An Affair With Danger

 
Romantic Suspense
Date Published: January 8, 2016
 

Two minutes.

That’s all it takes for corporate lawyer Will McPherson to be held up in an armed robbery and for his life to change in ways he’d never dreamed of.

When Will goes to court to give evidence, he meets the perpetrator’s girlfriend Frankie Slater and is instantly smitten.  But feisty, straight-talking Frankie has her own problems, not least of which is her violent boyfriend Eddie.

When Eddie finds out about their liaison, it puts both their lives in danger, and their love becomes a matter of life or death.

Review 

 

This is a solid combination of both Mystery and Suspense as well as Romance. I liked that the Romance took a bit of a backseat. I wanted to be swept away in the mystery of it and get lost in trying to solve everything. I was surprised throughout the novel and I liked the way that Robin Storey kept me on my toes.

Robin Storey is an indie author who lives on the picturesque Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Her three previous books are How Not To Commit Murder, Perfect Sex and Comedy Shorts. An Affair With Danger, a romantic suspense novella, is a departure from her usual comedy writing style, but the characters were creating a commotion in her head and refused to go away until she’d put them in a book.

Robin is a certified book nerd and also enjoys chilling out at the beach and hiking. She is preparing to undertake the Camino Frances pilgrimage in September this year – plenty of time for mulling over new plots. She is working on her next novel, a romantic comedy.

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Back in My Life

 
Romance / Erotica
Date Published: February 27, 2016
 
 

Back in my Life is a story set in the beautiful cities of New York and Chicago. This story is not the typical and simple “boy meets girl, boy and girl get marry story.” This story is a powerful story that shows how real and unselfish love truly looks like. The love between Ruby and Clyde is an amazing and genuine love that survived everything that came in between them—even the most painful experiences that destiny had planned for them.

During a college internship at a prestigious New York magazine, Ruby Sparks (a journalist graduate student from Chicago) meets Clyde Holt, (a fellow intern and a creative photography student from a London based college) whom from day one became Ruby’s obsession and the new reason for her existence. After developing strong feelings for her emotionally unavailable friend, Ruby finds herself trapped in a whirlpool of emotions while trying to earn her friend’s love. What Ruby doesn’t know is that while she is looking for true love, Clyde’s presence in her life came with a different purpose.

Review

History, Intimacy, and Heartbreak. Those are just a few words I would use to describe this novel. I think Marie C.R. does a great job of focusing on each one of them and blending them together. The novel has a solid pacing and I was content with it.


I have been writing for pleasure for the past couple of years, but this is the first time I do a book tour so I am very excited for it. Writing is my passion, and I enjoy using real-life stories as the basis for my novels, but giving them a little twist to make them more melodramatic and breath-taking. I am also the author of Pamela’s Confessions and Confesiones del Alma. I currently live in Florida with my husband and three children.

 

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The Creepshow

Women’s Fiction
Date Published: April 11, 2016
 
Wanda Julienne was the perfect employee. Until she had a baby. 
Wanda, a thirtysomething single mother, returns to her job at an international financial services firm after maternity leave and finds her world turned upside down. The colleague who filled in for her made disastrous errors that should have cost him his position. Instead, management pressures Wanda to repair the damage overnight and take on new assignments that are a sure recipe for failure. Add in a dose of sexual harassment and Wanda, who can’t afford to lose her job, feels trapped. 
Slowly, she discovers that other colleagues have experienced similar treatment, but no one wants to talk about it.
At home, the situation isn’t much brighter. Wanda struggles to balance her baby’s needs and her tough work schedule. Her best friend, Galina, and the ex-boyfriend Wanda never thought would return try their best to offer support, but the attention only suffocates her.   
Wanda turns her back and isolates herself, submerged in a downward spiral, until Galina suggests a way out—but the exit won’t be without drastic consequences.
 
 
 
Review 
 

I loved the corporate feel and focus of this book. It is Women’s Fiction and really brings all aspects of this woman’s life into the limelight. The main issue for me is the one at work. I was outraged of some of the things I read, but then again you have to think that many women deal with this kind of thing. Its a sad reality.

 
I liked how quick of a read this was for me. I felt like Adria really manages to get to the heart of the story and get her point across.
 
 
 
 
Adria J. Cimino is the author of Amazon Best-Selling novel Paris, Rue des Martyrs and Close to Destiny, as well as The Creepshow and A Perfumer’s Secret (out in Spring 2016). She also co-founded boutique publishing house Velvet Morning Press. Prior to jumping into the publishing world full time, she spent more than a decade as a journalist at news organizations including The AP and Bloomberg News. Adria is a member of Tall Poppy Writers, which unites bright authors with smart readers. Adria writes about her real-life adventures at AdriaJCimino.com and on Twitter @Adria_in_Paris. She lives in Paris with her husband Didier and daughter Phèdre. When she isn’t writing, you can find Adria at her neighborhood café watching the world go by.
 
 
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When Lucifer Met Calamity

Contemporary Romance/Comedy
Date Published: April 18, 2016

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Lucifer – At eighteen months out of law school, six months on the job, and four weeks before his BAR exam, Luce has arrived. He’d been playing by other people’s rules all his life and now, poised on the brink of success, he will not let anyone stand in his way…especially not the junior-partner jerk at the office giving him and his assistant a hard time. On his way to give the creep a piece of his mind, he bumps into the infamous ‘Calamity Jones’…
Calamity – is tired of enduring her boss’s unwanted sexual innuendos.  When his fingers start to roam, Calam decides she’s had enough. It’s time to fight fire with fire.  So she devises an ingenious, if risky plan, to get Perkins off her back, keep her Job, and strike a blow for his numerous other victims around the office…only, things don’t go exactly as planned.
All Hell Breaks ‘Luce’ – After finding the loopy ingénue jack-knifed atop the archival files, Lucifer knows something is up. Calamity knows the jig is up. So, she comes clean. Turns out, they both have the same problem…Perkins. But, sparks fly when they decide to team up to bring down the boss. The Hitch? He’s a straight arrow…She’s a loose cannon. Can they work together to achieve a common goal?  Or will they both lose in the end?
EXCERPT
Calam awoke with a headache and a confused void where her mind used to be.  Propping herself up on her elbows, she squinted in the morning light as she eyeballed her surroundings.  After a full minute and several pan-scans of the room Calam hunched her shoulders.  She had no clue where she was.  Geez, was it possible to be hung-over without actually getting drunk the night before?  The question was second only to her wild curiosity as to whose bed she occupied.  Good Lawd, had she been roofied or what?  A quick glance to her chest.  Nope.  She still had her clothes on…or someone’s clothes, anyway.  Something furry moved against her leg, and she jerked away and nearly screamed…until she heard an annoyed meow.  Sasha stretched in a deep yawn at the foot of the bed.
Sasha…Luce’s pervy pet.  Her mind cranked back up like a long-dead stalled car.  She was in Luce’s apartment, in his palatial king-sized bed, wearing his spice-scented t-shirt that dangled down around her knees when she eventually stumbled from the bed onto her feet.  Luce, ever the gentleman, slept on the convertible couch in the front room.  Had Calamity been in the exact same position but under different circumstances, she’d be ecstatic.  But, her impending arrest cast a wee pall over her euphoria.  Still, she preened with wicked satisfaction at having spent the night in his bedroom…Satan’s Lair, she dubbed, as an impish smile twitched at her lips.  Hmm, might as well have a quick lookie-loo…the chance may not arise again, she reasoned.
Luce’s private domain dripped with personality as compared to the more Spartan décor of the rest of his apartment.  Several framed family snapshots littered the nightstand along with a cordless telephone and touch sensitive lamp, which shockingly emitted a warm crimson glow when she brushed it with her fingertips.  Two impressionistic prints adorned the walls.  Each depicted vague anthropomorphic forms cavorting about against a pastel-blended background.  They reminded her of something naughty she once glimpsed when she’d accidentally flipped to the Spice Channel on her pay-per-view.
The corner off the edge of the bed housed a dark mahogany desk topped with a matching bookshelf that ran up the wall.  The books she discovered beneath one of the pillows and under the edge of the bed outed Luce as a late-night reader.  Hmm, The Count of Monte Cristo.  He likes the classics.  Her eyes bucked as she skimmed across Master: An Erotic Novel of the Count of Monte Cristo riding shotgun next to Dumas’ version.  Likewise, she spied Phantom of the Opera paired with its erotic twin.  Skimming further…Pride, Prejudice and Zombies?  The titles were endless.  Fascinated, she pulled Robin Hood: Unmasqued After Dark from the shelf and flipped through the pages.  Good night!  Is this what he reads?!  Classic literature corrupted as modern erotica and horror tales?  The thought curled her toes.  So, Lucifer wasn’t quite the choir boy he pretended.  There might be hope for them yet, she mused. 
         Shaking off her fantasies, Calamity put the book down and ran a hand through her hair and grimaced.  It had, of course, gone into kinky snarls during the night.  There wasn’t time for a wash and press even if she had a hot-comb or flat iron with her, which she didn’t.  She’d have to French braid it if she didn’t want to mirror Leo the Lion when she took her mug shot.  First things first, though.  She padded to the living room on bare feet to sneak a peek at the object of her affection.
         He lay atop the covers, one solid sinewy arm flung out over the empty side of the bed while the other was bent at the elbow and pillowed behind his head.  His torso was a study in Italian sculpture.  Smooth tawny-gold chest as broad as the Atlantic tapered downward into a rippling six-pack of muscles.  Her gaze wondered lower.  The suggestive spiral of coarse dark hairs disappeared beneath the drawstring pajama bottoms.  Oy!  Calam stepped closer so that she cast the sunlight from the window in a shadow over his face.  Lashes like paint-brush bristles fluttered open.  Curious inky slits regarded her…with groggy interest, she noted.
         “Yeah, I’m not a morning person either.”  She admitted.
         “Hmmm, come ‘ere.”
         Before she could respond, his hand shot out from behind his head and Calamity found herself sprawled torso to torso atop him, enveloped in a loose embrace.  She popped herself up on her elbows to spy two intense pools of ink impaling her…unable to resist, her gaze drifted downward to his mouth.
         “Did you sleep well?”  His voice reverberated deeper than his usual baritone.          
         Lusty thoughts a’jumble in her brain, Calamity could only nod.  Have mercy!  He might think her a presumptuous tart but at the moment, the sensual lure of his lips was too powerful to ignore.  Calam shimmed up to close the distance between them before she lost her nerve.  His bottomless-pit black orbs stalked her, seeming to guess her intent…but he made no move to help or to hinder.  So she brushed his mouth with a light, lingering kiss, giving him the choice to put an end to it if he wanted.
         A deep rumble in his chest vibrated through her, stoking the fires of her confidence.  She smiled against his mouth when she felt his lips part, inviting her in.  Encouraged, Calam deepened the kiss.  For the sake of balance, she flattened her palms on either side of his head.
         Meanwhile, Luce lost a hand in the kinky tufts of her hair.  The other roamed up and down her t-shirted back.  Heaven help him, but her small warm form felt sinful atop his body.  The knowledge that she wore his shirt, and judging by her simmering body heat, nothing underneath, intrigued him all the more.  The soft feminine feel of her ignited his lower regions and sent them into a slow burn.  He derived an almost perverse pleasure from letting her set the pace of their interlude.  That this woman, whom he out-weighed by at least a hundred pounds, could produce such a quicksilver reaction in him with a chaste little smooch amazed him, hooked him, cementing his fascination with her.
         She caught his lower lip between her teeth, teasing at first but then with purpose, she inched away…upward, pulling him along for the ride.  He knew what she wanted and complied, rising to follow her into a sitting position.  Her rear slid snugly into his lap.  Her bent knees rested on either side of his hips, while her hands crept around his neck.
         Unable to curb his appetite for her, Luce slid his hands down to her compact yet delectably curved bottom, tilting her closer, molding her against his body.  He wanted her to feel him…see her expression, gauge her reaction to the telltale––He felt her tense, and chuckled as she broke off their playful-turned-explosive kiss.  She squirmed against his blossoming ‘affection’.  Ah hell…he grimaced as a pleasurable pain ripped through him.
         “Shorty, uh…” He pulled back a ways.  Inky black eyes met her chocolate brown orbs… checking for approval or revulsion.  She broke off first.
         “I only meant to kiss you.”  She explained in a squeaky voice strangled with… embarrassment, he guessed.  “I’m…eh, sorry.”
         “Don’t be.  I’m not.”  Luce grinned despite himself.  Damn, did the woman know how adorable she was?  “Although, it’s probably better if you get up now.”
         “Oh!  Of course, my bad.”  She clumsily disentangled herself from him and got off the bed.  He watched her meander over to the kitchen, fidgety, with his t-shirt dangling teasingly off one shoulder.
         “I could fix us something to eat while you take a shower?  I mean, if you don’t mind my invading your kitchen.”
         Luce stood, heading toward the bedroom.  A cold shower, he thought.  “Yeah, sure, make yourself at home.”
About the Author

D. Alyce Domain. Is a long-time lover of creative fiction.  She learned to read with Dr. Seuss, grew up reading Sweet Valley High, James Howe, and Lois Duncan, and graduated to category romance with Harlequin and Silhouette in her teen years.  Ms. Domain started out writing fan-fiction after her favorite fictional characters met with death and cancellation on network television.  Inspired by the entertaining, multi-layered storylines created by so many female romance, young adult and television writers, she began to experiment with her own characters.  Coupled with her own unique brand of genre-bending romantic fiction, Ms. Domain was able to create a whole new world within the pages of her books.
Ms. Domain was born and raised in Houston, Texas, the youngest daughter of Charles and Eunice Domain.  She has one older sister.  She earned a BS in Biochemistry and a MS in Biomedical Sciences.  She worked in Patient-Based Biological Research before switching careers and opening her own fashion boutique, The Aesthetic Domain.  In addition to fashion apparel and accessories, she sells her own original jewelry creations and runs the Boutique & Blog website, which is based in Houston, Texas.  Ms. Domain also has avid interests in inspirational music, art/entertainment, and history.
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Withering Hope

 

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: January 18, 2015

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USA TODAY BESTSELLER
This is a full-length, STANDALONE romance.
Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.
But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.
As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.
Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.
Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.
EXCERPT 1
Tristan pours a few drops of shower gel over my board and then over his. It’s not enough to clean the clothes, but it makes them smell better. That’s as high as we can hope given our circumstances, and we’re very careful to waste as little shower gel as possible.
“What’s your favorite color?” Tristan asks. At last he’s enjoying our little questioning game and initiates it almost as often as I do.
“White.”
“That’s a non-color,” Tristan says with a smile, tsk-tsking.
“Well, it’s the one I like most,” I say defensively.
“That’s why you have so much white clothing?”
“Yeah,” I say, surprised he noticed that. I wore white a lot in L.A.
He nods, as if considering something. “You look good in white.”
I blush slightly. One of the wavy short sleeves of the dress I’m wearing falls off my shoulder. I raise my hand to put it back in place as Tristan does the same. Our hands meet mid-way, and when our fingers touch, electricity zips through us. It’s so intense, I feel a burning sensation in my fingers even after we break contact. The warmth spreads from my fingers, rising to my cheeks, and I blush, confused, even more so when I realize Tristan is avoiding my gaze.
“You look good in everything you wear,” he says, “Aimee.”
I flinch a bit at the sound of my name. I usually do when he says it. And he says it often, ever since I asked him to. I can’t pinpoint how or why, but it sounds different now.
After a few minutes I ask, “What’s your favorite meal?”
He doesn’t miss a beat. “Omelette.”
I snicker. “That doesn’t qualify as a meal,” I say, seizing the chance to get back at him for mocking my favorite color. “No one dreams about an omelette. That’s a last resort food anyone can cook. Pick something else.”
“Well, that’s what I like. I love an omelette for breakfast. It’s a privilege to be able to eat one while sitting in a comfortable chair, reading the newspaper.”
That’s a bit weird, but I let it go. Every day here must be a privilege for him since we eat eggs almost every morning, though boiled, not an omelette. Maybe it’s his guilty pleasure. Like coffee is for me.
“I don’t know about omelettes, but I like my coffee in the morning.”
“I know,” he says, smiling even wider. “At 7:00 a.m. sharp. With one spoon of sugar.”
“You’re perceptive,” I say. “What else did you notice about me?”
“You like to change your haircut every six months and—”
“Wow. You’d make a perfect boyfriend,” I say, stunned. “Most men don’t notice things like that.”
His expression hardens, and I bite my lip. Stepping into forbidden territory again.
“I meant it as a compliment,” I add, though I have the feeling that won’t help.
“I just like to observe… the little things,” he says, clipping out the words. I mull them over for a few seconds in silence.
About the Author

Welcome! My name is Layla Hagen and I am a Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world. And I drink coffee. Lots of it 😀
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Alas, She Drowned

 

Cozy Mystery
Date Published: April 12, 2016
Murder. Betrayal. Duplicity.
When ex-novice nun, turned steamy romance writer, Maggie O’Flynn moves to the charming village of Stratford Upon Avondale to open a tea room she expects plenty of murder, betrayal, and duplicity. On the stages of the town’s renowned Shakespeare Festival. But when a theater critic is found murdered on the town’s riverbank and the prime suspect turns out to be the sexy bookshop owner Maggie has had her eye on, she takes matters into her own hands. Will she be able to dig through the layers of betrayal and duplicity to find the true murderer before that handsome bookseller, Nate Larimer, finds himself behind bars? With the help of her loud, brash, spitfire of a friend, Gina Mattucci, Maggie plans to do just that.
With a bit of Shakespeare, copious amounts of tea, and a faux-English setting to rival anything the real England has to offer, ALAS, SHE DROWNED is the first book in THE STRATFORD UPON AVONDALE mystery series. Lovers of cozy mysteries will find a cozy home in Stratford Upon Avondale.
EXCERPT
As I placed the sandwich board advertising, “Authentic English Cream Teas, $7.99”, outside my twee tea room I came to a realization. In the past two weeks alone, I’d had all the murder, mayhem, scandal, and treachery I could handle.
When I’d moved from my home in Philadelphia to this small town four months earlier I had no idea it was such a hotbed of scandal. Murders were commonplace; duplicity abounded; treachery was to be expected.
And yet the place is bucolic beyond words. Nestled in a rural corner of a western state, it is surrounded by orchards and vineyards. But much of its claim to fame is the center of town which resembles a quaint English village, with every building seeming to have been lifted from Tudor or Victorian England. Mullioned windows, exposed timbers, bay windows, gables, and jettied top floors appear to be building code requirements.
But still, all that murder and duplicity.
Murder and duplicity that could be found on Stratford Upon Avondale’s two renowned stages. The five-month long Shakespeare festival is the town’s raison d’être. 
In my short time in the village I had already attended three plays—two Shakespeare and one production of Arsenic and Old Lace.
Yes, that was indeed plenty of murder and scandal, and the festival had just begun.
“Morning, Maggie,” called out Mrs. Vachon from the souvenir shop three doors down the street, where she was meticulously sweeping the sidewalk. After a few days of clouds and rain, the morning sun felt warm and welcome, and I noticed Mrs. Vachon wasn’t the only merchant outside tidying up.
“Good morning.” I waved at the energetic, gray-haired woman who’d been running her shop for over forty years.
 Maggie O’Flynn—I was the newbie in town. Most of the business owners in the town dedicated to all things Shakespeare and England,— despite being five thousand miles from English soil—had been here for years. Yet they all welcomed me with open arms when I purchased the Merry Wives Tea Room and settled into their town. 
About the Author

Monica Knightley began creating compelling characters and stories at the age of three, when she had a plethora of imaginary friends, all with complete backstories. Today any characters that come knocking on the door of her imagination find themselves in one of her mysteries, young adult novels, or paranormal romances.
When not fueling her reading addiction or writing her next book, Monica loves to travel with her husband, with England being her favorite frequently visited destination, and perhaps France coming in a close second. She can’t live without perfectly steeped tea, a good bold red wine, and dark chocolate. Monica loves her time with family and friends and can never get enough of either.
Monica lives in Portland, Oregon where the frequent rainy weather is perfect for curling up with a good book and a cup of tea.
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Killer Pursuit

Thriller
Date Published: January 18, 2016

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When a secret webcam is found in the Georgetown bedroom of a murdered high-society call girl, everyone in Washington, DC wants the recording…especially the killer. 
After a high-society call girl is brutally murdered in her Georgetown home, investigators find two cameras hidden in the walls of her bedroom. One has its memory erased, presumably by the murderer. The second is a webcam with an encrypted connection…and no-one knows who’s on the other end. Whoever has the recordings has embarrassing leverage against some of the most powerful men in DC, not to mention a video of the murder showing the identity of the killer.
FBI Special Agent Allison McNeil is asked by beleaguered FBI Director Clarence Mason to run an off-the-record investigation of the murder because of the murder’s similarity to a case she worked a year earlier. Allison knows the most direct path to apprehending the killer is to find the videos, but rumors that the victim’s client list may include some of Washington’s most powerful men makes her doubt the director’s motives. As she starts her investigation, she quickly discovers that she’s not the only one pursuing the recording…but that the most aggressive person racing against her might be the murderer himself.
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About the Author

Jeff Gunhus is the author thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 100 on Amazon and have been Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists.
After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.
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Checkmate

 
Mystery
Date Published: February 16, 2016
 
 
 

Checkmate is the fourth standalone novel in the Harry Starke series of mysteries.

Angela Hartwell lay dead in the shallow waters beside the golf course. There was not a mark on her, yet she had been strangled. How could that be?

Once again, it’s up to Harry Starke to find out. The investigation takes him into a world he’s very familiar with, a world of affluence, privilege, and corruption.

To solve the mystery, he must deal with three murders, a beautiful used car dealer, her lovely twin sisters, and a crooked banker.  Not to mention Burke and Hare, two crazy repo men who will stop at nothing to protect their employer’s interests. There’s also the matter of an ingenious, sadistic killer. But nothing is ever quite what it seems….

Harry Starke is a hard-boiled private detective, an ex-cop, a tough guy from the right side of the tracks with finely tuned senses, good instincts, and friends in high places. He’s single, successful, well educated, and yes, he will hurt you if he needs to.

Review

The Suspense and Mystery were spot on.

Harry Starke was a very likable character and I loved feeling like I was in his shoes throughout the story.

The plot is well developed and flows nicely with the addition of well placed humor helps to lighten the mood.

Excited to see what future installments have in store for us.

About the Author

Blair Howard is from a small town in England, near Stratford-upon-Avon, on the edge of the English Cotswolds. He is Kentucky Colonel, an honor bestowed upon him in 2008 by the then Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Steven L. Beshear. Until 2015, he wrote sweeping historical epics, and is the author of five historical novels. In July of 2015 he decided to try his hand at writing mystery novels, thus we have Harry Starke. The first in the series, Harry Starke, was released in mid-September 2015. The second novel, Two for the Money, was released October 19 the same year, Hill House, in mid-December 2015, and Checkmate in February 2016, and there are more to come.

Blair is the author of more than 40 books and more than 4,500 magazine, newspaper, and web articles. His work has appeared in many national and international publications, including Delta’s Sky Magazine, PHOTOgraphic magazine, The Mail on Sunday, The Walking Magazine, Petersen’s Hunting Magazine, The Boston Herald, The Detroit Free-Press, The Anchorage Times and many more.

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Deadly Alliance


Romantic Suspense
Date Published: February 2, 2015
 

Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, walked on the wild side in Iraq, but now he lives in the shadows. After his evasive partner, Les, was shot in a random drive-by, Finn discovers cash is siphoned monthly. He fights to keep his investment company afloat. When the late partner’s girlfriend, Amy Kintyre, applies for his bookkeeping job, Finn suspects she knows about his company drain and hires her.

Amy needs a nine-to-five with free evenings and weekends to get her fashion design business back on track. She unearths Les’ s secret bank account and alerts Finn. Freezing of the money laundering account sets off havoc within an Irish gang. Amy witnesses a gang fight between a brutal ISIS fundraising organization and the Irish. Desperate to escape a stalker’s crosshairs, she seeks refuge with Finn. As danger heats up, sparks fly hotter.

Les is alive. After cheating the Irish mob, he became their target. Mistaken identity took the life of his disabled twin brother. Now Les makes another deal—trading Amy and stolen drugs for their forgiveness. Stakes are high as Finn tracks assassins across the San Bernardino Mountains. If he gets her back, can he trust her?

 

Review

The key to a great Romantic Suspense is to get your reader so engaged they can’t put it down. Twists and Turns that the reader does not see coming are a MUST!  Kudo’s to Kathleen Rowland for managing to pull all of this off!

In addition to the above she also gives the reader a great ROMANCE!

 

Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts.  Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.

Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors.  While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write while listening to demanding character voices in her head.

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Please visit at www.kathleenrowland.com

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Kyser

Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Date Published: 2/22/2016

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Our world now is known as the Old Times. In the New Age, a young man comes of age, where one global sovereignty rules in a gender and class defined crumbling society, and discovers that its survival is in his hands, as he embarks on an exciting and dangerous adventure.
EXCERPT
I lie in bed and blink my eyes open. I suffer too many sleepless nights and not enough material to tire my mind. At night, when I lie in bed, my mind tends to wander. After the usual subjects of school, work, friends, and family have been exhausted, it hungers for something more substantial. I’ve tried reading before bed, tried drinking, tried drugs, nothing helps. The doctors tell me it’s the other way around. I’m thinking too much and that’s what’s keeping my brain awake.
I blink again, trying to determine which plane of consciousness I currently inhabit, when something on the ceiling of my cubby catches my attention. It looks to be a butterfly. It’s an odd-looking thing with folded paper wings. It grows bigger, the fluttering stops and I watch in amazement as the wings unfold. Of all things, there is a message inside. “The sleeper is awake,” I read aloud. Curious thing. I ask myself, What does it mean? And, just like that, the butterfly folds back up, disappearing as mysteriously as it appeared.
A cold spreads over me, coursing through my veins, leaving a tingling in my toes and fingertips, numbing my senses. My heartbeat accelerates, a vain attempt to keep my blood from freezing, causing me to sweat a cold sweat. I’m having a ripple. I call them ripples simply because I can’t think of a better way to explain the fluctuation I experience when I transition between planes of existence. The ripple washes over me, carries me from the threshold of the present to the plateau of a vision.
I can’t explain what the visions mean or why they are coming to me. All I know is…
 I’m lying on my back in a field of freshly mown grass. I’m looking up at a star-filled sky. Jonyo is lying next to me. Jonyo passes me a joint. Here we are, just the two us blowing smoke rings and getting high. Silver streamers rise up to the sky through our rings as they go by. The moon is full and the Man in the Moon is smiling back at me.
The Man in the Moon speaks. “Thank you,” he says to me. He jangles his new jewelry, a hoop earring, for me to see.
“You’re welcome,” I reply, though I know not why.
“It’s good to have you back,” he says.
Jonyo nudges me. “Man, do you hear the music?”
I do. It’s low and far away. Off in the distance a band is playing. I stand to see where the music is coming from and find the man in the purple cape standing in front of me.
 “Where have you been?” I ask.
“I’ve been here the whole time,” the man says.
“Why have you come?”
He replies, “It is time for the sleeper to awake.”
“Why can’t I see your face?”
“In due time,” says the man before fading away.
Before he goes, I ask, “Who is the sleeper?” The question falls off into thin air, for the man in the purple cape is no longer there.
The field changes and I find myself on a stage. Jonyo is pointing to the audience. “They want you to play.”
Night has turned to day. I look out over a sea of faces. The crowd is chanting, I strain to hear, but I hear only silence. “Why can’t I hear them?” Then I remember where I saw this before…in a vision. “Wait.” I’m looking about. Images of crisp and vibrant colors, darkly outlined, like a cartoon. “Am I not in a vision right now?”
“You are.” The man in the purple cape is back. “You will hear them clearly,” he adds, as his cape ruffles in the wind. “In time.”
“Who is the sleeper?”
He’s fading away again until only his smile remains. “You are.” And, POOF the smile is gone.
My attention is drawn to a young girl in the crowd holding a pink flower. The flower hides her face. She holds the flower out to me. “Will you take my flower?”
I desperately want to see behind the flower. Exasperated I ask, “Why can’t I see your face?”
Jonyo nudges me again. “Dude, they are waiting for you to play.”
I look around the stage. Leni is on drums and Beni stands behind the mic. Scottie strums guitar. Jonyo plays his twanger, feet dangling over the edge.
“They got the old band back together,” I say, taking Juliette out, I begin to play. I’ve been neglecting her of late. My mind is filled with distractions but once I bring the harmonica to my lips, it’s as though we have never been apart.
The flower girl is on stage with me. Her hair is on fire but she does not burn. “I am the one,” she says and wraps her arms around my neck. Playfully she pulls me in and bites my lip. Our lips lock and I part mine to receive her…but she is gone, leaving only Juliette at the tip of my tongue. So I play. A sound so clear it resonates like a bell, echoing down the valley.           
The music calls forth a parade. Couples walk by holding hands. There are others, men and women running alongside, waving flags and banners; the band plays on. “We are the children,” the couples sing. Clear as day, I hear them. “Lead us, young lion. Lead us, Boy King.”
What on Earth do they mean?
People are dancing to my song. The music gets louder, more frenetic. The dancing becomes an orgy. Sex fills the air, the smell, the sound, the feel, so intense it lifts me off my feet. I’m light as a feather as I float over the crowd. I’m being drawn like moth to flame. Suddenly someone grabs my leg and pulls me back. It’s the man in the purple cape.
 “I just want a sip,” I plead with him.
“Trust me. That is not the wine you seek.” He points to the flower girl. “Your wine is over there.”
I thirst so. “When can I drink?”
“Your time will come,” he says. “And when it does the taste will never be sweeter.” He disappears again, leaving me in a thither.
“That is most annoying, “I say. Distracted, I turn around to see — the Great Father is standing before me. The Great Father reaches out to shake my hand. “I’ve been waiting a long time for you. Call me John.”
I recoil in his presence, stagger away; I lose my footing and fall off the stage, brace for impact, and expect to hit the ground hard. I find myself landing in a sand dune soft as a pillow. Brushing the sand off, I sit up. Before me is an aqua blue sea. The air is salty, gulls cry out overhead, the dune grass gently waves in the breeze; a school of fish swim by, pretty as you please, shimmering in the cartoon sun.
I turn to the Great Father. He stops me before I speak, insisting, “Please, call me John.”
I feel uncomfortable calling him by name. “It is not how I was brought up. I was told to respect…”
He holds out his hand, politely, to stop me once again, smiling as he says, “Please, it is I who should be bowing to you.”
“I don’t understand,” I start to say before noticing the beautiful mountain behind the Great Father. On the side of the mountain is a seashell. “Where am I?”
“You are back at the beginning,” John Kyser says and hands me a set of keys, three in all.
“What are these?”
“They belong to you. They are the keys to unlock the future,” John says. “They belong to the one who answers the question.”
“How is it they belong to me?” I am confused. “What question?”
The Great Fath–John disappears. The sand, the sea, and the mountain all fade away.
“Call me John.” I hear an ethereal voice say. I am sitting in front of a computer screen. There is a question on the screen. The words are blurred but the question mark is clear. Next to the question mark is a blinking cursor. My fingers hover above the keyboard and I wonder what I am supposed to type. I ask the ethereal voice, “What am I supposed to enter?”
I get a reply. “The word that means everything,” says the voice, “but has no meaning at all.”
The vision ends and my eyes flash open. Those words ring familiar and I know why. My friends and I have our own language we call kaberky, a made up word that we use when we forget the name of something, or the name doesn’t come to mind fast enough. It’s silly speak, something to keep us laughing.
The visions started about a year ago. It took a while for me to understand that the visions are of the future, my future. It’s all confusing and very frustrating.
I toss the sheets away and sit up in bed. It’s useless to try to sleep. Checking the compad on the night table, I see its only 5:10. I run fingers through my hair and use my nightshirt to wipe the sweat from my forehead.
   I get out of bed, and head to the back door. I’ve lived here my whole life. I exit onto the deck built by father in my eighth year.
The morning sky is clear but I don’t know it. The moment I take a step out the door, a thunderclap strikes me followed by a bolt of lightning. I cover my eyes to protect against the flash and in the bright light I see the butterfly message appear again. This time the paper wings are held between two hands. A raindrop falls, smearing the word, awake. I shake my head and the image vanishes. I look up expecting it to rain, but there isn’t a cloud in the sky. The stars are fading in the indigo light. There are no clouds, no thunder, no lightning. So what is it, then? I wonder as I lean on the rail and light a joint to clear my head.
Today is my birthday, a very important day in the Kyser Society. It’s my eighteenth birthday. I am a man today, ready to sign the Social Contract declaring which service I’m willing to join. It’s a major decision all boys my age go through. I have to choose between joining the Military or the Civil Service. It’s probably the reason behind my sleepless nights.
Based on my Martial Arts score in school, the military is the logical choice. I find that funny because I’m a pacifist at heart. The Civilian service appeals to me more, but I lack the skills to be a civil servant. Both services have their pros and both have their cons and I have all day to make up my mind.
Today is going to be the last day I wake up in dome #3 and look up at the hometown sky. It’s sad. Unlike my friends who couldn’t wait to sign up, I’m in no hurry to leave home just yet. This is the only home I’ve ever known.
I take a drag from the joint. What really makes turning eighteen so special is sex. I can legally have sex now. I can choose to wait until the next Draft where I hold a rank of 79, or I can visit a LaSalle House. To be honest, I’m about ready to burst. The LaSalle looks like a good option. No, not really—I would be foolish to throw away a 79 rank.
Being so highly ranked, I’m looking at getting an 8.5 or a 9 as a mate. If I have sex before Draft Day, I would drop so low in the rankings that I’d be grateful to end up with a 5 or 6 at best. Don’t get me wrong, 5 or 6 girls are still very attractive. I can honestly say that I have not seen one Kyser girl that isn’t attractive regardless of rank, but why settle for merely attractive when I can have near perfection? It all boils down to abstention.
If I was to join the Military, with my MA scores, I could go into the officer-training program. The minimum rank I can receive in officer training is a 9. If I was to join the Civilian service as just an ordinary woodsmith like my father, I would get no less than an 8. That’s heady stuff and definitely worth consideration.
Thinking of sex and objectifying women is something I do twenty-four hours a day. I’m eighteen, after all. Sex is everywhere. In everyday conversations, in publications and in decorations hanging on walls, there is no escaping it. I could be walking down the street and see lovers in the act. I could stand on my deck in the backyard, as I am doing now, and listen to my neighbors having sex—as they are doing now. In the yard next-door, there is a couple having sex. I think, because of the hour, it may be the gardener and his wife. I’m not sure. I could go over to see but don’t feel like getting myself riled up.
It doesn’t help to have two sexually active parents. The open-floor design of the dome I live in, with its air vents and steel grating between floors, leaves very little to the imagination. They are in the room directly above mine. As a small boy I used to try to block out their sounds by putting a pillow over my head. It didn’t work. When I first heard them together, the way mother was yelling, I thought father was hurting her. I was naïve. I wanted to run upstairs and help her. That naiveté went away the moment I started learning what the noises meant. That was during my tenth year when Sex-Ed really kicked in. That’s the year we started watching video with sound. Towards the end of the year, live instructors would come into the classroom to put on demonstrations for us. My eyes and ears were opened that year.
As I grew older, so did my curiosity. Instead of running upstairs to rescue mother, I started to peek through the grating to see what they were doing. I thought it vulgar at first, because I didn’t understand, but the more I watched the more fascinated I became.
From that moment on, I saw my parents in a different light. Mother, especially. Mother is tiny compared to father. She is 5’9” while he is 6’8”. She is a very attractive woman. I have seen her nude my whole life. Nudity is a way of life but I never put it together with sex until tenth year. Prior to that, seeing pictures of nude women was equivalent to going to Stadium Marketta with mother on her shopping days and looking at the lovely women half-dressed in House colors and never imagined them in positions or performing certain acts as portrayed by the class instructors.
I live in a world where the women are beautiful, the men, big and strong. You put those two together in an open society and the results are remarkable. The Society looks upon sex as natural as breathing. I still hear the couple next door and part of me still wants to go over and peek at the couple, but I can tell they are winding down. Funny thing, it would be perfectly normal for me if I did go over. Sex is not reviled. It’s not consigned or confined to the bedroom. To look at or watch other people having sex is not considered a perversion. In fact it is considered a compliment. Of course if I was underage it would be a different story. Children are forbidden to participate in any sexual conduct.
“Enough of that,” I say tossing away the roach and head back inside.
Back in the house, I hear the compad buzzing on my night stand. I run to get it before it stops and wonder who could be calling me at such an un-godly hour? I pick up the compad. It’s father. I scratch my head and rub the fog from my eyes. I must be reading this wrong. The icon showing father’s picture also displays the origin of the call. I have to read it again because I can’t believe what it’s telling me. He’s calling me from the store at Stadium Marketta. “It doesn’t make sense.” I scratch my head again.
Mother comes down just as I am speaking to myself. She’s wearing a silky nightshirt in House colors of green, blue, yellow and black. Still groggy from sleep, she walks passed me with one eye open. She squeezes my shoulder. “Morning,” she says. “Aren’t you gonna answer that?”
“Mother, why is father calling me from the store?”
“I don’t know; try asking him.” She yawns, disappearing behind the screen to use the toilet. I stare at the compad afraid to answer it. I worry that this is a dream, and answering it will cause me to wake up in some alternate universe from which I will never come back. Mother comes out of the toilet and washes her hands at the sink. I let the call go to voice mail.
“How could he leave here without my knowing it?” I look around, trying to figure it out. How long was I outside? I look at the time. It’s only 5:25.
She sounds surprised. “He didn’t wake you?” She slips out of her nightshirt and steps under the showerhead turning the water on. She squeals as the water hits her.
It doesn’t even faze me anymore to see her in the shower. “I didn’t see him,” I reply, still scratching my head. “I’ve been up all morning.”
“Couldn’t sleep again?” She asks over the sound of the shower.
The question is irrelevant. “Why is father at the store so early?”
“He was supposed to take you,” she says, her back to me. She turns around. “Hand me the shampoo.”
When I was a kid, just learning about sex, I would not be able to stand here without showing signs of excitement, but now I have become so desensitized to it, I hardly bat an eye. I dig the shampoo out of the cabinet beside the shower and watch as she lathers up. I’m not sure how to read her right now.
“Why would he take me? Today is my holiday—my birthday. He knows I have the day off.”
“You don’t have to remind me,” she says and rinses her hair, wringing out the excess before turning off the water. “Hand me a towel.”
How can she be so ambivalent? This is really bothering me. Something is wrong and she is acting as if it isn’t. I fetch a towel from the same cabinet and hand it to her. “It’s not for work,” she says and proceeds to wrap the towel around her head. She steps out of the shower onto the drying screen. It’s pointless trying to talk to her now; she will not hear me over the dryer. The grate activates once both her feet step on it. Hot air bursts from vents in the floor and ceiling to dry her off instantly, except for her hair. The towel protects it. When she is finished, she goes into the kitchen to prepare breakfast.
I waited patiently for her attention. “Then why does he need me at the store?”
“I’ll let him explain,” she says and points to the buzzing compad in my hands. “Why don’t you answer it and ask him?” She asks and bends down to take out the coffee pot.
I answer the call, while watching mother fill the coffee pot with water. “Hello.”
“There you are, son.” Father’s image appears on screen. He looks worried. “I looked for you.” He sees behind me. “You’re still home?”
“I was on the deck out back,” I say. “How did you leave without me knowing?”
“You mentioned last night that you might go for a bike ride in the morning, so I just assumed that’s where you were.”
I remember mentioning that I might go for a bike ride in the morning. I didn’t mean this early. “What’s going on, father?”
“I have a very important meeting and I need you to come to the store right away. I’ll explain when you get here.”
Every birthday is a mandatory holiday in the Society. That means no work or school. “Today is my day off.  What do you need me for?” I didn’t want to spend one iota of the day in or near the store. Meanwhile, I watch mother busy around the kitchen, readying breakfast, while pretending she isn’t listening.
“Come to the store and I’ll explain. I promise it won’t ruin your day.”
Mother raises her eyebrows, which tells me she knows something. It doesn’t matter. I can’t refuse my father. “I’ll be there as quickly as I can.” I hang up, and ask mother, “Is this some surprise you guys have cooked up for my birthday?” I try to probe her mind, but she has learned to block me out.
My compad buzzes again. It’s Regan, my life-coach.
She’s in a good mood. “Hello Anthony.” The icon tells me she is calling from her house. No location, just house. I open the icon so her face fills the screen. Regan is in her mid-twenties. I venture to guess she was an 8 during her Draft. She works for the Census Bureau in their Central Monitoring division. She is dressed in CB gray which isn’t flattering. “You’re up early this morning.”
I wonder if she is in on it. “Yes, I am,” I say, feeling grumpy. “I didn’t sleep last night.  And now, apparently, I have to work today.”
“Not today,” she frowns. “Today is your birthday.” She doesn’t even comment on the sleeping problem.
 “Father doesn’t think so.”
Regan sees mother in the background and gives her a shout out, “Hello, Eliza.”
Mother answers, “Hi, Regan.” Mother is hovering. Very strange, I thought.                                                          
Regan keeps talking. “I’m sure your day will not be ruined. I have your schedule right here.” She pulls up the calendar. “You have plenty of free time this morning. I’ll update it with this new development.”
I don’t want my schedule updated. To argue is childish. “Thank you, Regan.” I sit at the table. Mother puts a plate of eggs, and a cup of coffee in front of me, then kisses the top of my head.
Regan goes through the daily briefing starting with the weather. “Showers in the south valley, sunny in the north with temperatures in Meadowbrook reaching a high of eighty-two.”
She finishes the news. I can see there is something on her mind that she is dying to ask before continuing, “What is it?”
Regan is supposed to act stoically, professionally with no emotion; conduct dictated by the Census Bureau that Regan and I dispensed with years ago. Regan is more like a big sister to me. “Have you made a decision yet?”
I look over my shoulder to see mother has moved a little closer. I play it coy with a nod in her direction. “I have until midnight to declare.”
Mother slouches away. “Ugh!”
I laugh as she walks away. “I intend to enjoy every minute,” I say.
“So I take it that means no,” Regan says sarcastically, the way a big sister would say it. In reality, I don’t know firsthand what it’s like to have a big sister. I’m an only child. The only way I do know anything about how sisters treat their brothers is through Jonyo and his two sisters.
“I’ll tell you,” I snark back, “when someone tells me what’s going on.”
Reagan shrugs and continues with her morning brief.
I drink my coffee and listen. When she is done, I get up from the table and wash my face. I look around the room at the eight empty cubbies where the other children of a C4 House would sleep. When I was young, I asked so many questions as to why I was the only child. Those questions were avoided. Now I don’t even bother to ask. I go to my cubby and dress for the day.
I am going to ride my bike to the store; I am permitted to wear shorts when I ride. I put on a yellow and black t-shirt and blue and green biker shorts, tossing a kilt of the same colors along with the compad in my kit bag. Mother walks by on her way upstairs, carrying nightshirt and towel in one hand and mug of coffee in the other. “I have to get ready for the day.” She kisses my cheek and continues on the way. “Love you, son. Happy Birthday.”
I remind her, “Don’t forget, we have a lunch date.”
She doesn’t respond, just continues on her way, humming as she goes up the ramp. She’s acting very peculiar…
About the Author

Kyser is Anthony Polinice’s debut novel, first of a trilogy; Book II of Kyser will be available in Fall 2017; Polinice is a Network Engineer, and resides on Long Island with his wife, Lori and their two daughters, Madison and Taylor.
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