Posted in Book Blast, excerpt, fiction, Giveaway, suspense, Thriller on September 30, 2014

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Welcome to the Virtual Book Tour for Agency Rules by Khalid Muhammad. This critically acclaimed political thriller is an action-packed page-turner!

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Agency Rules

Celebrated as a ragtag force that defeated and broke the Soviet Union, no one predicted the Mujahideen would bring with them a plague that would spread like wildfire through Pakistan in the years to follow. When the battle-worn fighters returned with no enemy or war to fight, they turned their sights on the country that had been their creator and benefactor.

From the same battlegrounds that birthed the Mujahideen, a young Kamal Khan emerges as a different breed of warrior. Discarding his wealthy family comforts, Kamal becomes a precision sniper, an invincible commando and a clandestine operative bringing intimidation, dominance and death with him to the battlefield. Ending the plague is his prime directive.

Shrouded in political expediency, hampered by internal power struggles, international espionage and doublespeak that makes Washington’s spin doctors proud, Kamal’s mission is a nightmare of rampant militant fundamentalism that threatens to choke and take Pakistan hostage. For him, the fight is not just for freedom, but the survival of a nation.

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Excerpt from Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office

 

Standing in the hall of the abandoned warehouse, blood dripped from his body, leaving a trail on the grimy floor. A body was slumped in the chair in the middle of the hall with a singular light hanging above, illuminating a small radius around it. Another lay in the doorway propping the door open. The fight inside had been more than expected from the three days he spent surveying the warehouse. By his count, there should not have been more than five men both inside and out. Instead, he had found almost seven men around the facility.

They had prepared well for his arrival.

On his approach, he saw one man guarding the entrance. There were usually two… where’s the other one? Kamal shook off the thought and sized up his enemy, noting that he was a scrawny soldier that didn’t fill his uniform. He ducked into the shadows where he could use the darkness against the soldier, catching him by surprise. He rushed the guard, knocking him to the ground before he could set himself or draw his weapon. With a quick strike to the head, the first guard was neutralized. Before he could get up, he heard the door to the warehouse open. Jumping to his feet, Kamal saw the second guard emerge, finding Kamal hovering over his partner’s incapacitated body. The guard, surprisingly, dropped his AK-47 and rushed at Kamal, driving him into the concrete wall of the warehouse with a shoulder block. As he pulled back from Kamal, he landed two solid right crosses to his jaw stunning Kamal and giving himself time to set for the fight. Kamal pulled himself up from one knee, gasping for air and taking the time to assess his opponent. The guard didn’t wait for Kamal to position himself and struck again with a swift kick to his midriff, bring the taste of blood to Kamal’s mouth. Oh, that is just unacceptable.

Kamal spat the blood onto the ground and spun around, taking the guard’s legs out with a vicious kick to his knees. As the guard hit the ground, Kamal launched himself onto him, grabbing his neck in a chokehold. The guard threw elbows behind him, and kicked helplessly in the air as Kamal increased the pressure on his throat. Within minutes, his body stopped fighting and he was down.

Kamal stood, spitting a few times to clear the blood that had filled his mouth, finally using the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the remaining away. He smirked, admiring his work. Not as tough as he looked.

Standing over both bodies, his plan rapidly changed. Grabbing the second guard by the legs, he dragged him around the corner and pulled his uniform off. Silently and rapidly, Kamal undressed and pulled on the FC garb. Wow, this fits well. The guard had seemed so much larger than himself. He ripped his own shirt in half, using half to tie the guard’s hands together and the other half to seal his mouth, in case he came to and tried to warn the others. Kamal laughed silently, giving the guard another hard kick to the head. Just for good measure, you son of a bitch.

He entered the warehouse corridor, looking for the other guards. Spotting one about fifty feet down, he straightened his shoulders and called to him, “Did he come through here?”

The guard was surprised by the question. He hadn’t heard or seen anything. He strolled over to Kamal to find out what his colleague was talking about. “What?” Kamal waited till he was close enough, and casually raised his arm, as if to indicate towards the door. Gun in hand, he brought his arm down in a vicious swipe to the guard’s head, knocking him out cold. He fell hard into the wall from the blow and as he slid down, his gun clattered to the ground noisily. The commotion alerted another guard who came rushing around the corner, sidearm in hand. Seeing his compatriot laid out on the ground, with a fellow soldier standing over him, he slowed down.

“What happened to Ayaz?”

“I don’t know! I came in looking for the guy that knocked Sheraz out and found him like this,” Kamal said, quietly pulling his sidearm from the holster. “We should warn Faheem that we have a guest,” the soldier said, turning to warn his superior. Kamal waited for him to get a safe distance away and fired two rounds into his back, dropping him to the ground like a wounded deer. The guard tried to roll himself over to fire back at Kamal, but the round had damaged his spine badly, leaving him face down on the floor. Kamal went over and fired another round into his head, and almost like a second thought, changed his sidearm with the guard’s.

Kamal moved a few yards down the corridor when another soldier jumped from behind a crate hitting him with the butt of his AK-47, stunning him. What the fuck? Kamal thought, reaching up to find blood coming from just above his eye. “What’s your problem soldier? Don’t you recognize your own?” he said, glaring at the attacker. The guard hesitated for a moment but something must have alerted him, because he drew his weapon back again. Kamal used all his body weight to jam the weapon and soldier against the wall; he could feel his eye swelling up already, and he preferred not to expend any more energy than he had to.

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By day, Khalid Muhammad is a mild-mannered business executive keeping himself busy running a marketing and brand management company. He takes someone else’s product and creates concepts, ideas and brand stories—things that make consumers want to buy, invest and save their hard-earned money.

By night, his alter ego emerges; one that has a penchant for sadistic retribution towards those who have wronged him, and that spends its time devising intricate and detailed plans for a nefarious end.

If he hopes to continue to have friends and family, though, he has to keep his alter ego under control.

So, Khalid chooses to write novellas, novels and short stories to let the wickedness escape; the other option means a great deal of blood, numerous torture implements and…well, infinite ways to dump a body. The writing is better for everyone involved and less dangerous for the guilty… until he writes them into another story.

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Giveaway

This Giveaway is open internationally. Must be 16+ to enter.

There will be five winners each of a $10 Amazon Gift Card

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This tour is brought to you by

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Please check out the other hosts on the tour for chances to enter the Giveaway!

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Posted in Cover Reveal, romance on September 30, 2014

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Book Info

Title: The Syrian Virgin

Author: Zack Love

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Design: PinkInk Designs (Cassy Roop)

Release Date: October 20th 2014

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Synopsis
Anissa is traumatized by the most brutal conflict of the 21st Century: the Syrian Civil War. In 2012, Islamists in Homs terrorize her Christian community and destroy everything in her life. Narrowly escaping death, Anissa restarts her devastated life as a college student in NY. She is bewildered and lost — a virgin in every sense.

But despite her inexperience with men and life in the United States, Anissa is quickly drawn to two powerful individuals: Michael, the Syrian-Christian American who leads the political effort to protect his community, and Julien, her college professor who runs a $20 billion hedge fund. Complicating matters, Michael is still attached to his ex-girlfriend and Julien is the most sought after bachelor in Manhattan. Anissa’s heart and her communal ties pull her in different directions, as she seeks hope and renewal in a dark world.

LIFE shattered her. LOVE empowered her.

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Meet & Connect      With    Zack Love
Zack Love graduated from Harvard College, where he studied mostly literature, psychology, philosophy, and film. After college, he moved to New York City and took a corporate consulting job that had absolutely nothing to do with his studies. The attacks of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write a novelette titled “The Doorman,” and heightened his interest in the Middle East. A decade later, that interest extended to the Syrian Civil war, which provided the backdrop for his latest work. In late 2013, Zack began releasing his unpublished works of fiction and became a full-time author. He has published comedy, psychological and philosophical fiction, and romance. Zack enjoys confining himself to one genre about as much as he likes trying to sum up his existence in one paragraph.

 

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Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, Cozy, mystery, Review on September 28, 2014

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Embellished to Death
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (September 23, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1940976273

 

Synopsis

When Faith Hunter agrees to help PI Bob Roget find an identity thief at a local scrapbook retreat, her friendly croppers’ weekend quickly morphs into a dangerous one. As croppers share their own memories, a killer collects them for her new identity, and doesn’t appreciate Faith in the picture. Faith struggles to balance her professional, detecting and personal lives as threats and secrets keep her off-balance. Things turn deadly when a woman is killed and Faith is blackmailed. Truth and lies collide when Faith discovers croppers aren’t the only ones embellishing, and the results might end her life.
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Review

What a great new installment in this series.  The book starts off quickly and doesn’t slow down until it ends.  There are several mysteries going on, but Christina does a great job of writing the story that there is no confusion with the characters.  I like seeing Faith’s relationship with Steve progress but will she share her past with him?  And what surprises does Steve have for Faith?

Since I am also a scrapbooker (and attend retreats!) it was easy to imagine myself there with the other croppers and the different personalities.

We give this book 4 paws!

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About Christine Freeman

Christina FreeburnThe Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending.

Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.

 

Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Website * Blog

 

 

Giveaway

2 print copies of Embellished to Death
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Tour Participants

September 23 – Mommasez… – Review, Guest Post

September 24 – Books Are Life  – Vita Libri – Review

September 25 – Mystery Playground – Guest Post

September 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review

September 27 – Community Bookstop – Review

September 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Guest Post

September 29 – Brooke Blogs – Review

September 30 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post

October 1 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview

October 2 – a chick who reads – Review

October 3 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview

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Comments Off on Blog Tour & #Giveaway : Embellished to Death by Christina Freeburn @ChristinaFreeb1 @dollycas
Posted in Cozy, Guest Post, mystery on September 28, 2014

Today I welcome author Christina Freeburn who has written a series of cozies that involve a scrapbook store.  You may not know this about me, but I like to scrapbook and make cards.  I am not creative and therefore rely on my group of scrapbooking friends (The Scrappy Bunch) to help me out with ideas or to just get the creative juices flowing.

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A Novel Friendship

 

In Embellished to Death, I took my heroine Faith out of her hometown and placed her in Morgantown, West Virginia where she vended at a scrapbook retreat. Along with a new location, Faith, the readers, and yes even me the author, were introduced to some new characters. One of the secondary characters – Bob Roget – had made a cameo appearance in Cropped to Death (the first book in the series) but besides rounding out Detective Ted Roget’s characters, he didn’t play a large role in the book. Embellished was the time that I and Faith got to know more about Bob.

And in learning more about his personalities, likes, dislikes, quirks, and especially his loyalty and strength, I (the author) found myself falling in love with Bob. This leads to a problem as when I fall in love with a character, I have a tendency of upping their role and giving them an opportunity to take over the story. Bob was allowed a little more leeway by me and Faith. I found Bob inserting himself into every scene and doing the majority of the “protagging” rather than Faith. She also liked Bob so much she willing stepped back and allowed him control. Faith also wanted to know him more and see what made him tick so gave him plenty of opportunities to show her.

While I enjoyed getting to know him, and watching Faith expand her world and allowing someone else into her life, I knew the story was in trouble. It was her plot to figure out, not Bob’s. At one point in writing the book, I went back to the beginning to scale his role back; adding in another secondary character as a nemesis for Faith yet a close friend of Bob’s to put a wedge in the blossoming friendship so my heroine was once again front and center in the storyline.

That plan didn’t work out for the story. This new character added a complication in the plot that made the twists and turns detract from the overall story rather than enhance it. I also didn’t like the problem I inserted into the friendship. It didn’t feel right for either character and felt forced. The mystery plot was the most important one, but in a way this new friendship was a sub-plot and Faith grew through it.

It was time again for another edit and my new goal was to rein Bob in. He and I had a little conversation on the role he must accept in this book – Faith lead and he followed. Even though he was an honest, to goodness, private investigator, he needed to step back when Faith fulfilled her part of the sleuthing and act as her partner and confidante. We both understood that while the book didn’t work without him having a key role, the book also couldn’t be about him.

I always enjoy getting to know new characters and will admit that so far Bob Roget is the one I had the most fun creating. I loved not only getting to show Bob’s relationship with his life partner but also seeing Ted through his brother’s eyes. I also had a chance to learn more about Faith as I watched her enter into a friendship with the couple.

In a way, Faith had “instant” friends in the first book as they were there before Faith solved her first murder. In Embellished, I was with her when her and Bob went from acquaintances to friends. It’s one of the journeys Faith has taken that I enjoyed watching take shape on my screen.

Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on September 27, 2014

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STIRRING THE PLOT

 

Stirring the Plot (A Cookbook Nook Mystery)
Series: A Cookbook Nook Mystery (Book 3)

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (September 30, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0425258064

Synopsis

Halloween in Crystal Cove, California, is a big deal, involving a spooky soiree where the Winsome Witches, a fund-raising group, gather to open up their purse strings and trade superstitions. But party magicians, fortune-tellers, and herbalists are only the beginning of this recipe for disaster…

Jenna Hart has packed The Cookbook Nook chock-full of everything from ghostly texts to witchy potions in anticipation of the annual fund-raiser luncheon. But there’s one unexpected addition to the menu: murder.

When the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is found dead under mysterious circumstances, there’s no logical answer and plenty of blame to go around. With her aunt, Vera, unable to call on her ability to foresee the future, Jenna will have to use more than just sleight of hand and a few magic tricks to conjure up the truth…

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Review

This series continues to get better!  The author does a great job of hiding the murder in plain sight because in all 3 books, I never figured it out.  I always thought it was a different character.

I like that there are not a lot of new characters introduced in the book.  There are some (otherwise where would the murderer come from?!) and they add an interesting dynamic to the storyline.  I also like how Daryl incorporates other cozy series of books and LOTS of cookbooks.  I am going to have to go look all of them up.  And of course the recipes at the end of the book.  I think I gained 5 lbs just reading them!

Jenna is becoming more likeable to me.  She is slowly calming down and isn’t as spastic as she was in the first book.

We give it 4 paws and look forward to the next installment.

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About the Author

DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California. As AVERY AAMES, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more.

Find Daryl here: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Find Avery here: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2

This giveaway is from the author and me!  Open to US residents only please.

The author is giving 1 winner the choice of her 3 books in this series, Final Sentence, Inherit the Word or Stirring the Plot.

I am giving away a print copy of Final Sentence (first book in the series) and the ARC of Stirring the Plot that I received.
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Tour Participants

 

September 23 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Recipe

 

September 24Brooke Blogs – Review, Recipe

 

September 25rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Recipe

 

September 26A Chick Who Reads – Review, Interview, Recipe

 

September 27StoreyBook ReviewsReview, Recipe

 

September 27Escape With Dollycas – Review

 

September 28Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Interview, Recipe

 

September 29Back Porchervations – Review, Interview, Recipe

Posted in cooking, Cozy, Guest Post, mystery on September 27, 2014

I am very excited to have author Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames) here today on StoreyBook Reviews and especially with a “killer” cheesecake recipe.  My friends know I adore pie, and well, cheesecake is pie shaped and could sort of be considered pie…at least more than cake!

Bon Appétit
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Killer Chocolate Cheesecake

By Daryl Wood Gerber

 

I adore cheesecake and I adore chocolate. How could a combo of the two be bad?

When I joined Mystery Lovers Kitchen, a blog by authors who love to cook up crime, I was just starting out with the Cheese Shop mysteries. Now I write the Cookbook Nook mysteries, too. This recipe, found in a cookbook and made with cheese, is the perfect blending of using both of my series for an inspirational cake!!

Which cookbook? I found this in Luscious Chocolate Desserts while I was doing research for my next Cookbook Nook mystery, FUDGING THE BOOKS. In the series, I cite lots of cookbooks. This one is terrific! By the way, STIRRING THE PLOT, the 3rd in the series, comes out September 30, just in case you wanted to know.

Anyway, I was searching for ideas for a chocolate something that I could make. I saw this and had to make it right then!! FYI, I never copy someone else’s recipe and use it in my books. Mine are all original, but I’m not above finding inspiration in someone else’s recipe. Also, because I need to eat gluten-free, I often have to tweak a recipe that might be ideal for all you “normal” eaters. Note: the tweaks to the original recipe are minor at best. Nothing got lost in translation. This cheesecake is killer!

 

Killer Chocolate Cheesecake

Tweaked from Luscious Chocolate Desserts

Ingredients:

Crust:

One package 4.6 ounce chocolate wafers [Cookbook recipe asks for 9-ounce package chocolate wafers]

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or room temp

 

Filling:

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet baking chocolate, chopped

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temp

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

pinch of salt

1 ½ cups sour cream, at room temp

2 teaspoons vanillin (if real vanilla is gluten-free, may use real vanilla)

 

Directions:

For crust:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom. Wrap the entire outside tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Have a roasting pan (can be disposable) ready. Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath (*see below).

Pulse the chocolate wafers in a food processor until finely ground. With the motor running, add the butter, and process until blended. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the springform pan (on top of parchment paper).

Bake the crust for 8 minutes until it is set. Let cool on a wire rack.

 

To make the filling:

Melt the chocolate with the butter. [The cookbook says over simmering water – I did this in the microwave, on medium heat for 3 minutes.] Remove from microwave and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder. Let the mixture cool to room temp.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer, starting on low and increasing to medium-high. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. [Note: I put all the eggs into a measuring cup and poured one in at a time. Amazing how that works!] Beat in the pinch of salt. Beat in the chocolate mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the sour cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides.

Transer the filling to the springform pan. Set the pan in the roasting pan, place it in the oven, and carefully pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Center will STILL be slightly jiggly; do not overbake—the cake will firm as it cools. Remove the roasting pan from the oven (carefully!!!) and let the cheesecake cool in the water bath for 15 minutes.

Remove the springform pan from the water bath and let cool on a wire rack, completely, about 2 hours. Remove the foil (messy) and refrigerate the cheesecake, loosely covered with saran wrap, utnil thoroughly chilled, at least 12 hours.

To serve, let the cheesecake stand at room temp for 20 minutes. Remove the pan sides, smooth the sides of the cheesecake with a table knife, and cut into wedges.

 

Serves at least 12 because this is SOOOO rich!

* * *

Below is a tidbit about STIRRING THE PLOT, the next in my Cookbook Nook mysteries. It comes out September 30! FYI, though I write a series, each book is a stand-alone and can be read first, even if you haven’t read the others in the series.

STIRRING THE PLOT

(3rd in Cookbook Nook Mysteries)

Halloween in Crystal Cove, California, is a big deal, involving a spooky soiree where the Winsome Witches, a fund-raising group, gather to open up their purse strings and trade superstitions. But party magicians, fortune-tellers, and herbalists are only the beginning of this recipe for disaster. Jenna Hart has packed The Cookbook Nook chock-full of everything from ghostly texts to witchy potions in anticipation of the annual fund-raiser luncheon. But there’s one unexpected addition to the menu: murder. When the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is found dead, there’s plenty of blame to go around, and Jenna will have to use more than just sleight of hand to conjure up the truth…

[This is NOT a paranormal story. It is a traditional cozy mystery.]

 

Posted in Book Blast, Free, Giveaway, romance on September 26, 2014

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Synopsis

Book One, Bones and Gemstones series

A promising young apothecary picks up the pieces of her life, only to collide with the ruthless thief-taker who once shattered her dreams and her heart.

When the love of his life chose an apprenticeship in Scotland over his marriage proposal, thief-taker Cameron Adair buried himself in his work–building an unmatched network of underworld spies. Forged by his reputation as a ruthless, greed-driven businessman, he has amassed a fortune. But he has one vulnerable spot in his armor–a brilliant, green-eyed apothecary, who continues to haunt his heart. When a murder investigation brings him back into contact with Charlotte Fielding, Cameron sets aside the past to find a killer and to distract a headstrong apothecary, clue by clue, kiss by kiss.

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Excerpt

In the distance, Charlotte Fielding spotted the simple, white-lettered sign that marked her destination. Apothecary. The tension she’d been carrying in her shoulders since entering the Whitley residence loosened its biting grip. The strain between husband and wife had not lifted in her two-day absence. If anything, it had grown worse, now that Mr. Whitley felt well enough to defend himself.

Charlotte’s brisk pace slowed. A man was slumped on the pavement between her shop and the boarded-up bakery next door. He sat with one leg stretched out across the walkway, the other bent at an angle. The rim of his hat protected his face from identification. So, too, did the long black woolen coat and matching muffler around his neck.

The tension in Charlotte’s shoulders returned full force. Even though she could not identify him, she knew what he wasn’t—a beggar. Everything about him was too fine for him to be living in the streets. She glanced around, checking the evening shadows as best she could with only lamplight to aid her. Anderson’s lending library, Patterson’s coffee shop, Gertrude’s lace boutique, Tilly’s former bakery—they all stood silent and free of loitering troublemakers and customers. If she cried out for help, would the shopkeepers hear her from their snug, upstairs apartments?

She considered entering through the back of her building, an area normally reserved for deliveries, but she couldn’t bring herself to venture down the dank, narrow alleyway at this time of night. Drawing in a calming breath, she reached into her reticule and pulled out her pouch of pepper. A poor defense, she knew, but she always kept it, thinking it would give her a small chance of escape if thrown in an assailant’s face.

Increasing her pace, she stopped in front of her shop’s weathered door, the color of a cloud-streaked blue sky. The man remained motionless, silent. Eerily so. She experienced a moment of indecision. Should she nudge him? Could he be hurt and in need of assistance? Or should she continue on inside her own shop and mind her own business?

“Hello, Charley.” The voice was unmistakable.

A chill started at the base of her neck and swept through her body. Bone deep and breath stealing. With slow, precise movements, her gaze lowered to the source of the too-familiar voice. A voice that belonged to the only man who had ever called her Charley.

The man’s uplifted face revealed itself. Thick, bold eyebrows stood out on a pale, pain-filled face. A once-beloved face. Cameron Adair. What little air she had left disappeared at the sight of Cam—Cameron. Other than a brief glimpse of him a few months ago, she hadn’t seen him for years. But she would have known him anywhere. The shock of seeing him held her immobile, terrified in a way she hadn’t been since the early days of their falling out.

“Charley, I need your help.”

His words, laced with a strain born of hard-fought control, snapped her out of the past and plunged her back into the present. Cameron Adair was sprawled at her door, hurt, needing her help.

She slid her key into the lock. Metal scratched against metal until she heard a familiar click. Setting her bag inside the door, she returned outside. “Are you able to get to your feet?” She managed to keep her voice calm, unaffected. But inside, a violent tremor began and a maelstrom of questions flooded her mind. Why come to her? Where was he hurt? Why show up on her doorstep after complete and utter silence for five miserable years?

Carefully, she folded her hands at her waist and locked her knees before she could humiliate herself with senseless emotion. She had decided long ago to waste no more of it on Cameron Adair.

Something like disappointment flared in his blue, ice-chipped eyes. “Yes, with assistance.”

“Where are you hurt?”

“Left leg, right shoulder.”

“Let’s get you inside out of the cold, and I’ll hail a hansom cab to take you to Dr. Hollingsworth.”

He shook his head and mumbled, “I’ve been shot. Lost too much blood.”

“Cameron, I can’t—”

“You must,” he interrupted. “I haven’t the strength to go elsewhere.”

She knew what it had cost him to admit to such weakness. And because she knew this about him, an unrivaled fear forced her to his side.

Positioning herself in a crouch, Charlotte took a steadying breath before sliding her arm around his broad back. Blood, sweat, and a masculine scent uniquely Cameron’s filled her nose. She gritted her teeth against an overwhelming desire to inhale deeply.

“Ready?” she asked.

He nodded once, his full lips pressed into a thin, determined line. Bending forward, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder to brace himself. The new position put them face-to-face, breath-to-breath.

About the Author

TraceyDevlynTracey Devlyn is an award-winning author who writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine’s happy ending). She’s a co-founder of Romance University, a group blog dedicated to readers and writers of romance, and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, Chicagoland’s exciting new reading salon devoted to romantic fiction.

An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

 

 

Freebie!

Also, for a limited time, Tracey will be giving away the first short story she ever published—HIS SECRET DESIRE—re-edited and re-packaged with a beautiful new cover. FREE for a LIMITED TIME at the following locations.

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Giveaway

$25 gift card to any online bookstore of the winner’s choice, plus a “Custom-made Sachet by Tracey” – Open for International Shipping

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, mystery, Review on September 26, 2014

inherit the word

 

Synopsis

Jenna Hart moved back to Crystal Cove, California, to recapture her joie de vivre and to help her aunt Vera run the local culinary bookshop and café. But it’s hard to follow a simple recipe for relaxation when murder gets thrown in the mix…

The Cookbook Nook is set to host the town’s upcoming Grill Fest, a tasty tradition which pits local amateur chefs against one another to concoct the most delicious dishes. This year’s challenge: grilled cheese. But with competing chefs bearing grudges from past years, more mouths are running off than savoring the fare.

The expression “too many cooks” proves all too true when the eight-time champ is found murdered in the alley behind the café. Soon a local diner owner (and Jenna’s “second mother”) is suspected of bumping off the competition, and Jenna has to douse the flames before the wrong person gets burned.

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Review

I liked this book more so than the first one. Jenna learns some things about her deceased husband that gives her closure…and there is a little bit of a mystery involved too (but that is a side note). Jenna also seems to have calmed down in this 2nd book and isn’t quite as high strung as she was in the first.

I thought it is clever that the author mentions her other series of books written as Avery Aames AND she also mentions lots of cookbooks…what she doesn’t know is that I am a cookbook-aholic and probably don’t need to know those titles! LOL

I liked seeing Jenna and Rhett move their relationship forward a little bit, and that they are not rushing anything.

We give this book 4 paws.

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About the Author

DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California. As AVERY AAMES, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more.

Find Daryl here: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Find Avery here: Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

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Posted in Cover Reveal, excerpt, Trailer on September 26, 2014

 

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PRESENTS. . .

A Cover Reveal

for

Out of the Dark

by April Emerson

Out_of_the_Dark_Hi-Res-Cover

Release Date: December 4 , 2014

SUMMARY

Out-of-the-Dark-3D-Paperback-eReader

Everyone makes choices in life. Carina Porter may have made the wrong one.

After graduating college, she sits beneath her complimentary blanket in first class dreaming of grand adventures when she lands in Italy. Carina always put others first, but now, she’s resolved to indulge in an extraordinary vacation alone in Tuscany. Finally free from the demands of school and family, she’s determined to break away from her sensible nature and take risks. When a handsome man sits beside her on the plane, those daydreams vanish.

Stefan Savano is dashing and handsome. As he shares tales of his family and vineyard, Carina is swept away by his charm. After a brief courtship, Carina falls hard, but events come to light that make her question whether Stefan is as kind-hearted as he appears to be.

Things aren’t as they seem at Savano vineyard. Carina seeks answers, but it seems everyone is keeping a secret. When Stefan’s nephew, Enzo, pays a visit to the estate she’s drawn to his kind and free-spirited nature, and they form a friendship. Stefan becomes preoccupied with work, and when Enzo’s stay ends, Carina finds herself feeling isolated. It is then that illness and responsibilities require Stefan and Carina to return to his small vineyard in quaint Ravine Creek, New York.

There, Carina meets Stefan’s entire family and the time she spends with Enzo becomes more frequent. She tries to deny her traitorous feelings for him, but their attraction grows each day.

When Carina experiences a tragedy, she learns what true love means and must choose between an unhappy existence and a life of passion.

Her decision could do more than destroy a family—it could be fatal.

 

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EXCERPTHe pulls a grape from the bunch, and his gaze is glued to mine. “Come here.”

I walk toward him. My will to do anything else is nonexistent. I stand just a breath away. “Close your eyes,” he says.

My heart rate increases and beads of sweat begin to drip down my back—possibly from the sun, but most likely from Stefan—as I obey.

“Open your mouth.” He commands me, and with my eyes closed, his voice sounds so haunting, so suave.

Again, I do as he says.

The flesh of the fruit is pressed against my lips, and he runs it around my mouth but doesn’t place it inside. Then, he removes it. “Lick your lips.”

I do as he says.

The flavor is sharp and tart, but there’s a lingering sweetness. I say nothing, but with eyes closed, I await further instructions and am not disappointed. This time his voice is even closer, and I feel his hand on my hip.

“Open again.”

I part my lips, and the small fruit is placed inside. I let it roll around my tongue before puncturing its flesh, and the sweet, tart flavor overwhelms my taste buds. It’s heaven. As I chew and swallow the fruit, I’m aware of his hand on my body, and though my eyes are closed, I can feel his gaze all over me.

His grip tightens momentarily, and he slides his hands up my back and into my hair. “Open your eyes.”

As soon as I do, he tugs my head back and touches his lips to mine, sharing in the sweet flavor of the grape. His kiss is slow at first, then our tongues touch, and I taste only him.

I slide my arms around his shoulders and pull him into me. I want him to know that I want this. I want him.

My neck sways to the side as he forces my mouth open further, and he lets out a moan. It’s a guttural sound filled with desire. His hand slides down my back, over the curve of my ass . . .

He stops.

“Please,” I beg, but he shakes his head.

“I’m finding it very difficult to remain a gentleman around you.”

I raise my eyebrow. “So, don’t.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

aemerson

April Emerson moved to New York City after graduating from college with a degree in literature. As a nature lover, living in the city was a culture shock, but she soon began to enjoy being surrounded by so much energy. Submerged in perpetual crowds, April developed a fondness for people watching, which inspired her to start writing. Drawn to both the light and dark of humanity, she strives to tell sexy and romantic stories with exquisitely complex characters. When she isn’t writing, she loves listening to music or reading a good book while enjoying a glass of wine.

 

 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

 

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Posted in Blog tour, paranormal, romance on September 25, 2014

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JungleHeat (2)

Jungle Heat (Amazon Chronicles, Book 1) by Sarah Mäkelä

Genre: Shifter Romance

Publisher: Kissa Press LLC

Date of Publication: September 17, 2014

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Synopsis

An Amazon Princess and a weretiger must find love enough to heal their peoples’ painful history.

The Amazon Rainforest still contains a few secrets. One of these secrets is a hidden village of women whose history is filled with the horror of conquering men.

Adara Rukan, princess of the Amazons, ventures away from her village to find something waiting for her. Andrei “Rei” Makarov is a weretiger and a biologist on assignment. Can Rei and Adara find love enough to bridge their two separate worlds?

 

Excerpt

Adara raced over the dense forest floor, trying to escape the shadow closing on her heels. Fear pumped adrenaline through her body as she ran toward her village through the darkness. Panic tangled with the sheer need to survive. If only I’d listened. What was I thinking, coming out alone?

She shot a glance over her shoulder. Her foot smacked against a tree root in the moment of distraction, pitching her body forward. The fall came in slow motion.

Cursing under her breath, she rolled onto her back. Dry leaves clung to her blonde hair. The subtle, musty scent of slow rot rose from the rich soil, mixed with something coming from behind her. The dark shadow loomed. Her gaze rose to take in her pursuer, wondering if the beast would be her doom.

The tall, broad-shouldered creature towered over her. Watching. It wasn’t human or animal. The village wise woman had warned her of beings like this, but they’d seemed like fables. How could something so fantastical be real?

Even as she trembled with fear, this creature captivated her. The black and orange stripes covering his shoulders and arms evoked a distant memory, yet the design was uncommon in the Amazon.

His hair hung in straight, black strands like a human’s, but his face had the nose, mouth, and eyes of a feline. His muscular, naked body reflected a splendid combination of both species. Sweat-shiny skin glistened through the inch-long fur that covered him. His white chest intrigued her, all the way to the patch of fur barely covering his groin. Leaves and branches framed his face with a lush green background. He crouched over her. His piercing golden eyes focused solely on her. His stare reminded her of a cat from her village staring at a small rodent before pouncing.

As he leaned down, she grabbed her kris from the garter on her thigh and pushed it against his stomach. She didn’t want today to be the day she died. Her people needed her. She wouldn’t let this beast deny them their princess.

The animal cocked his head at her. He brushed his lips over her throat, whiskers tickling her chin.

Her body stiffened. What is he doing? Bewilderment spread through her as his feline lips touched her neck. Instead of biting her, his canines grazed lightly, gently, from just below her ear down to her shoulder, almost as if exploring her flesh, instead of seeking to rip open her throat.

She tensed. Even with her weapon pressed against the beast’s stomach, she still feared for her life. As an Amazon princess, she wasn’t easily scared. But this feline made her heart pound. If only she had brought Rubia with her. She wouldn’t be in this situation and could’ve stood a better chance against this feline.

Why does he persist in toying with me? Adara swallowed as a low burn started in the pit of her stomach. These feelings confused her.

A soft sniffing sounded in her ear right before his tongue scraped rough caresses on her skin. Other jungle cats marked their territory. Did this animal believe she was his? She didn’t want to find out.

Without waiting for the feline’s next move, Adara drove the kris deep into his stomach, meeting resistance as it plunged through flesh and muscle. She forced it further as his blood flowed onto her hands, making the hilt of the kris slick, weakening her grip.

He roared and leapt back with her kris still embedded in his abdomen.

She scrambled to her feet. His scream so near the side of her face made her ear ring. Bringing up a hand to her ear, Adara felt a trail of his wet blood drip along her cheek.

He straightened his spine and strode back to her, her kris still buried in him. It seemed as if it were nothing more than a minor annoyance to him. She clenched her hands into fists and dropped them to her sides.

The reality of what she saw struck her. She froze. How could he act so unaffected? He shouldn’t have been able to move around so casually. It wasn’t possible. How can I outrun something like that? This can’t be happening. Her mother had always warned her to be careful when traveling through the forest. Why hadn’t she listened? And how could she feel so drawn to this animal when he intimidated her?

“Who are you?” Gritting her teeth, she forced her voice to resonate with the commanding tones of an Amazon huntress, and fervently hoped it didn’t betray the panic racing through her veins. Her people’s beliefs restricted them from showing fear in front of strangers. Not that they saw many. But her tribeswomen were survivors in dangerous times. Their history brimmed with reminders.

The feline bared pointed white teeth. “Call me Rei.” His husky voice reverberated like a deep growl.

He launched into the air and, before she could react, flattened her to the ground. Air whooshed out of her lungs. Her eyes widened and locked onto his.

He pinned her arms next to her head and pressed his feline lips to hers. His tongue scraped across her lower lip, causing nips of pain to cut through the alluring sensation.

She shook her head hard, breaking the kiss. Her breath rushed out short and quick. Never before had she kissed anyone. His mouth on hers created fiery stirrings within her body that felt almost too good. Her racing pulse only spread the warmth throughout her body that much faster.

Twice a year, her tribeswomen associated with Indian men. The younger girls were forced to stay in a hut during those visits, although Adara had snuck out once with Rubia in a fit of rebellion. She’d spotted one of her kin pressing her mouth against an Indian male’s. Could this be what happens?

But men weren’t to be trusted. Her kin had learned that the hard way many, many years ago.

Her mind flashed to the tales she’d heard from the wise woman. Horrible reminders assaulted her, memories of the men from long ago, enslaving her kind, killing them ruthlessly with diseases and swords.

She could imagine the cruelty of the conquering, pillaging men as vividly as if she had been there herself, so strongly had the wise woman spoken. It had taken weeks for her to sleep soundly after listening to that story.

Sudden panic swept away the lust that burned inside her. This creature could do the same. He’s chased me, after all.

“What do you want from me?” Adara asked, trying to sound forceful, but instead her voice came out husky. She cleared her throat and returned his gaze.

Talking with an animal! Rubia would be jealous. Her tribeswomen would never believe this story… if she survived the encounter.

Rei smiled, warmth emanating from him. “You.” His chest rumbled, and he rolled the word off his tongue like an exotic purr.

 

About the Author

NYT & USA Today bestselling author Sarah Mäkelä loves her fiction dark, magical, and passionate. She is a paranormal romance author, but she’s written all over the romance spectrum with cyberpunk, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy…even a sweet contemporary romance!

A life-long paranormal fan, she still sleeps with a night-light. In her spare time, she reads sexy books, watches scary movies (and Ghost Adventures), and plays computer games with her husband. When she gets the chance, she loves traveling the world too.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

 

Giveaway

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