#BookTour “Nunzio’s Way (Book 2 in the Weepers Series)” by Nick Chiarkas

Nunzio's Way by Nick Chiarkas Banner~~~~

book cover

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Synopsis:

 

“In this city, you can have anything you want if you kill the right four people.” ~ Nunzio Sabino

In Weepers (Book 1), Angelo and his gang, with a bit of help from his beloved “uncle” Nunzio Sabino, defeated the notorious Satan’s Knights. Now, in this standalone sequel to Weepers, it’s 1960 and Nunzio is still the most powerful organized crime boss in New York City, protecting what’s his with political schemes and ‘business’ deals.

Against this backdrop of Mafia turf wars, local gang battles, and political power-plays in the mayoral election, the bodies begin stacking up. An unlikely assassin arrives fresh from Naples after killing a top member of the Camorra to avenge the murder of her family. She blends seamlessly into the neighborhood and with the focus on the threat from the Satan’s Knights, no one suspects that Angelo’s father and Nunzio are next on her hit list. Nunzio has lived his entire life by the mantra; Be a fox when there are traps and a lion when there are wolves. Will Nunzio be a lion in time?

Praise for Nick Chiarkas:

“Writers are always told, ‘Write what you know.’ Nick Chiarkas knows New York, organized crime, and how to write an engaging story. Nunzio’s Way is gritty and thoroughly gripping.”

John DeDakis, award-winning Novelist and former editor for CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller / Historical

Published by: HenschelHAUS Publishing

Publication Date: October 2022

Number of Pages: 261

ISBN: 978159595-908-6

Series: Weepers, #2

Book Links: Amazon | Kindle Unlimited | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

For those who have read Weepers a while ago, and for those who have not read Weepers, here is a brief description of Nunzio Sabino, as told by Father Joe to Father Casimiro (Father Cas) in Weepers.

***

“In 1920… Caffè Fiora was the Baling Hook, a tough bar owned by an ex-longshoreman, Stanley Marco, and his wife Sylvia—who was every bit as tough as Stan. The place was decorated with nets, anchors, and baling hooks hanging all over the walls. It had a long bar and small tables.”

“Sounds charming,” Father Casimiro said sarcastically.

“In a strange way, it was. The booze was good. The food was tolerable. And the dancers were okay—that is, except for one. Fiora Ventosa was a delicate breeze in a cigar-filled room. And when she danced, the room dropped silent. She was sensational.”

“A stripper?”

“Not completely, more burlesque. The dancers would take off this or that but never stripped completely. Each night of the week featured a different dancer. Fiora danced on Tuesday nights. And Nunzio fell in love with her.”

“How old was he?”

“Thirteen. We were all kids about the same age. There were five of us—me, Nunzio, Pompeo—Anna’s father—

George, and Nick. We would sneak in every Tuesday night. Sylvia knew, but let it slide.”

“Did Fiora know how Nunzio—”

“Probably. She would sometimes sit with us after her show. Thinking back, she probably thought it was cute, and compared to the rest of the clientele, we were safe, adoring fans. We would sit there and Nunzio would be transfixed. She was seventeen and Nunzio figured a four-year difference wasn’t that much. So, after watching her dance every Tuesday for seven or eight months, on the third Tuesday in January 1920, Nunzio decided to tell Fiora he wanted to marry her. Seems silly now, but back then…what did we know? Anyway, Nunzio had to work late, so we waited for him and then we beat it over to the Hook.”

Father Casimiro loved these stories. They gave him a history, like he belonged to the neighborhood. “Did he tell her?”

“When we got to the Hook, Stan was shoving everyone out of the place, telling them to go home. Somebody, I don’t know who, said, ‘You kids better not go in there tonight.’ We pushed our way in against everybody leaving. There were several overturned tables and a couple of people standing around looking down.”

“Looking down?” Father Casimiro dodged several kids running along the sidewalk.

“Sylvia was sitting on the floor crying. Fiora was lying on the floor, covered by a large flannel shirt. Her head in Sylvia’s lap. Stan was arguing with a big guy they called the Bear. He was six- foot-six and must have weighed in at over three hundred pounds. He was a foreman on the docks and a neighborhood bully. The Bear stood there in a T-shirt and said to Stan, ‘Don’t you say nothing, you hear me? Nothing.’ Sylvia shouted up at the Bear, ‘You sonofabitch, you killed this little girl.’”

“What? She was dead? He killed her? Why?”

“The drunken Bear wanted to see more skin. He yanked her off the dance floor. She fought and he broke her neck.” Father Joe lit a cigarette and handed the pack to Father Casimiro.

Father Casimiro lit a cigarette and took a long drag. “Poor girl.” Cigarette smoke escaped with the words. He handed the pack back to Father Joe. “Nunzio must have been devastated. You all, just kids, must have been—”

“It was the only time I ever saw Nunzio cry. Ever. It was the most heart-rending, profound sadness I ever witnessed. Nunzio dropped to his knees and touched her face. Meanwhile, the Bear was standing over Sylvia with his two buddies, one on either side of him, and he said to Stan, ‘The girl’s trash; nobody’s gonna miss her. So, you and your wife keep your mouths shut.’ He reached down and grabbed his shirt off Fiora and started to put it on.

He continued, “That was when I noticed that Nunzio was missing. And then I heard the scream. It didn’t sound human. It was pain and fury. It was Nunzio, and he was in midair—he jumped from the top of the bar behind the Bear. In each hand, he gripped a baling hook—he had taken them off the wall. He looked like an eagle screaming in for the kill. The Bear’s arms were halfway in his shirt sleeves when the points of the heavy hooks pierced his deltoid muscles from behind. The hooks hit both shoulders and sunk behind his collarbone.”

“Dear God,” Father Casimiro shivered as he imagined the pain of a thick steel hook sinking into his shoulder muscle.

“The Bear roared and swung from side to side. Nunzio held on tight to the hooks, his legs flying from left to right, back and forth. The Bear’s arms were pinned halfway in his shirt. He kept trying to grab Nunzio’s legs. But with each movement, the hooks sank deeper.”

Father Casimiro was no longer aware of the people pushing past him, some smiling and nodding. The musty beer and sawdust of the Baling Hook filled his senses. He imagined the blood spurting from the hooks, and a thirteen-year-old boy hanging on—fortified by rage. Father Casimiro smoked and listened. “What about the Bear’s friends?”

“The two of them grabbed at Nunzio, and that’s when we—all four of us—jumped in. I was a pretty good boxer by then, and Pompeo was always a strong kid. Nick pulled a knife, and George grabbed another baling hook off the wall. The Bear’s buddies ran out of the place; they weren’t up for the fight. After that, the only ones in the Hook were Stan, Sylvia, the Bear, Fiora, and us. The Bear started spinning and coughing up blood. Nunzio just held on. We were trying to get them apart. But the Bear kept spinning, knocking over tables. And Nunzio was like a cape flying from the Bear’s shoulders.

“Then, finally, the Bear dropped to his knees, straight down, his arms dead, draped at his sides. As the Bear fell forward, Nunzio pulled on the hooks. The Bear growled and then whimpered as his face cracked the wooden floor. All the time, Nunzio held onto the hooks—pulling. He let go when the Bear rolled over on his back—hooks still buried in his shoulders. He looked straight up at Nunzio.”

“He was still alive?” Father Casimiro gasped.

“Only for a moment or two. Nunzio wasn’t finished, but Stan grabbed him and said, ‘He’s gone. You kids get out of here so we can clean up.’ Nunzio never fell in love again.”

“Did she have any family?” Father Casimiro asked, flicking his cigarette into the gutter. “I mean, Fiora.”

“Fiora was fifteen and pregnant with Natale when she arrived in New York from Genoa. The Cherry Street Settlement took her in and after Natale was born, they got her a room with Sylvia and Stan, who hired Fiora to tend bar and dance on Tuesday nights. Fiora Ventosa was born on the third Tuesday in March and seventeen years later died on the third Tuesday in January, and her only family was two- year-old Natale Ventosa. No one ever knew who the father was. Natale was raised by Sylvia and Stan.”

“What about the police and the Bear’s friends?”

“No police—Stan fixed that. But the Bear’s pals came after Nunzio. The five of us were inseparable. Nunzio was, is, a born leader. Battle after battle, victory after victory, we quickly gained a reputation. Eventually other guys wanted to join our gang. By sixteen, Nunzio was the most powerful gang leader in the city. When he was twenty, he bought the Baling Hook.”

“He bought it?”

“Stan had passed away a couple of years earlier, so Nunzio turned it into a pretty good restaurant—no dancing—and re-named it Caffè Fiora. He sent Sylvia money every month to cover Natale’s financial needs. He paid Sylvia more than she ever dreamed to run the restaurant. When Sylvia died in ’51, Nunzio gave the restaurant to Natale.”

“So, you became a priest to …”

“The battles we won were hard fought and people were killed. We all…I killed,” Father Joe confessed. “At nineteen, I decided to become a priest and devote my life to saving as many kids in these neighborhoods as I could in return for God’s forgiveness. We have an uneasy relationship—I’m certain God doesn’t always agree with my methods, and I have some questions for Him as well. But I’m sticking to the deal.”

“What about the other kids? Did they stay in the gang?”

“No. Pompeo is a foreman at the meat market, Nick became a cop, and George is a foreman on the docks. But on the third Tuesday of each month, the five of us go back there, just like when we were thirteen, but now it’s the Caffè Fiora—and we play poker in the back room and talk about how fast time passes.”

“Does Natale know?”

“Sylvia told her the whole story. Natale loves Nunzio like a father,” Father Joe said as he and Father Casimiro passed Columbus Park and made a left from Mulberry Street onto Worth Street. “This is the end of Little Italy.”

As they reached St. Joachim’s, Father Casimiro said, “I think I’ll walk over to the Settlement. You want to come with?”

“Come with?” Father Joe teased. “Sure, I can use the exercise.”

“Does Nunzio ever worry about some ambitious hooligan wanting to take over? Or is that just in the movies?”

“Hooligan?” Father Joe smiled. “Nunzio is the top lion. He is constantly watched by the ambitious and the aggrieved. He can’t show weakness. He can’t let a single insult—especially a public one—go unchecked. Continued leadership requires constant vigilance and no margin of error. None.”

“Sounds stressful.”

“It is. The only time Nunzio can relax—really be himself, joke around—is with us, the kids who grew up with him, on the third Tuesday of the month.”

CHAPTER ONE

“The right four people”

“Pal, in this city, you can have anything you want if you kill the right four people.”

“Nunzio, we don’t have to kill –”

“We? Me and you, De?” Nunzio leaned back, a gesture as intimidating as a knife to the throat when it came from Nunzio Sabino, the most powerful crime boss in the city.

Nunzio sat at his private table with his attorney, Declan Ardan, in the dusk-lit Caffè Fiora on Grand Street in Little Italy. On the walls, ropes, hooks, and paintings of Genoa’s seaport, honored the birthplace of the owner’s mother, Fiora, her dark eyes still vigilant from the portrait above Nunzio’s table. The Caffè was quiet on this rainy St. Patrick’s Day. Two of Nunzio’s men sat at a nearby table. The guy who had come with Declan sat hunched over coffee near the entrance.

“No, I mean, nobody has to get killed; talk to your guys at Tammany. They respect –”

“You still got that scar,” Nunzio said. It’s bad enough in court; there, I do what he says. But not at my table. Since we were kids, this mameluke was a bully. I can’t give him an inch. Not an inch. “What about my guys?”

De touched the scar above his left eye. “Doolin said the Italians run everything now. He said, ‘If anyone can pull strings…’”

“Before you start pinning medals on my ass,” Nunzio signaled to a waiter. “Arturo, bring me and ‘Deadshot’ here a couple of espressos and Natale’s little cakes.”

“All I’m saying is–”

“Marone, you’re still talkin’?”

“All I want – ”

“I know what you want. You wanna be mayor.” Nunzio lit a Camel and tossed the pack on the table while exhaling through his nose like a dragon. “Listen to me, Brian Doolin is a piantagrane, a troublemaker. For an upfront payment he sells you a dream. Then when it doesn’t come true it was always somebody else’s fault. Like you, that time when we were kids, and you told me Eddie Fialco sounded on my mother. It was bullshit, you just wanted me to beat him up. You’re a piantagrane, like Doolin. It works for you in court, but Doolin just likes to cause trouble. Look, you got a kid who wants to go to college for a grand, your kid’s in. But mayor, forse si forse no?”

“So, maybe a chance?”

“Maybe.”

De stroked his scar absentmindedly. “You gave me this when we were kids.”

“It makes you look like a tough guy.”

“I once asked Joe why you hit me with that rock.”

“It was a brick,” Nunzio said.

“Joe said it was to save my life. I still don’t get it.” “You don’t have to.”

“But Joe was there.”

“Joe was with Pompeo and me and a bunch of us.

What were we, ten years old? We were cutting through the empty lot to school, and you – ”

“Okay, so I was taking kid’s lunch money. They all gave it up except you. You were the smallest kid, and you just said ‘No’.”

“And what did you say to me?”

“That’s what I don’t get; I just said, ‘okay, maybe next time’ and you hit me hard with a brick. I swear I was knocked out for a couple of minutes.”

“You said ‘maybe next time.’”

“Yeah, that’s all.”

“But you never asked me again.”

“I thought you were crazy. I followed you home one day. I figured if I saw where you lived, I would get a better read on you. I trailed you into the cellar of 57 Canon Street. I saw a little bed in one corner and a pile of banana crates by the door – the only things in that dirt floor cavernous space. You were shoveling coal into the furnace, which explained why you always had soot on you. I was about to say something when a spider the size of my face jumped out at me from the crates, and I beat it the hell out of there.”

“You followed me?”

“How could you have lived in that cellar?”

“Instead of where?”

“I don’t know. Maybe in…I don’t know. Didn’t some family take you in?”

“Yeah, the Sas family. Good people.”

“Anyway, I never asked you for money again.”

“If you had, I would’ve killed you. So, the brick saved your life.”

Declan nodded. “Yeah. Got it.”

Three years later, a hulking longshoreman people called “The Bear” wouldn’t be so lucky. He was the first man Nunzio killed. At the ripe age of 13, his life and the lives of four of his friends, changed forever.

Nunzio drifted back to his childhood. He was six years old when his mother and he moved from Naples to the Lower East Side. Alone after his mother died, he learned to survive in one of the most notorious neighborhoods in the city. Where the narrow, trash-lined streets and alleys weaved together decaying brownstone tenements with common toilets, one per floor. He shoveled coal and guarded the produce stored there by the ships docked off South Street, to pay for living in the cellar.

After school, Nunzio mostly walked the streets. He recalled the putrid smell of decomposing cats and dogs covered with a trembling blanket of insects, rats, and things he didn’t recognize. Lying in the gutter against the sidewalk on Pike Street was a horse, with old and fresh whip wounds, shrouded in a cloak of flying and crawling insects. Plenty of other horrors and hardships confronted him throughout his life, but when he closed his eyes, Nunzio saw the horse.

“I know you’re not here to talk about old times. Whadaya need?”

“Nunzio, no one is better than you with –”

“Christ, without the bullshit.”

De lowered his voice, “Tammany Hall is on the outs

with the mayor, and they’re scrambling to find a candidate to run against him. So, if you would tell them that you would be grateful if they would pick me…”

“You tellin’ me what to tell them? Forget about it. Anyway, I like the deputy mayor; he postponed the Brooklyn Bridge deal as a favor to me back in ’57.

“Nunzio, did I do something to piss you off? Is that why your guys searched us when we came in today?”

Chinatown was pushing towards Canal Street; the Russians were gaining a footprint in Brighten Beach. And Pepe, Nunzio’s driver, bodyguard, and right hand since forever, told him there were rumbles of a hit on Nunzio. Someone or some group was always waiting and watching. He knew, like bosses everywhere, that everyone under him thought they could do a better job and thought the boss never did enough for them. This felt different. Pepe had heard it from one of his spies in Satan’s Knights. Pepe would get more information.

But all Nunzio said was, “I’m a little cautious these days. You know how it is.”

“I’m your lawyer; you call me when you need help. Right?”

“I pay you top dollar. You complainin’?”

“No, I’m saying we help each other. We knew growing up here, the only choice was to be a gangster or a victim. No offense.”

“You believe that crap?” Nunzio shook his head. “What?”

“You can be whatever you wanna be.”

“I try to be straight, but you know – ”

“Who you kiddin‘?”

“The point is, we have to trust each other.” De took a long breath and looked wistful as his eyes landed on the painting of Fiora. “I came here with you to see her dance. She was 16 back then, with a two-year-old kid.”

“Seventeen,” Nunzio said, “and the kid’s name is Natale.”

“And you were 13 and asked Fiora to marry you in this Caffè. Am I right?”

“I never got the chance.”

***

Excerpt from NUNZIO’S WAY by NICK CHIARKAS. Copyright 2022 by Nicholas L. Chiarkas. Reproduced with permission from Nicholas L. Chiarkas. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Nicholas L. Chiarkas

Nick Chiarkas grew up in the Al Smith housing projects in the Two Bridges neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

When he was in the fourth grade, his mother was told by the principal of PS-1 that, “Nick was unlikely to ever complete high school, so you must steer him toward a simple and secure vocation.” Instead, Nick became a writer, with a few stops along the way: a U.S. Army Paratrooper; a New York City Police Officer; the Deputy Chief Counsel for the President’s Commission on Organized Crime; and the Director of the Wisconsin State Public Defender Agency.

On the way to becoming an author, he picked up a Doctorate from Columbia University; a Law Degree from Temple University; and was a Pickett Fellow at Harvard. How many mothers are told their children are hopeless? How many kids with potential simply surrender to despair? That’s why Nick wrote Weepers and Nunzio’s Way— for them.

Catch Up With Our Author:
NickChiarkas.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @AuthorNickChiarkas
Twitter – @chiarkas
Facebook – @NicholasChiarkasAuthor

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Tour Participants:

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#BookTour “Secrets of the Gold” by Baer Charlton

Secrets of the Gold by Baer Charlton BannerNovember 7 – December 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

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book cover

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Synopsis:

 

Concealed in his jacket are ingots of gold; he just doesn’t remember why.

A young girl running from an abusive foster home kidnaps the older biker with a mystery for a past.

Leaving the mining town in Colorado and crossing state lines, anything can happen.

What neither is looking for or expecting is friendship.

But in the cold of the desert night, life lessons can go both ways—even if they are not about a million dollars in gold.

Growing up is hard enough, even without the shooting.

 

Praise for Secrets of the Gold:

“kept me spellbound”

“you will have a very hard time putting this book down!”

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Coming of Age, Female Sleuth

Published by: Mordant Media

Publication Date: March 2022

Number of Pages: 374

ISBN: 1949316203 (ISBN-13 9781949316209)

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Books2Read

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Read an excerpt:

Eight Years Before

Someone unexpected at the front door is exciting—for a nine-year-old girl. But time and experience change people.

“I’ll get it,” she squealed.

The sound of cheap sneakers slapped on the cheap flooring. Military housing, even off-base, has never changed. Expensive big toys were always more exciting for congressional representatives than looking after the troops and their families.

“Check the peephole before you open the door.”

The polished brass belt buckles dully reflected the peeling white of the door. The dark blue of the uniforms wasn’t what she was used to seeing around the base, but she had seen them occasionally.

Pulling on the door, she yelled over her shoulder. “It’s a couple of marines like Daddy.”

The enormous crash at the back of the small apartment ricocheted off the rigid walls and out the open door. It hit the two lieutenants hard.

One with their mouth half open.

The man looked at his female companion as she hurried into the apartment. The man reached for the girl’s arm.

“Mom?”

* * *

The California sun did nothing to brighten the day. The two lieutenants in dress blues stood a short distance away. The casket sat draped with flowers, but only two adults and a young girl filled the fourteen chairs.

The girl’s hazel eyes appeared washed out—more watery-blue than green. The swell of her lower lip slowly sucked in and then released over and over. The blink had nothing to do with what the chaplain was saying. It had nothing to do with her world. The black dress didn’t fit her, but at least it covered the scrapes and scars on her knees. The long sleeves performed the same service for her arms. The rusty blonde hair, chopped at the center of her neck, was the only acknowledgment of her being less than delicate.

The deep low rumble of the officer’s voice left his Minnesota lips motionless. The sound carried only to his partner. “What now?”

The woman shrugged slightly.

“Any relatives at all?”

The woman turned her head slightly. “There’s an older uncle. He’ll be available, possibly in ten to fifteen—if he behaves this time.”

The man frowned and looked out from the side of his eye. They had worked together long enough for the silent shorthand.

“Aggravated homicide with extenuating circumstances.”

His eyes didn’t move. He was waiting for the boot to drop.

“Beat his wife and then cut off her breasts and legs to let her bleed out.” Her eyes moved to lock on his. “He caught her in bed with his best friend.”

The man’s frown furrowed deep. “And his friend? What did he do to him?”

The woman’s eyes snapped to a distant tableau—seven marines with seven rifles for a different burial. “You mean her. His best friend since high school. He beat her to death with the waffle iron.”

They both came to attention and saluted the three-shot salute of the honor guard from across the cemetery. The other funeral was well attended, even though it was unusual for military internment with honors to be held in a civilian cemetery. The passing thought was that the funeral was for a much-loved senior member of a large family.

“Did they cross-check the weapon of choice for a match…?”

If the dead were not theirs or family, they were fair game for lighthearted banter.

“The prints matched. The iron was still hot when he struck.”

The last rifle volley faded away as three riflemen gave their squad leader a cartridge. The two officers watched as the squad leader marched over to the casket and began folding the flag with the rest of the honor guards. The three shells folded into the flag forever. Some thought the seven riflemen firing three volleys was a twenty-one gun salute. But the tradition didn’t come from salutes of Man-O-War dreadnaughts but to let an opposing army know they had cleared the field of battle of their dead. The three spent shells also had a simpler meaning than many thought—the flag was from a military funeral. Nothing more. They presented the folded flag to the soldier’s spouse or parent.

The two officers couldn’t tell the woman’s age through the black veil. The man nodded his chin toward the small girl, who looked frightened by the whole proceeding. After that, they resumed standing at ease.

The female lieutenant spoke softly. “Child Services is picking her up this afternoon.”

“None of the family friends could take her? Keep her in the same school or with people she knows?”

The woman rolled her eyes shut and opened them again as she faced the man. “You grew up a navy brat. How many new schools did you go to before you got out of high school?”

“Fifteen or sixteen.” He looked back at the woman. “Dad was on the fast track. We lived on sixteen bases in seven different countries. He wanted dragons on both arms.”

She nodded. “Yeah. A double shellback. I’ve seen a few. The tattoos become muddy, ugly, and smeared by the time you’re eighty. But by then, who cares?”

***

Excerpt from Secrets of the Gold by Baer Charlton. Copyright 2022 by Baer Charlton. Reproduced with permission from Baer Charlton. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Baer Charlton

Baer Charlton, is an Amazon Best-Selling author, and a Social-Anthropologist. His many interests have led him worldwide in search of the unique.

As an internationally recognized Photo Journalist, he has tracked mountain gorillas, been a podium for a Barbary Ape, communicated in sign language with an Orangutan named Boolon, kissed a kangaroo, and had many other wild experiences in between. Or he was just monkeying around.

His love for sailing has led him to file assignments from various countries, as well as from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard a five-mast sailing ship. Baer has spoken on five continents, plus lecturing at sea.

His copyrighted logo is “WR1T3R”. Within every person, there is a story. But inside that story, even a more memorable story. Those are the stories he likes to tell.

There is no more complex and incredible story than those coming from the human experience. Whether it is a Marine finding his way home as a civilian or a girl who’s just trying to grow up, Mr. Charlton’s stories are all driven by the characters you come to think of as friends.

Catch Up With Baer Charlton:
www.BaerCharlton.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @BaerCharlton
Twitter – @baer_charlton
Facebook – @WR1T3R

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GIVEAWAY!

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Baer Charlton. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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#GuestBlogger Straddling the Line Between Paranormal Romance & Horror by Kelli A. Wilkins

Greetings Romance Lovers!

At this time of year, horror movies are extremely popular and everyone is focusing on the supernatural. Werewolves, vampires, and other “creatures of the night” seem to be lurking everywhere, just waiting to leap out and terrify an unsuspecting heroine…

Confessions of a Vampire's Lover coverBut sometimes the heroine isn’t terrified. Sometimes she’s attracted to a vampire and can’t wait for the sun to go down so they can roam the night together, like any couple. That is, any couple in a paranormal romance.

Paranormals are a unique genre in the romance world. (Where else can a woman make love to an undead creature and not face criticism?) They straddle the line between traditional romances and the supernatural/fantasy/horror realm. And to create a convincing paranormal romance, the author has to do a bit of juggling in all of those worlds.

One of the most important elements in writing paranormal romances is to invent a believable universe where shifters, vampires, and other types of “otherworldly” characters are very real. Sometimes these creatures interact and coexist with “normal” humans (everyday people accept that vampires and shapeshifters exist), but most times they stay hidden in the shadows.

Whatever the basic premise, readers need to suspend their disbelief and lose themselves in the world the author has created. The writer has to establish a realistic paranormal character (or several) and take the reader on an exciting journey with the hero and heroine as they fall in love. After all, this is a romance!

The type of paranormal character who stars in the story is key to the plot, and can vary from nearly human to full-fledged monster.

For example, suppose the hero was once human and has been cursed to live as another vikings witchcreature (such as a Bigfoot, or a gargoyle). Can the curse be broken if he finds a human woman to love him? How does he go about that? Does he retain his human memories? Is the woman repulsed by him at first? Do they make love while he’s in his altered state? Variations on this “beauty and the beast” theme have been used in many paranormal romances, and usually there is a happy-ever-after ending for the couple.

But maybe the hero is an undead creature (a vampire) or turns into an animal (a werewolf or a werepanther). How does this change his personality and way of life? Does he resent humans and live with others of his kind? What does he do when he’s not transformed? How (and why) does he transform? What happens when he reveals his true nature to his beloved? How do they live happily-ever-after?

As you can see, falling in love with a non-human can create a lot of conflict and difficulties for the couple. And sometimes it’s a challenge for the author to make the “monster” into a romantic lead.

coverEven though the hero isn’t human, he must have a special appeal that makes the heroine overlook this fact and fall in love with him. Basically, the hero-creature has to remain true to his paranormal status and still be attractive to humans (and human readers), just like a traditional romance hero. (If not, then he’s the lead in a horror story, and that’s an entirely different realm.)

If the author doesn’t create a believable paranormal hero, readers won’t buy into it, and there certainly won’t be any sparks flying in the romance. Writers must make the “monster” as real as any other human character and flesh him out completely with a backstory, goals, motivation, and conflicts.

Another challenge for the author is to keep a balance between the paranormal elements and the romance. There needs to be realistic supernatural details added to the love story, but the author can’t gross out (or turn off) the heroine… or readers.

If a paranormal romance includes too much violence or gore, it could turn into a horror story. (In fact, with a little bit of rewriting, practically any paranormal romance could be transformed into a dark and disturbing horror tale.) To avoid this, the author has to find a way to deal with the bloodier or unpleasant aspects of being a monster, while still keeping the hero attractive.

For example, if the hero is a vampire, he’ll have to feed at some point during the story. The book coverwriter and the other characters must address this. How does the heroine deal with her boyfriend’s need to drink blood? Does she accept it? Ignore it? Does he feed “off page” where she can’t see? Does she ever let him feed off her? What if he loses control and goes wild?

These are all crucial things the author has to consider when developing characters and plotting a paranormal love story. Readers want to fall in love with a “safe” creature and live vicariously through the heroine as she navigates the paranormal world. But the monster/hero shouldn’t be dull or boring, or too predictable, either.

It’s always refreshing when authors break patterns and have paranormal characters go against stereotype. (Why do all vampires have to be suave, live in large houses, and dress well?) When I write paranormal romances, I always try to give readers something unexpected, turn a cliché on its ear, or use a different point of view to liven up the story.

In Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, my “werewolf” didn’t turn into a four-legged animal; he became a super-aggressive Alpha male. Beauty & the Bigfoot is a paranormal comedy that explores the legend of Bigfoot through quirky characters (and some hot love scenes!).

Rothgar, the hero in The Viking’s Witch doesn’t believe the heroine has witchlike powers—until she proves it. Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover is told in first person from the hero’s point of view and takes place at the beach—and that’s not where you expect to find a vampire. Eddie, my “ghost cop” from In Another World has a lot of supernatural talents most ghosts don’t— including the ability to pull the living into an alternate realm—and make love to the heroine!

As Halloween approaches, take a closer look at the “monsters” and other supernatural creatures you encounter. But don’t be afraid… you might just fall in love with one of them!

Here’s the summary and links to In Another World, my latest paranormal romance.

 

In Another World

A Paranormal Mystery/Romance Novel

Disgraced psychic medium Julie Kershaw has finally met her soul mate. The problem is he’s dead… and his spirit haunts the car she just bought.

The spirit of Detective Eddie Mahoney is determined to find his killer and needs Julie’s help. At first, she refuses. She’s tired of being called crazy and swore she’d never use her abilities to speak to the dead again—even if Eddie is handsome and charming.

Eddie persuades Julie to contact his former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to ask him to reopen his case. Skeptical, Lou dismisses Julie as a fake—until she proves she can communicate with the dead—and he finds out Eddie has a lot to say.

Julie channels Eddie’s spirit and together with Lou, the unusual trio tracks down leads and follows clues to solve Eddie’s murder. The case takes them down a dark and dangerous path filled with secrets, where nobody can be trusted.

As they work to find his killer, Julie falls for Eddie. Funny, smart, and sexy, Eddie is the guy of her dreams—and he doesn’t look or act the least bit dead. To her surprise, Eddie discovers a clever way they can be together, and they begin an ethereal romance.

When Lou’s investigation brings him too close to the killer, his life and Julie’s are put in danger—and Eddie may be the only one who can save them.

Order your copy here:

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R11STRN

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bpw16g

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/in-another-world

You can catch up on all of my romances here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/romance and if you like to be scared, don’t miss my horror fiction: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/horror

Happy Haunting,

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

#BookTour “Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring” by Stephanie Ziebarth

Invest Yourself A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring by Stephanie Ziebarth Banner

Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring

by Stephanie Ziebarth

on Tour October 3-28, 2022

 

Synopsis:

Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring by Stephanie Ziebarth

Spiritual mentorship-what is it, and what does it involve? Does spiritual mentorship matter today? How can spiritual mentorship help those who come after you?

In Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring, Stephanie Ziebarth tackles these questions and explains the dramatic impact of spiritual mentorship in her own life. Starting with the basics, she addresses several key topics, including

 

  • spiritual multiplication
  • approaches to spiritual mentorship
  • one-on-one meetings
  • effectively helping your mentee
  • and much more

In addition to the solid content, the appendices include sample lessons, guidance for writing lesson plans, suggestions for how to mentor high school students, and recommended books . If you are looking for ways to make a lasting impact in the lives of others, this is just the book for you.

 

Invest Yourself is a rich, how-to book for life-on-life ministry, and it is a resource I’ll both use and recommend.”

Matt Cox, Executive Director of Miracle Mountain Ranch Home of the School of Discipleship

“If you are a new mentor looking for a place to start or a seasoned one in need of refreshing and new resources, you will find yourself encouraged and equipped in these pages.”

Diana Gruver, Author of Companions in the Darkness

Book Details

Genre: Christian Living

Published by: Mercy & Moxie

Publication Date: May 2022

Number of Pages: 88

ISBN: 1945169745 (ISBN-13:‎ 978-1945169748)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ThriftBooks | BookShop.org | Goodreads

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Author Bio:

Stephanie Ziebarth

With a degree in journalism and religious studies, Stephanie Ziebarth believed writing was her main gift until she experienced the life-changing impact of spiritual mentoring during college. She has been spiritually investing in teens and adults ever since. Whether in her own home, through discipleship and camping ministries, or through the regional mentoring program she coordinates for Joy El Generation, Stephanie finds great satisfaction in leading people closer to Jesus so they will positively impact the world around them. Stephanie and her husband, Aaron, live in south-central Pennsylvania where they enjoy connecting with God and each other in the great outdoors, reading good books, and ministering together. Their three young adult children along with their spouses bring them great joy.

Connect with Stephanie Online:

Goodreads

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Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews and giveaway entries!

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Thank you for your interest in this tour!

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

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#BookTour “Isle of Dragons” by L.A. Thompson

Welcome to the book tour for Isle of Dragons by L.A. Thompson! Would you just look at this cover?!

B_N_ebook

Isle of Dragons (Isle of Dragons #1)

Publication Date: February 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Watch steampunk technology and high fantasy witchcraft clash in this heroine’s fast-paced, epic journey to rescue her father and reveal the secrets of the noble court.

On the run from the royal army in a giant mechanical centipede, sixteen-year-old Jade Sol embarks on a dangerous adventure to help her father escape from the Isle of Dragons—a land of untamed magic that some believe only exists in myth.

When Jade is cornered by soldiers, a mysterious witch named Miria Atkins rescues her, calling on ancient spirits from a magical realm to channel their mystical energy into light and matter. Jade begs Miria and the sorceress’s mechanist brother, Dan, to join her quest. The siblings resist at first, but their hearts soften when they hear of her father’s fate. Their own parents had attempted an expedition from Vansh to the Isle of Dragons years ago and never returned. Together, the trio journey across the feudal countryside and trek across the sea to become the first humans to reach the elusive Isle of Dragons… or so they think.

Die-hard readers of Angelique S. Anderson’s Dracosinum Tales and Jessica Drake’s Dragon Riders of Elantia series will find L. A. Thompson’s writing magnetic, impassioned, and clever in this novel’s twisting plot.

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble

510558fqZxL

The Hidden Library (Isle of Dragons #2) is Now Available!

L.A. Thompson’s iconic steampunk heroine is back in this richly imaginative quest to find a mysterious magic library that holds the key to winning the war against the corrupt King Jarrod.
Jade and Kaylen, childhood friends turned rivals, now race to find a portal located in an ancient library hidden from mankind for years that will either doom or save their world. To follow the king’s orders and regain all she’s lost, Kaylen must decide what, and who, she is willing to sacrifice. Can Jade, the dragon-taming witch Miria, and the pragmatic pod inventor Dan race against the clock and stop Kaylen from opening the gateway between realms before it’s too late?

Packed with fast-paced action, Jade’s newest adventure introduces new friends and enemies, and magic obstacles beyond anything Jade has seen before. Hang on tight as mysterious revelations unfold about the Isle of Dragons and its inhabitants.

Fans of Jeff Gunzel’s The Legend of the Gate Keeper series and Cecilia Dominic’s The Art of Piracy will be enthralled with L.A. Thompson’s brilliant and magnetic storytelling.

Amazon

About the Author

Author-Image-Updated

L. A. Thompson always wanted to be a writer who created different worlds and characters that would draw people in and take them into a time and space where they can forget their worries for some time. Combining her love for fantasy and witchcraft, she writes about historical periods and creates a world that is a mix of both technology and magic. L. A. Thompson is a freelance writer and resides on the coast of Australia.

L. A. Thompson

Book Tour Organized By:

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#GuestBlogger “In Another World A Paranormal Mystery/Romance” by Kelli A. Wilkins

Love Paranormal Romances? Don’t miss In Another World A Paranormal Mystery/Romance!

Hi everyone,

It’s November, the perfect month to curl up with a paranormal romance. Today I’m sharing a look at the making of In Another World. This contemporary romance novel blends a murder mystery with the world of the paranormal. Here’s the book summary and links…

book cover

In Another World

A Paranormal Mystery/Romance Novel

Disgraced psychic medium Julie Kershaw has finally met her soul mate. The problem is he’s dead… and his spirit haunts the car she just bought.

The spirit of Detective Eddie Mahoney is determined to find his killer and needs Julie’s help. At first, she refuses. She’s tired of being called crazy and swore she’d never use her abilities to speak to the dead again—even if Eddie is handsome and charming.

Eddie persuades Julie to contact his former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to ask him to reopen his case. Skeptical, Lou dismisses Julie as a fake—until she proves she can communicate with the dead—and he finds out Eddie has a lot to say.

Julie channels Eddie’s spirit and together with Lou, the unusual trio tracks down leads and follows clues to solve Eddie’s murder. The case takes them down a dark and dangerous path filled with secrets, where nobody can be trusted.

As they work to find his killer, Julie falls for Eddie. Funny, smart, and sexy, Eddie is the guy of her dreams—and he doesn’t look or act the least bit dead. To her surprise, Eddie discovers a clever way they can be together, and they begin an ethereal romance.

When Lou’s investigation brings him too close to the killer, his life and Julie’s are put in danger—and Eddie may be the only one who can save them.

Order your copy here:

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R11STRN

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bpw16g

In Another World has been a labor of love for many years. I’m thrilled that I finally finished the book, and now readers can enjoy the story and meet these very unusual characters I’ve created.

The book opens with Detective Eddie Mahoney, an undercover police officer, in a jam. His cover has been blown and he’s in the middle of nowhere with two criminals. Things don’t end well for Eddie, and although he doesn’t make it out of his predicament alive, his role in the book is just beginning.

Yes, you read that right. I killed off my main character—and the hero of the book—in the first few pages. Why? Because this isn’t your typical romance. Eddie is dead right from the start, but that doesn’t mean he can’t fall in love.

Next, readers are introduced to a headstrong woman named Julie Kershaw. She’s arguing with an unscrupulous used car dealer named Big Al. He sells her a car for cheap, and Julie is suspicious. Naturally, she wonders if there’s a catch, and there is. The car is haunted by… you guessed it—Eddie.

Eddie has been trying to communicate with the car’s previous owners, but never had any luck until Julie bought the car. At first, Eddie doesn’t realize that Julie is a psychic medium and can communicate with spirits. Once he knows she can see and hear him, Eddie uses his charms and persuades her to help him find his killer.

And so begins this unusual romance.

Most people would think this is a bit absurd. And maybe some readers will. But once you get drawn into the story and see that Eddie is pretty much like any other romantic hero (he just happens to be dead), the story flows along.

Eddie and Julie visit Eddie’s former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to persuade him to reopen Eddie’s case. Lou thinks Julie is crazy and can’t possibly be talking to Eddie. When Julie tells Lou things only Eddie knows, Lou is convinced Julie is telling the truth. Lou and Eddie start working the case just like old times. (Sorta.)

Lou is a great guy, and I loved writing for him. On the outside he appears to be a tough, no-nonsense detective who takes his job seriously. When he first meets (and interrogates) Julie, he acts like a typical “bad cop” and is very rough with her.

Lou doesn’t believe in ghosts and thinks all psychics are fakes. He’s also taken Eddie’s death personally. He feels like a failure because he couldn’t find his partner’s killer, and he is still working through his grief. Once Lou starts investigating with Eddie and Julie, his true personality comes out, and he’s more determined than ever to catch Eddie’s killer.

When I wrote the book, I had to make sure readers were able to follow the investigation along with Lou, even when Julie and Eddie weren’t present. I’ve never written a full-fledged mystery or detective story before, but I’ve watched enough mysteries and police dramas, so I think I got it right. I also had the good fortune to be related to a police captain and was able to ask his advice on the “police stuff” in the story. The book is a hybrid of romance and mystery. Sometimes it takes on more of a police procedural/mystery feel than a romance, and then in other scenes with Eddie and Julie, it’s a traditional romance.

I hope mystery, romance, and paranormal readers will enjoy this unique novel. It’s got something for everyone: danger, humor, love, ghosts, and quirky characters. I had fun writing this book and stepping into another world, blending the living and the dead.  (I’m also happy to report that the book has received several excellent reviews. You can read some of them here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/in-another-world)

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

 ~~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

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#BookTour “Duplicity” by Shawn Wilson

Duplicity by Shawn Wilson BannerOctober 31 – November 25, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

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~~Guest Post~~

THE WASHINGTON I KNEW . . .

            The year astronauts landed on the moon, I landed in Washington, D.C. At nineteen, I raised my right hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. It would be the beginning of a thirty-four-year career, but it was the early years that left the most lasting impressions.

            At that time, the FBI occupied the upper floors of the main Justice building. I can still picture the grouchy-looking man on the elevator with the bulldog-like facial features—J. Edgar Hoover.

            After a brief time working in an obscenity control unit, I accepted a job in the legal counsel’s office of the U.S. Marshals Service. It wasn’t an everyday occurrence but not unusual to see deputies accompanying witnesses scheduled to testify before Congress. And yes, the deputies had assault rifles under their raincoats. From time-to-time, transporting female prisoners required assistance from women at Headquarters. One of my turns was a trip to Los Angeles, along with two male deputies and a draft dodger headed to prison in Phoenix. What did I do after the female prisoner was secured at the correctional facility where she would serve her sentence . . . I went to Disneyland.

            Not long after that assignment, the reality of the danger faced by law enforcement officers became all too real. One of the deputies who had worked the prisoner transport detail I was assigned to was killed while escorting a prisoner to a funeral. After that happened, the policy was changed to only allow undisclosed private viewings for next-of-kin.

            After a few years at the Marshals Service, it was time to move on and a job offer from the U.S. Attorney’s Office provided an opportunity. The role of the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia is unique. The Assistant U.S. Attorneys serve as both the local and federal prosecutors. On the local level, prosecutions range from misdemeanors to first-degree murder case. Felony Trial Division, where I worked, handled the most serious crimes committed in the nation’s capital. I quickly recognized that on any given day, there was likely to be more drama at Superior Court than at the Kennedy Center. With simultaneous trials going on, the office was often filled with witnesses—elderly victims, juveniles, pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, gang members—to say it could be an eclectic group was an understatement. I heeded the advice I received on my first day on the job—always lock your desk and never leave your coffee cup unattended.

            Days were rarely boring and often surprising. Cases that seemed like a slam dunk might end in a hung jury while a circumstantial case yielded a quick conviction. Predicting what a jury may do was like trying to predict winning lottery numbers. The cases being tried were fascinating, made even more so by having the inside track on what actually happened. Observing the interaction between the parties involved in various aspects of bringing a case to trial was a study in personality types. Fodder for future fictional character development, although at the time I didn’t realize the potential.

            Three years later, I left the U.S. Attorney’s Office and joined the staff of a federal judge. It was a promotion, and the atmosphere of District Court was more sophisticated and subdued. Chambers was as quiet as the reading room at the Library of Congress.

            No surprise . . . I missed the frenzied activity of Superior Court, the adrenaline-driven days when the unexpected happened and just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier, somehow it did.

Shawn Wilson (shawnwilsonauthor.com) is the author of Relentless featuring homicide detective Brian (Brick) Kavanagh. Duplicity is the second in the series and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

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book cover

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Synopsis:

 

This was not the homecoming Brick envisioned.

After the trauma of his last case, and after three months spent recovering in Ireland, life is looking up for newly retired homicide detective Brian (Brick) Kavanagh. Back home in Washington, D.C., a new job shows promise when he’s asked to train criminology students in cold case techniques.

Then he’s off to a whirlwind weekend in Chicago with Nora, an Aer Lingus flight attendant he’d met in Ireland. There he receives shocking news that his former partner’s wife and twin infants have been kidnapped. Brick rushes to D.C. to support Ron, the man who’s always had his back—but as days pass, Brick questions how well he really knows this man.

Brick’s cold case—the unsolved hit-and-run death of a college student—is heating up. Brick finds gaping holes in the original investigation. Is it possible diplomatic immunity granted someone a “get-out-of-jail-free card”?

Meanwhile, Ron’s family tragedy unfolds in a most bizarre manner, and the escalating cold case points to D.C. corruption at the highest level. Things are getting complicated . . . very complicated . . . and dangerous.

Praise for Duplicity:

“…it’s a cracking good time. One doesn’t have to be a mystery fan to relish this.”

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Duplicity is a compelling read with depth and a protagonist you’ll want to spend more time with. I’ll be first in line to see what’s next for Brick Kavanagh!”

David Putnam, bestselling author of the Bruno Johnson crime series

“…you’re in for an engrossing and entertaining read.”

Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author

Duplicity is a delightful, twisty thriller featuring a hero it’s impossible not to love… I raced through the pages ‘til three a.m. rooting for him to succeed.”

Matt Witten, author The Necklace

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Oceanview Publishing

Publication Date: October 2022

Number of Pages: 256

ISBN: 9781608095100 (ISBN10: 160809510X)

Series: The Brick Kavanagh Series, 2 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

“The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.”
Proverbs 12:5

September 2013 Inishmore, Ireland

Chapter 1

Brick Kavanagh stepped to the edge of the cliff and watched the waves crash against the rocks. He closed his eyes, hoping this sight would be seared in his brain the same way his mind tended to store images from twenty years of being a cop.

During all those years with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., he didn’t recognize the emotional toll the job was taking. But there was no denying the price he paid after the devastating conclusion of his last homicide case. How to deal with the aftermath of a case that became so personal? The sage advice of bar owner Eamonn Boland provided the answer—a one-way ticket to Ireland. He figured he’d probably be there for a week, maybe two. Now, with his stay closing in on ninety days, he needed to leave or be in violation of the country’s visa-free travel regulations.

Brick fumbled in his pocket for the slip of paper Eamonn had given to him before he left D.C. It was wrinkled and the ink was smudged but it didn’t matter; he almost knew the quote by heart.

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether to sail or to watch it—we are going back from whence we came.”

When Brick first arrived, the words John F. Kennedy delivered to the America’s Cup crew didn’t have much significance for him. But the longer he stayed, the more they resonated. Spending time in a place surrounded by the ocean had a cleansing and calming effect he hadn’t expected. He was grateful he would be leaving in a much healthier state of mind than when he had arrived.

Brick checked his watch. He still had time to take in one last view from Dun Aengus. He made his way to the prehistoric fort, being careful not to photobomb any of the selfie-taking tourists along the way. He didn’t feel like a tourist himself anymore as he stood on the highest point of the cliffs. He looked in every direction absorbing the breathtaking panorama before he fell in step with the others making their way in the direction back to the boat dock.

Dark clouds were now blocking the sun and the wind had picked up. In the three months Brick had been here, he had gotten used to the weather changing quickly. Part of the charm, although it would probably mean a choppy ferry ride back to Rossaveal. For the sense of tranquility he had experienced, forty minutes of rocking and rolling was a small price to pay. Standing on the upper deck of the boat, Brick watched as Inishmore became shrouded in fog.

* * *

It was after six o’clock when Brick arrived back in Galway. He was starving and knew where he wanted to have his farewell dinner. He headed to Gaffney’s, a small pub that served the best lamb stew he had ever eaten. Tonight, he would be dining alone, but when he was here previously, he had had dinner with a woman he met earlier in the week at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Middle Street. Nora Breslin introduced herself after a brief conversation in which they discussed a book of poetry by Seamus Heaney. Upon hearing her name, Brick jokingly asked if she was related to Jimmy Breslin. Surprisingly, he was a distant cousin and the well-timed question led to more conversation about the legendary American journalist and his connection to Son of Sam. With the bookstore about to close, the nearby pub provided the perfect place to continue talking over a pint of Guinness and a view of the swans on the River Corrib.

Two nights later, they met again for dinner at Gaffney’s. Unfortunately, plans for a trip together to Dublin got derailed when Nora, a flight attendant with Aer Lingus, had to unexpectedly fill in for a colleague. Before leaving, she suggested getting together on the other side of the Atlantic since her regular assignment was the Shannon-to-O’Hare route. Would it happen? Brick wasn’t sure, but he had enjoyed the brief time they had spent together. One thing he had learned recently was that it’s far better to appreciate what was, than anticipate what might be.

Brick seated himself at a small table with his back to the wall so that he could have an unobstructed view of the restaurant. Some habits die hard; some never do. When the waitress approached with silverware and a menu, he placed his order. She returned shortly with a pint of Guinness. Brick would never mention this to Eamonn or his nephew Rory when he got back home, but the Guinness seemed to taste better here than what they served at Boland’s Mill. Then again, maybe it was his imagination. He’d chalk it up to that. Boland’s Mill. As long as tomorrow’s flight wasn’t delayed, Brick figured he’d probably be having dinner there and thanking Eamonn for suggesting—well, insisting—that time away from D.C. wasn’t an option, it was a necessity. The old man knew what he was talking about, but now it was up to Brick to figure out what to do next. He was young, forty-two, owned his condo, and his pension from the police department would be enough to pay the bills and keep food on his table, but Brick was a live-to-work, not a work-to-live kind of guy. Aside from an email he had received from the Assistant Director of the School of Public Affairs at Abraham Lincoln University, regarding a project involving graduate students attempting to solve a cold case, he didn’t have any other employment prospects. He would check it out, but it didn’t sound like his forte. Working a cold case was right in his wheelhouse but teaching a group of college kids would be a whole lot different than mentoring a detective newly assigned to the Homicide Squad.

One thing was for sure—he wasn’t going to figure it out tonight so he might as well just savor the stew the waitress placed in front of him. Maybe he would suggest to Eamonn that the chef at Boland’s should consider adding barley to their lamb stew recipe. Maybe he should consider an entirely new career and enroll in culinary school. On second thought, for the sake of the dining public, probably not a good idea. Best to leave cooking to the pros. That’s why he frequented Boland’s Mill far more often than the Giant or Safeway.

Brick wasn’t about to waste a slice of brown bread. He used it to soak up the last of the herb gravy on his plate.

“Another Guinness?” the waitress asked as she cleared the table. “No thanks, just the check when you get a chance.”

Brick took the long way back to his airbnb. Most of the shops were closed, but the bookstore was open for another half hour and he needed something to read for tomorrow’s flight back to Washington. After browsing for a few minutes at a shelf displaying a number of books by contemporary Irish authors, he chose an autographed copy of The Guards by Galway-born Ken Bruen. Even though he had to leave the west coast of Ireland, at least he could be there vicariously by reading about it.

***

Excerpt from Duplicity by Shawn Wilson. Copyright 2022 by Shawn Wilson. Reproduced with permission from Shawn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Shawn Wilson

Shawn Wilson is a produced playwright and author of Relentless, the first novel in the Brick Kavanagh mystery series. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Administration of Justice from American University in Washington, D.C. and spent over thirty years working for the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Having traveled on five continents, she is very happy to call Chicago home.

Catch Up With Shawn Wilson:
www.ShawnWilsonAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @shawn152
Facebook – @shawnwilsonauthor

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Tour Participants

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

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Join In!

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Shawn Wilson. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

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Hot Vegas Nights Week 4 Releases

Series: Hot Vegas Nights Collaboration
Authors: Kaylee Monroe, Kate Stacy, TL Mayhew, & Anise Storm
Genre: Steamy Protector Romance
Collection Hosted by: S.L. Sterling




Waking up in Vegas, not remembering what happened the night before, is probably a standard thing that happens in this town. A town filled with flowing alcohol and unmitigated debauchery is bound to lead to some memory loss.


It’s never happened to me. Until today.

Today I woke up in a hotel room in Vegas—the place that’s supposed to be my sanctuary after finding out that my boyfriend of a year was cheating on me—with a man in my bed. An incredibly sexy man with a muscular back that women would swoon for.

Until I realize . . . this hot, gorgeous man is my ex’s brother.

Oh and there’s a wedding ring on my finger.

This trip is definitely not going as expected, and this relationship will drop grenades into both of our lives.

Yet I’m starting to believe that I don’t care about the destruction, because this is the brother I’d wanted all along.

Waking up Married in Las Vegas is part of the Hot Vegas Nights series. About Hot Vegas Nights:
The Vegas Strip is the gateway to your wildest fantasies. Where debauchery rules and depravity runs rampant. Elusive billionaires, celebrity bad boys, tantalizing dancers, master mixologists, and sexy tattoo artists are all within reach.





Jessa

Waitressing part-time at a small town bar and crashing in my older brother’s guest room isn’t where I pictured myself at twenty-five. Yet, that’s where I end up after finding my fiancé buried seven inches deep in my best friend on our kitchen counter.
Needing a break from my disaster of a life, I let my brother convince me to join him in Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding. Being Sin City has me discovering things about myself that I never knew—like my apparent inability to turn down a dare.
That’s how I end up in a chair on the main stage of a strip club getting a panty-melting lapdance meant for the bride. It’s like a scene straight out of my filthiest fantasies. The dancer is sexy as sin, but being the sole focus of a man whose intense gaze burns down to the deepest parts of me has me feeling more than a little out of depth.
Hale
As an entertainer at one of the hottest male-only revue clubs on The Vegas Strip, it’s my job to fuel women’s fantasies. Despite the stereotypes about men in my profession—I’m no playboy. I don’t have a different woman in my bed every night, and I never mess around with women from the club.
It’s a night like any other when a routine dance for a bachelorette party has me locking eyes with a gorgeous woman who makes the rest of the world fall away. I’ve never felt such an intense attraction. Something about her has me wanting to break all my rules. So, when the night is over and I’m unable to get her out of my head, I promise myself I’ll shoot my shot if I ever see her again.
As if the universe is giving me a sign, an impromptu favor for a friend puts me at the wedding she’s attending the very next night. She’s only in Vegas for a short time and getting involved might end in heartbreak, but for her—I’m ready and willing to take the risk.




Claudette Langdon


Is recently divorced and sole owner to a five star hotel on the strip. She’s not looking for love, especially with the young valet half her age. She knows he played a part in her ex-husband’s double life and now, she wants revenge.

Noah Masterson

Could have his pick of any woman who crosses his path, and he has, but he’s not interested in settling down. Not when his sights are set on a career of becoming a professional poker player. One dumb mistake leads to a debt owed and soon he’s doing whatever it takes to stay alive.

The Vegas Strip is the gateway to your wildest fantasies. Where debauchery rules and depravity runs rampant. Ellusive billionaires, celebrity bad boys, tantalizing dancers, master mixologists, and sexy tattoo artists are all within reach.

During these 18 Hot Vegas Nights, you’ll take a chance on love, lose yourself in entertainment, and gamble your heart away!
Seventeen books are all written with your pleasure in mind.





The son of Hollywood elite, Jagger Crawford was content to live off his parents’ fame while spending his days and nights participating in one drunken orgy after another. When it came to salacious publicity, he was a walking, talking headline. Jagger was a lost cause, or so the gossip mongers said.


Image consultant Amelia “Lia” Franks believed otherwise. Even after finding out that her first client is Hollywood’s most notorious bad boy, she is determined to do what no other has been able to do: redeem the so-called “unredeemable”.

Lia accompanies him to Las Vegas for what Jagger thinks will be a week of debauchery. Once there, though, she begins to realize there is more to Jagger Crawford than meets the eye. His larger-than-life personality is only a small part of him. There is so much more beneath the surface.

Good girls like bad boys, but that isn’t true for her. Jagger is simply a client and nothing more. Or is he? Is that half-truth as fake as the relationship they have to maintain around his friends? Or is it entirely possible that when seeking redemption, they have found something more…

Spend a couple of hot Vegas nights with Jagger and Lia to find out….









The Vegas Strip is the gateway to your wildest fantasies. Where debauchery rules and depravity runs rampant. Elusive billionaires, celebrity bad boys, tantalizing dancers, master mixologists, and sexy tattoo artists are all within reach.

During these 16 Hot Vegas Nights, you’ll take a chance on love, lose yourself in entertainment, and gamble your heart away!

Sixteen books that are all written with your pleasure in mind.

Get ready for Hot Vegas Nights!
CLICK HERE to PreOrder

Shannon O’Connor & M Leigh Morhaime – All’s Fair in Love & Vegas – releasing November 28
D.M. Davis – Vegas Storm – releasing November 30
E.M. Shue – Vegas Jackpot – releasing December 1


Join our Reader Group HERE


Kaylee Monroe


Kate Stacy


TL Mayhew


Anise Storm




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#GuestBlogger Meet the Character Day: Chatting with Julian from “Ultimate Night’s Delights” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Meet the Character Day” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each “Behind the Scenes” blog, I talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. The “Meet the Character Day” blogs are fun chats with the heroes and heroines from my romances. Warning: blogs may contain spoilers.

Hi everyone!

Today I’m sharing a fun chat with Julian, the hero from my erotic historical/fantasy romance, Ultimate Night’s Delights. Let’s get to know him better…
Ultimate Cover

Q: Greetings! Please tell the readers about yourself and describe your latest adventures.

Hello everyone! It’s nice to chat with readers who have found my sexploits with Annabelle, Sabrina, and Vincent so interesting (and tantalizing!).

As some readers may already know, Ultimate Night’s Delights is the third (and final) novella in the Naughty Nobles trilogy that began with Midsummer Night’s Delights and continued with Midwinter Night’s Delights.

In this book, Vincent, the Marquis of Demby, has gotten himself into a bit of trouble. Someone has betrayed his confidence and told the wretched Duke of Blackwell all about the erotic balls Vincent has been hosting at the estate. (Couples do pair up everywhere at these balls—but not for dancing!)

The duke is out to destroy Vincent, and his livelihood and reputation are at stake. As Vincent’s assistant, it’s my duty to help him out of this crisis any way I can, even if it means taking on the Black Duke. I also do what I can to relieve Vincent’s stress and tension, and perform a few other interesting “favors” along the way.

Here is the summary and links to all three books:

Ultimate Night’s Delights

Julian and Annabelle are back for the final ball!

The Midsummer and Midwinter Balls changed Julian and Annabelle forever. Vincent, the Marquis of Demby, and his wife, Sabrina, introduced them to a world of erotic pleasures. Freed from their inhibitions, they now help other shy couples explore their sexual urges and hidden desires.

But life on Vincent and Sabrina’s estate is anything but tranquil. The notorious Duke of Blackwell has discovered the secret about the naughty balls and is out to destroy the marquis.

Vincent refuses to deny the rumors about the “anything goes” parties he hosts, and turns to his friends for assistance. Together, they devise a plan to defeat the Black Duke… and still find time for a few wicked games.

Order Ultimate Night’s Delights here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XGCCTJW

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bxgyPk

 

Need to catch up? Order Books 1 & 2 here:

Midsummer cover

Midsummer Night’s Delights (Book 1):

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6W5QHM 

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3LrJP1 

Midwinter cover

Midwinter Night’s Delights (Book 2):

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VTH1GCC

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/mdKaaX

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Q: Was Kelli always going to write a third book in the series?

No. In fact, when she wrote the first book, she never intended to write a sequel and had no idea she was starting a trilogy. After she finished writing the second book, Midwinter Night’s Delights, she wrote a few other romances, and then started toying with ideas for a third novella that tied everything up (so to speak!). Readers and reviewers fell in love with the characters from the first two books (rightfully so) and wanted more. She was happy to round out the series with Ultimate Night’s Delights and leaves everyone in a good place.

Q: You and Annabelle have an open marriage, and some people would find that extremely unusual, even in this day and age. Can you explain how this arrangement came to be?

Annabelle and I had an arranged marriage that didn’t start off very well. (Those of you who read Midsummer Night’s Delights understand exactly what I mean.) We were both shy and inexperienced, and unsure of everything. Vincent and Sabrina took us under their wings (or rather, into their beds) and taught us how to enjoy ourselves to the fullest. After spending a few days at Vincent’s estate, we shed all traces of our shyness and learned a lot about our secret desires. I suppose Annabelle and I are what some people call “swingers.”

I admit, I was hesitant about jumping into such an unconventional situation at first. But later, when I learned Annabelle was eager to experiment and have naughty fun, I gave in—and I don’t regret it at all.

Even though we share our affections with Vincent and his lovely wife, Sabrina, Annabelle and I have our own special connection. I love her playfulness and her excitement about life. She’s devoted and tender and yet, has an adventurous side.

Q: Since you’re being so open, let’s have a little naughty fun. Where was the wildest place you ever seduced your partner(s)?

It’s hard to choose just one place! Once, Annabelle and I were caught having relations at a dinner party. (We didn’t mind if the guests watched, but my father and the host were highly offended.) Recently, Annabelle and I were strolling through the garden and I seduced her in the gazebo. She’s not shy about frolicking outside where anyone might see. (Being on display makes her even wilder!)

I’ve also surprised Vincent with a quick seduction while he’s working at his desk or after a long day’s ride across the grounds. Last month, I seduced Sabrina while she was in her bathtub. Anything goes at Vincent’s estate, and we tend to act on our impulses whenever (and wherever) they present themselves.

Q: If your partner wants to seduce you, what’s one sure fire trick he/she can play?

Some readers may find this confession a bit risqué, but I like to be tied up, bound naked and helpless while my lover drives me wild with tender kisses all the way down my body… Pulling hard on my restraints, anticipating the next kiss, shivering in anticipation of what’s to come next…You can imagine the rest!

Q: What was one of the most embarrassing things Kelli did to you in Ultimate Night’s Delights?

Kelli usually doesn’t embarrass us; she loves writing about our erotic adventures too much to make us uncomfortable. But I did feel like a raging fool when I had to confront the Duke of Blackwell while wearing a disguise! And I didn’t like the fact that Kelli kept certain details about Vincent’s plan a secret from me. I was nervous that the Black Duke would catch on to our plan and all would be ruined. But Kelli is a very clever writer. By now, I should know to trust her.

Q: Can you tell us about two secondary characters, Lono and Lobo, and how they tie into the story?

Certainly. Annabelle and I first met Lono and Lobo (incredibly tall and muscular twins) in Midwinter Night’s Delights. Vincent had instructed them to dole out our punishments, and they were very effective. We never knew much about them other than they were devoted to Vincent and obeyed his every request.

In Ultimate Night’s Delights, Kelli expanded Lono and Lobo’s characters and made them an essential part of the story. Readers find out about their history, how they came to work for Vincent, and even what their real names are. I can’t give away too much of the plot, but Lono and Lobo show Vincent a clever way to defeat the Black Duke by turning the tables on him.

Q: Kelli has written a lot of romances in all genres in all heat levels. How does she switch back and forth so easily?

I’ve been curious about this myself, so I asked some of her other characters. Basically, each book comes to her in a different form. Sometimes an entire story “jumps” into her head, and she’ll know everything that happens to the characters. (That happened with A Deceptive Match, A Most Unusual Princess, Redemption from a Dark Past and Dangerous Indenture.)

Other times, she gets bits of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, she’ll have a character come first and then the other pieces of the book fall into place, like a puzzle. (That happened with Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, Trust with Hearts, and A Secret Match.)

Before Kelli starts a book, she says she needs to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. Then she outlines the scenes and starts writing. As Kelli writes, she explores things she hadn’t considered in her outline and might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. Writing a new book is always an adventure, and she never knows where the characters or stories will take her.

Kelli has written several other historical romances, and from what I heard, they’re pretty good, too. Lots of action, adventure, mystery, drama, and hot love scenes! I’ve learned that Kelli doesn’t write boring books. Although she writes a lot of historical romances, they take place in different time periods and different places. So, she’s not “just” writing Westerns or “only” writing about a certain century.

 Q: Anything else you would like to add?

Although Ultimate Night’s Delights is the last book in the series, all of our stories stand alone as individual reads—and I encourage readers to catch up on all of our wickedly-fun adventures. I’m content with the way the trilogy is ending—and I know readers will be satisfied (in many ways!).

Kelli has written several fantastic erotic tales in all genres, and I wish I could have a crossover with a few of her other characters. We would have a lot of fun together!

Her romances span all genres (contemporary, historical/fantasy, gay, paranormal) and range from mild to super-spicy. I encourage everyone to check out all of her books here: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins or https://www.books2read.com/ap/nkvddR/Kelli-A-Wilkins and read more about them on her site: www.KelliWilkins.com.

 

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with readers. This was fun. If readers missed any blog in this series, they can catch up here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

Best wishes,

Julian

 ~~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.