Paralyzed By Fear – Four by Jane Blythe @jblytheauthor

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Jane Blythe has become a must read author for me. I don’t know how she escaped my attention before I started blogging, but you are in my sights now, Jane.

If you are a romantic suspense lover, these are must reads for your TBR.

Four (Count to Ten #4)Goodreads  /  Amazon

MY REVIEW

I have been reading the Count to Ten series by Jane Blythe and I am so happy to be back with old friends and meeting new ones. Each story of the series focuses on a particular couple with supporting characters playing their roles. These romantic suspense novels stand alone, but I believe once you start, you won’t be able to stop, so I recommend beginning at the beginning.

I’m back with Jack Xander and we have another dead body. It’s murder!

I love his trusty sidekick Rose.

Jack and Rose are a great team. He has a calming presence and a way to get the most out of the victim’s and witnesses and I love that she deals with the suspects.

He seemed to want a family, yet was haunted by something in his past, keeping him from having a meaningful relationship. She is happy go lucky, enjoying the single life.

Laura is agoraphobic and has spent the last ten years of her life in her apartment, cut off from the outside world…by choice. I know where this is going, but Jane Blythe’s writing draws me in, letting the creepiness and suspense build.

I love the cast of characters that hold each other up when they need support and kick some ass when they are in danger.

The villain…Ooooo I love that evil mofo too. Cocky, sneaky, elusive and bold. How he’ll get the one he wants is a frightening climb to the ultimate goal…her death…and there are those determined to stop him.

I had a couple problems with a characters actions, but, hey, ya never know what you’ll do til you walk in their shoes.

A sense of menace permeates every page…lurking….creating an overwhelming sense of anticipation. I know the shit will hit the fan, I just don’t know when and how. I love the edge of my seat reading, faster and faster fly the words, because I can hardly wait to get there.

I may need a tissue to finish this.

I love damaged characters that rise to the occasion. I love the dark and disturbing, and Jane Blythe is happy to oblige. I love an author jerking my chain, making me know I don’t have all the answers and I was brought up short when the action reached its zenith.

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Four by Jane Blythe.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

Detective Jack Xander and his partner are investigating the sudden spate of crimes at an apartment building, but every time they think they’re making progress another assault leads them in a completely different direction. As they hunt for the killer’s real target Jack is about to come face to face with someone from his past he thought he’d never set eyes on again.

Ten years ago Laura Opal endured a four day long ordeal that left her broken and traumatized. But the men who hurt her were caught, tried, found guilty and imprisoned, so what’s happening in her apartment building doesn’t have anything to do with her. She’s sure of it.

** Warning: Graphic violence and themes of sexual assault/abuse **

ABOUT JANE BLYTHE

Jane has loved reading and writing since she can remember. She writes dark and disturbing crime/mystery/suspense with some romance thrown in because, well, who doesn’t love romance? She has one completed series, Detective Parker Bell, and one new series, Count to Ten.

When she’s not writing Jane loves to read, bake, go to the beach, ski, horse ride, and watch Disney movies. She has a black belt in Taekwondo, and a 200+ collection of teddy bears. She has the world’s two most sweet and pretty Dalmatians, Ivory and Pearl. Oh, and she also enjoys spending time with family and friends!

Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

MY REVIEWS FOR JANE BLYTHE’S BOOKS

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Giveaway – Protecting Her Secret Son by Regan Black @ReganBlack @GoddessFish

Protecting Her Secret Son by Regan Black

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GENRE:  Contemporary  Romantic Suspense

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BLURB

Shannon Nolan thought she’d escaped a nightmare world of ruthless crime – until her son is kidnapped! With nowhere else to run and no one else to trust, she puts her life in the hands of her boss, firefighter Daniel Jennings.

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EXCERPT

In her back pocket, her cell phone buzzed, belting out the old-school ringtone she used for unknown calls and text messages. She set aside the paint cup and pulled out her phone, swiping the screen to view the text.

No words, only a picture of her son. He was strapped into a car seat, his shirt rumpled, his pale blond hair windblown, and his cheeks and eyes were red. His lashes were spiked with tears and his lower lip thrust forward in a pout.

What had happened? Then she realized what she was looking at and her heart thudded in her chest. Staggered, terrified by her worst fears, she dropped the phone as she doubled over, clutching her stomach as if she’d taken a punch.

Daniel caught the phone and steadied her with a hand at her elbow. “Shannon? What’s wrong?”

“I—I’m not sure.”

The ringtone sounded as another text came in and she grabbed the phone from Daniel.

If you want to see your son again, tell his father to cooperate.

Her stomach clenched and she clapped a hand over her mouth. Whoever was behind this had chosen the wrong leverage. She’d never had any influence over Aiden’s father. Naturally, the sender’s number was blocked, but she hit the icon to call back anyway. It rang and rang, and no one answered.

“I have to go,” she said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links

Regan Black, a USA Today bestselling author, writes award-winning, action-packed romantic suspense and paranormal romance novels featuring daring heroines and sexy heroes. Raised in the Midwest and California, she and her family, along with their adopted greyhound and two arrogant cats, reside in the South Carolina Lowcountry where the rich blend of legend, romance, and history fuels her imagination.

Website  /  Newsletter  /  Twitter Facebook

Pinterest  /  Amazon  /  B&N iBooks

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Giveaway & Reviews for Marred & Cleaved by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1 @SilverDaggerSxx

If you are looking for a fabulous and informative crime and thriller blog to follow, look no further. I have been a follower of Sue Coletta’s for some time now, so I was super excited to get my hands on Marred and Cleaved.

Just check out the covers by EJR Digital Art!

 
Cleaved
Grafton County Series, Book 2
by Sue Coletta
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
I just finished MARRED and it blew me away, so there was no way I was going to wait to read CLEAVED. I have to have more!
I love anything to do with water, and when I saw the Marine Patrol and Fish & Game would be involved, I became even more excited. I know what water can do to a dead body and I’m looking forward to finding out who put it there.
Sue starts her books out with a bang and I am gasping for breath right along with Sage. Then, Sue takes it to an even darker place and I excited to see how it will play out.
I feel as if the characters have become my friends and I worry for them as the serial killer adds body after body and the action continues non stop.
Sage has great instincts and after all she has been through, she listens to them.
Frankie has become my favorite character. She is humorous, brash, dresses as if she’s going out on the town instead of to a crime scene, hates authority and is quick with a sharp retort. Niko doesn’t think she would be good as the Sheriff because of these faults, so he is constantly grooming someone else to take his place when he quits.
Niko’s team has a Keystone Kop, Mayberry feel to them, but they are coming together, making constant progress.
The serial killer is back with a vengeance and I wonder if it is the same one…or is there more than one.
 Sue Coletta takes us to a very dark place with a kidnapping that would make any of us cringe and rage at the villain and the world.
I love how creative Sue is in coming up with new ways for the serial killer to torture and kill his victims, really making them suffer and beg for death. She never thinks the evil is bad enough, so she piles on more and more and more…
 Her ability to create so much tension and angst, at times left me white knuckled, gripping my Kindle so tight my hands hurt, making me want to reach through the screen and take matters into my own hands.
I voluntarily reviewed Marred by Sue Coletta.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 STARS

Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it.
Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a
twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots
their happy home, and splits the threads that bonds their family
unit.
Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole—ensnared by a ruthless killer out for
blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop
till she dies like the others.
Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes,
and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and
Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.
 
 
 
 
Marred
Grafton County Series, Book 1
 Marred by Sue Coletta starts out with a baby’s funeral and a severely broken woman who is pissed off at herself and the world because of it. I can’t help but wonder WHY.
Sage is broken in more ways than one…blaming herself for her unborn baby’s death even though she had been tortured by a serial killer and was lucky to even be alive. She is MARRED for life and now I understand why.
NOW, he’s back, terrorizing her and she has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
I cannot imagine what she has been through, though Sue Coletta’s writing makes me become totally engrossed in her story, filled with details that draw a too vivid picture in my mind. I think it is time she takes matters into her own hands and let him know she will not cow down…this time. I love when the character has been through a traumatic, life changing experience, and the past comes back to haunt them, demanding they take action to defend themselves.
Sage is a bestselling author, writing crime novels, and this adds an extra element, making it even more interesting. Does her writing bring the killer even closer, thinking of her as a challenge? She keeps secrets, pushing people away, even keeping her husband at arm’s length. She writes about crime and her husband investigates the.
The murders are described in detail and they are brutal, savage. The more gruesome the better for me. LOL I guess I am a little twisted myself.
The body count rises.
I’m almost at 50% and I see what you are doing Sue. I know what you set me up for and I think it’s going to get ugly. I am pissed off at both of them for not communicating, but if they did we wouldn’t be in this dark place, with a sense of urgency and danger making me want to read faster and slower all at the same time, savoring the story.
There is a touch of the paranormal, rape, brutal and mind numbing torture. Why do women and society place blame on the vivctim, when it is the villain’s fault?
At times I am so angry with Niko that I want to reach into my Kindle and slap him upside the head, cuss him out, and tell him, “It’s not about YOU!”
Having a couple of critters adds another element that I love. They’d put their lives on the line for her.
Uh oh, I am glad that what I was thinking at 50% was wrong. Sue…you did a great job of yanking my chain and it takes a lot to lead me down the wrong path. Fabulous!
Deputy Sheriff Frankie, a female, is becoming a favorite character for me. To say she is rough around the edges is putting it mildly. She is aggressive and a bit raunchy, but I wouldn’t want any one else by my side in a time of crises.
WOW, Sue. You can sure spin a tale that has a lot of suspense that keeps my emotions raging as I struggle to take a calming breath before moving on to more of the same. You twisted and turned the story, keeping plenty of surprises coming my way.
Marred is the first book in the Grafton County series. One villain is taken care of, but you will want to read more of the series, because one remains.
I voluntarily reviewed Marred by Sue Coletta.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 STARS

When a serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author, Sage
Quintano, she barely escapes with her life. Her husband, Niko, a
homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where
he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff. Sage buries secrets
from that night—secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.
Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case
lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller begins tormenting Sage—she
can’t outrun the past.
When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing, Sage searches Niko’s
case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A
sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their
bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.
Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is
he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror
with a matching set of corpses?
 
 
Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International
Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is an award-winning, multi-published
author in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have
appeared in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime
resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show “Partners In Crime”
on Writestream Radio Network every third Tuesday of the month from 1
– 3 p.m. EDT/EST (see details at
www.suecoletta.com).
She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project
and Forensic Science, and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.
She runs a popular crime website and blog, where she shares crime tips,
police jargon, the mind of serial killers, and anything and
everything in between. If you search her achieves, you’ll find posts
from guests that work in law enforcement, forensics, coroner,
undercover operatives, firearm experts…crime, crime, and more
crime.
For readers, she has the Crime Lover’s Lounge, where subscribers will be
the first to know about free giveaways, contests, and have inside
access to deleted scenes. As an added bonus, members get to play in
the lounge. Your secret code will unlock the virtual door. Inside,
like-minded folks discuss their favorite crime novels, solve
mindbender and mystery puzzles, and/or relax and chat. Most
importantly, everyone has a lot of fun.
Sue lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband, where her house is
surrounded by wildlife…bear, moose, deer, even mountain lions have
been spotted. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with them, but her
husband frowns on the idea.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Serial Killers Run Amok In The Count To Ten series by Jane Blythe @jblytheauthor

The simple covers for Jane Blythe’s Count To Ten series speak to me and, of course, reading about serial killers is always a high priority.

I love dark stories, the darker, the better.

One…

One (Count to Ten #1)

Amazon  /  Goodreads

MY REVIEW FOR ONE

I love dark stories with murder and serial killers running wild, and Jane Blythe has come through in this fantastic series. This guy is a real sicko. Only death will stop him.

Right off, I’m thinking…Oh no she didn’t…

Yes, he fell for her and yes, there’s a lot more gory and brutal murder to come.

Who is it? Why such grotesque murders?

I have a problem with Annabelle and Xavier hooking up, but hey, stranger things have happened. He seems too old for a naive, inexperienced young woman like her. I like my books to be ‘realistic’ and, even though I enjoyed how it developed, not just jumping in bed, but the slow and getting to know you kind of thing, something still felt off.

Annabelle ‘s dialogue made her seem older than her years, but maybe the traumatic events she has been though have caused her to grow up sooner. After all, she had been the adult of her household.

I love the fact I can’t figure out who is the culprit, even though I feel I must have met him by now. I do have a feeling…oh, wait, maybe it’s him…or could it be him?

The sicko wants revenge and I want to know why.

The twists and turns kept coming, never letting up, even when the last page was read. I DID NOT want it to end. Jane Blythe was ‘this close’ to having me rate this a five and I definitely look forward to reading more of her work.

I voluntarily reviewed One by Jane Blythe.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

Annabelle Englewood slaughters her family while they sleep.

Or so it seems to Detective Xavier Montague when he and his partner arrive at her house to find her sleeping peacefully, her family all dead.

But then another family and another are murdered, again with one family member left alive, and it becomes clear that Annabelle is simply a pawn in a vicious killer’s game.

Intrigued by Annabelle, the first woman Xavier has been attracted to since his divorce, when he comes face to face with the killer he will be forced to make the ultimate choice, a life and death decision, that could let a psychotic murderer walk free.

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Two…

Two (Count to Ten #2)

Amazon  /  Goodreads

MY REVIEW FOR TWO

Jane Blythe writes of serial killers and grotesque murders and I LOVE it.

Brooke Mariano is a pregnant teenager with dreams of wealth and leisure and her life is snuffed out like a candle, all to keep a secret, a secret I want to be revealed and the guilty party to pay for it.

I like that Ryan’s interest in Sophia began before they were shoved together because of the murder. Her mysterious illness may seem to make her weak, but she is strong enough and determined enough to live on her own, disinherited by her rich father because she has a mind of her own. I love strong, independent female protagonists, and Sophia is spot on. I hate men that act like dictators and feel women are supposed to fall in line.

The body count grows and so does the suspect list. I love to be kept guessing and Jane Blythe is very good at doing that. Was someone in the family eliminating other members? If so, why? Most of them are wretched, miserable, pathetic excuses for human beings, so, in my book, none of them would be missed. LOL

Sometimes those surrounding the killer are worse than the killer himself.

When they go into the room…

Jane Blythe’s use of misdirection is very well done.

I can easily visualize events as they unfolded, as if a Criminal Minds episode was playing in front of me. It is so easy to picture Sophia…in a wheelchair, hunched over, looking at photos…But…I do hate a character I am growing very fond of making such a predictable and stupid error. Now, I am pissed at her. Is it my personal feelings keeping these ratings at fours, where others would rate them higher? It’s up to you to decide.

The book has an ending , but Three will bring One and Two together in a reunion I do not want to miss. I can hardly imagine where Jane will  take it and I am rubbing my hand together in glee just thinking about it.

I voluntarily reviewed Two by Jane Blythe.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

Before the sun rises, another will fall.

When Brooke Mariano is found murdered on the grounds of the powerful Everette family’s estate, it looks at first as though she may have been killed in order to keep the paternity of her unborn child a secret.

However, when another member of the Everette family turns up dead each night, it quickly becomes a race against time as Detective Ryan Xander and his partner try to discover which member of the family is the killer before the entire clan wind up dead.

Ryan’s only inroad to the secretive family is Sofia Everette. Shunned by her father for her refusals to obey him, and battling a mysterious illness, Sofia’s childhood dreams may be the key to saving her life and stopping the killer from exterminating the entire Everette family.

ABOUT JANE BLYTHE

Jane BlytheJane has loved reading and writing since she can remember. She writes dark and disturbing crime/mystery/suspense with some romance thrown in because, well, who doesn’t love romance? She has one completed series, Detective Parker Bell, and one new series, Count to Ten.

When she’s not writing Jane loves to read, bake, go to the beach, ski, horse ride, and watch Disney movies. She has a black belt in Taekwondo, and a 200+ collection of teddy bears. She has the world’s two most sweet and pretty Dalmatians, Ivory and Pearl. Oh, and she also enjoys spending time with family and friends!

Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
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  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
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Friday 56 #117 – Mind Prey by John Sanford @J_Sandford

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and find any sentence or a few ( no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading along with you initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Please include the title of the book and the author’s name.

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A messy bookshelf is the norm around the Fundin household. I just cannot help but pick up another book and another and another…

I have a few of John Sanford’s novels, of which Mind Prey is one. I bought this quite some time ago from the Mobile Public Library. I have also checked out many other books by him and have enjoyed each and every one.

I need to get back to the library and catch up on his latest.

Have you read any of his work?
Mind Prey (Lucas Davenport, #7)

Amazon  Goodreads

My 56

Then he was on her, slamming her back against the stone wall, ripping at her jacket, at her blouse. She screamed at him, “No, don’t, John…”

(Page 56 in hardcover,1st edition, published in 1995)

Book Beginnings

The storm blew up late in the afternoon, tight, gray clouds hustling over the lake like dirty, balled-up sweat socks spilling from a basket. A chilly wind knocked leaves from the elms, oaks, and maples at the water’s edge. The white phlox and black-eyed susans bowed their heads before it.

GOODREADS BLURB: From the bestselling author of Night Prey and Winter Prey…an all-new Lucas Davenport thriller.

Run for it…It was raining when psychiatrist Andi Manette left the parent-teacher conference with her two young daughters, and she was distracted. She barely noticed the red van parked beside her, barely noticed the van door slide open as they dashed up to the car. The last thing she did notice was the hand reaching out for her and the voice from out of the past — and then the three of them were gone.

Hours later, deputy chief Lucas Davenport stood in the parking lot, a blood-stained shoe in his hand, the ground stained pink around him, and knew that this would be one of the worst cases he’d ever been on. With an urgency born of dread, he presses the attack, while in an isolated farmhouse, Andi Manette does the same, summoning all her skills to battle an obsessed captor. She knows the man who has taken her and her daughters, knows there is a chink in his armor, if only she can find it. But for both her and Davenport, time is already running out.

John Sandford’s novels have always been extraordinary for their harrowing twists, unforgettable characters, and crackling prose. But Mind Prey tops them all. It is the work of a true master.

  • To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.
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Which cover would make you stop and look for more information?

Mind Prey (Lucas Davenport, #7) Mind Prey (Lucas Davenport, #7)

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Save

FREE – Diva by Susan Fleet #SusanFleet

FREE Nov 1-5 – 2016

Diva has reader review average of 4.2 out of 5 stars 280 reviews

Susan Fleet does her research, and if you visit her Website, you will see that she keeps up with a lot of news, past and current, that deals with the depravities of the criminal world.

You can find my 5 Star Review HERE.

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Diva (Frank Renzi, #2) Amazon  /  Goodreads

Music, murder and obsession in New Orleans. Beautiful and talented, Belinda wants to be a star, but fame can be dangerous. A ruthless stalker is obsessed with her. He’ll do anything to have her: blackmail, kidnapping, even murder. Will NOPD Detective Frank Renzi be able to save her?

Susan has some great book trailers. You can see them on her YouTube page.

Website / Goodreads / You Tube / Amazon Author Page

For more of Susan Fleet’s work, you can check out my reviews:

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  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’ talk.
  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
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Diva (Frank Renzi, #2)

Evil Walks Among Us – Betrayed by Jaye Frances Guest Post, Giveaway & Review

Betrayed (World Without Love, Book I) by Jaye Frances had me sitting, with my mouth hanging open, wanting to throw my kindle at…something. I wanted to scream and rage at the degradation and cruelty that was heaped on Jewel.

Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post.

I am so excited to have Jaye Frances here to share some hints about Betrayed, Book One in the World Without Love series.

Betrayed, Book One, World Without Love

A Suspense Thriller Series With an Erotic Edge

 PROLOGUE

We’re all captives, in one way or another . . .

I’m awakened by the sounds of creaking wood and straining rope—constant protests to the unsteady pitch and roll of the darkness.

Dizzy and disoriented, I take a breath, trying to dispel the nausea. But the air is laced with the pungent smell of damp rot, and its raw bite forces me to shallow my breathing.

Staring into the darkness, I search for a shape, a silhouette—anything to give me a clue about my surroundings. But there is only a thick layered blackness, as endless as the grave.

I’m plagued by the sensation of motion, of being rocked up and down. A flash of impaired logic tells me to dismiss it as a specter, an artifact from the nearly depleted dose of Halcion.

A minute passes—or an hour. I can’t tell which.

I hear something—a garbled voice, remnants of disconnected conversation. And from much farther away, the plaintive cries of a bird. The sounds seem genuine, missing that phantom-like quality associated with suspects from a barbiturate daze.

I take it as a sign—the drugs are finally leaving my system.

A prickly thaw sweeps the surface of my skin, bringing with it the nagging sensation that something is pulling at my limbs, tugging at me from both ends.

It’s not an after-effect of the drugs, I’m sure of that. It’s too strong, too constant. I have the sense it’s been there all along, waiting to break through the chemical cloud that kept me unconscious.

It’s growing stronger, getting worse, becoming a piercing burn stretching from my shoulders to my hips, cutting me to the quick.

I try to turn, to get away from the waves of searing heat raking at my arms and legs.

I can’t move.

The realization is as damning as if I’d awakened in the sulfur pits of hell. I’m bound like an animal, my wrists tied above my head, my legs strapped at the ankles—my body a living bridge of straining joints and wrenched sinew.

Even as my muscles scream at the draw of the restraints, I feel the bite of riveted steel against my back, the harsh, unforgiving surface running the length of my spine.

I’m naked.

It’s no accident. Whoever did this intentionally stripped me, leaving me exposed and vulnerable, determined to violate my mind as well as my body.

The blackness rolls then plunges, releasing something new into the shifting darkness. Slithering against me, it touches my skin with a bitter cold that breaks through the unrelenting agony of the rope. I hear my own tortured wheeze catch in my throat as I feel it scoring my stomach, the freezing nip and sting quickly followed by the unmistakable seeping of liquid, collecting in the hollow of my belly, running down my sides.

A rush of useless adrenalin floods my bloodstream, my chest threatening to explode as my racing heart frantically pumps blood to an unseen wound.

Even through the suffocating surge of panic, a vision of what I cannot see crystalizes with vivid detail: My arms and legs are tortuously drawn on a makeshift rack . . . a pendulum of biting chill slices across my naked torso . . . tiny rivers of fluid trickle down my sides.

I barely hear it over my pounding heartbeat—the sound of sloshing liquid.

In seconds, it becomes as familiar as it is terrifying.

I’m lying in water.

I take a halted breath as I realize the truth. The fluid running down my sides is not blood, but ribbons of over-wash from the frigid pool that surrounds me.

Rope and water.

Pain and fear.

It’s deliberate . . . to break me.

Again, the darkness lurches and rolls, churning the water, splashing it over my breasts and thighs. And although the icy burn forces me to gasp for air, it also sparks a moment of fleeting recognition—a vague memory from my past, a connection to the rise and fall of everything around me.

I’ve felt it before.

But where? When?

Stray thoughts flood my mind—the gentle climb, the momentary sense of weightlessness, the sudden drop . . . the unique motion of the sea.

It isn’t much, but it gives me something to hold on to, a starting point in remembering what has happened to me.

Thanks so much for the enticing peek into Betrayed, Jaye.

The cover only hints at the horror contained within the pages of Betrayed!

Betrayed

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MY REVIEW

WARNING: Graphic and explicit sexual scenes…kidnapping, sexual slavery, human trafficking, rape, abuse… I hesitate to call it erotica, because I view erotica as sex for sex’s sake. The scenes in Betrayed are pivotal to the story to show the savagery and brutality of the human trafficking of women.

I have read a couple of books by Jaye Francis, The Beach (review link below), Love Travels Forever (review link below) and The Kure (review to come soon) and they were quite different (wonderful paranormal and supernatural stories). I was caught off guard by the direction she took in Betrayed, but her writing is so fantastic, I will read anything she pens.

I love the cover and it screamed EVIL to me and I was soooooo right, BUT…I never anticipated just how EVIL it would be.

I find the review for Betrayed by Jaye Francis very difficult to write. I rarely read erotica, unless it is by an author I cannot resist, of which Jaye is one. I was talking to my sister about the book and how I could best describe it to get my point across. Human trafficking…one of the ugliest sides of “humanity”. The men who do this deserve the worst punishment possible…death! They are not fit to walk the face of the earth and you will meet some of them…especially her husband, Carl.

Jewel is shy and lacks self confidence. She marries Carl and his sense of adventure take them to exotic locales. I loved the thought of no nine to five, just going where their whims take them. Until…

I find it hard to believe she would let Carl do what he did, but I think her naivety and the inability to believe someone she trusted, should have been able to trust, allowed it to happen. After all, this is going on today, to intelligent women who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. It makes me wonder…it is a desire in women to believe the best of everyone, to trust too much? I struggle to put into words what I am thinking and feeling. It’s one of those things…this could never happen to me. But, could it? Could it happen to you?

She would pay dearly for her mistake!

She would have to “learn to play the game” to survive. Does the Stockholm Syndrome play a part, or is it go along or die?

So many characters to hate and I wish I could climb through my kindle to make them pay. They should not be able to walk among us, living and breathing.

Betrayed by Jaye Frances is jam packed with action. I felt my emotions taking me into the depths of hell and she took me to a place I have never been before. I can only hope Jaye Frances will make them pay, in the worst possible way!

The storm descriptions were vivid and terrorizing, but I felt something good would come of it. I had a feeling I knew where Jaye was going and who Jewel would end up with to continue the story, but how that will play out…

The cliffhanger ending has me literally hanging on the edge…waiting to see where we will go next and I can hardly wait to get there. And I hope to see Carl again…soon.

I received a copy of Betrayed by Jaye Frances in return for an honest review. As I said earlier, I love her writing and will go wherever she wants to take me.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 STARS

Goodreads Blurb:  Jewel has everything going for her—a handsome husband, a promising future, and lots of time to explore an island paradise she now calls home.

But when a group of strangers accompanies her husband home for a friendly game of poker, her life quickly becomes a hellish nightmare of deceit and betrayal.

Now her very survival depends on entering a world where sex, domination, and money are inseparable, where women must obey all masters, and where every desire has its price.

“Betrayed” contains mature content and is intended for an 18 and over audience.

ABOUT JAYE FRANCES

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Jaye Frances, author of Betrayed

Jaye Frances is the author of “World Without Love,” a suspense thriller series with an erotic edge, including “Betrayed,” “Reunion,” and “Redemption.” Her other books include “The Beach,” a sci-fi supernatural tale about the possibilities—and horror—of wishful thinking, “The Kure,” a paranormal-occult romance novel, “The Possibilities of Amy,” a coming-of-age story of first love, and “Love Travels Forever,” a collection of poignant short stories. When not absorbed with her writing, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and taking pictures-lots of them. Jaye lives on the gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, and several hundred pairs of shoes.

For more information visit Jaye’s website at www.jayefrances.com
her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jayefrancesauthor
and her Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/www.jayefrances…

GIVEAWAY

Jaye Frances has offered 1 (one) ebook of Betrayed, Book One of the World Without Love series, for the giveaway. Entry is easy peasy. Just answer the question and leave your email so I may contact you if you win.

“Have you ever been Betrayed by someone you loved and trusted?”

Giveaway runs 2/26 – 3/11/16.

I have read a couple of her books and Betrayed is quite different, but her writing is top notch, so I will grab anything she pens. If Betrayed sounds a bit much for you, check out The Beach, see my review link below, The Kure or The Possibilities of Amy.

MY REVIEWS OF THE BEACH AND LOVE TRAVELS FOREVER

  • Guest Post-Review of The Beach by Jaye Frances
  • Guest Post and Review of Love Travels Forever by Jaye Frances
  • To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.
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New Release & Giveaway ~ Afterlife of Alanna Miller by Demelza Carlton

Afterlife B

I have read some of Demelza Carlton’s work and have loved it all.

 I am really excited to share her this series with you and learn about it myself.

This will be a MUST READ for me!

I will be starting with the first one and you can get it for free here.

Afterlife Of Alanna Miller Cover

AFTERLIFE OF ALANNA MILLER

(Book Three in the Nightmares Trilogy)

By Demelza Carlton

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Synopsis:

Five years ago, Nathan’s world came crashing down. The witness protection program stole the woman he loved and now he’s lost everything – including hope that she’s still alive. His security job is a daily reminder of the girl he failed to protect, dragging him deeper into despair.

Forced to assume the identity of a dead girl, Caitlin struggles to rise from the ruins of the life she lost. A career change summons her home, but Perth isn’t the safe haven it seems. Someone is hunting her – one of her kidnappers, a long-lost relative or another terrorist with an axe to grind?

When nightmares from their past threaten to engulf Nathan and Caitlin, can a broken hero and a girl living another woman’s afterlife finally fight their way free?

Purchase from Amazon

Trailer for Afterlife

 

Or watch it HERE

Afterlife Excerpt

“I know something you won’t miss about Melbourne,” Jo said as she peered through the window.

The packing tape made a tortured sound as I used it to seal another box. “What? The ever-changing weather?” I scrawled BOOKS across the top of the box with my marker, then decided to label the sides, too.

“No. The commute to uni. Squeezed into a packed train carriage with all those crazed commuters, forcing yourself not to freak out at the sheer number of strangers touching you…I’ve seen your face on the train. It’s like you’re trying not to scream.”

I smiled wanly. Trying not to stab someone, actually. Five years and my skin still crawled if anyone touched me. Maybe I should have become a nun, not a doctor. No, I wouldn’t be allowed to carry a knife everywhere if I were a nun. Plus, there was the matter of having killed people…”I’ll be able to walk to work now. I told you that apartment next to the hospital was a good investment.”

She stuck her tongue out. “I’m an accountant, not an investment adviser. But I still think you should’ve rented it out this year, before you moved in. Six months’ rent is a lot of money to throw away…”

It wasn’t about the money. It was about having my own space, brand new, that no one else had lived in or done things in. A place without a past so I could create my own future there. Of course I picked Perth. After so much time away, I wanted to go home. With a new name, a new career and a whole new life…but it was home. Someone else’s afterlife…haunting the place where I’d nearly died. It was fitting. Every time I looked at St Elsie’s Hospital next door, I’d remember my time there as a patient and hopefully have more sympathy for my patients. Or go to pieces and be admitted to the psychiatric ward.

No, I told myself. I was prepared to go back and face any demons that I hadn’t slaughtered in the past. Given they were probably on their last legs after their last encounter with me, it’d be an act of mercy to put them out of their misery. Euthanasia, even, though that wasn’t legal in Western Australia.

A blurry hand waved before my eyes. “Hello? Are you even listening to me?”

I shook my head. “Sorry, Jo. I should have been.”

“I hope you introduce me to him soon, because any man who can make you daydream that deeply has to be drool-worthy. I want to know his name, his bank balance and how many times in a night.”

“How many…?” My eyes widened as her hands eloquently described fast-paced sex. “None, Jo. If I’d slept with a man, I’d have told you.”

She sighed, the deep sort that said her heart ached for me. “It’s been five years. No one can go that long without wanting sex. I know you got hurt, but I know you slept with that sleazy guy in Perth, which means you’re hardly afraid of intimacy if you let him touch you. Now, I know you’re not pining away for him, so why haven’t you even flirted with anyone else?”

Because I don’t want anyone to touch me. And when the man who’s saved your life several times over, risked his own life and his sanity, plus killed for you and stayed at your side until you recovered, believes he’s not good enough for you, you start to believe that no one will be. Why would I settle for a one-night stand with someone who wouldn’t kill for me?

Six years ago, I’d have told Jo all of this, but now I couldn’t. After what happened, some stories were best left untold. And I’m not sure she’d look at me the same way if she knew about the people I’d killed, Even if they did deserve it.

“I haven’t met the right one,” I replied curtly. “I’m looking for a hero who’s not just Prince Charming.”

Jo grinned. “A knight in shining armour and awe-inspiring sword skills?” Her hands described the size and nature of his sword.

“A knight, maybe, but with dented armour and maybe scorch marks up the side, to show he’s taken on an army and he’d walk through fire for me. A sword with a few nicks in it, so I know it’s not just for show. And later, when we’re alone, he’d take it all off and he’d make me feel like I was his whole world.”
She burst out laughing. “So, you’re after Sir Perfect with experience? Men like that don’t exist. You might get some of it, but not everything. Just as long as you don’t settle for some sleazy bastard who fools you into thinking he’s perfect, I guess.”


 

NIGHTMARES

BOOK ONE

Nightmares Of Caitlyn Lockyer

Synopsis

Six months ago, Nathan’s sister was brutally murdered.

Now the former playboy desires only one thing: revenge.

Late at night, Nathan trudges down the beach where his sister’s body was found. He’s searching for answers, but all he finds is a new nightmare: another girl’s tortured body.

Only this one isn’t dead . . . yet.

The unlikely hero becomes the prime suspect. Saving Caitlin’s life was just the start. Nathan must win her trust and unlock the memories hidden in her nightmares to find out who’s really responsible . . .before it’s too late.

Purchase FREE on Amazon

 


 

EVILBOOK TWO

Necessary Evil Of Nathan Miller

Synopsis

“And now in breaking news, Caitlin Lockyer has been found. In the early hours of this morning, a man discovered her body dumped on a south-west beach. A police spokesperson would not confirm whether the girl known as the Absent Angel is alive or dead…”

Caitlin wakes in hospital, her damaged body telling a brutal story of torture, kidnap and rape that she will never forget. Her only lifeline is Nathan, the mysterious man who saved her life and promised to protect her. But Nathan is a broken man, hounded by his own demons and secrets he can’t bear to tell.

Burning for retribution, Caitlin will stop at nothing to get her life back. Can she trust Nathan to help her – or will his past destroy them both?

Purchase from Amazon


 

About the Author:

dem

Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.

She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.

Sensationalist spin? No – Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.

Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

The Ocean’s Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

The suggested reading order for each series is as follows:

Turbulence and Triumph series:

Ocean’s Justice

Ocean’s Trial

Ocean’s Triumph

Ocean’s Gift series:

Ocean’s Gift

Ocean’s Infiltrator

Water and Fire

Ocean’s Depths (to be released in 2015)

Nightmares Trilogy:

Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer

Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller

Afterlife of Alanna Miller

Mel Goes to Hell series:

Welcome to Hell

See You in Hell

Mel Goes to Hell

To Hell and Back (to be released on 1 February 2015)

The Holiday From Hell (to be released on 26 March 2015)

If you’d like more information about the background behind her books, you can visit her website at: demelzacarlton.com

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A Badass Fallen Siren and a Sexy FBI Werewolf – Captured Release, Review & Giveaway

Captured_BannerS J Harper has just released the much anticipated Prequel to The Fallen Siren Series.

Like a badass fallen siren? How about a hot FBI werewolf?

Check out Emma and Zack.

I reviewed Cursed and loved it! Check out my review HERE.

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The Fallen Siren Series, Prequel #0.5

 AUTHOR NAME: S.J. Harper

GENRE: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

MY REVIEW

I had read Cursed before this prequel came out and loved it. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to read Captured and be a part of the tour.

How can you not love a fallen siren and a sexy werewolf as they use their special abilities to track down missing children? I found Emma and Zack captivating and easy to relate to. The novella is fast paced, easy to read and realistically written (aside from the paranormal aspect, or is it?).  I felt a sense of urgency, wanting to tell them to hurry up, time is running out.

Emma is a fallen siren, cursed because she did not save Persephone from being kidnapped.  She kept in mind that……

Redemption could be one rescue away.

I would also love to have a best friend like Liz, a super witch.

Zack is a sexy FBI werewolf that specializes in finding missing children.

Zack – more James Bond than Seeley Booth.

I think that is a fantastic description. I love Seeley Booth, but I watched James Bond before there was a Seeley Booth. They are two different kind of “super heroes” and there is always room in the world for another one.

When Emma and Zack come together, it is obvious there will sparks flying, but with two children dead and another one missing, their job is cut out for them.

Emma makes a Note To Self – When in the South, be sure to specify unsweetened tea. When I first moved down here, I came across the same problem myself. I don’t know how many times I would have to send back sweetened to get my unsweetened iced tea.

As Samantha and Jeanne talk about the heat in the South, I can vouch for stepping out and gasping for breath when the air is thick and heavy with humidity. It’s as if someone dumps a warm bucket of water over you, because you are immediately drenched and dripping from the moisture in the air. But….I love it.

Kidnapping, especially of children, brings peoples emotions to the surface, wondering how someone could hurt an innocent and trusting child. Family is always the first to be investigated, hopefully to rule them out.

Why can’t the bad guy look like a monster, instead of a handsome, charming guy who could be your next door neighbor?

I love crime stories, my fave. I love paranormal stories, not far behind. You put the two together and I am a very happy reader.

This is a great read, I loved it. I already knew Emma and Zack from reading Cursed, so I was predisposed to loving them and their story. Still, the story and writing must be good and entertaining, plus keep up a level of suspense that has me eagerly turning the pages, unable to put the book down until I find out the ending.  Well done ladies! I look forward to reading Reckoning and being on another investigation with Emma and Zack.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars – Would Highly Recommend To Others

I received an ebook of Captured, the novella by S J Harper, for review in conjunction with the tour.

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 SYNOPSIS

Join FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.

She’s a Siren. He’s a Werewolf.

Their mission is redemption.

Emma Monroe is a Fallen Siren, cursed by the gods and banished to Earth for her failure to prevent the kidnapping of Persephone. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now she works for the FBI and is on temporary assignment in Charleston. Solving this next missing persons case could be the key to ending her ancient curse—unless the temptation that’s her new partner gets in the way.

Zack Armstrong is a Werewolf. Tall, dark, and dangerous, he currently works for one of the bureau’s elite Child Abduction Rapid Deployment teams. In many respects the man is every bit as mysterious as his secret and perilous past. But there are two things he’s certain about, that he’s going to get his man and his woman.

When Zack finds himself suddenly shy a partner and a third child goes missing in Charleston, Emma goes from consultant to CARD team member in the space of a few hours. The abductions of the first two boys ended in murder, an outcome that neither Zack nor Emma can abide. As they race against time to track down the kidnapper and rescue the latest victim, they find themselves fighting something just as treacherous—a growing attraction that can’t be ignored or denied.

Amazon  /  Barnes & Noble  /  iTunes  /  ARe

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ABOUT THE BOOK

CURSED

The Fallen Siren Series, Book 1

Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.

She’s cursed. He’s damned.

Together, they make one hell of a team.



I reviewed Cursed and loved it! Check out my review HERE.

Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.

Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.

Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.

Amazon  /  Barnes & Noble  /  iTunes  /  ARe  /  Audiobooks

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EXCERPT

Upon waking I’m faced with the realization that a six-foot-plus werewolf is spooned up against me. His body is flush to mine. Head buried in my hair. Arm draped over my waist. Hand clasping my breast.

If the funny business happens while both parties are unconscious, does it still count as funny business?

Yikes. Was I so out of it that I actually invited Zack to sleep in my bed when there was a perfectly good couch in the room?

I lift my head off the pillow just enough to check the bedside clock red numbers flash, all zeros. The cable box next to the television seems to accurately display the time four fifty. Our wake-up call will be coming in ten short minutes. A wave of fatigue washes over me…along with memories of the last few days. I need another twelve hours sleep. No wonder my thinking was muddled. I move to slip out of bed when Zack stirs.

“Shit!” His hand moves off me so fast, you might have thought he’d been burned. He quickly puts distance between us. “Sorry.”

I roll over to face him. “It’s okay.”

“Really?” He places his hand on my hip. Gives it a gentle squeeze.

I gently remove it. “Not so fast, hotdog. Can’t help what you did when we were asleep. But we’re awake now. And we’re meeting with the committee in just over an hour. We need to get ready. And sex between you and me? Not a good idea.”

Zack sits up and reaches for the bedside lamp. Click.

The room is flooded with light.

He looks back at me over his shoulder. “I guess I’m going to have to agree to disagree with you on that point, Agent Monroe. I should probably confess, I’ve given the matter a great deal of thought and happen to believe sex between you and me is a fine idea.” He snatches the key card from the top of the nightstand and climbs to his feet. “You still up for dinner when we’re through? We can both pretend I didn’t feel you up. Wouldn’t want the evening to be awkward.”

I shrug. “Girl’s got to eat.”

~~~~~~~~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

S.J. HarperS. J. Harper is the pen name for the writing team of Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein, two friends who met at Comic- Con in San Diego and quickly bonded over a mutual love of good wine, edgy urban fantasy, and everything Joss Whedon.

Samantha Sommersby left what she used to call her “real- life” day job in the psychiatric !eld to pursue writing full- time in 2007. She is the author of more than ten novels and novellas including the critically acclaimed Forbidden series. She currently lives with her husband and terrier pup, Olive, in a century- old Southern California Craftsman. Sam happily spends her days immersed in a world where vampires, werewolves, and demons are real, myths, and legends are revered, magic is possible, and love still conquers all.

Jeanne Stein is the national bestselling author of The Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles. She also has numerous short story credits, including most recently the novella Blood Debt from the New York Times bestselling anthology Hexed. Her series has been picked up in three foreign countries and her short stories published in collections here in the U.S. and the U.K. She lives in Denver, Colorado, where she !nds gardening a challenge more daunting than navigating the world of mythical creatures.

 AUTHOR CONTACT LINK

Website  /  Facebook Jeanne  /  Facebook Sam  /  Twitter Jeanne  /  Twitter Sam

Goodreads  /  Newsletter

Click on the cover below to get your copy of Cursed, Captured or Reckoning by S J Harper.

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GRAND PRIZE: $50.00 Amazon Gift Certificate

 ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE

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S.J. Harper’s CAPTURED Book Blast   6/23 – 7/27

6/23       Coffee Talk Writers

 6/24       Musings In Fiction Alley

 6/24       Addicted 2 Heroines

 6/25       Binding Addiction

 6/25       Night Owl Reviews

 6/26       For Whom The Books Toll

 6/26       Book Liaison

 6/28       Under the Covers

 6/28       fundinmental

 6/29       Mythical Books

 6/30       My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

 7/01       Eclipse Reviews

7/02       Fang Freakin Tastic

 7/04       Tome Tender

 7/05       In The Pages of a Good Book

 7/06       I Smell Sheep

 7/07       Book Monster Review

 7/09       Karen Swart

7/11       Romancing the Dark Side

 7/13       Dirty Girl Romance

 7/13       Angels With Attitude Book Reviews

 7/14       Talk Supe

 7/14       Paranormal Romance Fans for Life

 7/17       RomanceJunkies.com

 7/21       Vampires, Werewolves, & Fairies, Oh My

7/23       Darkest Cravings

 7/25       The Reading Cafe

 7/25       LITERAL ADDICTION

 7/25       Inner Goddess

 7/26       Book Lovin’ Mamas

 7/27       You Gotta Read

7/27       Dalene’s Book Reviews 

By saving themselves, will they save Amy – Final Mend by Angela Smith – Tour & Giveaway

final_mend_blog_tour_graphicThe cover for Final Mend by Angela Smith is so tranquil and serene, I could not help but be captured by it.

What do you think of when gazing at the beautiful cover?

Final_Mend_Cover

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SYNOPSIS

A recovering alcoholic, Jake Inman has found a new, healthier addiction: training for his successful triathlon career. But when his manager is murdered and beloved goddaughter kidnapped, another obsession takes hold: doing whatever it takes to find Brandon’s killer and keep Amy safe. Jake turns to a private investigator for help in solving the case, and though he finds temptation in her whiskey-colored eyes, he knows he must resist his attraction, or risk losing his heart.

After a devastating case, Winona Wall has turned her back on her skills as a private investigator, preferring a quiet life as a part-time bartender. That is, until Jake storms into the bar, demanding her help in tracking his missing godchild. Unable to resist Jake’s charm, she reluctantly agrees. But even after Amy is found unharmed, Jake insists Amy’s mother was more involved with her kidnapping than the police suspect. When the situation takes a turn for the worse, Winona must trust her instincts in order to save them all – and avoid falling in love.

AMAZON

EXCERPT

Tanyon, Montana, was a small jewel of a town towered by mountains and tucked into a corner of heaven. The sun descended, bruising the sky with dew-covered gold and plum. Green pines rose steadily upward, reaching for an eternity they’d never see.

Brandon had owned a cabin in the woods about an hour away. Though he and Jake had never driven into this town, they’d visited the cabin often to hunt and fish. The colors in this part of the world seemed more vibrant than any other place Jake had ever visited, but now that vibrancy only pissed him off.

They’d never fish at that old cabin again. Brandon was dead. His fishing days over.

Jake drove into 301 Torrey Lane and parked, eyeing a beer sign with cold dread. He’d left home this morning at two a.m. and driven half a day to reach Tanyon. He’d spent the next two hours searching for a woman named Winona and hadn’t even thought to ask where he was headed when he’d finally gotten an address for her. All he knew was that Winona had been recommended by several private investigators who couldn’t take his case. She was supposed to be the best.

She worked in a bar. When he’d heard the place’s name—Air Dog—he’d thought it might be a ski shop or something.

“Fuck.” Jake slammed his palms into the steering wheel and listened as the engine rumbled in his gut.

His pulse pounded as the beer sign blinked, taunting him. He sat a moment, his hands gripping the wheel. Breathing in and out and daring the tears to leave. He hadn’t needed adrink in several years, but the ache razed through him. Just one shot to burn his throat and channel his adrenaline into a steady stream of unconsciousness.

It was a twisted, fucked up fate. An omen. The universe was hell-bent on destroying him and this time it might win. All along Brandon had been his advocate for giving up the drink, but Brandon was dead and the one woman who might help him worked in a bar.

Thirst for an icy cold drink overtook common sense. His head spun as he fought off the need for the stimulant that could drown his sorrows.

He couldn’t go in there. Not without caving.

Fuck it. His cousin, the one who’d pulled him out of the alcoholic funk he’d been in half his adult life, had been murdered in his own home. What good had fancy living gotten him? Jake deserved a drink.

No, Brandon wouldn’t approve. So he’d go in, sit at the bar, and have a glass of water, proving he could do it without giving in. Or tonic water. That held a bite that would mimic alcohol’s sting.

He had to talk to Winona and since he wanted to rest his road-weary body, this would provide the perfect backdrop for both. And sitting in a dark bar with low music and alcohol bottles would confirm his strength. Strength Brandon had insisted he had if he’d steer clear of temptation. They’d even visited bars—several times, to prove he had the strength—but Brandon had always been with him.

Brandon had looked up to Jake in his younger days, and once Jake’s parents had died and Jake had crashed into a headlong flurry of destruction, Brandon admitted he had to do something. He’d coaxed him, dared him, persuaded him, bribed him, but the thing that finally worked for Jake was his near death and respect for his remaining family. Brandon was about to be a father, and Jake didn’t want his new godchild to see him destroy himself. For once in his life, he wanted to be a good influence on someone. He traded one addiction for another: triathlons. A journey that had saved him. He opened the truck and jumped down, slamming the door behind him in a crash of nerves and uncertainty. Could he do this?

He opened the door. The bar didn’t greet him with smoke and dreariness. Instead, it was muted and pleasant, with sounds of chatter and low music. It wasn’t crowded. Neither was it too high-end to feel unwelcome or too trashy to feel uncomfortable.

It was perfect, actually, and so was the woman standing behind the bar.

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Angela        SmithABOUT THE AUTHOR

During her senior year in high school, Angela Smith was dubbed most likely to write a novel, and that has been her dream ever since her mother read ‘Brer Rabbit’ to her and her sister so often that they were able to recite it back to each other before they learned to read. Ever since then, she hasn’t stopped reading or writing. A certified paralegal, work gives her perfect fodder for her romantic suspense stories. When not caring for her small farm or spending time with her husband of two decades, she enjoys creating, reading, and dreaming of the places she’ll visit one day.

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Click on the cover to get your Amazon copy of Final Mend by Angela Smith.

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