Lori Ryan

Rachel Thompson

Aicha Zoubair

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Forgotten Child by Lorhainne Eckhart @LEckhart #Autism #Romance #AmReading

“Please sit down, Emily.” He extended out the flat of his hand, very much in control.

“Ah, thank you.” She perched on the edge of the soft leather seat across from a man who was too damn good to look at—a man obviously comfortable in his own skin.

Hardness set his jaw as he studied her. The tick of the wall clock seemed to echo in the silence, and Emily squirmed in her seat. Why was he looking at her like that? Maybe it was her outrageous entrance and he was wondering what kind of kook she was, whether he could entrust her with his child. Yes, that had to be it.

She swallowed hard. “I’m Emily Nelson; I talked to you yesterday on the phone about the job.”
He blinked before closing those exquisite eyes, as if he’d forgotten the reason she was here. When he opened them again, his hard judgmental expression seemed to have softened a bit.

Again he extended his large hand, taking hers in a firm grip. Just the touch of his solid calloused hand and the secure squeeze was enough to teeter her nerves back to that awkward woman at the door. She wondered what it would be like to have a man like this run his hands over you. She snatched her hand back before her face burned any brighter. Finally, he introduced himself. “The name’s Brad Friessen.” Emily kept quiet. He didn’t run on with his words. He must be a deep thinker, a doer. She could relate to that… but not to him. Her sly eyes glanced down at his left hand: no gold band, no white line, no wife or significant other. Or maybe he was one of those arrogant guys who wouldn’t wear a ring, a lady’s man. He had the looks and the attitude. Now was the time to ask about the woman who answered the phone when she called. Who was she?

“This is a working ranch I run, and I need a woman to look after my son. I’m old fashioned in my values. Children should be at home, not stuck in daycare. I’m looking for someone who’s comfortable in a kitchen and looking after children: a role that should come natural to a woman. I don’t want someone who’s got the phone stuck to their ear half the day. It’s a decent job and good pay; $500 a week, room and board, and includes all your meals.”

Her heart sank about the same time the bottom dropped out of her stomach. It was too good to be true. She wanted to cry. “But I… I have a little girl, I didn’t realize–”

His face hardened and he looked away. For some reason he was angry with her… no, furious. Emily didn’t know what to say when he let out a heavy sigh. He closed his eyes, rubbing his hand over the light brown shadow that appeared over his jaw. Then he faced her again, with those deep brown eyes now turned to steel. Emily saw that he could be a hard man.

Lorhainne Eckhart

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Genre – Contemporary Western Romance
Rating – PG
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Julia (The Good Life Series) by Sarah Krisch #Contemporary #Romance #AmReading

...and looking out on the two acres of newly planted seedlings, I feel a sense of satisfaction that only working your own land can bring. Although my back is sore and dirt cakes my fingernails, I know that the land gives back so much more than the effort I put into it. Inhaling the fragrant spring air, feeling the sun's gentle warmth, I am at peace. For tonight, my family will feast on cream of asparagus soup, an early season tossed green salad, and a crusty home-baked bread that melts on your tongue. Pair this with a bottle of local elderberry wine, and you're living the good life. 

Julia closed her eyes, her fingers a hair's width from striking the laptop's keyboard. She could almost feel the sun on her cheeks, smell the freshly turned soil. It was a comfort she would often recall whenever she needed a reminder of some of the happiest moments of her life. As a child she'd spent her summer months living at her grandparents' farm in Harmony Grove, Iowa. In retrospect, those quaint, stuck-in-time summer vacations were a great way to grow up, but she couldn't be happier having moved to Chicago—or living with Nora, her best friend since they'd been paired as college roommates eight years ago.

The click of high heels brought her out of her reverie. Julia looked up to see the overly made-up face of the nail tech as she glanced at the timer and whispered, "Five more minutes." Julia nodded and looked back at her laptop screen.

She sighed, happy to have finished another weekly column. Not only was it finished, it was actually pretty darned good. Nine months of weekly columns… she never imagined it would last so long, or that she would even have enough to write about to keep it fresh and interesting. When she'd started the column as a simple blog she never thought anyone would read it. But somehow, in the mysterious workings of the internet, her little Wordpress blog had garnered a following, a following that soon outgrew the free domain world of Wordpress. Her blog, The Good Life, had been syndicated by the Chicago Herald website for six months. Her thousand loyal readers had now become ten times that amount, and growing.

She saved the file to her laptop, careful not to smudge her manicure, and then emailed a copy to her editor at the Herald.

When the timer went off, Gloria, the owner of the salon, approached with a smile and lifted the hairdryer. "How was your day of beauty?"

Julia stood up from the pedicure drying station and glanced down at her toes. "I finally look worthy of the gorgeous Jimmy Choos I bought last week. They only cost me a month's worth of columns."
"I don't know how you get any work done here with all of this racket going on."

"When I'm working on my column, I'm not really here," Julia said as she closed her computer and stowed it in her laptop bag. "I'm at the farm."

"You sure don't look like a farm girl to me."

"And thanks to all of your fabulous skills, I never will." Julia wiggled her fingernails, gleaming with fresh polish. She hadn't had her hands in freshly turned soil in many years.

"None of your readers suspect that you're really just a city girl with an active imagination?"

"No, ma'am. That's one of the reasons I keep coming back to you. Beautician-to-client confidentiality," Julia said with a wink.

"Your secrets are safe with me, girl," Gloria said as she walked Julia to the cash register. "Same time next week?"

Julia handed over her well-used Visa. "You know I can't resist."

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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-13
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Thursday, May 29, 2014

#Excerpt from Jack Canon’s Women of the House by @GregSandora #Thriller #Romance

“Guys, would you excuse me for a moment. Daphne teased biting her lower lip in an adorable half smile. Jack, I’ve got something to show you.” Her voiced pitched as she trained her pretty eyes toward mine anticipating my reaction.
“Nice, Honey. While you’re out there…tell the V.P.—we’ll meet with her on Monday.”
“Are you sure, Jack?” Locking eyes, “Your Mondays are always so full?”
“Sweetie, just fit her in the best you can—between something else – we might as well get it over with. Ten minutes tops.”
Daphne leaned into my side to whisper, “Okay, I’ll be right back,” I couldn’t see them, but I imagined her raising her perfectly brushed brows. She leaned in closer, her pretty voice got softer, “With a surprise – I’m just dying to show you the dress I bought for the wedding.” Her breasts and tummy pressed against my arm as she tenderly whispered the words.
“How’s that a surprise if you told him?” Alyson asked freshly. “I heard you.”
Daphne was generous with her touch and rubbed into me. I’ve never met a girl more comfortable in her own skin. Placing one hand firmly on my leg, she squeezed, delicately leaving the chair, before performing her usual sexy slink toward the door. This girl couldn’t help being beautiful!
Alone together, Alyson piped up, “That’s why woman hate her, Jack.” She added shaking her head gently against my chest, “That walk – it’s like she’s always trying to turn you on. Every minute she’s around you – she never let’s up. She’s so competitive – do you see it? And,—thatvoice – nobody talks like that!”
I put both arms around Alyson and held tighter to reassure her, “Honey, – this job would kill me if I didn’t have you girls to take the edge off.” She seemed satisfied to hear me excuse Daphne’s sultry antics. We sat quietly a moment before she started fidgeting with the ends of her dress.
“I’m sorry, Jack – you must think I’m just as bad the way my dress is riding up. It’s so short to begin with – I wore it for you.”
“Don’t ever worry about me, – you’re a wonderful distraction.”
“You know what – the heck with it then, I’ll just let it ride up so you can see the tops of my thighs.” She giggled.
“They’re beautiful. I just don’t want to take advantage of you.”
Alyson snuggled closer, getting more comfortable, “Really, Jack? It’s my body and I want you to see it. For that matter these are my lips,” I felt a trace of lip-gloss, scented cherry.
“My mouth wanted to kiss you.”
“Yeah?” I said a bit too softly, wishing I’d said it in a deeper tone. Rubbing her arms, feeling tender towards her. “It’s sort of funny, your body does whatever it wants.”
She giggled and smiled, “I guess.”
“Okay, I’m good, Sweetie.”
“Hey, Jack? What ever happened to Elsa?” Changing the subject.
“Elsa? We located her shoes. We found them in a Greek brothel. The girl that had them told our crew Elsa was auctioned off to a Saudi Sheik.”
“Oh my God.” Alyson covered her mouth.
“No, that’s good news because chances are she’ll still be alive when we go get her.”
“You’re going after her?”
“We sure are. Tip has your dad training on weapons and systems right now. It’s going to take him a few days to get him back up to speed. He’s been out of commission for a while, but as soon as he is ready he’s heading over there to rescue her.”
“Jack, do you think the sheik will just hand her over?”
“No, it’s going to be messy, we’ll have to wreck the place, but we’re sending a message. The only thing that matters is that Elsa will be coming home. And, girls like her will be safe. We’re going to stop human slavery once and for all.”
“What about in the U.S., Jack?”
“Here it’s a different story – we need to beef up law enforcement. We already have the means to stop trafficking, but it’s been allowed to go on.”
“Why?” Alyson asked in disbelief.
“Tip would be angry for me telling you – for your own sake, Sweetheart—you really don’t want to know…” Just as I was about to spill it—Daphne saved me from having to explain any further. Sauntering in wearing a peach form fitting tube dress—flattering her knock out figure to lengths I hadn’t ever allowed my mind to go. All-over- glitter silver stilettos shining over glossy black platforms gave her a statuesque long-legged appearance. She made her way toward me stopping short in the middle of the room. Daphne had a way of making love with her eyes.

Two months have passed since the long awaited inauguration of the New President of the United States – Jack Canon. Now he must live up to his promises. The World is wounded, people are hurting, the new President must keep the country afloat. Jack leads a very full life – The first couple’s relationship is hot with passion, but he can never admit that to Sandy, his best friend who is also head over heels in love with him. The Women of the House provide a welcome distraction while helping with the arduous task of running the country.
As President Jack must make tough decisions: Global Terrorism, Human Trafficking, Korea on the brink of war, all while thwarting International Greed. Women of the House is a story of noble sacrifice at extremely high cost. Who’s going to be the first to be strong enough and willing to pay? It’s not all work in Women of the House – Think the Wedding of the Decade meets the Crime of the Century.
Jack Canon’s Women of the House, is a story filled with Love, Lust, and Loyalty where passions can run wild! In Sandora’s monumental sequel, patriotism and valor mingle with an undying love that refuses to quit. Ride along as Jack Canon fights back against the most evil people on the planet. Readers are sure to embrace this unforgettable tale which will appeal to fans of political adventure, suspense and romance alike. Jack Canon’s Women of the House is a story of kindness, passion and courage that can’t be separated.
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Genre - Romantic Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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Riddle Of The Diamond Dove (Arkana Mysteries) by N.S. Wikarski #Historical #Fiction #AmReading

Daniel sighed and looked at the large clock suspended above the librarian’s desk. It was only noon. This day wasn’t going at all as he had hoped. When he arrived that morning at the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, he had been looking forward to his daily visit with David, a reference librarian in the ancient history section. It was the only thing he looked forward to these days. Instead of the handsome young man he had hoped to see, he was met by a scowling grey-haired woman who informed him that David had called in sick. No, it wasn’t serious, just a case of food poisoning and no, she didn’t know when he would be back at work. Probably in a few days.

After receiving that news, Daniel sloped off to a back table and occupied the rest of the morning in brooding. He had spent nearly every day for the past three months in the library—not because he expected to further his research but because he couldn’t bear the oppressive atmosphere of the compound any more than he had to. Three months. He was shocked at how much time he’d managed to waste. He had idled away the entire winter pretending to research the clue that would lead him to the next relic.
He pulled a photo of the object out of his briefcase to study it. A dove with outstretched wings carved entirely out of lapis lazuli. Instead of the row upon row of glyphs which had covered the golden bee, this artifact bore a very simple message: “One dove flies to wake the helmsman. The course he sets reveals his fate.” The bird’s back was encrusted with diamonds in a circular pattern. The middle of the circle consisted of seven emeralds scattered at random. The diamonds at either end of the circle were interrupted by two rubies, one larger than the other.
Daniel looked at the picture of the relic for the thousandth time and still had no idea what any of it meant. Of course, he felt far less urgency in solving this riddle than he had about the earlier ones. His time in Spain had convinced him beyond all doubt that the trio of relic hunters whom he believed dead were still very much alive and after the same treasure that he was. However, since he was the one holding the lapis dove and the clue it contained, the trio had no choice but to wait for him to make a move. They would have to follow his lead. He didn’t particularly care if they anticipated his route and stole away with the next relic before he arrived. Daniel had no sympathy for his father’s ambition to collect these artifacts or the ultimate prize—the Sage Stone. Even though he didn’t know the Diviner’s plan for these strange objects, Daniel imagined it didn’t bode well for the rest of the world. Why should he eagerly assist in that?
Daniel felt his loyalties fracture a bit more after each field mission. The more he saw of the Fallen world, the less comfort he found in returning to the ways of the Blessed Nephilim. Of course, his father’s marriage to Hannah had done even more to alienate him than the relic hunt itself. Daniel was glad he had helped her escape. He just wished he knew where she had gone after he brought her to the city. A note, a phone call, anything to tell him she was alright. He gave a bitter inward laugh. That small gesture of reassurance might very well cost her her freedom if Leroy Hunt was stalking her again. No, it was better as it was. He prayed she had found a better life than as the fourteen-year-old bride of a seventy-year-old man. She could scarcely exchange that fate for anything worse.
Daniel glanced toward the librarian’s desk. The woman behind it was staring at him disapprovingly. He ducked his head down and pretended to concentrate on his paperwork. He couldn’t keep this up much longer. He didn’t simply mean the pretext of visiting this section of the library just to be near David—his only real friend in the world. He also meant the pretext of telling his father that he was on the verge of solving the latest riddle. He was nowhere near a solution to the problem. At best, he could only continue the charade for another month before he would have to get on a plane and go somewhere in search of the next relic.
An idea was nagging at the back of his consciousness. He felt he had missed something. Thinking back to the riddle that had preceded this one, there were lines in that clue which he had never understood. Perhaps it all fit together. Perhaps he needed to solve the earlier puzzle in order to understand the current one. At the very least, he might legitimately burn up some additional time in doing so.
He buried his face in his hands and rubbed his eyes. He hated living this way. His mind drifted back to his last conversation with Hannah. He remembered her final words to him before she disappeared. “How bad does it have to get before you finally walk away?” Perhaps that was the greatest riddle of all.

THE ARKANA SERIES: Where Alternative History Meets Archaeology Adventure
Volume Four – Riddle Of The Diamond Dove
From Kindle Nation fave N. S. Wikarski comes the long-awaited fourth book in her fascinating seven-part Arkana archaeology thriller series — with more of the wonderful characters, sly humor, intrigue and mayhem that come together to create the absorbing world of her intricate, fast-paced mysteries.” (Kindle Nation Daily)
Global Treasure Hunt
Where do you hide an ancient relic that has the power to change the course of history? As Cassie Forsythe and her Arkana team discover, you scatter clues to its whereabouts across the entire planet. Five artifacts buried among the rubble of lost civilizations point to the hiding place of a mythical object known as the Sage Stone. Thus far psychic Cassie, bodyguard Erik, and librarian Griffin have succeeded in recovering two of those artifacts.
Opposing Forces
Cassie and Company find their lives threatened at every turn by agents of a religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. The cult’s leader, Abraham Metcalf, wants to exploit the power of the Sage Stone to unleash a catastrophic plague on the world. The quest for the next piece of the puzzle has led both sides to Africa. They must comb an entire continent–their only lead a riddle carved onto a mysterious dove sculpture. Even as the Arkana team struggles to decipher the clue, new dangers hover over their colleagues at home.
Other Dangers
Metcalf’s child-bride Hannah has taken refuge at the home of the Arkana’s leader Faye while mercenary Leroy Hunt creeps ever nearer to her hiding place. His search for the girl brings him dangerously close to the secret location of the Arkana’s troves–a collection of pre-patriarchal artifacts which confirm an alternative history of the origins of civilization itself. While Hunt closes in on Hannah, Metcalf’s son Daniel dogs the footsteps of the Arkana field team in order to claim the next artifact before they do. Daniel recruits a clever ally along the way who might be more than a match for the opposing side.
Collision Course
When the forces of the Arkana and the Nephilim converge on a ruined city in a forgotten corner of the dark continent, the shocking outcome is beyond even Cassie’s powers to foresee. The quest for the Sage Stone will veer in an unexpected direction once both sides solve the Riddle Of The Diamond Dove.
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Genre - Alternative History Fiction
Rating – PG
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Emerge: A Galatia Novel (Galatia Series) #Excerpt by @CDVerhoff #Fantasy #Fiction

Josie and Lars had known each other forever, but had never been more than acquaintances. Luke, however, was in her grade. Lars’s impression was that the girl wasn’t very popular at school. She was really cute though, so he didn’t understand why. 

“Hey, Luke, what do you think of Josie Albright?”
“She’s super smart—wants to be a chemist—probably just so she can blow up stuff.”
“What I mean is she nice, is she stuck-up, or what?”
“She’s a whackadoodle.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Josie’s not like the other girls.” Luke shrugged. “I mean, she’s into weird things.”
“You mean like her questionable taste in literature?”
“No, well, that might be part of it. She actually tries to be geeky. She thinks it’s cool to be the outcast, I went to a party where she sat in the corner reading a book and smoking a cigarette, like a nerdy girly James Dean or something.”
“I’m not following.”
“She acts like the popular kids are shallow and stuck up, so they’re beneath her. But she’s being just as stuck up. Josie’s not as good-looking as Feenie or Jo, but she’s definitely an Albright—as in not ugly, so the geeks find her too intimidating to hang out with. It’s her own darn fault that she only has a couple of friends. Had. I think they both died in the bunker.”
“I think she looks a little bit like Vivian Leigh.”
“That lady in Gone with the Wind?” Luke’s eyebrows arched. “Oh, man, Lars—don’t tell me you’re crushing on weird Josie Albright?”
“It’s not a crush exactly—let’s call it mild interest.”
“Mild interest.” Luke rolled onto his back, holding his belly, as he laughed. “Is that what they’re calling lust these days?”
“You heard about how she saved that little girl from the river crocs?”
“Yeah, that was pretty cool.” Luke thoughtfully stroked his pretend mustache. “Superhero Vivian Leigh?” he teased. “Maybe I ought to reconsider my stance on dating whackadoodles.”
“Don’t even think about it.” Lars scowled at his brother. “If you try to steal her out from under me, I’ll be really pissed.”
“If this is how you react when mildly interested in a girl,” Luke scanned Lars sardonically. “I’ll hate to see what you’re like when it’s true love.”
“Shut up and help me figure out if I should ask her out.”
“How are you going to take her out somewhere? It’s not like there’s a theater or a café around the next corner.”
“I thought maybe I could ask her on a picnic—what do you think?”
“Rumor has it that Josie Albright only likes girls. Short hair? Hoodies? What are we supposed to think?”
“You mean she’s a lesbian?” Lars felt his stomach sink in disappointment. “Are you sure?”
“There’s only one way to know—ask her out, bro.”

The last survivors of the human race are riding out nuclear winter in an underground bunker when disaster strikes. Forced to the surface centuries ahead of schedule, what they find blows their minds. Who can explain it? Two social misfits work together to unravel the mystery.
After living in a posh underground shelter his entire life, Lars Steelsun is plunged headfirst into a mind-blowing adventure on the surface of the Earth. As Lars and his displaced bunker mates are led across the grasslands by Mayor Wakeland, a man of questionable sanity who claims to talk with God, they discover a primitive world where human beings are no longer welcome. Even more mystifying is the emergence of new senses and abilities from within. Learning to use them has become a priority, but his biggest challenge comes from the vivacious Josie Albright. Her lust for glory is going to get them both into trouble. Sparks fly when her gung ho ways clash with his cautious personality. Can they overcome their differences to find love and a homeland for their people?
May not be suitable for younger readers. Contains mild profanity, sexual situations (infrequent), and violence. 
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Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – R
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Will North Shares an #Excerpt from “Seasons’ End” @WillNorthAuthor #Women #Fiction

At first he thought it was a deer.
It was not quite morning on what promised to be yet another brilliant end-of-summer day. The pre-dawn fog was just beginning to lift. Not that it actually “lifted.” Not that it was fog, either, come to that. That’s just what islanders called the queer maritime phenomenon because “marine layer” was too fussy a phrase for an everyday event. In the wee hours it lay like a lid a hundred feet or so above the ground in late summer, and as the upper air warmed, plumes of mist descended and rose, twisting wraithlike through the feathered branches of the firs that cloaked the island.
Then, at a certain but highly uncertain point later in the morning—the regulars at the Burton coffee stand sometimes bet on the precise moment—it simply disappeared, like steam from the manholes in Manhattan streets he remembered from his childhood. The fog didn’t move off, the way clouds do. Instead, in a sort of meteorological sleight of hand, it just vanished. You missed it entirely if you didn’t pay attention.
Colin Ryan paid attention. Though it was only the first Monday of September, 2012, and the night had been warm, on this morning’s bike ride Colin could already sense the coming autumn chill. It was there in the sharper tang of the air that swept in from the Pacific and in the subtle shift in the quality of the light as the transit of the sun took a lower, more southerly route across the sky. It was there in the way the echoing honks of migrating geese began to replace the shrieks of laughter of the children who summered on the beach. It was there in the way the leaves of the alders and broad-leafed maples on this mostly evergreen island would, in a matter of a few weeks, not so much change color as slowly lighten as they died, reverting to the pale greens of spring, as if the movie of the seasons were playing backward. Summer didn’t flame out in the Pacific Northwest as it did in Colin’s native northeast, it slipped gracefully offstage. And here in the middle of Puget Sound, surrounded by the perpetually snowcapped Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascades to the east, Colin thought this perfectly appropriate. Flash was unnecessary when grandeur was everywhere. But in the thin half-light of dawn he could tell the end was approaching, the gathering autumn already sucking the marrow from the fat bones of summer.
There were still warm days, though, and he was taking full advantage. He was nearing the end of his pre-dawn ride, an eight­­–mile circumnavigation of the southern half of the island, something he did every morning before opening the clinic as long as the weather held. It had been nearly two decades since he’d moved to the island to take over the local veterinary practice.
Colin was hunched over his handlebars and speeding down the steep, sinuous stretch of the Vashon Highway just south of the little hamlet called Burton, the tires of his touring bike hissing over the dew-damped asphalt like tape being ripped from a dispenser, when he saw the dark mass ahead in the middle of the road.
Deer were a year-round menace on Vashon Island, but the danger worsened as fall approached, as if in their frenzy to pack on as much weight as possible to carry them through the winter, the beasts became senseless to danger whenever they saw an irresistible patch of grass. Given the dark canopy of the conifer forest, many of these irresistible patches were along the sunny margins of the island’s narrow roads.
The “highway” was nothing more than a two-lane blacktop that stretched from the ferry dock at the north end of the island to its opposite number on the south end, some thirteen miles away. The rather grand title of “highway” dated from the time, not so long ago, when the south and north end ferries were finally joined by a continuous paved road, a measure of progress and a point of local pride requiring a suitably proud name. Whenever Colin looked at a road map of the island, which he did a lot when making farm calls, the pattern of perpendicular side roads branching off the Highway reminded him of the spine and ribs of a deboned salmon.
Colin squeezed his brake levers hard, slid to a stop on the slick pavement at a point where the road leveled out along the north shore of Outer Quartermaster Harbor. In the dim light just pearling the sky in the east, he noticed a Great Blue Heron hunched on an arm of driftwood at the water’s edge, motionless as an undertaker. He unclipped from the pedals, leaned his bike against the guard rail, and crossed the road, his cycling shoes clicking on the pavement like a metronome.
In another half hour, traffic for the morning’s first Tacoma-bound ferry at the south end of the island would pick up and, even though it was Labor Day, the now-deserted road would get busy. Colin knew he’d have to drag the deer to the side of the road so there wouldn’t be another accident. It wasn’t the first time he’d done it. He wondered what had happened to the car that hit the beast. At this hour, it would have been an old beater of a pickup belonging to an island laborer, the kind of fellow least likely to be able to afford repairs, the most economically vulnerable to any accident, whether personal or vehicular. They often had a well-loved old dog who rode with them; Colin took care of their animals when they were sick, often for nothing.
As he came closer to the carcass on the asphalt, though, he realized, even in the dim pre-dawn light, that there was a problem with this particular deer. Instead of the usual flea-bitten russet coat, this one was wearing a short black cocktail dress. And silver high-heeled sandals. And wasn’t a deer.
The body lay on its back but the head was turned away, the face curtained behind a swirl of sun-streaked ash blonde hair.
The slender tanned limbs lay splayed like a child’s pick-up sticks.
He didn’t need to see the face. He recognized the dress. He’d admired it, and the woman who wore it, only hours earlier at the annual beachside party the old summer families always held the night before Labor Day, the day before they all left the island for the winter.
The body belonged to Martha Petersen Strong, known to everyone on the beach as “Pete.” He’d known her and loved her for more than twenty years.

Every summer for generations, three families intertwined by history, marriage, and career have spent “the season” at their beach cottage compounds on an island in Puget Sound. Today, Martha “Pete” Petersen, married to Tyler Strong, is the lynchpin of the “summer people.” In childhood, she was the tomboy every girl wanted to emulate and is now the mother everyone admires.
Colin Ryan, family friend and the island’s veterinarian, met Pete first in London, years earlier, when she visited his roommate, Tyler. He’s loved her, privately, ever since. Born in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, son of a bar owner, he’s always been dazzled by what he sees of the sun-kissed lives of the summer people.
But this summer, currents strong as the tides roil: jealousies grow, tempers flare, passions clash. Then, on the last day of the season, a series of betrayals alters the combined histories of these families forever.
As in previous novels, The Long Walk Home and Water, Stone, Heart, with Seasons’ End, Will North weaves vivid settings and memorable characters into a compelling tale of romance and suspense.
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Genre – Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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LUCIEN & I by Danny Wynn #Excerpt #AmReading #NewRelease

It was around four in the morning in a packed pulsating club in Istanbul, when I caught Lucien’s eye.  The name of the club was 2019, as in the year, I’m pretty sure – “Twenty-nineteen” was what people called it.  He and I were dancing with the exquisite Azine, his Turkish ex-girlfriend – light brown hair, golden skin, stylish, the epitome of elegant femininity.  We all moved loosely, sweat-drenched, Lucien in that whirling psychedelic dervish way of his.  I was more or less in a transcendent state, one of those all too rare moments when the pure act of dancing makes you high, or higher, and fills you with euphoria.
I caught his eye and shouted above the blasting techno-soul, “I’m alive!”  He nodded and grinned his grin.  He knew.
- from Lucien and I (being released in autumn 2014)

How far would you go to add excitement to a life you felt was boring and meaningless?
For seventy-three-year-old Jaime, the answer takes him by surprise. Accustomed to a lonely life high up in the mountains on the western coast of Mallorca, his dull routine is suddenly shattered when a man parachutes from a plane and lands nearby. The plane crashes; the man lives.
It’s a drug smuggling operation gone bad. But Stefan, the man from the sky, has escaped with eight kilos of cocaine in a gym bag. Jaime brings Stefan home and is soon entangled in Stefan’s attempts to sell the cocaine and start a new life.
As they dodge Parisian drug dealers and corrupt Mallorcan police, Jaime’s search for excitement and Stefan’s resolve to find stability lead them both down dangerous paths.
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Genre – Literary Fiction, Adventure
Rating – PG-13
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Belinda Vasquez & the Book Signing That Never Was @MagicProse #AmWriting #Suspense

I was going to Phoenix one time with my husband for a reunion. Why not kill two birds with one stone, to use an old cliché, and set up a book signing? I had just published my first book, a kid’s chapter book.
I called up a Barnes and Noble store in Scottsdale. The store manager was too nice. “Why don’t you come up the month after instead? The store always declares that day as Teachers’ Saturday. It is a month before school starts, and the store gets very crowded that day. Teachers’ Saturday is always the very best time for a kid’s book signing, and we would love to have you. Your book looks so cute and educational.”
“But I’m in the area the month before. I’ll have to make a special round trip of 840 miles a month later.”
“We give the teachers a discount that day. I’m sure they will all want to buy your book to read to their classes. In the flyers to the schools, I will mention your signing.”
I cupped the receiver and told my husband excitedly. “We should go twice to Phoenix. She has assured me that I will sell a zillion books. Blah! Blah! Blah! Kiss. Kiss.”
There were hotel costs, restaurant bills, and gas, so I also booked a Borders book store in Tempe, and a Barnes and Noble in Tucson for a two-day whirlwind book tour. The store managers were all very nice, and said they would order my books for the signings.
We survived my husband’s reunion and a month later we were back in the Phoenix area.
On Saturday at the book store in Scottsdale, I sat there for two hours and about five people came into the store.
“I just don’t understand it,” the manager said. “I sent out all the flyers. I am so sorry no one has bought your book.”
I leaned over the banister, scanning the lone person in the store browsing the aisles. None of the five customers had even come upstairs to the children’s books.
“Here, let me buy a copy,” the manager said and yanked out a ten dollar bill.
I signed the book; my time was up; and we drove to Tucson.
The signing went better there.
The next morning on our way out of town, we stopped in Tempe for a few hours for my book signing. I had called up a cousin to let him know I would be at Borders and given him the address and time.
I waltz into the store, singing. “I’m here for the book signing.”
“What book signing?” the manager said.
“I set one up several months ago. Remember? I spoke with you.”
“Uh. Duh. Flubber. Drip drop. Sorry.”
“Let’s get out of here,” I told my husband.
On the way out of the Phoenix area I said, “Did you notice no one was at Borders? That store is really screwed up; I’m surprised it stays in business.”

The last thing Miranda ever expected was to see her brother’s ghost at the fallen Twin Towers.
It’s bad enough survivor Christopher Michaels scares her with claims that if one dies violently, his ghost will haunt the place that holds his name. And to top it all, one of those thousands of ghosts follows Miranda to her hotel. The only certainty is the ghost grabbing her under the covers is not Jake.
Their parents’ deaths separated Miranda from Jake when they were kids. Michaels insists Jake brought them together and it’s no coincidence that of thousands mourning at Ground Zero, it’s his best friend she bumps into. Some best friend. Michaels is more like a moocher. The cheapskate never has money, just a blood-stained wallet he broods over. Miranda has no choice but to hang out with the weird Michaels in order to unravel her brother’s past.
As Miranda spends time with Michaels, she begins to wonder who he really is. Against her better judgment, Miranda becomes emotionally entangled with Michaels, a bitter alcoholic with a secret linked to her brother and that blood-stained wallet.
I Will Always Love You is part mystery, suspense and romance, a novel that will keep the reader turning the pages!
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Genre – Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Rating – PG
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Connect with Belinda Vasquez Garcia on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Praying for Men of P.O.W.E.R. by Nina Elaine Borum #NonFiction #Christian #GoodReads

Heavenly Father, I pray that others would be a witness to how ____________________ is genuinely laboring to proclaim the gospel of truth so that they would be inspired to do the same. Make his words and conduct holy and blameless in your sight so that his witness is not tarnished. Make him like a spiritual father to those you entrust him with, fill his mouth with encouragement as he charges others to remain on the path of holiness. Lord, give him an assertive spirit to rebuke those who need it and a sweet spirit to encourage those who are weary. Make him patient towards all so that others would you see your character within him.

You didn’t learn these prayers in Sunday school. Put your armor on, and get ready to see God move!
Do you ever get sick of praying? It’s okay to admit. We all do. It is emotionally draining to beg God without ceasing. Christians often forget that under Christ’s authority, we have the power to command God’s promises to be released from heaven to earth and into our lives.
In Praying for Men of P.O.W.E.R., author Nina Elaine Borum challenges readers to stand confidently and command the promises of God for the men in your life. As someone who has struggled with prayer, Nina believes that God does not intend for his children to feel helpless in praying. His Word has instructed us in how to bring the kingdom of heaven to a world where Satan runs freely. We are all in the midst of a vicious spiritual battle, and Nina hopes this book will help you to fight on behalf of Christian men.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Tate Publishing
Genre - Christian non-fiction
Rating – G
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Will Shakespeare & the Ships of Solomon by Christopher Grey @GreyAuthor #Action #Fiction

Oak Island was lit with electric lights that could be seen from down the bay. Pulling into Chester at night meant that those lights were the brightest on the coast. Will was as surprised as Dorothy, but not because he didn’t know what the contraption was. No one had been excavating on the island for ten years, and yet there was a massive crane and pulley system, lit with floodlights and surrounded by trucks and tents.
He cursed, and Dorothy raised an eyebrow at him.
“Let’s hope they had a late night.”
Checking his watch confirmed it was still only three-thirty in the morning. Not even the most eager started that early.
“Who are they?” Dorothy asked, now recognizing the contraptions as they came closer.
“Treasure hunters.”
“I thought this was a secret.”
Will shrugged. “The promise of fortune makes people very persistent.”
As they drove down Lighthouse Road, the hoopla surrounding Oak Island seemed somewhat anticlimactic. It was a humble hill of shrubs and sand connected by a man-made bridge. Various rocks created several coves and bays on the small plot, and the largest feature was a massive excavation at the southeast end of the island. The notorious “Money Pit.”
Heaving a sigh, he directed Dorothy to park the car on the edge of the island and turn off the engine. Tapping the steering wheel absently, she waited for him as he considered the best approach. They weren’t going anywhere near the Money Pit; however, their hike would take them close enough. It was still cold, and they had no swimwear.
“I’ll be blunt,” he said. “This is no place for a lady. We’ll have to swim and go into ancient underwater caves. If the treasure hunters find us, we’ll have to get away with no clues as to where we were or why. Tell me now if you aren’t up to it. You can stay in the car and keep watch.”
“Sir Shakespeare, if you honestly think I’m going to let you go treasure hunting without me, then you really are mad.”
She got out of the car first.
“So mote it be,” he whispered under his breath.
Incensed that Shakespeare said the words “This is no place for a lady,” Dorothy sought not only to prove that women could be here but that it was better that they were. She’d grown up in an island colony, not some farmhouse in Nebraska. America may have its proverbial undies in a wad over the rights and privileges of women, but British colonies sure as hell didn’t. A woman worked just like a man, and, lest men like Shakespeare forget, it was the women who ran their bloody country when the U.S. troops were overseas.
This was no time to discuss it. Much more important matters were at hand, and despite Will’s demeanor, she didn’t believe he meant harm. He was only trying to give proper warning. After all, she was wearing the business suit she’d bought for this purpose. Had her father convinced her not to, she’d have been wearing slacks and a breathing top—like she always did. Often on the island, she wore nothing but a bathing suit. Stuck in recently purchased pumps, a long skirt that was tight around her hips, a button-up top and jacket, she felt more like a Cosmopolitan advert than a Bermuda Wilkinson. With a hat to boot, it was no wonder Shakespeare had warned her of their upcoming adventure.
She’d overreacted, perhaps, but the whole situation seemed wrong. Was this man really trying to protect her, or was she simply being used to get to the property? She’d play his game, but only because it was clear he thought she was naïve. They’d find what was on her property. She’d then give the treasure to the rightful owner, her father. Anything on land he owned belonged to him, and no ridiculous private club of history conjurers and criminals would take her father’s property from him.
We’ll see what sort of place a lady belongs, Sir Shakespeare.

In the fall of 1947, Will Shakespeare saw the world collapse around him. Shakespeare, a secret soldier for the Knights Templar, barely escapes the slaughter of his entire knighthood at the hands of a rogue militant arm of the Vatican in a small Montreal church. With orders to escort Templar business associate Dorothy Wilkinson back to her home in Bermuda, Will must locate and rescue the most important secret treasure in human history before it is devoured by a hurricane in the watery caves beneath her father’s property. The spiraling quest sends Will and Dorothy into uncovering dark secrets that make up the origins of the knighthood as they confront the traps and puzzles that masterfully protect the world’s most coveted treasure.
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Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

@AlexMueck Dishes Out Writing Advice #Humor #AmWriting #WriteTip

Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy
I think it is important for an individual to have a hobby, a passion, something that brings inner satisfaction.  We all have different gifts, it may be art, mechanics, athletics, and pursing these goals makes us feel alive with purpose.
How to Find a Critique Buddy
I have a friend or two who are also authors, and we all seem to have different strengths and weaknesses.  For instance one has great imagination and the author does a splendid job of capturing characters thoughts and emotions, and I feel I am good with dialogue and plot ideas.  So getting feedback and opinion always helps.  Even if you don’t agree, I feel if you even change one thing, then you still improved the book.
How to Create a Great Work Area for Inspiration
I think you need to remove yourself from distractions, family, friends, TV, phone and lose yourself into the characters and setting.
How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No?
I like a semblance of an outline.  What is the goal of the story?  What am I looking to achieve.  Who are the main characters, and what is the main plot, beginning and end.  So I definitely give a fairly large rough outline.  I expand on them as ideas form, but I like to write as I go, let the words come natural, although I script out each chapter in advance.
How to Research Your Story Before Writing Your Book
Depends on the book.  On m y 2nd book which dealt with religious leaders being offed by the killer, I read quite a bit about each religion, and then sat down and visited places of worship and even participated in some ceremonies.  So basically every scene in the book I had visited.  This new book is a historical fiction comedy.  I read several books on Jesse James and outlined areas of his life that worked in the framework of the story I wanted to tell.
Why Choosing Your Setting is Important
If your mind is not free from distraction, it is hard to write.

““A historical fiction comedy that packs
as much heart as humor.”
—Michael Dadich, award-winning author of The Silver Sphere
When a Harvard history professor receives a thesis paper titled Jesse James and the Secret Legend of Captain Coytus, from Ulysses Hercules Baxter—an underwhelming student—he assumes the paper must be a prank. He has never read such maniacal balderdash in his life. But after he calls a meeting with the student, Professor Gladstone is dismayed when Baxter declares the work is his own. As he takes a very unwilling Professor Gladstone back in time via his thesis, Baxter’s grade hangs in the balance as he attempts to prove his theory.
It is 1864 as philanderer and crusader Captain Coytus embarks on a mission to avenge his father’s death and infiltrates the Confederate Bushwacker posse looking for the man responsible, Jesse Woodson James. Accompanied by the woman of his dreams, Coytus soon finds himself temporarily appointed to be the sheriff of Booneville and commissions his less-than-loyal deputy to help him carry out his plan.
But when tragedy strikes, the Captain is forced to change his immature ways and redefine his lofty mission—more or less.”
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Genre - Humor, Historical Fiction
Rating – R
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Birth of an Assassin by @Stone_Rik #Excerpt #AmReading #Thriller

Adrik waited in the guard’s room a couple of corridors along from Kornfeld’s cell. There was only one way out, so the Jew had to pass this room. He spun a Makarov on his finger, aimed at imaginary targets and thrilled at the thought of using it. The gun was standard issue, but he would’ve chosen it anyway. Totally reliable, pull the trigger and out pop the bullets. The blowback design expels the spent case to the right and loads the next cartridge into the chamber – easy. And fully armed with eight rounds, he would use them all.
This wouldn’t be his first killing and sure as hell wouldn’t be his last. Kornfeld was a pain, and it was Otto who mattered. He would do anything for him. Why should he care about some Jew who got in the way?
But time dragged, and Kornfeld hadn’t yet made a show. For one horrible minute he thought there might be another way out – but no, that isn’t even possible. Calm down, be patient… Try as he might, he couldn’t, and the idea ran around his head, irritating him beyond measure.
He left the guardroom and paced the corridor outside. At first a short distance and then a bit further into the next passageway. No good – he had to find out what had happened. With gun in hand and footsteps stealthy he reached the cell door – it was slightly open. Oh shit, did that mean there was another way out? Or maybe Kornfeld had gone deeper into the prison block. Or maybe he was in the cell hoping the element of surprise would be with him.
Possibilities ganged up. Kornfeld knew Lubyanka well. What if there was another way out and that little bastard knew it? If so, Otto would kill him, never mind the Jew. He kicked the door fully open, slammed it against the cell wall, stood back and then moved in, pointing the gun around to make sure Kornfeld wasn’t hidden on either side of the opening. The cell was dimly lit and he found it difficult to see. He would stay put until his eyes got accustomed to the light. A body, he saw a body. It was covered with a greatcoat, on the bunk facing the wall.
He was clearly supposed to think it was Kornfeld. In that case he’d be under the bunk waiting… But then that’s obvious too, so he might be on top with the guard pushed underneath. That made more sense – it would be easier for him to make an attack from on top – but, shit, wouldn’t that be what he wanted him to think?
To be sure of the kill, Adrik wanted to shoot above and below – but he couldn’t. How would he explain the soldier’s death? Oh, Otto, if only Otto was there to tell him what to do. But he wasn’t, he had to make up his own mind. The Jew was on top – yes, definitely on top.
Cautiously, he edged forward, pointed the pistol to the back of the person’s head and pulled the body towards him with gun steady and ready to fire. As quickly as his huge form allowed, he pulled the greatcoat away.
Fuck! The guard! No time to react. A leg came from under the bunk with incredible speed and wrapped around the back of his. At the same time, the Jew’s other foot came against his knees and pushed. Adrik had brought his legs together when he tore the coat away and Kornfeld used the imbalance to his advantage. Adrik’s arms went out. He hovered awkwardly, then almost regained control, but Kornfeld pushed harder and Adrik went flying backwards with his legs in the air. A sense of suspension ended and he fell heavily, striking the hard stone floor. His head bounced, shudders chased through his brain and he found himself staring at the ceiling, wavering between conscious and unconscious.
The pain pierced his skull and he noticed his head had rested in a pool of warm liquid. He hadn’t seen that when he came in. Numbness consumed his body; he couldn’t move. But then his blurred vision saw the bleary outline of the Jew. Awareness came that his body was being rolled over. He was paralyzed, but it didn’t stop the surge of fear that ran through every fibre of his being.

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.
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Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating – R
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