BOOK TOUR: My Fatal Futility #Cyberpunk #TimeTravel @cloud_neil

Shellshock

My Fatal Futility Book 1

by N J M Hemfrey

Genre: Cyberpunk, Time Travel

In a neo-Japanese inspired future, comes a cyberpunk epic with a razor-sharp time travel edge.

Kage Carnifex never bleeds easily. He’s stronger than the slickest cybernetics. And the chip in his brain whispers the value of violence.

Kage is the last product of a dead corporation. When he is scraped off the streets by another megacorp, Kage plunges headlong into an unforgiving world of unbreakable contracts, absolute loyalty, and soulful devotion beyond what he thought possible.

Yet, the psychotic butchers from his shrouded past cannot be escaped forever, nor their malicious masters denied Kage’s life. Blood is owed and carnage is coming to carve everything Kage loves apart.

And the secret to surviving may lie within a device Kage can’t control; the chrono-disruptor — a time machine — but time is a fatal thing…

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Convulsions

My Fatal Futility Book 2

Return to the high-octane, ultra-violent world of the 25th century: where cybernetics, bionetics, and bionics blur the lines between people, robots, and beasts; where a secret sinister syndicate play the strings of apocalypse; and where the river of time runs with a fatalistic flow.

Honour-bound, tough as titanium, Kage Carnifex follows two paths that twist his head and heart. One turns him towards the past for love and strife in the climate-ravaged steppe of Norvono. The other fires him into the future under a new captain and a new strategy to devastate Psychosisium.

But seeing the truth of his destiny and origin is barbed with manipulation and betrayal. The hologram ghost of an archenemy promises answers to avoid armageddon. While the malfunctioning chip inside Kage’s head seeks greater control of his body.

Facing off against temporal assassins, teleporters, and butcher-bots has never been deadlier. Fortified by samurai-instincts and bulletproof flesh, Kage plunges into the depths of this neon nightmare — where good deeds make devils and the worst make gods.

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myfatalfutility - guest post

A little about myself. I am 29 years old, living in Scotland with my partner. We moved into our house in February, and we had our first child in September, so we’re very happy and tired. I have a degrees in Philosophy and Sociology, as well as Library and Information Studies, so I’ve been always been fascinated by ethics, how society works, and how information is ordered within society. My takes on these ideas obviously feeds into my stories, to good or bad effect, my readers will know better. I became an author because writing is a compulsion within me. I can’t help but see stories in my head, picturing scenes almost like a movie, and the urge to explore them full takes over. I just wish I could write full time as I’ve got countless story outlines stored in folders, all waiting to reach fruition, which they will if it takes me the rest of my life.

As a self-published author, I do love the control I have over choosing who I work with, and I really appreciate how I can work at my own pace. This can be very stressful while I balance my passion with another job and the needs of life. Marketing in particular is very time consuming, as well as creating the materials, but it’s also heavily rewarding to be involved in the act of creation nearly all the time. There is no better, fulfilling, sometimes nightmarish, feeling in the world.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

I’m told that this is a quirk/oddity about me. I only eat or drink for sustenance. You could reply, well duh don’t we all? However, what I mean is I don’t eat or drink for the pleasure of it. Sure, I enjoy food and drink when consuming but only because my hunger and thirst are being satiated. When the primal urge diminishes, I am released from any desires that are food/drink related. If I didn’t have to, I honestly wouldn’t miss eating or drinking. If anything, eating and drinking takes up time I could be using being productive. The same goes for sleep. I really wish my body didn’t force me to and like a robot with some nuclear exotically charged battery, I could just stay awake forever.

What are some of your pet peeves?

Not a lot of things bother me at all to be honest. I’m quite happy to live and let live. However, when people use the term “active listening”, it really grates my sanity. There was no need to invent this term. We already have words to describe this. There is “hearing” and there is “listening”. Hearing is your ears absorbing all the sounds in your environment. Listening is focusing on certain sounds, ergo listening is inherently active. Moreover, nobody makes the distinction between seeing and “actively seeing”. It’s the same logic!

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born and grew up in Falkirk, Scotland. For those Braveheart fans, Falkirk was the location of the battle that William Wallace lost pretty badly. I always remember that scene because of the mad yet darkly funny thing the King of England says.

King of England: Tell the archers to fire when ready.

Underling: Won’t we hit our own troops sire?

King of England rotates his head like a wide-eyed owl: Yeeessss, but we’ll hit theirs as well.

Anyway, that all had very little to do with Falkirk. We also have the Falkirk Wheel which I’m told is a world-renowned attraction. There is always lots on and it’s only giant wheel in the world to connect two different canals at stunningly different heights. Other claims to fame, include the drink Irn Bru which was originally made in Falkirk in 1899, the Carron Iron Works smithed all sorts of weapons and implements for the British Empire (so if you’re ever close to a cannon or old sword, you should check to see if it has the Carron Iron Works Brand), and Rosebank whisky which could be back in production when the new distillery is finished.

What kind of world ruler would you be?

I would never choose to be a ruler as it’s an inherently flawed and soul-crushing role. I can’t help but consider the paradox of power, where the more power you have, the less you should actually do as it will interfere with people’s free will. So, as a ruler, you do have to be a guardian of free will, no matter the pressure and animosity you may receive for rigidly sticking to this position. Free will is a core element of liberality and a liberal society is, I think, always the most emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy of all sorts of societies. Ironically, the ancient Greeks held democracy just above tyranny which I think makes sense as the former can easily create the conditions for the latter. The more you give people the support and resources to think for themselves and rule their own lives, the more some people think the ways that others rule their lives interferes with what make the “best and most moral” life. Essentially, people think the world would be better if only things were done “their” way. However, morality is inherently subjective – there is no objective morality we can prove, or philosophers would have done it already. Morality is basically patting yourself on the back for following your own code which is pretty insane but so is the human brain. Therefore, as a ruler I would stick to being a guarding of free will and liberality no matter what. The world is better full of diversity, conflicting opinions, and even being offended without hacking each other’s heads off. Society stagnates when we don’t strive to have different points of view or learn to respect the lives others lead.

How to find time to write as a parent?

I recently became a dad and it’s an equal mixture of incomparable love, mind-stretching stress, and contentedness that you are exactly where you should be. Writing around a child, and chores too, needs to be done in bits by necessity. I do most of my writing on my phone as it’s very easy to add a thought, a sentence, a paragraph while on the go. Plus, it gets around the problem of writer’s block as you’re not staring at screen, trying to force the words to come. The words just come, usually at a very inconvenient moment, but I repeat them in my head until I can jot them down. When it comes to editing what I’ve written on my laptop, I capitalize upon those moments my little lovely terror baby is snoozing, at the expense of my own sleep.

Do you have a favorite movie?

My favourite movie is Collateral. It is the first film that really provoked me to consider and approach society, morality, and all the nuances in between differently, It’s a story about a hitman who gets into a cab in LA and forces the driver to take him to 5 hits. I found the conversations they have about life, death, and the universe to be profoundly powerful. It was also my first exposure to nihilistic thinking which encouraged my study of philosophy and sociology later at the University of Aberdeen. The film also has very cool and heart-punching action scenes – I’m always craving some high-octane action spectacles. For those interested, the film has Tom Cruise starring in the only villain role he’s ever played. It’s by far his best performance.

My second favourite move, if I may, is The Last Samurai. Between the beautiful cinematography, heart-stirring soundtrack, and narrative about tradition versus modernity, couple with redemption, I find this film to be incredibly moving and captivating. I often listen to the soundtrack to calm my mind when feeling anxious, sad, or stressed. There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from the best of Samurai culture and this definitely impacted my research when writing the My Fatal Futility series.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

To be honest all of them. Whenever I write a book, I see the scenes in my head as a movie – in fact that’s typically how I first chew into the idea of a story. I get flash scenes in my head, almost like a trailer. This probably explains the way I do my descriptions – I imagine what the camera would focus on. My current books are pretty long and it would be difficult to do a movie that wasn’t split into parts (a classic author’s problem), but I believe they’re all ready to be converted to movie format when/if the time comes.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I think capybaras are hilarious, cute, yet very durable and clever (I’m not sure if that’s an accurate picture of myself at all). These animals can evade ravenous murder by large predators, take the time to care for stray animals of any species, and be just genuinely friendly and personable in their own way. These are things to aspire to as an author or not. I especially like the idea of my mascot capybara chewing on a pipe, wearing round spectacles, and having a crazy coloured mohawk while sitting on the writer’s hammock.

N J M Hemfrey has degrees in Philosophy and Sociology, and Information and Library Studies, and is an administrator for a charity. He lives with his fiancé Kasha, who is the best individual to spend existence with, whether in lockdown, the apocalypse, or more normal things like the cinema, or wandering around old castles. He is an utter movie, book, video game and comic enthusiast, especially for the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. One of his greatest frustrations is that there is not enough time in the universe to ever finish the lists of things he wants to do.

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BOOK TOUR: Kingdom Come by Danielle M. Orsino #Fantasy @birthofthefae @RRBookTours1

KingdomCome copy

Welcome to the book tour for the beautiful fourth installment in the Birth of the Fae series, Kingdom Come! Read on for more details and a chance to win a FairyLoot Crate!

KC cover

Kingdom Come (Birth of the Fae #4)

Publication Date: May 30th, 2022

Genre: Fantasy/ Fae

All is peaceful in the Veil, which is usually when everything falls apart…
Queen Aurora of the Court of Light and King Jarvok of the Court of Dark have fallen in love despite all odds. A relationship of political convenience has turned into something real and tangible for the two monarchs. After centuries of conflict and mistrust, the two Courts are about to unite as one: the Court of the Fae. But not every Fae is happy about the impending union.
Queen Aurora’s most trusted advisors have never lost touch with their old Angelic ways. These bishops still believe that Virtues and Power Angels were never meant to mix. According to them, Queen Aurora is no longer suitable to rule. As they mount a complex coup d’état to grasp the throne, a new threat to the monarchy makes their move.
Will the entire foundation of peace crumble with one last act of betrayal? Or will the bond between Court of Light and Dark prevail in the face of danger?

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About the Author

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Danielle M. Orsino is a fantasy novelist whose lifelong vision to create whimsical realms that her readers can escape to. Her compelling word-weaving pays homage to a multitude of personal muses, from Chris Claremont and George Pérez (both famous comic book writers), to Anne Rice and Wonder Woman.

The creative spark of storytelling has been with Danielle ever since she was a child, but martial arts and her nursing career took center stage into adulthood. Then, on a day like any other, it was reignited during the most unexpected of moments: while treating one of her patients. Seeing that they longed for a distraction during their arduous treatments, the floodgates of inspiration soon burst forth. So, Danielle took it upon herself to tell them a story; a fantastical narrative that would leave the confines of that IV room’s walls and land upon a page. Before she knew it, what started as an imaginative tale to pass the time, turned into book, followed by an entire series: The Birth of Fae. This awe-inspiring series includes Locked out of Heaven (Book One), Thine Eyes of Mercy (Book Two), and From The Ashes (Book Three), all of which are published by 4 Horsemen Publications, Inc. And with an unwavering passion for cosplay and comics, it was a unanimous decision to place her on the cover of each book in all her Fae cosplay glory. The Birth of Fae also features Los, an affable chameleon dragon inspired by her fun-loving Yorkie named Carlos.

When writing wasn’t at the forefront of her mind, Danielle was a successful Martial Artist. Some of her achievements include “1999 World Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee”, “Female Martial Artist of the Year”, “WKA World Champion Silver Medalist 2008”, and numerous more. She has also garnered hundreds of martial art tournament wins, various other national and world titles, and features on big-name channels like TLC and CBS. She even had the rare opportunity to perform for former U.S. President Bill Clinton and collaborate alongside Vincent Lyn and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. From there, she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science, and she is now a Licensed Practical Nurse who focuses on Lyme disease research.

This “New Queen of the Fae’s” unmatched world-building and masterful Fae-origin retellings have led to an ever-growing queendom of “Fae-natics”. To begin embarking upon a quest in an epic world unlike any other, visit Danielle M. Orsino’s official website at http://www.BirthOfTheFae.com. You can also connect with her on Instagram (@BirthOfTheFae_Novel) and Twitter (@BirthOfTheFae).

“After summoning this world into existence through an imaginative force of will, Danielle has scoured every inch of the landscape several times over. Critics often praise a story’s world building by saying that it feels “lived in.” Well, the world of the Fae certainly seems like that because Danielle herself has happily lived there for years as she worked to put all of this together… My favorite part of this story is that it is gloriously depicted in vibrant images.”

-Clete Barrett Smith, New York Times Bestselling Author of If We Were Giants, Aliens on Vacation series, and Magic Delivery

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BOOK BLITZ: Call to a Nightmare by Jim Lester #mystery #thriller @RABTBookTours

Mystery, Thriller

Published Date: August, 2022

 

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It was the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, the era of Model T Fords, bootleggers and G-men. Spiritualism was all the rage. Everyone wanted to talk to the dead. Except Dr. Alex Gabriel, who thought talking to the dead was ridiculous. Until he met Savannah Bishop, the country’s most unique medium. Using Savannah’s contacts with the World Beyond, Dr. Gabriel and Miss Bishop set out to solve a series of brutal murders that range from the glitz of Hollywood to the backwoods of Arkansas and eventually to the bohemian Left Bank of Paris and finally to pre-Nazi Berlin.

About the Author

Jim Lester holds a PhD in history and is the author of the historical novel, The Blind Boxer and a successful mystery novel called Deadline: New York about the early years of the paperback book industry. He is also the
author of four young adult novels and a non-fiction book entitled Hoop Crazy: College Basketball in the 1950s.

 

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RELEASE BLITZ Blood Harvest by Meghan Schubert #LGBTQ #urbanfantasy @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Blood Harvest

Series: The Harvest

Author: Meghan Schubert

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/27/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 79200

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, paranormal, urban fantasy, lesbian, vampire, shifter, angel, succubus, roommates, blood, death, conspiracy

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Description

If you were losing your humanity, how hard would you fight to hold on to it? What would you be willing to do, to give up, to make sure you remained the human you were, rather than the demon you seemed to be turning into? Hope McKinley, former advertising student turned newly undead, finds herself wrestling with these questions and so much more.

Blood Harvest delves into the depths of the human psyche and grapples with the struggle between light and dark in all of us as seen through the eyes of one forced out of the human race and fighting to return.

Excerpt

Blood Harvest
Meghan M. Schubert © 2022
All Rights Reserved

“Shh.” He trailed the finger down my chin and rested it in the crook of my neck. I suppressed a shudder. He leaned in, too close for comfort, hands gripping my hips tighter and guiding my pelvis toward his while his lips grazed my neck. My stomach flipped. My insides felt like they were on fire.

Did he just sniff me?

“Ian, what’re you—”

“Quiet.” He kissed me once, twice, his lips caressing, teasing, the heat in me rising, then turning into a sharp, stabbing pain. A pain that shot through my shoulder, up my neck, and exploded into the back of my head. My eyes widened and then closed tight, mouth open in a silent scream as I tried to breathe. I forced myself forward, trying to push against him, but he was heavier than me, and all it seemed to do was aggravate him. Ian slammed his weight against me, and I yelped as the bricks dug into my back. The way he had me pinned, I couldn’t even shift enough to get a knee in his groin.

Shit, now what?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had people bite me in a kinky sort of way, but this was so much more. He was drawing blood, my blood, his mouth hot and wet on my neck. The gentle motion of his lips sent waves of electric heat through me, cascading down, the pain giving way to a pleasurable numbness, and I thrust my hips against him hungrily as his teeth sank deeper. I groaned, my body slumping against his as my legs started to give out. It hurt like hell, but it felt so good. I just didn’t want to fight anymore.

Everything began to blur and melt away as I succumbed to the bliss. It felt like falling; you know the end is coming but you just don’t know when. Is this what it’s like to die? What a way to go.

Before I was able to let myself completely go, something hot and sticky pressed against my lips. It smelled of old pennies and leather and cologne. Smelled like Ian. Without warning, a hand fisted into my hair, forcing my mouth on the warm liquid. I had no desire to taste it, but something inside compelled me, drew me to it. It smelled so good.

The liquid burned the whole way down, igniting my throat and stomach. I was torn between wanting to throw up and wanting to drink more. This was insane. What was I doing?

The mingling of pleasure and pain was almost too much, and soon I was seeing white. Still, I refused to let go.

Wait. Let go? What am I holding?

I finally blinked bleary eyes open to find myself sucking on Ian’s bleeding arm, my fingers clutching him like a vise. I still refused to let go. In fact, I started sucking harder, drawing more of his blood into my mouth, throat convulsing, burning, as I gulped it down.

After what seemed like several excruciating hours, he pulled away, and I whimpered like a kicked puppy. He knelt and kissed me gently, licking the excess blood from my mouth.

“I’ll be back, Hope. Until then, take care of yourself.”

I felt him run his hand through my hair and then the cold cement as I hit it hard.

I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t your typical vampire love story. In fact, love is a laughable concept for me, especially after the shit I’m about to get dragged through.

But you can see for yourself. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

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Meet the Author

Meghan Schubert, born in 1985 in the greater city of Philadelphia, has always been a nerd at heart. Dubbing herself an “elder millennial,” Meghan grew up with a love of video games, horror, and Goosebumps books. In high school, she wrote short stories for the school newspaper before working her way up to editor. That love turned into a passion when she took up Video Game Design in college, where the premise of her first novel came to light. Her pursuit of game design was short-lived, however, when Meghan realized that programming was not her forte; the stories behind the games were. Thus, a writer was born.

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BLITZ: Your Sweetness by Christina Braver #ContemporaryRomance #EnemiestoLovers @BraverRomance @greyspromo

Your Sweetness by Christina Braver is now live!

She’s no Cinderella and she doesn’t get the prince.
 
With one last push to make her dreams come true, Jo Patree moves to the idyllic PNW island town of Perry Harbor to start her personal chef business. With money tight, she reluctantly takes on a local tech-bro jerk as a client. But when he doesn’t act like the bro she’s used to, she can’t hold back her attraction to his sinfully sexy dimples, not to mention the rest of him. 

After his lucrative tech career became collateral damage in an IP infringement case, Lucas Bakker is home temporarily, helping his brother take over the family tulip farm. If he has to be here, he might as well eat good food and finally learn to cook. But when the sassy, sexy chef who used to make the addictive sweet treats at his favorite Seattle restaurant turns out to be the most tempting woman he’s ever met, he breaks all of his own rules to make her his.

As the infringement case takes an unexpected turn, Lucas and Jo are forced to decide. Risk it all holding on to a dream neither of them imagined, or simply let it go. Can Lucas convince Jo that what they have is real, or will he lose her and all her sweetness forever?

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Meet Christina Braver

Christina Braver writes steamy, small town, contemporary romance set in the Pacific Northwest. Her stories are about real people and real love with the guaranteed HEA we all need.
She’s been reading romance for decades and loves to escape into stories about strong heroes with softer sides and independent heroines with a bit of sass.
She strives to support allyship in her writing and portray diversity in everyday life. She believes together, we will save the world.
When she isn’t writing, Christina can be found reading in her favorite corner chair, sipping wine and laughing too loudly with friends, or cooking dinners that always take twice as long as the recipe suggests. She lives in Seattle with her husband who shares his bourbon, and two teenagers that keep them both on their toes.
And just like her favorite latte, her books have some steam. If that’s not your regular brew, you may want to change your order. Enjoy!
 
Connect with Christina
Website | https://christinabraver.com
Goodreads | https://bit.ly/3dGeO6y
Amazon | https://amzn.to/3K8qY4m
Facebook | https://bit.ly/3A0n9Lj
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RELEASE BLITZ: Listen – The Sound of Fear #anthology #horror #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Listen: The Sound of Fear

Author: R.B. Thorne, Lauren Jane Barnett, E.E.W. Christman, Eule Grey, Ridley Harker, Jon James, T.S. Mitchell, Alex Silver, A.R. Vale, Edited by Elizabetta McKay

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/20/2022

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female, M/NB

Length: 75300

Genre: Horror Anthology, LGBTQIA+, historical, US circa 1800s, romance, gay, horror/thriller, in the closet, shop workers, old curiosity shop, knives, haunted object/ poltergeist, contemporary, lit/genre fiction, London art gallery, confinement, disorientation, fear, mental anxiety, mystery, suspense, British, mystery, cold case, lesbian, blogger, small town, over 40, pregnancy, gothic/horror elements, YA, paranormal, nonbinary, trans, queer, hearing impaired, students, haunted school, all-girls boarding school, mean girls, religious references, Deaf, ghost story, pets, historical, gothic romance, lesbian, European expats, OCD, longtime couple

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Description

A knocking. A ringing. A steady drip-drip-drip. These are the sounds that haunt us. Drive us mad. Draw us in like the songs of sirens, hypnotic and deadly. And we must either give in, or resist with everything we have…and hope it’s enough.

Listen: The Sound of Fear offers ten stories written exclusively by trans and nonbinary authors that explore the chilling, perplexing, terrifying nature of sound.

Excerpt

Kill Your Darlings. When two shop workers in 1894 New York discover a haunted phonograph, they must race to solve the mystery of its tragic past before it’s too late to save their budding romance—and their lives.

Exhibition. A performance artist inspired by the inhumane treatment of refugees finds her gallery transformed into an equally inhospitable environment. Trapped inside the confines of her Plexiglas box, she struggles to piece together what is happening—and how to keep herself alive.

On the Other Side of Sound. A ringing in the ears; a coded message from beyond explanation. It will only ruin your life if you let it.

Her Little Joke. When Mave Kitten is asked to investigate a creepy phenomenon, little does she know to what depths the trail will lead: Ghosts, a haunted well, ignorance, a flapping bird. What of the woman in green?

M/other. I am alone. I do not know exactly how long I have been alone. My husband and child are…gone. Aren’t they? As a storm rages outside my decaying house, I begin to hear and see things that cannot possibly be there. Or can they?

Holy Water. Adolescence can be hell. Adolescence in an all-girl’s Catholic school as a trans teen surrounded by mean girls is a special kind of hell—especially when your school is haunted.

Snipper-Snapper. Cats make the best pets—loving, thoughtful, and loyal. Amour even brings home his own takeaway meals. Except for the stains, and damage to the shag pile, Mummy couldn’t be happier. Everyone needs a playmate.

The Knocking Bird. Knock three times to keep yourself safe. Follow your love across the sea. Obsession threads through nearly every aspect of Steffi’s life. But what happens when it drives her to do the unthinkable?

Bride of Brine. Sylvie hasn’t heard the song of the siren in years. But when she’s called home to help her estranged father find her brother, she’s faced with an impossible choice: save him, or save herself.

Haunt. When Kevin inherits his family home and decides to fix it up with his partner, he quickly discovers that the past can haunt you in more than one way—and he must choose, once and for all, exactly who he is.

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TEASER TUESDAY: Chase by Marteeka Karland #mcromance #suspense @marteekakarland @RABTBookTours @changelingpress

Bones MC

Motorcycle Club Romance, Suspense, Action & Adventure

Date Published: 09/30/2022

 

Cotton: When I avenged my sister’s murder, I knew the consequences. I
didn’t expect anything less than prison. I got it. In spades. I
survived ten years of hell. I was just fifteen when I was sent away but I
never regretted taking the law into my own hands. But the father of the man
I killed is now a judge, and the ten years I gave the state might not be
enough.

I thought I could disappear into the little Kentucky town and keep my head
down and keep my nose clean. What could be so hard about that? But I’m on
parole and everything is stacked against me. When the only place that will
hire me happens to be a biker bar, staying out of trouble might be too much
for me to manage. Then Chase steamrolls into my life and I know I have much
more than my freedom to lose. This man has the power to tear out my
heart.

Chase: I’ve spent the better part of my life in the shadows. Before
Bones MC, my team worked for some shady people — as assassins. I thought I
was sacrificing for the greater good. Turns out I was just one more bad guy
working for more bad guys. I can’t seem to atone for the sins of my
past. No matter what I do, those demons still haunt me.

The second I spot Cotton, everything changes. Everything about the girl
screams “battered woman,” but she’s more than that. There
is death in her eyes. She’s killed, but she’s not a killer. No
matter what, no matter who comes after her, I will protect her till my last
breath. Because she is my only salvation. She’s my woman.

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2022 Marteeka Karland

“Let me go. Now.” That was another thing I’d learned in
prison. You put up or shut up. Once I’d set a boundary, I had to
follow through or this would never end. And this guy would get what he
wanted.

He squeezed my arm harder, this time standing and pulling me against him.
“You’ll get under that fuckin’ table and suck my
fuckin’ dick like the good little whore you are, or I’ll carry
you outa here and we’ll all have a fuckin’ go.”

His buddies laughed and clinked beer bottles like it was one big party.
There was no way I could keep these guys from doing whatever they wanted
unless someone came to my rescue. Which this guy had obviously planned for.
It was a dark corner fairly close to the door. All he had to do was get me
outside before anyone noticed. Assuming anyone cared. But I had the feeling
the guys from Bones might take exception to anyone outside their territory
taking an employee out of their bar. That’s the way it was in prison.
Bones may not claim me as one of their own, but they would absolutely not
allow another gang to disrupt their business or mess with their employees.
At least, that’s what I was counting on.

The second the words were out of his mouth, my hand shot between his legs
and grabbed his crotch. I squeezed his balls as hard as I could, thankful
he’d grabbed my left arm and not my right. He gave a strangled cry and
doubled over, letting go of my arm, trying to pry my fingers loose but
unable to do more than weakly tug at my wrist. I squeezed just that little
bit tighter, putting every ounce of strength I had into hanging on and
tugging with a sharp jerk. The big guy fell to his knees and I let go,
stepping back quickly. I gripped my heavy serving tray in both hands,
bringing it back like I was readying myself to hit him with it even as I
continued to back away.

I bumped into someone and a big palm landed on my shoulder. I thought I was
in big trouble, but the hand pulled me back gently, and a huge guy stepped
in front of me, putting himself between me and the three men at the
table.

“There a problem here?”

“Yeah, there’s a fuckin’ problem! Bitch threw herself at
me then tried to back out. Tried to crush my fuckin’ balls for no
fuckin’ reason!”

“In my experience, women like Cotton don’t put their hands on
men like you willingly.” Oh, my God! Could this night get any worse?
The man who’d come to my rescue was Chase Dutton. I knew he was a
member of Bones, but I tried to stay away from him as much as I could. It
was no secret his brother was a police officer and the last thing I wanted
was to have another set of eyes on me. I had no idea why Pops and Cain had
hired me, but I didn’t want any complications in case they changed
their mind.

“Why, you son of a bitch!”

The big guy lunged at Chase, but Chase simply caught him by the throat,
pulling a gun and bringing it to the man’s temple in one smooth move.
The second the barrel touched his head, Chase cocked it.

“No one touches the servers. Especially when they don’t want
it.”

“But she –” He was cut off when Chase brought the butt of the
gun down on his head once before putting the barrel back to his temple. The
guy’s knees threatened to buckle, but he kept his footing.
Barely.

“Don’t matter if she did. When you touched her, she changed her
mind. That’s all that counts. So you and your buddies here are all
gonna fuckin’ leave the bar. Now. Don’t come back.”

“You can’t throw us out!” One of his buddies had stood
but made no move to get help. In fact, he had his hands up and backed up a
couple steps, belying his statement.

“He can,” Pops said, coming up behind me. Again, he moved me
gently out of the way, putting himself between me and the three men.
“So can I. We both say to get the fuck out.”

The bar had quietened near us, but the other side seemed oblivious. I
looked around to see a couple at my tables raising nearly empty glasses or
bottles wanting refills. I desperately wanted to duck my head and just go on
about my job, but I had no idea what was expected of me.

“You good, Cotton?” Chase asked, not looking back at me but
still eyeing the men who’d yet to leave.

“Yes,” I said softly. Automatically. My arm hurt, but I
wasn’t about to draw more attention to myself. “May I go back to
work?”

He glanced at me then and I quickly looked away. Chase Dutton was the
sexiest man I’d ever seen. And a man I had no business even looking
at. He also seemed to hate me on sight. Cain and Pops both assured me they
would keep my incarceration to themselves, and I didn’t want to take a
chance on anyone else finding out. Which Chase likely had. Things always
changed when anyone found out. People I thought were friends suddenly wanted
nothing to do with me. I couldn’t really blame them, but it hurt that
no one thought me important enough to find out my side of the story.
I’d kind of been crushing on Chase from a distance, and to have him
affirm that I wasn’t worth befriending — even though I already knew
that’s what he thought — would hurt worse than when it had happened
before. Because I was stupid to let my emotions get the better of me like
this.

“What?” Chase glanced back at me, then snapped, “No you
can’t go back to work! Get your ass to the office! I’ll talk to
you after I’ve taken out the trash over here.”

 

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BOOK TOUR: The Safe Game by Wes Verde #CrimeThriller #HistoricalFiction @RRBookTours1

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Welcome to the book tour for The Safe Game by Wes Verde. Read on for more details!

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The Safe Game

Publication Date: July 22nd, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Crime Thriller

New Jersey, 1928.

The Cons – Roy, Urbane, and Victoria – made a living by separating fools from their money and rarely stayed in one place for too long. Keeping food in their bellies and a roof over their heads often meant hopping from one game to the next, barely staying ahead of the law or poverty and sometimes both.

That was until the day Roy – the Idea Man – thought he found a big score; one that would put the Cons on Easy Street. No more scraping by. No more hungry nights in the cold or picking pockets in desperation. Maybe even enough to get them out of this life for good. But things were never that simple.

When a tragic death brings the law snooping around, the Cons find themselves running afoul of cops, gangsters, and other powerful people – ones with secrets.

The Cons have gotten out of scrapes before, but their luck may soon run out and this particular game may end in luxury, a jail cell, or an early grave.

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Excerpt

Today she was on fire. Heads started to bob and the group pressed closer, trying to get a better look at the device.

With her work done, Victoria fell quiet. The excitement of the crowd was properly kindled now. A contended grin curled up her full lips. To Urbane’s surprise, her sharp eyes suddenly found his. At first, he thought it might be a fluke. Or perhaps his supposedly concealed location had been somehow compromised. Before he could stress himself over the matter, she winked. Then, all other thoughts fled. Just as his face started to heat up, she returned her attention to Roy. It was his turn to bring it home.

“Now, I’ve been given strict instructions by Treasury Department officials to accept no less than two thousand dollars for this device,” he intoned formally.

This was met with groans of disapproval and one or two boos and justifiably so; one could buy a small house for that amount of money. It was a far higher bid than in previous towns.

Feigning surprise, the Idea Man continued. “You understand, surely, that such a sum would be recovered in a matter of weeks if the prescribed regiment is followed?”

Urbane wondered if that was right. Knowing the scam – game – he had not previously given much thought to its premise. Having lost sight of Victoria for the moment, he quickly did the math in his head and came up with about fifty days. This was with the assumption that the machine was operated every five hours… and that it was not a scam.

As one who dealt in numbers and concrete reality, this world of deception was foreign to him. How people could believe such an outlandish proposition boggled his mind. A naturally curious sort, Urb simply could not fathom the lack of such in others.

Outside, Roy let the groans begin to subside before he extended the olive branch.

“Hang on, now. Hang on. Well… it will mean some hard questions from my superiors. Maybe even some shady bookkeeping on my part. But if that is asking too much, perhaps a discount might be considered. Just for the hard working folks of Lawrence, mind you.” In a quieter voice, he added, “But I must implore you to please keep this just between us. I could go as low as twelve hundred dollars.”

Again, boos. Though, fewer than before. In the end, Roy was obliged to drop the bid twice more before a collection hat started passing around. Urb shook his head, astonished. Roy and Victoria could steer a crowd the same way he could tickle a lock or build a mechanism. For the price of a decent used car, these people had accepted this deal that should have been too good to be true – of course it was. The crowd soon divided into two factions, apparently debating how the forthcoming riches would be allocated.

One man emerged as the representative of the group, holding the collection hat. Urbane’s eyes went wide. It was more cash and coin than they had made in the past three towns put together. If properly budgeted, it could well be enough to carry them into summer. The crowd shifted and he caught sight of Victoria again. She had also glimpsed the considerable sum. Like Urb, she bit her lower lip in anticipation. Seeing the curve of her face and the swell of her hips, he nearly forgot about their windfall and most everything else for that matter.

And he was not the only one to take notice. Would-be suitors were not an uncommon issue. As a professional hazard, Victoria tended to attract male attention like iron filings to a lodestone and today was no exception.

It was a young fella. The excessively confident ones often were and Urbane frowned as this one fixed Madame Charmer in his sights. She inspired many emotions: infatuation, longing, lust. Urb was a thinking man, but after six months of living and working in close proximity, even he could not fully resist her allure. Watching others make the attempt for her affection, even knowing they were doomed to fail was not good for his heart.

Though entirely capable of rebuffing such attempts, it seemed Vic had not yet detected her latest admirer. As the young man drew closer, Urb realized too late that something was off. This fellow had none of the telltale signs of one about to ask for a date.

At the same time, another speaker fired a bombshell question directly at Roy.

“How is this not counterfeiting?”

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About the Author

portrait_3_small

Wes is an engineer by trade, a busybody by habit, and a lifelong Jersey boy.

Writing has been a hobby in one form or another since 2006 when he started drawing 3-panel comics. When he is not putting words down, he is picking them up; the “to-read” pile only seems to grow larger.

A fan of nature, he spends as much time outside as possible.

Wes Verde

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BOOK BLITZ: Alex McKenna & Death Is Not The Beginning by Vicki-Ann Bush #YoungAdult #paranormal #LGBTQ @XpressoTours @vickiannbush

Alex McKenna & Death Is Not The Beginning
Vicki-Ann Bush
(Alex McKenna, #4)
Published by: Parliament House
Publication date: September 20th 2022
Genres: LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Suspense, Young Adult

In the fourth and final installment for the series, Alex faces his most difficult case yet—the school bully.

For two years Kyle tried to make Alex’s life even more complicated than it already is. Choosing to single him out for his psychic abilities and other life events, the angry teen took every chance he could to challenge Alex’s well-being.

Despite the constant insults, when the bully is murdered and comes to him for help, Alex sets aside the past to help a soul in need. Searching for the killer, Alex uncovers a truth that answers the question why he was the victim of Kyle negative attention, and the answers that will set them both free.

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EXCERPT:

Alex glanced up to the hovering apparition and raised his chin slightly left toward the door. He hoped the spirit would follow, but instead, it quickly vanished, so he took the cue and let it go. Clasping Margaret’s hand, he ushered them from the store.

Outside, the fragrance of freshly cut grass and blossoming tulips tickled his nostrils. A perfect Spring day. The young couple had strolled the fifteen-minute walk into the small village at the center of Floral Park, taking advantage of the warmer climate.

“It’s super nice out.” Alex smiled.

“It is. I love Spring. Hey, what happened in there?” Margaret asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I thought you spotted something.”

“I did. But they didn’t want my help.”

“Huh. Did you get a good look at what it was?”

“I didn’t know them, but it was definitely an older man. I’d say somewhere around my gram’s age.” Alex glanced over his shoulder back at the store.

“That’s sad.”

“How come?” Alex raised a brow.

“He’s in a drug store for eternity? Why? What keeps him there? Why doesn’t he cross over?”

“You sound like me.” Alex chuckled.

“Well, it was bound to rub off some time.” She lay her head on his shoulder.

“I’m just glad that’s over with.”

“I know.” Margaret gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

Rounding the corner at the end of the block stood a structure Alex struggled with for most of his seventeen years. Coming from a lineage of witches whose roots were planted in Italy, the paradoxical blend of spells and Catholicism baffled him. He chose to believe in spirituality, embracing his ancestors and calling on them in times of need.

Alex let Margaret’s hand slip through his fingers. Across the street, directly in front of the church, was a small park with a handful of benches. His gaze focused on the ornate stained glass adorning the round window above the sturdy oak doors. What the hell? Without care, he stepped into the road and in front of an oncoming car. Luckily, Margaret’s scream freed him from his trance in time for him to jump out of the way. A loud screech from the tires of the irate driver didn’t completely mask the language he yelled from the window.

Margaret rushed to his side and pulled Alex to a bench facing the building that had captivated his attention a few moments ago.

“What the hell?” Margaret slapped his arm.

“Sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” Alex glared at the church. “That’s not true.”

“Okay, spill.” Margaret scooted back and crossed her legs.

“Wait, where’s my bag?” Alex nervously looked around.

“Crap. It’s over there.” Margaret pointed to the asphalt.

“I’ll get it.” Alex motioned to stand.

“Oh, no you don’t. One near-death today is enough. I’ll get it. Stay here.”

Normally he’d argue the issue, but he didn’t trust himself either. The range of emotions creeping along his veins and occupying dread in his gut burned a volcano of doubt in his psyche.

Margaret halted at the sidewalk’s edge and turned her head from side to side before venturing into the middle of the road. She snatched up the bag and scurried back to the bench.

She stretched out her arm to hand the bag to Alex, “Thanks.”

“I’m just that kind of girlfriend. Risking life and limb for the guy I love.”

Alex rolled his eyes.

“Now, where were we? Oh, I remember, you were gonna tell me why you froze in the middle of the goddamn street.” Margaret knitted her brows.

“Once again—sorry. When I saw the church, I had a vision. The building was destroyed like a bomb or something had incinerated it. The darkness crept along the walls. It was like…a living thing.” Alex shuddered.

“Yup, just another day in the world of you.”

Author Bio:

Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting her sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.

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BOOK TOUR: Locksmith’s War by Paul Briggs #YoungAdult #ScienceFiction #YAscifi @paulproofreader @GoddessFish

Locksmith’s War

The Locksmith Trilogy Book Three

by Paul Briggs

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GENRE: YA Sci-fi (Young Adult, Science Fiction_

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BLURB:

For Lachlan Smith, learning the secret of the apocalypse was the easy part.

Ever since Locksmith found the portal to the future, he has been wondering who or what was responsible for the empty, uninhabited world he found.

Now he knows—and now he has to fight them.

He thought he had fifteen years in which to prevent the extinction of the human species.

Now, he has only hours.

When the portal is stolen by a cabal of dangerous fanatics, his mother and many of his friends are trapped on the other side. Now the enemy is after him, and the only way to thwart their genocidal plan is to retake the portal and hold it—at both ends.

With very little time left, a handful of allies who don’t trust each other, almost no chance of success and the survival of humanity itself at stake… Locksmith is going to war.

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Excerpt One:

Rikki’s first plan of escape

Rikki’s first plan of escape was simple — wait for somebody to open the door, then pounce on them, beat them up and start running. She couldn’t act on this plan until the drug wore off.

She was still feeling jittery from the drug when the lights went out, leaving her in something very close to pitch darkness. The tags on her ears glowed in the dark. The lights stayed off for a fair stretch of time — it might have been an hour. Before long, even with the drug out of her system her pupils had dilated to the point where the light that leaked in under the doorway looked like a line of yellow-white fire, dimly illuminating the room.

Then she heard the footsteps out the in the hall. Someone was headed this way. Rikki pointed herself at the doorway and got herself into a sprinter’s crouch like she’d seen Lock do.

The footsteps stopped in front of the door to her cell. She could see the shadows of somebody’s feet. Just one person. Good. Heavier than average, from the sound of the footsteps, but still better than trying to tackle two or more people at once. Her leg muscles were ready to launch her at the enemy. She got her fists into position. A few good blows to the solar plexus and kidneys…

and try again tomorrow?” This isn’t a track meet, this is a heist. You can’t just reschedule it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

In addition to writing books, Paul Briggs has worked as a newspaper editor, court reporter’s assistant, and audio transcriber. In his spare time (when he has any) he sometimes performs in community theater, most recently taking on the roles of Bottom, Petruchio, Macbeth, Rosalind, and Richard III in a Shakespeare compilation. An Eastern Shore native who grew up in Chestertown, Maryland, Paul earned a BA in English from Washington College and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland – College Park.

He is the author of several short plays, including the award-winning The Worst Super Power Ever and The Picture of Health.  He is also writing the sequel to his 2018 science fiction novel Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise, which vividly imagines the dislocations that follow when the Arctic Sea ice finally melts and the Chesapeake Bay is drowned by the effects of climate change.

https://www.paulbriggs.com/thelocksmithtrilogy

https://www.facebook.com/paulbriggsauthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/655906.Paul_Briggs/blog

https://lockswriter.deviantart.com/

Amazon Buy Link: https://smile.amazon.com/Locksmiths-War-Locksmith-Trilogy-Three-ebook/dp/B09ZK98V96/ref=sr_1_1

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