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Book Tour + Review: Demon Rising by Deanna Browne

Demon Rising
by DeAnna Browne
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Some sacrifices cost more than death…

Thirty years ago, dark magicians unleashed new power on the earth fueled by demons. Governments toppled, millions died and magicians ended up on top of the food chain.

Twenty-four-year-old Becca survives these dangerous times by relying on her wits, her fists, and the limited goodwill of her boss, a local crime lord. When news comes of a fire back home and the family she left behind dead, she realizes her dark past has finally caught up to her.

On the hunt for her missing sister, she must rely on Darion, a treacherous ex-boyfriend with ties to the local coven for back-up. Problem is he’s a pyromancer that can’t be trusted, especially with her heart. Will she escape the sticky web of treachery and deceit with her sister and her heart, or will she sacrifice it all to save another?

Becca’s forced to navigate a dangerous web of deceit and must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice to save her sister.

 

“An enthralling new voice gives us a magical world where love leads to dark decisions.” ~ Jami Gray, award winning author

 

“…extremely well written, filled with wonderful characters, strange happenings, and face paced action. I, for one, found it very hard to put down. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.”

~Taylor Jones, reviewer 

Book links here:

The tattoo on Becca’s neck prickled as she walked the crowded path to work. Searching for the possible source of magic, she continued forward, with coffee in one hand and the other resting by the knife at her waist.

She moved amid a throng of people, shuffling along the worn walkways. Heavy clouds were scattered across the sky, while dilapidated buildings surrounded them, a haunting reminder of what once was. A young man pushed past Becca, dressed in blue coveralls. He must be heading to the line. The tattoo on Becca’s neck prickled as she walked the crowded path to work. Searching for the possible source of magic, she continued forward, with coffee in one hand and the other resting by the knife at her waist.

The warehouse traveled up twenty stories high, the tallest building in town with a large fountain in front. It must have once been a beauty. Now the fountain, covered in graffiti, ran dry and the boarded up windows could barely keep the wind out.

A familiar, lanky guard stood watch on the side of the road. Could he have been the source of the magic warming her tattoo? He scanned the crowd with a demon dog at his side, a German shepherd with unnaturally large black eyes.

Turning forward, she let her dark hair fall into her face, not wanting to draw his attention. She stepped past the guard undisturbed. She could handle herself with the guards, but her boss, Nikko, constantly nagged her about keeping a low profile.

The crowds pressed together, and a large man knocked into Becca’s side, tripping her. She stumbled, spilling the remains of her coffee all over her black jeans. Someone swore as the crowd surged forward, and she stepped to the side.

At five-foot-five, she was on the small side, but strong enough to cause pain and scrappy enough to avoid it when she could. The crowds weren’t her problem, though. That would be the presence behind her, causing her tattoo to burn.

 

Becca ignored his questions, wanting to avoid the fight, and reached for the bag on the floor. It had taken Darion some time to unlock the spell on the statuesque cat. Once he did, the pillow opened, full of gems and coins, and the cat returned to normal. “Will it be enough?” she adked. The backpack didn’t feel heavy enough to hold the worth of a man, especially Caleb. “Should be.” He walked to the window and peered outside. “A couple thousand dollars. You could start a new life with that. Far from here.” He pulled the curtain closed, and the fabric tore in his hand. He cursed a steady stream that spoke of more than torn cloth. He paced the room, agitation evident in his tight shoulders.

Let’s pretend that your life is ruled by a coven, not by the government. This coven can do whatever they want to whoever they want at anytime that they want. If someone looks at a member of the coven wrong, depending on how powerful they are, they can stick their demon or what they call a Soultorn on you and it will feed off of you until you are on death’s door step. Browne has a very entertaining and powerfully riveting novel that will have readers wanting more.

When Becca was young, she ran away from her family and more specifically, her Uncle Jeremiah. She was supposed to be married off, but something didn’t feel right, especially after her uncle walked in on her and a boy making out. After running away, she started doing jobs for a man named Nikko, a crime lord after the Rising. The Rising is where the governments fell and magicians started to rule over cities. On her last run for Nikko, she is tasked with making a delivery to a witch named Mariah, but is provided with some information that turns her world upside down. The witch relays to Becca that some houses were burned down around the vicinity where her parents lived. Too shocked to just let the information go, she investigates the claim and finds that her parents’ house has been burned to the ground intentionally and her parents are dead. Now Becca is on a mission to find her sister, the remains not found in the rubble. How did her sister escape and where did she go? Her long-time friend, Caleb, is also at the site in a complete wreck from losing his parents as well. Now, with Becca and Caleb on a mission to find her sister, Elizabeth, they know that they cannot wade in on the magician’s world themselves. They need help…the help that comes in the form of an ex-boyfriend who is a liar… and another magician.

Browne has a superb story-line with fantastic character development and original content. The descriptiveness and paranormal elements within the story are still highly entertaining and mesmerizing. The pace of this novel is fast, making it easy to read; however, there are some spelling errors throughout the story. Since this is an advanced reader copy, these may have been cleaned up upon further proofreading, but if not, this should not hinder enjoyment of the novel at all. If you are a reader of paranormal fiction and dark fantasy, this may be perfect for you.

An advanced reader copy of this book was provided to Turning Another Page by Silver Dagger Scriptorium Tours, but this in no way affects our honest opinion of the book or the review that has been written. We provide a five-star rating for Demon Rising by DeAnna Browne.

DeAnna Browne graduated from Arizona State University with her BS in Psychology. She finds it helps to corral those voices in her mind and put them to paper. Her debut novel, A DEMON RISING, came out in August 2017 with Black Opal Books and book two in the series, UNHOLY SUNDERING, is due out 2018. An avid reader and writer, she has a soft spot for fantasy with a touch of romance. Despite her love for food and traveling, she always finds her way back to Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, children, and pet dog.

 

Connect with DeAnna here:
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
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Book Blitz: Dark Days of Promise by Shaunna Gonzales

 

Shaunna Gonzales currently resides with her family in the greater Seattle area. Married over thirty years, her role as wife and mother of four continue to be her priorities. A storyteller in her youth, she endeavored to extend her love of stories to the written word and in 2005 began to write her first novel. Though that manuscript will remain buried, she has continued to learn.
Once told by her doctors that she would never leave her wheelchair — due to her Multiple sclerosis. It has been tucked in a closet while she continues on. (In other words muddles on.)
 
Shaunna has worked as a professional reviewer for InD’Tales eMagazine for three years. In 2012 she also served as the vice president of Moonwriters, the on-line chapter of American Night Writers Association (ANWA). She prefers to write romantic fiction and has ventured into the romantic suspense, and time-travel genres. Her debut novel, Dark Day s of Promise was
released by Desert Breeze Publishing in 2012 re-released 2015.

 

Although she prefers to spend her days writing, she is willing to share what she has learned from the school of life and is often found “giving back.” 

Connect with the Author here: 

 

Thirty-four year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.

 

While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father — a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious
teenager recognizes — she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.

 

 

 

 

 

~ Amazon ~ iTunes ~ Kobo

 

Come Join the tour for a chance to learn more, see reviews and get another chance to win prizes! 

 

Snippet:
Was he telling me the truth about Carter calling? I wasn’t sure. The reality of whether or not I’d survive the night and claim I’d made the right choice to accept a ride from such a dangerous man was, as of yet, to be determined. A fierce battle raged within me. Although grateful for the ride, and the warmth of his Jeep, a cold shudder of terror slithered up my spine every time he glanced my direction. The locked door added to my apprehension. Cold overwhelmed me again.
 
He exercised a considerable amount of care in adjusting the army blanket higher across my chest with one hand. His warm hand brushed against my skin. I flinched, wanting to scream, but managed to keep it in check, in all honesty because I couldn’t … The phantom pressure of his hands lingered at my throat.
 
It seemed incomprehensible. I’d once thought him in need of my comfort, only to have him turn on me, becoming a killer. Never, if I lived forever, would I forget the coldness in his eyes at the moment I knew I’d die. The memory of his eyes, the cold purposeful reflection of them, caused me to shudder. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. Would his seeming gentleness be absent, replaced instead by the killer I knew existed behind the veil of concern for my well-being? Though good-looking, he’d proved beyond dangerous — he’d proven deadly. He’d held my life in his hands. The option of my continued breathing his choice and his alone. I wasn’t at all sure by what fate I continued to breathe and feared it had been a calculated move on his part to heighten my terror. He’d measured me well if such were his intentions.

 

It required a firm determination on my part to remain calm. In the subconscious recesses of my mind, I considered myself his prisoner. Distrust replaced my calm acceptance of his explanation of finding me with emphatic surety. I tried in vain to calm my instincts to run should the opportunity present itself.
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

 

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Book Tour: The Magic of Solendrea by Martin F Hengst

The Last Swordmage
Magic of Solendrea Book 1
by Martin F. Hengst
Genre: Epic Fantasy

After being sold into slavery by her father and accused of a murder she didn’t commit, Tiadaria finds herself facing the executioner’s axe. The only thing standing in the way is the village Constable.

After thirty years of loyal service to the Imperium, Royce retired to King’s Reach as the village’s Constable. He thought it would be the perfect place to rest, relax, and die in peace. He was wrong. In an unexpected complication, the slave with her neck on the block seems to possess the same magic Royce has hidden all his life.

Paying off Tiadaria’s bond, Royce takes possession the slave. Now he must teach her to trust him, teach her to fight, and teach her about her unique abilities before they both run out of time. An ancient menace, the Xarundi, have returned. They are the most dangerous enemy humanity has ever faced, and they have a thousand years of bloodthirsty vengeance to exact.

Book links here:
The Darkest Hour
Magic of Solendrea Book 2

 

When an agent from the Imperium Intelligence Service shows up on Tiadaria’s doorstep, he leaves her with unwelcome news. Recovering from their brutal defeat at Dragonfell, the Xarundi are seeking out an ancient and incredibly powerful relic buried in the snow and ice of the Frozen Frontier.

Tiadaria travels to the city of Ethergate to seek out an apprentice skilled in magical research. Even with his reluctant help, unearthing information on the relic proves to be almost impossible until a savage turn of events puts them on the right path.

Now it’s a race against time through some of the most unforgiving territory on Solendrea to beat the Xarundi to the relic and stop them from unleashing its devastating power on the unsuspecting masses.

 Book links here:
The Pegasus’s Lament
Magic of Solendrea Book 3

 

A desecrated tomb, a missing relic, and cold-blooded murder. The streets of Dragonfell are awash in blood and the King has called on Tiadaria, the last swordmage, and Wynn, her quintessentialist companion, to uncover the nature of the darkness.

What they find is more dangerous than they could ever imagine and from a source they’d have never expected. Now Tiadaria must defeat an enemy that knows her almost as well as she knows herself.

The survival of the Human Imperium is on the line and time is running out for the last swordmage and everyone she holds dear.

Book links here:
Volinette’s Song
Magic of Solendrea Book 4

 

Volinette Terris has everything most girls could want: a famous family, plenty of money, and a career as a talented musician. No one would expect her to risk losing it all to try and become a mage, but when the School of Sorcery opens for the Trial of Admission, that’s exactly what she does.

If only she’d known that winning a place in the Academy of Arcane Arts and Sciences would be the least of her problems. Now she finds herself accused of murder, tormented by her fellow students, and implicated in the theft of a mystical artifact that could bring about the end of the world.

And that’s just the first semester!

Book links here:
Quintessential Tales
Magic of Solendrea Book 5

Four Quintessential Novelettes Featuring the Heroes and Villains of Solendrea

Quintessential Tales, a Magic of Solendrea Anthology, brings together four new novelettes featuring the heroes and villains of Solendrea. Also included is the Adventurer’s Guide to Solendrea, which includes background information on famous faces and places, as well as some mythology and folklore.

Included in Quintessential Tales:

  • Warhorse – Being shipwrecked on a strange island is just the start of the dangers facing Royce and Torus.
  • If Wishes Were Horses – Twins stumble across an ancient temple in the middle of the wildlands that may not be what it seems.
  • Troubled Waters – Faxon and Gunter face off against new enemies and a treacherous old foe.
  • All Souls – Tiadaria and Adamon travel to Havenhedge to investigate a mysterious occurrence.
  • Adventurer’s Guide to Solendrea (Bonus) – Background information on famous faces and interesting places.

˃˃˃ Note from the Author

Please be aware that All Souls contains spoilers if you haven’t read the Swordmage Trilogy, particularly The Pegasus’s Lament. If you haven’t, I highly recommend that you read the original trilogy before reading All Souls.

 Book links here:
Pirates of the Siren’s Sea
Magic of Solendrea Book 6

What do you do when the people you trust the most betray you?

Tiadaria, the last Swordmage, was once one of the King’s most trusted advisers. Now she’s fallen out of favour and has been cast out of the realm she helped save from demons and dragons. When pirates start sinking ships off the coast of Dragonfell, Tiadaria offers her services to the realm, but the pride of Kings is not easily put aside.

Unwilling to let the Imperium fall, Tiadaria approaches the King’s only daughter, a reclusive Princess unseen by the people for almost two decades. What happens next is a race against time as Tiadaria and her allies commit an act of treason to stop a corrupt sorceress from endangering the fate of the world.

Only a Swordmage can turn an act of sedition into salvation for the Imperium in this rousing fantasy tale of swords and sorcery.

Book links here:

Martin F. Hengst is an American science-fiction and fantasy author. His bestselling Magic of Solendrea series has delighted more than a quarter of a million readers worldwide.

He writes the same type of books he loves to read: tales of science fiction and fantasy where anything can, and frequently does, happen. There’s nothing better than a rollicking good adventure and his number one priority as a writer is to be an amazing travelling companion for those intrepid explorers who pick up any of his books.

He lives in South Central Pennsylvania with his wife and two children. When he’s not working on the next book or story, he enjoys music, reading, and playing games.
He really like hearing from people who have enjoyed his books. Please don’t hesitate to connect with him on Twitter or Facebook. For the latest news and information about Martin and his  books, check out his  website at: http://martinfhengst.com.


Connect with Martin here:
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!
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Book Tour: Death of the Kona Man by Catherine Bruns

Death of the Kona Man
Aloha Lagoon Mysteries Book 9
by Catherine Bruns
Genre: Cozy Mystery

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes the next deadly delicious Carrie Jorgenson adventure in paradise…

Carrie Jorgenson is living the dream in Hawaii. She has a steady job as a waitress at the Loco Moco Café, a hot new love interest in her manager, and the curtain’s about to rise on her role in a local theater production. But when she’s asked to deliver food to a guest at the Aloha Lagoon resort—who then drops dead!—her dreams quickly become the stuff of nightmares.

World renowned food critic Randolph Cremshaw has no shortage of enemies. He’s rude, patronizing, and famous for his one-star reviews. After the coffee Carrie delivers is discovered to have been poisoned, she and the café quickly rise to the top of the suspects list. A jealous co-worker, thefts at the restaurant, and a performance that threatens to blow up in Carrie’s face only make things worse. With an already full plate, Carrie is also forced into making a decision that may change everything for her. But this all pales in comparison when she comes face to face with Randolph’s killer and what might be the final curtain call…of her life.

Recipes included!

Book links here:
**Suggested to Read Death of the Big Kahuna first!**
**On sale from Oct 10th – 17th!**
 

Vivian and I started to read the article silently to ourselves. It was entitled, “You’d Have to Be Loco to Eat Here,” by Randolph Cremshaw.

Okay, this was not going to end well.

As my faithful readers know, Hawaii was my home for several years. I enjoy the tropical climate and always stay at the elegant Aloha Lagoon Resort whenever I return to the beautiful island of Kauai. I don’t typically review cafés, but a recent visit to the Loco Moco, which wears the name “loco” well, has forced my hand.

The history of this restaurant itself is an interesting one, to say the least. The place was originally owned by George Kama, who then sold it to Maya and Sampson Akamu. The couple was killed shortly afterward in a car accident, and their son Hale ran the place solo for about twenty years. Hale himself was murdered a couple of months ago, inside the actual restaurant. Now if that wasn’t enough to make you never want to look at a plate of their pork hash again, this is what I have to say about my recent dining experience at the hole-in-the wall establishment:

Pass. That’s all.

Service—Three stars. The server was attractive and pleasant but totally inept. I have my doubts that she could manage to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Beverages—One star. When I am served coffee in the beautiful state of Hawaii, it should not be in the form of mud, but a beverage that consists of freshly ground Kona beans. Eventually I did receive the latter after complaint, but the experience was already ruined for me. A bitter disappointment—yes, pun intended.

Cleanliness—Two stars. The best I can say is that the table wasn’t sticky, and the server was nice enough not to place her gum underneath it.

Quality of food—Zero stars. That moment when you ask for ketchup but receive Tabasco sauce instead…well, what else is there left to say, except that I left the place in burning anger. Yes, another pun for you.

Average these ratings together and you come up with 1 ½ stars, or in my opinion a complete failure, so don’t waste your time and hard-earned money here. Look elsewhere.

Skip the Loco Moco Café. You’ll thank me for it later.

Vivian covered her mouth with one hand as she finished reading, and I sucked in some air. This would no doubt be very damaging to the café. I silently fumed about the line that stated the server couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Excuse me? I never chewed gum while I was working. What a jerk.

“How are Terry and Ava taking this?” I wondered if Keanu knew as well.

Poncho pressed his lips together tightly. “Not well. You just missed the latest episode of Terry’s screaming. I think Ava has managed to calm him down for the moment. The one thing they seem very curious about is how Tabasco sauce ended up in the ketchup holder.” He glanced piteously at both of us.

“I didn’t do it,” Vivian said quickly.

I shook my head back. “I filled some the other day, but I’m positive it was ketchup.” I distinctly remembered pouring the contents from the large container into the holders.

Poncho muttered something indistinguishable under his breath. “Anna filled a few the other day as well. Terry just called his royal highness—Cremshaw. Would you believe the man had the gall to tell Terry that he might remove the post from his blog if we would deliver breakfast and dinner to his room today? I am in the process of placing the breakfast items on a rolling cart. Carrie, he asked that it be delivered by the girl with the soulful dark eyes who waited on him the other day.”

A giant knot formed in the pit of my stomach. Great. Ava and Terry were probably upstairs right now throwing me under the bus for the ketchup incident. How I wished Keanu was here. I’d asked him what had happened after they’d found us kissing—nothing, he’d assured me, and left it at that.

“Lovely.” What was up with this guy anyhow? He didn’t like me but commented that I had soulful eyes? Was he a pervert in disguise? I didn’t want to go to his room alone. “Do I really have to wait on that creep again? I thought that food critics weren’t allowed to say such nasty things. “Can’t he be sued for slander because of the remarks he made about the Akamus?” Mercifully, he hadn’t identified me by name.

Poncho did a palms-up. “Ava and Terry are only concerned with giving the man whatever he wants right now. He is a freelance food critic and contributes to the most popular cooking magazine in the world. In short, he gets away with murder, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Vivian snickered as she helped us load the food onto the cart. “I bet he’s got more than a few people that would like to murder him.”

Poncho snorted. “It is tempting, ho’aloha. Believe me.”

About Aloha Lagoon:
**Books can be read in any order and they’re from multiple authors!**

There’s trouble in paradise…
Welcome to Aloha Lagoon, one of Hawaii’s hidden treasures. A little bit of tropical paradise nestled along the coast of Kauai, this resort town boasts luxurious accommodation, friendly island atmosphere…and only a slightly higher than normal murder rate. While mysterious circumstances may be the norm on our corner of the island, we’re certain that our staff and Lagoon natives will make your stay in Aloha Lagoon one you will never forget! visit us at www.alohalagoonmysteries.com

 

The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries:
Ukulele Murder (book #1)
Murder on the Aloha Express (book #2)
Deadly Wipeout (book #3)
Deadly Bubbles in the Wine (book #4)
Mele Kalikimaka Murder (book #5)
Death of the Big Kahuna (book #6)
Ukulele Deadly (book #7)
Bikinis & Bloodshed (book #8)
Death of the Kona Man (book #9)

 

 

Catherine is the USA Today best selling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and assorted cats and dogs. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also writes the Cindy York and the Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson) mysteries. Her next Cookies & Chance mystery, Silenced by Sugar, releases in January 2018.

 Connect with Katherine here:
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
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Release Blitz: Vengeance by Belle Ami

NEW BOOK RELEASE !!
Book 2 of the thrilling Tip of the Spear series by Belle Ami
VENGEANCE
Belle Ami
Series: Tip of the Spear Book 2
Genre: Romance, Thriller, Suspense
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
A Mossad agent will do anything to rescue his kidnapped wife and to stop a terrorist plot to blow up a nuclear facility.
Vengeance
Vengeance is a sexy thriller teeming with romantic suspense. A well-researched tale, scary in its possibility, packed with excitement, it will leave you breathlessly turning pages.
Layla Wallace Hassani is living her dream, curating a major art exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. She has it all, a fabulous career, the perfect marriage and the perfect child. She’s madly in love with her husband Cyrus Hassani, a Mossad agent, and lives in Tel Aviv with their four-year-old daughter Cerise. Her life takes a disastrous turn when she’s kidnapped by Iranian terrorists during the bombing of a restaurant in Manhattan. Chained to a bed at a remote location, Layla is a pawn in a deadly game. She’s the bait to lure Cyrus to his death.
Driven by vengeance and a love that knows no bounds, Cyrus will do anything to rescue his wife and stop the terrorist’s plot to blow up a nuclear facility. Teaming up with the FBI he’s the only man capable of stopping a bombing that would result in the deaths of millions of people. Filled with vengeance, stopping the terrorists is his goal, but saving Layla is his mission.
Layla knows her Superman, Cyrus, is coming to save her. She also knows, unbeknownst to him, that by doing so it will mean the death of their child. Caught in a mousetrap, she struggles to find a way out of her deadly situation and to fend off the sexual advances of the kidnapper terrorist who’s fallen in love with her.
Layla must make a choice, save her child or sacrifice herself and her marriage. The clock is ticking.
Another page turner by Belle Ami. Suspense fans and those who enjoy a well crafted story won’t be disappointed.
– Therese Gilardi, Goodreads Reviewer
Belle Ami’s Book 2 of this Series may be my favorite yet. The depth of this story line, the suspense, kept me enraptured and breathless. I’m blown away! Congratulations!
– Amazon Customer

Purchase Links

Available now for $4.99 only. Grab your copy today.

An Excerpt from the Book

Take an inside look at Vengeance. Read this sizzling excerpt from the book.
Tel Aviv, Israel
September 12th
5 a.m.
New York time 10 p.m. September 11th
Cyrus’ cell phone rang, waking him from a dream of making love to his wife. He glanced at the clock—five a.m. Not good.
His throat was glued shut. He squeezed out, “Yes?”
“Cyrus, I’m sorry to call with such devastating news.”
It was Rafi, the director of Mossad’s Americas’ desk. A chill crept up Cyrus’ spine.
“I just got a call from New York. There’s been an attack.” Rafi’s voice came tense and strained…the act of speech seemed to produce immeasurable pain.
Cyrus’ heart pounded as if a regiment of infantry stampeded on his chest. His voice barely above a whisper. “What happened?”
“A bomb exploded in a restaurant…near the Museum of Modern Art. Probably a hundred or more people have been killed. Avi Zaken was there. We assume he’s dead.”
“Oh, my God, they got the consul general. Layla’s going to be devastated. She’s very fond of Avi.”
“About Layla.” Rafi’s voice softened. “Her name is on his calendar. His dinner appointment. I’m so sorry, Cyrus.”
Cyrus’ blood froze, and his heart refused to beat. It took every ounce of his strength to hold it together. He held the phone in a death grip. “How do we know she was in the restaurant? Have you checked with her security detail? Maybe there’s been a mistake.”
“Layla released them earlier in the day—”
“Why would she?” He closed his eyes. “Shit. Shit. Shit, that sounds like Layla.”
He fought to steady his voice. “Anything else?”
“The FBI’s tracking down museum security to see who saw her leave. I can’t tell you for certain if she was in the restaurant, but in all likelihood, she was there. God…” Rafi’s voice cracked. “This is such a fucking disaster. I hate to be the bearer of such news.”
“This can’t be right?”
“Cyrus, it’s all over the news. The FBI’s calling it terrorism. We’ve already requested inclusion in the case. The prime minister’s up in arms. He’s adamant this attack will not go unanswered. He’s called for an emergency meeting at the Office, but given the circumstances…if you feel you can’t—”
Cyrus interrupted him. He struggled to control the scream climbing up his throat. I need to keep it together. “No, I’ll be there as soon as I can. What about Aleck, Layla’s father, has anyone notified him? I can’t—I mean—I don’t think I could handle talking to him right now.”
“Dodi’s calling him.”
The prime minister. Good. “I’m on my way.” He hung up and stared at his cell phone, feeling the walls close in around him.
Layla. Dead. Layla. Dead. Layla. Dead. The words burned into his brain like a firestorm leaving nothing but ashes.
Impossible. No warning. No premonition. Nothing but emptiness. Shouldn’t I have felt something?
“Noooo!” He roared with grief. He howled, keening like a wild beast. Everything of beauty in the world dead or dying.
Layla. Dead. And it was his fault. He should have kept her from going. I’m the target. It’s me they want. Oh, dear God, what have I done? Why didn’t you take me?
There was no way he could live without her. He wanted to kill someone—something—anything that might stop the pain. He thought about the Jericho pistol in his drawer. He wanted to hold the shiny, black, instrument of death to the head of her killers. He wanted to pull the trigger. He wanted to see blood gush, brains splatter—he wanted revenge.

Other Books by Belle Ami

Don’t miss the other books in the Tip of the Spear series:
Escape
ESCAPE
Series: Tip of the Spear Book 1
Escape, a sexy romantic thriller that “what ifs?” a nuclearized Middle East.
When Harvard student, Layla Wallace and her Saudi boyfriend are kidnapped to Iran, a deep-cover Mossad agent is activated and given a mission. He’s ordered to either get Layla out of Iran, or if failing that—kill her.
This story is suspenseful, it’s smart, it’s sexy, it’s a page-turner that you will be loathed to put down.
– Romance Reviews

Giveaway

WIN $25 GIFT CARD AND MORE!
Vengeance Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
$25 Amazon Gift Card
3 Digital Copies of Escape (Tip of the Spear Book 1)
Contest runs from October 13 – November 2, 2017.

About Belle Ami

Belle Ami

Belle Ami writes romantic/suspense/thrillers with a teaspoon of sex. Escape (Tip of the Spear Book 1) is up for a RONE Award in 2018. Her latest is entitled Vengeance (Tip of the Spear Book 2) published by Hartwood Publishing. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, a horse named Cindy Crawford, and her brilliant Chihuahua, Giorgio Armani.
Official website: http://belleami.us/
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Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from October 13 – November 2, 2017.
Visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and other extras on the tour.
To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Vengeance Book Page at Book Unleashed.

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Book Tour: Surrender Games Series by Lydia Michaels

Sacrifice of the Pawn
Surrender Games Book 1
by Lydia Michaels
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Surrender Games follows the emotionally charged and highly erotic contemporary romance saga, The Surrender Trilogy.

Isadora Patras has sacrificed years raising her younger siblings, Lucian and Antoinette. As her brother and sister grow more independent, she feels her purpose is lost. Aching to do something selfish and hungry for a taste of the forbidden, she takes a lover—her father’s protégé and trusted family friend, Sawyer Bishop.

In a secret affair trust is tested, respect is bartered, and reputations are on the line. Sawyer has always been Isadora’s mentor, but now it’s her move. She’s through being a pawn and ready to demand the respect of a Queen.

The Surrender Games Series should be read after The Surrender Trilogy.

 

 Book links here:
Queen of the Knight
Surrender Games Book 2

The game has changed and no player’s position is safe…

In a world of power, money, deceit, and lust, no player is exactly how they seem. Love and trust are at stake when the game is changed and old enemies come out of hiding, disguised as friends.

Isadora Patras must proceed wisely. After thirteen years of heartbreak and denial, she no longer trusts her instincts. One man embodies her past, the other could be her future, but which one holds her heart? Isadora must choose between her family and two very different men. Either way, her choice could cost her everything.

In a game of kings, bishops, rooks, and knights there are no guarantees. But if Isadora wants to be a Queen, someone will have to lose.

The Surrender Games Series should be read after The Surrender Trilogy.

 Book links here:
 

Unsure what to make of the shift in energy, she collected her glass from the bar to buy time, but something was definitely different, and she didn’t understand why.

“Is something wrong, Sawyer?”

His gaze followed her as she came to sit on the empty side of the settee. “When did you stop calling me Mr. Bishop?”

The soft, cajoling rumble of his voice was more soothing than probing. Voices like that could make audio instructions sound like Shakespeare.

Thinking over his question, her brow tightened. “I’m not sure. I suppose I was a teenager when you invited me to call you by your first name. Should I go back to calling you Mr. Bishop?” she teased. It seemed silly to think of him as anything other than Sawyer.

Turning his wrist, the ice in his glass shifted. “The boys … they’ve be friends for a long time.”

“And hopefully they will be forever.”

“And I’ve been your father’s friend for as long as I can recall. He gave me a job when I was fresh out of college.”

“And now you run one of his companies. What is it you’re trying to say, Sawyer?”

“You’re very young, Isadora. Too young to have a boy in college and a ten-year-old in your care, but you do it with the maturity of an experienced woman.”

“Thank you, but Lucian’s my brother, not my son. And Toni… I may act like her mother, but I’m not. I take no joy in erasing our mother’s memory.”

He glanced at his empty glass, the filtered moonlight reflecting in the crystal as he placed it on the table. “I should go.”

Tipping her glass over his, she filled it with a finger of scotch. “Not before you finish your drink.”

Peering through thick, black lashes, he gave her a questioning look that made her feel immediately foolish. Why had she done that?

He twisted to face her. “What are you doing, Isadora?”

“I don’t know. I’ve had a lot to drink.” Her voice dropped to a rasp as her gaze latched onto his, holding so tight she could hardly spare a blink.

“Is that it then?”

Her lashes fluttered, breaking the spell, and she laughed nervously. Those eyes were hypnotic, especially when he looked directly into hers. She shook her head, shaking off the affect. “Is that what?”

Lifting his glass, he finished her offering in one swallow, placed the tumbler on the table, and stood. She rose as well, the camaraderie they’d shared earlier rapidly evaporating. Perhaps thirty-seven wasn’t such a good year.

Tension closed in on her, its impending heaviness puncturing the inebriated haze cocooning her mind. The unfamiliar imbalance was more than the effect of alcohol. Maybe she was coming down with something.

She didn’t want him to go and his proximity to the door filled her with panic and heat. Stay, she wanted to say, but something kept her quiet. She wanted him to make the decision without her prompting his response.

It became a game of guessing what he might do or say next and she liked the uncertainty, found it unsteadily thrilling. Her heart beat too fast as she tried to identify a time she’d ever felt so nervous in such a fulfilling way. She didn’t typically favor anxiety, yet she coveted the feeling now, a dark anticipation for every motion, every word. So much to lose in such a simple decision, yet she hadn’t a clue what she’d gain if he chose to stay.

“I apologize for intruding on your evening,” he said, stepping around the table.

Her heart jerked. Her disappointment was a physical jolt that convinced her something else was happening here—something she shouldn’t feel.

She stepped around the other side of the coffee table and met him on the carpet, frantic to keep him there a while longer. She didn’t want to be alone, but maybe he was feeling this strange energy too and figured it best to leave.

“Sawyer, what changed?”

“The fact that you don’t know is a testament to your young age.”

Affronted, she drew back. Perhaps she was a bad drunk, because his words hurt more than they probably should.

She wasn’t an idiot and though she didn’t have much experience with men like Sawyer—or any men for that matter—she wasn’t a prude. Something changed between them tonight. A sort of chemistry had evolved.

She never felt this kind of attraction around him before and maybe he felt it too and that was why he was trying to escape. But she was drunk, so perhaps her perception was off.

Rather than further embarrass herself, she stepped aside. “I’m sorry if I did something to offend you.”

Gah! She always said the worst things. What was she trying to get, a sympathy stay? That was not what she was after.

“You did nothing offensive. It’s just … not appropriate for me to be here—alone with you. It’s late.”

Embarrassed that her eagerness reeked of inexperience, she looked away. She shouldn’t let him see her like this. She’d have to see him again and it was utterly humiliating to think he might assume she was some sad, desperate woman trying to seduce her father’s colleague when she just wanted a little company. Oh, God, she was desperate.

Her gaze dropped to the carpet as a dark sense of inadequacy swallowed her. “I understand. I didn’t mean to…” …whatever I’ve done.

“Goodnight, Isadora.”

She didn’t look up to see if he was staring at her. She didn’t need to. She could feel his stare measuring her. He hesitated as he approached the door.

“You’ll call if you need anything?” he asked softly.

Never. “Of course.”

With nothing more to say, he left, his leather-soled footfalls drifting almost silently as he made his way to the foyer.

Humiliated, she turned to the bar and lifted the expensive bottle. No matter how much her life resembled that of an adult, she never stopped feeling apart from the actual authority figures. A little girl with a license to leave the kiddie table for one meal before an early bedtime.

Rethinking the last couple hours and degrading herself for every unflattering impression she might have left, she wished desperately to erase the entire evening. She was not on his level and he saw her as his colleague’s pathetic kid who was astoundingly short on friends.

Collecting the glasses filled with watered down ice, she decided not to return to her father’s study anymore. Every time she left this room she felt like half a person—tonight more so than usual.

She dumped the ice in the sink at the wet bar and sat the glasses on the counter. “What a waste.”

The door to the office creaked and she pivoted, gasping as she found him still there and staring at her from the threshold.

“My…” He shook his head, brow tense with lines of tension. “I forgot my jacket.”

Her chest tightened as she blinked at him in question. His jacket was behind her, yet she lacked the will to move.

Was he really back for his jacket? Had he left it there on purpose? He watched her, keeping his distance, like she was some sort of black widow. She mentally laughed. She was about as threatening as a baby bunny.

Putting her back to the bar, she gave him room to get his belongings and go. Reaching past her, he slid the jacket off the back of the chair and stilled, close enough for her to see the contrast of silver threaded in the dark hair at his temples.

Her skin tingled as breath locked in her lungs, his scent crawling into her. A million moments she shouldhave had collided in her mind, borrowed memories from novels and cinematic romances and what she knew most girls experienced years before approaching her actual age.

His arm brushed the front of her blouse and his eyes shut on a whispered curse. Every breath she took tightened her clothing. She was winded, yet standing perfectly still.

“Tell me to go. Tell me to forget the jacket,” he whispered, voice low as it scratched along her every tender nerve.

She said nothing and he let the jacket slide down the chair and onto the floor. She couldn’t blink and she began to tremble subtly as he turned to fully face her, staring into her eyes.

Each inhalation lifted her breasts higher. Her lips parted, the scent of expensive scotch, rich cologne, and sin clouding her mind. She wasn’t a small woman. Thin, yes, but too tall. Yet, looking up at him now, she found her height perfect, and his stature arrestingly right. Strong.

“Tell me to go, Isadora,” he repeated, voice rasping in a way that prickled the back of her neck, seeming to lift the fine hairs along her collar.

There was something more than drunken secrets here. She edged closer, never one to act audaciously, but maybe this was the self-indulgent moment she’d been waiting for. Brazen seemed right.

Drawing in a shaky breath, she softly whispered, “I didn’t want you to leave in the first place.”

Uttering another curse, he reached for her so fast she took a startled step back, only to be blocked by the bar. His hand swept into her hair, fingers terrorizing her sensible bun, as he jerked her body to his on a gasp. His aggression was as unexpected as his intensity. The shocking press of his lips was a welcome delight. Warm. Unquestioning. Experienced.

His other hand surged low on her back, pulling her body flush to his as their heads tilted and his mouth opened against hers. Heat swirled low in her belly as her hands sought a place to rest.

A fever took hold, burning hot, as her knuckles flexed and her fingers dug into his broad shoulders. The distant thud of the bottle hitting the carpet only vaguely registered, as he spun her and backed her toward the desk.

His mouth opened wider, his tongue spearing between her lips, greedily taking as he dipped her over the surface, arching her backwards and exposing her neck. The five o’clock shadow covering his jaw scraped over her delicate skin, making her toes curl.

He lifted her and objects moved along the desk, the lamp light jostling in the shadows. Her knees drew up as a chair skidded out of the way. He towered over her, kissing, licking, biting. And her body was on fire.

Objects clattered to the ground as his touch dragged up her leg, hiking her simple pencil skirt higher. The bunched material gave way, sliding as high as her hips when he fit his legs between hers.

The weight of his arousal pressed against her core. She gasped and everything stilled.

His heavy breathing mingled with hers as his stormy eyes flashed in the light shining from the desk lamp. She’d never been in such a tangle. They were so close it was difficult to determine whose parts were whose.

“Shit.” He made to rise, but her grip on his shirt tightened. “Isadora,” he rasped, almost pleadingly.

Hating the regret she recognized in his gaze, she almost let him go. Almost.

She could do this—they could do this. Who would know? They were both adults.

Lifting her head, she gently brushed her lips against his. Shockingly, it seemed enough to hold him there. His mouth tilted over hers, pulling, slowly taunting, until everything inside of her seemed to stretch like warm taffy and melt her body into his. The tension left his shoulders as his weight sank into her.

His hand followed the curve of her hip, tracing the nip of her waist and un-tucking her blouse one ripple of fabric at a time. His warm fingertips scorched the hidden skin of her belly, skimming over her ribs with practiced ease. Her body arched as the swell of her breast filled his palm and her lips parted on a sigh.

“We shouldn’t do this,” he whispered, his thumb tracing delicate swirls over the hardening tip of her nipple.

There was no way she was letting him leave now. The press of his arousal was leaving her panties slick and his hand was working some sort of magic under her blouse.

“Yell at me, Isadora. Tell me to stop, to take my hands off you.”

“Stop fighting it, Sawyer.” She loosened the top button of her blouse. And another. And then another.

He eased back as the silk parted. He looked at her as no man ever had. “Jesus. You’re beautiful.”

Blinking, he stood and gently pulled her with him. Leaving her shirt open she quickly straightened her skirt.

His attention drifted around the room and he grimaced. “Your bed—”

“Is upstairs. Too close to my sister’s room. Here’s fine.”

His mouth pursed. He didn’t seem pleased with the options.

Releasing her hand, he shut the door tightly and turned the antique key sitting in the lock.

To read on, please download your copy of Sacrifice of the Pawn here.

The Surrender Trilogy was released in 2013. It was an Apple iBooks Bestseller. Surrender Games is a spin-off of The Surrender Trilogy. It is a series that features the side characters of the trilogy and will eventually deliver each hero and heroine’s HEA.

It is highly recommended that readers read The Surrender Trilogy BEFORE reading Surrender Games.

 

Falling In The Surrender Trilogy Book 1: Goodreads | Amazon
Breaking Out The Surrender Games Trilogy Book 2: Goodreads | Amazon
Coming Home The Surrender Games Trilogy Book 3: Goodreads | Amazon
Lydia Michaels is an award winning author of over 30 contemporary romance novels. She lives in Pennsylvania with her wonderfully supportive husband, beautiful daughter, and many crazy fur babies. If she is not off spending time with her family you can usually find Lydia at her computer working on her next story or hiding somewhere quiet with a great book. She loves taking a romantic plot with steamy chemistry and pressing the bounds of love. Her books are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.

Lydia Michaels’ darkly compelling Surrender Trilogy was an Apple iBooks bestseller and she has been featured in USA Today. In 2015 she was the winner of The Best of Bucks Award and she has been nominated as Best Author in the Bucks Happening Magazine three years running [2015, 2016, and 2017]. She is a four time nominee for the prestigious RONE Award.

Connect with Lydia here:
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and two giveaways!

Goodreads Giveaway

Lydia Michaels is giving away 3 autographed copies of Falling In (The Surrender Trilogy 1) to celebrate the release of the first book in the SURRENDER GAMES series!
Link to Goodreads Giveaway:
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Book Tour: Weed and Water by Ian Dexter Palmer, Ph.D.

Weed and Water
by Ian Dexter Palmer, Ph. D.
Genre: Christian/Inspiration

A mysterious stranger helps a teenage boy called Ethan rescue his mentor, an elderly father-figure, from drowning when their canoe capsizes in a flooding river. A star athlete, Ethan later gets involved in unsafe sex, which leads to drugs, and gets him blackballed by jealous and gossiping team-mates. The boy is going down, and at times hates himself for it and for hurting his mom who is a caring, loving, and beautiful woman.

After another disastrous episode, where Ethan might have died, the river-stranger turns up again to confront him about his life choices. However, even after rehab, the boy’s condition is marked by a yo-yo attitude which causes massive emotional heartache for his mom.

The river-stranger, after sharing his own amazing history, suggests taking the fight to another level which draws on the resources of God. This begins a new and fascinating sequence of events, including a tornado, which get Ethan’s attention.

This book is a captivating story, packed with adventure in the desert Southwest and in the rivers and lakes of the Midwest USA.  But it is also a goldmine of spiritual wisdom for teenagers. The mystery that permeates the story is compelling, and the thrilling ending may call for a tissue or two.

 

Book links here:

Originally from Australia, Ian lives in the high desert in his beloved Southwest USA. As a petroleum engineer, recently retired, he consulted all over the world.

When he hikes with them or watches them play sports, Ian’s grandchildren are a particular source of happiness.

His main interests are hiking, dancing, writing, and stimulating conversation.

Ian regularly writes a new blog on various topics relating to Christian faith, and has also written a book called Hiking Toward Heaven. 

You can find out more about Ian and his books at http://www.iandexterpalmer.com/

Connect with Ian here:
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
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Book Tour: Leave the Pieces Behind by Shirley Anne Edwards

Leave the Pieces Behind
by Shirley Anne Edwards
Genre: YA Romance

Bree Apollo is an average fifteen-year-old girl: she loves chocolate, baking cupcakes, and her neighbor, the hunky and all around popular seventeen-year-old Foster Quinn. Except Foster is clueless about her feelings for him, instead treating her like a kid sister and begging for her homemade desserts. As a fellow chocolate lover, he should be Bree’s for the taking, if it weren’t for his oh-so-perfect girlfriend.

After she overhears Foster making fun of her to his friends, she’s devastated. And not even chocolate can take away the pain. She intends to wallow in grief for a boy that was never hers to begin with, but Austen, her eccentric new neighbor has other ideas.

The strange boy down the street always wears a black fedora, walks barefoot, and focuses all his energy on building a treehouse in his backyard. For some reason, he’s elected Bree to help him. At first, she turns him down because he acts too awkward and takes everything she says literally. But after learning of his autism, she decides to help with his construction (forgiving him for not being a chocolate fan), even though she doesn’t know a think about power tools.

As Bree and Austen grow closer, Foster notices Bree no longer worships the ground he walks on. He wants her to go back to that doting version of Bree, but Austen has become more important to her than she’s ready to admit.

Austen may just be the one to help her move on from Foster.

Like two pieces of a puzzle, they fit together perfectly.

 Book links:

I’d become paranoid, not just because my black lab, Hunter, watched me pace my living room, but I swore the chocolate mousse cake I had baked this morning at five a.m. stared at me, too. Sure, a cake doesn’t have eyes, but I baked this one for my neighbor, Foster, and decorated it with white chocolate truffles that could double as them.

As Hunter inched closer to the cake on the coffee table, complete with drool sliding from the corner of his mouth, I may have snarled at him. A first for me. I never snarled at anyone, humans or dogs. But with my nerves jangling like crazy, I decided to blame my hormones. At fifteen, I may have been a few years past puberty, but I, Breanna Charlotte Apollo, had the worst crush on the just-turned seventeen-year-old hunk, Foster Quinn, president of the senior class of Musgrove High and one of the hottest guys I knew.

My longtime crush beginning in the seventh grade had grown into full-blown lust—which, of course, explained why I woke up before dawn on a Saturday morning to bake a chocolate mousse with graham cracker crust cake from scratch. Foster had a bad chocolate addiction, like me. This cake would be my birthday gift for him, a few days late. His birthday had landed in the middle of the week, and I had given him a silver keychain with his initial on it for his keys to the new silver Jeep Renegade his parents bought him.

A way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. Once I gave him the cake, he would invite me to the lake—where he’d planned to go with his group of friends, aka his crew.

Hopefully, he would notice I’d dressed for the lake, in my bathing suit, board shorts and tank top. Even though it was the last weekend of September, the Indian summer still lasted, which I didn’t mind because it meant having more time to hang out with Foster.

His parents owned a house near Devon Lake. Foster and his crew had hung out there most of the summer. I’d never been asked to join, but, now, I had the power of my homemade chocolate cake to convince him this time. People raved about my ooey-gooey, sin-in-the mouth desserts, especially Foster. When I presented him his birthday cake I had made just for him in the pre-dawn hours, maybe then he would finally understand how much he meant to me.

Hunter nudged his nose in the plastic Saran wrapped cake. I swooped it up then inhaled to calm down. I had to leave before Foster left without me.

After wiggling my toes in my flip-flops and then cracking my neck from side to side, I stepped outside to near-perfect weather for swimming. Foster’s Jeep sat across the street, including the man himself with his dad.

Mr. Quinn did most of the talking while Foster listened. Not wanting to intrude, I waited impatiently. Eh, screw it.

“Hey, Foster!” I yelled loud enough for the entire street to hear.

Startled, he turned in my direction. I took a second to soak him in, mainly his face, which had a perfect tan from him spending most of the summer outdoors.

Mr. Q didn’t a wave or a smile. He didn’t seem pleased with my interrupting, but I ignored it as I walked toward them, clutching the pan of chocolatey goodness.

“Hiya, B.A.” Foster used my initials as his nickname for me. He kept his eyes on the cake instead of on me. When I reached him, he ruffled my hair. Instead of giving me a hug or a nudge like he did with his other friends, he always tapped the top of my head—an ongoing thing for years.

My face warmed. Hopefully, he or his dad wouldn’t notice.

“I bought you another gift for your birthday, even though it’s a few days late.” I presented the cake to Foster, who licked his bottom lip.

“It’s chocolate cake,” he said in appreciation.

Mr. Q. dropped the stern act and inspected the cake with approval. “Is this cake from The Tasty Darling?”

My Aunt Crystal and Uncle Ron owned The Tasty Darling, which reviewers and patrons alike had considered the top bakery on the East Coast for the last ten years.

“It’s my Aunt Crystal’s recipe, but I baked it from scratch.” I held it out to Foster. “In honor of your seventeenth birthday. I woke extra early today to bake it, so it’s still fresh.” I wanted him to know how much work I had put into his present. He knew my baking skills very well because he volunteered as my guinea pig when it came to baking new creations.

“Bree, you didn’t have to go through the trouble.” He took the cake and moved to give me a hug.

I embraced him around the waist because I couldn’t reach his shoulders unless I lifted up on my toes. Foster stood over six feet. But I didn’t mind. It allowed me to rest my cheek on the middle of his chest and subtly inhale his woodsy scent I wish I could spray on my clothes.

He patted my shoulder then shifted away. His dad, in his typical weekend wear of khakis and some light-colored polo shirt, complete with leather loafers, took out his cell. “I have a client calling in ten minutes. You’ll remember what we talked about before we were interrupted.”

“Yes, sir.” Foster’s smile dimmed, but his voice still held respect. Mr. Q. demanded respect from everyone, including his son.

Mr. Q clapped Foster on the back, and then nodded at me. “Tell your parents I say hello, and give my regards to your aunt. I’ll have to stop in The Tasty Darling next week to buy her banana bread doughnuts for my office.”

“Sure.” I saluted him, which actually made him wink at me. My cheeks warmed again. Mr. Q was pretty cute for an older man. Foster definitely took after his dad more than his mom. He had the tall, dark, and handsome thing going on.

Mr. Q walked toward the house, his cell to his ear. Foster watched him go, swinging his key chain around, including the one I gave him for his birthday. Seeing him with my gift gave me the major warm fuzzies.

“I think my dad has a thing for your aunt,” Foster announced.

“What?” My jaw dropped in shock. Why would he think—?

He leaned toward me, close enough his chest bumped my nose. “Are you wearing makeup?”

Yes! He noticed! I’d started wearing some makeup since Mom gave me permission to when I turned fifteen in June. I usually wore the basics, such as lipstick and concealer and mascara, but not much on the weekends. This morning, I made sure I looked like the older girls in Foster’s crew who would be at the lake. I wanted him to see me as more mature and not like an annoying little sister.

I thrust out my chest, along with flipping my hair over my shoulders like I’d seen many of the girls in my school do to get Foster’s attention, especially Tori—

All of a sudden, loud booming music blared around the corner, and two cars drove up behind Foster’s car. One of the backdoors opened before the rest, and a girl with a head of bouncing red-and-blond curls jumped out and bolted toward Foster.

He set the cake on the ground and held out his arms. “Tori!”

She jumped on him and wrapped her legs around his waist. I ducked away to stop from getting hit as he swung her around in a circle.

Tori Greeley, who should be my nemesis, blocked me from Foster’s attentions. Not only the most popular girl at my school, she was also his girlfriend of one year.

She exemplified what a popular mean girl should be, much like you would find in some stereotypical teen movie. But instead, she was very sweet, almost as sweet as the chocolate Foster loved. I guess it made sense why he adored her.

While they kissed, I concentrated on the sidewalk. Behind me, the rest of the group emerged from the cars. A beefy arm swung around my shoulder, and Sam, Foster’s best friend, rocked side to side.

“B.A. Baracus, how’s it shaking?” His big hand caused destruction to my hair, messing it up more than Foster had.

I exhaled through my mouth since he had a bad sweating habit. His black Pac-Man T-shirt already had sweat stains under his arms. He loved wearing vintage T-shirts from the 1980s, especially anything to do with old TV shows. He got such a kick calling me B.A. Baracus, even though I never gave him permission, and had only allowed Foster the right to call me by any nickname.

I swallowed a snarky response. He was a harmless goof. We actually had some good conversations, mainly about food since he loved eating. I usually let him be my guinea pig number two for anything I cooked.

“Hey, Sam. You’re going to the lake with Foster?” I played dumb. The rest of the group of three girls and two guys nodded or waved at me. We all recognized one another because went to the same school.

“Yup. Got to get as much sun and swimming in before the summer disappears.” He lifted his sunglasses over his head as he spotted my edible masterpiece on the sidewalk. “Cake?”

I smothered a laugh as his eyes widened and his bottom lip trembled. “Yeah, it’s Foster’s for his birth—”

He lunged for the cake and tore off the wrap, taking a chunk from the side and popping it in his mouth.

I gasped in horror as he licked his fingers free of chocolate and tried to tear off another piece. A sob tumbled from my mouth and everything seemed to slow down. Before he destroyed all my hard work, Foster snatched the plate from him and shoved him away.

“Dude, Bree baked this for me.” He clutched the lopsided cake to his chest and glared at his friend.

At least Sam had the decency to look ashamed. “Sorry. Chocolate is my weakness.”

Tori gave me a one arm hug. “Don’t be upset. Foster will cherish it even if Sam ends up eating the entire thing.”

I wanted to lash out at him, and her, but she sounded so sympathetic. She had always been nice to me, even if I tagged along with her and Foster when I shouldn’t have.

“Foster will probably share his cake with everyone.” I hid my frustration behind a smile.

“Chocolate makes me break out. As for cake.…” She grimaced. “Too fattening.”

I’d never seen her eat anything dessert or the least fattening. It showed because of her flat stomach and slender arms and legs. I enjoyed my share of sweets, and I always tasted the food I cooked. I had a normal build for my age and height, but I had a curved tummy and solid hips no one wanted.

“I guess my cake is a winner based on Sam’s reaction.” I hoped he didn’t snatch more chunks before Foster ate some.

“I’ll make sure Foster gets the next piece.” Tori rubbed my arm as he talked with the rest of his boys, while the three girls chatted among themselves. “Even if he didn’t like it, Foster will tell you he does since he loves you like a little sister.”

From anyone else, her comment would have been cruel. She may have meant it like that, but I really didn’t think she did because of how she generally treated me. I had yet to witness one unkind action from her. But it still stung. She had unwittingly put me in my place as a side piece in Foster’s affection. Tori was his equal, while I stood on the lower scale in the role of a relative to him.

A rumble came out of nowhere. Not from the sky to show a storm brewing but from a moving van driving by, followed by a white SUV pulling into the driveway of a house two down from my own across the street. The loud sound seemed to snap those around me into action, and they scrambled to the cars to pull out their beach gear.

Foster tossed his keys to Tori. “Warm up the car for me, babe.”

Tori swung the keychain around her finger and strolled past him. When he smacked her butt, she giggled and blew him a kiss.

I gagged, and gagged again when Foster handed Sam the cake. It took everything I had not to stomp over and snatch it from his hands. But this time, he didn’t rip off a chunk. He bowed to Foster and then turned to me. “I’ll protect this cake with my life.”

“You better!” I pointed at him, wondering if I could sit next to him in the car to keep an eye on him.

Foster came to me and set his hands on my shoulders, giving them a soft squeeze. My stomach jumped in response. But I played it cool, waiting for him to tell me to grab a bag for the lake.

“Again, thanks for the cake. I guess I should put it in my house so it doesn’t melt, but I want to eat it at the lake.” He leaned down and kissed my cheek.

My fingers twitched to grip the side of his shirt, but I kept my arms at my sides. “Instead of by the ocean, cake by the lake?”

“I can’t wait to lick your frosting off my fingers as I enjoy the beauty of the lake, surrounded by my friends.” He sent me a beaming smile.

“Sounds like a great plan. Give me a minute to—”

“I’ll catch ya later, B.A.” He then got in the driver’s seat of his new car, revved the engine, and drove away with a car full of his other friends behind him while they left me behind.

Shirley Anne Edwards is a Northeast girl who first found her love for books when she read Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock Tower at thirteen. Shirley found her love for writing at a very young age, and since then has let her imagination run wild by creating quirky characters and vast worlds in her head. Shirley is also a brownie addict who loves to bake when she’s not busy writing. Shirley lives in New Jersey and works in the entertainment industry in New York City.

Connect with Shirley here:

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
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Pre-Order Blitz: Legacy of Evil by Sharon BuchBinder

Now Available for PRE-ORDER
Book 2 of the Hotel LaBelle Series
by Sharon Buchbinder
Reserve your copy today for only $4.99!
Releasing October 13.
Legacy of Evil
LEGACY OF EVIL
Sharon Buchbinder
Series: Hotel LaBelle Series Book 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2017
One battle, one outcome. Who will win? Good or evil?
When a wild mustang is shot in Montana, renowned horse whisperer and telepath, Emma Horserider, is called in to calm the herd and find out what happened. Once on scene she is almost killed by a bullet-spewing drone, and calls her black ops brother for back-up.
Emma’s help roars into her life covered in tattoos and riding a Harley. Remote viewer Bronco Winchester takes the assignment because he is ordered to, but he wonders what type of assistance, his boss’s sister needs. That is until he sees Emma, a valiant Warrior Woman proud of her Crow heritage.
Posing as a married couple, Emma and Bronco go undercover to infiltrate and stop a hate group. Both are anxious enough without the now growing attachment they feel for one another. When the lives of many are on the line, they are not sure if they will live or die—let alone have a chance at love.

Pre-Order Links

Reserve your copy today for only $4.99!

An Excerpt from the Book

Take an inside look at Legacy of Evil. Read this sizzling excerpt from the book.
Bronco now stood squinting in the late afternoon sun, knocking at a door with no bell, and waiting for a response. Dogs barked and a window curtain twitched. Good. Someone was home. He adjusted his pack, leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and said, “Any time now.” As the words slid out of his mouth, he heard the unmistakable sound of a shotgun being pumped.
Uh. Oh.
He raised his hands. “Don’t shoot. I’m unarmed.”
Turning slowly to face his fate, his jaw fell open, and his heart rate kicked up a notch from being on the wrong end of a shotgun or from the weapon holder’s looks, he wasn’t sure. A raven haired Amazon in a tank top, jeans, and metal tipped cowboy boots held the Mossberg 500 in a perfect military stance. Long strands of hair blew across her face in the hot breeze. A large purple bruise bloomed on her left cheek. She squinted her dark brown eyes and gave him a laser-beam once over from his dusty black boots to his sweat soaked do-rag.
“Who are you, and what do you want?”
If he hadn’t been so intent on not getting killed, he would have spent more time staring at those full, luscious, kissable lips and thinking about how she would taste. As it was, he guessed he had less than a minute to respond before getting blasted into the next county.

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from October 9 – 28, 2017.
Visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and other extras on the tour.
To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Legacy of Evil Book Page at Book Unleashed.

Giveaway

WIN $5 GIFT CARD AND MORE!
Legacy of Evil Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
$5 Amazon Gift Card
Legacy of Evil eBook Copy
Contest runs from October 9 – 28, 2017. Click here to enter.

About Sharon Buchbinder

Sharon Buchbinder

Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.
To receive regular updates from the author, join Sharon Buchbinder’s newsletter.
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Book Blitz: Evidence is Lacking But I Still Hope by Joan Enders

 

Joan Enders lives in Washington State with her husband Jerry, and loves the Pacific Northwest! For 28 years she taught literature and research skills in school libraries to middle and high school students, and advocated for full-time school librarians in every school. She was a recipient of the American Library Association’s Frances Henne Award for library leadership. 
 
She loved her jobs, often to distraction. Once Joan stayed so late at the school library that the custodians waxed the floors, unaware that she was still upstairs. She crept out the least sticky exit. Joan now teaches librarians on webinars. When not teaching she administers the local Family History Center for FamilySearch International. She enjoys peeling back the research onion for students and adults. That was the motivation for her first book, which replicates her most popular inquiry lesson for U.S. History
students and teachers. Joan speaks in her community, for professional organizations and at genealogy conferences.

 

Connect with the Author here: 
Joshua Henry Bates, a young teacher of a country school, wonders if there will be more to his life. Yes, there are summers away from the farm, attending the University of Utah, dancing at Saltair, watching pictures shows, and eating ice cream on bone dry days. In his journal he questions his future. He finds a young woman to love, but she is an ever-mutating mystery. His job seems to be a dead-end. His parents need his help more all the time. Josh tries to change his life: cooling the relationship with his girlfriend, teaching in a new school, and registering for service in the American Expeditionary Forces. Still, Joshua is filled with self-doubt. Will Josh marry the girl? Will he find a dazzling life mission? Will he be victorious in war? Each chapter contains one to thirty primary sources from the life of this young man drafted as a doughboy in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign.
 Praise for the book:

If you have ever searched for your own history, or a way to bring history to life, this book is a masterpiece.”

Kelly Milner Halls, author of Saving the Baghdad Zoo

 

 

A Look Inside The Book:
 
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page