Posted in excerpt, memoir, nonfiction, Spotlight on June 14, 2017

Synopsis

At 46 years old, Mark Moore was in the prime of his life. He was a successful businessman, loving husband, involved father, and dedicated amateur athlete. His life was turned upside down after being hit in quick succession with two strokes that should have taken his life. After spending a month in a coma, Mark awoke to find his life forever changed, wondering if he’d ever be able to walk or speak again.

Mark’s inspiring new memoir, A Stroke of Faith: A Stroke Survivor’s Story of a Second Chance at Living a Life of Significance, follows his incredible journey from successful businessman to unexpected stroke victim and survivor. Now having made an almost-full recovery 10 years later, Mark has dedicated himself to his family, faith, extensive philanthropy within his community, and educating others about stroke awareness, prevention, and recovery.

Though his life will never return to his pre-stroke normality, through this crisis, he has gained a deeper understanding of the centrality of God’s role in his life and in all of our lives. A Stroke of Faith tells the story of moving from acceptance to surrender and from hope to faith and reveals God’s work in Mark’s life as He transformed him from thinking he had everything under control to knowing God has had control all along.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound * ChristianBook.com

Excerpt

Introduction

“Beyond My Control!”

WE ALL HAVE gifts of one kind or another, natural abilities that seem to flow out of the very core of who we are. For some, it’s music. They can look at a sheet of crotchet and quaver notations and hear the melody in their head as if a full symphony orchestra were playing right in front of them. Others have a knack for languages. A few lessons, and they sound like a native speaker.

I was always a numbers man. Math may not be as glamorous as melodies and words, but I never saw just a bunch of figures on a page. For me, they turned into a score or a story I could follow. A company spreadsheet could be like an x-ray, revealing all the inner problems of an ailing business. Or it might become a road map, pointing the way to prosperity. I could read columns of debits and credits like a book.

As with any innate ability, that aptitude could only take me so far. Raw sugar cane has to go through a process to release the sweetness. With application and determination, I was able to harness my gift for math in ways that transformed my life. It took me from a tough New York City borough to the leafy suburbs of Washington, DC. From a two-bedroom house into which ten of us were squeezed to a ten-thousand-square foot property with a pool.

During that climb up the ladder of success, I had raised two billion dollars in capital as I rode the financial wave of twenty-first century new technology. Overcoming some prejudice along the way, as one of a minority of successful African American entrepreneurs, I’d established a reputation as a fair but firm businessman.

Proud to be a self-made man who had a different, tailor-made suit to wear for every day of the month—a far cry from the hand-me-down wardrobe of my childhood―I had written more checks than I could remember, the largest single one for two-and-a-half million dollars.

And now I stared helplessly at the blank check that Lisa had placed in front of me. I could read the words: Pay to the Bearer, and all that. I could see the lines and the blank box where I was supposed to write the payee’s name and the amount.

But I didn’t know how to do it. Something was missing between what I knew in my brain and the pen I held in my right hand. It was like one of the bulbs had shorted out midway in a string of Christmas lights, breaking the connection and extinguishing them all. The chain was interrupted. I should have known without even thinking what needed to be done, but somehow I just could not bring to mind the steps necessary for completing the simple actions I had performed so many times previously. I froze, mentally paralyzed.

Here I was, the successful numbers man, and I could not even put two and two together.

I felt crushed, helpless. The head-down determination that had brought so many rewards was somewhere out of reach. No matter how much I gritted my teeth and concentrated, I just could not will myself to do something as basic as write a check.

To make matters worse, I could not even spring up and pace about in frustration. A lifelong athlete, I still pushed myself as hard on the basketball court in my two-hour weekly games as I did in my twelve-hour days at the office. A non-smoking non-drinker, I was in excellent shape for a man in his

mid-forties.

But now I could only sit in my wheelchair as I contemplated the chasm between what my life had been and what it was now—and might be for as long as I was alive.

That I was even breathing was something of a miracle itself. A month or so earlier I had been within minutes of dying, my life saved only by emergency surgery that opened up my skull and left me in a medically induced coma. I had, of course, been grateful to open my eyes again and see my beloved wife, Brenda, and our two children. But facing the rest of my life as a shadow of who I had been weighed heavily now.

Overwhelmed by not being able to manage such a rudimentary action, one I had performed so many times previously, I sighed.

“This is crazy,” I said. “Something so simple I’ve done it a million times, and yet it’s beyond my control!”

Sensing my discouragement, Lisa smiled brightly at me as we sat in her speech therapist’s office at Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. Dark curly-haired and petite, dressed in hospital scrubs and sneakers, she managed to sound professional and personable at the same time.

“The brain is really quite remarkable in the way it can recover from a traumatic injury like the one you have suffered, Mark,” she told me. “You are going to get better. Most of the progress in recovery usually occurs in the first year or two. And we are going to do all that we can to help.”

Though the gap between my former life and my present circumstances seemed vast, miles wide, I had been brought to its edge by something quite small: a ruptured blood vessel deep in my brain. Two strokes had pulled the curtain down firmly on the first act of my life. How the rest of my story would unfold was unclear and, for the first time I could remember, seemed beyond my control.

About the Author

Mark Moore is a philanthropist and successful businessman. Along with his wife Brenda, a former nurse, Mark has established the Mark and Brenda Moore and Family Foundation, through which he supports advances in healthcare, education, culture and the arts, and Christian evangelism. Prior to engaging full time in his philanthropic work, Mark was Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of Segovia, Inc., a leading provider of global internet protocol services to the US Defense Department. Mark is also the Mid-Atlantic Ambassador for the American Stroke Association and the author of the memoir A Stroke of Faith, which is now on sale. More about Mark and A Stroke of Faith can be found at and on Facebook and Twitter .

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 10, 2017

Cement Stilettos: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Polyester Press (June 13, 2017)
Print Length: 255 pages

Synopsis

Forget the cannoli. Take the shoes!

When newly engaged amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd discovers the body of a mafia princess dead in fiancé and shoe designer Nick Taylor’s showroom, her questions are so numerous she’d need a bookie to keep track. The victim’s ties to local organized crime are unexpected. Nick’s apparent vow of silence makes Samantha question the vows in their future, and despite past promises, all bets are off. Wise guys and leopard ladies keep her busier than a consigliere during tax season, and if she can’t keep her head above water, she’ll end up sleeping with the fishes.

 

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and DRESSED TO CONFESS will be out in August 2017.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 9, 2017

Grand Theft Retro: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Polyester Press (May 17, 2016)
Paperback: 228 pages

Synopsis

Samantha Kidd is about to go retro.

When Samantha Kidd’s job at Retrofit Magazine leads her into the fashionable archives of seventies style, she’s prepared to report on patchwork velvet and platform shoes, but she never expected to uncover the theft of a major collection of samples from runway shows that took place before disco died. When the guilty party threatens Samantha’s family and friends, her priority shift into protection mode. The investigation heats up faster than fondue over sterno, and all too soon Samantha learns that while beat goes on, there’s no guarantee that she’ll go on with it.

Pearls Gone Wild: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Polyester Press; 6 edition (December 31, 2016)
Paperback: 218 pages

Synopsis

Amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd’s life is finally on track. It’s her normally cultured friend Cat whose life has lost its luster: eight months pregnant and abandoned by her husband the week before Christmas. She ropes Samantha into helping at her boutique, but a string of jewelry thefts threatens her business. And when Cat’s husband is found strangled with pearls inside the shop, the last thing she’s concerned with is profit. Samantha tries to get a bead on the killer, but when the suspects all clam up, she’s left tangled in knots. Add in an unexpected proposal, a flirtatious friend, and a brand new detective, and this is bound to be Samantha’s wildest adventure yet.

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 8, 2017

The Brim Reaper: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Polyester Press (December 3, 2013)
Paperback: 266 pages

Synopsis

Former fashion buyer Samantha Kidd is in over her head

With no job prospects on the horizon, former fashion buyer Samantha Kidd convinces boyfriend and shoe designer Nick Taylor to give her a job in his showroom, but when a collection of vintage Hollywood costumes comes to town, it brings a hat box full of hype. Close friend Eddie is in charge of the exhibit and calls on Samantha for help, but all too soon hype turns to homicide. Brimming with good intentions, she loops in the cops, but after one too many cloche calls, she’s knee-deep in mystery. If she can tear the lid off the investigation, it might mean a feather in her fedora. And if she can’t? She might get capped.

Some Like It Haute: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Polyester Press (January 6, 2015)
Paperback: 248 pages

Synopsis

If you can’t stand the heat, get off the runway.

Fashion expert turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd is in the hot seat. After agreeing to help her ex-boyfriend’s former girlfriend with a runway show, her post-break-up life turns explosive. She recruits Dante, a smokin’ hot photographer, to turn up the heat on the investigation (and help her get over Nick), but even the third degree won’t expose an angry arsonist. With a crash course in sizzle, Samantha’s curiosity leads her into another inferno, and this time she either faces the fire or gets burned.

About the Author

DianeVallereI’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 7, 2017

Designer Dirty Laundry (Samantha Kidd Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Polyester Press (June 5, 2012)
Paperback: 274 pages

Synopsis

Meet Samantha Kidd.

Ex-buyer turned trend specialist turns amateur sleuth! She designed her future with couture precision, but finding the fashion director’s corpse on day one leaves her hanging by a thread. And when the killer fabricates evidence that puts the cops on her hemline, even a chance run-in with hot shoe designer Nick Taylor can’t keep her life from unraveling. She trades high fashion for dirty laundry and reveals a cast of designers out for blood. Now her job, her love life, and her future are put on hold as she tries to expose a diabolical designer before getting marked down for murder.

Praise for Designer Dirty Laundry

This story will put a smile on you face and maybe even have you laughing out loud! ~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

The writing was smooth and conversational. The world the author created was described well and I could play the story out in my head right down to the outfits and shoes. ~Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

This is a fast paced cozy. Something is ALWAYS happening, often to Samantha Kidd. ~Laura’s Interests

Buyer, Beware: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Polyester Press (March 5, 2013)
Paperback: 258 pages

Synopsis

Samantha Kidd: Bag Lady?

Out-of-work fashion expert turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd is strapped. But when the buyer of handbags for a hot new retailer turns up dead and Samantha is recruited for the job, the opportunity comes with a caveat: she’s expected to find some answers. With shoe designer Nick Taylor off in Italy, she turns to a sexy stranger for help (with humorous results!). But as the walls close around her like a snug satin lining, Samantha must get a handle on the mystery or risk being caught in the killer’s clutches.

Praise for Buyer Beware

Samantha is such a fun character. She bases most of her sleuthing on what she’s seen in old movies or on television shows, which of course results in her getting into a few tight spots here and there. ~Book Babble

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Children, Family, Giveaway, Spotlight on June 4, 2017

#BABYLOVE:

MY TODDLER LIFE

by

CORINE DEHGHANPISHEH

  Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Technology / Family

Publisher: My Art to Inspire

Date of Publication: September 20, 2016

Number of Pages: 40

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A curious toddler loves to play…especially with his mommy’s smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment.  Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

Her simple reminder: Put down our phones.

Praise for #BabyLove: My Toddler Life

“This poignant and entertaining tale about a playful toddler aimed at young lap readers works on a much deeper level for parents.” – Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“This light-hearted reflection on social media habits is a great tool for starting discussions with young children.” — Forward Clarion Reviews (5 Stars)

“Dehghanpisheh’s illustrations and text are simple, colorful and charming, and many families will relate to the question of how, and how much, to integrate technology into their child’s day.  #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is a fun and timely picture book for 21st century preschoolers. — BlueInk Review

“I can’t wait to read this to my 2 year old grandson.  This book is his life curious, sweet and funny.  His mommy has a collection of his photography on her phone.  Priceless. — Kindle Verified Purchase

 

Corine Dehghanpisheh is an award-winning author, whose own family life serves as inspiration for her fun and engaging children’s books.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Arts Therapy & Creativity Development from Pratt Institute in New York City.

Ms. Dehghanpisheh currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her family.  There she continues to write the #BabyLove series, focused on the blending of modern technologies with classically familiar child raising situations.

The 2nd book in the series, #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is now available along with #BabyLove: My Social Life, which is a Next Generation Indie Book Awards winner.

Her debut children’s book Can We Play Again? is a Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient and a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist. Corine’s inspiration for this book came from her work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NYC.

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

THREE SIGNED COPIES!

(US ONLY)

  May 29-June 7, 2017

Grand Prize: Signed Copies of #BabyLove 1 & 2 + $20 Amazon Gift Card

First Runner-Up: Signed Copies of #BabyLove 1 & 2 + $10 Amazon Gift Card

Next Two Winners: Signed Copy of #BabyLove: My Toddler Life + $5 Amazon Gift Card

 

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5/29 Promo Hall Ways Blog
5/30 Review Missus Gonzo
5/31 Sneak Peek Excerpt 1 Forgotten Winds
6/1 Character Interview Books and Broomsticks
6/2 Review The Page Unbound
6/3 Sneak Peek Excerpt 2 Reading By Moonlight
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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on June 1, 2017

Synopsis

The stars are about to align in the newest Shaughnessy brothers romance!

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE

Brilliant astrophysicist Dr. Owen Shaughnessy feels more connected to the cosmos than to people. He’s great with calculations, but when he leads a team of scientists to study a famous meteor shower, he doesn’t factor in his free-spirited artist assistant Brooke Matthews.

LOVE CAN DAZZLE YOU

Polar opposites in personality, the friction between them threatens to derail the project. But the beauty and mystery of the night sky draw Owen and Brooke together—and she’s going to surprise him in ways the stars never could.

AmazonB&NiBooks

Excerpt

“That was…interesting.”

“I never thought I’d see those two mediums used together.”

“I may have to stab my own eyes out to make sure I never see it again,” Brooke said and then shuddered. They had just left the art gallery, and she waited until they were at the corner before looking at Owen. “I am so sorry.”

He looked taken aback by her apology. “Why?”

“That was horrible! Everything in there was offensive and tasteless and just…wrong! I can’t believe an art professor would recommend that to anyone!”

“Maybe he didn’t know exactly what kind of art was being displayed.”

Brooke shook her head. “He had to know. He raved about the whole thing—like he was familiar with the kind of work this guy did!”

“Maybe he’s into that kind of thing. There were a lot of people there who were praising pretty much everything they saw.”

Even though she knew Owen was right, she was still horrified. All of the pictures featured nudes in cages—and then there was wire caging coming out of the picture to give it a 3-D effect. Splashes of color looked as if they were just thrown onto the canvas, and all in all the exhibit had been fairly horrific to her. Brooke didn’t consider herself a prude, but these images were definitely not something she would have chosen to see.

Ever.

And now she was mortified because she had invited Owen along. To his credit, he didn’t seem the least bit fazed by the whole thing. It was possible he was trying to be polite and didn’t want to offend her in case she found the work interesting. But after the first five minutes of being there, Brooke had wanted to escape. Somehow, however, Owen had drawn her into conversation as they walked around the gallery and made several observations that had her wondering if he really didn’t see what was so…bizarre about the entire thing.

And that had been eye-opening for her. They stayed much longer than she’d imagined they would—especially after seeing the art—but they had talked the entire time, and after a while, she didn’t even notice their surroundings. She simply enjoyed the conversation, which turned to the architecture of the building rather than the show.

“So that was an art showing,” Owen said conversationally.

She nodded. “I really wish it had been a better experience.”

“Is this the sort of thing you want to do? Have your paintings displayed in one particular gallery?”

“I think so. That was one of the reasons I went to talk to Dr. Kennedy. I really wanted his input on ways to get my name out there to some of the local galleries. I was hoping he’d give me some insight into how to get started.”

Without commenting, Owen simply nodded.

“I don’t know about you,” she began, “but the thought of walking back to the pier is just a little exhausting. Would you mind if we grabbed a cab?”

“Not at all.” Walking to the curb, he quickly hailed one, and once they were inside, he instructed the driver where to take them.

“Thank you,” Brooke said, resting her head back on the seat. “I know I could have made the walk, but I’m just worn out.”

“It was a lot of walking,” he agreed. “I’ll have the driver drop you at your car and take me back to my hotel.”

“Oh.”

Turning his head toward her, he looked at her until she met his gaze. “What’s wrong?”

She shrugged. It was silly to be disappointed. Looking at the clock on the dashboard, she knew it was late—almost midnight—but she wasn’t ready for the night to end.

“I just thought I’d drive you back there, and maybe we could have a drink or something before we called it a night.”

He studied her for a moment, and she was afraid she had been too forward and he was going to turn her down.

“I’d like that,” he said, surprising her yet again.

“Good,” she said, smiling.

The ride to her car took only a few minutes, and Owen paid the driver and thanked him as they climbed out. Silently they walked to her car, and for the first time that night, she truly felt nervous. There wasn’t anything she could put her finger on, but for some reason Brooke knew it was a big deal that they were out together tonight and they were both unwilling to let the night come to an end.

Or perhaps she was seeing only what she wanted to see.

They stopped next to her car, and she turned to him. “I don’t think I know what hotel you’re staying at.”

“It would probably be easier for me to drive. That is…if you don’t mind.”

Brooke willingly handed him the keys, and they were on the move minutes later. Traffic was a little bit lighter than it had been earlier in the evening but still heavier than she would have expected for this time of night. Everything was lit up, and the sidewalks were still crowded, and she loved the energy of it all. They turned off the main road, and Owen pulled into an underground garage and parked.

“I was so busy people-watching I didn’t even notice where we are.” There was a possibility that was the wrong thing to admit to, but…

“That’s okay,” he said, taking the keys out and handing them to her. Neither made a move to get out of the car though.

She watched him for a moment—noticed how he was staring at the steering wheel and how he seemed to be thinking about something but she had no idea what. Turning in her seat, she faced him. “Owen—”

“I’d like to kiss you,” he blurted out.

Her eyes went wide, and her heart beat madly in her chest. “You…you would?”

Owen looked at her, his dark eyes so full of emotion. He shook his head. “I’m sure there was a more eloquent way to say that, but…I’m not very eloquent,” he added quietly.

Reaching out, Brooke took one of his hands in hers—relishing the warmth she found there—and marveled at how large it was. And there was strength there. He didn’t have the hands of a man who sat behind a desk pushing papers around, and the skin-on-skin contact was far more arousing than she thought possible. “You’re more eloquent than you think you are,” she said softly.

The look he gave her said he didn’t quite believe her. “I had a wonderful time with you tonight, Brooke, and I know we’re going to go inside and have a drink, and we’ll talk some more and…well…the longer we talk and the later it gets, it’s going to make me want to kiss you even more. It’s wrong for me to want to, but—”

“Why is it wrong?” she interrupted.

And there were those eyes that had her more than ready to crawl across the seat and into his lap. There was a vulnerability in his eyes that was almost her undoing.

“I hurt you. I know you didn’t say anything about it, but I know Howard probably talked to you and told you about Red Rock.” He looked away and shook his head. “It was wrong of me to do it like that. I should have talked to you myself. I’m sorry.”

“Owen, I’m not going to lie to you. I was hurt, and yes, I was pretty angry with you earlier. I know we haven’t known each other very long, but I thought we were at least becoming friends. I hated hearing about your decision from my uncle, but…I kind of understand why you did it that way. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for you to make.”

“None of this is easy,” he murmured and then looked up at her again. “I’m not good at this sort of thing—playing it cool and pretending I’m not interested in you when in fact I am. So…I’d completely understand if you didn’t want to stay and have that drink or talk like we’d planned. You’re probably sitting there trying to figure out a nice way to tell me to get out of the car.”

Brooke was about to correct him, but Owen kept talking.

“I thought about hiring you, but I couldn’t. Not because I don’t want you on the trip, but because I knew I couldn’t handle working with you every day and having you close by while I’m attracted to you. And knowing you were only there because you wanted to paint and that you weren’t interested in me.”

Now she had to speak. Before he could get another word out, she squeezed his hand and got his attention. “But you’re wrong.”

He didn’t seem to understand what she was talking about.

“I do want to go on this trip to paint—I’m not going to deny that—but…Owen, I’m attracted to you too. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, and the more time we spend together, the more I want to spend with you. I was afraid maybe you didn’t want me on the trip because I wasn’t smart enough or—”

She never got to finish.

Owen closed the distance between them and cupped her face in his hands as his lips claimed hers.

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.

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Posted in mystery, Spotlight on May 28, 2017

Synopsis

In this irresistible cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders, amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter fights to avenge a crime that hits far too close to home.

Mulbridge House stood, silent and decaying, deep in the woods at the heart of Oakwood, Ohio, long before the passing of Augusta Mulbridge. Yet suddenly everyone in town seems to have a stake in its fate: the greedy heirs, eager to tear it down for a tidy profit; the local preservationists, determined to maintain it as an historic site; the angry neighbors, staunchly opposed to the construction of a modern subdivision. Even Charley Carpenter is forced to admit that her beloved shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, could use an infusion of the estate’s treasures.

The clock is ticking. The wrecking ball is ready to swing. All that stands between Mulbridge House and oblivion is one final vote. That, and murder . . .

The trouble begins when Charley walks into auctioneer Calvin Prescott’s office to find her cherished family friend crumpled on the floor. Detective Marcus Trenault quickly connects his death to a string of increasingly violent burglaries plaguing Oakwood. But when Charley uncovers a link to a massive land swindle worth millions, not to mention a drug ring operating out of the manor’s abandoned outbuildings, that theory crumbles faster than Mulbridge House. Now Charley’s racing to catch a killer before everything falls apart.

**side note, I have been told there are a few f* bombs in this book.**

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leslie-nagel

About the Author

Leslie Nagel is a writer and teacher of writing at a local community college. Her debut novel, “The Book Club Murders”, is the first in the Oakwood Mystery Series. Leslie lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. After the written word, her passions include her husband, her son and daughter, hiking, tennis and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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Posted in Historical, romance, Spotlight, Western on May 25, 2017

BLOOD OATH

A Laura Elliston Novel, Book 2

by

MELISSA LENHARDT

NEW RELEASE 

 

  Genre: Historical / Western / Action-Adventure / Romance

Publisher: Redhook

Date of Publication: May 23, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this action-packed follow up to Sawbones.

Laura Elliston and William Kindle are on the run — from the Army and from every miscreant in the West eager to claim the $500 bounty for Laura’s capture as their own. But the danger isn’t just from those pursuing them. Laura and Kindle have demons of their own and a past that won’t stay dead. Exhausted, scared, scarred and surrounded by enemies, neither realize the greatest danger is yet to come.

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about the author

melissa-lenhardtMelissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.

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Posted in coming of age, Spotlight, women on May 21, 2017

THE ADVENTURES OF MISS VULPE

A Coming of Age Story for Adults

by

MARIA ELENA SANDOVICI

 

  Genre: Contemporary / Women’s Fiction / Coming of Age

Date of Publication: April 7, 2017

Number of Pages: 160

Ana Petrescu (aka Miss Vulpe) is a troubled teenager determined to solve the mystery of her parents’ double suicide. Escaping the scrutiny of her legal guardian and the unwanted interference of several therapists, she starts looking up people from her mother’s past. Her sleuthing requires her to lie about her identity, her age, and her lack of experience with men. While impersonating Miss Vulpe is more fun than going to school, there’s bound to be trouble and heartache when her web of lies unravels.

 

Maria Elena Sandovici lives in Houston with her dog. She travels to Bucharest often and also to Spain, but her favorite trip remains 45 South to Galveston. She has an art studio at Hardy and Nance in the Warehouse District, open the third Saturday of every month, blogs daily at havewatercolorswilltravel.com, and writes poetry in the voice of her dog. She is also the author of three previous novels about women who are struggling with finding their place in the world.

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