Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 23, 2018

Synopsis

Dylan Anders is making amends

…to his family

…to the public

…to the woman who just walked into his life

Paige Walters must learn to forgive

…her busy father

…her bossy sister

…and the wonderful man she horribly misjudged

Ambitious Paige Walters is ecstatic when she’s hired to recruit musicians for a literacy campaign—it’s her chance to prove she’s got the chops to make it in the family business. When Dylan steps in, she immediately dislikes him and vows not to let the fallen idol screw it up. But as the work brings Paige and Dylan closer together, their attraction grows…and so do their challenges…

Excerpt

“Brilliant. Just brilliant,” Paige murmured as she placed her trash in the pail and carefully wove her way through the crowd of people in the coffee shop. Over and over in her mind, she replayed her clumsy act of knocking her stuff to the ground.

And that was after practically orgasming while eating a cake pop.

Okay, two cake pops.

She groaned as she exited the shop and walked toward the parking garage. Why had she agreed to go to coffee with Dylan Anders? Why hadn’t she stuck to her guns and had Daisy call him with an appointment? Not only could she have avoided making an idiot out of herself, but she also could have kept her previous clueless opinion of him intact and not have to deal with the fact that he was a nice guy who seemed to get what she was trying to do.

Other than Daisy, he was the only one who seemed to get what she was doing.

And now she realized she had a fascination with tattoos. Tattoos! When Dylan had first taken off his jacket, she was shocked and a little repulsed by the sheer amount of ink on his arms. But after a little while, she couldn’t help but keep noticing the artwork and found it to be…exquisite. Beautiful. More than once she had to stop herself from reaching out and touching his arms—which, forgetting about the tattoos, were muscular and sexy—and asking him to tell her what had inspired the choices.

Why? Why him? Why couldn’t one of her favorite authors have come in and talked with her like this? Why did it have to be a scruffy, tattoo-covered rock star who not only didn’t look the part of anything she was trying to do, but who potentially would also be a distraction for…well…her and probably any female in a ten-mile radius?

Although, she had to give him credit—other than the barista who handed him their order, no one bothered him. No one came looking for autographs or pictures. He blended right into the crowd. How was that possible? When she got home, she would do a thorough Google search and see what else she could find out. Yes. That’s exactly what she’d do. As charmed as she was by him—and she truly was—she had a feeling that part of it was an act to get her to agree to have him join the campaign.

But why? Why was this such a big deal to him? He wasn’t going to be paid for it. And really, compared with being in one of the biggest rock bands in the world, this was nothing. It wasn’t doing anything for him on a professional level, so why was he so anxious to be a part of it? What could he gain?

If there was one thing Paige prided herself on, it was being a good judge of character. And Dylan didn’t strike her as the selfless type. He had a swagger and a confidence that seemed in direct conflict with the image she was hoping to project with this campaign.

So was this personal? Did he know someone who struggled with reading? He was clearly well read based on what he’d shared with her, so she knew he didn’t have the issue. Someone who struggled with literacy didn’t read that many books in a three-month time span. Should she decide to work with him, she’d have to ask.

With a groan, she pulled out her keys as she approached her Toyota Prius Prime. Her sporty little hybrid was shiny and new, and she loved how she was doing something good for the environment at the same time. It had been a fight to get her father to install charging stations in the company garage, but he had relented and now…

She stopped and noted that her car wasn’t charging.

“Dammit, how could I have forgotten to plug it in?” Then she remembered how she had hurried in this morning and feared she was late. Honestly, it wasn’t the first time she’d forgotten. But as she stepped closer, she saw that was the least of her problems.

She had a flat tire.

“Dang it,” she hissed. With a loud sigh, she opened the door and tossed her bags in and then popped the trunk to get at her spare tire.

Then she really started to curse.

It wasn’t until that moment she remembered how this model no longer came with a spare but with a patch kit and a pump. Great. Like she had even the slightest clue how to patch a tire! She let out an aggravated growl and slammed the trunk shut.

“Everything okay?”

Great. Just great. Turning around, she forced a smile. “Oh…hey, Dylan. What are you still doing here?”

“I wasn’t in a rush to get anywhere and I got a call, so I decided to take it rather than be distracted on the road. So…what’s going on? Everything okay with your car?”

And for the life of her, she didn’t know why her temper chose that moment to snap, but it did. “Actually, no. It’s not. And you know why?”

Dylan was about to answer, but she cut him off.

“Because life sucks, that’s why!” she cried. “Or maybe it’s just me. I forgot to put my car on the charging station. Why? Because I’m too worried about how it will look if I’m three minutes late for work! Then—because that’s not enough—my front tire is flat. Flat! It was fine this morning! And my super-new, super-cute, super-efficient, great-for-the-planet car doesn’t come with a spare tire. Oh no. That would have been too easy. No, this car comes with a patch kit and a pump. So I have more trunk space, but now I have to figure out how to patch a tire!”

“I’m sure it’s not—”

“Do you see the lighting in here? My glasses? Do I look like someone who is going to be able to spot a hole in a tire and then patch it? Take the tire off and put it back on? Do I look like I even want to?” she asked, her voice going into the hysteria category.

Slowly, Dylan climbed from his car and walked toward her. “Okay, okay. How about we call AAA or something? Maybe they can send someone to do it for you?”

While it was a completely reasonable suggestion, it pissed her off even more. “Because I wanted to leave! I wanted to leave an hour ago! And now I’m never going to get to leave or go to the grocery store to get brownies and wine, so I can go home and Google who the heck you are!”

About the Author

Samantha Chase, a creative writing teacher, released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Since then, she has published seventeen more titles and has become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of twenty-four years and their two sons in North Carolina.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in excerpt, Guest Post, suspense on February 22, 2018

Title: THE LONG LOST
Author: Tom Nixon
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 418
Genre: Suspense

Synopsis

The sudden and strange disappearance of Joel Thomas brings together his ex-wife and best friend in a search for answers. As Mary and Jason seek out the truth, their quest consistently turns up more questions than clues. In another time, the story of a long-time group of college friends plays out across 30 years of history, revealing the highs and lows of a group that vowed to maintain their friendship until death. Is the answer to Joel’s mysterious departure found in a simple note sent to Mary, or is it locked somewhere back in time? Told in alternating voices and timelines, Nixon’s The Long Lost tells a story of both intrigue and suspense — along with sentimentality and introspection — as he examines the painful discoveries realized when childhood friends grow up…and grow apart.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Guest Post

If You Just Write, You Won’t Go Wrong

When word got out that I had completed the manuscript for my first published novel, the news was met with both congratulations and questions from friends and family. The two most common sentiments were some variation of “What an achievement!” and “How did you do that?”

To both, I thought to myself, “Anyone can write a book. While appreciated, why such the fuss?” To me, writing the book was the easy part. Getting started was the difficult part.

Let me explain. As someone who has been writing for as long as I can remember, the act of writing was never something I considered to be an accomplishment in and of itself. Writing was an action, not an end. Perhaps I took for granted, all these years, how daunting the task of completing a full-length manuscript was to someone who wasn’t used to writing.

But I grew up writing. An English major in college, and a lover of creative expression of all kinds, I’ve written everything from novels to screenplays to music to children’s stories. The writing always seemed like the easy thing to do. The obstacles were getting going…and then, once completed, making sure your work would see the proverbial light of day.

But in 2017, I hadn’t written anything creatively in 20 years. It had always been a dream of mine to be a professional author. But my early endeavors were met with the reality of the extremely long odds of breaking into the business as a budding author. Manuscripts and queries submitted to publishing houses went unanswered. Drafts went unread. It was a difficult thing to get noticed — let alone get published — in the mid-1990s. But 20 years later, self-publishing platforms became ubiquitous (chief among them, CreateSpace, which I used to publish my book on Amazon.com, which enables the book to be purchased online wherever books are sold).

So distribution was no longer the main stumbling block. No. Getting started was.

Avoiding Paralysis By Analysis

Where to begin? Now dormant for two decades plus, my creative juices were both latent and percolating at once. Over the years, I had come up with four or five stories that I had planned to write “some day.” January 2017, some day had arrived.

Four or five ideas. Can’t write them all at once. Where to begin…where to begin?

I knew if I let that question fester for long, I’d never get going. I didn’t want to become paralyzed by inaction. So I did what every writer does best.

I wrote.

I opened the laptop and wrote the first sentence to my novel. “Everybody knows someone like Joel Thomas.”

At the time, I had no idea what those words meant. But it was a start. The cork was popped. Now, I had to explain who Joel Thomas was, and why I was writing his story.

Not knowing myself where this would lead, I just kept writing. Joel Thomas was a very ordinary sort…unremarkable, in fact. In a way, these weren’t my own words…they simply flowed through me and into the document.

As I wrote, I described an ordinary man with an ordinary life. This led me to my first twist. If Joel is so ordinary and boring, why will anyone care about him? Then it hit me. Because Joel Thomas would suddenly disappear.

And I was off. I now knew the story I was going to tell. It would be a suspenseful, twist-laden mystery…but one with sentimentality and nostalgia (as is so frequently my wont). It was a combination of all four-to-five stories I had considered writing all those years.

Two months later, the first draft was complete. Truth be told, the story just came out. It had been bottled like a genie for 20+ years, and just needed to be released. It flowed through me like I was simply the channel through which it poured. I couldn’t believe it myself. How could this be so easy…when it had been so difficult for two decades?

The Moral of My Story

Because I started. I made it a resolution in the new year of 2017 to do it, and I did it. I wouldn’t let anything stop me…not even an over-analysis of what the finished product would be. I just wrote.

And that’s the point. My advice to anyone who is considering writing that book they’ve long held in the back of his or her mind is simple: just write. Start. Don’t overthink where it will go. Just get going.

In the end, if nothing else, you will have accomplished what my friends and family — and now you, likely — once considered to be such an insurmountable achievement: writing that first book.

May inspiration be with you.

 

Excerpt

EVERYBODY knows someone like Joel Thomas.

I once heard someone describe him as the man who was friendly with everyone…but friends with no one. Which isn’t exactly true. It’s not that he was particularly at odds with any one person, or even that he was standoffish. It’s just that, when it came to having meaningful, deep friendships or relationships, there was nobody you could point to and say, “Those two are very close.”

But yet, there he was. Joel was at every party…every night out…every group outing. He seemed to like sports, the arts, movies, TV, pop culture. He knew a little bit about everything, so he always seemed to fit in, no matter what the occasion. But you were hard-pressed to say why, if asked.

Joel was married for a little more than 16 years to Mary, a woman he met in college during his study abroad program. They never had kids, but they did acquire the obligatory dog and 2,500-square-foot ranch in the suburbs. It was a normal life, if unspectacular. But that was Joel. Normal, sure. But unspectacular. A man that was seemingly liked by all…but loved by nobody in particular.

It would be a shock, then, when Joel suddenly disappeared.

I got the call around 7:30 that night. Mary seemed put off, but not frantic. I can’t tell you why I remember her demeanor in that way, only that it seemed significant at the time. Was I expecting the reaction an actress might have on a bad primetime cop show? I don’t know. Then again, Mary was Joel’s mirror image in some ways, so a subdued (though, certainly distraught) state of mind wasn’t entirely out of character. Still, it just seemed…different. Different than what I’d suspect, but I wasn’t sure if it was meaningfully different, or just different.

And I can’t claim to have been in the proper state of mind to be a judge of such things. Not that night. It’s a strange thing when you get “the call.” Or, in the movies, it’s the knock on the door. If you’ve never been so unfortunate, you’ll know when it happens. I’ll never forget watching my dad get the call when grandpa died. I’d never seen my old man cry before. It was jarring. It was a shock, to be sure…but grandpa was 84, and with a history of heart problems.

There’s a part of you that expects it…one that has been waiting for such a call. There’s another part of you in paralyzing shock. And there’s this weird part of you that starts immediately and reflexively having the sort of reaction others might expect you to have. Like you’re the one on the TV show. Call it, macabre exhilaration? This is happening. It’s horrible. But it’s excitement, in a sick sort of way. All of those parts of you begin an instant quarrel inside of you for supremacy, and it’s not until several hours, days or weeks later that reality sets in, and you hate yourself for feeling anything other than grief.

“Jason? Hi, it’s Mary. Sorry for calling so late.” A long, pregnant pause. “It’s Joel.”

Shit. Those words rang out like a shotgun in the open prairie air. It’s Joel. Whatever came next, I knew it wasn’t good. I immediately hunched down into a chair at the kitchen table. I’m not sure if I said anything, let out a self-defeated groan, or just waited in stunned silence for Mary to continue.

“It’s Joel. He’s not answering.”

“Not answering what?” I asked, now grasping to a lifeline of hope. Maybe I got ahead of myself with needless worry.

“Anything,” Mary responded, immediately sucking the wind out of my hopeful sails. “The phone, texts, the door. Normally I wouldn’t worry. We sometimes go weeks — maybe months — without talking. In fact, we usually do.”

“So what’s the worry?”

Mary paused. I could tell there was a “next part” that she didn’t want to get to. But she gave in. “It’s not normal.”

“What’s not?” I pressed.

“To get something in the mail.”

“What something? Something in the mail? From who? What was it?”

Another long pause.

“From Joel.”

“Mary, what are you saying? What the hell happened? Spit it out.”

Mary started slowly and softly, building both pace and volume as she continued. “I’ve been trying to get ahold of Joel for a few days. We got a strange tax thing in the mail, and it didn’t seem to make any sense, so I scanned it over to Joel last week. Followed up with a phone call. No answer. Then the texts. Nothing.”

“Yeah…” I needed her to get to the point.

“So I stopped by a couple days ago. No answer at his place. His car was there, though. I kinda poked around a bit, peeked in some windows…nothing. So I called the office. They said he’s on vacation. So I started to calm down…didn’t think much of it.”

“There ya go,” I reassured her. “He’s probably just out of the country or something. No cell service, ignoring emails and stuff.”

“That’s what I thought,” she continued. “Then I got this in the mail.”

“What?”

“A note. In a box. Like a cardboard shipping box. It looked more like a parcel at first, with no return address. But it was light…like a letter, you know? I opened the box, and there was just this note in there.”

“Yeah?”

“Jason. It was Joel’s handwriting.”

“So? What did it say?”

And now, the longest, most silent, pause.

“Mary, what did the letter say? Read it to me.”

“Read it to you?”

“Yes! Read it to me!”

“No need to read it…I have it memorized…it was only two words.”

“Mary, what the hell did the letter say?”

A shorter pause. A softer voice. A slower pace. Finally, Mary got to the point.

“Tell Jason.”

About the Author

Tom Nixon is an author and entrepreneur with writing credits to his name that span artistic genres. He has written multiple novels, two screenplays, several short stories, a children’s story, and has five music albums in his catalogue, for which he wrote both music and lyrics. He discovered his passion for writing and reading at an early age, going on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Michigan. He resides in Michigan with his wife and children, along with a couple of the canine variety.

His latest book is the suspense novel, The Long Lost.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Posted in excerpt, Historical, memoir, nonfiction on February 21, 2018

Title: Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War
Author: Mary Lawlor
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield
Pages: 336
Genre: Memoir
Format: Hardcover/Kindle

FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER: GROWING UP IN THE SIXTIES AND THE COLD WAR tells the story of the author as a young woman coming of age in an Irish Catholic, military family during the Cold War.  Her father, an aviator in the Marines and later the Army, was transferred more than a dozen times to posts from Miami to California and Germany as the government’s Cold War policies demanded.  For the pilot’s wife and daughters, each move meant a complete upheaval of ordinary life.  The car was sold, bank accounts closed, and of course one school after another was left behind.  Friends and later boyfriends lined up in memory as a series of temporary attachments.  The book describes the dramas of this traveling household during the middle years of the Cold War.  In the process, FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER shows how the larger turmoil of American foreign policy and the effects of Cold War politics permeated the domestic universe. The climactic moment of the story takes place in the spring of 1968, when the author’s father was stationed in Vietnam and she was attending college in Paris.  Having left the family’s quarters in Heidelberg, Germany the previous fall, she was still an ingénue; but her strict upbringing had not gone deep enough to keep her anchored to her parents’ world.  When the May riots broke out in the Latin quarter, she attached myself to the student leftists and American draft resisters who were throwing cobblestones at the French police. Getting word of her activities via a Red Cross telegram delivered on the airfield in Da Nang, Vietnam, her father came to Paris to find her. The book narrates their dramatically contentious meeting and return to the American military community of Heidelberg.  The book concludes many years later, as the Cold War came to a close.  After decades of tension that made communication all but impossible, the author and her father reunited.  As the chill subsided in the world at large, so it did in the relationship between the pilot and his daughter. When he died a few years later, the hard edge between them, like the Cold War stand-off, had become a distant memory.

Excerpt

The pilot’s house where I grew up was mostly a women’s world.  There were five of us.  We had the place to ourselves most of the time.  My mother made the big decisions–where we went to school, which bank to keep our money in.  She had to decide these things often because we moved every couple of years.  The house is thus a figure of speech, a way of thinking about a long series of small, cement dwellings we occupied as one fictional home.

It was my father, however, who turned the wheel, his job that rotated us to so many different places.  He was an aviator, first in the Marines, later in the Army.  When he came home from his extended absences–missions, they were called–the rooms shrank around him.  There wasn’t enough air.  We didn’t breathe as freely as we did when he was gone, not because he was mean or demanding but because we worshipped him.  Like satellites my sisters and I orbited him at a distance, waiting for the chance to come closer, to show him things we’d made, accept gifts, hear his stories.  My mother wasn’t at the center of things anymore.  She hovered, maneuvered, arranged, corrected.  She was first lady, the dame in waiting.  He was the center point of our circle, a flier, a winged sentry who spent most of his time far up over our heads.  When he was home, the house was definitely his.

These were the early years of the Cold War.  It was a time of vivid fears, pictured nowadays in photos of kids hunkered under their school desks.  My sisters and I did that.  The phrase ‘air raid drill’ rang hard–the double-a sound a cold, metallic twang, ending with ill.  It meant rehearsal for a time when you might get burnt by the air you breathed.

Every day we heard practice rounds of artillery fire and ordinance on the near horizon.  We knew what all this training was for.  It was to keep the world from ending.  Our father was one of many Dads who sweat at soldierly labor, part of an arsenal kept at the ready to scare off nuclear annihilation of life on earth.  When we lived on post, my sisters and I saw uniformed men marching in straight lines everywhere.  This was readiness, the soldiers rehearsing against Armageddon.  The rectangular buildings where the commissary, the PX, the bowling alley and beauty shop were housed had fall out shelters in the basements, marked with black and yellow wheels, the civil defense insignia.  Our Dad would often leave home for several days on maneuvers, readiness exercises in which he and other men played war games designed to match the visions of big generals and political men.  Visions of how a Russian air and ground attack would happen.  They had to be ready for it.

A clipped, nervous rhythm kept time on military bases.  It was as if you needed to move efficiently to keep up with things, to be ready yourself, even if you were just a kid.  We were chased by the feeling that life as we knew it could change in an hour.

About the Author

Mary Lawlor grew up in an Army family during the Cold War.  Her father was a decorated fighter pilot who fought in the Pacific during World War II, flew missions in Korea, and did two combat tours in Vietnam. His family followed him from base to base and country to country during his years of service. Every two or three years, Mary, her three sisters, and her mother packed up their household and moved. By the time she graduated from high school, she had attended fourteen different schools. These displacements, plus her father?s frequent absences and brief, dramatic returns, were part of the fabric of her childhood, as were the rituals of base life and the adventures of life abroad.

As Mary came of age, tensions between the patriotic, Catholic culture of her upbringing and the values of the sixties counterculture set family life on fire.  While attending the American College in Paris, she became involved in the famous student uprisings of May 1968.  Facing her father, then posted in Vietnam, across a deep political divide, she fought as he had taught her to for a way of life completely different from his and her mother’s.

Years of turbulence followed.  After working in Germany, Spain and Japan, Mary went on to graduate school at NYU, earned a Ph.D. and became a professor of literature and American Studies at Muhlenberg College.  She has published three books, Recalling the Wild (Rutgers UP, 2000), Public Native America (Rutgers UP, 2006), and most recently Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War (Rowman and Littlefield, September 2013).

She and her husband spend part of each year on a small farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

Her latest book is the memoir, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 20, 2018

 

The Nobleman’s Daughter by Jen Geigle Johnson

England, 1819

While British high society primps and plays, the impoverished citizens of London languish. But there are those fighting for the freedom of common citizens—including two members of the aristocracy who secretly champion revolution. In the drawing rooms of the upper class, Lady Amanda and Lord Nathaniel flirt and tease with the best of them as she pretends to win every heart in London for sport, and he, to conquer them. But in truth, their flirtation is merely a façade designed to keep their clandestine actions hidden from the ton— and from each other. When Nathaniel presents himself as a potential suitor, the attraction between the two is undeniable—but the faces they portray to the world are not enough to win each other’s hearts.

When their crusade for London’s poor unites them more deeply than they could imagine, Amanda and Nathaniel struggle to trust one another with their true ideals and identities. But when the call to action leads Amanda into the path of danger, she can only hope that Nathaniel will see through her frivolous pretense. Because now, only the aid of the suitor she loves most—but trusts least—can save her.

 

 

“This book touched me in a personal way.” “intrigue and mystery from the first sentence of the story.” “Excellent Debut novel by Jen Geigle Johnson. Love the depth of the characters that grab ahold of you and won’t let go. Not your typical romance tale.”

 

 

While British high society primps and plays, the impoverished citizens of London languish. But there are those fighting for the freedom of common citizens—including two members of the aristocracy who secretly champion revolution. In the drawing rooms of the upper class, Lady Amanda and Lord Nathaniel flirt and tease with the best of them as she pretends to win every heart in London for sport, and he, to conquer them. But in truth, their flirtation is merely a façade designed to keep their clandestine actions hidden from the ton—and from each other. When Nathaniel presents himself as a potential suitor, the attraction between the two is undeniable—but the faces they portray to the world are not enough to win each other’s hearts.

While their crusade for London’s poor unites them more deeply than they could imagine, Amanda and Nathaniel struggle to trust one another with their true ideals and identities. But when the call to action leads Amanda into the path of danger, she can only hope that Nathaniel will see through her frivolous pretense. Because now, only the aid of the suitor she loves most—but trusts least—can save her.

 

Jen Geigle Johnson once greeted an ancient turtle under the water by grabbing her fin. Other vital things to know: the sound a water-ski makes on glassy water and how to fall down steep moguls with grace. No mountain is too steep for her to climb, yet. During a study break date in college, she sat on top of a jeep’s roll bars up in the mountains and fell in love. She discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager.

Now an award-winning author and mother of six, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure. She is a member of the RWA, the SCBWI, and LDStorymakers. She is also the chair of the Lonestar.Ink writing conference.

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/10/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 17, 2018

A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne

A Jane Austen-inspired Pirate Romance

Sophie Crestwood is never going to catch a husband, and she isn’t even sure she wants one. Her father is a gossip, her mother always has her nose in a book, and little Jack has shamefully been dismissed from boarding school. Worst of all, a pirate moves next door into Pembroke Hall!

When Sophie’s sent to a matchmaking party at a neighboring estate, the pirate from Pembroke arrives and distracts everyone from the summer festivities. Unguarded, her feelings about the mysterious Captain Murdock bloom into a trusted friendship that Sophie fears may come to mean much more than anyone would ever suspect. Keeping company with a reputed pirate is one thing but falling in love with him could ruin the eccentric Crestwood family for good.Danielle Thorne’s book A Pirate at Pembroke is up for nomination in the Kindle Scout Contest.

Please vote for her book!

If Kindle Scout selects A Pirate at Pembroke for publication you’ll get a copy of the book for free!

 

Excerpt

The sad sonata continued its siren’s call. It echoed a passionate and haunting melody, just like the dark halls of Pembroke with its soiled paintings of aristocrats from long ago. Sophie examined the chamber doors through the gloom and decided the door to the second room on the left was slightly ajar with a dim light shimmering around it. She moved in silence to the small gap and caught her breath.

Captain Murdock stood in front of a languid fire burning beneath a marble mantel. One bare foot was balanced on a low, milking stool nestled up against a heavy, velvet-covered chair. The other kept time on the floor. With his cane leaning against the fireplace, Murdock stood balanced on his own. In his hands, a violin tucked underneath his chin swayed. It moved in time with his body as he performed a strange dance to the music. His profile in the firelight was sharp and clear. He stood slender and tall. In these private bedchambers, half-dressed in loose buckskin breeches and an untucked shirt open at the neck, he did not seem as rigid and menacing as before. From his dreamy stare, his thoughts were somewhere inside the flickering blue and orange flames. The reflection of the firelight made his pale eyes glow.

Sophie noticed his hair was undone. It hung far past his neck, with slight waves resting on his broad upper back on either side of his shoulders. She put a hand to her mouth realizing it had fallen open, and at the same time, that it was scandalous to spy on her host. She swallowed and stepped away. The music stopped in mid-cry. Her heart jumped in her chest, and for a brief pause, the only sound to be heard was her own loud breathing. She stepped back and pivoted on her heel.

Horrified he might have felt her examination, she strode down the rug-lined hallway as quietly as she could, but each footfall sounded like muffled thunder as she hurried back to the stairs. She reached the banister and slipped down the first step, but her shift snagged on something, and she spun about to free it.

Captain Murdock stood behind her, silent. He held a handful of her shift in his fist. She had not snagged it after all. Rather, he had snagged her. She jerked in surprise, but his hold kept her from falling backward and tumbling down the stairs. His other hand trembled as it balanced precariously on a carved dragon head at the top of his cane.

“What do you think you are doing?”

“I… I heard music and followed it.”

His eyes blazed with accusation, and it unnerved her.

“I’m so sorry,” she said in a choking voice. Her nose tingled again. She touched it with her fingers to make it stop.

“It’s not possible you heard music from all the way down in your room.”

Sophie took a nervous breath. He stood there, one step above her like a giant, her bedclothes gripped in his hand so tight it shook. She hadn’t heard him shuffle down the hall after her. He moved as silent as a ghost when he wanted — even with a cane. She found the courage to meet his penetrating gaze. “I did hear something from my room. Then I was in the hall.”

Captain Murdock waited for a long pause, while the dust they had stirred up in the rugs pirouetted in the air and into Sophie’s eyes and nose. “You should not be out of bed,” he said.

Sophie swallowed down her frightened apprehension. She tried to beg his pardon, but her lungs failed her, and she coughed in reflex. She covered her mouth with her fingers. “I’m so sorry,” she repeated between them, her cheeks hot with humiliation. She stared at the fistful of her garments he’d snatched, aware his eyes examined her from her straight, waist-length hair down to her naked ankles. With a jerk, he dropped her shift like it burned his hand.

“Go to bed,” he said in a quiet voice.

Sophie’s nose had not quit tingling and itching. “Yes, sir,” she said at once, but not soon enough to keep a sneeze from erupting. It came so fast and without warning, she had no chance to catch it before it doused him with all her rejection.

Horrified, she stumbled down the next step, thankful the old handrail held fast. When she glanced back, he was wiping off his shirt with a look of disgust.

 

 

Author Danielle Thorne

Danielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, antiques, cats, dogs, and long naps. She does not like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of Ricks College and BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea. Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. A Pirate at Pembroke is her newest release. Her non-fiction book, The Story of Queen Victoria 200 Years After Her Birth, is coming fall 2018.

Website * Blog * Twitter * Instagram

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 PayPal Cash

Ends 3/15/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Romantic Suspense on February 16, 2018

Synopsis

“Vivid and charming.” —CHARLAINE HARRIS, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

He’s always been a haven:

For the lost. The sick. The injured.

But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he’ll do more than heal her battered spirit—he’ll defend her with his life.

K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe’s very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path—but for all his big heart, he’s never been in love.

Until he meets Sarah Clifton’s haunted eyes. Until he realizes he’ll do anything to save her.

All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there’s no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth…but he’d never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah’s finally ready to face whatever comes her way.

It’s time to take a stand.

Excerpt

Breaking out of his thoughts, Otto strode to the viner entrance. Even at that early hour, it was starting to fill up with customers. Giving Jules a nod of greeting, he made his way to the table that had become their usual meeting spot after the diner had been blown up two months ago.

Hugh saw him and swiveled around, attempting to prop his leg on the chair next to him, but Otto was already there, sliding into the seat.

“Quit swinging your leg around,” Otto grumbled, flipping his coffee mug right side up. “It’ll never heal if you keep abusing it.”

“I’m not abusing my leg. You’re thinking of another body part.” Wiggling his eyebrows comically, Hugh returned his foot to the chair across from him.

Otto didn’t laugh. “Your broken arm?”

“No, my…” Hugh’s reply trailed off as Otto gave him a stern look. “You know, I liked it better when you were obsessing over Theo, rather than me.”

“I didn’t.” Theo leaned back in his chair, his normally severe expression amused.

“Maybe if you’d quit getting shot and breaking bones, then I could ‘obsess’ less,” Otto suggested. Sometimes he felt like the ground crew for two reckless acrobats, running around trying to catch them before they hit the ground.

Jules hurried over to their table and poured him some coffee. “How are you, Otto?”

He couldn’t honestly say “good,” since he was living in a hot swamp of still-fresh humiliation after his last encounter with Sarah, plus he’d had to wake up every three hours to bottle-feed puppies, but any response other than “fine” would awaken Jules’s curiosity, and he didn’t want to deal with the interrogation that would follow. Instead, he raised a shoulder and grunted.

“Uh-oh,” Jules said, meeting Theo’s gaze. The two exchanged a look that Otto knew boded poorly for him. “There’s a story here. Hang on. Let me get the Lynches their breakfast platters, and then I’ll be back to hear the whole thing.”

“There is no ‘whole thing,’” Otto protested, but Jules was already gone. From Hugh’s laughter, his huffy mood had disappeared, as well.

Theo leaned toward them. “Before she gets back, what did you learn?”

“About what?” Otto’s brain felt foggy from lack of sleep.

“The newest houseguest,” Hugh prodded. “We haven’t had a chance to talk about it yet, and Grace still won’t let me near her. You’re the only one with access. Did you manage to get her license number?”

It seemed like he couldn’t escape from reminders of Sarah. A fresh wave of humiliation flooded him. “No.” Otto didn’t just mean he didn’t get her license number; he meant that there’d be no discussion about Sarah…not until he could forget what he’d said, which probably meant they could never talk about her. Otto would be okay with that.

“You didn’t?” Hugh sat back, wincing slightly and reaching his good arm to reposition his leg. “I knew I should’ve followed you up there, but Jules threatened my life if I did. What’s her last name?”

Pressing his lips together, Otto gave a single, sharp shake of his head.

“Are you blushing?” Hugh asked. “Holy monkey balls, you are! Why are you blushing, Ninja Paul Bunyan?”

“I’m not.”

“You are.” Theo eyed him from across the table. “Why?”

“What did you do?” Hugh gave him a feigned look of horror, and Otto resisted the urge to punch him.

“What could we have done?” he scoffed instead, staring down at his untouched coffee. “It was two minutes. Grace was there.”

Theo was still studying him. “You like her?”

Opening his mouth to deny it, to say he felt nothing, Otto found he couldn’t get the words out. Instead, he gave the same half-assed shrug he’d offered earlier.

“Yeah?” Hugh sounded fascinated, and Otto had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. It wasn’t that uncommon. “You have a thing for her? The last time you had a thing for someone, it was that dispatcher who moved to Cleveland right after you got up the nerve to ask her out. What was that—two years ago?”

“Three,” Theo corrected, his gaze not leaving Otto’s face. “Consider doing a background check before you get in too deep.” Otto gazed at him evenly, and Theo gave a half smile and a shrug. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

“If you like her,” Hugh said, “you’re not the right one to be investigating her. Things get fuzzy when there are emotions involved. I should know. Want me to dig around for you?”

“There will be no digging,” Jules stated as she pulled a chair from a nearby table and plopped down next to Theo. “Hey, sweetness. I’m on break so you can kiss me now.”

Theo gave her a smile and obliged. Otto focused on his coffee until they came up for air.

“Okay.” Jules sounded a little breathless. “Now what’s this about digging?”

“We were talking about gardening,” Hugh lied easily, and Otto held back a snort.

“Uh-huh.” Jules sounded as skeptical as she should be. “Gardening. In November.”

Hugh gave her a sweet smile. “Never too early to start planning.”

“Right.” After giving Hugh a suspicious look, she turned to Theo. “What were you really talking about?”

“Otto likes Sarah.”

Mouth open, Otto stared at Theo. He’d expected Hugh to spill the beans, but Theo? “What the hell?”

Looking completely unrepentant, Theo laid an arm over the back of Jules’s chair and picked up his coffee mug with his free hand. “I would’ve just told her later.”

“That’s true,” Jules said, leaning forward with the same gossip-loving expression as Hugh. “He knows better than to withhold juicy tidbits. It’ll be useful to have me in the loop, though. I can talk you up to her, arrange ‘coincidental’ meetings, let you know her date preferences, and all that.”

Otto groaned, tipping his head back and closing his eyes. Why had he even bothered getting out of bed that morning? He could be wallowing in embarrassment with puppies sleeping on him, rather than wallowing in embarrassment with a growing crowd of amused, overly helpful friends.

“I’ll find out today what she thinks about you.” Jules was still talking.

“Please don’t.”

Hugh was snickering. “Fair warning, buddy. I have to tell Grace, too.”

Opening his eyes, Otto turned his best glare—one that transformed even the surliest suspect into a compliant heap of goo—on his partner, but it only made Hugh grin wider.

“Sorry, but if she found out that she was the last to know, my life wouldn’t be worth living anymore. Grace would make sure of that.” Hugh made a mock-terrified face.

“I’m not interested in Sarah.” Otto held back a wince. It sounded like a lie, even to him.

It didn’t help when Jules and Hugh started laughing. Even Theo looked amused.

His only hope was to change the subject. “Jules, I need a favor.”

She bounced a little in her chair. “Do you want me to ask Sarah what her favorite flower is?”

“No. Can you take care of the puppies tonight during my shift?”

“Puppies?” Jules still looked excited, even though he’d shut down her matchmaking. “Of course. Dee is going to be out-of-her-mind thrilled.”

At the mention of the little girl, Otto managed a smile. “How’s the cat?”

“He’s great. Turtle is quickly becoming the king of the house.”

“Turtle?” Hugh repeated. “Interesting name for a cat.”

Jules shrugged. “It involved about eight hours of discussion over two days. Once everyone agreed on a name, I wasn’t about to argue.”

“Jules!” Megan, the diner owner, yelled from her spot by the window. “Break’s over. The Silver Fork Casino bus just pulled up.”

Making a face, Jules pressed a quick kiss to Theo’s cheek before standing. As she returned her chair to its rightful spot at the neighboring table, she said, “See y’all later.” She winked at Otto. “Drop the puppies off anytime this afternoon. I’ll make sure we’re all home.”

The emphasis reminded Otto that Sarah would be at Jules’s house, and he almost groaned. A part of him was eager to see her again, but facing her after his super-creep act the other day would be rough. He gave Jules a slight nod, hiding his apprehension, and then turned back to his partners.

When he saw their smirks, he braced himself. Breakfast was going to be rough.

 

About the Author

katie ruggleWhen she’s not writing, KATIE RUGGLE rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado Mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-the-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest 

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 16, 2018

 

Gladly Beyond by Nichole Van

An ancient curse, fractured at the birth of three brothers.
Two strangers helplessly drawn to each other.
A love story two hundred years in the making.

Claire Raythorn arrives in Florence, Italy, shattered, alone, and anxious to rebuild her life—preferably one without men. But she soon finds herself hunted and haunted— literally—when a mysterious stalker dressed like Mr. Darcy from BBC central casting appears in her photos. And only her photos. Who is this man? And what does his ghostly presence mean?

Dante D’Angelo simply wants to safeguard his brothers, despite the family curse that hounds his vision. But then Claire Raythorn walks into his life, untouched somehow by his curse. Soon, everything Dante thought he knew about himself starts to unravel, dragging Claire down with him.

Set against the lush backdrop of Florence, Italy—both past and present—Claire and Dante fight for a future together. But, first, they must uncover their shared past . . .

The thing I like about Van’s writing is that she builds up the love between hero and heroine in plausible increments. I think that’s why I always end up reading her novels in one sitting until the early morning hours; I know that in the NEXT scene the characters are going to finally realize their love. But then you get to the next scene and you simply want more and more. And I mean that in the best possible way.

 

 

I’ve always thought Italian cities are like guys I knew in college:

Rome—the hot frat boy I was dying to go out with (and I did, and it was awesome). But, turns out, everyone dated Rome.

Naples—Rome’s frat house roommate. The guy on no sleep and his tenth can of Red Bull. No one messed with him cause he knew people who knew people . . . catch my drift . . .

Venice—the dreamily gorgeous philosophy major. Brilliantly eccentric but exotic enough that no one quite knew what to make of him.

Milan—the second-year MBA student who was big on power-ties and power-lunches. Basically, the organized guy who held everyone else together.

And then there was Florence.

Firenze, to those who knew him.

Quiet and unassuming. When we first met, I wondered what all the fuss was about.

But Firenze . . . he was a subtle seducer. If I asked, he could talk for hours about art and history. But, generally, Firenze simply listened. Peaceful. Steady. Ready to shoulder my sorrows.

Firenze is the guy I never got out of my system.

I hit the ground floor and took two steps toward the large wooden front door.

How would the next few weeks play out? Like being a contestant on Survivor? The Great Race?

A male voice stopped me. “Just the person I was waiting for.”

I closed my eyes.

Nope. Things were shaping up to be The Bachelorette.

Honestly.

Pasting on my polite grin, which truthfully was more of a grimace by this point, I turned around.

“Mr. D’Angelo.”

“Dante, please.” He stepped out of the shadows at the base of the stairs. A window in the stairwell illuminated half of him. Even that half was huge.

Whereas I looked down on Pierce and was eye-level with the Colonel, I had to look up, up at Dante. At five ten myself, it takes a lot to make me feel short. But he somehow managed it. He had to be at least six four and linebacker-wide. Did he play football in high school?

His dark, wavy hair had been smoothly slicked back when he arrived earlier. But I had watched it creep forward as the morning went along until a section of it came loose, swinging down to kiss his jaw. My fingers itched to brush it back.

Dante was the type of man I had always had a sweet tooth for. Until I learned, oh-so-painfully, how bad for my health they could be.

 

Love’s Shadow by Nichole Van

Branwell D’Angelo . . .
Six years ago, I fell in love with Lucy—my brother’s girlfriend. Stupid of me, I know, but sometimes the heart doesn’t listen to reason.
Six years, I’ve lived on the sidelines. Seeing him love her, be with her, bask in her sunshine . . .
I watched her break his heart and then cleaned up the shattered pieces of him she left behind.
She’s the one woman I can’t have but still the only one my soul wants.
Now she’s back in our lives and needs the unique help only us D’Angelos can give.
He’s not emotionally strong enough to face her. So he’s sending me instead . . .

When tragedy strikes Lucy Snow on a visit to Italy, she can’t bring herself to call any of the D’Angelo brothers for help. There are consequences for falling in love with your ex-boyfriend’s brother. But Lucy desperately needs Branwell’s paranormal skills and his gift of Sight. And if seeing him will negate at least three years of therapy? Well, it’s a price she is willing to pay.

Thrown together in a desperate bid to save an innocent life, Branwell and Lucy struggle against their shared past, only to realize that something even more dangerous is reaching through the weight of time to stalk their every move . . .

 

Oh. My. Gosh! The feels! The feels are real my fellow bookworms! My emotions were all over the place while reading this book! I laughed, I yelled, I got teary eyed, I growled in frustration, I let out little dreamy sighs and fell in love right along with Branwell and Lucy. I can’t even begin to describe the amazingness of this book! One of my favorite parts of this book are the sour “punny” bears! *giggles* Oh! I can’t forget about that epilogue! Love… love… LOVE! And talk about swoony! *dreamy sigh* I had the hardest time putting this book down! I have discovered a love/hate relationship with real life. Haha.

 

 

“Wait, wait. Don’t move,” a woman’s voice said.

I froze, fork hovered over a particularly decadent piece of strawberry laden gooey-ness.

I lifted my head and encountered the most amazing eyes. Blue-green and wide-set. The smell of lemon-verbena and sunshine drifted over me. That fiery red hair tumbled around the gentle curve of her jaw. Window-light sculpted the arch of her rosebud lips.

Freckles. Freckles everywhere. Stars dotting her skin.

She was . . . stunning. Magnificent. Breathtaking in an unconventional way.

Maybe it was the jet lag, or the sugar and caffeine hitting my system in a knockout one-two punch.

But . . . it jolted me hard. That bolt of lightning.

This girl . . . woman . . .

Something about her tugged at me. A siren call of wedding bells and growing old hand-in-hand.

Then I noticed her t-shirt—The Empurr Strikes Back scrawled underneath Star Wars-themed, anime kittens.

Yep. That sealed the deal.

I was going to fall in love with her. So hard. So fast.

“So what’s your brand of crazy?” she asked.

After a pause, I went with, “I won’t eat anything green unless it’s a vegetable.”

She cocked her head, processing.

A beat.

“Green M&M’s? Skittles? Gummy bears?” she asked.

“Nope. Leave ‘em all in the bag.”

“Green frosting? Sprinkles? Mold?”

“Nope. Nada. And please, no.”

“So why no green?” she asked, genuine, sincere.

I pondered options and then went with, “Non-vegetal green things are the charlatans of the food world.”

“That’s about the best sentence I’ve heard all week.” She gave that giggly, wispy laugh of hers. “What about avocados? I mean, they act like a vegetable, but they’re really a fruit.”

“Masquerading vegetables get a pass. So do herbs.”

“What about kiwi?”

“The jury is still out on kiwi. They’re something of a Franken-fruit, to be honest . . . all that fuzzy hair and the tiny, crunchy seeds.”

She laughed again. “Please tell me you have no Irish heritage. You would destroy any St. Patty’s Day celebration.”

“None.” I smiled, shaking my head. “Though, I did have an Irish roommate once. He thought I was, and I quote, ‘A wee bit mad.’”

 

Lightning Struck by Nichole Van

Chiara doesn’t like Jack. Jack doesn’t like Chiara.
The story should end there.
Except . . . maybe Chiara finds herself daydreaming far too often about Jack. And maybe Jack finds Chiara aggravating in an adorable sorta way.
Maybe Jack and Chiara find themselves falling in love.
The problem, of course, remains.
Jack is a ghost.
And Chiara is not.

Jack Knight-Snow has had a bad year for losing things. So far he has lost a ship full of ancient treasure, his family, his friends, his title, his lands and money, his fiancé, the century into which he was born . . . oh, and his physical body. Worse, feisty Chiara D’Angelo might just finish the job and make him lose his mind.

For her part, Chiara simply wants to help Jack get his body back and move on with his life. She doesn’t want to like his snarky humor or his gorgeous eyes or the way he accepts her exactly as she is. She’s a hot mess when it comes to romantic relationships. Case in point . . . she’s developing feelings for a ghost.

But tackling the problem of Jack’s ghostliness is not straightforward. Soon, Jack and Chiara find themselves embroiled in a mystery which creates more questions about the D’Angelo brothers’ gifts of Second Sight. Set against the backdrop of Tuscany, Italy, Jack and Chiara race to uncover answers about the past before becoming history themselves.

 

Nichole Van has hit paydirt yet again with this latest Brothers Maledetti book! Chiara’s story has swoonworthy romance that is 100% clean, as well as laugh out loud humor and superb storytelling to make up this amazing, unputdownable book! Although you don’t have to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, I’d highly recommend reading them to get further backstory on the D’Angelo family and their talents. Nichole Van is one of the few authors on my “instant-buy” list and this latest installment is another reminder why. Five stars just don’t seem enough.

“Jack, we’re all concerned about you,” I said the words carefully, keeping my tone flat and not screechy like I felt. “We’ve been concentrating on trying to find answers for your ghost-like state, but I think the constant focus is hurting more than it’s helping. It’s like picking at a scab over and over, never allowing it to heal. Maybe it’s time to take a step back from our research.”

Jack paused, giving me his best Regency-era, Lord Knight stare.

I had a love/hate relationship with that stare—I hated that I kinda loved it. It was snooty with an edge of dry sardonic humor, and it challenged every womanly impulse in my body to kiss it off his face.

Not that I would do that, of course, even if it were possible. But the urge was there.

“Would you prefer me to continue my exploration of modern names?” he asked.

I bit my lip, unsure how to reply. It was a decent threat.

Jack had gone through this whole phase where he mocked contemporary celebrity names.

Example: Brittany Spears.

It had been days of, ‘Pardon Siri, but who are the Spears of Brittany?’ and ‘Are Brittany Spears similar to Celtic weaponry from northern France?’

“I have yet to understand why Ryan cares so much about goslings,” Jack continued. “Does he have a fetish for young poultry?”

See?!

Honestly.

 

 

Nichole Van is a writer, photographer, designer and generally disorganized crazy person. Though originally from Utah, she currently lives on the coast of Scotland with three similarly crazy children and one sane, very patient husband who puts up with all of them. In her free time, she enjoys long walks along the Scottish lochs and braes. She does not, however, enjoy haggis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/9/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in excerpt, Thriller on February 15, 2018

Title: DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

Synopsis

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.

Excerpt

ESCAPE WAS IMPOSSIBLE. TEARS STREAMED down her face as she sat in the darkness and waited for the man to return. There was no other choice—but to wait.

She hadn’t eaten anything in three days and had only a limited amount of water—her strength continued to fade with every hour. With her wrists and ankles secured with duct tape, her skin stung with pain every time she struggled to move. At least the man had peeled the tape from her eyes and mouth so that she could see something besides pitch-blackness.

Even if she could escape, the only way to safety was jumping into the frigid water, but she could not swim and would drown before ever reaching the shore.

The only thing thirteen-year-old Kayla Swanson thought about was home. Fond memories flashed through her mind of her parents, her little brother, and her dog Charlie. She was never going to see them again. Their smiling faces were forever etched in Kayla’s mind, and she constantly held them close to her heart.

The boat rocked, and seemed to sway more violently as the tide flooded in and out of the harbor. Kayla could hear a consistent clanking noise above her as the boat rolled back and forth. The sound had a hypnotic quality, and kept her mind on something else besides when the man would return and what he would do next.

Her lips were dry and cracked as she bordered on dehydration. Even her tears dried on her cheeks, leaving her skin stiff and drawn. Her body began to shake, not only from fear, but also because of the extreme exhaustion and the constant dampness all around her.

The boat rocked more, but this time it shifted from the opposite sides. Kayla heard soft footsteps above, which she knew wasn’t her captor’s heavy walk. She strained her eyes in the darkness and thought she saw a thin shadow stealthily move along the upper deck.

Was it a ghost?

Kayla remembered a television series where a team of people hunted ghosts and they had said that ghosts could occupy any type of space, house, property, and even a boat.

She blinked her eyes several times and hoped that she could catch a glimpse of the ghost again. With every ounce of declining strength, Kayla scooted her body closer to the narrow stairs leading to the upper deck.

Painfully craning her neck, she strained to see something up in the darkness.

The dark shadowed areas played tricks on her eyes—it was there, then it wasn’t.

She waited for several minutes.

Nothing appeared.

The only sounds she heard were the usual boat noises she had grown accustomed to hearing. Whatever she thought she heard was gone now. It was most likely her imagination trying to give her some hope and a few moments break from her dire circumstances.

As she relaxed her shoulders and leaned back against the wall, the reality of her world pressing down hard. Tears streamed down her face. She tasted the saltiness that settled around her mouth. Her last moments were approaching, and there was nothing she could do.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 15, 2018

 

 

Bayside Wishes by Stacy Claflin

She’s guarding a family secret. He’s investigating a murder. Will a second homecoming lead to true love?

Freya Hunter is living the fabulous life. The west-coast girl rakes it in as a fashion model in New York City, but everything changes after she returns home for a quick visit.

The reunion with friends and family in Enchantment Bay is sweet, especially when she hits it off with Nico Valentin, a ruggedly handsome police sergeant. As Nico investigates the death, Freya learns a family secret big enough to turn her world upside down.

Freya is torn between her new life and her hometown — the life she loves vs. the brother who needs her and the sergeant who wants her. When her decision doesn’t go nearly as well as she planned, she wonders if she can help her brother and keep her growing feelings for Nico at bay before they consume her.

Nico put the tickets in his wallet for safekeeping. “Sounds good to me.”
She took his hand and pulled him toward the stores. His pulse raced, but she didn’t seem to think anything of holding his hand.
A few people glanced at them, seeming surprised. Being on the force, he was well-known and he hadn’t been on a single date since moving to Enchantment Bay. And he’d definitely never been out with someone as attractive as Freya.
She stopped in front of a candle place. “You ever been in there?”
Nico held in a snort. “No. The only candle I own is for when the power goes out.”
Freya stared at him for a moment. “Seriously?”
“Just for emergencies.”
“You don’t know what you’re missing. Come on.” She yanked on his arm—she was stronger than she looked—and dragged him inside. An array of aromas hit him all at once. He couldn’t tell one from the other, but he liked the way they blended together.
Almost like the unexpected pairing of him and Freya.

 

 

Bayside Destines by Stacy Claflin

What do a fifteen-year-old pact, a fake engagement, and a stalker have in common? Audrey Hughes.

Audrey’s ex-boyfriend won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. A master manipulator and a violently selfish man, he’s decided Audrey is his property. And he’s determined to get her back. Forcibly, if necessary.

She flees to the one place she ever found ‘family’—to Enchantment Bay. More precisely, to Logan Hunter.

Logan is a successful attorney and consummate bachelor. His work is his wife, and that’s the only long-term relationship he sees for himself. Until a childhood sweetheart shows up and reminds him of the pact they made years earlier—to get married.

It surprises him that she remembered, stuns him that he’s intrigued, and shocks him to discover her reason for returning. He uses all his influence and connections to protect her, only to be the one who causes her unbearable pain and drives her away.

Can Logan find a way to keep Audrey safe, make things right, and mend both their broken hearts?

Shale glanced around and spoke in a low voice. “You sure your engagement is fake?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Logan frowned.
“I saw the way you two kept looking at each other during dinner.”
Logan stood taller. “We have to be convincing.”
“You kissed her twice when I was the only one in here. Twice, and I know it’s fake. Or at least that it’s supposed to be.”
Logan glared at him. “It is.”
“I was looking for signs that it is, but I didn’t see any. I just saw two people acting like they think the other was the best thing ever.”
“We are friends—we genuinely like each other. You’re reading too much into it.”
“Whatever you have to tell yourself.”

 

 

“Awesome storyline! Each book in the series gets better and better!” -Amazon Reviewer

“The combination of mild suspense, sweet romantic moments, and dramatic situations really engages the reader, as the flow of the story is steady and captivating. The characters are portrayed in ways that make them seem real–like true friends, with real strengths and weaknesses. I’m already looking forward to the rest of the series!” -Amazon Reviewer

 

 

USA Today bestselling author Stacy Claflin writes about complex women overcoming incredible odds. Whether it’s her Gone trilogy of psychological thrillers, her ongoing Transformed paranormal saga, or her Seaside Hunters sweet romance series, Stacy’s three-dimensional heroines shine through.

Decades after she wrote her first stories on construction paper and years after typing on an inherited green screen computer that weighed half a ton, Stacy realized her dream of becoming a full-time author.

When she’s not busy writing or educating her kids from home, Stacy enjoys watching TV shows like Supernatural, Haven, and Once Upon a Time.

 

 

 

Giveaway Details
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/8/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 14, 2018

Title: Love Game

Author: Maggie Wells

Series: Love Games, #1

ISBN: 9781492651499

Pub Date: February 6, 2018

Synopsis

These successful professionals may know something about sex…but discover they’re clueless about love.

She’s earned her position

Kate Snyder is at the top of her game. She scored her first national championship at Wolcott University in her undergrad days, and now she’s the coaching legend of the #1 college women’s basketball team. No one knows the meaning of the phrase “work your way up” better than Kate. So when the university hires a football coach trying to escape scandal—paying him a lot more than she earns—Kate is more than annoyed.

He just sailed into his

Danny McMillan had hoped for a smooth transition at Wolcott, but fiery Coach Snyder made that impossible. Every time he and Kate are in a room together, snark and sparks fly. Danny gets her frustration, but her pay grade isn’t his problem, right? When Kate and Danny finally see eye to eye, their sparks turn into something even hotter…and they need to figure out if this is more than just a game.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

Excerpt

He dared to stand there, in the athletic center built on the success of her program, and smirk at her. Like he’d accomplished something more than requiring a bunch of beefy boys to spend more time in the gym, when the only thing he ever did successfully was blow his entire career sky-high.

It was too galling.

She wouldn’t let him get to her. She couldn’t say anything. Not here, in front of his players and coaches.

Squaring her shoulders as if preparing to shoot a free throw, she raised her chin a notch. “Well, I hope it works out for you,” she said coolly. Turning to one of the players, she let her smile warm a few degrees. “I’m counting on you guys to make us Warriors proud.” Focusing her attention back on Danny, she let the smile drop. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m here for a quick workout.”

Brushing past him, she set her sights on the cardio units lined up at the far end of the training center. She nodded greetings to a couple of players huffing and puffing as they punished the elliptical machines, waved to one of the staffers seated on a recumbent bike, then tossed her towel over the rail of the last empty treadmill.

Jabbing at buttons until the belt whirred to a walking pace, Kate forced herself to draw deep, even breaths as she unraveled her earbuds and crammed them into her ears. Her player clipped to the hem of her tank, she tossed the wires down her back and upped the pace. By the time she hit a comfortable stride, the young man next to her slowed to a walk. Her machine rocked when he jumped off the belt and landed heavily on the side rails. She caught the apology he mouthed, then returned her gaze to the television mounted on the wall.

Someone claimed the machine beside her, but she was too absorbed in trying to lip-read what Greg Chambers and his cadre of NSN talking heads were gabbing about to pay much attention to her neighbor.

It wasn’t until the song’s driving beat faded into silence that she noticed the heavy footfalls and slightly uneven gait of the runner beside her. She pressed the pause button on her music and listened intently. With no more than a glimpse of his hand out of the corner of her eye, she knew who her new neighbor was.

Suddenly, the silence surrounding them grew more oppressive. She didn’t need to look to know they had an audience. A glance in McMillan’s direction confirmed her suspicions. A flood of unchecked fury rushed through her.

“I just wanted a run,” she muttered as she upped the ante and lengthened her stride. She’d gone three steps when she realized, too late, that he wasn’t wearing earbuds.

“Same goes,” he grumbled.

“I was here first,” she said through gritted teeth. “In every possible way.”

He shot her a scowl, then increased his speed to match hers. “I’ll go, but not before I’m done.” Blowing hard, he swiped an arm across his brow. “I try to get at least three miles a day. Don’t worry. I’ll be out of your way before they go to Sports Roundup.”

Kate glanced at the clock. The daily sports recap started at the bottom of the hour. If what he said held true, that meant old Danny could still run an eight-minute mile. Well, so could she, damn it. Increasing her speed again, she ignored the screeching pain in her bad knee and stretched her stride even further.

“Seriously?”

She didn’t look at him. Didn’t acknowledge his incredulous tone or the edge of accusation undercutting the simple question. “Seriously,” she replied.

About the Author

By day, MAGGIE WELLS is buried in spreadsheets. At night she pens tales of people tangling up the sheets. The product of a charming rogue and a shameless flirt, you only have to scratch the surface of this mild-mannered married lady to find a naughty streak a mile wide. She has a passion for college football, processed cheese foods, and happy endings. Not necessarily in that order. She lives in Arkansas.

Website * Facebook * TwitterGoodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Love Game by Maggie Wells!

a Rafflecopter giveaway