#BookSale “When the Children Come (Children of the Eye Book 1)” by Barry Kirwan

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Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.

Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…

Praise for When the Children Come…

A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb

A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter

Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown

Purchase Links

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#BookTour “Prince of the Fallen (Record of the Sentinel Seer: Book 1)” by M.H. Woodscourt

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Record of the Sentinel Seer: Book One

Adult/Science-Fantasy

 

Date Published: October 21, 2021

Publisher: True North Press

Abandoned in the wilderness as a child, Lekore lives with ghosts and fallen gods. Everything changes when he summons fire to rescue a traveling princess and her entourage. Wounded, he’s brought to a civilization unlike anything he’s ever known.

Caught in a net of silk and secrets, Lekore finds himself ensnared by court intrigue, midnight assassins, and a deviant faction of the Church of the Sun Gods—all hunting his blood and power.

He just wants to find the man who deserted him, until a storm rises out of the north, furious enough to destroy the city and outlying lands. Now Lekore must find the source of its wrath, deep in the wilds of the deadly Lands Beyond, if only he can flee a city that won’t let him escape.

~~~

EXCERPT

“Gods protect me!”

As though in answer to Princess Talanee’s prayer, the flame of the holy torch leapt into a brilliant, churning arc. Intense heat and a deafening roar scored the air near her face. Flames encircled her without touching her skin, then stretched fiery fingers toward the Tawloomez warrior, who cried out as he and his fellows stumbled backward. They turned tail and dashed down the steps as the flames gave chase.

Talanee stood stunned, enthralled by the unending flame shooting up and out from the torch she held in trembling hands. She turned her eyes upward and found nothing but the brilliant sun in its sky to signify divine intervention. Could her prayer have worked? A breeze tugged at her hair, and she glanced down at the battlefield. The arc of fire had reached the bottom of the tower, and all the Tawloomez warriors cowered, corralled within it.

Talanee started down the steps, gripping the torch in her hands as it poured forth the terrible wrath of her beloved Sun Gods.

At the bottom-most step, she stopped. The Kel soldiers had flinched back, even Lord Lieutenant Rez, though he held his sword before him.

A breeze breathed across Talanee’s neck, but the fire of the torch maintained its vigil over the trapped Tawloomez, unerring despite the rising wind that tossed her hair. She resisted the urge to release the blazing torch with even one hand. Her eyes followed the trail of her hair in the sky—and she spotted him.

A figure perched on a ruined wall across from the tower. He was slender, barely a man, with the palest, longest blue hair she’d ever beheld, and eyes of red like all the Kel race, but these eyes blazed as though they held the wreathing fire. A tattered black cloak billowed behind him in the growing windstorm. One arm rose before him, hand splayed.

As she watched, he snapped his fingers into a fist. The fire of the torch died. The wreath of flame wisped into smoke and vanished.

The Tawloomez had seen the young man, too. With a cry, one heathen jabbed his finger toward the stranger. “Akuu! Nu jas Akuu-Ry!”

The Tawloomez stumbled backward, eyes wide, nearly wild, some dropping their weapons. They fled from the young man, racing northwest. One stumbled on grit and struck his knees, then dragged himself upright and sprinted on.

The Kel soldiers, still stunned, didn’t rally to cut off their retreat.

In the ringing silence that followed, Lord Lieutenant Rez dragged long strands of blue hair from his perspiring face as he found his voice. “See to the wounded!”

Talanee released a low breath and let her numb fingers drop the cold torch. Her eyes returned to the young man upon the ruin. His gaze met hers across the wide space. His brow creased, and he threw out his hand as the slap of feet sounded behind her.

She whirled to face a lone, charging Tawloomez, scissor knife in his hand, its several blades glinting under the dazzling sun. Her fingers gripped the torch, prepared to brandish it like her missing sword.

The wind changed direction. The strange young man from the ruin landed on the packed earth beside her, as though he’d taken flight upon the breeze to reach her.

He lifted a narrow, curved sword against the Tawloomez. Metal sang across the air as their weapons struck.

The Tawloomez gritted his teeth and spat out the same foreign phrase, this time like a curse word: “Akuu-Ry!”

The young man took a single step forward, and the Tawloomez’s brown eyes widened, the green paint of his face shimmering as though to reflect his fear.

“Leave, Tauw-Nijar, and I shall not do you harm,” said the young man in lilting tones.

The Tawloomez snarled and threw a long sliver of metal at Talanee. She yelped and tried to dodge as the young man shoved her aside. The tiny, glinting object caught his arm. A hiss was all the noise he made, but he sank to his knees and the sword clattered from his hand.

The Tawloomez sneered and swiped the scissor knife at the boy’s throat, but an arrow pierced his chest before he met his target. He grunted and fell, his swinging arm catching the young man’s shoulder, biting into the flesh in three distinct stripes.

A second arrow sank into the heathen’s chest, and the warrior crashed backward against the white stone stairs. Blood bloomed across his snake-bone necklace and down his front. He offered up a last gurgling breath, then his eyes turned to glass.

Talanee allowed the satisfaction of his passing to shiver across her skin, then she turned to the young man kneeling beside her. He looked up to meet her stare, and for a moment Talanee couldn’t move. His eyes still wielded that strange light like a fire burned within him, yet the clarity there made her feel as though he had stripped her bare to see every thought, every lie, every desire, every fear.

His eyes flicked to the dead Tawloomez. His hand snaked out for his sword near the fallen warrior.

“Don’t touch it. Don’t move.” Rez’s voice rang through the ruins as he raced across the field, red cape flowing behind him, to join Talanee and the strange young man. An archer ran with him, another arrow nocked and aimed at the stranger.

The young man’s fingertips brushed the sword. As Talanee looked on, the weapon vanished. Gone, as though the very air had swallowed it!

The stranger staggered to his feet. His pale hair, long and straight, rippled like water as it settled down his back and against his ankles. He offered a strained smile and raised his arm into the air. The wind howled, drawing his hair into a whirlwind, carrying the scent of wild things. He bounded upward, and the wind lifted him into the sky, above the tower, above the armored soldiers and Sun Priests, above Talanee and the grasslands. He leapt impossibly high and moved away in an arc, as though he could fly.

“Halt!” Rez slowed his pace and came to a stop beside Talanee, eyes lifted heavenward as the archer’s second arrow missed its mark. “By the Sun Gods, what is it we’ve seen?”

Talanee shook her head. “The very will of the Sun Throne, Lord Lieutenant. What else could it be?”

“Was he real?”

Talanee’s eyes lowered as she sought an answer. Blood stained the scissor knife lying beside its dead owner. “I think he was.” She traced a rising sun before her chest. “Sun Gods be praised. I think he was.”

Rez stirred from his watch of the sky. “Should we…try to complete the ceremony again, Your Highness?”

Talanee glanced at the fallen torch. “I don’t think we have to, Lord Lieutenant. The rite was already accepted, or we wouldn’t be alive.” She glanced around for the priests and found several slain, blood staining their white robes, while the rest cowered beneath the carriages. No one protested her assumption.

Next time, the Holy Hakija had better send his Sun Warriors rather than these cowards.

Rez eyed the priests and nodded. “Then we should return to Inpizal, Your Highness. There are wounded to tend, and we must report all that’s happened.”

“Of course.” Talanee stooped to pick up the torch. “The king needs to know. And we should consult the Hakija.” She picked up her hem and glided toward her carriage, where Keerva and her other handmaids huddled inside, waiting. Talanee glanced back toward the tower. Her gaze drifted north, where the young man had vanished in the air.

Would she ever see him again, or had he traveled from the very Sun Throne to aid her and her people?

~~~

About the Author

Writer of fantasy, magic weaver, dragon rider! Having spent the past 20 years devotedly writing fantasy, it’s safe to say M. H. Woodscourt is now more fae than human.

All of her fantasy worlds connect with each other in a broad Universe, forged with great love and no small measure of blood, sweat, and tears. When she’s not writing, she’s napping or reading a book with a mug of hot cocoa close at hand while her quirky cat Wynter nibbles her toes.

Learn more at www.mhwoodscourt.com

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

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#BookBlitz “Heart Stealer” by Delaney Diamond

Heart Stealer
Delaney Diamond
(The Cordoba Agency, #3)
Publication date: October 22nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

The last thing he wants to do is play bodyguard to the woman who broke his heart.

As the wife of a pioneer in the field of biotechnology, Katherine Stallworth had an up-close view of the ugly underbelly of corporate espionage and the cutthroat nature of competition. When her husband is murdered and her life threatened, she turns to Raheem Miller, the one man she can trust–despite their sordid past.

Years ago, Raheem fell in love with Katherine–older, sophisticated, and way out of his league. And nothing has changed. While he’d rather avoid this assignment, he’ll never forgive himself if anything happened to her. In the middle of conducting an investigation into her husband’s death, he discovers a conspiracy that could rock the very foundation of the United States.

Now he must bring the culprits to justice while keeping Katherine alive and his desire in check. Easier said than done.

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EXCERPT:

Katherine Stallworth stared in horror at the carnage before her and the foul stench of death. Nothing could have prepared her for this.

Her husband’s body lay sprawled across the duvet in the dimly lit room, his dark shirt darker from the uneven circle of blood that covered his entire chest. Dead, and so were his bodyguards.

Keith lay face down at the foot of the bed, his arm at an awkward angle, his weapon butted up against the wall as if someone had kicked it away from his hand. His suit jacket was soaked with blood, and so was the cream-colored carpet beneath him.

Ivan was on the floor, slumped with his back against the bed and his temple touching the nightstand. He would look like someone who’d fallen asleep sitting up, except half his face had been blown off and his white shirt was drenched in blood.

Blood.

Blood everywhere.

Katherine walked slowly over to the bed on shaky knees. Her husband’s pale skin was ashen and drained of life, his mouth open as if in the middle of a scream, and his sightless eyes staring up at the ceiling.

She lifted both hands to her mouth as tears filled her eyes and pain wrenched her heart. “Thurgood,” she whispered into her cupped palms. Who had done this, and why?

Then she heard a noise in the walk-in closet. Her heart jumped, and her mouth fell open in silent panic. She wasn’t alone. The killer was still there!

She backed away slowly, chest tight as she tried hard not to make a sound. When her foot breeched the entrance to the door, a shadowy figure dressed in black exited the closet, and she turned swiftly, rushing down the hall toward the staircase. Breathing accelerated, she gripped the wooden railing with a trembling hand and moved down the stairs as quickly and silently as she could on her toes.

These shoes! The pretty gold heels she’d worn with such pride to the reception she now cursed for their impracticality. Her pounding heart was so loud in her ears and her breathing so shallow, she wondered if the intruder could hear the evidence of her fear.

Her driver and the other bodyguard had already left for the night, but she had to get out of there. She had to get to the garage.

“Hey!”

Halfway down the stairs, she stopped and turned.

A man stared at her from the catwalk. He wore a black ski mask over his head, with openings for his mouth and eyes—eyes that locked with hers and reeked of venom. His menacing posture and the death she’d witnessed provoked an immediate response.

Run!

Katherine took off down the stairs.

“Stop!” he bellowed.

There was no way she was stopping.

Almost to the bottom, a gunshot shattered the wood railing she clutched. She screamed and, in her panic, missed her footing on the stairs. She twisted her ankle. Sharp pain jiggered up her leg, and she went down. Her hands flew out instinctively to protect her face, but she skidded along the edge of the last two steps, scraping her knees, shins, palms, and forearms.

She lost one shoe and landed in an ungainly heap at the foot of the stairs in the foyer with her evening gown crumpled around her upper thighs. Heavy footsteps pounded behind her. Too terrified to turn around, Katherine ignored the burn of the bruises and scrambled to her feet as another man appeared in the open doorway to her right.

“Get her!” the one on the staircase yelled.

She kicked off the other shoe and gathered her full skirt to keep from tripping over the hem. She limped away from them both as fast as possible, fueled solely by adrenaline as she raced into a second hallway and pushed open the door to Thurgood’s study. She slammed it closed and quickly turned the lock but knew her actions would not keep them out for long.

There was a loud boom as one of the men slammed his body against the door, which sent her scrambling across the room. She stubbed her little toe on a chair and cried out, wincing at the debilitating pain but didn’t dare stop, and hopped over to the bookcase beside her husband’s desk.

The master bedroom, where Thurgood was murdered, was also a safe room. But fortunately, there was a second safe room inside his study.

She yanked away two books hiding a plain-looking piece of metal in the wall and pressed her thumb to the silver disc. Right away, the entire shelf popped out, and she swung the door open.

The office door was kicked in at that very moment. The frame splintered and pieces of wood spewed through the air. Both men rushed in, but Katherine slipped between the shelf and the wall and yanked the door closed.


Author Bio:

Delaney Diamond is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sensual, passionate romance novels, and was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She reads romance novels, mysteries, thrillers, and a fair amount of nonfiction. When she’s not busy reading or writing, she’s in the kitchen trying out new recipes, dining at one of her favorite restaurants, or traveling to an interesting locale. To get sneak peeks, notices of sale prices, and find out about new releases, visit her website and join her mailing list. Enjoy free stories on her website at http://www.delaneydiamond.com.

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#ReleaseBlitz “Prince of the Fallen (Record of the Sentinel Seer: Book 1)” by M.H. Woodscourt

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Record of the Sentinel Seer: Book One

Adult/Science-Fantasy

 

Date Published: October 21, 2021

Publisher: True North Press

Abandoned in the wilderness as a child, Lekore lives with ghosts and fallen gods. Everything changes when he summons fire to rescue a traveling princess and her entourage. Wounded, he’s brought to a civilization unlike anything he’s ever known.

Caught in a net of silk and secrets, Lekore finds himself ensnared by court intrigue, midnight assassins, and a deviant faction of the Church of the Sun Gods—all hunting his blood and power.

He just wants to find the man who deserted him, until a storm rises out of the north, furious enough to destroy the city and outlying lands. Now Lekore must find the source of its wrath, deep in the wilds of the deadly Lands Beyond, if only he can flee a city that won’t let him escape.

~~~

About the Author

Writer of fantasy, magic weaver, dragon rider! Having spent the past 20 years devotedly writing fantasy, it’s safe to say M. H. Woodscourt is now more fae than human.

All of her fantasy worlds connect with each other in a broad Universe, forged with great love and no small measure of blood, sweat, and tears. When she’s not writing, she’s napping or reading a book with a mug of hot cocoa close at hand while her quirky cat Wynter nibbles her toes.

Learn more at www.mhwoodscourt.com

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Instagram

~~~

Purchase Link

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon 

~~~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~

#Excerpt “Like No Other Boy” by Larry Center

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Commercial Fiction, Adult

Date Published: June 20th, 2020

Publisher: Splitrail Publishing

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

Tommy Crutcher is 8 years old and has autism. Although he can’t speak to humans, he appears to have an uncanny ability to communicate with chimpanzees. How Tommy, his father, and a biomedically abused chimp named Albert come together in life-altering ways is the story of LIKE NO OTHER BOY.

~~~ 

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EXCERPT

Chapter One

“The Voice in my silence.” –Helen Keller

It was a Saturday afternoon at the San Diego Zoo, a beautiful day with a pale blue sky. Tommy and I were standing in front of the zebra exhibit. The zebras were running around and nipping at each other, kicking up dust, tails swishing. But instead of watching the zebras, Tommy stepped away from the enclosure and looked down at the ground. He made his usual droning noise that sounded like a motorboat engine, then put a hand to his mouth and gnawed on his knuckles. They were already reddened to the point of almost bleeding. He was eight-years-old and still biting himself. I watched him and winced. As his father, Chris Crutcher is the name—nice alliteration, I think—no matter how much I’d seen him do this, it still hurt to see my little boy harm himself.

In the distance, a lion roared as if he were trying to remind himself of his own kingliness.

“Wow! Look at those zebras, Tom-Tom,” I said, hoping to squeeze at least a drop of interest out of him. I was always trying to make Tommy pay attention to something in the real world, anything, desperate to get him to look and respond. “See their stripes? Aren’t they cool?” I gently pulled his reddened hands away from his mouth. “Zebras like stripes. Strange, huh? If they see stripes painted on a wall, they’ll stand next to the wall. Is that crazy or what?” I’d just read that on a sign nearby. It was an abstract idea to present to him, I knew, but I did it anyway.

Smells of espresso, popcorn, and grilled hot dogs filled the air while crowds of people swarmed around us. Tommy chewed on his hands again, the backs turning wet with saliva that glistened in the bright afternoon sun. He’d been biting himself, self-abusing like that for nearly three years and nothing we’d tried, none of the therapies, seemed to be able to make him stop. Frustrating wasn’t the word.

“Wouldn’t it be cool to ride a zebra? I sure think so,” I said, still trying to draw Tommy out of himself.

I stepped closer to him and knelt down to his level, bringing my face close to his, but Tommy’s foggy stare continued to wander off into the distance. He shrugged and said nothing. This was no-speak, his own secret code. He turned completely away from me and hummed louder. “Ouuuu . . . drrrrrr . . .” Sweat stains dampened the back of his blue shirt. He was being his typical disinterested self. Just another day with my son. I rose back to my full height.

Though his mind was an odd black box, Tommy’s face was close to angelic: symmetrically aligned features on porcelain skin, curly, honey-wheat hair, and long lashes that shadowed eyes so big and blue there was little room for the whites. A gorgeous kid, for sure, a potential child model, tall and gangly for his age. He walked on his tiptoes with a kind of pelican strut, head before body, neck outstretched, legs following.

As I watched four young boys gawk and giggle at the zebras, Tommy spun around, arms extended like a propeller, eyes closed. He looked like he was trying to make himself dizzy. The whirring sound he made turned into “beeeeep, beeeeep.” Then he stopped spinning and slapped himself on the forehead. Just like that. Thwack. I felt a resonant pain in the deepest regions of my gut that seemed to spread through my entire body; empathy pain. I felt it all the time.

“Please don’t slap yourself,” I said. “You know that’s not right. Come on now, let’s have fun here. Zoos are fun.”

But Tommy just looked away, still staring into space. He kept to his own planet, my far-away little boy. I felt like his distant moon.

This was our first trip to the zoo and I was on tentative ground. I’d been looking forward to our time together all week, since seeing the ad on TV that had grabbed me: lions, tigers, polar bears, plus some dandy pandas as well—oh, my! Tommy was mine on weekends, thanks to the shared custody agreement after my divorce. Usually, on Saturday afternoons, we went to the park near my house or worked on puzzles indoors, or just kicked back and watched TV. For us, this was quite the unusual outing.

We left the zebras and their antics and shuffled along the winding sidewalk that flowed around the exhibits. I showed Tommy the giraffes, a nosy lamb at the petting zoo, and two enormous elephants that flapped their ears and lumbered lazily around. He hardly seemed to notice them.

Even a unicycling juggler throwing yellow balls into the air didn’t stop Tommy from going after his hands again, chomping away at his nails and skin. Wearing a polka-dotted shirt and a great big smile, the juggler stopped in front of us. He tossed balls up and down in revolving circular patterns, catching a ball or two behind his back. It was a show, a real eye-catcher.

“Wow! Look at that juggler, Tom-Tom,” I said, pointing. “Isn’t he good?”

But Tommy was more interested in a nearby pile of dirt. Moving away from me and withdrawing even deeper into himself, he picked up clods of it, squeezed, and then let them fall. Now his hands, already wet, were a mess. Great.

As I reached for a wipe from my backpack—wherever Tommy and I went, Mister Backpack went, too—I noticed a father and son sitting on a bench not far from us. The boy, dark-haired and pudgy, appeared to be around Tommy’s age.

“Daddy, a juggler!” the boy said, excited. “Look!”

“He’s good, isn’t he?” The father fiddled with his phone as he spoke.

“Maybe I could learn to juggle like that. He’s so cool! Hey, Dad, can we go see the reptiles next? Please? We learned about them in Miss Wexler’s class.”

“Sure, son.”

Jealousy stabbed me, although I knew I shouldn’t feel it. While that kid was having a normal talk with his dad, Tommy was picking up a rock and putting it down, picking it up and putting it down, then crumbling a leaf in his hands. He said not a word. This was his way, hyper-focusing on a particular object and blocking out everything else around him.

The juggler moved on. I swallowed hard. “Okay, Tom-Tom, let’s go check out some more animals,” I said, trying to maintain my encouraging tone.

“Daddy.” Tommy shook his head, looking past me. It had been his first word in a half-hour. “Go. We go.” He spoke in what I called brick-words, words that all sounded the same, as if they dropped heavily from his mouth pre-formed, one on top of the other in monotonic units.

“Really? But we haven’t even seen the reptiles.” I faced him. “Don’t you want to see the reptiles? The snakes and stuff?”

“Go. Go. Pleeeeease. Go.” Tommy hung his head and fidgeted. He put his right thumb into his mouth, then whirled around. I always saw his persistent hand biting, his spinning, and his motorboat buzzing as sounds that reflected the storms deep within his mind.

“Sure. Of course, we can go.” I gave him a smile. I wasn’t about to push him past his limit.

Tommy seemed unfazed by the big things in life, like being shared between his parents, living in two houses, and getting emotionally tugged this way and that ever since Cheryl and I had divorced two years ago—my uncivil war as I called it. Yes, he had his fixed routines, but he’d seemed to take the change in his parents’ relationship in stride. It was the impact of unexpected sensory experiences—crunchy peanut butter, the label on the back of his shirt, even the sight of the Sunday newspaper in disarray on the floor—that made him whine and pitch fits. These roadblocks could bring the neuron highway of his mysterious mind to a painful standstill.

When Tommy found a cigarette on the ground and reached for it, about to pick it up, I pulled his hand away just in time.

“Don’t, Tommy. No! You know better than that.” He would have put it in his mouth if I hadn’t stopped him. I took a long breath and released it slowly, my eyes landing on a red-haired child eating pink cotton candy, swirls of it like edible clouds. “Okay. Let’s go, then. I guess we’ve seen enough.”

“Go . . . Go,” he said. His words seemed so disconnected, as if they arose not from his wants and needs and emotions, but from some kind of word-producing system inside his body that mechanically emitted vowels and consonants.

But on the way to the exit, we wound up near an African bird exhibit in a less populated area of the zoo. With Tommy still humming and murmuring by my side, oblivious to the world around him, I followed a long and winding trail. Instead of taking us to the exit, the shade-covered path ended in Primate World, which was set back on its own. Sounds of chimpanzees shrieking in the distance made Tommy stop dead in his tracks. He blinked, then moved forward with caution. He stood higher on his tiptoes and made a soft, inquisitive sound. “Oooouuuuwoooo.”

“What’s wrong, Tom-Tom?” I asked, narrowing my eyes. I knelt down to his level. “Are you all right?”

Tommy just sucked in a big breath as if he were about to blow out a birthday candle, then shuffled on as I followed behind. Instead of complaining, he headed straight for the exhibit and entered. He seemed suddenly curious. Interested. And I was intrigued.

From a distance of about fifty feet, we could see a single large and hairy chimp, chomping on leaves in the sunlight, separated from us by a thick glass panel. Tommy’s face flushed.

“Hairy so much,” he said, pointing at the chimp. “Wow.”

“Yes. They’re cool, for sure. They’re chimpanzees. You like them?” I rubbed my chin as I studied him, then glanced at the chimps.

“Wooooow.” Tommy clapped his hands. “Woooweeeee. Go. Here.”

“Sure.” His newborn enthusiasm made me smile broadly. It was just so completely unexpected.

As we made our way down a narrow path shaded by large overhanging trees, we found a group of chimps set behind glass walls, nestled in a jungle-like atmosphere. Large climbing rocks and verdant trees abounded in a field of grass and bushes. It looked homey, like an outdoor chimp hotel. Some of the chimps were playing or cuddling, some lumbered around, and others simply sat by themselves and stared vacuously into space. Tommy pointed at one of the chimps shuffling around near the glass.

“Woweee.” He stood unusually motionless and just took it all in. “Wowweee. Cooool.”

This sudden curiosity made my mouth drop open. I’d never seen him so engaged and he wasn’t biting his hands or anything. A slow-moving chimp shook his head, scratched an ear, and shambled past us, lazily heading for a rope swing. Another chimp stuck out his tongue and then flicked his hands in the air. Tommy watched them all with such focus, his eyes fixated on the animals.

He turned to me and pointed at one of the larger chimps sitting by the window. “She baby in tummy, Daddy.” He cocked his head. “She chimpie baby in chimpie mommy tummy!”

“Really? You think so?” I raised an eyebrow and folded my arms across my chest.

“Yep. She baby.” He spoke so matter-of-factly as glimmerings of excitement shone in his eyes. “She chimpie baby. Chimpie in there and happy!”

“That’s using your words. I really like that.” I laughed and stepped closer to him. “But how do you know she has a baby?” The chimp didn’t have a protruding belly as far as I could tell, though I was far from an expert.

“Baby! Daddy! Chimpie!” He actually hugged himself and giggled.

I couldn’t believe it, this new eagerness of his. My breath caught in my throat as I stepped back, accidentally bumping into another onlooker, a short man with a full beard. Stroking his beard and scratching his head, the man shot me a nasty look.

“Sorry,” I mumbled.

The man replied with a grunt as he moved past us. The adult chimp that Tommy had pointed at stood up, screeched, then raised a smaller chimp on to its shoulders with the ease of an acrobat.

“Can you tell Daddy how you know?” I pushed back my Padres baseball cap as I gazed down at him.

But once again, Tommy said nothing. He brought his hands back up to his mouth and nipped the backs of them.

“Tommy, can we please not do that?” I shook my head, hoping he would listen.

It was as if Tommy’s brain had gone into loop mode, playing a certain behavior over and over again like a song. In desperation, I turned to Plan B—speaking cartoon-ese. As a professional voice-over actor in the San Diego area—Loco Bob’s out of his mind with price cuts! Discounts galoooore!—I could produce a number of cartoon voices—“That’s-that’s all, f-f-folks!” This skill had made me a hit at kids’ birthday parties and, to be honest, some late-night adult parties as well.

“Hey, Tom-Tom.” I channeled my inner SpongeBob SquarePants and spoke in his goofy, clunky, cartoon voice. “Let’s put our hands in our pockets, okay? No biting, okay? You know that would make me sooooo, soooo happy. Pockets please, my little starfish.”

“Okay, SpongeBob.” The words plopped out of his mouth and I was gratified. Tommy looked down shyly and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his khakis. As he rocked on the balls of his feet, he looked past me and stuck out his tongue, making a long circle with it around his lips, sides, top to bottom. “’Kay.”

“Thank you. And,” I winked, switching to a deeper tone, “oh yeah, Larry the Lobster thanks you too.”

But then Tommy threw me another curveball: he pulled his hands from his pockets and pressed his index fingers against his roughened thumbs, a motion similar to snapping his fingers. He moved them against each other, producing what seemed like a soft, scratchy flick, rub, flick, rub, rub . . . flick-flick, rub. I’d never seen him do anything like that before. He knew some sign language—about fifty signs. He’d learned them at school as a way to improve his communication abilities and relieve his frustrations. Of course, Cheryl and I had taught ourselves some signs, as well. But these motions were nothing I could recognize.

“Are you okay, Tommy?” I bent down to his level once again and frowned, worried the new hand gestures could be the prelude to another tantrum. In fact, he’d already thrown a fit this morning over a spilled-milk issue and had nearly split his lip on the kitchen counter. My muscles stiffened. Tommy’s tantrums were living nightmares. They haunted my dreams.

Tommy stopped flicking his fingers, cocked his head as if listening to an inner voice. “She baby in tummy. Baby mommy, see?” he said again, pointing at the same chimp.

When he was seven, Tommy had tested at the four-year-old level in terms of expressive language, and typically his days and nights were filled with bouts of prolonged and remote silence, followed by short, sporadic glimmerings of monotonic speech. There were times when he seemed to be improving, then other periods when he regressed, his disordered mind fighting the very basic nature of communication. It was heartbreaking. There was no other word to describe it. But on that afternoon at the zoo, I felt a glimmer of hope. For him, “She baby in tummy,” was practically a speech.

He made the sign for chimp—I had no idea he even knew that sign, though I remembered it—putting your hands at your sides and scratching upwards, as if you were an ape.

“How do you know about the baby, Tommy?” I asked.

He tugged at his juice-stained, olive-green T-shirt, folded his arms across his chest, and offered something I was always yearning for—direct eye contact. Though he didn’t speak, direct eye contact was gold to me. His blue eyes, which usually skittered and darted around like butterflies, landed on my face and stayed there, holding my stare for several long, spectacular moments.

“Daddy belly,” Tommy insisted in his staccato-like talk. “She . . . baby . . . baby belly in tummy.” He spoke as if he were lecturing me. I grinned. The mild breeze wafting in from the coast seemed to reflect my elevated mood.

I pointed to a larger window exhibit of chimps down the path. “Let’s go over there. I think we can get a better look.”

“Okay, Daddy.” He scrunched up his face and clapped his hands, then surprisingly doled out a burst of enthusiasm. “Yeah!”

“Wow, Tom-Tom. You really do like these chimps, don’t you?”

Again, Tommy nodded vigorously, a serious expression on his face.

Although a crowd had gathered at the glass, I stayed close to Tommy and eased us both to a spot where he could watch the primates without obstruction. I had no idea what to make of his uncanny interest in these creatures, though, I, too, was mesmerized by the chimps and their almost human mannerisms as they lolled around, picked at each other, or wandered in search of a new leaf to mash on their teeth and tongues. Some looked sleepy, some content. Regardless of their actions, they paid no attention to the Homo sapiens on our side of the glass.

But when Tommy started flicking his fingers again, a big chimp with a wrinkled face and dark, watery eyes took notice. He shook his head, then waddled over to where Tommy stood. Again, Tommy made the sign for chimp, curling his hands at his sides. Big Guy’s eyes remained glued on Tommy, who placed his hand against the glass, and then . . . damned if the chimp didn’t do the same. Hand against hand, boy and chimp. Big Guy bellowed.

The two locked eyes and stood stock-still, focused so intensely it seemed like each was channeling the other’s thoughts.

Tommy beamed at the chimp while I watched, stunned, my lips parted. Tommy bobbed his head and, in imitation, the chimp bobbed too, sticking his tongue out. Then the two started swaying together like synced metronomes. When Tommy made another odd, flicking gesture, the chimp rubbed his thick fingers together as well. I laughed out loud. Truly, this was the craziest thing I’d ever seen. Tommy just stood there, an intent look on his face. He seemed so absorbed, so focused, like I’d never seen him before.

Three other chimps shuffled over, using their own hand movements and facial expressions, gawking, stretching their mouths wide. They gestured to each other with large movements of their arms. They eyeballed Tommy and Tommy alone, intent expressions fixed on their friendly faces. One chimp with gray, wispy hair under his chin screeched, flailed his arms, and jumped up and down as if trying to get Tommy’s attention. But Big Guy and Tommy ignored him, mesmerized with each other. When Tommy touched the top of his head, Big Guy did the same. Then when Tommy rubbed both of his ears, Big Guy rubbed his ears as well. The bearded man I’d bumped into earlier stood next to me, his arms folded across his chest.

“Now ain’t that somethin’,” he intoned. I turned away from Tommy and realized we were surrounded by a growing group of onlookers.

“Hey, Brandy,” I heard a voice say. I spied a tall woman in a white dress standing next to her black-haired female friend. Smiles had blossomed on their faces. “Look at that kid. The chimps can’t take their eyes off that little boy. It’s so cute!”

On the other side of us was a lanky teenager with pimples on his chin. He’d whipped out his phone and was recording Tommy’s interactions, the way the chimp was imitating Tommy. “This is so rad,” he mumbled.

Oh, God. A YouTube moment. I thought about tapping the kid on the shoulder and making him stop. But why cause a scene? Besides, when you were out in public, wasn’t privacy a thing of the past? Maybe I should record this, too. But my cell phone was just about out of battery power.

“Whose kid is that?” asked a man behind me as I swung around.

“There’s the dad,” a woman said in a New York accent. She was short, with black hair and black glasses. She pointed at me. “The tall guy with the Padres cap.”

“That’s me, all right.” I raised my hand slightly and everyone laughed. I felt my face flame up as fatherly pride melted like warm butter in my chest. I stood a little taller, straightening my shoulders.

Tommy flicked his fingers even more vigorously. Then he made the sign for play: hands turned sideways, shaped like the sign for Texas Longhorns, wiggling up and down. Then back to the flicking, which looked as if he were somehow tapping out the primate version of Morse Code.

Big Guy opened his mouth wide and let out a jungle-shriek. He returned the finger flicking, and then wiggled his hands and held them in a way that looked awfully similar to Tommy’s “play” sign. Wispy Hair tried to shove Big Guy out of the way, but the big chimp refused to budge.

“Play . . . make . . . chimps.” Tommy gazed up at me. He made the play sign, then the chimp sign.

“I see that,” I said. “I had no idea you liked chimps so much!”

“Do, Daddy. Doooo.”

I reveled in another delightful moment of Tommy’s lingering eye contact and in the brightness on his face. He seemed unlocked by the experience, transformed.

Before we left the exhibit, I turned around and gazed once more at the chimps, who were still scampering around. They were so human-like, with their contemplative gazes, their self-conscious movements, their gestures. Surely, there was more than a bit of Homo sapiens running in their blood. And were we humans more chimp-like than we realized?

Maybe some of us more than others. I smiled to myself, thinking of the bearded man I’d bumped into, then edged closer to Tommy, who now fidgeted and hung his head, silent as ever. What was Tommy contemplating? His shoes? The shadows that dangled around him?

“Those chimpies really like you, Tommy.” I crouched down to his level. A bead of sweat dotted his upper lip.

He didn’t say anything, but he gave me another wondrous moment of direct eye contact and I drank it in. Then snot bubbled from his nostrils. I produced a tissue from Mister Backpack, which was stocked with a change of clothes, tissues, band aids, the works, and tried to wipe Tommy’s face clean. He grimaced and jerked and twisted away from me, but I persisted.

“Nooo!” He folded his lower lip in defiance.

“Come on, son. Let me just wipe your  . . . there,” I said when I was done. “Thank you.”

“Daddeeee.” Tommy rubbed his nose with the palm of his hand, reddening his nostrils. His stubborn refusal to allow me to touch him had always hollowed me out. He pointed back at the chimps. “Like.” He spoke loudly, then expanded his arms like wings and made the “like play” sign. “Like chimpies, Daddy. Big lots!”

“Well, that’s great, Tom-Tom.” I beamed, grinning.

“Chimpies,” Tommy said. “Chimpies.” He clapped his hands and jumped up and down, excitement flashing on his face.

Did you know chimpanzees only have babies every four to five years? We are very proud to announce that here at the San Diego Zoo, Wanda G, our newest chimp, is expecting a baby in approximately eight months!

I read the sign twice, blinking rapidly. Damned if there wasn’t a picture of Wanda G herself on the sign—the chimp who looked awfully like the one Tommy had said was pregnant.

I stood still, hairs on the back of my neck tingling. How in the world had he known?

~~~

 About the Author

Larry Center has a degree in philosophy and has written four novels. He is especially interested in the relationship between animals and humans in terms of communication overlaps. He lives in Nashville, TN and writes constantly.

 

 

Contact Link

Website

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Purchase Link

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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#BookReview “When the Children Come” by Barry Kirwan

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5/5 Stars!

When the Children Come pulled me right in from the first page. No introductions or descriptive narrative. Kirwan dropped me right into the action.

Nathan, a military vet who never wanted children, is ironically guarding over two-hundred of them. He’s their protector and possibly last chance for survival… as long as he stays awake.

The story pulls back to explain how Nathan and the children came to be hiding in the abandoned school, and who they’re hiding from.

I enjoyed this page-turner, reading it quickly, and ending up frustrated I’d have to wait until fall for book 2! HA!

Nathan is a great protagonist/hero. While he appears to be negative in the beginning, his backstory explains the guilt he feels for the lives lost during his three tours in Afghanistan—and his PTSD.  But with the words of his late CO playing on repeat in his head, Nathan pushes on to be the protector and leader he doesn’t want to be but knows he has to be.

Lara and Raphaela, two women connected to NASA in different ways, are amazing sources of counsel and support for Nathan. Kudos to Kirwan for continuing to write strong, confident female characters. Nathan wonders more than once how he came to be surrounded by women smarter than him. However, it will take smarts and the Special Forces training Nathan has tried to bury to fight an enemy they know nothing about.

My favorite character though is ten-year-old Sally. After her brother is murdered, Sally runs for her life, straight to Nathan who lives in the same apartment building. Though he doesn’t know the child, her fear and his gut instincts tell him something is wrong. The streets are too empty for New Years Day. The adults who begin to gather are angry. And there are no children. Along with Lara—Nathan’s New Year’s Eve blind date—he takes the child and flees the city in search of help and answers. Each leg of the journey brings no answers and more hopelessness, but Nathan can’t help but notice as their situation becomes more dire, Sally matures, adding things overlooked or unspoken to the adults’ conversation.

When the trio meets up with others searching for answers while trying to survive, the ten-year-old becomes the unspoken leader for the children, and that’s how Nathan treats her as he and others train the children in basic survival skills to protect themselves and to kill. They know if adults fall asleep it’s kill or be killed when they wake up.

It wasn’t lost on me that while adults fought over race, politics, and authority, there was no dissension between the children. They didn’t separate by race or gender. There were no outcasts, no labeling. Without the societal burdens adults choose to carry, the children share one focus… to survive. However, as chances of survival shrink and the enemy reveal themselves, the children’s focus turns to revenge. War is coming, but it takes time to plan and train because it will be winner take all. They’ll only get one chance to take down an enemy that’s growing in number, more advanced… and not human. It’s ironic the group’s best chance for survival and victory is also not human.

I’ve read and enjoyed first contact stories before, but the unique plot and realistic characters of When the Children Come make it a memorable book that goes on the re-read shelf.

Enjoy!

~~~

Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.

Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…

Praise for When the Children Come…

A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb

A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter

Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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full tour banner

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#BlogTour “When the Children Come” by Barry Kirwan

tour banner

~~~

cover

Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.

Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…

Praise for When the Children Come…

A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb

A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter

Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

~~~

Author BioJF Kirwan

I was born in Farnborough and grew up watching the Red Arrow jet fighters paint the sky at airshows. I didn’t get into writing until years later when I arrived in Paris, where I penned The Eden Paradox series (four books) over a period of ten years. My SF influences were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Orson Scott Card, but also David Brin who writes about smart aliens. Iain Banks and Alistair Reynolds remain major influences, as well as Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton and Jack McDevitt.

My main SF premise is that if we do ever meet aliens, they’ll probably be far more intelligent than we are, and with very different values and ideas of how the galaxy works. As a psychologist by training, that interests me in terms of how to think outside our own (human) frame of reference.

When I’m not writing, I’m either working (my day job), which is preventing mid-air collisions, reading, or doing yoga or tai chi. When I’m on holiday I’m usually diving, looking for sharks. Most times I find them, or rather, they find me.

Social Media Links

Facebook 

Website 

Twitter  

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#BookBlitz “Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle)” by Addison Brae

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Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle) is a stand-alone sequel to Becker Circle
Romantic Suspense; Adult/New Adult
 Date Published: June 10, 2020 (on pre-sale now)
Publisher:  Tirgearr Publishing

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Cybercrime doesn’t talk. It creeps in and destroys lives right under Gillian’s nose when a cryptojacking scheme lands her boss, Pinkie, in jail. Gillian had just started over with a new career, boyfriend, and confidence after escaping a vicious murder investigation that shattered her ability to trust. Then Pinkie’s arrest leaves her struggling to run his two bars while also unraveling the conspiracy.
Gillian will not let her mentor and friend go down for something he didn’t do. Neither will Jon, the most talented musician on the bar’s stage and the perfect boyfriend…until his good fortune sends her reeling. Gillian forces herself to trust the cops, people who hurt her, and known criminals. Will it be enough to free Pinkie and save her life?

~~~

Excerpt

Chapter Seven (portion)

 When I approach the entrance, a man with a tablet computer approaches my car. “Your name, please? And why are you visiting the FBI today?”

They’re holding Pinkie at FBI headquarters? He doesn’t belong at a place like this. “Yes, hello. I’m Gillian Davis, here to visit with Pinkie—I mean Patrick Cunningham.”

He fingers through pages on his screen. “Your purpose for seeing Mr. Cunningham?”

I shift in the driver’s seat. “I manage a business he owns. I need to talk to him about work—I mean what to do while he’s away.”

“You’re not listed.” The arm holding the computer relaxes to his side.

“Officer Jeff Reeves called ahead. He’s with Dallas police.”

“I’ll make a quick call.” He walks away with a phone to his ear. In a few seconds, the gate opens, and he waves me through.

I let out the lungful of air I’ve been holding and drive. Hurdle one crossed. Three flags line the entrance like they’re waving me away, or maybe they’re inviting me in. Either way, I march through the heavy glass doors, step through the metal detector, follow the signs through the cold marble and stainless steel lobby to the visitor area, and wait.

A lawyer-like young woman in a gray suit taps on her laptop across the otherwise empty room. I feel underdressed. Footsteps echo toward us, and my heart beats as fast as her fingers type. It’s a man in a dark blue suit, his eyes on me.

“Ms. Davis? I’m Agent Redman.” His voice is gentler than I expected. “Come with me.”

While we walk, the million questions I have for Pinkie parade through my head.

What happened? Who would do this to you? When will they let you out? What do I do at work tomorrow? Is your lawyer one of those hotshots who only represent innocent people? Do you have a lawyer?

He opens the door, revealing Pinkie sitting on the edge of a chair in a small room. Dark circles have bloomed like he didn’t sleep last night.

“Gillian, you’re a sight for sore eyes.” He motions to the chair on the other side of the table. “Make yourself comfortable. Can I get you a glass of wine?”

A laugh overpowers my questions. “You can still keep your sense of humor. How are you?”

“Been better.”

~~~

~~~

About the Author

Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for hiding under the bed to read when she was supposed to be napping. She has been writing since childhood starting with diaries, letters and short stories. She continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant.
Addison writes new adult and adult romantic suspense and young adult contemporary fiction. When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and enjoys jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy. 
Contact Links

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RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~

#BookBlitz “Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle)” by Addison Brae

tour banner

~~~

Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle) is a stand-alone sequel to Becker Circle
Romantic Suspense; Adult/New Adult
 Date Published: June 10, 2020 (on pre-sale now)
Publisher:  Tirgearr Publishing

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Cybercrime doesn’t talk. It creeps in and destroys lives right under Gillian’s nose when a cryptojacking scheme lands her boss, Pinkie, in jail. Gillian had just started over with a new career, boyfriend, and confidence after escaping a vicious murder investigation that shattered her ability to trust. Then Pinkie’s arrest leaves her struggling to run his two bars while also unraveling the conspiracy.
Gillian will not let her mentor and friend go down for something he didn’t do. Neither will Jon, the most talented musician on the bar’s stage and the perfect boyfriend…until his good fortune sends her reeling. Gillian forces herself to trust the cops, people who hurt her, and known criminals. Will it be enough to free Pinkie and save her life?

~~~

Excerpt

Chapter Seven (portion)

 When I approach the entrance, a man with a tablet computer approaches my car. “Your name, please? And why are you visiting the FBI today?”

They’re holding Pinkie at FBI headquarters? He doesn’t belong at a place like this. “Yes, hello. I’m Gillian Davis, here to visit with Pinkie—I mean Patrick Cunningham.”

He fingers through pages on his screen. “Your purpose for seeing Mr. Cunningham?”

I shift in the driver’s seat. “I manage a business he owns. I need to talk to him about work—I mean what to do while he’s away.”

“You’re not listed.” The arm holding the computer relaxes to his side.

“Officer Jeff Reeves called ahead. He’s with Dallas police.”

“I’ll make a quick call.” He walks away with a phone to his ear. In a few seconds, the gate opens, and he waves me through.

I let out the lungful of air I’ve been holding and drive. Hurdle one crossed. Three flags line the entrance like they’re waving me away, or maybe they’re inviting me in. Either way, I march through the heavy glass doors, step through the metal detector, follow the signs through the cold marble and stainless steel lobby to the visitor area, and wait.

A lawyer-like young woman in a gray suit taps on her laptop across the otherwise empty room. I feel underdressed. Footsteps echo toward us, and my heart beats as fast as her fingers type. It’s a man in a dark blue suit, his eyes on me.

“Ms. Davis? I’m Agent Redman.” His voice is gentler than I expected. “Come with me.”

While we walk, the million questions I have for Pinkie parade through my head.

What happened? Who would do this to you? When will they let you out? What do I do at work tomorrow? Is your lawyer one of those hotshots who only represent innocent people? Do you have a lawyer?

He opens the door, revealing Pinkie sitting on the edge of a chair in a small room. Dark circles have bloomed like he didn’t sleep last night.

“Gillian, you’re a sight for sore eyes.” He motions to the chair on the other side of the table. “Make yourself comfortable. Can I get you a glass of wine?”

A laugh overpowers my questions. “You can still keep your sense of humor. How are you?”

“Been better.”

~~~

~~~

About the Author

Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for hiding under the bed to read when she was supposed to be napping. She has been writing since childhood starting with diaries, letters and short stories. She continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant.
Addison writes new adult and adult romantic suspense and young adult contemporary fiction. When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and enjoys jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy. 
Contact Links

~~~

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~

#ReleaseBlitz “Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle)” by Addison Brae

tour banner

~~~

Dark Energy (Return to Becker Circle) is a stand-alone sequel to Becker Circle
Romantic Suspense; Adult/New Adult
 Date Published: June 10, 2020 (on pre-sale now)
Publisher:  Tirgearr Publishing

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Cybercrime doesn’t talk. It creeps in and destroys lives right under Gillian’s nose when a cryptojacking scheme lands her boss, Pinkie, in jail. Gillian had just started over with a new career, boyfriend, and confidence after escaping a vicious murder investigation that shattered her ability to trust. Then Pinkie’s arrest leaves her struggling to run his two bars while also unraveling the conspiracy.
Gillian will not let her mentor and friend go down for something he didn’t do. Neither will Jon, the most talented musician on the bar’s stage and the perfect boyfriend…until his good fortune sends her reeling. Gillian forces herself to trust the cops, people who hurt her, and known criminals. Will it be enough to free Pinkie and save her life?

Purchase Links

On sale for $0.99 until June 14

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Smashwords

Amazon CA

~~~

Excerpt
Chapter 1

 

I flip the switch, illuminating the first bar I’ve ever managed. Rainbows of color dance through the full bottles lining the glass shelves. Glasses are stocked. Floors spotless. A chance to begin again after a not-so-perfect fresh start.
The new crew worked their butts off learning menus and setting up for today’s opening. They’re trained and ready for anything. Not sure about me, though. I’m a fast learner, a CPA, and have been a bartender. But that doesn’t mean I can run a bar. Pinkie makes it appear easy. He believes in me, and that’s more than I’ve gotten from most people in my life.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a note written in large block letters.
Welcome, Gillian! Breakfast in the bar fridge. You can’t start your first day as manager hungry. –Pinkie
“What?” My voice echoes in the empty room. Pinkie said he was right behind me before I left after midnight last night. When did he have time to cook? Inside the refrigerator is a container with my name written across it. I peek inside. “He remembered!” Sausage and grits, the first of his cooking I ever ate. Besides being an amazing chef, he’s been such a great mentor since I moved here, helped me survive some major screw-ups. I won’t get involved with the wrong people again.
Pinkie’s been more of a dad than my real father. If he hadn’t believed in me to run his new bar, I’d be working at another accounting job I hate instead of my dream job. Luck or not, after everything Pinkie’s done for me, I’ll never let him down.
I make careful rounds through the kitchen and bar and through my mental checklists to be sure lunch prep is in place for the crew when they arrive.
In the tiny office that used to be a closet, I lean down next to the desk, punch in the combination, and yank the safe door open to get the cash for the registers. Shoved in the back corner are two fat pouches of cash that weren’t there yesterday. Pinkie must have stashed the other bar’s deposit here, so it’s all in one place when he goes to the bank, but he normally wouldn’t.
The safe clicks closed, and I make sure the red light is glowing on the server tucked away in the corner with our new miracle restaurant management software. The crew hates it. The software is supposed to help us plan profitable marketing campaigns and stock the right inventory. It’s a brain buster and sounds like marketing BS. I promised Pinkie to make the most of it. He invested equity in his house, the other bar, and his reputation. Everything’s riding on this opening.
No pressure.
It’s time for another set of new rules to live by for my latest fresh start.
Rule one of my new fresh start—nothing will get in the way of success.
No guys will try to break my heart. I’ll use the confidence I’ve worked so hard to build. And if fate cooperates, no scandals and none of our regulars will turn up dead.

~~~

About the Author

Addison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for hiding under the bed to read when she was supposed to be napping. She has been writing since childhood starting with diaries, letters and short stories. She continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant.
Addison writes new adult and adult romantic suspense and young adult contemporary fiction. When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and enjoys jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy. 
Contact Links

~~~

RABT Book Tours & PR

~~~