Posted in Blog tour, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery on December 8, 2014

Buried Agendas

 

Title:                Buried Agendas
Release:          November 7, 2014
Genre:             Suspense with Romantic Elements
Blog Tour:       December 8, 2014 – December 12, 2014

 

Synopsis

A devastating secret drove her from the man she loved. Will a secret equally as deadly lead her back to him?

Diana Reid is an investigative reporter skilled at uncovering other people’s secrets. It’s her own she works to keep buried. Eight years earlier, she promised to leave her fiancé and hometown of Diamond, Texas forever. That pledge vanishes when she receives a letter stating people are going to die, implicating her hometown’s largest employer, and making a veiled threat against her mother. With no other choice, Diana will return to Diamond, albeit in disguise, to discover the anonymous author.

Brad Jordan moved on with his life after Diana walked out on him. Just as he rebuilt his life, as the newly elected mayor of Diamond, and newly engaged to be married, he plans to rebuild his struggling hometown.  Those plans are threatened when an El Paso physician notifies Brad that she believes his family’s company, Jordan Industries, is conducting illegal practices and sacrificing the public’s health.

When the doctor suggests bringing in Diana to uncover the wrongdoing, Brad strongly opposes the idea. Still, when she appears despite his wishes, he’s forced to accept that a woman he vowed to forget may be his only option to get to the truth. Together Diana Reid and Brad Jordan face a dangerous adversary—one whose only intent is keeping a deadly agenda buried.

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Excerpt

Diana curbed a jealous retort and moved to the nightstand. She yanked open a top drawer and withdrew the want ads she’d skimmed early that morning after she’d checked in. In bright red, she’d circled, Help wanted, mailroom clerk, Jordan Industries. High school diploma, drug test required.

“If your fiancée recognized me, I’d be behind bars. I deliberately failed my typing test and listed no experience on the application.”

For the first time, he smiled. The old Brad, the Brad she thought she knew. “What name did you use?”

“Candace Armstrong.”

“Okay.” He motioned to the letter. “So how can a mailroom employee find out what the author meant by ‘people are going to die’?”

“The same way I do every story, by asking questions.”

“Who’s Ronnie?”

“Who?”

Brad pointed to the tattoo on her ankle.

“Oh,” Diana smiled. “He’s no one.”

Brad’s gaze shot to her face, and for a second, she thought she saw pain. Don’t be absurd. The man’s engaged. Irrationally, Diana felt betrayed.

“Seriously, he’s no one. Ronnie doesn’t exist. And neither does this tattoo. It’s henna, and part of my disguise.”

Brad shook his head and he scowled. “You swear to me you didn’t talk to Liz this week.”

“I swear, I haven’t spoken to her . . .” But maybe I should.

“Give me one reason to go along with this?”

Diana lowered her head. She wanted to tell him because the Brad Jordan she’d once known stood for integrity and honesty. The Brad Jordan she’d loved, and unfortunately still did, had wanted to make a difference. She couldn’t believe he’d run for a mayoral position if that wasn’t still true.

Lifting her head, she met his gaze. “Because you know I had nothing to do with that letter, and you want to know what’s going on, too.”

As he traversed the dingy hotel room, Diana sensed he was wavering. He’d asked too many questions to turn her away now. If he said yes, she had a long list to accomplish before Monday. She’d take her physical, head for El Paso, and spend her weekend at the library researching Jordan Industries.

Brad stopped pacing. “I have no doubt that you’re worried about your mom. But when you said you weren’t out to hurt me or Jordan Industries, were you being truthful?”

“I meant every word.”

“All right. I’ll give you two weeks to investigate if you go along with the following conditions.”

She swallowed. “I’m listening.”

“If, after two weeks, you’ve found nothing, you’ll give up this charade and go home.”

She stared back at him. Diana could easily agree to Brad’s terms. She expelled a pent-up breath. “I accept that condition.”

“Second, you will never report a word of what you find or release a word to the media. If you do, I have more than enough witnesses to prove you entered Jordan Industries illegally, and I’ll file charges against you.”

Hurt morphed into anger. “Are you saying if something’s going on, you won’t report it?”

“Not at all. I’ll be the first one to call the police.”

“Then . . . I don’t understand.”

He unrolled his sleeves and grabbed his tie. “I’m saying no way in hell will I allow negative information against my family’s company to benefit your career. I don’t trust you, Diana, especially after what I saw today. We’ll see if you’re really concerned about your mother, or if you’re after a story.” Brad opened the door. “You don’t have to agree to the second part of my conditions right now. I’ll have my answer when you don’t show up on Monday.”

 

About the Author

Donnell Author PhotoDonnell Ann Bell grew up in New Mexico and today lives in Colorado. A homebody at heart, she concentrates on suspense that might happen in her neck of the woods – writing SUSPENSE TOO CLOSE TO HOME. She is the author of The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall and Betrayed, all of which have been e-book best sellers. Buried Agendas is her newest release. Along with veteran police officer Wally Lind, Donnell co-owns Crimescenewriters, a Yahoo group putting law enforcement experts together with writers. Donnell loves to hear from readers.

 

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Giveaway

As part of the blog tour, Donnell will be giving away 5 copies of Buried Agendas (US/Canada only) and

5 Dammit Dolls (US/Canada only). Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter!

Dammit Doll

Not sure what a Dammit Doll is? Well, here is the little saying that each doll comes with:

Whenever things don’t go so well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little dammit doll that you can’t do without. Just grasp it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it. And as you whack the Stuffing out yell, “Dammit, Dammit! Dammit!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour Stops

December 8, 2014

CK Crouch

Reading by the Book

Storeybook Reviews

December 9, 2014

The Book Review

Happiness Is A Book

Romance Reviews Today

December 10, 2014

My Book Addiction and More

Shattered Hearts Reviews

So Many Reads

December 11, 2014

Em & M Books

Harlie’s Book Reviews

Lush Book Reviews

Romance Junkies

December 12, 2014

A Little Bit of R&R

Amy Manemann’s Blog

Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, suspense on December 3, 2014

The Franciscan Book Cover

The most internationally anticipated religious suspense-thriller since Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, WR.PARK’s The Franciscan is now available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace. Written 14 years ago, The Franciscan eerily forebodes current events in the Vatican predicting the coming of the current Pope Francis and proves to be a timely novel more than a decade after it was penned. This is the first book in The Franciscan Trilogy.

Synopsis

“The pope is not infallible.” When the newly elected Pope Francis utters this bold and unprecedented statement, he captures the attention of the world’s population. His reforms leave no corner untouched as he strips away the mask so long held before the face of the papacy. Bringing with him and open-minded candor rarely seen by public figures – he’s an inspiration to his followers – and a threat to those who oppose him.

“When I penned this novel about a fictitious Pope Francis fourteen years ago, I never envisioned that a future pope would select the name, Pope Francis I. This novel’s Pope Francis is a bold and courageous pope whose sweeping reforms reversing ancient Vatican edicts place his life in grave danger. The world can only hope and pray that today’s Pope Francis, as bold as he is, will be fruitful in his endeavors and have a lengthy and healthy reign,” said WR.PARK.

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Excerpt

NEARLY A WEEK HAD PASSED since Symon’s discovery, and he had read the translated manuscripts numerous times. He consumed the written words as a dying man gasps for breath. The mystery surrounding the ancient narrative fueled his imagination and stimulated his craving to know more. While he sat by the opening of the cave, the sun warmed his body, and meditation purified his soul. What could have been Assuri’s last words on earth, and the narrative of his days at the Library of Alexandria bewitched him beyond belief.

“Somewhere,” he thought. “Somewhere between the lines, somewhere hidden within Assuri’s journal could be a clue to a far greater treasure. A treasure that has eluded humankind for thousands of years. A treasure that could help answer the question: what was the history of the world prior to the mass destruction in Alexandria of recorded chronicles?” Once again, Symon read the rendering of the second journal-manuscript.

“I, Assuri, a trusted slave of Babylon, journeyed by the great river to the northwest (Symon’s note: Euphrates River), disembarking at a predetermined site before reaching the town of Carrhae. Then west by land over the mountain range to the sea and Tarsus. My beloved master had a relative who lived in Tarsus and who arranged passage by boat to Alexandria. In all, I witnessed ten suns rise and set, and paid homage to the gods for my safety, which was in peril as I will relate.” (Symon’s note: Estimating a distance of some 2,000 kilometers.)

“My thoughtful master, knowing all well that I have never ventured far from the city, dispatched two mercenaries to accompany, guide and protect this humble servant on the trek to Alexandria with our most cherished volumes in tow. When the request from Hypatia (Symon’s note: A most highly respected female mathematician and astronomer.) of Alexandria arrived, my master immediately routed a message to inform his dear friend that he would certainly comply. It was an honor to have the writings of our late high priest Berossus’ three volumes of

the world dating from Creation to the Great Flood copied and preserved in the Great Library at Alexandria.” (Symon’s note: About all that is presently known about the volumes is that Berossus estimated the time between the two events to be 400,000 years—a hundred times longer than Old Testament chronology.)

I was excited beyond belief. The journey would be tedious and dangerous, but my master’s description of Alexandria and the library, and Hypatia’s beauty filled my being with joy. His entrusting the volumes greatly humbled this person. My love for him grew like a raging river as he told me of rooms upon rooms filled with writings gathered for hundreds of years and valued more than gold.” (Symon’s note: There were an estimated 500,000 scroll-books

from Greece, Persia, Israel, India, Africa, and many other countries, all comprising the knowledge and history of the world to date. Alexandria was a community of scholars studying and teaching: physics, literature, astronomy, philosophy, music, medicine, biology, mathematics and engineering. The world’s first research institute. In the early 300’s BC King Ptolemy I wrote: ‘To all the sovereigns and governors on earth. I implore you to immediately send me works by authors of every kind: poets, rhetoricians and sophists, doctors and soothsayers, historians, and all others, too.’ Thus began the Library of Alexandria, and for hundreds of years the known writings, including history, were duplicated and stored. The line of Ptolemys, ending with the death of Cleopatra, set out to not only collect every book in the world, but to translate them all into Greek.)

“With Berossus’ works slung over my neck, close to my person in a large leather sheep-lined pouch, and my guides aboard, we set sail northwest. The night’s encampments were uncommonly dark. On the fourth night, berthed on the bank where the great river sprang streams to both the north and south, I overheard the two men plotting to kill the servant and nip the valued prize. On the fifth night, playing the fool and obedient servant, and after grinding a powder from a known venomous plant, I sprinkled an amount sufficient enough into the wine jug to render them in a death-like state for at least two days. If they survived. They fell for my offering, and drank with gluttonous passion. At first light I left them in slumber, and pushed on, knowing full well they would not follow once they realized I was two days ahead of them.

 

Praise for The Franciscan

New York Times bestselling author James Rollins commented on WR.PARK’s thirteenth novel: “I’ve been a fan of WR.PARK’s work for years.”

“The Franciscan featuring the first Pope Francis is about murder, suicide, extortion, assassins, devilish plots with a narrative with more twists and turns than a ride through purgatory.” – Publisher’s Auxiliary

“Unexpectedly thrust upon the throne of St. Peter by dark forces within the Vatican, this pope is trying to institute a radical agenda of change while contending with assassination attempts and political intrigue… and then things get really exciting.” – The Leaven Catholic Newspaper

“The Franciscan is a fascinating tale and has great general appeal. Readers who like intrigue and mystery in a colorful historical setting will enjoy [WR.PARK’s] effort and will certainly look forward to his subsequent offering.” – The Sun Newspaper

“Every now and then a book I’m asked to read and write about pleasantly surprises me. The Franciscan is a case point. It’s an intriguing read – weaving together two fascinating tales. It kept me interested up to and including the end.” – Northwest Florida Daily News

 

About the Author

WR.PARK_1Author, columnist, teacher, lecturer, past president of three advertising agencies, William R. Park, Sr. is nationally known and respected in the advertising and literary worlds—and a Member of International Thriller Writers, Inc. His past works include: The Talking Stones, Overlay, Fatal Incision, plus ten others, each backed by glowing praise from numerous bestselling authors.

WR.PARK currently resides in the Kansas City area with his wife Genie.

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Posted in Children, excerpt, Spotlight on November 30, 2014

The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas

 

Synopsis

Aside from their kind of unusual names, Mophie and Picholas are pretty much your average 6 year old girl and 3 year old boy, who live in a pretty average house, in a pretty average town. But outside of their town, well nothing is pretty average at all. For example, just a hop, skip and a jump away is a wonderful place called the Kingdom of the Magic Horses. And way down the river is the Kingdom of Bongo Bongo, ruled over by the meaner than mean, crueler than cruel, rottener than rotten Queen Blunderpuss. She is very happy trying to make everyone else very unhappy, and she has a big bully of a nephew, Bobby, who helps her do just that!

With the aid of their special friend, Sylvester (an excellent and devoted dragon if ever there was one), Mophie and Picholas go from one adventure to another, battling the Blunderpusses, as well as assorted other not-very-nice characters.

In Book 1, evil Queen Blunderpuss and Bobby try to take a happy event like a day at the park, and turn it into a gigantic, yucky disaster for our young heroes and Mophie’s good friend, Allison. Will Mophie and Picholas be able to find a way to outwit the despicable duo? And will Dad ever resume breathing normally after discovering that his children are friends with a dragon? Come along, and let’s find out!

The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas series is intended primarily for children ages 3 to 8.

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Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Google Play * Kobo

The ebook version is being offered for free until December 31, 2014, at all of the above stores, except Amazon.   Amazon would not permit the eBook to be offered for free, so we have listed it at $.99, which is the lowest price they would allow. But keep checking back as we have submitted feedback to have Amazon match the price!

Excerpt

They turned to look in the direction Mophie was pointing. And there was the answer to the mystery. Leaning against the big slide, with a sly grin on his face, was none other than Bobby Blunderpuss. Bobby was 12 years old, and the biggest bully anyone had ever known.

excerpt 1

And to make matters even worse, he was the nephew of evil Queen Blunderpuss, the ruler of the Kingdom of Bongo Bongo, which was located many miles down the river that ran through Mophie and Picholas’ town.

 

excerpt 2

She had super magic powers, and a lot of issues. Never a good combination. Instead of using her magic powers to help people, she used them to make people unhappy. Many times she would send her nephew Bobby to carry out her wishes. And that is exactly what happened today.

 

About the Authors

The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas series is the result of the collaboration of the dynamic (and thoroughly charming) father and son duo of Joseph and Anthony Pandolfi. Joe and Anthony share a love of writing and photography, and a couple of years ago began creating poetry gift prints. Ever the adventurers, they decided to explore new horizons, and journey into the world of children’s books. “A Very Strange Trip To The Park” is the result of that endeavor, and the first book of The Adventures of Mophie and Picholas series. More information can be found on their website: .

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Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, women on November 30, 2014

ConfessionsSausageQueen

 

Synopsis

Bill Ludowski, owner of the town’s largest employer – Bill’s Big and Tasty Sausage- dies whilst he and Mandy Minhouser’s grandmother Lila Rose were doing their best Adam and Eve imitation under the hydrangea bushes. That Gran and Big Bill had an affair that began around the same time as World War II is a secret that everyone in Kassenburg knows. But a new secret is about to be revealed. Big Bill has bequeathed the sausage factory to Lila, with Mandy as CEO.

Mandy doesn’t know squat about the sausage biz and Bill’s grandson Hughes, the factory’s CFO, does everything in his power to close the Big and Tasty. But Mandy has the one thing that Hughes doesn’t– family and friends willing to put themselves on the line to save the factory. With hope, faith and a whole lot of luck, Mandy and company might manage to do just that.

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Champagne Books * B&N * Smashwords * iTunes * Amazon * Kobo Books

 

Excerpt

Over at Over’s Pond

You might think that driving all the way out to Over’s Pond, to the little bend where Randy kept the Airstream parked, somewhat illegally, on Big Bill Ludowski’s land, was overkill. It was eight miles out of town. On that day, of all days, I didn’t have eight miles to spare. Besides which, Randy, despite the transient look of an Airstream with a chemical toilet, was pretty much a permanent fixture in my life. He had a cell phone. A cell phone whose number was on my speed dial as three, one being Gran Lila’s house and two being Sammy’s school. Given all this, you’d no doubt think that driving all the way up an old dirt road to remind Randy to pick up Sammy from kindergarten was overkill. You could have just called, you are probably inclined to say. Which is, pretty much word for word, exactly what Randy said.

“Your phone’s turned off,” was my response.

“So leave a message.”

“For when? Next Thursday?”

“I’m not about to forget my own kid, Mandy.”

“Right. Like you didn’t forget him at the Sausage Festival softball tournament.”

“That was different,” Randy said, “we won. And it only happened once. And I turned around and got him, didn’t I?”

“Half an hour later, Rand. He’s going to require a lot of therapy.”

“Given his family, he’s going to require a lot of therapy anyway.”

Because I know that you are a bright person, by now you have probably figured out why I drove eight miles to remind Sammy’s other parent of his responsibility to his five-year-old son.

I could add to my case by telling you that, when I drove up, my Neon kicking up dust like nobody’s business, Randy was sitting under the awning with the dog, a lovable mutt we call Alpo, on the green Naugahyde couch that passed for lawn furniture. Randy was the one barking.

Well, okay, he was trying to teach Alpo to speak and Alpo, sweet mutt that he is, might be what you call a slow learner. It took him six months of intense training to learn sit.

When I drove up, Randy had his head tilted back full howl while Alpo sat with his head cocked, trying to figure out what his man was doing.

“Nice howl,” I said, climbing from the Neon. “I always knew you were part wolf.”

By now you are no doubt wondering how I ended up with a guy like Randy in the first place. I mean, I’m a nice enough girl, relatively smart, okay looking in a blonde-haired-blue-eyed-girl-next-door kind of way. You’d no doubt question my judgment, Randy-wise, if I told you that he had nine pink flamingos sitting in tableau on the weed patch that passed for a lawn. And that the couch, the aforementioned Naugahyde, was one of many treasures he unearthed along his garbage route. Randy could have opened his own treasure museum. His booty included, but was not limited to, an ashtray in the shape of Texas, a little silver jaguar that was, presumably, once fastened to the hood of a little silver Jaguar, and a gold gilded statue of a naked boy that peed when you pushed down on his head.

Given this, you would be inclined to ask, “What are you? Crazy?”

I have no ready defense, except to say that love or lust or whatever that weird chemical reaction between two people is, well, it’s weird. It’s chemical. It’s uncontrollable.

There is also the look. The one Randy gave me after I made the wolf remark. Not wolfish, exactly. More as though I were a banana cream pie and he was deciding whether or not he had room for desert.

 

About the Author

Ute cUte (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is an award winning author of women’s fiction, comedy, and romance. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where she spends her days walking, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon * Pinterest * Love Stories (available daily via Paper Li)

Books and Stories by Ute Carbone:

Blueberry Truth * The P-Town Queen * Afterglow * Searching for Superman * Sweet Lenora
The Lilac Hour * To The Wind * Dancing in the White Room * All Things Returned * Confessions of the Sausage Queen

 

 

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Posted in excerpt, fiction, Spotlight on November 29, 2014

GUYLAND BOOK COVER

 

Synopsis

Set against a 1969 psychedelic love-in backdrop, The Girl From Long Guyland is a psychological thriller shared through the eyes of Laila Levin when decades later, an unsolved murder pulls her reluctantly into her past. A dramatic collision of then and now entwining family, marriage, profession and ethics.

Laila enjoys a successful marriage and a thriving career in Austin, Texas. When her company announces a layoff, she is caught between an unscrupulous CEO and her promiscuous boss. Then news of her college roommate’s suicide stirs up an old love triangle and dark secret from her past.

Suddenly, it’s 1969 again and Laila’s left her sheltered Long Island home for college in Connecticut. She’s tempted by the sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll that rule her generation and gets swept up in a deceptive love triangle and initiated into an unethical hippie family leading to tragedy.

Laila must now juggle the demands of her perplexed husband, her successful career, and her baby boomer past, endangering her survival and challenging her conscience. She learns that the lines between right and wrong are often blurred, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.

The Girl From Long Guyland has been called everything from, Gone Girl in the sixties, to memoir-meets-thriller, and I feel that Kirkus really nailed the theme in their review: “While effective as a page turner, the novel also tells a timeless, universal tale of a woman’s journey toward self-acceptance.”

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LARA & SISTER 1970_

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Lost in Texas

Austin, Texas, 2012

A couple dozen stars and the eye of a yellow moon pierce light through a sky filled with smoke. I look out the broken window to the ground below. Crumpled in the weeds is a lifeless body with red-flecked eyes, a bushy mustache, and sweet smile.

Vapor seeps into the room. I can barely breathe. Ben wraps his arms around me as I weep. Denise lies in a catatonic state perched on the bed. Why is she only wearing her bra and panties?

Chris stumbles inside the room. His eyes glow like diamonds. He cranes his head out the window. “We gotta do something, man.”

“I’ll call for an ambulance,” I say.

Ben gulps, “That’s not a good idea.”

“We have to,” I insist. “For Godsakes.”

He’s dead, Laila,” Chris says.

Tears sting my eyes.

WITH A JOLT, I awake whimpering. The nightmare has infested my dreams for years. It may be time to see a shrink.

The anxiety subsides when my husband Eduardo arrives with a cappuccino and the morning paper. “Are you okay? It sounded like you were crying.”

I clear my throat. “No, no, I’m fine. Just a dream, I guess.” I’ve never discussed these recurring nightmares with him. Eduardo’s got his own problems. He was recently laid off in a corporate downsize and refuses to talk about it. There’s lots of tension in our home right now. Maybe we should both see a shrink.

From our king-size Tempur-Pedic bed, I sip the coffee and stare at a cloudless sky and the sapphire water of Lake Travis. The serenity of the moment is interrupted by the sound of NPR news blaring from my alarm clock. Time to go to work. I shower and dress for a managers’ conference forty miles away.

AN HOUR LATER, I enter a pavilion filled with mounted animal heads and good old boys, and wonder how this counter-culture Long Island girl ended up in Texas. Yes, it’s Austin, home of tree huggers and music lovers, but I’m mystified by the path my life has taken.

The Hobbs brothers, proud owners of the Burnet County Landfill and Exotic Park where LBJ Electric holds its annual manager retreat, greet me with toothy Texas grins and matching Stetson hats. “How y’all doing today, darlin’? Welcome to our home.”

I flash a smile but it pains me to know these men are the proud hunters of the dead animals in the hall. It gives me pleasure imagining their heads mounted next to the trophies.

As I head to a long pine table and retrieve my white-sticky badge with the letters LAILA LEVIN printed in magic marker, Darlene McIntire, dressed business-gorgeous in a navy suit and cleavage-leaking blouse, approaches me and waves. Darlene is an upper-level manager who advocates for women in the company and played a key role in my promotion from Database Analyst to I.T. Solutions Manager two years ago. “Meet me in the little girls room at break, hon,” she whispers. “There’s something I want to share with you.”

During the morning, two hundred LBJ managers and I feign interest in long-winded corporate presentations. One of the executives reminds us that DIVERSITY is one of our company’s “Foundation Values.” Right. As one of only twelve women in the room, I try to look at the bright side: short lines to the ladies room.

A bald guy grabs the microphone and informs everyone it’s time for a break.   Conversations revolve around Longhorns and Aggies, and of course, the beloved Cowboys. Go Tony Romo!

With nothing of substance to add to these discussions, I dash to the ladies room where I find Darlene at the mirror applying a fresh coat of mascara. She smiles at me. “Nice outfit.”

“Thanks.” My reflection reveals a contrast of wild curly hair with the Ralph Lauren suit and high-heeled boots I bought at Dillard’s yesterday. Like most in I.T., my preference is jeans and sneakers.

Three coats later, Darlene pops the mascara back in her purse and turns to face me.   “Can you keep a secret?”

“Of course.” “John is going to announce his retirement.” John Bell is the LBJ Chief Executive Officer. Rumors of his impending retirement have been rampant for weeks. “I’ve heard talk.”

“That’s not the secret. Bob E. is the heir apparent. Not to be announced today, but it’s pretty much a done deal. And he’s promised me V.P. of Corporate Services.”

I look away hoping she didn’t see my eyebrows jump to my hairline.    “Congratulations.” Darlene is important, but not that important. This promotion is a big leap from Human Resources Manager. Certainly not done often in a company like LBJ. “Wow. Didn’t realize you had the seniority.”

Darlene blushes. “Succeeding in the boardroom is not the only way to get ahead.”

Oh my God. She’s sleeping with Bob Englewood, a.k.a. Bob E., the biggest flirt alive. Darlene has a great-looking husband and two kids. Makes no sense to me. But then I’m not that ambitious.

I’m trying to think of a good response when the buzzer goes off over the building’s loud speakers indicating the end of the break. I produce a weak smile and head back to the conference area with images of Darlene and Bob E. spinning in my head. Why did she share this with me?

I take a seat at my assigned table. John Bell, a short, stocky man sporting a bolo tie and a fine pair of ostrich boots, stands onstage tapping the microphone. “Good morning, LBJ managers. It’s good to be here at our annual meeting. I have some important announcements to make today. Before I do, I want to point out the emergency exits, and ask y’all to make sure to turn your cell phones off.” John delivers his big retirement announcement then drones on about the accomplishments of the company under his watch.

I doodle with colored pens trying to digest Darlene’s news, wishing I were anywhere but here.

John pauses, takes a sip from his bottled water, and clears his throat. “While I can’t promise there won’t be another layoff . . .”

The news jolts me to attention. I look around at my compadres who clearly are thinking the same thing. Brace yourself, it’s going to be a big one, and it could be ME this time.

Everyone sits in stunned silence as the sound of a cell phone chimes the Beatles’ song “Yesterday.”

Damn, it’s mine!

My neighbors smirk at me as I rummage through my purse. This cannot be happening. I could swear I turned it off.

Finally, I locate my iPhone, press a couple of buttons, but the melody plays on. Oy vey, my troubles don’t seem so far away. I just switched to the phone from my tried-and-true Blackberry last week. Vainly, I attempt to locate my reading glasses but after endless seconds, I bolt from the room. My face feels red and puffed like a ripe tomato.

On the patio, damage done, I finally locate my glasses and glance at the display, which reads “PRIVATE NUMBER.” Could it be Human Resources calling already?

The voice on the other end says, “Hey Laila, it’s Katie.”

It takes a moment to recognize the New York intonation behind the affected English accent. “Katie, how are you? Gosh, we haven’t spoken in ages. You sound so British.”

“I lived in London for a couple years but I’m back in L.A. now. You better sit down.”                      Katie B., always the drama queen.

I sit in an antique rocker and stare at the pale blue Texas sky.

Katie clears her throat. “Denise committed suicide yesterday.”

I try to speak but my mouth feels like it’s stuffed with tissue paper. Finally, I gasp, “My God.”

“She was never right after …”

“Don’t say it. Remember the pact,” I say.

“I remember it.”

“It’s kept us safe.”

“We’re gonna have to talk about it. Denise left a suicide note,” she whispers.

Fear fills the membranes of my eyeballs. “Oh, Jesus.”

“I just got off the phone with Chris. A private detective showed up at his house in Denver.”

“I can’t believe that son-of-a-bitch lives in Denver. My sister has lived there for years.” It’s been four decades since I’ve seen or heard of Chris, yet his name causes goose bumps to parade up my arms.

“I’m surprised you’ve never bumped into him,” Katie says.

“Denver’s a big place.” Would we even recognize each other now?

“He googled me and found my phone number. He and Ben think we should go to the funeral.”

“Ben? Did you speak to him too?”

She laughs. “Yes, Jesus still lives.”

I blush at the sound of his name. “What is he like?”

“I don’t know. Same old Ben, I guess.’

“Did they find–?”

She swallows. “No one knows what they’ve found, or what she wrote in her note.”

To think just five minutes ago I was worried about my job, trophy animals, and Darlene and Bobby E. doing the deed.

Katie takes a deep drag of a cigarette. “We could all go to effing prison.”

 

 

Reviews

“In Reznik’s debut novel, a woman confronts long-buried secrets when an old college friend commits suicide … while effective as a page-turner, the novel also tells a timeless, universal tale of a woman’s journey toward self-acceptance. And exciting tale of past crimes and dangerous friendships.”  —KIRKUS

“Laila Levin is an IT executive in Austin, Texas with a happy marriage and a successful career, but her life is about to get much more complicated. Laila is forced to confront a dark part of her past that she never shared with her husband … readers, particularly those who remember the late 1960s, will find this an entertaining read.”  —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

“I love a mystery and I love stories about the late 60s/early 70s, and this book didn’t disappoint. Really fun read.”  —Barbara Gaines, THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN

“Great mystery and suspense. Add a star if you were a ‘flower child’ from the sixties —Leslie Goodstein, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

About the Author

LARA REZNIK author portraitLara Reznik, a native New Yorker, left for the wild west of New Mexico in the 1970s in a Karmann Ghia that she jump-started cross-country. As an English major at the University of New Mexico, Lara studied under esteemed authors Rudolfo Anaya and Tony Hillerman. Ambidextrous from birth, she preferred her right-brained creative side, but discovered she could make a better living with her left-brain skills, so entered the I.T. field.

In 1995 she and her husband Rudy, and their three children, relocated to Austin, TX, where she worked as an I.T. manager for a utility. Since that time, she’s written and optioned three screenplays and two novels.

After the breakout Amazon success of her first novel, The Girl From Long Guyland, Lara left her career in I.T. to write full time.

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Screenplays by Lara Reznik:

The M&M Boys

Bagels & Salsa

Dance of Deception

Novels by Lara Reznik:

The Girl From Long Guyland

The M&M Boys

 

 

 

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on November 28, 2014

 

He was attractive, talented…and way off limits. 

Heather Gadway may have been a world-class college pitcher and a top university coach, but she’s a rank amateur when it comes to managing the Falcons, her father’s struggling minor league team. And when it comes to managing her aggravating attraction to Garrett Wolf, their talented new pitcher. It’s going to be difficult enough to make it as the first female manager in the league and prove to her overly critical father she’s worthy. No distractions. No missteps. And certainly no romances with players. Everything stands between them—including their troubled pasts—even as Heather’s world falls apart and Garrett’s the one who’s there to catch her…

 

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Excerpt

“What else do you want?” The question came from a part of her she didn’t recognize. Asking a man like Garrett a flirtatious question was playing with fire.

Garrett groaned, longing sharpening his features. “You.”

Without waiting for her response, his lips captured hers. She knew she should push him away, but instead her head fell back, her pulse leaping in her throat. The pressure was exquisite as he nibbled and explored. Soft. Warm. Gentle. His lips moved slowly, gradually exerting more pressure.

This felt incredible. Better than the last time. She had to stop this, but need seized her, shoving aside her good intentions.

Her body hummed and a fuzzy sensation filled her head, making it hard to focus on anything but the feel of him, the evergreen scent of the forest and his aftershave heightening her senses.

His hands gripped her waist as she swayed against him, holding her as his mouth sampled her lower lip, then put pressure on the top. Nerves sent small shock waves through her chest, and her hand rose to stroke the back of his neck, making him tremble against her.

Suddenly his kiss intensified, growing fierce and demanding. His lips moved fast against hers, their tongues tangling, causing warmth to explode in her body, melting every piece of her.

She moaned and Garrett’s arms tightened, bringing her closer still. Her lips maneuvered against his in response, loving his sweet taste. Garrett shuddered, curling his fist into her hair with a groan. She loved how her touch affected him, how it affected her.

At last his lips let her go, and he looked down at her tenderly, pleasure in his eyes, his chest rising and falling hard.

“I wasn’t getting involved with anyone. Planned to focus only on baseball,” he said when his breath came easier. “But I can’t stay away from you. You follow me, even in my sleep. Your eyes.” He kissed each lid. “Your smile.” He pressed his lips to each corner. “These freckles.” His warm mouth brushed her cheeks.

Her chest expanded, taking in his beautiful words. This incredible moment. And then it hit her, reality a cold shower.

She opened her eyes and scooted away. “Garrett. I don’t know.”

His eyes moved out over the falls, tracking the sprays of water as they hit the jutting rocks and tumbled to earth. “You don’t trust me.”

Her mouth opened and closed. He was right. While he touched a chord inside that’d never sounded for anyone else, she still couldn’t put her heart in harm’s way again. And she knew without a doubt that if Garrett let her down, he’d devastate her as much as her mother had. Even more. She’d loved and lost too many times to try again, especially with her father gone so recently.

“I’m sorry,” she said inadequately as he stood and helped her to her feet.

His blank expression gave little away. She wondered if, deep down, a part of him was relieved they weren’t taking things further. He’d said he hadn’t wanted distractions. And now she wouldn’t be one.

“I can’t make you believe in me, Heather.” His voice was steady and strong. “I need someone who’ll give me a chance to earn her trust.”

About the Author

Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time author.  With her co-author, Joanne Rock, she’s penned the CAMP BOYFRIEND series with Spencer Hill Press under the pseudonym J.K. Rock. She also writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Enterprises. Her wholesome romance, Heartwarming novels have won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the 2014 Golden Quill Contest. When she’s not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother’s family recipes and hiking. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love.

WEBSITE ☆ FACEBOOK ☆  TWITTER ☆  GOODREADS ☆  PINTEREST 

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Posted in e-books, excerpt, Romantic Suspense, Sale, Spotlight on November 23, 2014

Man Law cover

 

Title:                            Man Law
Series:                         Private Protectors, #2
Authors:                       Adrienne Giordano
Release Date:              July 4, 2011
Genre:                         Romantic Suspense
Sale Price & Dates:      $0.99 from November 20, 2014 – November 26, 2014

 

Synopsis

Security Consultant Vic Andrews lives by his Man Laws:

Never mess with your best friend’s sister
Never get caught
Never get attached

But he can’t deny his irresistible attraction to Gina Delgado, a young widow with three kids and plenty of strings attached. Even so, having a physical relationship doesn’t mean they’re “in a relationship.”

Gina lost her husband to tragedy; she is not getting emotionally involved with another man in a dangerous profession. Sleeping with Vic is just stress relief.

Until one of Vic’s assignments goes wrong and the target selects Gina and her kids for revenge. There’s nothing Vic won’t do to protect Gina and the children–the family he realizes, too late, he wants. He’ll accomplish his mission but will he have lost his only chance at true love?

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Excerpt

Chapter One

Man Law: Never mess with your best friend’s sister.

“Ah, shit.” Vic Andrews, butthead supreme, listened to the churn of the ocean’s waves. Or was it his life skittering off its axis?

Gina laughed that belly laugh of hers and he couldn’t help smiling. He extracted himself from her lush little body and rolled off. The St. Barth sand stuck to his back. Yep, they’d worked up a sweat. Salty sea air invaded his nostrils and he inhaled, letting the moisture flood his system.

Jesus Hotel Christ.

What had he been thinking? He’d been heading back to his room after closing down the resort’s bar and there she was, the girl—er, woman—of his dreams, crying on the beach. No condition for her to be in after witnessing her brother’s marriage to the love of his life.

Vic didn’t mention the fact it was 3:00 a.m. and she was alone on a secluded beach where any drunken asshole, like him, could have at her. Although technically he wasn’t drunk. Buzzed maybe. Big difference. Besides, they’d been at a wedding. Buzzed was allowed.

Gina moved and he finally turned toward her. “I’m—”

“No, absolutely not,” she said. She swiped at her curly mane of dark hair. Her face gave away nothing, but that meant squat. Gina knew how to hide bad moods.

The whoosh of the ocean lapping against the shore distracted him and he stared into the blackness.

“What did I say?” he asked.

“You were going to apologize. I don’t want to hear it.”

Apologize? Him? “I’m not sorry.” He touched her arm. “Are you?”

Please don’t say you’re sorry. Please.

That would be all he needed. He’d just freakin’ obliterated the sister rule Mike had invoked nearly a million—maybe two million—times. The sister rule was Man Law, and Man Laws were about the only rules Vic followed.

He only wanted to check on her, and before he knew it, voila, the clothes were off, the condom was on and they were humping like bunnies right there on the beach. At least no one saw them. All the well-meaning people were asleep.

Gina brushed sand from her legs and stood to straighten the sliplike dress he’d shoved up over her hips. The silky fabric glided over her curves, and the activity in Vic’s lower region made him groan. A thirty-five year-old mother of three, and she was killing him. He should be ashamed.

Screw that.

She was right there. Right there. And, because he’d probably never get the opportunity again, he should grab her and—

“I’m not sorry,” Gina said. “Not about the sex. I’m sorry about other things, but this, I loved.”

Vic retrieved his pants and stood. Gina and her honesty. Good or bad, she just put it out there and didn’t worry about the repercussions. He guessed it came from losing her husband at the age of thirty-one. She had nothing to lose.

“I need to go,” she said, watching him with her big brown eyes as the moonlight drenched her face. He put his shirt on. Did she have to look at him that way? Particularly when he wanted a replay.

“Aren’t the kids bunking with your folks?”

“They are, but you know how Matthew is. He might search for me.”

Fifteen-year-old Matt, her eldest son, took his job as man of the family seriously.

“Right. Okay.” Vic motioned toward the resort. “I’ll walk you.”

Gina held up a hand. “I’ll be fine.”

Nuh-uh. No way. “I am going to walk you. It’s late and you shouldn’t go by yourself.”

Hell, she shouldn’t have been out here alone in the first place, but he knew she’d tear him a few new ones if he said it.

She stood there, peering up at him and—God—she was fantastic. She had a classic oval face with high cheekbones and a nose he knew she hated. For over two years now he’d imagined running his finger over the little bump in it, but never dared. Every inch of her seemed perfectly imperfect.

Blown sister rule.

About the Author

Adrienne Giordano HeadshotUSA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery.  She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, Cozy, excerpt, Monday, mystery, Review on November 10, 2014

IF-THE-SHOE-KILLS-4

 

If The Shoe Kills_ebook

 

Synopsis

The tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .

As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ’tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops. . .

“Murder, dirty politics, pirate lore, and a hot police detective: Guidebook to Murder has it all! A cozy lover’s dream come true.” –Susan McBride, author of The Debutante Dropout Mysteries

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Excerpt

The holidays were supposed to be a time of goodwill, celebration, and community. You couldn’t tell it from the glares going around the table as Mayor Baylor talked. Earlier, the leader of our little town had the group eating out of his hand. Then all hell broke loose. Focusing on the uproar going on at the Business-to-Business monthly meeting, I wondered if the shop owners gathered around the mismatched tables had even seen the calendar. As South Cove’s council liaison, I volunteered my shop each month for the meeting. I’m Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More, and president of the I-Hate-Mayor-Baylor Club. A red-faced Bill Simmons, chair of the business council and owner of South Cove Bed-and-Breakfast, stood at the front of the table, trying to get the group to quiet down.

Aunt Jackie issued a shrill, earsplitting whistle, two-finger variety. My aunt could make me smile even in the worst situations. She’d been a rock the last year during all the craziness that had been my life. Now I didn’t know what I’d do without her help with Coffee, Books, and More. Or without seeing her on a daily basis.

The room finally quieted. I’d been the city council liaison with the business community in our little coastal California tourist town for the last five years. I’d never heard this kind of uproar over a mayor’s mandate before. Maybe the Honorable Mayor Baylor was losing a bit of his power over the group.

“Look, I know it’s a bad time for many of us to take on a charity project, but think of it this way, you’ll have an extra pair of hands for the season.” Bill pulled out what he’d thought would be his trump card.

“I don’t understand what you’re all so upset about. I got you free help for the busiest season of the year.” Mayor Baylor glared at me, like their reaction was my fault. “These people want to work. We need to be charitable in our attitude.” This time, his scowl was full-on directed at me.

I put on my sweetest smile, the one I saved for the few customers I truly didn’t like. “I’ve already signed up the coffee shop to participate. How about the rest of you?”

“Not all of us have South Cove’s finest working part-time in our shops.” Darla Taylor, owner of the winery and editor of the local news for the South Cove Examiner, sniffed. “I heard he couldn’t place these losers anywhere else so Ted paid the mayor to take on these stragglers.”

“That is totally unfounded speculation,” Mayor Baylor blustered, his face turning a bright shade of scarlet. He turned his stare from me to Darla. “I hope I won’t see anything close to that being reported in the Examiner.”

I turned my head so no one would see my smile widen. As one of the local media, Darla’s nose for rumors was spot-on. Ted Hendricks, program director for Bakerstown’s welfare-to-work program, had come to our tourist town of South Cove with an offer. Ten participants would work for eight weeks with a local business in an intern capacity. South Cove was their last chance.

The mayor’s gaze shifted down the table, landing on Josh Thomas, a strong Mayor Baylor supporter. Except even I could see that His Honor wasn’t winning any points with his friend today.

“Delinquents. You want me to let a delinquent run wild in my store. Talk to my customers and probably scope out my merchandise so they can rob me blind when I turn my back?” Josh owned Antiques by Thomas, the most recent business to open its doors on Main Street. Today, he pounded a chubby finger on the table.

“Of course, you’d have a problem with this. You don’t even know that they are kids, or if they had trouble with the law. Just because someone is down on their luck doesn’t mean they are a bad person,” Sadie Michaels shot back. Sadie, owner of Pies on the Fly, was my main supplier of desserts for the coffee shop. And a strong advocate for the underdog in any fight.

We’d gone down this path before. Josh and Sadie rarely saw eye to eye on any discussion. For my part, I liked the way she called him on his prejudice and narrow-mindedness. Bill tried again to short-circuit the argument he saw developing. “We don’t have time for a political discussion on the topic. This is a done deal. They’re coming today for the initial meet-and-greet with a walk through town.

Review

Another great installment in the Tourist Trap cozy mystery series.  Lynn has a great series going here and the books keep getting better and better.  The town is a place I would like to live (well as long as I am not the one that ends of dead!) with its small town charm and friendly residents.  Although the Mayor leaves a lot to be desired, but you have to have some conflict otherwise the story wouldn’t be as interesting.

Once again I never suspected this character as being the killer.  I guess I should start looking at the least likely character but that isn’t always the right choice either!  I enjoyed meeting new characters in the town and hope to see more from them.  I also like the altruistic side of Jill and Jackie.  Hopefully it might also encourage a reader to reach out and donate some time to worthy causes in their own town.

Definitely a fun read and we give it 4 1/2 paws up!  (April and Gracie would like to set up a playdate with Emma – well April anyway, Gracie would just bark at her.)

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprinthalfpaw

About the Author

CahoonUSA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

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Posted in Blog tour, excerpt, Giveaway, Young Adult on November 10, 2014

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Beyond the Gloaming

Sebastian and the Hibernauts: Beyond the Gloaming

It is Easter, 1973 and twelve year old Sebastian Duffy has some serious self-esteem issues. He is beaten by his parents, bullied at school, steals from his friends and still mourning the death of his brother. To cap it all, strange things have begun happening around him and he is finding it hard to distinguish dreams from reality. After a nightmarish assault, he wakes in the Gloaming, a shadow world inhabited by ghosts. There to greet him is Porrig, a creature from Hibercadia, a magical realm crafted from Celtic dreams. Inhabited by Fir Bolg, Tuath and Milesians, it has been overthrown by brother gods from another dreamworld. One brother, Phobitor, is a tyrant and even the Tuath, who took to their underground sidhe millennia ago, are concerned. Sebastian discovers that he alone can save Hibercadia by finding an enchanted spear. Teaming up with the Hibernauts—a mercurial sorceress, an orphaned druidess, a taciturn warrior, a snuff-sniffing leprechaun and a lovelorn poet—he embarks on a fantastical quest, but can he succeed when he is yet to find his magical potential or even his courage, and half the realm is bent on his destruction?

 

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add to goodreadsExcerpt

Sebastian concealed himself amongst the boulders and bracken, the only noise a low breeze that fluttered through the fernery. Though he knew his friends were close, he suddenly felt quite alone. As he peered at the ebony sky, thinking he had never seen such darkness, he noticed a faint blue light. He took it for a star until it grew steadily brighter and he realized it was an aiia. The nervous excitement he had initially felt—long since dispelled by the irritation of staggering across moors—returned as icy fear. He pushed back against a rock, desperate to meld into it. Unsure where his friends had hidden, he contemplated calling to them, but stopped himself for fear of the aiia overhearing. He felt an irresistible urge to up and flee, to take his chances and try to outdistance it, not to stay there like a helpless animal, easy pickings for the monstrous creature. The longer he stayed, the greater he worried he was losing his head start, yet as the light advanced pitilessly he found himself unable to move. Now he could see her outline, the floating body no bigger than his thumb, the silhouetted head darting this way and that. He tried to dive for cover, but his body froze, unwilling to move despite his exhortations. It was not until the aiia steadied forty feet from the ground and began to pass back and forth, scanning the moors, that his body finally heeded him. He slid to the ground and pressed his face to the earth, screwing his eyes shut and covering his ears, desperate to zone out.
“Sebastian!” she cried, the hills echoing to her lamentation.
Never had he heard anything so alluring. He removed his hands and raised his head. As she flew overhead, he turned to her and was transfixed by her beauty, surrendering fully to the uncontrollable passion that hurtled into him, possessed his entire being, and vanquished all fear. All he wished was to behold her forever.
“Sebastian!” she repeated, desperately, achingly.
Such pain. Such yearning. His love-addled mind had an epiphany. He would return to her, for surely it was she, the one eternal love that each renewed life was a quest for. They had finally found each other. How she craved him. How she missed him. Seized with a violent desire, his arms reached out to her, but the tall fernery conspired to conceal him.
“Sebastian!” she wept in heartrending tones, sweeping directly above. As she sang his name, a metallic liquid issued from her mouth, carried on the breeze this way and that. A chain of drops descended to him, pouring into his ears, filling him with ecstasy.
“I’m here,” he gasped, yet his love-parched throat would brook no words.
The desire was so intense it became agonizing. He struggled to find his feet, yet his leaden limbs betrayed him, as if his mortal frame were jealous of the pending reunion of souls. With a Herculean effort, he sprang up and began to wave his arms wildly. Too late. She was some way off and did not look back. Finding his lungs, he released a plaintive howl.

Trailer

Beyond the Gloaming from Kaleb Lechowski on Vimeo.

Praise for Beyond the Gloaming

I cannot say just how much I have enjoyed this book; you are a very accomplished writer with a wonderfully rich imagination. Your use of the English language is amazing and your ability to create the many different speaking styles in the book and to maintain them is remarkable. You have an incredibly inventive mind and readers will come to love the many wonderful creations in this novel, it is jam-packed with the most wonderful and inventive characters; new, exciting and beautifully realised.
~The Oxford Editors

 

An imaginative epic…an intricate and fully realised fantasy world with a big cast of likeable characters that are charming, well drawn and endearing, with wonderfully apt names. The depth and breadth of your high-voltage imagination, and the richness of the world you create is very impressive.
~Sam Mills, author of Blackout, The Boys Who Saved the World, and The Quiddity of Will Self

 

BrendanAuthor Brendan Murphy

Brendan Murphy was raised in Sheffield, England, with dreams of becoming a writer, and has written every day since he was nine years old. After reading medicine in London and psychiatry in Manchester, he moved to Australia in 1999. He is an Associate Professor at Monash University and has written widely on youth mental health. His nonfiction work on the development of football in Victorian society, From Sheffield with Love, was published in 2007. He lives with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Sebastian and Violette, in a sprawling property built for the composer, Dorian Le Gallienne. They share their garden with a mob of kangaroos, a wombat, two possums, any number of creepy crawlies, and some very feisty kookaburras. In 2013, he was signed to Assent Publishing for a six-book deal. Beyond the Gloaming, the first Sebastian and the Hibernauts adventure, will be published by Assent imprint, Phantasm Books in 2014.

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Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 11/28/14

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.

 

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Posted in excerpt, romance, Spotlight, Young Adult on November 9, 2014

robin in the hood

 

Synopsis

“Is it any wonder I became a bank robber?”
But she never dreamed she’d fall in love . . .

Wealthy high school student Robin McArthur thinks she has it all figured out when it comes to bilking her work-a-holic dad for guilt money as a substitute for his genuine affection. Until one day he suffers a stroke at his law office, and she learns the brutal truth—
They’re broke.
Her stepmom has skipped the country.
And everyone from bankers to bookies has lined up in her dad’s hospital room to collect on the millions he’s racked up in debt.

Panicked and desperate, Robin figures she has two choices: either surrender to the pestering caseworker and live in a skanky foster home, or take a chance and sneak her dad out of the hospital to make a run for it. Little does she know that stealing a car and hitting the road means that before the day is through, she will rob her first bank.

Now an outlaw, Robin finds a backwoods trailer park to hide her dad from authorities where she encounters Creek, a bad-boy in crime who first steals her money and then steals her heart. The two of them embark on a round of increasingly dangerous heists to provide for their motley trailer park neighbors. But what Robin hadn’t counted on is the way these hardscrabble people begin to embrace her and become the first real family she’s ever known. And along the way, worldly-wise Creek teaches her how to develop a genuine relationship with her dad based on the hard truths of their lives instead of his past lies. As Robin and Creek’s criminal journey forces them to make gut-wrenching choices, they soon begin to discover that people are more precious than pocketbooks, and true love means opening your heart to the kinds of treasures money can’t buy.

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Excerpt

First Glimpse

Excerpt from Robin in the Hood by Diane J. Reed

In my young adult romance Robin in the Hood, 15-year-old Robin McArthur finds out her formerly rich family has gone broke, so she runs away from her boarding school and devises a plan to rob banks to provide for her loved ones. When she walks up to a rural savings & loan for her very first hit, she suddenly spies the boy of her dreams. Here’s what happens:

 

As I scurried up the sidewalk, I had this strange, haunting feeling . . .

Like I was being watched.

I froze in place for a second, mere steps from the bank door.

There it was again . . .

That odd sensation that someone’s eyes were on my back.

Could the bank have hired security to watch over the building?

I swiftly scanned the roof and did a little spin to check the street on either side.

Give me a break, I thought, this is Podunkville! It’s not like they’re gonna have snipers in the bushes.

Sucking up my courage, I pointed my finger beneath my school cardigan like a concealed weapon and prepared to head inside. My heart started to do backflips, and I felt like any second it was going to spring from my chest.

“You can do this,” I barked under my breath, “you’ve got to! Just walk in there like you own the place, head to the nearest teller, and make your demand.”

Aside from the full-blown terror that popped and sizzled through my brain, another sound began to filter into my ears.

Laughter.

I slid my hand to my chest, just to check if it was me. After all, people do weird things in a panic, but I soon discovered that I wasn’t the source of the sound.

Glancing up, I spotted a shadow.

Straight ahead, beside a large sycamore tree. And it moved.

I squinted and inched to the left, peering into a particularly dark patch beside the wide tree trunk.

And that’s when I saw him.

Or I guess I should say, he chose to reveal himself.

A tall guy, maybe a year or two older than me, in a black t-shirt and torn, faded jeans. His tangled, sun-bleached hair looked like it had never seen scissors, yet it framed his tan skin and piercing blue eyes like a rugged surfer’s. To my surprise, he flashed a half-smile, making the jagged scar across his cheek press into a dark, thin line, like a dagger. For a second, I wondered if it was a warning—

“You gotta be kidding me,” he shook his head, folding his tattooed arms. “You honestly think you can take on this place?”

He leaned his tall frame against the tree, appearing amused. Instantly, I could tell from his ripped clothes, sinewy body, and nearly feral gaze that he was pretty much everything my boarding school had been paid so handsomely to keep out of my reach.

Beautiful.

Deadly.

And well within kissing distance—

Without warning, his intense eyes locked on mine as if we were the only two people who’d ever mattered on planet earth.

And all at once, I felt a weight dislodge and explode into a gazillion pieces inside my chest.

This is my heart—

This is my heart on CRACK.

I hyperventilated for a moment, fully acknowledging that I am the most undersexed teen this side of Mississippi.

Get a grip, I snapped at myself. Focus!

Okay, so I know most girls like me are diamond-wise and boy-foolish. So surely the only reason the hottest thing in the known universe is standing in front of me right now is because . . .

Well, um, because . . .

He wants to rob the same bank.

“Dammit!”

The guy laughed like I’d said that out loud.

“Shit!”

Yep, I’m pretty sure he heard that one, too.

I shuffled my feet, heaving a big sigh.

All right Mr. Rugged & Beautiful, I thought, folding my arms across my supremely-dorky school sweater. Think you can psyche me out? Well I’ve just completed a year and a half in mean-girl lockdown, where they make you check in your soul at the door in exchange for verbal switchblades, so don’t even think I’m gonna cave any time soon.

No fear.

I lifted my chin and gave him my iciest stare.

“First one inside hits the jackpot!” I said, darting into the bank’s front door before he could blink.

 

About the Author

diane reedDiane J. Reed is a multi-award winning author who writes novels that are infused with enchantment, where characters dare to break through boundaries & believe in true love. She has a soft spot for artisans & outlaws of the heart, those of us who burn brightly to live each day as a gift–because it is! Along with her passion for books, she enjoys hiking, painting, chocolate & spending time with her family in the Rocky Mountains.

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