Shattered But Not Easily Broken by Mikel Wilson

A series of catastrophic tornadoes tear through the state of Alabama, unleashing their wrath upon several sleepy towns. The stormy winds ravage rural Sweetwater, and Ally’s life is ripped apart and forever changed.

She awakes in another town, hospitalized and injured, only to hear the devastating news that literally nothing remains of her home, or her family. Ally’s entire world is shattered. Bitter and angry, her faith broken, Ally blames God and resolves to simply give up. That is until Natalie, a kind nurse, shows her compassion and takes her in.

Ally’s tortured mind still screams for the answers only God can give, but through Natalie, Ally begins to pick up the scattered pieces of her former life and allow hope to blossom again. Just as Ally begins to soften her heart and allow God back in, tragedy strikes and Ally’s world is once again tossed about

Can Ally overcome disaster again? Or will despair drag her down into unending darkness?

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Mikel Wilson

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My Review

5 stars

It is a beautiful day in southern Alabama. Then it starts to rain and suddenly a tornado tears apart Ally’s world. She wakes in a hospital several counties away from her home. She is heartbroken to know that she has lost everything, including her family. A religious nurse at the hospital, Natalie, steps up to help Ally even though Ally is filled with grief and hates God. She constantly questions Natalie about how she can be so positive when she doesn’t know what Ally has lost.

Ally’s world is crushed. My heart broke for her knowing what she had lost. I understood the pain she was in but I have to commend Natalie for continuing to push her. Then when I learned more about Natalie, I was almost in tears. She is such a strong woman but it came from having her own troubles.

This story asks the reader to have faith and trust in God but not in a preachy way. I loved how it came across but I can see where some people might not like that. Personally I think that is exactly what Ally needed and clearly what made Natalie the strong person she was.

This is a touching story and one that I strongly recommend everyone read. Life can be wonderful and completely destroyed within seconds but faith is the key to continuing on with the struggle.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


The Clinic


The Clinic by David Jester

They didn’t have much to live for. Malcolm, Darren and Eddie, all had their own tragedies, their own demons to face. Malcolm was alone in the world, Darren might as well have been and Eddie, well, Eddie wished he was.

The isolated rehab clinic was not an easy target for these opportunistic thieves, on the contrary, it revealed a dark past and an evil that was sown way before their time. The sterile corridors and soulless rooms swarmed with a depravity that they never imagined possible.

The Clinic is the story of a regrettable heist, of three delinquents who find a lot more than they bargained for. A gripping, thrilling and spine-chilling story of suspense, fear and pure evil.

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David Jester 

Author’s Bio

David Jester is a novelist and short story writer living in the North East of England. His books include the comedy, An Idiot in Love, and the gruesome horror, This Is How You Die.

He is published by Skyhorse Publishing and represented by Peter Beren.

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My Review

4 Stars

Malcolm, Darren, and Eddie are unlikely friends. One night they are robbing a drunk man’s house and don’t find anything of value. Eddie tells the other two about a story he heard from this uncle about a clinic in the woods for the rich. They three friends decide to rob the clinic. But there is something wrong with this clinic; it’s not for the rich but the psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. And the nuts are now running the nut house.

The three boys have their own issues. Darren comes from a broken home where his mother, addicted to drugs and alcohol has hooked up with a man just like her. Malcolm only had his mother until the day she left. Now he is on his own. Then there is Eddie. He is from a middle class home and has no wants. But he wants the attention from his friends.

There are small clues that this clinic is not what the boys think it is but they are too excited to score the lot. What they find is a bloody, brutal mess that the inmates have created in their takeover of the asylum. Think bloody slasher films where the blood flows like rivers. Soon the boys are on the run for their own lives.

This is a bloody, gory horror stories for those that enjoy their brutality. The boys have clearly gotten in over their heads and look like they will lose them before the end of the night. I admit that I didn’t expect the ending.

This is a good story but one that you will either like or hate. I could see several people not finding this their cup of tea. As for me, it was a good, gore filled read. I am curious to read other books from David Jester.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Sky Horse Publishing for the opportunity to read and share this book.



Earthrise (Her Instruments – 1) by MCA Hogarth

Reese Eddings has enough to do just keeping her rattletrap merchant vessel, the TMS Earthrise, profitable enough to pay food for herself and her micro-crew. So when a mysterious benefactor from her past shows up demanding she rescue a man from slavers, her first reaction is to say “NO!” And then to remember that she sort of promised to repay the loan. But she doesn’t remember signing up to tangle with pirates and slavers over a space elf prince… Book 1 of the Her Instruments trilogy is a rollicking space operatic adventure set in the Pelted Paradox universe.

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 M.C.A. Hogarth

Author’s Bio

Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.

Her fiction has variously been recommended for a Nebula, a finalist for the Spectrum, placed on the secondary Tiptree reading list and chosen for two best-of anthologies; her art has appeared in RPGs, magazines and on book covers.


My Review

4 stars

Captain Theresa “Reese” Eddings barely owns the ship Earthrise. Being agoraphobic makes things interesting being stuck on a space ship and makes her difficult to deal with at the best of times. But she does manage to work with her crew enough to take jobs that keeps the ship in her name and a crew with her. Then a donor comes looking for payment in the form of rescuing an elfin alien prince that has been kidnapped and about to be sold to slavers. Reese agrees to save Eldritch and ends up on the run and hiding out trying to fix her ship.

Reese has issues that make her a good and funny character yet at times so pig headed and difficult that I wanted to slap her. Because of this she finds herself and her crew in serious trouble numerous times. But if not for that, there would not be the action and trouble that she finds herself in.

I absolutely loved this world, it is so well developed with all kinds of creatures that just enrich it. It was so easy to fall into this story and hard to put down, even when I got irritated at Reese. Over all this is a great sci-fi without being overwhelmed with science. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Ari at Candid Book Reviews for the opportunity to read and share this book.

The Fourth Gunman

The Fourth Gunman by John Lansing Tour Banner

The Fourth Gunman

by John Lansing

on Tour February 19 – March 24, 2018


The Fourth Gunman by John Lansing

From the best selling author of The Devil’s Necktie, and Blond Cargo comes the latest title in the Jack Bertolino series.

Retired inspector Jack Bertolino straddles two perilous worlds. Known for his impeccable police work, Jack has also done a priceless favor for an infamous Mafia Don: he saved the gangster’s kidnapped daughter from being sold into the sex trade, and brought her safely home.

In Jack’s line of work, he can’t help but have friends—and enemies—on both sides of the law.

So when FBI agent Luke Hunter goes missing after a deep undercover assignment with that same mob boss, the FBI calls Jack in, looking for a favor. With his connections and skills, Jack’s the only man for the job: find Luke Hunter, dead or alive.

The Mobster operates an illegal gambling yacht in international waters off of Southern California, and when Luke went missing, so did half a million dollars of the mob’s money. As Jack dives into the case, he’ll learn the true mystery isn’t the agent’s disappearance, but something far more ominous…

The Fourth Gunman is a sizzling action-packed thriller that will keep you turning pages until the explosive finale.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime/Thriller
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 375 (estimated)
ISBN: 1501189530 (ISBN13: 9781501189531)
Series: Jack Bertolino, 4 | Each is a Stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


Luke Hunter sat hunched over a tight built-in desk in the cabin of a weathered thirty-six-foot catamaran docked in Marina del Rey. His fingers flew over the keyboard of a MacBook Pro. There had been one amber sconce illuminating the cabin before he broke in to the vessel, but now the laptop computer was throwing more light than he was comfortable with. At two a.m., all was quiet on the dock, but Luke was running late and still had another stop to make before he could call it a night.

Luke’s hair was short, brown, and unruly, his Italian eyes smoky, his beard dark and in need of a shave. His angular face was set with determination as he slipped a flash drive into the computer, tapped a few keys, and hit Copy, hoping to make short work of his theft.

The cabin was teak, and brass, and well worn. Rolled navigational charts littered the cramped workspace but didn’t intrude on the comfortable living quarters and the bunk that occupied the bow of the catamaran.

Luke spun in the chair, unraveled specific charts on the bed, snapped photos with his iPhone, and stowed the maps back where he’d found them. He had a theory as to why so many of the charts were focused on the waters in and around the Farallon Islands, off the coast of San Francisco, and hoped the computer files would corroborate his suspicions.

He took pictures of the scuba tanks, masks, flippers, speargun, and weight belts that were stowed aft. The galley was diminutive but efficient. A few potted succulents and fresh herbs on a shelf above the sink lent a feminine touch to the nautical surroundings. Nothing of interest there.

Luke heard the screech of the rusted security gate that led from the parking lot to the yachts and immediately shut down the computer, pocketed the flash drive, and closed the lid, tamping out the light.

He hoped it was just another liveaboard moored at the same dock, returning home after a night on the town. But he spun in place, laced his hands behind his head, and stretched out his legs, facing the teak steps that led from the stern into the cabin, ready to talk his way out of a dicey spot if necessary. It would be uncomfortable but doable. He set his face into a gotcha grin, ready to go on the offensive. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

The boat rocked slightly, the slippered footfalls nearly silent as a woman made her descent into the body of the vessel. Silk drawstring pants hugged her willowy frame as she stepped off the wooden stairway and seemed to suck all the air out of the cabin.

Roxy Donnelly had straight red hair that kissed her collarbone and parted in the middle, and a light feathering of freckles on her cheeks and chest. Her hazel eyes bore in to Luke’s, assessing the situation. She came to a conclusion and—without speaking—told him everything a man wanted to hear from a woman.

Roxy was backlit, her figure silhouetted in a diaphanous white blouse. Luke could see she was braless, and his heart quickened. Her nipples rippled the fabric, and sparks spread to Luke’s chest and down to his groin. As he became aroused, he found himself at a loss for words. No mafioso cracking wise, only deep breathing trying to hide his visceral reaction to the danger of her unexpected arrival. The cabin seemed to become tighter still, if that was possible, until Roxy broke the silence.

“I knew you were smarter than you looked.” If she was aware that Luke had raided her computer, she gave no indication or surprise at his presence. “You saw the schedule, Trent’s on call.”

She stepped closer and Luke found himself on his feet. “I made the schedule,” he said.

Roxy stepped so close their noses touched. He could feel her breath. The light scent of perfume was intoxicating. She reached down and touched his erection, stoking the fire. “I know what you drink, but I don’t know how you like it.”

“Any way you serve it,” Luke said, his voice deep, throaty, and bedroom. He knew he should hit the road but stood transfixed.

Roxy took his hand, squeezed it, and led him to the queen-size bunk in the rear of the cabin. “Get comfortable.”

She stepped into the galley, poured two glasses of Scotch, neat, kicked off her slipper shoes, and glided barefoot to the bed, handing Luke his drink. They clinked and each took a deep sip, never breaking eye contact.

Roxy set her glass down, slowly unbuttoned her blouse, and shrugged out of it, revealing sheer perfection. A dancer’s body. Compact upright breasts, a narrow sculpted waist, and a sapphire-pierced belly button. She tossed the blouse onto the chair Luke had been sitting in, leaned over him, and unbuckled his belt more roughly than he would have expected.

Luke might have received a reality check, but by the time his cell phone buzzed in his pants pocket, they were hanging over the chair.

“You’re not upset?” he said, a statement of fact.

“You should’ve called first, but it was inevitable. It was perfect the first time. We work too hard for no pleasure. Roll over, I’m good with my hands.”

No argument from Luke, who pulled off his gray crewneck and tossed it on the chair. He eased onto his stomach carefully because he was sporting a blazing hard-on.

Roxy was fully engaged. She lit a candle, then raked his back with her fingernails, the brief contact from her nipples as she leaned over him burning a trail from his neck down to his waist. As she straddled Luke, he felt her heat and let out a husky groan.

Roxy started on his lower back and slowly worked her way up his spine, compressing with thumbs and forefingers every third vertebrae until she reached his neck.

“You are good,” he murmured.

By the time Luke realized cold steel was pressed against the back of his head and not her thumbs, he was dead.

The explosion of the hammer striking the .22 round in her derringer created a blinding electric flash behind Luke’s eyes. The bullet rattled around his skull, tearing up brain matter, until his world turned pitch-black.

Roxy jumped off the bed, grabbed a plastic garbage bag out of the galley, pulled it over Luke’s head, and cinched it around his neck to catch any blood evidence. She picked up her cell and hit Speed Dial.

“Trent. We’ve got a situation,” and Roxy gave him the rapid-fire shorthand version while she rifled through Luke’s pants and billfold, her voice devoid of emotion. Her body vibrated uncontrollably as adrenaline coursed through her nervous system. She dropped Luke’s keys and willed her hands to stop shaking as she placed his cell phone and the flash drive next to her laptop. “I’ll clean things up on the home front, you keep your ears open and get a feel for the play at your end. Stay on shift—Shut the fuck up and let me talk!” And then in a tight whisper, “I killed a man, okay? I’ve had better nights. Okay, okay, but only text if you sense movement in our direction.” Roxy was unraveling. “You won’t hear from me again until, until, shit, Trent, until I call you.”

Roxy snapped out the light and walked over to the door and tried to still her breathing as she sucked in the thick sea air and listened for any movement on the dock. Water lapping against hulls and nylon lines clanking on aluminum masts were the only early-morning sounds. If not for the dead body lying on her bunk, it would almost be peaceful.

Roxy got down on her hands and knees and scrabbled around until she came up with the keys she’d dropped. She sat on the edge of the bed and made a mental list of what she had to accomplish. Sucked in a breath, nodded, and went into action.

Roxy pulled the duvet cover over Luke’s body and changed into jeans and black T-shirt and black running shoes. She grabbed a pair of thin cotton gloves and shrugged into Trent’s oversize black hoodie.

She rifled through the junk drawer and pulled out a roll of blue painter’s tape, took a credit card and the cash out of Luke’s wallet and added it to her own, and ran out of the catamaran, locking the door behind her.


Roxy pulled the hood over her red hair and slipped on the gloves as she ran up the dock and out through the chain-link security gate.

There was a smattering of cars in the lot, and Roxy started hitting the button on the remote-entry key for Luke’s car but got no response. She knew Luke drove a black Camaro but was at a loss. She spun in place and felt like she was going to explode. She turned off the emotion, knowing that if she didn’t fly right, she was as good as dead.

She jogged over to the next lot that was half full and tried the key again. Nothing. Roxy fought to suck down the bile and panic that threatened to overwhelm her. She ran up and down three rows of cars. Still nothing. She pounded toward the apartment complex across the street.

Roxy heard the ding before she found the car.

Luke had parked in the open lot that serviced the channel on the other side of the road. Mercury-vapor security lamps provided ambient light. Roxy checked the license plate and went to work.

She pulled out the tape and ripped off a small strip, turning a 1 into a 7. She tore off two smaller strips and changed a second 1 to a 4. She repeated the task on the front plate and dove, flattening herself on the rocky macadam surface, as a car drove up the street.

A black-and-white rolled onto the lot, its tires crackling over the uneven surface. The cop car did a silent drive past her aisle, slowed, then moved up to the far end of the lot, turned left, and back out onto the street.

Time seemed to stand still, but the pounding of Roxy’s heart reminded her that the clock was ticking and daylight would be her enemy. She grabbed a handful of dirt from the ground and wiped it onto the license plate with one eye peeled for the cop car. She did the same with the rear plate, obscuring some of her handiwork. After the cop car made his final pass down the street and disappeared onto the main drag, Roxy jumped behind the wheel of the Camaro, adjusted the seat and mirror, put on a pair of dark glasses, and rumbled out of the parking lot.


It took sixteen minutes to get from the marina to long-term parking at LAX. The black Camaro had black-tinted windows, and when Roxy pulled into the lot, hit the button, grabbed a ticket, and waited for the electronic arm to rise, she had her hood pulled tight, her dark sunglasses in place, and her head tilted down. If there had been a security camera at play, all it would’ve recorded was the top of a dark hoodie.

The lot was huge. Roxy motored to the far end and parked between two large SUVs that all but swallowed Luke’s low-slung muscle car. She checked the glove compartment to see if there was anything worth taking, or revealing as to Luke’s true purpose, snooping in the wrong place at the wrong time. She found the car’s registration and proof of insurance and pocketed the documents in the hope that it might slow the inquiry sure to follow. She hit the button that opened the trunk, readjusted the driver’s seat, locked the doors, and exited the vehicle.

A salmon glow pulsed above the horizon, a warm-up for the main event. The adrenaline had worn off, and Roxy was so tired she could have slept standing up. What she saw when she looked in the trunk got her heart pounding and her head spinning again. A large leather satchel on wheels, filled with cash. More cash than Roxy had ever seen in her twenty-seven years on God’s planet. It was Mafia money. The weekend’s take from the illegal gambling yacht where she bartended. She zippered the bag and slammed the trunk shut. She didn’t need any more heat than she’d already generated.

Roxy took a few steps away, spun back, opened the trunk, grabbed the satchel, and started wheeling it down the long row of cars toward the shuttle that arrived every fifteen minutes. She’d take the short ride to Tom Bradley International Terminal, where she planned on using Luke’s credit card at a McDonald’s to create a paper trail.

Inherent problems were created by taking the Mafia’s money, but leaving it would have been a major fuckup. A man on the run would never leave without the cash.


Two black stretch limos roared into the parking lot at Long Beach Shoreline Marina, adjacent to the Bella Fortuna. Doors flew open, and eight men exited the vehicles, ran across the lot, and pounded up the yacht’s gangplank, disappearing into the body of the luxury craft.

A somber Tony-the-Man stood at the railing on the main deck and looked down as Vincent Cardona stepped out of the lead car and walked slowly up the gangplank. The two men locked eyes for what seemed to Tony like an eternity before Cardona boarded the ship.

Heads would roll, and Tony instinctively rubbed his neck— his was at the top of the list.


The yellow cab let Roxy off at the Admiralty Club in Marina del Rey. She paid the driver with cash and waited until he was gone before walking next door to the Killer Shrimp Diner, where she was a regular and knew the kitchen was open twenty-four/seven. She peeled off her sunglasses, pulled the hood back, and shook out her startling red hair.

Roxy forced herself to eat scrambled eggs, bacon, and buttered toast, generating an alibi with her own credit card receipt. She paid up and rolled the satchel, laden with cash, down the sidewalk and the half-mile trek to her catamaran as the sun breached the Santa Monica Mountains behind her.


Twenty-four hours had passed since the death of Luke Hunter, and the weather had turned nasty. The sea was whitecapped, the crescent moon blanketed by a thick marine layer. A perfect night for what Roxy and Trent had to accomplish.

A perfect night to dump a body.

Trent was piloting the catamaran, heading south toward the San Pedro Channel and powered by the auxiliary engine. He knew the depth of the basin was good for at least 2,250 feet. He’d studied the charts, set the GPS, and they were just a few minutes from their destination.

Trent looked right at home, almost regal, standing behind the wheel of the craft that bucked, rolled, and cut through the waves, never veering off course. He was a Saudi national and a U.S. citizen, raised in the States from the age of eight, so he had no discernible accent. He was twenty-eight years old, with a boyish open face, a buffed physique, a swarthy complexion, buzz-cut brown hair, and gray eyes that could set Roxy’s heart thrumming. A finely inked tiger ran the length of one muscled forearm, the tattooed claws drawing red blood.

Roxy stepped out of the cabin and carefully made her way behind him, wrapped her arms around his six-pack, and leaned her cheek against his back, trying to still the beating of her heart.

Trent gave her hand a firm squeeze before grabbing the wheel with both hands. “You’re a brave woman, Roxy,” he shouted over his shoulder, fighting the howling wind. “A warrior.”

The moment he announced they were approaching their destination, the GPS system gave off a shrill cry. The night was black; there were no other boats in the area, no container ships navigating the channel. It was time to get to work. He shut off the engine, locked the wheel, and lowered himself into the cabin, followed by Roxy.

Luke, head still covered with the plastic garbage bag, was dressed in nothing but his briefs. He’d been rolled onto the cabin floor; his body lay on top of the duvet cover.

Trent grabbed two fifty-pound diving belts from their scuba gear and carried them up to the main deck. Roxy handed a twenty-five-pounder through the hatch. Trent ran back down, wrapped Luke’s body tightly in the blanket, and, with Roxy’s help, dragged his deadweight up the stairs and onto the aft deck behind the wheelhouse.

Trent pulled back the duvet and fastened one belt, cinched it tight around Luke’s waist, and then made short work of the second. He grabbed the twenty-five-pound belt, wrapped it twice around Luke’s neck, and secured it. Postmortem lividity had turned Luke’s back, buttocks, and legs a blackish-purple where the blood had settled.

Trent pulled the duvet taut, rolling Luke’s body over, and ripped a cut from top to bottom on the garbage bag so it would disengage after splashdown and be dragged out to sea. He worried it might fill with air as the corpse decomposed, and drag the body to the surface.

Roxy steeled herself as she looked down at Luke. His face was bone-white, his eyes devoid of color, just a thick opaque film. If there was one life lesson she had learned from her father, it was to meet trouble head-on. Never roll over, never look back, and never run. She swallowed her rising bile and choked, “Do it.”

Trent grabbed both ends of the blanket and muscled Luke’s body with 125 pounds of lead weights off the stern of the catamaran, tossing the duvet into the chop behind him.

Roxy and Trent stood shoulder to shoulder as they watched Luke float for a second and then slip below the water’s surface; they were confident he was permanently buried at sea and they could move forward with their plan.


Day One

Retired Inspector Jack Bertolino was sitting in the nosebleed seats at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond, Stanford University’s baseball stadium, in Northern California. The sun was blinding, the sky ultra-blue, the wisp of cirrus clouds as white as cotton. The old-growth pepper trees surrounding the field swayed in the light breeze carrying the scent of eucalyptus and fresh-mowed grass, taking some of the heat off the early-September afternoon.

Jack had his eyes closed behind his Ray-Bans, taking in the sounds of the college baseball game, now in the eighth inning, being played in the stadium below. His hair was dark brown verging on black, with strands of silver feathering the temples, and worn long enough to threaten his collar. His angular face was weathered from years doing undercover narcotics work on the streets of NYC, and his tan only served to accentuate the scars from hard-fought battles. A bump on his otherwise straight Roman nose, a gift from a crack dealer, buffered some of Jack’s innate intensity. At six-two and big-boned, Jack had a tight fit in the stadium seating, but the sound of the hard ball slamming into leather, the crack of the bat, the umpire’s barked calls, and the emotion of the crowd made it a perfect day. Took him back to his youth playing the game on Staten Island, where he had raised his son, Chris.

There was a chance Chris was going to pitch for the first time since the attempt on his life that had shattered his throwing arm nine months earlier. Jack wouldn’t have missed seeing his son in action again for the world. It hadn’t been an easy recovery for the young man, physically or mentally, and Jack tried to keep his own emotions in check. He didn’t want his heavy feelings to pull Chris down.

Jack was jolted out of his reverie as a trim man wearing a light-weight gray suit and dark aviator sunglasses, with zero body fat and white brush-cut hair, banged against his knees as he moved down the aisle, finally dropping into the seat directly to Jack’s right.

An attractive, serious woman wearing an equally professional gray pantsuit, with a jacket cut large enough to accommodate her shoulder rig and 9mm, made her way up his aisle. There was something about a woman and a gun that was a turn-on for Jack. Or maybe it was her shoulder-length auburn hair that shone as bright as her mirrored sunglasses. She head-tossed her hair off her face as she took the seat to Jack’s left, feigning interest in the game.

Jack wasn’t surprised by the untimely visit; he had made the feds on his flight from LAX and been waiting for them to play their hand.

“To what do I deserve the honor?” he said, his eyes lasered on the game as the Ohio State Buckeyes headed for the bench and the Stanford Cardinals ran onto the field. Chris had been in the bullpen warming up for the past twenty minutes but remained sidelined; the game was tied three to three at the top of the ninth, and it seemed unlikely he’d be called to play.

“I couldn’t do it,” the female FBI agent said, her eyes never leaving the field. Jack didn’t respond, so she continued, “Come to the game if it were my kid. Too much pressure.” Her voice carried an easy strength, and she wasn’t going to be deterred by his silence. “Especially with all your boy has been through,” letting Jack know he had no secrets from the FBI.

Ohio pounded a ball toward the left-field fence. The batter shot by first and was held up on second by the third-base coach.

It never surprised Jack how much the government knew about civilians’ lives, but his son was sacrosanct. And he knew if he spoke right away, he might not be able to control his growing anger at the personal violation.

The male agent, picking up on Jack’s energy, took off his glasses and proffered his hand. “Special Agent Ted Flannery.” He looked to be pushing fifty but had the body and vigor of a thirty-year-old. “Sorry for the intrusion, Jack, but we’ve come to ask for your help.” Flannery’s hand hung in midair until it became clear Jack wasn’t going to respond. Undaunted, the agent went on, “You’ve had a good relationship with the FBI throughout your career, Jack, and beyond. It’s been duly noted and appreciated, and because of your recent history, you’re in a unique position to be of service.”

“What do you need?” Jack asked, giving away nothing.

“Vincent Cardona,” the female agent said, answering his question. “You visited his home in Beverly Hills on the seventh of May. You were on Cardona’s payroll, hired to find his daughter, Angelica Marie, who’d been kidnapped. An altercation occurred. You slammed Cardona up against the wall, Peter Maniacci drew down on you, and Cardona’s cousin Frankie, with two other gunmen on his heels, ran out of the kitchen, ready to shoot you dead if ordered.”

“You wired the house?” Jack asked.

“Cardona’s too smart for that. He does a sweep once a week. No . . .” She paused for effect. “The fourth gunman was an FBI agent.”

The level of intensity in her tone wasn’t lost on Jack. She had referred to her agent in the past tense, but there was something more. Something unspoken, Jack thought.

Ohio thundered a ball over the fence for a two-run homer. Jack’s body tensed as the coach walked onto the field, huddled with the pitcher and catcher, and signaled toward the sidelines.

Chris Bertolino, number 11, ran out onto the mound and tossed a few back and forth with the catcher as the field was cleared and the game resumed. At six-two, Chris was as tall as Jack, but lean and rangy with sandy brown hair, a gift from his mother’s side of the family.

Jack raised his hand to his lips, and the feds let him concentrate on the game. They knew Bertolino wasn’t a man who could be pressured, and understood the personal significance of this moment.

Chris sucked in a deep breath, nodded to the catcher, and unloaded. His first pitch flew high on the outside. Ball one.

His second pitch went wide. Ball two.

The third pitch was hit. A sizzling line drive caught by the shortstop. First out.

The catcher walked out to the mound, whispered a few words to Chris, and resumed his position behind home plate.

Chris nodded, his game face on. If nerves were at play, he showed nothing to his opponent. He wound up and fired a fast-ball. Strike one. He denied the first two signals from the catcher and threw a second blistering pitch. Strike two. The crowd in the stands started to get loud. Chris tossed a slider, wide. The batter reached, fanned for the ball, and came up empty. Strike three.

The stadium erupted as the second batter stepped into the dugout and tossed his helmet in disgust.

The crowd started chanting and Jack’s stomach tightened. The lanky Buckeye leadoff batter made a big show of whipping his bat to loosen up before flashing a dead eye toward Chris, hocking a loogie onto the red clay, and stepping up to the plate.

Chris smoked a fastball.

The batter swung and made contact. The ball took a short hop and was plucked up by the second baseman, who threw Ohio out at first.

The crowd leaped to its feet as Chris led the team off the field, having stopped the flow of blood.

Jack let out a long, even breath, trying to slow his beating heart.

Chris never made it to bat. The first three Stanford starters were struck out in succession.

Stanford lost the game five to three, but it was a personal triumph for Chris, and Jack wished he were alone to savor the moment.

“I’ve got to get down to my boy,” he said to the female agent, who seemed to be in charge.

“Our agent disappeared three weeks ago,” she said, clearly un-willing to relinquish the moment. “He was deep undercover, and we believe he was on to something major. He never checked in, never filed a final report.”

“You should call in the cops.”

“We won’t jeopardize the case we’ve built against Vincent Cardona.”

“I’ve been down that rabbit hole,” Jack said, ending their impromptu meeting. “Don’t want anything to do with the man.” He stepped past the woman.

“Jack,” she said. The undercurrent in her voice, a sadness, struck a chord and turned him in place. She reached out with her card and looked up to lock eyes with him. “Liz Hunter. Think about it, Jack, and call me. Any time.” And then, “We could use your help.”
Agent Hunter wore light makeup on her clear tanned skin. She couldn’t have been over thirty, but her wide forehead was etched with fine worry lines. The hazards of the job, Jack decided. Her cheekbones were high and strong, her figure athletic, her slender, elegant neck tilted slightly to make her point. Jack found himself wondering what her eyes looked like.

“Why should I get involved?”

“The missing agent is my brother.”

Jack nodded, took the card, turned, and made his way down the steep concrete steps toward the Cardinals locker room.


Excerpt from The Fourth Gunman by John Lansing. Copyright © 2017 by John Lansing. Reproduced with permission from John Lansing. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

John Lansing

Best-selling author John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre performing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease” before putting together a rock ‘n’ roll band and playing the iconic club CBGB.

Lansing closed up his Tribeca loft and headed for the West Coast where he landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows.

During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.”

John’s first book was Good Cop Bad Money, a true crime tome he co-wrote with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano.

The Devil’s Necktie, his first Jack Bertolino novel, became a best seller on Barnes & Noble and hit #1 in Amazon’s Kindle store in the Crime Fiction genre.

Jack Bertolino returns in John’s fourth novel, “The Fourth Gunman.”

A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

Catch Up With John On www.johnlansing.net;,

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My Review

5 Stars

Undercover FBI agent Luke Hunter is working on an illegal mob gambling ship off the coast of California when he disappears. Luke’s sister gets in touch with retired inspector Jack Bertolino to find her brother. Jake has an agreement with a mob boss that he just wants to know what happened to Luke and will report only that. He discovers that Luke disappeared along with a half million dollars of the mobs money. There is a lot more going on than just Luke and the money disappearing and Jack is going to have some of those favors he has collected to find out the truth.

Jack is one of those guys that you can’t help but like. But he dances around the line of legal and illegal. Because of that he has some serious connections that he is going to have to use to find out what happened to Luke and keep himself alive. And starting a relationship with a mob bosses daughter is going to be one of those things that just might kill him.

This is the first Jack Bertolino story that I have read and had no problem jumping in to it, it felt like it could be a stand-alone book. Although there were a couple things that I’m sure reading the other books would be more familiar. This book is full of action, danger, and not a clear truth as to what happened.

If you like thrillers and action I think you will enjoy this book. I really liked it and will be checking out the other three books in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

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Middle Grade Fiction

Date Published: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Sonny’s Legacy Publishing
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Megan Thompson is surprised and happy when Dr.Newton, the Veterinarian at the Furry Friends Clinic, ask her to look after Monty, a Capuchin monkey.  Dr. Newton acquired Monty from the local zoo because he was fighting other monkeys. Despite Monty’s reputation with the vet staff as being a terror, Megan knows she can win Monty over.   Megan see’s the inner workings of a vet clinic, and before the three days are up she wants to help every pet she can.  Unfortunately, the vet staff sees Megan as an annoying little kid not part of the team.  Megan can’t bear to hear any more talk about Cooper, a sad Shih Tzu that won’t eat his meals. She knows she could help him and others at the clinic if given the chance.  How can Megan earn the staff’s trust?  Will she ever be allowed to handle any other pets besides Monty?  Every kid has a summer to which they just want to go back to when they are all grown up. This is Megan’s summer, this is the summer when Megan became the Pet Whisperer.

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 About the Author

Pamela Foland grew up in Plano, Texas. Her love of animals started at a very young age. As a child, she was constantly bringing home stray dogs, and injured birds. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Business in 2005. As an adult, her love of animals has only grown stronger. Pamela has worked in numerous pet hotels as a dog trainer and is certified to teach pet first aid and CPR. All her experience with pets culminated four years ago when Pamela found and raised an abandoned litter of day-old kittens. Not able to part with any of these now-grown babies, Pamela enjoys going home to her ‘little munchkins’ every night. This experience gave Pamela the inspiration for her series debut, Megan’s Munchkins. Pamela will always have a special affinity with Megan, because of their shared experiences. There are few experiences in life more compelling than saving the life of another being.

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My Review
5 stars

Megan’s adventures continues. As she is pet sitting the neighbor’s dog Max, he is hurt and she takes him to the pet clinic. There Megan hears about a monkey, Monty that the clinic is looking after that is tormenting the staff. Megan decides to spend some time with Monty and makes a connection. She also charms the other difficult animals at the clinic. There is a bit of trouble when some of the staff sees her as a child that is in the way but Megan is determined to reach all the animals in the clinic.

I have loved this series from the beginning. Being an animal lover it is especially touching. Megan has a gift with the animals she meets and is considering a career in veterinary medicine. She clearly shows her talent for reaching the most difficult animal. Of course you have the typical people that are going to underestimate her, but thankfully Dr. Newton sees how special Megan is.

This book is a joy for any age. I recommend it for kids interested in having an animal to those that just enjoy reading about animals.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


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The Huntress


The Huntress
Alterealm series Book 1

By: J. Risk

First Realm Publishing

What would you do if you woke up in another realm where the residents are beings from fictional tales? Where all those things that go bump in the night are real and other realities do exist!!

Damariss Maxx just woke up in a world where all those things that go bump in the night are real.

An alternate realm where the residents are beings she thought only existed in fiction.

Will she find the way to keep life normal and simple for those unknowing without losing her own sanity?

All she has to do now is find a way to protect the people in her world from the nightmares that have bleed from this other realm into it and fulfil a prophecy that says she’s their huntress queen or doom this other world to a bleak, violent existence.

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Author’s Bio

Risk is a pseudonym used by Jacqueline Paige

I wanted to write a story that would fit into new adult levels as well as adult. Something that was serious with fun elements–paranormal / fantasy that everyone could read and enjoy.

I’ve decided to use J. Risk as the pen name for this to separate this series from my other writing which is definitely adult reading material.

(Multi-published Paranormal Romance author of The Magic Seasons series, The Hidden Senses Trilogy, The Dream Series and more)

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My Review

5 stars

Daxx is a bounty hunter that ends up in Alterealm, an alternate world to our own but one in which the things of nightmares are made. Very few can cross over so clearly Daxx is special; everyone thinks she is the prophesized huntress queen. She has abilities that make all the craziness sound possible. But when she learns that someone is trying to destroy her world, she is willing to do anything to keep those she cares for safe.

I really enjoyed this book. Daxx is one tough chick and although she is clearly thrown off, she still sticks around to get the story. Of course she has a whole group of sexy men and various fantasy creatures to help her along the way.

This is an amazing start to a series. I can’t wait to see where Daxx is going from here. This is the first book that I have read of Jacqueline Paige, but it won’t be my last. It looks like I have some books to be catching up on.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I chose to voluntarily read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Valkyrie Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.


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Neon green eyes moved over me and then paused on the arm still behind my back.  He sneered and steeped towards me again.

Taking a nice wide stance, I braced myself for some action and pulled the raptor free.  With a very practiced move, I flipped it from a hidden position to plain sight.  I locked eyes with him.  “You.  Back off now or I will slice you a whole new lifestyle.”

He stopped and there was no mistaking the shock on his face.  I heard a few snickers but wasn’t about to look away from a pissy male that had just been put on pause by a woman half his size, even one that was having a bad day.

“Stand down.” A voice of definite authority ended all motion and sound in the room.

My glowing aggressor stepped back and moved aside so I had a clear sight line to the man behind the desk.  Nothing on him was glowing. To be honest, he was most likely the nicest-looking piece of man I’d ever seen.  The am-I-drooling-on-myself kind of nice.  He had long blonde hair that made my own look blunt and in need of some serious conditioning therapy.  His face was taken right off some Greek god lineage of masculine beauty and slapped onto what looked like a body to match—at least the part I could see above the desk.

“Everyone move back and let our guest have a little breathing room.”

Like soldiers marching, the six light-radiating beings stepped back as far as furniture and walls would allow.  The Greek Adonis gave a small nod of approval and then looked at me.  Hazel eyes with long lashes that made me jealous looked at me patiently.  Feeling really awkward, I slid the blade back into the sheath on my back and stood up straight.  Slowly his eyes moved to the only body that hadn’t moved away from me.

“Quinton, I was beginning to worry.  You’ve been gone three nights.”

“I was safe enough.” Again there was barely a trace of the lisp, as if he tried harder to conceal it then he had with me.

“I don’t doubt it, but next time call or at least turn on your phone.”

Phone?  Music to my ears thank you very much for this weirdness, now call me a cab.

“Please take a seat.”

Eyes widening, I looked back to see him looking at me.  Glancing around at the others, I moved and sat on the edge of a chair closest to the door, trying to stay at an angle that let me see if one of the glow-brights made a move toward me.

Quinton came over and stood behind the chair, his sad eyes conveying he had my back.  At this point I’d take what I could get.

The white haired one moved around to stand behind the desk. He crossed his arms, green eyes shooting darts at me.  One of the others moved over and stood behind him. He wasn’t as unearthly looking, with a dimmer shade of blue aura and red eyes.

“She’s looking at us like she can see us.” One of them said with fear in his voice.

Were my eyes supposed to be obscured?  I could see them and I wasn’t sure who but I could definitely smell one of them too and he was long overdue for a little personal hygiene.  Slowly they moved to stand where I could see them, my first thought right after you’re screwed was all those horror movie marathons were coming back to get me.  All that was missing at this point was the screaming damsel —oh wait, I could play that part.  I wasn’t much of a screamer and rarely freaked out, but there’s always a first time.

Glancing around the room again, hoping I’d missed the flashing exit sign I noticed the looks I was receiving ranged from shock to disdain.  Except for the cutie behind the desk.  Actually he fit more into the hottie category and leaned heavily to the sophisticated side of life with the way he just sat there observing everything.

Raising a hand, he waved off the others from speaking.  “Do you know how you got here?”

Saving the lengthy explanations on my own personal theories I just shook my head in answer.

“What’s the last thing you remember?”

He seemed like he was really trying to help me.  I shrugged.  “Not much, I was chasing down a bounty.”

“You’re a bounty hunter?”

I nodded and then froze when there were several gasps and sounds of shock in the room.  Quinton sounded like he sighed in relief. I hoped that meant a bounty hunter was good thing in this place.  “Where the hell am I?” I blurted out.

He leaned forward on the desk and looked like he was trying to think of a way to explain it to me.  “This is Alterealm, which is more or less the same time, same place as you came from, just a slightly different reality.” He smirked.  “I believe we’re what nightmares are based on.”

Raising an eyebrow, I looked around at the guys with their own light systems built in and their pimped out eyes.  “Are you seriously telling me that all those things that go bump in the night are true?”

The sexy one behind the desk flashed red eyes and I’m not kidding, fangs at me for a few seconds, just long enough to make sure I caught it all.

“Proof enough?”

James: Witch-Hunter

Urban Fantasy
Date Published: 1st October 2017
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~Prequel to the Witch-Hunter trilogy~
James Bennett is a Yorkshire lad, making the big move to Oxford to start university.
His ambitions involve getting a good education; impressing the Rugby Club; and not throttling his roommate. All perfectly normal drama, until Hallowe’en.
A girl’s murder throws James into the dangerous world of witches, and those that hunt them.
After playing a sidekick in the Witch-Hunter trilogy, it’s only fair that James gets to be centre stage in his own prequel.
This can be read as a stand-alone, and does not contain any spoilers. It may contain witches, bad jokes and cringe-worthy scenes; but definitely no spoilers.

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About the Author

Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.

Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.
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My Review
4 Stars

James Bennett received a scholarship from Oxford University and is now trying to get a good education and get on the rugby team. Then he adds not killing his roommate to this list. But on Halloween he witnesses a girl being sacrificed by witches. He has unwillingly become a witch-hunter with Hunter Astley and Charlotte Summers.

So I have not read the Witch-Hunter series and thought this would be a good way to start. James is worried that he will not fit in with the other student because of where he comes from and that he had a scholarship. But he quickly finds himself involved in hunting witches when he tries to look into Bea’s murder.

I have to say that for a book this size, I didn’t really get too involved in it. There just seemed to be a disconnect with the characters and I think it comes from these characters already being developed in the series. Since I have not read the series I didn’t really get the background. Also, I would have liked more information about both the hunters, witches, and artifacts.

I think this was a good read, if you have read the series. I did like the book enough to continue into the series to see what I have missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 Enter for your chance to win an ebook copy of the main Witch-Hunter Trilogy
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I would like to thank Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.