#FREE “The Redemption Game (The Flint K-9 Search And Rescue Mysteries Book 3)” by Jen Blood

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In Midcoast Maine, Jamie and her K-9 team search for the cognitively challenged son of a local animal hoarder, while recently licensed private investigator Jack Juarez looks into a murder related to the case. Unfortunately, each new clue Jack finds in the investigation seems to lead him back to a suspect police already have in their sights: Jamie’s son. Meanwhile, Jamie fights to save a critically ill pit bull pulled from the hoarder’s home who could hold the key to the woman’s dark secrets.

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#Featured “The Complete Inspector Crow Mystery Series (8 Gripping Crime Thrillers Boxset)” by Roy Lewis

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GET THE COMPLETE BEST-SELLING SERIES IN THIS BRILLIANT BOX SET. YOU GET *EIGHT* CLASSIC MYSTERIES FULL OF CLEVER TWISTS AND BREATH-TAKING SUSPENSE.

PRAISE FOR THE INSPECTOR CROW MYSTERIES

Exciting and individual. Lewis is a master craftsman.” Literary Review

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Tightly written, well-paced and relentlessly accurate.” Oxford Times

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BOOK 1: A LOVER TOO MANY
Peter Marlin’s wife is found strangled and he becomes the prime suspect. She’d only just returned from an unexplained absence of months. Peter had already taken a new lover, but there’s no real proof he killed his wife. Can Inspector John Crow solve the case before anyone else dies?

BOOK 2: ERROR OF JUDGMENT
A young woman is found dead in college amid a student protest. It turns out she was the principal’s secretary and there was more to her than meets the eye. Who wanted her dead and why? And what does it have to do with the student revolt led by a charismatic firebrand from Iraq?

BOOK 3: THE WOODS MURDER
Schoolgirl Jenny Carson is brutally murdered in Kenton Wood. Then Charles Lendon is found skewered through the heart. He was a ruthless lawyer and a shameless womaniser. Jenny’s father blames him for her murder.

BOOK 4: MURDER FOR MONEY
Gossip-mongering journalist Charlie Rutland is found brutally slain. In his line of work, he wasn’t short of enemies. DI Crow must interrogate a long list of suspects, from a homeless Yorkshireman to an ex-Gestapo officer. Then British spy services get involved. Can Crow crack the case before it’s taken out of his hands?

BOOK 5: MURDER IN THE MINE
A hunt for a missing dog leads to a gruesome discovery down a Welsh mineshaft. Not just the injured dog, but a valuable piece of jewellery and the decaying corpse of a woman. A surprising confession follows. But Inspector Crow is not convinced he has his man. Can he uncover the true killer, despite the many perplexing questions surrounding the case?

BOOK 6: A COTSWOLDS MURDER
Caravan park manager Chuck Lindop is found with his head caved in. The locals insist he was a lovable rogue. So who wanted him dead and why? As the investigation wears on, Inspector Crow uncovers shady dealings at the caravan park. Could Chuck himself have been involved?

BOOK 7: A FOX HUNTING MURDER
One crisp autumn morning, the hunt is in full swing. But instead of a fox, they find their notorious opponent: dead in a bush. Inspector Crow uncovers a side to the victim that no one has seen before. But can he trust his instincts in a case where nothing is what it seems?

BOOK 8: A DARTMOOR MURDER
Fred Norman is found dead in a pond near the mine where he worked. DI Crow is called in to investigate and finds a community divided. Many local activists oppose the mine. Suspicion soon falls on their womanizing leader, but Crow is aware that are many false trails and too many lies. Then he learns a secret about the victim that changes everything.

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#BookSale “‘Tis the Season for Murder (Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mystery Book 7)” by Loulou Harrington

As Jesse Camden and her business partner Connie Oliver unload a truckload of antiques during an early evening snowfall, they are distracted by the half-deflated, blow-up Santa in the front yard of the Gilded Lily. They don’t have a blow-up Santa decoration, and if they did, they’d never put it in that corner of the yard. But when they get closer, they discover a much more pressing problem—Santa’s not a decoration.

Luckily, Sheriff Joe Tyler is on hand to take over the investigation, leaving Jesse and the Garden Club free to pursue a five-year-old disappearance as a favor to a friend. What no one expects is for the whole Garden Club to be snowed in together while the search for a missing college girl yields more questions than answers and leads to a trail of questionable deaths reaching back for years.

As Jesse’s missing person case threatens to collide with Sheriff Tyler’s murder investigation, she begins to fear that they are looking for the same killer. While a snowstorm rages, Jesse and the gang pour through clues made of memories and rumor seeking a killer before their Christmas is lost to the shadows of the past.

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#BookSale “Makeup and Mayhem (Sunshine Cove Cozy Mystery Book 1)” by Ava Zuma

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A suspicious death at a party. A list of unusual suspects. A small town beauty consultant who just wants life to return to normal.

Celia’s life isn’t a bed of roses. As a widow with two young boys, she’s only happy when her boys are happy. Her business, providing makeup products to the citizens of Sunshine Cove, puts food on the table and gives a purpose to her days.

When a former classmate drops dead at a party, Celia is confused and wonders what could have caused her demise. Her confusion is turned into anxiety when the police name her as a prime suspect. Celia regrets attending the party where she was cajoled into offering free make overs to the party attendees.

She can’t think of anyone who would have wanted to kill the deceased. Still, in a town where anyone’s business is everyone’s business, she knows the killer is lurking in plain sight.

She can’t afford to wallow in self-pity while there’s a killer on the loose. Will she help to find the killer and restore normalcy to her life, her family and town or become the killer’s next victim?

If you want to enjoy a light-hearted read, with an amateur female sleuth and a gripping murder mystery with a touch of romance, then you’ll love Celia Dube and all the friendly and not-so-friendly characters in Sunny Cove.

No cliffhanger, swearing or graphic scenes!

Get your copy of Makeup and Mayhem to discover how events unfold in this cozy murder mystery.

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#BookTour “Marybeth, Hollister and Jane” by Vera Jane Cook

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Woman’s Fiction, Cozy Mystery

Date Published: 9/28/20

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Some secrets draw people closer………after they tear them apart.

Marybeth and Hollister moved to rural New York to escape—both the city life and a checkered past. Their lives were unassuming, until they bought a grandfather clock. They just wanted something to fill the space under their stairs, but they got much more than they bargained for. What secrets could the clock possibly hold?

Jane was sent to Callicoon to find the Eagle diamond, which was stolen from the Museum of Natural History in the ‘60s and never recovered. Convinced she won’t find what she’s looking for, she grudgingly takes the assignment. When she arrives, things aren’t what they seem and Jane finds more than she ever expected.

Excerpt
    Brenda Loring was far too small for the overstuffed capacious couch. She appeared uncomfortably absorbed by the cushions, hardly consoled. At first glance, she looked swallowed by the plush off-white arms. It could be assumed that her body had found a semblance of solace, but the truth was, there really weren’t any sacred places to turn for comfort; the fluffed-up cotton squares were far too affectionate and they consumed her behind their good intentions, providing only a pretense of succor.
     Brenda sat up straight and reached for her glass; next was the cigarette. Comfort was better found in a nicotine binge and a scotch devoid of ice or water.
     Brock was still not sure if he should believe her, even though she’d been insisting for months. “I’m not hallucinating,” she kept repeating. “I know what the hell I’m talking about. It’s all going to hell.”
     His thoughts raced ahead as he watched her light the tip of her cigarette with a lit butt from an old dish with more ash than a crematory.
     Brenda was birdlike but hardly unattractive, just sticky and twiggy, unlike his wife, who was a full hug, an eye level kiss. Brenda took a deep drag and looked at him through smoke.
     “What a fuck,” she said. “Both of them. They are both fucks. I’m telling you, Devon has bought Glen off, paid him well to screw us over, though I don’t know why he would, disloyal asshole.” 
     He shrugged his shoulders. “It’s hard to believe, can’t wrap my head around it, that’s all.”
     Brenda leaned forward and crossed her tiny legs, shapely but thin. Her fingers seemed long as arms, her elbows stuck out like wayward bones.
     “Peter has lost control of his people. He’s too old to run the organization. That’s what I think. I have my spies, you know, people who hate Devon and will tell me the truth when I ask for it. You think he’s above screwing his brother?
     “Why let the organization go to shit now?”
     “Why not now? I heard Peter was sick; maybe that’s why he’s losing control. Maybe it’s serious. Maybe Devon doesn’t want anything going to Peter’s idiot wife if he should die. Imagine Delilah in charge of the LVAJ? Ha!”
     “I don’t think Delilah would want it. Advising Peter in business is not quite the same as running the entire organization. That’s a mammoth job.”
     “Ha!” Brenda took a sip of scotch. “I wouldn’t underestimate her, Brock. She has a degree in art, after all. You sound like a misogynist, just because she’s blonde and beautiful. She’s far from stupid.”
     “I didn’t say she was stupid.”
     “Didn’t say she wasn’t either.”
     “Look, you think we ought to go to Peter with this?” he asked, “he should know about our suspicions.”
     “No, I don’t think we should go to Peter.”
     Brock took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “So, you’re saying the Prince was a phony, but what if he wasn’t?”
     Brenda threw back her head and laughed loudly. He noticed that her hair didn’t move, so stiff it seemed to stand at attention. Her hair is obedient, he thought.
     “Oh, come on,” she said. “The whole thing was a scam. I’ll bet my ass that the Yellow Diamond is sitting behind some asshole’s velvet pull in Saudi Arabia and nowhere near that little turd that calls himself ‘Prince Vizueta.’ She drew out the syllables of the prince’s name and made a face. “Prince of bullshit.”
     Brock thought for a moment. “So, if the Yellow Diamond buy was a scam, what’s next?”
     Brenda did all three things at once. It was quite impressive. She laughed and took a drag off her cigarette as she put the scotch glass to her lips and drank.
     “I wish I knew.”
     Brock stood up and looked at his watch. He hadn’t called home. It was after ten p.m. in San Francisco. Jane would be angry. One should make a point of calling home when one is suspected of having an affair.
     “It’s getting late,” he said.
     He’d spent months on the phone with Brenda, ever since she first uncovered what she believed to be a conspiracy. He wasn’t quite so sure. He thought she was a bit hysterical over nothing. Besides, he was cautious. He liked absolute proof. But with their constant phone calls, he couldn’t blame his wife for suspecting him of infidelity. Once Brenda got to Philadelphia for the Yellow Diamond Buy, she called him several times a day so she could give him the scenario of treachery; so she could share her anxiety as she nervously sucked on her cigarette and drew him into her fears like the nightmare fairy.
     “Why don’t we wait for Devon’s next move, see where he’s going with this,” Brock said, putting Jane out of his thoughts, he’d deal with it in his own way. “No sense making a big deal out of something that could just be gossip,” he added. “Or paranoia.” He stared at her.
     “Well, it’s been months since this phony prince put out a bid on the Yellow Diamond and went back to his phony country with it.”
     “Right, and there hasn’t been anything since, no bids out on any precious stones at all.”
     “But it doesn’t mean there won’t be,” she said. “I sense it in my bones that we’re being screwed with.”
     “Look, if someone out there really has the Yellow Diamond other than the Prince, wouldn’t they have contacted Peter and told him he was being made an ass of, that you can’t purchase what someone else owns?”
     “Why should they say anything? Anonymity is what matters to us, not friendship, you know that.”
     Brenda stood up tall but barely reached his chest. She went to a wall of windows and looked out from her thirty-second-floor Manhattan condominium. The night was dark, but the city shone against the sky. It seemed like a false movie set, almost too perfect to be real.
     She turned to face him. “Let’s confront Glen, find out what the hell is going on. If he knows we’re aware he’s a turncoat, he’ll tell us everything. When it comes right down to it, he’s a wimp and he’ll play both sides. Glen has no loyalty. “
     Brock raised his eyebrow. “And you think Glen is going to admit he has his own agenda?” he said. “Just like that?”
     “Where is it going to leave us if Devon takes over the American operation?”
     “Under Devon’s employ, that’s where.” He realized Brenda was being too emotional; one of them had to be rational.
     Brenda sat and puffed; taking deep drags and pushed the smoke out through her teeth.
     Brock paced a bit around the room. “So, according to you, Devon paid the commission out of his own pocket? To make it all look legit?”
     Brenda moved her head, barely a nod but he knew that’s what she’d intended.
     “Right. He has a plan,” she said. “I just don’t know what it is. I mean, a phony bid? A phony buy? I don’t get it.”
     Brock sat on the arm of a chair so thin it hurt his backside and he moved quickly onto the couch with false substance.
     “It has to have something to do with discrediting Peter, that’s what I would guess. What else could it be? Devon has finally gotten sick and tired of sharing his customers.”
     Brenda squashed her cigarette out. He was relived she didn’t relight. His throat felt raw from her smoke, and the nicotine stunk.
     “Devon has thought this whole thing up, a fake prince, a ludicrous bid ─ and he sent it all to Peter on a silver platter. I watched Glen go through the motions of recovering the Yellow Diamond; it was clear bullshit.” She looked back out at her seven-million-dollar view. “I never saw the diamond with my own eyes; I never watched any money exchange hands. He had me answering the phone and reporting back to Peter all day while he said he was doing business.”
     Brock wet his lips with his tongue. “Why would Devon approach Glen and not me, or not you, for that matter, if he’s plotting against Peter? I mean, why Glen?”
     Brenda rocked her body just a bit. She was flirting, which was always her way, her constant affectation around men. Brock smiled, but only to himself. He’d never wanted any other woman but Jane from the moment they’d met. It was absurd that she now thought he did, especially Brenda, whose scantily fleshed out body reminded him of an adolescent boy. He wanted to flip open his cell phone and call his wife, just to tell her that her father was a bastard and the only thing he wanted from Brenda was assurance. If all this were real, it changed everything.
     “Because you’re married to Jane and Peter was always more of a father to his daughter than he was. Jane would never let you betray Peter. And me?” Brenda winked at him. “My few one-night stands with Peter could be interpreted as loyalty, though God knows, I have none.”
     Brock stood up. He towered over her and nearly reached her eight-foot ceiling.
     “Listen, if what you’re saying is true, I want a takeover. I want no part of this war between Peter and Devon. Let them chew each other up. You and I together have enough contacts to go on our own.”
     He stared at her. He was surprised at his own words, but he meant it. If he had wanted to work with Devon, he would have stayed in England. Devon was a mean bastard. He was also greedy; his split had been an absurd five percent.
     “I was hoping you’d say that.” Brenda lit another cigarette without leaving his gaze.”
     “That would make us partners,” he said, “just you and me, I’m not opening this up to anyone else.”
     “I’m yours,” she said, sending him smoke rings. “Peter is getting too old for this and Devon is a creep; we can’t trust him. This idiot ploy of his is going to splinter the whole operation, so let’s take our contacts and run.”
     Brock slipped on his jacket. “Let me think this through,” he said. “I’ll be back in touch. Id this is real we’re bound to hear of another false buy very soon. If this is Devon’s plan, to discredit Peter, he won’t wait very long to send him more bullshit about a precious stone that’s surfaced.”
     “Maybe art this time, who knows? What about Jane, will you tell her?” she asked.
     “Of course, I tell her everything,” he said and paused at the door. “Not right away though, she might not like it.”

 

About the Author

I am an award-winning hybrid author of southern and women’s Fiction, including Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Pleasant Day, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane and Lies a River Deep. As my alter ego, Olivia Hardy Ray my books include Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem, Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau, and Pharaoh’s Star. The first novel I ever wrote, Dancing Backward In Paradise, won an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and an Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction, 2007. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater and Dancing Backward in Paradise received 5 Star ForeWord Clarion Reviews and The Story of Sassy Sweetwater has been named a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. I have published in ESL Magazine, Christopher Street Magazine and I have also written early childhood curriculum for Weekly Reader and McGraw Hill.

 

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#ReleaseBlitz “Marybeth, Hollister and Jane” by Vera Jane Cook


Woman’s Fiction, Cozy Mystery

Date Published: 9/28/20

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Some secrets draw people closer………after they tear them apart.

Marybeth and Hollister moved to rural New York to escape—both the city life and a checkered past. Their lives were unassuming, until they bought a grandfather clock. They just wanted something to fill the space under their stairs, but they got much more than they bargained for. What secrets could the clock possibly hold?

Jane was sent to Callicoon to find the Eagle diamond, which was stolen from the Museum of Natural History in the ‘60s and never recovered. Convinced she won’t find what she’s looking for, she grudgingly takes the assignment. When she arrives, things aren’t what they seem and Jane finds more than she ever expected.

Excerpt
    Brenda Loring was far too small for the overstuffed capacious couch. She appeared uncomfortably absorbed by the cushions, hardly consoled. At first glance, she looked swallowed by the plush off-white arms. It could be assumed that her body had found a semblance of solace, but the truth was, there really weren’t any sacred places to turn for comfort; the fluffed-up cotton squares were far too affectionate and they consumed her behind their good intentions, providing only a pretense of succor.
     Brenda sat up straight and reached for her glass; next was the cigarette. Comfort was better found in a nicotine binge and a scotch devoid of ice or water.
     Brock was still not sure if he should believe her, even though she’d been insisting for months. “I’m not hallucinating,” she kept repeating. “I know what the hell I’m talking about. It’s all going to hell.”
     His thoughts raced ahead as he watched her light the tip of her cigarette with a lit butt from an old dish with more ash than a crematory.
     Brenda was birdlike but hardly unattractive, just sticky and twiggy, unlike his wife, who was a full hug, an eye level kiss. Brenda took a deep drag and looked at him through smoke.
     “What a fuck,” she said. “Both of them. They are both fucks. I’m telling you, Devon has bought Glen off, paid him well to screw us over, though I don’t know why he would, disloyal asshole.” 
     He shrugged his shoulders. “It’s hard to believe, can’t wrap my head around it, that’s all.”
     Brenda leaned forward and crossed her tiny legs, shapely but thin. Her fingers seemed long as arms, her elbows stuck out like wayward bones.
     “Peter has lost control of his people. He’s too old to run the organization. That’s what I think. I have my spies, you know, people who hate Devon and will tell me the truth when I ask for it. You think he’s above screwing his brother?
     “Why let the organization go to shit now?”
     “Why not now? I heard Peter was sick; maybe that’s why he’s losing control. Maybe it’s serious. Maybe Devon doesn’t want anything going to Peter’s idiot wife if he should die. Imagine Delilah in charge of the LVAJ? Ha!”
     “I don’t think Delilah would want it. Advising Peter in business is not quite the same as running the entire organization. That’s a mammoth job.”
     “Ha!” Brenda took a sip of scotch. “I wouldn’t underestimate her, Brock. She has a degree in art, after all. You sound like a misogynist, just because she’s blonde and beautiful. She’s far from stupid.”
     “I didn’t say she was stupid.”
     “Didn’t say she wasn’t either.”
     “Look, you think we ought to go to Peter with this?” he asked, “he should know about our suspicions.”
     “No, I don’t think we should go to Peter.”
     Brock took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “So, you’re saying the Prince was a phony, but what if he wasn’t?”
     Brenda threw back her head and laughed loudly. He noticed that her hair didn’t move, so stiff it seemed to stand at attention. Her hair is obedient, he thought.
     “Oh, come on,” she said. “The whole thing was a scam. I’ll bet my ass that the Yellow Diamond is sitting behind some asshole’s velvet pull in Saudi Arabia and nowhere near that little turd that calls himself ‘Prince Vizueta.’ She drew out the syllables of the prince’s name and made a face. “Prince of bullshit.”
     Brock thought for a moment. “So, if the Yellow Diamond buy was a scam, what’s next?”
     Brenda did all three things at once. It was quite impressive. She laughed and took a drag off her cigarette as she put the scotch glass to her lips and drank.
     “I wish I knew.”
     Brock stood up and looked at his watch. He hadn’t called home. It was after ten p.m. in San Francisco. Jane would be angry. One should make a point of calling home when one is suspected of having an affair.
     “It’s getting late,” he said.
     He’d spent months on the phone with Brenda, ever since she first uncovered what she believed to be a conspiracy. He wasn’t quite so sure. He thought she was a bit hysterical over nothing. Besides, he was cautious. He liked absolute proof. But with their constant phone calls, he couldn’t blame his wife for suspecting him of infidelity. Once Brenda got to Philadelphia for the Yellow Diamond Buy, she called him several times a day so she could give him the scenario of treachery; so she could share her anxiety as she nervously sucked on her cigarette and drew him into her fears like the nightmare fairy.
     “Why don’t we wait for Devon’s next move, see where he’s going with this,” Brock said, putting Jane out of his thoughts, he’d deal with it in his own way. “No sense making a big deal out of something that could just be gossip,” he added. “Or paranoia.” He stared at her.
     “Well, it’s been months since this phony prince put out a bid on the Yellow Diamond and went back to his phony country with it.”
     “Right, and there hasn’t been anything since, no bids out on any precious stones at all.”
     “But it doesn’t mean there won’t be,” she said. “I sense it in my bones that we’re being screwed with.”
     “Look, if someone out there really has the Yellow Diamond other than the Prince, wouldn’t they have contacted Peter and told him he was being made an ass of, that you can’t purchase what someone else owns?”
     “Why should they say anything? Anonymity is what matters to us, not friendship, you know that.”
     Brenda stood up tall but barely reached his chest. She went to a wall of windows and looked out from her thirty-second-floor Manhattan condominium. The night was dark, but the city shone against the sky. It seemed like a false movie set, almost too perfect to be real.
     She turned to face him. “Let’s confront Glen, find out what the hell is going on. If he knows we’re aware he’s a turncoat, he’ll tell us everything. When it comes right down to it, he’s a wimp and he’ll play both sides. Glen has no loyalty. “
     Brock raised his eyebrow. “And you think Glen is going to admit he has his own agenda?” he said. “Just like that?”
     “Where is it going to leave us if Devon takes over the American operation?”
     “Under Devon’s employ, that’s where.” He realized Brenda was being too emotional; one of them had to be rational.
     Brenda sat and puffed; taking deep drags and pushed the smoke out through her teeth.
     Brock paced a bit around the room. “So, according to you, Devon paid the commission out of his own pocket? To make it all look legit?”
     Brenda moved her head, barely a nod but he knew that’s what she’d intended.
     “Right. He has a plan,” she said. “I just don’t know what it is. I mean, a phony bid? A phony buy? I don’t get it.”
     Brock sat on the arm of a chair so thin it hurt his backside and he moved quickly onto the couch with false substance.
     “It has to have something to do with discrediting Peter, that’s what I would guess. What else could it be? Devon has finally gotten sick and tired of sharing his customers.”
     Brenda squashed her cigarette out. He was relived she didn’t relight. His throat felt raw from her smoke, and the nicotine stunk.
     “Devon has thought this whole thing up, a fake prince, a ludicrous bid ─ and he sent it all to Peter on a silver platter. I watched Glen go through the motions of recovering the Yellow Diamond; it was clear bullshit.” She looked back out at her seven-million-dollar view. “I never saw the diamond with my own eyes; I never watched any money exchange hands. He had me answering the phone and reporting back to Peter all day while he said he was doing business.”
     Brock wet his lips with his tongue. “Why would Devon approach Glen and not me, or not you, for that matter, if he’s plotting against Peter? I mean, why Glen?”
     Brenda rocked her body just a bit. She was flirting, which was always her way, her constant affectation around men. Brock smiled, but only to himself. He’d never wanted any other woman but Jane from the moment they’d met. It was absurd that she now thought he did, especially Brenda, whose scantily fleshed out body reminded him of an adolescent boy. He wanted to flip open his cell phone and call his wife, just to tell her that her father was a bastard and the only thing he wanted from Brenda was assurance. If all this were real, it changed everything.
     “Because you’re married to Jane and Peter was always more of a father to his daughter than he was. Jane would never let you betray Peter. And me?” Brenda winked at him. “My few one-night stands with Peter could be interpreted as loyalty, though God knows, I have none.”
     Brock stood up. He towered over her and nearly reached her eight-foot ceiling.
     “Listen, if what you’re saying is true, I want a takeover. I want no part of this war between Peter and Devon. Let them chew each other up. You and I together have enough contacts to go on our own.”
     He stared at her. He was surprised at his own words, but he meant it. If he had wanted to work with Devon, he would have stayed in England. Devon was a mean bastard. He was also greedy; his split had been an absurd five percent.
     “I was hoping you’d say that.” Brenda lit another cigarette without leaving his gaze.”
     “That would make us partners,” he said, “just you and me, I’m not opening this up to anyone else.”
     “I’m yours,” she said, sending him smoke rings. “Peter is getting too old for this and Devon is a creep; we can’t trust him. This idiot ploy of his is going to splinter the whole operation, so let’s take our contacts and run.”
     Brock slipped on his jacket. “Let me think this through,” he said. “I’ll be back in touch. Id this is real we’re bound to hear of another false buy very soon. If this is Devon’s plan, to discredit Peter, he won’t wait very long to send him more bullshit about a precious stone that’s surfaced.”
     “Maybe art this time, who knows? What about Jane, will you tell her?” she asked.
     “Of course, I tell her everything,” he said and paused at the door. “Not right away though, she might not like it.”

 

About the Author

I am an award-winning hybrid author of southern and women’s Fiction, including Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Pleasant Day, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane and Lies a River Deep. As my alter ego, Olivia Hardy Ray my books include Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem, Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau, and Pharaoh’s Star. The first novel I ever wrote, Dancing Backward In Paradise, won an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and an Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction, 2007. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater and Dancing Backward in Paradise received 5 Star ForeWord Clarion Reviews and The Story of Sassy Sweetwater has been named a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. I have published in ESL Magazine, Christopher Street Magazine and I have also written early childhood curriculum for Weekly Reader and McGraw Hill.

 

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#BookReview “Derailed” by Mary Keliikoa

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on Tour September 1-30, 2020

4/5 Stars

After losing her mother at a young age, only child, Kelly Pruett, grew up with her father, Roger, and his private investigation agency. Though he always promised to train her, Kelly did little more than run the office and serve subpoenas. Years later, still working with her father and devastated by her husband’s affair, a newly divorced Kelly returns to her childhood home. Her dreams of training with her dad are dashed when he dies suddenly. Kelly struggles to take care of her home and the eight-year-old deaf daughter she has partial custody of.

Kelly gets her first real investigating job when Georgette Hanson shows up at her office. Unsatisfied with the police findings of accidental death, Georgette is convinced her daughter, Brooke, did not stumble onto train tracks while drunk and get hit by a commuter train. She knows Brooke was murdered and believes the one lone witness was involved.

Hesitant to take a case already closed by police, Kelly does because in the letter her father left her, he asked if “Georgette Hanson” were to ever come to Kelly for help, she would do so without question.

Channeling the father she adored, Kelly moves through the investigation that could borrow its name from the old Franken book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. No one is upfront and honest with her. Even the most sincere hold back and/or distort the truth. Kelly believes Brooke was murdered and she knows who did it, but new folks with motives keep popping up.

It doesn’t help that she gets distracted by Jeff, the overprotective ex who wants to reconcile, his mother, Arlene, who thinks Kelly’s work is too dangerous, and Kyle, her contact in the police department, a sexy young cop she’s daydreaming about more and more. The attempts on her life also don’t make her job easier… and they don’t stop her.

Kelly Pruett is a good character, determined to live life on her own terms. While I respected her, I didn’t care for her much in the beginning because I wasn’t convinced she knew what her terms were. The only genuine feeling I got from her was her devotion to her daughter. Everything else felt forced, especially her intention to keep the investigation agency going. She idolized Roger Pruett and seemed to want to keep the business going as a tribute to him rather than a profession she wanted. The Brooke Hanson case will help her find her way, as well as bring revelations about her father that dim the glowing image she’s held of him.

Derailed is a well-written mystery with sleight-of-hand plot twists that lead to a killer who committed the perfect crime(s)… until Kelly Pruett got involved.

Enjoy!


Synopsis:

Derailed by Mary Keliikoa

When a single mom of a deaf daughter inherits her father’s PI business and aims to prove that a young woman’s death by train wasn’t an accident, she finds herself on a crash course with her complicated family and a killer determined to keep the truth hidden.


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GIVEAWAY:

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

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#GuestPost “Eternal Forever” by Syl Waters

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Oh, I do love to write beside the seaside!

by Syl Waters

Out of my window I can see a fat seagull. I don’t know if it’s a he or a she (how do you tell – note for self to check on google). Note to reader, having consulted the expertise of the web I have learned it’s very difficult to tell the difference between a male and female seagull. For your reference, the male may have a bit brighter and more colourful plumage, but the difference is so subtle, so I’ve read, only experienced bird watchers can tell the difference.

I am not an experienced bird watcher.

And so I’m wondering if this seagull is fat or pregnant.

The internet hole looked longer this time and so I have resisted. I can tell you though that a seagull usually lays its eggs at the beginning of May and has a clutch of three. The number three may have special significance in seagull circles, as it’s also after three weeks the eggs begin to hatch.

And so my mind wanders to what a baby seagull looks like and if I’ve even seen one?

Cue google images.

You may or may not be interested to learn baby seagulls (from my expert scanning of images online), appear to be dappled grey. I find myself pondering how such greyness can turn into such strong swipes of black and white in later years. I mean, when you look at a seagull it’s colours are very striking, not striking in a zebra sort of way, but still the body is always white and the wings are always black.

Isn’t it amazing how nature knows where to put the colours?

The baby seagull (also known as fluffy chicks – I’m not sure that’s right…), also is missing the red slash on its yellow beak that adults acquire later in life.

I’ve always thought the red was from the blood of a seagull’s victims.

That could be unfair. I don’t know how dangerous seagulls are, but I bet they aren’t as bad as swans.

Swans scare me.

You can ask my other half, we were out on a hot day having a romantic walk by the canal and I wouldn’t walk past a swan which was sat hissing. He took the mick, royally.

Me? I walked off in the other direction. Romance or saving my life? I’ll save my life every time.

And while writing this, I’m now starting to wonder if my fear of swans is undeserved and I’m ruining my chance of romance. And so I’ve searched the net for ‘are swans dangerous’. There’s a report from the BBC in 2012 called ‘Who, What, Why: How dangerous are swans?’ In it they detail a couple of swan attacks where the birds capsized kayaks and attacked rowers.

I am alarmed.

I would read more, but I don’t know if any of this is helpful for me overcoming my existing fear of swans.

I close the tabs and look back out of the window at the fat seagull. I wonder if soon she’ll give birth to some fluffy chicks? Whether true or not, that’s what I’m always going to call baby seagulls from now on. J

Syl Waters is the author of Who Killed Patrick? and Eternal Forever.


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Fame, glory and… foul play!

Jessie was a shop worker dreaming of the big time, then YouTube found her. But staying in the limelight requires meticulous management: pop stars are made not born.

With awards night approaching, the pressure’s on for Tito, Jessie’s manager, to whip her into shape. Getting so close wasn’t in the contract, but then neither was him being murdered in Spain.

Alone and scared of the negative publicity, Jessie turns to Mack, her account manager at Eternal Forever, the UK’s first digital legacy management agency. But Mack’s got his own issues: the company’s fast running out of cash, his key developer’s on the turn and a blogger’s suicide looks suspicious.

With the assistance of J-Pop, Mack’s assistant and wannabe reality TV star, Jessie turns sleuth. But in a world where everybody’s watching, it’s hard to escape. Reputation is everything and some people will do anything to protect it.

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Author Bio

Most people know crazy cat ladies are a ‘thing’, but I’m a proud crazy guinea pig lady! I love fun in the sun and plenty of cocktails. My happy place is flip flops. I write stories to keep me company – my characters ensure I’m never lonely and always smiling (when I’m not tearing my hair out!)

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#BookTour “Blood & Sand” by Jennifer M. Lane

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General Fiction (cozy small town fiction)

Date Published: August, 2019

Publisher: Pen & Key Publishing

 

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A tiny town. A broken tavern. And one woman searching for a place to belong.

Logan Cole is used to getting her way and what she wants more than anything is for her father to get out of jail and restore her old life in New York. All she has to do is wait for his scandals to fade and the online rancor against her family to subside. Low on cash and out of options, she takes a bus north looking for anonymity and stops in the smallest town she can find: Ramsbolt, Maine.

When she stumbles into Helen’s Tavern, she finds a place in need of a make-over and a grandmotherly woman who could use some help. Soon, she finds herself growing fond of the bar, Helen, and the town. She’s even found a friend in Grey, the local plumber. The tiny town puts her at a crossroads: keep hiding her identity to preserve her new reputation or let down her guard and reveal her true self to the people she’s grown to love. But the choice is ripped from her hands when tragedy strikes the bar and saving it requires every tool at her disposal.

Can Logan find a true home among the people of Ramsbolt Maine?

The Collected Stories of Ramsbolt is a series by Jennifer M. Lane, award-winning author Of Metal and Earth and Stick Figures from Ramsbolt. Fresh and heart-warming, the series tells the stories of a small town looking for belonging.

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IndieBound

~~~

Excerpt

Chapter Thirteen

Grey lowered his voice and leaned across the bar. “What’s with all the whiskey sours anyway?”

Logan leaned in, close enough to smell his cologne. “Remember when I said I like revenge served cold? This is it.” She pushed away and turned off a tap, letting the foam settle in a glass of beer. “And no, the revenge isn’t for you.”

“What did the rest of the drinks do to you? Or is it all of us? You hate us, don’t you?” He folded his arms in mock disgust.

Logan rolled her eyes. “Is there a drink you want, or are you just here to harass me about the ones you don’t?”

“I want a Sazerac. And one of those bull drinks. And something else that isn’t a whiskey sour.”

“Okay, but you can’t have three because the law says two, and it’s called a Boulevardier.”

“You break the law for Dan and give him a six pack every night.”

Logan placed her hands on her hips. “Dan’s Dan. What can I get you?”

“The Boulevard. I liked it.”

“Boulevardier. It has three and a half ounces of alcohol in it. You sure you can handle that?”

Grey cocked an eyebrow in feigned disgust. “Make it a double, and I’ll give you a nice tip.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

Tips were a sensitive topic. She needed them, she counted and recorded them with a level of detail that would make her dad’s accountants proud, but she hated her reliance on them, and she’d never accept them out of pity. She would earn it, not beg for it. She held her tongue, but shot him an icy look. It didn’t matter how good he smelled, she needed to draw a line somewhere. She turned to his drink, dropped ice into a mixing glass and added an ounce and a half of rye and a ounce of sweet vermouth, but there was no Campari on the shelf.

“Dammit. I must have run out and forgot to replace it.”

Logan left her bar spoon in the mixing glass and slipped into the back stockroom. Her least favorite space, it was the last frontier on her cleaning crusade. The shelves were overstocked with expired cans of fruit, old kitchen supplies from the bar’s days as a diner, and stacks of dusty table cloths. There was so much junk that the slivers of light that made it through the grimy window never reached the floor.

The light switch sparked when she flipped it. The bulbs barely had time to illuminate before she grabbed a bottle off a shelf and turned them off again.

At the bar, Logan twisted the cap off the Campari. She added an ounce to the mixing glass, stirred it until it was chilled, and strained it into a glass. From a jar she kept in the little fridge beneath the bar, she added a Luxardo cherry.

“Ooh, the good cherries.” Grey reached out a hand for the jar, and she swatted him away.

“These are for special occasions.”

He accepted the drink and set it on a bar napkin, another perk she’d been able to afford. “What did I do to deserve this?”

“I’m doing my part to keep the heating guy alive during our two hundredth consecutive day of snow.” She wanted him at a distance, but she still liked his company.

“Much appreciated. I’ve been meaning to tell you—”

Logan put up a hand. “Hold that thought.” She leaned in. “My arch nemesis is here.”

Arvil walked the length of the bar like an officer inspecting his troops, eyeing up glasses and bottles of beer. Unless an out-of-town customer who didn’t know better took a liking to the corner stool, it was empty in Arvil’s absence. Just as he expected it to be. He shuffled to the furthest seat from the door and shifted his weight until he was settled. He twisted in his seat and tugged his arms from his coat.

Logan placed a bar napkin in front of him, a welcome mat that kept his attention on the drink to come instead of whatever was missing.

“What’ll it be tonight, Arvil?”

“Thirteen. Thirteen days of whiskey sours. This whole thing is stupid. Egg whites in the winter. Nobody wants egg whites in the dead of winter.” He wrestled with his coat and fumbled it onto the back of the stool.

“You desperately wanted one a month ago when I didn’t have any egg whites. Remember? And people eat those little meringue cookies in the winter.”

“What’s that? I don’t know what that is.” He narrowed his eyes at her.

“Not your usual playful self today, huh? You know what meringues are. Those little poofs? Taste like peppermint or vanilla or whatever and… Never mind. Order anything you want. I’m not forcing you to drink egg whites.”

His lip curled in disgust. “Stupid frothy thing. Walk outside and your stomach turns to ice cream.”

“Sounds delicious to me. You want to sit there and complain, or you want to order something to drink? You’ve been here before. You know this is a bar, right?”

The trick to navigating Arvil’s mood was to offer a snappy comeback. If his cheeks burned red,  she’d be in trouble. But his eyes widened and lit up, and she knew it would be a calm night.

“Beer. Michelob. Bottle.”

She pulled one from the tall refrigerator, popped the top off, and placed it on his napkin. “I’ll start you a tab.”

Funny thing about Arvil, the less she tried to make him happy, the easier he was to get along with.

As another day of relentless snow drew to a close, Arvil led the charge. One by one her customers paid their tabs and made their way into the frozen air. The few stragglers closed their tabs, so Logan seized the opportunity to close early. She wiped down the bar, restocked the coolers for the next day, and prepped fruit. Anything to get a head start. She crouched on the floor behind the bar, moving aside jars of cherries and syrups in the small fridge to make room for containers of fruit.

“Logan!” Panic elevated Grey’s voice an octave. “Get the cash from the drawer and run. Come on.”

Were they being robbed? “What are you talking about?” She stood, and the acrid, bitter, sour waft smoke from a fire hit her. It consumed wood paneling in the back room and licked around the doorway, teasing at the bar. Did they have a fire extinguisher? There had to be one in the back. Her coat was back there. Her bag with her snow boots. They were expensive. Irreplaceable. She’d saved for so long, and without them, she’d freeze. The smoke alarm went off, the shrill screech assaulting her ears.

She lunged for the back room, toward the thick smoke that streamed through the door and Grey grabbed her arm. “Where are you going? We’ve gotta run!”

“I need my coat.” She screamed over the alarm. People rushed past them, through the door and into the lobby. Cold air pushed in, throwing smoke across the room. It stung her eyes, and she covered them with her forearm. “The safe! My boots!”

“There’s no time. We have to run.” Grey grabbed the donation jar for Glen with one hand and Logan’s wrist with the other. Flames licked around the stockroom door, they rushed out into the ankle-deep snow and across the street, where they stood with bar patrons and a few close neighbors in the motel parking lot.

She pulled her phone from her pocket and dialed 911, but someone had already reported the fire. She was losing everything. Her coat and boots. Her job. The source of her self-worth. She took in a deep breath of cold air tinged with the sweet smell of smoke, but it did nothing to calm her or sooth the desperation. It only made her feel worse for Helen and Ramsbolt. Flames began to eat through the roof. At least she’d be warm soon.

“It was that wiring,” she said, mostly to herself. “That ancient wiring in the back.”

Grey stood behind her. “The light back there always sparked when you flipped the switch.”

“I know. Helen never fixed it. I have to call her.”

“I can do it—”

“No, it should be me.”

Logan dug her phone from her pocket and pulled up Helen’s number. “It’s Logan. I have bad news.”

“I already know.” Helen’s voice cracked, broken by the sharp edges of grief.

“How did you know?”

“The Garlands next door have a police scanner. She rushed over in her nightgown. They said everyone got out. Are you okay?”

Logan glanced behind her at Grey and counted the faces. The two women who’d been sitting closest to the door were there. The couple from out of town were huddled by their hotel door. Arvil leaned on a plastic chair, his face lit by the glow of the fire. He’d barely had time to make it out of the parking lot when it started. Now here he stood, his expressionless face tinted orange by the fire. Not even destruction could please the man. “Yeah. Everyone’s out. We’re across the street, in the motel parking lot. Grey grabbed Glen’s donation jar, but everything else…” Her mind was too busy, too scattered to count the toll. Like fireflies, the thoughts arrived and were gone, ungraspable. Her notebook. There were things at her apartment. The ledgers. A bar book. The rest of it gone.

“Should I come?”

“No. Definitely no.” Helen didn’t need to suffer the cold, and her spirit didn’t need to endure the vision of it. “The firemen are here and—”

“It’s all gone, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. I’m sorry. There wasn’t any time. It just came out of the back room and…Do you have insurance?” Would it cover lost wages? Logan couldn’t bear to ask.

“It’s not the best policy, but I’ll call them in the morning.” Helen sniffed through the phone. “You should go home and get out of the cold. Get a good night’s sleep.”

People came from town, lured by the flashing lights and sirens. They walked up the street in clumps and gathered to watch it burn, a landmark consumed by an insatiable inferno. The melting sign. The charred bricks. “Yeah. You’re right. I will in a bit. Talk to you tomorrow.”

Logan ended the call and tucked her phone back in her pocket. She wasn’t even cold. The warmth of the fire reached across the road.

“I lost my coat in there.” Logan spoke to no one, but Grey was still listening.

He stepped forward and stood at her side. “You can get another one.”

“I sacrificed a lot to get that coat. I’ve never been this poor in my life. I don’t know how I’ll replace it. I hated that thing. It was ugly, but at least it was warm. Snow boots don’t come cheap, either.” It was a stupid thing to focus on, the loss of her coat and boots, while watching her work burn to the ground. She was lucky and grateful to be safe. But complaining about her coat kept her mind off the loss and uncertainty, and it kept the tears from streaming down her cheeks. Another job might not be so easy to find, let alone another boss like Helen. Customers like Grey. People who didn’t want to eat her alive. She’d only just begun to put a life together behind that bar.

The fire raged across the street, loud and bright behind the flashing lights and idling engines of the fire trucks. Water rushed from hoses, but it wasn’t enough to save the place. It was more than enough, however, to fill Logan with gratitude for the people who fought to save her home. For making her realize she’d even felt that way at all.

“Insurance. They’ll wanna know what was lost. Make sure Helen tells them about your stuff.” Grey bumped her shoulder with his. It was a friendly gesture, meant to console her, and the only human contact she’d had since she hugged her mother and moved to Ramsbolt. Part of her wanted to crumple into him, to fall into a hug with anyone, any random stranger.

The flames did their best to battle the night sky, but they were no match for the dark. The firefighters doused the fire in what felt like no time at all. But when Logan checked her phone, three hours had passed by unnoticed. Unfelt. Nothing could penetrate the numbness. Around her, the people from town bounced on their heels, hands in their pockets. They sat in plastic Adirondack chairs scavenged from the hotel, blowing into their hands for warmth. Some dabbed at tears with sleeves and tissues. Others stared in disbelief. Murmurs and soft chatter washed right over her. They’d all lost a thing they loved, but Logan had lost the only thing she had. She was back where she started, with nothing to lose, a defiant girl with no skills and no promise.

Her old world had been full of easy fixes. Pick up a phone and call a lawyer, call a bank, make a request or a polite demand. Now, every solution seemed as distant as the stars, and the only thing on Logan’s side was the luck that went up in flames.

She shivered as the fire died out and the cold set in. Next to her, Grey cleared his throat. His words were soft, almost a whisper.

“That thing I was gonna tell you,” he said. “I signed you up for that bar competition. I feel kinda bad about it now.”

~~~

About the Author

A Maryland native and Pennsylvanian at heart, Jennifer M. Lane holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Barton College and a master’s in liberal arts with a focus on museum studies from the University of Delaware, where she wrote her thesis on the material culture of roadside memorials. She is the author of the award-winning novel Of Metal and Earth, of Stick Figures from Rockport, and the series of stand-alone novels from The Collected Stories of Ramsbolt, including Blood and Sand. Visit her website at https://www.jennifermlanewrites.com/.

 

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#CoverReveal “Marybeth, Hollister and Jane” by Vera Jane Cook

Woman’s Fiction, Cozy Mystery

Date Published: 9/28/20


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 A lust for beauty, a secret just waiting to be told and a diamond as seductive as the people around it. In the end, just who gets what?

 PreOrder

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AMAZON

~~~

About the Author

I am an award-winning hybrid author of southern and women’s Fiction, including Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Pleasant Day, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane and Lies a River Deep. As my alter ego, Olivia Hardy Ray my books include Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem, Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau, and Pharaoh’s Star. The first novel I ever wrote, Dancing Backward In Paradise, won an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and an Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction, 2007. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater and Dancing Backward in Paradise received 5 Star ForeWord Clarion Reviews and The Story of Sassy Sweetwater has been named a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. I have published in ESL Magazine, Christopher Street Magazine and I have also written early childhood curriculum for Weekly Reader and McGraw Hill.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

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RABT Book Tours & PR