Blog Tour & Giveaway: Masked Desire by Alana Delacroix

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MASKED DESIRE
The Masked Arcana #2
by Alana Delacroix
Genre: Paranormal Romance
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A Perfect Disguise
As security chief of the supernaturals’
ruling council, Michaela Chui has seen more than her fair share of
disaster. For centuries, she’s survived through caution and
strategy. But when the only human councilor is viciously murdered,
Michaela knows the coincidences that keep blocking her investigation
are a sure sign of bad things to come. She needs answers fast. And
her only ally is Cormac Redoak: wild, unpredictable, unreliable—and
worse, distractingly attractive.
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A Hidden Truth
An exile from the court of the Fairy Queen, Cormac has all the
experience with careful strategy and veiled intentions he can stand.
But he also has the fey talent for getting his way, and he’s sure
his way lies with Michaela’s. No matter that she can change her
lovely face at will; there’s a clarity to her being that he’d
know anywhere. Working with her will be temptation and frustration
bound together. Somehow, though, he must convince her to trust
him—without revealing the secrets he dares never share . . .
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                Michaela locked the car door and was checking the handle when a soft, low growl came from behind her.

“Councilor. You’re here early.”

Not now. It was too early in the morning. She steeled herself to face Cormac Redoak, exiled fey, special ambassador to the Pharos Council, and world-class pain. “Ambassador,” she said briskly, heaving her bag over her shoulder.

“May I take that for you?” Even after centuries away from the fey homeland, he still had a bit of an accent, almost but not quite Irish.

“No.” She walked towards the door. Although they had known each other for decades, she’d had few conversations with him, and in fact tended to avoid him. Not because of the wild rumors that surrounded his exile from the fey court or because she’d been on the receiving end of more than one of his inquisitions when she’d objected to his schemes. He was too erratic for her. Wild. Unstable. Even his eyes refused to stay a single color. Right now they were a light jade but could easily change to gray or brown depending on his mood.

This criticism was grossly hypocritical coming from a masquerada and she knew it. Her eyes, like the rest of her, could be transformed in a breath to become part of any masque she chose. That was the point, though. While Cormac was at the mercy of his emotions, she needed to keep perfect control at all times. Failure—if her masque slipped and humans witnessed a shift—would result in a breach of the Law. Worse, she could lose her natural self in a sea of other personalities: the dreaded convergence. Cormac said what he wanted, did what he wanted, and damned the consequences. The ambassador was not a man who accepted limits to his desires and it made her wary.

“I want to speak about our discussion the other day,” he said. She didn’t bother to look at him. “By discussion you mean when you attempted, and failed, to humiliate me in front of half the Council?”

He made an airy details, details gesture. “I asked for a simple clarification.”

“About a subject you had no business with and at a meeting to which you were not invited.” She reached out to pull the door open but he moved in front of her with the fluid grace typical of the fey. For a moment she breathed in his unique pine scent—the one thing she enjoyed about him. Then she silently brushed by with a nod of thanks, mind already on the day’s agenda. She had about ten minutes before she was due to meet Madden, enough time for a few emails and to re-check her calendar.

“I assumed my invitation was lost. Luckily Hiro told me about it.”

She kept walking. “Which he also had no business doing. We have meeting procedures for a reason.”

“Procedures are for the masses.” He paused when they reached her office door. “Look, Michaela, my point remains valid.”

Michaela opened the door. “As I said before—” Her voice trailed off as she flicked on the light. “Good God.”

Cormac peered in, then tried to block the door. “You don’t want to see this.”

Did the man not remember she was the Pharos security chief? She shoved him aside. “That’s Hiro. In my office.”

Cormac stood beside her, his cool skin brushing her hand. “It was Hiro,” he corrected. “It’s not anymore.”

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MASKED POSSESSION
The Masked Arcana #1
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A Man Who Can Wear Any Face
Caro Yeats doesn’t run from much. As a former investigative reporter now
working PR for Toronto’s supernaturals, what she hasn’t seen
mostly isn’t worth seeing. But the assignment to “rebrand” Eric
Kelton’s out-of-control alter egos has her on edge from the start.
Kelton is the heirarch of the Masquerada, beings able to change their
face—their entire persona—on a whim. Eric’s charisma muddles
her instincts. How can she trust a man who can become anybody?
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A Woman Without A Past
Eric has never met anyone like Caro, with her lightning wit and uncanny
insight. But desirable as she is, he’d be a fool to let her near.
Struggling to hide the sudden loss of his powers, Eric can’t risk
becoming entangled with a woman who scorns her supernatural side and
claims not to play politics. The enemies on her trail are strong,
clever, and vicious. And when they force Eric and Caro together, the
fallout could shatter far more than two hearts . . .

Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Vampire Within by Laura Daleo

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The Vampire Within
by Laura Daleo
Genre: Urban Fantasy
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Brandon Cass is not your average teenager. He has a taste for blood—human
blood. For sixteen years, he stumbled through life without a
hitch until the enigmatic aroma of blood awakened something dark
within him. Visions of a beautiful young woman with chocolate brown
hair and ocean blue eyes haunt his mind, yet her identity is a
puzzling mystery.
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His hunger for blood strengthens, and the cravings become too powerful to
control. No one is safe, not even his family. To safeguard all he
once found dear, Brandon sets out on a quest for answers. In an
unfamiliar city, he comes face-to-face with the beautiful young
woman, confronts the dark force which controls him, and learns what
he must endure to reclaim his soul.
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I jumped out of bed at the very last second, took a quick shower, threw on some clothes and raced downstairs. As my mom nagged me about the time, I shoved a piece of toast in my mouth, washed it down with some OJ, then dashed out the door seconds before the school bus pulled up. As usual, my fellow classmates were taunting the new kid, Roger, and Mr. Gilbert, the bus driver, was yelling out his customary, “Knock it off!” at them. I flopped down in an empty seat at the back of the bus and let out a frustrated groan. Could my life be any more boring? I dragged my feet as I made my way into Mrs. Clark’s history class and claimed my usual seat. Whose bright idea was it to make history first period? Staying conscious while Mrs. Clark rambled on about a bunch of dead people who changed the world was near impossible. I slid farther down in my chair and was about to initiate full zone-out mode when Sam walked into class. An electric jolt zapped me upright—I could smell her. The scent quickened my pulse and sent my heartbeat skyrocketing. My mouth watered as a feverish hunger growled in the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t her perfumed skin or freshly shampooed hair. No, it was musky and unpleasant. It got under my skin, and I found it terribly distracting.

As Sam caught me staring, a proud smirk washed over her face. She tossed her golden-blonde hair over her shoulder and slid her slender body into the wooden desk in front of me, then turned around and locked eyes with me, her smug grin widening. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Her distracting aroma swiftly traveled up my nose, lighting up my brain. Shivers scurried down my spine, spinning my head…what was that smell? As Sam tugged playfully on my hair, she whispered, “I’ve been waiting forever for you to notice me, Brandon.” She paused, looking me up and down. “Meet me after class on the front steps.” I didn’t hesitate to agree. “Okay.” She winked. “I have a surprise for you.” My stomach flip flopped and my palms grew sweaty. Surprise? I had no idea what she meant, but I sure as hell was gonna find out. Sam’s smell manipulated my brain, blurring Mrs. Clark’s words together. Once, I got wasted at one of my parents’ Christmas parties. I’d chugged down every half-finished glass of beer, wine, or hard liquid abandoned on the table to the point where my head spun out of control. Sam’s scent mimicked that same effect. I wanted to gorge on it, whatever it was. The sudden ring of the school bell, announcing the end of first period, snapped me out of the muddled fog. Sam touched my shoulder and whispered, “You go first and I’ll meet you there.” I obeyed and headed straight for the front steps with my heartbeat throbbing inside my throat.

The breeze carried her fragrance. She was behind me; I knew it. My knees wobbled as I turned around. Sam was inches from me, batting her eyelashes and smiling. She giggled and seized my trembling hand. “Come with me.” She steered me toward the park and away from the vigilant eyes at the school. Within the boundaries of the trees and their interlocking branches, we sat, facing each other. “What’s my surprise?” I asked, my breath speeding up. “A kiss.” She grinned sheepishly, then planted her lips over mine. That smell of hers hammered at the inner walls of my brain. Every muscle twitched, and heat spread over my skin. I pulled away and blurted out, “What’s that smell? It’s driving me crazy!” She flinched, and her cheeks flushed bright red. “You can smell me?” “Yes.” “I…I don’t know what to say. This is so embarrassing.” She looked away from me. “I’m on my period,” she whispered. That was it—blood! Rich, dark, delicious blood! Wait, blood? Delicious? Was it? I jammed my fingertips into my temples. Her scent was screwing with my head, but I had to taste her. Cupping her face, I kissed her hard and bit her tongue. Warm, coppery blood spilled into my mouth, bringing to life a slew of delightful shivers. Her high-pitched squeal struck my eardrums, but I didn’t care. Her fluids overpowered all my senses. I swished her blood between my teeth, like mouthwash, before spitting it into the  palm of my hand. A thick, gooey, red substance coated my fingers. Its power hypnotized me and…altered me. I hungered after it. My tongue darted out of my mouth and snatched up the blood staining my skin. Upon my virgin swallow, I released the low growl swelling in my throat. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of her. Her face had turned a shade of ghastly-white, and her eyes bulged out of their sockets. She opened her mouth wide, blasting out another petrified shriek. It echoed inside my ears, yanking me back to reality. I held my hands up and backed away from her, shaking my head. “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me…I’m so sorry.” She scrambled to her feet, gave my shin a swift kick, and shouted, “Freak!” As she ran away, she threatened, “I’m going to tell everyone what you did. Everyone!” I wandered the park aimlessly with my thoughts spiraling. I bit her! Why, why, why? The blood…it made me do it! My feet stumbled to a grinding halt. Her blood coerced me; I knew it with every ounce of my being. Was that even impossible? Was I losing my mind? I had to get away from the school.

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I was born and raised in Sunny San Diego, California. A creative
writing class in junior high sparked my desire to tell stories;
however, Anne Rice was my true inspiration. Interview With The
Vampire has become one of the best-selling novels of all time, and
was the driving passion behind my desire to write my own vampire
legend. In 1996, Immortal Kiss was born and sat patiently until 2014
for its publication.

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At the present, my published works are Immortal Kiss, Bound by Blood,
The Vow, and The Vampire Within. My current project, The Soul
Collector is my first non-vampire tale. Future projects in the queue:
The Ten, The Old Ones, Vampire Amon, and The Doll.
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In 2016, I started my own publishing company, Story Bound Publishing; a
fresh voice in the supernatural realm of eBooks and traditional
print. We are committed to publishing unearthly tales of Aliens,
Demons, Fairies, Ghosts, Shifters, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches,
Zombies and all other creatures that go bump in the night. In the
vast world of publishing, we firmly believe in keeping things
personable, something all too rare in the industry today.
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Here are some fun facts about me. I love to have my Starbucks coffee when
I write. I’m obsessed with shoes. I have 3 furry kids, Stuart,
Morgan, and Dexter. And, of course, I’m a huge fan of all things
vampire.
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Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
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Blog Tour: Father Divine’s Bikes by Steve Bassett

NOIR CRIME THRILLER EXPOSES THE DARK UNDERBELLY OF

NEWARK, NJ THROUGH THE EYES OF THREE GENERATIONS IN 1945

We live in a world torn apart by urban unrest, rioting, terrorist bombings, religious fanaticism, and military coups that have turned many cities into vast wastelands. The international questions arise time and time again, “How, and why, did all of this happen?”

Offering an extensive look inside the history and urban problems — and how they began — in post-World War II Newark, New Jersey like never before, author Steve Bassett releases the first in the trilogy, Father Divine’s Bikes [BookBaby, April 2, 2018]. In this noir crime thriller, Bassett melds character, time and place into a mosaic that uncovers the plight of a city on a downward spiral immediately after the war, a time when our nation was basking in the afterglow of victory.

A gangster war, three murders, a gun-toting paperboy, and the numbers racket lay bare a dark, compelling story in a world of poverty and hopelessness from which there is little hope of escape. In the autumn of 1945, a battle rages when the city’s competing mobs end their truce. When it gets bloody, other criminal forces are ready to move in. Citywide corruption is endemic. Bookies using Father Divine’s controversial International Peace Mission Movement as a front, recruit two Catholic altar boys, Joey Bancik and Richie Maxwell, to run numbers under the guise of newspaper routes. The boys quickly realize they are players in a dangerous game, but the easy money is too good to pass up. They are now petty criminals and being hauled into juvie court is a risk they’re willing to take. Two homicide detectives track Joey to a luxury apartment, but arrive too late to prevent the inevitable. Joey’s body lay in a pool of blood on the basement floor.

Father Divine’s Bikes offers a rare study of time and place that introduces the reader to a kaleidoscopic cast of disparate characters.

“It is an uncompromising, noir view of a city in agony, sparing no person or institution,” says Bassett. “At the same time, it retains a raw, sharp-edged compassion for the marginalized people who share their souls with the reader.”

A metaphorical work exploring the in-depth urban issues that arose in 1945 Newark, Father Divine’s Bikes reveals:

  • Contrasting themes of class and privilege, poverty and wealth, despair and hope
  • The growing lack of trust that communities – large and small – have for the police and local officials
  • The handmaiden of change is fear of the unknown – it was true in 1945 Newark, and is even more true today
  • Crime is in the eye of the beholder – how this is true in every level of society
  • Overwhelming acceptance of the status quo exists in every densely populated, crime ridden, poverty stricken inner city in our country
  • And, so much more!

Purchase Link: Amazon

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Excerpt

The caravan of uniformed veterans, white-gowned sisters, and dark-suited brothers edged its way up the hill. Richie could see that for the people around him, there was no movement, no horde of disgruntled black veterans, but only one drawing card, a small, skin-headed black man in the back seat of the biggest convertible he had ever seen. There were dozens of cops spread out along the route.

The black woman beside Richie was wringing a blue and white handkerchief in her hands. Beads of sweat had formed on her face and her breasts heaved in deep, labored breaths.

“Peace! Peace! Our great Father has given us Peace!” she screamed. “I was a sinful woman, a lustful woman, until Father Divine accepted me!” She was jumping up and down. “Father, father, you’ve shown me the way!”

“It’s the Holy Way, the way to salvation, sister!” a big, Negro man in patched Levi overalls responded with roaring enthusiasm.

Then Richie thought someone had turned a radio on. Glancing at a pocket of dancers on the other side of the street, he realized it wasn’t a radio at all. Their song was contagious.

“Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative, don’t mess with Mr. In-Between. . . oh yeah, don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.”

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About the Author

Born and raised in Newark’s crime-ridden Third Ward, although far removed during a career as a multiple award-winning journalist, Steve Bassett has always been the proud sobriquet Jersey Guy. He has been legally blind for almost a decade, but this hasn’t slowed him down.

Bassett has written two nonfiction books, The Battered Rich and Golden Ghetto: How the Americans and French Fell In and Out of Love During the Cold War. Continuing with his newest fiction release, Father Divine’s Bikes, readers share in his insights that earned him three Emmys for investigative documentaries, and the California Bar Association’s Medallion Award for Distinguished Reporting on the Administration of Justice. He now resides in Placitas, New Mexico with his wife, Darlene.

For more information, please visit stevebassettworld.com.

Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Snapshots from my Uneventful Life by David I. Aboulafia

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Snapshots From My Uneventful Life
by David Aboulafia
Genre: Comedy, Autobiography
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In this hysterical, irreverent and sometimes thought-provoking
collection of essays, the author takes us on a journey through
everyday, real-life events that started out as “uneventful,” but
wound up being anything but. “Snapshots” is a book that everyone
will identify with, and that will have you holding your stomach with
laughter and scratching your head in wonder!
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SNAPSHOTS FROM MY UNEVENTFUL LIFE
“A Funny Gag, But No Laughing Matter”

POOR COCO, my one-year-old, chocolate brown, 65 pound, positively loony Standard Poodle, was about to get his balls chopped off.

Look, there’s just no delicate way to describe it, and I’m not sure whether I should tiptoe around anything or sugar coat the true nature of the event. Employing a more acceptable term such as “neuter” would not alter the graphic significance of such a procedure, at least to any human male.

While convinced of the necessity for this long ago, and despite the sage assurances of the capable veterinarians we consulted (who, I assure you, would just as quickly have recommended the de-balling of my canary or koala), I could not shake the disturbing notion that my loving pet’s very soul would be affected in some way.

Maybe he would come out of surgery like a Stepford wife, or like one of those pod people who are just like the humans they replace, except that they’re not.

That bothered me. That, and the fact I couldn’t even discuss the issue with the vet without two hands shielding my gonads. Hey, don’t wave a red flag in front of a bull, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, my wife took him to the vet that day. Before Coco left, I approached him with bowed head as if he were going to the gallows. I said I was sorry I had failed him, that I had done everything I could, but, that it would be over quickly, and he wouldn’t feel a thing.

French poodles are among the smartest dogs on the planet, and Coco is no exception. He is also a crap expert, as most dogs tend to be, and is fully able to recognize it when it is exiting the mouth of his human. He looked at me with disdain and disbelief, snarling at my disingenuousness, and I didn’t blame him a bit.

The task of retrieving my pup fell to me several hours later. This is a duty that has always caused me great pain and anguish. How it is possible that a man gets as anxious over the health of his dog as the health of his children I cannot imagine, but I do. I drove to the vet with feelings of dark anticipation and dread.

My anxiety expresses itself through my comedy, I suppose, or in the attempt, at least. I guess it’s a way of expelling bad thoughts. I entered the clinic and approached the five sweet-but-always-distracted female administrators who crowded the small area that was the front office. Separating them from the patient waiting area was a four foot high barrier, which they no doubt thought steep enough to fend off any large beast weighing more than any of those sheltered behind it.

“I’m here to pick up Coco,” I announced stoutly. “I believe that he was spayed,” I added.

On the one hand, I was quite proud of my use of complex medical terminology. On the other hand, I didn’t mind disclaiming a precise awareness of the procedure, so I would at least have culpable deniability if anyone were to think me cruel or unfeeling for having so mercilessly mutilated my pet.

“You mean neutered, I hope,” pleaded one of the oh-so-kind assistants, reminding me that the term “spay” is most often used in connection with the female of the species. She spoke with a curious narrowing of her left eye as if to assess whether I might have brought the animal in for a sex change.

“Oh, yes, I’m sorry,” I cheerfully agreed. Wishing to clarify the matter, I simply added that Coco had been brought in to get his balls chopped off, and that was the long and the short of it.

As you can imagine, this remark was received with some disapproval.
Then, I got an idea. I giggled to myself. I forced myself serious, and looked around to see if any- one was in earshot of my thoughts. Finding no one – and somewhat disappointed – I leaned forward.

“May I ask you something?” I inquired of the wholly efficient two-kids-three-cats-mom assistant in front of me.

“Of course,” she replied.

“Can I keep them?” I asked.

Everyone in the office area stopped what they were doing and looked up.
“Excuse me?” she asked.

Timing was everything, and I knew it. I floated a pregnant pause and replied.

“Can I keep them?” I repeated.

“You want to keep them?” she asked.

“Yes…well, actually, it’s my wife who wants them.”

“Your wife?”

Everyone was at full attention now, and I had achieved what I had set out to; namely, to make a complete spectacle of myself.

“Yes,” I replied. “She wants to keep them in a jar on the mantle.”

“In a jar?” she asked with some astonishment.

“Yes,” I repeated.

“On the mantle?” she asked.

“Yes….” I replied, and quite eagerly, now. I was ready for my close-up, baby; ready to deliver the punch line.

“She wants to display them right next to mine,” I added happily.

Well, I thought it was funny. Most of my audience laughed, getting the gag.

But, in relief, I am sure.

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More Snapshots? From My Uneventful Life
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More Snapshots is the cheeky sibling of its predecessor Snapshots From My
Uneventful Life. Chatty, hilarious and often poignant, David I.
Aboulafia takes us on a journey through every day, real-life events
that start out as uneventful, but that wind up being anything but…

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Continue reading

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Hunter Moon by Bella James

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Hunger Moon
by Bella James
Genre: YA Psychological Thriller
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I am made of a thousand ghosts, and only you can shoot me down.”
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The sequel to Bella James’ The Girl Who Cried Wolf, invites you to
return to the story of Anna Winters, a young woman facing a
portentous struggle through depression, disordered eating and
dependency.
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Terrified of emanating her violent father, Anna turns her back on all that has
become most precious to her. She journeys the deep labyrinth of her
soul, relentlessly shadowed by a black wolf. He is her deepest fears,
the darkness within her, and the only one who can set her free.
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Anna returns to her past and makes sense of the nightmare she created, to
recognise of darkness and light, there is beauty in both. As she
refuses to relinquish her power to addiction, a frightened girl
begins to create new pathways, from being a lost and defenceless
teenager to discovering the strength that lies within womanhood.
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A young heart can be broken, a fractured soul can be mended… But can
you ever be ready for the fight of your life?
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Twenty-one years ago, I almost came into this world.

Before my life had begun, a cruel act of hatred stole me from the warmth of my mother’s womb, into the realm in which I now reside.

She would have called me Adora, and I was supposed to be her gift.

An elder sister to Anna and little Isabel.

My existence was to be miscarried.

A violent blow from a violent father. The very one who created my life inside my mother. Remember Me roses in a pretty garden mark the life that was taken from me.

I could not reach them, especially Anna with her fearful heart and destructive ways. But she is I, and I am she. I was meant to protect her from our father, until the chance to guard her was ruthlessly snatched.

So, I adopted the form of a powerful white wolf, and I watched her from afar. I waited for her to come to me so I could guide her through the pain and fear.

Sadly, my beautiful light creates an inevitable dark shadow, the black wolf that resides within each of us. His shadow is my anger at being taken with violence from their world, from the family I was supposed to be part of.

And he follows me everywhere.

Until I learn to make peace with the dark wolf, he will persistently pursue, and as Anna’s guardian in the afterlife, my constant nemesis will determinedly shadow her also.

Anna thinks it is I who chases her through her blackest dreams, but the truth is, it is she who chases me.

She searches for her spirit-sister. The one who was supposed to save her.

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The Girl Who Cried Wolf
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A growing up story with a difference, and a startling debut, The Girl
Who Cried Wolf shows the tumultuous transition from teenager to young
woman and is a story about believing in something, whether love,
faith or simply yourself.
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Anna Winters is beautiful, reckless and entirely self-absorbed. She spends
more time thinking up reasons to call in sick to school than she does
studying for her A levels. She shies away from her family, from
responsibility – from anything in fact that doesn’t involve peach
cider and endless parties with her friend Jules.
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Anna assumes that her headaches are an inconvenient symptom of her wild
lifestyle, until a doctor tells her that she has cancer…
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As a terrifying black cloud descends upon her, Anna finds solace in
Michael, another patient in the oncology ward. Michael shows Anna a
chink of light in the darkness and sees beauty behind her illness and
loves her sassy wit. He makes Anna forget she is ill.
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Michael recovers; but Anna’s prospects worsen. And in emergency surgery, as
she hovers between life and death, she is given a stark glimpse of
why her life is so broken, and as she realises the simple fulfillment
of being truly content, fears it may now be too late…
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Bella James is the author of The Girl Who Cried Wolf, and the sequel Hunger
Moon.
She writes gritty and intense YA novels that pull no punches in the
trials of transitioning from child to adulthood.
Bella worked for many years with young people who were facing exclusion
from mainstream schools, and is a passionate crusader in dispelling
the challenges we face all our lives -trying to fit into a world that
doesn’t always accept us for who we want to be.
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Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
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Blog Tour: Game Show by Allie Cresswell

 

It is 1992, and in a Bosnian town a small family cowers in their basement. The Serbian militia is coming – an assorted rabble of malcontents given authority by a uniform and inflamed by the idea that they’re owed something, big-time, and the Bosnians are going to pay. When they get to the town they will ransack the houses, round up the men and rape the women. Who’s to stop them? Who’s to accuse them? Who will be left, to tell the tale?

Meanwhile, in a nondescript northern UK town a group of contestants make their way to the TV studios to take part in a radical new Game Show. There’s money to be won, and fun to be had. They’ll be able to throw off their inhibitions and do what they want because they’ll all be in disguise and no-one will ever know.

In a disturbing denouement, war and game meld into each other as action and consequence are divided, the words ‘blame’ and ‘fault’ have no meaning and impunity reigns .

Game Show asks whether the situation which fostered the Bosnian war, the genocide in Rwanda, the rise of so-called Islamic State in Syria and the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar could ever happen in the West. The answer will shock you.

Purchase from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

 

Excerpt

 

Game Show represents escape and freedom for the participants, a chance to throw off inhibitions and leave all their insecurities and hang-ups at the door. They all make special preparations for the show.

In this extract, Barry, an ordinary man with a humdrum job and a failed relationship behind him, gets ready to face the wild and taxing challenges of Game Show.

He had planned his Game Show preparations through weeks of lonely eventless evenings. He had sensed, somehow, even then, it was important to set the scene, to manufacture a reality into which he could enter and conquer. All inhibitions, all restrictions could be left behind. He would be a new person, a character created and groomed for this night. His whole self would emerge like a butterfly from a chrysalis; he would flutter towards the sun leaving the outer shell shrivelled and useless – he would not have need of it again. The whole thing had taken on, in Barry’s mind, a flavour of ritual. It was to be a ceremony, quite formal, with quasi-religious symbolism on an epic scale, of decay and regeneration, death and rebirth.

First, as the opening stage in his ceremonial purification, he ran a bath, stopping en route to insert a CD into the machine. This choral accompaniment to his rite was to be a medley of the New Romantics of the Eighties; the nearest Barry could come to the swashbuckling days of chivalry when men were men, with courage and style. He turned the volume up just a little louder than he would normally allow himself, so he could hear it in the bathroom; this was his rebellion; an act of repentance from the old ways of cringing consideration.  He made the bath much deeper than he would normally have done, with a good squirt of ‘Vlad’, the masculine bubble bath Auntie Evie had sent him at Christmas; a foretaste of extravagance and dissipation, but, curiously, a sense, too, of cleansing and anointing the flesh. He soaped himself liberally under his arms and around his genitals, and decided to risk shampooing his hair, intoning the solemn incantations of Duran Duran; ‘The wild boys are calling on their way back from the fire…’ quite without regard for the lady upstairs who would be watching Neighbours. Later, enrobed in his towel, his skin steaming and glowing, he prepared a light microwave meal to fortify him for the night ahead, checking the ingredients on the pack, (it wouldn’t do to contaminate the sacrificial body at this stage). He set the table carefully, cutlery and cruet on a white cloth; the utensils of the sacraments on an altar. Then he opened another beer. This time he deliberately turned his back on the tumbler perched on the draining board, and drank from the neck of the bottle, putting to the back of his mind how unhygienic this was with an irresponsible determination quite alien to him. He consumed the burnt offering with a gravity suitable to the occasion; it didn’t take long, the portion was minuscule. Finally, having washed and dried the crockery, the warm food and the beer making a comfortable glow in the pit of his stomach, Barry went through to the bedroom to assume his disguise.

The tailor had done his work well. The trousers fell in a flattering line to his heel, the fine threads of silver glinting bewitchingly in the electric light. They were comfortable around the waist and roomy around the seat, perfect for the physical demands of Game Show.  Barry experimented with a few dance steps across the bedroom floor, conservative at first and then with increased vigour and exaggerated pelvic gyrations. With more daring, he fell to his knees once or twice, lunged and grappled the end of the duvet, rugby tackled the legs of the bedroom chair and finally did a commando-roll out of the bedroom and into the hall, knocking over the wrought-iron jardinière with the dead spider plant whose crisp leaves disintegrated into ash on the carpet.  The trousers survived this punishment with equanimity. Barry buttoned up the white sheeny shirt he had bought at, for him, unusually large expense, and shrugged on the jacket.

He scrutinised himself carefully in the mirror. Something was wrong. His hair had dried back into the attractive new style, he had shaved without cutting himself, his shoes were clean.  He undid two or three of the shirt buttons and tried a nonchalant slouch with one hand in his pocket.  Yes, better, but still something… Something to do with his face. He peered intently at his image. He just looked too worried. With a massive effort he relaxed his face muscles and tried for an expression of strength and confidence. He was nearly there. Then, with a flash of inspiration, he removed his glasses. Yes. There. He sighed with a mixture of heavy satisfaction and released tension. The ceremony was concluded, the transformation complete. Gone was the redundant delivery driver; the inadequate lover had fled. The grey and insubstantial figure that had lived in Barry’s shoes and occupied this flat and gone through the motions of his life was transfigured and there was no limit, in Barry’s perception of the significance of this change, to what could now be achieved.

For the person in the mirror was not Barry. Barry had been reduced to a shadow, shrinking and insubstantial and the man in the mirror took no notice of him. This was a new creation. Tall, imposing, confident. The figure stood motionless and stared with composed detachment out at the Laura Ashley bedroom. The frilled duvet, the sticky trousers in the corner were nothing to him. They were foreign to his existence. He didn’t belong there. What had he to do with microwave shepherd’s pies or jars of pickled gherkins or delivery driving or any of the futile, mundane ingredients that made up Barry’s life? They were alien and irrelevant to this man, who lived on a higher plane, in a different dimension. This man had potential; this man had a destiny.

Slowly, deliberately, the man beyond the mirror collected his wallet and keys from their reflection on the other side of the dressing table, slipping them into his inner jacket pockets. Then, without a backward glance, he strode from the room, switching off the light as he went.  As the door of the flat closed behind him, the wisp of shadow, all that remained of its previous occupant, dispersed and was gone.

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About Allie Cresswell

I have been writing stories since I could hold a pencil and by the time I was in Junior School I was writing copiously and sometimes almost legibly.

​I did, however, manage a BA in English and Drama from Birmingham University and an MA in English from Queen Mary College, London. Marriage and motherhood put my writing career on hold for some years until 1992 when I began work on Game Show.

​In the meantime I worked as a production manager for an educational publishing company, an educational resources copywriter, a bookkeeper for a small printing firm, and was the landlady of a country pub in Yorkshire, a small guest house in Cheshire and the proprietor of a group of boutique holiday cottages in Cumbria. Most recently I taught English Literature to Lifelong learners.

Nowadays I write as full time as three grandchildren, a husband, two Cockapoos and a large garden will permit.
Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/alliescribbler/

Website  – www.allie-cresswell.com

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh by Carolyn Arnold

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The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh (Matthew Connor Adventure series Book 2) by [Arnold, Carolyn]

Mystery lovers will need to hold on to their hats for this follow-up to City of Gold, which reviewers described as “a fast-paced action adventure” that is “akin to an Indiana Jones story set in modern times.” Now, the second in the series promises to bring much of the same excitement! Join archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor and his friends as they go after the Emerald Tablets to save the world in The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh.

In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.

Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whomever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.

o when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.

The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.

Available to buy from the following sites…

Amazon.com * Amazon Intl * Barnes & Noble * Apple iBooks * GPlay  * Kobo

 

Read my review here!

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Action-adventure books for the mystery lover.
Does treasure hunting excite you?
What about the thought of traveling the globe and exploring remote regions to uncover legends that the world has all but forgotten? If so, strap yourself in for an adventure with modern-day archaeologist Matthew Connor and his two closest friends. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.


This is the perfect book series for fans of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, National Treasure, and The Relic Hunter.



Book Excerpt



Also available in Matthew Connor Adventure Series

Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.

City of Gold, Matthew Connor Adventure Series Book 1

Finding the Inca’s lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death…

Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.

Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind can refuse–the City of Gold.

Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.

Available to buy from …

Amazon.com * Amazon.co.uk * Barnes & Noble * Apple iBooks * GPlay * Kobo

 

Check out my review here!

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About the author

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre persity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

Find the author on the following sites…
Newsletter Website Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Goodreads Amazon Author Page

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Banished Lands by Benjamin Mester

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The Banished Lands
The Banished Lands Book 1
by Benjamin Mester
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy Romance
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A kingdom in danger. A prophecy that will change everything. But will
they understand it in time? The old world is gone, and barely even
histories remain. But something from that time is returning. The
closing lines of a farewell poem, written centuries ago by the last
great king of the age to his slain wife, might be more than just a poem:
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The world and all its light shall fade,
I’ll stay with her beneath the shade
And wait until the world’s remade…
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Join us in this epic fantasy adventure as three friends plunge into the
great mystery of their age, twelve centuries in the making. A
mysterious fog blankets the forest just outside the sleepy town of
Suriya. A dark plot unfolds as Durian and his friends discover ties
between a strange wanderer and the warlike barbarian kingdom far to
the north. Are the mysterious things happening in the forest a
prelude to invasion? What happens next will propel Durian and his
curious friends into the middle of the oldest riddle in the history
of their kingdom, a dozen centuries old.
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This book is safe for kids of all ages. If you’re looking for something
that’s written in the traditional style of Lord of the Rings but set
at a faster pace, then this book is for you. The Banished Lands
introduces you to a brand new world of mystery and intrigue.
Combining elements of fantasy romance, coming of age, and the epic
struggle of good versus evil, The Banished Lands series will deliver
on your expectations. Join us in this fantasy adventure quest in
which three ordinary friends find themselves in the middle of
extraordinary circumstances.
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Durian felt a swell of pride. Though life had taken a hard turn, he had met its course in stride. But what would he find in Thob Forest? An intense feeling of mystery filled him. The townsfolk had spoken of much concerning Thob Forest these past months – of beasts and ghosts, and old things long forgotten.

Durian returned to his main room, to his chair in front of the fire, laying the axe down beside him. As he sat, Durian took a moment to drink in the night – the firelight dancing and casting deep shadows on the recesses of his home. And something rarely felt these past years began to rise in his heart: a longing to live his life to the full and find his true purpose – to do heroic deeds and make his life matter.

He opened his book and began flipping slowly through, perusing stories of the lost House of Cavanah, who according to legend disappeared at the end of the Great War, twelve centuries ago. Suriya belonged to one of the two remaining Houses, the House Forthura, which occupied the southern peninsula of the continent. To the north were the scattered tribes of the Horctura, the barbarians. And to the northwest, over a thousand leagues away was the House of Kester.

Durian turned the pages until coming to the story of the last great king of Cavanah, who reigned until the time of the Great War that ended the Prosperous Age. King Euthor was one of the Builders – those who could mold stone as though clay in their hands, and create new forms of stone with stronger properties – even magical ones. He had wrought great works in the latter days of the Prosperous Age, but had tragically lost his wife, Sheyla, just before the last battle that changed their world, over twelve centuries ago. After her death, he disappeared along with the rest of the House of Cavanah, never to be seen again.

Durian recalled the dream he had had this morning and slowly read the poem before him:

 

Dismissing hours as they pass

Soft upon the windswept grass.

The hopes of men have come to naught.

Nothing fair for eyes or thought.

 

For Sheyla lies on golden plain,

Of Cavanah, the fairest slain;

Who met her last and final day

When all was brought to disarray.

 

Of gladful things now nevermore –

Now bitter wind, now salty shore.

The peaceful world bound to unrest

And darkness looming in the west.

 

The world and all its light shall fade.

I’ll stay with her beneath the shade

And wait until the world’s remade…

 

Durian closed the book and laid it down for the night. But something suddenly tugged on the strings of memory and he took the book back up again, not quite sure what he was looking for. But the pages came to rest on a picture he had forgotten about until just now – a simple sketch of a cloaked and featureless figure standing atop a windswept hill. Nothing of his face could be seen, like an other-worldly specter. In his hand was an ornately decorated walking stick with an iron cap, and behind him, dark storm clouds were gathering. Below the picture was a single description: Windbearer.

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The Banished Lands: Alliances
The Banished Lands Book 2
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Volume two to the epic Banished Lands saga. Join the continuing adventure as
Durian and Pallin make the long trek toward the Banished Lands as
Sheabor and the others unveil a startling plan for the survival of
the Eastern Realm. But mysterious forces working in the shadows
threaten to unravel everything they’ve accomplished.
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Volume two of The Banished Lands has a lot more Fantasy Romance. I believe
in writing fantasy books for kids, young adult and adults alike. This
book would be rated PG-PG13. This book combines the best of high
fantasy, fantasy romance, and coming of age.
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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Inevitable by Sariah Skye

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Inevitable
The Curse of Avalon Book 2
by Sariah Skye
Genre: Paranormal RH Romance
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A few short weeks ago, I knew exactly who I was: Ava Dawson, a woman
with a surprising magical ability, a daughter, a friend, and
invisible to men.
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Now?
Everything has changed. The only family I’ve ever known? Betrayed
me. My best friend lives clear across the city, and I seem to have
the favor of four gorgeous, reluctant incubi. That complicates things
a bit.
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Also, I have this powerful magic coursing through my veins: the power of
the mythical isle of Avalon. It’s real, I promise—I feel it every
day. If I don’t learn how to control it, I might just end up
hurting the people closest to me. Mathias, Trystan, Bash, and Xander
are the new sworn protectors of Avalon—me. They’re powerful, but
this magic? Might be more so.
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I’m resisting the magic and trying to figure out who I am again.
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Losing my control? It’s probable. Losing my heart, split among four gorgeous
men? Yeah, I’m sure it’s only inevitable
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(this is a slower-burn paranormal/ reverse harem romance, like the first
book in the series. Due to language and adult content, the entire
series is recommended for adults 18+)
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Invisible
The Curse of Avalon Book 1
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My name is Ava Dawson. Ever since I was young, I have had this strange
“gift” of invisibility. I can’t explain it, nor can I always
control it. It affects my work, my personal life, dating—all but my
mother and best friend seem to be affected. No matter what I do, I
seem to always be forgotten.
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Until I meet these gorgeous guys during a girls’ night out, and there’s
something strangely alluring about them. An ancient curse brings us
together, while a group of supernatural “Collectors” is
threatening to tear us apart. They’re targeting people with special
abilities like mine, and all four men have taken it upon themselves
to protect me. But with their complicated pasts, I can’t help but
feel protective of them, too. I’m trying not to get in over my
head, with these men, and the magic.
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But I have to admit, It’s nice to be seen after years of being
invisible.
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*Author’s Note: this book is ‘reverse harem;’ meaning, one woman, multiple love
interests. This series is meant for readers 18+ only
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Sariah Skye physically resides in southern Minnesota with her husband, two
kids and a dog (so really…3 children) but mentally her head is in
the clouds dreaming of anything that doesn’t require adulting.

 

When not writing she’s probably geeking out watching Star Trek, playing
World of Warcraft, reading yet another fantasy book or staying up way
too late. She’d love it if you dropped her a line at Facebook or
Twitter but be prepared…she’s a nictofiliac so be patient for a
response while her eyes adjust to the light of day and beware of
sarcasm. It helps to throw her chocolate or glitter first before
engaging. Wine is also acceptable…but not to throw. Hand it over
gently.
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Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Lying, Cheating, and Occasionally Murder by Ginny Fite

On Tour April 16 – May 18, 2018

 

Lying, Cheating, and Occasionally Murder by Ginny Fite

Genre: Fiction-Murder Mystery
Published by: Black Opal Books
Publication Date: February 10th 2018
Number of Pages: 270
ISBN: 9781626948 (ISBN13: 9781626948648)
Series: Sam Lagarde Mystery Series, Book 3 (Each is a Stand Alone Novel)
Purchase Links: Amazon ? | Barnes & Noble ? | Kobo ? | Goodreads ?

 

 

When it comes to murder, even brilliant scientists aren’t immune.

The night Harold Munson is shot dead in his car, the primary suspect is the man’s brainiac wife. But Charlotte, who has a passion for science and sex with strangers, swears all she wants is a Nobel Prize for curing brain cancer, even if that requires fudging her research and a few dead patients along the way.

When the next body drops, all signs point to Charlotte, but Detective Sam Lagarde doggedly follows the clues until he has his own Eureka moment.

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Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

March 30, 2016, 6 a.m.:

At two in the morning on a perfectly clear night, the full moon casting a beacon across western fields and along two satin rivers unfurling between dark mountains, Harold Munson ended his perfect day by crashing right through the clapboard siding of the Weigle Insurance Company office building.

Munson’s front bumper nudged the insurance agent’s desk into the printer, which interpreted the jolt as an instruction to print and began beeping its out-of-paper alarm. Dave Weigle, broker and owner of the company—awakened by a newly downloaded intruder alert app on his cell phone—threw on sweat pants and a jacket, padded out to his car in slippers, and arrived first on the scene.

He peeked through the window of the car in his parking lot and saw a man slumped over the driver’s side air bag, but Weigle was too preoccupied with the damage to his building to look closely. Unlocking his unscathed office door, he first examined the gaping hole caused by the front of a car ripping through the side of his building, turned off the annoying printer beeping, looked around at the mess, and called the police, just in case the new automated security system hadn’t notified them.

Then he took photographs on his cell phone. He had insurance. He might as well use it. If nothing else, he could prove to his wife he really had gone to the office in the middle of the night.

Munson had been going northwest toward Martinsburg, based on swerve marks made by his tires on the two-lane Charles Town Road, when his car rammed into the insurance building opposite the Kearneysville Post Office five miles west of Shepherdstown.

When Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies arrived ten minutes after Weigle, they bolted out of their vehicles thinking Harold was dead drunk, slumped over the airbag like that, not moving and unresponsive to their increasingly loud, shouted commands: “Hands where I can see ’em. Step out of the car. Get out of the car now.”

Sheriff Harbaugh was sure he saw Munson blink as officers approached the closed window of the driver’s side door, guns drawn, yelling at him to surrender. They attempted to wrench open the door to pull him out of the car and discovered it was locked. Then, in quick succession, they noticed a smear of blood and brains on the passenger seat and dashboard and two small holes in the driver’s side window surrounded by rings of spider-webbed glass.

Drunk or not, Harold had been shot through the head. That might have been the cause of his leaving the road and plowing into the building. Whether he hit the building first or the bullet smashing through his brain had caused him to veer off the road would be determined by further investigation. At that point, the deputies called in the West Virginia State Police with its forensics apparatus and crime lab personnel.

After his initial reconnoiter of the Munson crime scene, a conversation with Weigle, whose cell phone alert app had recorded the moment of impact and whose photos of the scene might prove useful, Detective Sam Lagarde, assigned to the State Police Troop 2 Command, based outside Charles Town, reminded himself he was only a short trip on winding, narrow roads up and down a few hills from his eighteenth-century farmhouse. He decided to go home and let his horses out of the barn before he went back to the office to file his initial paperwork. When he got to his house, coffee was already brewing.

Lagarde stopped describing his new case and looked down into the mug of coffee Beverly Wilson put on the kitchen table in front of him. It was the right color. He took a sip. It had the right amount of sugar. He took two gulps. It was the right temperature. He felt like Goldilocks. He still wasn’t accustomed to having someone take care of him, or even give two hoots about how he liked his coffee. He marveled at his good luck. It was six in the morning, and Beverly was a tea drinker. He took a moment to savor this extraordinary gift. In a month or two, he knew, he would take it for granted.

He looked up at Beverly, then out beyond the kitchen door, which he’d left open to let in the bracing spring air, and glanced toward the barn. It was too much to ask.

“Yes, Sam.” Beverly made a face at him and then smiled and put a hand on Lagarde’s shoulder. “I let the horses out and made sure they have water and a few leaves of hay. They’re set for a while, unless you want to ride, in which case you’re the one who’ll have to catch Jake.”

That was all it took, the mild pressure of her warm palm on his shoulder for him to feel completely calm and that the world was in order. The whole thing—Beverly Wilson, in his house, sleeping in his bed, making slight snoring noises that forced him to acknowledge her presence was real—was a marvel to him.

Here she was talking to him as if it was the most normal thing in the world for them to be living together. How had this happened? He didn’t feel entitled to such a miracle. After love, women were the second most indecipherable mystery he had never solved. But then, neither had anyone else.

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Excerpt from Lying, Cheating, and Occasionally Murder by Ginny Fite. Copyright © 2018 by Ginny Fite. Reproduced with permission from Ginny Fite. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Ginny Fite

Ginny Fite is an award-winning journalist who has covered crime, politics, government, healthcare, art, and all things human. She has been a spokesperson for a governor, a member of congress, a few colleges and universities, and a robotics R&D company. She has degrees from Rutgers University and Johns Hopkins University and studied at the School for Women Healers and the Maryland Poetry Therapy Institute. She is the author of I Should Be Dead by Now, a collection of humorous lamentations about aging; three books of poetry, The Last Thousand Years, The Pearl Fisher, and Throwing Caution; a short story collection, What Goes Around; as well as two previous Detective Sam Lagarde mysteries: Cromwell’s Folly and No Good Deed Left Undone. She resides in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

Catch Up With Ginny Fite On:
Website ?, Goodreads ?, Twitter ?, & Facebook ?!

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Tour Participants:

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

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ginny Fite. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 16, 2018 and runs through May 20, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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