15 September, 2021

September 15, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery - #Mystery #Suspense @KatFlannery1 @partnersincr1me

 

The Memory Bell

by Kat Flannery

September 1-30, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery

Grace Penner's safe haven crumbles when a body is found outside of town.

Gifted the memory bell, a family heirloom, from her grandfather's will, Grace's excitement is soon squashed when the bell gets broken right after she receives it. While gluing the pieces back in place, she discovers three are still missing.

Determined to find them, she is halted when the new detective, Bennet James, investigates her family. Grace is intent on showing the detective her family isn't capable of murder, but as the investigation deepens, and pieces of the bell show up with ominous notes, Grace soon realizes the Penners are not what they seem. Amidst the tightly knit family; dark secrets, deception, and possibly even murder unfold.

Will Grace be able to save the family she loves more than anything without losing herself forever?

Praise for The Memory Bell:

"A naïve small-town girl and a disillusioned big-city cop, drawn together by an unsolved crime that is itself only the tip of the iceberg, The Memory Bell serves up the perfect steamy summer read."
–Jenny Jaeckel, author of House of Rougeaux

"The story moves beyond a small town whodunit to probe the underlying bonds of history that connect a family."
-Midwest Book Review

"Wonderful, engaging, and fast-paced! Flannery knows what she's doing!"
-Jonas Saul, author of the Sarah Roberts series

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: July 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 1684337089 (ISBN-13:978-1684337088)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

“Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant

CHAPTER ONE

Detective Bennet James stood over the remains of a hand dug grave. The morning air was brisk for July, and a foggy cloud permeated the air as he exhaled. He’d woken as the first rays of dawn crept through his hotel window casting sundogs along the planked floor.

Bones were found by the grain elevators at the mill in Oakville. The sleepy town was an hour’s drive from Chicago and where he’d been stationed for the last two weeks. It was hell, but anything was better than sitting at home waiting to hear his fate. He flexed his shoulders. The muscles ached from the mounting pressure.

He took a sip of the coffee he’d bought at the local gas station. The bitter blend was cold and old. Probably made the night before and just waiting for some poor soul to drain the last of the dregs from the decanter.

With no details other than the presence of human remains to work with, Ben made quick work of taping off the area and closing all access in and out of the mill. The trains were halted and all productivity near the tracks was at a standstill. He surveyed the grounds. Three metal silos stood in a row to his left with tracks laid in front of them. Directly behind were wooden buildings with peaked roofs, and a single track led to a dead end.

He gathered the mill was over fifty years old by the way the boards heaved and sagged. Out of commission for some time, he wondered why no one had torn the dilapidated buildings down. Being that the place was pretty much deserted it’d make things difficult in the investigation. He snorted. It wasn’t his investigation, and if things didn’t work out for him with the state, he’d never see another one again.

He rubbed his hand across his face. His heart quickened with the familiar feeling of piecing together a puzzle. It was the same feeling he got every time he was dealt a new case. Except this one was different. It wasn’t his, and even though the thought of having something to occupy his mind was appealing, he doubted Sheriff Rhoads would let him take the lead on it, much less be a part of it.

Ben glanced down at the body. Nothing left but bones and a few fragments of hair which signified the death happened years before. The grave was not shallow, but not deep either. Ben guessed it was four feet into the ground. A blue blanket caught his eye. He fingered the soft cotton with a gloved hand, a crocheted throw that was now pulled from the knots someone delicately placed there. Whoever had wrapped the victim in it did so with pristine care.

“Where is the witness?” he asked the young deputy standing to his left. He couldn’t remember the boy’s name, or was it he didn’t care? It didn’t really matter. He’d stopped caring about those around him a long time ago.

The deputy looked a bit flushed, and Ben figured the kid living in the small town had never seen anything like this before. Regret settled in his stomach at making the boy stay with him while he looked over the body and its surroundings. Ben remembered seeing his first body, a young girl, no more than six. Her image still haunted him on nights when sleep wouldn’t come.

He blinked, collected his thoughts, and faced the young man.

“You’re no longer needed here,” he said.

“The men who found the body are over there,” the kid stammered. His hand shook as he pointed to the two silhouettes standing twenty yards away.

“Thanks.” Ben dismissed him and walked toward the two men sipping coffee from their mugs. A part of him wanted to turn back to his car and leave now that Rhoads was here, but his pride and his duty wouldn’t allow it. He pulled out the small note pad and pen he kept in his pocket.

“Morning. I need to ask you a few questions.”

“Ain’t you the new fella?” one of the men asked.

“Yeah.”

“You’re that swanky detective from the city.”

Ben didn’t answer.

“Why in hell would you want to come out here?”

He remained silent. It was none of the old man’s business why he’d been placed in this shithole town.

“Talk is you got into hot water up there.”

“I need to ask you some questions,” Ben repeated, an edge creeping into his voice. He wasn’t about to discuss his shit with these guys. He shifted from one foot to the other, took a deep calming breath, cleared his throat, and waited.

“Not much to tell,” the man said. His thick white moustache spanned the whole of his upper lip and the bottoms of his cheeks.

“Your name?” he asked.

“Walter Smythe.” The man leaned in to read what Ben wrote and tapped his index finger onto the paper. “That’s Smythe with a Y not an I.”

Ben nodded.

“Can you tell me how you came upon the body?”

“Ol’ Russ was the one who found it.”

He turned to the other man.

“I ain’t Russ,” the farmer said.

“Who is—”

“That’s my dog.” Walter whistled. A large St. Bernard came loping up from the field behind the buildings.

“The dog found the body?”

“That’s right.”

“What were you doing out here?”

“I come out from time to time.”

“Why if the place is closed down?”

The man shrugged.

“Have you brought Russ out here before?” Ben asked, still trying to piece together how the remains were found.

“Sure. I bring him everywhere.”

“Why was he in the elevators?”

Walter’s wide shoulders lifted underneath the plaid jacket.

“Did the dog take anything from the grave, or disturb it in anyway?”

“Once I seen him diggin’, I called him over.” Walter guffawed. “But the damn mutt just kept on going back. So, I went over to see what the hell he was after.”

“At what point did you figure out it was a body?”

“Right away when I saw the bones.”

“Russ dug up most of the grave?”

“Nah, maybe a foot of it.” Walter nudged the farmer beside him. “I called Bill and we determined it was best to call the sheriff.”

“Why didn’t you call the sheriff first?”

Walter didn’t answer.

“Did you remove or touch anything?” Ben asked.

“Nope.”

As much as the farmer was rough around the edges, he could tell Walter Smythe spoke the truth.

“One more question. Has anyone gone missing in the last ten years?”

“Not around these parts. Most people who go missing leave for the city.”

“Why is that?”

“Small towns ain’t for everybody.” Walter’s eyes narrowed. “Stuff like this don’t happen around here.”

Ben nodded before he walked away and headed back to his car. He opened the door but didn’t get in. Tall silos, train cars and tracks were surrounded by a field. Waist-high stalks of yellow waved in the breeze and from what he knew of farming, it looked to be canola. Why wasn’t the body buried in the field? There must be over a hundred acres of land. Until he received the coroner’s report, he couldn’t begin to guess at anything yet. Before he left, he’d need to talk to Sheriff Rhoads and see about any missing persons reports in the area.

“Well, that is odd.” Rhoads sauntered toward him, brows furrowed.

“What is?” Ben asked.

“A body, here, at the elevators, in Oakville.” His forehead wrinkled, and a perplexed look crossed his face. “Nobody has been here in years.”

“These things can happen anywhere. There are no rules for death.”

Rhoads focused on him, but remained quiet for some time before he said, “Not here.”

“I’d like to take the lead on this,” Ben said. The words surprised him, but he couldn’t take them back now. Besides, he needed something to keep him busy. The minor misdemeanors at the old folk’s home, break-ins, and an occasional kid in trouble wasn’t enough to keep him from going crazy with boredom.

“Not sure that’s wise, with your probation and all.”

Ben nodded, figuring that would be the answer.

“But I don’t see it as more than an unfortunate accident, so go ahead.”

Ben wasn’t so sure.

***

Excerpt from The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery. Copyright 2021 by Kat Flannery. Reproduced with permission from Kat Flannery. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Kat Flannery

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. A member of many writing Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. When she’s not busy writing, or marketing Kat volunteers her time to other aspiring authors. She has been a keynote speaker, lecturer and guest author inspiring readers and writers at every event she attends. Kat’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career, and continues to write for blogs and online magazines. A bestselling author, Kat’s books are available all over the world. The BRANDED TRILOGY is Kat’s award-winning series. With seven books published, Kat continues to plot what story will be next. Creativity is in all aspects of Kat’s career. She does Social Media and Marketing for her own career and businesses, writing ads, and other content.

Catch Up With Kat Flannery:
www.KatFlannery.com/Books-1
Goodreads
BookBub - @KatFlannery
Instagram - @katflannery_
Twitter - @KatFlannery1
Facebook - @kat.flannery.5

 

 

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ENTER TO WIN:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kat Flannery. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs September 1 through October 3, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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12 September, 2021

September 12, 2021 0

#BookReview :: We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz - #PsychologicalThriller #WomensFiction #WeWereNeverHere @michaeljbooks @andibartz



Emily and Kristen have been the best of friends since their college days. And though they live in different parts of the world now, they still manage to maintain their relationship and connect with each other at least once a year on their annual backpacking trip. This year they have selected the beautiful mountains in Chile for their trip and as usual they have the best time together. That is, until their last night when Emily ends up helping Kristen dispose the dead body of a backpacker. Kristen claims that she had been attacked and killed in self defence. And that would be believable, instead it gives Emily a sense of déjà vu - and not in a good way. As Emily returns home and tries to go back to her normal life, the trauma doesn't make it easy. Things only get more difficult when Kristen pops back into her life and Emily is forced to consider things that she would have never thought possible about her best friend.

The book has a bit of a slow start, but picks up soon enough, and falls a bit back again. The story is told from Emily's PoV and gives the reader insights into not only the trauma she feels but also how she tries to deal with it and how it affects her. For a psychological thriller, the book does a good job giving the readers unique insights into the protagonist and her relationship with her best friend. Though I enjoyed the thorough insights, I wished for a tighter narration that would also help with the pace of the story. That is the main reason I am not rating this book a full 5 stars.

The different settings and situations, one almost as over the top as the other, keep the readers entertained. I almost felt like I was watching a horror/thriller and kind of urging the protagonist with comments like 'oh come on, don't tell me you can't see what's going to happen next' or 'girl, that's bound to be a trap. Don't fall for it.' It was fun and entertaining. Those who are hardcore mystery fans like me will be able to figure out the plot pretty early, but the high stakes and some cliched but fun situations keep the pages turning. And the dark humour in the book is almost like an added bonus.

This book would certainly make for an entertaining movie.


Review Copy received from Penguin Random House UK

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10 September, 2021

September 10, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills #Mystery #RomanticSuspense @DiAnnMills @partnersincr1ime

Trace of Doubt

by DiAnn Mills

September 1-30, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills

Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of dark secrets, desperate enemies, and dangerous lies.

Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.

FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.

But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.

Praise for Trace of Doubt:

"Well-researched... with some surprising twists along the way. In Trace of Doubt, Mills weaves together a tale of faith, intrigue, and suspense that her fans are sure to enjoy." – STEVEN JAMES, award-winning author of SYNAPSE and EVERY WICKED MAN

Trace of Doubt is a suspense reader’s best friend. From page one until the end, the action is intense and the storyline keeps you guessing.” – EVA MARIE EVERSON, bestselling author of FIVE BRIDES and DUST

“DiAnn Mills serves up a perfect blend of action, grit, and heart... Trace of Doubt takes romantic suspense to a whole new level.” – JAMES R. HANNIBAL, award-winning author of THE PARIS BETRAYAL

“Filled with high stakes, high emotion, and high intrigue.” – JLYNN H. BLACKBURN, award-winning author of UNKNOWN THREATand ONE FINAL BREATH

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: September 7th 2021
Number of Pages: 432
ISBN: 1496451856 (ISBN13: 9781496451859)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com | Tyndale | Books-A-Million | Murder By The Book | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

SHELBY

Would I ever learn? I’d spent too many years looking out for someone else, and here I was doing the same thing again. Holly had disappeared after I sent her to the rear pantry for potatoes. She’d been gone long enough to plant and dig them up. I needed to get those potatoes boiling to feed hungry stomachs.

I left the kitchen to find her. The hallway to the pantry needed better lighting or maybe fewer corners. In any event, uneasiness swirled around me like a dust storm.

A plea to stop met my ears. I raced to the rear pantry fearing what I’d find.

Four women circled Holly. One held her arms behind her back, and the other three took turns punching her small body. My stomach tightened. I’d been in her shoes, and I’d do anything to stop the women from beating her.

“Please, stop,” Holly said through a raspy breath. For one who was eighteen years old, she looked fifteen.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I forced my voice to rise above my fear of them.

“Stay out of it, freak.”

I’d run into this woman before, and she had a mean streak. “What’s she done to you?” I eyed the woman.

“None of your business unless you want the same.”

“It’s okay, Shelby. I can handle this.” Holly’s courageous words would only earn her another fist to her battered face.

And it did.

“Enough!” I drew my fists and stepped nose to nose with the leader.

The four turned on me. I’d lived through their beatings before, and I would again. I fell and the kicks to my ribs told me a few would be broken.

A whistle blew, and prison guards stopped the gang from delivering any more blows to Holly or me. They clamped cuffs on the four and left Holly and me on the floor with reassurance help was on its way.

I’d been her age once and forced to grow up fast. No one had counseled me but hard knocks, securing an education, and letting Jesus pave the way. I’d vowed to keep my eyes and ears open for others less fortunate.

Holly’s lip dripped blood and a huge lump formed on the side of her head. I crawled to her. “Are you okay?”

“Not sure. Thank you for standing up for me. I thought they would kill me. Why do they do this? I’ve never done a thing to them.”

“Because they can. They want to exert power, control. Stick by me, and I’ll do my best to keep you safe.”

CHAPTER 1

I tightened my grip on the black trash bag slung over my shoulder containing my personal belongings—parole papers, a denim shoulder bag from high school, a ragged backpack, fifty dollars gate money, my driver’s license at age sixteen, and the clothes I’d worn to prison fifteen years ago.

The bus slowed to pick me up outside the prison gates, its windshield wipers keeping pace with the downpour. The rain splattered the flat ground in a steady cadence like a drum leading a prisoner to execution. I stepped back to avoid the splash of muddy water from the front tires dipping into a pothole. Air brakes breathed in and out, a massive beast taking respite from its life labors.

The door hissed open. At the top of the steps, a balding driver took my ticket, no doubt recognizing the prison’s release of a for- mer inmate. He must have been accustomed to weary souls who’d paid their debts to society. The coldness glaring from his graphite eyes told me he wagered I’d be locked up again within a year. Maybe less. I couldn’t blame him. The reoffend stats for female convicts like me soared high.

For too many years, I imagined the day I left prison would be bathed in sunlight. I’d be enveloped in welcoming arms and hear encouraging words from my family.

Reality hosted neither.

I moved to the rear of the bus, past a handful of people, and found a seat by myself. All around me were those engrossed in their devices. My life had been frozen in time, and now that I had permission to thaw, the world had changed. Was I ready for the fear digging its claws into my heart?

The cloudy view through the water-streaked window added to my doubts about the future. I’d memorized the prison rules, even prayed through them, and now I feared breaking one unknowingly.

The last time I’d breathed free air, riding the bus was a social gathering—in my case, a school bus. Kids chatted and laughter rose above the hum of tires. Now an eerie silence had descended.

I hadn’t been alone then.

My mind drifted back to high school days, when the future rested on maintaining a 4.0 average and planning the next party. Maintaining my grades took a fraction of time, while my mind schemed forbidden fun. I’d dreamed of attending college and exploring the world on my terms.

Rebellion held bold colors, like a kaleidoscope shrouded in black light. The more I shocked others, the more I plotted something darker. My choices often seemed a means of expressing my creativity. While in my youth I viewed life as a cynic. By the time I was able to see a reflection of my brokenness and vowed to change, no one trusted me.

All that happened . . .

Before I took the blame for murdering my brother-in-law. Before I traded my high school diploma and a career in interior design for a locked cell.

Before I spent years searching for answers.

Before I found new meaning and purpose.

How easy it would be to give in to a dismal, gray future when I longed for blue skies. I had to prove the odds against me were wrong.

***

Excerpt from Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills. Copyright 2021 by DiAnn Mills. Reproduced with permission from DiAnn Mills. All rights reserved.

 

Check Out This Fab Trailer for Trace of Doubt:

 

Author Bio:

DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a former director of Blue Ridge Christian Writers, and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She shares her passion for helping other writers be successful by teaching writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed:
DiAnnMills.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @DiAnnMills
Instagram - @DiAnnMillsAuthor
Twitter - @DiAnnMills
Facebook - @DiAnnMills

 

 

Tour Participants:

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

 

 

Join In:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for DiAnn Mills. There will be 2 winners who will each receive one gift card. Winners may select either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs September 1 through October 3, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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09 September, 2021

September 09, 2021 0

#BookReview :: The Breakthrough: 11 Trailblazers. One Movement. by Megha Bajaj - @ItsaWoWlifeMB @Rupa_Books #Spiritual #SelfHelp


 The Breakthrough is a collection of 11 true stories of 11 trailblazers. We aren't talking about the likes of Michelle Obama or Bill Gates who we love to idolize but aren't really able to relate to for most parts. These 11 trailblazers are common Indian folks, who had their shares of ups and downs, but turned an ordinary moment into an extraordinary breakthrough moment. They have faced the same struggles that we do, they faced the same odd that we do and yet they are different from us because they discovered their own secrets to not only success but also happiness in life. No two stories are the same - each person has a different personality, slightly different struggles and vastly different journeys. Yet all the stories are the same in essence as they all found their own way ahead to make that one 'breakthrough' that changed their lives.

I planned to read this book like any other book I pick up. Treat each person's story as a different story and this book as an anthology and read through them in as few sittings as possible. Yet right from Nitin Nyati's story I knew this book was going to be different. I ended up reading each story with a gap of two-three days between them as I wanted and needed time to let the stories sink in. The 'adventures' that these people have taken on are sometimes interesting and sometimes left me dumbfounded. But each of them left me with a few lessons and it was up to me to decide how much of it I could utilise in my own life. I loved the fact that this non-fiction book is not the type to preach. It tells us inspiring stories that gets us all excited not only about the people we read about but for the hope that they brought with their stories. Then the book let's us decide how much we want to take in.

Author Megha Bajaj has done an incredible job of keeping the spotlights on the 11 trailblazers that she has featured in the book. But at the same time it was never out of our mind who the storyteller was because of the way she brought their stories to life. The simple yet descriptive language of the author made it easy for me to immerse myself in the lives of the trailblazers. It felt less of a non fiction biography and more like a storytelling session where the author introduced us to people we can look up to. Special mention to the book's lay out and colour scheme. It added  to the reading experience.





Review Copy received from the Author

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08 September, 2021

September 08, 2021 0

Discover the Author Within YOU - #WritingCommunity #WritingWorkshop #AspiringAuthors @heenasodhikhera @ItsaWoWlifeMB

 


"I didnt know I could write poetry - and today I am the author of an anthology of a poetry book and winner of an award!" Bina Pillai.

 

Like Bina, so many of us have the closet desire to write, to express, to publish.

To use the power of our words - to heal our lives,

and amplify our voice.

And yet, sometimes we just dont know where to begin.

Or how to go about things... 

Finally, it’s here. A wonderful, customized, group class (where you also get individual email consultation) and get a chance to learn from one of the most loved authors in India - Megha Bajaj, author of several acclaimed and inspiring books including The Breakthrough, published by Rupa. 

 


Not only will this workshop come to you at a never before, never again investment - but you will also get a chance to relax, learn and gain tremendous insights from an incredible mentor and a fun, like-minded group. 

If using words as a medium of expression, self-discovery and profession has been on your agenda here is your chance to give power to your dreams. 

Since we have  limited seats - request you to sign up by clicking HERE!







07 September, 2021

September 07, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Combustible by Al Riske #ComingOfAge @XpressoTours

 

Combustible
Al Riske
Publication date: May 16th 2021
Genres: Coming of Age

It’s that summer between the end of high school and the start of something else. Dean Stockton and Curt Hutton are best friends, and more often than not you can find them rowing on the Rogue River at dawn.

Together they experience something they will never be able to describe adequately. But then they won’t really need to. Not to each other. It’s that moment of swing when rowers find the rhythm and everything falls into place. The shell seems to lift right out of the water.

Enter Isabelle Smiley. She’s beautiful yet insecure, knowing yet innocent, and crazy about Curt in a way that no girl has ever been crazy about Dean. She wants Curt to choose a college closer to home than the one he and Dean have selected—and she can be persuasive.

“I’d never be able to hold out against a girl like Smiley,” Dean admits.

“Don’t say that,” Curt replies. “I told her she’d have to convince you, too.”

Everyone is conflicted in this story of friendship, lust, and life-changing choices. Only one thing seems certain to all of them: If Smiley strikes a match, Dean will catch fire.

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Read an Excerpt from Combustible


All the Way to France

The Sandpiper Bar & Grill overlooks the mouth of the Rogue River, and right now the parking lot is jammed with cars. A red Mustang convertible—the top down, for this is a starlit night in June—circles slowly to the back door.

In the kitchen, the scene is a whirl of cooks, busers, and dish washers.

Wearing an apron and a floppy chef’s hat, Dean cuts into a fresh cheesecake and passes a slice to the server waiting in the pantry window.

Above the din, a line cook hollers—

“Stockton, you’ve got visitors out back.”

Fellow pantry cook Victor Lee is shucking littleneck clams next to Dean, who says—

“Cover for me, will you?”

Backed into a loading zone behind the restaurant, Curt’s freshly waxed convertible couldn’t be shinier. The girl from Brookings is still seated on the passenger side; Curt opens the door for her.

Dean takes off his hat as he pushes through the screen door. He runs one hand through his hair, sweaty from the heat of the kitchen, while his eyes stay glued to the girl’s legs as she climbs out of the low-slung car. Her dress—white with tiny black polka dots—rides up and he can see all the way to France. She blushes but there’s reason to believe she is more pleased than embarrassed.

“Dean, I’d like you to meet Isabelle—oof!”

Curt’s date removes her elbow from his rib cage.

“You know I don’t like that name,” she says.

“Well, how am I supposed to introduce you?”

She turns to Dean—

“Just call me Smiley,” she says. “That’s my last name but it’s what everybody uses.”

They shake hands. Hers are soft and smooth—so much so that it’s unsettling.

“What’s wrong with…?”

Smiley cringes, so he doesn’t say her first name.

“It reminds me of my grandmother,” she says. “I was named after her, actually, but I can’t stand her. The feeling’s mutual, I’m sure.”

“You don’t look like an Isabelle anyway.”

“Thank you.”

Only two words, but they say Dean is exactly right—and Curt is just … mean.

“Busy tonight?” Curt asks.

“A madhouse. But I think we’ve got it under control now. How was the show?”

Curt holds his hand out flat, palm down, and tips it from side to side. Smiley looks appalled at his lack of enthusiasm.

“She cried the whole time,” Curt says.

“Well, it was sad … but I liked it,” Smiley replies. “You should see it, Dean.”

Since Dean doesn’t have a girlfriend and has never been to a movie alone, he’s not sure what to say.


Author Bio:

 

AL RISKE is the author of Precarious, Sabrina's Window, The Possibility of Snow, Then We'd Be Happy, and Combustible. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, and ghostwriter. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he now lives in California with his wife, Joanne, and their dog, Bodie.

Website / Goodreads / Instagram


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06 September, 2021

September 06, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Enchanted Kisses by Tara Gallina #MagicalRealism @taragallina @XpressoTours

 

Enchanted Kisses
Tara Gallina

Publication Date: September 2nd 2021
Genres: Magical Realism, New Adult

What’s a girl to do when death is the worst and best thing that can happen to her?

Lily cares for three things above all else: nature, her father, and her best friend, Caiden.

Caiden isn’t the typical hot guy, but his eyes glow—sometimes literally—with a confidence and charm that make Lily’s heart flutter wildly.

When she kisses him for the first time, he disappears into a swirl of gold and silver that leaves her questioning her sanity.

Three months later, Caiden reappears to explain what happened and who he really is, but Lily is too angry to hear it.

She needs time to figure out her feelings, time she doesn’t have because she’s being hunted by death—Death Sentries who know the truth about her lineage and want her for gifts she doesn’t know she possesses. Those gifts in Death’s hands can shift the balance between life and death on Earth and cause mass destruction.

Now, Lily must protect herself against manipulative Sentries sent to capture her, decide if she can trust Caiden, and resist or give into the explosive attraction between them.

But when she learns the truth about Caiden and his original intent toward her, Lily’s head and heart go to war. Before long, she’s left to question if her life is worth protecting or if her father and the world are safer without her in it.

*For mature young adult readers and all ages above.

Goodreads / Amazon


Read an Excerpt from Enchanted Kisses


Caiden yanked a light-blue sundress from a hanger. “I always liked you in this one.” He threw it over his shoulder and then reached for the belt of my robe.

I stepped back, my hands flying up in protest. “What are you doing?”

“Suddenly shy?” His brows lifted. “You think I don’t know what you’ve got on under there? Your Tinkerbell favorites. Which I’ve seen on you. Not to mention, your bikini bares far more skin, and you wear it in public.”

I stepped away from his reaching arms. “Well, everyone dresses like that at the beach. And when I changed in the same room with you in the past, you were always distracted. Watching TV or reading. It’s not like you were interested.” Or had he been, and I was too naïve to notice?

He closed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. “Does this work for you?” Before I could respond, he said, “Come now. If I’m to have you back before your father wakes, we need to get moving.”

I couldn’t even comprehend how he could take us to the Realm of Life and have me back home before sunrise. Part of me thought this was a dream and I would wake in the morning to Caiden still being gone.

I glanced at the clock. 10:13 p.m. Here goes nothing. I tossed the robe to the floor, yanked the dress from Caiden’s shoulder, pulled it on, and fluffed my hair while sliding my feet into a pair of sandals.

“Perfect,” Caiden said, surprising me. I glanced at his face.

His eyes were wide and glowing with intense color.

“You looked?” I squealed, his turquoise orbs growing brighter. “And your eyes…”

He smirked. “I always look.”

I folded my arms, about to huff, “You what!” when his entire body shimmered with gold.

“It’s everywhere.” I pointed to his arm and then his face. I considered lifting his blue shirt to see if it covered his stomach, too.

“Does it frighten you?” he asked, in the same nervous tone as earlier.

“Why would I be frightened? I like it.” I couldn’t stop myself from caressing his arm. The texture was smooth but fuzzy, like static energy coated his skin. He twitched and clutched my hands.

“We should go,” he said, his voice suddenly husky.


Author Bio:

Tara Gallina is the author of the NA romance The Forever Series, and the YA retelling Fated to Die. She writes and reads romance in a variety of genres but has a soft spot for retellings.

She believes in fairies, true love, and happily ever after. When she's not writing, she loves to visit gardens, European castles, and Caribbean beaches. She's passionate about interior design, obsessed with throw pillows, is addicted to vinegar, favors the color pink, and only drinks wine that tastes like melted sugar.

She grew up in a small town by the beach but soon after moved to Orlando, Florida with her patient hubs, two older sons, and two fur-babies. With local theme parks like Disney World and Harry Potter, it's no wonder her life is filled with fantasy and make believe.

Daily needs: sunshine, laughter, morning coffee, family.
Daily wants: castle, English accent, princess hair, anti-age venom.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub


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04 September, 2021

September 04, 2021 2

Read an #Excerpt from Don’t Forget To Breathe by Cathrina Constantine #Mystery #YoungAdult @cathconstantine @XpressoTours

 

Don’t Forget To Breathe
Cathrina Constantine

Publication Date: September 1st 2021
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

Leocadia arrives home from school to find her mom’s body. Unaware that the killer still lingers, she rushes to her mother’s side, only to be grabbed from behind. And everything fades to black.

Leo has been battling personal demons after a year of retrograde amnesia. She’s been having vivid dreams of that day. And her dreams are getting worse—she’s starting to remember. Two more bodies are discovered and they are oddly linked to her mom’s unsolved homicide.

Leo befriends her new neighbor. He’s eager to visit Star Hallow’s notorious haunted mansion. It’s located on a deserted cul-de-sac where she once lived and where her mom was murdered. But it’s the Lucien Estate, the mansion next door to her old home, where they happen upon misty ghosts, ghosts that just might help to unravel the homicides.

Will Leo’s memories send her reeling into a relapse, or will she be able to overcome her demons to find her mother’s killer – only to become the next victim?

Goodreads / Amazon


Read an Excerpt from Don’t Forget To Breathe 

The black corners of my room softened into a silvery gray. I turned my head to check the alarm clock, 4:45. I begged the heavens, “Please, let me sleep,” and smothered my head underneath my downy pillow.

A nanosecond after slamming my eyelids closed, I was immediately transported to a year ago…”

My walk down the hallway to my parents’ bedroom became sluggish. She’d been complaining of not feeling well and had stayed home from work today. Was she sick and needed to rest and forgot about the boiling water? The door was shut. I knuckled the frame softly. “Mom?”

My hand twisted the knob and inched it open. I gagged on the smell.

An awkward, half-naked body draped the mattress—porcelain skin sliced apart, and silky blonde hair fanned the floor. Dripping red blood—gobs of blood. Eyes filled with terror watched me. Dead eyes. My jaw moved. Mommm—but no sound. I shuffled a foot forward and doubled over, spewing lunch. That was when I noticed a bloody dagger next to her fingers. Forged in a peculiar camber design like something I’d see in a museum.

Arms swallowed me from behind, “I’m not going to kill you. Not yet.” Then everything faded to black.

I woke with a start and gasped. My heart ached. Struggling upright I crisscrossed my arms over my chest and gripped my shoulders. Tears sprinkled my face—sorry for my loss, sorry for myself.

Author Bio:


Cathrina Constantine is an International Best Selling and Award Winning Author. Her books have won Reader's Favorite International Book Awards. New Apple Medalist Award. Literary Classics Gold and Silver Award. Literary Classics Seal of Approval. And recently 1st Place Top Shelf Award for YA/Mystery.

Cathrina loves to immerse herself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps her to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at her computer you can find her in the woods taking long walks with her dog.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub


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03 September, 2021

September 03, 2021 0

An #Interview with Seelie Kay, #Author of #DonovanTrait Series - - @SeelieKay #RomanticSuspense #ParanormalRomance #Vampires

 




Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass!
(Donovan Trait #2)
by Seelie Kay

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Mystery
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-4874-3357-4
Page: 145
Word Count:44705
Publication Date: 2021-09-03





Book Blurb:

It was the Great Lie, and it could destroy the Vampire Nation.


In First, We Kill All the Lawyers, vampire lawyer Donovan Trait survived repeated attacks by a serial killer. Now, after violating a marital agreement with the Vampire Coalition, and several ancient Vampire Laws, Donovan, and his newly-turned vampire bride are on the run. You see, in exchange for permitting a pure-blood vampire to marry a turned human, the Traits agreed to allow vampire scientists to monitor the conception and birth of their children. When Judge Shirley Magnusen Trait turns up accidentally pregnant on her wedding day, the fury of the Coalition is unleashed. The tribunal recommends unacceptable punitive action and the Traits are forced to flee to a mysterious island of vampire nuns. The Traits are, by profession, seekers of the truth. But this time, the truth may not set them free. In fact, it could start a revolution. Will the Traits escape the clutches of the Coalition and keep their babies safe? Or will their family be…eliminated?

Book Links:
Goodreads * eXtasy Books


A Quick Interview with Seelie Kay


Why do you write romance?

Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.

Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?

I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I they have to be paired with strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.

Why did you write “Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass?”

Donovan Trait is a vampire lawyer. In the human world, a very respected lawyer. I wanted to give him the opportunity to shine in the vampire world. So I created a scenario where his turned vampire bride Shirley is unfairly punished for an unintentionally violating their marital agreement, as well as other outdated, outrageous, and outright discriminatory laws—she unintentionally  To survive and protect their unborn child, they must not only fight back, but also rebel. In this instance, human history provides them with the path. That gave me the opportunity to draw parallels between the fight for human rights and the rights of vampires who aren’t purebloods. It also allowed me to poke at the continued need of both societies to embrace social change. Perhaps surprisingly, the vampires lag far behind the humans in terms of equality and individual freedoms. However, in the end, the message is clear: Whether human or vampire, an individual is entitled to certain rights and liberties. And no human or vampire has a right to deny them.

About Seelie Kay:

Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.

Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.

When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine. 

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie on the Web:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Author's Amazon Page








02 September, 2021

September 02, 2021 0

#CoverReveal :: Lahore (The Partition Trilogy #1) by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar #HistoricalFiction @HarperCollinsIN

 





In the months leading up to independence, in Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel are engaged in deliberations with British Viceroy Dickie Mountbatten over the fate of the country. In Lahore, Sepoy Malik returns home from the Great War hoping to win his sweetheart Tara’s hand in marriage, only to find divide-and-rule holding sway, and love, friendships and familial bonds being tested.

Set in parallel threads across these two cities, Lahore is a behind-the-scenes look into the negotiations and the political skullduggery that gave India its freedom, the price for which was batwara. As the men make the decisions and wield the swords, the women bear the brunt of the carnage that tears through India in the sticky hot months of its cruellest summer ever.

Backed by astute research, The Partition Trilogy captures the frenzy of Indian
independence, the Partition and the accession of the states, and takes readers back to a time of great upheaval and churn.

Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com



‘Lahore is breathtaking in scope, painful yet gentle to the touch.’
– Taslima Nasreen, author of Lajja and Shameless

‘Vivid and atmospheric.’
– Aanchal Malhotra, author of Remnants of a Separation

'Current, relevant and important. This is a voice which makes you question, rethink and reimagine the past as the future and the future as the past.'
– Sabyn Javeri, author of Hijabistan

'Deftly weaves the big strands of history with the finer threads
of human feeling.’
– Manu S. Pillai, author of The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore




01 September, 2021

September 01, 2021 0

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

 


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.

As he pursues his deepening desire for Jessie, unknown threats to his business and her life begin to appear. In addition to uncovering the mysterious threats, he has Jessie’s misgivings about his chosen profession to contend with. He must find a way to make his temporary relationship permanent.

Exposed to Gio’s mobster persona, Jessie cannot deny the devastating violence he wields so effortlessly and questions if she could one day be on the receiving end.

As they navigate their new relationship and the dangerous parties seeking to destroy them, it will take a devastating loss and deep soul searching before they trust each other enough to fight for their love.

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


Read an Excerpt from Inescapable


“Jess. Jess, what’s wrong?”

I turned to Steph, not realizing the fervent whispers of, “Oh no, oh no, oh no,” were not in my head, or that Steph had been calling to me while I stewed in fear. She still didn’t know. How I envied her ignorance.

So used to seeing the face frozen in a shy but sexy smile, a face that had visited me every night for a week, it took me long seconds to place the intense glare in the article with the one from the nightclub and Steph’s altercation. Mr. Fantasy’s government name, Giorgio Oliveri, and face also belonged to Mr. Menacing. I blamed the lighting at the club. How else could I explain not recognizing the similarities between my nighttime visitors?

If the article wasn’t messed up enough, my traitorous body had lost its G-D mind. This heifer acted like we were still in my dream and the guest star wasn’t a freaking criminal. She tried to come at me with, “He was only implicated.” If any part of that article were true, Steph and I were in deep fudge berries.

I exploded off the couch, breath erratic, mumbling the random thoughts passing through my panic-riddled brain.

“Jessie, what’s wrong? Please calm yourself. You’re scaring me,” Stephanie beseeched, arms held out to calm me.

I faced her and took a deep breath to calm my nerves. What we did next would either save us or seal our short-lived fate. “Stephanie,” I spoke as though talking to a mental patient. Ironic, I knew, considering I had been the one talking to myself, walking around in circles.

“I need you to hear what I’m about to tell you and not question me. Okay?” After Stephanie nodded, I continued. “The guy from last week, the one you flipped out on… well, he’s in the news.”

“What? Did he die or something? You don’t think they’ll suspect me? I only broke his finger, but after what he did, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”

“Stephanie, shut up for a second.” I demanded, sweat dotting my brow. “I need you to let me finish. No interruptions.”

I rubbed sweaty palms on my skirt. “Okay. That guy… He’s bad news. Like gangster-mafia-murderer bad news. They think he killed the governor’s son over an insult. An insult, Stephanie! What do you think he’ll do to you? You dislocated his finger and flipped him on his back in a club full of witnesses.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, oh as in, ‘Oh fudge berries! What are we gonna do, right?’” My words hit Stephanie with rapid-fire truths.

“Do we have to do anything?” she questioned, ignoring the severity of our situation. Because downplaying my panic was her usual reaction. My eyes must have bugged out because she persisted. “I mean, we aren’t famous. How would he know who we are and where to find us? We should be fine.”

I understood then. Our survival was up to me.


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:

30 August, 2021

August 30, 2021 0

#BookReview :: For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing #Crime #PsychologicalFiction @smariedowning @michaeljbooks

 



I have been wanting to read one of Samantha Downing's book as I had noticed quite a few glowing reviews of her two previous books on my goodreads feed. So, I jumped at the chance to read and review 'For Your Own Good' when it was offered to me. And I am glad that I did not let this opportunity go by me.

Set in a posh and prestigious private school, 'For Your Own Good' where the children of the elites of the society are sent to by their demanding parents, expecting it to be the stepping stone that will send the students on to Ivy League colleges. Of course, there is a LOT of drama their with the privileged students and even some ex-students who have returned as the faculty. And amongst it all is Teddy Crutcher, a nobody from a mediocre background who has had to earn every bit of privilege he has today for himself. Even winning 'The Teacher of the Year' doesn't bring him as much respect as he deserves - well, because of the whiny little… So, Teddy has to take things into his own hands because after all as a teacher it is his job to teach his students a lesson; and maybe to a couple of his fellow colleagues too while he is at it. But when bodies start to drop, and people come nosing about not only into the school but also into his personal life, he has very little choice. What would you do if you were in Teddy's shoes?

I love a well done whodunnit, but recently I am seeing more and more author experimenting with the genre. These days sometimes it is more about the how and the why and I must admit, if properly done, it can be just as awesome and exciting. And, Samantha Downing has indeed done a good job. She introduced us to our quirky and slightly crazy antagonist right at the beginning and then the story is all about how he does what he does, whether he will get caught, how far will he go and what might trip him up. Though I did not agree with our antagonist's reasoning, I have to admit that there were times when I didn't really blame him either. That is a sign of a well developed antagonist. We all love to hate our antagonists and when they are clearly the 'bad guy' we hate him with all the passion we can muster. But what happens when you start seeing the greys in the character of the antagonist. What do you do when there are moments you feel like if you were in his shoes, you'd want to do worse? And better question to answer yet, what do you do when the antagonist turns out to be the least horrible person around? (Well, not counting the murders or the little accidents).

I am glad that I am not part of the esteemed Belmont Academy. It is the home to a hell lot of mean and simply bad characters. I honestly did not feel bad about the murders that took place. Character-wise the book's hook is it's antagonist. I wish there were a couple of characters that I could like, if for nothing else, then contrast. They were all just rotten apples. The multiple PoVs also keep the reader appraised of what is going on not only in the story but also in the minds of some of the other cast and characters. Yet I was surprised! The fast-paced story coupled with some snarky comments and unexpected twists keeps the pages turning in the book. It has enough drama and mystery to keep any reader hooked and entertained.

Definitely recommend this to mystery lovers as I go hunting for the other books by this author.


Review Copy received from Penguin Random House UK

Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com



23 August, 2021

August 23, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Population Zero by Fran Lewis - @partnersincr1me @franellena #SciFi #ScienceFiction

 

Population Zero

by Fran Lewis

August 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Population Zero by Fran Lewis

Imagine a forest so dense and so filled with trees that you cannot see anything but darkness. The smell of the dead leaves, the creatures that lived there, and the stench they created.

Imagine smashed windows and abandoned satellite dishes and blocks of plaster all over the ground.

Imagine... What might the world be like if humans were suddenly to disappear?

In Population Zero by Fran Lewis, we experience several post-human worlds through the eyes of people who were allowed to visit for one day. A world covered in ice, a world in complete darkness, a world where deserts are plentiful, and others...

Get a glimpse of what our planet would look like if humans stopped existing. Get a glimpse of the future.

Book Praise:

"Fran Lewis's newest offering is a polished, razor-sharp double-edged sword. On one hand, it is reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone series and just as chilling. On the other, it is a poignant reminder of just how precious and fragile human life on this planet truly is. A riveting read."
-- Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling Thriller and Shamus Award winning author of The Girl Who Wasn't There and the Dick Moonlight PI series.

"Population Zero creatively focuses on the damage being done by Covid 19 as it ravages the human race, and our inability to deal with climate change."
-- Allan Topol, national best selling author of The French Revenge

Book Details:

Genre: Science Fiction
Published by: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: June 26th 2021
Number of Pages: 76
ISBN: 163752868X (ISBN13: 9781637528686)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

My name is Ella, and I will be your guide and voice as you take the journey with me into the future. I am an ethereal being that is not alive but has been chosen by those above to help you, the humans, understand what is going to happen if you do not work together, follow the guidelines for the virus, and learn to live in harmony.

Remember, these worlds are the imagination of the author, and she wants you to really think about what she has created. You can decide if you would want to live in any of the worlds she imagined in her mind. What if you were asked to be the only human to experience one of these worlds if you could travel back for a short while? Welcome to your future. Think about it and decide.

Sometimes I think the world would be better off without humans. For many reasons in the worlds created, people fled and abandoned their homes. Desert areas became common, providing people with the sand, the hot sun, and not even a trace of water. Recent scenes show nuclear exclusion zones, urban neighborhoods burned out, and nowhere to escape.

Think about this: A forest so dense and so filled with trees that you cannot see anything but darkness. The smell of the dead leaves, the creatures that lived there, and the stench they created are worse than the smoke from a five-alarm fire. Imagine a sandstorm that plows across a highway and darkens the daylight sky, making it hard for drivers to see even an inch in front of them.

Smashed windows and abandoned satellite dishes and blocks of plaster all over the ground. The world — Population Zero...a look into the future.

What if this really does happen?

***

Excerpt from Population Zero by Fran Lewis. Copyright 2021 by Fran Lewis. Reproduced with permission from Fran Lewis. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Fran Lewis

‪Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three master’s degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who's Who of America's Teachers and Who's Who of America's Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children's books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer's disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure.‪

Fran is the author of 19 titles and completed by the titled A Daughter’s Promise. Fran has 6 titles in her Faces Behind the Stones series and her magazine is MJ magazine. She was the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school's newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites.

Her network if MJ network on Blog Talk Radio. You can also find her reviews on just reviews on Wordpress. Her latest titles are Sisters : two sisters from the Bronx, What If? and Silent Voices in her Faces Behind the Stones series and the present one Population Zero. ‬ ‪

Catch Up With Our Author:
Tillie49.wordpress.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram - @berthatillie49
Twitter - @franellena
Facebook

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews & guest posts!

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

18 August, 2021

August 18, 2021 0

Meet Myra & Shaurya from My Ruin by Sapna Bhog - #RomanticSuspense #Contemporary @sapnawrites

 

 


The bonds of family are unbreakable.

From bestselling Author Sapna Bhog comes a new romance series of friendship, loyalty and betrayal.

He never expected to run into her…

SHAURYA RAJPOOT is a man of many secrets. A sudden meeting with Myra Gupta changes the course of his life. Bound by a vow to his family, Shaurya keeps her at a distance…until she shatters all the barriers between them. Staying away from her soon becomes impossible, resisting her…unimaginable. 

She wasn’t prepared for him…

After losing the only man she ever loved, MYRA GUPTA has gone through life barely living and merely surviving. But all that changes when she meets Shaurya Rajpoot. Fascinated and intrigued by him, Myra is drawn by his loyalty, silent strength and quiet reserve. She yearns to get to know him better. However his past, his family and their bitter history keeps getting in the way of them being together. 
But when the past collides with the present and secrets are revealed, will love be enough? Or will one lie—the biggest deception of all—destroy Shaurya and Myra forever?

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


Meet Myra & Shaurya from 'My Ruin'


Myra Gupta


28 yo Myra Gupta lost the man she loved more than four years ago. Post that traumatic ordeal, she’s focused all her energy into her work as the head legal counsel for a huge company. Her work requires her to move cities and she does so with the single aim to begin her life afresh and to move beyond the past. But a chance meeting with a stranger at the airport, changes her life. Suddenly, Shaurya Rajpoot is everywhere she is.

Very soon, Myra is battling feelings for the only man who can possibly help her overcome her past and fall in love again. 


Shaurya Rajpoot


A rising star in Dubai’s construction sector, Shaurya Rajpoot’s main goal in life is to protect his family from an old enemy. After being betrayed by the woman he loves, he never wanted anything permanent with another woman ever, until he bumps into Myra. She makes him feel again and soon Shaurya is fighting his growing attraction for the one woman who works for his family’s enemy. 
Including her in his life is hard, keeping her away even harder. But with his family’s history and his past in the way of their happily ever after, Shaurya has to decide if he can take a risk and confide in Myra about everything. 



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:
Twitter * Facebook * Instagram




16 August, 2021

August 16, 2021 0

Read an #Excerpt from Loser Baby by Jason Bovberg - @partnersincr1me @JasonBovberg #Suspense

 

Loser Baby by Jason Bovberg Banner

Loser Baby

by Jason Bovberg

August 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Loser Baby by Jason Bovberg

Jasmine Frank is missing.

It’s a humid summer morning in Santa Ana, California, and her twin brother Jordan abruptly finds himself on a desperate search—fearing the worst. The party last night got way out of hand, and his brain is still chemically fried. But this is Jasmine’s story. She’s awakened far from home to her own mystery: She’s unwittingly stolen something from the most dangerous person she’s ever known. Tommy Strafe. And now Tommy is raging through the sunbaked streets, gathering illicit forces to seek brutal retribution. But all Jasmine really wants is to get out of Orange County, escape her past, and find a measure of redemption.

Loser Baby is a propulsive blast through the streets of the SoCal melting pot, a breakneck dark-comic neo-noir populated by misfits and malefactors, criminals and innocents, down-and-outers and spun-out dreamers. Prepare yourself for an adrenaline rush of rat-a-tat he-said-she-said narrative twists—all in service of a giddily slam-bang shock ending.

Book Praise:

“Jason Bovberg’s Loser Baby is a beautiful noir novel for the 21st century! It’s a wild, frantic ride through shady Southern California, a desperate drug-fueled search for a girl who only wants to escape a sordid life.”
—Scott Phillips, author of THE ICE HARVEST and THAT LEFT TURN AT ALBUQUERQUE

"Loser Babyis the real deal for hardcore crime fiction fans. This one grinds with the engine over the red line all the way. Hang on tight!"
—Eric Beetner, author of ALL THE WAY DOWN

Loser Baby is one cool book! Bovberg writes characters who get into your head and under your skin. You won't shake this one easily: It’ll stay with you long after you read it!”
—Terrill Lee Lankford, author of SHOOTERS and ANGRY MOON

“Jason Bovberg's Loser Baby is a high-octane thriller that moves like greased lightning! The beauty of this book is its motley collection of despicable characters whom you come to love by the end. Loser Baby is Bovberg's greatest book and one of the best of the year.
—Gary Phillips, author of BLOOD AND ASPHALT and BIRDS OF FIRE

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Dark Highway Press
Publication Date: August 2nd 2021
Number of Pages: 322
ISBN: 9780966262988
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

0 Jasmine

Smack in the middle of Santa Ana on a Friday night, gang-funk psychedelia, the animal snarl and faint butane odor of nitrous-juiced import cars, the streets undulating and ratcheting like a grungy arcade game—rumble, whoosh, clickety-clack. The city was still new to Jasmine Frank, this sprawling expanse of damp concrete, swaying palms, salty beach sweat, and steaming antifreeze. The japchae and the spicy fish tacos and the pulsating afro grooves, the cackling Chicano rap, the cacophony of indecipherable shouts coming at her along Westminster Boulevard—yes! She got off on the staccato ghetto thrill of it all, closing her eyes, lost in the jagged rhythms, the music and the traffic, crisscrossing like a spastic radio dial. A constantly moving mobile night life.

Sooooo different from what she and Jordy were used to back home in that deadened whitebread cul-de-sac, north Garden Grove. In their new life, it felt as if there were raging pool parties around every cinder-block corner, drugs and condoms handed out like candy, cool kids as far as the eye could see. Plenty of assholes, too, but who cared about them? You just ignored them, and they went away, bothered someone else.

Jordy’s voice whispered hot in her ear, but he wasn’t in the car with her now, he was back at Tommy’s party. She couldn’t catch her brother’s words. It was as if they were buffeting on the humid wind outside her window. Or maybe she didn’t want to hear him. She tuned him out, left him back at Tommy’s house. She laughed at that, then felt a little bad. Just a little.

The inside of the car looked new—it even had a spiffy aftermarket audio deck with a touchscreen—but it was an older ride, some kind of Volkswagen according to the steering wheel. The driver (what was his name, again?) had let her thumb down her window to let the night in. She’d made him turn off his USB stick full of sugary pop right away, in favor of the nightsong. The hazy world swirled, and her body with it. She grooved in the contoured seat.

Jasmine glanced over at the dude, caught him ogling her legs, which she knew looked fabulous beneath the hem of her blue dress. His gaze both mortified and delighted her. Dude was OK looking but nothing special, and of course she knew what he was after. But she aimed higher, deserved better. Deserved more. That’s what Jordy told her, and that’s what her mom used to say, too.

Hell, the guy was good for a ride, anyway.

“How much farther, my duuuuude?” she sang out, full-throated, and she swore she could see her voice splay out colorfully and blast out the window into the night.

LOL, she thought, like actually conjuring the individual letters. She giggled, loving it. What’s wrong with me?

“Few miles,” he said, smirk-voiced.

He was wearing a silly dark fedora that he thought made him look sophisticated or something, but she knew it was only there to hide his thinning hair. She remembered him from the vitamin store a few days ago, when this all started. He was harmless, like a puppy dog. If you’d told her then that she’d end up alone with him, shotgun in his VW a few days later, high as shitballs, rushing through the late-late Santa Ana night in search of burgers, she’d have laughed in your face. Nice eyes, though. A good set of blue eyes could take a guy a long way.

She found herself balling up her fists and drumming the dash and screaming, “Fuuuuuck iiiiiiiit!”

Holy crap, something was in her system, gooey and euphoric, making her feel as if her head was twisting up and away like some fancy warm firecracker. Everything exaggerated, everything spinning out, like just now this hopped-up neon-yellow Toyota ahead of them, its tires chirping on the concrete of the intersection, couple of teenagers’ hands waving frantically out the sunroof. Heading toward the beach, probably, the bonfires, the giddy drunken dancing at the shore. Jasmine squealed laughter, wanting to go with them.

But she was hungry, Jesus Christ! Whooaaa hooooooo!

Food first.

“Well, hurry up, then!” she said nonsensically, realizing after she said it that she was responding to whatever the driver said a few minutes ago.

They were stopped at a light, and she was tapping her foot.

“This probably isn’t the greatest idea, you know,” he said, right hand resting on his short-throw gearshift. “Tommy’s gonna be pissed. At both of us.”

“Jeez, man, you’re bringin’ me down.”

“You don’t want Tommy pissed at you.”

“Awww, he’s a big ol’ softie.”

“I’m serious.”

“He’s cool.”

He gave her a look. “Girl, you’re thinkin’ of someone else.”

“Sheesh, I’ve known Tommy forever.”

“Be that as it may, you don’t—”

“Hold up, did you just say, ‘Be that as it may’?”

A pause. “Shut up.”

Jasmine started laughing so hard that she could barely breathe. After a while, her leaking eyes opened blurrily on the car next to them, and she saw a large Hispanic man staring at her as if he couldn’t figure her out. That was fine with her. She waved goofily at the dull-faced man, and then he pulled away when the light turned green. A few moments later, someone passed them in an underlit red Subaru WRX, sound system booming, windows tinted so black that it was like looking into the devil’s eyes. The rally car swerved liquidly around the traffic ahead of them and was gone as if it had never been.

“Oooooh,” she breathed.

Her laughter had run its course. It seemed like they were hitting every goddamn signal, and it was harshing her chill.

“What’s your name again?” Lolling her head toward the driver.

“Mark.” He looked annoyed, and that made her start laughing again. “It’s Mark.”

When she caught her breath, she said, sighing, “Let’s fetch those burgers and then go right back to Tommy’s, all right, Mark? Sound like a plan? If I don’t get something to eat, I’m gonna faint dead away.”

Jasmine hardly knew what she was coming out of her mouth. She sounded like her mom, she realized distantly. Every once in a while she’d blink hard and fall into a clarity gap in which she could curse Tommy and that guy who’d given her the pills, Derek, the weirdo with the tats. She was surprised Jordy’d let that guy get within twenty feet of her. But shit, who cared, she felt gooooood. Although she could sense that she was approaching the end of it—fuck!

She gripped the straps of her purse tightly, like holding on to the lapbar at the top of one of the insane rollercoasters at Magic Mountain, way up I-5, north of Los Angeles. That’s what she felt like right now. She remembered her mom taking her and Jordan up there to Valencia years ago, blitzing on so many goddamn coasters and so much candy and funnel cake that they’d felt nauseated and lightheaded for days after. That was before Karl came into the picture, before the fun drained out of the world.

The purse straps felt funny. Slippery. She glanced down and found she was holding on to a Safeway grocery bag. It was heavy.

Whatever.

But then all of a sudden, beneath the chemical bliss of whatever she’d ingested, her throat was raw, and she felt like crying. It was as if she were catching intermittent glimpses of an abyss that was beneath her at all times. The sensation was all wrapped up in Jordy, her twin brother who she both loved and hated, and what they’d done months ago. Sometimes she knew for sure that they’d made the right decision and were on their way to a future that meant something—like, absolutely. Other times, she was certain that there was no future, at least along this path … and nothing but doom lay on the horizon.

And now she knew she’d done something extra stupid, and she was heading toward an immediate future she wasn’t prepared for at all. She knew these things, but her body wouldn’t let her feel their full import. It left her fingers sweaty and shaking, barely holding on to this slippery Safeway bag. She pictured her mother’s face, and then the tears were closer than ever. She felt as if her lips were on the verge of murmuring—Mommy.

“Here it is, coming up on the left,” Mark said. “Yeah, I can definitely go for a Double-Double. This was a good call.”

Jasmine perked up, leaned forward, took a look around, wanting to squeeze every last drop of whatever was vibrating in her veins.

Westminster Boulevard seemed abruptly empty now, desolate almost, and it felt like seven hours had passed since she’d gotten in this stranger’s car.

“Where’d everyone go?” she whispered. “I mean, where’d everyone go?”

As the car slowed and eased into the turn lane, Jasmine felt a twitch of hollow nausea, and the eternal abyss—the one that was always beneath her—began to widen. She turned back to the open window, sucked in the night air in huge gasps, forced a beatific smile, tried to lose herself again.

It wasn’t working.

Mark turned into the dark, empty parking lot and immediately began shouting.

Jasmine’s head felt like a gob of Hubba Bubba. She felt Mark’s frustrated temper like a soft pummeling up there, and she brought disembodied hands to her face to massage her temple. Without realizing it, her head had fallen against her door, and she was idly watching the dead-of-night traffic continue to drift down Westminster Boulevard toward the 405 overpass. It was an endless procession of vehicles even at this ungodly hour, and why was she even out here at the edge of nowhere with this Mark person? The Safeway bag was even more slippery now, and it felt wrong in her grip, unnatural, and somewhere deep down she knew she was in trouble because of it.

Mark was still yelling, and now he was asking her a question, a repeated question, but all she could do was listen to the lonely night, the cars and vans and trucks whooooshing past. She closed her eyes, locked onto the repetition, the endless mournful sighs and howls of tires on asphalt, rising and then fading into the distance, one by one. That was really what Santa Ana was all about—a bunch of restless people on the move, all the time, on their way to anywhere else.

Except her.

Except Jasmine Frank.

She would always be here, trapped in SoCal amber, looking outward and yearning for the other side. Even if she found someone to take her to Santa Ana’s edge, like Mark had just done, she’d always be left gazing out into a great unknown, like a fish staring out of a murky bowl, and there’d always be someone yelling at her and telling her what to be or where to go.

As exhaustion began to press down on her, as well as increased nausea, Jasmine’s awareness fractured, and Jordy’s voice came into the mix, and then her mom’s, and she just wanted to go home. Home! Not the little hovel in Santa Ana that she shared with her brother, but her real home, where her mom was, when the world was good and promising.

She lifted her heavy head from the door, and she turned toward Mark.

He stopped yelling abruptly.

“Hey, are you all right? Are you crying?” His expression was one of genuine concern, and she felt a sudden warmth toward him.

“I don’t feel so hot,” she said, smacking her lips with distaste.

“Let’s get you home.”

Every once in a while, someone said just the right thing. Today it was this guy’s turn. Mark. That was his name. The man with the hat.

Jasmine smiled at him.

“Really?”

***

Excerpt from Loser Baby by Jason Bovberg. Copyright 2021 by Jason Bovberg. Reproduced with permission from Jason Bovberg. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Jason Bovberg

Jason Bovberg is the author of the Blood trilogy—Blood Red, Draw Blood, and Blood Dawn—as well as The Naked Dame, a throwback pulp noir novel. His forthcoming books include Tessa Goes Down, a border noir, and A Small Poisonous Act, a suburban crime novel. He is editor/publisher of Dark Highway Press, which published the controversial, erotic fairy tale Santa Steps Out and the weird western anthology Skull Full of Spurs.

He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his wife Barb, his daughters Harper and Sophie, and his canines Rocky and Rango. You can find him online at www.jasonbovberg.com.

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