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Good Morning, Bellingham

By Marina Raydun

Genre: Literary Fiction

When Peta goes missing, a two-decade old secret threatens to rip at the seams and come out in the open. Relationships are tested as one dysfunctional family comes together in search of their daughter, sister, and wife. What they find instead will change each one of them forever.

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About the Author

Marina Raydun’s published works of fiction include a compilation of novellas One Year in Berlin/Foreign Bride, a suspense novel entitled Joe After Maya, and a two-part series, Effortless. Born in the former Soviet Union, Marina grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a J.D. from New York Law School and a B.A. in history from Pace University. She is an avid music fan, a cat lover, and an enthusiastic learner of American Sign Language. Whenever she is not writing, Marina enjoys spending time with her family, catching up on Netflix, and baking.

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Good Morning, Bellingham excerpt:

Peta’s Journal Entry

I want to fall asleep. Rather, to fall asleep and not wake up. Ever. I just want the wheel to stop turning. Correction— it should feel free to continue turning, but I want off it.

It’s ungrateful of me. I don’t need you to remind me of that, Dr. Burgos. I know all about second chances and how precious they are, and how my daughter needs me despite her full-time nanny. I know, I know. And yet, here I am at half past midnight, eyes open and on the monitor showing a grainy black and white image of Gwenny sleeping with her arms thrown up in the surrender position, wishing to just fall asleep and call it a day. Kind of permanently. Peter, I feel for but don’t dare look, is on the other side of the bed, curled up in the fetal position. I don’t need to look to know this. I’m half expecting to see him sucking his thumb if I actually turn in his direction. And I sit up and write this all down, instead. I’m beginning to resent you, Doc—you really could be helping me with this. Sometimes a crutch is necessary; I’d give it back when I’m good and ready, I promise. I’m fully aware of how happy I should be. I should at least be happier than I am, right? Something tragic happened, but, hey, look, something good is here, instead. Take it! Let’s make the best of it, no? I’m trying, I’ll tell you that much. I am trying. Some pharmaceutical magic would surely go a long way here, but I can’t be expected to beg. I’m just saying, my mind would be quieter, and a quiet mind is a mind I’d kill for at the moment.

It wasn’t easy bringing Gwenny into this world. Harry took a couple of enthusiastic fifteen-minute amorous nights, whereas Gwenny took almost three exhausting years. They’d become mechanical, our attempts. There was some light, some humor to it when it was just us trying to become three, but, after Harry, we no longer bothered to even look at each as we did it, there were no big productions made, no words (loving, dirty, or otherwise) uttered. Forget that, I’m not sure if we even knew why we kept going. There was a goal and we were set on accomplishing it like the professionals that we are. So, every other night, like clockwork, we each did the bare minimum we knew would get the other off before curling up on our respective sides, our backs barely touching to get our requisite six hours of sleep before having to wake up at 3:30am to make it to the studio on time and wake up the rest of Bellingham Bay. Once there, makeup would be stippled on and everyone would proceed to pretend to forget that we were the couple who’d buried their son not a year ago, not two years ago, and so on. Obviously, eventually the right sperm found the right egg and ta da— Gwenny. No, not Gwen! Never Gwen! Gwenny. This pink and translucent newborn lay in my shaking arms and all I could do was blink. She looked like Harry, but blonder. Something in my throat constricted and the rest became route. I think I’d stopped looking at Peter some time around then, too. But I can’t help but wonder—what if having to fight for something this hard means you weren’t meant to have it to begin with? When does determination become arrogance?

I’m so tired, Doctor. I am not making sense. I want to fall asleep. And not wake up. Ever. Do you have anything for that? Oh, that’s right—you’d rather not medicate and mask the symptoms because you would much rather heal. Well, good luck with that. If not medication, can you at least give me a distraction? Anything to make the wheel stop.

I would like to thank Sage Adderley-Knox for the opportunity to share this book.

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Dying Made Easy(er)

 

I would like to thank iRead Book Tours for the opportunity to share this book.

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Strangers She Knows

Strangers She Knows

by Christina Dodd

September 17, 2019

on Tour September 17 – October 1, 2019

Synopsis:

Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd

Perfect for fans of Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, and Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd returns with the chilling finale to the Cape Charade trilogy.

I have three deadly problems:
    1. I’ve seriously offended a maniacal killer.
    2. I just had a bullet removed from my brain.
    3. My new daughter is growing up too fast—and she’s in the line of fire.
Living on an obscure, technology-free island off California means safety from the murderer who hunts Kellen Adams and her new family…or does it? Family time becomes terror time, until Kellen finds herself alone and facing an all-too-familiar psychopath. Only one can survive, and Kellen knows who must win…and who must die. Be sure to also check-out the rest of the Cape Charade series, starting with DEAD GIRL RUNNING and WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, available now wherever books are sold.

Series STARRED reviews from Booklist

“From the unforgettable heroine with a past to the incisively etched cast of secondary characters to the brilliantly imaginative plot, Dodd is at her most wildly entertaining, wickedly witty best.” -Booklist STARRED review on DEAD GIRL RUNNING “Featuring an unforgettable protagonist…who makes Jack Reacher look like a slacker when it comes to dispatching trouble, and an ingenious plot that includes plenty of white-knuckle twists and turns as well as some touching moments of mother-daughter bonding.” -Booklist STARRED review on WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER “Dodd continues her addictively readable Cape Charade series featuring Kellen Adams with another white-knuckle tale that simply begs to be inhaled in one sitting. With a fascinating island setting that includes a spooky old mansion, a secondary storyline involving World War II, and an antagonist who could give Villanelle from Killing Eve a pointer or two, this is Dodd at her brilliant best.” -Booklist STARRED review on STRANGERS SHE KNOWS

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense Published by: HQN Books Publication Date: September 17, 2019 Number of Pages: 352 ISBN: 1335468331 (ISBN13: 9781335468338) Series: Cape Charade #3 Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Yearning Sands Resort Washington’s Pacific Coast This Spring Rae Di Luca stacked up her Level Three lesson books, opened the piano bench and put them away. She got out the Adult Course Level 1A book, opened it to “Silver Bells,” and put it on the music rack. “Mom, you have to practice.” Kellen didn’t look up from her book. “I know.” “When?” “When what?” “When are you going to do it?” “I’m at the good part. Let me finish this chapter.” “No, you have to practice now. You know it helps with your finger dexterity.” When had their roles reversed, Kellen wondered? When had ten-year-old Rae become the sensible adult and Kellen become the balky child? Oh yeah. When she had the brain surgery, her right hand refused to regain its former abilities, and the physical therapist suggested learning the piano. But there was a reason Kellen hadn’t learned to play the piano earlier in her life. She loved music—and she had no musical talent. That, added to the terrible atrophy that afflicted her fingers, made her lessons and practices an unsurpassed agony…for everyone. She looked up, saw Rae standing, poised between coaxing and impatience, and the Rolodex in Kellen’s punctured, operated-on and much-abused brain clicked in: RAE DI LUCA: FEMALE, 10YO, 5‘0″, 95LBS. KELLEN’S DAUGHTER. HER MIRACLE. IN TRANSITION: GIRL TO WOMAN, BLOND HAIR TO BROWN, BROWN EYES LIGHTENING TO HAZEL. LONG LEGS; GAWKY. SKIN A COMBINATION OF HER ITALIAN HERITAGE FROM HER FATHER AND THE NATIVE AMERICAN BLOOD FROM KELLEN; FIRST PIMPLE ON HER CHIN. NEVER TEMPERAMENTAL. KIND, STRONG, INDEPENDENT. Kellen loved this kid. The feeling was more than human. It was feral, too, and Kellen would do anything to protect Rae from threat—and had. “I know. I’m coming. It’s so much more fun to listen to you play than practice myself. You’re good and I’m…awful.” “I’m not good. I’m just better than you.” Rae came over and wrapped her arms around Kellen’s neck, hugged and laughed. “But Luna is better than you.” “Don’t talk to me about that dog. She howls every time I sit down at the piano. Sometimes she doesn’t even wait until I start playing. The traitor.” Kellen glared at the dog, and once again her brain—which had developed this ability after that shot to the head—sorted through the files of identity cards to read: LUNA: FEMALE, FULL-SIZED POODLE/AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG/AT LEAST ONE OTHER BREED, 50LBS, RED COAT, BROWN EYES, STRONGLY MUSCLED. RESCUED BY RAE AND MAX WHILE KELLEN RECOVERED FROM SURGERY. FAMILY MEMBER. RAE’S FRIEND, COMPANION, PROTECTOR. MUSIC LOVER. Luna watched Kellen in return, head resting on her paws, waiting for her chance to sing a solo protest to Kellen’s inept rendition of “Silver Bells.” “Everybody’s a critic.” Rae set the timer. “Come on. Ten minutes of scales, then you only have to practice for thirty minutes.” “Why do I have to practice ‘Silver Bells’? Christmas isn’t for seven months.” “So you’ll have mastered it by the time the season rolls around.” “I used to like that song.” “We all used to like that song.” Rae took Kellen’s left hand and tugged. “Mom, come on. You know you feel better afterward.” Kellen allowed herself to be brought to her feet. “I’m going to do something wild and crazy. I’m going to start learning ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’ It’s the next song in the book, and I like it.” “You can learn anything you want after you practice your scales and work on ‘Silver Bells’ for fifteen minutes.” No one wanted to be inside today, certainly not Rae Di Luca, certainly not Kellen Adams Di Luca, certainly not upstairs in their private quarters in the Yearning Sands Resort. Not when spring had come to the Washington state Pacific Coast. April and May’s drenching rains turned the world a soggy brown. Then, on the first of June, one day of blazing sunshine created green that spread across the coastal plain. Kellen made her way through the ten minutes of scales—the dog remained quiescent for those—then began plunking out “Silver Bells.” As she struggled with the same passage, her right hand fingers responding only sporadically, Luna started with a slight whine that grew in intensity. At the first high howl, Kellen turned to the dog. “Look, this isn’t easy for me, either.” Luna sat, head cocked, one ear up, one ear down, brown eyes pleading with her. “I would love to stop,” Kellen told her and turned back to the piano. “How about a different tune? Let’s try ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’” She played the first few notes and out of the corner of her eye, she saw the dog subside. Then, as she worked on a tricky passage, made the same mistake, time after time, the dog sat up again, lifted her nose and howled in mourning for the slaughter of the song. Rae giggled, and when her mother glowered, the child controlled herself. “Come on, Luna, I’ll take you outside.” The dog didn’t budge. “She thinks she’s helping you,” Rae explained. “Come on, Luna. Come on!” She coaxed her out the door, turned back to Kellen and said sternly, “Twenty more minutes!” “Yeah, yeah.” Kellen struggled on, trying to make her recalcitrant fingers do her bidding. Even when she finally got the notes right, it wasn’t a piano tune so much as jack-in-the-box music. When at last the timer went off, she slumped over the keyboard and stared at the fingers of her right hand. They were trying to atrophy, to curl in and refuse to do her bidding ever again. But the physical therapists assured her she could combat this. She had to create new nerve ways, train another part of her brain to handle the work, and since two hands were better than one and her right hand was her dominant hand, the battle was worth fighting. But every day, the forty minutes at the keyboard left her drained and discouraged. Behind her, Max said, “Turn around and let me rub your hands.” She noticed he did not say, That was good. Or even, That was better. Max didn’t tell lies. Kellen sighed and swiveled on the piano bench. Again that Rolodex in her brain clicked in: MAX DI LUCA: MALE, 38YO, 6’5″, 220LBS, ITALIAN-AMERICAN, FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER. HANDSOME, TANNED, CURLY BLACK HAIR, BROWN EYES SURROUNDED BY LONG BLACK LASHES. ONCE HIGH UP IN THE DI LUCA FAMILY CORPORATION, STEPPED DOWN TO RAISE HIS DAUGHTER, NOW DIRECTOR OF THE FAMILY’S YEARNING SANDS RESORT ON THE WASHINGTON COAST. KIND, GENEROUS, RESPONSIBLE, LOVING. A STICKLER FOR DUTY. FAR TOO MUCH WILLPOWER, WHICH WAS IRRITATING TO KELLEN IN MATTERS RELATING TO THEIR MARITAL STATE. He took her right hand gently in both of his and, starting at the wrist, he massaged her palm, her thumb, her fingers. He used a lavender-scented oil, and stretched and worked the muscles and bones while she moaned with pleasure. He listened with a slight smile, and when she looked into his face, she realized his lips looked fuller, he had a dark flush over his cheekbones and his nostrils flared as he breathed. She looked down at his jeans, leaned close and whispered, “Max, I’m done with practice. Why don’t we wander up to our bedroom and I’ll rub your…hand, too.” He met her eyes. He stopped his massage. Except for the rise and fall of his chest, he was frozen in that pose of incipient passion. Then he sat back and sighed. “Doctor says no.” “Doctor said be careful.” “Woman, if I could be careful, I would. As it is, nothing is best.” “I am torn between being flattered and frustrated.” She thought about it. “Mostly frustrated.” “I’m just fine.” Max didn’t usually resort to sarcasm, so that told her a lot. Married almost two years and no sex. He was a good man, but he was coming to the end of his patience. “If we’re refraining because we’re worried I’m going to pop a blood vessel while in the throes of passion, I’d like to point out there are solutions that you might enjoy.” “That isn’t fair to you.” “You’re massaging my hand. That’s pretty wonderful.” “Not the same.” Again he took her tired hand and went to work. Bitterly she said, “Kellen’s Brain. It’s like a bad sci-fi fantasy.” He laughed. “It’s improving all the time.” When he had made her hand relax and Kellen relax with it, he said, “I’ve been thinking—the Di Luca family owns Isla Paraíso off the coast of Northern California. The family bought the island seventy years ago with the idea of placing a resort on the island, but now that doesn’t seem likely. Someone needs to go there, look things over, make decisions about its fate.” Kellen nodded. “You want to go there? See what you think?” “Actually, I thought we should all go there.” He was still working her hand, but with a little too much forcefulness and concentration. “Ouch,” she said softly. He pulled away, horrified. “Did I hurt you?” “Not at all. Except that you’re treating me like a child.” “What do you mean?” “You’re not telling me what’s really going on. Why do you want to go to this island?” “I told you—” “I don’t doubt that what you told me is the truth. But it’s not all the truth. Max, what’s wrong?” Max sighed, an understatement of a sigh, as if he dreaded what he was about to say. “You’re not going to like it.” “I gathered that.” “Mitch Nyugen.” “What about him? He’s dead.” She remembered she couldn’t always trust Kellen’s Brain. “Isn’t he?” “Yes. He was buried in the Cape Charade cemetery.” “Was buried?” Unease stirred in her belly. “This week, his widow arrived from Wyoming.” “He wasn’t married.” That brain thing. “Was he?” “No.” Max was as sure as Kellen was not. “Yet the woman who claimed to be his widow had all the necessary paperwork to have his body exhumed.” “Oh, no.” “She had the coffin placed in the chapel. Last night, the undertaker, Arthur Earthman, found her there, with the coffin open. She murdered him, and almost killed his wife, Cynthia. The widow escaped ahead of the sheriff, and she left her calling card.” Kellen knew. She knew what Max was going to say. “She cut off Mitch’s hands.” “And took them.” Max looked up at her, his brown eyes wretched with fear. “Mara Philippi is back. And she’s here.” *** Excerpt from Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd. Copyright 2019 by Christina Dodd. Reproduced with permission from HQN Books. All rights reserved.
 

Author Bio:

Christina Dodd New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd writes “edge-of-the-seat suspense” (Iris Johansen) with “brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd” (ALA Booklist). Her fifty-eight books have been called “scary, sexy, and smartly written” by Booklist and, much to her mother’s delight, Dodd was once a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle.

Enter Christina’s worlds and join her mailing list at: Website, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook!

 

Book Blast Participants:

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Book Blast Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Christina Dodd and HQN Books. There will be one (1) winner. The winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on September 17, 2019 and runs through September 26, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

I would like to thank Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to share this book.

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How to Self Publish and Market a Book by Hank Quense

Most books on publishing deal with publishing by itself. Most books on marketing deal with marketing as a stand-alone project. I think there is a better approach. Publishing and marketing should be considered as an integrated project. That is what this book does: it treats publishing and marketing together to create a complete project plan.

The self-publishing pain points addressed include:
Formatting
Book layout
Editors
Covers, generic and otherwise
And more

The marketing pain points include:
Social media platforms
Blog tours
Creating buzz
Email campaigns
Keywords
And more

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Hank Quense

About the Author

Hank Quense writes satirical fantasy and sci-fi.
Early in his writing career, he was strongly influenced by two authors: Douglas Adams and his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Happily, Hank has never quite recovered from those experiences.

He lives with his wife in northern New Jersey, a mere 20 miles from Manhattan, the center of the galaxy (according to those who live in Manhattan). They have two daughters and five grandchildren all of whom live close by.

For vacations, Hank and Pat usually visit distant parts of the galaxy. Occasionally, they also time-travel.

Besides writing novels, Hank lectures on fiction writing, publishing and book marketing. He is most proud of his talk showing grammar school kids how to create a short story. He used these lectures to create an advanced ebook with embedded videos to coach the students on how to create characters, plots and setting. The target audience is 4th to 7th graders. The book’s title is Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids.

Website     Facebook     Twitter

This is an integration of publishing and marketing into a single project. If you are looking to publish your book and how to market it I think this would be a wonderful place to start.

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Shadow World Trilogy

Shadow World Trilogy Boxed Set
by Brandy Nacole
Genre: Urban Fantasy
I must dare to be different in a world where I’m unwelcome in order
to save the one person left in my life, my half-sister Addie.
This deluxe boxed set contains the complete Bestselling Shadow World
Trilogy (Uniquely Unwelcome, Blood Burdens, and Sacrifice: A New Dawn).
Enjoy the thrill as power is pushed to its limit, hearts are broken, and
some pay the ultimate price as Racquel fights an ancient evil that is
determined to make the Earth bleed, and Racquel with it.
The box set includes:
Uniquely Unwelcome
The Shadow World Volume 1
Racquel is unique. The bloodlines of four of the most powerful beings in the
Shadow World are intertwined within her DNA. She has never craved
attention. She just wants to be able to live as normal life as she
can. But she’s about to find that even though she’s uniquely
unwelcome wherever she goes, her abilities also make her the best
chance the Shadow World has to stop a threat to all the Shadow races.
Once arriving home, Racquel finds that greater evils exist and that
the person she cares for most in this world, her half-sister Addie,
has been kidnapped along with other Shadow World beings. Racquel
finds herself facing horrible odds with those who would rather see
her dead than alive. As her journey continues, Racquel learns more
about herself, what she is capable of, and that not every being looks
at her as an abomination. Coy, a human captive that Racquel saves
from the Vampires, starts showing kindness toward her. Racquel tries
putting distance between her and the human boy but as they spend more
time together it becomes harder and harder for Racquel to fight the
affection she wants and needs. But will Coy’s friendship and her new
found discoveries be enough to help Racquel unravel the strangest
mystery that has ever plagued the Shadow World?
Blood Burdens
The Shadow World Trilogy Volume 2
As someone with four Shadow bloodlines, Racquel is uniquely unwelcome
even among her fellow werewolves, shape-shifters, vampires, and
witches. Growing up, she was bullied and tormented for being a
“hybrid,” a condition frowned upon by Shadow society. After
saving her sister and a number of other kidnapped Shadows from a
diabolical plot to create a Shadow army, many have found a new
respect for Racquel, but she is far from accepted in Shadow society,
and the evil is far from over. To complicate matters, Racquel now
finds herself torn between two brothers. Coy is caring and has helped
Racquel through her struggles, and Micah, who Racquel has only met
once but who is somehow, having dream conversations with him. Racquel
becomes torn between following her heart while breaking it at the
same time. In the second installment of the Shadow World series,
Racquel and her sister Addie face off with the Shadow leaders against
a threat that could bring the world to its knees. Power will be
pushed to its limit, hearts will be broken, and some will pay the
ultimate price as Racquel and her group of Shadows fight against an
ancient evil that is determined to make the earth bleed and Racquel
with it.
Sacrifice: A New Dawn
The Shadow World Trilogy Book 3
Racquel was once uniquely unwelcome, an outcast in both the human and Shadow
worlds. In desperation, the Shadows—the loose alliance of Vampires,
Werewolves, Witches, Shape Shifters and Faeries—turned to Racquel
for help against the sorceress Cerelia, who threatened all Shadows.
Now that Racquel has protected the Shadows by defeating Cerelia, it
seems like things are picking up. Racquel is ready to challenge the
Shadows’ Ruling Council on the injustice of the laws that made her
and her family outcasts among the Shadows, and which is causing
suffering among her friends. Racquel has little time to enjoy her
victory. Micah, an innocent subjected to experiments by Cerelia and
now the only other person in the world like Racquel, is summoned to
appear before the Ruling Council to be examined. The Council has
already warned that if Micah is deemed to be “unclean” and a
threat to the Shadows, he will be executed. And there are agendas
hidden in agendas, as well. A secret faction wants to challenge
Racquel, who they still see as being an unclean creature due to her
mixed-Shadow heritage. Worse still, the mysterious prophecy made by
Kaya, queen of the Fay, is about to become true, and Racquel is about
to be faced with her deepest fear: that she is still unwelcome in the
world. Betrayed trust and a new danger to the Shadow world are
waiting for Racquel, and in the end, she may have to make the
ultimate sacrifice in order to save the world and her friends from
destruction.
Gemini Brandy Nacole is a writer of urban fantasy books. She is the author
of the Shadow World series and the Spiritual Discord series published
by Ponahakeola Press. A reader from a young age, Brandy has always
loved folklore and stories of beings that go bump in the night.
Brandy lives in Arkansas with her husband, three never stopping kids, two
snooty cats, two very lazy bearded dragons, and one mellow turtle.
She is a member of the Ozark Romance Authors in Springfield,
Missouri. Whenever she’s not reading or writing, Brandy is spending
her time outdoors wheeling, hiking, playing amateur photographer, and
enjoying a good laugh.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!
Enter for your chance to win a Readers Swag Pack with coffee mug, gift cards, candies and other goodies!
I would like to thank Silver Dagger Book Tours for the opportunity to share this series.

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The Deception

The Deception

by Kat Martin

September 10, 2019 Book Blast

Synopsis:

The Deception by Kat Martin “Fans of romantic suspense won’t be able to put this book down until the final page is turned.”―Publishers Weekly on The Deception When missing turns to murdered, one woman’s search for answers will take her to a place she never wanted to go… After searching for her sister for two long years, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she’s called to the morgue to identify Chrissy’s body, the runaway teen the victim of a brutal attack. Guilt and grief send Kate into a tailspin. She failed Chrissy once…she won’t do it again. Even if finding her sister’s killer means following a lethal bounty hunter into the heart of darkness, placing both their lives in danger. Working at Maximum Security has taken Jason Maddox down some dangerous paths, but never for a client he’s so drawn to, or for a case so monstrous. As clues lead them deeper into the city’s underbelly, connections to human trafficking draw them closer and closer to peril, but even Jase’s warnings can’t convince Kate to walk away. As the deadly operation puts a target on their backs, they’ll have to decide what matters most: the truth…or their lives.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense Published by: Harlequin Books Publication Date: September 10th 2019 Number of Pages: 384 ISBN: 1488054320 (ISBN13: 9781488054327) Series: Maximum Security #2 Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Jason Hawkins Maddox sat at the old-fashioned long bar in the Sagebrush Saloon, a country-western hangout with a live band for dancing on the weekends and a jukebox that served the same purpose the rest of the week. The place, out I-30 on Bruckner Boulevard, was a spot Jase had been to before but not for a couple of years. He was there tonight on business, meeting an informant he hoped would give him a lead on the fugitive he was hunting. Randall Darren Harding, a cement contractor, had been arrested for the brutal murder of his ex-girlfriend. He’d been out on bail when he’d decided to flee instead of standing trial, where most likely he would have been convicted. On the outskirts of Dallas, he’d had a firefight with police, shot two sheriff’s deputies and escaped. The guy was tough. He wouldn’t go down easy. From what Jase could find out, Harding was a rotten, self-centered, mean-tempered bastard, the kind who could wind up killing again. He’d strangled his girlfriend in a fit of rage, but a fancy lawyer had gotten him out on bail. Jase had a warrant for Harding’s arrest—rearrest, technically, since the guy had already been charged with murder-one, the premeditated kind that could earn you the death penalty in Texas. The reward for catching him was a fat 15 percent of his million-and-a-half-dollar bond. Jase planned to collect. Thus his meeting with Tommy Dieter at the Sagebrush Saloon. It was relatively early, a little after 9:00 p.m., but the place was already more than half full. A big dance floor dominated the interior, surrounded by a sea of wooden tables. Being Wednesday, there was no band, but the juke was belting Willie Nelson so a few couples two-stepped out on the floor. It was a decent place, not one of the rat holes he occasionally frequented for information, the crowd a mix of cowboys and bikers, couples of various ages, and a smattering of tourists, there to try some real Texas line dancing. From the mirror in the carved oak back bar across from him, Jase could keep an eye on the front door and watch for Tommy’s arrival. Between a row of liquor bottles, he could see himself on a bar stool next to a little guy in a blue Texas Rangers baseball cap. The little guy made Jase look even bigger than his six-foot-four-inch, 210-pound frame, a size that in his job often came in handy. So far Tommy hadn’t shown, but he wasn’t due for another few minutes. In the meantime, Jase was enjoying the local scenery, his attention fixed on the tall blonde with the pretty face, sexy curves and amazing cleavage, but then half the guys in the bar were watching her. In a short denim skirt, a pair of cowboy boots and a bright pink tank top, she had danced to five songs in a row. Jase figured as long as her stamina held out, she wouldn’t lack for partners. If he weren’t there on business, he might have asked her for a turn around the floor himself. The blonde finished the dance and sat back down on a bar stool a ways down from him. He noticed she was drinking tequila shooters. Looked like someone was going to get lucky tonight. Hearing the throaty purr of her laughter, he felt a tug in his groin and couldn’t help wishing it was him. The front door swung open and Tommy Dieter walked in. Jase tossed money for the Lone Star he’d been drinking on top the bar. Time to go to work. Tommy spotted him and walked over to the bar. “Hey, Hawk.” It was a nickname Jase had picked up thanks to his middle name. They called him the Hawk because he swooped down on his prey and always got his man. Or so the story went. “Tommy.” He was a slender guy in his early twenties with carrot-red hair, not a bad sort, but he hung with a bad crowd, which gave him access to a lot of dirt, and he was hungry enough to deal the info for money. Jase nodded toward an empty table at the back of the bar, and the two of them made their way past a pool table where a couple of cowboys clacked balls across a sea of green. Tommy and Jase both pulled out chairs and sat down at the battered wooden table. Jase didn’t ask Tommy if he wanted a beer. It wasn’t healthy for an informant to spend too much time with a guy who hunted people for a living. “You got something on Harding for me?” Jase asked. “Yeah. Randy has a girlfriend in Houston,” Tommy said. “Mexican girl. No papers. She keeps him happy. He pays her rent.” “What’s her name?” “Rosa Diaz. She’s got a brother in town. A mechanic named Paulo.” “You think Randy’s still in Houston? I figured he’d leave the state, head for Arizona, maybe, or New Mexico.” “Word is he’s got the serious hots for Rosa. According to Randy, she’s a great piece of ass.” The words sent Jase’s gaze back to the blonde who had returned to the dance floor with a lanky biker too short for her, too skinny and a few years too young. She wasn’t meant for the boy biker, but she was just Jase’s type, luscious, with legs that went on forever. And, as she slid her arms around the boy biker’s neck and he pulled her close, clearly uninhibited. It didn’t take much to imagine the way she’d feel moving beneath him. Jase ignored a surge of heat and forced his mind back to business. “If Randy’s that close, you’d think the cops would already have him in custody.” “I don’t think the cops know anything about the girl.” Probably not. They had their hands full without having to arrest the same guy twice. Jase reached into the pocket of his black T-shirt, plucked out a folded-up hundred-dollar bill and slid it across the table to Dieter. “Let me know if you come up with anything else.” Tommy snagged the hundred. “Good luck,” he said. “I hope you nail this prick. What he did to that girl…fucker deserves to fry.” Jase made no comment since he completely agreed. One of the perks of the job was bringing dicks like Harding to justice. As Tommy walked away, Jase noticed his seat at the bar was still empty. Since he wasn’t ready to leave, he picked up his beer and headed back the way he’d come. He watched the blonde as he passed the dance floor. He’d been watching her all evening. The good news was, she’d been watching him, too. When the song came to an end, she left the boy biker and walked toward him, stopped right in front of his bar stool, the heels on her boots pushing her closer to his height. She smiled. “You like to dance, cowboy?” *** Excerpt from The Deception by Kat Martin. Copyright 2019 by Kat Martin. Reproduced with permission from HQN Books. All rights reserved.
   

Author Bio:

Kat Martin Top ten New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara. Residing with her Western-author husband, L.J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written 70 Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than 17 million of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently hard at work on her next novel.

Catch Up With Kat Martin Online: Website, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kat Martin. There will be one (1) winner. The winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on September 10, 2019 and runs through September 19, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Becoming Grim

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Becoming Grim

By Ashley Tomlinson

Genre: NA Urban Fantasy

Piper is running away from a cheating boyfriend and New York City when something terrible happens, her plane crashes. Instead of going to Heaven or even to Hell she goes to a whole other plane of existence. Now not only is she dead but she is a reaper learning the ropes to collecting souls from the handsome, Zeke.

Everything is going great until Piper sees something that she’s not supposed to see. Now she is torn between keeping it to herself or putting her and everyone she’s come to care for in danger.

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About the Author

Ashley Tomlinson was born in a very small town in South Carolina and now she lives in a slightly larger city in South Carolina with her husband. Most days you can find her writing in her home office that is filled to the brim with books and candles. When she isn’t writing she’s spending time with her plethora of animals, curled up reading on her couch, painting, or crocheting a blanket that she will probably never finish. She also loves being apart of the bookstagram world, especially taking photos of books.

She knew she wanted to be a writer in high school but didn’t pursue it fully until she was in her twenties. Now not a day goes by when she isn’t in front of her laptop typing away. Her head is always in the clouds thinking up new scenes or coming up with a new book idea.

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Brief excerpt:

    “I’m sorry but they won’t be able to hear you.” He says, now more in control of the situation.

“That’s okay, I just want to see them one more time and then I’ll go with you.” She says holding her hands in a praying gesture. “Please.”

It’s obvious something like this has never happened before. Liv also said something about only children being able to speak because of their innocence or something like that. Did that mean this woman was innocent? If not then what does it mean?

“Do you think that would be okay?” Zeke whispers to me.

“Um, you’re the one that is supposed to be teaching me, remember,” I whisper back. He nods his head trying to keep his calm composure.

“I think that will be okay just keep it quick.” He responds gesturing for her to go down the stairs in front of us. Sarah glides down the stairs almost like she’s floating. The staircase is clearly visible through her translucent body but she doesn’t seem to notice anything. Her sights are set on her mourning family.

I can tell she wants to reach out to them, to console them but that won’t be possible. I feel for her. I look to Zeke and catch him watching me. He doesn’t look away from me like he is trying to figure something out. Does he think I’m the cause of this? Am I? “Are you okay?” I ask raising an eyebrow.

“I’m fine,” he says trying to put on a smile but it doesn’t quite reach his eyes.

Sarah is standing in front of her family. She reaches a ghostly hand out to them but is unable to touch her daughters crying face. I start to go forward to try to pull Sarah away because this is too painful to watch when Zeke grabs my arm stopping me. “Look.” He whispers nodding towards Sarah’s daughter.

The girl’s tear-streaked face is looking directly at Sarah as if she can see her. “Mom?” She whispers to the air making her father and the detective look her way. “Oh Abby, I know you can’t hear me but I’m so sorry for leaving you like this. There’s a lot you don’t understand and probably won’t for a long time but know that I love you very much. I’ll be watching you from above thinking how beautiful and smart you have become. I just know it.” Then Sarah reaches her hand towards her husband but he doesn’t respond the way his daughter does.

“Ed, you are a great man and an even better father. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you more children. I’m sorry I’m leaving you to raise a teenage girl alone but you’ll get through it. You both will. Goodbye, my sweet family.”

Abby closes her eyes for a few seconds as Sarah makes her way back to us. Zeke releases my arm that I didn’t realize he was still holding onto. “Bye Mom,” Abby says making us all look at her. What is going on? Sarah turns to go back to her daughter but Zeke reaches towards her.

“I’m sorry Sarah but its time to go.”

She starts to fight free but then Zeke places his tattoo on her arm and she begins to change form into the shining light that I have come to like seeing. Though, this one doesn’t feel as peaceful as the first one I saw. It takes Zeke some time to get Sarah to move on because she kept trying to fight free of him. After a few minutes, he sent her on her way to whatever afterlife she was headed for. Zeke is panting when it’s over and his forehead has beads of sweat running down. That fight took a lot out of him that much is obvious and there is nothing I can do to help. At least, I hope there wasn’t or else I just sat there staring at that whole thing like a jerk.

“What the hell was that?” I ask.

“I have no idea.” He says wiping the sweat off his forehead and gesturing for us to leave. I look around one more time at the house surrounding us. At its beauty and it’s sadness. Even though this didn’t go as planned it is still something that I think will stay with me for the rest of my life, er death.

Picture

I would like to thank Sage Adderley-Knox for the opportunity to share this book.

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