Friday, May 26, 2017

Featured on Romance with Heart blog. New Release from Tamara White. Grayson, Shattered Existence, Book 1



Unable to shake off her past and the destruction colorism played in her childhood, Grayson returns to Lakeland in an attempt to reconcile her past.

BLURB

The Harrow family is a family that has spent generations hiding behind the illusion of perfection and lineage. Grayson thought she had escaped the dysfunction of the Harrow Family until the shock of an unplanned pregnancy forced her to return to Lakeland. Grayson must confront her color struck mother, Vivianna, about her childhood at Lakeland and the real reason why her biological father was never apart of her life. Grayson learns how twisted her mother’s version of love is, and how the truth is more complex than she could have ever imagined. Her husband David is there to support her every step of the way, and when Grayson reconnects with her sister, Gigi, she learns the price Gigi paid for being their mother’s favorite.


EXCERPT

Grayson took a moment to soak up the quietness of the afternoon before they headed inside. The country air tickled her nose. Grayson had forgotten how clean air could smell. The sweet smell of the honeysuckle lingered over the slight breeze and settled her stomach as it occupied her lungs. She enjoyed how the crisp air danced on her skin, and brushed away the city of Boston's lingering aroma. Grayson turned her eyes towards the estate she had grown up in, and saw Lakeland in a way she never had before.
The unusually harsh winters over the past few years had abused the hand-made clay shingles and caused a distinct discoloration. The landscaping was neat, but not kept to the same standard it had been when her grandfather was alive. Grayson knew her grandfather would have never allowed the forsythia bushes to expand and move about the grounds freely. He would have demanded the gardeners control the beautifully bright yellow shrubberies and conform them to the Harrow standard. Wild is for the wilderness, Grayson's grandfather would have said. Grayson smiled at the absence of the ancient oak tree she'd fallen out of when she was ten. The enormous oak tree with the giant knock hole had shaded her bedroom, and helped her sneak out when she was sixteen to Elizabeth Brownsworth's end of the year party. The white washed bricks demanded a thorough cleaning, and the cliché, Gone with the Wind pillars pleaded desperately for a fresh coat of cloud white paint. Lakeland looked miserable. It was as if Lakeland knew her final chapter was already written.
"Lakeland is really showing her years." Grayson stared at the midnight black, heavily ornate front door with the bulky lion head doorknocker, and equally obnoxious doorknob she swore she'd never enter again, every time she walked out. Grayson picked up her laptop bag and started her pilgrimage towards her past.
"Relax," David whispered from behind her. "Everything is going to be fine."
Her mother, Vivianna, opened the front door and stood in the archway like a Grand Duchess impatiently awaiting the arrival of her audience. "Grayson, put the bag down!" she snapped in an egotistical tone. "We don't carry our bags. We have them carried. Has city life caused you to abandon your upbringing? Ladies of means do not carry bags."
Five seconds. That's how long it took Grayson to go from a strong, accounting firm executive, to the shy, chocolate-skinned, frizzy haired, correction-shoe girl of her past.
"Mother," Grayson retorted in the stiff flat tone she reserved for addressing Vivianna. "So nice to see―"
"Never mind all that." Vivianna motioned them towards the front door. "Inside quickly. No need for some of us to get any darker than we already are, darling." Vivianna paused in the foyer to admire her creamy beige skin in the mirror before entering the sitting room. She never passed on an opportunity to admire what she perceived as her greatness. "Grayson, I don't see how you're able to endure. I don't know what I would do if my skin was permanently darkened by the sun." The physical differences in Vivianna and Grayson went beyond skin tone. Vivianna was thin in stature. She never had an issue maintaining a hundred and ten pounds on her five foot three frame. Her nose was narrow, her lips thin, and her eyes were almond shaped. People, mostly women, assumed her green eyes were fake, but they were indeed real. Vivianna was everything a color-complex struck Black man found irresistible. She was their must-have. Grayson, on the other hand, possessed curves for days, full lips, and a round face with a button nose to match her high cheekbones. She had the type of body hip-hop artists paid homage to in their lyrics, minus the chocolate-colored skin.
"Come, Grayson ... sit. I want to know how things are going. Was the flight enjoyable? I hope you flew first class. I've heard people in coach can have an odor to them."
Grayson rolled her eyes behind Vivianna's back. And so it begins...


REVIEW:

Grayson
By Tamar White
5 Stars
Reviewed by G. Lloyd Helm

Grayson is a book about family history, secrets, and rivalries. Families can be complicated enough, but if you mix in race and egotism they become even more so. Grayson explores the connections between mothers and daughters and what daughters don't know about mothers and mothers don't know about daughters. Each character is keeping explosive secrets in this story, from who is whose father and who is actually related to whom and, more interestingly, why the characters are so at odds.

I can't say I enjoyed this book, but I was awed by the Ms. White's ability to make her characters come right off the page. She is a hell of a writer. It was well worth the read for the people in it.




AUTHOR BIO:

Tamara White is married and lives in Illinois with her husband, children and dogs. She enjoys photography and reading.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Release Tank By Erin Bevan

New release Tank

By Erin Bevan



Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He's intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter. 
Annie’s the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can’t wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie’s engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie’s abuser and intended husband is also the town’s Chief of Police.
Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread.

Excerpt:

The sun seared Tyler’s back, causing sweat to pour down the length of his spine and his T-shirt to stick to his skin. Nothing like the gulf coast humidity to make a man feel as if he was frying from the inside out.

Rose bushes around the town square bloomed giant Pepto-Bismol pink petals, while a gentleman in blue overalls tended to the flowers like they were his babies. Tossing a wave to the man, he rounded the corner on Holly Drive and parked his bike in front of Sandi’s, the local diner. The undercurrent scent of flowers, bacon, and fried donuts drifted in the air. Man heaven. Except for the flowery part. He’d driven by the diner everyday for two weeks but had yet to pop in. If the food tasted as good as it smelled he might have to make this place a regular hang out.

He pushed through the heavy wooden door as a bell rang overhead. Weaving around customers, all giving him a curious stare, he strolled up to the takeout cash register. Glass cases filled with donuts and the biggest kolaches he’d ever seen stared back at him. His stomach growled.

He eyed the case, his mouth watering, as he waited on a server to notice him.
“Be right there,” a tall, shapely blonde called out from across the restaurant as she handed another table their check. He’d been wrong. To hell with the donuts and bacon. She was man heaven.

A few escaped strands from her ponytail framed her face, and the closer she got to him the darker the black circles under her eyes appeared.

A spark of recognition fired in his brain while an equally hot spark ignited a red flag in his gut. It wasn’t her slightly unkempt hair or her pure look of exhaustion that rubbed him the wrong way. Despite all of that, she was still beautiful.

But her clothes. Her clothes had his head reeling.

She wore long sleeves.

In June.

In Texas.

“What can I get you?” The beauty stared up at him.

He shook off the strange feeling. A bead of sweat dripped down her forehead, fell onto her chest, and into her shirt. Her nametag was positioned right by the tantalizing skin of her chest. Annie.

Mercy.

He glanced down at the donut case. Stare at the food, big guy.

I need two dozen glazed donuts, two dozen chocolate, and a dozen sausage kolaches.”

“Got a lot to feed?” Annie grabbed a box from the counter behind her and placed it on top of the glass case in front of him.

“Yeah, Donut Day, or so I was told. It’s my turn to bring breakfast, and there’s about a dozen mechanics over at Rakes expecting it.”

“Rakes? You must be new,” a redheaded waitress noted as she rounded the corner and filled a customer’s coffee cup. While she was cute, she had a wet-behind-the-ears look to her. He’d stick with Beauty.

He nodded. “I am.”

“I’ve got your table seven covered while you do this, Annie. No big deal.”

“Thanks, Gina.” The blonde smiled at the redhead before returning her attention back to him. “I’ve brought my car to Rakes a few times, and I’ve never seen you.” Beauty grabbed a towel from the counter to wipe the sweat off her forehead, then dabbed her chest near a gold locket that hugged her collarbone.

Shit.

Her tasseled hair seemed sexier the more she dabbed. He’d never been as jealous of a towel in his whole life, the cotton fibers taunting him with their task.

He averted his gaze from the towel and her amazing chest before she labeled him a pervert. Not exactly the reputation he wanted for his new life.

“I’m sad I didn’t get to work on your car.”
God, what a horrible pick-up line. She probably thought he was a giant perv and a complete moron.

She flashed him a half-smile that burned his insides. The diamond on her finger nearly blinded him as she brushed a stray strand from her forehead. The fire inside of him fizzled out like baking soda to a grease fire.

He forced a grin then shot his gaze down to the pastry case.

“Though, I will say…” She tossed the towel aside and stared at him. “Something about your face looks oddly familiar.”

Me? Familiar?

He glanced back up. “Yours does, too, but I don’t really see how.” The spark in his brain burned brighter the more he stared at her.

“Are you from here, or is your family from here?”

“I’m not, but my grandpa was. He lived in a cabin about ten miles outside of town.”

“By Virginia Creek, right? Mr. Wooly.” Her smile grew. “Yeah, you used to come visit him. You guys would go fishing.”

“How’d you know?” He’d never talked to anyone when he came to visit his grandpa. He’d stayed in the woods, hidden and safe. Or at least, that’s how he’d felt.

He stared at her a bit longer. The blue in her eyes reignited a small light of recognition.

Could it be?
“I remember you.” She grabbed a pair of tongs off the counter top. “I used to play out by the water, and I would see you across the creek casting your line. You taught me how to skip rocks one day.”

Moments of his past flashed across his mind. It was her.

The girl across the water.


Bio:

Six years ago and nothing more than a desperate housewife, Erin Bevan began her writing journey.

As a child, reading and writing were her nemeses. It wasn’t until she found herself almost utterly alone, in a different country, that she took up the act of reading for enjoyment. Her passion for writing was born not by reading the old classics, but by reading many new tried and true authors of today: Nora Roberts, Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Tracy Brogan to name a few.

Clinging to books for friends in a land where not many spoke the English language, she found a secret passion she didn’t know existed inside of her. With nothing more than time on her hands, she honed in on the craft of writing until she finally worked up enough courage to let other people read her stories.

She spends most of her time juggling her three little people and trying to keep everyone’s lives flowing as smoothly as possible. When she isn’t using her super powers to wipe sticky goo from her children’s faces, she spends a little time dabbling in her writing career.

Connect with Erin Bevan online.
www.erinbevan.com
 www.facebook.com/erinbevanwrites

Buy Link:


Friday, April 14, 2017

Romance with Heart. New release called June, Many a Moon, Book Two by Alicia Stone

JUNE
 Book Two Many a Moon

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

REVIEW:

June

By Alicia Stone

A review by Jeffrey Ross

5 Stars

This is a world-class piece of literature—a finely crafted book that combines several genres successfully. On one level, June functions as an academic or campus novel—much of the text revolves around the detailed, complicated, scholarly world of Professor Perry’s anthropological research and love affair machinations. It also has robust elements of a detective story when super-sleuth David outs a cheating husband. But June most significantly and boldly illuminates a woman’s “sensual” coming of age (somewhat like Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening) as heroine Cassie begins to unshackle herself from a life of emotional servitude and learns to love again. As a writer, I was humbled by the workmanship and power of this novel. Read June—you will never forget the story.



TAGLINE

Living a lie in a web of deceit, Cassandra finds the courage to challenge her controlling husband.

BLURB

Living a lie in a web of deceit, Cassandra finds the courage to challenge her controlling husband. She sets in motion a tragic chain of events that leads her across Europe from the medieval city of Tallinn to the showboating glamour of Nice. Cast aside and the victim of cruel revenge, Cassandra fights for her future and discovers she is not alone. Her new-found strength is tested to its limits, for where love is concerned there is often a reckoning.


EXCERPT

Women's toilets, a curious place for confidences. Strangers become acquainted in the queue for the loo. Teenage girls discuss conquests as they hog mirrors, applying make-up. Cassandra had once seen a laughing group of Japanese women roll their trousers to their knees, fastidious in their preparation for a Western bathroom experience. She would have given much to understand their chatter. Quite extraordinary what she overheard about people's lives in toilets, but this was gossip, and the gossip was about her. She knew these voices, Malory Jacque and Miranda Pym.
"Of course Cassandra's very nice. Oh, Lord. No paper. For heaven's sake. A hotel of this repute. I shall speak to the manager. Andrew knows him from cricket."
"Hang on. I'll pass some under the door. Lord, this reminds me of school."
Cassandra heard scuffles and giggles.
"She's pleasant…easy-going in that reserved sort of way. Good for dinner parties."
"Thanks. Oh yes. Marvellous. Pop her next to anyone. She's sort of…you know…"
"Neutral? A foil?"
"That's it. Rather beige."
Cassandra froze in her cubicle. The toilets flushed and the voices moved over to the wash-hand basins.
"Oh, no. Would you look at that? They've changed the hand cream. I always liked the wild heather. This won't do."
A blast from the hand driers drowned any further eavesdropping. The door swung open; there was a clack of heels…
"But when you consider the husband…"
The door closed.
Cassandra waited for a moment before waving her hand at the automatic flush and coming out. Standing before the mirror, she remembered what Perry had said at breakfast.
"Sweetheart. Do you think that shade of blue suits you? Book club today isn't it? You've never worn the cashmere I brought you from Cairo. I found it in your closet the other day."
She had poured his coffee, put another round of toast in the retro Italian toaster, and slipped into their bedroom. The unopened duty-free bag stood upright in the bottom of the 'hers' wardrobe. Shrugging off the blouse chosen earlier, she removed the ribbon tag from her gift and pulled the soft jumper over her head, making for the kitchen.
"Pussy-cat, lovely. Want to stroke you." He didn't. Instead, Perry was out of his seat even as she offered more toast.
"Carbs, Cassandra, carbs. Got to look after the waistline." He held his stomach in and blew her a routine kiss, but she was already moving towards the sink.
Would the puff of air reach the cupboard housing the seldom-used twelve-place dinner service, or would the vapour simply dissipate mid kitchen, she wondered.
"Late tonight, some of the faculty…a little do. Back on the Nine o'clock. Have fun with the ladies."
Cassandra had dropped the toast into the bin and stared out of the window. Next-door's cat had emerged from a clump of daisies and shuddered, the tail bolt upright. Cassandra loathed cats, especially when they treated her garden as their personal litter tray. He, for the cat was a Tom, was the same shade of grey as her jumper.
Now she was staring at the reflection in the mirror. Her face lost, framed by the heavy ornate coving and flock-wallpaper of the Victorian hotel. She had often pondered what people would say about her. They might use affable or good-natured if a little shy. What they didn't see was that she was bored; Cassandra was bored to her very core. Not languid though, never that. There was so much that people did not see. Cassandra composed herself, took a breath, and fixed her smile as she hurried to re-join the discussion about a book she had no wish to discuss.

~ * ~

A creature of routine, she went shopping after Book Club. Every trip to the supermarket was at best an exhausting in-your-face reality experience, at worst a sensory assault. From the seductive smell of the in-store baked bread and the sweet blowsy lilies in pretty buy-me cellophane wrappers to the whole gamut of riotous colour, compelling fonts and unashamed branding the weekly shop was a marketing horror to be endured. Enthusiastic staff spoke of must-buys or operational matters over the public address system interrupting the bland music and the periodic wails of infants distressed or seeking attention. Employees wearing uniform fleece offered tiny plastic pots as if shoppers were at some impromptu cocktail party or were institutionalised, standing in line to take their medication before bedtime.
"Can I tempt you to try a French cheese on offer today? Our own-brand mayonnaise has been voted Britain's favourite. Would you like to see if you can taste the difference?"
There were endless choices, from the selection of three types of trolley at the entrance to the alternative methods of checkout at the exit. Early on in their relationship during a trip to the supermarket, Perry asked that Cassandra take on the responsibility.
"Sweetheart, shopping is ghastly. You are so much better at all this pointless busyness than I. Look about you," he glowered. "Eighty percent of the people here are women. You are among your own kind; you know what to do; you have the time. Lucky, lucky girl, whereas poor old me, cash rich; time poor."
Money wasn't a problem. Perry urged her to spend what she liked. They could afford to live well on his salary and his grandfather's trust fund. Bunty and Reg, his parents, bought the couple's house as a wedding gift. Early on in their relationship, Bunty had trumpeted aloud at Cassandra's modest choice of food retailer and her student habit of shopping around for bargains.
"My dear, a housewife is judged by her table. Top end for groceries, always. It's what Perry's used to."
Cassandra did the shopping, coasting in neutral following a set path. Her face assumed a forced smile. She manoeuvred the trolley around slow mannerly pensioners, avoiding the child, skidding to a halt in the detergent aisle. She read labels comparing saturated fat and salt levels, catering for Perry's current preferences and tastes. He was most particular. Cassandra willed herself not to judge the large woman with the trolley stacked high with snack and convenience food or to think too uncharitably of the salad afterthought perched on top of the high-fat, sugar-laden mountain. She rejected the self-checkout points, aware of her need for human interaction, chatting at the till, agreeing that the weather was shocking and that the three-for-two offer on the Imperial Leather soap was excellent value.
"My husband won't try any other. His mother uses the same brand…you know, a family thing." Cassandra despised the words and herself for the weakness that was her norm.
The cashier listened with her head to one side. Was there a fleeting edge of solidarity or sympathy in the amber eyes? Perhaps it was the magnifying effect of the tortoiseshell glasses. Cassandra felt odd and lightheaded but conscious of a moment of female kinship and understanding with a woman she'd never met before.
"Are you alright dear?" The amber was almost orange, owlish, and wild.
Cassandra considered the question as she used her credit card. The first attempt failed as she tapped in the wrong number. Concentrating, she began the process again until she met with success. She stopped in the act of lifting the bag of shopping into her trolley.
"I think…I am."
The cashier reappraised her as she handed over the receipt.
"Changes take time to work their way through, don't you find? The trick is to make the right choices. Take care now."
There was no one behind her in the queue. The adjacent cashier was busy. No one else had overheard. What a curious exchange; not at all the usual bland pleasantries between staff and customers. Cassandra wheeled her trolley away, leaning against the metal frame. Glancing back at the checkout, the grey-haired woman was changing her till roll and did not look up.
Driving home through the rain, Cassandra thought about the book club. Perry had suggested she join. One evening at dinner, he announced that everything was arranged. The wife of Perry's occasional golf partner would introduce her to the club and pick Cassandra up, taking her to the first meeting.
Debbie, in a red sports car with a mane of tawny hair, tanned, wearing a lime green trouser suit, pulled up outside sounding three long beeps. Cassandra rushed out of the house, flustered with a wave of greeting. This went unobserved as Debbie shot into her driveway, executing a three-point-turn, which halted two inches from the next-door's spotless and regimented recycling bins.
"Hop in. Running late. A cul-de-sac in Westmead," she surveyed the immaculate new-builds, "bad luck. My book choice this month so they can't start without me. Got the top down…nice day…about time. Awful summer, you'd never think we lived in the south of England for pity's sake."
Cassandra held out her hand to no avail as the car sped forward.
"Belt up."
The recollection of that first meeting made Cassandra grimace and smile. She couldn't recall the name of the first book, the plot, or the characters, only that awful new girl paralysis, all the other women staring, appraising, and judging. Fighting an overwhelming instinct to run away, she defaulted to a learned behaviour; she smiled, crossed and uncrossed her legs, agreed and disagreed, nodded and listened, wholly intent on blending in. That was three years ago. Members came and went, but the core remained the same. Perry liked to ask her about the group, wives of cronies in his wider circle, so she stayed. Debbie stayed the course too, catching Cassandra's eye at the more outrageous comments, winking with mirth at the absurd.
Perry wanted to know who was bright. Who led the group? Who did most of the talking? That was in the early days. Of late, he had not asked much about the reading group, but Debbie had become a friend. An unlikely pairing perhaps, but, as the first meeting finished and they walked towards the waiting Mercedes, Deborah Gore-Hamilton said,
"I've got your number, Cassy Bishop. If you need an ally, I've got your back."
That was how their friendship started. Cassandra was no longer alone.

REVIEW:

Title: June (Many a Moon Series, Book 2)
Author: Alicia Stone
Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Gillespie Lamb

Cassandra Bishop is an upper-class English woman in her mid-30s who has voluntarily subordinated herself to a controlling husband (and his mother). Why would she volunteer? “I was young,” she sighs. Her pushy best bud brusquely dismisses that as a whiny excuse and lovingly prods her to reassert herself. In reluctant response, an emotionally deconstructed “Cassy” begins to reassemble her natural lively spirit.

Her quicksilver transformation into a strong, independent woman loosens the constraints in her marriage relationship, with liberating and tragic consequences.  

Author Alicia Stone’s forte is creating a believable slice of upper-crust British society within which her characters grow into people we care about. Her illuminating descriptions of the knick-knackery of the gentry lifestyle are fascinating in themselves. Cassandra comes across as an introspective, sensible, and nervy woman. It turns out her husband is multi-dimensional, too.

Testimonial: I am male. This is a woman’s book, PG-rated, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

AUTHOR BIO:

Alicia has recently returned to the UK. She is enjoying the south coast and exploring rural villages using back roads and public footpaths. The great thing about English villages is that they have amazing old churches full of history and stories often with a pub next door. Find out more about Alicia, or contact her on her blog: aliciastoneauthor.blogspot.co.uk

Website URL: N/A

Blog URL: aliciastoneauthor.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook page: N/A

Twitter handle: @Alicia_author




Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New release The Coterie Declaration by Richard C McCain 11




Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

TAGLINE

Dakarai Holt, sixteen, is sentenced to a rehabilitation facility. He unearths a conspiracy imposing mind control with ramifications affecting the U.S and the greater world.

BLURB

Arrested for hacking, socially awkward and speech-impaired sixteen-year-old Dakarai Holt is sentenced to two years at Sheffield Academy, an exclusive juvenile rehabilitation facility. Within the first two hours, Dak is subjected to mandatory brainwashing. The academy’s enforcers, the R.A.T. SQUADS, patrol Sheffield to ensure each student's full compliance. Gacheru, Dak’s roommate, pressures him to drink a tonic that conspicuously counteracts Sheffield’s indoctrination. This places Dak in the middle of many adversarial and explosive situations. Additionally, Dak becomes knotted in a clandestine plot involving the Secretary of State and a mysterious group who goes by the name, The Coterie. While at Sheffield, Dak must find a way to survive the R.A.T. SQUADS’ terror, the annexation of a remote island, and battle his own inner demons.
REVIEW:

The Coterie Declaration
By Richard McClain
Review by Courtney Bearss
Rating:  5 Stars. 

The Coterie Declaration, by Richard McClain is a contemporary read about a Sixteen year old Dakarai Holt, who is arrested for hacking.  He’s socially awkward and speech-impaired, but he’s an awesome hacker.  When he is sentenced to two years at a Juvenile rehab, the story takes off with government brainwashing along with a plot to take over a remote island.  Dakarai however has found a way to thwart the brainwashing, but then he has a battle of his own against not only the rehab enforcers, but he has to fight in silence as well as try to overcome his own inner darkness. 

This was a complicated, but highly enjoyable read.  From the first page the reader is dumped right into the action.  You sympathize with Dak as he struggles with his inability to speak and other emotional issues, compounded by his absent and uncaring father.  This book is full of suspense and action and moves along very quickly.  The wait for the next book in this series will be long for someone like me that wants to know what happens next.  Well done, Mr. McClain.  I highly recommend this book.




EXCERPT

It is 04:22:31 on Saturday morning and I'm having trouble sleeping. I sit up and turn the light on to give life to the dark room. Instead of celebrating Gacheru's absences, allowing me space to live on my own and nurture my promise to abort ideas of relationships, worrying about him is all I seem to be doing.
A sound at the door steals my attention. I wait for Gacheru to enter but nothing happens. On the floor underneath the door, an envelope sticks halfway into the room. I pick it up and work my fingers underneath the sealed flap and run my fingers the entire length.
The note reads,
Please put the twenty-five billion back.
I sit on the bed as the weight of the words hits me. Nothing in the words themselves denotes any kind of emotion. Except for maybe the "please." Still, a cursory reading initiates a panic attack in my body. A brown bag sits on the floor. I roll off the bed, hitting the floor hard. I pull the bag to my face, scrunch my body to the fetal position, and rock and breathe…
Who sent me the note? I ask an hour later. As far as I know, the man who accosted me in the computer room and his superiors are the only ones aware of what they think is a hacking mistake. To apprise me of this kind of critical information now when I'm not under the influence would violate Sheffield's environment of covertness.
Revealing such knowledge to me makes no sense.
I read the letter again. The word "please" continues to stand out. Sheffield has not proved themselves friendly on the administrative, teacher, or security levels. Why now would they want me to "please" put the money back? They're the type that would hang me up by my thumbs and torture me to get the information. I exaggerate of course.
This message couldn't have come from them. Which begs the question, who sent me this note?
I sift through short list of names. Gacheru's is the only name on it. Somehow he found out I took it and wants me to return the money. He's the only one I know who's been able to bypass Sheffield's mind control and for whatever reasons considered it important that I not succumb to their brainwashing. Would Gacheru send a note? He could speak to me any time. It's not Gacheru. That leaves nobody.
I walk to the window. Darkness still pervades the night, fighting to maintain control. Daylight is hours away. Since the note can't be from Sheffield or Gacheru, I decide to get rid of the evidence. I rip the area of the paper around the sentence and then stick it in my mouth, chew it till it's soggy, and swallow it.
I lie back in bed when I remember the drinks in the closet. It takes a second to pry the board loose. There is nothing in the crevice apart from a thick envelope and three cans. On closer inspection, all are empty. I put the hollow cans back inside and replace the board. The contents of the envelope are none of my business. I'm not a spy. Gacheru helped me for a reason. To betray him this way reeks of self-interest, the worst kind of egotism.
Lightning strikes my mind. Three cans could only mean one thing. A third person has ingested the liquid and like Gacheru and me, this person is resistant to Sheffield's mind control.
Who?
Since Sheffield wouldn't ask me to put the money back except under mind control, and Gacheru could talk to me any time, the person who sent the letter has to be the person who drank the third drink.
Why should I put the money back, especially if we're seemingly on the same side? Wouldn't we have a better chance of stopping whatever it is they're doing and going to do by hitting them in the wallet?
It seems cut-and-dry to me.
While back on the bed sheet I rack my mind, wondering who this third person is. If Gacheru trusts this person, would he approve of the letter? He could have asked this person to send it to me. So why not introduce me? What's the reason for keeping this person's identity secret? As always, my mind considers the worst. If this is a ploy by Sheffield to test whether or not I am still subject to their mind control, seeking out this third person could be nothing more than a trap.
I know three cans means three people are outside the boundaries of brainwashing. I know the third can was unopened more than a week ago. I'm making an assumption here. If Gacheru kept all three cans, this third person ingested the drink after I consumed mine. He would not need to wait till I arrived to give the drink to this person, which means this third person is likely one of the seven people who traveled with me in the van. I'm sure I can nail it down even more. I know this person is aware of the twenty-five billion dollars I stole. By process of elimination it can only be one of three people, and two of them I'm responsible for bringing to Sheffield. Shipley and Jayden. Tasi is the only other person in the room with us when the hunt for the twenty-five-billion-dollar search took place. I can constrict it more. Since I'm in the men's dorm building, it can only be Shipley or Jayden.
The doorknob twists. My heart is catapulted into my throat. Is it the R.A.T. SQUADS coming to drag me away so I can be tortured? Is it Shipley or Jayden?
I hold my breath.

REVIEW:

The Coterie Declaration
Richard McClain
4.5
Reviewed by Tamara White
From the first page Richard McClain’s novel The Coterie Declaration the reader is thrust into Dakarai’s high anxiety speechless world. Darkarai’s complicated reality over flows with suspense, action, and danger. The entire novel moves at a thrilling neck breaking speed. When Dakarai’s magnanimous actions plunge him into a plea deal where he quickly finds out he is going to lose more than his freedom. Dakarai is a complex character that is fighting to not only survive the Sheffield Academy but also his every present anxiety. Sheffield Academy is a place where the rules on paper are not the rules that are followed. As the reader is drawn further and further into Dakarai’s world the characters that surround him become more shady and much more corrupt. While Dakarai does not speak with words McClain does a great job of creating intense scenes that allow Dakarai’s actions to speak for him.  Allowing the reader to explore Dakarai’s thoughts also gives the reader get a deeper understanding of the mute teenager. Even when The Coterie Declaration ends the reader know it’s not over.  


REVIEW:

Title: The Coterie-Declaration
Author: Richard C. McClain II
Rating: 4.5

Reviewer: J.C.

Young Dak, the socially reclusive mute and estranged teenage son of a multi-billionaire tech magnate, is a gifted hacker who hacks into multi-national banks to steal and redistribute money to charitable intuitions and organizations; a somewhat modern-day Robin Hood.
Dak is caught by the conniving FBI agent, Yarbrough, who convinces Dak to plead and be sentenced to a so-called rich-kid reform school, Sheffield, where he soon becomes a pawn in a sinister plot to help a secret organization steal something from Easter Island. Along the way, only able to communicate with the aid of a whiteboard, Dak comes into connection with several characters including shady government officials, a couple attractive young girls that Dak becomes infatuated with, the so-called R.A.T SQUAD—Sheffield’s brutal young security force—and other student-inmates, all of whom have secrets and pieces of the puzzle Dak needs in order to figure out what is going on.
With Dak’s social awkwardness, his muteness, and inability to form friendships, Dak struggles to survive and obtain clues as to not only the fate of his roommate—the only one he really trusted who is found hanged in a tree—but to uncover this secrete Coterie and their plans.
The Coterie Declaration begins with the action-packed FBI pursuit of Dak after he attempts to hack into a major bank. The action and intrigue continues at a fast pace and the reader turns the pages in continued anticipation of what will happen next, or where it is that this story is going. The reader empathizes with the young Dak, estranged from his wealthy father, and roots for him to not only survive, but to put a stop to the secret plans of the Coterie Declaration.  

Author Bio
Richard C. McClain II, "The Storyteller"—an advocate of imagination and a deliverer of truth through creative writing. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Richard is one of five children who was taught to dream and believe that anything is possible. This thought premise inspired Richard to pursue the creative arts, through music, theatre and writing. Richard later became a pastor where from the pulpit he used his story telling abilities to bring the word to life in the hearts of the congregation. Richard is the husband of Sharon, and father of Nicholas, Nicola, Nathan, Natalie, and Nadia. He has had the privilege of honing his storytelling craft and understands the balance between imagination, fantasy, and real life.

"Consider this, before the story is ever heard, it is active, pulsating, and full of passion. It needs but the storyteller to tell it."




Saturday, April 1, 2017

New release by Lea Bronsen Fiery 1016


Hi, and thank you for hosting my new dark romantic suspense!


Fiery 10-16 is a scorching firefighter story of desire, abuse, and bravery.








Runo Wiggins is a scarred man, the wounds etched into his psyche deeper than those on his skin. But he loves his job: fighting fires helps reenact his survival of a house fire as a teen, one that killed his mother and brutal stepfather.


Dawn Caravello is married to a psychotic drunk. She can take his beatings as long as he doesn't touch their children, and she'll do anything to put food on the table, even if it means stealing from the town hero.


When Runo meets the fiery Dawn, sparks fly. But he suspects she is victim of the same abuse as his mother was. As day turns to night, the past and the present blend in an exhausting, nerve-wrecking chase to prevent another death.
 

Excerpt:


Dawn's eyes shimmered with a mix of stubborn pride and extreme sadness. They seemed to be made of molten brown stone. Runo had never seen eyes like these. So vibrant, saying so many things. They revealed her life, her endurance, her dreams, her combats, her despair. And she was still so young.

While he stared, she leaned forward and kissed him, an act a whole lot more intimate than he was comfortable with. A short, hard peck, a statement. Not the tender gesture a kiss was supposed to be, but one telling him her gratitude as well as her dignity. She thanked him, but was going to go back to her life and continue fighting.

He stood shocked, his whole body rigid, didn’t know what to do. She, such a small woman thing a whole head shorter, shook him, a giant of muscle and stupid testosterones inside a hard shell.

He would definitely take care of Dawn and her kids. Any way possible. Alert the authorities and make sure they got the protection they desperately needed.

She stepped backward, her features softening, and turned on her heel.

Not so fast.

He cleared his throat and called, lifting a weak hand. “Hey, wait! His heart hammered in his chest, blood pulsed in his ears.

She turned. “What?

“Promise to be good. Promise it’s the last time you do it.

“Do what? Her eyes gleamed with humor. “Kiss you? In the midst of this emotional turmoil, she found the strength to tease.

“Steal.

And lie.

She pursed her lips, looking like a disappointed little girl. Maybe she still was a child inside. A child taking care of children. A child beaten savagely.

He swallowed. “Promise.

After several long seconds, she nodded. But her gaze told a different truth.

Liar.   



Links:
 




Add the book to your Goodreads list!




About Lea Bronsen:

 




I like my reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strive to give my own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with my debut novel Wild Hearted, I divide my writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and erotic dark/contemporary romance.



I love to hear from my readers! Write to leabronsen@yahoo.com or meet me on:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Soul Mate Tree latest release by S.C. Mitchell Between Venus and Mars




THE SOUL MATE TREE,

BETWEEN VENUS AND MARS


An intergalactic adventure filled with laughs, love, and adventure.


AUTHOR: S. C. Mitchell


GENRE: Science Fiction Romantic Comedy


HEAT LEVEL: Steamy







An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

Once Upon a Galaxy . . .

Zana Starchild is on a mission to restore her tribe’s livestock and save herself from one more meal of kelp. Sure, it’s technically illegal to visit Old Earth, but to a rim rat like Zana, galactic laws are really just guidelines. Her wrecked starship just means she’ll need to use her backup plan to get off the abandoned world, an old Earth legend her uncle passed down to her.

Pulled from a relaxing shower, across the galaxy to Old Earth, Galactic Marshall Kyle Kepler finds himself naked and marooned with a quirky rim rat. Zana’s broken more laws than Kyle can count, and he plans to arrest her, just as soon as he can find transport off the planet and a pair of pants.


A junk heap of a starship, a magical tree, and a roving gang of mutant kangaroos are just the beginning of rollicking intergalactic journey filled with laughs, love, and adventure.






Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Between-Venus-Mars-Soul-Mate-ebook/dp/B01N7OXSND/

When series collide: Between Venus and Mars is not only set the multi-dimensional worlds of the Soul Mate Tree legend, but also ties into my Hearts in Orbit series, a futuristic universe filled with starships, aliens, and new technologies. And, of course, romance. The Soul Mate Tree project offered me a great way to play with some new characters and further develop my universe, while partnering with some of the best authors in the business.

The Hearts in Orbit universe is a place where galactic marshals keep the peace in the cosmopolitan Core Worlds as well as the wild-west type rim world planets. While this book works as a standalone, and you don’t have to have read any of the others, I consider it Hearts in Orbit 2.5, fitting nicely between Pirates of the Dark Nebula and my soon-to-be-released Hearts in Orbit 3 novel Captives of the Kratzen.

Series Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016DF63JM/





Hidden strengths, adventurous hearts.

S.C.Mitchell grew up an avid reader of comic books, science fiction and fantasy literature. He’s been writing stories for over thirty years. In 2010 he left his job as a computer desktop support specialist to pursue his passion for writing full time. He is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as the Wisconsin chapter.

As a writer of paranormal and sci-fi romance, fantasy, and science fiction, Steve crafts unique and wondrous worlds where his characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through dark, demon filled dimensions, the edge of wild space, or ancient mythological heavens, his heroes and heroines, guided by their adventurous hearts, discover hidden strengths on their pathway to enduring love.


You’ll find him at:

http://scmitchellauthor.com/

Blog: http://scmitchellauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSCMitchell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSMitchell

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007D0Z1MW

Additional info:

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV0BQCcwhfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdtFXXlGvbk



Saturday, March 4, 2017

New release The Black Coach by Nickie Fleming


Title: The Black Coach



The Devil is riding his black coach across the moors of Yorkshire and hunts virgins. Or is this so?




Genre: Gothic Romance

Excerpt Heat Level: 1

Book Heat Level: 3




BLURB



Strange things are happening in the village of Pickering, Yorkshire. Two girls are found murdered, and there is talk about strange going-ons at night. Caught in the middle of this turmoil is Maggie Thompson, an orphan, who needs to fend for herself. Running away from an employer who maltreated her, she nearly dies during a winter storm. She is rescued by a man who lives in a nearly abandoned house. Neil Harrington has his own secrets however. Maggie will have to trust on her feelings to know what is right or wrong. And she can’t forget there is a killer on the rampage…



EXCERPT



It didn't take long before Maggie was fast asleep once again. When Martha noted her drooping head, she put a cushion behind it, to make the girl more comfortable and lastly spread a plaid over her, lest she should catch a cold.

She studied the girl for a while. Cleaned up, she already looked a lot better than the previous day. She had better talk to the master. The girl's speech was remarkable fine for a working-class child. She felt sure there was something of a mystery involved here. Perhaps thinking about this would lighten Neil's mood. He'd been mourning Lady Suzanne long enough to her liking.

Around noon her son walked into the kitchen for his lunch. He looked up when he saw the sleeping girl.

"Is she fit to come down already?" he wanted to know.

"She's not completely better," Martha told him, "but she ate all of her breakfast, and as you can see she's sleeping again. No better healer then rest, I say."

"The master asked me how she was," Amos said. "I'm glad I can tell him she's doing fine."

"Did he need you to fetch something?" Martha wanted to know. They both knew to what she was referring.

"I brought in the usual. I don't mind, though," her son acknowledged.

She nodded. "We have a good master in his lordship. No matter what other people may think, he's a decent human and I'm proud to be serving him."

"So am I," Amos agreed.

He sat down at the kitchen table and immediately began to eat when his mother put a full plate before him.

"I thought you'd like some stew," Martha said. "There is enough meat in it to give you stamina for the next trip."

No need for more words. Mother and son understood each other perfectly.



~ * ~



Later that afternoon, in Pickering village, the men of the region gathered in the local pub after ending their work on the fields and farms. The talk was lively and the beer flowed freely.

John Barry put down his pint, wiped his mouth with his sleeve and remarked to his mate Ben, "Saw that black coach again yesterday, when I went to check on the sheep."

Ben hardly looked up. "Aye, I'm listening."

"Wonder whose property it is and what its business is. Always appears when darkness falls."

Ben took another gulp of his pint. Then he acknowledged what John mentioned. "My brother's son, Tim, saw it too. He said it rode so fast, as if chased by the devil."

"Yeah, it was speeding for sure. Could not see who or what was in it."

"Not the first time it's been seen on our road. Something strange going on, I think."

Joshua Thistlewaite, the landlord, heard the comments but didn't comment on them. He just poured the drinks like a good landlord. Besides, he couldn't well afford to spend time talking to his customers. The pub was full, as always around this time. His sharp eyes surveyed everything to be sure he could intervene at a timely fashion.

All the men and lads he knew from around, except for the one stranger. He'd never seen the man before. The man entered about half an hour ago and ordered a light ale in a polite way. Now he was seated in the farthest corner of the pub, sipping his pint.

While enjoying a calmer moment behind the tap, Joshua studied the stranger more closely. He looked to be in his forties, had a stern face and lips which seldom laughed. A lawyer or a banker in all probability, he thought.

What bothered him a little was that the man appeared to be listening in on the conversation of Ben and John, although he couldn't fathom why such ordinary talk would interest a man of his quality.

Disturbing his thoughts, the stranger beckoned him.

"What can I do for you, sir?" he asked, hurrying over to his table and trying not to show he had been studying him.

"First, fetch me another pint of this excellent lager and then, if you can spare the time, I'd like to talk to you for a while."

It was said in a cultivated tongue, and Joshua could immediately tell the stranger didn't originate from this part of the country. London or some other southern town, he guessed.

He hurried to carry out the order, while asking Ben to step behind the bar for the time he was occupied elsewhere. He returned to the table.

"I am now at your disposal, sir."

He saw how the stranger glanced shortly at Ben, who was already tapping another pint for John.

"Do you get a lot of people in here?" he then wanted to know.

"It depends," Joshua replied. "On weekdays it can get busy when all the men need to water their throats."

"You must know quite well what goes on in the village," the stranger continued.

Joshua shrugged. He carefully weighed his words, not wanting to reveal too much. His instinct told him something was not right here.

"Not much goes on in Pickering I don't know about."

The gent nodded. "I thought so. Well, I am trying to locate a young woman by the name of Margaret Thompson. She would be eighteen years of age and has blonde hair. Do you know if any such girl lives in or passed by your village?"

Joshua was silent for a moment. The request confirmed his ill feelings. He understood he would have to be very sparse in answering, to make sure he didn't cause harm to anyone or anything.

"Why do you need to know?" he asked, but in such a way the other would not be insulted.

The man smiled. To all appearances, he looked innocent and seemed trustworthy. Joshua knew better. He felt an underlying coldness and sensed some feeling of threat.

"She's come into an inheritance and the trustees have asked me to find out her whereabouts," the man answered, while smiling again, and producing a gold coin out of one of his pockets.

Joshua eyed the coin and reconsidered. It could be true. He knew there existed men who were employed to search for people who were lost or had disappeared. After all, the stranger had done nothing wrong yet.

"Farmer Aldleigh has a blonde girl working for him," he offered, feeling at last he could trust the man enough. "She came asking for work not so long ago. Perhaps she's the one you are looking for?"

"It might be," the other agreed, while putting the gold coin into his hand. "Can you be so kind as to give me directions to this farm?"

"It'll be my pleasure, sir," Joshua beamed. "When you follow the road leading out of the village, you go until the crossroads and then turn left. Aldleigh's farm is a mile or so from there. If you don't wait too long, you can be there before darkness falls."

"Thank you. I'll go and have a talk with the farmer."

"Glad to be of service."

"No, it is I who must thank you," the stranger said while putting a second gold coin on the table. He then got to his feet and grabbed his overcoat.

Joshua returned to his work. His eyes followed the gentleman as he made his way through the throngs of farmers and finally left the pub.
REVIEW:

The Black Coach

Nickie Fleming
Reviewed by Tamara White

5 Stars of 5

Abuse, Murder, Love, and the Black Coach
Nickie Fleming’s crisp and colorful words thrust the reader back into a time where horse drawn coaches were the mode of transportation and women’s dresses dragged on the ground. The author’s words give you a real sense of being there. I enjoyed the pace of the book. The book moves effortlessly through the well-defined plot. The book creates an immediate interest in the main character. From the first page the author quickly draws you into the tumultuous life of the young blonde hair woman Maggie. Maggie is a woman who possesses a quiet determination that gives her the strength she needs to defy her beginnings. From the moment you meet Maggie you want to see her make it. Neil Pickering, the man whose life becomes unexpectedly intertwined with Maggie’s, is a unique character. He is as intellectually strong and determined as he is handsome. Whenever Pickering is present his personality commands the scene. His need to understand medicine matches her need to survive. I enjoyed the gritty murders that take place in the book. The murders have a dark undertone, which left me eager to finish each page and discover who has such a thirst for death. The Black Coach plot offers its readers mystery, hope, intrigue, and a quiet love story. It is an immediate for anyone passionate about reading.








Author Bio

Nickie Fleming was born and raised in the historical town of Dendermonde, Belgium, home of the legendary Horse Bayard. Nickie read English and Dutch Literature and Linguistics at the University of Ghent, where she took her master's degree in 1978. She began work as a teacher of languages to 16-18 year-olds and has done so during her long career. She has been writing since she could hold a pen in her hand, but only came to publication when she was well over 50—mainly because she was not actively seeking it. Besides writing, Nickie spends her time with the things she loves—and those she doesn't like so much: housekeeping, reading (favorites are thrillers and good romances), listening to good music, going to see shows and concerts, travelling, food and wine... Nickie is single and shares her house with her only sister, who is equally single. The two ladies get along just fine and do most things together.




Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble


NICKIE WILL GIVE AN EBOOK COPY OF ONE OF HER BOOKS TO A RANDOMLY DRAWN COMMENTER.