Blog Tour: Review of The Freedman and the Pharoah’s Staff & Giveaway

NBtM Review The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff Banner copy

The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff by Lane Heymont

Freedman and Pharaoh's Staff

Book Description halfsize

Jeb, a former slave, rescues his brother-in-law Crispus from the Ku Klux Klan, only to be drawn into a world of Creole Voodoo, racism, time travel, and redemption.

Verdiss, the leader of the Ku Klux Klan has gained possession of the Pharaoh’s Staff, a magical artifact from ancient Egypt and concocted a diabolical plan far more insidious than himself.

In the end, Jeb and Crispus must stop an entire people from eradication and each find redemption for their own past sins.

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Sunday Series Spotlight: Titanium Security Series by Kaylea Cross

Kaylea Cross is one of my favorite military romantic suspense authors and she has recently released Extinguished, the fourth book in her exciting  Titanium Security series, which I have been following this year.    If you are a fan of this genre but haven’t yet read any of Cross’s work, this is a good series to check out and one I highly recommend!

Although I’ve only read the first two books in this series, I have been very impressed!  Ignited and Singed are both sexy page-turners with a fantastic blend of sizzling romance and heart-pounding action that will keep you riveted until the very end and eager for more.

Ignited ( #1)

Ignited Book Cover

Published 2013

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17911638-ignited?from_search=true

Purchase from Amazon: Ignited (Titanium Security Series)

When her father is murdered by a Taliban cell in the tribal regions of Pakistan, Khalia Patterson reluctantly steps into his shoes to carry on the legacy of Fair Start Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to furthering the education of girls. There she meets Hunter Phillips, the ex-SEAL and head of her Titanium security team, and quickly learns that coming to Pakistan might prove to be a deadly decision. 

Battling demons of his own, Hunter grudgingly leads Khalia’s protective detail as a favor to his boss. From their first meeting it’s clear she’s going to be trouble, and that the cell that killed her father is hell bent on taking her out as well. Keeping her alive is one of the toughest assignments he’s ever faced, yet through one harrowing situation after another she continually impresses him with her strength and inner courage. Even though he fights his feelings for her, it’s a losing battle. And when the job is over, he doesn’t know how he’ll let her go.

Ignited shows Kaylea Cross at her best. She has created an engaging storyline  that grabs you right from the start with an intense, adrenaline-pumping opening that I literally could not put down. Both Hunter and Khalia are great, realistic protagonists grounded in their dedication to their joint mission.  I appreciate Cross’s attention to detail, and really developing the emotions and thoughts of the characters to bring them life.  Cross provides the POVs of not only Hunter and Khalia but also to the antagonists so you understand their motivation and fears regarding their involvement in this complex plot as it continues to unfold.  Each rising crisis gets more intense as the danger escalates and the outcome isn’t always pretty or safe.  This was an absorbing and deliciously thrilling read!

Source for book: I purchased a copy of this book for my personal library.

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Blog Tour for Replacing Gentry: Author Guest Post & Giveaway

Ooh, this book has caught my attention, and the excerpt is intense! I hope to have a chance to read this book in the near future.

Good luck in entering the giveaway!

Replacing Gentry Banner 450 x 169

Replacing Gentry by Julie N. Ford

Replacing Gentry Book Cover

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Suspense

 Publisher: WiDo Publishing

 Date of Publication: April 2013 

ISBN: 1937178315 

Number of pages: 286

Word Count: 88,000

Cover Artist: Steve Novak

 Purchase on Amazon:  Replacing Gentry / BN

Book Description halfsize

When Marlie agrees to attend a cadaver ball at Vanderbilt Medical School, she did not expect to actually see any cadavers. Or, that a strange apparition would issue her a chilling message.

Despite the cadaver’s warning, Marlie is married a year later to Tennessee State Senator, Daniel Cannon, and living in a plantation-style mansion with two step-sons. Add to the mix her growing suspicion that something is amiss with the death of Daniel’s first wife, Gentry, and newlywed Marlie is definitely in over her pretty Yankee head.

What begins as an innocent inquiry into her new husband’s clouded past ends with Marlie in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy.

A modern twist on the classic Gothic romance novels of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, Replacing Gentry follows Marlie’s precarious journey as she learns the truth about the man she married.

excerpt 50 percent

The loud clank of the door fastening shut behind me gave me a start. My steps skidded to a stop in the sudden darkness, and I pulled a breath deep into my chest. The air was heavy like icy needles probing my throat. I rubbed the chill bumps on my arms with the heat of my moist palms.

Where am I?

Squinting against the hazy glow of a single bulb, I scanned one way, then the other, unable to determine the end of the passageway in either direction. From the other side of the door, the steady drumming of the bass from the Cadaver Ball sounded miles away. The perceived distance was a welcome relief. I needed some time to think, to center, and to get a grip. What had just happened between Daniel and me? One minute he’d been leading me around the dance floor, the next I’d lost track of how many dances we’d shared and found myself kissing him. Sure, I’d considered the possibility, but fantasizing about kissing a total stranger and actually going through with it were two very different things. I’d only known one man before who’d been able to draw me in so quickly.

Finn.

I’d also met Finn at a ritzy Nashville party I had attended with my best friend Anna-Beth. Only that had been years ago, back when she and I were still in college. Like Daniel, Finn had been handsome and wealthy. My time with him had ended in heartbreak and loss. Tonight, being back in Nashville, it was like I could feel him all around me—a cagey presence deft at staying just beyond my line of sight. And then I’d met Daniel.

Paul leaned forward to rest his elbows on the table. “Next question.” His eyes took a discerning turn around our fellow dinner guests as if he were about to say something profound. “Do you believe in love at first sight? And if so, if you met the man of your dreams and he asked you to marry him right then and there, would you say yes?”

As had been the case the entire night, my thoughts rushed to Finn, how I’d fallen for him the first time we’d met. And how two weeks later I had boarded a plane to Vegas where I’d become his wife.

Obviously, my true answer would be yes.
“I’d like to send the dilemma to the social worker,” Paul’s voice sailed across the table, bringing everyone’s focus to me.
“Marlie is a therapist for the California Department of Corrections,”

Anna-Beth corrected.
Her reproach was polite, as always, with a touch of perkiness. She slanted another salacious look to the dark-haired, fair-eyed plastic surgery intern she’d introduced earlier as Steven. A far cry from the teary-eyed socialite who had picked me up at the airport the day before after insisting twenty-four hours earlier that she couldn’t possibly go on living without the support of her “dearest friend.” Yesterday she’d been practically suicidal after the loss of her latest “future hus- band.” Tonight she’d evidently discovered that there was at least one more potential spouse left to explore.

“Psychiatric social worker,” I clarified. “And, my training and experience has taught me that a man willing to jump quickly into marriage is more than likely hiding some unfortunate character flaw, something he’s afraid he can’t keep hidden for long,” I answered, feigning a professional confidence.

I was looking into the black hole of my thirty-first birthday, doubting with every day that slithered by I’d ever again meet a man I could pledge my heart to. Besides, what woman, over thirty or otherwise, doesn’t secretly fantasize about a chance meeting with the man of her dreams?

Paul considered my answer with a shrewd stare. “I don’t believe you. I think you, like all women, would jump at the chance to be married,” he said, his drawl stained with a hint of headiness.

Despite the fact he was clearly wearing a platinum band on his left ring finger, Paul had been ogling me all evening, and I could sense a growing affinity. But I was one hundred percent sure I wanted no part of it. I inwardly groaned. This impromptu game of Scruples was get- ting on my last nerve. It ticked me off that Paul had accurately called my bluff, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of yielding to the fact.

I fixed him with a cold stare. “I’m wondering why you bothered to ask me the question when you’d already made up your mind as to my answer?”

Paul’s smirk, downright creepy now, tugged at his lips again. “Fair enough,” he conceded. “Your boss congratulates you for a brilliant suggestion and hints at a promotion. One of your subordinates gave you the idea. Do you mention this to your boss?”

Clearing my throat, I offered up an answer. “Of course I would give my subordinate his or her due credit.”

Paul leaned forward. “Even if it meant you’d get passed up for the promotion?”

I squared my shoulders. “How could I feel good about a promotion I hadn’t earned?”

Shaking his head, Paul grunted out a snort. “I’m sorry, Marlie, but no one subscribes to such outdated, bogus ideals of integrity anymore.” He sent his gaze around the table for confirmation. “I say she’s bluffing.”

I rolled my eyes in return. “So, outdated stereotypes regarding women are perfectly alive and well but showing a little integrity … that’s old fashioned?” I retorted, though an announcement had every- one shifting toward the front.

From the stage, the emcee was lamenting about a doctor—Dr. Peter Daschle—a pioneer in the field of reconstructive plastic surgery who’d been strides ahead of his time when he’d met with tragic death and how his expertise would be sorely missed … Then, after a minute of silence, the emcee introduced the band and invited everyone to the dance floor. The buzz of attendees taking one last drink, or bite of dessert, before pushing back their chairs was quickly overpowered by the band’s version of Hip to My Heart as everyone paired up and filed out to the dance floor.

Glancing across the table, I could see Paul fighting the flow of bodies, cutting a path straight for me. A look of cool, self-assuredness seemed to be driving him against the fray. My gaze flitted quickly around the room as I considered my options. I had two choices: run for the safety of the service exit and spend the rest of the night hiding, or turn, face him, and let him know exactly what I thought of his presumptions. Given that I had a general dislike for cowardice, option number two was my obvious choice.

I’d just started in his direction when I heard a voice asking, “Would you like to dance?”

“No, not right now,” I said through tight lips. “I’ve got something I need to take care of first.”

The voice came back along with the light touch of fingertips on my elbow. “I think what you’re fixin’ to do can, and should, wait for a more appropriate settin’.”

I hesitated. It wasn’t like I was planning to make a scene, and who was this man that thought he knew what I had in my mind to do? Whirling around, I shot a bothered stare into the face behind the voice.

Gazing down at me, the hint of a smile on his lips, was a man Anna- Beth had introduced as her cousin, Daniel something-or-other. In his early forties, he had thick dark hair tapered neatly around his neck and ears but longer on the top and combed back. His nose was slightly crooked, his chin distinctive. A trace of gray at the temples gave him the look of striking maturity, a man accustomed to the finer things in life.

His dark blue eyes conveyed a subtle insistence as he stepped to the side and motioned to the dance floor. “After you,” he said with all the graciousness of a Southern-born gentleman.

Swallowing back a portion of my resolve, I found myself at a sud- den loss for words. Unnerving since I rarely, if ever, found myself with nothing whatsoever to say. After a final glance back at Paul—I would deal with him later—I adjusted my course and headed for the dance floor. Daniel pulled me in close and proceeded to lead in a smooth cowboy cha-cha. After a few silent turns around the parquet floor, I glanced up to see that his eyes, dark blue like a moonless night, were searching mine as if looking for a truth that eluded him.

“Back at the table … your answers, were they sincere, or were you playin’ devil’s advocate?”

My head spun under the heat of his gaze. At the moment I couldn’t recall each and every response, there had been so many, but thinking back, I was fairly certain I’d meant them all.

“As hard as it may be to believe, they were all my true opinions.” Pulling me closer still, his mouth was just a kiss away as he whispered,

“Just so you know, I don’t think integrity is outdated.”

Why am I so inanely attracted to all the things I’m not? I mused as I began to pace the tight circle of light that fanned out into the darkness. Even more puzzling, why had Daniel been attracted to me? I wasn’t particularly tall, and while my face and figure were not unfortunate, I tended to blend easily into a crowd. But then, he had said that I reminded him of a slightly older Emma Stone, which I modestly denied, while secretly I’d kind of thought so too.

And then there was always the possibility that because I was from out of town he’d considered me an easy mark for a torrid one-night- stand. Except from what I could see, he seemed to be a perfect gentle- man—not at all the womanizing type. I stopped pacing and started chewing my thumbnail while the toe of my sandal tapped the floor.

Why was I so cold?

I should go back in. Only now I felt like an idiot for running out the way I had. It was too frigid out here to spend any more time second- guessing my reaction. How should I play it when I see Daniel? Act casual? Ignore him? I was mentally pounding my head when another sound joined the echo of my tapping foot. Slamming my shoe to the floor, I held it still and listened to the darkness. I couldn’t hear a thing, not even the muffled drumming of the band.

Turning in a circle, my eyes searched the shadows, unable to see anything beyond the thick blanket of blackness surrounding my solitary swath of light. An unsettling feeling began a slow crawl up my spine. Was it the sudden quiet or the complete darkness that had me feeling on edge? I couldn’t be sure at first, but then there was noise, or maybe just a feeling as the presence of something unseen crept over me, and I realized I wasn’t alone.

“Hello,” I called, my voice echoing down the dark passageway. “Who’s there?”

The only reply was the hiss of my own breath, the rush of my blood as it beat against my ears. “I know you’re there,” I said. I thought I heard something—a sigh or a brush against the far wall.

“Hello?” I tried again. Nothing. Maybe my imagination was getting away from me? I mean, who wouldn’t be creeped out in a dark, frigid hallway? Nothing to worry about.

In case something feral was indeed lurking out there, I retraced my steps, one foot behind the other, my eyes sweeping the abyss in both directions until I bumped up against the steel of the door.

Reaching back, I pushed down on the handle and then pulled while keeping a close eye on a predator I wasn’t sure existed. The door didn’t budge. I turned to face the door, pushed down with both hands this time and pulled. Then I lifted and yanked again. The door stayed put.

I was locked out. The fear of being trapped squeezed my chest with a ruthless grip. Droplets of perspiration rolled from my temples and down to my neck, burning a steamy trail over my cold skin. The air grew more frigid. The darkness pressed closer. My heart began to race, my breath grew more shallow as panic pushed hard at my need to stay calm.

“I’m locked out here!” I pounded my fists on the door as the music started up again. “Can someone—anyone—hear me?” I yelled until my throat was raw, the shrieks shooting from my lips in puffs of white smoke.

Pressing my cheek against the door, I listened to the muffled sounds of a rousing party. The cool metal did little to relieve the heat of my exertion. There was no indication that anyone had heard my screams—at least no one on the other side of the door.

A thump, followed by a drag was the first undeniable conformation that someone—something—was there.

I slowly turned. “Who’s there?” my voice rasped out again. I heard no audible answer, just another thump and a drag. “Can you help me?” I asked. “The door seems to be stuck.”

I waited. The dragging grew closer, the darkness slowly consuming what little light was there in the dark hallway.

“Please, say something.” My voice crackled against the black walls, my eyes focused toward the sounds as the silhouette of a body materialized out of the haze.

At first, all I could make out the bareness of a man’s feet and legs against the grey floor, one foot taking feeble steps forward while the other dragged along in its wake. His flesh was white like a thin sheet of paper stretched over iridescent blue veins.

“Are you all right?” I called out, thinking maybe he wasn’t an attacker at all but someone in desperate need of help. “Do you need medical assistance?”

Another thump and a drag brought him closer. The dim light turned blinding as it reflected off the whiteness of his skin. He was completely naked. His shoulders were slumped over. His arms hung long and limp at the sides of his torso. A stitching in the shape of a Y marked across his chest. His hair was disheveled and receding from a long forehead above sunken cheeks and lifeless, gray-rimmed eyes. He looked like a walking corpse.

My hand flew to cover the scream that exploded from my chest. “Oh my gosh!” I pressed my back harder against the door, feebly edging myself away. My ankles gave way beneath me.
The man took a few more steps and stopped.“Marlie Evans,” he said,

the words booming over stiff lips.
The breath solidified in my throat. Absolute silence filled the flickering shadows cast by the light of a dying bulb. A flash of steel running down to a wheeled box on the floor behind him caught my attention. Then the squeak of a pulley had my mind leaping back to the dark-humored skits that had opened the medical school ball, but I was unable to recall this particular prop.

“Is this some sort of joke?” I called out through quivering lips.

“You don’t belong here,” he said, raising a shaking arm to point a crooked finger in my direction. “You should go back, go back to where you belong.”

I cranked the door handle down again. Again, the latch didn’t release. “Yeah, no kidding,” I said, forcing a weak chuckle. “I would go back in but like I said before, the door seems to be stuck.”

“Marlie Evans,” he repeated with more insistence.
I shrank farther back, my eyes darting about the space, waiting for the prankster to reveal himself. “If this is meant to scare me for some twisted amusement you’ve done a good job . . . I’m officially freaked out!” I screamed then waited, my gaze unwittingly locked with the unfathomable site before me. “Enough is enough already!”

His face was like that of a ventriloquist’s dummy. “You are weak and will lose all that is precious to you, and still, you will not change what has already been decided.”

Each syllable pressed down on me like a heavy weight. I sucked in a ragged breath. Why was I trapped in the cold, the darkness, with death standing before me? Suddenly, this didn’t feel like a joke.

Supporting my weakening body against the exit, my nails bent and cracked as my fingers dug into the hard surface. “Change what?” I pled, tears blurring my focus. “I don’t understand.”

He blinked once, slowly. “The end has already been written,” he said with what sounded like considerable effort.

Terror pushed the blood hard through my veins. “What are you talking about?” I cried. “What end?”

A sneer pulled across his sullen face, his features contorting into a look so vile I felt as though something evil had reached inside me and taken hold of my soul.

“Your end.”

About the Author 50 percent

Jule N FordJulie N. Ford graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in English Literature. In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a Marriage & Family Counselor.

In addition to Replacing Gentry, she is the author of two women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married and No Holly for Christmas, published in 2011. She also wrote a romance/chick-lit novel, Count Down to Love, published in 2011. Count Down to Love was a 2011 Whitney Award finalist.

Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one baby hedgehog. For more information or see what Julie is working on now, you can visit her at JulieNFord.com.

Author Links

https://www.facebook.com/JulieNFord.Author

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4718785.Julie_N_Ford

http://JulieNFord.com

https://twitter.com/JulieNFord

Author Guest Post half size

As an author, I’m often asked, “Where do you find inspiration for your stories?”

This is a very easy question. I’m inspired by everything around me. Mostly by dreams, but also by a random word or phrase. Hearing myself, or someone else say something like, “wouldn’t it be weird—cool, strange, interesting—if . . .?” will get me thinking.

For example, the inspiration for Replacing Gentry was ignited by a question my daughter asked regarding spirits. Even though the paranormal elements I’d originally included in this text were mostly edited out, the plot originated with her inquiry. The concept for my current WIP started with a lustful comment my baby sister made regarding her hunky, much younger physical trainer. Then the idea for my next project dawned during book club when a friend of mine mused aloud as to why no one ever writes books about women who have more than one husband, instead of the other way around. Had me thinking, “Hmm?”

Long story short, I literally get dozens of new ideas all the time. Since I’m sort of a slow writer, I have to file the majority of them away. But once I hit on a plot that won’t let me rest, all I have to do is allow myself to put some thought into the idea. One impression morphs into another and another, until a basic storyline starts to unfold, and then I begin making notes. Once I start drafting, the plot and characters start to sink deeper, the story takes root, and grows as I write.

And voilà, a novel is born.

Giveaway 50 percent

$25 Amazon gift card giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour & Giveaway for Hell or High Water (Lost and Found, Inc. # 1)

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Hell or High Water (Lost and Found, Inc. # 1) by Jerrie Alexander

hhw-cover

Romantic Suspense

Categories: Action/Adventure, Military, Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Self/Indie

Release Date: August 2, 2013

Heat Level: Steamy

Word Count/Length: 79,500 words/260 pages

Book Description halfsize

A woman in danger. A man she loves but can’t trust.

When ex-SEAL Nate Wolfe learns a woman from his past is in danger, nothing will stop him from protecting her. Not even her.

Dallas Child Protection Services Investigator Kay Taylor doesn’t want or need Nate in her life. But he doesn’t seem to understand the word no. He seems to also have forgotten the brand he left on her heart.

When Kay is taken and sold to a monster, the devil himself couldn’t stop Nate from doing whatever it takes to find her…but will he be in time?

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

excerpt 50 percent

A chill slammed into her. Again, somebody’s eyes on her sent a shiver up her arms. She whirled.

A black Harley was parked down the block. She paused at the rear of the car and stared at the rider. Odd that he’d parked away from the funeral crowd and sat there watching. Damn, the black visor didn’t stop the burn as his gaze bore down on her. Her breath caught. Was this the man who’d saved her? Wearing a black leather jacket and matching helmet, the man sat motionless.

She started toward him, and the rider stepped off the bike. If this was her ninja, she’d demand answers after she thanked him. He turned his back to her and then removed the helmet. His fingers wound through shoulder-length black hair, tying the strands together with a piece of leather. There was something vaguely familiar about him. His movements. His shoulders. His hands.

He turned to face her, and her heart rate raced toward the ozone.

“Hello, Kaycie.”

Ten years of missing Nate Wolfe boiled over. He was here. Really here. She sprang into his arms, clutched his broad shoulders and leaned into his hard-as-a-rock chest. God, his scent, a mixture of leather, woodsy cologne and virile man washed over her. Damn. Her body betrayed her by melting into him.

“Nate,” she whispered into his neck. “You saved me.” Her flesh heated when his large hands flexed against the small of her back and drew her closer.

“Come hell or high water,” he whispered, his warm breath sending heat streaks across her skin.

A split-second passed before memories of his lying tongue using that same phrase so many years ago hit her. A volcano of heartbreak erupted and spewed forth.

“Don’t touch me,” she spit the words at him while scrambling out of reach. “And don’t you dare say that to me. Ever.”

“You hugged me.” His eyes went wide and he held his hands up in surrender.

Damn him and his Cheshire cat grin. Kay plowed her right fist into his jaw. God, pain shot up her arm. His head barely moved. Still, she relished the snap of his teeth. Obviously, she didn’t hit him hard enough. He rubbed his scruffy jaw while that sexy little smile inched right back up his cheeks.

“Why are you following me?” Her knuckles hurt like hell, but he’d never know.

“What?” He held his hands in front of him, palms up. “No good to see you, Nate? No how you been? No nothing.”

“I’ll try this again, slower. Why. Are. You. Fol—”

“We need to talk.” The fun left his gaze. The sparkle dimmed to seriousness.

She stepped further away and sent him a glare designed to blister his flesh from head to toe. Unaffected, he picked up the cell phone earpiece she’d knocked off and reattached it to his ear while never taking his navy blue eyes off her.

“No, we don’t. Thank you for saving my life. Now do what you do best. Go away.” She spun on her heel. Rubbing her now swelling hand, Kay stalked straight to her waiting friend.

“You okay?” Holly asked over the top of the car before she slid behind the wheel.

“If I didn’t break my fist on his cement jaw, I will be.” Kay stabbed her seatbelt a second time before fastening it properly. She cursed the tears welling. Cursed the feel his warm body imprinted on her breasts. Cursed the memories that sent her heart spinning.

Holly dropped her .380 in her purse.

“Did you take that in church this morning?”

“Yep. God knows I carry. And the law gave me a permit. Glad I had it, because I didn’t know what the hell was going down when you hit him. Who was the hunk?”

“Nate Wolfe.”

“Holy shit. The guy from college?”

“The same. He’s been watching me. I’m sure of it.”

“I should’ve shot him.” Holly punched the gas pedal, ignoring the speed bumps.

“Thanks for having my back. And for getting the concealed carry license.”

“I’m never without protection. Or a gun.” Holly chuckled at her own joke. “Where to?”

About the Author 50 percent

jalexander-authorphotoThe author of The Green-Eyed Doll, The Last Execution, Someone To Watch Over Me, and her new release Hell or High Water, Book 1 in the Lost and Found, Inc., Jerrie lives in Texas, loves sunshine, children’s laughter, sugar (human and granulated), and researching for her heroes and heroines.

She writes alpha males and kick-ass women who weave their way through death and fear to emerge stronger because of, and on occasion in spite of, their love for each other.  She likes to torture people, make them suffer, and if they’re strong enough, they live happily ever after.

Connect with Jerrie Alexander

Website: http://www.jerriealexander.com/

Blog: http://www.jerriealexander.com/category/blog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jerriealexander

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jerrie-Alexander /121521571355959

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/jerriealexander

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jerriealexander/

*****

Purchase Links

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hell-or-high-water-jerrie-alexander/1116276085

Amazon: Click on the Cover

Giveaway 50 percent


Prize is an eBook from author’s back list (winner’s choice)

PLUS a $10 Amazon Gift Card

Contest is tour-wide, open internationally and ends Sept 21

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Tour

LINK TO SCHEDULE
http://www.cblspromotions.com/2013/09/blogbarrage-hell-or-high-water-lost-and.html

Good luck to you all in the giveaway, and look for my review of Hell or High Water next week!

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Cover of Darkness

Cover of Darkness looks like a great mystery & suspense, and I’ve added it to my future reading list. Learn more about the book and enter the giveaway for a great $$ prize!

VBT Cover of Darkness Banner copy

Cover of Darkness by Gregory Delaurentis

MEDIA KIT Cover of Darkness_Ebook

Book Description halfsize

A high profile murder of a Wall Street executive in Westchester pits three people against the criminal underbelly of Manhattan nightlife. The key players are two ex-cops turned private investigators—Kevin Whitehouse, whose sharpest tool is his keen analytical mind, and David Allerton, a former Special Forces operative—and Margaret Alexander, Kevin’s lover. In their search for a killer, they are forced to travel to the edge of sanity and morality, while stumbling onto their own confusing secrets as well. The Cover of Darkness is a gritty noir saga that untangles a web of deceit in the course of tracking down a brutal murderer.

excerpt 50 percent

David first opened the door to a closet on the left, searching it with the gun muzzle, before approaching the door at the end of the hall and kicking it open. An angry, naked man stood on the other side, his anger changing to fear in seconds once he beheld the gun pointing in his direction.

“Get back into bed,” David ordered.

The pale-bodied man responded as he staggered backward. The foot of the bed struck the back of his knees, sending him seated on the mattress. The woman on the bed had by this time covered herself with the sheets, and curled her legs up.

While Kevin stood nervously in the doorway, David searched the room and the closets, the muzzle of the shotgun again serving as a probe, but found no one.

“What the…?” Chase asked David.

After searching through the room, David tossed the shotgun to Kevin.

Suddenly, Chase went white-hot heat, crawling backward into the arms of his woman in sheer panic screaming, “What do you want?!

“I want information,” David demanded, going to the foot of the bed, standing before them with Kevin directly behind him. “I want to know who whacked Osterman.”

How am I to know?!” Chase shouted back. His hair was a wild tangle, his eyes wide as saucers with fright.

“Don’t yell at me,” David said calmly. “I want answers. I’m not interested in killing you.”

“You bust into my crib and start throwing guns around. You’re crazy, man, what do you think I’m thinking?”

“You were moving dope for Osterman,” David persisted, ignoring Chase’s remarks.

Osterman! He jerked me.”

“With the Colombians.”

“Damn right.”

“And you didn’t like that.”

No, I didn’t.”

“So, you had one of your soul brothers do him in.”

“Oh hell, no. My people don’t kill. We don’t mess with weapons like you do.”

“And the reason for that?”

“More jail time . . . What are you? A cop?”

“Don’t worry about what I am,” David growled back. “You are moving weight. I want to know what happened after Osterman jerked you.”

“He jerked me. That’s all.”

“That’s all? You didn’t go to the Colombians? Liar!”

“Yes, yes, I did that!” Chase corrected. “I went to the Colombians as soon as I knew he jerked me. I begged them to give me another chance. They said they would, if I replaced their one hundred kilos. One hundred kilos! How do I do that?”

“Put bullets into Osterman for revenge.”

“How is that going to get me my one hundred kilos?”

“Let me explain it to you, genius. The Colombians trust Osterman enough to give him a heavy shipment. You find it, whack him, and take his shipment back to the Colombians. Paid in full.”

Chase thought that over for a second or two. “But that’s not what happened.”

“Convince me otherwise.”

The word “Freeze!” were suddenly heard from the doorway. David frowned as he glanced over his shoulder to see a scruffy looking black male, armed with his own shotgun.

About the Author 50 percent

Gregory Delaurentis spent his adult life roaming from job to job, working for Lockheed in California, various law firms in New York, and financial firms on Wall Street. Throughout this period of time, he was writing—unceasingly—finally producing a large body of work, albeit unrecognized and unpublished . . . until now. Cover of Darkness is the first in a series of upcoming books that include Edge of Darkness, Pale of Darkness and Cries of Darkness. These novels follow the lives of three individuals who do battle bringing criminals to justice, while they struggle to understand the complex relationships that exist among themselves. This intriguing trio has absorbed the attention of Mr. Delaurentis for the past year and a half, so much so he decided to self-publish their stories to bring them to a wider audience. [AUTHOR’S DISCLAIMER: These are works of fiction. Name, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.]

General links

1)  http://www.darknessnovels.com/

2) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cover-of-Darkness/435819953132527

3) https://twitter.com/cupgrease

4) http://gregorydelaurentis.blogspot.com/

*****

Purchase Links

AMAZON Cover of Darkness (Darkness Series) (Volume 1)

KOBO  http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Cover-of-Darkness/book-SydhWnuMdEGT2jO97s6rDA/page1.html?s=znZMkhZzw0yjFAMp-WIkpQ&r=1

BARNES & NOBLE http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cover-of-darkness-gregory-delaurentis/1115107265?ean=9780989185707

SONY READER STORE https://ebookstore.sony.com/search?keyword=Gregory+Delaurentis

SMASHWORDS  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/304457

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One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN gift card

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Blog Tour for Living Stones

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Living Stones by Lloyd Johnson

Living Stones published cover

Length 306 pages

Published July 1, 2013

Book Description halfsize

She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nearly killed in Seattle during a jihadist bombing, Ashley recognizes the synagogue bomber and is later stalked by a hired Muslim hit man in Israel. There she reacquaints with Najid, the Christian Palestinian scholar she had met at the University of Washington. She falls in love with him, putting her at odds with her Zionist pro-Israeli convictions.

On the run, Ashley sees the beautiful rock churches and shrines.  But the living stones, the people of the Holy Land intrigue her. She meets Jews and Palestinians, Rabbis for and against Israeli settlement expansion. Gentle Palestinians like Najid’s family, and those in the West Bank suffering under military occupation. Both Muslims and Christians living peacefully together.

Najid and Ashley find the bomber in Seattle despite the FBI dragnet put out to arrest him.. Living Stones is the story of an American woman coming to terms with the truth of the Middle East, and the lies she had been fed. Will she survive the forces that threaten to tear her apart?

About the Author 50 percent

Johnson photo for Koehler, img_0002_#1_0

With special interest in the current Middle East, retired surgeon Dr. Lloyd Johnson turned to fiction writing, putting out two books, his current book Living Stones and there is a sequel in the works. He is a member of Seattle writing group, and blogs regularly on Israel/Palestine subjects. Johnson is a Clinical Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington in the Department of Surgery. He is Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and past president of the Seattle Surgical Society. He authored 26 scientific articles in peer reviewed journals/texts. He has worked and traveled extensively overseas, including Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and served for six years as volunteer executive director and board member of a humanitarian NGO in Central Asia. The author lives in Edmonds, Washington.

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Spotlight & Author Interview for The Lightbearers

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The Lightbearers by Nora M. Garcia

Book Description

THE LIGHTBEARERS is the story of an ancient Egyptian King and Queen, Akhenaton and Nefertiti, who have been reincarnating together for the past 3300 years. They have been entrusted with the mission of The Lightbearers, whose responsibility is to be guardians of the human race and to enlighten any whose path they cross. Through reincarnation, during each of their lifetimes, they strive to overcome violence, greed and injustice and in each lifetime they leave pockets of individuals with whom they have shared their secrets of life and death. They have also been ascribed with the powers of telepathy, astral projection and psycho kinesis. They are highly evolved and highly enlightened.Discovery of their innate mystical powers is facilitated by the assistance of an alien being who introduces them to the mission of the Lightbearer. Through a series of flashbacks two of their previous lifetimes are revealed beginning in Ancient Egypt and including 17th century France where they switched genders.The story unfolds in the 21st century where Jean Crystal, Nefertiti’s incarnate, has been kidnapped by Dr. Natas, whose plan for world domination has been temporarily disrupted by Jean and her husband George, Akhenaten’s incarnate. Jean and George have discovered a secret about Dr. Natas experimental school, a school completely computerized and robotized.

Jean is held captive on a laboratory table by a motion sensitive laser directed toward her central nervous system. Not realizing this, upon awakening from a narcotic sleep induced by the doctor, she attempts to move and is suddenly wracked by a mind numbing pain. The more she moves the more pain she receives. By astrally projecting herself she is able to overcome the pain and investigate her circumstances. George has already been assassinated and while awaiting her own demise, George pays Jean a visit in the lab, assuring her of their eternal vow to each other. Jean is very shortly, thereafter, assassinated. Upon the joyful reunion of their spirits on Petite Terre, a tiny island just off the Normandy Province of France, Jean and George plan their return. While it is possible to determine their gender and the time in which they return, they cannot predetermine their identities. They must pick a place, a time and a signal by which they can find and identify each other in their subsequent lifetime. In this particular lifetime, their favorite song was “Imagine” by John Lennon and so on the first Monday of October, 2024 at 12 noon, they decide to meet outside the computer science building on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. She will find him sitting under a tree near the building with a guitar strumming “Imagine”.

Their reunion takes place 20 years later, albeit not without a hitch. Together they set out to rescue the United States from Dr. Natas’s well-placed plans, he has already begun to execute.

 

An Interview with Nora 

Where did the inspiration behind The Lightbearers come from?

I would have to say it’s a combination of my belief in reincarnation, my faith in the spiritual world and my fascination with ancient Egypt.  They all came together one evening and it was as though someone was piping something into my ear.  Oddly enough, the end came first, it was just a seed of an idea, two weeks later, the middle and the beginning came, again as seeds of an idea and it took off from there.

I had a very other wordly experience in the NY Public Library when I began my research.  I was walking through the Egyptian section and there was no one else around when suddenly a book fell off the shelf and landed at my feet.  It was the story of Akhenaten, about whom I eventually created a fantasy.  He was light years ahead of his time as was Nefertiti, his wife, and they became my inspiration.

 How would you compare writing this book with anything you have previously written?

I also write feature films and the process is very different as you have to pack a lot in with very few words compared to what you can express in a book.

 How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

Many years ago, I read a book that I thought would make a wonderful movie and decided to adapt the book to a screenplay.  I did not reach out to the author until I finished it I wanted to see if I could see it through and I did. Unfortunately, the author himself was also a screenplay writer and was in the process of trying to market  the script.  He was very complimentary to me and encouraged me to continue writing.  It was at that point that I decided I would have to write a book.

How do you organise your writing time? 

I have to work around my day job, so I write mostly in the evenings and on the weekend

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow? 

I have an office in my apartment  where I can write.  It’s not the ideal situation, but it works.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know. 

I am able to tap into my dreaming mind to reveal to me solutions to writing challenges when I cannot  make something work.  If I meditate on it and ask my dreaming mind to reveal a solution, it usually provides me with one.  I’ve also experienced out of body experiences where I projected myself astrally.  You see I really believe that if we tapped into our minds on a higher plane, we are all capable of astral projection, telepathy and psycho-kinesis.

*****

About the Author

NoraBorn, raised and educated in New York City, Nora now makes her home in Southern California where, recently divorced, she enjoys a successful career in the media business.  When Nora first began researching The Lightbearers, she went to the New York Public Library and immediately headed for the Egyptian section.  While walking down the empty aisles a book suddenly fell off the shelf and landed at her feet.  It turned out to be Akhenaten’s biography; Nora was immediately captivated with his story and hence the creation of a fantasy about Akhenatena and Nefertiti.

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Spotlight & Giveaway for Jack Canon’s American Destiny

book cover

Publication Date:  March 4, 2013

Publisher:  Itoh Press

Word and Page Count:  314  pages, 99,994 words

Genre:  Thriller / Suspense Adventure, Romantic Political Thriller

Erotic Content:  PG-13

Jack Canon’s American Destiny by Greg Sandora

Book Description

It’s the steamy summer of 2016 in Washington, D.C. just days before the Democratic National Convention. A long and painful recession has left ordinary Americans suffering, spawning the hottest Presidential Contest in history. Jack Canon, a man born into privilege, a witness to great social injustice is going to be President of the United States–no matter what! Desperate and corrupt, the leader of the free world orders a hit to slow him down. The plan backfires–the wrong people are dead–a manhunt points to the unthinkable–The President of the United States.

Rewind one year, Jack’s focus on redistribution of wealth and energy has made him powerful enemies. Once his friends, Rogue Billionaires, Oil Sheiks, the Mob, all want him gone. The current President wants him alive–thinking he can win against an unabridged liberal. A Universal Raw Nerve of wealth vs. poverty is exposed becoming a thrill ride as deep machinations of espionage, geo-politics and deception, even murder play out. Kind and charismatic, Jack’s just naughty enough to have you falling for him like one of his loving circle of loyal friends. Of course he’s flawed, a dedicated family man, faithful to one woman, but in love with two. Is it his fault his best friend is impossibly jaw dropping beautiful? Think the crime and passion of the Godfather meets the romance and innocence of Camelot. A story that could spark a movement, a book that can seed a revolution. A heart thumping climax so shocking you’ll pull the covers and draw the shades! One things for sure, through all the drama and suspense, you’ll be pulling for Jack!

Watch the Book Trailer 

Read an Excerpt

Change is seldom easy, but moving into our new offices the final year of the campaign was anything but hard. Sandy decorated our campaign offices with style, comfortable furnishings, light- colored woods, and plenty of glass. She said her taste was as big as my pocketbook, and lucky for us, friends of the campaign had donated plenty of cash to do the job right.

Sandy popped her head around the door. Dressed in a black skirt and form-fitting zebra print blouse, she carefully positioned the toe end of her black stilettos toward the floor to keep the door from closing. I could just see the faint line between her toes as her foot was flexed.

We had a tight spring closer installed right after one of my senior staff accidentally left the door ajar. There are a lot of sensitive issues discussed in here we would never want the rest of the office to know.

“Jack, you’ve got senior staff in 20 minutes.” Sandy’s voice had an almost musical quality. She rarely spoke to me in anything but the most dulcet tones, a trait which matched her pleasing personality.

“Hey, Sandy,” I jumped up from my seat and moved quickly towards her.

“Come with me; I want to show you something.”

“What’s going on, Jack? You seem excited.”

I didn’t answer – instead I led her gently by the arm toward the seventh floor elevator. We passed several staff members busy working at their desks, each calling out like dominoes, one after the other, “Hey Jack.” I smiled and gave thumbs up as Sandy and I hurried past.

“Damn, the elevator’s busy; let’s take the stairs.”

“Do we have enough time, Jack?” Sounding concerned as we turned the corner.

Ignoring the question, I pushed open the door and started down the steps. Sandy had one hand gripping the cold metal railing and her other digging into my arm for support, luckily she had short nails. A couple of years ago, I mentioned I didn’t like the plastic ones she was wearing. The next day she came into the office, plopped both hands down on my desk, and said, “I cut my nails, Jack!”

It was hard for her to move fast in high heels with her skirt fitted snug just above the knee. She managed by holding tight to my arm, scuffing along, taking quick small steps.

“I’m parked on the third floor of the parking garage. Keep going; it’s only one more floor.”

“Jack, I’m out of breath,” Sandy said as I pushed open the door to P3.

We entered a large open area to see a shiny sports car parked alone.

“It’s my new car; you like it?”

“What is it?”

“It’s a car,” Teasing, knowing what she meant.

“I know it’s a car, what kind is it? I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Don’t feel bad. I didn’t know either; I had to look it up. It’s French made, a Bugatti. The guy that delivered it said it’s one of a kind.”

Sitting before us was a machine that pushed the envelope to unreal. Lines so amazing it seemed to be in motion just standing still. The Bugatti Veyron is basically a street legal racecar. Exciting as all hell to drive. I never dreamed I’d own an automobile that could hit a top speed over 250 miles per hour. Truth is, before last night I didn’t even know I wanted one.

My version was custom painted black metallic with shiny chrome over dazzling wheel rims in a wave pattern over the single door. The porcelain moldings formed a body impossible to duplicate with steel alone. The styling was accentuated by a triple round grill that gave the car personality and elevated the handcrafted masterpiece to a work of art. To say this car was rare was an understatement; I’d seen only one similar car and that was in a magazine. The Bugatti was hot, a real head turner, all eyes were on it as I drove to the office this morning.

Sandy said, “It’s beautiful, Jack When did you get it?”

“They just dropped it off last night.” I ran around the car and opened the passenger side door for her.

“Sandy, get in. Let’s go for a spin around the block; we’ve got time.” She tried to enter, first sideways then lowering herself gracefully as far as she could. Instead, she ended up plopping down, practically falling into the very low seat. She crossed her legs, trying to get situated and buckled in. The seats were so steeply angled, they looked like twin toboggans racing downhill.

Watching Sandy try to get comfortable, I thought cars like these are not made for long drives or tight skirts.

Sandy warned, “I hope you’re gonna take it easy, Jack?”

“Engine on,” I spoke. The car was outfitted with prototype voice activated control. The engine obeyed, immediately humming to a start. The understated throatiness of the exhaust stood in quiet contrast to all the glass packs out there trying to Sound Street tough. All the gauges lit blue and the dials went to the hilt before settling down. The windows looked like mirrors from the outside and the interior cabin was nearly sound proof.

“Hear that purr?” I revved up the 16 cylinder 1000 horsepower engine, flooring the accelerator several times, burying the tach.

“Look at this thing Sandy – it doesn’t red line until 12,000 rpm!”

Sandy was admiring the leather wrapped interior, running her hands over the dash settling on the round vent of the chrome airstream.

“We won’t need the air conditioner today,” I joked.

“You think? – It’s like 40 degrees outside; I should’ve brought a sweater. You hurried me out so fast I didn’t have time to think. ”

I told her, “You won’t need it in here; the cabin heats up in seconds.” The car must have been equipped with some type of radiant heat system.

I flipped the dial and we were warm almost immediately.

Sandy said, “I wonder how they do that; I freeze waiting for my car to heat up. You know, Jack, I never thought I’d say this about a car, but this one is sexy… I guess some guys need this sort of thing.”

I sank back into the driver’s seat richly upholstered in a diamond patchwork of raised blond leather. The headrests had the Bugatti Logo richly embroidered to adorn the center. Everything in the cockpit was chrome or leather trimmed with a fragrant new car smell.

It’s always amused me that people are willing to pay many times the intrinsic value of an item just to obtain the status of a brand. This was not one of those times. We were seated in an example of excellence, worth every penny of the $1.6 million price tag. It wouldn’t have mattered what they called it.

About the Author

authorI’m originally from the Portland, Maine area and lived and worked there for years before moving to Southwest Florida. I am currently working on the sequel to Jack Canon’s American Destiny – which will be titled Camelot  A Tender Romantic Thriller. The sequel will be available in about three months.

My Dad and Mom were artists, my father painted and my mother wrote poetry and loved to garden. Most Saturdays we loaded up the 1970 Chevy Impala to trek to a one man show somewhere or other. I took a different track graduating with a business degree; owning and operating an Award Winning Franchise Fitness Center. Currently a professional manager I am living in Florida with my beautiful wife and children, and following my passion.

Some of my other projects include a children’s book called Sammy the Sea Turtle – about an infant sea turtle taken from his nest the night he was to find his way to the sea. Sammy lives with the family until their son – the boy who took him, graduates from high school. On that day Sammy, backpack in tow – begins the long journey home.

My second project in the works involves angels – a man during a visit to Bar Harbor Maine encounters an angel; quite accidentally, he is told – she was not supposed to make him aware of her existence. Only three others have ever seen the real thing. Naturally he falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful creature.

LINKS

Buy Link:  Jack Canon’s American Destiny

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

Website:  http://www.gregsandora.com

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/gregsandora

Pinterest Pin:  http://pinterest.com/pin/571675746419569259

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(1) digital copy of Jack Canon’s American Destiny

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Book Spotlight: Flashback

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Flashback by Maria Hammarblad

Flashback

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Suspense/ Military

Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing

Release Date: June 21, 2013

Purchase on Amazon:  Flashback

Book Description

Steve Petersen is a Very Troubled Man. Sole survivor of a Taliban POW camp, he often thinks only parts of him returned; his sanity appears to have been left behind. He seeks solace in alcohol and drugs, but nothing helps block the images from his mind for more than minutes at a time, and he is trapped in horrifying flashbacks.

He is more than surprised when he wakes up in a bright and merry bedroom that turns out to belong to the widow Anna, a woman he has rudimentary memories of meeting. Knowing he should leave isn’t the same as doing it, and before he knows what’s happening, he finds himself pulled into a world with real life problems, such as folding laundry, and what’s for dinner.

Whiskey is no longer his first priority, and not being alone in his waking nightmare is a relief. That is, until Anna disappears. Steve finds himself forced to return to Afghanistan, a place where he’ll have to face both external enemies and himself.

*****

Enjoy an excerpt from Flashback

When they came home, Steve sank down in the sofa without even taking off his jacket. Life outside could sure be exhausting. Anna went into the kitchen, and he rested his head back and closed his eyes. Listening to her hum a song, just a little out of tune as she loaded the coffee maker soothed his nerves.

A hard rattling sound made him open his eyes again. Gunshots, and they were close. Anna still sang, and she would be an easy target.

He ran through the apartment, making sure to stay away from the windows. Peeking around the corner, his beautiful fiancée was oblivious to the danger.

Women.

How did they survive?

He sprung out from his hiding place behind the wall, shoved her down on the floor, and threw himself over her. After all she did for him, protecting her with his own body was the least he could do.

Anna wheezed, clearly trying to draw a breath.

“Sssh, they’re coming.”

She lay on her back, and the question in her eyes was clear. Have you lost your mind? Of course he had, a long time ago. She should know. When she opened her mouth, he covered it with his hand so she couldn’t draw attention to them.

“Don’t you hear them? The shots?”

She shook her head and closed her fingers around his wrist, attempting to pull his hand away.

“I think we’re safe, but be very quiet.”

Anna nodded, and as soon as he removed the hand, she whispered, “Please get off me. I can’t breathe.”

He obeyed, she endeavored to sit up, and he pulled her back down.

“Don’t make yourself a target.”

Why did she look so exhausted?

“Sweetheart, there’s nothing there.”

“But…” He had heard them.

“That noise? Remember the crazy people upstairs? I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s definitely them.”

*****

About the Author

authorphotofromgoodreads

Born in Sweden in the early 1970’s, Maria showed a large interest for books at an early age. Even before she was able to read or write, she made her mom staple papers together into booklets she filled with drawings of suns and planets. She proudly declared them, “The Sun Book.” They were all about the sun. She also claimed, to her mother’s horror, that her being on Earth was a big mistake and that her alien family would come and bring her home at any moment. This never happened, but both the interest in space and the passion for bookmaking stayed with her.

As an adult Maria’s creativity got an outlet through playing bass in a number of rock bands, and through writing technical manuals and making web pages for various companies and organizations. She did write drafts for a few novels, but the storytelling muse was mostly satisfied through role playing online on Myspace. It was here, while writing stories together with people from around the globe, she stumbled onto Mike. They started talking out of character, and she moved over to Florida to him late 2008. Today the two are married and live in the Tampa Bay area with three rescue dogs.

Besides writing and playing bass, Maria enjoys driving off-road, archery, and Tameshigiri.

Upcoming releases

Operation Earth, to be released by Desert Breeze Publishing August 2013

Borealis XII, to be released by Desert Breeze Publishing November 2013

 

Fun Facts

Favorite color:             Blue

Favorite food:             Chicken with cashew nuts

Doesn’t eat:                 Mammals

Favorite TV Show:     Star Trek TNG and Leverage

Favorite animal:          Border Collie

Quotes:                        “Full Speed Ahead” and “Caffeine is good for you”

Author Links

Website: http://www.hammarblad.com

Blog: http://www.scifiromance.info

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mariahammarblad

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Release Day Blitz for Sharpshooter (Shadow Agents #3)

Today is the release Sharpshooter, a series that has  certainly grabbed my attention and interest!

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Sharpshooter (Shadow Agents #3) by Cynthia Eden

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Book Description

Heart-pounding action meets smoldering desire in USA TODAY bestselling author Cynthia Eden’s Shadow Agents miniseries!  Two years ago Gunner Ortez saved Sydney Sloan’s life on a mission gone wrong. And ever since then, he’s been watching her back. Now a hostage-rescue mission is about to blow the Elite Ops agents’ lives apart once again. 

Working side by side back in the jungles of Peru, the heat between Sydney and Gunner is hotter than ever-and so are the threats to their lives. With the danger escalating, Sydney knows Gunner is her only hope at successfully completing their assignment. But the ex-SEAL who arouses passion she’d only dreamed about also poses the greatest risk to the secret she carries in her heart…and in her belly.

About the Author

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USA Today Best-selling author Cynthia Eden has written over twenty-five novels and novellas. She was named as a 2013 RITA® finalist for her paranormal romance, ANGEL IN CHAINS, and, in 2011, Cynthia Eden was a RITA finalist for her romantic suspense, DEADLY FEAR.

Cynthia is a southern girl who loves horror movies, chocolate, and happy endings.  She has always wanted to write (don’t most authors say that?), and particularly enjoys creating stories about monsters–vampires, werewolves, and even the real-life monsters that populate her romantic suspense stories.

Cynthia’s foreign sales for her books include translations to Japan, Germany, Thailand, Greece, and Brazil.

(Back in the day…) Cynthia graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama where she studied Sociology (because people interest her) and Communication (because she likes to write about said people).  Cynthia has worked as a college admissions counselor, a teacher, and as an editor. But now, Cynthia is thrilled to be spending her days making up stories.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.cynthiaeden.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cynthiaeden

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaedenfanpage?fref=ts

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/153738.Cynthia_Eden

Book & Purchase Links

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17382820-sharpshooter

Click on the book cover to purchase from Amazon:

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sharpshooter-cynthia-eden/1114668416?ean=9780373747580&itm=1&usri=9780373747580

 Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Books/sharpshooter

 iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/book/sharpshooter-mills-boon-intrigue/id668132002?mt=11

 Books A Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Sharpshooter/Cynthia-Eden/9780373697045?id=5653475406369

 IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780373747580

Abe Books

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ARC Review of Deep Autumn Heat: (Star Harbor #1)

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon: Deep Autumn Heat: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance

Deep Autumn Heat: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance (Star Harbor #1) by Elisabeth Barrett

Book Description

In this sexy new Star Harbor romance series, featuring the too-tempting Grayson brothers, a celebrity chef turns up the heat for a local café owner—and things start to sizzle.

Lexie Meyers decides there’s nothing sweeter than watching Sebastian Grayson’s perfect, wicked mouth devour her coconut cake. He’s hot, he’s hungry, and he’s sizing her up like she’s the best thing on the menu. But she’s been burned in the past and flings just aren’t her thing. Too bad Sebastian can’t resist a challenge.

Worldly, famous, and notorious with the ladies, Seb had planned a weekend of fishing and relaxation with his brothers. Until Lexie, with her kissable lips and frosty “get lost” attitude, makes him want to forget his culinary empire and create some magic with her. After he fires up his charm—including challenging her to a televised cook-off to break through her resistance—it’s now hotter in the bedroom than it is in the kitchen and Lexie isn’t sure whether she’s lost her mind . . . or just her heart.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Here Comes the Bride, The Wedding Chase, and About Last Night

Book Review

Take two talented chefs, combine them lots of lust and passion, mix in a bit of mystery and suspense, add a dash of scrumptious food descriptions,  and then top off with the hope for love and you have a delicious, mouth-watering read.

woman chef saying ok

Deep Autumn Heat is the first in a series about the four Grayson brothers “former resident bad boys” who return to Star Harbor, a small resort town outside of Boston.  The opening scene sets the foundation for this series by describing four brothers who will each be featured in a separate book.  Although the opening wasn’t exciting and didn’t grab my attention, it does work to provide relevant background information about these four brothers, especially Seb Grayson who is featured first. I tend to prefer openings that establish immediate conflict, whereas this first scene is all about character development.

This is a story about following your dreams, finding passion in your life, and taking emotional risks, in the ultimate quest for a happily ever after. The book’s central focus is on the tension laden relationship between Seb Grayson and Lexie Meyers.  If you like an ample amount of seduction and romance in your romantic suspense reads, then this book should meet your expectations.  Rising complications throughout the story revolving around a legendary coconut cake and an abusive ex-boyfriend provide suspenseful moments and keep the plot moving along at an effective pace.  The story takes place during fall and is sprinkled with images of autumn, hence the connection to the book’s title.  I think this season is appropriate to the plot, since the changing color of the leaves symbolizes the growth both Seb and Lexie must undergo to find the fulfillment missing from their lives.

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Seb is a renowned chef living in New York, who has returned to Star Harbor, his hometown, for an annual get together weekend with his brothers.  He extends his stay after he meets feisty Lexie Meyers, owner of a local diner/bakery, who acts immune to his fame and charm. I really enjoyed their first scene together when she smoothly and efficiently puts the cocky and arrogant Seb in his place.  Although Seb can be considered the book’s hero, I really felt that Lexi was the protagonist. She is featured in more scenes, and her POV provides greater depth to her character. Her emotional growth over the course of the book is also more predominant than Seb’s.

Lexie has the characteristics to make her a likeable character. She is a dedicated chef running her own successful restaurant/catering business.  Unlike Seb, whose growing empire has forced him out of the kitchen and into an administrative role, Lexie is a hands-on employer who doesn’t hesitate to step in and do whatever job is needed at the time.  She is industrious, passionate about food, and has a kind and compassionate side that is illustrated when she learns someone in the community has been deceiving and threatening her. She is personable and well-liked in her community. Even Seb finds he can take a few lessons from her kitchen.

Yet, no one is perfect, and, although Lexie appears strong and confident in her work environment, inside she has deep-seated fears about love and relationships. Her one and only past relationship was disastrous and terrifying. Understandably, she doesn’t want to experience that pain again. Barrett does a great job of honing in on just how much she has been hurt. Her reluctance to get involved with someone else is realistic and justifiable.

Lexie thought she was happy being single and focused on her growing business until the handsome, black-haired, green-eyed Seb Grayson enters her restaurant and shakes up her contented world.

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Being around Seb leaves her breathless and flustered as she tries to deny the intense attraction sparking between them. She begins to get worried even after their first encounter together:

“I’ll see you later, Lexie Meyers,” he said letting her name play on his lips. He removed his hand from her shoulder, letting his fingers trail down her arm. When she shivered involuntarily, he smiled. A slow, masculine smile that spoke of dark promises. As if he knew she couldn’t take her eyes off of him, he turned and sauntered lazily toward the door.”

*****

“For her own sake, she hoped he didn’t come back.” 

Although Seb is confident about his looks and success, Lexie’s rebuff has both surprised and intrigued him, and she now becomes a challenge.  There is much more to Seth than his first impression.  For example, at first, I thought Seb may be a pompous jerk because of his behavior the first time at the diner, but later he proves that he can be sensitive, caring, and sincere. I think he just became so used to women falling for him that he hasn’t had to put any real effort into getting a woman’s attention.

Seb isn’t one to be in a committed relationship, and even though he knows Lexie’s not the type to go for a casual fling, he still pursues her. I also initially thought Lexie was just a sexual conquest for him. However, his POV gradually reveals the warring emotions of lust and protectiveness he has toward her. His conflicting feelings cause him to send Lexie mixed signals, and for much of the first part of the book, they simply dance around –trying to find a way to get close, only to end up backing away from each another.
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I like the creative means Seb uses to get close to Lexie, all of them revolving around food, of course. One of the best scenes in the book is the culinary cook-off where Seb and Lexie compete against each other to see who can prepare the best crab cakes.

 

cook off

Bassett is very descriptive in describing Lexie’s thoughts and actions as she works under pressure to create a winning dish. And by the end of the scene, I was craving crab cakes! I’m still looking too.

Although their minds try to resist the other, their bodies ultimately betray them and eventually they give in to their insatiable desire for one another.  These scenes are intense, steamy, and explicit.  They seem to need that physical intimacy each time before they can share their vulnerabilities with each other:

“I’ve wanted you since the first morning I saw you. I think I made that fairly obvious, despite out hiccups.”

“I’ve wanted you too, “ she whispered. “Even though I was trying to fight it. But I don’t know that I’m ready for this.”

“Well I have news for you, Lexie. This,” he said, gesturing between them with a large hand, “this does change everything. You’re mine now.”

“I’m no one’s,” Lexie said, her chin jerking up in defiance.

“You’re mine,” he repeated, one hand encircling her forearm. “And I take care of what’s mind.”

This conversation between Lexie and Seb encapsulates their passion, intensity, and fears about loving each other.

The book has a unified plot that wraps up nicely in the end even though the outcome of the two major mysteries is fairly predictable. However, I can overlook that since the evolving relationship between Lexie and Seb dominates the book.

The main aspect of the book that I found problematic is in the attempt to tie in a fabled story with this plot. As a prelude to the beginning, Bassett features a poem about pirates and their treasure called “The Legend of Lorelei.” I am a pirate junkie, so I was excited to see how the author would integrate this legend into the plot. Toward the end of the book a connection is revealed, but it was not as strong or as developed as I expected.

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It could have easily been omitted and not affected the storyline.

This is a great summer read, with a plot that is not overly complicated and lots of sexual tension and romance to keep you engaged.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer: All quotes used in this review have been taken from the book’s pre-published version and may be changed or omitted from the final, published copy.

 Rating

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About the Author

author

Elisabeth Barrett lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and spends her days teaching, editing, writing sexy contemporary romance, and enjoying time with her sometimes-bearded husband and three spirited children. She is constantly perfecting her home-work-writing juggling act, but in her free time she loves to hike open space preserves, grow orchids, bake sweet things her husband won’t eat, and sing in grand choruses. (From Goodreads)

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Once I finished this book, I really wanted to have a piece of the famous coconut cake described in the book.

coconutcake2

After searching online, I found a promising recipe on how to make a homemade coconut cake. It does not look complicated (the simpler the better for me), so I’m going to give it a try:

Incredible Coconut Cake Recipe 

If you have a Coconut Cake recipe that you would like to share, please leave me a comment!

Review of Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon) by Kat Martin

Against the Storm book cover

Purchase from Amazon: Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon)

Against the Storm by Kat Martin

Book Description 

Redheads like Maggie O’Connell are nothing but trouble. But Trace Rawlins, a former army ranger turned private investigator, takes the case anyway. After all, he knows a thing or two about women.

Trace can sense that something is wrong—Maggie isn’t telling him everything. If these menacing calls and messages are real, why won’t the police help her? And if they aren’t real, what is she hiding?

As Trace digs deeper to find the source of Maggie’s threats, he discovers a secret that no one was meant to uncover. And the only puzzle left to be solved is whether the danger comes from an unknown stalker…or from the woman he’s trying his hardest not to fall for.

Book Review

Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon) is the fourth book in Kat Martin’s series. However, it can be read as a stand-alone.  The story centers on Maggie O’Connell, a well-known photographer in Houston, TX. Recently, she has become the target of a stalker who leaves messages on her answering machine and car windshield, promising they will be together soon. She’s gone to the local police for help, but, because of a false accusation she made to police while in high school, they are reluctant to believe her story.

Maggie seeks out Trace Rawlins, former Army Ranger, now owner of his own Security company. Everyone knows that Trace has a weakness for redheads, but he painfully acknowledges that his prior relationships with them have only led to heartbreak. Unfortunately, Trace knows he’s in trouble as soon as he sees Maggie:

“His gaze ran over her, the smooth skin and stubborn jaw, the big green, troubled eyes, the red hair curling softly around her shoulders.” 

redhead with freckles and green eyes

His initial reaction is to turn her away, yet he feels compelled to help her.  All he asks is that Maggie be completely honest in telling him about her past and current life. Honesty is extremely important to Trace since he now has trust issues because of his ex-wife.

However, Maggie has secrets that she doesn’t want revealed. She decides not to fully confide in Trace because of her embarrassment over certain past events. Besides, she justifies to herself, these secrets aren’t connected to the search for the stalker anyway, right? Wrong, her secrets are relevant to the investigation, and she underestimates Trace’s skills in discovering what she’s been hiding. When Trace discovers that Maggie has lied by omission, he angrily drops her as his client.

Of course, with the ongoing stalker drama, Maggie continues to turn to Trace for help. Not only is he one of the few who believes she is in danger, but Maggie cannot resist his charm and good looks:

“He grinned, a flash of white in a suntanned face so handsome it made her breath catch. An amazing face, she thought, with those hard, sculpted features and intense, whiskey-brown eyes, so warm and direct they sent a little quiver into her stomach.” 

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 Their intense attraction for each other and sexual chemistry draw them closer together, leading to a sizzling romance that had me rooting for them

making out

even with all of the angst involved.

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Both characters have issues with commitment, they continuously deny their growing feelings for each other, and they expect the relationship to end once the mystery is solved. Furthermore, Maggie makes poor decisions against Trace’s advice that make her vulnerable to danger and cause ongoing frustration for Trace. Can they take their relationship further than sex?  This is one of several established conflicts that build suspense in the search for the elusive stalker.

The search for the culprit is not as straightforward as expected. There are unpredictable twists to the plot that create a suspenseful, engaging story right up until its conclusion.  And right when you think the story has reached its resolution, more of the unexpected happens.

As a Texas transplant, I appreciated Martin’s understanding and portrayal of the idiosyncrasies of Texan culture. Yep, Trace is most definitely a Texas cowboy. In addition, the supporting characters enhance the complexity of the story, and most of them are dynamic, rather than static, as sometimes found in other novels.  The book is well-written and ties together all of the side stories by the end.

I look forward to reading other books in this series.

Rating: 

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Click on this link to View the Book Trailer and an Excerpt from the Book

About Kat Martin

Kat Martin Website

Goodreads Profile

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Joe Diffie: “Pick Up Man”

Maggie spends a lot of time in Galveston, TX, taking pictures of nature. She and Trace visit several times.

redhead at coast

Glen Campbell: “Galveston”

*****

recipes3

Chicken Fried Steak (A Texas Staple)

Chicken fried steak and gravy

Click on the link below to watch a video on how to  make chicken-fried steak with a creamy pan gravy: From All Recipes.com

http://allrecipes.com/video/2802/the-best-chicken-fried-steak/detail.aspx?prop24=RD_VideoTipsTricks

*****

group discsussion 5If you have read any of Kat Martin’s books, please click on the green Leave a Comment link and let me know which ones are your favorites and why.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway for Immortals (Book 2 Runes Series) by Ednah Walters

Cover Reveal Banner for Immortals

It’s Here! (Imaginary Drum Roll, Please) Check out the New Cover Reveal for the highly anticipated second book in the Runes series: Immortals

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Here is a second cover that Ednah is considering. Please post a comment below on which cover you like best.

immortalsgirl medium

Book Description

Nothing can stop Raine Cooper when she wants something… Raine finally knows that her gorgeous neighbor, Torin St. James, is a legend straight out of Norse mythology but that doesn’t stop her from falling hard for him. Torin is crazy about Raine too, breaking the one rule he lives by: Never fall for a mortal. The problem is he no longer remembers her or that she saved him by making a deal with Norns—Norse destiny deities—the same Norns who have now erased his memories of their past together to punish her. So Raine comes up with a plan… She will make Torin forget his one rule a second time and fall in love with her all over again. But before Raine can put her plan into action, the Norns return. This time, they demand she protects Eirik Seville, her best friend since childhood, from an evil so dark even the Norns are scared. But you know what they say about well-laid plans… Caught between protecting Eirik and convincing the stubborn, cocky Torin St. James that the two of them are meant to be together, Raine’s life slowly unravels. Friendships are tested. Enemies become allies. Desperate, Raine makes choices that could not only tear her and Torin further apart, but lead to the destruction of everything and everyone she loves. 

*****

RELEASE DATE: August 5, 2013

About the Author

EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013.

She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Ednah also writes New Adult paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. She is presently working on book 2, IMMORTALS. Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She’s presently working on book six.

Author Contacts:

You can visit her online at http://www.ednahwalters.com or www.ebwalters.com.

Connect with Ednah: Website: http://www.ednahwalters.com/index.html

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4188120.

Ednah_Walters Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdnahWalters

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ednahwalters

*****

Vote For Torin St. James at The YA SISTERHOOD Crush Tourney on June 17th.

Giveaway

Click on the Rafflecopter Giveaway to Enter the Giveaway and vote on which Book Cover you prefer

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*****

To read my review of Runes, click  here

To post a coment or feedback, click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post following the tags.

Spotlight & Giveaway for Crimson Key by Wes Dodd


The Crimson Key

by Wes Dodd


Wes Dodd was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1958, currently residing in Southside Virginia. He has two daughters and three grandchildren. Within the last couple years he has discovered a passion for creating and breathing life into great stories. He has published three novels: The Crimson Key, a mystery, The Secret Guardian, fantasy and Saving Faith, a romantic thriller.

Website | Blog

The Crimson Key

Genre:Mystery

Publisher: Outskirt Press

Release Date: July 2012

Purchase

Book Description:

David Paige, a young detective from Charleston, S.C., is about to embark on an investigation of a lifetime—his own. After an unexpected tragedy shatters his perfect world, he discovers that his mother had been keeping a life-long secret from him, revealing that he is not who he believed he was. With no family member to turn to, David has to rely on his detective skills and a mysterious item left to him from his mother—a crimson-colored key.

The search for the truth takes David to New York City, where he runs head on into lies, deception and murder, all in an attempt to cover up a string of dreadful crimes. Then if this is not enough to deal with, he falls for the daughter of a prominent man, both sharing an undeniable attraction—which complicates his life even further.

It isn’t until a near-death experience, and help from his mother through several frightening nightmares, that the pieces of the puzzle finally begin to come together. The Crimson Key ultimately unveils many secrets, surprising many people including David—opening his eyes and heart as well.

The two were very close as young children but grew farther and farther apart with each passing year. Amber had blossomed rapidly, leaving Alice behind in a life filled with neglect, which led to resentment on her part. Alice felt and heard her sister sobbing for the first time she could remember.

Why are you crying?” Alice asked tenderly.

Alice,” Amber replied in a shaky voice, then hesitated a long moment. “You do know that I have always loved you dearly, don’t you?”

Why of course,” Alice promptly replied, while she thought to herself, “You sure have a funny way of showing it. I only see you about once a year, and it is always at night so no one will recognize you coming here. We never go out together in public. You make me feel as if you are ashamed to be seen with me.” Then Alice asked in a caring way, “What is wrong?”

Amber made a good effort to gather her emotions as she released her hold on Alice. Taking a step back, she wiped the tears from her face. “I am in love with an evil man.”

Alice didn’t feel sorry for her at first, or the least bit shocked by her statement. She thought to herself again, “I’m not surprised. You have always chosen the wrong type men. You always pursued the Bad Boys, or what you would call the Fun Guys.”

Then Alice noticed a bruise on Amber’s left cheek, and her feelings changed instantly. She asked in a serious tone, “What is his name?”

Alice and Amber stood facing, eyes locked in a stare, Alice waiting for an answer that Amber did not want to reveal. A tiny whimper then broke their stare. Alice’s eyes dropped instantly to the basket below that remained mysteriously covered with the blue blanket. The basket moved ever so slightly as another tiny whimper came from within. Alice’s eyes rose quickly, meeting Amber’s, which were again overflowing with tears.

What have you got?” Alice asked very slowly as she knelt down next to the basket. She gently rolled back the blanket revealing a tiny, tiny baby boy.

I couldn’t do it,” Amber said in a trembling voice, as tears rolled rapidly down her cheeks.

Alice could hear her sister’s voice but failed to comprehend a single word; the tiny baby boy had stolen her full attention.

I kept it a secret for as long as I could,” Amber continued. “I knew he didn’t want a child, him being married with a child on the way and due at any time now. At least it was when I left three days ago. It would have made him very angry…and he has a furious temper.”

Follow The Tour Here

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To post a comment, please click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post  following the tags.

Spotlight, Review, and Giveaway for Kissing Fire by A.M. Hargrove

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Kissing Fire (An Edge Novel # 3) by A.M. Hargrove

KissingFire-BookCover

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date Published: April 15, 2013

Purchase on Amazon:  Kissing Fire (ebook) / Kissing Fire (book)

Each book in An Edge Novel series can be read as a stand alone

Book Description 

Preston Mitchell, undercover DEA agent, has led a life of danger and obscurity. Knowing his job would never allow a normal relationship, he’s never opened himself up to any woman…that is until the lovely Avery Middleton stumbles into his life.

To the outsider, Avery has it all…wealth, family, connections and a great job. But on the inside, she’s miserable. Her social life is in the dumpster, the kooky gal next door has some zany plans for her and her selfish mother drives Avery to the point of insanity. Her only salvation is to get out of Charleston and start a new life. So that’s precisely what she does. She moves to Seattle and steps right into the path of hot and sexy, Preston.

Unfortunately for both of them, Avery ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and is now running for her life. But she’s not alone. She has a gorgeous DEA agent protecting her and suddenly finds herself irresistibly captivated by him. There’s only one problem. Preston carries more than his share of mental baggage, courtesy of his job. His covert missions have put him in places and situations he can barely stand to think about. Avery rocks Preston’s world because she is nothing like anyone he’s ever met and something extraordinary begins to happen between them. But can their love survive in this world, where danger, intrigue and deception lurk on every corner?

*****

Book Review

Kissing Fire is a contemporary romance that blends a comedic and serious tone to tell  this story.  Based on the book’s description, I expected more of a dangerous, action-oriented story involving romance, so I was happily surprised to find this book includes funny, light-heart moments to provide relief from some of the painful, and, at times, heart-wrenching aspects of the storyline.

The initial setting for the story is Charleston, South Carolina, where Avery Middleton realizes her social and romantic life has become stagnant.  Longing for a change, she accepts a job in Seattle and moves with the intention of starting over. Although Avery comes from a privileged family, she wants to be independent from her family’s wealth and be successful on her own.  Avery is an easily likeable character because of her feisty nature, humorous thoughts, and the unexpected situations she often finds herself in, leading to, sometimes, embarrassing and belling jiggling laughter.

Upon arrival to Seattle, Avery visits her brother who has also moved away from home to start a life with his new wife. Caroline.  There, she coincidentally meets Preston Mitchell, Caroline’s brother, who is staying with the couple. Preston is a DEA agent who has recently returned to the country after completing his latest undercover mission.

When Avery and Preston meet, they instantly fall into lust for each other. By providing both Avery’s and Preston’s point-of-view, I was able to really connect with and care about them because I’m given insight into their private thoughts that clearly reveal their insecurities and vulnerabilities.

Working undercover has put Preston into more than his share of unimaginable horrors. Because of his past, Preston sees himself as “Dirty. Disgusting. And certainly not fit for proper society.” He believes that he will never find a good woman capable of loving him because of the physical and psychological scars that have skewed his perspective.

Preston initially hides his profession from Avery to protect his identity, but, when a Mexican Drug Cartel finds his location, he is forced to go on the run, dragging Avery along with him, since she now become a target as well. Although Avery is strongly attracted to the sexy DEA Agent, her low self-esteem and body image issues make her think Preston would never be interested in her. An awkward situation provides the impetus for them to reveal their insecurities and paves the way for romance.

I fell in love with Preston over the course of the story. His willingness to sacrifice his personal happiness for his country is more than admirable, given what he’s endured.  I also loved how he is direct and honest with Avery, so that she knows what she’s getting into before they pursue the relationship.  As he reveals the gritty, raw details of his past, Avery always responds  to him in a way that soothes Preston’s mind and body.  They are so good for each other on an emotional level because they consistently boost one another’s self-esteem. I also appreciated that Preston wants more than just a sexual relationship with Avery. He wants her heart before they become intimate. Their time alone together allows their attraction to grow into love. The passion between them is hot, steamy, and intense!
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Everything is wonderful until Preston confesses a secret he’s been keeping from Avery, and everything falls apart. Avery is angry, hurt by Preston’s actions, and she doesn’t feel she can trust him anymore.  Once Preston explains the motivation behind his actions, I know I could forgive him. However, Avery thinks he’s destroyed her life.  I have to admit, I think Avery overreacts by giving up on their relationship so quickly after they have worked so hard to establish a strong foundation.

Nevertheless, Avery leaves Preston. She leaves Seattle to start over yet again. Although the hurt and pain over their breakup lingers, a visit from her friend Melissa, a female sumo wrestler, with her outrageous antics provides a nice diversion to Avery’s somber mood.

female sumo wrestler

A central question from this point in the story is whether Preston and Avery can truly let go of their love for each other. In the midst of all this angst, Preston and Avery again find their lives endangered, and the action and suspense that follow, as these conflicts are resolved, also contribute to making this book a worthwhile read.

Rating

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*****

Excerpt from Kissing Fire

Boy oh boy, was Preston hot. Make that boiling. Scorching. Molten lava kind of hot. Messy dark brown, slightly wavy hair that was not long but not short either. And, oh what a mouth he had. His mouth made me want to jump on board and ride that train for life. His lips were the perfect kind of full and every so often, he’d run his tongue across them and I’d automatically squirm. His face was pure angular perfection…high cheekbones with those slight hollows beneath them, that were the perfect shape to accommodate my lips. But those eyes…my oh my. They were golden brown, like coffee with lots of cream. I could only imagine what they looked like right when he was…

Cheezits Ava, get your head out of the bedroom!

“Wouldn’t you agree Ava?” my brother was asking me.

I shook my head and swallowed. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“We were talking about the weather here in the summer and I was saying how much more pleasant it is than in Charleston?”

“Oh, yes it is.” Was my voice breathy sounding, or was it my imagination?

Preston was wearing jeans that rode low on his hips. They were tight and he had a superior set of buns. What would I pay to see those babies?

“Ava? What do you think?” someone asked.

“Buns!” I blurted out.

“Excuse me?” Caroline, my sister-in-law, asked.

Holy Toledo, did I just say buns out loud? What the hell Ava!!!

“Fun! Anything sounds fun!” I quickly said.

“Ava, you look a little flushed. Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

“Hot! I mean no, I’m fine.” I looked across the room and my face totally flamed. Everyone was staring at me. I had unbuttoned my blouse and was fanning myself. I’d noticed that Preston had a gloriously hot tattoo of a sideways cross on his arm. I think I needed to go home.

“So Avery, where are you staying?” Caroline asked.

“Oh, I’m at the Four Sexy. Seasons! I mean the Four Seasons.”

Oh dear God, I need to get my act together here.

*****

About the Author

A.M. Hargrove

One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn’t do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life.  So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.  Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodgeball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head.  Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window.   She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone and hit #4 on her speed dial.

 Boss:  Hello

 A.M.:  Boss, is that you?

 Boss:  Why yes, A. M., who else would be answering my phone?

 A.M.:  Er… right.  Well, I’m calling to let you know you can pick up my luxury Ford Focus at Starbucks near the interstate.

 Boss:  Why ever would I want to do that?

 A.M.:  Because I quit!

 A.M. hit the end button and speed dialed her husband.

 A.M.:  Hi hubs, can you pick me up at Starbucks?

 Hubs:  Sure… Having some car trouble?

 A.M.:  Not at all.  I don’t have a car to have trouble with because I just quit my job.

 Hubs:  WHAT?!

 A.M.:  It’s time for a new career and I am going to be a very famous novelist.

 So began A. M. Hargrove’s career as a young adult paranormal romance author of self-published ebooks.  Her series, The Guardians of Vesturon, centers around a family of six siblings and is a mix of humor, mystery, suspense and of course, love.  Survival and Resurrection are her first and second full length novels in the series and Beginnings is the prequel novella.  Her third installment, Determinant, will be released on June 30, 2012.  (It didn’t happen exactly like that, but you get the idea!)

Author Links

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

Goodreads Author Page | Goodreads Fan Club

*****

Giveaway

 Click on the rafflecopter link below to enter the A.M. Hargrove Kissing Fire Tour Giveaway!

Prizes: 

Ebooks of Kissing Fire, Shattered Edge and Edge of Disaster
 
$50 Amazon Gift Card

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*****

To post a comment, click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post after the tags.

Review of New Release Forever (The World of Nightwalkers #2) by Jacquelyn Frank

Book Cover for Forever

Purchase on Amazon: 

Forever: The World of Nightwalkers (World of the Nightwalkers) (ebook)

Forever: The World of Nightwalkers (World of the Nightwalkers) (book)

Forever (The World of Nightwalkers, #2) by Jacquelyn Frank

Book Description

New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank returns with the sizzling second book in her sensual new series set in the World of the Nightwalkers—where alluring entities known as Bodywalkers face the ultimate threat.
 
After being brought back from death, police officer Jackson Waverly receives the shock of his life: he has become host to a Bodywalker, a spirit that is reborn in flesh and blood, and part of a proud, ancient race that uses its extraordinary gifts to battle dark, evil forces. Jackson’s spirit is a powerful one—none other than the Egyptian pharaoh Menes, who longs to reunite with his eternal love, the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.
 
While Menes is obsessed with finding the perfect vessel for his queen, Jackson cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses most in Jackson is intense desire, which is exactly what Menes is looking for. To fight a great enemy, pharaoh and queen must join; but to host Hatshepsut, Marissa will first have to die. Fate has given Jackson a profound choice: save Marissa from Menes’s plan or keep an entire species from the brink of extinction.Includes a preview of Jacquelyn Frank’s next World of Nightwalkers novel, Forsaken

*****

Book Review

Jacquelyn Frank takes readers into a new series about Bodywalkers, which is a spinoff of her Nightwalkers series. I have read the first book Forbidden and learned that this series centers on a fantasy world combining ancient Egyptian mythology, civil war, and intense romance.

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Let me provide a brief background to set the scene for this series and to prepare you for my review. Ancient Egyptians believed strongly in their gods and wanted to be prepared for the afterlife.  The Templars, priests and priestesses, prepared the bodies using a complex mummification process that would allow the dead to hold on to their material possessions.

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It is believed that their unwillingness to give up earthly possessions was an affront to the gods; therefore,  their souls or Ka’s were cursed to be tethered to the mortal plane where they would live in the Ether instead of peacefully passing onto the afterlife.

Humans who are at the verge of death may find themselves in the Ether, and, there, they are given the opportunity to either die or return to their mortal lives by agreeing to share their bodies with an Egyptian soul.  In addition, they get to have a longer life span and are endowed with special powers.  Once the host awakens, a blending process begins to merge both souls into a Bodywalker.

An Egyptian’s resurrection through a human host allows him or her to return to the mortal plane where there is an ongoing civil war between the governing body called the Politic and the Templars to rule the Bodywalkers.  Those that support the Politic are awaiting their King Menes’ arrival as a Bodywalker to lead this war.

Forever picks up right where the first book in the series Forbidden ends. King Menes has been incarnated through Jackson Waverly, a police officer, who was introduced in Forbidden. It is ideal to start the series at the beginning, but Frank provides enough exposition throughout this second book for readers to become comfortable with the storyline and ongoing conflicts.

Jackson and Menes have gone through the process of blending and, now, along with fighting against his enemies, one of Menes’ priorities is to find a host for his beloved Queen Hatshepsut.

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Because he and Jackson now know each other’s memories and thoughts, Menes is aware of Jackson’s attraction to psychiatrist, Dr. Marissa Anderson, who counsels officers within the police department where Jackson is employed.  Behind the scenes, Menes is “fanning the flames” encouraging Jackson to pursue a romantic relationship with Marissa. Menes thinks Marissa would be a great candidate to host his queen.

Marissa spent a great deal of time getting to know Jackson when he was required to see her after the death of his K9 partner when Jackson was assaulted. Throughout their encounters, they have often clashed over differences in opinion. Yet, this doesn’t douse the mutual attraction that radiates between them.  Now that Menes has become one with Jackson, he encourages Jackson to take the initiative with Marissa and reveal his feelings for her.

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While working a case together, Marissa witnesses a supernatural attack upon Jackson/Menes by an enemy.  Marissa shockingly learns that Jackson is no ordinary man, and because she has been seen by the enemies, her life is in danger as well.
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The always professional and self-controlled Marissa finds herself ill-equipped to deal with the reality of this fantastical world she has entered. After Jackson takes Marissa to a safe house to protect her, he finds it even more difficult not to physically seduce Marissa. Their sultry kisses show him that Marissa is a sensual and passionate woman, but she is reluctant to let go, take a chance, and give in to her carnal desires for Jackson.

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So Jackson/Menes together woo her with beautiful, romantic prose that would melt any woman’s icy heart. And Marissa is no exception

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Once they become intimate, Jackson/Mendes are determined to make her theirs. They proposition her to become the host for Hatshepsut. Marissa gasps when she realizes that even if she would consider becoming a Bodywalker, she would have to die first. Her obvious response is
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Marissa has a serious choice to make. Will she refuse to become Jackson’s mate, knowing that eventually Menes will  push Jackson to find someone else to become host to the queen?  Throughout the story, Menes describes the perfect, profound, and enduring love that he shares with his soul mate, Hapshepsut.  Can Marissa take a leap of faith and believe that Jackson truly loves her and that they, too, can have this same passionate and lasting love?

Rather than being more action-oriented, the heart of this book focuses on the internal struggles both Jackson and Marissa face as they try to adapt to the Nightwalker world. The story certainly made for a suspenseful read as I awaited Marissa’s decision and what will happen next. Forever also foreshadows a major conflict in the next book, since a Templar has, unknowingly, unleashed one of the most evil gods into this world.

After reading Forever, I am impressed with the creative and fantastic story line Franks has created, and am now a fan of this series.

A copy of this book was provided to me by Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

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*****

Author Jacquelyn Frank 

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Author Contacts

Official Website Goodreads Profile |Twitter |Facebook

*****

The World of NightWalker Series

Forbidden (The World of Nightwalkers, Book 1)

cover for Forbidden

Purchase on Amazon:  Forbidden  (ebook)/ Forbidden (book) 

Book Trailer for Forbidden 

*****

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Music to Complement the Book

For Menes & Hatshepsut – Natalie Merchant: “My Beloved Wife”

For Jackson & Marissa- Sarah Mclachlan: “I Love You”

Review & Giveaway for Escaping West

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Escaping West by Morgan K. Wyatt

Book Description

Kitty Hamilton is unsure how her life got so out of control. The unexpected deaths of her parents earned her a berth at her embittered aunt’s home. Her latest beau abandoned her, which made the prospect of leaving town appealing. Her version of leaving didn’t include fleeing town dressed like a man, but circumstances dictate otherwise. Kitty becomes Kit to throw the law off her trail. As the pretend brother to her best friend Harriet, she accompanies her friend out west to her contracted bridegroom. They encounter Nick Kennedy, flamboyant gambler, who takes an interest in the odd couple. Kitty enjoys the freedom her disguise allows, but she abandons any hope of attracting the handsome Nick Kennedy. Revealing her gender, might snag her a chance at the elusive gambler, but could also land her in prison. She keeps telling herself he isn’t worth it, but she’s not entirely convinced.

Watch the Book Trailer

*****

Excerpt from Escaping West

Why did she do such an impulsive, stupid thing? She knew why even if she didn’t want to admit it was something in his kisses. Then there was his voice, low, intimate calling her name.

“Kit, where are you?”

She could even hear it as if he was nearby. Amazing, Kitty shook her head bemused until she heard the voice again.

“Kit.”

Her imagination must be working overtime. Duke whickered loud and hard. She started to tell him to hush when she heard boot steps on the gravel. Freezing in place, Kitty strained to hear the approaching footsteps.

“Kitty, it’s me, Nick. Where are you?”

Letting go of the breath she’d been holding, Kitty took another breath before calling out. “I’m over here in the hole. Be careful.”

“I’m coming, sweetheart.” He called back, his boot heels scrambling for purchase over the rocks.

He’d called her sweetheart. She sighed then she accidentally put her weight on the wrong foot. “Ouch!”

“What, honey?” Nick called out in a voice that sounded a little closer.

“Hurry,” Kitty managed through clenched teeth. He was there before she knew it. Deftly jumping into the hole and wrapping her in his arms, accidentally battering her already savaged ankle.

“Ouch, watch it,” she complained.

“I didn’t expect undying gratitude, but something like my hero might not be out of line,” Nick commented laughingly.

“Thank you, Nick. I am grateful. I hurt my ankle when I fell into the hole.” Kitty snuggled into Nick’s shoulder appreciative of his warmth and inhaled deeply, enjoying the smell of worn leather and clean male.

Nick paced around the small hole with Kitty in his arms. He dragged his boot toe around the edge trying to find a way up or out.

“Well, darling, looks like I am going to have to toss you up,” Nick acknowledged.

“What,” Kitty squeaked. “Toss me where?”

“I looked, and there seems to be no easy way out of here. It’s up to you. Once you’re up, I need you to tie the rope to the saddle horn on Duke’s saddle and back him up. Once I get a hold of the rope, pull me up. Can you manage?”

Kitty had her doubts as she felt Nick’s voice vibrate through the clothing separating the two of them. In the end, tossing seemed to be her only hope of getting out, and she imagined Nick was a good tosser. Naturally, he would be good at everything.

*****

Book Review

The 18oo’s provides the setting for this light-hearted western romance that provides lots of chuckles and informs readers of the societal limitations women endured during this time.

The protagonist of this story is Katherine (Kitty) Hamilton, a young girl of nineteen, who has been forced to grow up with a malicious Aunt Eugenia who despises her and, over the years, has become more abusive.

Kitty lives in a small rural town where the pickings are slim to find an eligible bachelor to marry. Of course, marriage was expected, in order for a woman to have a safe and secure life.  For some odd reason, Kit realizes her aunt has discouraged any man who is interested in courting Kitty. As a nineteen -year-old, with no suitors knocking on her door, Kitty worries that she is getting past her prime and may end up a bitter spinster just like her aunt.

Kitty lives in a small rural town where the pickings are slim to find an eligible bachelor to marry. Of course, marriage was expected, in order for a woman to have a safe and secure life.  For some odd reason, Kitty realizes her aunt has discouraged any man who is interested in courting Kitty. As a nineteen -year-old, with no suitors knocking on her door, Kitty worries that she is getting past her prime and may end up a bitter spinster just like her aunt.

When her aunt begins to attack her with a whip for an unjustified transgression, Kitty tries to protect herself, and the assault ends with her aunt accidentally falling and hitting her head.  Out of rage, Eugenia reveals that the real reason behind her callous treatment of Kitty is because of the dowry Kitty’s parents left for her.  Eugenia is determined to keep Kitty’s money and threatens to press charges against Kitty for attempted murder.

Knowing her aunt is just vengeful enough to go through with her threat, Kitty finds what’s left of her hidden dowry and plans her escape with her best friend, Harriet.  Harriet has become a mail-order bride and is leaving for British Columbia to meet her new husband. In order to minimize her chances of being caught, Kitty cuts her hair and decides to pose as a man, call herself Kit, and pretend to be Harriet’s younger brother.

While traveling together by train, both Kitty and Harriet are excited by the adventure that awaits, especially since neither have ever traveled abroad. Their naïvety and innocence certainly make for an entertaining journey full of chuckles and laughter, especially when Kit realizes that masquerading as a man is not as easy as she expected.  For example, the scene where Kit has to use the bathhouse for men is hilarious and one of my favorites.

Kit quickly catches the eye of Nick Kennedy, a professional gambler, who is also traveling on the same train.  It doesn’t take Nick long to discover that Kit is really a female. His curiosity over why she would go to such extremes to hide her identity draws him to her. Although Kit feels an attraction to Nick, she is adamant that he not discover her gender. Using her sharp tongue, she tries to deflect his interest, but he is persistent, and this leads to some entertaining banter full of subtle flirtation on Nick’s part.

The handsome Nick Kennedy is a kind and caring man even though his gambling lifestyle would be considered unsavory by any proper, young lady. However, Nick has grown tired of the dangerous life he leads and considers retirement . His heart has been hardened since the betrayal of the woman he loved. Yet, now that he’s met Kit, he feels protective of her. After Harriet reveals their destination, he decides to follow them to make sure Kit will be okay, since she’s obviously hiding from something or someone.

Once they arrive, Kitty continues to pretend to be a man and soon finds herself employed in a saloon, playing piano to entertain the customers. The saloon owner Stella and some of the others working there quickly see through Kit’s disguise but decide to let her hide out in their establishment. When Harriet gives Kit tips on how to act more “manly,” I thought I’d roll over laughing:

“You could talk less and stick a rolled sock down your pants,” Harriet advised with a wink.

“I’ll talk less, but what’s with the sock?”

“You’re manly parts. You might even want to move it now and then.” The blonde chuckled at her friend’s horrified expression.

“Stick my hands down my pants and start scratching away?”

“No…You do the scratching on the outside, haven’t you watched men at all?”

When Nick arrives, their secretive courtship begins, even though both are reluctant to reveal their true feelings for each other. The suspense of the story begins to build when a Pinkerton agent, hired by Aunt Eugenia arrives, intent on capturing Kit for prosecution. Furthermore, Nick has a vindictive gambler who feels cheated chasing him with intent to do harm.  My curiosity of the outcome of these conflicts made this an, overall, interesting read.  However, for me, the climatic outcome of Kit’s conflict with her aunt was not as dramatic as I had hoped for or expected.

Numerous grammatical and proofreading errors were the main drawback for me in reading this book.  At times inappropriate verb tense is used, essential articles and other words are omitted, and the wrong word is used. These errors increasingly proved to be a distraction to me as I read. Just one more proofreading would greatly enhance the overall quality of the book.

Although I found some flaws with this book because of my personal preferences when reading, I do want to emphasize that I am glad that I read the book. If you enjoy a good western filled with humor and romance, do check out Escaping West.

I received a copy of this book from the author via Goddess Fish Tours for an honest review.

Rating

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*****

About the Author

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Morgan K Wyatt, raised on a steady diet of superheroes, believed she could fly at a very young age. After using trees, barn lofts, sliding boards, and even a second story window as launch pads, she found her flying skills were limited to fast and downward. By the age of nine, her dreams to be a superhero needed some modifications, which caused her to turn to writing and horseback riding as alternatives to flying.

At the age of twenty, she had another chance at superhero greatness as being one of the few female soldiers trained for combat. The fact that women will be able to serve in combat soon indicates that all the witnesses to the grenade incident have retired. The grenade incident didn’t prevent her two sons or daughter-in-law from enlisting in the service. Having different last names probably helped.

Morgan recently retired from teaching special needs students to write fulltime, instead of in the wee hours of the night. With the help of her helpful husband and loyal hound, she creates characters who often grab plot lines and run with them. As for flying, she prefers the airlines now.

Author Links

www.morgankwyatt.com

www.twitter.com/morgankwyatt

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Morgan-K-Wyatt/160636730670958?ref=hl

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826299.Morgan_K_Wyatt

*****

Giveaway

Morgan will be awarding the winner’s choice of ivory, peach, or white, cultured freshwater pearl necklace to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

To enter just click on the green “Leave a Comment”  link located at the end of this post following the tags. 

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Follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/04/virtual-review-tour-escaping-west-by.html

*****

Purchase With Discount: 
Cover_Escaping West
Secret Cravings Publishing is offering a sale during the Rebel Heartsong and Escaping West tours.  All Morgan K Wyatt books bought May 15-31st are available for another 20% off publisher’s site.
The code is Morgan20
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To post a comment, please click on the green “Leave a Comment link located at the bottom of this post after the tags.