am to please!

So maybe he didn’t say, “Attack the invincible city, sack it and pretty much slap the faces of every important person on Fovea,” but then again I never went to charm school. I kind of do what I do.

But you know what I wish he had said? I wish he’d said, “Lupus, if you do plan to go sack the invincible city, you better make darn sure you have a way out of there, because the Uman-Chi are the most powerful Wizards on the planet, and every other nation is a friend to them. 

Yeah, that would have been pretty good advice.

These are the continuing adventures of Randy Morden, a man from our world thrust into another where magic is real and technology sounds pretty far-fetched. As the chosen of a god named ‘War,’ Randy has a mission to fulfill a destiny that he doesn’t understand and, incidentally, to keep himself and his family alive while doing it.

In Indomitus Vivat, the stakes are raised as War drives Randy to greater stakes and greater consequences, and pathway that could lead to empire, or straight to hell!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Indomitus-Vivat-Fovean-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00K5ZOMEK/

 

Indomitus Oriens

Epic Fantasy

 

To say that Randy Morden had an effect on Fovea is an understatement. More than ten years after his arrival, the Fovean High Council is in a shambles, the supremacy of the Uman-Chi is a memory, and Eldador is an Empire, not a kingdom.

An Uman-Chi girl finds herself with a song to sing, a song which is a gift from the goddess Eveave. When she sings it, another call will come to Earth, a new call for two new champions, a young girl and an old man, for the world where magic is used like technology, and technology is just starting to appear.

Now War is about to rage across Fovea, and the greedy Eldadorian government is at the center of it. These two champions from Earth have a decision to make – one not so easy as they might think:

Which side are they on?

Travel with Bill and Melissa in the footsteps of the Conqueror and the shadow of the Wolf, and ask yourself: how do you fight the invincible warrior, especially considering that your failure is already foretold?

 

https://www.amazon.com/Indomitus-Oriens-Fovean-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00K60M0QG/

 

Indomitus Sum

Published: December 2014

Epic Fantasy

 

The battle for Fovea is on, and a girl named Raven and a man named Jack aren’t even sure of which side they should be on. On one front is the Emperor, Rancor Mordetur, from their home planet of Earth. He seems to have a lot on this side – a massive army of highly trained warriors, the most feared witch on Fovea as his wife and superior technology born of another world. On the other is every Fovean Nation; savage Men and wild Uman, long-lived Uman-Chi and merciless Swamp Devils and Slee; all of them unwilling to be subjects of the Empire. But is the Empire evil, or do Raven and Jack not yet have the whole picture? And what of the song that so few people can hear, sung to them by an Uman-Chi girl barely 167 years old? If they can find the weapons mentioned in the song, can they win the day? Or, as the song says, are they doomed to fail?

Indomitus Sum is the conclusion to Indomitus Oriens. Now you can finally learn the fate of those who have no faith, but who instead know the will of their gods.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Indomitus-Sum-Fovean-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00QMJHKX8

 

About the Author

Robert W. Brady, Jr. is the author of ‘The Fovean Chronicles.’

Born in Connecticut in 1964, he graduated from University of Connecticut in 1986.

He worked his way through college as a construction worker, an infant swimming instructor, a bartender, a waiter, a secretary, the manager of a dry cleaning store and a security guard.

While in college, he began the first version of the ‘The Fovean Chronicles.’

After college, he lasted exactly three months in the insurance industry as an Assistant Annuities Analyst, and then enlisted in the Naval Nuclear Power Program.

He served in the Navy from 1987 – 1994, receiving the Navy Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southeast Asia Service Medal, and Good Conduct Medal during the Gulf War. He was certified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, a Reactor Operator, a Radiological Controls Shift Supervisor and achieved a rank of Petty Officer First Class while serving onboard the USS Truxtun, CGN-35 and the USS Cape Cod, AD-43.

 

Contact Links

Website: http://www.swordsandsorcery.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoveanChronicles/

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/fantasy-indomitus-est/

 

Book Blast: Paradise Series by Deborah Brown

 

We’re happy to host Deborah Brown’s PARADISE SERIES Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

 

2016-12-15_7-21-34Title: Paradise Series
Author: Deborah Brown
Publisher: Paradise Books
Pages: 626 (total in series)
Genre: Mystery/Humor
Crazy in Paradise: Dying in the middle of the summer in the Florida Keys is sweaty business. Welcome to Tarpon Cove.
Madison Westin has inherited her aunt’s beachfront motel in the Florida Keys. Trouble is she’s also inherited a slew of colorful tenant’s – drunks, ex-cons, and fugitives. Only one problem: First, she has to wrestle control from a
conniving lawyer and shady motel manager. With the help of her new best friend, whose motto is never leave home without your Glock, they dive into a world of blackmail, murder, and drugs. 
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Deception in Paradise: Madison Westin is back!! The Florida Keys are hotter than ever.With Madison’s never-say-no style she’s smarter and packing an attitude not to
mention her Glock. This time, trouble rolls into Tarpon Cove in the form of
Madison’s ex-husband, Jackson Devereaux, whom she hoped to never see again. His
arrival brings unparalleled chaos and an uninvited corpse. Teaming up with her
hot friend, Fabiana, the two women go from chasing the usual cast of misfits
and weirdos to hunting down a murderer. The action turns deadly serious when
they stir up a nasty enemy as they try to stay one-step ahead in a game of cat
and mouse that threatens their lives.

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Trouble in Paradise: What is big news in small town Tarpon Cove? An accidental
drowning or perhaps a ruthless murder? When a dead fisherman rolls up on shore,
Madison cannot resist jumping into her new role as Private Investigator. But
she soon discovers the people in The Cove who normally gossip about everybody’s
business are unusually tight-lipped. The bad tenant radar still not working,
the cottages continue to be full of riffraff. Madison gets arrested, shot at,
and outsmarted. She teams up with her best friend – the Glock carrying Fabiana.
Together they take on cases no other investigators would ever touch!

Purchase on Amazon

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Book Blast & Giveaway: Concrete Smile by Bernard Maestas

Concrete Smile by Bernard Maestas

Book Details:

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Published by: Rebel ePublishers
Publication Date: December 15, 2016
Number of Pages: 270
ISBN: pending
Series: Internet Tough Guys, #3
Purchase Links 🔗: Amazon

Synopsis

A crooked conglomerate makes a move on fictional Newport City by first attempting to incite a war between its existing criminal organizations before taking over with its own “in-house” group. Hired by a major gang leader to avert the war, freelance information broker Kevin recruits his ex-enforcer, ex-con brother Chance, and Kaity, a reporter with a vendetta, to uncover the conspiracy.

Read an excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
BUSINESS HOURS
Lost somewhere in Newport City’s densely crowded, late-night skyline, six bulky bodies packed into some unimportant restaurant’s musty storeroom.
Bulging with prison muscles and bulletproof vests, their dark skin branded with black tattoos broadcasting their gang affiliation, the men were silent. They crowded around a single rickety card table, the room’s only furniture, and toiled under the dim glow of a single yellow bulb dangling from the ceiling. A masonry bucket full of glittering brass ammunition sat centered between them. None spoke. The rhythmic clicking of guns and bullets was the only soundtrack accompanying the tension.
Aside from their silence and the grim, practiced precision with which they pressed the unstamped cartridges into their magazines, they each had one other detail in common: Each man, whether dangling from a pocket, knotted around a wrist, or cinched across his brow, displayed a deep crimson bandana. That bandana, the gang flag of The Reds or Red Nation – the umbrella under which all the African-American gangs in Newport City fell – was the most crucial accessory.
Durel Rivers, better known as Bones, set aside his last loaded magazine and grabbed his weapon. Exceedingly illegal, the fully automatic Tec-9 machine pistol, with its taped grip and folding stock, actually had a Federal law banning it by name. A loud slap cut the stifling air as he locked a magazine into the receiver and jacked the first round into the chamber.
Bones covered his body armor with a baggy sweatshirt, loose enough to conceal the illicit firearm beneath it, its papoose pocket stuffed with the ready reloads he’d prepared. Behind him, the rest of his crew wrapped up their own loading tasks, donned jackets and hoodies of their own and then followed him out of the storeroom.
The creaky storeroom door swung open into the deep gloom of a deserted kitchen. The restaurant’s legitimate business hours long over, the white-coated cooks and staffers long gone, Bones and his crew had special access. He led them past the stainless steel appliances and shelves to and then through the back door.
Windows down, keys in the ignitions, a pair of black SUVs waited in the greasy shadows of the narrow alley behind the restaurant. Bones climbed into the shotgun seat of the leading truck while the rest of the crew split up between them, wordlessly sliding into their plush leather seats.
Bones gave a simple and wordless nod to the man who took the driver’s seat beside him. Engines came to life with deep rumbles but the music that came on in the cabins was low. They were on a mission and there would be no distractions.
As one, the pair of SUVs rolled out of the alley and onto the darkened Newport City streets. While the bustling city of nearly five million had plenty of nightlife, Bones’ crew stuck to the quiet streets of closed businesses, darkened storefronts, and slumbering apartment dwellers. It was late, or more precisely, early in the morning, and only the creatures of the night were out haunting the streets. Moving patiently, always five miles per hour over the speed limit – no more, no less – they rolled to their first stop at the fringe of a housing project complex, a U-shaped cluster of old tenement towers.
Silent and pensive, Bones scanned every inch of the block around them, scrutinizing each of the people who made up the sparse nighttime populace. A pair of teenagers with Reds’ flags
on display occupied one corner while a homeless man wandered the block further down.
No police, no “jackers,” Bones was as certain as he could be of that. He twisted in his seat and said it all to the gangster in the back with another wordless nod.
The back door popped, as did that of the trailing SUV, two men emerging into the street and crossing, their hands beneath their shirts and gripping the handles of their guns. As they disappeared into one of the building lobbies, Bones let his attention slip for just a moment. He plucked a cigarette from his pack, set it between his lips, bringing it to life with the click of his lighter, and blew the fumes from his nose.
He had only taken two deep drags when the gangbangers emerged. The one from the trailing truck led the way, alert and ready. The man behind had a small gym bag slung over his shoulder. Bones turned to look as the man climbed back aboard the SUV.
“All there,” he said simply, ripping open the zipper to give Bones a look inside at the bricklike bundles of cash.
Bones straightened in his seat, his cigarette hand pushing out through the open window and waving the trailing SUV forward. Together, they pulled away from the curb and rolled off into the city.
It was after three when they finally pulled away from their last pickup in East Charity, a sleepy neighborhood on the southeastern side of the City’s eastern borough. Bones lit up a third cigarette and then threw a glance into the backseat. Aside from the burly gangster riding with them, more of those bulging bags of cash now packed the seat to shoulder height. Over the last hour and change, they had stopped everywhere from drug dens to basement casinos, collecting the week’s deposits.
With the trucks laden with money, the first half of the job, in some ways the easy half, was done.
Alert, mind focused, Bones allowed himself to relax just a little, let the flood of nicotine calm his blood slightly. From here on, it was a straight drive to their final destination where they would turn over the money to be cleaned. No more stops, no more tense minutes of waiting on the street like sitting ducks. That said, he also knew that the best time to hit the convoy would be
now, when it was flush and the crew had backed off the razor’s edge of their nerves.
The bold glow of their headlights swung down a street heavy with shadows, most of the streetlights out except for some pale yellow ones at the far end. Bones’ hackles came up and he was just about to order them off the street when shrieking tires sang their discordant chorus into the night as something flashed out of the driveway ahead. No headlights had offered any warning.
“Shit!” Bones’ driver seethed as he stood on the brakes, grinding them to a hard halt.
In the glare of their SUV’s headlights, Bones now made out the form of the battered minivan that had darted across their path and stopped. He was already pulling his Tec-9 from beneath his shirt when the van’s sliding door scraped aside with a raspy grind of worn metal.
Crouched tightly in the back of the van, shoulder-to-shoulder, a pair of masked men took aim and opened up torrents of fully automatic gunfire.
The driver beside Bones jerked and flopped violently, his body riddled with relentless fire. Bones himself managed to duck down below the dash, behind the protection of the engine block, the only part of a normal car that would actually stop a bullet. Jagged pebbles of shattered glass rained down on the back of his neck.
Behind Bones, the back door kicked open and the armed gangster ducked out as he sprayed the van with his own vicious rake of fire.
Without rising from behind the dash, Bones reached out, shoving open the driver’s door and rolling the bloody, shredded corpse of the driver into the street. He was halfway over the center console when he saw his doom.
From behind the row of parallel-parked cars lining the far side of the street, cloaked in the heavy shadows, more gunmen popped up, bracing and steadying their rifles on the hoods, trunks or roofs of the parked cars. Bones threw his machine pistol into line but it was too late.
The last thing Bones ever saw was the hellish strobes of the muzzle flashes popping in the darkness as they poured another withering hailstorm of copper-jacketed death into the street.
***
Don’t shit where you eat. Words to live by in Kevin Wyatt’s book. So, even at three in the morning, making the drive across the Admiralty Bridge into the peninsular eastern borough was just smart business. Polished black paint gleaming, throaty engine growling melodically, Kevin’s ’67 Mustang fastback made short work of the trip, weaving only occasionally around slower moving traffic.
An oasis in the night of closed businesses on an otherwise nondescript street in East Charity, a brightly lit parking lot snipped off the corner of the block. It wrapped around two sides of a large diner that, despite its size and popularity with the late-night crowd that knew of its existence, still looked like a greasy hole in the wall.
Kevin had grown fond of the place, though. Referring to it as his office, he conducted those meetings there that required a certain degree of public exposure mixed with only a modicum of privacy. He’d chosen the spot for the food initially and had quickly adopted it as a regular haunt. Despite this, no one greeted him by name as he entered and left the biting air of the early November chill in the parking lot.
The diner was warm inside, full of the aroma of food frying in grease. At least a half-dozen parties of three or four twentysomethings in nightclub attire were scattered among the booths and tables. His regular booth, the one at the far back corner, just on the fringe of the last overhead bulb’s halo of light, was unclaimed, he noted with a smile.
Kevin took another moment to scan the diner’s patrons and confirm that his clients hadn’t arrived yet. He pivoted and swung down the row of booths running along the diner’s storefront of greasy picture windows. As he went, he sloughed his black leather jacket, a dark T-shirt with a stylish designer logo beneath.
Though he could have melded into one of the packs of club goers in the diner with his age and good looks, he wasn’t here to socialize. He had a narrow face of mildly chiseled features decorated with a light dusting of freckles that went appropriately with the rusty copper color of his short hair. He was above average height at just under six feet, but his fit and trim frame was not particularly remarkable.
A waitress, mopping the countertop with a rag, glanced up as he passed her. She made
contact with his bright hazel gaze and a faint smile of passing recognition turned up the corners of her mouth. “The usual?” she asked, getting a nod and a smile in reply.
Kevin dropped into his booth’s far side, his back to the wall, his face to the door, and slid into the corner. It was a good spot, behind the wall and out of the frame of the big window while still giving him an excellent line of sight into the parking lot and the establishment.
Kevin scanned with intent while taking care to seem oblivious, just another late night customer out for a midnight snack. A nondescript sedan, gray, neither old nor new enough to be noteworthy, coasted to a halt outside. Three young men, cautious and patiently panning their gazes over every angle of surrounding night, sat in the car for a few long moments before dismounting and approaching the diner door.
The waitress returned and slid Kevin’s order in front of him just as the trio filed through the front door. She turned and left the table while he raised an arm, brushed with a sleeve of freckles, and waved them over.
In a moment’s pause of prudent appraisal, they sized Kevin up from the door before sliding down the row. They were dressed to slip under notice, plain jeans and plainer hooded sweatshirts, but that didn’t fool Kevin for a second.
“You the guy?” the first, a deeply tanned Hispanic in his late twenties, asked with no discernable accent.
“I am,” Kevin confirmed with a nod. “Have a seat.”
“How’d you know it was us?” asked the second, a black man of the same age as the first, as the whole trio – rounded out with a smaller and younger Asian man for diversity – took the opposite side of the booth.
“Lucky guess,” Kevin replied plainly. He lifted his steaming cup of black coffee and nursed a sip, careful to keep his eyes above the rim to watch the three of them. “You have something for me?” He set the cup beside the plate holding his so far untouched “Heartstopper” sandwich.
The trio exchanged glances before the leader threw one back over his shoulder at the rest
of the diner. Kevin didn’t have to look so obviously to know no one was paying them any mind. Satisfied, the leader nodded at the Asian at the end of the booth. He slipped an envelope from the papoose pocket of his sweatshirt, laid it on the table and slid it across.
Kevin took the envelope and peeled it open in his lap, leafing through its stack of crisp twenty-dollar bills. He kept his poker face firmly in place as he did, lifting his head to nod to his clients in approval. He reached across the booth, stuffing the envelope into the inner pocket of his jacket and slipping out a coin-sized SD card. He slid it across the table the same way he’d received his payment.
The Asian man took it, plugging it into a small tablet and scanning through it.
“As promised,” Kevin said, his focus on the leader. “Truck routes, communications protocols and duty rosters for Allied Armored Couriers. Good until the end of the month.”
The leader looked from Kevin as he finished, to the Asian, who had completed his scan and nodded. Kevin scooped up his mug and took another sip of his coffee, watching as the leader turned back to him.
“How’d you get this?”
Kevin smiled a thin smile that didn’t reach his eyes as he lowered the mug. He offered his hand across the table for a shake. “A pleasure doing business with you.”
The leader’s eyes narrowed, but he clasped Kevin’s hand in a brief squeeze before he and his crew exited the booth. He watched them leave, as did the waitress, who glanced over at him and met his eyes. This time, his smile was a little warmer as he offered her a shrug and dropped his attention to his plate.
***
The Heartstopper was an egg sandwich, in simplest terms. To be more exact, however, it was a heaping serving of scrambled whole eggs capped with a slice of full-fat American cheese and enclosed in two slices of grilled and buttery bread. It was decadently delicious and so worth the bloated feeling in Kevin’s gut as he left his booth, leaving cash, including a generous tip, on the table top and exited the diner.
He mounted up the Mustang, kicking it to grumbling life, and swung out of the parking lot, aiming for home. Business for the night finished, it was late and, crucially, he had a very early and very important errand awaiting him in the morning.
Blue and red strobes blazed through the Mustang’s rear windshield as the howl of a siren drowned out even the healthy rumble of his powerful engine. Kevin’s heart nearly stopped as his eyes flicked to the rearview mirror framing the police sedan rushing up on his bumper.
“Fuck me,” he breathed, hands tightening around the wheel. For half a second, he considered running. Lean fingers coiled around the shifter, his dress boots settled over the pedals, and Kevin sketched out a plan for his flight for freedom. It started with a downshift and a ferocious bellow of acceleration but he had no idea where it went from there. Instead, he reminded himself he wasn’t carrying anything illegal, nor did he have any warrants out for him. At least, as far as he knew. Easing toward the first gap in the row of cars lining the curb, Kevin blinked as the patrol car blew past him.
Before he had a chance to relax, crack a smile of relief, three more cops in roaring sedans, their emergency lights screaming their urgency, sirens wailing, blasted down the road. They were moving fast, fast enough that their passing rocked Kevin’s heavy car as they went.
Kevin stared after them as they faded into the distance before whipping around the corner at the end of the next block. His hands squeezed the wheel tightly and his mind reached, pondering the possibilities. Slowly, his thin lips spread in a smile.
Something big had happened. He had a pleasant influx of new business to look forward to.From CONCRETE SMILE, A novel, By BERNARD MAESTAS
© BERNARD MAESTAS

Bernard Maestas

Author Bio

Bernard Maestas lives in paradise. A police officer patrolling the mean streets of Hawaii, he has a background in contract security and military and civilian law enforcement. When not saving the world, one speeding ticket at a time, and not distracted by video games or the internet, he is usually hard at work on his next book.

Catch Up With Bernard Maestas on
His Website, Twitter, or Facebook!

 

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Book Blast & Giveaway: Bad Road to Nowhere by Linda Ladd

Bad Road to Nowhere by Linda Ladd

 

Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Published by: Lyrical Underground
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 9781601838568
Series: A Will Novak Novel, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Bad Memories

Not many people know their way through the bayous well enough to find Will Novak’s crumbling mansion outside New Orleans. Not that Novak wants to talk to anyone. He keeps his guns close and his guard always up.

Bad Sister

Mariah Murray is one selfish, reckless, manipulative woman, the kind Novak would never want to get tangled up with. But he can’t say no to his dead’s wife sister.

Bad Vibes

When Mariah tells him she wants to rescue a childhood friend, another Aussie girl gone conveniently missing in north Georgia, Novak can’t turn her down. She’s hiding something. But the pretty little town she’s targeted screams trouble, too. Novak knows there’s a trap waiting. But until he springs it, there’s no telling who to trust…

 

Excerpt

Will Novak swung a leg over the starboard gunwale of his sailboat, got a good firm grip on the railing, and then stretched down far enough to reach the layer of salt and brine crusted at the waterline. Novak was a big guy with big fists and big shoulders and an intimidating look to him. People usually gave him a wide berth if they didn’t know him well, and that’s the way he liked it. It was a beautiful afternoon, late September in South Louisiana, and still hot as hell.

Unseasonably so. He was shirtless, muscles straining with effort, sweat shining on his torso. His body was in peak physical condition, banded with thick, powerful muscles that he knew how to use and that he wasn’t slow to put to good use if anybody messed with him. He followed the rigid daily workout he had mastered a long time ago while in the military, and still adhered to it almost every day. He wasn’t quite as fit as when he ran special ops missions with the SEALs, but he wasn’t too far off. He liked that kind of order and rigidity and purpose in his life, especially now when little else he had meant a damn thing to him.

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379 on which he labored was a sleek and powerful craft, practically new and spotless after an entire day spent scrubbing her after over a week spent at sea. She was a forty-footer that he’d had for almost three months, new out of the factory and built to his own specifications. He’d made sure that the boat was perfectly suited to him. Everything was somewhat oversized, enough to comfortably accommodate his six-feet-six-inch frame. He’d sailed her from South Carolina on the Intracoastal Waterway to his home deep in the bayous of Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes. He’d worked hard all day making her look like new again. Everything was spotless, inside and out, his gear clean and orderly and stowed in the proper places. That kind of thing was important to him.

On the eve of September 11, he had steered his gleaming boat down the wide Bayou Bonne that edged the back side of his property and eventually sailed her out into the deep royal blue waters of the vast Gulf of Mexico. He’d spent ten full days out there, completely alone, as was his habit every year on the anniversary of that day of infamy for all Americans. He had stayed out on the rolling waves, working through the most catastrophic event in his life, a trauma that he had fought to accept daily for so many years that he no longer kept count. It didn’t matter how long it had been. Not if he lived to be a hundred. He wasn’t going to get over it. He had accepted that now. He just forced himself to live with it. Endless day after endless day.

Out there, though, completely by himself in the dark, quiet, everswaying, ever-restless sea, under untold billions of glittering stars spangled across ink-black skies, he had suffered alone and wept fresh tears for his dead family while he fished for bonito and sea bass and flounder and mourned to the depths of his soul and studiously drank himself into oblivion every single night. But that’s the way he liked it during his own personal, self-inflicted hell week, far away from every other living being on earth, alone and buffeted by ocean winds and rocking waves and the merciless sun, and most of all, the silent solitude where he could work through the grief that never left him, not for one hour, one minute, one second of conscious thought.

But now, on this sunny day, Novak was back at home, ready to live his miserable existence once more, an empty, futile objective that he never really accomplished. But that’s the way it was. Swiping his sponge a few more times down the wide blue stripe painted along the length of the white hull, he took a few extra minutes to scrub the giant silver letters naming his boat. He had called her Sweet Sarah, in memory of his dead wife. Another way to keep Sarah close when she wasn’t close and never would be again.

Once Novak was satisfied with his efforts, he hoisted himself back up and straddled the rail. He raised his face, shut his eyes, and felt the fire of the sun burn hot into his bare skin. He was already sunburned from his time out on the drink, his skin burnished a deep, warm bronze. After a few minutes, he shifted his gaze down onto the slow, rippling bayou current. It was good to be back home, good to be sober, good to be able to think clearly. He had wrestled his demons back under control, at least for the moment. He left his perch, stooped down, and pulled a cold bottle of Dixie beer from the cooler.

He twisted off the cap and took a deep draft, thirsty and tired from a full day of hard physical labor. That’s when he first heard the sound of a vehicle, coming closer, turning off the old bayou road and heading down through the swampy woods to his place.

Grimacing, annoyed as hell, not pleased about uninvited guests showing up, he lowered the beer bottle, shielded his eyes with his forearm, and peered up the long grassy field that stretched between the bayou and the ancient plantation house he’d inherited from his mother on the day he was born. He had not been expecting company today. Or any other day. He did not like company. He did not like people coming around his place, and that was putting it mildly. He was a serious loner. He liked to be invisible. Anonymous. He liked his privacy. And he was willing to protect it.

The sun broiled down, the temperature probably close to ninety, humidity hugging the bayou like a wool blanket, thick and wet and heavy. Drops of perspiration rolled down his forehead and burned into his eyes. Novak grabbed a towel and mopped the sweat off his face and chest. Then he took another long drink of the icy beer. But he kept his attention focused on the spot where his road emerged from the dense grove of giant live oaks and cypress trees and magnolias.

The sugar plantation was ancient and now defunct, but it was a huge property, none of which had ever been sold out of his family. It took a lot of his effort to keep the place even in modest repair. The mansion on the knoll above him had stood in the same spot for over two hundred years. And it looked like it, too, with most of the white paint peeled off and weathered to gray years ago.

Once upon a time, his wealthy Creole ancestors, the St. Pierre family, had sold their sugar at top price and flourished for a century and a half on the bayou plantation they’d named Bonne Terre. They had been quite the elite in Napoleonic New Orleans, he had been told. They still were quite the elite, but mostly in France now. The magnificence with which they’d endowed the place was long gone and the house in need of serious renovation. Someday, maybe. Right now, he preferred to live on his boat where it was cooler and more to his liking.

Minutes passed, and then the car appeared and proceeded slowly around the circular driveway leading to his front gallery. It was a late model Taurus, apple-red and shiny clean and glinting like a fine ruby under the blinding sunlight. Probably a New Orleans rental. He’d never seen the car before. That meant a stranger, which in Novak’s experience usually meant trouble. Few visitors found their way this far down into the bayou. Ever. That’s why he lived there.

Claire Morgan was the exception and one of the few people who knew where he lived, but he trusted her. She was a former homicide detective who’d hired him on as a partner in her new private investigation agency. But it wasn’t Claire who’d come to call today. She was still on her honeymoon with Nicholas Black, out in the Hawaiian Islands, living it up on some big estate on the island of Kauai. They’d been gone around eight weeks now, and that had given Novak plenty of time to do his own thing. Especially after what had happened on their wedding day. The three of them and a couple of other guys had gotten into a particularly hellish mess and had been lucky to make it out alive. Novak’s shoulder wound had healed up well enough, but all of them deserved some R & R. Other than Claire, though, only a handful of people knew where to find him. He didn’t give out his address, and that had served him well.

Novak wiped his sweaty palms on his faded khaki shorts and kept his gaze focused on the Taurus. Behind him, the bayou drifted along in its slow, swirling currents, rippling and splashing south toward the Gulf of Mexico. As soon as the car left his field of vision, he headed down the hatch steps into the dim, cool quarters belowdecks. At the bottom, he stretched up and reached back into the highest shelf. He pulled out his .45 caliber service weapon. A nice little Kimber 1911. Fully loaded and ready to go. The heft of it felt damn good. Back where it belonged. He checked the mag, racked a round into the chamber, and then wedged the gun down inside his back waistband. He grabbed a clean white T-shirt and pulled it over his head as he climbed back up to the stern deck. Picking up a pair of high-powered binoculars, he scanned the back gallery of his house and the wide grassy yard surrounding it.

Nothing moved. He walked down the gangplank and stepped off into the shade thrown by the covered dock. He moved past the boatlift berths but he kept his attention riveted up on the house. The long fields he’d mowed the day before stretched about a hundred yards up from the bayou. The big mansion sat at the far edge, shaded by a dozen ancient live oaks, all draped almost to the ground with long and wispy tendrils of the gray Spanish moss so prevalent in the bayou. The wide gallery encircled the first floor, on all four sides, twelve feet wide, with a twelve-feet-high ceiling. No wind now, all vestiges of the breeze gone, everything still, everything quiet. He could see the east side of the house. It was deserted. The guy in the car could be anywhere by now. He could be anybody. He could be good. He could be bad. He could be there to kill Novak. That was the most likely scenario. Novak sure as hell had plenty of enemies who wanted him dead, all over the world. Right up the highway in New Orleans, in fact. Whoever was in that Taurus, whatever they wanted, Novak wanted them inside his gun sights first before they spotted him.

Taking off toward the house, he jogged down the bank and up onto a narrow dirt path hidden by a long fencerow. Then he headed up the gradual rise, staying well behind the fence covered with climbing ivy and flowering azalea bushes. He kept his weapon out in front using both hands, finger alongside the trigger. Guys who were after him usually just wanted to put a bullet in Novak’s skull. Some had even tried their luck, but nobody had tried it on his home turf. He didn’t like that. Wasn’t too savvy on their part, either.

When he reached the backyard, he pulled up under the branches of a huge mimosa tree. He crouched down there and waited, listening. No thud of running feet. No whispered orders to spread out and find him. No nothing, except some stupid bird chirping its head off somewhere high above him. He searched the trees and found a mockingbird sitting on the carved balustrade on the second-floor gallery. Novak waited a couple more minutes. Then he ran lightly across the grass and took the wide back steps three at a time. He crossed the gallery quickly and pressed his back against the wall. He listened again and heard nothing, so he inched his way around the corner onto the west gallery and then up the side of the house to the front corner. That’s when he heard the loud clang of his century-old iron door knocker. He froze in his tracks.

Directly in front of him, a long white wicker swing swayed in a sudden gust of wind. He darted a quick look around the corner of the house. Three yards down the gallery from him, a woman stood at his front door, her right side turned to him. She was alone. She was unarmed, considering how skin-tight her skimpy outfit molded to her slim body. While he watched, she lifted the heavy door knocker and let it clang down again. Hard. Impatient. Annoyed. She was tall, maybe five feet eight or nine inches. Long black hair curled down around her shoulders. She was slender and her body was fit, all shown to advantage in her tight white Daisy Dukes and a black-and- white chevron crop top. She turned slightly, and Novak glimpsed her impressively toned and suntanned midriff and the lower curve of her breasts. She was not wearing a bra, and her legs were naked, too, shapely and also darkly tanned. White sandals with silver buckles. She looked sexy as hell but harmless.

On the other hand, Novak had known a woman or two who’d also looked sexy and harmless, but who had assassinated more men than Novak had ever thought about gunning down. Keeping his weapon down alongside his right thigh but ready, he stepped out where she could see him but also where he’d have a good shot at her, if all was not as it seemed. The woman apparently had a highly cultivated sense of awareness because she immediately spun toward him. That’s when Novak’s knees almost buckled. He went weak all over, his muscles just going slack. His heart faltered mid-beat. He stared at her, so completely stunned he could not move or speak.

Then his dead wife, the only woman he had ever loved, his beautiful Sarah, smiled at him and said in her familiar Australian accent, “How ya goin’, Will. Long time no see.”

Author Bio

Linda Ladd is the bestselling author of over a dozen novels. Head to Head marked her exciting return to publishing with a debut thriller after almost a decade’s hiatus. Linda makes her home in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where she is at work on her next novel. Bad Road to Nowhere is the first in a new series featuring Will Novak.

Catch Up with Linda Ladd on her Website 🔗 & on Facebook 🔗!

 

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Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Ladd and Kensington Publishing Corp. There will be 5 US/CANADA winners of one (1) eBook copy of Bad Road to Nowhere by Linda Ladd. The giveaway begins on December 7th and runs through December 14th, 2016.

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Book Blast: Colorado Dream by Charlene Whitman

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Title: COLORADO DREAM
Author: Charlene Whitman
Publisher: Ubiquitous Press
Pages: 450
Genre: Sweet Historical Western Romance

Yearning to become a concert musician, a young woman from New York travels to Colorado to purchase a violin, but when she meets a wild, untamable cowboy, her dream is threatened and her heart torn …

In New York in 1877, Angela Bellini longs to become a concert violinist and get away from her abusive father. When her dream takes her to Greeley, Colorado, to purchase a violin from a master instrument maker, she learns she must wait three weeks until her violin is ready before she can head home.

Angela is determined not to let anything or anyone waylay her dream, but when she meets rough-and-tumble cowboy Brett Hendricks, her heart is torn. He is her opposite in every way—uncouth, cocky, and reckless. But she is hopelessly drawn to him, like a moth to flame.

Brett Hendricks is on the run—not just from an angry rancher who is tracking him down for shooting his son but from a dark and troubled past plaguing him with guilt and shame. A wild, untamable cowboy, Brett can break any horse with a soft touch and soothing word, but nothing in the world can bring him peace. He fears he will never stop running, never see his dreams of ranching realized.

But then, one evening, he hears sweet violin music that seeps deep into his soul–music that floods him with peace. He falls hard for Angela but knows she plans to leave Colorado. All his attempts to win her heart fail disastrously, and though he buries himself in the cattle roundup, when he helps thwart a rustling outfit, his enemies multiply.

Somehow he must find a way to gain Angela’s heart and trust. And somehow Angela must break past her distrust of men to discover the love awaiting her with open arms.

Pick up your copy at Amazon.

 

 

Book Excerpt

Chapter 1

 

September 9, 1877

New York City, New York

 

The slap on Angela Bellini’s cheek burned, but not as fiercely as the hurt in her heart. The pain and disappointment smoldering there sizzled like hot embers, threatening to reduce her to a pile of ash. She glared at her father’s back as he stomped out of the room.

Why couldn’t her papá understand? She would not marry Pietro, no matter how wealthy his family was, no matter how many years her papá and his had planned such an arrangement. “It is our way, Angela,” he had told her again, his face hard and eyes dark and menacing, leaving no room for debate. “And you will marry him. You are twenty years of age—you are lucky he is still willing. You’ve made him wait long enough.” Continue reading

Book Blast: Cat in the Flock by Lisa Brunette

2016-12-06_9-38-01Genre: Mystery
Published by: Sky Harbor Press
Publication Date: December 27th 2014
Number of Pages: 197
ISBN: 0986237701 (ISBN13: 9780986237706)
Series: Dreamslippers #1Synopsis:

A sexy murder-mystery with a spiritual edge.

For most people, dreams are a way to escape reality. But for Cat McCormick, they’re a way to get closer to the truth. Cat can ‘slip’ into other people’s dreams.

After graduating college with a degree in criminal justice but little in the way of real-life experience, Cat moves from the Midwest to Seattle to apprentice with her Granny Grace, who shares the ability. Granny uses dreamslipping as a private investigator, and Cat plans to follow in her footsteps.

But forced to take work as a security guard, Cat discovers a mother and daughter on the run. Following the clues, she goes undercover in a Midwestern megachurch, where she finds redemption and goodwill amidst repression, hypocrisy, and murder.

Praise:

“A fascinating tale of mystery, romance, and what one woman’s dreams are made of. Brunette will keep you awake far into the night.” — Mary Daheim, bestselling author of the Bed-and-Breakfast and Emma Lord/Alpine mysteries

“Already hooked, this reader intends further sojourns in Cat’s dreamslipping world. Highly recommended.” — Frances Carden, Readers Lane

“Gripping, sexy and profound, CAT IN THE FLOCK is an excellent first novel. Lisa Brunette is an author to enjoy now and watch for the future.” — Jon Talton, author of the David Mapstone Mysteries, the Cincinnati Casebooks and the thriller Deadline Man

“A little Sue Grafton and a dose of Janet Evanovich… is just the right recipe for a promising new series.” — Rev. Eric O’del

“The launch of an intriguing female detective series… A mystery with an unusual twist and quirky settings; an enjoyable surprise for fans of the genre.” — Kirkus Reviews

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Purchase Cat in the Flock at Amazon 🔗, at Barnes & Noble 🔗, & Add it To Your List on Goodreads 🔗!

Excerpt

Prologue

Sherrie marched into her daughter’s bedroom and dragged a child-sized roller bag suitcase out of the closet. The girl stood in the middle of the room, still in her pajamas. Milk from breakfast had dried around the edges of her lips.

“Ruthie,” the mother said. “I need you to get dressed. We’re going to take a…trip.” Sherrie tried to make her voice sound cheery, but the desperation she felt came through in her tone.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?”

Sherrie set the suitcase on the bed. The bubble- gum pink had once seemed innocent but now looked fleshy and indecent. She glanced at the clock over the bed. He’d been golfing for a good fifteen minutes by now, long enough for her to make sure he didn’t come back for a favorite club or the right gloves. She wanted to be on that morning flight by the time he got home and discovered them gone.

She flung open the chest of drawers and grabbed all of the girl’s socks and underwear, a pair of corduroy pants, black cotton tights, a sweater the color of a Midwestern sky. Nothing pink. Only warm things. Seattle in her memory was cold and wet. It was a grey city; grey clouds over grey buildings. Even the water was grey.

One doll would fit. Made of cloth, it could be folded in on itself and slid down the backside of the suitcase.

“Can I bring the ballerina skirt?”

Any other day, she would have corrected her daughter, who needed to learn the precise names of things. Tutu. There it was in the closet, hanging because it took up too much room in the drawer. She yanked it free, sending the hanger to the floor. Ordinarily, she would pick that up; her house was so clean it hurt her eyes with its spareness—as if theirs were a showroom house, not lived in. She left the hanger there, aware of the thrill this fraction of disobedience gave her. She shoved everything into the little pink case, but with the fluffy tulle taking up so much space, the zipper would not close. The choice was clear. The doll would be a comfort to Ruthie in Seattle, but the tutu would not.

“We’ll come back for this later,” she said, tossing the tutu onto the bed. The zipper closed, the sound of it satisfying.

“No, Mommy!” Ruthie stomped her foot. “I want it now!”

“Then you’re going to have to wear it. Now get dressed while I pack my clothes.” But she felt a pang of guilt for her reprimanding tone, and for having to leave the tutu. Bending down, she used her thumb to wipe some of the milk crust from her daughter’s face. “I’ll let you wear anything you want on this trip, okay, sweetheart? And clean your face with the cloth in the bathroom, like Mommy showed you.”

The girl nodded, as if sensing this was not the time for a tantrum.

Sherrie’s own packing, she did with even less consideration. Under things, shirts. A fleece hoodie. Warm socks. She remembered she needed layers in Seattle. Sometimes it could seem warm even though it rained and the sun had not come out for weeks. Her keepsakes in their tiny, locked chest would not fit. They were the only things she had to remind herself of her life before this, but she would have to leave them behind.

Sherrie kept watch on the clock and glanced out the window twice to make sure his car wasn’t out front even though she knew he wouldn’t be home for another hour. The sun had risen blood-red over the cornfields in the distance, lighting them as if on fire. She’d miss that. And she thought of thunderstorms, which seemed never to occur in Seattle. She’d miss those, too.

Ruthie appeared in the doorway. Her face was clean, but none of her clothes matched. She was wearing pink high-tops that seemed wrong for the city they were going to, the situation, and everything else, but she had apparently decided not to wear the tutu.

“Time to leave.” She took the girl’s hand, promising to herself she’d never let go.

Author Bio

2016-12-06_9-44-17Lisa was born in Santa Rosa, California, but that was only home for a year. A so-called “military brat,” she lived in nine different houses and attended nine different schools by the time she was 14. Through all of the moves, her one constant was books. She read everything, from the entire Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series to her mother’s books by Daphne DuMaurier and Taylor Caldwell.

A widely published author, game writer, and journalist, Lisa has interviewed homeless women, the designer of the Batmobile, and a sex expert, to name just a few colorful characters. This experience, not to mention her own large, quirky family, led her to create some truly memorable characters in her Dreamslippers Series and other works, whether books or games.

Always a vivid dreamer, not to mention a wannabe psychic, Lisa feels perfectly at home slipping into suspects’ dreams, at least in her imagination. Her husband isn’t so sure she can’t pick up his dreams in real life, though.

With a hefty list of awards and publications to her name, Lisa now lives in a small town in Washington State, but who knows how long that will last…

 

Lisa publishes a bimonthly newsletter. Sign up and receive a free book!

You can also visit Lisa on her Website 🔗, on Twitter 🔗, & at Facebook 🔗.


Book Blast: Sight Unseen by Erin Leigh Crisp

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Title: Sight Unseen
Author: Erin Leigh Crisp
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 198
Genre: Christian Romance

Emilia Phillips is looking for a career and a way out of her day job. She is not looking for a man to rescue her heart.

Asher Mason wants his life back. He lost his sight and the hero-life he loved in a millisecond. He no longer trusts his instincts, especially about women. But the sweet-smelling waitress in his favorite café tempts him to trust. As Emilia helps Asher relearn everyday activities, the two find themselves falling faster than either expected.

Can a woman love a blind soldier? Will she want a man who doesn’t recognize himself anymore? As Asher’s shortcomings become more apparent to him, the wedge forced between he and Emilia widens. Can Asher trust the same God that took his sight to direct his future?

Available on Amazon.

 

Book Excerpt

“How long has it been?” Emilia could have bitten off her own tongue.

His eyes glanced over again, but they didn’t see her. He gave one huge breath and shrugged, like it wasn’t important. “Three months.”

Only three months? And he was walking around town and ordering coffee? No seeing-eye dog, no dark glasses? She wanted to compliment him, but she figured he wasn’t the type of man to take it for what it was. Instead, she eased her hand onto his shoulder for a split second and went for humor instead.

“I should have noticed when you didn’t wink back at me earlier.”

His head shot up, and his cheeks tinged the darkest pink.

Emilia covered her giggle and shook her head. “I swear I’m kidding. I wasn’t flirting with you, but I really should have noticed earlier. My brother was born blind. He’s seventeen.”

The man looked curious, but he was still blushing and she decided not to press him. “Anyway, if you need anything, my name is Emilia. I’ll be here all week.”

His lips turned up in the smallest smile. She reminded herself that she wasn’t looking for a man. She took three steps away before he called her name.

Her feet stopped. “Yeah?”

He swallowed hard, his fingers linking on the tabletop. His eyes searched for her face. “I’m Asher Mason. Thank you, again.”

“It was my pleasure.” She turned and walked away, but the damage was already done. Her heart thumped crazily. Her cheeks heated. Her teeth bit down to stop the smile that threatened. And I’m in a load of trouble, she thought.

 

About the Author

erin-leigh-crispErin was born and raised on the Florida/Alabama state line in a small farming community which has served as inspiration for her novels. She believes the heart of a happy ending is God and His plan for the lives of His people.

In 2014, Erin published her first novels for sale.  She currently has eight full-length novels and one novella for sale on Amazon. Erin makes her home in Northeast Georgia with her husband, four children and two fish. Erin has a bachelor degree in Christian Counseling and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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Book Blast: The Irrevocable Series by Samantha Jacobey now on audio

 

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Bailey Dewitt is on a crash course with Armageddon. Orphaned, she and her young brothers find themselves living with their renegade uncle. Part of a group of survivalists, she is terrified to discover they are preparing for the end of the world! Surrounded by strangers, she ponders if they could be right; that is mankind headed for a global disaster. In a twist of fate, Caleb becomes her dearest friend and the one person she can trust to love and protect her, but when things spiral out of control, will their bond be enough to save the entire community? Or will rival forces strip away all that they have worked for at the time they need it most…
EBOOKS ON SALE FOR .99¢
DECEMBER 5 – 11 ONLY
 
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samantha.jpgAnyone who knows me could tell you, I am a friendly kind of person, never met a stranger and take up conversations any where at any time. I work hard, and my mind never seems to shut down, as I wake up often in the middle of the night with ideas pouring out and demanding to be dealt with. Of course that means much of my books were written in the middle of the night.
I grew up and still live in the great state of Texas where everything is bigger, where we have warm weather and a central location. I love my state, my town, and my family, which includes my four sons, my significant other, and many friends as well.
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the books that are currently available and hope you will enjoy reading them just as much. And of course, there will be many more stories to come.
Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/aut…/show/7335383.Samantha_Jacobey
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Book Blast: A Poisonous Journey by Malia Zaidi

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Title
: A Poisonous Journey
Author: Malia Zaidi
Publisher: Bookbaby
Pages: 385

The year is 1925, a time that hovers between two catastrophic wars, a time of jazz and sparkle, and a time of peace and reflection. For Lady Evelyn, struggling to outrun the ghosts of her tragic past, it is a time of transformation. Left orphaned after a fire when she was only four, Lady Evelyn Carlisle was raised in London by her stern aunt and uncle. Now, twenty years later she has grown restless and is keen to escape her chaperone’s grasp. A letter from her cousin, Briony, living with her husband on Crete, comes at just the right time. Packing what she can, Lady Evelyn makes off for foreign shores. Welcoming her are not only Briony and her husband, Jeffrey, but also his handsome and mysterious friends, Caspar Ballantine and Daniel Harper. Though the latter carries with him tragic memories of the Great War, Evelyn is glad to be in their company. With the sun warming her back and the dazzling sea in her sights, this fresh start seems destined for happy days ahead. Little does she know . . . What starts off as a sunny holiday quickly turns into a sinister nightmare, when Evelyn stumbles across the corpse of one of her cousin’s houseguests. Drawn into the mystery surrounding the murder, Evelyn embarks on a mission to discover the truth, forcing her to face her own past as well as a cold-hearted killer. With the help of her cousin, the handsome local police detective, and the mysterious Daniel Harper, will she uncover the truth, before another life is claimed?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Book Excerpt

Prologue

 

Crete 1908

A chill ran down his spine and goose-bumps prickled his skin as the cold darkness enveloped him, swallowed him, the realm of Hades tormentingly near. He sucked in a breath of the damp air and blinked furiously, anxious to find his bearings, to discern hard rocky wall from empty space. It was his fault, he had dropped the torch and they had no choice but to save the reserve for later. For their destination. He would manage. He knew the way.

“Andros?” The nervous voice caught him almost unaware. Andros, Dros, Dros…the echo bounced off the walls around him and made him feel dizzy for a moment, as though the walls were moving closer and caging him in.  He exhaled, trying to steady himself. They just had to follow the plan. He was good at that. Good at being patient, good at doing what he was told, at following directions to the letter.

“It’s all right,” he tried to sound calm, quelling his fear as it mingled with the excitement that bubbled inside him, ready to explode. They were so close now. He could feel the rhythmic beat of his heart increasing, a nervous echo in his chest. “Stay where you are, your eyes will adjust. Have patience.” Listening for a moment, he became aware of the labored breathing of his brother close behind.

He stood still for another moment, no other sounds dared to intrude, eerie silence, thick with mystery, with secrets to be uncovered swathed them in its heavy shroud.  The Sirens are calling, only you can hear. Run for safety, or plunge and fall prey to temptation. His eyes began to adjust, slowly deciphering the jagged outline of a rocky outcrop above him. It was close. He could feel it. His muscles tensed, stiff and solid, waves of energy pulsing through him, barely contained anticipation. Despite the cold, he felt beads of sweat dotting his brow and running down his temples.

“Andros? I think I see you. Yes.” A few unsure steps followed these words, and he saw the shadowy outline of his younger brother, warily moving toward him.

“Come, but beware your steps, a wrong move could be your last.”

Slowly, with his hands carefully outstretched, he felt his way forward. The air was growing stale, thick and cloying with dust and age.

“Are we almost there?”

“Close, very close.”

Breath was quickening, he shivered. So close now.  Everything would change. For a split, indulgent second, he allowed himself a fantasy of the glory that would come, of the life that awaited him. Yes, not much further now. His feet, clad only in his worn leather shoes felt every rock on the uneven ground, a sensation that gave him comfort, a feeling of awareness that had replaced his compromised eyesight and heightened his sense of touch. Hands extended, he reached into the blackness like a blind man. Suddenly they came up against something. Wall. Hard rock wall.  The tunnel had come to an abrupt end.

“What is this?  Are we lost?”

Andros frowned, small creases folding his forehead, his brother’s voice behind him a distracting intrusion. “No,” he answered carefully, unconsciously holding his breath. He ran his hands along the roughness of the stony wall, seemingly solid and impenetrable, until… Yes, a smooth oval protrusion in the rock face. Sucking in a nervous lungful of dusty air, he pushed.  The oval receded into the wall with neat precision.  A momentary silence. Then, as if by some miraculous force, the wall gave way, an ingenious mechanism.  A dense cloud of dust and debris rose up, sending both men staggering backward, coughing, and rubbing their stinging eyes.  Soon the dust settled and silence was again upon them. Neither spoke, fear and excitement taking hold of them. Andros swallowed. It was all coming together.  They were here, finally.

“The torch, now.” His voice was almost a whisper, thick with anticipation.  A hiss, and a flicker of orange light shot out of the darkness, illuminating his brother’s dirty face.  Reluctantly the younger man handed it over. No words were exchanged as Andros took the first careful step, holding the glowing light before him.  He entered the chamber, eyes wide, barely breathing.  He had found it!  He wanted to shout out in joy, in relief. He had known all along, he had found it.

“So, this is it.”

Andros turned, sensing something strange in his brother’s tone. The younger man’s face was still cast in shadow, save for the glittering eyes, shining in the gloom like those of an animal.

“Yes, this is it,” he turned around again, taking it in, the glory. His glory. A sudden coldness at his neck startled him, a stab of pain.  And then the blackness returned.  Endless and unrelenting.

 

About the Author

malia-zaidiMalia Zaidi is the author of A POISONOUS JOURNEY. She attended the University of Pittsburgh, and studied at English at Oxford University. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides, vicariously in countries throughout the world. A POISONOUS JOURNEY is her first book in the Lady Evelyn mysteries series. The sequel, A DARKER SHORE will be available later this year.

 

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