Drop Dead Handsome by M.K. Scott – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a prize to multiple winners such as $50 Amazon Gift Cards, $15 Target or Groupon Gift Cards and other GCs and books to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Dilapidated Victorian house appears "haunted"The Painted Lady Inn is open for business and limping along in the B and B world. A high school reunion package assembles Donna’s least desirable classmates, including the backstabbing cheerleader, her narcissistic high school crush, and Arnie, whose cheesy poem had everyone calling her, hot mama. It’s all something she liked to forget. These are the normal guests.

An octogenarian self-proclaimed sleuth, Father Christmas, a dognapping couple, and a pair who is copying everything in the Inn to set up their own competitive establishment rounds out the group. Maria, the sister-in-law, has a matchmaking agenda for Donna. Daniel, her brother, finds himself serving as a referee with one guest’s multiple wives.

High school reunions can be murder. Detective Mark Taber is on the trail of the murderer, when he isn’t interfering in a smitten Arnie’s determined bid to woo the no nonsense innkeeper.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Hello. Welcome to The Painted Lady Inn. Thanks for choosing the Lady for your weekend getaway.” She held the smile in place, questioning her choice of a name for her bed and breakfast. Daniel remarked it sounded like something out of a horror movie, as if it would come to life.

The woman didn’t answer, but took two more steps closer, then placed her bag on the floor. “I’m glad to be here before the sun sets.”

“You made it.” Her cheeks were starting to ache from continually smiling. Well, that and acting like a genial innkeeper. Why couldn’t she’d just be normal Donna Tollhouse?

“Yes, yes, I did.” The woman glanced around the foyer that had several open doors to the front parlor, library, and dining room. Her lips pursed as her eyes flicked upward.

No dust anywhere and the floors gleamed where they weren’t covered by a floral runner.

“May I have your name, please?”

The woman gave a nervous laugh, which seemed out of place.

“Lorena, Lorena Fitzgerald.”

Convenient, since she was the first name on the list. Her hand gripped the heavy reunion basket and held it out to Lorena. “Compliments of the inn for your stay.” The woman’s French tipped manicured hand wrapped around the basket handle beside Donna’s. “Enjoy the reunion.”

Lorena’s eyes widened. “There’s a reunion? What type?”

Donna had relinquished the basket unaware that her guest didn’t merit it. Too late to take it back too, especially since the woman was now poking through it making pleasurable noises. With her luck, the couple out antiquing would hear about it and expect one too. Well, she did have a couple cases of Reunion Red.

“Ah yes, the local high school is having a reunion. Thirty-one years.”

Lorena fanned her free hand in front of her as if overcome by the thought of a reunion. “Thirty-one years. Goodness, I’ve only been out of school barely twenty years.”

Taking a page from Detective Taber’s book, she ran a hand over her face, hoping to hide her smirk. Okay, the woman looked good, but not that good. A woman in her thirties would wear something a little more playful, edgy, or even more casual. The shoes and sweater set declared her mid-forty. Once she recovered her innkeeper face, she dropped her hand.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_DropDeadHandsome
M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries. Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands on approach. Morgan’s daughter who manages a hotel provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple’s dog, Chance, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna’s dog. Murder Mansion is the first book in The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries. Overall, it is a fun series to create and read. Drop Dead Handsome is the second book in the series. Killer Review should be out in October 2016.

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Wild One by Jessica Whitman – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Nacho Figueras Presents: Wild One by Jessica Whitman – the second book in the Polo Season series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a print copy of the book.

6_28 Whitman_WildOne_MMKat Parker thought she’d finally escaped being known as the housekeeper’s daughter in the class-obsessed polo town of Wellington, FL. With her first blockbuster screenplay, she’d become the Hollywood It girl-until with one flop suddenly she wasn’t. Heading home is her only option.

Kat knows she can write another hit…if only she can find the right story. What she finds instead is the drop-dead gorgeous celebrity athlete Sebastian Del Campo, who’s just as well known for his tabloid exploits as he is for his prowess on the polo field.

For Sebastian, everything in life has always come easily-wealth, sports, women. But the perennial party life is starting to feel a bit stale. Especially after meeting Kat. Her easy laughter and candid attitude make him aspire to something more meaningful for the first time in his life.

As Sebastian tells Kat stories of his grandmother Victoria, a woman who could be dripping in diamonds one moment and tearing up the polo field the next, Kat’s inspiration fires and soon the pair are back in Hollywood, working on a film together that could make or break both of their careers. And though the chemistry between the two is building, the film’s irresistible star has other ideas…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Kat and Sebastian took off their shoes and walked along the edge of the sea. The sand was wet and warm, and the water hissed in and out over their bare feet as the tide came in. The beach was empty, and the moon was bright, and when she looked at him, her gray eyes gleamed silver in the pale light.

She was, thought Sebastian, even more than he had imagined she would be. She was beautiful, of course, but in an effortless way. The beauty mark above her lip, the 2-inch scar on the inside of her elbow that gleamed silvery-white against her smooth, tan skin (a childhood accident, she told him, trailing her finger over it self-consciously), the way that her glossy black curls sprang out around her head like an unruly corona in the Florida humidity, the faint laugh lines that appeared around her pretty eyes every time she smiled…

And she was smart, and funny, and she told him scandalous, gossipy, hilarious stories about Hollywood and made him laugh so hard his belly ached. And when he flattered or flirted, her cheeks would flush pink and her eyes sparkled, but at the same time, if he went over-the-top, he knew that she did not buy his bullshit. Not even one little bit. Because nothing got past this woman. Nada.

And now she walked alongside him, laughing and chattering about this and that in her husky, honey-sweet voice. Her legs were long enough that he barely had to adjust his stride, and her swinging hand kept grazing his arm and sending little shocks of pleasure through his body.

He caught her hand and pulled her toward him. “Besame,” he said softly.

She blinked. “Forgive my rusty Spanish, but doesn’t that mean-”

He cut her off by gently placing his mouth upon hers.

Her lips were soft and warm, and he searched them slowly, first with his own lips, and then with his tongue, just barely touching the outline of her mouth until she exhaled and stepped closer to him.

He loved kissing a woman this tall. He didn’t have to bend to her mouth at all, and it was so easy to pull her even closer and go deep. She tasted amazing, like sweet lime and champagne and a trace of salt, and she smelled of that same intriguing bittersweet caramel fragrance he had noticed the first day they met. He went deeper still, and she pushed up against him and made a soft, warm sound in the back of her throat, and suddenly he was flooded with an electric hunger so sharp that he felt that he might lose control.

And so he did what he had been fantasizing about doing all night. He led her away from the water and laid her down upon the warm sand and covered her body with his own.

She broke off kissing him. “Do you think,” she said hoarsely, “that we should find someplace more private?”

He pushed himself up and looked around. The beach was deserted. The only light from the restaurant was far behind. “I think we’re alone.” he said.

He gently kissed her face, and thought to himself that she felt so good, so right, and that he never wanted to be anywhere else. That he would stay here forever if she let him…

And then he laughed softly, because he really had never felt these things before. And honestly?

It kind of scared the living hell out of him.

About Nacho Figureras: 6_28 FigurerasNacho2_byClaudioMarinesco_RGB72Argentine polo player Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras has become one of the most recognizable and talented polo players in the world. He is currently the captain and co-owner of the Black Watch polo team. In addition to playing polo, Nacho has been featured as a face of Ralph Lauren and its Black Watch clothing and watch collection since 2000. In June 2009, he was voted the second most handsome man in the world by the readers of Vanity Fair and has appeared on numerous television shows, such as Oprah and Chelsea Handler. Nacho currently splits his time between Miami and Argentina with his wife, Delfina and their four children, Hilario, Aurora, Artemio, and Alba.

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The Quirks of Writing by Julie Burns – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Julie will be awarding 1 printed book of The Purse or 2 ebooks (The Purse and a second of their choice) from RRPI to a randomly drawn winner (international) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Quirks of Writing

To regular human beings, writers seem a bit odd. Why spend all that time coming up with a story and thinking, thinking, thinking? Doesn’t it get old? My answer is no. Never.

There are writers who write every day, and no matter what they write, they absolutely, without a doubt, must write! There are times when I have written every day while in the thick of the story, but most often, I am thinking about writing and not actually doing it. Many writers would scold me for not writing and that’s okay. Each writer is different. It doesn’t mean my goal is any less valid or attainable.

For me, I have to have pen and paper and a computer to write. Much of my book The Purse was written on paper and then typed on the computer. In the process of typing it from paper form, I came up with new plots, new characters, and new resolutions. A writer, artist, or any creative person will tell you the end is unknown. I had other ideas as I wrote my book, and the finished product is nothing like I originally intended.

During the process of writing, one of the tools I discovered was helpful was a dry erase board. I used three of them in my upcoming second novel, Dreamers and Thieves (February 2017). This helped me keep track of characters and was basically a timeline of events and happenings. I also kept track of hair and eye color so I would not forget as I wrote. Those discrepancies are important and easily missed in editing, but often noted by readers.

To be a writer means thinking differently than most. I will take my quirkiness and run with it.

When Lydia Blackwell visits her dying father for the last time, he reveals the deeply hidden truth about her mother. After the funeral, the stranger Derek Meade gifts her with a gorgeous antique purse. But before she has the chance to connect with the man who knew her father intimately, Lydia finds Derek murdered in his home.

Lieutenant Sonja MacIntosh is assigned to investigate Mr. Meade’s death, but her career on the force never prepared her for Lydia Blackwell. As Sonja works to solve the murder, Lydia takes the greatest risk of her life in leaving Chicago to search for clues to her mother’s past. Their instant attraction surprises them both, but even through the chaos Lydia can’t deny the intensity of her feelings for the strong willed Lieutenant.

Lydia’s possession of the antique purse throws her already chaotic life into a whirlwind of kidnapping, blackmail, vengeful mob bosses, and mind-numbing revelations. Through it all, Lydia must find the strength to accept herself – and those closest to her – despite their darkest secrets.

Enjoy an excerpt:

As she walked into the bedroom, the smell of her father’s cologne lingered even through all the sickness that had been in the air. Stepping over to the deep walk-in closet, Lydia opened the double doors to reveal her father’s suits, ties, and shoes. She made a mental note to have Rosita donate her father’s clothes so they didn’t hang like a shrine. She stared at every inch of the closet until her eyes fell on a small shoebox buried on the top shelf. Lydia retrieved the step-ladder from within a hidden compartment in the closet’s wall and stood on it to pull down the shoebox. Without thinking, she strolled over to her father’s bed, sat down, and went through all the memories kept in the cardboard box.

Many were just baby pictures of Lydia, and then she discovered a picture of her mother when she was pregnant. How beautiful she was; she looked so happy and carefree. What in the world could have happened? More questions, no answers. Lydia decided to keep the picture with her. Digging deeper yet into the box, she also found pictures of her father and Derek together. They made a handsome couple, though it was still difficult to believe her father had been involved with a man. At least true love hadn’t escaped him as she’d previously thought.

About the Author:

Julie A. Burns is a native Iowan born in Marshalltown, Iowa and raised in Davenport, Iowa. After her parent’s divorce at age 7, she took to writing, whether it was her diary or poems about people she met or situations that bothered her. After graduating from high school in 1983, she spent time working as a Nurse’s Aide in different nursing homes in Iowa. In 1989, she gave birth to a daughter, Brittany and raised her as a single parent. In the same year, she enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 1994. Since then, Julie has spent time working with developmentally disabled adults and the mentally ill throughout Iowa and also in Wyoming, where she lived for 6 years. Julie currently lives in Waterloo, Iowa with her spouse. When she’s not writing, she enjoys being a grandmother to 3 year old Sophie.

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Can’t Get Over You by Shirley Jump – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Shirley Jump, who is celebrating the release of her latest release Can’t Get Over You with an exclusive excerpt. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon GC.

6_28 shirley Cover_Image_CANT_GET_OVER_YOU_webTravel back to the loveswept world of Fortune’s Island with New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump.

His voice pierced the darkest corners of her heart.

Waitress Jillian Matheson needs a life makeover. The first thing on her “Get it Together” to-do list is breaking up with her fiancé, Zach Gifford, a struggling rocker who refuses to grow up. With Zach on the sidelines, Jillian pursues the dream career she’s secretly craved for decades and finds romance in the arms of a hot, mysterious visitor on Fortune’s Island. There’s just one kink in her plans. Zach’s band has a regular gig at The Love Shack where she works. And, she can’t deny the effect of his velvet-cloaked voice, a voice that can still reach places she no longer allows his hands to touch.

She’s the only song he ever wanted to sing.

Zach thought he had everything figured out—a music career on the edge of a breakthrough and a gorgeous fiancé—until Jillian left her engagement ring on his amp one night and walked out of his life. He is sure that he can get her to remember their shared passion and realize that they belong together, until a new man enters the picture and begins to sway Jillian’s heart.

Is it ever too late for true love?

Just as Zach begins to break down Jillian’s walls of resistance, a dark secret from his past comes to light and threatens to ruin their second chance at love. With shattered trust pushing them farther away from each other than ever before, can these two wounded hearts find their way back to each other before the last song?

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

Secrets were the hardest thing to keep on an island, especially one the size of Fortune’s Island. Jillian Matheson had lived there pretty much all her life, growing up among the small population that stubbornly hung on through the brutal Cape Cod Bay winters. She’d gone to a school that was run out of a converted house, reading Big Red and learning the Pythagorean Theorem alongside the same couple dozen kids from kindergarten to graduation.

In the summer, the population of Fortune’s Island swelled, like a pregnant spider about to deliver thousands of beach-hungry babies. As soon as Labor Day drew to a close, the island emptied out, and life settled down again. After Jillian passed the craziness of her early twenties and grew up a little—okay, a lot—she found she craved the quiet, the…space. The miles of empty beach, the lazy shopping trips with shopkeepers more than happy to pass the time talking about the weather, the late mornings snuggled under the blankets while the wind blew angry breath.

It was also easier to find a quiet place to be alone, which was what had brought Jillian to the rocky outcropping at the southern end of the island today. The beach there tapered down to a smattering of sand, where sharp-edged rocks married each other in topsy-turvy angles. Jillian knew, if she picked her way a few feet further down, she could find one large flat rock, as big as a picnic table, and high enough that the incoming tide never did much more than lick the underside of the stone.

She had spread out a blanket, then settled her acoustic guitar across her waist. She’d bought the Ibanez secondhand in a shop ten years ago, with her first official paycheck from The Love Shack, the cozy seaside restaurant her parents owned. Jillian spent hours on this rock, teaching herself how to read music, how to pick out the notes, and then finally, strumming snippets of songs. It had taken almost a year of these stolen moments against the rocky wall before Jillian had taught herself to play “Hotel California.”

She’d moved through the entire Eagles catalog, then the Beatles, then a little Led, before she got the itch to write her own songs. The first few had been the typical unrequited love/misunderstood teen bullshit most high schoolers wrote about. Like Taylor Swift with a bad attitude. But now, her music had evolved, becoming something that filled her soul, exposed the nooks and crannies that she kept hidden from the world.

This summer, she’d finally gotten serious about her dreams and, in the space of a few days, turned her life upside down and inside out. She’d broken up with Zach, her fiancé, and fired off a college application. For the past month now, she’d been taking the ferry over to Boston three mornings a week to study contemporary music composition at the Boston Conservatory. Before work, she’d steal away to her space under the rock to practice her own songs and study for her classes in music history and theory.

Music was her secret, the one thing she had never shared with her best friend Darcy, or Zach, or her brother—not even with her parents. She sat on the rock and she sang, and she held the secret close to her chest. Doing that made it seem more precious, more…hers.

The Conservatory had allowed recorded audition tapes as part of the application process, and Jillian had done just that, sitting here on her rock, letting her iPhone be the only witness to her singing. Zach would have told her to let her voice be heard, but he’d always been the more outgoing of the two of them. The one who had no problem performing in public.

Zach. He was the last person she wanted to think about. It had been almost three months since she’d given back his ring. After eight years together, he’d let her go as easily as letting the wind catch a balloon. She told herself it didn’t hurt, but it did.

A lot.

So she wrote about it in songs and told herself she was okay. Totally okay.

Thunder rumbled in the sky, and dark clouds moved across the sun, casting the beach in gray shadow. Rain droplets began to sputter, falling onto the white lined paper before her. Jillian gathered up the guitar and her notepad, then climbed down the rocky path. She jogged up the sandy trail to her car, then stowed the guitar in the trunk, put the engine in gear and took a right, heading toward The Love Shack.

The skies opened up just as she turned onto the road. Her cantankerous Hyundai sputtered and coughed, but kept chugging. Jillian patted the dash. “Come on, Sylvia. Hold on for just a few more months, okay? We had a deal. You make it to February and I’ll use my tax refund to fix you up.”

The rain pounded too fast and too hard for her wipers to keep up. Puddles formed in the road, then spread a river across the rutted worn path. She should have stuck to the main road, but this way was shorter, usually faster. Sylvia shuddered, then the engine stammered. Jillian pressed on the gas, urging the car up a little hill, but the water was pouring down faster than the wheels wanted to go, and halfway up the hill, Sylvia died. Not a slow, quiet death, but a herky-jerky, coughing death spiral.

Jillian cursed and steered toward the side of the road, though the car had already stopped moving. Great. She was stuck here, on this remote road, a mile from work, in a Noah’s Ark-worthy storm. She flipped out her cell phone, and too late realized she’d forgotten to charge it.

Damn.

She rooted under the front seats, hoping she’d remembered to stow her umbrella, but all she found was a few old French fries and an empty water bottle. Shit.

Guess that meant she was hoofing it. She cursed again, then got out of the car, hunching her shoulders against the downpour, though it did no good. The rain fell in sheets, soaking her hair, running like a waterfall off the end of her ponytail and down her bangs, then streaming down her face. Within seconds, her tank top and shorts were soaked, and her sneakers were sodden. She was cold and wet and pissed off. It was going to be one hell of a long mile.

She broke into a light jog, though for Jillian, about the only running she did was between the kitchen and the dining room at work. She heard the low rumble of an engine behind her, and spun around, thrusting out a thumb. On the mainland she wouldn’t hitchhike, but here on Fortune’s Island, she knew pretty much every single soul.

Almost as soon as she put out her thumb, she put it back down. The low, dark Mustang was one she knew well. As well as she knew its driver.

Zach.

Jillian spun back toward the road and kept on running. With any luck, Zach would drive right past her. Didn’t he understand that she just didn’t have the energy to deal with him? That every time she saw him, it still hurt like hell?

Just keep driving. Just keep driving.

The car drew up alongside her, and she heard the whine of the power window going down. Damn it.

“Jillian! What are you doing out here?” Zach called to her.

She kept on jogging, never even flicking a glance in his direction. The rain poured into her eyes, made her blink furiously so she wouldn’t trip. “Going to work.”

“It’s raining.”

She scowled. “Thanks for the weather report.”

“Come on, Jillian, get in. Don’t be stubborn.” His voice dropped into those soft, cajoling tones that had always melted her resolve before.

“I don’t want a ride from you.” She kept on going, swiping the rain off her forehead, slicking back her bangs. Her sneakers squished with every step, and she was pretty sure her shorts had gained five pounds of water.

“You’re getting soaked. You’ll get sick.”

“That’s just an old wives’ tale.” She stepped up her pace, even though the car could easily pass her. She wanted to be there already, to see the sign for The Love Shack come into view so she could duck inside and not have this conversation. Maybe she was being childish, but she didn’t care. “Just go wherever you’re going, Zach. I’m fine.”

“You’re drenched. You’re cold. And you’re being an idiot.” He let out a gust. “Get in the car, Jillian. Please.”

She stopped running and pivoted toward the open window. Zach was leaning across the inside of the car, his arm draped over the passenger’s seat. He had big brown eyes, the kind that reminded her of a strong cup of coffee, and a lean, tall frame that still caused her pulse to race. He was smiling at her, that smile she never used to be able to resist, and for some reason, that just made her madder. Like he thought a grin could change everything. “I don’t need you or your car, Zach. Just leave me alone.”

“Jillian—”

“Don’t Jillian me. And don’t call me an idiot, not when you are the biggest idiot on this island.” All the frustration and anger she’d been bottling up for the past few months spewed to the surface. “I am done letting you talk me into anything again, Zach. And especially done with getting close to you. I don’t care if I’m walking in a hurricane, I don’t need or want a ride from you. Or anything else. Ever again.”

“You’re not letting me talk you into anything, Jillian. For God’s sake, you’re barely talking to me at all.”

She threw up her hands. “That’s what broken up means, Zach. It means I’m no longer at your beck and call, when you want to crash somewhere at two in the morning or bitch about the band over coffee. It means I’ve moved on, and so should you.” She’d done no such moving on in terms of dating, but he didn’t need to know that.

She wanted to move on, she really did. She wanted to forget about Zach, forget they had ever dated, act like the last eight years hadn’t happened. But it was impossible. Her every memory was so entwined with him. Every store she passed, every restaurant she saw, every corner of her apartment, had something attached to Zach. All she wanted was detachment, and that was pretty damned hard considering she saw him four days a week at The Love Shack and he lived less than a mile from her apartment.

That was part of what had pushed her to enroll at the Conservatory. She’d needed new faces, new places, new memories. A world that didn’t center around Zach. The only problem? Going to a music school to forget about dating a musician was pretty much the most masochistic thing she could have done.

“Jillian, just get in the car,” Zach said. His dark hair was a little long, dusting along the collar of his T-shirt. She almost reminded him to make an appointment with Saul, the island barber. When they’d been dating, Zach would get so involved with his music that he’d forget to eat, or forget to shave. She used to think it was cute that she had to remind him to get a haircut. But eventually she realized it just meant his music was more important than anything else. Including her.

“Come on,” he said now. “I’ll give you a ride to work.”

He hadn’t answered her point about moving on. Because he already had? Or because he hadn’t listened? And why did she care? They were over, done, and just because seeing his face made her heart hurt, didn’t mean she was getting back together with him anytime soon.

“I don’t need anything from you, Zach.” She repeated the words for herself as much as for him. “Not anymore.”

Then she broke into an even faster run, praying he’d leave her be and just keep going down the road. And at the same time praying that he wouldn’t.

About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance and women’s fiction to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners.

Look for her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon and Nook, and her new Sweetheart Club series for Berkley, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN.

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Of Cats and Cozies… by T.C. Lotempio – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. T. C. Lotempio will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Of Cats and Cozies…..

Most of the mysteries on my bookshelf, I confess, are cozy mysteries. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the genre, cozies are a subgenre of crime fiction where the crime and the detection takes place in a small town. Remember the old Murder She Wrote series? That’s a good example of a cozy. The detectives in such stories are nearly always amateurs (cue JB Fletcher) sometimes retired lawmen or women. The majority of the detectives are of the female persuasion, and often hold jobs that bring them into contact with the other residents of their town. More often than not they’ll have a contact on the local police force who’ll help them out with a clue or two.

The killers aren’t usually hard boiled serial killer types, and once unmasked, are most often taken into custody with little or no violence. If there is violence, it happens off-screen…no grisly murder scenes depicted in any cozies! Foul language is also kept to a minimum. The murders are generally members of or related to someone in the town wherein the murder occurs and the motives – greed, jealousy, revenge – often are deep rooted.

Cozies frequently revolve around a theme – for example, Diane Mott Davidson’s revolves around cooking, Parnell Hall’s around crossword puzzles, Monica Ferris’ needlework…you get the idea. Animal lovers are also well represented, as well, which brings me to my cozy mystery series, debuting in December from Berkley Prime Crime…..think Jessica Fletcher with a cat and you’ve got it!

My series is the Nick and Nora mystery series. Nora is Nora Charles, ex-crime reporter turned restaraunt entrepreneur. She’s returned after a 12 year absence from reporting on crime in Chicago back to her hometown of Cruz, California, to take over her deceased mother’s sandwich shop. Shortly thereafter, Nora finds a surprise waiting outside her door – a stocky, black and white cat. She takes the cat in and names him Nick (after Nick Charles, the Thin Man, of course). She later finds out that the cat did in fact belong to a PI, Nick Atkins, who is currently MIA – she also finds out that Nick has many talents, among them the ability to spell out words with Scrabble tiles – plus, he’s got a nose for scenting out crime.

Here’s the teaser, taken from the back of the book:

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Nora Charles doesn’t believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she’s moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora’s not just reporting crimes again. She’s uncovering them…

Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too.

Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger’s death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters—clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora’s wits, and maybe a few of Nick’s nine lives.

The saga continues in Book 2, CLAWS FOR ALARM, with Nora’s search for Nick’s missing owner derailed by her sister’s getting jailed for the murder of her art professor. But, who knows what will happen in book 3, CRIME AND CATNIP, due out this December?

I hope you’ll join Nick and Nora on some of their adventures, but even if a crime solving cat isn’t your cup of tea, I’m sure that there are many other cozies out there that are. Sample the genre today – I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Nick trotted along beside me as we made our way deeper into the warehouse. Suddenly, he froze, tail upright, the hairs puffed and fluffed out like a giant fan.

“What’s wrong?” I whispered, even though I knew he couldn’t answer. We stood in silence for a moment, and suddenly, I did hear something. A very faint sound, from far away . . . like a door closing.

“Come on,” I hissed. I lifted my head, sniffed at the air. It smelled pretty stale, but there was another scent, cigarette smoke. I racked my brain, trying to remember if I’d seen either Julia or Samms smoking.

Nick’s tail swished, and he pawed at arrows painted on the ground. He trotted ahead of me at a brisk pace, and I fell into step. We followed the painted arrows along a white-tiled hallway down to a door with a shade pulled all the way down. A sign placed haphazardly in the window proclaimed it CLOSED.

I tried the door, which seemed to be stuck. I looked at the doorframe, which appeared to be less than sturdy, and checked it for alarm wires. Seeing none, I raised my leg and gave the door a swift, hard kick. It clicked open an inch, and I pushed it all the way open. We walked into a tiny office not much bigger than a postage stamp. A large metal desk and battered file cabinet took up the majority of the space. Another door at the far end stood partway open. Nick suddenly tensed, and I saw the hairs on his back rise. His tail fluffed out, and he started to growl, deep in his throat.

I frowned. “What’s wrong? What do you sense?”

Nick reared up on his hind legs and then shot through the partially open door. I had no choice but to follow. The room I now found myself in appeared to be a slightly larger version of the previous office. Nick crouched in front of a large metal desk, and as I entered, he shifted his body slightly. I caught a glimpse of two feet, very still, shod in the pair of eggplant Louboutins I’d admired earlier in the evening.

“Oh crud,” I cried. “Please tell me that’s not what I think it is.” I walked around Nick and peeped around the edge of the desk. I saw a twisted figure in a white raincoat bunched up around shapely legs, a tumble of dark hair covering its face, the neck bent at an unnatural angle.

“Shoot,” I said.

“MA-ROW!” Nick yowled.

I heard a sound behind me as Nick dived under a nearby chair. My heart started to beat wildly in my chest. The last time he’d pulled something like that I’d been caught next to a dead body and hauled off to the police station. His fat rear had barely wiggled out of sight before the door slammed back and I found myself looking first down the barrel of a .45 and then, as I raised my gaze, at the grim, unsmiling face of Detective Leroy Samms. He looked at me, then at the feet, then back to me again. He lowered his arm, slipped his gun back into his shoulder holster. “Well, well. Look what the cat dragged in.”

I responded almost automatically. “He didn’t drag me. I walked in on my own.”

One eyebrow quirked. “Pardon? It’s an expression, Nora.”

“Oh, sure. I knew that.” The queasy sensation in my stomach was getting stronger, and I really felt like gagging. I started to push past Samms, but his strong fingers reached out and encircled my elbow in a grip of steel.

“No need to run off.”

I pressed my palm against my cheek. “I—I’m not. I just felt a little . . . squeamish.”

“Of course you do,” he said, still not cracking a smile. “I’ve got some Pepto back at the station. Fix you right up. Then we’re going to have a chat, you and I.” His grip on my elbow tightened. “Ms. Charles, you’ve got some explaining to do.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ClawsForAlarm

Born in New York City, T. C. LoTempio is the national bestselling author of Meow If It’s Murder, the first in the Nick and Nora Mystery series. She has been a staff reporter at the young adult magazine Susabella Passengers and Friends for more than a decade. When she isn’t reporting or writing novels, she and her cat Rocco fundraise for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read.

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Chaos Bound by Sarah Castille

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter to win a $25 Amazon Giftcard and signed copies of Rough Justice, Beyond the Cut, and Sinner’s Steel.

6_27 Chaos-Bound-by-Sarah-CastilleRex” Savage, a junior member of the Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club, will stop at nothing to get revenge. But falling for a beautiful woman with dangerous ties to his sworn enemy was never part of the plan…

Raised by the Black Jacks, Naiya Kelly grew up fast, furiously, and with little to lose. But now that she’s put her MC days behind her, she is free to do what she wants—until she meets a man who imprisons her, body and soul. She swore she’d never give her heart to a biker, but Holt is the most passionate, protective man she’s ever known. But will Holt be forced to betray his one true love to exact his revenge?

See where it all began with book 1 of the Sinner’s Tribe series, Rough Justice

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Is this because of what happened last night?” Holt wasn’t usually so direct. He had never been a confrontational kind of guy. Usually, he would go with the flow, but right now he was seized by an urgent sense of desperation. He couldn’t let her go, and it wasn’t just because he needed her to lure Viper.

“No, of course not.” She turned away, tightening her grip on the bag, her hair swinging over her cheek, hiding her face.
Yes.

“It was good you . . . stopped.” She stared out the floor-to-ceiling windows over the valley spread out below them. “I mean, you have things you have to do, and I have things I have to do, and they aren’t things we need to do . . . together.”

Together. Fuck. She’d thought about them together. Although he was pretty damn sure she hadn’t thought of them together the way he had all fucking night long.

“Naiya.”

“I made breakfast. It’s on the stove.” She slung the bag over her shoulder. “Happy revenge.”

No fucking way. “It’s not safe out there.”

“It’s not safe in here.”

“I couldn’t be gentle with you,” he said. “I’m a hard man, Naiya, and the shit I just went through just made me harder. I don’t have sex. I don’t make love. I fuck. And when I do, it’s hard and it’s rough, and that’s not what you need.”

“You don’t know me.” Her face tightened. “You don’t know what I need.”

The hell he didn’t. He could read the longing on her face; he could hear it in her voice. It was the same longing that had gripped him since he met her. The old Holt would have let her walk out the door because it’s what she wanted to do, and who was he to rock the boat? He didn’t know where that Holt had gone, but the man he was now was not letting her get away.

Without taking his gaze off her, he ripped the bag from her fingers and tossed it on the couch. Then he cupped her face between his hands and covered her mouth with his.

Ah God. Her lips were as soft as he imagined, her mouth as lush. Her lips parted on a sigh, and he touched her with his tongue. She tasted of honey and coffee, warm and sweet. He wanted her, wanted this woman with the broken soul, wanted to fix her, show her the beauty of trust and surrender, open her up and fill her with joy. Yeah, he wanted to fuck her bad.

“Holt.” She pulled back, her chest heaving. “I don’t want this. I just broke up with Maurice. We were together two years. It just feels . . . wrong.”

Didn’t feel wrong to him. In fact, nothing had ever felt so right. He tagged her with an arm around her waist and crushed her against him, the way he’d seen Jagger and Cade do with their women, the way he’d seen Tank with Connie. Dominant. Controlling. And damn it felt good. Taking what he wanted. Being in charge.

And yet at the back of his mind, he was assessing her responses, the way she leaned into him, her soft sigh, the flutter of her lashes, and the little hints that told him she was on board and that he wasn’t stepping over the line. He had a strong feeling Viper had crossed that line, and if he caught her, he would cross it again.

Naiya leaned in, melted against him. Pleasure rippled through his body, and his cock hardened in an instant. He dipped his head, drank her down, delighting when she moaned and tangled her tongue with his.

She broke away again, her lips plump and swollen from his kiss. “I should go . . . I was just leaving . . .”

Deeper. Rougher. He slid one hand through her hair, tugged her head back, and held her still as he fed off her hidden desire. Her hands came up, pressed against his chest. Holt tensed, thinking she would push him away. Instead, her arms wrapped around his neck and she pulled him closer, straining upward as she kissed him back with a passion that belied her words. She wasn’t leaving. Not now.

Not ever.

About the Author:6_27 Sarah_castille  New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah Castille, writes contemporary erotic romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them. A recovering lawyer and caffeine addict, she worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies.

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Book 1, Rough Justice:

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Book 2, Beyond the Cut:

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Book 3, Sinner’s Steel:

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Interview and Giveaway with Kate Hill

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kate Hill, whose latest book in her Scarlet Nights, Feasting with the Enemy, was recently released. Leave a comment or ask Kate a question for a chance to win a digital copy of Starving Artist, the first story in the Scarlet Nights series.

Kate’s been writing for as long as she can remember and has always loved telling stories.

“I still have a box of stories I wrote in elementary school about the adventures of talking fruit and I have several boxes of romance and adventure novels I wrote in my teens,” she confessed. “They’re awful but I can’t bring myself to throw them away. There are too many memories attached.”

She’s currently working on a romantic comedy adventure about two men who are tracking Sasquatch–they are extreme opposites and are stuck in a tent together. It sounds like it’s been a lot of fun to work on!

When she’s not writing, she loves to work out and makes time to do so every day–she loves walking, jogging, doing strength training, yoga, and practicing martial arts. She also loves to watch movies, in particular horror and action movies.

“I love horror so much that one of my blogs, The Compelling Beasts Blog, includes regular recommendations of movies I’ve enjoyed,” Kate told me. “I’ve also interviewed some people involved with two of my recent favorite indie horror movies, Zombie Ninjas vs Black Ops and Tales of Dracula. The blog also features a lot of paranormal books and authors.”

If she’s struggling with writer’s block, the best way for her to conquer it is to put aside the story she’s working on and work on something completely different, even if it’s just fan fiction she would never show anyone else. If she works on something that’s just for fun, it usually gets her creative juices flowing again.

“Who is your favorite author?” I wondered.

“Alexandre Dumas. I love everything about his stories. They have adventure, romance, intrigue, and camaraderie. Pretty much everything I love in a book. Stories like The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers I can pick up at any time, turn to my favorite parts and get lost in them just like the first time I read them.”

Her favorite character, however, comes from Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, Erik.

“I’ve loved that character for ages and while I’ve enjoyed several movies derived from the book, to me nothing compares to the original,” she said. “I have several copies of the book with one that I bought just to highlight my favorite parts and makes notes in the margins. Erik is definitely in my top five all time favorite characters.”

As you might expect, Phantom of the Opera and The Three Musketeers feature in her list of book that have influenced her own writing.

“I love writing antiheroes and Erik the Phantom could fall into that category. I also love to include a lot of action and adventure in my stories and The Three Musketeers is one of my favorite action/adventure stories,” she explained. “Another book that influenced me was Bloodwind by Charlotte Boyett-Compo. She was the Queen of Tortured Heroes. No one could write them like she did.”

Kate tries to write from the heart and not be influenced by whatever is popular at the moment.

“I want to tell my own stories, not try to copy the current trend,” she said. “That means I usually only appeal to a small niche, but I’m fine with that.”

In addition to her writing, Kate is very excited about the Compelling Beasts Blog she started last June. I asked her to tell us about it.

“I’m a huge fan of antiheroes and antagonists. My favorite characters aren’t necessarily villains, but antagonists. I love shades of gray characters and villains turned hero. The Compelling Beasts Blog is dedicated to those types of characters and also to indie horror and action movies, and comic books and novels that focus on action stories, antiheroes and paranormal creatures. If it’s dark or supernatural, I like to blog about it or host others who have something to share about that theme.”

Finally I asked, “What is the most embarrassing thing your mother ever did to you?”

“I can honestly say that my mother has never embarrassed me, at least not in front of other people. She raised me to be respectful of others and she showed me how to do that by example. That’s not to say she isn’t the first to tell me if I’m being a jerk, but she does it in private and even now it’s usually enough to make me realize that yes, I should probably step back and think about what I’m saying or doing.”

After more than a century sharing a bed and fighting at each other’s backs, vampire warriors Blair and May have forged an unbreakable bond.Now the mysterious New Reign is seeking additional members. Their philosophy–recruit or destroy. Using mind manipulation, they stir up dark memories from the past to tempt Blair and May into killing each other.

Given the chance to resurrect his murdered first wife and children, will Blair now sacrifice the woman he loves–his wife and blood child, May?

 

 

 

 

About the Author: 6_24 kate hill kahi2016Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, an erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels. When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and watching horror movies.

Website | Blog | Compelling Beast Blog | Twitter | Compelling Beast Twitter | Faceook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Two Cozy Mysteries from Lyrical Press – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding digital copies of both books on the tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_MurderAtTheMansionFortunes, fineries, and foul play . . .

It’s whale-watching season in Redwood Cove, and B&B manager Kelly Jackson’s battening down the hatches for the tourist rush at Redwood Heights—a Victorian-style estate owned by her boss. And due to recent jewelry thefts, her duties include keeping track of the many dust-covered artifacts spread throughout the property. But when Kelly finds Sylvia Porter’s lifeless body, menial tasks don’t seem so terrible.

Enlisting the help of a ragtag group of brainy retirees, aka the “Silver Sentinels,” Kelly’s on the hunt for clues hidden behind the mansion’s glamorous façade and for a killer who may want to make history of her next!

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Welcome, everyone. My name is Lily Wilson, and I’ll be leading the tour today. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them. There’s a sign-in sheet on the check-in counter. We’ll be starting at one o’clock, which is in five minutes.” She turned in my direction and said, “I’d like to introduce the manager of one of Resorts International properties, Kelly Jackson. She’s in charge of Redwood Cove Bed-and-Breakfast.”

The members of the group smiled an acknowledgment. A short man in a denim shirt and khaki pants raised his hand. Lily smiled at him and asked, “Is there something you’d like to know?”

He pointed to the entrance to the parlor. “What is that shield above the doorway?”

“Redwood Heights was built by Reginald Brandon. That’s the family coat of arms,” Lily said. “There is an official Brandon crest on file. However, Mr. Brandon wanted to design his own to reflect life in the West. On his shield he chose to put the silhouettes of two rearing stallions, symbols of strength. Rifles instead of swords crossed over the top of them—the weapons of that era. Tall redwood trees filled in the area behind them and were the source of his wealth. You can see his motto for loyalty and honor on the banner.”

I enjoyed her explanation. It added another dimension to an object that had just been an interesting piece.

A tall woman with a long brown braid down her back pointed to a picture. “Is this Mr. and Mrs. Brandon?”

“Yes, that picture is of the Brandons,” Lily replied. “The woman in the picture is the second Mrs. Brandon. As with many wealthy families and historic estates, there are questionable stories in their past. Redwood Heights is no different.”

“How so?” asked the woman.

“We don’t have any pictures of the first Mrs. Brandon. She was the belle of glittering New York high society who found herself in remote Redwood Cove. She disappeared not long after arriving. Some say she ran off with a lover. Rumors cropped up that she took a sizeable amount of Brandon’s money, changed her name, and left to enjoy San Francisco’s growing attractions.”

The cadence of Lily’s voice took the story beyond a runaway wife. Her tilted head and arched eyebrow led you down a path of mystery and intrigue. The visitors moved a little closer.

Lily leaned toward them and whispered, “Some say she never left at all.” Her words lingered in the dead silence.

Everyone was still—frozen in that past time. Goose bumps popped up on my arms. Someone coughed, and the spell was broken.

“After a time, Brandon married again. They had no children and, alas, the house went to a distant cousin.”

I’d been mesmerized by the tale. Snapping out of it, I looked around. Sylvia still wasn’t there.

“The tour will meet in the parlor. Restrooms are down the hallway to your right,” Lily instructed the group.

I walked up the carpeted stairs to the second floor, running my hand over the smooth oak railing. It had taken hundreds of polishings to develop the fine patina and rich glow.

Sylvia’s room was the first door at the top of the staircase. I knocked quietly. When there was no response, I knocked harder. She must really be a sound sleeper. I tried the door, but it was locked. I rushed downstairs, retrieved her room key, and glanced at my watch. If Sylvia hurried, she’d still have time to make the start of the tour. Arriving back at her door, I knocked again.

“Mrs. Porter, it’s Kelly. The tour is starting in a couple of minutes.” I got no response, so I unlocked the door and peeked in. Sylvia was sitting in front of her dressing table, her back to me.

I opened the door a little farther. “Mrs. Porter?” I stepped inside the room. In the filtered light from the curtained windows, Sylvia’s image reflected in the mirror. Her eyes were closed, and her head rested on her shoulder. She must have dozed off before making it into bed for a nap.

My attention was drawn to a brooch on the left side of Sylvia’s blouse as I approached her. I hadn’t noticed it before. It was a lovely piece—a large egg-shaped pearl surrounded by a burst of red.

I touched Sylvia’s shoulder. No response.

“Mrs. Porter?” I gently shook her.

Sylvia’s head rolled forward and hung down. Her dangling hair covered the side of her face.

I gasped, and my heart began to pound. I looked more closely at her. The burst of red wasn’t part of a pin—it was blood.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MurderAtTheMansion

Janet Finsilver and her husband live in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie, a Rhodesian ridgeback, and Ellie, a boxer/coonhound mix. Janet enjoys horseback riding, snow skiing, and cooking. She is currently working on her next Redwood Cove mystery.

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MediaKit_BookCover_TeaCupAndCarnageThe quaint coastal town of South Cove, California, is all abuzz about the opening of a new specialty shop, Tea Hee. But as Coffee, Books, and More owner Jill Gardner is about to find out, there’s nothing cozy about murder . . .

Shop owner Kathi Corbin says she came to South Cove to get away from her estranged family. But is she telling the truth? And did a sinister someone from her past follow her to South Cove? When a woman claiming to be Kathi’s sister starts making waves and a dead body is found in a local motel, Jill must step in to clear Kathi’s name–without getting herself in hot water.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Limping home, I saw Greg’s truck parked at City Hall. I went in through the side door that took me to the police station. Amy kept going, heading home to shower before returning to her job as city hall receptionist.

Greg stood by Esmeralda’s desk and raised his eyebrows when he saw me. “Rough workout? I’m glad I was too busy to go today.”

“Oh, you’ll get yours. Don’t think demon trainer didn’t notice you were gone.”

“Okay. So why are you here?” He pushed a curl back out of my face. “Too far to walk home after the workout?”

“You’re just mean, you know that right?” I sank into the couch. It did feel amazing just to veg for a second or two. Okay, so Greg could have been right about my real motives for the impromptu visit. “Actually, I wanted to know about your call-out last night. I’m assuming this was a murder and not an old guy dying in his sleep.”

“And you deduced that from?” He watched me closely.

Shrugging, I sank deeper into the cushions. No wonder Greg didn’t mind sleeping in his office every so often. The couch was amazing. “No one blabbed, if you’re thinking of blaming Toby. You didn’t call, and you’re still wearing last night’s clothes.”

He chuckled. “You’re right. I guess I’m more transparent than I thought. We don’t know much about the murder, except the guy checked in a few days ago under a false name. Of course, the motel doesn’t ask for any verification or even a credit card. Cash only out there.”

“So he’s not a local.” For some reason, this made me feel better. Sure, it was sad someone had died, but people died all the time. I just didn’t want it to be one of my friends.

“Not that I can tell. But I think it’s the biker who’s been racing up and down Main Street. He fits the description.” Greg shrugged and grinned. “And, there’s a bike parked outside his room. Yep, I’m a trained investigator, I notice these things.”

“Big guy?” I thought about how the elderly woman had almost been smashed by the rider just a few days ago.

“Nope. He’s tall, maybe six feet, but if he weighs more than a hundred fifty soaking wet I’ll buy you dinner.” Greg groaned as he stood and walked across the room to his desk. He pulled me to standing. “I hate it when you do that.”

“Do what?” Now that I was upright, my stomach growled reminding me I hadn’t eaten all day. I dug into my tote and pulled out a protein bar.

“Trick me into telling you more than I should.” He pointed to the door. “Out of here. I’ve got work to do.”

I took a bite of my protein bar as I walked out. Pausing at the door, I turned back to look at him. He was already typing into some document. “I take it I won’t see you for dinner?”

“Not tonight. But I’ll be over on Sunday at the latest.” He paused. “Are you working the festival that day?”

“Just the morning shift. We’re closing the main store and only running the food truck that day.” I adjusted the strap on my tote, feeling the weight on my screaming shoulder blade. I walked out of the office and wondered how bad the murder had been. Just because it was a stranger that lay in the morgue, didn’t mean someone from South Cove hadn’t been involved or known the guy.

Or why else would he have been here?

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TeaCupsAndCarnageNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho expat. She grew up living the small town life she now loves to write about. Currently, she’s living with her husband and two fur babies in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. Guidebook to Murder, Book 1 of the Tourist Trap series, won the 2015 Reader’s Crown award for Mystery Fiction.

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A Bodyguard of Lies by Donna Del Oro – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Donna Del Oro will be awarding a copy of A Bodyguard of Lies (a print copy for a US winner or an ebook for an international winner) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ABodyguardOfLiesThe past and present collide as FBI analyst Jake Bernstein is recruited to go undercover and investigate an elderly American grandmother, currently on a tour of England and Ireland with her granddaughter, who is suspected of WWII war crimes. Jake joins them and runs into complications when his growing attraction to the granddaughter challenges his obligation to remain emotionally detached. As the investigation intensifies, a neo-Nazi group tries to prevent him from learning the truth and achieve justice for all concerned. Danger mounts, and Jake struggles to stay alive long enough to either prove the old woman’s guilt or exonerate her.

Despite Meg Larsen’s mounting passion for the stranger who has joined their tour, she suspects he’s not who he claims to be. When she realizes her grandmother is the target of the man’s investigation, her first instinct is to protect the woman who raised her. Eventually, however, Meg must face the possibility of her grandmother’s lifetime of lies while forced to trust a man who has become both their nemesis and bodyguard.

Note from the Author

My new FBI series, INTERNATIONAL RELEASE-JUNE 8th, is the Jake Bernstein FBI series–A BODYGUARD OF LIES, Book One. If you love a genre that’s chock full of danger, suspense, crime drama and a heavy dose of sizzling romance, you’ll LOVE THIS SERIES! FBI agent Jake Bernstein is my epitome of a hardy, justice-seeking federal officer who combines good looks, a sense of humor and unyielding courage. He knows how to investigate as one of the Bureau’s best undercover agents, but he also knows how and when to bend the rules for the sake of true human justice.

The idea for this book, A BODYGUARD OF LIES, struck me when I was tipping a pint with fellow tourists at an Irish pub. There on the wall was an old, WW II photo of Irish dockworkers sharing their pub with German U-boat sailors. That started me wondering about the role that Ireland played during the war, its uneasy relationship with Nazi Germany and the German spies who infiltrated Ireland and England. Lots of research followed, which led me to a contemporary story about an FBI undercover agent who investigates an elderly, naturalized American grandmother, wanted by MI6 for war crimes. Little ol’ Mary McCoy Snider, a dangerous WW II Nazi spy who caused the deaths of thousands? Even Agent Jake Bernstein finds that an unbelievable stretch. The granddaughter whom Jake finds himself falling in love with also disbelieves MI6’s allegations.

Until his investigation draws him into the middle of a dangerous, secret neo-Nazi group that’ll stop at nothing to protect one of their own. And then Jake must choose, the old woman and her lovely granddaughter. Or justice!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Twenty minutes to go and they’d be boarding the motor coach. The fog was even soupier now it had been an hour ago. The coach passengers were finishing lunch and some were already stirring in their seats. God help him, he’d never sat in one place so long in his life as during this tour. Even at his desk at work, he was up and about once every hour. This sedentary coach tour was making his butt itch.

Of course, having Meg close by and unable to touch her made another part of him itch. His previous undercover assignments, when one of his duties was to schmooze a woman in order to get intel, were a kind of playacting. Playing the role of womanizing seducer. A ladies’ man, or player.

It was a job. If you had a certain look and background that fit the job, you were expected to do your duty. Typecasting, maybe, but he’d been rewarded with promotions as a result. Grandpa Nate had said once, right after Jake had joined the FBI, “You haf gifts, Yakov, you use dem. Yust like anybody else.”

This time, however, he wasn’t acting. His mind was crowded with thoughts of her, yearnings to hold her, talk to her, even just to sit next to her and feel her thigh rubbing against his. Thoughts of her crowded his mind, filled his every waking moment. Juggling his emotions and loyalty to Meg with his duty and loyalty to the FBI was—well, he hated to admit it but it was driving him to distraction.

The FBI might fire him for insubordination if MI5 got wind he’d alerted Meg to MI5’s arrest warrant. Major Temple and his team would throw him to the dogs.

And rightly so.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ABodyguardOfLiesDonna is a retired high school English teacher and is finally able to fulfill her dream of writing fiction. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. When she’s not writing novels, she’s singing with the Sacramento Valley Chorus or traveling with her husband. Life is good and she feels very blessed.

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LGBT Pride Month by Jake C. Wallace – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Hi, everyone! I want to thank Long and Short Reviews for having me on the blog. Soul Seekers is my fifth novel release. Being LGBT Pride month, I found some historical facts to share, and then read the story excerpt. Lastly, sign up for the giveaway!

I hope you enjoy this peek at Soul Seekers. Check in at www.jcwallacebooks.com for links to all of the blogs in the tour and you can enter as much as you like!

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 All About Pride Month

While celebrating Pride month, I thought I’d find out more about the history and how the commemorative month came to be. The following information comes from the Library of Congress. On their website, you can find information and history, presidential proclamations and collections detailing the history of gay rights.

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is celebrated in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.
  • The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the gay liberation movement in the United States. In the US, the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible.
  • The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • First recognized in 2000 as Gay and Lesbian Pride month by President Clinton with Presidential Proclamation 7316. Acknowledged the prejudice and discrimination faced by gays and lesbians who “have had to hide or deny their sexual orientation in order to keep their jobs or to live safely in their communities” and the “prejudice against gays and lesbians can still erupt into acts of hatred and violence.”
  • In June 2009, President Obama issued Presidential Proclamation 8387 designated June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. The proclamation calls upon us to “commit to achieving equal justice under the law for LGBT Americans” and “to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.”
  • President Obama has issued annual proclamations for the celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. On May 30, 2014 Presidential Proclamation 9136, the President called upon us to “…celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.” This proclamation references the 2013 case heard by the United States Supreme Court, Windsor v. United States which struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage law (DOMA) as unconstitutional. The proclamation ends with a call for greater tolerance: “Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity—because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.”

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6_22 Soul Seekers_finalNineteen-year-old college student Levi Reed has spent his life with hollow emotions and a darkness so deep that he’s convinced he’s losing his mind. He’d give anything to feel something, anything, real.

When a mysterious stranger appears, Levi is convinced the man is trying to kill him. When he’s near, Levi experiences head-crushing pain and something surprising—real emotions for the first time. Jeb Monroe is arrogant, self-assured, closed-off, and handsome, but his isn’t the harbinger of doom Levi assumed. Jeb’s mission: help Levi find his missing soul.

Levi is pulled into the secret world of Seers and Keepers, those born with the innate abilities to manipulate souls and tasked with balancing the negative energy they can produce. Levi learns he possesses a rare gift, and he’s in danger. As Jeb and Levi grow closer, they discover a group of zealots who want to harness Levi’s power to cleanse the world of damaged souls. Everyone Levi cares for is threatened unless he agrees to become their tool of death. But agreeing could spell the destruction of humankind. With no one to trust and nothing as it appears, it’s up to Levi to save them all.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Levi could scarcely appreciate the magnitude of the force growing from some primitive pit deep within his mind. It—whatever it was—was surfacing, ready or not.

He had to get out. Running was his only solution, the only thing that made sense. A break with one’s psyche had to be messy and definitely nothing a room full of his fellow students deserved to witness. It sounded like nasty business.

“Hey,” Gia whispered, setting her hand on Levi’s shoulder. “You okay?”

Gia’s touch shot pain into his bones and was more than he could stand. He jerked away.

“Levi?” Concern colored Gia’s voice.

Unprecedented pressure crowded Levi’s mind, and, like a balloon filled past capacity, something eventually had to give. Terrifying visions of his gray and white brain matter splattering across student’s faces, on pages of open textbooks, on Mr. Cobbert and that hideous tie covered with statistical equations, invaded his mind. Levi wondered how long he had before his head exploded.

Fumbling to gather what remained on his desk, he picked up his messenger bag and bolted for the door. What was happening to him? God, anywhere but here. The heat rushing through him spiked. A large black blur startled him as it passed by the window of the door. Taken back, Levi hesitated and then grabbed for the metal door handle. When he tried to pull the door open, a painful spark of static electricity crackled at his fingertips. Instinctively, Levi pulled his hand back as the shock snapped against his skin.

Don’t let the door close!

Levi caught the metal monstrosity with his knee and squeezed through, allowing it to slam behind him.

Which way?

His car. In the back parking lot. To the right. The hallway was empty. As he ran, the unrelenting cranial pressure doubled him over in agony and pain exploded in his chest. Stumbling to remain upright, Levi steadied himself with his hand on the wall and then pushed off, propelling himself forward. His thoughts were vacant. He was in pure survival mode, true fight-or-flight, however something was wrong. No. Something was missing.

The fear.

Out the front doors. Blinding sunlight. Colored figures rushed past him, pushing and knocking into him.

So much pressure!

“Hey, watch it!” a male voice yelled as Levi bounced off a body.

When his vision came into focus, Levi was well into the parking lot, dodging moving and parked cars. Another blur of black passed nearby, but he ignored it, not giving a shit. His only objective: find his car and fast.

Again, he doubled over as the pain escalated, this time accompanied by roiling nausea. Where was his damned car?

Digging deep into his front pocket, Levi fought to free his keys. Just as he reasoned the piece of shit must have been stolen, there it was. He’d never been so relieved to find the old, rusting heap of steel. Juggling the keys, Levi managed to hit the button on the key fob, grateful for access to the locked car.

As he dropped into the driver seat, another wave of mind-numbing pain knocked into him, immense in his head and blossoming in his chest as well. Not again. His hands pressed against the sides of his skull. Maybe if he squeezed hard enough the counter-pressure would relieve the pain, or maybe it would simply crush his skull. When there was a reprieve from the pain, Levi revved the four-cylinder to life. Without hesitation, he backed out of the space, then slammed the gearshift to D, fleeing, as if he were being chased by every scary monster in the history of scary monsters.

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About the author:  Formerly, I wrote under JC Wallace, but recently decided to use my full name. I have been writing all of my life but didn’t start publishing until 2014. In my day job, I am a behavior analyst. At night and on the weekends, I write about all things men. I believe there is nothing hotter than two men finding and loving one another, whether for a night or forever. An avid reader of M/M romance, I love a good twist of a plot, HEA, HFN, or tragic ending. I am owned by one beautiful partner, three kids and two grandchildren. I live in Northern Vermont.

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