BOOK TOUR & Exclusive Excerpt: Discovery of the Five Senses (The Urban Boys) by K.N. Smith #YoungAdult #thriller #urbanfantasy @knsmith_author 

Discovery of the Five Senses

Book One – The Urban Boys Series

By Kristene N. Smith

Genre: YA Adventure, Thriller, Urban Fantasy

About the Book

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived.

A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, will the boys be able to defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

“A captivating and poetic tale of mystery, fantasy, and reality tied together by action!” 5-stars, Lars Jackson, Amazon Customer

Exclusive Excerpt

AN ALLURING MIDNIGHT seeped through the preserve, where huge, wavy leaves danced beneath the moonlight. The setting was suited for a late-night encounter between two friends. But almost immediately, their conversation went awry. “Everything’s alright, I guess.” Ross Dawson weighed his words. His eyes roamed away from his friend. “But  you’ve changed.” 

An imposing Joaquin Grayson grabbed Ross’s arm,  squeezing it to the point of pain. “You don’t think I’m capable of leading us in the right direction, do you? We can’t stay here going nowhere. I chose you to go with me. We need to stick together!” 

His long nails dug into Ross’s skin, the piercing, half-moon impressions nearly bursting through. His flaming hand absorbed Ross’s fear, the constricted flow of blood beating against his palm. 

Ross bore the numbness of his arm. “Look at you. It’s  like I don’t even know you anymore!” 

“We’ve been doing fine for almost a year.” A blush wine color flooded Joaquin’s cheeks. “Why do you want  to cut out now?”

For the first time, Ross trusted himself to speak up, to question the mounting dissension clouding their friendship. “Man! Why do you need so much power?” 

He remembered when a youthful adventure had first brought them to these forbidden woods. A place with tales of strange happenings, mysterious noises, and unsolved disappearances… or so it was said. 

During that youthful adventure, they’d all changed.  Then, he’d changed. And somehow, the misunderstood,  glowing energy that had dripped from the huge leaves awakened a solo ambition fueled by wrought emotions. 

Regardless, the two friends stood firm in the dark night. 

Joaquin breathed deeply. As a result of Ross’s questions, and while wondering what would happen to Ross’s gift, he set his intention. He let go of Ross’s arm and ran his fingers through his long, thick hair. 

He stilled his lean, muscular frame, restraining the rising tension in his body, hiding any indication of his next move. Still clutching his hair, Joaquin closed his eyes, listening for Ross’s movements. He knew he would not be able to turn back. It’s on me. I’m the only one who can build a new way of life.

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About the Author

K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, is an author, screenwriter, and passionate advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. She inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. She lives in California with her family. Visit K.N. Smith at www.knsmith.com.

Social Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/knsmith_author 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorknsmith

BOOK REVIEW: Mary, Will I Die? by Shawn Sarles #youngadult #thriller @shawn_sarles

Bestselling author Shawn Sarles’ most terrifying YA horror yet…

It starts innocently enough. Four kids – three girls, one boy – are at one of their houses, playing games. One of them has read about “Bloody Mary” and the idea that if you look into a mirror and say her name thirteen times, she will show you the future. Some legends say she’ll show you your one true love or a skull to mark your death within five years. Others say that conjuring Bloody Mary will bring her into your world.

Both sets of legends are true. The kids go through with the act, saying her name thirteen times. One girl looks in the mirror and sees her longtime crush. One girl looks in the mirror and sees the boy in the group. But she pretends to see something else. One girl looks in the mirror and sees a girl she’s never seen before but can’t get out of her mind. And the boy . . . he sees a skull. But he pretends to see something else. They try to laugh it off. And mostly they forget about it. Or at least they don’t talk about it. Yes, over the next few years, whenever they look into a mirror, it’s like there’s always another figure standing in the background, getting closer.

Just short of five years later, the four of them are no longer friends, having gone on separate paths. The girl whose house it was has always tried to avoid the mirror they used – because she always sensed someone in the background. One morning as she’s passing by, she sees much more than her own reflection – it’s a scary figure taunting her. She startles and breaks the mirror. When the pieces are put back together (barely), the figure is gone.

That day in school, a new girl arrives. Her name is Mary…

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MY REVIEW – 4 stars

Great thriller for young adults and tweens. Not too scary, as far as the Bloody Mary part goes. However, the real life issues, like losing friends because you aren’t cool enough for them anymore and issues of bullying were perhaps scarier than Mary.

The book shows the journey of four middle school friends who have gone their separate ways by high school, after having played a game called Bloody Mary. I enjoyed the twist on the tale, and really liked how the group pulled together by the end.

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. Neither the author nor publisher requested a review. I purchase a hardback copy from Barnes & Noble — twice — because my dog literally ate the first copy before I finished reading it.

Book Tour: Cut and Run by Annabelle Lewis #contemporarythriller @alewisauthor @RRBookTours1

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Welcome to the book tour for Annabelle Lewis’s novel, Cut and Run. The perfect thriller for the spooky season!

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Cut and Run

Publication Date: August 14th, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Thriller

Their story continues . . .

The four Boston clairvoyants, blessed—or cursed—with special powers, must fight a ruthless enemy and stop injustice. In Dead Cat, Run, the Sisters of Fate drove them together, but at what cost? The God Apollo wasn’t playing around. He’s still dead set on vengeance.

Sinister forces will have a wicked agenda. An energy grab, a mineral rights war, and deadly mercenaries create a mortally serious game. But the psychics’ sibylline abilities aside, they’re only human. At least three of them are. (What’s up with that?)

Can they stop the killers? And who will survive?

An energetic contemporary thriller, Cut and Run will have you on the edge of your seat as the dance between good and evil resumes.

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Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Annabelle Lewis is a pseudonym for the author who lives in Minneapolis with her husband, children, and a wild thug of a dog who sleeps beside her. A multi-genre writer and publisher of 9 novels to date, her humorous mystery caper books have a theme – taking down the bad guy. Villains beware! She also writes a scathing blog and highly entertaining monthly newsletter.

Annabelle Lewis | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Book Tour Schedule

October 25th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@bookscoffeehappiness (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookscoffeehappiness/

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

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October 26th

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

@thefaeriereview (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/thefaeriereview/

Reads & Reels (Spotlights) http://readsandreels.com

@chasethestories (Review) https://www.instagram.com/chasethestories/

October 27th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

Crossroad Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com

October 28th

@amymertz (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/amymertz/

Books, Rambling & Tea (Spotlight) https://booksramblingsandtea.com/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@Fle_d (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/fle_d/

October 29th

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

MacroMicoCosm (Podcast Interview) https://www.vraeydamedia.ca/macromicrocosm-online

Paige Warren (Spotlight) https://paigewarren.Wordpress.com

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

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Book Tour & Review: They Stay by Claire Fraise #supernatural #thriller #youngadult @XpressoTours

They Stay
Claire Fraise
(They Stay Series, #1)
Publication date: October 12th 2021
Genres: Supernatural, Thriller, Young Adult

For fans of Stranger Things comes a suspenseful YA mystery about a missing kid, a girl who can see ghosts, and a horrifying crime only four outcasts have the power to stop.

What if the only person who could help you find your missing brother was dead?

Nothing is as important to sixteen-year-old Shiloh Oleson as her little brother Max. So when the six-year-old goes missing without a trace, a heartbroken Shiloh refuses to believe nothing can be done and sets out to find him.

When one of Shiloh’s classmates says she knows where Max is, Shiloh hesitates to believe her. Francesca is creepy. She says she can see ghosts, but everyone knows ghosts aren’t real … right?

But Francesca says that Max is going to be murdered.

And a ghost told her where he is.

As the line between the dead and living begins to blur, Shiloh starts to think Francesca might not be as crazy as she believed. One thing is becoming clear. Someone has gruesome plans for Max, and Shiloh must confront her worst nightmares to find him before it’s too late.

THEY STAY is the first book in the They Stay Series. Read on if you like ghost stories, plot twists, enemies-to-friends, creepy circuses, budding romance, and unlikely heroes.

Content Warnings: This book contains death, kidnapping, domestic abuse, references to suicide, bullying, and mild adult language.

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BOOK REVIEW – 5 stars!

They Stay is both tragic and full of hope. The horror Shiloh and Max faced with an abusive alcoholic for a father is sadly a reality for too many people. Someone you should be able to trust becomes the monster you fear most. All Shiloh had was her brother, until he vanished.

Shiloh makes friends in unlikely places as she tries to find her brother. With a bit of Ghost Whisperer flare, the story is full of spirits and people making difficult choices. It does end with a bit of a cliffhanger, but the main story arc is tied up neatly.

If you’re looking for a paranormal mystery with a bit of romance, a lot of drama, and some tough topics, They Stay is worth the read! Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

Author Bio:

Claire Fraise earned her B.A. in English from Tufts University. She is also the author of YA dystopian novel Imperfect (winner of the San Francisco and Beverly Hills Book Festivals), which she published when she was 16. When Claire’s not writing, she likes crocheting amigurumi animals, reading, and hanging out with her dogs. Even though it goes against every introverted bone in her body, she is on social media. Connect with her on Instagram at @clairefraiseauthor, on YouTube at Write with Claire Fraise, or visit her website at clairefraise.com.

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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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Release Blitz: Tangled Warriors by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott #suspense #romance @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Tangled Warriors

Series: Weavers Circle #4

Author: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Publisher: Drake & Elliott Publishing LLC

Release Date: September 24, 2021

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85k

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense,

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Synopsis

Lucien Cummings

The pestilents are trying to kill him.

He’s pretty sure the Water Weaver wants to kill him as well.

But after two months of fighting an attraction for a man who couldn’t possibly be his mate, Lucien cracks when he’s pulled into an impulsive threesome with Calder and a sexy man they picked up in a bar.

That night was earth shattering.

And now he needs to figure out how to keep both men safe and his.

Calder Saito

Calder doesn’t want to fight his attraction for the Fire Weaver any longer, but they can’t really be soul mates, right?

And what about Gio? The sexy man gives him such a feeling of completeness and peace.

Could one man really have two soul mates?

Gio Russo

Can’t he just have them both?

Tangled Warriors is the fourth book in the Weavers Circle series. This MMM paranormal romance includes fast-paced action, running through Savannah, secrets, shapeshifting, kidnapping, deadly Girl Scouts, sexy times, insecurity, three crazy old ladies, soul mates, and magic!

Excerpt

“Shots!” Gio suddenly proclaimed. “I think we could all use a round of shots. What do you say?” He looked up at Lucien and smiled. “Join me in a round of shots. Break the ice.”

“Nothing feels icy to me,” Lucien murmured, while the fingers on Calder’s waist tightened.

He suddenly felt bad. He was intruding like an annoying little brother. Yes, his intention had been to stop Lucien from hitting on this guy, but now that he was standing there, he felt how wrong it was. What Lucien did and who he slept with was none of his business. He was supposed to be working on getting rid of the bad blood between him and Lucien, not making matters worse.

“None for me,” Calder said softly. “I’ll grab the drinks and get out of your way.”

Gio surprised him by cupping the side of his face with a warm calloused hand. “Oh no, sweetness. We don’t want you going anywhere. You’ve got to stay.” Gio looked over Calder’s shoulder at Lucien. “We want him to stay, right?”

Calder tensed, waiting for the rejection, but Lucien shocked him even more by pulling him in tighter so that he could feel Lucien’s groin against the small of his back. Those long fingers slipped down from his waist to caress his hip bone, sending the most delicious tingles all over his body. “Stay. Have a shot with us,” Lucian pressed. His voice was warm and so very tempting. Calder couldn’t remember ever hearing Lucien talk to him like that. He wanted to live in that voice. Just curl up in it like a warm, handmade quilt.

Releasing him, Gio turned to the bartender as she delivered Lucien’s and Calder’s mix of drinks and ordered a round of shots. Calder didn’t hear what he’d ordered exactly because Gio had also slotted himself better against Calder, causing his brain to short out. He was now in the one place he’d never thought he’d be—a Gio-Lucien sammich. Even with all their clothes on, it was now his favorite kind of sandwich. He would happily eat it every day for the rest of his life.

Calder was too tongue-tied to manage words. He nodded. At least he thought he nodded. He must have done something, because Gio’s smile grew wider. A second hand landed on his hip right where Lucien’s

The shots arrived, and Gio slid one over to Lucien before physically placing one in Calder’s hand as if he knew that his brain wasn’t in control of his body any longer. He watched as Gio clicked his shot glass on Lucien’s and then Calder’s. Tipping his head back, he sent the amber liquid down his long, sexy throat. Calder did the same without a thought. The burn was enough to wake him out of his stupor.

Sucking in a harsh breath, he coughed several times while slamming his shot glass on the bar. Gio grabbed his hand again and shoved a drink into it. Without thinking, Calder sipped it, relieved that it was his gin and tonic. The addition of more alcohol to his system probably wasn’t the smartest, but at least it had gotten rid of his coughing.

When he could breathe, he took a deep drink and set the glass on the bar to find Gio smiling at him while Lucien’s hand continued to dig possessively into his hip.

You okay?” Lucien inquired. For once, the question didn’t sound spiteful or mean. There was genuine concern in his tone.

Calder managed a small nod and Gio laughed.

Of course he’s okay. What are you drinking, sweetness?” Before Calder could answer, Gio leaned in and licked his bottom lip, sucking it into his mouth for a second, then releasing it with a wet pop. “Mmm…gin and tonic. Not bad.”

Calder barely heard the words. It was just a rush of blood past his ears as it raced to his steadily hardening dick.

As Gio moved away, he reached past Calder and pulled Lucien close. “And what are you drinking?” Calder watched as Gio licked his way into Lucien’s slack, welcoming mouth. He didn’t know what turned him on more—actually kissing Gio or watching Gio kiss Lucien. It defied all logic, but it was clear that his libido had zero interest in logic. He only wanted to know all the wonderful things Gio could do with his mouth.

Gio released Lucien and licked his own lips slowly. His dark eyes had turned black as his pupils dilated with desire. “I can tell this is going to be a fun night already. I suggest we head to my place so we can get more comfortable and less likely to be arrested.”

We? Calder croaked out.

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Meet the Author

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

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Release Blitz: The Acquisition by Rachel Ford #contemporarythriller #LGBTQ #suspense @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: The Acquisition

Author: Rachel Ford

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/06/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 94600

Genre: Contemporary Thriller, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, lesbian, action/adventure, reverse hero’s journey, suspense, humorous, revenge, workplace drama/office workers, tech secret espionage, pets, cruise ship, violence with guns, family drama

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Description

When Sutherland Bio buys up the little bio research firm Human Resources specialist Angela McCormack works for, she tries to adapt. Even though her shady new boss’s smarminess and sexism makes her stomach turn. She sticks it out through the verbal abuse, and through the benefit cuts and layoffs.

But when her boss, George Sutherland Jr., tasks her to recruit replacements for the people he laid off—and lets it slip that the layoffs were just part of a regime change strategy—she’s ready to throw in the towel. As much as she hates the idea of shoveling manure again, she’d rather return to her family’s farm and petting zoo than stay with Sutherland Bio.

Then George Jr. takes a particularly bad day out on her. And Angela decides she’s tired of the humiliation. She’s going to fight fire with fire. She makes it her mission to fill George Jr.’s team with the worst possible candidates she can find.

But she didn’t take into account falling for one of the new hires. All of a sudden, she’s not sure she wants to leave. Not yet.

And that’s just the first chicken to come home to roost. Little does she know, George has plenty of secrets of his own. And when one of them turns deadly, Angela will have to rely on her handpicked sabotage crew for survival. She might just wish she was back home shoveling manure after all.

Excerpt

The Acquisition
Rachel Ford © 2021
All Rights Reserved

You don’t piss off the person making your food. You don’t piss off the woman who gave birth to you. And you don’t piss off the HR lady. Everyone knows that.

Everyone, it seemed, except George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. As with most memos, George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. had missed that one. Along with the one about manners. And treating employees with respect. And showering every day instead of wearing a bucket of cologne to work.

Angela McCormack wrinkled her nose and stared at her boss’s feet. They were at eye level since he had them propped up on his desk. The sight made her stomach turn a little. It wasn’t so much the untrimmed talons on the ends of his toes, or the hobbit-like growth of untamed hair. It was the fact that she could see them at all. And the no-feet-on-the-furniture and don’t wear flipflops into work when you’re the CEO memos.

Yes, there were quite a few memos George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. had missed. But at the moment, it was the one about not downsizing people out of their jobs just to recreate the same position two months later that weighed the heaviest on her mind. Because, unless she’d misunderstood everything he had just said, that’s what he was doing here. And despite George’s propensity to torture a simple sentence into a longwinded monologue for the sole pleasure of hearing himself talk, she was pretty sure she hadn’t got it wrong.

“Excuse me, Mr. Sutherland,” she said, “just to clarify, we’re refilling the positions we just downsized?”

He cocked an eyebrow up at her. “No, not at all. These are different positions, Angie.”

God, she hated when he called her Angie. “Yes sir, I heard you say that. But if I’m understanding you, the titles will be different, but the positions will fill the same basic function as before. We’re looking for an IT team lead to replace Dawn. You need a Director of Business Services to pick up where Mark left off, and so on?”

He flashed her a toothy grin that, she supposed, he assumed was charming. It wasn’t. It was the kind of smile she’d expect from someone selling a car that probably wouldn’t make it out of the lot. “Now you’re getting it. You know how it goes. New era, new regime. If I’m going to do this right, well, I need people I can trust.”

He studied her for a long moment with keen blue eyes. “That’s why I kept you on. I had a good feeling about you. And you know what I say—I’m a man who goes with his gut.”

Angela McCormack forced a smile and lied through her teeth. “Of course, sir. You can always trust me.”

“Don’t call me sir. Call me George.” He smiled again. He smiled too much for her liking. Grinning CEO’s, smiling politicians, and gas station sushi: she reserved the same measure of trust for each of them. “Now, I’d like these listings up by Friday. Is that something we can do?”

We. As if he’d lift a finger to help.

“I’ll get the drafts to you by the end of the day tomorrow. If the revision process goes smoothly, I don’t see why not.”

He nodded. “Excellent. Excellent. Well, that was all I had, then. Oh, my dry cleaning’s not back yet, is it?”

“No sir. I mean, no, George.”

He winked and clicked his tongue as a kind of sound effect to match the finger guns he aimed her way. “That’s better. I don’t like a formal workplace. I’m all about casual. I think it builds better morale. Don’t you?”

Angela smiled and lied again. “Oh, absolutely.”

She had nothing against casual, as long as it wasn’t the kind of casual that involved dirty hobbit feet on the desk. But George had come into Fenwood Bio like a whirlwind, laying off staff, axing benefits, and implementing draconian cost reduction programs within his first two weeks. The turnover rate was already higher than the layoffs. Which was one of several reasons why she was currently filling the role of the entire HR department, as well as admin, IT department, and supply requisitions. All for the same salary as before, of course, but with a much slimmer retirement package, and no life insurance benefits.

No, Angela McCormack didn’t want to hear the word “morale” pass his lips. He’d personally shredded every last bit of it and flushed it down the toilet.

“Me too. You might say, it’s one of my core philosophies.” He nodded, to himself it seemed, then added, “Well, I’ll let you get to work, then.”

She didn’t mind the dismissal. Hell, it couldn’t come soon enough as far as she was concerned. “Right.”

Retreating to her office and closing the door after her, Angela breathed out a long sigh of relief. She hadn’t been afraid he’d called her in to lay her off. He’d gotten that out of his system within the first few weeks. Still, she’d seen so many come and go, she would have been lying if she said the thought hadn’t occurred to her.

Mostly, she detested him. And she had the kind of face that didn’t know how to use its inside voice. When someone tripped her BS trigger, well, her face broadcast it loud and clear before she even realized it.

George Maxwell Sutherland, Jr. lived in the BS zone. And Angela McCormack needed her job. She had a mortgage and a house she loved. Sure, she could have found a job elsewhere that would have paid as well, or maybe a little better. But she didn’t want to give up her house. Not after all the years she’d spent restoring it, a room at a time.

Nor did she want to leave Fenwood. She’d grown up here, and she planned to grow old here. Older, she thought with a sour glance at the calendar. She’d be thirty-five in two days. She didn’t want to have to start over at thirty-five.

And that’s exactly what finding a new job in human resources would be. Fenwood Bio—now Sutherland Bio Research—was the biggest employer in the area, and those companies that did have HR departments weren’t hiring.

She knew because she’d checked. So, if she was going to find another job, it would mean leaving the area. It would mean moving a hundred miles south, or seventy-five miles north, or even farther east and west.

Fenwood was one of those smack-in-the-middle-of-nowhere towns, with more cows and horses than people. You either loved it or hated it.

Angela loved it, and she didn’t want to leave.

So, she pulled open her archaic software suite and started filling in the job listings they’d talked about. Did it make her a modern-day Judas Iscariot, helping this son of a bitch after he’d fired so many of her friends on the pretense that their jobs were redundant, now that Sutherland Bio Research had acquired them?

Maybe. Then again, Judas didn’t have a mortgage. Angela stared at the screen, trying to focus on the work. But the work didn’t—couldn’t—make up for the feeling in the pit of her stomach. The feeling of betrayal that left her a little sick. God, I hate this job.

She started as her messenger application dinged. Glancing at the clock on her desktop, she frowned. Somehow, half an hour had already passed.

Angela brought up the messenger window and groaned. It was George, and he’d flagged the chat as a high priority.

Can you come to my office?

Grimacing, she typed, On my way.

Angela practiced her fake smile on the way. It probably wouldn’t have convinced anyone who wasn’t as obtuse as George, but at least it wouldn’t be scary. Or, so she hoped anyway.

She knocked on his closed door and immediately heard, “Come in.” She did, and Sutherland smiled at her. “Ah, Angie. Thank goodness. We’ve got a situation.”

Oh no. “Oh?”

“I forgot I had an appointment this morning.”

“Really? I didn’t see anything in your schedule.”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you about it. I would have had you add it to the calendar. But that’s not the issue. Point is, we don’t have anything for them to eat.”

Now, she did grimace. So far this month, he’d sent her on eighty-some dollars’ worth of coffee runs, lunch pickups, and pastry runs. For a millionaire, Mr. Sutherland was chronically short of cash. It had all gone on “the tab.”

The tab didn’t exist, except as a figment of his imagination. Angela had her doubts that it would ever be settled. He’d pay off ten or twenty bucks here and there. But it always seemed larger than whatever cash he happened to have on hand.

“What did you have in mind?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Whatever you can find.”

“When are they going to be here?”

“Nine-thirtyish. Maybe ten. I’m not really sure. They were going to be here when they could. They’re flying in from Philly. Shit.” He shook his head. “I need to have something here for them. They probably haven’t eaten yet.”

Despite herself, Angela felt his tension get to work on her mind. “Well, I can put a call into Tealeaves & Coffeecake. I’m sure we can get a breakfast tray.”

He nodded. “Good. Good, their stuff is good. For Fenwood food anyway. See if you can get one of those breakfast quiches, and pastries.”

“Will do.”

“Nothing with mushrooms though. I can’t stand them.”

“Got it.”

“Oh, and what are we going to do about coffee?”

“I’ll make sure we have a pot freshly brewed by nine-thirty.” It wasn’t her job, but if it quelled a panic? Well, Angela would do it.

But George wrinkled his nose. “I’m not going to force them to drink that crap.”

She blinked. “You mean, the office coffee?”

He nodded as if she was agreeing with him somehow. “You’ll have to get one of those jugs of coffee. French roast. You know how I like it.”

“All right,” she said, then added, “I’ll let you know how much it costs.”

He nodded absently. “Sounds good. Thanks, Angie, you’re a lifesaver.”

“Anytime,” she said, leaving his office before the scowl set in.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Rachel Ford is a software engineer by day, and a writer most of the rest of the time. She is a Trekkie, a video gamer, and a dog parent, owned by a Great Pyrenees named Elim Garak and a mutt of many kinds named Fox (for the inspired reason that he looks like a fox).

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Book Blitz: The Grifter by Ali Gunn & Sean Campbell #thriller

The Grifter
Ali Gunn & Sean Campbell
Publication date: August 15th 2021
Genres: Adult, Thriller

One will rise. The other will fall.

Kent Bancroft’s rise to fame and fortune was nothing short of meteoric. Once a simple teacher in London’s East End, he’s now on course to become Britain’s youngest billionaire.

But his success has come on the back of those he’s trodden upon to get there. Among them is a man whose fall was as swift as Kent’s rise. He used to be a sparky, honest and hard-working. Now, he’s homeless, drunk, and down one leg.

And he blames Kent for everything.

Forget forgiveness. Forget turning the other cheek. And forget waiting for karma.

This is a victim who won’t stand idly by.

He wants revenge.

And he’s going to get it.

Kent Bancroft will never see him coming.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I’ve never held a man hostage at knifepoint before. Haven’t killed a man, either.

First time for everything, though, right?

At least he doesn’t know that. As far as he knows, I’m Ronnie Kray reincarnate.

The blade against his neck is small enough to hide, big enough to kill. It’s from the kitchen upstairs.

A man has got to protect himself, doesn’t he? Especially one who’s been through what I’ve been through.

‘Please, just let me go.’

‘I’ll let you go. But answer one question. What’s my name?’

These past months have been sheer hell. I’m exhausted. I can’t cope with it all anymore. Just when I think it’s over, something else happens.

‘I… I don’t know. We’ve never met.’

‘Disappointing. After all we’ve been through.’

People used to respect me. They used to want to be me. Now, I’m the guy who gets chased down the street. The guy running from his own shadow.

But not now. This is where it ends.

‘Whoever you are, I’ll do anything you want.’

‘Anything? Time to test that.’

Author Bio:

Sean Campbell is the author of DCI Morton series (Dead on Demand, Cleaver Square, Ten Guilty Men, The Patient Killer, Missing Persons, The Evolution of a Serial Killer, and My Hands Are Tied).

He spends his days working out how to kill people without being caught, and then flipping the switch to play detective. His non-writing interests vary from photography and cinema to rugby and hiking. You can usually find him somewhere in one of London’s coffee shops – look for the big bearded guy taking up way too much room and hogging the Wi-Fi.

Ali Gunn kills people for a living*.

The characters in Ali’s books are the kind of strong, fearless women that every girl dreams of growing up to be.

The first DCI Elsie Mabey novel, The Career Killer, is out now.

Book two in the series, The Psychopath Within, is coming soon.

To find out more, visit GunnCrime.com

*fictional people, honest officer!


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Release Blitz: Road to Revenge by Mell Eight #thriller #LGBTQ @ninestarpress @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Road to Revenge

Series: Road to…, Book One

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/09/2021

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 40600

Genre: Contemporary Thriller, LGBTQIA+, terrorism, religious extremism, secret agents, international espionage, revenge, military

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Description

Rafi only wanted to spend a relaxing day in Tel Aviv with his lover, Mihi. When a bomb goes off outside the restaurant where they stopped for lunch, killing several people and leaving Mihi in critical condition, Rafi vows to catch the culprits and make them pay. Set on revenge, Rafi accepts an assignment to infiltrate a group of humanitarians to figure out which of them was responsible—and to stop whatever they’re planning next.

Excerpt

Road to Revenge
Mell Eight © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Rehov Dizengoff, Tel Aviv

Mihi walked as though he was dancing, so smoothly my eyes couldn’t help tracking his hips as they wiggled so enticingly just ahead of me along the busy street. Dizengoff Street was one of the main shopping thoroughfares in Tel Aviv; the gigantic, two-story Dizengoff Mall took up two blocks on both sides of the street and was only a half mile away. We were on the end of the road closer to the beach, though, so we were surrounded by small shops and restaurants instead of cars.

The sidewalks were large, which was good because dodging daredevils riding their motor scooters was just one small part of walking in Israel. Another was dodging the water from dripping AC units hanging out of the apartment windows above every single shop. The third was dodging the stray animals and their leavings—Israel has a small problem with stray cats, mostly because there was minimal effort to contain the enormous population.

“How about this café?” Mihi called ahead of me, spinning gracefully on one heel to glance back at me. He saw the direction of my eyes and grinned impishly, twitching his hips again in a blatant invitation he knew I would eagerly accept when we returned to our private room in a nearby hostel.

But first we would have lunch and then we would spend the afternoon sitting on the beautiful beach watching the sunset. Then maybe we would take the long walk down to Jaffa for dinner, or maybe we could try a local falafel place. Falafel was the food of the Middle East, and Israelis knew how to fry up the chickpea mixture just right.

I followed Mihi into the little café, glad we were avoiding the chain café, Aroma, on the next corner. It was a relief to be inside, away from the heat of the day and the constant rumble of busses and honking of cars that filled Dizengoff Street to the brim. Mihi was already waiting for me at the counter, menu in hand and a grin on his face for my slower pace.

He was so beautiful, my Mihi, with his slightly curled brown hair flopping into his bright and happy brown eyes. His family was originally from the Romanian side of the Russian border before they fled the Holocaust and the Russian pogroms, so his skin was always just a shade tanned. He had managed to get the prominent cheekbones from his mother’s side of the family, which took a good bit of attention away from his father’s slightly hooked nose that sat in the center of Mihi’s otherwise flawless face. Mihi was perfect, and I couldn’t help smiling back at him as I joined him at the counter.

We ordered. Simple sandwiches because Israelis never ate truly large meals and therefore didn’t offer them even in a tourist-heavy area like Dizengoff. I followed Mihi to a table in the corner; it was right up against the glass window where we could people watch and cringe at the amazing stunts some of the drivers pulled to make their way through traffic.

Mihi took the better seat in the corner, where he could have his back to the blank wall and the entire window in front. I bent down to kiss him gently on the temple instead of taking the seat across from him.

“Bathroom,” I murmured into his ear before pulling away and heading toward the restroom sign in the very back of the shop. Mihi gave me another one of his impish smiles and waved me off. He was already setting out napkins so we could eat properly. One of the napkins fluttered to the ground as I pushed the bathroom door open, and I couldn’t hold back a tiny smirk. Mihi hadn’t noticed it yet, but I knew that napkin would be picked up and thrown away before I returned.

I took care of my business and was washing my hands when it happened. A loud thump made my ears ring. The building shook, the mirror in front of me cracked and splintered, plaster from the ceiling rained down on my hair, and then total silence.

Then: screams.

I stood in front of the sink, the water still running cold and clear over hands, frozen in place. My eyes were wide in shock, hazel blue set in Polish-pale skin. My light brown hair was flecked with white plaster dust. My entire face motionless within the cracked frame of the mirror, waiting while my brain processed what I’d just felt and heard.

Suddenly, I could feel my lungs aching, and as if that were a signal to turn back on, my body gasped for air. I shook as I spun away from the sink, the water still running, and rushed to the door. I flung it open to total chaos.

The warped and blackened frame of a number nine Dan bus burned at the bus stop outside. Bodies and body parts littered the sidewalk, blood leaking from below the twisted metal.

The front window of the café was shattered, glass strewn across the floor. None of the tables and chairs in front of me were still standing and there were bodies everywhere.

The person sitting closest to the blast was missing most of his head. I gagged, but fought throwing up as I pushed through the mess back toward the small table in the far corner.

People were moaning, bleeding, and dead around me, but I only had eyes for a particular crumpled table and chairs and the bare leg clad in a flowery bathing suit I could see poking out beneath the debris.

No one by the window could have survived that blast. My heart batted away the thought even as my brain supplied it.

The leg was still bleeding, shrapnel wounds marring the lightly tanned skin. It was attached to a torso hidden beneath the table. I threw that table off with all my strength, dropping to my knees at Mihi’s side.

He was still breathing, my brain supplied. My heart decided it would keep beating for the moment.

Clutched in one hand was that silly napkin dropped to the floor just moments before. I have never been so happy for Mihi’s little quirks. He must have been bending over when the blast went off and had been protected by the wall at his back. The table and chairs must have shielded him from the worst of it.

Mihi’s eyes fluttered open, unfocused and glazed with pain. He immediately found me.

“Mihi!” I gasped, one hand reaching out to cup his cheek. His ear was bleeding sluggishly onto my hand, but his cheekbone was unbroken.

“Rafi,” he whispered in a cracked and broken voice. His eyes slid shut again.

“Mihi!” I yelled. “Mihi, you’re going to be okay!”

Finally, I started to hear the sirens. People who had seen the blast were already trying to find the living, but they were still searching by the remains of the bus. All of them, from the helpers to the EMTs, were taking their very lives into their hands. Everyone knew the terrorists liked to set off one blast and then wait for the emergency crews to arrive before doing their best to destroy the ambulances and kill all the first responders—even more innocents dead to their horrible vendetta.

My Mihi didn’t have time for any of that foolishness. As one of the ambulances jumped the curb and drove onto the sidewalk I stood and started waving frantically.

“Here!” I screamed, frenzied and hopped up on fear and adrenaline. The driver saw me and pointed. Two men leapt out of the back of the truck and rushed over with heavy bags banging against their sides. They stepped directly through the empty window and dropped down at Mihi’s side.

One took Mihi’s vitals while another started pulling the remains of the chair and table away from Mihi’s body.

“Still alive,” the first one grunted in Hebrew, waving one hand for a woman setting up a stretcher to hurry over. They didn’t rush, but it wasn’t long before Mihi was strapped properly into the stretcher and was rolling off toward the ambulance. I followed along behind, like a lost puppy following his owner, and climbed into the ambulance behind Mihi.

Something in my face must have alerted the EMT woman already bending over Mihi, because she pointed toward a seat by the door. I took it and couldn’t help my flinch when the doors slammed shut behind me.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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Book Blitz: The Perfect Murder by Kat Martin #thriller @katmartinauthor @XpressoTours

The Perfect Murder
Kat Martin
(Maximum Security, #4)
Publication date: June 22nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Thriller

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is back with her most thrilling novel yet in the Maximum Security series—The Perfect Murder. Fans of Sandra Brown, Linda Howard and Julie Garwood will fall in love with The Max.

The eldest of the three wealthy Garrett brothers, Reese Garrett is in the middle of a major purchase for his multimillion-dollar oil and gas company, Garrett Resources. The Poseidon offshore drilling platform venture will greatly enhance the company’s value.

But when Reese is on a trip out to see the rig, his helicopter crashes, leaving him hospitalized and two men dead. It’s discovered the chopper was sabotaged, and Reese is determined to find out who’s behind the crash—and whether he was the intended target. Then, when his lover, Kenzie, is accused of her ex-husband’s murder—a man with a vested interest in the Poseidon deal—clues start pointing to a connection that puts Reese, Kenzie and her young son in the sights of a killer.

From the Texas heat to the Louisiana bayous, Reese and his brothers must track down the truth before the body count gets any higher.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

“I’ve got a few things I need to add to my schedule,” he said. “Derek Stiles called yesterday. Looks like we’re having more problems with the rig.”

“You’ll get them sorted.” She flashed him a smile. “You always do.”

But there was one thing he was having more and more trouble handling and it was standing right in front of him.
Reese clenched his jaw and went to work.

He was sitting at his desk two hours later when his intercom buzzed.

“It’s Frank Milburn,” Kenzie said. “He has news about the crash.”

Milburn was in charge of the NTSB investigation. “Put him through.” Reese pressed the speaker button and settled back in his chair.

“I know you’ve been anxious to hear from us,” Frank said, a small man with close-cropped brown hair. “I wish we could have completed the investigation sooner, but these things take time.”

“I’m aware. So what have you found out?”

“The last of the reports came in. We’d been waiting for some metal structural tests. Combined with the rest of the information we’ve assembled, the reports revealed what we had recently begun to suspect but until today weren’t able to confirm.”

“Go on.”

“Sometime before the flight took off the morning of the crash, someone tampered with the engine. A piece of metal in one of the gears was filed just enough to cause it to grind itself to pieces. The flight control mechanism disconnected, rendering the helo uncontrollable. To put it in layman’s terms, the helicopter was sabotaged.”

Tension tightened Reese’s shoulders. He didn’t ask Milburn if he was sure. The NTSB team had been investigating the crash for weeks. Two men were dead. The authorities had to be extremely thorough. The question now was who had done it? And why?

“Have you found out who’s responsible?” Reese asked.

“Unfortunately, not yet. As we’ve known from the start and you were informed, pilot error contributed heavily to the event. There should have been room for the chopper to safely auto-rotate down, but the pilot misjudged his position. He came in too close to the building, one of blades clipped the corner, and the helicopter was torn apart.”

“So what, exactly, do you know?”

“As of today, we know a criminal act was committed that ended up causing the deaths of two men. As of this morning, the FBI will be taking over the investigation. They’ll be actively pursuing whoever is responsible for the crime, now a double murder.”

Murder. The news sent a chill down Reese’s spine. He leaned over his desk, shut off the speaker, and picked up the phone. “Whatever you find out, I’ll expect you to keep me in the loop.”

“I’ll do my best,” Milburn said. “It’ll be more difficult once the gears of the FBI begin to turn.”

He understood how a federal agency worked. Lots of interlocking pieces and parts that inevitably slowed things down. The call ended, but Reese had no intention of leaving the matter in the hands of some governmental bureaucracy, not even the FBI. The feds would have to start over, look at the crash from an entirely different angle. It could take weeks, even months.

Two men were dead and he could have been the third. He thought of the accidents that had been plaguing the Poseidon. The helo crash hadn’t been accidental. The chopper was meant to go down.

Was it possible he had been the target?

Author Bio:

Currently living outside Missoula, Montana, Kat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventy-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. Before she started writing, Kat was a real estate broker. During that time, she met her husband, L. J. Martin, an author of Westerns and high-action Thrillers. Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She spends her winters in Arizona.

“I love to travel and especially like visiting the places where my books are set,” Kat says. “I love history and enjoy spending time in museums and art galleries. My husband and I often stay in out-of-the-way inns and historical houses. It’s fun and it gives a wonderful sense of a by-gone era.”

To date, Kat has over seventeen million copies of her books in print. She is published in more than two dozen foreign countries, including Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Japan and Greece.

Kat is currently writing her next Romantic thriller.

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