BOOK TOUR: Scattered Legacy by Marlene Bell #mystery #suspense @ewephoric

Murder in Southern Italy, Book 3

Mystery/Suspense

Date Published: Nov 4, 2021

Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing

 

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Antiquities expert Annalisse Drury and tycoon Alec Zavos revel in a love
affair peppered with treasure hunting, grand adventure, and the occasional
dead body.

It’s autumn when Alec arranges a getaway from them to visit is
mother’s birthplace in Bari, Italy—a no-drama vacation to
transfer his car company to a rival. But before they can depart New York,
murder makes its familiar reappearance.

Accompanied by detective friend Bill Drake, Annalisse and Alec find
themselves embroiled in a behind-closed-doors conspiracy that threatens the
reputation and legacy of Alec’s late father—linking him to the
Mafia. An ancient rosary propels Annalisse down crooked paths to expose the
truth as they uncover answers none of them are prepared for.

 

 

 GUEST POST:

Covers are a Window into Your Book

The key to choosing a cover is knowing your genre. Deciding on a cover doesn’t necessarily mean you can pick anything you like. It’s more what the reader who reads in your genre is expecting to see as your cover. If trying some new, groundbreaking cover art to intrigue, you may find yourself lacking in book sales. Readers want to be visually pulled into the story, but only if they can understand your story—in your genre—from your cover art.

If you’re able to swing a professional book cover designer, I highly recommend that source versus a basic ready-made cover. Stock photos are so common and easy to slap together, but what does that say about you as an author? Is a stock cover going to pull in your readers, or tell them your book is ho-hum boring? Many simplistic photos can work well as long as there are interesting elements added to shock or amaze your audience. There are several creative designers who can pull this off well.

I’ve personally used a husband and wife team from Australia who design all elements on their covers from start to finish. I found them after I fell in love with one of their winning covers in a contest. I was thrilled with my cover for Stolen Obsession! The extra money spent on a fully designed cover was well worth the effort. The cover for Stolen Obsession won the 2018 Independent Book Award for Best Cover in the Fiction Category and the IndieReader cover award.

In my second book, Spent Identity, I went into a different direction to find my cover designer because my first designers were overloaded with new clients. 99 Designs is an online website for graphic designers all over the world. I found Isabel from Portugal, there. The cover for Spent Identity is simple yet portrays a feeling of foreboding that goes along in the mystery/suspense genres. The book won the 2020 Independent Press Award for Best Mystery and has been named as a finalist in other contests. It’s well worth your time to research a slew of cover designers before you make your final choice. Expect to pay from $200 to $600 for top designers who create more than stock premade covers.

I’m especially proud of the work we did on the third book cover for Scattered Legacy. We began with a simple backdrop and added other elements to tell the story of what the reader would find inside the pages. Sometimes this method can work if done correctly, but use caution. Less is more, and busy covers can be confusing. If you are lucky enough to snag a pro cover designer, they will give you solid advice. The best recommendation I can give you is to search books in your genre and see what other writers are doing with their covers. Publishing houses seem to be using simple artwork with more emphasis on the title and author’s name. If you like this style, try it out for yourself, but always use a professional designer when possible.

About the Author

 

Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer and acclaimed artist as well as
a photographer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of Sheep!, The
Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News, to name a
few.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg, reside in beautiful East Texas on a wooded
ranch with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large Maremma
guard dog named Tia, along with Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats that
believe they rule the household—and do.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @ewephoric

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Purchase Link

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RABT Book Tours & PR

Book Tour: Pretty Broken Dolls by Jennifer Chase #suspense #crimethriller @pumpupyourbook @JChaseNovelist

 

As the killer circles closer and closer to Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? 

By Jennifer Chase

Title: PRETTY BROKEN DOLLS
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 302
Genre: Crime Thriller

 

In the thin light of the moon, the woman’s limp body hangs from the iron fence amongst the redwoods. Looped over the railings is the little gold locket her mother gave her when she turned sixteen. The picture of the girl inside smiles out at a future she’ll never see…

As day breaks over the fairground, Detective Katie Scott forces herself to take in another disturbing scene in front of her. A woman, the same age as her, found slumped in the carriage of the Ferris wheel, red lipstick dragged across her lips, her throat cut.

Katie doesn’t want to believe that the serial killer picking off women across the state has found their way to the small town of Pine Valley, California, but when her team finds a gold engagement ring hanging nearby, it’s a terrifying, but undeniable fact.

With a twisted killer on her doorstep, Katie knows if she doesn’t act fast, she’ll find more women left out in the cold like broken dolls. Her team hit dead end after dead end, but only she can see the vital link between the victims: a connection with Katie herself.

Katie has spent years pushing traumatic memories of her years in the military far out of reach, but she must confront them now or more innocent women will die. But as the killer circles closer and closer to Katie, what if the only answer is to give him what he wants? There must be another way…

Warning – This absolutely unputdownable thriller will keep you up all night! Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh better hold on tight for a nail-biting rollercoaster ride!

PRAISE

5 Stars! “This is the first book in the series I have read – and I want more! Suspense up to the end, characters I enjoyed, and K9 units. Loved it!” – NetGalley

5 Stars! “As always this Jennifer Chase thriller just cries out to be read in one sitting. Here we see Katie get tangled up with a serial killer although it takes time before anyone takes her seriously. Great characters and a great story, I loved this book.” – NetGalley

 

PROLOGUE

The front door stood ajar. It bumped gently against the jamb in rhythm with the evening breeze. The screen remained wide open and was bent precariously around the aluminum frame. Pieces of broken glass from a shattered light bulb above had scattered across the porch, leaving behind a shadowy darkness draped across the front of the small house.

The neighborhood remained quiet; the light blue one-story cottage eerily so. No outside illumination or motion lights flooded the front area. The blooming
climbing vines and perfectly manicured bushes were eclipsed by the darkness.

Headlights approached.

A small, dark vehicle pulled into the driveway. Waiting a moment before turning
off the engine, a woman pushed open the car door and stepped out. The young
redhead was dressed for the evening, in a sparkly blouse and tight black pants.
Wavering a moment in her spiked sandals, she looked at the house in
curiosity—and then in disappointment. Quickly grabbing a warm jacket from
inside the car and slipping it on, she walked up the driveway.

“Jeanine, where are you?” she whispered and headed to the front door, ignoring the
shattered light bulb on the step crunching under her feet. She knocked on the
door. “Jeanine,” she said, more loudly, leaning closer to the opening. “We
waited for you… you missed a great party.”

No response.

The front door pushed open, revealing a darkened interior.

“Jeanine?”

The woman hesitated but seemed to be pulled by an unknown force. She stepped over
the threshold, not bothering to close the door, and moved through the living room. Confused by the darkness, she turned on a lamp sitting on a small table. The room lit up instantly. Everything seemed in place. The oversized beige couches with brightly colored throw pillows, the dark mahogany coffee table with neatly stacked magazines and books precisely centered appeared usual for Jeanine’s house. It was always neat and organized.

“Jeanine?” the woman said again. “Are you here?”

The woman walked around and checked the kitchen and small bedroom, but there wasn’t
any sign of her friend. She eyed a piece of paper on the counter and decided to leave a quick note, scratching out that she had stopped by and asking Jeanine to call her when she got the message.

She suddenly noticed a strange high-pitched whistling noise coming from the other
side of the living room. Curious, the woman moved closer to the sound. The back
sliding door was slightly open. The crack was enough for the wind to invade and
make a strange noise.

Her foot touched something. A tall turquoise vase that had been sitting on a shelf
nearby was now lying on the carpet. It seemed strange to her that it had been
knocked over. She bent down and picked up the vase, replacing it on the shelf.

She retrieved her cell phone from her pocket and tried calling Jeanine again. It
rang numerous times and then went to voicemail where Jeanine’s upbeat voice
said, “Hi, sorry I missed your call but please don’t hang up. Leave a message and I’ll get right back to you.”

The greeting was followed by a quick beep.

“Jeanine, it’s Mandy again and now I’m standing in your living room. Where are you, girl? Everyone was asking about you tonight. Hey, and you left your front door open.
Call me.” She ended the call.

Mandy was about to head back to the front door to leave, but something stopped her—it
didn’t feel right—and instead, she stood at the sliding door staring out into the large backyard where dense rows of pine trees and acacia bushes huddled around the house’s boundary. During the day, the property appeared green and lush, but now it looked gloomy and foreboding.

Mandy flipped on the outside light, but it only lit up the patio areas directly
outside the house, and the extended wooded region still looked dark.

She pulled open the sliding door and the wind whipped through the house. It chilled
her. Goosebumps scuttled up her arms. Worry now set in and she didn’t know what
to do. Redialing Jeanine’s number, Mandy listened to it sound again and in unison heard the faint, far-off ringing of a phone somewhere in the distance.

She stepped outside, trying to decipher where the ringing was coming from. “Jeanine?” she said, noticing that one of the outside chairs had been toppled over and lay precariously on its side.

Moving off the stone patio and pulling her jacket more tightly around her, Mandy
slowly trudged toward the trees, a bit wobbly in her shoes. She turned on the flashlight mode on her cell phone and moved forward.

She dialed Jeanine again. This time, she heard the distinct ringing of the cell
phone coming from the trees—low at first and then it rang louder.

Jeanine,” she said, with barely a whisper. Her voice sounded oddly distant.

Looking down, she saw where there were crushed weeds and small broken branches as if
someone had walked back and forth recently. Still, she kept moving forward, into the trees, swinging her cell phone back and forth which only illuminated a tiny patch of ground in front of her, creating dense shadows outside its beam.

Her pulse quickened.

Anxiety escalated.

Something fluttering on a bush caught her eye. She leaned closer, focusing. As she moved the cell light beam nearer, it revealed a piece of white fabric with a mother-of-pearl button still attached.

Mandy gasped.

It wasn’t the fact that she had seen Jeanine wear that pretty white blouse on so
many occasions, it was the droplets of crimson spattered across the fabric that shoved a spear of fear into her gut.

Thoughts of dread and horror-filled scenarios ran through Mandy’s mind. Urgently, she
pushed the redial button on her phone again.

The sound of Jeanine’s ringtone rang in the darkness. This time it kept ringing and
there was no cheerful message.

Mandy walked further into the dark realm of the trees, still hoping that there was a
logical explanation. Stepping over old branches with loud crunching noises and sidestepping bushes just before reaching the back fence of the property, she managed to make her way to the sound of the ringing phone.

Everything went quiet.

Mandy stood a foot from the phone lying on the ground. It mesmerized her. She slowly
bent down to pick it up. With a startled gasp, she stepped back, dropping the phone as she stared at her hand. It was covered in blood.

In a frenzied panic, Mandy ran past the phone and continued along the low wrought-iron fence. The flashlight feature dimmed and she couldn’t see where she was going. Slowing her pace, she glimpsed something white and moving slightly.

“Jeanine? What’s going on?” She spoke in a strained whisper.

Trying to catch her breath and calm her hammering pulse, Mandy approached. Her cell
phone flashlight surged and shone brightly on the blood-soaked white silk blouse, now shredded from Jeanine’s right shoulder. She reeled back at the sight of her friend.

Mandy couldn’t tear her eyes away from the horror. Her throat constricted as her
breath trapped in her chest. She staggered backwards, taking in the entire scene—unable to turn her focus away.

Her friend’s upper body was impaled on the iron fence penetrating from her back
through her ribs, and her throat was slit open. Her head flopped down, lifeless eyes trained on the ground. Her long brown hair fell forward, some strands sticking to the blood seeping from her chest. Her arms hung at her sides, legs crooked, like a marionette waiting for someone to pull the strings. Blood still dripped from her body, sliding down her arms to her fingertips before collecting on the ground—the wet crimson almost matching her fingernail polish.
The body was shoeless and Jeanine’s feet were dirty and bloody—as if she had been running through the woods barefoot.

It was the sight of Jeanine’s face that made her sob in terror. Caked in grotesque makeup, making her look like a caricature of herself—a hideous broken doll. Red lipstick drawn heavy around her lips, dark purples for blush on her cheeks, and dark blues for eye shadow made her look like a circus clown instead of her friend.

Beside Jeanine’s body, a necklace hung on the fence. It was a small locket that she
always wore, which her mother had given her when she turned sixteen.

Mandy mouthed the word “Jeanine” but no sound escaped her lips. Realizing she still had her cell phone in her hand, she tried to dial 911 but fumbled a few times with the buttons before she heard the words, Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?”

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. You can visit her website at www.authorjenniferchase.com or connect with her on TwitterGoodreads and Facebook.

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Book Tour: Dark Ride Deception by Mark S. Bacon #suspense #thriller @BaconAuthor

Dark Ride Deception

Nostalgia City Mysteries Book 4

by Mark S. Bacon

Genre: Mystery

Is Tom Wyrick Dead? The computer genius is missing. So are his priceless tech secrets. Time for Lyle to go undercover again.

Tom Wryick’s mind-bending technology will rocket Nostalgia City theme park decades ahead of the competition. But the computer genius is missing. So are his secrets. Is he dead? On the run? His billion-dollar, breathtaking discovery is the Perception Deception Effect.

An FBI agent theorizes the People’s Republic of China is responsible for the disappearance.The Nostalgia City CEO, however, is convinced a rival theme park is behind the theft. He drafts ex-cop turned theme park cab driver Lyle Deming to fly to Florida to find the missing computer scientist and recover his secrets.

Does this have anything to do with the severed human finger Lyle finds in his cab?

Back in Nostalgia City, park executive, 6’ 2” Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star, is persuaded to investigate the death of an actor starring in a Vietnam-era crime movie being filmed at the Arizona park. Nostalgia City is a meticulous re-creation of a 1970s small town.

Shrugging off jet lag, anxiety, and oppressive Florida humidity, Lyle goes undercover using a parade of false identities to snoop behind the scenes at another theme park’s engineering and computer offices. He’s forced to jump from one covert scheme to another as his identity is exposed, his safety jeopardized.

In the meantime, Kate confronts a mentally unstable actor—fresh out of rehab. But she may be forced to give up the murder case—Lyle needs help.

Kate and Lyle have little time to explore their nascent romantic relationship as both their investigations turn deadly, threatening them and the future of Nostalgia City.

* * *
“Mark S. Bacon’s well-told mystery is clever, smooth, and intriguing, with a reluctant detective who has just the right touch of self-deprecating humor. The author’s wry wit and engaging voice will keep you turning the pages of Dark Ride Deception until the very last satisfying twist.”

–Mary Adler, author of the Oliver Wright WWII mystery series

***Recommended: Death in Nostalgia City, the first book in this series, was recommended for book clubs by the American Library Association.

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darkridedeception -- excerpt

Lyle felt like he was back in an interrogation room at the Phoenix PD only he was on the wrong side of the table. He sat in front of Galvan’s desk and eyed the beefy guy with a crew cut who was not introduced. Yoo sat next to Lyle.

“So as you now know, I work at—or maybe I used to work—at Nostalgia City. In any event, I’m a cab driver.”

Galvan chuckled.

“I can show you my ID and commercial license.”

“This is not the time for your name, rank, and serial number,” Yoo said. “Tell us what you were doing here.”

Yoo still prodded, Galvan had large dark eyes, and the crew cut looked at him like he was a suspect in a one-man lineup. “Okay, I’m just looking for a Nostalgia City employee. What’s the harm?”

“And you thought he might be working here?” Galvan said.

“Possibly.”

“And what does he do at Nostalgia City?”

“I’m not sure.”

“I believe Tom Wyrick is a programmer for you,” Galvan said, her voice light and conversational as if she were asking if he enjoyed his flight to Florida.

Hell, how do they know he was a programmer? Amber, the receptionist. My mistake. She was the only one I told who Wyrick was. But how did they know I talked to her? I never mentioned her name to anyone. Surveillance cameras. They went back and looked at video of the time before I showed up in HR. Damn these guys are good. Least I know what they know about me, which is pretty much everything.

“Wyrick is a programmer and he disappeared. The park is worried about him so they asked me to look around.”

“And you were chosen, not because you drive a cab, but because of your previous occupation.”

“Yeah,” he said. “I was a sergeant. Phoenix police, homicide.” Did the crew cut’s gargoyle expression soften slightly?

“Actually, Mr. Deming,” Galvan said, “the only thing we don’t know for sure is what Wyrick was working on when he disappeared. But I can guess. There’ve been stories. And you were asking around in our attractions development building next door.”

This lady has a complete picture of my actions and motives. As complete as I would have liked for any perp I detained as a cop. He gave a shrug of surrender and leaned back in his chair.

Galvan turned to the thickset guy next to her. “Thanks for coming over Bill. It’s like we thought. I just have a few more questions for our cab driver. I’ll give you a call later.”

Bill got up slowly, pushed his chair out of the way, and came around the desk. He looked at Yoo and made a slight motion to the door. When they left, Galvan got up and took Yoo’s seat opposite Lyle.

“Are you working for Maxwell? Hiring an ex-police detective sounds like something he’d do.”

Lyle couldn’t read Galvan’s body language. She sat back in the chair, put a hand on the arm, and crossed her legs. Relaxed maybe, but her brown-eyed stare held his attention.

“Yes and no. I am working for Max, but he didn’t hire me. I went to work at the park because it was a break from police work. It takes it out of you. I like driving my taxi.”

“You’re not driving it now.”

“I sometimes do special assignments for Max.”

“So one of your programmers has gone rogue and you want to find him before he sells your secrets.”

Lyle could play the game, too. His noncommittal expression was as good as anyone’s.

“Does it have to do with your perception deception effect?”

Why don’t I just call Joseph Arena and have him explain the technical details to you?

“You don’t have to worry. That term was in one of the trade mags recently. No one knows what it means.” She shifted in her chair and leaned forward. “I sympathize with you. We all want the latest and the best, and we all try to protect our own proprietary ideas.”

“Which is why Yoo followed me.”

“That’s right,” she said. “I’m sorry if he got too rough. He’s young. It didn’t sound like you were looking to steal anything. I despise anyone who would steal secrets for profit. Your secrets, our secrets, anyone’s. Our engineering team is inspired, and like Edison said, it’s ninety-nine percent perspiration. Is this Wyrick going to sell your secrets to the highest bidder or what?”

Mark S. Bacon began his career as a Southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.
After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing and became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the freeway from Disneyland. Experience working at Knott’s formed part of the inspiration for his creation of Nostalgia City theme park.
Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including “Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing,” printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by the Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs. His freelance feature articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Orange County (Calif.) Register, Denver Post and many other publications. Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Dark Ride Deception” is the fourth book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with”Death in Nostalgia City”. The first book introduced ex-cop turned cab driver Lyle Deming and PR executive Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star. “Death in Nostalgia City” was recommended for book clubs by the American Library Association.
Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, “Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words – Revised Edition”.
He taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, the University of Nevada – Reno, and the University of Redlands. He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.

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New Release: Getting to You by M.L. Uberti #actionadventure #contemporaryromance @mluberti_writer

Zac Xavier is called from a meeting to find his wife, a teacher, is in a lockdown situation at her school. Rushing across town, he remembers when they first met.

In fear for her life, Emma is determined to protect her students at all costs. But while danger lurks closer, she flashes back to meeting her beloved husband.

Zac won’t stop until Emma’s safe, and Emma will do what she has to in order to protect her students. Will their love affair meet a tragic end or will they get their happily ever after?

Publisher’s Warning: Getting To You involves an Active Shooter school shooting with casualties and may be a trigger for some readers.

Available Today at Changeling Press – Save 20%!

Preorder for June 4th at online retailers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 ML Uberti

The first time I met Emma, I was sitting at the end of the bar, a hole in the wall in the new neighborhood where I had just bought a five-bedroom Tudor in a burgeoning area of Chicago. Oprah, the Obamas, other Hyde Park celebrities were snatching up properties left and right — and I had found a gem that needed restoration but after I flipped it, I could make a mint on it.

And at thirty-seven, that was my life’s goal: making money. I had a lot of it, wanted a fuck ton more, and did everything I could, 24/7, to make it happen. So the four-level Bridgeport Village luxury house with ten foot ceilings was mine to crash in while it was renovated, then I could find somewhere else with the profit and do it all over again.

This would be my sixteenth house in the last decade that I’d make money on. It was just a matter of how much and when.

But while that happened, I needed some place to get a whiskey at the end of the day. I didn’t keep alcohol in the house — another hold over rule from my childhood I couldn’t seem to break. When there was liquor around, my dad drank too much and took out his aggression on me and my brothers’ faces. Then my mom would dump it out, dad would sober up, and things would return to their normal level of dysfunction before disintegrating again.

Master’s Saloon was where I ended up today. It was a three-block walk, not that my driver Wilcox would ever let me fucking walk it, but close was what I wanted. Drunk was what I actually wanted, but I had a five a.m. call with London so that was out. Two whiskeys and home to fall asleep watching the Bulls stomp the Knicks. The hipster bartender with the skinny jeans and cardigan made his way over and took my order, and I read through emails as I sat on a stool and thought about ordering dinner.

“Hi, Silas,” a bright voice sounded beside me, and for some unknown fucking reason, since I usually don’t give a shit about strangers, especially those in a bar with Grey Goose as top shelf, my eyes shifted over.

I didn’t turn my head, just took in the peripheral. I saw a girl, thin, tall, with dark hair pulled high in a ponytail on her head, fingerless mittens on her hands, jumping on the balls of her feet in a pair of Converse that were worn the fuck out and most likely wet from the sloppy inch or two of snow outside.

“Hey Ems — you looking for the box, babe?” the stringy-haired bartender asked as he filled a pint glass.

“Yep! Is it full? Tell me it’s full,” she said, her voice light but deep, raspy. Even sexy-sounding — so much that I actually twisted my neck to take her in.

She was a stunner, that much I could see. Young, way too fucking young for me, probably just out of college. Tight jeans that cupped her perky little ass, with a rip in the knee. A decades-old wool coat that was buttoned up over a sweater that went up to her chin, and when she glanced my way and shot me a casual smile, a smile I could tell she gave to everyone she saw regardless of the circumstance, I saw her eyes were a swirl of green and gold, with long dark lashes that made the face of a pretty girl spectacular.

The bartender chuckled at her brimming excitement. “It’s pretty full, Ems. Gimme a sec and I’ll grab it for ya. Todd locked it in the office so no one swiped anything.”

“Silas, who is going to steal hats and mittens for second graders?” she asked incredulously, then slid into the seat beside mine. “And I’m in no rush. Take your time.”

I wanted to tell him I agreed — he could take his fucking time while this little cutie wiggled her bottom on the chair to try to get comfortable on the hard wood, a scent of citrus and honey wafting from her skin.

She couldn’t sit still, her energy bursting from every inch of her, and I was drawn in by it and her easy, open smile. Which she gave me a second time and I knew if I didn’t talk to her, if I ignored her like most women I came across, I’d regret it.

“You want a drink?” I asked, tipping my whiskey to my lips and taking a small swallow.

She swiveled her head and blinked at me. “Me?”

I looked around, but we were pretty much alone in this corner of the bar by the windows. “Yeah, you.”

“Oh, I’m just picking something up. Some friends of mine put out boxes to collect hats and stuff for my students. I have to swing by three other places tonight if I want to get everything ready for tomorrow,” she explained, keeping those gorgeous eyes on me.

“What’s tomorrow?” I asked, turning toward her in the stool.

The side of her mouth tipped up. “It’s Christmas Eve Eve,” she told me as if that meant something. “It’s the last day of school before the holiday break. And I have like two hundred fifty bundles to make up before tomorrow at seven fifteen a.m.”

“Bundles,” I repeated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Starbucks aficionado, lover of throw blankets and betrayer of all things kale, ML Uberti is a Wayne State University graduate and Metro Detroit author with a predilection for oddities and happy endings. She is mom to three autistic kids, 2 ridiculously stupid dogs and wife of a teacher and musician who has endless patience for her impeccably bad taste in Netflix shows and murder documentaries. She is thrilled to dip her toe into scifi romance from contemporary and hopes you enjoy her big, brooding alien alphas and resilient fairy tale queens.

Book Blitz: Insincerely Yours by Manasi Singh #suspense @BookReviewTours @thevanillawrite

All Ray wanted was to have some fun. Little did she know that what began as a harmless midnight adventure would soon end up being the most terrifying night of her life.

Shuttling back and forth between the States and whichever obscure Indian town her civil servant father was transferred to, Atreya ‘Ray’ Sen’s life has always been on the move. When she comes down to sleepy old Visakhapatnam and befriends Mira, Ray hopes she could be a successful means of whiling away her summer. When Mira invites her to a late-night adventure with Mira’s boyfriend and his pals, Ray jumps at the chance for some excitement. When one of the boys suggests they take a detour to one of Vizag’s most famous haunted houses, the night takes a turn for the dark. The spirit of a mean old man seems to be following them, killing them off one by one.
A near-death experience reveals to Ray that she is the only one who can bring peace to him. Now, Ray must race against time to find a way to save her family and friends, or else the once-peaceful town of Vizag would witness a bloodbath like never before.
An old Victorian mansion with a dark history…a spirit with a vengeance…a girl with no memory of her past…
Will Ray be able to stop the killings in time? Or will she be left with no friends and no family yet again?

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Real Life Incident that inspired Insincerely Yours

In the words of Stephen King, we make up horrors to cope with the real ones. But what if the horrors written is a part of reality? What if the tale is written not just as fiction, but as a memoir to the unexplained that occurred years ago, yet bears fresh imprints in mind?
When I sat down to write this story, I had to resurrect memories from my college days, from that fateful night, when my friends and I had decided to have our own little late-night adventure. Back then, we were just stupid college freshmen who didn’t have a care in the world, who would go lengths for cheap thrills from the world of the supernatural. Here, I bring you the real-life story that inspired me to write Insincerely Yours.
Our night started on the cliché note of being cold and stormy. We had found our source for horror stories: our friend Vishnu. Vishnu would always keep us at the edge of our seats with his storytelling, and that evening was no different. We had assembled in a circle around him, drinks in our hands, when he started telling us about the legendary haunted house that stood proud just off the path to the beach in Vizag. As the story goes, the house belonged to a retired colonel and his family. They kept to themselves, but the neighbors often complained of yelling and fighting coming in the evenings. One night, the house fell silent, and the neighbors saw an eerie glow emanate from the windowpanes. When they went over in the morning to check, they found that the Colonel’s family had disappeared overnight. The house was still as is, sans the family that had once lived in it. Nobody knows where they went, and the watchman claimed he never saw anyone leave the house. Their mysterious disappearance gave rise to the stories that the house is haunted.
Scoffing at his words, my friends and I decided to check it out for ourselves. So off we went, Shreya, Swetank, Vishnu and I, on a drunken midnight visit to the famous haunted house. The house had a sinister look to it, with the front lawn stretching before us, coated with dried grass, exactly how I chose to describe in the book. Inside, the house looked like someone had lived here years ago, and had suddenly just chosen to walk out. The place oozed with a cold vibe, and I wasn’t the only one who felt it. We decided to explore the house a little, and each room creeped us out a little more than the next. Most of the belongings of the house had turned to debris owing to a cyclone that had wreaked havoc in Vizag a year ago, but there was one room that had managed to stay intact. Intrigued, we stepped in bravely, and immediately, we felt helpless. It was like the place had sucked the happiness out of our lives as a blanket of depression descended on us. We saw muddy footprints going towards the bathroom, and opened the door to find the room painted in vantablack, the darkest color known to humanity, often the sign of evil. The room started feeling like it was sucking the energy out of us, slowly as it grew. Swetank, being the most sensible of us, insisted we get some fresh air at the balcony we had seen on our way into the room. At the balcony, we felt the sudden weight the room had given us lift off us, and we slowly relaxed into conversation. In the entire time we were in that house, I kept getting this feeling that someone was watching us. As we were talking, I felt something move from the corner of my eye, and turned towards the balcony door, where I saw five shadows. Four was of us standing in the balcony, but one was coming from inside the house. As I turned around quickly to see if anyone else had noticed, I saw Swetank looking pale as a sheet. We saw the shadow stay for a few seconds, and it suddenly disappeared, vanishing. At this point, Swetank and I ushered the other two out of the house, and made a run for it. All we knew was that the old Victorian mansion housed something that was pure evil, so dark that even one hour in that place had left us feeling soulless for days after. Swetank and I promised then and there that we would never meddle with forces outside of our control ever again, but as you all know, promises are meant to be broken.

About the Author:

Manasi Singh is a lawyer, graduated from one of the top law schools in India in 2019. Lawyer by day and reader by night, Manasi always had a lot of stories to share, which she did by publishing short stories and articles in newspapers, magazines and journals. In 2019, she began writing short snippets on social media under the name “The Vanilla Writer”, shortly after which she published her first novel “As Fates Would Have It”, which was received warmly by readers of all ages. Manasi is a firm believer in art and creativity not being restrained in any way, which is why she writes short stories, fiction novels, screenplays for short films, and much more.

Manasi on the Web:
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New Release: Justice (Salvation’s Bane) by Marteeka Karland #mcromance #newadult @marteekakarland

Published by Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Marteeka Karland
Genres/Themes: MC Romance, Action Adventure, New Adult, Suspense

Justice: I expected to spend most of the rest of my life in prison. Even so, I worked for my club, Salvation’s Bane, gathering valuable information about Palm Beach and all the clubs residing there. Imagine my surprise when a short, clumsy, curvy female comes to my rescue. The moment I see her in that prim skirt stretched tight over her ass and the blouse straining to contain her tits I know I want her. I’m just not sure she’s capable of handling all I have to give after eight years in the big house.

Mae: Archer “Justice” Creed may not be completely innocent, but he’s not guilty of the crime they convicted him of. Fighting to get him freed was a long, hard battle, but I’m not letting them keep him behind bars a second longer. What I didn’t count on was being attracted to the big, tattooed former lawyer. I know a perfumed rock would look good to him after eight long years in prison, but he’s ready and I’m willing. Too bad he’s an arrogant asshole out of bed. Unfortunately for me, I’m stuck with the big brute. I ruffled some feathers at the DA’s office when I got Justice freed, and now I could be in some danger. But do I trust Justice to protect me, or should I go back to Rycks, my guardian and an enforcer in Black Reign MC? Our clubs aren’t exactly enemies, but they’re not friends.

Oh, and those ruffled feathers I mentioned before? They’re coming after me. And Justice.

Available today at Changeling Press

Preorder for May 21st at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Marteeka Karland

“Archer Creed. Also known as ‘Justice.’”

Justice had heard this a thousand times since he went away for murder eight years ago. Usually after he’d beat a motherfucker for pissing him off and some judge was giving him extra time.

This time was different.

“I find myself in the position of being the one to inform you that your conviction has been overturned.”

OK. He wasn’t expecting that.

“Your lawyer mounted an investigation into the prosecuting attorney for your trial, and there were several… irregularities discovered. While the details of the case are still being hammered out, one thing is certain. Due to prosecutorial misconduct, your conviction is overturned with prejudice.”

The judge was an older, balding man with thick glasses and a ruddy complexion. Justice had liked the man on sight, but now Justice wanted to vote him judge of the fucking year. “I haven’t reviewed the case because I don’t care much, so your lawyer can review the particulars if you want them.” He smiled to take the sting out of his words. “I carry out the job the state presents me with. If it doesn’t require a judgment from me, I just carry out the order.”

He didn’t look apologetic at all. Yeah. Justice liked him.

“All I know is the state’s attorney overstepped his authority in your case. As such, you cannot be retried for the same crime. The state apologizes for its mistreatment of you.”

“I ain’t goin’ back to that fuckin’ place for any reason, judge,” Justice said, earning him a frown from the bailiff but a small smile from the judge.

“Can’t say that I blame you, son. There are procedures –”

“Ain’t. Goin’. Back.”

Again, the bailiff frowned, this time putting his hand on his weapon and taking a threatening step forward.

“Stop it, George,” the judge said in an exasperated tone. “The man wouldn’t be in this position if Alister hadn’t fucked up the case in the first damned place.”

Justice raised an eyebrow. He’d never heard a judge talk that way in court before. He liked this guy better every second.

The judge turned his attention back to Justice. “I only have one question. After that, you’re free to go. The state will send your belongings to the address of your choosing, and you don’t have to go collect them yourself.”

“Ask,” Justice said, crossing his arms over his chest. This ought to be good.

“Why do they call you Justice?”

The question surprised Justice, but only because he expected everyone in the fucking state to know his name. But then, it had been twelve years. “I used to be a lawyer.”

“Oh? For what state?”

“Florida.” Justice leveled his gaze on the judge. Not backing down an inch.

The older man narrowed his eyes. “Archer Creed…” Then he sat back in his chair, a look of disbelief on his face.

“Don’t ask me if I’m the Archer Creed or I might just do something to earn that prison sentence.”

The judge’s previously congenial face hardened. This was the type of judge Justice was used to. “I like you, son. It’s the only reason I don’t slap you with a contempt charge for that remark.” He held Justice’s gaze for a moment before speaking again. “I know the case. Was a bit dug into my own business at the time, but I remember thinking they’d hand you your ass for the stunt you pulled.”

“You were right.”

“Sorry I was. I can’t condone violence in any form, but the bastard got what he deserved.”

“I only bucked the system, your honor. Bastard had so many people in his pocket, everything I had got thrown out before it could be presented to a jury.”

“Ironic that you’d get railroaded into a conviction for a crime you may not have committed in the very case that got you disbarred.”

Justice shrugged. “It is what it is.”

“I’m surprised your lawyer isn’t present for this.”

“Far as I know, I don’t have one.”

“Well, someone took up the cause. Must have a good mind, too, to get that conviction overturned so quickly”

“Quick? If you call eight years quick, you’re older than you look.”

Surprisingly, that got a sharp bark of laughter from the judge. “Considering the family involved and the fact that Florida doesn’t like looking bad in legal matters, yeah. I’d call it quick. Are you telling me you’ve never met the lawyer who filed this on your behalf?”

“I’m sayin’ I didn’t know anything was being done on my behalf in the first Goddamned place.” Justice glanced at the bailiff. Sure enough, the man winced at his language. There was no way to stop the smirk Justice threw the other man’s way. He loved goading easy marks.

The judge had opened his mouth to say something when there was a commotion outside the chamber doors just before they burst open. A short, busty woman in four-inch heels stumbled through the door. She carried a briefcase with several pieces of paper sticking out, and her hair, which probably was supposed to be in a tight bun, was sticking out in several directions in jet-black, kinky curls. No. Curls wasn’t exactly right. They wanted to be curls, but they were mostly a frizzy mess. The glasses she wore were too big for her elfin face, her eyes the color of perfect sapphires. She wore a white blouse tucked into a black skirt. The blouse hung from her arms but stretched tightly across her breasts, and her skirt gapped at the waist, but looked like she was barely able to squeeze that generous ass into it. She carried a suit jacket draped over one arm as she caught the door with the other hand to keep from falling. All in all, she was a hot mess.

“Judge Harlan!” She stumbled once more, then righted herself and hurried to the front of the courtroom… to stand beside Justice? What the fuck?

Judge Harlan gave a long-suffering but amused sigh. “Mae Stephens. I should have known you were behind this.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.

Release Blitz: Sweet Hart by Rae Marks #LGBTQ #contemporaryromance @pridepublishing

Sweet Hart by Rae Marks

Book 1 in the Hart Consulting series

Word Count: 79,903
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 321

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
BONDAGE AND BDSM
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FAKE RELATIONSHIPS
GAY
GLBTQI
MEN IN UNIFORM
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

When Brayden stumbles into a covert operation, Sam has to keep him alive. Together they navigate their unexpected attraction and the world of the Ukrainian mafia.

Brayden Hart needs to find his older brother Mason and time is running out. Mason disappeared after being discharged from the military two years before. While on leave from the army, Bray follows a lead his friend has been able to find. When he knocks on the door of a dingy apartment outside Miami, the last person he expects to meet is the gorgeous but grumpy Sam Wheeler.

Sam denies knowing Bray’s brother and turns him away. But Sam is Bray’s only lead. Luckily, Bray’s childhood friend is one of the best hackers in the country and helps Bray follow Sam to Ukraine.

In Kiev, Bray falls blindly into the fray of a covert operation and Sam steps in to keep him alive. While navigating the choppy waters of the Ukrainian mafia, Bray and Sam fall into the bedroom. But what happens when the mission ends?

Reader advisory: This book contains references to historical rape, child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. There are also scenes of violence.

Excerpt

“Look, kid. I got nothing to tell you.”

Bray pulled his gaze from the full lips he’d been watching as the man in the doorway, Sam, gave a flat refusal. He took a deep, calming breath and willed away his body’s response. Maybe he needed to back up a little and explain the urgency of the situation. He didn’t have a lot of time to find Mase, and this Sam guy was his best bet.

The guy blocking the doorway would be hot if his eyebrows weren’t pinched together so tight and his big, full lips weren’t turned down. Hell, he was still hot, even in full intimidation mode.

Sam’s honey-blond hair was longer on top and styled high. His groomed beard was just a few shades darker than the hair on his head and hinted at the tiniest bit of red highlights. Bray lowered his eyes again to Sam’s lips. Both were plump, but the top lip was a little fuller than the bottom one. That was rare, in Bray’s experience, but sexy as hell.

The tic in the jaw next to those lips brought Bray back to the matter at hand. He looked up into Sam’s cinnamon-brown eyes as he considered his options.

“I know you’re working with Mase and I have to find him. I’m—”

“I don’t know what you’re going on about, but I have shit to do.”

Sam tried to close the old, paint-chipped door in Bray’s face, but Bray stepped forward, using his foot as a doorstop. He wouldn’t give up that easily. Bray needed to untie his tongue and keep on task, no matter how sexy the guy was.

“Please, I don’t have a lot of time. I just need to talk to him.”

“Look, kid—”

“I’m not a kid. I know he’s pulled some crazy stunts since he got kicked out—”

“You don’t know shit, kid. If you just got kicked out of the military and you’re looking for camaraderie and a job, forget it.”

As soon as Sam said the word ‘military’, Bray breathed a sigh of relief. Sam swore under his breath. So the guy definitely knew his brother. Sam flexed his huge biceps as he crossed his arms. His head dipped to one side as he leaned forward. Bray swallowed then a tiny breath escaped his lips as he imagined the man before him leaning in to steal a kiss. Was this guy Mase’s boyfriend? If so, his brother was one lucky bastard.

“Move your foot. Like I said, kid, you don’t know shit,” Sam ground out through clenched teeth.

“Just tell me what’s going on. Is he okay? If he’d returned any of my emails over the past two and half years, maybe I’d know more about what was happening.”

“You think I can help you?”

Bray gave one sharp nod of confirmation. Sam blew a breath out between his lush lips and dropped his arms to his sides. The crease between his brows eased a bit as he seemed to really look at Bray for the first time. He looked over Bray’s head down the hallway for a moment before coming to some kind of decision.

“What’s your name, kid?”

“Bray, Brayden Hart.”

There was a pause. Bray assumed it was Sam digesting Bray’s last name, Mase’s last name.

“Well, I’m sorry, but I got nothing for you, Mr. Hart.”

“How’d you know I was in the army?”

“You got it written all over you, from your close-cropped cut to your military stance.” The guy rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I’ve got things to do, kid, so do you mind moving your foot—or do I need to move it for you?”

Bray wet his dry lips as he contemplated his choices. He could call Max for another favor, but if he went that route, he’d need this part to be believable.

“I can just sit out here and wait until he comes home.”

“You’ll be waiting the rest of your life, kid.”

“It’s Bray or Brayden, and I think you have a really good idea when you’ll be talking to Mase again.”

Looking over Sam’s shoulder, Bray took in the shit-hole apartment with its dingy brown carpet and walls so old that the wallpaper was peeling at the corners along the ceiling. A ceiling with tiles that had different-sized brown rings, a sure sign of water damage. Was this how Mase was living now? The thought made Bray’s gut twist uncomfortably.

If Mase needed money… Bray shook his head. Mase would never be the one to reach out, which was exactly why Bray was standing in the hallway that smelled like piss mixed with broccoli farts. Unless the inside of the apartment smelled better, he didn’t see how anyone could even think about putting a morsel of food into their mouth in this place.

If by chance Sam did talk to Mase before Brayden could get to him, he had to figure out a message most likely to get a response. Would Mase come home or even return a call if he knew the truth? Probably not. Bray bit his lip as he waffled. He didn’t like lying, and he especially didn’t like lying to family. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to forgive his father for his ‘little white lie’.

“When you see him, tell him Nickel needs him. Tell him it’s looking like it might be life or death.”

Both those statements taken separately were absolutely one hundred percent true. Nick might deny he needed their older brother, but he and Bray were twins. Bray knew they both required all the support they could get.

When Mase heard those statements together, Bray knew what he’d assume, and he’d have to apologize for it later. For now, he decided it was the best route. He had a feeling Sam would repeat those statements verbatim to his brother.

“Nickel?” Sam asked.

“Nick, my twin.”

“Twins? There’re two of you running around wreaking havoc?”

“Nick wreaks more havoc and we’re not identical, so there aren’t exactly two of me.”

Sam’s only response was a raised eyebrow.

“So you’ll tell him?”

“I’m sorry. There’s no way I can help you,” Sam said with the shake of his head.

Even though Bray was anxious, he hesitated before lifting his foot. He needed Sam to think he was reluctant to leave. Sam was only a couple inches taller than Bray’s five-foot-eleven-inch frame, but he hunched down a little, so they were eye to eye.

“I can’t help you,” Sam said again.

Bray swallowed as energy began to hum under his skin at the man’s direct stare. He couldn’t be lusting after his brother’s boyfriend. Wetting his dry lips one last time, Bray nodded and lifted his foot. The two men stared at each other for a moment longer, until the sound of a baby screaming somewhere down the hall had Bray turning his head. Before he could even suck in another breath, the door in front of him slammed shut and the lock snicked into place.

With a dejected sigh, Brayden looked at the door for another minute. Guilt had his stomach tightening into knots. He couldn’t afford to stand around, though his hesitation to leave would probably work in his favor in case Sam was watching through the peephole.

When he pushed open the door of the building a few minutes later, Bray sucked in some of the fresh air. He didn’t even care that his clothes immediately glued themselves to his body with the humidity Florida was famous for. He was just glad to be out of the stench that had pressed down on him inside the apartment building.

After one last glance at the second floor, Bray walked down the sidewalk toward the parking lot. As soon as he was in his rental car, he dialed Max’s number.

“How’d it go?” Max said.

“He wouldn’t even admit he knew Mase.”

There was silence on the other end. Max had warned him against making contact with Sam. He’d suggested following him until he led Bray to Mase, but Bray didn’t have that kind of time.

“So, it looks like you were right,” Bray admitted.

There was still silence on the other end of the line.

“Look, Sin. I still need help.”

Bray always struggled calling his friend by his pseudonym. Even though it stood for Super Intel Nerd, calling a nerdy guy like Max, Sin seemed funny to Bray.

“Next time listen to me. You’ve now ruined the advantage of surprising him.”

“Fine. Can you find out where he’s going?”

“Of course I can.”

Bray could hear the light click-clack of Max tapping on the keys of his laptop. Putting the phone on Bluetooth, Bray started his rental and pulled out of the parking spot behind Sam’s apartment building.

“Where’s he going?” Bray asked as he pulled out onto the street.

“I have him traveling out of Miami to Kiev tomorrow with a stopover in Munich.”

Bray tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. This had just gotten a lot more complicated and expensive than he’d anticipated. Was Mase undercover or was he in trouble? If he was in trouble, Bray wanted to be there.

“Looks like I’ll be heading to Kiev,” he sighed.

“I’ll book you a flight that stops over in DC. I’ve got something I want to give you if you’re going to Kiev.”

“I just have to check out of the hotel. Give me a couple of hours to get to the airport.”

Max disconnected the call without saying goodbye, but it didn’t surprise Bray at all. Max was always on to the next problem.

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About the Author

Rae Marks

Rae has been secretly penning romances since high school. It started with short stories that grew into full-length novels. When she received her first Kindle and had thousands of books at her fingertips, she became a little distracted from writing. Then one day she read a book that she would have written a different way. She began writing again and hasn’t stopped since.

When she’s not writing, Rae can usually be found reading, walking along the beaches of Half Moon Bay, or taking her geriatric dog to the vet, yet again.

You can follow Rae on Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter to win a fabulous gift package and get a First For Romance Gift Card!

Rae Marks Sweet Hart Giveaway

RAE MARKS IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GET A FIRST FOR ROMANCE GIFT CARD! Notice: This competition ends on 25TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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New Release: Conspiracy of Fear by Mikala Ash #steampunk #scifiromance @ash_mikala

Conspiracy of Fear (Elizabeth Hunter-Payne Steampunk Adventures 3)

There’s a bloody serial killer on the loose in foggy London, and music hall singer, The Songbird of Surrey, fears her best friend has fallen victim to the fiend. When her own fiancé, who she sent out to find her friend, goes missing as well, she seeks the professional help of the EHP Investigation Bureau to solve the mystery.

Intrepid crime fighter Elizabeth Hunter-Payne ventures into the dangerous streets of London’s East End and explores the seamy side of adult entertainment to confront the Collector, the terror of Whitechapel. His elusive puppet master, Vladimir the Mesmerist, is pulling the strings of conspiracy, and threatens the very foundations of the empire.

Elizabeth meets the ultimate automaton, Hercules, but what service can a metal man of cogs and gears perform? Guns, knives, and half-bricks come into play as Elizabeth fights for survival, and her sanity, in another thrilling steampunk adventure.

Author’s Note: Cliffhanger ending. Elizabeth’s story continues in Elizabeth Hunter-Payne Steampunk Adventures 4!

Get it at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Mikala Ash

After my adventure on the airship Imperative, I decided to chronicle my now numerous adventures on behalf of her Majesty’s government. Due to the sensitivity of my activities I have instructed my solicitors to withhold them from publication until a century after my death. I suspect it is a form of vanity, an act of self-aggrandisement, another of my personal failings. I do intend to give an honest account, and because memory is at best an untrustworthy source and at worst an outright liar, I take copious notes at every opportunity to ensure my recollections of events are as accurate as possible. This tedious habit became particularly important to me given the strange case on which I was about to embark.

Following the deadly conclusion of the Torbernite Imperative my small household had undergone a substantial upheaval. I’d taken a monstrous risk to my reputation by installing the unmarried Felix Rider in the bedroom next to mine. On the surface my act is clearly one of charity, for Felix is an operative of my investigation bureau, and he had been wounded in the line of duty aboard the airship Imperative. During a life-and-death struggle he sustained a gunshot wound, a concussion, two broken ribs, a twisted knee, as well as cut and swollen knuckles.

It was a risk I was honour bound to take, for he had saved my life.

However there was another co-placating factor at play. In addition to his investigative duties Felix had agreed to be my tutor in matters pertaining to erotic satisfaction, a step I’d taken to reawaken my sensuality following many years of celibacy after the death of my dear husband, Jonathan. Felix was an able and inventive teacher. The palpable risk I took was that my physical attraction to Felix coupled with his proximity, would be my undoing, and that I would do something indiscreet, and be exposed as the laughable wanton widow so popular on the music hall stage. Embarrassed and ashamed, I would inevitably become an outcast of society, a fate, if I am to be honest, that was losing its power over me every day.

I placed him under the round the clock charge of two nurses, a cheerful buxom young blonde named Bramble, and the senior of the two, the authoritative and statuesque Hazleton. They were supervised by my family physician, the reputable Dr. Horace Wamburton.

As I have related elsewhere, Archie, my late husband’s batman, also shared my house. I considered him the son Jonathan and I were destined never to have. I’d unofficially adopted him after he had been seriously wounded in the Crimean battle that had killed Jonathan. Since the Torbernite affair he had been laid up in bed with a serious chill he’d earned while carrying out surveillance work in torrential rain. That left the responsibility of running the EHP Investigation Bureau to me. Every day after breakfast spent with Felix, chatting about anything and everything, and resisting the powerful urge to climb into bed with him, I’d go to the office feeling highly aroused and frustrated.

My body’s propensity to lust, or libido as my old Latin dictionary calls it, had never been higher in my life, and inevitably I succumbed to it. It was the eighth morning after returning from Edinburgh that I went to Felix’s room to wish him a good morning that my resistance fell. I entered as Nurse Bramble, the pretty young blonde was leaving the sick room, and we bumped into each other. As we performed a little dance to get out of each other’s way without disarranging my crinolines too badly I noted her creamy complexion was flushed, and though she wore her habitual smile, she uncharacteristically avoided my gaze.

Nurse Hazleton, the older and more sensible of the two, bade me good morning.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, indicating with my gaze the departing back of Nurse Bramble.

“It’s nothing, Mrs. Hunter-Payne. We nurses have seen it all. We don’t embarrass easy.”

“What do you mean?”

In turn I followed her gaze to Felix’s bed. He was still asleep. His handsome face, despite the bandages that covered the minor cuts on the left side of his head, appeared relaxed and untroubled. Then, with a sharp intake of breath, I noted that lower down the sheet was tented with a morning erection. I couldn’t help but put my hand to my mouth.

About Mikala Ash

Aussie Mikala Ash used to be a mild-mannered training & development consultant by day, and a wild sci-fi and paranormal adventure writer by night. Now she is a brazen full-time writer and nature photographer who is concentrating on having among other things, “… bags, and bags of fun!” Mikala can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

Release Tour: Inherent Fate by Alicia Anthony #thriller #suspense

A discarded asset stripped of her identity…

An emotionally scarred ex-agent…

An innocent life hanging in the balance…

Who would you trust if the world was out to get you?

Losing Liv Sullivan in a Bureau operation gone bad turned ex-agent Ridge McCaffrey into a broken man. So when fate reunites him with the woman he thought was dead, he’ll risk anything to make her part of his life again.

Liv Sullivan returned to the States with two goals: end the FBI’s corrupt GenLink psychic intelligence program and reclaim the life it stole from her. But when the case against GenLink exposes a threat against Ridge’s son, the cost becomes too great. Refusing to destroy more lives, she leaves Ridge, and the chance to reclaim her identity, behind.

But as a new generation of GenL/ink closes in, once-trusted allies become enemies, and long-buried secrets threaten.

Can Liv and Ridge end GenLink before echoes of the past destroy their future?

Inherent Fate is the compelling third installment in the Blood Secrets psychological suspense series. For fast-paced, emotionally intense story lines that keep you up past your bedtime, and intricate plots laced with romance, this award-winning series is for you.

About the Book

Inherent Fate
by Alicia Anthony

Series
Blood Secrets

Genre
Adult Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense

Publisher
Drury Lane Books

Publication Date
July 21, 2020

Purchase Your Copy Today!
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INHERENT FATE
A Blood Secrets Novel

© 2020 Alicia Anthony

EXCERPT

Ridge pulled my hands into his, his voice softening. “Colton is my son. And I will protect him with my life. But he needs a father who’s whole.” Ridge’s gaze held mine. “Don’t sign those papers. Don’t throw away what we have together.”

His skin sparked hope into me, the gentle pulses sending a throb of need through my core. He was right. Regardless of the secrets, the lies, there was a connection between us that I’d never understand. I swallowed. The anticipation in my lungs heavy and thick. I broke eye contact with Ridge as he made one final attempt.

“Please.” It was more breath than word, overpowered by the nervous shifts and quiet comments of Michelle and Lombardi as they whispered to each other in the background. Ridge skimmed his thumbs over the backs of my hands, his voice a quiet whisper. “I know you can feel this, Liv. Don’t give up on us. Don’t walk away.”

I closed my eyes. I couldn’t let my own personal desires get in the way of this decision. I couldn’t risk a little boy’s life for a relationship that any outsider would claim had been doomed from the start.

“This can’t be about us,” I said. 

“It already is about us,” Ridge said. “It always has been. You fought your way back here. You came to my hotel room. I don’t give a shit about Sowards’ last ditch effort or his threats. This is about you and me and building a life for ourselves without GenLink ruling our every decision. This is your chance to choose your own path, Liv. You came back here to be free. And you’re so close. Don’t let fear stop you now.”

 

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of INHERENT FATE by Alicia Anthony, we’re giving away a paperback set of Inherent Truth and Inherent Lies, the first two books in the Blood Secrets series, to one lucky winner!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of Inherent Truth and Inherent Lies by Alicia Anthony. This giveaway is administered by BookMojo on behalf of Alicia Anthony. Giveaway ends 8/31/2020 @ 11:59pm EST.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

About the Author

ALICIA ANTHONY‘s first novels were illegible scribbles on the back of her truck driver father’s logbook trip tickets. Having graduated from scribbles to laptop, she now pens novels of psychological suspense in the quiet of the wee morning hours. A full-time elementary school Literacy Specialist, Alicia hopes to pass on her passion for books and writing to the students she teaches.

A two time Golden Heart® finalist and Silver Quill Award winner, Alicia finds her inspiration in exploring the dark, dusty corners of the human experience. Alicia is a graduate of Spalding University’s School of Creative & Professional Writing (MFA), Ashland University (M.Ed.) and THE Ohio State University (BA). Go Bucks! She lives in rural south-central Ohio with her amazingly patient and supportive husband, incredibly understanding teenage daughter, two dogs, three horses, a plethora of both visiting and resident barn cats, and some feral raccoons who have worn out their welcome.

When she’s not writing or teaching, Alicia loves to travel and experience new places. Connect with her online at http://www.AliciaAnthonyBooks.com. She’d love to hear from you!

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Preorder: Dagger (Devil’s Fury MC) by Harley Wylde #contemporaryromance

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Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

Zoe — I would give my life to protect my son, and it nearly ripped my heart out when I learned the person I’d trusted with my most precious possession had turned on us. Luis is in trouble, held captive by the cartel, and there’s only one way I know to save him. Marry Dagger. He’s an outlaw, a biker, and hasn’t made it a secret that I’m not his first choice. Accepting him is one thing, but accepting his lover as part of the deal is harder for me. Until I end up falling for both of them. Dagger and Jared have shown me what it means to love someone, and I only hope they’ll have enough love for me and Luis as well.

Dagger — Being bisexual in a club full of alpha bikers means walking a fine line. They don’t care what I do behind closed doors, as long as I don’t flaunt that part of my life in front of them. The only way I could ever have an acceptable relationship with another man is if there’s a woman between us. I didn’t count on that woman being a sexy señorita with a little boy. It doesn’t take long for Zoe and Luis to wrap me around their fingers, and I can tell Jared is falling for them too. I have the family I’ve always wanted, and I’ll do anything to keep them safe. Even wage war with the Mexican cartel if that’s what it takes.

Jared — The Devil’s Fury are my family, the only place I’ve felt like I had a home in what seems like forever. The thought of jeopardizing that is the only thing holding me back from telling Dagger how I really feel. When I find out he’s married, the pain and anger nearly consume me. It never occurred to me he’d want to share Zoe, or that the three of us could be together permanently. But first we have to get Luis, her son, back, and end the threat that could take our family from us.

Warning: This book contains scenes of graphic violence, sexual scenes with MMF, MM, and MF pairing; and a darkness that some readers may find objectionable. Guaranteed HEA and no cheating.

Coming June 5, 2020 to Changeling Press

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Excerpt

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Harley Wylde

I hunkered down in front of her, gripping her chin and forcing her to hold my gaze. What I saw pissed me off. Fear. Someone had terrified the shit out of her and I wanted a damn name. Even worse, now that she knew I wasn’t gay, she seemed afraid of me too. “Who tried to touch you?”

“I don’t know. It was dark and I couldn’t see their name on their…” She waved a hand at my chest. Even though I wasn’t wearing my cut I knew what she meant. “They were drunk, I think. But I got scared.”

I stroked her cheek with my fingers, noting how soft she was. I didn’t like that someone had frightened her, bad enough she came here thinking I was gay and wouldn’t touch her. I wanted to know who the fuck had gone after her. Everyone knew we were supposed to give these ladies a wide berth for now. Grizzly hadn’t decided what to do with them yet. The chunk of cash Ramirez had given the club meant they were here for the long haul, but we didn’t exactly have a good setup for a lot of single women, unless they were spreading their legs.

“How did you get away from him?” Jared asked. “Or did he stop when you said no?”

She paled and dropped her gaze, pulling free of my grasp. I looked over my shoulder at Jared and knew what he was thinking. Reaching for her, I ran my hands down her sides, then up the insides of her legs. She didn’t push me away, but I felt her shaking. I didn’t feel a weapon.

“Were you armed then and not now?” I asked.

Her gaze jerked to mine again. “What? No! I just… I kneed him between the legs when he didn’t want to let go. He kept telling me I’d like it and trying to pull up my dress. I didn’t like his attention.”

The way her cheeks burned it was almost as if… Whoa. I stood so fast I got dizzy, and took a few steps back. Was she a fucking virgin? I knew Griz said the women had worked in a sweatshop and not a brothel, but I’d figured there were guards of some sort sampling them on the side. Just thinking she was untouched both excited and fucking terrified me. I’d never been with an innocent before. The thought of being the first to touch her made my cock swell behind my zipper.

I couldn’t be here. Not right now. I tried to shake it off as I headed out of the bedroom, leaving her with Jared. He wouldn’t hurt her. Hell, he’d probably set her free and escort her back to the apartment where she was staying. Sweet thing like her had no business being around a guy like me. It was like offering a pure soul to the Devil.

I braced my hands on the kitchen counter, staring out the window over the sink. I didn’t think she’d tell anyone about what she’d seen, either time. Even if she did, I couldn’t imagine trying to scare her into keeping her mouth shut, not after hearing one of my brothers had already tried to hurt her. I couldn’t think of a single one who would force themselves on a woman, but if she was right and he’d been drunk, then he might honestly have thought she was playing hard to get. Might have even mistaken her for a club whore if he was sloshed enough.

Still, we needed to make sure those women stayed far the fuck away from the clubhouse once the sun went down. It wasn’t safe. I also didn’t trust the bitches who came here to spread their legs. If they caught wind of women living here, unclaimed ones, they’d raise hell and cause trouble. Just like that bitch Cheri had done with Dragon and Lilian. Demon had made an example of her, but we had some fresh blood coming through the doors these days. Might be time for a refresher on what happened if you fucked with someone, or any of the women under our protection. Wouldn’t matter that we were only offering those ladies a safe place to stay, the whores wouldn’t see it that way and would feel threatened or jealous.

Sometimes I had to wonder if things wouldn’t be simpler if I did just like men.

 

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When Harley is writing, her motto is the hotter the better. Off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place.

 

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