Book Blitz: Remote by Lisa Acerbo

Remote
Lisa Acerbo
Publication date: December 24th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

When technology fulfills every dream, reality is a nightmare.

Below the streets of New State, the Grounders fight to remain free of the technological control of the world above. When dusk falls, Wren risks her life by entering the capital city as a raider to secure resources for the rebellion. Each step further inside puts her life in jeopardy from New State’s deadliest weapons – Phantoms. More machine than human, tortured until devoid of emotion and caring, Phantoms have only one objective. Kill. And they do it with exacting precision.

Wren is good at her job as a raider and committed to the cause until she meets Codex, a New State citizen who doesn’t quite fit her preconceived expectations. After a couple of awkward encounters, he shows her the meaning of hooking up—a computer simulation that allows people to live out their fantasies—without the complication of emotional entanglements or physical reality. But what Wren feels for Codex is very real. And it’s punishable by death.

As she and Codex grow closer, Wren convinces him to leave New State for the underground. But unrest between New State and the Grounders escalates, and Phantoms move in to destroy her world. Nothing goes as Wren planned. Families are arrested, loyalties are strained, and Wren’s forced to choose between her people and her feelings. The wrong choice could mean the end of her people, and reality could slip away—forever…

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EXCERPT:

“We should stop.” Part of her didn’t want to.

Codey ignored her words, pulling her closer.

Wren should draw back, take a breath, but her body betrayed her and she wrapped her arms around him tightly, tangling her fingers in his hair when their lips met. She kissed him back.

She felt his hand run over her thigh and then move up. He slid his fingers under the fabric of her worn sweater so he could caress her abdomen, tracing the lines of her ribs. In the next second, he whipped off his shirt and pulled her close, continuing to kiss her. She felt his skin, smooth and hot, and thought she would scream if she couldn’t get closer to him. She pushed herself against him, and Codey responded with another passionate kiss as he pressed gently against her on the bed.

The watch on Wren’s arm belched an alarm. Her mouth dropped open in a silent ‘ooh.’ How could so much time have passed? “This is bad.” She sprang off the bed. “I’m late.” Gaze intense she said, “You’re so not what I expected.”

“I’m not what a lot of people expect. But you can’t leave me like this. Hook ups never end like this.”

“Welcome to reality.” She smiled at him.

“I’m not sure I like it.” He adjusted his clothes.

“You have to help me. I had another reason for coming here but got distracted.” Wren didn’t have time to blush. “I need a tablet, smartphone, or portable computer and a change of clothes.”

“Why?”

“No time to explain.”

He acquiesced, grabbing an old six-inch tablet. She shoved it into her pack as Codey began to lead her out the door.

“We can get some of my mom’s clothes in the automatic laundry, but they might be big for you.”

“They’ll do.”

Codey stopped her in the doorframe of his room.

“What? We need to go.”

“Not until I get a“We should stop.” Part of her didn’t want to.

Codey ignored her words, pulling her closer.

She should draw back, take a breath, but her body betrayed her and she wrapped her arms around him tightly, tangling her fingers in his hair when their lips met. She kissed him back.

She felt his hand run over her thigh and then move up. He slid his fingers under the fabric of her worn sweater so he could caress her abdomen, tracing the lines of her ribs. In the next second, he whipped off his shirt and pulled her close, continuing to kiss her. She felt his skin, smooth and hot and thought she would scream if she couldn’t get closer to him. She pushed herself against him, and Codey responded with another passionate kiss as he pressed gently against her on the bed.

The watch on Wren’s arm belched an alarm. Her mouth dropped open in a silent oh. How could so much time have passed? “This is bad.” She sprang off the bed. “I’m late.” Gaze intense she said, “You’re so not what I expected.”

“I’m not what a lot of people expect. But you can’t leave me like this. Hook ups never end like this.”

“Welcome to reality.” She smiled at him.

“I’m not sure I like it.” He adjusted his clothes.

“You have to help me. I had another reason for coming here but got distracted.” Wren didn’t have time to blush. “I need a tablet, smartphone, or portable computer and a change of clothes.”

“Why?”

“No time to explain.”

He acquiesced, grabbing an old six-inch tablet. She shoved it into her pack as Codey began to lead her out the door.

“We can get some of my mom’s clothes in the automatic laundry, but they might be big for you.”

“They’ll do.”

Codey stopped her in the doorframe of his room.

“What? We need to go.”

“Not until I get another kiss.” His voice was husky and human, his smile unabashed.

Wren acquiesced.

Once downstairs in the laundry room, Codey shoved some of his mom’s clothes into a small duffle and handed it to Wren.

“What do you need these for?” he asked.

“I came here to get your opinion on the archives and tell you about something the Grounders are attempting, but never got the chance.”

“What are the clothes for?”

Wren didn’t know how much to reveal. She had to leave and return to the rest of the raiders soon or they’d trigger the alarm to search for her. She lacked the time to explain properly and hated to leave Codey guessing about the Grounders and the archive raid.

“It’s part of the plan being developed,” she said.

“What plan? Is it dangerous? Will you be risking your life?” Codey’s voice crept up an octave. “Nobody knows about us, right? My family wouldn’t get in trouble?”

“I’m so sorry, but I have to go. You’ll understand soon.” Wren hoped she survived so she could come back and explain.


Author Bio:

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at the University of Phoenix. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, two dogs, and horse. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and tries to pursue some type of further education.

 

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Book Blitz: Secret Lady by Beth Trissel

Secret Lady
Beth Trissel
(Ladies in Time, #3)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: January 9th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Time-Travel

At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house “warbles” between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she’d paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.

Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?

Against the background of Sheridan’s Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“They brought the draft back?” This was it. She had officially lost her mind.

“It never went away. Where have you been, miss? More to the point, who are you?” His gruff demand

stirred the hair at her cheek.

She tilted her face at him. Only the barest outline of his strong features was visible, and yet… Man, was he hot. Focus Evie. “I told you. I’m Evie McIntyre. I live here with my grandmother. Didn’t you realize?”

“That so? I don’t suppose you would be a spy in a Mennonite house. Still. Never know. I best get a good look at you.”

“Who would I be spying for?”

“Rebs. Neither side wishes me well. I’m in no man’s land.”

Her heart drummed wildly. “Where does that leave me?”

“That’s the question, isn’t it?” He steadied Evie on her feet.

Was it? She had no idea what was going on and watched dazedly as he took something from the leather

pouch hanging over his shoulder. “What’s that?”

“Lucifers.”

He’d lost her again. There must be a powerful resistance movement at work. She didn’t fol-low

politics. Maybe she should. Had matters come to an explosive head tonight? Why hadn’t her grandmother said something?

He drew what resembled matches from a small metal container and struck one. Sulphurous sparks

added pungency to the room. He lit the stubby candle in a tin lantern on an end table. Shad-ows danced from the pale taper glowing through the punches in the metal. Pretty, how the light made patterns on the ceiling.

Wait. Where had that lantern come from?

The stained-glass lamp Grandma G. treasured was just there before she went to bed. Dear God in heaven. What had happened to the room?


Author Bio:

Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with my people and furbabies. An avid gardener, I grow herbs and heirloom flowers and use them in my stories. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the Scots-Irish are at the heart of my inspiration. My English/Scots-Irish ancestors were among the earliest settlers in America and the valley. I write historical romance set in the colonial frontier (The Native American Warrior Series), and the American Revolution (The Traitor’s Legacy Series). Some of my historicals include ghosts and other paranormal elements. I also write Young Adult shapeshifter/ fantasy romance (The Secret Warrior Series), and New Adult time travel/time slip romance, Somewhere in Time, and my latest ongoing series, Ladies in Time. I also write single titles and nonfiction.

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Book Blitz: The Dating Alternative by Jennifer Woodhull

The Dating Alternative
Jennifer Woodhull
Publication date: December 26th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

She’s so over dating. He wants to be her alternative.

Max has crushed on Brie for as long as he’s known her but the timing was never right. When he finds out they’re finally single at the same time, he’s poised to move from friend zone to serious dating… until he finds out she’s only looking for something physical. He offers his services in hopes she’ll come around.

Just when things are starting to go his way, a shocking turn of events snatches her from his grasp. Now he has to resurrect the life he thought he’d left behind to help the woman he’s falling in love with before it’s too late.

A sweet, funny, sexy romance, The Dating Alternative launches everywhere December 26th.

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EXCERPT:

SABRINA

As I lay on the bed, wearing my ex-fiancé’s t-shirt and remembering the night he left me six months ago, I realize that tears are slipping silently down my cheeks.

I’ve done reasonably well, too. The first week, I was catatonic. The first month, I was practically a zombie. In those days, even showering on my day off had been a challenge. Within a couple of months, though, I was doing better. By the ninety-day mark, I could be mistaken for someone who hadn’t been virtually left at the altar.

Now, lying on the bed six months after Grant had thrown away our life together, I was almost indiscernible from a normal girl. Looking at me most days, you would never know that my life had been ripped apart by an exotic Olympian named Isabel and my former fiancé, Grant.

I sit up, realizing how far I’d come since that night. I put the back of my hand up to one cheek, then the other. No more. That asshole doesn’t get another single tear from me. Control-G-Delete.

 

Author Bio:

Jennifer Woodhull is based in the Southern United States, spending time in her second home of England, and traveling as often as she can. Her love of travel permeates her work, and her characters often find themselves exploring new and foreign surroundings.

A keen observer of human behavior, Jennifer often draws inspiration from something as simple as a fleeting connection, or the glimpse of a unique trait or characteristic. Her favorite place to write is on airplanes.

“The drone of the engine, the scores of people, all traveling to something or from something, and being disconnected from digital distractions are a combination that provide the perfect place to write,” she says. “If you see a woman in seat 9F who is balancing her Macbook on her lap because it’s time to close your tray table, please have patience. I’m just trying to finish one more sentence.”

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Book Blitz: Valiant by Merrie Destefano

Valiant
Merrie Destefano
Published by: Entangled: Teen
Publication date: December 4th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

The Valiant was supposed to save us. Instead, it triggered the end of the world.

Earth is in shambles. Everyone, even the poorest among us, invested in the Valiant’s space mining mission in the hopes we’d be saved from ourselves. But the second the ship leaves Earth’s atmosphere, our fate is sealed. The alien invasion begins. They pour into cities around the world through time portals, possessing humans, forcing us to kill one another.

And for whatever reason, my brother is their number one target.

Now the fate of the world lies in the hands of me, a seventeen-year-old girl, but with the help of my best friend, Justin―who’s suddenly starting to feel like more―maybe if we save my brother, we can save us all…

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EXCERPT:

There’s a pain in my chest as I remember the first time I stumbled across a man with fists lined with metal spikes. I was walking through downtown Santa Ana with Justin, and it was one of those times when I thought, He’s totally going to kiss me tonight. It was back before I began traveling through time, before I found out just how dark the world could be. We were laughing and heading toward a frozen yogurt shop, and he slid his arm around my waist.

It might have been the first time I thought, This guy is it; he’s the one I could fall for. I knew he was a Genetic and that nobody wanted us to be together. But I didn’t care. He was sunshine on a dark night. He was heat when the cold winds blew.

I put my head on his shoulder.

It was only natural.

It was exactly right.

Then I saw the metal man, his brow furrowed as if his heart held all the anger in the world. He was chaos and destruction and he was walking toward us, eyes like fire, like he wanted to kill us both.

Maybe he was looking at Justin. Metal men hate Genetics, because in a real battle, Genetics win. It doesn’t matter how much metal you’ve grafted onto your skin or bones—it might make you stronger, but you’re slower, too. Nobody can match the speed and natural strength of a Genetic. So, this guy might have been looking at Justin and challenging him, but it felt like I was going to be collateral damage.

One swing of his spike-covered fist and I’d be dead.

But I didn’t have to worry about it for long, because Justin pushed me behind him. I couldn’t see his face, but I could see the metal man. Doubt flickered in his eyes; he paused and glanced to the side. He was probably looking for a way out.

Justin took a step forward, his hands curled in fists. When he spoke, his voice came out like thunder, a loud, low growl that rumbled through my spine.

“Don’t even think about it,” Justin said. “Take one more step and I’ll rip out your metal implants, one by one. They hurt going in, so you better believe it’ll be a mother when I pull them out.”

He paused to laugh, but I’d never heard him laugh like that before. It was chilling, like he was a different person. He continued to warn the metal man. “Especially when I twist those implants sideways and the roots tear off chunks of your flesh.”

The metal man narrowed his eyes, and there was a split second when I thought he was going to tackle Justin.

Maybe he would have.

But he didn’t get a chance. It was like Justin knew the metal man’s plan, like it was an open football playbook. Justin rushed him, grabbed the guy around the waist, and slammed him against the brick wall of a local tattoo parlor. It took the wind out of the metal man’s lungs, and he was temporarily stunned. Justin could have slugged him; he could have broken the guy’s arms; he could have killed him.

All he did was lean close enough to whisper in the guy’s ear.

Then Justin stepped back and let the thug slide to the sidewalk in a heap. The metal man caught his breath, his eyes flickered, and he glanced up at us. Then he floundered to his hands and knees and crawled away as fast as he could. By the time he got to his feet, we were surrounded by a Friday-night club crowd, most of them drunk and all of them laughing at the metal man as he ran away.

Justin didn’t even hit the guy.

Sometimes you can win by intimidation alone.

So, do I melt every time I see this boy, who was willing to fight to protect me?

You better believe it.

 

Author Bio:

Born in the Midwest, former magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.

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Book Blitz: When Stars Come Out by Scarlett St. Clair

When Stars Come Out
Scarlett St. Clair
Publication date: October 31st 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Anora Silby can see the dead and turn spirits into gold coins, two things she would prefer to keep secret as she tries to lead a normal life at her new school. After all, she didn’t change her identity for nothing.

As it turns out, hiding her weirdness is just one of many challenges. By the end of her first day, she’s claimed the soul of a dead girl on campus and lost the coin. Turns out, the coin gives others the ability to steal souls, and when a classmate ends up dead, there’s no mistaking the murder weapon.

Navigating the loss of her Poppa, her mother’s unpredictable behavior, and Roundtable, an anonymous student gossip app threatening to expose her, are hard enough. Now she must find the person who stole her coin before more lives are lost, but that means making herself a target for the Order, an organization that governs the dead on Earth–and they want Anora and her powers for themselves.

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EXCERPT:

A woman with blond hair and a pink blazer smiles at me.

“Can I help you?” Her voice sounds robotic, filtered through the round metal intercom.

“I’m new. I don’t have my schedule—”

“Oh! You must be Anora Silby!” She retrieves a folder from her desk and hands it to me via a small opening at the bottom of the glass barrier. “Inside you will find your schedule and your student handbook.”

I open the folder and stare at the materials. My schedule sits on top. I have already zoned in on my first hour: trigonometry…a.k.a. Hell.

“Be sure you are aware of curfew.”

“Oh, I don’t live on campus.”

“Curfew is countywide,” she advises. “No one’s to be outside after midnight.”

“Why?”

It takes the lady a moment to realize I’ve asked her a question. She blinks.

“It’s always been like that. Since the twenties. You know, after the murders.”

“No, actually…I don’t know,” I wave my folder around to remind her I’m the new girl.

“It’s nothing to be worried about,” the lady assures me. “There haven’t been any murders since then. The curfew’s just in place as…a precaution. It’s best if it’s obeyed.”

She says it like a warning, like she thinks I’m one to break the rules. I can understand curfew for campus, but why is it countywide?

“Would you like a guide to help you find your classes?” Her voice brightens, her smile intensifies. It looks fake, and I get the sense I’m not welcome anymore.

“Uh, sure.”

It’ll be nice to have a map of this place in case I get lost trying to avoid the dead. The lady disappears from view and I take a closer look at the pictures on the wall. I’m partly hopeful I’ll see a picture of the girl outside in one of the photos, but I don’t find her. The images are mostly of buildings on campus in their prime. Gold plates beneath the frames indicate the year they were built. My favorite is Rosewater—that sounds calming.

I run my fingers over the cold metal, tracing the name.

“You must be Anora Silby.” The voice is energetic and warm, but it startles me. I tear my hand away from the plate as if I’ve been caught stealing and yelp, twisting to find a boy standing beside me. He has striking blue eyes and sharp features. My gaze drops to his lips, which are initially pulled into a smile until I face him, then it falters.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”

I study him for a moment—lively eyes, faint color in his cheeks, and…warmth. He’s definitely alive. I guess I stare too long because he clears his throat and says, “Can I help you find your classes?”

“Oh…um…the lady was getting me a map.”

A smile stretches across his face again, brightening his expression. “I’m your map.” He extends his hand to me, keeping the other in his pocket. “Shy.”

I stare at his hand, confused—did he just call me shy?

“Excuse me?”

He chuckles under his breath. “It’s my name—Shy Savior.”

“Oh.” My cheeks flame and I want to hide. I fumble as I cradle my folder in my arm and reach for his hand. “Anora Silby…er…I guess you knew that.”

“Yeah,” he breathes, and then quickly adds, “But that’s okay. You have a nice name.”

He doesn’t move his gaze from mine as he shakes my hand firmly, and it is a little unnerving, especially since the pigment of his eyes is so concentrated—seriously, he has to be wearing contacts.

“Um, are you going to let go of my hand?”

“Sorry.” He drops my hand and snakes his behind his neck. “It’s just…have we met?”

I laugh. “No. I think I would remember you, Blue Eyes.”

Shy smiles and turns the faintest shade of pink. “You just feel so familiar.”

“I hope I’m familiar in a good way.”

God. I’d have to say that, wouldn’t I?

I’m breaking my second rule: Absolutely no boys.

“Yes.” He narrows those gorgeous eyes and my resolve weakens. “Yes, only in a good way.”

I inhale and hug myself, feeling self-conscious.

“Mr. Savior, I think it’s about time Miss Silby made it to class,” the lady in the pink blazer advises from the counter.

Shy turns and smiles at her. “Yes. Sorry, Mrs. Cole.” He looks at me, clearing his throat. “So, what’s your first class?”

I’m glad the distraction gives me a reason to look away from him because my cheeks are on fire. I open my folder to look at my schedule. I’d seen it a few minutes ago but now, I can’t remember anything.

“Um, Mr. Val, trig … in Walcourt?”

Shy laughs.

“What?” I lean away to get a good look at his face, but he just shakes his head, eyes focused on my schedule.

“Nothing—what’s your locker number?”

Forty-four.

Shy directs me out of the lobby, down a hallway flanked with a large trophy case and a couple bulletin boards covered with flyers for homecoming.

“The lockers, dorms, and cafeteria are all located here in Emerson,” he explains. “It’s a little inconvenient, but you just have to make sure you have everything you need for your first four classes before lunch,” he pauses and nods to my locker, then the one next to it. “That one’s mine.”

I smile at him and it feels like I’m falling into a trap. “I guess I’ll see more of you, then?”

“Yeah.” He grins, showing his teeth, and runs a hand through his blond hair. I like the way his eyes crinkle at the sides when he smiles, all things I shouldn’t notice about him, considering my rules. “Yeah, you will.”

 

Author Bio:

Scarlett St. Clair lives in Oklahoma with her husband. She has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Studies and spends a lot of time researching reincarnation, unsolved murders and Greek mythology-all of which made it into her debut novel, When Stars Come Out.

 

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Book Blitz: Love, Christmas 2 – Movies You Love

Love, Christmas – Movies You Love
(The Holiday Series, #2)
Publication date: October 16th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance

Sprinkle a little Christmas magic into your life with 25 ALL-NEW, never before released romances. Each title – exclusive to this set – is inspired by a favorite holiday movie, spun into a fantastic love story by a NY Times, USA Today, and/or award-winning, bestselling author and delivered to you in this wonderful collection full of cheer for the coming season.

Mimi Barbour – A Wonderful Life – Though Rylee works with troubled teens, can she and an angel help a man living a nightmare?

Leanne Banks – A Royal White Christmas – Can a secret prince be a Christmas wish-come-true for a small-town girl?

Joan Reeves – Brianna’s Season For Miracles – Her seductive persona hides what she’s ashamed of… What will happen if the man she’s fallen for discovers her secret?

Mona Risk – Jingle With My Princess – The doc and the princess… He saves lives, but she may save his heart.

Rebecca York – Can She Get Home for Christmas? – Will a killer stop her from getting home for Christmas?

Jacquie Biggar – Mistletoe Inn – A grieving man finds the greatest gift is love.

Alicia Street – Miracle on Christmas Tree Street – A single mom discovers her business partner is more than he seems.

Nancy Radke – The Holiday (Christmas) – Jodi’s house-swap to Maui came with a small dog and a shipwrecked sailor.

Katy Walters –Letters from the Snowman – The snow revealed a precious love.

Stephanie Queen – Holiday Affair – Melissa goes from riches to rags but will she find gold in a holiday affair?

Aileen Fish – Christmas in Connecticut – Can a wounded warrior learn to trust her celebrity chef crush after discovering his secret?

Rachelle Ayala – A Christmas Creek Carol – A reclusive writer is given a one-star review on her life by characters from her past, present, and future.

Dani Haviland – The Polar Xpress – She prefers dogs to men…until she rescues the doctor.

Traci Hall – Love, Actually (By the Sea) – Two strangers. One intimate night. Reunited a year later, can it actually be love?

Taylor Lee – The Ref-er-ee – With a family this discombobulated, it will take a referee to save their Christmas.

Donna Fasano – Her Mr. Miracle – It’s Christmas Eve and Veronica is stuck in a nearly deserted seaside town… She needs a miracle.

Cynthia Cooke – A Christmas to Remember – A Christmas storm. Wedding plans in peril. Has a lost love been found?

Susan Jean Ricci – A Joyous Holiday Inn – Can Twigg restore the joy of Christmas to Chloe’s indifferent heart?

Tamara Ferguson – Two Hearts Home for Christmas – Can a long ago promise of love bring two lonely wounded warriors home for Christmas?

Suzanne Jenkins – Christmas with the Clouds – Tracy isn’t interested in love until an unexpected Christmas visitor changes her heart.

Natalie Ann – How Gavin Stole Christmas – Can Jolene help Gavin find the Christmas spirit when he’s the epitome of Mr. Bah Humbug?

Ev Bishop – A Sharla Brown Christmas – For single parents Sharla and Jake, Christmas is the loneliest time of the year…until it’s not.

Alyssa Bailey – In the Spirit of Christmas – Chase can protect Tara from danger, but can he protect his heart?

Stacy Eaton – Finding Love on Christmas Vacation – Christmas isn’t the same for Lucy without her father…until she meets his friend Maverick.

Jen Talty – The Christmas Getaway – A mix-up in reservations leaves a mother and her son to share a cabin with a broken-hearted stranger.

Melinda De Ross – Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas – A thirty-something singleton’s desperate yet humorous quest to find a boyfriend in the seven days before Christmas.

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SNEAK PEEKS:

A Wonderful Life by Mimi Barbour

Prologue

“Clarence, you haven’t stopped watching Noel Bradford for days. What in the world is happening to that young man?”

“I’m glad you noticed my preoccupation, Sir. I’m afraid he’s not doing too well. Do you remember a man called George Bailey?”

“Certainly, I do. Wasn’t he the reason you got your wings?”

“Yes, that’s him. Well poor Noel Bradford is heading in the same direction; he’s on the bridge right now, ready to jump. I’m thinking it’ll take the same interference to stop him from killing himself that it took to prevent George from doing the same thing many years ago.”

“I see. Then what are you waiting for, Clarence? You must go and save him.”

“I suppose you’re right. I just hate the thought of that icy water. It took me forever to warm up the last time.”

“Clarence, if you stop that poor fellow from ruining all the lives of the people who will one day love him, I’ll send you the wherewithal to get warm, now off with you. There’s no time to waste.”

Chapter One

Noel Bradford never believed himself to be a coward, a weakling who gave up in troubled times, a man whose shoulders were so narrow they couldn’t bear misfortune.

He was wrong.

Four days ago, when the police had knocked on his door to give him the horrifying news that his parents and their driver, his only brother, had all been killed in a car accident, he’d thought nothing could get worse.

They were heading to their favorite resort in Aspen when their car careened over the bank of the mountainous road, dropping into a lake probably 400 feet below. The back end of the car, where the license plate could be seen through binoculars, proved it was their vehicle and the chance of any survivors was nil.

A Royal White Christmas by Leanne Banks

Chapter One

A baying howl cut through the early December night, even through the walls of the cottage Brice rented. He glanced up from the material he was studying and the baying howl echoed again. The fireplace crackled, and Brice knew the snow was still falling.

Again, the baying howl broke through the quiet.

Sighing, Brice rose from his laptop and peered out the window. The floodlights revealed nothing. He was going to have to brave the cold, he supposed.

Tugging on his boots, jacket and gloves, he opened the door and trudged outside. “Talk to me beagle or hound,” he muttered.

Another howl cut the air. Several moments later, Brice found the beagle wagging its tail, its leash wrapped around a tree trunk. The beagle whined and barked. He immediately noted that the dog was female. “Well, good evening to you, Miss. A fine mess you’re in. Let me help you out.” He unwound the leash and waited for the beagle to run for freedom. Instead the dog came at him and licked his hand.

“I know you have an owner,” he said. “That’s a nice leash.”

The beagle continued to nuzzle at him and whine.

“I guess you can stay the night. It’s a nasty one,” he said and looked at a tag. “Brandi,” he read. “I’ll give your owner a call, but you can stay the night.”

Brice pulled off some chicken and rice from his leftovers and offered it to the dog. She gobbled it up quickly. “You have a good appetite,” he said and dialed the number on the dog tag. The number rang and rang then disconnected. Brice frowned. “That’s not good,” he muttered to himself and punched in the number again.

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Book Blitz: Casino Girl by Leslie Wolfe

Casino Girl
Leslie Wolfe
(Baxter and Holt #2)
Publication date: August 31st 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

In Las Vegas, secrets are deadly.

Detectives Laura Baxter and Jack Holt are members of the elite: Las Vegas Metro PD, one of the toughest and most respected law enforcement agencies in the United States. In the middle of a city with two million residents and 43 million annual visitors, they’re hunting for a killer.

 

The girl

When a beautiful, young girl is killed in the high-roller Pleasure Pit of the exclusive Scala Casino, the news reverberates for hours among the ritzy clientele. Before taking the stage where she found her death, Crystal was last seen boarding an unmarked helicopter for a late-night flight to an unknown destination.

The money

The stakes are high at the roulette table, and the players are hot-blooded. Among them, a stone-cold killer watches, waits, and kills without leaving a single trace of evidence. Rien ne va plus but death.

The game

The name of the game is murder, and it doesn’t stop with Crystal’s demise. Anyone who threatens to expose the killer’s identity will soon find they’re being targeted.

In Las Vegas, secrets can kill.

Two mavericks make an intriguing team. Baxter and Holt trust each other with their lives, only not with their darkest secrets.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Odds

They’re called quasi-strippers.

They don’t really bare it all, like real strippers do behind the darkened glass doors of specialty adult clubs, but they aren’t exactly fully dressed either while they perform.

Crystal preferred the term exotic dancer. Five nights a week she took the small stage at the center of the high-limit blackjack tables, in the glamorous Scala Casino. Five nights a week she danced and smiled and undulated her perfect body to the rhythm of sultry songs, carefully chosen to lure the gamblers’ attention away from the cards and the ever-diminishing stacks of their chips. In the background, nothing is more Vegas than the Scala Casino floor, filled with a million noises, dazzling lights, and excess adrenaline. Nothing is more alive.

That’s where she belonged, among the glitter and the gold, the glitzy and the rich.

She wore strappy lingerie with black and gold lace accents on beige silk, designed to trick the mind’s eye into believing she was naked. Black, knee-high stiletto boots completed her attire, her black, garter-belt straps attached to them, sexy and kinky and fun. The appreciative looks she basked in that night told her she’d chosen her ensemble well. It was going to be a profitable evening.

The familiar music seemed a bit too loud, making her wince, a little dizzy. She grabbed the pole tighter, aware she was dancing out of rhythm, but knowing the customers were too far gone to notice. It was almost four in the morning, and by that time, most of them were pleasantly inebriated, high on their own excitement and maybe more, living the Vegas dream.

The only danger was that asshole, Farley, a fat, lewd pig who liked to scream at the girls, giving them a hard time for everything they did, right or wrong regardless. Two minutes of being late or changing clothes mid-shift and she’d get pulled inside the pit manager’s office for another scolding session.

But she held her head up during those moments, aware they were going to pass and even more aware they were meant to intimidate her into offering sexual favors in return for a privileged work atmosphere.

Oh, hell, no.

Not ever. Not even if the prick turned blue in the face from too much screaming, or his waiting-to-happen stroke knocked him dead right before her eyes.

But even Stan Farley was looking away that moment, focused on a newly arrived high roller who’d taken a seat at one of the blackjack tables with a view of the stage. She didn’t know that one, but judging by the way Farley fawned over him, he must’ve been someone important.

Someone rich.

Someone who didn’t care that the odds at his blackjack table were stacked higher against him, just because the table came with a view of full inviting cleavage and tight little buns.

Hers.

She felt beads of sweat bursting at the roots of her hair and forced some stale air into her lungs. Maybe the air conditioning was off, or something. The cigar smoke made it almost unbreathable, but it was an acceptable tradeoff for being allowed to work the high roller pit, not some fifty-cents-minimum roulette floor, where the tips were always Washingtons, never a Franklin and rarely a Lincoln, and not a whole lot of them to count at the end of a shift anyway.

No, she’d been lucky, and her luck had started to play in her favor about a month after she’d been hired. For that she probably had Devine to thank.

Her sweaty palms made it difficult for her to get a good grip on the shiny, chrome pole, but she managed a back hook spin and landed facing Devine. Her best friend danced some 30 feet away, on a small, elevated stage set among four, high-limit, roulette tables.

She waited until she could make eye contact with Devine and waved discreetly at her best friend. Just seeing her smile back made her feel less lonely, less vulnerable. Maybe she was going to be okay. Maybe things would work out after all.

Without realizing, she put her palm on her belly in a soft, caressing gesture, aimed to comfort the tiny sparkle of life growing inside her. She wasn’t showing a baby bump yet, but soon that would change, and with it, her entire life as she knew it.

She skipped out of rhythm again, but soon snapped out of her trance, motivated by Farley’s mean glare. She focused on her customers for a while and, within a few minutes of smiling provocatively and wiggling her rear, a crisp fifty-dollar bill landed under the thin strap of her thong, delivered by long, hairy fingers that reached lower and lingered longer than was necessary.

Sometimes she was happy the payout was 6:5 instead of 3:2 on a blackjack at the tables facing her; those jerks deserved to pay.

But she smiled at the man who’d delivered the tip and mocked a reverence without letting go of the pole. Then she let herself fall into a back bend and frowned when she saw Farley was approaching.

“What the hell is wrong with you, huh?” he snapped, after grabbing her arm and pulling her close. The music was loud, and no one could hear his words; not that anyone would care if they did. “Could you be bothered to do your job tonight? A deaf penguin has more rhythm than you.”

“I’m working it, Stan, what the hell? I haven’t taken a break in two hours.”

“The hell you are, bitch. You see those bozos? If they’re looking at their cards instead of your ass, you ain’t earning your keep.”

He let go of her arm and disappeared before she could say anything. He was a two-faced creep; with her and the other girls he showed his real charm. For all the patrons and the rest of the Scala staff, he was a perfect gentleman, always dressed in an impeccable suit and starched, white shirts, pleasantly smiling and accommodating.

She knew better than to let him get under her skin.

But her head was spinning, and she held on tight to the pole, not as part of her routine, but for much-needed balance. The music changed, and she welcomed the new beat, one of her favorites. She knew the playlist by heart; the casino had a limited supply of premixed tracks, but the customers didn’t seem to care.

Cheers erupted at the table in front of her, and one of the players lifted his arms in the air, beaming. The croupier pushed an impressive pile of chips in front of the man, and she quickly flashed her megawatt smile and made lingering eye contact. He didn’t disappoint; he picked one of the chips and sent it flying her way. She caught it gracefully, then placed it on the floor, next to the pole. Her barely-there panties weren’t made to hold casino chips.

When she looked up, she startled.

It was him. It was Paul, and he was furious, by the angle of his eyebrows, by the deep ridges flanking his mouth.

He stood right there, next to her stage, glaring at her with a loaded gaze filled with such hatred that her breath caught. He beckoned her to come closer without making a single gesture. She approached him hesitantly and crouched to bring their eyes on the same level, aware not even Farley would dare say a word. She shot a quick glance toward Devine’s stage, but she was gone, nowhere in sight.

His eyes drilled into hers, close enough she could see his dilated pupils. Without a word, he shoved a purple and white chip deep inside her bra, then grabbed the thin strap, pulling her closer to him. He said something, keeping his voice low and menacing. She couldn’t make out his words but didn’t dare to ask. She wanted to explain herself, wanted him to understand her motives, but she couldn’t find her words.

She didn’t want his money, and she didn’t deserve his anger.

When he finally let go of her strap and pushed her away, she almost fell. Her knees were shaking, and she felt the urge to sit for a moment, to catch her breath. She grabbed the pole tightly and did a clumsy back slide against the shiny surface, landing hard on her butt, then folded her legs to the side. She let her head hang low, and her long, wavy hair covered her face, hiding the fear in her eyes until it subsided a little.

Then she wrapped her hands around the pole again, planning to stand and do a pirouette, but her arms and legs felt numb, listless. She tried to breathe, but air refused to enter her lungs. Frantic, she looked around, searching for someone, anyone, who could help. Only one man was looking at her, but her desperate and silent plea was misunderstood.

The man licked his lips, arranged his crotch with a quick gesture, then looked away at another dancer.

She gasped for air a couple of times, then the bright lights of the casino seemed to dim, inviting darkness to engulf her view of the lively floor. Silence came, heavy, palpable. Against it, not even her own heart beats could be heard.

Defeated, she let go. Her body landed on the stage floor with a loud thump that no one heard. Unnoticed, a white and purple casino chip fell out of her top and rolled onto the floor, stopping under a table.

For a long moment, Farley thought the immobile pose was part of Crystal’s routine, some new dance move that she was trying. Customers really enjoyed seeing girls crawling on the stage; it made the viewers feel powerful, superior, in control. By the time Farley realized he’d been wrong, she was already gone. His chubby fingers felt for a pulse and found nothing.

Now he’d have to call the cops and close the pit. His worst nightmare.

 

Author Bio:

Leslie Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology.

Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.

A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/order.

Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.

• Become an insider: gain early access to previews of Leslie’s new novels.

• Email: LW@WolfeNovels.com

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