Category Archives: guest release

Guest Promotion–Mrs. Spinney’s Secret by M.S. Spencer

BLURB: Amity Landing is being invaded by Hollywood and Cassidy Beauvoir, chairman of the board of overseers, doesn’t like it. That is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition. Their budding romance is interrupted by a series of deadly incidents, sending them on a quest for long-lost English gold. Who will be the next victim? Can they find the treasure before the murderer does?

BUY LINKS

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/3JXWEA

https://books2read.com/MrsSpinneysSecret

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Spinneys-Secret-M-Spencer-ebook/dp/B08P886V99

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mrs-spinneys-secret-m-s-spencer/1138392573?ean=9781509234486

ITunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/mrs-spinneys-secret/id1543575824

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mrs-Spinney-s-Secret-Paperback/474281367

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mrs-spinney-s-secret

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/M_S_Spencer_Mrs_Spinney_s_Secret?id=kTsTEAAAQBAJ

EXCERPT

Nemo’s

“Speaking of, I think I deserve a raise for hazardous duty. Guess how I spent yesterday?”

“Has to be with the Red Hat ladies. Bunch of old coots in purple dresses who rampage through town harassing the inhabitants like a modern-day James gang. The one in charge accosted me the other day. Ripped me up and down for crossing against the light.” He shivered. “She’s terrifying.”

“That would be Edna Mae Quimby.” Cassidy suppressed a smile.

Sally turned to her. “Quimby, you say? It must be her husband I had to deal with then. The sheriff.”

Cassidy started. “Sheriff Quimby? What did he want with you?”

“He was asking about Rick Ahearn—the subcontractor who found the Spinney house for me. Evidently he’s dead.”

Cassidy thought of the news article Nellie had brought in. “That’s right. They found him a mile from Amity Landing. He was dressed in a sailor suit.”

“Yeah—pretty queer, huh? I didn’t have to ID him, thank God. Wouldn’t have been able to anyway—we only spoke on the phone. The hotel found my card in his room and gave it to Quimby. He wanted to know what my connection was to him. I told him I’d hired him to find sites for the filming, but that I hadn’t heard from him in days.” She blew her cheeks out. “Bit of a jolt to hear what happened to him.”

Jasper drained his beer. “Sailor suit, huh. So they think he fell off a boat and drowned?”

“That’s what they thought at first, but no.”

“No?”

“No. Sheriff told me he was found on this floating barge out in the water.” Sally jumped off her stool and plopped some bills on the bar. “Gotta go. You coming, Jasper?”

“Might stay for dinner.” He regarded Cassidy tentatively. “Fancy a bite to eat?”

She nodded, afraid to speak, afraid he’d see her pleasure at his invitation. She followed him out, but at the top of the stairs remembered her purse. She ran back. Pauline was standing behind the bar, a singular expression on her face. It might have been panic, but the fear was mixed with a hefty dose of sheer bafflement.

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She has published fourteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

WEB CONTACTS

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
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Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

Guest Promotion–The Duke’s Decision by Carolina Prescott

BLURB (book 1 of the “Dukes in Danger” series, A Haversham House Romance)
When widowed Viscountess Rowden literally stumbles across the arrogant Duke of Whitley while she’s gathering research for the puzzles she creates for the London Mail Observer, she can’t possibly know he’s the Crown’s spymaster. Whit believes enemy agents are using the newspaper’s puzzle pages to send coded messages to Napoleon. His mission is clear—less clear are his feelings for the woman he may have to destroy. While Vivian struggles to forget her past and find a future where her heart can be safe, the duke must decide whether the fiery viscountess is friend, foe, or fate.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

KOBO

EXCERPT

“I feel obliged to let you know that you have once again caught me skulking about.”

The familiar voice sent shivers up her spine. Shivers that had nothing to do with the inclement weather. “Your grace?”

Vivian turned to see the duke standing in front of a settee that boasted plump cushions and an unobstructed view of the summer rain on the lake. The sky crackled as a streak of lightning blazed through the clouds. The answering thunder came only seconds later.

“Like you, I am a refugee seeking shelter from the storm,” he said. “Please join me. I promise not to pry into your business unless asked.”

“Your grace, I apologize for my behavior earlier. I have such a temper, and it sometimes gets the best of me, no matter how I try. Please accept my apologies.”

“I will accept yours if you will accept mine. You were right. I have no business interfering in your affairs. I was simply reacting to your distress without thinking.”

She smiled up at him, her attention held once again by cornflower-blue eyes that made her feel so…wanted. “A truce, then?” She extended her hand.

He raised his eyebrows.

“At least until the storm is over?”

The blue eyes twinkled. “Agreed.” He took her hand, marveling at how perfectly it fit in his own. And then he noticed her gown.

“Uh…may I offer you my coat? Your dress seems to be rather…ah…damp.”

In fact, what her dress seemed to be was the most erotic piece of clothing he had ever seen, and on a woman who already dangerously intrigued him.

BIO

Carolina Prescott loves a good romance. That and her penchant for history—along with her love for happy endings—makes writing historicals a wonderfully logical career choice. Carolina divides her time between an apartment in the trees in California and a house on a hill in her native North Carolina.

WEB CONTACTS

Website: carolinaprescott.com
Facebook: Carolina Prescott writes
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/123261864-carolina-prescott
Twitter: @cprescottwrites
Instagram: Carolina.Prescott

Guest Release–The Editor’s Kisses by Kara O’Neal

LOGLINE: A budding suffragette agrees to a fake courtship with the editor for a job…not love.

BLURB:

One kiss changes the whole game…

 Constance Forrester is a suffragette determined to change society. When Stephen Dawson, her school chum, starts a newspaper, she asks Stephen to take a risk and employ her as a journalist.

Stephen immediately turns her down. But his interactions with Constance have made the town princess, Madeline Talbut, curious. Stephen has loved Madeline for years, and he concocts a plan: enter into a fake courtship with Constance, and in return, Constance can be a journalist for his newspaper.

It’s a chance Constance can’t pass up. So what if she has to attend parties and withstand Stephen’s heart-melting kisses? A suffragette must forge through barriers, but when Stephen changes the game, Constance finds herself the object of the editor’s desire…

Book Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/31Y1ya

EXCERPT:

Setting: The Talbut Parlor

The Problem: An annoying parlor game

Madeline’s spinning of Constance was a little rough, but Stephen held his tongue. When their hostess let go, Constance fumbled for a moment before Stephen raised himself up and yanked her into his lap.

The shouts of excitement and delight that went around the room nearly deafened him. People playfully called out “cheater”, but Stephen didn’t care, especially when Constance whisked off her mask and looked immensely relieved to see he’d successfully caught her.

They headed to the closet without fuss. Constance almost looked as if she was dying to climb inside. She probably wanted to get the farce over with.

Once they were squeezed into the confining space, with their chests pressed together in a way Stephen had only fantasized about, she said, “Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done—”

He covered her mouth with his hand, having dislodged it from his side. Then he leaned near her ear. “They might be able to hear us,” he whispered.

She flinched.

He lowered his arm, and she let out a slow breath. He wished he could see her face. For more reasons than to satisfy his worry she was all right.

He did everything he could to ignore the touch of her body along his front. He tried not to remember how she looked, how her eyes lit up, how her expression sharpened when she was interested in something. Why had he watched her all night?

But he knew. He knew very well. She was captivating. Intriguing. And so damned lovely.

Why was he having feelings for her? Wasn’t his love for Madeline strong enough to withstand attraction for another woman? But if it was, he would be in the closet with his hostess and not the lady he pretended to the world held his fancy.

He had to kiss her. He had to discover if this attachment was real. Besides, if he didn’t kiss her, everyone would wonder why. And for some strange reason, he needed every fellow out there to understand Constance Forrester was his. He closed his eyes and realized his attitude was no better than a caveman’s. But the need to possess and brand raced through him without pause, and he couldn’t fathom how to check it. Except to kiss her and get her out of his system once and for all.

“Constance,” he uttered. “I’m gonna kiss you.”

She flinched again.

“I won’t hurt you, I swear it. But if I don’t kiss you…they’ll all question us and our…attachment.” He was an ass. He was using their agreement to coax her into acquiescence, and while he knew it, and was ashamed of it, he continued. “It will only be for a second. I’ll just brush my lips with yours.”

In the darkness, he felt her slight nod against his chin. His heart pounded at her quiet surrender.

When she pulled back as far as the space would allow and lifted her head to his, heat slashed through him. He’d never needed a kiss as much as he needed hers.

Madeline had kissed him. Once. Behind the schoolhouse when they were sixteen. And that moment hadn’t caused nearly the anticipation this one did.

He lowered his head and swallowed her gasp. It wasn’t a brush, even though he only set his lips on hers. It was a fire. A shot of whiskey that whipped through him and pooled in his gut. He deepened the connection, and she let him, sighing and sinking into him despite already being as close to him as he could get her.

He melted. He needed to move to the ground and cover her, press her down and make her his. He used his tongue, tasting her. She capitulated instantly and opened her mouth under his. He took what she allowed without hesitation as his free hand came up to grip her waist.

The damn closet was too small. His left hand was wedged between her side and the slender door. But though he couldn’t get his arms around her, he didn’t stop the kiss. It went on and on, stealing his breath, tightening his chest and making him doubt everything he’d ever known about his heart.

Rapid footsteps had him surging backward, and he knocked his head on the wall.

The door flew open, and cool air blasted his cheeks. He and Constance fell out of the space, their limbs tangling as they tried to right themselves.

Peals of laughter rung around them as Stephen reached out a hand to balance her. She latched on as if she didn’t want to let go, and his muscles vibrated with hope she had enjoyed the moment as he had.

It had taken less than a few seconds for him to realize kissing her had been the wrong thing to do. But also the most right, most perfect, most sound judgement he’d ever made in his life.

As those who’d crowded around the entrance to the kitchen went roaring with laughter back into the parlor, he gazed at Constance. And his world tilted.

Her flushed cheeks and bright eyes made his heart constrict with an emotion he was too afraid to name at the moment. But he knew what it was. He knew.

How in the devil had it happened? Was he a fool? A fickle man?

He swallowed. “Do you want to leave?”

And before his eyes, he witnessed a transformation that set his blood on fire. Determination changed her expression, and she lifted her chin.

“Certainly not. I’m quite all right, I assure you.” She gave a shake to her skirts. “We’ve a job to do, Stephen Dawson, and I’ll not let you down.”

She exited the kitchen with a swirl of satin, and he followed with less sure steps. She wouldn’t let him down, he knew it. But he feared he might disappoint her, for if she knew the direction of his thoughts, she would never forgive him. Constance Forrester had no time for any man. She had plans. Plans that didn’t include caring for the heart of the newspaper editor.

Born and raised in Texas, I chose to make the state the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

WEB CONTACTS

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Blog — http://www.karaoneal.com/blog

Blog – The Story Continues — http://www.karaoneal.com/the-story-continues

Guest Promotion–Matt’s Runaway Pregnant Wife by Monique DeVere

BLURB:

This might be the biggest risk of her life.

When her whirlwind romance with gorgeous Sicilian-born restaurateur Matteo Giordano culminates in marriage, award-winning pastry chef Sabrina Newton-Giordano thinks she has it all…until Matt refuses to introduce her to his family. Sabrina desires their baby to have the same love she knew from her grandparents, but Matt’s outright rejection of his family could result in their baby never knowing his or her paternal grandparents, something Sabrina will not accept. Until that is, she hits on the perfect solution—run away to Sicily to meet the in-laws!

Matt wants only one thing—to keep his wife and unborn child safe. For a man intent on never allowing anything to stand in his way, it should be an easy task. But Matt hasn’t bargained on how stubborn his irresistible, runaway wife can be. Despite his stern objections, she’s determined to form a relationship with his family. He knows, from past experience, they’d never accept her or the baby. Now Matt is torn between the urgent need to protect his wife and fear of causing her undue stress in her pregnancy.

Available on Amazon KindleUnlimited and to purchase from Amazon.

Book Purchase Link: https://smarturl.it/6mypb6

EXCERPT:

She kept him on his toes, he’d give her that. From the moment he met her he’d known she was unique to any other woman. The first hint was when he’d arrived unexpectedly to check on his London restaurant. Everyone, except Sabrina, had nervously tripped over themselves in his presence. She’d simply continued to work as though his arrival was as insignificant as a dust mote drifting past her head. The second hint had knocked him the moment she glanced up and locked eyes with his. Something he’d never experienced before had happened. His body had responded to the instant connection in a way that had been shocking and potent. He’d decided right then to make her his. Even then, she hadn’t made it easy for him. She’d resisted their attraction, had flat-out refused to have drinks, dinner, or—her words—anything else with him. To say that she’d become a challenge he’d fixated on was to understate the level of his attraction for Sabrina.

Then one day, after weeks of him putting his best moves on her and about to admit defeat, a delivery arrived at his office. It was a beautifully presented slice of his favourite dessert along with a note that read: if you want more, come and get it! He was pretty sure the soles of his handmade Italian shoes left scorch marks on his office rug in his haste to get to Sabrina. The rest had been white-hot sizzling sexy, whirlwind, and incredible. And now here he was, fighting to keep his marriage from falling apart only after eleven-and-a-half months of wedded bliss.

Matt washed his hands at the kitchen sink, then rummaged in the under counter fridge.

He chuckled. “Surprise, surprise, nothing but dessert and fruit.”

Yep, one thing he could be sure of was that he’d always find some sort of dessert in their fridge at home, thanks to Sabrina’s never-ending effort to create new and exciting after-dinner treats. And, oh look, she had his favourite dessert sitting in a small yellow and white cake caddy, as though she’d somehow been expecting him. When he grabbed the container his gaze landed on the four red apples in a bowl on the shelf below, so he snagged one of those, too.

BIO

Monique DeVere grew up on a plantation on the beautiful island of Barbados, where her childhood was all about exploring and letting her imagination run free. She moved to the UK as a teen and soon fell in love at first sight with her amazing, strong-silent-type husband. They have four beautiful children and four incredible grandchildren.

Monique writes sweet ‘n’ spicy romance, and when she isn’t working on the next novel or movie script, she can be found spending time with hubby and family, armchair travelling, creating recipes, reading about health and nutrition, or working on her spiritual growth. She enjoys going for walks, gardening, or simply crazy-dancing around the house. Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can email her at monique@moniquedevere.com, or contact her by visiting her website: www.moniquedevere.com or blog: http://moniquedevere.blogspot.co.uk to learn more about her books. You can also visit her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/moniquedevere or follow her on Twitter: @MoniqueDeVere or Instagram: authormdv

Get The Forever Deal FREE when you sign up to Monique’s New Release Newsletter.

WEB CONTACTS

Website | Blog | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook Fanpage | LinkedIn | Wattpad | Pinterest | Instagram |

 

Guest release–Blood and Breakfast by Alicia Dean

Myself and twelve other authors (13 total, get it? 😊) each wrote a spooky, suspenseful story in the ‘A Friday the 13th Story’ series. They are stand-alone but have recurring threads and they were all released on Friday, November 13th.

My contribution to the series is titled Blood and Breakfast. Check it out below. And be sure to check out my contest where you can win an Amazon gift card! Find details here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeCUDvF4YrTa1YzADCvrQIWbK8Q6Ro7Gnb0yRxxl3Kg2Fkd-Q/viewform?usp=sf_link (Contest ends Dec 15, 2020)

Determined to boost the sagging ratings of her internet radio show, “A Dark Place,” murder junkie Sasha Gillette checks into the Talley House Bed and Breakfast in North Kingston, Rhode Island. She and her co-host plan to broadcast an episode about the murders that took place there thirteen years earlier on a Friday the 13th, when a man butchered his entire family.

Not long after Sasha arrives, the other guests begin to disappear. Has a killer from the past resurfaced or is there a copycat on the loose?

One of the lone survivors, Sasha finds herself trapped with a sadistic killer and, suddenly, murder isn’t as much fun as she thought.

Excerpt

“I’m going to look for her. It’s not okay that she’s been gone for hours when she said she’d be back in thirty minutes. Do you know where she was taking her walk?”

“I-in the woods.”

“Well, of course she was,” I muttered. “Agnes, do you have a flashlight I can borrow? And maybe something I can use for a weapon?”

Agnes nodded. “I’ll get you a flashlight. I have a hammer.”

Dorset rose as well. “I’ll go with you.” He cut his gaze to Bradley, but the dufus just sat there without volunteering to help. “Nothing, old chap? Not going to offer to come along?”

“I should stay here in case she comes back,” Bradley murmured but he didn’t look at them. Was he afraid…or feeling guilty?

I shivered when we stepped outside, drawing my hoodie tighter around my body. The nearly half full moon hovered in the cloudy sky behind the branches of a Tulip tree. Lightning flashed, illuminating the back yard. The icy air held the scent of rain. “We need to hurry,” I told Dorset. “It looks like it might storm.”

He nodded. “I’d say let’s split up to cover more ground, but with one flashlight and hammer, and with the odd happenings lately, maybe we should stick together.”

“Agreed.” My teeth chattered, though it wasn’t all that cold.

We walked along the wood line, shouting for Macy, shining the flashlight between the trees. Nothing. As if by mutual agreement, we entered the woods. I shuddered, not only concerned about a potential maniac, but also leery of whatever creatures might be scurrying around at my feet. I was a city girl and didn’t even own a pet. I was not okay with encountering an animal, of any kind.

We searched for another half hour with no sign of Macy. We were deep into the woods when the sky opened up and doused us with buckets of rain. Thunder rumbled and more lightning flashed. We gave up and hurried back to the house.

The others were waiting for us.

“Anything?” Bradley asked, his voice high-pitched with anxiety. He seemed much more concerned about Macy than he had been about his wife.

“Not a sign,” I said. “We need to call the police.”

“I did.” Agnes was seated in the forest green wing chair in the corner of the library. “They took the information but said she’s an adult and can leave any time she wants.” She rose. “We waited dinner for you. Let’s eat.”

A pall hung over the room as we ate in silence, the air thick with fear and confusion.

Afterward, I excused myself and headed upstairs, anxiety weighing on me. I had an overwhelming feeling that I wouldn’t sleep a wink. Nor would anyone else.

Please like Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Fri13thShortStories

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Fun Fact:

I was plotting my story and trying to figure out why a normal family man would suddenly snap and murder his family. I realized that hallucinations could cause people to do crazy things, so I researched what could make people hallucinate. I discovered that the plant, jimson weed, can cause serious hallucinations. I also wanted to incorporate some kind of an authentic local legend in my story, so I researched legends in various states and came across the Devil’s Footrock in Rhode Island.  I was able to mesh the two–jimson weed and the Devil’s Footrock–to come up with how the husband/father in my story lost his mind and killed his family. It’s so much fun when ideas click and make a story come together. Here’s a photo of Devil’s Foot Rock:

 

All stories in the Friday the 13th series:

 

Links to Evil by Rolynn Anderson

Till Death by Maureen Bonatch

Blood and Breakfast by Alicia Dean

Retribution by D.J. FitzSimons

Shattered Reflections by Tamrie Foxtail

A Deadly Game by Jannine Gallant

Dead to Rights by Margo Hoornstra

In the Still of the Night by Callie Hutton

Glimpse, the Dinner Guest by Stephen B. King

Scorned by Anna Kittrell

Vanity Kills by Dianne McCartney

Fatal Legacy by Krysta Scott

Azrael’s Chosen by Leah St. James

Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 10, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who shared the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley (she almost always works in a mention of him into her stories) and watching (and rewatching) her favorite televisions shows like Ozark, Dexter, Justified, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and Vampire Diaries. Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Web Contracts

Website: http://aliciadean.com/

Blog: http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/

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

Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_

Instagram: AliciaDeanAuthor

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alicia-dean

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/aliciamdean/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468339.Alicia_Dean

Guest promotion–Gingerbread Cottage

Here’s another title in the Holiday Cottage series by author Linda Baten Johnson

Blurb

Carrie Highsmith’s boss insists she secure a land contract between a toy company and an elderly couple before year’s end. If she succeeds, she becomes a partner. If she fails, she files for unemployment. Standing between Carrie and her goal is a handsome obstacle—Matt Wilder.

Matt, a lawyer who represents the landowners, stays one step ahead of Carrie in her attempts to seal the agreement. He loves the area and the people and intends to protect both. In a battle of wills and personal values, who will win—the small-town lawyer or the driven career woman?

Excerpt

Carrie Highsmith checked her teeth in the car mirror for food or lipstick, finger-combed her short blond hair, and took three cleansing breaths. If she successfully negotiated the land deal for Joy Games and Toys before the end of December, she could add the word partner to her business card.

Carrie hummed We Wish You a Merry Christmas as she pulled her wheeled presentation cart with her carefully prepared materials to the address listed for the lawyer, Matt Wilder. She’d selected a tailored red suit for today, not only for the holiday season, but because she’d read in some magazine that wearing red made you look confident. She hoped it was true because her stomach felt like she was in one of those bouncy castles from her childhood. She squared her shoulders, lifted her head, and plastered on a smile. A bell jingled when she opened the building door.

“Watch yourself.” From the third highest rung of a ladder standing in the middle of the foyer, a long-legged man in jeans and a faded sweatshirt waved to her with a chandelier light bulb. “Two more to do.”

“I have an appointment with Mr. Wilder at ten. I’m Carrie Highsmith, Carrie with a C, not a K.”

She maneuvered her rolling bag sideways to get inside and close the door to keep out the chilly December wind. Carrie bit the tip of her tongue. Silly things jumped out of her mouth and surprised her when she was nervous, like “Carrie with a C, not a K.”

“That’s the office.” The man nodded his head to a room to his right. “Go on in. Wilder will be there shortly.”

Carrie detected a chuckle floating down, and when she looked up, he winked at her. Had he winked? She must’ve been mistaken. She jerked her rolling bag then cringed at a sickening screech as the ladder’s metal feet skittered across the tiled floor. She jumped backward, staring in disbelief as the ladder wobbled and fell. Glass shattered, and the man who might’ve winked at her, but who probably hadn’t, sprawled unceremoniously at her feet.

“You cut your hand.” The tapping of her stiletto heels echoed through the silence as she rushed to his side.

“I cut my hand? I disagree. My hand suffered a cut when I landed on broken glass.” Angry brown eyes stared up at her.

“Let me help you.” Carrie reached for him.

“No. Go in the office and leave your wrecking machine here.” He retrieved a handkerchief from his pocket.

“But I need it for my meeting with Mr. Wilder.” Carrie stepped away from the ladder-felling bag.

He glared at her, dabbing a blood-soaked handkerchief on his hand.

“I’ll get it later.” Carrie retreated to the room he’d indicated and sank into a chair as deflated as a birthday balloon on the day after the party.

Judging from the anger in the handyman’s eyes, she surmised he’d definitely tell his boss about the mishap. Carrie hoped the real estate lawyer would understand. She couldn’t change what happened, but she could give a superb presentation. After practicing the major points and rehearsing so many times for this meeting, things could only get better.

Carrie rose and studied the office, seeking clues for conversation starters. Other than a map of Sprucewood, Colorado, the only relief on the utilitarian beige walls was a calendar featuring Labrador dogs. December’s black puppy wore a big red bow around its neck and sat next to a Christmas tree. Carrie’s best friend in elementary school received a sweet-tempered Labrador puppy for Christmas one year, a dog who grew and grew and grew.

Mentioning her friend’s dog when Mr. Wilder arrived might be a good idea. He was ten minutes late. With time to kill, she examined the room more closely.

The bookcase held law books, a paperweight which didn’t hold down any papers, a coffee carafe, and two Christmas mugs. Labels noted contents of the file cabinets, and his desk was clear except for a picture of two little boys and a wire basket with several thick files. The top one bore Jay Peterson’s name. Her fingers itched to open the file.

The handyman entered. “Carrie, I’m Matt Wilder, double T in Matt, because it’s short for Matthew.” The amused twinkle made his eyes sparkle. He waved his bandaged fingers toward the chair opposite the desk.

“You’re Matt Wilder, the lawyer for Jay Peterson?” Carrie tripped over the chair’s leg and plopped into the seat. She straightened her suit jacket. He was young and handsome.

“I am. Sorry for the display of temper. I’m not accustomed to being knocked off my feet by a beautiful woman.”

“And I am not used to knocking men off…” Carrie felt the warmth spread from her neck to the root of each hair. “I am so sorry. I expected a lawyer to . . .”

“To be wearing a suit?” Matt leaned back in his office chair. “Gave up those a couple of years ago when I moved back to Sprucewood. Still have some in my closet in case I need to go to court.” He put his elbows on the desk and leaned toward her. “Will I need to pull out one of my suits, Carrie?”

Carrie didn’t like the uncomfortable directness of the man or the accelerated beating of her heart. She motioned to the picture of the two boys. “Cute kids.”

“I think so.” Matt gazed at the photo on the desk then stared at her. “You’re avoiding my question, Carrie. Mr. Peterson gave the owner of Wade Brinkman Realty his answer. Are we going to end up in court?”

FREE in Kindle Unlimited

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Linda Baten Johnson loves traveling, meeting people, and collecting stories. Her favorite memories include parasailing, white water rafting, and being mistaken for a tour guide in Mexico and Russia. She writes squeaky-clean stories for Barbour Publishing, Chicken Soup for the Soup, Winged Publications, and Lovely Christian Romance.

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Heirloom of Faith | An American Family Saga (wordpress.com)

Books by Linda Baten Johnson (Author of Mail Order Emma) (goodreads.com)

Guest Release Promotion–The Wedding Favor by Monique DeVere

A wedding favor for her secret crush…

 When unlucky-in-love personal assistant Erin Hart enters her boss’s New York office to resign her job, she doesn’t expect to exit as his fake-girlfriend for an upcoming family wedding. How is she going to keep her crush a secret when she has to share a room… and a bed… with Max for one sizzling weekend in the UK?

Workaholic CEO Max Ferrell understands women only too well: they either want his body or his money. But fiery, sexy Erin is different and recruiting her to help curtail his over-zealous, matchmaking sisters is proving that it’s far more fun to play while you work. Especially when his prim and proper PA helps him to set the sheets ablaze. But falling for her was not in the plan and if he’s not careful, the next wedding might be his own.

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EXCERPT

The Wedding Favor

Copyright © Monique DeVere 2019

The Wild Rose Press

All Rights Reserved

 

“Look out!” A female voice shouted a second before a wave of water hit the top of Erin Hart’s head and cascaded down her body.

Erin squealed, jerking back way too late to avoid disaster. It was just her bad luck to be passing a café awning the moment someone decided to upend the canopy of collected rainwater from last night’s heavy downpour. One minute, she’d been striding along East 23rd Street at 7:15 a.m. trying to work up the courage to resign her job. The next, she stood—shocked motionless—dripping wet in the middle of the sidewalk.

Max Ferrell, CEO of Ferrell Alliance, Inc, the real estate investment firm on Madison Avenue where she worked, had been hijacking her thoughts for the last three years—and especially this morning—leaving her oblivious to the potential hazard ahead.

Clutching her tote with one hand as she worked to catch the breath the sudden splash of chilled water had snatched, she swiped the other down the front of her brown office dress. Did she really hope she would be able to brush the wetness from the material as easily as she would a speck of dust? When her frantic effort made little difference, she shook herself, much like Buttercup—her teacup Yorkshire terrier—would have.

Sensing eyes on her, she glanced at a couple of snickering teenage girls in tight jeans and tighter T-shirts who gave her a wide berth as they passed.

Suddenly aware of the spectacle she was making; she raised her chin, squared her shoulders, pasted on a smile, and forced one sensible-pumped foot in front of the other until the momentum had her fast-pacing it to Ferrell Alliance, Inc.

Of course, she accumulated countless stares on her way, but she’d faced humiliation more than once in her lifetime. By now, it was a piece of cherry pie to her. Even her crush on Max was proving humiliating. How much longer would she be able to hide the fact that he made her heart pound and her insides flutter?

Her cell jingled from deep inside her brown leather tote and she dove for it. Without checking, she knew who was calling. It would be her sister Nicole, wondering whether she’d given Max her resignation. That would be a big fat no. She’d attempted to hand it in several times over the last week but, each time, Max’s reliance on her as his PA got in the way. It was now Monday, the start of a fresh week and she still had the pristine envelope in her handbag. Every time she pictured handing him her resignation it sent nervous sensations and sorrow swirling in her belly.

Her family needed her and, instead of leaving New York and returning to Baltimore to help her three sisters save the family business, she’d allowed her monumental crush on her boss and his dependence on her to stall her. As a result, her sisters were struggling to keep Hart to Hart Restorations afloat without any help from her.

It took four stabs before her wet fingers managed to let her answer the call, while Nicole’s smiling face stared at her from the screen.

“Hi, Nik. Before you ask, no, I haven’t told Max I’m leaving yet. I’ll do it soon. Promise.” Just as soon as she came to terms with not getting to see Max five days a week—sometimes more when she traveled with him on business trips. She was going to miss her job. Miss the business trips and the challenge of being his assistant. But most of all she was going to miss Max.

“It’s not looking good, hon. We could really use your help around here.”

Guilt washed over her right about the same time a speeding taxi sailed through a deep puddle of settled water and she experienced her second dousing of the morning. Dripping wet, she clutched the phone at her side with a death-grip, trying to catch her breath. A bubble of laughter tickled her belly, and she saw the funny side. Here she was, trying to look calm, cool and pristine enough to hand in her notice to Max, only for some wicked, unseen imp to have fun at her expense.

“Erin?” Nicole’s voice filtered through the cell. Obviously hearing Erin’s laugh, which probably veered close to hysteria, had her sister wondering what had happened.

Bringing the phone to her ear, she swiped the back of her other hand across her eyes. “I’ll call you later, Nik.” She cut the call, wishing she could rewind and start her morning again.

Every time she’d ever taken a risk it had turned out to be a huge mistake. Deciding to walk to work today instead of taking a taxi just proved she shouldn’t take risks. She closed her eyes and in that moment the last three years flashed through her mind. What was she doing? She’d meant to lay low working as Max’s PA, desperate to avoid the people who’d witnessed her humiliating experience back home when her fiancé had jilted her on the night of their wedding rehearsal.

All she’d wanted was time to heal emotionally until she was able to branch out on her own and start her dream business of flipping houses. Instead, she’d developed a crush on her boss and now she was putting her futile attachment to him before her family’s needs. Up until now, she’d hesitated, afraid of losing Max. But really, she never had him. He barely noticed she existed. She heaved in a deep breath, then released it on a sigh. Every thought of him came with a painful pinch at his rejection. The only way she would get over her crush was to put as many miles between the two of them as she could. The notion made her heart hurt, but working with Max and knowing he just didn’t see her as more than his assistant hurt more. Being so close to him, yet not being free to do anything about her feelings made her days impossible to bear.

It was time she started taking risks. Time she took back control of her life. And it started with handing Max Ferrell her resignation.

BIO

Monique DeVere grew up on a plantation on the beautiful island of Barbados, where her childhood was all about exploring and letting her imagination run free. Monique now lives in Northamptonshire, England with her strong, silent type husband, four children, three granddaughters, and one far-too-smart Yorkie. When Monique isn’t working on her next book, you will find her spending time with hubby or absorbed in a good book.

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Guest Promotion–Love Proof by Luanna Stewart

BLURB

Unemployed photojournalist Raynor Elliot stops at a bakery near the famous Deerbourne Inn. Not only does he get a lead on a job but the bakery’s owner is that awkward kid he knew in high school, only now she has fabulous curves and an irreverent sense of humor. The cozy bakery, with its aroma of sugar, vanilla and spice, has more to offer than tasty cookies.

Fiona MacLeod has been plagued for years by the need to make amends for telling The Big Lie. When the lie’s victim strolls into her bakery with his icy blue stare and killer charm, she feels like she’s standing too close to a hot oven.

Between running her bakery and frosting cupcakes for the Mad River Garden Party, she’s pretty sure she’s falling in love with this infuriating, sexy man. Can Fiona dredge up the courage to confess, face the consequences, and hope for forgiveness?

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EXCERPT

“I remember those days.” She pushed the calculator to the side, too tired to worry about planning the week’s baking schedule. “Why’d you study journalism?

“Truth is important to me. I was tired of all the lies in government, at every level. I wanted to change that. Ultimately make the world a better place. Easy peasy, right?” His lips quirked and he shook his head.

“That’s why I decided to be a baker. Brighten someone’s day with a special treat.”

He scooted his chair closer and pointed at the column of numbers on the page. “You want me to do the rest?” His arm, bare to the bicep, lightly tanned, dusted with blond hair, a little lighter than on his head, rested less than an inch from her own spindly pale arm. Not spindly compared to other women, hefting bags of flour and moving trays of baked goods did take some muscle power. But spindly compared to his manly toned muscles flexing under skin that she’d bet her last jar of sprinkles was smooth and warm. She clenched her hand.

No touching allowed.

“We have cupcakes to frost.” She bounded from the chair and rushed into the kitchen.

Holy moly, the guy oozed sex. In a good way. A very good way. She pulled a clean apron off the shelf and cinched it around her waist. An extra layer of armor between her and temptation in the form of Raynor. The seeker of truth. The man whose mission in life was to expose lies. The reporter who thought liars were not decent human beings.

Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. She spends her days writing spicy romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and historical romance. When not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious. She lives in Nova Scotia with her patient husband and two spoiled cats.

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Guest Promotion–For the Love of Hawthorne by Diana Rubino

Meet Diana

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books and short stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Paris, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, Washington D.C. and New York. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano, devour books of any genre, and spend as much time as possible living the dream on my beloved Cape Cod.

About FOR THE LOVE OF HAWTHORNE

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s courtship of Sophia Peabody lasted over three years because he insisted on keeping it secret. He had his reasons, none of which Sophia agreed with. But she knew they were destined for each other and he was worth the wait. When they married in 1842 “we became Adam and Eve alone in our Garden of Even” she wrote in her journal. But not all was paradise in their Eden—Nathaniel bore a burden that plagued his family since 1692. His ancestor Judge Hathorne condemned 19 innocent victims to death during the Salem witch trials. His heinous deeds brought shame and guilt upon the family through the centuries. In her last moments on earth, Sarah Good cursed the judge and his descendants from the hanging tree. Nathaniel’s belief in this curse haunted and tormented him until Sophia made it her quest to save him. A story of love, compassion and forgiveness, FOR THE LOVE OF HAWTHORNE portrays the lives of two kindred souls whose legacy endures through the ages.

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EXCERPT

(Sophia and Nathaniel’s visit to his cousin Susan Ingersoll at The House of the Seven Gables)

 I went over to a curio cabinet and swept my eyes over the items on the shelves—a china doll wearing a calico dress, a stack of gold cups and saucers, a red and blue glass checkerboard propped up to display its surface…and a wooden hammer on the top shelf. Upon closer inspection, I saw it was a gavel that judges use in trials. Out of curiosity I picked it up and a shock ran through me as if electrified. Dear God, was it that gavel?

I dropped it to the rug. It landed with a thump. I bent to retrieve it. Somehow I knew it wouldn’t shock me this time—that was only an initial warning. “Something about it made me want to touch it, to pick it up and hold it.”

Nathaniel approached me. He stared at the gavel in my hand, horror darkening his eyes. His lips parted but no words emerged. I knew what he was thinking—the curse. He turned to his cousin, pointing at the gavel, his arm trembling.

Susan hurried over to us, took it from me and placed it back on the shelf. “Yes, it’s Judge Hathorne’s. What happened, Sophie? Are you all right?”

I looked down at my open hands, palms up. They burned as if I’d touched a hot poker. “That gavel—it carries something evil. Has anything happened to you with this, Susie?”

Nathaniel backed away and before Susan could answer me, he grasped her arm. “I begged you to get rid of that accursed thing! You know it shouldn’t be here!”

She looked from him to me, heaving a deep sigh. “I’m not inclined to dispose of it, Natty. It’s a family heirloom, notwithstanding its past.”

He gripped the chair, his face drained of color. “It’s downright evil. You know what he used that thing for.”

She held her hands up in surrender. “Very well, I’ll conceal it.” She took it off the shelf and slid it behind the checkerboard.

“That should not be in this house!” He stood his ground, his eyes fixed on the checkerboard as if it would melt in such close proximity to that horrid object.

“It’s fine there, Natty. It’s concealed from sight now.” She looked at me and gestured for me to sit again. I sat and gulped my sherry.

“Nathaniel’s always overcome with distress at the witch trials.” Susan explained what I already knew.

“And so should you be,” he cut in.

“If I must speak for Judge Hathorne, I heard stories of him from my grandfather.” Susan looked from Nathaniel to me. “The whole hysteria that caught up the judge was started by unscrupulous men to further their own riches. But spectral evidence was still admissible. No sane person could believe that blithery.”

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Guest Release Promotion–Dark Wine at Dusk by Jenna Barwin

BLURB

A seductive spy. An alpha vampire. A hidden threat to their love…

When a rogue vampire group attacks again, Dr. Cerissa Patel’s happily ever after with the man of her dreams must take a back seat to her mission.

Her lover, vampire Henry Bautista, is quick to pick up the gauntlet. He’ll do anything to help his beautiful spy capture the conspirators who are determined to enslave mortals.

But as Henry’s secret past rears its ugly head, it not only threatens their mission, but risks their love–and their very lives.

REVIEW COMMENT

“Passionate, breathtaking and beautifully written.” ~InD’tale Magazine

EXCERPT

Henry accepted the shiny silver pouch Cerissa handed him. Usually, she used a blue bag to package blood from her human clones and a red one when she drew a higher concentration of red blood cells. What did the silver bag contain?

“If you don’t mind being my guinea pig,” Cerissa added.

“Guinea pig?” He started a pan of water heating on the stove. The pouch wasn’t wrapped in a self-warming bag. “What is different about this blood?”

“While I was away, I figured out how to induce the clones to produce a higher concentration of stress hormones—adrenaline, as well as cortisol and norepinephrine, if you want to be technical—to create the blood Rolf craves.”

“You think this will satisfy him?”

“We’ll have to experiment to find out. I don’t know what the cause is. It could be a substance addiction he can be weaned off, with support. If his problem is akin to a deficiency, more like a diabetic who needs insulin to survive, then I’ll have to determine the proper dosage. Just because the blood produces a mental high doesn’t mean it’s bad for him.”

Henry turned off the flame under the pot and slid the bag into the warm water, swishing it around so the contents would heat evenly without cooking. Cooked blood was disgusting.

“There is an exhilaration that comes from drinking adrenaline-spiked blood—”

“I’m calling it ‘adrenaline-enhanced’ for now,” she said. “The other term has baggage.”

“You could be right.” He fished the bag out of the water, cut the corner with scissors, and poured it into an insulated coffee mug. A quick sniff told him it smelled like the blood of a victim who’d been hunted.

Is this a good idea?

He sniffed again, and a thread of apprehension brushed his skin. He took a sip and closed his eyes. The sudden rush pounded through his veins, followed by an ice-cold chill. He dropped the mug on the kitchen island. It toppled, and the blood spread across the granite counter.

Cerissa rushed to his side. “Henry, are you all right?”

He stumbled back, fighting the surge, the power, the desire for more.

“Y-you made it too s-strong,” he stammered, and clutched the edge of the island’s granite top. The spilled blood flowed between his fingers, invoking images he’d rather forget.

“I’m sorry,” she said, clinging to his arm.

Her scent beckoned to him. He gripped the counter harder and fought the driving desire to plunge his fangs into her. “Please, cariña, step back.”

“Henry—”

“Step back. I don’t need new sins to repent for.”

Dark Wine at Dusk [https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RY6N38W/]is book three in the Hill Vampire series. It will enhance the reader’s experience to read Dark Wine at Midnight [https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XTKJRHZ/] and Dark Wine at Sunrise [https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Wine-Sunrise-Vampire-Novel-ebook/dp/B079YF43VT/], before reading Dusk.

Jenna Barwin writes the Hill Vampire novels, which blend mystery, wine, and romantic spice into a heady (and steamy) combination.

When not writing, she enjoys underwater photography, and is known to occasionally attend a Victorian dance in full regalia right down to pantaloons and a hoop skirt.

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

I’m sponsoring a giveaway to celebrate the launch of Dark Wine at Dusk and to thank my blog tour readers (giveaway begins 5/29/2019 and ends 6/25/2019)

The four prizes being given away are:

  • $10 Amazon.com Gift card
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Midnight
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Sunrise
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Dusk

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. One prize per entrant. See Giveaway page for full terms and conditions.

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