#BookReview “Sweet Water” by Cara Reinard

January 1-31, 2021 Tour

Sweet Water cover

~~~

4/5 Stars!

Loving eyes can’t see.

But once the blinders come off, love cannot fix what is broken.

Sarah Ellsworth has a loving husband, two great sons, money, and the home of her dreams. But when she and her husband, Martin, find their son unconscious in the woods and his girlfriend dead, the lengths her wealthy in-laws go through to hide a crime send her reeling. But the shock wakes her up to twenty years of naive indulgence as she lived her fairytale. The situation also brings back the memory of another death and the truth behind it.

Trying to atone for her part in the coverup, Sarah searches for answers to her son, Finn’s involvement in the girl’s death, but Martin and his family and their connections are quickly rewriting their version of what happened. But Sarah wants the truth.

Motivated by guilt more than anything else, Sarah is still a determined character. Although I can’t help but feel it was too little, too late, I have to give her credit for persevering. More sins of the Ellsworth family come to light, and Sarah also has to admit to some inconvenient truths of her own.

A nicely woven tale of suspense where one man’s sense of privilege and callousness will connect and devastate three families and claim two lives.

Enjoy!

~~~

Synopsis:

What did her son do in the woods last night? Does a mother really want to know?

It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where they find Finn, injured, dazed, and weeping near his girlfriend’s dead body. Convinced he’s innocent, Sarah and Martin agree to protect their son at any cost and not report the crime.

But there are things Sarah finds hard to reconcile: a cover-up by Martin’s family that’s so unnervingly cold-blooded. Finn’s lies to the authorities are too comfortable, too proficient, not to arouse her suspicions. Even the secrets of the old house she lives in seem to be connected to the incident. As each troubling event unfolds, Sarah must decide how far she’ll go to save her perfect life.

Sweet Water Reviews:

“An unsparing account of ‘rich people problems’ that goes on forever, like all the best nightmares.” —Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thriller, Crime Fiction

Published by: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 1st 2021

Number of Pages: 364

ISBN: 1542024935 (ISBN13: 978-1542024938)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Tour Participants:

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

 

Enter To Win!!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cara Reinard. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through February 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 


#BookTour “Sweet Water” by Cara Reinard

January 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Sweet Water by Cara Reinard

What did her son do in the woods last night? Does a mother really want to know?

It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where they find Finn, injured, dazed, and weeping near his girlfriend’s dead body. Convinced he’s innocent, Sarah and Martin agree to protect their son at any cost and not report the crime.

But there are things Sarah finds hard to reconcile: a cover-up by Martin’s family that’s so unnervingly cold-blooded. Finn’s lies to the authorities are too comfortable, too proficient, not to arouse her suspicions. Even the secrets of the old house she lives in seem to be connected to the incident. As each troubling event unfolds, Sarah must decide how far she’ll go to save her perfect life.

Sweet Water Reviews:

“An unsparing account of ‘rich people problems’ that goes on forever, like all the best nightmares.” —Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thriller, Crime Fiction

Published by: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 1st 2021

Number of Pages: 364

ISBN: 1542024935 (ISBN13: 978-1542024938)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

 

I reach for my phone inside my purse slung around my neck. It’s dangling behind my back because I had nowhere else to put it while examining the body.

“Sarah, is she breathing?” Martin asks. I turn my head to find him, but it’s too dark.

I stumble, disoriented under the canopy of trees. We’re somewhere off Fern Hollow Road, the closest turnoff to Finn’s pinned iPhone location.

“I d-don’t know,” I sputter, still shocked we found her and not Finn when we parked the car and hiked the rest of the way into Sewickley Heights Park.

“Check her—now. I need to find Finn.” Martin’s voice fades into the forest, and all I want to do is follow him, but I just spoke to my son on the phone. His speech was slurred, and his girlfriend is . . .

“Oh God.” I open my mouth and let out a strangled breath, so sick that I sway to the side.

My eyes water as I kneel beside Yazmin Veltri, a girl I’ve known for only the briefest period. The wetness soaks through the holes in my jeans, settling into my bare kneecaps, ice on bone.

“Yazmin?” I shine my phone’s light in her direction, but I’m stopped by the certain hint of marijuana.

Shit. All these years working with at-risk young women, and I couldn’t see that Finn was dating one.

“Please,” I beg the starlit sky peeking through the trees. “Let her be breathing.”

I sniffle and inhale the truth through the rotting leaves. Something terrible has happened here, and I’m too late. The autumn mist snakes in through my nose, out through my mouth, emitting tiny white puffs of air.

The forest ground is slippery, a feathered blanket beneath my knees, slathering the tops of my shoes.

I hear more hurried footsteps. Martin sounds like a mouse lost in a maze. Has he found Finn? I need to go to him, but my husband told me to stay here.

The branches scratch the tops of my feet as I move closer to her, the fallen leaves collecting between my knees. Yazmin could still be alive. A bitter taste rises in my mouth as I bite my tongue, and I’m close enough to touch her now.

My arm trembles as I place two fingers on the cold flesh of her neck. Not only cold—wet. I can’t see what I’m touching, but I can feel her absence. Right below her jawline, in the space beside her trachea where I know a steady drumbeat should exist, there’s nothing.

No pulse. My heartbeat quickens and plummets. Oh God.

My blood is rushing. Pounding. I’m sweating despite the near-thirty-degree temperature. I dip my head closer to Yazmin’s chest, careful not to tangle my hair with hers. I’ve checked on my kids enough times in the middle of the night to know this girl’s not breathing. I shut my eyes and listen anyway.

Sure enough, the steady rise and fall of Yazmin’s chest is absent along with her pulse.

“She’s dead. We have to call the police,” I announce, loud enough for Martin to hear, but not nearly as loud as the screaming in my head.

Call somebody! Help!

I hear Martin crunch closer, and I turn my back on the girl.

I scoot up on my legs and use my hands to push myself into a crouching position. My breath is heavy, and everything on my body—my hands, my knees—rattles with fear. I hear a cry in the distance.

My son’s cry. And then Martin’s rustling footsteps. Beside me again.

“Where is he?” I ask.

“He’s okay, but . . .” Martin nods to the right. “He’s injured. We need to get him out of here, Sarah.”

“Okay,” I say, but I close my eyes because my head is a ringing bell of stress even though this wooded area is one of the things that drew me to this town. The park is near the country club where we’re members, where Martin’s family have been members for years, and things like this just don’t happen here.

“Let’s go, Sarah!” Martin urges.

My eyes snap open, and I hold up my phone. “Wait. I’m calling 911. For her.”

“No.” Martin swats my hand away with the flick of his strong knuckles. The blood on my palms makes everything slick, and my cell phone goes flying across the forest like a bar of soap in the shower. I slip sideways into a bramble of branches and land on my left hip, staring at my husband’s garish face in the moonlight. He looks unfamiliar, that expression one reserved for when he loses business at work, a rare occurrence. Martin is an innovator, his causes noble. Sometimes I don’t approve of how he does things, but I usually approve of why.

“Damn it.” Martin scrambles to find my phone. Right now, I don’t approve at all.

“Why did you do that?” I ask, but I’m more surprised that he’s hit me than I am by the fact that he doesn’t agree with my decision to call the police.

“It will get reported tomorrow. We need to leave with Finn. Now.”

“What? That makes no sense.”

Martin retrieves my phone, and I’m trying to get his attention, but he’s looking right past me at the gas pipeline in the distance, a clear-cut, inclined path free of foliage about a thousand yards long in the mountainous terrain. Martin and I messed around with sleds one winter on a protected slope of land just like it, and I think maybe Finn and Yazmin planned their own adventure out here tonight and something went terribly wrong.

“Martin.” I try to get up, but my foot slips on a mossy rock.

He grabs my arm. Then drops it. “Watch yourself,” he says, but he doesn’t help me rise. He’s too busy texting.

It’s then that I hear water rushing nearby. The river rocks are indigenous to this area, like everything else woodsy and serene in Sewickley.

Sewickley, the Shawnee word for sweet water, derived from the tribe’s belief that the borough’s shores were a little sweeter on that stretch of the Ohio River, the maple trees that grow at its shores only part of the saccharine story.

“Who’re you texting?” I’m crying and my hands are still wet, but I can’t wipe them. There’s blood all over my palms, and I can’t remember how it got there; head wounds bleed the worst.

“Hold on!” Martin is standing with his back to me now, holding his phone in the air like he’s trying to decide what to do with it, a six-foot silhouette of trepidation. He scratches his dark hair and rubs his cell phone on his sweater-vest, but he doesn’t use it to call anyone, only texts.

“I’m getting legal advice from my father,” Martin says.

His father?

I picture William Sr. texting back from the comfort of one of his high-back chairs inside his home, one of the few estates that make up Sewickley Heights like a richly woven patchwork quilt—the expensive kind sewn together with colonials surrounded by alabaster columns and mile-long driveways.

“Martin?”

William’s house is a fat-thatched Tudor hiding behind manicured bushes, a peek of white here, a slip of brown there, but there’s no hiding from this.

“Of course you have to report it!” I look again—at her—and the blood is already congealing around her open head wound, her neck bent at an awkward angle, a matchstick snapped in half. The rushing water streams just behind her.

Martin’s tugging on my coat. “Get up, Sarah. We have to go.”

“We can’t leave her.” Yazmin’s long black hair is covering the expression on her face, although the one I imagine is stuck there will haunt me more than the one I cannot see. She rests on her back, and it would be an odd way to fall, backward instead of forward, her hands crossed over her chest as if she were thwarting an attack. It reminds me of a tae kwon do block from when Finn used to take classes. We’d enrolled him when he was a child because he was painfully shy, whereas Spencer, his older brother, was frequently mentioned by his teachers as boisterous or exuberant, adjectives used in private schools to describe disruptive overachievers. I might expect Spencer to get into trouble with a girl like this, but not my poor Finny.

I turn toward Martin. He’s speaking, but I’ve stopped listening.

His eyes are pleading. “She’s dead. We can’t help her. Finn was the last person with her.”

“But—”

“He’s on something, Sarah. Drugs.” Martin shakes his head furiously. “This looks bad.”

I can hear what he’s saying, but I’ve retreated into my own body, and I don’t even know who we are right now.

We used to be Martin and Sarah Ellsworth of Blackburn Road.

We were the couple sitting at a corner table at a fancy restaurant, splitting a bottle of wine. Laughing at each other’s jokes.

“We have to do something for her.” My voice is swallowed by the humming sounds of the forest and the flapping of the leaves on the trees, the river. She’s already dead, but we need to make sure she’s at least taken to the hospital so her parents can identify her. Bile rises in my mouth. My heart is beating so fast, drowning out everything else, but I faintly hear Finn’s voice again nearby.

“I’m sorry.” Martin extends his arm to help me up, but I waggle my finger in the air at him, pointing to my hands, reminding my brainy husband that I’m bloodied and pulling me up isn’t a good idea. I must’ve made the mistake of touching Yazmin in the wrong place.

“Right.” He draws his palms back.

My legs won’t work. I gaze up, silently praying. The large enveloping trees of Sewickley Heights tower above us like old wealthy gatekeepers winking in the night.

“I need your help. I can’t move him on my own, Sarah,” Martin reveals.

I close my eyes, wishing it all away. It’s all a bad dream.

“Can we just make an anonymous call from a pay phone or something? For her parents’ sake, at least?”

“You can’t. They’ll try to interview Finn, see the drug use, and assume the worst. He’ll go to jail.” His voice is thick with desperation. “Sarah, this will ruin Finn’s life. This isn’t his fault!” Martin kicks a stone with his worn loafer, a product from one of the posh boutiques that line downtown Sewickley, a mishmash of overpriced things people don’t really need displayed in windowed storefronts on cobblestone streets. There’s a place to reupholster old furniture with patterns better left to die with their original owners, a claw-foot-tub specialist, an herbal spa with enough fresh fruit remedies to double as a bakery, the imported-leather-shoe store.

I bought Martin the shoes he has on now, and he’s worn them down to the soles. He’s practical, a computer engineer and CEO of a robotics start-up in the Strip District. He does things that make sense.

But right now, he’s not making any.

“Maybe she slipped.” My voice is shallow like the night air sneaking away from my lips, but the idea of an accident fills my heart with hope. “We’ll leave an anonymous tip.” If I had my phone, I’d call myself.

I’d explain this is exactly how we found her. She wasn’t even near our son when we discovered her body.

Unless . . . we’ve messed with the scene of the crime so much that we’ve hurt Finn more than helped him. I look down at my bloody hands and cringe. As far as we know, Finn is the last one who saw Yazmin alive. This could be very bad for him. “Shit.”

Martin grabs me by the arm. “We have to go, Sarah. Get up.” I can’t see much of Martin’s face but the stringy blue vein in his forehead that only comes out when he’s upset.

It’s been only minutes, but we need to move—faster.

“We need to go to him,” I say.

“Yes.” Martin nods.

I’m in shock. That’s what’s wrong with me. I blindly follow Martin, adrenaline fueling my limbs. Finn is off the beaten path, and I feel as though I’ve already failed him for taking so long. He’s huddled over a pile of leaves, his knees tucked into his chest like he used to do when he was a little kid. He looks so small right now.

So young.

A little boy who fell off his scooter and skinned his knee. I wish this problem were as easy to fix.

I wipe my hands on my jeans and throw my arms around him.

“I’m here. Mom’s here.” Finn’s crying and I don’t know how to make it better for him. He obviously didn’t mean for the girl to get hurt, but this was no accident either. He’s made a terrible mistake, gotten himself into a horrible predicament. So Finn did what we always told him to do if he was ever in trouble—he called us.

***

Excerpt from Sweet Water by Cara Reinard. Copyright 2021 by Cara Reinard. Reproduced with permission from Cara Reinard. All rights reserved.

 

Cara Reinard

Author Bio:

Cara Reinard is an author of women’s fiction and domestic. She currently lives north of Pittsburgh with her husband, two children, and Bernese mountain dog.

For more information, visit:
www.carareinard.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @CaraReinard
Twitter – @carareinard
Instagram – @carareinard
Facebook – Cara Reinard, Author

 

Tour Participants:

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

 

Enter To Win!!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cara Reinard. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through February 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 


#BookSale “Killing The Girl: A story of murder and redemption” by Elizabeth Hill

A perfect life, a perfect love – and a perfect murder.

For over forty years Carol Cage has been living as a recluse in her mansion, Oaktree House. Fear is her constant companion. She’s been keeping a secret – and it’s about to be unearthed.

When she receives a compulsory purchase order for her home, she knows that everyone is going to find out what she did to survive her darkest weeks in 1970. She writes her confession so that we can understand what happened because she wasn’t the only one living a lie. The events that turned her fairy-tale life into a living hell were not all they seemed.

She’s determined not to pay for the mistakes of others; if she has to face justice, then they will too.

Carol Cage has a terrible secret … and she’s about to exact retribution on everyone who had abandoned her.

NetGalley reviews for Killing The Girl


‘I was so entertained by this book. There was an unexpected soulfulness as many of us may be able to relate to an intense but doomed first love.’
‘I am sleep deprived from not being able to put it down’
‘This is a truly amazing book that I don’t know if I can describe it enough to give it the justice it deserves.
‘I am sorry Ms Hill, my review goes nowhere near giving enough credit for a beautiful book: it is thoroughly absorbing.’

99c / 99p thru August 31st

KINDLE UNLIMITED

AMAZON US


#FREE “Girl in Trouble (An Alex Mercer Thriller Book 1)” by Stacy Claflin

cover

~~~

Series Complete: Binge read today!

He gave up his daughter years ago, but now he’ll risk his life to save hers.

Alex Mercer is no stranger to kidnappings. The emotional scars still run deep from his sister’s disappearance years earlier. His daughter Ariana remains safe long after her adoption, and he cherishes the few times a year he gets to see her. The joy is palpable when he takes her on their first one-on-one outing. At least until he pauses to answer a text and Ariana disappears…

Wracked with guilt and determined to find answers, Alex teams up with an unlikely ally at the police department. As the clues reveal a pattern of missing girls, the kidnapping case becomes a race against time to save Ariana. What cost is Alex willing to pay to keep his daughter alive?

Girl in Trouble is the first book in a series of thrilling stand-alone novels spun off from the USA Today bestselling Gone Trilogy. If you like heart-pounding suspense, page-turning action, and characters you’ll never forget, then you’ll love Stacy Claflin’s engrossing new series.

Read Girl in Trouble today!

Goodreads

AMAZON

and all online retailers

~~~

#FREE “Killing Me Softly” by Bianca Sloane


“Best book I’ve read in a LONG time!” – Adam Croft, bestselling author of “Her Last Tomorrow.”

A shocking murder. A web of deceit. A twist even Hitchcock wouldn’t see coming.

It starts with a phone call – Sondra Ellis’ beautiful baby sister, Tracy, has disappeared during a jog along Chicago’s snowy lakefront.She’s even more devastated when Tracy’s mangled body is found days later, the victim of a mugging gone wrong.

A year later, Sondra continues to struggle with Tracy’s death. Her trauma deepens when she discovers series of odd and unsettling cracks in her sister’s seemingly perfect life: puzzling messages, inexplicable meetings, and secrets and lies at every turn.

As Sondra continues to dig into the mystery of what happened to her sister, she has no idea she’s on her own collision course with life and death.

For fans of Patricia Highsmith, Mary Higgins Clark, and Alfred Hitchcock, Killing Me Softly is a page-turning psychological thriller that will keep you up long past your bedtime.

Download Killing Me Softly today!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Smashwords


#BookReview “The Bellhop Only Stalks Once” by Cat Hickey

cover

~~~

An anonymous shrieking toddler and an annoying, overly attentive, flirtatious young bellhop not only interrupt a young woman’s morning yoga routine on the beach, but they’re just the beginning of the vacay-from-hell.

Chloe’s already on edge, proven when Cooper, the steadfast and dependable… and controlling and boring fiancé back home continues to intrude into her thoughts.

Determined to enjoy her Costa Rican getaway, Chloe pushes the negativity from her mind and goes on a guided tour of the island’s volcano trails a few hours away the next day.

However, during her outing, the pesky bellhop, Jaime, shows up again, waving his arms and calling her name. Perturbed, before Chloe can respond, Jaime disappears… without a trace. No one else saw Jaime. Not the park ranger or the resort employees escorting her, but they all discount anything serious happening to the errant bellhop.

Unable to shake her feelings of dread, especially after finding a pendant of Tlaloc—referred to by locals as the God of Death—on the spot where Jaime disappeared, Chloe’s fears are realized when other bellhops go missing from Club Pacifica and other surrounding resorts.

Before the mystery is solved, Chloe will make two new friends, confront a drug dealer, assault a chicken, take a mind-altering drug, become a prime suspect in the case, and develop feelings for one of the resort employees.

And Cooper shows up.

As Chloe plays private investigator, she’s also on a path to self-discovery. One she’s avoided for far too long… and may not live long enough to enjoy.

While I would have liked more details about Chloe’s backstory, her growth during the story made up for what I didn’t know. She’s surrounded by a great cast of characters who may or may not be worthy of her trust.

Despite the dark overtones of kidnapping, The Bellhop Only Stalks Once is a fun read. Well-written with a smooth pace, it was an easy one-sitting read as I needed to know “what happened next.” Mystery readers will enjoy Chloe’s journey.

Enjoy!

~~~

Lies, secrets, and a sinister plot hide in broad daylight at the heart of the Club Pacifica.

A beautiful tropical resort, exciting new friends, and a handsome guest liaison – it’s the perfect getaway for Chloe, a free-spirited Baltimore girl just getting to know herself. But the vacation of a lifetime quickly takes a dark turn when a young, overly flirty bellhop starts following her everywhere. It gets even worse when he disappears, and Chloe is the sole witness.

As bellhop after bellhop goes missing, she struggles to figure out what’s happening. When suspicion falls upon her, Chloe must not only try to rescue the kidnapped bellhops, but also to clear her name.

Complicating things further is the relationship she forms with Mateo, Club Pacifica’s guest liaison. Charming and easygoing, he is everything that her fiancé at home is not, and she finds herself fighting a growing attraction to him. But can he be trusted?

She soon discovers that she’s landed herself in a world of secrets, and, worse, that these are not just those of others, but also the secrets she keeps from herself.

Can she find her way through all the lies to finally discover the truth before it’s too late?

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/bellhop

~~~

full tour banner

~~~

#BlogTour “The Bellhop Only Stalks Once” by Cat Hickey

tour banner

~~~

cover

Lies, secrets, and a sinister plot hide in broad daylight at the heart of the Club Pacifica.

A beautiful tropical resort, exciting new friends, and a handsome guest liaison – it’s the perfect getaway for Chloe, a free-spirited Baltimore girl just getting to know herself. But the vacation of a lifetime quickly takes a dark turn when a young, overly flirty bellhop starts following her everywhere. It gets even worse when he disappears, and Chloe is the sole witness.

As bellhop after bellhop goes missing, she struggles to figure out what’s happening. When suspicion falls upon her, Chloe must not only try to rescue the kidnapped bellhops, but also to clear her name.

Complicating things further is the relationship she forms with Mateo, Club Pacifica’s guest liaison. Charming and easygoing, he is everything that her fiancé at home is not, and she finds herself fighting a growing attraction to him. But can he be trusted?

She soon discovers that she’s landed herself in a world of secrets, and, worse, that these are not just those of others, but also the secrets she keeps from herself.

Can she find her way through all the lies to finally discover the truth before it’s too late?

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/bellhop

~~~

Author BioCat Hickey

Cat Hickey has a Master’s degree in Biology, and teaches Anatomy and Physiology at a university in Baltimore, MD, USA. She writes light-hearted mysteries and thrillers that are based, partly, on her extensive travels around the world. She is also an avid yogi who teaches aerial yoga and practices aerial circus arts, and spends the rest of her time with her four rescue animals, which consist of three cats and a horse.

Social Media Links

Facebook     |     Twitter

~~~

full tour banner

~~~

#Featured “The Silent Surrogate: A Psychological Suspense Thriller” by N.L. Hinkens

cover

~~~

– A psychological thriller novella guaranteed to keep you gripped until the finish line! –

What if the perfect revenge was built on a lie?

After years of searching, Nora has finally tracked down the woman who destroyed her life. She rents the house next door under an assumed identity, but before she can put her plan for retribution into motion, the woman’s mysterious young lodger goes missing. As evidence of foul play mounts, a web of lies begins to unravel, and a shocked community is ripped apart. When the trail to the abductor leads to where no one imagined, Nora discovers that everyone is harboring secrets, and no one can be trusted.

With an innocent life at stake, and hopes for revenge fading fast, Nora faces a harrowing decision that will awaken the dark past she desperately wishes could be undone.

But will the truth she uncovers prove more shocking than the lies she has believed?

Will you enjoy The Silent Surrogate? If you read any of my favorite psychological and domestic suspense thriller authors including K.L. Slater, Shalini Boland, Adam Croft, Kathryn Croft, Lisa Gardner, Louise Jensen, or Rachel Caine, the answer is a resounding yes! (This is a novella-length read designed to introduce you to my psychological thrillers!)

KINDLE UNLIMITED

AMAZON US

~~~

#GuestPost “Landsliding” by Mandy Jameson

tour banner

~~~

~ Guest Post ~

by Mandy Jameson

Before being selected by Lightning Books to be part of their ebook series, Mandy JamesonLandsliding was self-published by me. During that process I learned the importance of having confidence in my novel – and if I hadn’t, I’d have given up a long time ago!

Initially, I followed the well-trodden path of sending the early chapters to literary agents in the hope that they’d be interested in the rest of the book. Each time I’d wait in agonised impatience for a positive response, but none came. Every agent gave me good feedback – they liked my writing, they thought the content would appeal to a wide audience – but nobody picked it up as a novel.

One time I was especially hopeful when I sent the first chapters of Landsliding along with a covering letter to an agent I’d seen speaking at a literary festival. She emailed back within 24 hours and my heart nearly leapt out of my mouth when I saw her name in my inbox; I was convinced she was writing to say she wanted to publish the novel.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. She certainly liked it – her message was full of compliments about my writing style – but said that the book wasn’t quite what her agency was looking for at that time. My disappointment was intense but I was determined to keep going.

I’d already had to learn resilience when a fellow member of my writing group voiced her opinion about the first chapter of Landsliding. Within the group we would review each other’s work on a regular basis and gave our views in a frank yet careful way. Nearly everyone was polite and would veil any criticism with a balancing amount of compliments – but not this person.

She told me the first chapter was ‘boring’ and the characters didn’t interest her. I bit back my instinctive reply – which was to tell her she was wrong – and managed to keep smiling despite a temptation to burst into tears. Luckily nobody else in the group agreed with her and I soon realised that the occasional negative response is part of being an author. Not everyone can like your work.

So when the publishing world didn’t show immediate interest in Landsliding I had to stick to the courage of my convictions: that it was a strong, interesting story that would appeal to a wide audience. That’s when I decided to self-publish – and when the five star reviews started coming in, I was thoroughly relieved.

At times, though, my resilience was tested to the limit. One such occasion was a book fair attended by some of the dreariest people I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. I sat stoically at my stall, trying to look unconcerned as the attendees drifted past, showing no interest in my book (or anybody else’s) and even less interest in me.

On the rare occasion that somebody stopped at the stall, it was to request the name of a good local restaurant or to confirm the quickest way to M&S. Do you realise you’re at a book fair?, I wanted to ask. One woman – who did ask what my novel was about – yawned ostentatiously as I was telling her, then walked off without saying any more. I wanted to cry.

Fortunately my belief in the book paid off. When Lightning Books said they wanted to publish Landsliding as part of their first e-series, I was so happy. The stress of awaiting a positive response from an agent; the indignity of being told my story was boring; the tolerance I had to show at that book fair – it was all worth it.

Now I’m writing my second novel and no doubt the process will start all over again. This time, though, I know what to expect!

~~~

cover

When Julia’s husband leaves her, and their small son Matty, to live with another woman, her friends, especially Caroline and Vick, rally round to help. But when Julia starts a new relationship, after a chance meeting, her friends are not quite as supportive.

Julia sees Brendan, the quietly spoken IT guy who comes round to fix her computer, as a loving and protective man and, as time passes, a potential father figure for Matty. Caroline and Vick, on the other hand, see him as jealous, controlling and potentially dangerous. He appears to be a man with a secret past.

What her friends don’t know is that Julia has secrets of her own which, if they get out, will almost certainly shatter her fragile domestic bliss.

Landsliding is a compelling drama that turns your expectations on their head with a subtle twist that will leave you wondering where your sympathies lie.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

~~~

About Mandy Jameson

Originally from Manchester, Mandy Jameson spent ten years living in southwest France where Landsliding, her first novel, was written with the encouragement of a prolific writing group.

Now settled in Sussex with her daughter, her passions include football, chocolate and walking on the Downs.

She is working on her second novel.

Twitter

~~~

full tour banner

#BookBlitz “A Fool’s Circle” by Suzanne Seddon

AFoolsCircle

Welcome to the super huge, A Fool’s Circle MEGA giveaway!!! Check out this amazing Domestic Thriller by Suzanne Seddon, and enter to win this fantastic haul!

unnamedA Fool’s Circle

Publication Date: March 17th, 2019

Genre: Thriller/ Domestic Thriller/ Suspense

Kate Sanders has suffered many years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abusive husband Alan, and convinces herself that she is only holding the family together for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter. If it wasn’t for her best friend Jill Reynolds, she would have taken the suicide option a long time ago.

As she desperately seeks a way to escape, she is contacted by a solicitor. Kate’s old aunt has died and she has been left a small fortune.

For the first time, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She dreams of a fresh start, a new home, a new life. What Kate doesn’t know is that Jill and Alan have their own secrets, and are both desperate to get their hands on her money.

Kate soon finds herself falling for the charms of Jonathon Jacobs in what she believes to be fate finally intervening and offering her a second chance, unaware that each move he makes has been directed, orchestrated and well-rehearsed as he begs her to leave her husband Alan.

But is it all too late, as she finds herself in the frame for murder?

Add to Goodreads

Amazon US| Amazon GER | Amazon UK | Amazon India

~~~

Excerpt

 Chapter 1

A blonde head bounced on the floor in time to the yelling. Rays of the early morning sun caught her golden hair, and motes of dust hung in the air. Sophie Saunders was eight years old. Kneeling down on the floor, she played with her dolls, drumming Ken and Barbie against the carpet, her body bent forward, almost as if she were praying in her immaculately clean and pressed school uniform. But today her school uniform was the last thing on her mind. She bashed the dolls’ heads off the pink floor in unison.

‘Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie,’ she sang aloud to herself as she tried to drown out the voices that rose up through the floorboards.

The noises from downstairs were a regular occurrence, and fast becoming the norm. Sophie felt her dad’s anger, ever-present in his voice as it vibrated through her bedroom, positioned over the kitchen. Scared, she dropped her dolls, raising her arms and clasping her small hands over her ears. Sophie closed her eyes. Blinded, she felt for Barbie and Ken and gripped the toys by the legs. With one in each hand, she remained still for a moment, and as the voices intensified beneath her, she sensed them possessing the dolls.

‘You’re an old bag. I hate you!’ Sophie’s voice was deep and rough, as she rammed Ken’s head into Barbie’s chest.

‘Why are you always so nasty to me?’ She raised the pitch of her voice as she shook the dolls hard.

‘Because you make me want to vomit when I look at your fat ugly face,’ she growled.

‘Please stop being so cruel to me,’ she enunciated.

‘Who do you think you are? Don’t you dare tell me what to do, bitch!’

With each word, she struck Ken against Barbie, again and again, until finally Barbie’s head popped off and rolled across the carpet.

That hadn’t been her intention. She didn’t mean to decapitate the poor doll. Shocked, she stood up as she searched for the missing head. She found it under the bedside cabinet at the back, by the wall. She crouched down, stretched out her arm and grabbed it. Sophie sat up on her knees, struggling to reattach the plastic head to its body.

 

‘Bloody shit! Why won’t it go on?’ The racket from below grew ever louder. ‘Bloody shit.’ Frustrated, she gave up, and flung the dolls across the room.

Downstairs, her father, Alan, almost lost his head. He shouted louder as his wife, Kate, persisted as the peacemaker.

‘As useless as a one-legged woman in an arse- kicking contest.’

His voice echoed around the large stark white room, drowning out the soothing music from the old radio sitting on the window ledge.

‘You’re one useless bastard!’ The barrage of abuse had just hit average level.

‘Fucking useless.’ The kitchen had seen better days, as had their marriage, but Kate worked hard to keep both spotless and functional.

‘Can you hear me?’ She strived hard at everything, as she had for a lifetime.

‘Hello? Is there anyone home?’ However, her efforts now went unnoticed or drew heavy criticism for no reason.

‘I’m fucking talking to you, whore.’ She knew only too well what was about to come her way, as she moved the blonde strand of hair out of her blue eyes and concentrated. She placed the boiled egg safely into its cup.

‘Where’s this fucking breakfast, for fuck’s sake?’

She reached out her arm, picked up the knife and, clenching it tight in her hand, she decapitated the top of the egg.

‘I can hear you, Alan.’ The toast was the light side of brown, just as he liked it, but who knew these days? ‘There’s no point keeping on at me, shouting. I can’t go any faster.’

She set the breakfast plate before Alan. His face was dark and menacing—the antithesis of the light sense of fun that had been knocked out of her.

‘About fucking time. Talk about slow. You’re like a human fucking sloth.’

 

After ten years together, she found it more of a challenge to stay positive. Alan had turned negativity into a vocation.

‘What the flying fuck is this?’ She stared at the top of his head, bristling with the military-style haircut he’d had since he was a child, raised by an army commander who gave no quarter.

‘Do you seriously expect me to eat this fucking lot of shite?’ Alan had adopted the same rank in the family, but hadn’t served a moment in the services. ‘All these years, and you still can’t boil a fucking egg? I mean, it’s not fucking rocket science.’ She watched him as he snarled at her. ‘You’ve got to be having some sort of a laugh.’

He pushed the plate away with such force, it shot forward and hit the condiment pots. Kate flinched as the sharp noise pierced her ears. ‘Why, what’s wrong with it now?’ She clenched her fists as her body shook. Her nerves were all on the surface, as he mocked her and revelled in her fear.

‘What’s bloody wrong with it? It’s the wrong colour, undercooked and looks like my fucking snot. You really are a fucking retard!’

 

She watched as his sneer took what used to be a pleasantly rugged face – a lifetime ago – and warped it monstrously.

‘Well, I can do another for you, if you like. It won’t take me a minute!’

She tried her hardest to stay calm, fearful of what might come next.

 

‘That’s how long I think you boiled that one for, a fucking minute, so what’s the bloody point? You’ll only mess it up again, you thick tart.’ Kate, petrified, noticed the pure evil as it manifested once again across his face.

‘You’re miles away these days. Maybe you should go see a doctor and get some happy pills from him. For fuck’s sake, you can’t even time an egg.’ Once again defeated, she bit her lip and her voice broke.

‘Well, I did boil it for three minutes.’ She watched his face as it reddened. She knew the inevitable was about to happen, and wished it over and done with.

‘Yeah, yeah. Let’s face it, darling, you’re no good at cooking, no good in bed—in fact, you’re no good at fucking anything really. I bloody dread mealtimes in this house.’

The victorious grin that had taken residence across his smug face frightened her.

‘I try my best, Alan, I really do.’ Kate’s voice sounded weak. Alan fed off her vulnerability as he chipped away at her. He cranked up the volume another notch.

‘You really are a fucking retard. You’re trying to poison me with salmonella.’ Alan stretched out his arm, picking up the boiled egg. Terrified, she eyed him as he gripped it tightly in his hand. ‘Trying to do me in with food poisoning, are you?’

Kate jerked as he lobbed the egg towards her, raising her arm, shielding it from her face as it side-swiped her head. She tried to pick fragments of sticky shell out of her hair.

‘That’s what I think about your boiled eggs. Now go and fucking clean it up!’

She decided the best defence was to stay silent. Terrified, she turned her back on him, and tried to disappear into the background.

‘Don’t turn your back on me, I’m fucking talking to you! You’re one ignorant bitch. Don’t you dare fucking ignore me!’

She closed her eyes tight and gritted her teeth, trying hard to remain calm.

‘I’m not ignoring you. I’m trying to get Sophie’s breakfast ready or she’ll be late for school.’

Her smooth tone stoked his fury more. ‘I don’t even know why I fucking married you. I could’ve done so much better. My parents were right on the money when they said I married down. An army bigwig and a doctor they were, and what are you? A washed-up failed actress, a shit teacher, and a poor excuse for a fucking wife.’

She ignored him as the vile comments became more and more aggressive.

‘I mean, have you taken a fucking good look at yourself lately?’

He rotated his chair towards her. She watched him in terror as he looked her up and down like he’d just stepped in a massive turd.

‘Please don’t, Alan. Please don’t start again today.’

She arranged the plate of food as fast as she could. Jumpy and exasperated, she picked up the tea towel from the draining board and wiped the edges clean, as he continued to mock her.

‘“Please don’t, Alan – please don’t, Alan.” Can you hear yourself, Kate?’

The onslaught continued towards danger point.

‘You’ve really let yourself go over the years. You need to get yourself to the fucking gym and start exercising. I married a woman, not a lard arse. Just look at you!’

She was tall and well-proportioned. If Alan wanted an anorexic model, he was living in cloud cuckoo land – and the wrong neighbourhood.

‘Oh, for crying out loud, Alan.’ Her adrenalin kicked in, and she snapped out of her former resignation. She threw down the tea towel on the worktop. ‘I do exercise, Alan, when I have the time!’

‘Ha! Are you having a fucking bubble? You keep telling yourself that. You’re a silly stupid fat tart. You should take a leaf out of your friend Jill’s book. Now she looks great. Perfect little figure, and a great pair of tits!’

He did nothing to hide the wicked grin that was plastered across his face, or his semi- erection. Watching him, repulsed, she tried logic. ‘Well, Jill hasn’t got any children to worry about, or a husband for that matter, so she has more time on her hands than I bloody well do.’

She continued to busy herself, reaching into the cupboard next to her and removing a plate.

‘Excuses, Kate, always bloody excuses with you! Don’t you know the truth always comes out? Mind you, you wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and took a bite-sized chunk out of your big fat fucking arse, you thick bitch.’

Her stomach churned. She didn’t want another fight. Against her better judgement, she apologised. ‘I’m sorry about the egg, Alan, I really am, but do you have to do this now? Sophie will be down for her breakfast any minute.’

She showed him Sophie’s plate. Desperate, she reminded him of their daughter’s existence. Kate was taken aback as she heard the almighty roar that bellowed out of his mouth.

‘Who the fuck do you think you are? You think you can tell me what I can and cannot do in my own house!’

The house belonged to both of them, a wedding gift from his parents, but she wasn’t about to argue the toss about that now.

‘Please, Alan, Sophie will hear you. It’s not fair she has to listen to this day in, day out. Do you not think about what this is doing to her? She’s your daughter, for heaven’s sake.’

She hated the sound of her weak voice. ‘Well, that’s fucking debatable.’ Sickened, Kate watched him as he swayed in his chair like a hypnotised cobra. A dreary Coldplay song rang out on the radio.

‘I don’t give a toss about you or your fucking daughter.’

The saliva flew in all directions across the kitchen, as he continued to spit more venom in her direction.

‘It’s my fucking house, my rules. Anyway, look at you. And what’s that on your face? Is that make-up and lipstick you’re wearing? Where do you think you’re going today with all that crap on your face? You look like a washed- up old whore!’

She was frozen to the spot, and the colour drained fast from her face.

‘It’s just pink lip gloss, for goodness sake. What the hell’s wrong with you?’

His eyes bulged from their sockets like a bullfrog’s, his tongue sharp like a flickering whip, as he leapt from his chair and grabbed her firmly by the hair. ‘Lip gloss, my arse.’ She fought hard to hold on to Sophie’s plate as he ground his thumb into her mouth and smeared the tacky pink gloss across her cheek.

‘Ha! That’s more like it! As if lipstick or lip gloss is going to help you.’

She felt the sting as the palm of his hand connected hard against her cheek. He picked up the dirty tea towel.

‘Please, Alan, stop this.’ He rubbed it hard across her flushed skin. Kate, struggling to breathe, heard the crash as the plate fell to the floor.

‘Look at the tea towel, cunt. It’s fucking make-up. Stop fucking lying to me!’

She could smell the remnants of the stale booze on his breath, which made her heave. ‘I’m not lying.’ She struggled hard to pull away from him, her eyes drawn towards the doorway. She noticed Sophie standing there, her perfect angelic face pale and in shock.

‘Go away!’ Kate mouthed to her terrified daughter.

‘What was that, bitch? Are you talking back to me again?’

She felt the sharp pain hit, as he punched her hard in the stomach. As Kate fell to her knees, she heard Sophie’s voice.

‘Leave my mummy alone!’ Kate looked up at him, and at the same time his expressive dark eyes narrowed. Alan turned around and faced his daughter.

‘Oh, it’s you! Have you seen your mother? Doesn’t she look like a cheap whore? This is what you’ll look like one day if you let yourself turn into a sack of shit like her!’

He hoisted Kate up from the floor by her hair, on to her feet, and slapped her viciously again across her cheek.

She screamed. ‘Get out, Sophie! Get out!’ Kate watched Sophie as she turned around and raced from the kitchen in floods of tears. She pleaded with him:

‘Alan, please stop this! Please!’ She stumbled as he pushed her hard into the side of the Formica worktop. Unsteady on her feet, she reached out with both hands and gripped on to it.

‘You’re lucky I’ve got things to do today and that I don’t have to spend another minute looking at your gormless fucking mug!’

She watched as he grabbed his jacket off the back of the kitchen chair and threw it across his right shoulder.

‘What have I told you about lying, Kate?’ She saw the triumphant expression on his face as he left the kitchen and whistled down the hallway. Kate listened out as he opened the front door, and jumped as she heard his voice again.

‘Make sure you clean up all the mess and scrape all that raw egg off those bloody tiles.’

She closed her eyes for a split second and there came another almighty loud bang as the front door slammed shut behind him. Kate’s whole body trembled with this aftershock.

‘God help me,’ she said to herself. She crawled across the kitchen floor, picked up the newspaper off the chair and gathered the food and shards of broken plate onto it as she chanted to herself.

~~~

Now the giveaway!!!

20190908_122024

First Prize

A signed copy of A Fool’s Circle

$10 amazon gift card

A Fool’s Circle – fridge magnet

A Fool’s Circle– Keyring

A Fool’s Circle – makeup bag

A Fool’s Circle – 6 pack of red pencils

A Fool’s Circle – Pen

A Fool’s Circle – wooden book mark

3 Note books

1 sequin pencil case

7 piece makeup brush set

Rituals…50ml Zensational foaming shower gel

Rituals…#HOLIAWESOME gift set containing

Playable foaming shower gel 50ml

Crackling body mousee 50ml

1 shower Pom Pom

5 assorted 7th heaven face masks

3 assorted 38g Lindt Lindor chocolate bars

Second Prize

Digital Copies of A Fool’s Circle

Incredible right? AND this giveaway is open to EVERYONE!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~

About the Author

18702441

Suzanne Seddon was born in 1968 in Islington, London. After leaving school she had many interesting jobs, from swimming teacher to air hostess, and was able to travel the globe. Now a single mum to her teenage daughter Poppy-willow, Suzanne spends her days writing and has written several articles for magazines and newspapers.

Growing up, Suzanne witnessed mental and physical abuse within her own family which strongly influenced her when she wrote her first play, A Fool’s Circle, when she attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre. Suzanne, however, was not content to leave it there and decided to go ahead and transform her play into a novel.

Not one to shy away from exciting challenges, she also wrote, acted, directed, cast and produced a trailer for the book around her hometown in Islington with the support of local businesses, who recognised the drive and importance of Suzanne and her work.

Suzanne is a passionate writer and she is determined to be heard so that the issue of domestic abuse is raised amongst the public’s consciousness, empowering others to speak out. She wants those who suffer at the hands of another to have their voices heard, loud and clear.

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&RButto200x200

R&R Book Tours