Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Lost Eyes of the Serpent by Jeremy Phillips Book Blitz and Giveaway!


The Lost Eyes of the Serpent
Jeremy Phillips
(The Rose Delacroix Files, #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

It may sound crazy, but Jonathan Delacroix is certain his sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes…
Girls are not detectives. But in the summer of 1893, in the small western town of Hope Springs, Rose Delacroix is bound and determined to prove them all wrong. When the famous Emerald Serpent Jewels are stolen from the Delacroix family hotel and the blame lands solely on her older brother Bill, Rose recruits Jonathan as her Watson-like counterpart to solve the case.
Proving your brother innocent is difficult when the evidence keeps stacking up against him…
Before Rose and Jonathan can properly start their investigation, another robbery is committed. The rusty revolver purported to have once belonged to Wild Bill Hickok has been stolen from the general store and found hidden amongst her brother’s belongings. With Bill in jail, and the owner of the Serpent Jewels planning to sue the Delacroix hotel, Rose knows she has to find a lead, and soon.
A witness comes forward claiming they saw Bill steal the jewels, but Rose isn’t about to be bullied into ignoring the facts…
Rose and Jonathan must put their sleuthing skills to the test or witness their family fall to ruin due to…
…the lost eye of the serpent.
Bonus Scene (short story):

Rose Delacroix Versus the Box
By Jeremy Phillips

Rose Delacroix sat on a stump in the bare and dusty yard behind the Delacroix Hotel, staring at a metal box sitting on another stump, a few feet away from her. She regarded the box with an ever-increasing intensity, not sure how to proceed. Time was very short, and she wished that she had more of it available to her right now.
“Whatever am I going to do with you?” Rose said to the box.
The box didn’t look like much. It was the size of a shoebox, but constructed of solid steel, with tight, straight corners. Its only visible feature was a place for a key to fit, in the front of the box. Really, it seemed simple enough. But looks, as Rose knew very well, are often deceptive.
In her hand, Rose held a couple of metal clips from out of her hair, clips which she had straightened out to use for this particular purpose. Except, it hadn’t worked yet. Rose approached the box again, the box which had at first glance appeared to be so simple, and yet had thwarted all of her prior attempts at entry.
Rose shook the box, which was deceptively heavy in addition to being deceptively difficult to break. Something solid thunked around inside of it. Whatever it was, Rose meant to have it out of that box, and soon.
Drawing a deep, calming breath, Rose tried once more to pick the lock on this thing. The books she’s been reading, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries in addition to other lesser Detective tales, always make this seem so simple, don’t they?
Using one of the hair pins that she had straightened out, Rose carefully massaged the top of the lock, to where she believed the pins that she needed to trick ought to be. She could feel the pins moving, so that was good. With a second hair pin, she applied a constant pressure on the bottom of the lock in the hopes of popping it open, when the pins were all equally deceived into believing that the proper key had been applied into the keyhole.
After another long effort, she stopped again. What time was it getting to be, now?
Really, she needed to pop this lock open. She needed, rather desperately, to know what was inside of this thing. All of her logic told Rose that whatever was inside of this deceptively secure box, was of vital importance to her investigation. Even as she sat there in this yard, monkeying around with this locked box, her brother Jon was confronting the box’s owner. Jon needed her, and he needed her now, not whenever it was that she managed to finally get this thing open.
Perhaps the problem was too obvious. This box, which she had confiscated, perhaps inappropriately, from its hiding place in a guest room of the Delacroix Hotel, belonged to a man who liked to think of himself as the world’s greatest “cracksman.” This was a term that Rose had only recently learned, but which referred to the man’s impressive ability to break into locked safes. Given the great trouble that this person had managed to cause to Rose and her family in the last few days, he had a point concerning his abilities, after all.
Rose took a moment, and tried to think about the problem logically. She had in her possession the small personal safe of a man who considered himself to be the greatest safe-breaker in the world. It only stood to reason, that the security on the safe of such a person would defy any normal attempts at lock picking.
Really, attempting to pick the thing was ridiculous, given the fact that she was an amateur at this sort of thing in the first place. Rose was self-taught, having only popped a few locks around town during her free time when no one was looking, to see if she could do it. To Rose’s way of thinking, skills such as lock picking were just the sorts of things that a self-styled Detective simply ought to know, after all.
Not that everyone was likely to understand this. She put this into the same category of small-minded thinking as seemed to possess most people that she met, the same type of small-minded thinking which implied that, given her status as a female, she was simply incapable of actual logic thought. Or much else, either. This was in the category of things that she simply refused to agree to wholesale, in other words.
Turning the safe around and looking into the keyhole with the aid of the heavy summer sunlight, Rose suddenly understood the problem more fully. The lock itself seemed to run deeper than most locks did, and what’s more, there appeared to be pins on the right interior side of the lock too. Those extra pins were placed at a different angle than were normally seen, in all of the others locks that Rose had encountered around the town of Hope Springs. This was actually a rather extraordinary lock, which would take a rather extraordinary key. It was a lock the likes of which Rose had never encountered before.
Given enough time, Rose was fairly sure that she could have broken the lock anyway. It would require another hair pin, and perhaps another hand too, to apply pressure to the lock with the tension wire while she worked at the pins from two different angles at once. But, time was something that she simply didn’t have much of. This was going to require a different approach.
Rose placed the box back on the tree stump, then went into a large work shed, which was attached to the barn in the family’s back yard. She returned a minute later with the heaviest wood chopping axe that she could find, and took a mighty swing at the top of the metallic box.
The first blow did nothing but mildly dent the box, causing it to bounce a foot or so up into the air with the force of her assault. A second and third blow did little more. But on her fourth attempt, after getting a reckless running start at the metal box from the other side of the yard, Rose managed to lodge the blade of the axe into the top of the steel box. Rose’s arms were feeling sore already, from the exertions of trying to break this thing.
It was almost comical. The axe was now lodged directly into the lid of the steel box. Feeling her anxiety increase, Rose wondered what time it was now getting to be. She wondered how things were going for Jon, who was even now confronting the burglar…a man who, the night before, had proven that he was not above pulling a gun on her brother. He might not be above murder, even.
With great effort, Rose was able to pry the axe blade back out of the top of the box. This left a large cut along the middle of the lid of the thing, but she could still not get to the contents of the box, or even really see what those contents were, rolling around inside of that damned box.
Rose set the box up on its edge. This time, it would have to work. She stepped back again, hefting the axe up over her head. She stepped back farther, and farther yet. An absurd feeling came over Rose, as though she were a baseball player up at bat, facing the third strike in the last inning of a tight game.
Well, and wasn’t that pretty much what this was, after all? How much time did Jon really have, facing off with that criminal? This was her last inning, and what all was on the line? Only the freedom and future of her other brother, Bill, who had been framed for two robberies and one attempted murder that he didn’t commit. Oh, and the possibility of the entire Delacroix family losing their ownership of the Delacroix Hotel to another criminal, and being kicked out into the streets of Hope Springs in the summer of 1893; there was that minor detail, too. Only those things. And Jon.
Steadying herself, Rose took a deep breath. In her mind’s eye, she imagined the cut that she would have to inflict to make this thing happen. She’s read someplace about the power of the mind, the power to make things happen by carefully visualizing them, first. This was something she believed in wholeheartedly.
The blow would have to be perfect. It would have to land squarely on the edge of the lid, to exactly where the hinge must be. Only that. Or else, perhaps she could go over to the Blacksmith’s shop and see if he couldn’t pop the thing open for her somehow. But there would be a lot of questions asked, then. And a lot of precious time wasted. She thought again of Jon, headed over to the Bromwell Hotel, across the street.
With a cry, Rose ran wholeheartedly up towards the box, to where it sat there on the tree stump. She brought the axe down with all her might, producing a bone-jarring ringing in her hands clear up to the shoulder, an ear-cracking SMACK when the unstoppable force of her axe came down on the immovable object of the steel box’s lid…and then the miracle happened.
The blow was perfect, more perfect than seemed fair. The hinge of the box gave way, and the contents of the box flew everywhere, scattering around to land everyplace on the dusty ground.
Rose quickly rushed around the yard, ignoring the ringing pain in her arms, picking up the box’s former contents and placing them back in the now-broken box.
There was a little leather pouch full of lock picks, proper ones, made of some fine thin steel that Rose had never seen before. These she would keep, if things turned out as she hoped they might. There was also a collection of paper money and coins. And there, sitting separate and apart from the rest of the stuff, was a round object about the size of an apple.
Quickly picking the object up, Rose examined it closely.
After a few moments a large smile came across her face, as she realized what the object in her hand was…and what it meant, for her and her all-consuming Investigation. This was becoming like a Sherlock Holmes story after all, Rose thought, which filled her with excitement and a powerful sense of adventure, although she might not have admitted this to anyone, perhaps not even to her twin brother John.
Holding on to the object and rushing out to Main Street, Rose found herself running as quickly as she could to go help her brother. Yes, this might help fix things. It might help fix things very well.


Author Bio:
Jeremy Phillips has been interested in Buddhist philosophy for more than twenty years, and attends services at a Shin Buddhist temple in Spokane, Washington. When he isn't writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a Respiratory Therapist at several different hospitals. He lives in Spokane with his wife, children, dogs, and bonsai trees.



GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
$10 Amazon Gift Card


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Monday, 22 August 2016

Wicka by Christy Deveaux Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Wicka
Christy Deveaux
Publication date: May 28th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

While mourning the loss of a mother figure, Elizabeth Blake, a smart but socially introverted seventeen year old girl from Ann Arbor Michigan, thinks she’s enrolling in an international school in the south of France to finish her final year of high school. Instead, she falls in love; finds out that she is a witch from an ancient family –– who weren’t thought to exist anymore; and discovers that her life is in danger, as the Elders believe that she is the heir to a legend they fear above all else.
Wicka, the debut novel by Christy Deveaux, has been compared to other fantasy paranormal tales such as Twilight, written by Stephanie Meyer and Harry Potter, written by J.K. Rowling. Young adults and grown ups alike are sure to love this adventure filled magical romance.
Grab your copy for 99¢ for a limited time only!

Book Trailer:



Author Bio:
Christy Deveaux is the author of The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake series. Her highly anticipated first book in the series, Wicka, was just released this spring (2014). Inspired by traveling across Europe solo at a very young age, and many travel adventures since, the character and story line behind Elizabeth Blake was born. Christy majored in political science and earned a cross-disciplinary degree from the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, three children and a fish named Cow.

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card

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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Dr Wolf: The Four Horsemen by Cheree Alsop Book Feature and Giveaway!

Once again I have another new release from Cheree Alsop to feature and giveaway on the blog. Read about the book below and then enter to win if it's something you think you'd like. 
This time I have book 3 of The Fae Rift series, The Four Horsemen and I have codes for all 3 books for 2 lucky readers. 

Book 3:
Title: Dr Wolf: The Four Horsemen
Author: Cheree Alsop
Series: The Fae Rift
Release Date: August 17th 2016

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A plague spreads through Edge City. Certain the Four Horsemen are behind it, Aleric tracks the plague to a restaurant in the middle of the city. With the possibility of an apocalypse hanging by a thread, Aleric has to confront each of the Horsemen to end the threat to the city he loves. Still dealing with pain from the Archdemon’s wound, Aleric is pitted against gorgons, a vampiress, and limited time to find what Death is looking for and return the Four Horsemen to the fae world.

Excerpt:

“People do crazy things in the name of love, Doc. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.”
Aleric stared at him. “You were in love?”
Dartan put a pale hand over his heart. “Are you insinuating by your skeptical tone that because a vampire doesn’t have a fully functioning cardiovascular system the way werewolves do, that our hearts cannot bleed in agony at the mere thought of an unreturned gesture, that we cannot mourn the distance of an adored one’s feelings, that we cannot pine away after love lost or sob our lonesome selves to dreamless sleep when such love is found unrequited?”
“That’s a bit dramatic,” Aleric pointed out.
Dartan gave a heartfelt sigh. “You live but the span of a human’s years; can you not imagine the agony of a thousand such years spent in unreciprocated yearning, unanswered worship, and even unrequited total and helpless desire for the briefest lift of the lips that could hint at a smile?” He leaned back in the booth with another loud sigh. “Alas, the torment of a vampire’s heart is misunderstood at best and disregarded at worst.”
Aleric waited until the vampire stopped speaking to ask, “Are you being serious?”
Dartan sat back up. “I’m being dramatic. I thought you could tell the difference.”
Aleric raised a hand to catch Iris’ attention.
“What are you doing?” Dartan asked.
“I’m going to tell her to go ahead and stab you,” Aleric replied.

Book 2:
Title: Dr Wolf: Demon Spiral
Series: The Fae Rift
Author: Cheree Alsop
Release Date: July 2nd 2016

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When the head doctor’s daughter is bitten by a goblin, Dr. Wolf is forced to the edge of his limits to save her life. Other victims show up, turning the chance attack into one calculated to send a message. With the safety of the human race hanging in the balance, Dr. Wolf has to find out how an Archdemon made it to Edge City. The answer could mean life or death for the young woman whose blue eyes and warm smile have stolen his heart.

Book 1
Title: Dr Wolf: Shockwave
Series: The Fae Rift
Author: Cheree Alsop
Release Date: 26th May 2016


Blurb:
When the divide between the fae world and the human world is torn apart, Aleric Bayne is thrown into the ensuing chaos. Hurt and disoriented, the werewolf finds himself in a hospital emergency room. When other fae creatures begin to show up, Aleric sneaks them into the D wing of the hospital. With no one else able to treat their unusual conditions, Aleric steps into the role of Dr. Wolf. He has one goal in mind, to help the fae and close the Rift. But Dr. Wolf has walls around the memories of his own broken past that threaten to unravel the world he is holding together by a thread.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Cheree Alsop is an award-winning, best-selling author and the mother of a beautiful, talented daughter and amazing twin sons who fill every day with joy and laughter. She is married to her best friend, Michael, the light of her life and her soulmate who shares her dreams and inspires her by reading the first drafts of each book. Cheree is a fulltime author and mother, which is much more fun than work! She enjoys reading, riding her motorcycle on warm nights, and playing with her twins while planning her next book. She is also a bass player for their rock band, Alien Landslide.Cheree and Michael live in Utah where they rock out, enjoy the outdoors, plan great adventures, and never stop dreaming. 
Check out Cheree’s other books at www.chereealsop.com

Cheree's Other Social Media Links

Giveaway:

An eCopy of all 3 books for 2 people from Smashwords.


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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Midnight Sky by Amy Braun Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Midnight Sky
Amy Braun
(Dark Sky #2)
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult

There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…

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Guest Post:

MIDNIGHT SKY continues its journey in Westraven, following the aftermath of the Behemoth’s destruction and the freeing of its citizens after a decade of oppression and terror. Though the skies and streets of Westraven have been cleared of any bloodthirsty Hellions, young engineer Claire Abernathy and the crew of the Dauntless Wanderer have their hands full. They’ve been unable to find the location of the ship Claire’s parents used to locate the Breach– the tear between worlds that brought the Hellions and their horrors into the once glorious trade city– which could prove vital to sealing the Breach and locking the Hellions away for good. When Claire’s younger sister Abby suddenly becomes violently ill, Claire begins her expedition to uncover the true story of how the Breach was opened. She hopes to find a solution that will close the Breach forever, but she begins to uncover truths about those she trusts which could force her to make a sacrifice that will cost her everything she loves.  


MIDNIGHT SKY was probably the most challenging novel in the series to write. Sequels need to carry the events of the first story and act as the gateway to the grand finale. I wanted this story to have a dramatic end, but I needed events to carry the story and close certain questions. I was excited to delve back into the world of Westraven and add new history to the story. I decided to focus on the backstories of Claire’s parents, since their actions are crucial to the series and the story as a whole.

The map I sketched of Westraven became more detailed, and I think my favorite setting to write in this story was the Barren, a haunting, once militarized portion of Westraven that holds history for more than one member of the Dauntless crew. World-building is one of my favorite things to write about, and I was excited to jump back into Westraven and expand its setting.

Another exciting element was the love triangle between Claire, Sawyer, and Riley. I’d always planned for a rocky relationship between Claire and Sawyer, given their strong wills and butting-heads, but I’ve never written a love triangle. Riley was a late addition to the DARK SKY universe, and I was so glad to include him. His story is a complex, terrifying one, and since he seeks Claire’s affection, it forces Sawyer to consider his attitude when the risk of losing Claire’s heart becomes evident. He doesn’t trust Riley and fears for Claire’s safety, but to win her over he’ll have to change. By the time the story was over, I could tell that all of the characters had grown, though Sawyer’s arc was perhaps the most apparent.

Starting the story took a little longer than I intended, but I was flying through it by the end. The final scenes were written at 2:00AM because I couldn’t sleep without the idea jotted down. I was very happy it ended the way it did, considering what will be coming in the final novel. Since MIDNIGHT SKY grew so close to my heart, I decided to put more effort into its promotion, seeking the help of XPresso Tours and En Pointe Author Services to help with blog tours, release blitzes, and review opportunities. I’m so pleased to have taken that risk, since it has definitely paid off.

There was a fair amount of editing recommended by both my Beta reader and my editor, but I was grateful for their insight. I constantly strive to improve my writing, and correcting my bad writing habits helps produce a stronger story.

One of the best moments in this journey was seeing the cover for MIDNIGHT SKY, created by Deranged Doctor Design. They blew me away with the CRIMSON SKY cover (and every other cover they’ve made for me), and I decided to put a little more insight into what I wanted from the sequel’s cover. The result was stellar. I couldn’t be happier with the look of the cover, and am dying to see what they’ll create for the final novel and two novellas of the DARK SKY series.

Writing sequels is always daunting. You want to carry on with what readers love, but you also want to introduce new elements to make the series stronger as a whole. I’ve never written an ending like this before, so I hope my efforts paid off. I know that I’m happy and proud and passionate about MIDNIGHT SKY, and I think new readers and fans of the previous novel will find it to their liking.


Author Bio:
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for "author voice, world-building and general bad-assery," and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn't writing, she's reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.


GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • One ebook of Crimson Sky, a signed paperback of Midnight Sky, and various book swag

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler Jolley Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Extracted
Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler Jolley
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: August 15th 2016
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult

Two opposing factions of time travelers vie for control of the future in this thrilling steampunk series opener dubbed “Interesting” and “Unexpected” by Kirkus Reviews.
Lex and Ember—two time travelers with no memories of their lives before being recruited into the time war—are torn between the factions. When Lex accepts a mission that lands him deep within the heart of the Telsa Institute, he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they were, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them once again.

EXCERPT:

My breath comes in short, shallow bursts. I can feel the warmth of Ethan’s body radiating like a tuning fork against my back. In front of me, there is only darkness. I strain, listening, waiting for the next wave of attack. The leather straps holding up my suede harness dig into the skin of my shoulders, but the ache only sharpens my focus. The urge to turn around is strong, though I know better. Months of training have taught me exactly what happens when I turn my back to the darkness. So I listen, honing my senses until I catch the sound of Ethan taking a small step forward, away from me. My eyes are useless, so I close them. Knowing my attackers are well paid for their ability to move in silence, there is little hope that they will give themselves away. We need another strategy. As if reading my mind, Ethan picks up the conversation we were having earlier.
“All I’m saying is, maybe you need the extra practice,” Ethan says, his tone mocking. Even without being able to see him, I can sense him moving, beginning to circle counterclockwise. I know he’s trying to draw them out, to bring the fight to him. It seems like a sound strategy, so I jump on board.
“Oh, yes, because it isn’t like she turned around and kicked the crap out of you, too.” I’m mimicking his movements now. My voice is flat, free from emotion, and my words are empty. I can’t see him moving, but I can feel him, as if we’re connected by a million invisible threads.
“How am I supposed to just punch a girl?” Ethan asks. “And I was tired from taking the guy out like five seconds earlier.”
“She isn’t a girl. She’s more like a pissed-off kangaroo in a top hat. She has a nasty right hook, I’ll give you that.”
I hear the sharp whip of air as a bamboo pole cuts through the darkness, headed toward my face. Even with our phony argument going on, I’m able to hear it coming before it lands. I bring up my hands and block the blow with my forearms. The impact stings, bruising the bones there, but better my arms than my face. With a movement perfected after one too many blows to the head, I grab the pole and pull it aside, dragging my attacker with it. As he closes in, I drop the pole and lock arms with Ethan. I flip over his back and kick out, knocking my attacker to the mat. As he struggles back to his feet, Ethan spins into my place, delivering a secondary kick that sends the man flying into the wall with a dull thud. “Yeah, but she’s scrappy,” he says.
“Scrappy? Is that boy code for you couldn’t stop staring at her rack?”
Behind me, I feel Ethan duck a blow, and then land one of his own before pressing his back against mine. “I… that’s not… I didn’t even… I mean…” he sputters.
I smirk. Busted.
Footsteps approach, but we keep sparring. I bend over, using my attacker’s own momentum against him as I put my shoulder into his gut and stand, propelling him over my head and onto his back on the mat. I don’t need to see my victory to realize what the maneuver has cost me. A muscle in my lower back seizes, and it’s all I can do not to drop to my knees in agony. I clench my fists until I feel my fingernails cut bloody crescents in my palms. There is no way I’m going to be the weak link—no way I’m going to let Ethan fight alone. Back to back, that’s how Rifters are trained to fight. And Ethan always has my back.
“Don’t feel too bad. She was pretty scrappy after all.”
Ethan mumbles, “It’s a girl thing.”
“Hold up, what’s that supposed to mean?” I ask, stiffly regaining my footing as my back screams in protest.
As usual, Ethan turns to check on me. “Nothing personal, Ember.”
Not wanting him to get slammed for it again, I grab him by the shoulder and pull, revolving us to our starting positions just as the first attacker flips back onto his feet and lunges. He would have taken me in the stomach, but I bring up my knee just in time to block his advance before kicking him in the face. There is a loud crunch that sounds like breaking bone. I hear him hit the mat with a groan. The lights flick back on, and Mistress Catherine blows her whistle.
Normally we spar with off-duty guards, since most of them have military training of some kind. They know how to take a hit and how to deliver one without doing too much damage. We might be lowly recruits, but Rifters are rare, and our lives are precious.
But as the man whose nose I have just broken pulls off his black ski mask, my heart falls into my shoes. Flynn is staring up at me, and his face is covered in blood.
“Nice hit, Ember,” he says as blood drips from his nose and onto his white shirt. Mistress Catherine hands him his horn-rimmed glasses and shoots me an amused smirk. Behind me, Ethan snickers.
Great. And here I was thinking this day couldn’t get any worse.
Reaching down, I offer Flynn a hand up, which he accepts with a smile.
“I’m so sorry,” I mutter, but he waves it off.
“Catherine told me you were really coming along. I wanted to see for myself.”
The others are shuffling out, so I turn to grab a towel and follow them, but Mistress Catherine closes the door behind a worried-looking Ethan, presses her back against it, and narrows her eyes at me. I used to think it was hard to look menacing in a knee-length pencil skirt and beige brocade top, but she radiates power. It might be the stern pucker of her thin lips, or the way her graying hair is knotted tightly at the nape of her neck. She resembles a librarian except for the long, jagged scar that runs from her left temple to the cleft in her chin. Well, that and the spider-shaped, iron shoulder harness permanently affixed to her upper arm.
Not sure what’s going on, I freeze, yellow towel in hand. Before I can say anything, I feel something moving behind me. I manage to move to the side just as a wooden staff comes slamming down against the spot where I’d stood a heartbeat earlier. I turn and see Flynn grinning, blood still dripping off his chin. He spits before whirling the staff like a windmill in front of him. “What I don’t understand,” he says, circling to my left, “is how that Hollow got the best of you. According to Ethan’s report, Kara had no problem with her. And Catherine here tells me that you mat Kara at almost every practice now.”
I have no idea what to say. Does he think I let her beat up on me? Just then, my legs are swept out from under me. I fall to the mat, but, rolling swiftly backward, I bounce up onto my feet. Catherine has a staff, too, and comes toward me from the right. I hold up my hands and back up slowly. In the corner of the room, a vent erupts in a cloud of steam, and Tesla’s image appears but says nothing.
“Look, I didn’t let her get away,” I say. “If that’s what you’re implying. She was strong. And fast.”
Catherine shakes her head. “You are strong. And fast. And clever.”
“I’m sorry!” I blurt out when my back hits the corner and they are still coming at me.
I don’t think Flynn would ever hurt me, not really, but Catherine, well…
Without another word, they both attack. I manage to duck one blow but take another in the ribs before I decide to make a break for it. Jumping as high as possible, I’m able to get a hand on the chain attaching one of the punching bags to the ceiling and hoist myself up. I leap over Flynn and roll as I hit the ground behind him. They’re quick, though, and have me surrounded again in seconds.
It’s easy to forget that they are trained Rifters, too. Catherine doesn’t rift anymore, but Flynn is still active and in really good shape. They aren’t holding anything back either. Flynn lands a blow to my lower back, but when Catherine moves in, I’m able to grab her staff and force it from her bad arm. Suddenly, time is moving in a blur. I’m not thinking about my next move anymore. My body is reacting of its own accord. I’m not sure how it happens, but I blink and Catherine is on her knees. Flynn is standing in front of me, and I have the two staffs crossed at his neck. He’s holding up his hands and saying my name.
I drop the sticks and step back. The muscles in my arms and legs are twitching like I’ve just run ten miles.
“That’s what we mean,” Catherine says, climbing stiffly to her feet. “You could have taken the Hollow girl. So, why did you hesitate?”
I close my eyes, calling the fight to the front of my memory. There was something about the girl. She was beautiful, for sure, but that wasn’t it. There was something else, too. Something I can’t put into words. I look up to find they’re staring at me, waiting for some kind of answer. I can feel Tesla glaring holes into my back, watching me like one of his little science experiments. “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
Flynn sighs and holds his hands out to me. I take them without hesitation. “Ember, I know it’s hard. I know you don’t like hurting people. It’s against your very nature to harm someone or let someone suffer. But you are too important to risk losing. Understand? Sometimes, you have to put someone down, let someone get hurt or even die, to save yourself and your team. You can’t hold anything back.”
I take a deep breath. “And what if someone dies because of me? Because, for some reason, my life is worth more than theirs?”
Flynn lowers his head, looking me in the eye. “That is a burden you will have to learn to carry.”




Author Bio:
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
--
Tyler H. Jolley is a sci-fi/fantasy author and full-time orthodontist, periodontist (see: Overachiever). He divides his spare time between writing, reading, mountain biking, and camping with his family.
Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (Intl winner would get eBook prizes)

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Shadow Born by Jasmine Walt & Rebecca Hamilton Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Shadow Born
Jasmine Walt & Rebecca Hamilton
(Shadows of Salem #1)
Publication date: August 16th 2016
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Chicago Police Detective Brooke Chandler is keeping a secret… and if she’s not careful, it could get her killed.
Brooke is no stranger to the supernatural. In Chicago, vampires are just as prevalent as drug lords, and infinitely more bloodthirsty. So when her partner and fiancé dies in a mysterious fire while chasing down a lead in Salem, she suspects something dark and otherworldly is at play.
Blessed with the ability to see into the past by touching inanimate objects, Brooke transfers to the Salem PD, hoping her talent will help her get to the bottom of things. Between dodging assassination attempts and being stonewalled at every turn, the going is tough. Add in a mysterious fae club owner with secrets of his own and a personal grudge against her, and it becomes nearly impossible.
If Brooke wants to play in the supernatural sandbox, she’s going to have to roll up her sleeves and get dirty. But how many people will have to die for Brooke to discover the truth about her fiance? And is she even ready to know?
Find out what lurks in the SHADOWS OF SALEM by pre-ordering SHADOW BORN, the latest Urban Fantasy hit readers are comparing to Karen Marie Moning and Patricia Briggs.

EXCERPT:

“They’re conniving, manipulative, and take things that don’t belong to them.” Maddock hissed, then shoved to his feet. “Such as the fae that have been going missing recently.”
“Well, I can’t argue with that,” I muttered, eyeing him warily. He was glaring at me, as if this were somehow my fault. “But how do you know it’s the witches doing this? A symbol on a wall isn’t what I call concrete evidence.”
Maddock crossed his arms and glared down at me, making my heart jump into my throat. “So yer defending them now? Somehow I’m not surprised.”
His sarcastic tone was so accusatory that his behavior suddenly made sense. All the animosity, the condemning glares…
“You think I’m a witch, don’t you?” I jabbed a finger at him. “That’s why you don’t like me, and why you always look at me like I’m a piece of shit stuck to your shoe.”
“I dinnae know what ye are,” Maddock growled, clamping his hand around my forearm. “Aside from a heaping of trouble. But right now, I need ye, which is why I’m tolerating yer presence in this city. Now let’s get going already. I’ve something to show ye.”


Author Bio:
Rebecca Hamilton writes Paranormal Fantasy, Horror, and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and four kids, along with multiple writing personalities that range from morbid to literary. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently.
Rebecca Hamilton is represented by the ever-more-amazing Rossano Trentin of TZLA.
Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Jasmine Walt: I'm obsessed with books, chocolate, and sharp, pointy objects. Somehow, those three things melded together in my head and transformed into a desire to write. Usually fantastical stuff, with a healthy dose of action and romance. My characters are a little (okay, a lot) on the snarky side, and they swear, but they mean well. Even the villains sometimes.
When I'm not working on my next book, you can find me working on my dao sword form, spending time with my family, or binge-watching superhero shows on Netflix. I love to hear from my readers, so if you've got a question or just want to say hi, feel free to contact me via my website at www.jasminewalt.com.
Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter

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  • $100 Amazon Gift Card

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Monday, 15 August 2016

Sting by Sandra Brown Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Sting
Sandra Brown
Published by: Grand Central
Publication date: August 16th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

When Shaw Kinnard encounters the incongruously elegant Jordie Bennet in a seen-better-days bayou bar, it’s not love at first sight. He’s there to kill her. Instead, he abducts her, eager to get hold of the $30 Million her brother has pocketed from his badly bent boss. Now they are on the run from said boss—and the FBI.
STING-Teaser-4

STING by Sandra Brown
CHAPTER 1
Three days earlier, Shaw had been sunning himself beside a sapphire-blue swimming pool, watching two topless girls cavort in the shallow end, catching a buzz from a tall, pastel drink from which a hibiscus blossom sprouted, enjoying the hedonistic lifestyle that could be bought with new money in Old Mexico.
He was a guest in a villa that sat on a cliff overlooking the Gulf. The white stucco structure sprawled atop a jungle-draped hillside that tumbled down onto the sandy shore. The palatial property belonged to the man Shaw would execute later that night.
However, that afternoon as he’d watched the girls play and sipped the tropical cocktail, he didn’t know that yet.
After the swimming party, guests had been given time to retreat to their rooms and change into their casual chic before reconvening for an extended cocktail hour, followed by a four-course dinner served by a deferential, all-male staff who wore white cotton gloves on their hands and carried black pistols belted around their crisply starched uniforms. For dessert each guest was offered his choice of sweet confection, after-dinner cordial, controlled substance, and senorita.
While making his selections, Shaw’s cell phone vibrated. He excused himself to take the call and left the terrace for one of the open-air rooms that accessed it. The study was opulently furnished. Too opulently. It attested to the owner’s youthful flamboyance and poor judgment.
Shaw answered his phone with a laconic “Yeah?”
A gravelly voice said, “You know who this is?”
Mickey Bolden.
Shaw had spent months trying to win enough trust to be granted an interview with the hit man. He finally agreed to a meeting with Shaw, during which both were watchful and wary . . . of their surroundings, surely, but mostly of each other. In carefully coded language, Shaw had provided Mickey with his résumé and the extent of his experience in their unique field of endeavor.
Something, maybe his subtlety and disinclination to boast, had convinced Mickey that he was competent. At the conclusion of their coffee date, Mickey said he would been in touch should the need for Shaw’s services ever arise. That had been six months ago. Shaw had almost given up hope of hearing from him.
“You still want a job?”
Shaw glanced out onto the terrace where the dessert course had deteriorated into a full-fledged orgy. “One-man show?”
“You partner with me.”
“Must be a special gig.”
“You want it or not?”
“What’s the split?”
“Fifty-fifty.”
You couldn’t get more fair than that. “When do you need me?”
“Thursday.”
That had been Tuesday evening, leaving Shaw very little time to wrap up his job there and get to New Orleans by the appointed time.
He’d had a hundred more questions for Mickey Bolden, but, the opportunity being too good to pass up, and figuring he would get the details of the contract soon enough, he’d put his curiosity on hold and told the man that he could count on him.
It had required some deft maneuvering and tortuous travel, but he’d finished his business in Mexico that night and managed to reach Louisiana with time to spare. He and Mickey had rendezvoused yesterday and then had driven together to the township of Tobias this morning.
They’d spent the day reconnoitering and developing a strategy for how best to go about killing Jordan Elaine Bennett, owner of Extravaganza, a much-sought-after event planning business in New Orleans. She was sister to and only living relative of Joshua Raymond Bennett, a much-sought-after crook.
He and Mickey had followed Jordie Bennett around town as she ran mundane errands. At a little after six p.m. this evening she’d returned home. They’d waited three hours, but she didn’t reappear. Believing their target had settled in to spend a quiet Friday night at home, he and Mickey had gone to a local diner for dinner. Over tough steaks and greasy fries, Mickey outlined a plan of attack.
Shaw had expressed surprise when Mickey had identified their target the day before. Now he questioned the expediency of the hit. “Why tomorrow?”
“Why not?”
“Seems rushed. I figured we’d watch her for a few more days, get a better feel for her routine, then pick the best place and time.”
“Panella picked our time,” Mickey said as he sawed into his T-bone. “And the customer is always right. He wants it done tomorrow, we do it tomorrow.”
“He’s under a deadline?”
“Looks like.”
Following dinner, they’d decided to wash down the bad food with a drink before making the hour drive back to New Orleans. This bar had been recommended by the diner’s busboy, whose standards obviously weren’t very high.
However, it had suited their purposes, because in no-name places like this everyone kept his head down.
Jordie Bennett sure as hell did. As Shaw continued walking along the bar toward her, she was concentrating hard on her glass of wine as though waiting for it to ferment some more. When he reached the end of the bar, he didn’t break stride, but walking right past her, he caught a whiff of expensive perfume. A spicy scent. Something exotic and elusive that would make a man want to conduct a sniffing search for its source along all sixty-six inches of her.
He didn’t stop till he reached the listing Wurlitzer against the wall. Standing in the multicolored glow of its bubbling tubes, he propped his forearm on the arced top. The stance put his body at a slight angle so that while he flipped through the song selection cards pretending interest, he could use his peripheral vision to keep an eye on Jordie.
She took a sip of wine with lips straight out of a dirty dream, then lowered the glass to the bar and left her hand resting there. Long slender fingers. No rings. Nail polish so pale Shaw wondered why she’d bothered to spend an hour in the salon that afternoon. Her wristwatch was a basic tank style with a no-nonsense brown alligator strap, more practical than pretty, but you could probably buy a good used car with what she’d paid for it.
A satin bra strap showed in the sleeveless armhole of her simple white top, and, with the slightest motion of her head, it was brushed by long strands of mahogany-colored hair that looked even more satiny. Her sandals were high-heeled and her jeans tight. Perched on the bar stool, her ass looked real sweet.
He wasn’t the only man in the place to have noticed. A guy, younger than her by at least a decade, younger than Shaw by twice that, was being egged on by his pool-playing buddies. Fueled by whiskey and goaded by guffaws, he sauntered over to the empty stool beside hers.
“You mind?”
Her small red handbag, no larger than a letter envelope, was lying on the bar, a silver chain snaking from it. She scooted it closer to her, granting the yokel permission to claim the stool.
Maybe Mickey was right, and she was cruising. But she hadn’t looked at the would-be Romeo with either recognition or encouragement, and Shaw wouldn’t place odds on him succeeding at anything except to annoy her.
Shaw looked toward Mickey to see if he’d observed that she now had company. He had. His porcine face had turned red and sweaty. He was talking on his cell phone. Shaw didn’t have to wonder who was on the other end of that call. No doubt Mickey was consulting with their retainer about how they should proceed now that Ms. Bennett’s surprise appearance had thrown a wrench into the plan.
Shaw returned his attention to the progression of the romance. As expected, Jordie Bennett was replying to the guy’s slurred come-ons with increasing impatience. He was young and drunk and out to prove his appeal to the fairer sex, but couldn’t he see that he was way out of his league? Not that Shaw faulted the fool for taking a stab at it. Shag her, have bragging rights for life.
Coming from his blind side, a hand landed heavily on Shaw’s shoulder. Automatically he reached toward his pistol.
“Relax,” Mickey growled, “it’s me.” He pointed to the song list. “They got any Merle Haggard?”
Shaw flipped back through a few of the song menu cards. “Who were you talking to on the phone?”
“Who you think?”
“What did he say?”
“Dropped a load of F bombs, then said this dive was getting crowded and we should split. Like now.” He subtly tilted his head toward the scene being acted out behind him. The drunk was leaning toward Jordie Bennett at such a steep angle, he was barely maintaining his balance on the bar stool. “What’re they doing now? What about him? You see anything that should have us worried?”
Shaw watched the couple for several moments longer, then shook his head. “He only wants in her pants.”
“You sure?”
“I’m sure.”
“Okay. Let’s go.” Mickey turned away from the jukebox and led the way to the exit.
Shaw fell into step behind him. He resisted the temptation to take one last look at Jordie Bennett.
As soon as he and Mickey cleared the door, he sucked in a deep breath to try and ease the tension between his shoulder blades and to clear his head of bar fug.
But the outside air was hot and humid, only a little fresher than that inside the bar. His shoulders remained tense as he followed Mickey to their car. They’d left it at the far edge of the parking lot, which was only a fan-shaped patch of crushed oyster shells in front of the tavern.
Mickey wedged himself into the passenger seat. As subordinate partner on this job, it fell to Shaw to drive. Which was okay by him. He hated riding shotgun. If and when a situation went tits-up, he liked having control of the vehicle.
He put the key in the ignition, but Mickey said, “Hold on. We’re not going anywhere yet.”
Shaw’s heart bumped. “Why not?”
“We’re doing it here.”
Shaw just looked at him, then, “You joking?”
“No. Panella said there’s no time like the present.”
“Hell, there isn’t,” Shaw hissed, gesturing back toward the bar. “We were seen in there.”
“Which is another reason why Panella said to go ahead.”
“That doesn’t makes sense.”
“Makes perfect sense.”
“Only if you want to get caught. Speaking for myself, I don’t.”
“So then don’t get caught.” Mickey grunted with the effort of extracting his pistol from the holster lodged between the folds of his belly. “Panella advises against it, too.”
“Easy for him to say. It’s not his ass that’s exposed, is it?”
Mickey gave him a sidelong glance. “First time out and you’re going soft on me.”
“Not soft, old man. Sensible. I don’t see why the fucking hurry.”
“I explained that.”
“Yeah, but tomorrow would be soon enough.”
“Not anymore. Panella has changed his mind. Small town like this, where everybody knows everybody? Word gets around quick that there’s two ‘strangers’ in town.”
“Okay. So we wait to do it till she goes back to New Orleans.”
“That could be days. She doesn’t go into the city on a regular basis. Works out of her house here a lot. Anyhow, it’s not our decision to make. Panella says get her done, especially now that we happened to be caught under the same roof as the target.”
Shaw understood the reasoning, but he still didn’t like it. Not at all.
Mickey kept talking. “Like you, Panella is scared that maybe her showing up here tonight isn’t a coincidence.”
“That’s what I said, but I was only mouthing off. Her coming here has gotta be a fluke. There’s no way she could know about us.”
“Well, whatever, Panella said to do it now, so . . . ” For punctuation, Mickey used the slide of his 9mm to chamber a bullet.
Shaw realized two things: His vote didn’t count, and further argument was pointless. “Shit.” He pulled his pistol from its holster and glanced back toward the door with the crackling neon sign above it. “So how do you want to do it?”
“We wait here till she comes out. If the redneck asshole leaves with her, you pop him. I’ll take care of her.”
“If she comes out alone?”
“I’ll do the honors,” Mickey said as he worked his hands into latex gloves. He passed a pair to Shaw. “You take her purse. Panella says to make it look like a robbery gone bad. A random crime.”
“With no connection to either him or her brother.”
“With no connection to anything.”
Shaw scoffed. “Like anybody will believe that.”
Mickey chuckled. “Not your problem who believes what. You’ll be far and away, enjoying your half of two hundred grand.”
“That’ll buy a nice boat.”
“That’ll buy nice pussy.”
“Your mind’s in the gutter, Mickey.”
He chuckled again. “Where it feels right at home.”
Noticing motion from the corner of his eye, Shaw took another look through the rear window. “Here she comes.”
“By herself ?”
Shaw waited to answer until the door had closed behind Jordie Bennett and no one followed her out. “Yep.”
Since the building didn’t have any exterior lighting, the parking lot was almost in complete darkness. A pale, slender moon was obscured by the moss-bearded branches of an oak that extended across three-quarters of the lot. There were no approaching headlights from either direction of the narrow state road.
Seizing the opportunity, Mickey opened his car door and got out, moving with more alacrity than Shaw would have thought him capable of. The fat man was jazzed. Mickey Bolden relished his line of work.
But so did Shaw. The tequila shots hadn’t given him near the rush that straight-up adrenaline did now.
Being as light-footed as possible, they followed Jordie Bennett as she wended her way through the parking lot. It was jammed with dented pickup trucks and salt-water-corroded heaps. Her recent model sedan was a shiny, sleek standout. She used a key fob to unlock the driver’s door.
Shaw captured another drift of that seductive fragrance as she suddenly did an about-face.
Apparently his and Mickey’s footfalls on the crushed shells hadn’t been as light as they’d thought. Or maybe animal instinct had alerted her to mortal danger. In any case, when she saw them rushing toward her, her lips parted on a quick inhale, her eyes went wide with alarm.
As Mickey swiftly closed the distance between them, his right hand snapped up from his side with precision and deadly purpose.
The sound suppressor on the pistol muffled the shot, but in the surrounding stillness, the spitting noise seemed as loud to Shaw’s ears as a fire alarm.
Mickey dropped like a sack of cement, his ravaged head hemorrhaging a red tide over the crushed shells.
Jordie Bennett watched in horror as a stream of blood funneled toward her sandals. Then she looked up at Shaw, who still held his pistol shoulder high and extended toward her. He said, “My half just doubled.”


Author Bio:
Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).
Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.
A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”
In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.
Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
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GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
  •  Coach Tote with a signed copy of STING and a 50.00 Visa gift card

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