#Excerpt “Hell & Back (Outbreak Task Force Book 5)” by Julie Rowe

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Outbreak Task Force, Book #5

 

Romantic Suspense

Date Published: 9/21/2020

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

 

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 Racing to lock down the CDC’s deadly virus samples from terrorists, ex-Special Forces medic Henry Lee partners with Ruby Toth on the Outbreak Task Force. But the terrorists always seem one step ahead. As they work side by side, Henry’s taken with how Ruby accepts and respects him, instead of pitying him for all he lost overseas, including his leg. Ruby’s hiding something, though, and Henry fears she’s been leaking sensitive information. Terrorists have kidnapped her brother, and now microbiologist Ruby Toth faces a horrible choice. If she doesn’t give them a vial of Small Pox as ransom, her brother will die. She knows her prickly—yet very hot—boss, Henry, could provide the help she needs. But she joined the CDC to root out insiders plotting to unleash a bio-engineered pandemic, and she can’t trust anyone. Not even Henry.

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EXCERPT

“Stop sniveling and do it,” she said to herself. “If you don’t, they’ll kill Nate.”

After taking in a couple of deep breaths, she walked to the four liquid nitrogen–only freezers.

She opened the one containing the smallpox and searched for the correct storage slot. It was there, just like it was supposed to be, along with 138 other biological samples.

The vial was so small. About the size of her pinkie finger. Huh. She really could put it in her bra.

No. No, she couldn’t do it. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people would die.

She very carefully put it back. Her brother would die if she didn’t do this. She reached out, then hesitated. Did she truly have no choice?

Her mind conjured up the images of millions of people infected with smallpox. All the bodies in body bags piled in heaps and being buried in massive mass graves.

The image of her brother, his body riddled with bullet holes and blood, fought for air time in her head.

There was really only one choice she could make.

She plucked out the vial, double-checked the label, then closed the freezer. She turned, half expecting to see Henry standing behind her, but the room was empty. Relief stole some of the energy out of her muscles, and she had to force herself to keep moving.

She stood under the disinfectant spray, the vial clutched in her fist until her suit was thoroughly washed clean. The sample went inside a clean rubber glove as she went through the disinfectant process, then she opened the door leading to the hallway and elevator.

Arms crossed over his chest, Henry stood in the doorway, his face a mask of rage and disgust.

Rage and disgust aimed at her.

Ice froze her in place. She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe.

Nausea rose in a hot, bitter wave and threatened to hijack her entire body. She fought it down with several convulsive swallows, her muscles so tense her bones threatened to break.

She was dead.

Her brother was dead.

Henry advanced—one step, two.

She backed up. Going around him was impossible—he took up too much space in the doorway. She had no doubt he’d squish her flat as a tank rolling over an ant hill.

Only after the door swung shut did he speak.

“What. The. Fuck.” The words came out of his mouth like bullets out of a gun. Each one physically rocked her back as pain blossomed across her chest.

What was there to say? She’d betrayed everything she believed in when she’d grabbed that vial. Her actions weren’t defensible. Not really. Anyone else would insist there was no negotiating with terrorists. They played with no rules of engagement.

“Why?” he barked out.

“D-do-does it matter?” Her whole body was shortcircuiting, including her mouth. “I d-did it.”

~~~

 About the Author

Full-time author and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she still resides. Her most recent titles include Search & Destroy book #4 of the Outbreak Taskforce series and Trapped with the Secret Agent book #1 of the Trapped with Him series. Julie’s articles have appeared in magazines, such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent magazine and Canadian Living. Julie facilitates communication workshops at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, and has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and Canada. You can find her at http://www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor.

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “Hell & Back (Outbreak Task Force Book 5)” by Julie Rowe

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~~~

Hell & Back

Outbreak Task Force, Book #5

Romantic Suspense

Date Published: 9/21/2020

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 Racing to lock down the CDC’s deadly virus samples from terrorists, ex-Special Forces medic Henry Lee partners with Ruby Toth on the Outbreak Task Force. But the terrorists always seem one step ahead. As they work side by side, Henry’s taken with how Ruby accepts and respects him, instead of pitying him for all he lost overseas, including his leg. Ruby’s hiding something, though, and Henry fears she’s been leaking sensitive information. Terrorists have kidnapped her brother, and now microbiologist Ruby Toth faces a horrible choice. If she doesn’t give them a vial of Small Pox as ransom, her brother will die. She knows her prickly—yet very hot—boss, Henry, could provide the help she needs. But she joined the CDC to root out insiders plotting to unleash a bio-engineered pandemic, and she can’t trust anyone. Not even Henry.

Purchase Links 

Amazon 

B&N 

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iBooks

 

~~~

EXCERPT

About time he called her. Where the hell was he?

She answered the phone with, “Where have you been?”

“Your brother is with us, Miss Toth,” a distorted voice said. “If you don’t do everything we tell you to do, you’ll never see him in one piece again.”

A cold fist punched her in the stomach, and she was standing without recalling how she got there. The cold pushed its way through her body, weakening her knees until she collapsed back onto the chair she’d been sitting on.

“Who is this?”

“You know who we are.” The distortion made it impossible to discern if the voice was male or female. “Your brother is healthy. For the moment.”

Assholes. Anger freed her diaphragm from its icy cage. She harnessed the energy and rode it, breaking it down into something useful. Patience.

Watch, wait, listen, then act. She’d learned the hard way not to let her emotions hijack her mouth. To get along with difficult people, you had to figure out what they wanted and what they didn’t before you spoke.

What kind of response would a bunch of terrorists who’d kidnapped her brother want from her? Defeat, not defiance. Compliance, not confidence. She needed to make them believe she’d do whatever they told her to do.

“Please don’t hurt him. Wh-what do you want?” There was enough adrenaline surging through her system it wasn’t hard to stutter and breathe a little too hard. To sound like she was on the edge of panic.

“A live sample of smallpox.” Despite the distortion, the voice sounded self-satisfied. Arrogant. Superior. For a moment, she couldn’t quite believe what she heard.

“You can’t be serious.”

“Get it or your brother dies.”

“How do I know he’s not already dead?” Her voice broke on the last word.

~~~

 About the Author

Full-time author and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she still resides. Her most recent titles include Search & Destroy book #4 of the Outbreak Taskforce series and Trapped with the Secret Agent book #1 of the Trapped with Him series. Julie’s articles have appeared in magazines, such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent magazine and Canadian Living. Julie facilitates communication workshops at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, and has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and Canada. You can find her at http://www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor.

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#Excerpt “Malice and Forethought” by Felicia Denise

Malice and Forethought cover

Malice and Forethought:

Short Stories of Malice and Murder

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EXCERPTA Hint of Malice

She caught her blurred reflection in the antiquated steel doors of the basement elevator.

Black turtleneck. Black Jeans. Black boots. Jacket and gloves, also black.

If she were in a nightclub, she would be called hot.

But she wasn’t some voluptuous bad-ass fashionista making a statement or setting a trend. She wore black for one reason. It hid blood splatter.

“Give me your knife, Jess.”

She’d forgotten it was still gripped in her fisted hand, blood dripping from its blade to the tarp on which she stood.

They extended their gloved hands, and he took the knife, dipping it into a small container of clear solution.

The blood disappeared.

He tossed the knife onto the tarp with the body and began rolling it up.

Jess stepped off her end and bent to help.

“No. I got this. You look a little shaken up. Scour the area and make sure we leave nothing behind.”

Jess walked around the small area of the underground parking garage but glanced over her shoulder to see Ren complete his task with ease and no emotion.

Was she shaken up?

Jess took one last look into the unseeing eyes of Neil Garner AKA William McNaughton before he disappeared into the folds of the tarp. She couldn’t muster up one ounce of guilt or remorse. She’d sent him to hell and knew she’d join him one day.

Jess grabbed Ren’s ‘tool bag’ and tossed it into the back of the Mercedes. She heard a dull thud and turned to see Ren walking away from the abandoned dumpster.

They climbed into the vehicle and began their return trip.

Thoughts of her aunt, Carmella Gordon, flooded her mind.

Her amazing aunt who’d always been a major part of Jess’ life, was gone, dead from her own hand.

Because of Neil Garner.


Malice – noun; mal·ice | ˈma-ləs

1 : desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another
//
2 : intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse
//ruined her reputation and did it with malice

Everyone is capable of malice and no one is immune to its outcome.

A Hint of Malice – When her last living relative commits suicide after having her identity and assets stolen, a grieving niece longs for justice.

Burned – When the masterminds behind a major drug operation get off with a slap on the wrists, a frustrated police detective warns them their wealth cannot shield them from everything.

The Marshall Sisters – After seeing her sister mistreated by far too many men, Leslie Marshall is proud of Paula for standing up for herself and accompanies her on a cold winter’s night to confront her boyfriend, but even Leslie isn’t ready for the new, assertive Paula.

The Watcher – Shamed into exile by his family because of his sexual fetish and hanging on to the shreds of his sanity, a man plots the ultimate date night with his new neighbor.

What’s done in the dark always comes to the light.

99c / 99p

KINDLE UNLIMITED

https://geni.us/Malice

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#Excerpt “Chasing Wild Horses” by Mila Nicks

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Wild Horse Ranch Book 1
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: August 7, 2020
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A slow-burn romance between two outsiders from opposite worlds:
He’s the biggest outcast in town…
Chase Collins has never met a horse he didn’t like. Too bad he can’t say the same for people. In his hometown Lutton, his poor reputation follows him like a dark shadow. It’s best for everyone if he sticks to where he belongs. At least on Wild Horse Ranch, he’s safe from judgment. Then one day a familiar face from 10 years ago shows up out of the blue.
She’s a wanderer who comes and goes…
Samara Grant is a nomad at heart. She doesn’t like staying put for too long. But when her Grandma Bunny passes away, she has to put her carefree lifestyle on hold to handle her affairs. She might have spent childhood summers in Lutton, Texas, but it’s no place to live. She wants to get in and out as fast as possible. Little does she know life has other plans.
Together, they form an unbreakable bond…
When Samara feels like she’s losing control of her life, she decides to take it back. She asks Chase to teach her how to ride. Neither expect to find common ground—and a fiery attraction—when Chase agrees. But their blossoming relationship isn’t celebrated by everyone. The closer Chase and Samara get, the more an unforeseen enemy seeks to tear them apart…

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~~~

EXCERPT

The sight was jarring. Her tire was shredded, the split in the rubber the work of a sharp blade. She quickly looked up and scanned the area. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Here and there others in town wandered down the sidewalks and perused the shops on Main Street, all of them unsuspecting and indifferent. Nobody had a clue that her tire had been slashed.

Walking around to the other three corners of her Jeep, she saw the rest were too. Somebody had intentionally sought out her Jeep and destroyed her tires. Her brain rejected that reality, swimming in a shock that left her speechless. For the life of her, she couldn’t rationalize why. None of it made sense. She was a visitor in Lutton, temporarily in town for the summer. Who the hell would do something like this?

Samara must’ve looked like a frazzled mess standing there beside her Jeep. Several passersby slowed up and stared. A few stopped and asked if she needed help. Her shock hadn’t worn off so she ignored them all, blinking with a lump in her throat at the damage done. It was difficult for her to tell how much time had passed before the last person she wanted to hear spoke to her.

“Who did this?” Chase asked from behind. He had exited the grocery store to discover her on the sidewalk. He walked up with tentative footsteps, keeping a distance between them. “Somebody slashed your tires.”

Her earlier temper rushed in like water bursting through a dam. “No shit! Just go, okay? I don’t need your—”

“You were in the store for a few minutes,” Chase interrupted in his low drawl. He dropped his own groceries on the cement and strode forward to kneel beside a shredded tire. “That means one thing.”

“What? What does it mean?” She had no patience, snapping without care or thought.

Chase ran a hand over the deep puncture marks. “It means somebody was watching you.”

~~~

 About the Author

Mila Nicks has a thing for romance. Chick lit, chick flicks, you name it, she’s there. She’s all about basking in a quality, well-told love story.

It’s why she’s decided to use her passion for writing to pen love stories featuring women of color.

When she’s not engrossed in all things romance, she’s probably out shopping, sampling food off of someone else’s plate, or hanging with her
feisty and dangerous pet chihuahua, Zayden.
For more on Mila, including upcoming releases and story freebies, check out her website and subscribe to her newsletter: https://www.milanickswrites.com/

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#Excerpt “Dreamland” by Beth D. Carter

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Time-Travel Romance

Date Published: 7/2/2020

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

 

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Dicen Burke had it all.  As lead singer in the world famous rock band, Dark Army, the world lay at his feet.  But the path to super stardom warred with a painful past and during a performance the demons haunting him finally descended.  Unable to stop the self-destructive path of alcohol and drugs, when he fell, he fell hard.

He wakes up in a world he doesn’t know.  The Twenty-first century rocker is now in the 1920’s, lost and bewildered. He’s taken in by Juliet Fox, a beautiful woman trying to be a positive influence in her brother’s wild lifestyle among the Hollywood Motion
Picture elite.

Dicen does his best to adapt, and with Juliet by his side, he discovers a world that offers him a clean slate.  But when he’s pulled back to the present, separated by time from the one person that gives him a reason to live, will he find a way to push past his demons as well as find Juliet again?

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~~~

Excerpt

             

“Hey you,” a soft voice commanded.  “Open your eyes please.”

He tried to obey, struggling to push past the lingering darkness that clung to him like a second skin.  God, he felt horrible.

“That’s it,” she soothed.  “Open your eyes.  Look at me.”

Finally, he managed to raise his eyelids.  An angel leaned over him, staring into his eyes.  She smiled at him so he smiled back.  He had always thought it would be demons that would come collect him when he died so it amazed him that heaven was calling.

“Ah, a set of beautiful baby blues,” she murmured, stroking his cheek.  “Hello, handsome.”

He opened his mouth to say something but the words wouldn’t come. His tongue felt swollen, dry.  He forced himself to swallow to try to get some saliva flowing.

“W-what happened?”

She cocked her head.  “Bad hooch I’m thinking.  Gotta be careful of certain juice joints.  Come,” she said, holding out her hand.  “Let’s get you sitting upright.”

He hadn’t realized he’d been lying down but as she helped him up, he realized the halo around her head had been nothing more but the flickering of a street light accentuating the midnight hue of her hair.  When he was vertical once more, he finally saw all of the woman’s features.  Short bobbed hair held back by a headband made of crystal beads while dark eyes watched him from under thin, perfectly arched eyebrows.  Her lips were a cupid’s bow, painted a deep red.  Her skin a flawless pale shade that contrasted sharply with her heavily made up eyes.

“Like what you see?” she asked.

He blinked.  “I always like my fans.  Where am I?”

One of those thin eyebrows arched.  “That hooch must’ve really  made you balled up.  You’re off Hollywood Boulevard, of course, belly up in an alley.”

He looked around, completely baffled.  How the hell did he get here?

Where was the stage?  The screaming fans?  Kieron, Van and Tony?

“Do you have a name, handsome?”

“Yeah, sorry.  I’m Dicen Burke.”

He waited.  He waited for the name to sink in, for her eyes to widen, for her to begin batting her eyes in an attempt to flirt her way into his bed.

“Juliet,” she said.  “Juliet Fox.  I was looking for my brother, Thayer, and figured I’d find him upchucking out here and instead I find a keen big six.  Say, you’re no drugstore cowboy are you?”

“Excuse me?”  Her lack of a response to his name, along with slang he didn’t understand, threw him.

“You know, a guy that hangs around street corners looking to pick up ladies.  Just so we’re clear on the matter, I ain’t that kind of girl,” she informed him, the smile on her face lessening the harshness of her tone.  “Have you seen another man out here, by chance, throwing up?”

She confused him.  He shook his head and then wished he hadn’t when it throbbed.  “God, I need an aspirin.”

 

~~~

About the Author

I began reading my mom’s Harlequin Presents in the fifth grade, and
from the first story I knew I wanted to write romance novels. I like writing
about the very ordinary girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances, so my
heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors or corporate
highrollers.  I try to write characters who aren’t cookie cutters and
push myself to write complicated situations that I have no idea how to
resolve, forcing me to think outside the box.  I love writing
characters who are real, complex and full of flaws, heroes and heroines who
find redemption through love. You can find me on the web at:

 

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#Excerpt “The Match Disaster” by Latesha Kellam

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Romance, Women’s Fiction
Published: March 2020
Publisher: Lulu
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This is a story about a middle-aged woman who recently got divorced and thought she was open to companionship. She was very apprehensive about opening her heart again after being hurt badly by her ex-husband. To her surprise, she met someone on Match.com that seemed like the man of her dreams. They had so much in common and really enjoyed each other’s company. He managed to convince her to be open to the possibility of falling in love again.
She ended up giving this man her heart only to find out that he wasn’t the man of her dreams at all. He wasn’t like her ex-husband but he had just as many issues. She found it difficult to be the woman that he needed her to be while not compromising her integrity and moral standards.
This story is told totally from her point of view. She is finally able to tell the love of her life everything that she wanted to say throughout their relationship. She is able to express her perspective on all the events that were occurring in their lives without feeling like she is being ungrateful for the good times but imagining the bad times.
She will take you through five years of her relationship. Will she figure out that she deserves so much better than how she was being treated? Or, will she talk herself into saving this relationship and giving her one true love another chance?

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EXCERPT

We met on Match.com about a month after a short friendship with someone I met on ChristianMingle.com.  Although, that situation didn’t end well, I thought I would give online dating one more try and boy was I glad I did. I met you.  I was on Match.com one day and I noticed that you looked at my profile.  I decided to say hi to you through the Match.com app.  I was pretty shy about reaching out to guys that I didn’t know, but what did I have to lose?  The only thing that could happen was that you didn’t say hi back.  To my surprise you sent me a reply and it wasn’t just hi.  We began to talk and things got interesting pretty quickly.

Initially, I didn’t know how things would end up because you were very blunt and to the point and I really wasn’t used to that.  I would ask you how your day was and you would respond, “It sucked.”  I thought to myself, this guy has a bleak outlook on life, but then one day when we were chatting online about your job, you made me laugh.  I said to myself, maybe he’s not so bad after all.  You actually had a sense of humor.

We talked frequently via the Match.com app for about 3 weeks.  We talked about how many children we had and their ages. Between the two of us, we had 4 boys.  You also told me that you had a daughter, that you raised, but she wasn’t biologically yours.  I really found that honorable.  You told me that your children lived with you, but it wasn’t because their mother passed away.  This also impressed me.  It definitely wasn’t as common for the man to have full custody of his children.  You asked me about my ex-husband and if he was involved in my children’s life.  At the time he wasn’t and you were very upset by that.  You just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t an active participant in the children’s life.  I had some of the same thoughts, so this was a sensitive subject for me.

One day we were chatting on the Match.com app and you told me that you had many more stories to tell me about work and the horrors of online dating, but they would be easier to tell me over the phone.  I figured that was your way of hinting that you wanted my phone number, so I finally gave it to you.  I remember the first time you texted me, I responded and then asked who I was talking to.  You responded, “It’s Thomas.  Didn’t your mama teach you not to talk to strangers.”  That made me laugh.  I liked that you made me laugh.  We progressed from texting to talking on the phone, but it took about a week.  During our first call, you explained why you took so long to call me.  You told me that you had been sick and you didn’t want me to hear your voice like that.  Our very first conversation lasted for over 2 hours.

You told me so many stories about the horrific experiences you had with online dating.  They were so funny but disturbing at the same time.  It was a good thing I met you before hearing those type of stories because your stories made me question the process of online dating.  I asked you why you opted for online dating.  You were a very handsome and intelligent guy.  You had a successful career as an Engineer at a great company.  You could probably get any girl you wanted.  You told me it was because you didn’t hang out at the typical places that would allow you to meet someone and there was definitely nobody at your job who you be interested in dating.

~~~

About the Author
Latesha Kellam is an author who takes her life experiences and puts them into words that will inspire others. She wrote her first story at the age of 14, about the events surrounding the unexpected death of her father. During the current phase of her life, she has the desire to not only write inspiring books but to help people, especially woman, recognize when they are in dysfunctional relationships. She lives by the old adage, experience is the best teacher, therefore she takes events from her own life to inspire her writing.
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#Excerpt “Power of One” by Devpal Gupta

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Motivation Book/Self Help

Date Published: July 1st 2020

 

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 Author Devpal Gupta believes in living life according to those core values to which we we all have access: respect, positivity, and passion. In his debut inspirational book, Power of One, Devpal extracts lessons from his life’s journey which began in Tanzania and London and transplanted him to a successful life as an Arizona-based commercial real estate executive and applies them to real-life principles. With no holds barred, Devpal tells it like it is — he offers no excuse and takes no excuses when it comes to living a purposeful life. With eight hard-hitting, short-and-sweet chapters like “Get Over It” and “Why is the Brown Guy Better Than Us”, Devpal straight shoots advice on how to remain genuine, honest and real.

Devpal also introduces his own theory, the Power of One. He imparts upon readers that in order to be truly prosperous, the only one you can rely on, is yourself.

The Power of One is a fantastically quick read and a dynamic demonstration of what it takes to be resourceful and resilient in a world that rewards people for gratuitous likes rather than the efforts and principles behind hard work.

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Read FREE With Kindle Unlimited

~~~

EXCERPT

Chapter 5:

  • When 9/11 happened, Sikhs were one of the most targeted communities because we wear turbans and we don’t shave our beards. People thought we were responsible for the terrorist attacks. Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh and a local gas station owner in Phoenix, was shot and killed on September 15, 2001, because someone believed he was Muslim due to his turban and beard. No one should be killed for how they worship or don’t. Balbir’s gas station is fifteen minutes from where I live now with my family. Numerous incidents such as these happened to Sikhs across the United States because people could not differentiate between turbans.
  • When I went on interviews after graduating from Arizona State University in 2005, there were companies who loved my personality and my resume but couldn’t accept the turban. I’d walk into an interview and I’d see smiles disappear as they stared at what represented my faith, my culture and me. I have since cut my hair and stopped wearing the dastār. I often regret doing so.  That was my identity; it fit me perfectly. It was a part of me, just like a leg or hand, but I let others tell me it didn’t fit in their world. I allowed strangers to dictate how I should appear in their life. I let their relevancy make mine irrelevant.
  • Why do we let others tell us what’s right or wrong? We’re already questioning ourselves; we don’t need their help to do it. We let irrelevant people into our lives to preach and tell us what makes us relevant, and yet these people hold zero significance to our personal wellbeing and growth. Shockingly, we let them tell us what makes us relevant in this world. We need to protect that right and use it for ourselves.
  • Until you respect yourself, until you place a value on yourself that is intrinsically high because it’s what you believe in, no one else is going to place the same value on you. If you think you are only worth ten dollars an hour, how and why would you expect anyone to pay you twenty? How can you expect people to think you are relevant if you are content with being normal? How can you remain authentic to yourself if you don’t respect yourself?

~~~

 About the Author

Devpal Gupta is an Executive Director at one of the top commercial real estate firms in the greater Phoenix area. Specializing exclusively in Tenant Representation, he is responsible for servicing local clients and national
accounts. Dev started in the industry in 1997 and has always worked exclusively as a Tenant advocate. Since that time, he has completed over 200 transactions ranging in size and scope from 5,000 square feet to 500,000
square feet and involving services from conventional lease analysis, strategic planning, unique build-to-suit projects, building acquisitions and dispositions. Dev’s specialties include office and industrial leasing, relocations, renewals and acquisitions.

Dev possesses extensive experience with managing and implementing
transactions for diverse national portfolios, or large one-off deals.
In addition he has numerous companies with large sale-leaseback
transactions. His particular knowledge of real estate financial issues
enables him to proactively manage all types of transactions, minimizing
risk, increasing flexibility, and reducing overall occupancy costs. Dev won
Costar’s Power Broker of the year award in 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

His dedication to his career and his craft carries over into how he lives
his life: with passion, honesty and attention to detail. Dev works hard,
plays hard and finds time to motivate people to living a meaningful life by
reminding them to return to their core values. The Power of One is his first
book.

Dev lives in Arizona with his wife and life partner, Suprit and their two
lovely children. He has recently persuaded his parents to move from Tanzania
and into his home; Dev considers this some of his best work yet.

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “First Second Coming” by Jeff Pollak

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Book One In The New God Series
Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
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In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.

Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.

God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.

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Excerpt

Thirteen hours late, my cross-galaxy voyage to the All-Souls Transit Center ends in a puff of soft lunar dirt on Mare Tranquillitatis. I expect to meet the legendary God of planet Earth in his office but as I deplane he’s shuffling down the concourse toward his departure gate. He’s easy to spot – inside this small, sparse four gate terminal we are the only life forms in sight.

With his stooped posture and unkempt shoulder length gray hair, God reminds me of the mythical Atlas. His tremors underscore the physical and emotional toll he has had to bear. Did his mental state also degrade? He spent two millennia managing a planet populated by quarrelsome headstrong terrestrials. Over that much time any deity posted to such a world would succumb to the effects of prolonged stress.

I quicken my pace, catch up to him and extend a hand. “Good day, Lord.”

“This is how you address your superiors?” The decibel level of his gruff voice implies impaired hearing. “Where are your manners? A bow is in order.”

Though I have not yet fully adapted to the musculature of this adult male body I inhabit, my flawless execution of a deep obeisance brings a quick smile to my face.

God gives me a brusque signal to rise. “You’re my replacement, are you?”

“Correct, Lord. I am humbled and honored to take your place.” I bow again, less fully.

“Call me NTG if you wish. I prefer answering to that nickname.”

So the rumor is true. That he calls himself the New Testament God instead of his given name means he has indeed gone native. This explains a lot.

We sink into a ‘maximum comfort’ couch – or so the attached tag boasts – stuffed full of condensed nimbostratus cloud threads imported from Earth. An ugly green tarp spread over the cushions prevents our clothes from getting soaked by residual moisture.

God adjusts his overcoat and leans toward me. “I trust you had an enjoyable flight?”

“I would like to say yes, but what a hellacious trip.” That’s an understatement. “We flew through several cosmic storms, circumvented an unmapped black hole and limped here on back-up power after the anti-matter fuel engine failed. I will never fly by chartered spaceship again.”

“Now that you’ve arrived, what makes you think you can take on a tough job like this?”

“This is my fourth assignment, though the first for Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.” I place my carry-on bag on the tan moonrock table and open a side pocket. “I have a résumé, if you want to peruse it. In each previous posting, the planets I shepherded returned to optimal status. Whilst this assignment is more complex, I assure you my record shall remain unsullied.”

“Humph.” He spits into the thin puddle created by the leaky couch and waves off my résumé. “I thought those spineless MWGI decision-makers would send a rank amateur. After only three postings, you expect to fix this mess? You’re still wet around the ears, sonny. Have you even hung your precious university degrees on a wall yet?” He points at the nearby picture window. “On Earth they say you learn more through failure than success.”

“Elder, I did not travel here to fail. MWGI reached out because of my extensive training as a planetary turnaround specialist. They are confident I am the best available deity for this job.”

“And you agree with that assessment, do you?” He fidgets, as though trying to stand and walk away, but can’t get off the couch. 

“I would not otherwise have taken the job, Lord. Once I did, I undertook considerable research. The travel delays afforded me extra preparation time. I have learned everything a new deity should know about Earth and its inhabitants. I am ready to take the reins.”

“Your extensive reading helped you form opinions regarding the humans, did it?”

I disregard the sarcasm implicit in the question. If I ever reach his wizened old age, young deities will receive better treatment from me than this. His attitude is understandable, though. Forced retirement is a difficult pill for anyone to swallow, supreme beings included.

“Lord, these sentient beings do have many laudable qualities. However, whilst I prefer not to focus on the negative, on the whole humans strike me as a rather unpredictable species.”

NTG spits again and rummages through the pockets of his black overcoat, pants and vest. “Where’s the damn thing? Did I forget it? Ah, here. Since you’re not dead, you’ll need this to get into heaven.”

He hands me a Holyday Inn card key with “NTG” stenciled on the back side. I stare at the card whilst mulling over my research, which characterized heaven as an imaginary afterlife sanctuary. With a shrug, I deposit the card in the pocket of my blue denim shirt.

“Many humans call it heaven, but I consider it home.” God’s melancholic smile comes and goes in seconds. “Souls get over the false advertising once they adjust to their newly deceased status. Follow the overhead signs to the tram that’ll take you to the complex. My office is by the main gate so I can greet arrivals on St. Peter’s days off. Ask for Angie, my chief of staff. She’s a real angel in every sense of the word.”

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About the Author

Jeff Pollak grew up in Riverdale – not the one in the Archie comics and movies, the one in the Bronx. After graduating college in Buffalo’s often frozen tundra, he moved to Los Angeles to thaw out and learn to play golf without losing the ball in snow drifts. While there, a law school accepted him into their night program. Now retired from life as a civil trial litigator, Jeff lives in the Crescenta Valley where the closest Jeff comes to winter is his sporadic attendance at hockey games.
FIRST SECOND COMING, Jeff’s debut novel, was inspired by 9/11. Like everyone else, Jeff was transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. Unlike everyone else, Jeff had clients in the World Trade Center, his law firm had given annual seminars at Windows of the World, at the top of the building, and he’d become familiar with some of the staff. While watching the WTC collapse, the thought “earth needs a new God who’s a planetary turnaround specialist,” came to mind. Over the ensuing decade, this odd idea germinated in the deeper recessions of Jeff’s overactive brain until this story hatched in 2015. Jeff’s been writing it ever since.
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#Excerpt “Undying Witch” by B. Austin

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(A Dysfunctional Family of Witches Prequel)

 Dark Fantasy

 Date Published: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Spellbound Books

 

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The illegitimate granddaughter of Catherine the Great finds a shapeshifting stone and discovers the magic to be young and live forever. Years later, Dima’s teenage daughter resents a mother who is 112 years old but shifts into a woman young enough to be her sister.  Medea loathes a mother who loves her 17 cats more than she does her daughter. Medea despises a mother who claims all witchcraft as her magic and treats her daughter like a slave. In secret, Medea develops her own sorcery.

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UNDYING WITCH

A Dysfunctional Family of Witches

Prequel

By B. Austin

Excerpt

Magical powers sometimes came during times of panic to those who have always had the magic in their physical chemistry.

With the power of her mind, Medea slammed the back-kitchen door in Nick-Nick’s face.

Her mother’s lover spun to the other exit.

She slammed the door leading from the kitchen to the living room.

With one nod of her head, she sealed the kitchen windows.

She locked Nick-Nick into the kitchen with magic. He could not even break a window with a hammer.

It was dark by now and Nick-Nick had no neighbors behind him, just some scary-looking woods.

With one piercing look, Medea lit up all four burners of the stove.

She shook her head and the flames roared from the stove to the ceiling.

Nick-Nick pounded on a kitchen window, screaming at Medea, “Witch, let me out!”

He would have murdered me, Medea thought as she watched the kitchen burn.

She never even flinched as the flames spread to Nick-Nick and he seemed to melt like wax. She could smell the stink of burning flesh.

When Nick-Nick crumpled from her view of the window to the kitchen floor, Medea blinked her eyes, putting out the flames.

Medea then dragged out the scorched body. Thank goodness his neighbors really did mind their own business. She planned to bury Nick-Nick but then she heard the fire trucks roaring up the street.

Medea let go of Nick-Nick’s burned hands and ran to the car in the driveway.

Oh Christ! I murdered a capo of the Mafia!

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About the Author

B. Austin grew up in the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico. She was told true tales of witches by her superstitious family. Before writing full time, she toiled in tech as a software engineer. She currently lives in Florida. She, also, writes under the name of Belinda Austin.

 

 

 

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#Excerpt “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” by Robert Archibald

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Mystery/Thriller
Date Published: July 17, 2020
Publisher: Blue Fortune Enterprises LLC, Cactus Mystery Press
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Check your email. Help is out there…
When Sherry and Beth discover what their boyfriends have been up to, they want in on the action. Working as vigilantes and providing justice for wrongs committed is a noble thing to do, but the women decide the stakes need to change.
Once again, the conflict is personal.
This follow-up to Roundabout Revenge follows former Professor Phil Philemon as he and his friends continue to seek elusive justice for victims who may not have been able to speak for themselves. Lurking in chat rooms, the group finds a large number of women who have been sexually harassed on the job. Sexually harassed in horrible ways. Harassed until their jobs, their reputations, and their sanity is on the line. And what they find is that the story of he said-she said is not always one that ends well.
But not everything goes as planned, and soon the four friends need to come to terms with a larger reality, including a crime of arson and an FBI investigation.
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EXCERPT

FROM CHAPTER 6

When Ralph and Beth returned to their apartment after sending the email, Ralph asked, “What you said about your experience? I didn’t know you had trouble with sexual harassment.”

“It’s not the kind of thing you talk to boyfriends about, but I guess I should tell you.”

“The way you talked about it tonight told me it’s still bothering you.”

“I guess it is.”

“When Sherry explained this project to us, she explained her motivation clearly. She’d had a lot of trouble with men in her past, and she hadn’t gotten any satisfaction when she’d lodged sexual harassment complaints. The men denied any wrongdoing. It came down to he-said-she-said, and the men got off. I thought you were joining the team because of me. I had no knowledge about anything you’d gone through. Can you tell me about it?”

“Let’s grab a beer and sit on the couch. It’s a bit of a long story.”

Ralph went to the refrigerator and took out two beers. Beth liked low-calorie beer. He thought it too weak. He opened their beers and headed for the couch.

Beth seemed a little nervous. “I got my first job at a big hospital in Pittsburgh. From the very start one of the doctors, Doctor Burns, took too much interest in me. He kept asking me to go out with him after our shifts. He was married. Heck, I’d even met his wife. I turned him down flat. Actually, he was in his fifties. I found the whole thing creepy. He didn’t get the message. He wouldn’t stop. He continued to pester me for dates. When he started grabbing me inappropriately, I finally lodged a sexual harassment complaint at the hospital. It didn’t work. The hospital personnel people told me they didn’t find any evidence to back my complaint. My experience resembled Sherry’s.”

Ralph put his arm around Beth. “It must have been frustrating. I guess he only made advances when you were alone.”

“Yeah, it was always just the two of us, and as much as I tried, I couldn’t avoid those situations.”

“Sure, nurses and doctors have to work close together at times.”

“Right, but that’s not the worst of it. Things changed after the sexual harassment complaint. People started treating me differently. Doctor Burns had lots of friends on the staff, and they all turned against me. It depressed me. I found it completely unfair, yet I couldn’t do anything about it. It was so wrong. Burns had misbehaved, yet I got punished.”

Ralph hugged Beth, whose eyes were tearing. “It’s all right. It’s in the past.”

“Even now when I think about it, it still bothers me. And I guess I didn’t handle it well. I started eating too much. Food provided comfort. I broke up with my boyfriend, Billy. He didn’t show any sympathy at all. Finally, after I put on close to thirty pounds, I decided I had to make a complete life change.”

“So, you moved to Lackey?”

“I wanted to get out of the city. I applied to a bunch of small-town hospitals, and Lackey responded first. Nursing jobs are fairly easy to get. And the hospital here is a good one. After I moved, I put myself on a diet, but I had trouble sticking to it. I guess I’d still been upset about what had happened. Luckily, my work went well. The people in Lackey are nice. As I told you before, I got along with Phil’s wife Mary Jane right away. I even told her about why I left the hospital in Pittsburg, but I didn’t tell anyone else.

“Finally, I started to come out of my shell and got more serious about my diet. Meeting you gave me an impetus to change. I really liked our exercise group. Dieting together really helps.”

“I always wondered why you wound up here. I never really thought about it too hard. I figured I had good luck. Now I’m torn. Part of me is glad you had trouble at the Pittsburg hospital, but that’s not right. I shouldn’t think that way.”

Beth responded. “I never thought about it like that. So, you’re saying we’d have never met if I hadn’t had my problems?”

“Yeah.”

“I understand. Nevertheless, I’d have been happier if we’d have met some other way.”

Ralph gave Beth a kiss. “Whatever, now we have each other.”

“And it’s great,” Beth said. “Now you’ve got the full story, I guess you can understand why I’m so eager to be part of the project along with you and Phil and Sherry.”

“You bet. It makes a lot of sense.”

Beth glanced at her phone. “Look at what time it is. We’d better get to bed,” she said as she pulled Ralph off the couch.

“You don’t have to ask twice.”

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About the Author
Robert Archibald was born in New Jersey and grew up in Oklahoma and Arizona. After receiving a BA from the University of Arizona, he was drafted and served in Viet Nam. He then earned a M.S. and Ph.D in economics from Purdue University. Bob had a 41-year career at the College of William & Mary. While he had several stints as an administrator, department chair, director of the public policy program, and interim dean of the faculty, Bob was always proud to be promoted back to the faculty. He lives with his wife of 47 years, Nancy, in Williamsburg, Virginia.
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