#BookReview “Dear Durwood (Third Chance Enterprises Book 2)” by Jeff Bond

on Tour August 1 – September 30, 2020

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5/5 Stars!

I shamelessly admit I am crushin’ on Durwood Oak Jones.

He may have a standing ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine, but he’s not your run-of-the-mill mercenary.

Actually, Durwood isn’t a mercenary at all. He’s not muscle for hire. His unique set of skills simply aren’t available to the highest bidder. Since his military days, Durwood has fought to right injustices because the underdog rarely had the advantage. Which is how he ended up in Chickasaw, Texas.

Big-money Wall Street is suddenly interested in the small town’s single largest employer, Hogan Industries, a manufacturing company. Losing Hogan would be a death knell for Chickasaw. Mayor Carol Bridges is not a damsel in distress looking for a dude in a white hat to save her. She takes her job seriously and is exploring other options to bring jobs to Chickasaw, but her inquiries have been stonewalled and ignored on every front. She simply wants Durwood to get answers for her so she’ll know how to proceed and save her town.

While it’s not diffusing bombs or shooting a drone out the sky six seconds before it hit the fuselage of a jumbo jet carrying six heads of state, Durwood has a gut feeling about Chickasaw’s problem, and he’s impressed with Carol’s forthright nature—and the Iraqi combat medal hanging on her wall—so he agrees to make some inquiries on her behalf.

However, on meeting each of the under-thirty Ivy League graduates who run Hogan Industries, Durwood is not happy with the answers he receives. Jay Hogan and Chester Lyles are arrogant and condescending… and they both will regret underestimating Durwood Oak Jones.

This was such a good read with a great protagonist! I loved the wit and dry humor!

Durwood doesn’t have the swagger of Bond or the ever-simmering rage of Reacher or the mental issues of Rambo. He’s Just. A. Guy. A guy in jeans, boots and a cowboy hat with principles and ethics who believes taking on four guys is a fair fight. He’s buried a wife and a son and tries to stay connected to his youngest son… who works on Wall Street. He takes his blue-tick hound, Sue-Ann, everywhere, and the old dog with a bad hip should also never be underestimated.

Dear Durwood is book 2 in the Third Chance Enterprises series. I have not read book 1—but I downloaded it—and I preordered book 3 so I can learn more about Durwood’s partners, Quaid and Molly.

However, if the author ever penned another adventure for Durwood, I’m here for it! Only, I hope there are no more lawyers… because Durwood hates lawyers!

Enjoy!

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Reviewer’s Note: All books in the Third Chance Enterprises series are currently 99c or available through Kindle Unlimited!

 

Book two in the epic Third Chance Enterprises series, Dear Durwood is a standalone mystery pitting uncompromising principle against big city greed.

Durwood Oak Jones is a man of few indulgences. One he does allow is a standing ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine soliciting “injustices in need of attention.”

This month’s bundle of letters includes one from Carol Bridges, mayor of the dusty, blue-collar town of Chickasaw, Texas. For nearly a century, Chickasaw has relied on the jobs and goodwill of Hogan Consolidated, a family-run manufacturer of industrial parts. Now East Coast lawyers and investment bankers have taken aim at the company. The citizens of Chickasaw fear it may be acquired or bankrupted, leading to massive layoffs — effectively destroying the town.

Durwood and his trusty bluetick coonhound, Sue-Ann, fly to Texas to see what can be done. They find a young CEO born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Factory workers with hammers. A good woman, Carol Bridges, who knows her town is being cheated but can’t get to the bottom of how. And lawyers.

Dirty, good-for-nothing lawyers.

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Book Details:

Genre: Action-Adventure / Western Romance

Published by: Jeff Bond Books

Publication Date: June 15, 2020

Number of Pages: 215

ISBN: 1732255296 (ISBN13: 9781732255296)

Series: Third Chance Enterprises

Purchase Links: Amazon | Third Chance Stories | Goodreads

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Tour Participants:

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#BookTour “Dear Durwood (Third Chance Enterprises Book 2)” by Jeff Bond

Dear Durwood by Jeff Bond Banneron Tour August 1 – September 30, 2020

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Dear Durwood by Jeff Bond

Book two in the epic Third Chance Enterprises series, Dear Durwood is a standalone mystery pitting uncompromising principle against big city greed.

Durwood Oak Jones is a man of few indulgences. One he does allow is a standing ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine soliciting “injustices in need of attention.”

This month’s bundle of letters includes one from Carol Bridges, mayor of the dusty, blue-collar town of Chickasaw, Texas. For nearly a century, Chickasaw has relied on the jobs and goodwill of Hogan Consolidated, a family-run manufacturer of industrial parts. Now East Coast lawyers and investment bankers have taken aim at the company. The citizens of Chickasaw fear it may be acquired or bankrupted, leading to massive layoffs — effectively destroying the town.

Durwood and his trusty bluetick coonhound, Sue-Ann, fly to Texas to see what can be done. They find a young CEO born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Factory workers with hammers. A good woman, Carol Bridges, who knows her town is being cheated but can’t get to the bottom of how. And lawyers.

Dirty, good-for-nothing lawyers.

~~~

Book Details:

Genre: Action-Adventure / Western Romance

Published by: Jeff Bond Books

Publication Date: June 15, 2020

Number of Pages: 215

ISBN: 1732255296 (ISBN13: 9781732255296)

Series: Third Chance Enterprises

Purchase Links: Amazon | Third Chance Stories | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Dear Mr. Oak Jones: I am Carol Bridges, mayor of Chickasaw, Texas. We are located in the western part of the state, Big Bend Country if you know it. I thank you in advance for considering my injustice. Chickasaw is the home of Hogan Consolidated, a family-run manufacturer of industrial parts. Hogan employs 70 percent of able-bodied adults in Chickasaw, and its philanthropy has sustained the town for ninety years. It’s due to the Hogan family we have an arts center and turf field for youth football. Recently, East Coast lawyers and investment bankers have taken aim at the company. Multi-million dollar claims have been filed, accusing Hogan of putting out defective parts. It’s rumored the company will be acquired or liquidated outright. Massive layoffs are feared. My constituents work hard, Mr. Jones. They have mortgages and children to feed. I have tried to find answers about the Hogan family’s intentions, to see whether I or the town can do anything to influence the course of events. Jay Hogan, the current CEO, does not return my phone calls—and is seen dining at sushi restaurants in El Paso (85 miles away) more often than in Chickasaw. I have gotten the runaround from our state and federal representatives. I believe it’s their fundraising season. As mayor, I have a duty to explore every possible solution to the challenges we face. I do not read Soldier of Fortune regularly, but my deputy police chief showed me your ad soliciting “injustices in need of attention.” I feel certain injustice is being done to Chickasaw, though I can’t as yet name its perpetrator and exact nature. Alonso (our deputy chief) knows you by reputation, and assures me these details won’t trouble you. Thank you sincerely for your time, Carol Bridges Mayor of Chickasaw, TX Chapter One Durwood got to the Chickasaw letter halfway through the sorghum field. He was flipping through the stack from the mailbox, passing between sweet-smelling stalks. Leaves brushed his bluejeans. Dust coated his boots. He scanned for clumps of johnsongrass as he read, picking what he saw. The first five letters he’d tucked into his back pocket. The Chickasaw letter he considered longer. Steel-colored eyes scanned left to right. He forgot about the johnsongrass. An ugliness started in his gut. Lawyers. He put the letter in his front pocket, then read the rest. The magazine forwarded him a bundle every month. In September, he’d only gotten three. At Christmas time, it seemed like he got thirty or forty. Folks felt gypped around the holidays. Today, he read about two brothers who didn’t steal a car. About a principal who got fired for being too aggressive fighting drugs in his school. About a bum call in the Oregon state Little League championship twenty years ago. About a furnace warranty that wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Durwood chuckled at the Oregon letter. This one had been writing in for years. Maybe he figured Durwood didn’t read them, figured some screener only put a couple through each go-round and one of these days they’d sneak his through. But Durwood did read them. Every last one. He put the letter about the principal in his front pocket with the Chickasaw letter. Off his right side, Sue-Ann whimpered. Durwood turned to find the bluetick coonhound pointing the south fenceline. “I see,” Durwood said, of the white-tail doe nosing around the spruces. “Left my gun back at the house, though.” Sue-Ann kept her point. Her bad hip quivered from the effort. Old as she was, she still got fired up about game. Durwood released her with a gesture. “What do you say to some bluegill tonight instead? See what Crole’s up to.” Durwood called Crole from the house. Crole, his fishing buddy who lived on the adjacent sixty acres, said he was good for a dozen casts. They agreed to meet at the river dividing their properties. Durwood had a shorter walk and used the extra time to clean his M9 semiautomatic. Leaving, he noticed the red maple that shaded the house was leafing out slow. He examined the trunk and found a pattern of fine holes encircling the bark. That yellow-bellied sapsucker. Durwood wondered if the holes were related to the tree’s poor vigor. Out by the river, Crole limped up with his jug of moonshine, vile stuff he made from Jolly Ranchers. They fished. Sue-Ann laid in the mud, snoring, her stiff coat bristling against Durwood’s boot. The afternoon stretched out, a dozen casts becoming two dozen. Then three. In the distance, the hazy West Virginia sky rolled through the Smokies. Mosquitoes weren’t too bad, just a nip here and there at the collar. Durwood thought about Chickasaw, Texas. He thought about East Coast lawyers. About the hardworking men and women who’d elected Carol Bridges to be mayor and stick up for them. He thought about that CEO picking up raw fish with chopsticks in El Paso. He thought, too, about the principal who’d been fired for doing right. Crole said, “Got some letters today?” Durwood said he had. Crole grinned, showing his top teeth—just two, both nearly black. “Still running that ad in Soldier of Fortune?” Durwood lowered the brim of his hat against the sun. “Don’t cost much.” “They give a military discount?” Durwood raised a shoulder. He’d been discharged from the Marines a decade ago. He didn’t accept handouts for his service. Crole nodded to the bulge in his pocket—the letters. “Anything interesting?” “Sure,” Durwood said. “Plenty.” They fished into twilight. Durwood caught just five bluegill. Crole, twenty years his senior and luckier with fish, reeled in a dozen, plus a decent-size channel cat despite using the wrong bait. The men strung their catches on a chain. The chain rippled in the cool, clear water. The Chickasaw job appealed to Durwood. The opportunity to fight crooked lawyers, do something about these Wall Street outfits that made their buck slicing up American companies, putting craftsmen out of work until every last doodad was made in some knockoff plant in China. Still, Durwood had trouble imagining the case. What would he do, flip through documents? Sit across a folding table from men in suits and ask questions? Then he thought about the principal. About those gangs the letter had mentioned, how you could look out the windows of the dang school and see drug dealers on street corners. Intimidators. Armed thugs. Durwood had an easy time imagining that case. The sky had just gotten its first purple tinge when Durwood lost his bait a third time running. “These fish.” He held his empty hook out of the water, shaking his head. Crole said, “There’s catfish down there older than you.” “Smarter, too,” Durwood said. Still, the five bluegill would be enough for him and Sue-Ann. Durwood unclipped the fishes’ cheeks from the chain and dropped them in a bucket. Back at the house, Durwood spotted the yellow-bellied sapsucker climbing the red maple. Not only was he pecking the tree, the ornery creature kept pulling twigs from the gray squirrels’ nest, the one they’d built with care and sheltered in the last four winters. “Git down!” Durwood called. The sapsucker zipped away to other antics. Inside, Durwood scaled and beheaded the bluegill. Then he fried them in grease and cornmeal. Sue-Ann ate only half a fish. Durwood moved the crispy tail under her nose. “Another bite?” The dog sneezed, rattly in her chest. Durwood rinsed his dishes and switched on a desktop computer. He looked up Chickasaw. There was plenty of information online. Population, land area. Nearly every mention of the town made reference to Hogan Consolidated. It looked like Hogan Consolidated was Chickasaw, Texas, and vice versa. On the official municipal website, he found a picture of Carol Bridges. She wore a hardhat, smiling among construction workers. Handsome woman. Warm, lively eyes. Next, Durwood looked up the fired principal. The man lived and worked in upstate New York. For a few weeks, his case had been all over the local news there. A city councilman believed he’d been railroaded. Nineteen years he’d served the school district without prior incident. The only blemish Durwood found was a college DUI. Durwood hadn’t started with computers until his thirties. His calloused fingers regularly struck the keys wrong, but he managed. This one he’d gotten from the Walmart in Barboursville, forty-nine bucks on Black Friday. It had its uses. A tool like any other. “Well?” he said aloud, even though Sue was out on the porch. “Looks like a tossup.” Durwood changed computer windows to look again at Carol Bridges. Then changed back to the principal. At the bottom of the news story about the principal, he noticed a bubble with “47 comments” inside. He knew people who spouted off online were unreliable and often foolish. He clicked anyway. “Good riddance, got what he deserved!” “TOTAL RACIST WINDBAG, glad they fired him.” Durwood read all forty-seven comments. Some defended the man, but most were negative. It was impossible to know how much was legitimate. Durwood left judging to Him, and Him alone. But Durwood did know that the petitioner, the one who’d written the letter to Soldier of Fortune, was the principal himself. Not some third party. Not an objective observer. What had seemed like a case of obvious bureaucratic overreach suddenly looked less obvious. Now Sue-Ann loped in from the porch. Appalachian air followed her inside, nice as perfume. Sue settled at Durwood’s feet, wheezing, rheumy eyes aimed up at her master. He said, “What do you say, girl. Up for seeing the Lone Star State?” The dog sat up straight, responding to the action in his voice. The effort made her mew. That hip. Durwood laid his thumb down the ridge of the dog’s skull. He felt pained himself, thinking of documents, folding tables, and men in suits. Chapter Two It was a healthy drive, nearly two thousand miles, to see this Carol Bridges. Doubts remained in Durwood’s mind. Petitioners he met through the Soldier of Fortune ad fell through sometimes. It would turn out their letter was misleading or flat false. Other times the injustice had taken care of itself by the time Durwood arrived. Once he’d driven clear to Nebraska to help a man whose pride and joy, a 1917 Ford Bucket T he’d restored from salvage by hand, had been denied roadworthiness by some city councilman with a grudge. When Durwood knocked on his door and asked about the hot rod, the man said, “The Ford? Guy made me an offer, I sold her a few weeks back.” Durwood decided it was worth the trip to hear Carol Bridges out. If he didn’t like what she said, he’d tip his hat, get back in the Vanagon, and drive home. Crole observed, “You could call.” Durwood was humping supplies into the van. “Folks can say anything on the phone.” The older man looked to the horizon, where the sun would rise soon. His pajamas dragged the dirt, and he held his jug by two fingers. “They can say anything to your face, too.” Durwood whistled to Sue-Ann. “It’s different,” he said as the dog climbed in. “Lay off that shine, hm?” Crole looked down at his jug as though surprised by its presence. He answered, “Don’t kill anyone you don’t have to.” With a wave, Durwood took out. The van wheezed over mountain switchbacks and chugged steadily along interstates. By afternoon, Sue was wincing on the bare metal floor. Durwood bought her a mat next time he stopped for gas. They reached Chickasaw the following morning. Crossing the city limit, they saw fields of wheat and corn, and grain elevators, and dry dusty homesteads. Factories burped smoke farther on. Billboards shilled for some dentist, somebody else who wanted to be sheriff. Downtown Chickasaw was a grid, eight blocks square. Durwood saw the turf field mentioned in the letter and smiled. A boarded-up building with a sign reading, Lyles Community Outreach Center. A fancy hotel that looked out of place. Next door to City Hall, Durwood’s destination, was a coffee shop called Peaceful Beans. The logo showed the name written along the stems of the peace sign. The light bulbs inside had those squiggly vintage filaments. Durwood knew that these towns, rural or not, had all types. You got your vegan yoga instructors living next to redneck truckers—sometimes married to each other. City Hall itself was a stone structure, two stories high. A sign indicated the municipal jail was located in the basement. Durwood parked. His bones creaked as he stepped from the van and stretched. The woman working reception cooed at Sue, who’d rolled over on her back. The big ham. Durwood stated their business, declared his M9, and passed through a metal detector before being shown to the mayor’s office. Carol Bridges stood from her desk with a humble smile. “Mr. Oak Jones, thank you for traveling all this way for our town.” “You’re welcome,” he said. “Call me Durwood, please.” She said she would and handed him a business card with her personal number circled. Durwood placed the card in his bluejeans pocket. The mayor gestured to an armchair whose upholstery had worn thin. Durwood, removing his hat, sat. “My dog goes where I go, generally,” he explained. “She can sit outside if need be.” “Don’t be silly.” The mayor reached into a drawer of her desk for a biscuit. “If I’d known, I’d have brought in my German Shepherd.” She didn’t just toss the biscuit at Sue, as some will. Carol Bridges commanded the dog to sit first. Sue sat. The mayor squatted and offered the treat, palm up, her knees pinching below a dark skirt. Sue wolfed it down. Durwood said, “We saw the factories on the way in. How many employees?” “Forty-four hundred on the floors themselves,” she said. “Plus another eight thousand in support roles.” “And it’s all going away? Vamoose?” Carol Bridges crossed one leg over the other. “That’s how the winds are blowing.” She expanded upon what the letter had said. For the better part of a century, Hogan Consolidated had produced parts for various household products. Brackets. Pot handles. Stepladder hinges. Nothing sexy, Carol Bridges said, but quality components that filled a need higher up the supply chain. Five or six years back, Wall Street began taking an interest in the company. They believed Hogan was underleveraged and growing too slowly. Durwood stopped her. “What does underleveraged mean?” “As I understand”—the mayor fluffed her dark red hair dubiously—“it means you aren’t taking enough risks. Your balance sheet is too conservative.” “Too conservative?” “Right. You’re not expanding into new markets. You’re not inventing new products.” Durwood rolled her words around his head. “Suppose you’re good at what you do, and that’s it.” Carol Bridges looked out her window toward a pair of smokestacks. “Not good enough for Wall Street.” Thoughts of finance or economics usually gave Durwood a headache, but he made himself consider the particulars of the case now. “But Hogan’s a family-owned company,” he said. “Can’t they tell Wall Street to go to hell? Pardon my French.” “They were family-owned up until 1972, when they sold out.” Durwood sat up in his chair, recalling her letter. She seemed to read his thoughts. “They’re a family-run company. The CEO’s always been a Hogan, but the equity is publicly traded.” “Hm.” Durwood’s head wasn’t aching, but it didn’t feel quite right either. “I read your letter different.” “I apologize, I didn’t mean to be unclear.” The mayor took a step out from behind her desk. “I hope you don’t feel I brought you here on false pretenses.” They looked at each other. The woman’s face tipped sympathetically and flushed, her eyes wide with concern. On the wall behind her hung the Iraq Campaign Medal and the striped ribbon indicating combat action. “It’s fine,” Durwood said. “And they’re facing lawsuits, you said?” “Correct,” the mayor said. “A class-action suit has been filed by customers claiming injury as a result of faulty Hogan parts.” “What happened?” “A woman in New Jersey’s toaster exploded. They’ve got two people in California saying a bad Hogan hinge caused them to fall. One broke her wrist.” “Her wrist.” Carol Bridges nodded. “Falling off a stepladder?” She nodded again. “What’re the Hogans doing?” Durwood asked. “They have a strategy to stomp out this nonsense?” “No idea. I hear, just scuttlebutt from the cafe, that the company’s going bankrupt.” The mayor flung out an arm. “Somebody else says they’re selling out to a private equity firm—one of these outfits that buys distressed companies for peanuts and parts ’em out, auctions off the assets and fires all the workers.” Durwood leaned over the thighs of his bluejeans. “You mentioned the CEO in your letter. Eats sushi.” The woman smiled. “Jay Hogan, yes. He’s only twenty-eight, and I don’t think he likes living in Chickasaw much. He went to college at Dartmouth.” “Whereabouts is that?” “Dartmouth?” Durwood nodded. He’d once met an arms supplier in Dortmund, Germany, the time he and Quaid Rafferty had stopped a band of disgruntled sausage vendors from bombing ten soccer stadiums simultaneously. He’d never heard of Dartmouth. Carol Bridges said, “New Hampshire.” “If he doesn’t like the place,” Durwood said, “why didn’t he stay east? Work a city job?” She crossed her legs again. “I doubt he could get one. Around here, he was a screw-up. They got him for drunk driving regularly. I was with the prosecutor’s office back then. The police winched him out of the same gully four different times in his dad’s Hummer.” “Why’d they pick him for CEO?” “He’s an only child. When the father had his stroke, Jay was next in line. Only pitcher left in the bullpen.” Durwood drew in a long breath. “Now the fate of the whole town rests on his shoulders. Fella couldn’t keep a five-thousand-pound vehicle on the road.” Carol Bridges nodded. Durwood felt comfortable talking to this woman. As comfortable as he’d felt with a woman since Maybelle, his wife and soulmate, had passed in Tikrit. Carol Bridges didn’t embellish. She didn’t say one thing but mean another—leaving aside the misunderstanding over “family-run,” which might well have been Durwood’s fault. Still, comfort didn’t make a case. “I sympathize, Miss Bridges,” Durwood said. “I do. But I’m a simple man. The sort of business I’m trained for is combat. Apprehending suspects. Pursuing retribution that can’t be pursued within the confines of the law. This situation calls for expertise I don’t have.” He’d delivered bad news, but Carol Bridges didn’t seem upset. She was smiling again. “I have to disagree,” she said. “You need somebody knows their way around corporate law. Knows how to—” “You’re not a simple man. There’s a lot up there”—her warm eyes rose to his head—“that doesn’t translate into words.” Durwood held her gaze a moment. Then he looked down to Sue-Ann. The dog was sleeping. He said, “America is changing. For better or worse. A town like Chickasaw doesn’t get the better end of it, I understand. There’s injustice in that. But it’s not the sort I can stop.” “Of course. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting you can deliver us back to the 1970s.” Carol Bridges laced her fingers over her dark red hair. A funny thing was happening with her mouth. Was she chewing gum? No, that wasn’t it. Using her tongue to work a piece of food out from between her teeth? Durwood didn’t think so either. She was smirking. “All I’m asking,” she said, “on behalf of my town, is this: talk to Jay Hogan. Get a straight answer out of him. I can’t, I’ve tried. The rest of the Hogans live in Vail or Tuscany. We need somebody who can cut through the bull and find out the truth.” Durwood repeated, “The truth.” “Yes. If the jobs are going away, if I need to retrain my citizenry to…” She searched around her desktop for some example—pencils, folders, a stapler. “Heck, answer customer-service calls? I will. But we want to know.” Sue-Ann snored and resettled against Durwood’s boot. He said, “Talk to Jay Hogan.” The mayor clasped her hands hopefully over her chest. “That’s all I’m asking. Find out where we stand.” Durwood thought about the crop fields he’d seen riding into town. The dusty homesteads. The billboards—the dentist, man who wanted to be sheriff. He thought of the factories still putting out smoke. For now. The stakes were lower than what he fought for alongside Quaid and Molly McGill with Third Chance Enterprises. The planet itself was not imperiled. He wasn’t likely to face exotic technologies or need to jump from moving aircraft. So it went with these injustice cases—with injustice in general. Ordinary folks suffering ordinary hardship. “We did drive a couple thousand miles,” he said. “I suppose it makes sense to stay and have a word with Mr. Hogan.” Carol Bridges rushed forward and pressed his calloused hands in her smooth ones. She gave him the address of Hogan Consolidated from memory. Chapter Three Hogan’s main factory and corporate headquarters were in the same building. Durwood parked in a Visitors spot, and he and Sue walked up to the fifth floor where the executive offices were—over the factory. Stairs were murder on the dog’s hip, but she persevered. Durwood stopped every few steps for her. Through the stairwell’s glass wall, he watched the assembly line. Men and women in hardhats leaned into machine handles. A foreman frowned at a clipboard. Belts and treads and rotors turned. Even behind glass, Durwood could smell grease. Nothing amiss here. On the fifth floor, Durwood consulted a directory to find Jay Hogan’s office. His secretary wore nicer clothes than Carol Bridges. Looking at her neat painted fingernails, Durwood doubted she kept dog biscuits in her desk. “You—you honestly thought bringing a dog to see the chief executive of Hogan Consolidated was acceptable?” the woman said, looking at Sue’s spots like they were open sores. “OSHA would have a field day if they showed up now.” Sue-Ann laid her chin on her paws. Durwood said, “She can stay here while I see Mr. Hogan.” The woman’s nameplate read Priscilla Baird. Durwood suspected she’d be taller than him if she stood. Her lips were tight, trembling like she was about to eject Durwood and Sue—or flee herself. “I don’t know that you will see Mr. Hogan today,” she said. “You’re not on his schedule. Jones, did you say?” She checked her screen. “Won’t find me in your computer,” Durwood said. “Is he here?” Priscilla Baird glanced at her boss’s door, which was closed. “He is…on site. But I’m not at liberty to say when he’d be available to speak with arbitrary members of the public.” “I’m not arbitrary. I’m here on authority of the mayor.” “The mayor?” “Of Chickasaw, yes ma’am. Carol Bridges.” Priscilla Baird rolled her eyes at this. Durwood thought he heard, “Getting desperate” under the woman’s breath. Durwood waited. After thirty minutes, he tired of Priscilla Baird’s dirty looks and took Sue-Ann out to the van. She didn’t like dogs, fine. He wouldn’t be difficult just for the sake of it. He returned to wait more. The lobby had an exposed beam running down its center—pimpled, showy. Folks built like that nowadays. Slate walls displayed oil paintings of the company’s executives. Sitting out on tables were US Weekly and Field and Stream. Durwood read neither. He spent the time thinking what questions to ask Jay Hogan. All told, he waited an hour and a half. Others entered and were admitted to see Hogan. Men wearing pinstripes. A made-up woman in her late forties with a couple minions hustling after her. Some kid in a ballcap and shorts carrying two plastic bags. The kid left Hogan’s office without his bags. Durwood caught him at the door. “Pardon, youngster. What did you drop off?” The kid ducked so Durwood could read his hat. Crepes-a-Go-Go. An involuntary growl escaped Durwood’s mouth. He crossed to Jay Hogan’s door. “Excuse me,” Priscilla Baird said. “Mr. Hogan’s schedule today is terribly tight, you’ll need to be patient if—” “It just opened up,” Durwood said. He jerked the knob and blew inside. Jay Hogan was stuffing a crepe into his face with a plastic fork. Ham and some cheese that stank. The corner of his mouth had a red smear, either ketchup or raspberry jam. Probably jam. “The hell is this?” Hogan said. “You—what…Priscilla…” He placed a hand over his scrawny chest and finished swallowing. “Who is this person?” Priscilla Baird rushed to the door. “I never admitted him, he went himself. He forced his way in!” Durwood stood in the center of the office. He said to Hogan, “Let’s talk, the two of us.” The young CEO considered the proposal. He was holding his crepe one-handed and didn’t seem to know where to set it down. He looked at his secretary. He looked at Durwood. His hair was slicked back with Pennzoil, skin alabaster white—a shade you’d have to stay inside to keep in southwest Texas. Durwood extended his hand. “I can hold your pancake.” Jay Hogan stiffened at the remark. “Who are you?” “Name’s Durwood Oak Jones.” Hogan tried saying it himself. “Duuurwood, is it?” “Correct.” Durwood assumed Jay Hogan, like the mayor, wasn’t a Soldier of Fortune subscriber. “I’m a concerned party.” “What does that mean?” Hogan said. “Concerned about what?” “About this town. About the financial standing of your company.” As Priscilla Baird excused herself, Durwood explained his contact to date with Carol Bridges and the capacity in which he’d come: to investigate and combat injustice. There was no reason he and Jay Hogan shouldn’t be on the same side. If the lawyers were fleecing Hogan Consolidated or Wall Street sharks were sabotaging it, Durwood’s help should be appreciated. But Jay Hogan wasn’t rolling out the welcome wagon. “Injustice?” he sneered. “The company’s in a crap situation, a real hole. Not my fault. I didn’t build those hinges. I didn’t, you know, invent P/E ratios or whatever other metrics we aren’t hitting.” Durwood glared across the desk. Every not and didn’t stuck in his craw. He said, “What do you do, then?” “I chart the course,” Hogan said. “I set the top-line strategy.” “Top-line?” “Yes. Top-line.” Durwood resettled his hat on his head. “Thought the bottom line was the important one.” Jay Hogan made a sound between flatulence and a pig’s snort. “Look—we’ve held the line on wages, kept the unions out. Done everything in our power to stay competitive.” Durwood asked what his strategy was on those lawsuits. “Chester handles legal matters,” Hogan said. “Who’s that?” “Chester is the COO.” Durwood raised a finger, counting out letters. “Now what’s the difference between CEO and COO?” Jay Hogan made impatient motions with his hands. “The COO is the operating officer. He’s more involved in day-to-day business.” “Who deals with Wall Street? The money men?” “Chester.” “Who handles communication? Getting word out to the citizens of Chickasaw about what’s going on?” Hogan picked up his crepe again. “Chester.” He said the name—which was prissy to begin with—in a nasal, superior tone. Durwood’s fist balled at his side. “Fella must be sharp, you trust him with all that.” “Chester’s extremely smart,” Hogan said. “I’ve known him forever—our families go back generations. We attended all the same boarding schools.” “Boyhood chums?” Hogan frowned at the question. “Something like that.” “He’s about your age, then?” Hogan nodded. “Couple twenty-eight-year-olds running a company that dictates the fate of a whole town.” Durwood folded his arms. “Sound fair to you?” The CEO’s pale cheeks colored. “They’re lucky to have us. Two Ivy League graduates blessed with business instincts. Chester Lyles was president of our fraternity, graduated magna cum laude. We could be founding startups in Seattle or San Francisco where you don’t have to drive a hundred miles for decent food.” That name rung a bell somewhere for Durwood. Lyles. Recalling what Carol Bridges had said about the gully, he said, “You graduate magna cum laude?” “I don’t need to defend my qualifications to you or anyone.” Durwood nodded. “Must’ve just missed.” Jay Hogan stood up a snit. He looked at his crepe again in its tissue-paper sleeve and couldn’t resist. He took a quick bite and thrust a finger at the door, mouth full. “I’m done answering your questions,” he said. “As CEO, I’m accountable to a shareholder-elected board of directors, which includes presidents of other corporations, a former Treasury Secretary of the United States, and several other prominent executives. They’re satisfied with my performance.” “How many of them live in Chickasaw?” Hogan barked a laugh. “They understand the financial headwinds I’m up against.” “How about those bad hinges? From what I hear, Hogan used to make quality parts.” “Another Chester question. I don’t deal with quality control.” That’s for sure. Durwood saw he would get nowhere with Jay Hogan. This Chester was who he needed to find. Asking this one how the town of Chickasaw was going to shake out was like inspecting your John Deere’s hood ornament to judge if you needed a new tractor. Hogan was still pointing at the door. Finally, Durwood obliged him. On the way out, he said, “You got families counting on this company. Families with children, mortgages, sick grandmas. They’re counting on you. Hogans before you did their part. Now be a man, do yours. Rise to your duty.” Hogan didn’t answer. He had more crepe in his mouth. Walking down to the parking lot, Durwood passed the factory again. It was dark—the shift had ended while he’d been waiting for Hogan. His boots clacked around the stairwell in solitude. He considered what ailed Hogan Consolidated and whether he could fix it. He wasn’t optimistic. Oh, he could poke around and get the scoop on Chester Lyles. He could do his best working around the lies and evasions he’d surely encounter. Maybe he would find Chester’s or Jay Hogan’s hand in the cookie jar. The likeliest culprit, though, was plain old incompetence. Jay Hogan belonged in an insurance office someplace—preferably far from the scissors. Instead, he sat in a corner office of a multi-million dollar company. Did that rise to the level of injustice? Maybe. Maybe, with so many lives and livelihoods at stake. Durwood didn’t like cases he had to talk himself into. He was just imagining how he’d break the news to Carol Bridges if nothing much came of Chester when four men burst from the shadows and tackled him. *** Excerpt from Dear Durwood by Jeff Bond. Copyright 2020 by Jeff Bond. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Bond. All rights reserved.  

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Author Bio:

Jeff Bond Jeff Bond is an American author of popular fiction. His books have been featured in The New York Review of Books, and his 2020 release, The Pinebox Vendetta, received the gold medal (top prize) in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards. A Kansas native and Yale graduate, he now lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.

Catch Up With Jeff Bond On: JeffBondBooks.com BookBub Goodreads Instagram Twitter Facebook!

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Tour Participants:

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

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Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on August 1, 2020 and runs through October 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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#GuestPost “Beauty is the Beast (Caligula Book 1)” by D. James McGee

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~ Guest Post ~

by D. James McGee

The Creation of a Femme Fatale

It would seem that the present zeitgeist is to promote warrior women in the media. From Viking’s Lagertha to The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen we’re spoiled for choice.
Maybe I’ve missed the boat here. I mean, a strong, beautiful and cunning femme fatale isn’t exactly new or original, but there are a few unique facets about my newly constructed protagonist that are worthy of mentioning.
The Lady Laura Lacy (pardon the alliteration) was constructed using the facets of some very real women, most of whom I actually know, but two of whom are historical figures.
When I moved to Dublin, Ireland in the early 1990s, I began training in a Kenpo studio on Lower Leeson Street. The area is filled with whole streets of beautiful Georgian houses famous for their ornate front doors. These houses have now been converted into office buildings where people of the city go about their business of well…business.
Many types of people would train at that studio in relative harmony. Working class Joes and upper echelon professionals gleefully exchanged punches and kicks with the occasional head butt, knee and elbow.
I was a teenager and completely alone in a (somewhat) foreign country at that time and was desperate to make friends and have some kind of support system.
Anyway, I met a woman there by the name of Cara Gregg. She was an executive in a premier advertising agency when I met her and just so happened to be one of my first instructors in Ireland in the art of Kenpo Karate. I found out that she was a former model and member of the Stunt Association of Ireland, an equestrian and had some strange esoteric powers.
After a break up (my fault obviously), I was searching for a new place to live and it just so happened that Cara had been blighted by some misogyny in her firm so had decided to set up her own business in her house. She therefore suggested that I move in with her. This would give me a nice place to live and provide a modicum of security for her. I did just that and she became the closest thing to a mother I had in Ireland at the time.
Cara ran in some illustrious circles and knew everything there was to know about being a lady, but if things got tough she could be an out and out ball-buster to the poor sod who crossed her.
I came to California in 2001 for what I thought would be a training vacation (I’m still here). During my first week in Huntington Beach I met a fellow black belt by the name of Melissa (Missy ) Dalton. She was tall, blonde and in shape, oh and just happened to be a multiple times world champion. She was an actress and had to keep her face well preserved for auditions, photo shoots and whatever else the thespian types of Hollywood have to do to succeed. During one of our first training sessions together I kicked out her two front teeth and broke her nose. She was absolutely furious.
During another incident in a night club in Universal City, I witnessed her knock out a soldier on Christmas leave from the Army’s 82 Airborne Division. Her punch was the catalyst for the mass fight that ensued, comprised of us (the bouncers) and them (the squadies).
All this being said Missy knew how to play the game when it came to donning an evening dress and mingling with the elite.
Princess Diana was my inspiration for most of Lady Laura’s wardrobe and public persona.
I have family and friends on all sides when it comes to Irish political views, so I tend to stay clear of the subject. That being said, I find the life of Constance Markievicz aka Countess Markievicz fascinating. A socialite turned revolutionary she traded in her parties and gown for gunpowder and rifles during Ireland’s revolutionary war. She played a pivotal role in the Easter Rising for which she was sentenced to death. Her sentence was commuted on account of her being a woman and she became the first woman elected to parliament in 1918. She turned down her seat and instead was elected Minister of Labour in Ireland’s first Dail. This made her the first female minister in Europe.
Thanks Cara, Missy, Diana and Constance for the inspiration and thanks to the few others who I dare not mention. I believe they know who they are.

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Thriller/Action/Adventure

Date Published: July 15

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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It’s 1985. Lady Laura Lacy of Britewood is beautiful and graceful, a celebrity in her own right. She is cousin to Her Majesty The Queen, and her
father is the well-respected Earl of Britewood, honorary commander of the Army’s elite reserve special forces unit. Laura seemingly has it all. She should be happy.

However, due to unspeakable acts committed against her as a child,
she’s developed a blood lust for revenge. Secretly trained by her
father’s regiment in the arts of war, Laura begins to target men who
prey on the innocent and helpless. As her skills sharpen, Laura becomes a
formidable force against evil.

That’s when she uncovers a transatlantic child trafficking ring led
by an elite group within British society. With the help of commanding
officer and police inspector Billy Smythe, her mysterious family attorney
Arthur Mosely, and an unorthodox group of American allies, Laura sets out on
a vengeance-fueled quest to stop them. She is determined to save as many
innocents as she can.

It’s a mission that will put her very life and sanity at stake,
making her question everything she’s ever believed in. But to make
things right, Beauty must become the Beast.

Purchase Links

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~~~

 About the Author

Domnic “DJames” McGee was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire. A
sickly child, he was raised in a council estate to a single mother. At
school, he was a poor student and failed dismally.

He developed a passion for martial arts, so in his teens, he moved to
Ireland where he trained full-time while working in menial jobs to
survive.

A chance encounter then gave him the opportunity to work as an Executive
Protection Agent for some of the most influential figures in European
society.

He came to the US in 2001 to further his studies of martial arts. He
decided to stay and earned his citizenship by serving in an Army infantry
unit and later with a reserve Military Police unit.

He currently lives in Huntington Beach, where he works as an Executive
Protection Agent and trains and writes as much as he can.

 

Contact Links

 

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Instagram

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#ReleaseBlitz “Beauty is the Beast” by D. James McGee

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Thriller/Action/Adventure

Date Published: July 15

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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It’s 1985. Lady Laura Lacy of Britewood is beautiful and graceful, a celebrity in her own right. She is cousin to Her Majesty The Queen, and her
father is the well-respected Earl of Britewood, honorary commander of the Army’s elite reserve special forces unit. Laura seemingly has it all. She should be happy.

However, due to unspeakable acts committed against her as a child,
she’s developed a blood lust for revenge. Secretly trained by her
father’s regiment in the arts of war, Laura begins to target men who
prey on the innocent and helpless. As her skills sharpen, Laura becomes a
formidable force against evil.

That’s when she uncovers a transatlantic child trafficking ring led
by an elite group within British society. With the help of commanding
officer and police inspector Billy Smythe, her mysterious family attorney
Arthur Mosely, and an unorthodox group of American allies, Laura sets out on
a vengeance-fueled quest to stop them. She is determined to save as many
innocents as she can.

It’s a mission that will put her very life and sanity at stake,
making her question everything she’s ever believed in. But to make
things right, Beauty must become the Beast.

Purchase Links

Amazon 

B&N 

Kobo

~~~

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Friday, November 22, 1985

Leeds Central Train Station

 

It was late in the afternoon, four-zero-eight to be exact. Leeds Central
Train Station was a hub of activity. Commuters rushed on and off carriages,
shoving others in the process. Loudspeakers chimed and calmly announced
arrival and departure times. The odour of fumes, the chugging of
engines—a cacophony of sounds and smells crowded the senses. The
excitement of the weekend filled the air.

She carefully stepped off the train onto the platform. She wasn’t
used to the cheap, shiny, black, knee-high boots she’d chosen for the
evening. She hurried with the crowd to the exit of the station, tugging on
her clothes as she walked. Nothing she wore was comfortable. Her black
fishnet stockings chafed the skin behind her knees, and her tight
black-leather miniskirt prevented her legs from walking with her regular
stride.

The sun was about to set, and as she stepped outside into the frigid air,
she realized that the white, torn T-shirt—covered by the blue
Levi’s denim jacket she was wearing—was a poor choice. Her only
saving grace from the cold was the heavy blonde wig that she’d
purchased, like everything else she was wearing, from everyone’s
favourite thrift shop, Oxfam. She pulled her jacket closed and held it
together with her right hand, as she slung the grotesque, pink worn handbag
over her left shoulder. She rolled her shoulders forwards and shivered,
pulled the large, circular sunglasses from her face, and stuffed them into
her bag. Hopefully no one would recognize her; after all, she was famous for
her thick, dark eyebrows and exquisite, sapphire eyes. She hoped that the
heavy purple eye shadow and exaggerated pink blush would do the trick.

She rushed to the nearest taxi and slammed the door as she slid into the
back seat. “Drop me at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance,
love,” she said, hoping her thick Yorkshire accent would be accepted
as legitimate.

“Not a chance, darling,” the driver replied, shaking his head
slowly as he looked back at her. She held out a crisp twenty-pound note. He
snatched it from her without a second thought. “It’s your
funeral, love!” he said.

~~~

 About the Author

Domnic “DJames” McGee was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire. A
sickly child, he was raised in a council estate to a single mother. At
school, he was a poor student and failed dismally.

He developed a passion for martial arts, so in his teens, he moved to
Ireland where he trained full-time while working in menial jobs to
survive.

A chance encounter then gave him the opportunity to work as an Executive
Protection Agent for some of the most influential figures in European
society.

He came to the US in 2001 to further his studies of martial arts. He
decided to stay and earned his citizenship by serving in an Army infantry
unit and later with a reserve Military Police unit.

He currently lives in Huntington Beach, where he works as an Executive
Protection Agent and trains and writes as much as he can.

 

Contact Links

 

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Instagram

~~~

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~

#BookSale “Sabel Security Boxed Set, Books 1-3” by Seeley James

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Veteran Jacob Stearne and athlete Pia Sabel are all that stands between right — and a world full of deadly wrongs. The pair takes on corrupt politicians, rogue corporations, and terrorists in three novels ripped from tomorrow’s headlines.

Jacob Stearne was a killing machine for the Army until he started listening to Mercury, winged messenger of the Roman gods. Now he works for Sabel Security. This irresistible hero is definitely lethal—but is he divinely guided, completely insane, or the next rampage killer?

Ever since Pia Sabel witnessed her parents’ murders, she’s been looking for ways to eliminate the corrupt and murderous. When her adopted father hands her the keys to a security company staffed with battle-scarred veterans, she discovers her calling as an avenging angel.

Book #1 – ELEMENT 42: When a drug company tests a deadly disease only their patented drug can cure, overconfident heiress Pia Sabel and unstable veteran Jacob Stearne are all that stands between right and deadly wrong. Chapter 1: The voice in my head returned when I stopped taking my meds. My caseworker said the voice was part of my condition—PTSD-induced schizophrenia—but I call him Mercury, the winged messenger of the gods, and a damn good friend.

Book #2 – DEATH AND DARK MONEY: Can a female athlete and a legendary veteran work with terrorist financiers to unravel a web of money and murder in time to save the country? Chapter 1: Brent Zola waited in a Washington DC diner on a frozen January evening, surrounded by the greasy smell of fries and the sharp clatter of dishes, unaware he was witnessing his best friend’s last hour of life.

Book #3 – DEATH AND THE DAMNED: Why would a billionaire smuggle terrorists into the country? The next riveting thriller from sensational author Seeley James featuring the unrivaled heroine Pia Sabel and the legendary veteran Jacob Stearne asks the question: who can you trust? Chapter 1: Who to trust is the scariest decision we make in life. I grabbed him by the hair, pulled his head back, and, cheek-to-cheek, we contemplated the sparkling stars dotting the moonless Syrian sky. I sensed his eyeballs strain all the way to the right to look at me. His fingernails dug into my forearm. Anxiety caused him to miss the grandeur of the moment. Too bad. It was stunningly beautiful. You don’t see that many stars from over-lit American cities. But I tired of our two-second relationship and drew my blade across his throat, severing his carotid artery and larynx before he could scream a warning to the others. I dropped his carcass on the other jihadi at my feet.

Unmatched in scope and depth, Sabel Security thrillers throw you into a unique world that kidnaps you on the opening pages and won’t release you until the end. Read one, and you’ll yearn for more.

99c (Reg. $17.97!)

Amazon

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#BlogTour “A Tale of Stars and Shadow” by Lisa Cassidy

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A Tale of Stars and Shadow cover

…’Burn bright and true’…

Dumnorix princess and born warrior, Talyn Dynan was the finest fighter of her generation. With her Callanan partner at her side, she was invincible, reckless, a death-knell to their enemies. But after her partner is torn away from her, Talyn is left broken, wracked with guilt and unable to regain the confidence she once had. Could an unexpected mission to the mysterious country of Mithranar, home of the magical winged folk, be the thing that saves her?

The Shadowhawk lives a life in the shadows. Constantly hunted for his criminal exploits, yet desperate to help the human folk of Mithranar who are oppressed by their winged folk rulers, he haunts the streets of Dock City. The arrival of a foreign warrior threatens to upset the carefully balanced life he leads, but when she begins to offer a hope for the humans he’s only ever dreamed of, can he risk trusting her?

And unbeknownst to both, a mysterious foe stalks the dark corners of Dock City. One that answers to a single purpose…

Vengeance.

Purchase Links

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Amazon US

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

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Lisa CassidyAbout Lisa Cassidy

​Living in Australia’s capital, I’m a self-published author who mostly sticks to novel-length fantasy but occasionally likes to break out with short stories on random things like unicorns and ninjas. When I’m not writing, you might catch me enthusiastically spectating a basketball game (#NewYorkKnick for life!), reading a tonne of books, or…who am I kidding? I spend a lot of time writing!

All four books in my debut YA fantasy series – The Mage Chronicles – are  available for purchase, and I debuted a brand new series – A Tale of Stars and Shadow – in June 2019.

Whenever you buy a copy of one of my books, you’ll be helping to support One Girl. One Girl is committed to educating 1 million girls across Africa, and I’m SUPER excited to contribute to this vision. Together we’re changing the world, one girl at a time.

Social Media Links

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#BookTour “The Sacred Artifacts (The Young Alchemist Series Book 2)” by Caldric Blackwell

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Title: The Sacred Artifactscover

Author: Caldric Blackwell

Genre: Middle Grade

Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….

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KINDLE UNLIMITED

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Caldric BlackwellAuthor Bio

Children’s book author Caldric Blackwell first realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten. From that point on, he was nearly inseparable from books.

His interest in reading culminated in him studying English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Exposure to a host of great authors inspired him to begin writing fiction and started his journey to becoming a children’s book author. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he was drawn to the whimsical, imaginative nature of children’s literature and began working on his first book for children.

Blackwell’s debut work is an adventure-filled early chapter book, titled The Enchanted River Race, which follows a team of children as they compete in a river race. His next release is the beautifully illustrated picture book The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf, which revolves around a young werewolf who is self-conscious about his inability to howl.

His most recent work is the two-part Young Alchemist series, which is targeted at a middle grade audience. The first book in the series, The Missing Alchemist, follows alchemy student Craig Pike and clever archer Audrey Clife as they travel across mysterious lands and battle other-worldly creatures in a quest to rescue a famous alchemist. The second book in the series, The Sacred Artifact, centers on Craig’s attempt to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, which entails journeying to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a mysterious, ancient alchemist.

Outside of reading and writing, children’s book author Caldric Blackwell enjoys jiu jitsu, gardening, and playing bass and guitar. He currently resides in Southern California.

Links

Author website

Facebook page

Twitter page

Instagram

Goodreads page

Amazon author page

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 G I V E A W A Y

Win one of three signed hard back copies of The Sacred Artifacts

E N T E R

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“The Swap: A Nicole Graves Mystery (Nicole Graves Mysteries Book 1)” by Nancy Boyarsky

The Swap

The Swap: A Nicole Graves Mystery (Nicole Graves Mysteries Book 1)

by Nancy Boyarsky

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Action & Adventure/International Mystery & Crime/Detective

FREE at time of posting!

When Nicole Graves arranges a summer-long swap of her Los Angeles condo for a London couple’s house, she thinks it’s the perfect arrangement. She’s always dreamed of seeing the real London; she’s also hopeful the time away with her husband Brad will be good for their troubled marriage. But things don’t turn out the way Nicole expects: The Londoners fail to arrive in L.A. and appear to be missing. Then people begin following Nicole and making threats, demanding information she doesn’t have. Soon, Nicole realizes she’s in serious trouble––but she can’t get Brad or the police to believe her. When the confrontations turn deadly, Nicole must either solve the case or become the next victim.

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“Between Mountain and Sea: Paradisi Chronicles (Caelestis Series Book 1)” by Louisa Locke

Between Mountain and Sea cover

Between Mountain and Sea: Paradisi Chronicles (Caelestis Series Book 1)

by Louisa Locke

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy/YA/Colonization/Action & Adventure

FREE at time of posting!

Mei Lin Yu should have been looking forward to the next stage in her life. As a descendant of one of the Founding Families who led the exodus from a dying Earth and now rule New Eden, Mei’s choices are endless. But she has never felt part of the Yu Family or the world of technological marvels and genetic perfection the Founders created.

All that will change the summer she spends at Mynyddamore, the home her ancestor Mabel Yu built in western Caelestis. Here, living among the Ddaerans, the original inhabitants of New Eden, Mei will discover secrets about Mabel Yu that her family want to keep buried and a truth about herself that will forever change her own destiny.

Louisa Locke is a USA Today bestselling author, and Between Mountain and Sea is the first book in her Caelestis series in the Paradisi Chronicles (an open source, science fiction world created by multiple authors).

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“Fairyville Adventures: Tasha’s Wish Volume 1” by Simone Cannon

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Fairyville Adventures: Tasha’s Wish Volume 1

by Simone Cannon

Genre: Children/Action Adventure/Bedtime & Dreaming

FREE at time of posting!

 

Would you like to be granted three wishes by a beautiful fairy? Most people would really enjoy such an opportunity. What would you wish for? Would you wish for a pony? Would you wish for a new bicycle? Or would you wish you never had a little brother?

Six-year-old Tasha is visited by Cleona, a fairy. Cleona grants Tasha three wishes. Tasha wishes she never had a little brother. But then she realizes that life as an only child is not what she really wants. Tasha confronts her emotions and feelings as she realizes that nothing is more important than family. Join Tasha in this unique fairy tale filled with fantasy, adventure, and magic.

 

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