22 October, 2021

October 22, 2021 0

#CharacterInterview :: Meet Captain Nicholas Ferguson from The Captain's Lady by Robecca Austin - @RobeccaAustin #Regency #HistoricalRomance

 


Lady Isabella Pennington’s life is mired in scandal, but not of her own making. 


As London’s gentry bask in her heartache, she devises a plan to avoid another disastrous engagement. But those plans go awry as she struggles to forget the rogue Captain Nicholas years after the passionate afternoon they spent together.

Her intention to adhere to societal demands is admirable but short-lived when Nicholas shocks everyone by asking for her hand in marriage. What unfolds leaves Lady Isabella torn between societal expectations and her long-held desire.

Captain Nicholas is far from an aristocrat yet is held in high regard in some circles. With his attention focused on Lady Isabella, it’s all she can do to resist the handsome devil. Will a marriage of convenience be a means to a much-coveted end, or will it lead to another humiliating failure for Lady Isabella?



Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com


Meet Captain Nicholas Ferguson


What is your ideas of perfect happiness?

“Captaining of my vessel, Devil’s Pearl. She takes me across the sea to buy merchandise like silk and tea from as far as China. We could spend months at sea together. It is a glorious feeling being on the open waters. Storms, pirates, thieves… aye, I love it all..” Nicholas smiled. “Even better are my lassies aboard my vessel.”

Tell us 3 things about yourself that the readers do not know?

“Lady Isabella captivated me the very first time I saw her. A ray of sunshine to warm my heart. Did ye know that the lass went out into the pond bordering her father’s property in a faulty boat?” Nicholas chuckled. “It took me a moment to realize she couldnae swim. She was deviant and bold, and I couldnae help jumping into the water after her.
“Though she may disagree, I saved my bonnie lass that day, and my waters have never been calmer since.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “Finally, all of England thinks I am nae but a brute. But, that’s to be expected as the Sassenachs think all Scots are uncivilized.”

If you could spend a day with someone you admire, who would you pick?”

“My mother. I would sit by her side and hold her hand on the day she died. Tell her that I am well and she nae longer has to worry.”


About the Author:



Robecca Austin is the author of happy ever after romance stories. She enjoys crafting tales of sassy heroines and alpha heroes that have a soft center.
She writes historical romance and billionaire romance stories.
You can find her outside enjoying nature and lots of sunshine when there are no bugs. When she's not writing her next novel, she's busy battling Cystic Fibrosis and hugging family. She lives and works in Canada.

Rebecca on the Web:
Website * Twitter * Amazon



20 October, 2021

October 20, 2021 0

#BookSpotlight :: The Liars Beneath by Heather L. Powell - #Thriller #YoungAdult @XpressoTours @heatherlpowell

 

The Liars Beneath
Heather L. Powell

Publication Date: January 27th 2022
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

A romantically dark YA thriller set in the backdrop of Iowa’s suspenseful farmlands.

After a tragic accident ends her best friend’s life, 17-year-old Becca Thompson succumbs to grief the only way she knows how: by wallowing in it. She’s a fragment of the person she once was—far too broken to enjoy the summer before her senior year. But when Ben McCain, her best friend’s older brother, returns home, Becca must face her new reality head on.

She isn’t interested in Ben’s games, especially since he abandoned his sister during the months leading up to her death. But when he begs for her help in uncovering the truth about what really happened the night of his sister’s death, Becca finds herself agreeing, hoping to clear up rumors swirling in the wake of her best friend’s accident.

An unhinged ex-boyfriend, secret bucket lists, and garage parties in the place Becca calls home soon lead her to the answers she’s so desperate to unveil. But nobody is being honest, not even Ben. And the closer Becca gets to the truth—and to Ben—the more danger seems to surround her.

Clearing her best friend’s name was all she wanted to do, but Becca is quickly realizing that the truth she craves might be uglier than the lies her best friend kept.

Add to Goodreads / Pre-order

Author Bio:

Heather Powell is Midwestern-born author with a love of all things spontaneous road trips, TV shows that leave her questioning her morals, and book boyfriends. As a graduate of Black Hawk College, Heather took her degree in early childhood development, tossed it into the garbage, and is now living the dream writing young adult novels sprinkled with suspense and lots of kissing.

She’s currently living out her own version of a happily ever after with her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband, their three hugely feminist daughters, and two fur babies with bad attitudes. When she’s not being a mom or writing books, you can find her drinking way too many energy drinks or crashing out on her sofa with a romance novel of some sort.

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October 20, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from The Finest Lies by David J. Naiman - @XpressoTours #Contemporary #YoungAdult #MagicalRealism

 

The Finest Lies
David J. Naiman

Publication date: October 14th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Magical Realism

High schooler Nicole Hallett has just about had it with her brother Jay, so when a mysterious man appears with an offer to replace him with a better one, she doesn’t hesitate. Nicole has always been impulsive, but this time, she finds herself in predicament far worse than anything she’s experienced. Just like that, an average snow day—usually filled with hot cocoa and snowball fights—is commandeered by the stranger, who forces the siblings into a dangerous game.

Confronted by past reflections, tested by present complications, and threatened by future possibilities, Nicole has until the end of the day to disentangle the riddle of her life.

This suspenseful, yet winsome novel by award-winning author David J. Naiman explores the power of family and forgiveness. But take heed. The truth can cut like shards of glass, especially for those who’d rather avoid it. Sometimes, only the finest lies will do.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

The old TV sputtered and a fuzzy image of a peculiar man appeared on the screen. His eyes widened and sparkled. “Would you like a brand new brother?” a voice-over boomed. “Call now!” Above his head, the words CALL NOW flashed in golden lettering. At the bottom of the screen, a phone number scrolled.

Maybe I should call, Nicole thought. A brand new brother sounds perfect.

“That’s it. New and improved! Call now.”

Nicole smiled, sensing a personal connection as though this commercial spoke directly to her. She cradled her phone in her hands. A fingertip flicked across the screen without her even needing to concentrate. Her phone had long ago become an appendage, as integral as a foot or a kidney.

After Nicole entered the number, her finger hovered above the dial icon. Something held her back, but she couldn’t imagine what it could be. She might have guessed self-preservation had she any means to gauge the lurking danger. Had she any inkling her impetuous nature would fix her on a chaotic course beyond her control.

She did want a new brother. As long as he wasn’t like Jay, who always said things to upset her and never did what she wanted him to do. She thrust aside her unease and tapped the icon. Instead of a ring, Nicole heard more of a choking sound, a gasp as if someone strangled.

“Hello, Nicole. Are you ready to change your life?”

The voice on her phone was identical to the voice-over in the commercial. Nicole figured this guy must own the company or something. “Maybe,” she said. The man on the TV screen stared at her while she spoke. Nicole leaned to the left and right, and the man’s face tracked her each time. She hesitated. “How much does it cost?”

“Do you mean money? Oh, no. It won’t cost you any money. Not one cent. But there is a cost.”

“What is it?”

“Nothing for you to worry about, my dear. Nothing at all. Your satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back.”

“That seems fair. Wait, I thought you said—”

“Now, now. Don’t worry about a thing. We’ll simply replace your brother with a better one. This offer doesn’t come around every day. It is, to be candid, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” The man on the TV winked but not subtly. His head dipped so low that his oversized hat nearly slid off. “Decide quickly. Supplies are running out.”

The words CALL NOW lit up in a sickly yellow, casting a jaundiced glow across the face of the eccentric man with the whimsical hat and sparkling eyes.

“Then yes! What do I have to do?”

The man lifted his head. His lips gave a twitch. The voice answered, “Nothing more, nothing more. You’ve done it! Congratulations, my dear. Call the same number if your new brother malfunctions, and I’ll send an attendant straight away.” When he disconnected, the TV flicked itself off and Nicole heard her father’s voice.

“Nic, come downstairs, please. Jay has something he wishes to say.”

When Nicole arrived, she sagged with disappointment. Her brother looked the same. Same broad chest. Same confident grin. Stupid, worthless commercial. At least it didn’t cost her any money.

“I’m sorry, Nic,” Jay said. “I only wanted to use the new TV to kick you out. That was wrong of me. Please take the remote and accept my apology.”

Nicole stared open-mouthed. Jay appeared the same, his voice sounded the same, but this was not her brother. Sweet.

“Thanks,” she said.

He handed her the remote, flashed the kindest smile she had seen from him in years, and left the room. Nicole watched her videos in utter bliss. Once she was caught up, she decided to check on this new brother of hers. If he was going to be awesome, she might as well be friendlier. As she made her way upstairs, she thought about the number on her phone and doubted she would ever need to call it again.

Her brother’s door was ajar. Walking closer, she heard him chewing on something, maybe granola given all the crunching. She pushed the door open and stepped inside. Robot Jay took another bite of his phone and looked up at her. Metal and plastic bits ground together. He chewed slowly, savoring every morsel.

“Everything all right, my wonderful sister?” When she didn’t answer, he popped the rest of the device in his mouth and licked his fingers clean.

“Sure,” Nicole said, backing out of his room. “What could possibly be wrong?”

Author Bio:

David J. Naiman is a best-selling independent author of award-winning books for children, teens, and adults including Jake, Lucid Dreamer, first-place winner of the Purple Dragonfly Book Award and the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards in pre-teen fiction and Didn’t Get Frazzled, humorous medical fiction written under the pen name David Z Hirsch. He is also a successful physician specializing in internal medicine and an unsuccessful speller specializing in vowels that sound identical to other vowels. He lives with his wife and two children in Maryland. Visit him at www.davidjnaiman.wordpress.com

Website / Goodreads / Amazon


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18 October, 2021

October 18, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Dare to Be a Duchess by Sapna Bhog - @sapnawrites #HistoricalRomance #99cents

 

 



He’s a powerful duke. She’s his uncle’s ward. They have forever been at war, until one night, one masquerade, and one kiss…


Lara Ramsay is no stranger to scandal. As the orphaned daughter of a British colonel and his beloved Indian wife, whispers follow her everywhere. Not even the protection of the formidable Duke of Wolverton, a man she can’t stand, keeps the gossips at bay.
The audacious Lara has driven Tristan Wentworth, The Duke of Wolverton, to distraction since the day his uncle took her in—and he’s quite certain doing so is her favorite pastime. After catching her and his younger sister at a salacious masquerade, he’s had enough scandal and issues a marriage ultimatum: find a husband within six months or one will be chosen for her.
Unfortunately, no one in the ton appeals to her. Except, perhaps, the duke himself. The battle of wills has only just begun, and when Lara kisses him, their fate is sealed.
Sometimes even the most proper duke needs to break the rules to win the heart of the woman he loves...



Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com


Quotes from Dare to be a Duchess:

“Here, right at this moment, I’m giving you an ultimatum: Find someone from the ton to marry in the next six months or I will choose someone for you.” – Duke of Wolverton

“Well then the plan is simple, ‘Divide and Rule.’” – Lara Ramsay

“You’ll be surprised that a gentleman with the best intentions can behave like a rake when faced with temptation.” – Duke of Wolverton

“I think, Wolf, that you go on and on about my undesirability and my unattractiveness as a way to convince yourself more than me. The fact is that you kissed me because I am desirable and I am very attractive indeed.” – Lara Ramsay.

“You know very well that I’m accepted in the ton, albeit grudgingly, thanks only to you. No man wants to marry me, and I don’t want to marry any of those men.” – Lara Ramsay.


Read an Excerpt from Dare to be a Duchess:

Wolf crossed his arms and glared at Lara. Despite being at fault, she was as unrepentant as ever. Her absolute nonchalance drove him mad, always. 

“It is my concern. Getting into trouble is second nature to you, so I’d be lying if I said that it gave me any pleasure to be the one to help you out.” Wolf scowled at her. “Paxton is not a fool. He only has to think closely as to whose identity I would desperately want to protect and then remember your dark hair and he will come up with your name. You truly have no sense at all.”

“Well then you shouldn’t have bothered coming to my aid,” Lara retorted. “I could have handled the situation perfectly well by myself.” 

Wolf put his hands on his hips. “And how may I ask would you have done that?”

“I’ve heard that a well planted knee on a delicate part of a man’s anatomy would normally do the trick.”

His eyebrows shot up. “You’re crazy to think that you could have deterred Paxton that easily.”

Lara merely stared at him, her head held high, further fueling his temper. 

“What, nothing to say?” he snapped. “Which brings me back to my first question. What in the world are you doing here in this depraved place?” 

Lara continued to watch him with those deep blue eyes, her lips set in a mutinous line. Her lack of response irked him even more. 

“Answer me,” Wolf demanded, his tone sharp.

She met his gaze head on. “We had no inkling this place would be so bad. And nothing untoward has occurred, so stop shouting at me.”

 “Unbelievable,” he growled. “Do you know how bad this place can be for two innocent girls like yourselves? Behind their masks and costumes, the men here have only one thing on their minds when they look at you, and you, as usual, don’t care that you could be completely ruined if discovered, let alone taken advantage of, in this den of vice. You are wild and irresponsible and you give no thought to your actions or the consequences thereof. And you 

brought Anne here? Just because you don’t care about your reputation doesn’t mean you can play fast and loose with hers.”

Lara’s eyes blazed with fury. “Anne is not a child. She is a grown woman who has a mind of her own.” 

“And that is justification for you to come here?” Wolf countered.

“I, too, have a mind of my own,” she shot back. “And I do not appreciate you telling me what I can and cannot do.”

His nostrils flared. He was the Duke of Wolverton, one of the most powerful men in England. No one defied him. And yet this one woman stood against him at every turn. Why couldn’t she understand the potential danger for her or Anne here?

About the Author:
Sapna Bhog is an author from India who writes contemporary and historical romance novels. As a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic, her books are filled with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines who clash all the time, but do get their happy ever after. Sapna has always surrounded herself with books and when she is not writing she is reading. Originally from Dubai, she now lives in Western India with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky. Sapna gave up a successful IT career and took a foray into writing and has never looked back since. Her favourite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling and shopping—not necessarily in that order. She loves to hear from readers.

Sapna on the Web:
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October 18, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Death Rang The Bell by Carol Pouliot - @partnersincr1me #Mystery #PoliceProcedural #TimeTravel

 

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Death Rang The Bell

by Carol Pouliot

October 1-31, 2021 Book Tour

Synopsis:

Death Rang The Bell by Carol Pouliot

21st-century journalist Olivia Watson thinks traveling back in time to 1934 to attend a Halloween party with her friend Detective Steven Blackwell will be a lot of fun. And it is...until she witnesses the head of the Shipley Five-and-Dime empire murdered, and fears the killer saw her face.

The smart move is to return to the safety of the present, but Olivia possesses a secret and is about to defy the unwritten rules of time-travel. She convinces Steven to let her stay in his time and help unravel the motives behind the murder, even if it means risking her own life to save another.

When Steven delves into the investigation, he discovers how a bitter relationship, a chance encounter, and a fateful decision converged to set the stage for murder. In a maze full of unreliable clues and misdirection, dark secrets refuse to stay buried and forgotten ghosts won’t fade away. Steven is reminded that old sins cast long shadows.

Can Steven catch the killer before time runs out for Olivia?

Praise for Death Rang the Bell:

"This highly inventive series serves up a real treat--a perfect combination of mystery, time travel, and romance."
~~ Deborah Crombie, New York Times Bestselling author of the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novels

"Pouliot has the period details mastered, adding realism and depth to this wholly satisfying read."
~~ Marni Graff, author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries

"With engaging characters, a murder mystery, and a trip back in time, Carol Pouliot’s Death Rang the Bell will keep you turning the pages all night!"
~~ Nancy Allen, New York Times Bestselling Author

"A Halloween setting, a house where time folds back on itself, and a crime with deep roots in the past make Carol Pouliot’s Death Rang the Bell a joy for fans of crisp writing and twisty, character-driven plots."
~~ Connie Berry, Agatha-nominated author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries

"A delightfully immersive story, filled with surprising twists and turns, a touch of romance -- plus a heroine you will happily follow as she jumps between decades, Death Rang the Bell is a truly great escape."
~~ Alison Gaylin, USA Today and international bestselling author

"This intriguing and beautifully written series will draw you in and make you feel right at home in a time period you’ll wish you could visit."
~~ Grace Topping, USA Today bestselling author of the Laura Bishop Mystery Series.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (Traditional Police Procedural with a Time-Travel Twist)
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Number of Pages: 311
ISBN: 978-1-68512-000-9
Series: The Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mysteries, #3 || Each is a Stand-Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | BN.com | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

NOVEMBER 1916 − SYRACUSE, NEW YORK

Chapter 1

Hot coffee spilled over the rim and burned her hand. Lillian wanted to cry. At nine in the morning, she’d been on her feet since six and had seven long hours to go. She didn’t know how much longer she’d be able to keep it up. She was constantly exhausted and the struggle to breathe was worsening; some days it was nearly unbearable. She knew the disease was going to overpower her, and that moment was coming soon.

Lillian slid around some tables and set a heaping plate of eggs and bacon, potatoes, and toast in front of Arnie McCormack, then topped off his cup from the pot in her other hand. McCormack lowered his newspaper and leered, pinching her behind as she stepped away. Rude bastard. She’d like to pour the scalding coffee over his head and dump his breakfast right in his lap.

The only thing that kept her going every day was the thought of her beautiful little boy. Well, not so little anymore. He was growing up fast, nine years old in January. She managed a smile and wiped away a tear before it became a flood. Best not to think too much about things. Especially money. Lillian knew if she didn’t get the money somehow, she’d never see her son grow into a man.

And what about her letter? It had been four weeks since she’d mailed it. Surely he should have written back by now. She hadn’t been unreasonable, hadn’t asked for much, only enough to pay for treatment at the Little Red Cottage in Saranac Lake.

Dr. Trudeau’s Little Red Cottage. It sounded like heaven. Lillian had heard wonderful things about people being cured there. Imagine, cured! The thought made her dizzy.

Lillian returned to the lunch counter, using the backs of chairs for support. When she arrived at the griddle, she was breathing hard.

Tomorrow, she thought, if I don’t get an answer tomorrow, I’ll send another letter.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1934

Chapter 2

The Three Witches of Macbeth were doing a swell job. Annie, Molly, and Lilly led the parade of pirates, sailors, and fairy princesses through Knightsbridge, picking up ghosts, goblins, and a mummy along the way. Crowds of families followed the costumed children down Victoria Avenue to the entrance of The Elks Club, where, from the top of the staircase, The Three Witches hissed, “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and caldron bubble.”

Molly cried out, “Beware, all ye who enter here.” Then she thumped a tall gnarled staff on the stone step, and Annie and Lilly grasped the thick iron rings with both hands and heaved. As the massive oak doors creaked open, the masquerading children flew up the stairs and into the community room, awash with the scents of apples and cinnamon.

Carved pumpkins flickered in the semi-darkened room, revealing white cobweb-filled corners and big black spiders and bats hanging so low that adults had to duck. Seeing colorful bags piled on black-draped tables, one little boy jumped up and down, clapping his hands in glee. A girl grabbed her friend’s hand, and they did a little dance, and three teenagers slapped each other on the back. A Halloween treat awaited each of them. Eager to explore, the kids fanned out.

“Ooh! I feel like I’m ten again,” said Olivia, shaking the black-and-orange tin noise maker. “Why didn’t we wear costumes?”

Steven gave her a look. “What if I had to rush out for an emergency?” he asked.

“You could’ve dressed like a cop.” She smirked.

“Hi, Steven.” Decked out in an eye patch and pirate gear, Jimmy Bourgogne appeared from behind Olivia, swept off his hat, and gave a courtly bow, bending low to the floor. “Miss Watson.”

“Jimmy, you look fantastic,” exclaimed Olivia. “I didn’t recognize you with that mustache and goatee.”

“Congratulations, Jimmy. You fellas did a swell job,” Steven said.

“Thanks, but the credit really goes to Leon here.”

A slender young man with light brown hair joined them. He sported a plaid shirt with a tin sheriff’s badge pinned over his heart, red kerchief around his neck, and holster holding a toy gun attached to a leather belt.

“Hi, Leon.” Steven extended his hand. “This is my friend Olivia Watson. Olivia, Leon Quigg is my mailman.”

“Nice to meet you, Miss Watson.” Leon said, nodding as he doffed his cowboy hat.

“I’m glad to meet you, too. This is a wonderful party.”

Jean Bigelow sidled up to Olivia, yelling amidst the racket. “You made it!”

“Jean! Isn’t this swell?” Olivia chuckled to herself. Liz and Sophie would crack up hearing her talk like a real 1934 person.

After several months, acting like she belonged here had become second nature, but Olivia Watson didn’t belong here. She lived in 2014 and only visited 1934 from time to time.

This week Olivia was spending several days in Steven’s time. No passport, no suitcase, no plane ticket required. All it took was a simple step across the threshold of her bedroom door into Steven’s Depression-era house−simple but the key to her recently discovered ability to time travel.

“What are you reading tonight?” Olivia asked the librarian.

“Edgar Allan Poe. ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’”

“That’s the one where the guy gets walled up, isn’t it?”

Jean nodded. “I’ve been practicing creepy voices for days.”

“Well, you look the part. I love your cape, very 19th-century.” Olivia touched a fold of Jean’s costume. “Ooh, velvet. I wish I’d worn that.”

The organizers had packed the evening full of entertainment. Steven and Olivia watched a magician pull pennies out of children’s ears and a rabbit out of his top hat, and wondered how he made the mayor’s watch disappear. The kids bobbed for apples, the water sloshing out of the metal washtub soaking the floor. The younger children played Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey and Drop-the-Handkerchief, while the older ones played charades and told ghost stories.

At seven thirty, the kids crowded along the row of tables where members of the Elks handed out treats. Noses in their black-and-orange bags exploring the treasures within, they moved to the far end to select their favorite soda, handing the tall glass bottles of Hires Root Beer, Orange Crush, and Coca-Cola to Jimmy Bou and Leon Quigg, who were armed with metal bottle openers.

The evening culminated with story telling. The village librarian led the young children into a side room, spooky picture books in hand. The older ones gathered behind the curtain on the shadow-filled stage where Jean Bigelow waited in flickering candlelight. When they’d settled in a circle on the floor, Olivia among them, the librarian cleared her throat and began.

“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge....”

***

Excerpt from Death Rang the Bell by Carol Pouliot. Copyright 2021 by Carol Pouliot. Reproduced with permission from Carol Pouliot. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Carol Pouliot

Carol Pouliot holds a BA in French and Spanish and an MA in French. She has taught French, Spanish, German, and English. She owned and operated a translating agency for 20 years. Her work has been published in Victoria magazine.

Carol is the author of The Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mysteries, which includes Doorway to Murder (book 1), Threshold of Deceit (book 2), and Death Rang the Bell (book 3).

Carol is passionate about the world and other cultures. She has visited 5 continents thus far and always has her passport and suitcase at the ready.

Catch Up With Carol Pouliot:
www.CarolPouliot.com
SleuthsAndSidekicks.com
BookBub - @cpouliot13
Goodreads
Instagram - @carolpouliotmysterywriter
Facebook - @WriterCarolPouliot

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

 

 

Don't Miss Out on This Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carol Pouliot. There will be Four (4) winners for this tour. Two (2) winners will each receive a $15 Amazon.com gift card; Two (2) winners will each receive 1 print edition of Death Rang The Bell by Carol Pouliot (US Only). The giveaway begins on October 1 and ends November 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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12 October, 2021

October 12, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from In the Echo of this Ghost Town by C.L. Walters - #Contemporary #YoungAdult @peeledandcored @xpressotours

 

In the Echo of this Ghost Town
C.L. Walters

Publication Date: October 12th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

When everything in your life unravels and the future you imagined disintegrates into dust—how do you decide which way is forward?

Griffin Nichols has lost everyone close to him. Unhealthy choices rooted in unmet expectations have him feeling like he’s failing at being a man. Everything he thought he knew about being a good son, brother, and friend has him feeling as substantive as an echo.

He’s lost.

Then Maxwell Wallace walks into his life and teaches him that sometimes in the weakness of the echo is where he can claim his strength.


Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


 

Read an Excerpt from In the Echo of this Ghost Town


“Hey.”

I look up at the sound of a voice, grateful to be jerked from the train of my thoughts.

The girl. She’s standing on the other side of the table in her dark t-shirt and cutoff shorts, her back to the gas pumps and road. The light from the store illuminates her, and I think she’s cute, but obviously not all there if she’s talking to a stranger.

“Yeah?”

She sits down with a Slurpee, and I look at it longingly but also wish I had some vodka to spike it with. I conjure Danny’s words from the night before. I’d told him I’m always drunk. What had he said back? “Yeah. Maybe that’s the fucking problem. It’s time to grow up, Griff.” What if I do have a problem? Then I’m annoyed by the stupid thought—of course, I don’t. What the fuck? Can’t this weird girl tell I’m busy sulking?

My face must screw up because she says, “I’m not carrying any diseases.”

I take a sip of my water, not sure what to do about this stranger who’s sat with me at a table outside of Custer’s. I glance to check if someone is playing a joke on me, but all my friends have abandoned me. So yeah, there’s that. I look at her. She’s got a round face, but it’s smooth and pleasant looking. Brownish hair, I think, because it’s pulled back in a bun or something off her face. Black eyeliner. Black T-shirt with the words Def Leppard inside a Union Jack.

She pinches the straw and moves it around the slushy. It squeaks. “Decide I’m not a serial killer?” She smirks, and my eyes are drawn to her blunt black nails at the end of her long fingers holding the red straw.

“Jury’s out.” I look away and take a sip of my water, annoyed but kind of curious.

“Why’s that?”

I shrug. “What if I’m the serial killer?” I can’t look at her, though I’m not sure why. It isn’t like I’m nervous, even if she’s a little unnerving. Why have I said that? The idea of being compared to a killer takes me backward. Griff Nichols, son of a murderer, when I’d been alone, but I’d shed that persona with my crew. I shove the reminder aside.

“It’s a distinct possibility.”

My eyes connect with hers, the curiosity revving up a notch. “Why’s that?”

“Guy sitting outside of a convenience store on a Monday night looking all moody. Definitely sending shady vibes. You spike that unassuming water bottle? Use the innocence of water to lure in your victims but in reality, you’re just setting the trap?” She smiles, and I see that she’s joking around even though I don’t know her; it’s the squint of her eyes.

“You’re weird.”

“I get that a lot.” She pauses and leans forward to take a sip of her drink and looks over at me. Her eyes sparkle with mirth, but it’s hard to tell what color they are even in the light. Lightish. “So, what do you do in this town for fun?”

“Get drunk. You new?”

“Yes. Why aren’t you doing that?”

“It’s Monday.”

“So, a drunk six days a week? You have standards, I see. So that must be real water.” She pauses and raises a single eyebrow—which bugs me for some reason. “You don’t look much like the type with standards.”

I’m not, but I don’t say it. “Neither do you.”

“Touché, serial killer. So, you don’t drink on Monday for other reasons, then?”

“I didn’t say I don’t drink on Monday. I just said it was Monday. You made the assumption.”

She laughs, but it’s mostly air. “Fair enough.”

This conversation could die. I could stand and walk away. I don’t. I blame it on my lack of being alone, which I’m going to have to reestablish. “So, you’re new here?”

“Yep. Just moved. Only here for the summer.”

“Why’s that?”

“Why what?” She takes another sip of her slushy.

I watch her swallow it. Then I look back at my water bottle to resume plucking the plastic label. “Only for the summer?”

“The band I play with is going on tour.”

“Really?”

She laughs. “No.”

“You’re weird.”

“So you’ve said.” She stands. “Well. Thanks for sharing the table.”

“There were two other ones you could have chosen.”

She glances at the other two and then leans forward. “But then I wouldn’t have gotten to talk to a serial killer.” She smiles, offers me a nod, and with her hand wrapped around her cup, she walks away. She’s wearing jean cutoffs, tight, and the strings of the cut denim hang against her long and shapely legs.

I scoff, looking away because I don’t want to notice her. A serial killer. Stupid.

As I watch her—the nameless, weird girl—walk away, I realize I forgot what I was sulking about.

Author Bio:

As a kid, my world revolved around two things: stories and make believe. I have built a real life around those two things as well: I am a teacher of stories and a writer of make believe.

While I went to high school in a small town in Oregon and college in a smaller town in Oregon - both gifted me with treasures to fill my creative reservoir and most importantly, my husband. We got married, I followed him from Oregon to Hawaii (it was that or forgo the marriage).

We have two children, and several furry kids.

I read and write everyday.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Pinterest / Newsletter


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11 October, 2021

October 11, 2021 0

#GuestPost :: The Trouble with Hoon by J.D.Kirk, Author of Northwind (Robert Hoon Thrillers #1) #Mystery #Thriller

 



Former soldier. Ex-copper. Current man on the edge.

Shunned by his old colleagues, and dividing his time between a dead-end job and the bottom of a whisky bottle, former Police Scotland Detective Superintendent Bob Hoon’s life is a mess.

Then an old face from Hoon’s Special Forces days turns up asking for help: his teenage daughter has been missing for months, the police have drawn a blank, and he needs the kind of help that only Hoon can provide.

And besides, Hoon owes him one.

From the Highlands of Scotland, to the mean streets of London, Hoon’s relentless hunt for the girl will see him make new friends and encounter old enemies. Enemies who know what happened to the girl. And to hundreds more like her.

But Hoon’s been given something that makes him dangerous, something he thought he’d long-since lost: a purpose.
He may be a disgraced ex-copper, a barely-functioning alcoholic, and a borderline psychopath, but Bob Hoon still believes in justice.

And he’s just the foul-mouthed **** to dish some out.

Book Links:


The Trouble with Hoon


It was asking for trouble, really.

When I first created the character of Detective Superintendent Robert Hoon, nobody was every supposed to like him. Not really. As the foil to the lead character in my DCI Logan series, Hoon was everything that could possibly be wrong with a boss. He was perpetually angry, constantly belittling everyone around him, and explosively—if creatively—foul-mouthed.

And yet, despite all his many, many faults, and my best efforts to make him as unlikeable as possible, I started to get regular emails from readers who couldn’t get enough of him. They found his outbursts and put-downs hilarious, and soon I was getting more emails about Hoon than about any other character in the series.

That’s not to say they were all positive. For every Hoonigan who adored the cantankerous old goat, there was another who (rightly) despised him. Readers who would literally skip his scenes rather than endure his bad attitude and even worse language.

I tried to get rid of him at one point. Around midway through the current DCI Logan series, Hoon leaves the police force. I thought that would be the end of him, but suddenly, out of nowhere, he appeared in the next book, taking me completely by surprise.

He showed up in the book after that, too. And the next one. They were never big parts—a few lines here and there, or a short scene—but those readers who loved him were over the moon.

What’s more, a few of the readers who had previously told me how much they hated him admitted that maybe, just maybe, their opinion of him was softening. Now that he was no longer in a position of authority, I was able to offer a few glimpses of his softer side, and even his biggest detractors seemed to be warming to him just a little.

And that’s when I got to thinking…

Could I take this monstrous, awful human being and give him his own novel?

Could I remain true to his character and yet somehow get readers not just to tolerate him, but to root for him? To cheer his victories and worry over his safety?

Could I turn this mostly two-dimensional ‘angry boss’ caricature into a living, breathing character that could sustain a full book?

It would be difficult, I knew, but the more I thought about it, the more determined I became to give it a try. And not just one book, either, because why go easy on myself? No, I’d do a trilogy! Three full novels about one of the most horrible people in the DCI Logan series, killers included.

Everyone I spoke to about it said it was madness. They said it couldn’t—or possibly shouldn’t—be done.

And yet, here we are, with the release of Northwind, the first book in the trilogy, and I’m nervously waiting to find out if all those naysayers were right!

I’m never one to shy away from a challenge, and writing this book was definitely that. It would have been easy to make Hoon ‘nicer’ for his solo adventure, but that wouldn’t be fair to readers, or to the character as he currently stood.

I knew the character couldn’t just be Bob Hoon in name only, he had to be the same character readers already knew from the Logan books, complete with quick temper and filthy mouth.

Of course, 70,000 words of a man angrily swearing would rapidly become pretty tedious. With more time to spend in Hoon’s company, I realised that it was an opportunity to show other aspects of his personality. Nobody, not even him, is furious all the time, so I got to discover what he was like when his blood wasn’t boiling.

I got to explore his past, and to find out what made him the man he is today. I got to see him through the eyes of those who’ve known him longest, and discover what really makes a man like Hoon tick.

The result is, I hope a far more complex and richly drawn character than the one readers are used to, while retaining all the elements they love—or love to hate.

At this point in Hoon’s life, it has been several months since he left the police. He has spent most of that time watching the world pass him by through the bottom of a whisky bottle. But, when an old friend from his military days turns up asking for help, Hoon is giving something he thought he’d long-since lost. 

Something that makes him very dangerous.

A purpose.

I’ve written a dozen DCI Logan novels, but Hoon’s first solo outing was harder to write than all of them. It was also arguably more fun, and freed from the shackles of police procedure, Hoon really gets to enjoy himself, too!

Now, I just need to wait and see if Hoon has managed to win over any of his harshest critics.

I’ve a feeling they’ll be in touch to tell me, soon enough…


About the Author:

JD Kirk is the pen name of multi-award-winning author, screenwriter, and writer of comics, Barry Hutchison.

Born and raised in Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland, Barry/JD (take your pick) wanted to be a writer from the age of nine, after a kindly librarian wrote his name on the spine of a notebook in which he’d written a terrible short story and put it on the shelf.

Since then, he has written over 140 books for children as Barry Hutchison, over 15 books for adults as Barry J. Hutchison, and is now thoroughly enjoying murdering people as JD Kirk.

Barry still lives in Fort William with his wife and two children.

He has no idea what the JD stands for.

J.D.Kirk on the Web:



09 October, 2021

October 09, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Antique Mourning (Alicia Trent Mystery #5) by Eileen Harris - #Mystery





Alicia Trent again draws on loyal friends to help solve a convoluted mystery. Professors are dying at the upstate New York college where she and Laudine are spending a semester. The venerable campus buildings, riddled with secrets, once comprised a monastery. The collection Alicia has come to catalog consists of items associated with death and mourning. Why anyone would choose to collect these items seems strange to Ali, and she hopes to discover the reason behind the choice. She and Laudine have both been hired to do a job, but they can’t ignore the fact that fellow staff members are dying. Ali’s special tool, the three-tiered bottle, tries to help, but as usual the information is cryptic and disjointed. While working and attending classes on a college campus like no other, they hunt for clues while interacting with an unusual cast of characters whom they must decide if they can trust.


Read an Excerpt from Antique Mourning


I was about halfway through the quad at almost the exact same spot as the last time when I heard the
scream. I knew it wasn't a squeal of delight this time. There was real fear in the sound. I ran, but when I
broke through the hedge surrounding the garden I was afraid I was going to be too late. Two men were
fighting, one wearing a ski mask. A woman I assumed had screamed was standing nearby. As I ran, the
man in the ski mask knocked the other to the ground and pushed the woman on top of the first. I could
see a large knife in his hand. I was terrified he would kill them both before I could get there, so I hollered for him to stop and pushed for more speed. My yell alerted him to my presence. He looked at me, and I could see him deciding whether to wait for me to arrive so he could attack or to make a run for it. His decision was quickly made, and he darted off toward a heavily-wooded area beside one of the classroom buildings. He wasn’t moving very fast--his recent fight might have slowed him down. I again demanded more speed from my body and caught up as we entered the woods. I hit him several times with the heavy flashlight but only managed to connect with his shoulder. I was surprised when he dropped down on one knee. I moved in to hit him one last time to knock him unconscious. When I got close, he reached out and yanked my legs out from under me. I didn’t have time to prepare for the fall, and my landing was accompanied by instant pain down my left side. I saw the attacker once again running off into the trees. I tried to get up but couldn't force my body to rise.

About the Author: 
Eileen Harris likes to move and has tried many different areas of the U.S.  Right now she is living in the Deep South but believes another move is in her future.  Her writing may be set anywhere from upstate New York to the Arizona desert, or anywhere in-between.  She writes when a book comes along asking to be written.  The rest of the time she spends taking advantage of the opportunities and delights of her current locale.

Eileen on the Web:
Blog * Facebook * Goodreads * Amazon

 

08 October, 2021

October 08, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Calling Quarters by Jen Stevens - #Contemporary #NewAdult @XpressoTours

Calling Quarters
Jen Stevens
(Beacon Grove, #1)
Publication date: October 7th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

I was raised to believe that towns full of witches were only in movies, and those spell books my aunt studied were just a silly pastime. I had no idea of the important role I play in a coven with zero knowledge of my existence, or the sacrifice my parents made by leaving behind everything they knew to protect me.

In the wake of my aunt’s mysterious death, I have no other choice but to return to my birthplace for answers. But Beacon Grove is a twisted place where distrust spreads like cancer, lies fester, and the truth is nearly impossible to find.

One thing I’m sure of is the danger that Remy Winters and our inexplicable connection pose to me as one of the Quarters of the Watchtower coven. Through painstaking research and placing my trust in this man who has been trained since birth to hunt me, I learn that my family is far more intertwined with the tight-knit town than I originally thought.

I could be exactly what they need to save their beloved Quarters, but admitting what I am to those who have been brainwashed into fearing me could put my life at risk.

Calling Quarters is a twisted tale of corruption, lies, and a love story written in the stars.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

My courage grew wings and flew away as soon as I stopped my car and shifted into park. Fear took its place, as if finally, my brain had kicked into gear and realized how dangerous it was for me to be there. In the mouth of my predator’s den.

I walked to the beach instead of going to the front door like I originally planned, my eyes avoiding the beautiful sprawling mansion that overlooked it in fear of finding those coal black eyes gazing out at me. The ocean waves lazily nipped at my feet, somehow feeding the frenzy that was my mind.

I wanted to scream every frustration I had built up inside of me at it. To see the water split and shift with the sound waves as they vibrated off me, releasing every negative feeling into her depths.

A monster had grown inside of me, green with envy and red with fury. He fed off me for so long—my fears, my weaknesses, my complacency—that he managed to become a being all on his own.

I’d grown tired of other people making decisions for me. Of being at the mercy of everyone else for information about myself and where I came from.

There was a mystery surrounding my identity and why I was in Beacon Grove. I could feel the weight of curiosity in every stare as I passed by the town’s locals.

Could they tell that I was just as clueless as they were? Was it obvious that while I’d spent a lifetime as a girl named Storie Graves, I had no real idea who that person was?

A piece of me was always missing, even as a child. A hole of ignorance about my purpose in this world that no one wanted to fill in.

So, he filled it.

This fiery, jealous, raging monster.

At first, I was afraid to acknowledge him. I thought if I ignored him, he’d shrink away to nothing and disappear into the darkness inside my mind with the rest of the parts of me I was taught shouldn’t see the light of day.

It wasn’t until I befriended my monster that I gained clarity.

I saw my oppression for exactly what it was, and I would become a threat to everyone who wanted to keep me under their thumbs.

They had no idea how dangerous I’d become when I had nothing left to lose. If anything, what happened between me and Remy on the beach solidified that. Because we were very clearly connected in a way that no one wanted to admit—myself included. I was realizing that maybe that connection was more significant than I could have ever imagined.


Author Bio:

Jen Stevens was born and raised in Michigan where she enjoys the weather of all four seasons in a single day. After obtaining her Bachelor's degree, she quickly realized the corporate world wasn't for her and instead took on the daunting role as her daughter's snack maid. Reading has been an obsession for a long as she could remember, while writing has always been an escape. Jen could quote The Office word-for-word and proudly refers to herself as a romance junkie. She could live off anything made of sugar and has recently obtained the title of Lady. Most of all, she loves connecting with readers!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Newsletter


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06 October, 2021

October 06, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt Inescapable (Oliveri Mafia Romance #1) by Melverna McFarlane - #Heist #Crime @MelvernaM

 



There is no miracle that will save you from me. In fact, the only god you’ll be praying to from this day on, is me.


Jessie has sworn off relationships until she can exorcise her secret celebrity crush from her thoughts. More importantly, her fantasies. Crushing on someone rumored to be in the mafia was a red hot no for her. When she comes face-to-face with the man himself, he is more dangerous than she initially thought... and not just to her safety.

Gio Oliveri is the wealthy heir to the dubious Oliveri business empire. Ruthless in business and his personal life, Gio never lets an insult go unaddressed. So when a woman embarrasses him, in his own club no less, he sets out to teach her a lesson, only to set his sights on her friend. After a disastrous first impression, be buys himself three months to woo Jessie, who challenges him at every turn. He has to find a way to keep Jessie before his family responsibilities tear them apart forever.

Enthralled by his relentless pursuit, Jessie must decide if her growing feelings are enough to overcome her misgivings about his life as a mobster.


Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com


Read an Excerpt from Inescapable


When we entered our bedroom, we were both in a state. Giorgio cursed, closing his eyes for a moment until his breathing calmed. He was taming his response to me. Could it be we were on equal footing when it came to our passion for each other?

With new found confidence, Giorgio approached. He placed my hands on his shirt. “Undress me first,” he bid, voice hoarse, mouth a tease away from glancing my forehead. 

Soft lips journeyed to my right ear, and I leaned into him, needing the pressure. “Take your time,” he murmured, his sensual intent touring my erogenous zones from the inner whorls of my ear detouring at my peaked breasts before reaching its final destination—my tingling nether regions.

“Make me burn.” His final directive inflamed me.

Air swooshed into my lungs, a reminder I had to breathe, even after Giorgio stunned my respiratory system. A futile effort to control my trembling hands and legs followed. The wild, smoky smell of his pheromones swamped me in a sea of need. 

He was toying with me, directing our play to get me to succumb before he did. Well, I had promised him a performance, and I’d be darned if I phoned it in. Arousal was double edged and seduction was a two-player game. 

I ignored Giorgio’s shirt buttons, instead sliding my hands on a slow glide down his torso, a phantom stroke in the wake of my blunted fingertips.

I walked behind him, my breasts pressed against his back. My fingers engaged in a game of indecision; fondling a shirt button before abandoning it; toying with his pants zipper then moving on to his belt buckle; button, zipper and buckle still in place. 

I smiled when an impatient growl slipped through his self-control. He made a grab at my hands. I evaded by plunging them down his waistband. He froze mid-grab, his focus on my proximity to his attention seeking appendage.

I withdrew his shirttail. Taking pity on him, his labored breathing a clear sign I was, in fact, making him burn, I undid his shirt. My fingertips slowly stroked, in aimless patterns, before finally divesting him of it.

I circled back around to his front, his torso struck the perfect balance of lean and muscle. With a sly grin, I grasped his belt buckle and lowered myself to my knees. 

His breath played a staccato beat, his pupils dilated and his hands fisted until his knuckles turned white. The air filled with desperation tinged anticipation. Giorgio’s eyes shouted at me, asking whether I would use my mouth and undo him or leave him ungratified. 


About the Author:


Melverna McFarlane loves stories with Happily Ever Afters. After years of characters taunting her imagination with their potential, she decided it was time to write her own scorching hot romances. She moved to America from Jamaica at a young age, and has lived up and down the east coast most of her life. The bitterly cold winter of 2013 was the last straw, driving her back to island life—this time to Hawaii. When not writing, she is reading romance, YA, and Fantasy, country hopping, or vicariously obsessing over other people’s cats (she awaits the day her landlords succumb to the truth: feline domination should be everyone’s goal in life).


Melverna on the Web:

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