Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Book Blitz: Saved by Love by Shilpa Suraj





About the Book:
They meet under impossible circumstances.

She is kidnapped by terrorists blackmailing her father, a Supreme Court Judge. He leads the team sent to rescue her.

Trekking to safety through Ladakh... They are in danger of falling in love. But, Lt. Col. Arjun Rathod knows that Naina Ahuja, engaged to politics' rising star, is not meant for him.

Forever changed by her trauma, Naina walks out of her controlling family and forges a new life.

And then, she meets Arjun again. But this time, he is engaged to someone else.

Can they save their love or is it too late?

Book Links:


Read an Excerpt:

“Miss Ahuja? Naina?”

The almost soundless whisper had Naina’s eyes snapping open in the dark. A hard hand came up to cover her mouth even as a terrified squeak left her lips. A pair of dark, intense eyes in a face streaked with camouflage paint floated into her vision. “I’m here to rescue you. Your father sent me. I need you to stay completely silent when I remove my hand. Can you nod if you understand?”

Keeping her eyes on his strong, reassuring ones, Naina nodded quickly. The stranger waited to make sure she wouldn’t scream, and slowly lifted his hand from her mouth. Slipping a knife out from seemingly nowhere, he cut the rope binding both her hands and feet within seconds and levered her up from her prone position. Helping her to her feet, he watched intently to see if she was steady on her feet. Reassured that she wasn’t going to faint at his feet, Arjun moved quickly to the door and looked out. The guards were still unconscious from the light taps to the back of their heads administered by his teammates, and so far there was no sign of any other movement in the camp. Coming back into the room, he put his lips close to her ear to whisper, “Can you walk?”

Nodding mutely, Naina craned her neck to get a glimpse of his face from this angle. The stranger was so tall that he towered over her by almost a foot. Dressed all in black, with a mini arsenal strapped on to him, he looked like he’d arrived straight from hell. Apparently, the devil was her hero tonight.


About the Author:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.




Contact the Author:


Giveaway:

2 Winners. Signed Paperback copy of Saved by Love & Bookmarks. Open to Indian Residents only.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Book Blitz: Unusual Equations by Anupriya


Read on Kindle Unlimited


About the Book:
Viraj is struggling to concentrate at work because he has a wife to worry about. But he is more apprehensive because he knows that she is currently parked at the apartment of his arch nemesis.

Madhuri fought with her husband last night and in her rage left the house. She knows there is one place in the world where she is always welcome. She only hopes that she is not crossing any lines.

Aman has for long given up hope. Yet he can’t help but get a kick out of the circumstances that have brought her to his place. Is this is chance finally to bring her back to him?

Lives of three people entwined by love, passion, urge and devotion. Will they survive these unusual equations? Or will it destroy their happiness forever?




Buy from Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

Anyone who had seen them together thought that Viraj was one doting husband. Madhuri didn't consider it to be a big deal.
“I left my family for him, after all.”  she felt entitled in lieu of the sacrifice she had made to be with him.
“You gotta be easy on him, Madhuri. The reason he can’t stop looking at you like a love-struck puppy even today is not just that you left your family to be with him. It’s his innate need to love and cherish you,” mentioned one of her free-lancer friends last night. Madhuri couldn't care less.
Even Aman is so loving and caring towards me.
Madhuri sat upright, jolted. Her thoughts shifted towards her relationship with Aman.
Friendship, Mads, it’s friendship with Aman.
What Madhuri shared with Aman was inexplicable. To call it a childhood friendship or companionship would be marring the beauty of it all.
Growing up in an extremely patriarchal household, where her brother was almost worshipped, Aman made her feel like she was the centre of his universe. He was the only person in her life who never wanted to change a thing about her.  He counseled her, helped her, and when she got herself into any madness, he just stood along and ensured that he was there to pick her up if she fell.
In fact, it was Madhuri’s affinity towards getting into all kinds of weird situations while dealing with people that Aman had christened her - Mads.
A much suppressed spirit as a child, Madhuri turned out to be rebellious and aloof as a teenager and a young adult. A part of the reason was also the awareness that she just had to turn and Aman would definitely be somewhere around the corner. He was always close by to help her with academics and extracurricular activities. Whenever she reported sick and missed school, Aman didn’t hesitate to go the extra mile and do double the work by copying all her class-work and assignments in her notebooks for her.
Madhuri never worried about even a dime in her life because she knew that Aman was there to root for her. Always.
Well, not always. 

About the Author:
Anupriya belongs to that generation of Idiots (the proud ones though), who did their engineering first and then decided on what they actually wanted to do. She completed her MBA in Human Resources and worked in the corporate world for 8 years, before taking a professional break. A mom by day and a reader/writer by night, Anupriya is a die-hard romantic. Yet she believes that love (in any relationship) is a part of life, not, the heart of life. And she aims to bring to the world, stories around this theme. She can be found in the dot com world at her blog www.mommytincture.com , which contains her ranting about her experiences in her various roles as a mother, daughter, wife and foremost a human being, all churned together. It is also her outlet to the world where she doles out loads of gyaan on self-improvement and relationship management.

Anupriya on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest




Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Showcase: How Deep Is The Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards

How Deep Is The Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards Banner

 

 

How Deep is the Darkness

A Charlie McClung Mystery

by Mary Anne Edwards

December 17, 2019 Book Blast

Synopsis:

How Deep is the Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards


Charlie McClung has always known about darkness, it’s part of being a police chief.

But now it’s spreading throughout the town and creeping into his life.

With each body found, the killer deepens the darkness and McClung must put an end to it.

Now.









Book Details:


Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: Sellem Books
Publication Date: December 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 247
ASIN:B081MYBYG8
Series: The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 6
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

This story begins on Monday, June 20, 1983, in Lyman County, Georgia

Chapter 1

Chief Charlie McClung stared at the pale, bloated body of Myron Wagstaff lying next to his own swimming pool. He’d seen enough bodies to know when dead is dead. And Myron was dead.
McClung glanced at his wife standing near the diving board at the far end of the pool. Marian’s white tee shirt clung to her body and her wet hair was plastered to her head and neck. Hugging herself, she managed a pitiful grin.
Not only was Myron Wagstaff a neighbor and the president of their Homeowners Association, but he was also Marian’s archnemesis.
McClung knelt beside Myron, grabbed his thick wrist, and checked for a pulse. His fingers sank into doughy flesh. Myron’s waterlogged polo shirt looked as if it had been spray painted on his belly, now bloated more than normal.
While McClung held his fingers in place waiting for a beat, he scanned the area. The patio furniture was jumbled together with the garden hose, snaking between the chairs, and stopping at the spot where Myron lay.
That, combined with the fact there weren’t any signs of bruising on Myron, perhaps meant this was an accidental drowning.
“Boss?” Sergeant Thayer asked as he stood behind McClung.
He shook his head as he moved aside for the paramedics to perform their magic. But McClung realized not even Doctor Frankenstein could reanimate poor Myron.
As the emergency team worked on Myron, Charlie hurried toward Marian.
“Are you okay?” He kissed her forehead and pulled her into his arms.
Marian’s body trembled against his chest.
“Thayer! Get Marian a blanket.”
The young sergeant ran full blast and quickly returned.
“I’m okay just, um, just, um.” Marian fought hard to keep her tears in check.
“Here.” Thayer’s breath pounded the back of Marian’s neck as he laid the blanket across her shoulders.
Charlie released Marian, secured the blanket then blotted a tissue under her eyes and nose. “Here’s a clean one.”
“Love the magical tissues.” A weak chuckle tumbled from Marian as she pulled the blanket tighter. “You’d think I’d be sweating in this June heat.”
“Well, it’s not even ten o’clock. It’s cloudy, and you’re soaking wet.” Charlie glanced at her feet. “Where are your shoes?”
“They were muddy, so I took them off before I went into Myron’s house to call 9-1-1 after I failed with CPR.” Marian sighed. “I was afraid that if Myron survived, he’d send me a bill to have the muddy floors cleaned.”
Pointing at the patio doors, she winced. “My shoes are over there.”
“What’s wrong?”
Marian massaged her lower back. “I guess I hurt my back getting Myron out of the water. I’ll be okay.”
Charlie squeezed her hand. Ever since Marian had the terrifying encounter with the Paper Heart Stalker and fell from a second-floor balcony last year, he worried about her health.
When McClung came face to face with the Paper Heart Stalker, Marian almost lost her life to save his but unknowingly sacrificed their unborn child.
He crossed over to the diving board and beckoned for her to follow. “Sit down. Here. Back toward me.”
She eased down on the hard plank.
Charlie’s strong hands ran across her shoulders and down her back.
“Does it hurt?”
“No, not really.”
“I guess nothing’s broken, dislocated, or cracked.”
He crossed over the board and sat down. “When I get home tonight, I’ll give you an intense massage once you’ve soaked in a tub of hot Epsom salt water.”
“Sounds good.” Marian watched the paramedics work on Myron.
The team’s jaws were tight as they knelt over Myron’s body. One paramedic rubbed the back of his neck as he stood in defeat while the other one closed Myron’s eyes and pulled a blanket over his face.
“I didn’t think they’d have much luck reviving him. I’d hoped, but…” Marian's voice trailed, her head heavy as she leaned on Charlie’s shoulder.
“You did everything by the book. I still don’t see how you got Myron out of the pool.”
Marian sighed. “I did what I had to.” She studied Charlie’s face, then swallowed hard and grimaced. “I tried to revive him. CPR but maybe if—.”
“Don’t even go down that path.” Charlie scratched his eyebrow. “Dispatch said you saw a man run from the scene.”
She sat up. “Yeah. Do you think he had something to do with this?”
“Possibly, but we won’t know for sure until we’ve gathered the facts.” Charlie shrugged. “To me, every death is suspicious. Been fooled before but never again.”
A year ago, two weeks after Charlie McClung had moved to Lyman County, he was called to the scene of a fatal shooting, Dianne Pannell. Without an investigation, the then chief of police ruled Dianne’s death a suicide, but Charlie proved it was murder after Dianne’s irritating neighbor, his now-wife, Marian, pressed him to look further into the case.
“Yeah.” Marian murmured.
Charlie stood. “Could be the guy got spooked when he saw Myron in the pool and ran away.” He held out his hand. “Come with me. The paramedics need to give you a quick check.”
“Why? My back isn’t hurting that bad.”
His hand cupped her cheek. “Sweetie, please just humor me.”
Marian avoided looking at Myron and let her husband guide her to the ambulance.
They met officers Willard and Marsh at the gate. Photographer Sam Goldstein wasn’t far behind.
“Ma’am, are you okay?” Marsh’s voice quivered, and his eyebrows drew together.
Marian looked at him for a moment. “I’m fine. Just a bit damp.” She bit her bottom lip and blinked several times. “Maybe a little shaken.”
Both officers were like sons to Marian.
A tentative smile eased the furrow between Marsh’s eyes. “Thank goodness.”
Willard scratched his head. “Where are your shoes, ma’am?”
McClung answered. “They’re outside the patio door. One of you get them for Marian.”
“Consider it done, Boss.” Willard took off.
“Marsh, I want you and Willard to help Thayer process the scene.”
“Yes, Boss.”
Willard returned a few minutes later, holding the less-muddy sneakers. His hands were filthy. “Here you go. I cleaned them up the best I could.”
“Thank you, Willard.” Marian took the shoes.
“No trouble.”
“You two. Go assist Thayer.” McClung barked.
“Wait.” Marian held up her hand. “I scratched the running guy’s tag number on the sidewalk.”
“Marsh go find it. Willard, you report to Thayer.” McClung directed his trusted men.
The two young men hurried off on opposite paths.
“Sam, how did you know I needed you?”
The silver-haired man tapped his temple. “Didn’t take me long to figure you out. You’re a cop that sees murder everywhere.”
“But Sam, how did you know to come here?” Marian blurted.
Charlie and Sam answered. “Police scanner.”
Marian frowned. “Just anybody can have one?”
“Yep!” Charlie sighed. “In this case, it’s a good thing but mostly it’s not.”
Sam coughed. “I’ll just take a picture or two of that tag number.”
“Yeah, do that. Plus, there’s a lot going on behind the house.” Charlie watched the older man trudge down the sidewalk. Camera bags banged against Sam’s body with each step he took.
One of the paramedics joined McClung and Marian at the ambulance.
“Ma’am don’t fret. There wasn’t a thing you could’ve done for that guy.” The bear of a man shook his head. “I ain’t no coroner, but I’ve been at this job for a long time. He’s been dead too long to be revived.”
The reassurance that she wasn’t a factor in Myron’s death didn’t make Marian feel any better.
“Mel, do you mind giving my wife a quick once-over to make sure she’s safe to go home?” Charlie stroked Marian’s back as he spoke.
“Sure.”
Mel removed his latex gloves and put on a fresh pair. He tilted his head toward the rear of the ambulance. “Just sit there.”
“Boss.” Thayer called to McClung from the open gate.
Charlie looked at Marian.
“Go on. Do your job.” Marian kissed her husband's cheek.
He didn’t move from her side.
“I’m fine, just a tweaked back. Besides you’re making me nervous watching me like a hawk.”
“Boss.” Thayer repeated more urgently.
Charlie smiled and gave her a casual salute. “As you wish.”
McClung hurried toward Thayer. “Found something?”
“I think I figured out what happened.”
McClung disappeared behind the fence.
♦♦♦♦♦♦
“What is it, Thayer?” McClung followed him into Myron’s house as he pulled a pair of latex gloves from his pocket. “I was hoping I could go a whole year without having to use these.”
“Makes for a mundane job.” Sergeant Thayer said flatly. “Here sir, in the kitchen. There’s a half-empty bottle of whiskey and one glass.”
McClung arched an eyebrow as he leaned over to study the bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey. About three fingers of liquid was left inside the bottle, a few drops coated the bottom of the tumbler.
He walked to the sink and smelled the drain. No lingering odor of alcohol. Then he carefully picked up the tumbler. “Thayer, flip on the overhead light.”
The fluorescent tubes buzzed to life.
McClung held up the tumbler to the harsh light. On the rim, was a faint lip print. “Hmm, make sure you dust this for prints and bag it.” He set it back in its original position.
Marsh squinted as he entered the kitchen. “Boss, put me to work.”
“Where’s Sam?”
“Taking pictures of the deceased before they cart him away.”
McClung rubbed his earlobe. “Tell Mel to instruct the hospital not to release the body until I say so. I want Jack Jackson to do the autopsy, if he’s available.” He snapped his fingers. “And tell Sam I’ll need him in here when he’s finished.”
“Will do.” Marsh headed outside.
McClung studied every inch of the kitchen: the floor, inside the cabinets, oven, and refrigerator. He examined everything as he searched for possible clues. There was no hint to what may have led to Myron’s death.
“Boss, I don’t think it’s murder.”
McClung raised an eyebrow and replied sarcastically, “Yeah? Well then, enlighten me with your hypothesis of poor Wagstaff’s watery demise.” He strolled toward the open patio door and headed for the pool.
As Thayer spoke, McClung studied the jumbled furniture.
“Myron was drunk, got tangled up in the patio furniture, stumbled around, and then fell into the pool. He was too drunk to get himself out of the water.”
McClung pushed out his bottom lip and nodded. “Hm. He was in the shallow end. All he had to do was stand up.”
Thayer rubbed the top of his head. “Maybe he hit his head on the bottom. Knocked himself out.”
McClung wandered around the pool. He stopped where the garden hose lay beside the pool.
The concrete was soaked, and the grass drenched to the point that a small stream had flowed down the incline, out the gate and onto the street.
“What do you think Myron was doing with the hose?”
Thayer hunched his shoulders. “Topping off the pool?”
“Yeah, sounds right.” McClung pointed to the water-logged grass. “The hose had to be on for a long time to have created that miniature creek rolling down the hill and into the street.”
“That goes to show I’m right. He was drunk standing here. The hose got tangled in the furniture. He yanked it. Lost his balance. Dropped the hose. Hit his head on the concrete and fell into the pool. Accidental drowning.” Thayer crossed his arms and grinned.
McClung pulled on his bottom lip. “Plausible.” Something on the concrete caught his eye.
“What does this look like to you?” McClung knelt close to the spot.
“It looks like blood. Must be where he hit his head.”
“Yeah, and what about this?”
McClung touched a hard, yellowish, rectangular-shaped chip, like a half of a Chiclet. He looked around for Sam Goldstein.
The EMTs were talking to Sam as he photographed Myron’s body.
McClung yelled over his shoulder. “Sam, get over here.”
The paramedics began moving Myron’s body.
“What do we have there?” Sam held the camera to his eye, snapping pictures as McClung pointed toward the areas.
“That appears to be blood.” McClung pointed to the yellowish object. “And that, my friend, doesn’t belong here. Possibly a clue.”
Thayer knelt beside McClung. “Yep, could be. It looks like old ivory?”
McClung thought the odd chip looked familiar, but the vague memory faded away.
Sam zoomed to get a few tight shots of the chip and the blood spatters.
McClung glanced at the EMTs. “Thayer, bag it and look for more spatters and anything else in this area. I want a chat with Mel.”
“Mel, where’s Marian? Is she all right?” McClung moved out of the way of the paramedics while they loaded Myron onto the stretcher.
“She’s fine. Just hurt her back. Understandable.” Mel groaned as they lifted Myron’s body. “Even for me this guy is hefty. I’m surprised your wife got him out of the water. She’s a tiny lady. What 5’3’ and 125 pounds?”
McClung snorted as he nodded. “Yep, but she’s stubborn. If she’s got it in her mind to do something, consider it done.”
“Is Marian still sitting in the back of the ambulance?” McClung followed the gurney.
“No, sir. She’s sittin on the front stoop waitin on you.”
Officer Billy Crawford met them inside the gate.
McClung couldn’t help but smile at his oldest officer. Crawford was always in a jolly mood.
But not this morning.
“Boss, sorry it took me so long to get here.” Crawford wore a rare frown.
“What’s the matter?” McClung waved the paramedics to go on.
Crawford shifted the criminal investigation kit from one hand to the other. “Ah, the missus got news her favorite uncle isn’t doing so good and her dad’s not taking it none too well. If her uncle dies, my father-in-law will be the last one left in his family.”
McClung gripped Crawford’s firm shoulder. “I’m sorry to hear that. Are you sure you should be here? Your wife needs you.”
“Thanks, but I’m not much help. Best thing for me is to stay out of her way.”
“Okay, but don’t be shy about asking for time off. Understand?”
“I appreciate that, Boss.”
“If there’s anything we can do, don’t hesitate to ask.” He shook his index finger at his officer. “I mean it. Ask. Marian will make sure you’re fed, you got that?”
“Yes, Boss. But I saw her sitting out front, and she doesn’t look so good.”
McClung’s eyes widened. “What?”
“You didn’t know she’s here?” Crawford pulled back his head.
“Yeah, but she said she was fine.” McClung patted the officer’s back. “Let me go speak with her. I’ll catch up with you later.”
Charlie hurried to find his wife, but stopped a few yards away to observe her.
So many questions he needed to ask, but he was worried about her. Marian didn’t need this stress. Not now.
Marian looked like a triangular-shaped lump of coal. The dark gray blanket was wound tightly around her body and she was resting her forehead on her knees, which she’d pulled up to her chest.
Charlie wondered how she was able to breathe. He sat beside her and rubbed her back. “Sweetie?”
Marian’s head popped up. “Hey! I didn’t hear you come up. I must’ve dozed off as I was praying.”
“Yeah? Are you sure you’re okay? You don’t look so hot.” Charlie wrapped his arms around her.
Marian winced. “You’re such a sweet talker.”
Charlie released his embrace. “Sorry.” His fingers massaged her lower back.
“That’s okay.” Marian pulled off the blanket and neatly folded it. “I’m tired. I want to lie down. Is it okay for me to walk home, now?”
“Nope, it’s at least a mile and a half. I’m driving you home.”
She straightened her legs. “Might as well. These sneakers are ruined. Not good for anything but stomping around in the yard.”
Marian tucked the thin blanket under her arm. “What about the investigation? Aren’t you going to question me?”
“Your well-being is more important to me. Besides, Thayer’s opinion is this is an accidental drowning. My best team is on this. They don’t need me telling them how to do their job. And you can tell me what happened when you feel like it.”
“Now?”
“Do you honestly want to talk about it now?”
Marian whispered. “I need to, but—”
“But means later. Tonight?”
“Yeah, tonight.”
Charlie held her hand as they walked toward the gate. “Let me tell the guys I’m taking you home.”
McClung passed the EMTs as he disappeared behind the fence.
Marian shuddered as she watched the paramedics load Myron’s body inside the ambulance. “I’ve witnessed this scene too many times in the past year.”
***
Excerpt from How Deep is the Darkness: A Charlie McClung Mystery by Mary Anne Edwards. Copyright 2019 by Mary Anne Edwards. Reproduced with permission from Mary Anne Edwards. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Mary Anne Edwards
Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia for most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne listened to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.
The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released on June 30, 2017. The sixth book, How Deep is the Darkness, will be released on December 2, 2019. She is working on the seventh book, Complex Kid, with at least three more to follow.
Mary Anne and her husband live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is a member of Sisters in Crime and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Catch Up With Mary Anne Edwards:




Book Blast Participants:

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GIVEAWAY!!!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Mary Anne Edwards. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on December 17, 2019 and runs through December 27, 2019. Void where prohibited.



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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Showcase: Murder In Montague Falls by Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton & Patrick Thomas

Murder In Montague Falls by Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, and Patrick Thomas Banner

 

 

Murder in Montague Falls

by Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, Patrick Thomas

on Tour December 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:

Murder in Montague Falls by Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, Patrick Thomas

WHITE HOT THRILLS! PITCH BLACK DEEDS!

3 TALES OF TEENS TACKLING THEIR DARKEST RITES OF PASSAGE

Acclaimed storytellers Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, and Patrick Thomas each present an original novella brimming with enough danger, intrigue, and murder to get readers’ blood pounding and hearts racing.

In Colchamiro’s RED INK, a paperboy with an overactive imagination witnesses a brutal killing on his route—or has he taken his fantasy spy games a step too far?

In Hatton’s THE DEVIL’S DELINQUENTS, a trio of teenage misfits in pursuit of success, power, and revenge practice amateurish occult rituals… with deadly consequences.

In Thomas’s A MANY SPLENDID THING, a sultry high school teacher enrolls one of her students to get rid of her husband. But will the young man really graduate to murder?

Book Details:


Genre: Crime
Published by: Crazy 8 Press
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
Number of Pages: 250
ISBN: 0998364185 (ISBN13: 9780998364186)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The Turnback - You Kill Me:

"You Kill Me" is the official soundtrack to the book MURDER IN MONTAGUE FALLS (Noir-Inspired Novellas by Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton & Patrick Thomas). Russ Colchamiro (a long time friend and fellow creator) asked the band to write what would be considered a closing credit tune for the book. We were happy to do so!


Read an excerpt:

RED INK

An infrared scope cut through the suburban tree line.
Perched on a high-angle branch in the neighbor’s spruce tree, Isaac could see her through the living room window, six houses away.
The M21 semi-automatic sniper rifle with fiberglass stock and 20-round box magazine was snug against his shoulder.
One bullet. One body.
Though camouflaged within a thicket of evergreen leaves, he had a clean shot.
“Come on,” he whispered, his eye against the scope. “Give me the signal.”
In perfect synchronicity, Isaac’s earpiece crackled. “Target confirmed. Kill shot approved.”

THE DEVIL'S DELINQUENTS

Natalie exits her room with the ritual kit, locking the door behind her.
Her father, swathed in a cornucopia-pattern quilt, sits in his wheelchair in the den, positioned near enough the window so that he can be in the daylight. Maybe he enjoys it, but one cannot tell for certain since his face registers no enjoyment, nor any other emotion.
Natalie kneels down before him, flips up the quilt, and undoes the bottom three buttons of his shirt, exposing his stomach. Between her fingertips, she wields the double-edged blade for a safety razor. She carefully nicks the skin above his father’s belly button. She looks up at him, detects no reaction.
She makes intersecting six-inch-long slices into his stomach, then carves a large circle around the lines, working around the seeping blood. Upon finishing, she evaluates her work and nods.
“I’m going to bring you back, daddy,” Natalie says to him, kissing his knuckles. “I promise.”

A MANY SPLENDID THING

Rosa went from smiling to bawling in less time than it took to blink. I pulled her in and held her against my bare chest. She pounded my ribs with her closed fists.
“Why won’t you understand! There is no other way! If we don’t kill him soon, you’ll come to school one day and find that he killed me. How are you going to feel then? Especially if he figures out that you’re my lover! You would follow me to the Pearly Gates.”
“Rosa, this talk of killing is crazy.”
She pushed herself back and slapped me hard across the face. “You think I’m crazy?”
***
Excerpt from Murder in Montague Falls. Copyright 2019 by Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, Patrick Thomas. Reproduced with permission from Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, Patrick Thomas. All rights reserved.



Russ Colchamiro:

Russ Colchamiro
RUSS COLCHAMIRO is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the zany sci-fi backpacking series Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, editor of the sci-fi mystery anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, and contributing author for his newest project, Murder in Montague Falls, a noir novella collection, all with Crazy 8 Press.
Russ has contributed to several other anthologies including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, They Keep Killing Glenn, Altered States of the Union, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Brave New Girls vols. 3&4, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, and Footprints in the Stars.
He is now finalizing the first in an ongoing SFF mystery series featuring his hard-boiled private eye Angela Hardwicke and has several other SFF, crime fiction, and children’s book projects in the works.
Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, their twin ninjas, and their crazy dog, Simon.

For more on Russ’s works, visit:



Sawney Hatton:

Sawney Hatton
SAWNEY HATTON is an author, editor, and screenwriter who has long loved playing in the dark. His published works include the Dark Comedy novel Dead Size, the YA Noir novella Uglyville, and the Dark Fiction short story collection Everyone Is a Moon. He also edited the Sci-Fi Horror anthology What Has Two Heads, Ten Eyes, and Terrifying Table Manners?
Other incarnations of Sawney have produced marketing videos, attended chili cook-offs, and played the banjo and sousaphone (not at the same time). As of this writing, he is still very much alive.




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Patrick Thomas:

Patrick Thomas
PATRICK THOMAS is the award-winning author of the beloved Murphy’s Lore series and the darkly hilarious Dear Cthulhu advice empire.
His 40+ books include Fairy with a Gun, By Darkness Cursed, Lore & Dysorder, Dead to Rites, Startenders, As the Gears Turn, Cthulhu Explains It All, and Exile and Entrance. His is the co-author of the Mystic Investigators series, The Santa Heist, and the Jack Gardner mysteries.
Patrick is the co-editor of Camelot 13 (with John French), New Blood (with Diane Raetz), and Hear Them Roar (with CJ Henderson), co-created The Wildsidhe Chronicles YA series and is the creator of the Agents of the Abyss series.
He has had more than 150 short stories published in magazines and anthologies, with his work for YA and children including the Ughabooz books, the Undead Kid Diaries, the Joy Reaper books, and the Babe B. Bear Mysteries as Patrick T. Fibbs.

Visit him online at:




Tour Participants:

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Enter To Win!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, and Patrick Thomas. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on December 1, 2019 and runs through January 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.


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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Cover Reveal: Saved by Love by Shilpa Suraj

~ Cover Reveal ~
Saved by Love 
by Shilpa Suraj


About the Book:

They meet under impossible circumstances.

She is kidnapped by terrorists blackmailing her father, a Supreme Court Judge. He leads the team sent to rescue her. 

Trekking to safety through Ladakh... They are in danger of falling in love. But, Lt. Col. Arjun Rathod knows that Naina Ahuja, engaged to politics' rising star, is not meant for him.

Forever changed by her trauma, Naina walks out of her controlling family and forges a new life.

And then, she meets Arjun again. But this time, he is engaged to someone else.

Can they save their love or is it too late?


About the Book:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.
An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.





Contact the Author:

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Showcase: VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae

VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae Banner

 

 

VanOps: The Lost Power

by Avanti Centrae

on Tour November 4, 2019 - January 10, 2020

Synopsis:

VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae
Da Vinci Code meets Tomb Raider in this award-winning thriller that #1 NYT's author James Rollins called, "Full of action and suspense."

Spain 1057: During a thunderous battle, the first King of Aragon wrestles Alexander the Great's priceless Egyptian weapon from the Moors, but finds it holds a terrifying and mysterious power.

A thousand years later, on a hushed, fog-shrouded, Napa morning, gunshots and the sound of breaking glass rip through the silence. Maddy Marshall, an app designer and aikido instructor, and her twin brother, Will Argones, an engineer, quickly run toward the sound. Horrified, they discover a sniper's bullet has found its human target.

Before the pool of blood on the living room floor is dry, the twins are sent on an arcane quest to recover Alexander's ancient weapon. Joined by a VanOps covert agent, they soon discover the rifle's sights are now set on them. No place is safe, a wrong move means death, and even a simple phone call is off limits if they are to survive.

From a medieval Spanish castle, they follow a time-worn trail, starting at a secret warren under the streets of Jerusalem. But if the killer finds the weapon first, it will be used to cripple the United States' eye-in-the-sky early warning systems, allowing the Russians to swoop in and prey on the vulnerable nation.

Can Maddy learn to wield the power of the dangerous weapon in time to stop the Russian scheme? Failure means the fragile world peace will be forever shattered…

Critical Praise for VanOps: The Lost Power

"Avanti Centrae’s VanOps: The Lost Power opens a tantalizing new series that combines historical mystery and cutting-edge science into a masterwork of international intrigue—with the promise of more to follow. Written with a dynamic, cinematic style and full of action and suspense, here’s a book that defines page-turner. Don’t miss this riveting debut!”
~ James Rollins, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crucible
“Just a good ole’ fashioned rip-roaring adventure from start to finish. Enjoy the ride.”
~ Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author
“A high-stakes, daring adventure charged with suspense and mystery!”
~ Ann Charles, USA TODAY bestselling author of the Deadwood Mystery Series
“The writing is superb. Easy to read and captivating. There is a mixture of mystery and action that keeps me turning pages. Readers who like Indiana Jones, or the books by James Patterson, Tom Clancy, and Vince Flynn, will enjoy Centrae’s first installment in her VanOps series.”
~ John Bernstein, Professional Reviewer

Book Details:


Genre: Thriller
Published by: Black Opal Books
Publication Date: November 9th 2019
Number of Pages: 308
ISBN: 1644371960 (ISBN13: 9781644371961)
Series: VanOps #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Napa Valley, California, June 25, 8:56 a.m., Present Day
Through the crosshairs of his long-barreled sweetheart, Ivan scanned the wood-casement window of the vineyard’s stone-walled residence, and waited for his intended target to walk into view. His movements were slow and meticulous.
Lying in the loft of an old barn, he calculated range, altitude, temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, and humidity. His skin was irritated by the coarse hay that surrounded him, but he ignored the sensation and focused on his calculations. Click. He made a minor adjustment on his rifle to account for the drop of the round due to air density. And another for windage.
Although misty rivers of fog swirled into gray whirlpools around the winery, the computer enhanced scope of his Springfield EBR allowed him to visually lock onto the home’s large bank of windows. Human movement flickered behind the glass.
He didn’t want to pull the trigger. Nevertheless, Ivan waited for the perfect moment, the perfect shot.

CHAPTER 2

8:57 a.m.
As she headed toward her father’s vineyard, Maddy drove as fast as she dared down a familiar tree-lined Napa country lane. Today, she didn’t recognize the road. It looked eerie and unnatural. The area was draped in sheets of fog from yesterday’s unseasonable rain, and the silver half-light gave the trees an ethereal patina.
“Sensei, would you kill someone if you had to?” AJ asked. Surprised, Maddy frowned. “I’m not a sensei yet, remember?” She paused for a moment before she replied to his query.
“Where did that question come from?”
“We were talking about it in the locker room at the dojo after class. We know aikido is about non-violence, but what if you don’t have a choice?” His voice dropped to a dramatic whisper. “What if it was kill or be killed?”
Maddy shook her head. The things children thought about. “I would always look for another way.”
She glanced over at AJ, glad she’d brought him along today. His ears stuck out and his face was dotted with freckles. She found him adorable.
“Okay. Can martial arts masters light paper on fire with just their hands?”
Maddy halted the car at a stop sign and peered through the swirling patchy-dense fog, trying to get her bearings while she figured out how to answer this question. The mist distorted everything. She turned right.
Without warning, a smothering mass of black rustling feathers flew toward the car. She flinched in her seat and slammed on the car brakes. Her heart pounded. She stopped breathing and scanned the road ahead of her. After a long moment, she realized with chagrin that she had just scared a bunch of ugly, red-faced black turkey vultures into flight by turning onto a new road after a stop sign.
She took a deep breath. It wasn’t like her to be so jumpy. She was, after all, shodan, a first-dan black belt. But the sudden movement of wings, obscured through the morning’s foggy haze, had pulled her off balance. Maddy gave the car some gas and it inched forward down the road.
Maddy looked over at AJ. “Are you okay?” AJ laughed. “I’m okay. But that scared you!”
“Did not!” Maddy replied, twisting her ponytail.
“Did too—I saw you jump! And you smashed on the brakes.”
Maddy grinned for a moment at the childish banter and AJ’s creative language. It could be a happy day, in spite of everything. She loved AJ, she and Vincent had even talked about adopting him. Vincent, her former fiancĂ©. Of course, that was before the breakup. Since then, she’d been feeling brittle, and the nightmare last night didn’t help. The dream was gut-wrenching. Although the sensation had faded in the dim light of morning, much of it lingered like a bad relationship. That dream was probably why she was on edge and had jumped at the thrashing wings.
She looked at the dash clock—only a few minutes late. Heart still beating faster than normal, she turned down the long shadowy driveway of the once proud vineyard.

CHAPTER 3

9:02 a.m.
Up in the old barn, Ivan was close to the target, only seventy meters from the glass curtain that separated him from his quarry. Although the misty morning limited his visibility, he felt confident in his ability to execute the task Baron Sokolov had assigned to him.
Ivan recalled much longer-range kills. Two months ago, from a nearby skyscraper, he’d eliminated a traitorous spy during a French soccer match, piercing the man’s forehead as directed. His record was just under two thousand meters, one hundred fifty meters shy of the longest recorded sniper kill in history. But he reminded himself to stay vigilant and cautious, traits that had earned him medals as one of Russia’s most accurate shooters.
Being watchful was his nature. It was the silver lining of his disorder, congenital analgesia, which made him insensitive to pain. My gift from Mother, he thought.
Ivan wondered where on his body he would mark this job. His left arm was covered in sets of hash marks—scars, where he had marked his kills. He started scarring himself in school to impress the other children, and in time it had become a blood ritual after a task to remind himself to be careful, that he too could die. After this morning, it would be time to add another scar. At one hundred and fifty-five confirmed kills, he had scars on both thighs, both arms, and was running out of room for the marks.
Soon he would catch up to the kills his grandmother had recorded during World War II. After Germany had invaded, she had volunteered for the military and had one hundred and seventy-nine confirmed kills to her credit. Impressive. He remembered how she had taught him to shoot when he was young. She had a fondness for killing rabbits and he could still picture their crimson blood sprayed on the bright Siberian snow. However, patience was her favorite lesson and it had served him well.
A puff of wind tugged at a windmill in the distance, and the melancholy creak of metal scratching metal disturbed the morning silence. He held his breath and listened for any sound to indicate he’d been discovered. There was nothing further, only an unnatural, muted quiet.
Focused on his breathing and the window, he continued to wait for a clean shot.
He was tired of killing, but he had to do his job. This last job. Or his son would die.

CHAPTER 4

9:05 a.m.
Maddy’s car hit a pothole on the vineyard’s long gravel driveway. It annoyed her that Dad hadn’t said what was so urgent, and she’d been too distracted with the breakup to call him back.
As she drew closer to the house, she was irritated to see Will was playing fog-fetch with the dog in the front yard. What is he doing here? Did dad call all the siblings? Bella, too? Will waved, walked toward an obnoxious sky-blue convertible that must be a rental, and opened the trunk.
Maddy parked by Will’s car, near the house. She wished Dad would get the place painted. It was overdue and made the house look dilapidated in the gloom. Barking, her dad’s middle-aged golden retriever ran up to the car.
“A dog! Can I play with the dog?” AJ asked, true excitement in his voice.
“Sure, just don’t head too far into the vineyard,” Maddy replied. “His name is Squirrel.”
AJ bounded from the car and ran off, chasing the dog through the murky, fog-bound yard.
Will closed the trunk of the Mustang, moved around to the side of the car, and watched AJ and the dog playing. Dressed in his usual style, he wore tan cargo shorts, leather sandals, and a dark-blue Ralph Lauren polo shirt. Ever prepared for disaster, he had a small flashlight hanging from the front of his shorts, and she figured he had a knife in his pocket. He was holding two small travel bags and managed to cradle a book in his hand. Without a doubt, a geeky physics book.
Maddy had avoided prolonged contact with Will since their senior year in high school when he had pulled that awful prank. She had turned her back on him then, and her face flushed with the memory. As she opened her car door, she stood and swung her hair out of her face. Then she shut the door and walked over to him. It was so foggy and quiet, she didn’t even hear songbirds.
Maddy tried to keep the annoyance out of her voice. “Hello, Will.”
After they’d spent time apart, she was always surprised at the strength of their emotional bond. She couldn’t believe he was happy to see her—he had no shame! She had felt some connection to her boyfriends, Vincent included—I hate you right now, Vincent—and sometimes to her students at the dojo. But the connection was always strongest with Will, her twin, like it or not. He felt content now. She had almost missed his charm.
Will flashed his irksome, boyish, lopsided grin. “Hey, Maddy, it’s good to see you! Did you have a safe drive?”
To meet her, he walked around toward the front of the car. She noted his dark curly hair looked ruffled and a little shorter than the last time she’d seen him. His green eyes looked pinched, as if he were worried about something.
Dad sometimes teased that they all had Spanish olives for eyes, but she enjoyed sharing the feature. She just wished she’d been blessed with Will’s long eyelashes, instead of having to create them every day with mascara.
Maddy studied Will’s face. She noticed that the scar on his chin was almost hidden by a fashionable new beard that he’d grown since she’d seen him last year at Christmas dinner. The scar was always a painful reminder of the childhood accident that killed their mother.
As he put down the bags, he scratched the beard, casually leaned back against the hood of the Mustang, and crossed his long lanky legs.
She knew protocol called for a hug, and considered it. Rejecting the idea, she also ignored his worrywart question about the safe drive. “Did you leave Maria in Brazil?”
Maddy could tell from his eyes that Will didn’t understand her cold shoulder, and she didn’t care. He had never made amends for that thoughtless stunt back in high school and she wasn’t going to let him off the hook.
“No, I brought her with me,” he replied.
Remembering her nightmare, Maddy’s gut clenched. She tried to ignore it.
“We’ve both been working too hard.”
Instead, she lashed out, her voice rising more than she intended. “Was that wise? Bringing her? Do you even know what Dad wants?”
Will took a deep breath. “Gee, sis, simmer down. I thought I was the worrier of the family.” He met her gaze. “Maria was up for a change of scenery so we planned a romantic wine-country vacation. You know, the train, mud baths, that sort of thing? We might even stop by Safari West. Besides, you brought company.” He nodded toward AJ. “Who’s the little guy?”
“His name is AJ. He’s a foster kid from the dojo and it’s his birthday.” She watched AJ and the dog play a spontaneous game of tag. “Is that all Dad wants with us? A vacation? He sounded concerned on the message he left me. And didn’t mention you’d be here, or Bella. Is she coming? He didn’t even say why he wanted me to come, which just seems odd. Did you talk with him?”
“Bella is on her way, but no, we didn’t talk before I came up. I hope nothing is wrong. We just got here and haven’t had a chance to visit much, but he did mention he had some disconcerting news.” He paused. “You feel upset. What are you not telling me? What’s the big deal?”
On days like today, Maddy hated that the emotional bond between them worked both ways. She didn’t feel like telling him anything, especially about the dream. Irritated, she looked around for a way out of the conversation but didn’t see one. The sun was hidden, the vineyard foggy and subdued, like it was holding its breath.
She clenched her teeth and took a deep breath of her own. “I had a dream last night.”
Now his tone sharpened a notch. “What kind of dream?”
“A bad one. Maria was in it. I woke up early and it’s stuck with me since.”
“Tell me,” he demanded.
“I don’t know…there was blood on her face.”
She remembered another dream she had when they were six. The night before their mom died. She knew by the look on his face that he was remembering that dream, too.
“Blood on Maria’s face—” he frowned, thinking, questioning.
“Yes, it was horrible. Splattered like a Pollock painting. I don’t remember much else. But the feeling is still with me.” Her mood picked up a little, having gotten it off her chest. “It’s probably nothing. I just wish you hadn’t brought her.”
“Interesting,” he said. “You haven’t had one of those dreams in a while, have you? A real one?”
“No,” she said. “It’s been a few years and the last was about a boyfriend cheating on me. The dream ended that relationship.”
Will put his hands on his hips. “How is Vincent?” She grimaced.
Irritated, Maddy turned and headed up the sidewalk toward the house. Will grabbed the bags and his book, and followed her, his feet padding on the concrete.
As they walked, she remembered the lush landscaping that had been here once. It had provided a jumbled, colorful contrast to the acres and acres of straight green vines in the fields. Her father’s landscapers, back when he could afford them, had done well in this entry area. She couldn’t see it, but she inhaled the light scent of gardenia, and she recognized remnants of some sort of native grass, night-blooming jasmine, pansies, and roses. Vincent had brought her roses only three weeks ago. Bastard.
“I see,” Will said. “So…maybe this dream was a reaction to whatever is going on there?”
“Maybe—” she said. “I hope so.” Then she added, “Let’s go see what Dad wants.”

CHAPTER 5

9:15 a.m.
Ivan tugged on the two-stage trigger, testing it. He was used to his Soviet bolt-action SV-98, but in the interest of time and ease of entry into the country, he had purchased a black-market rifle in the States. He was pleased with his choice, and glad it had come with a suppressor. The Enhanced Battle Rifle was decent—he tested it out yesterday in an isolated vineyard he found for the purpose. The rifle was a little heavy, but he liked the trigger-shoe modification the prior owner had done, as it gave the pull a more natural feel.
He drew his attention back to the wood-casement window and twice glimpsed the oblivious inhabitant, dancing his way to death. A minute ago, the sound of car tires on gravel had come to him through the fog, so his partner, on lookout, should be reporting in.
On cue, a voice in his head broke the morning stillness, “Green Prius has parked at the front of the house.” The sniper appreciated that he could hear his partner’s Russian voice clearly through the high-tech device, as he was old enough to remember missions without such advanced technology.
“Driver?” he subvocalized the question, also in Russian, into the tiny molar microphone that had been custom formed to fit his teeth.
“She’s female, young, maybe thirty. Slim, with an olive complexion. Has sexy long dark hair in a ponytail, and is tall. Pretty tall for a woman. Rape-bait if you ask me. Dressed in jeans and a snug purple T-shirt,” his partner said.
On this job, his partner was here as much to keep an eye on him as to help, Ivan knew. The man’s simple mind and cruel nature were evident every time they worked together. The idiot had caused them to run late this morning. This part of the job should have been over an hour ago. Now it was getting complicated.
“That’s not what we’re here for,” Ivan hissed.
“Maybe. If so, you need to take your shot.” A few beats later his partner continued, “She was talking to the tall man next to the blue sports car. They look alike. Now they’re headed to the front door.”
There was a long pause. The sniper adjusted his hold on the rifle, concentrating. He’d read the dossiers on Maddy Marshall and her twin brother, Will Argones. Argones was an engineer, no real threat. But the Marshall woman. A world-class athlete and national ski champion who had been a favorite for Olympic gold, she’d used her lightning-fast reflexes to become a warrior in an unusual martial art. And she was gifted with a keen intelligence. A dangerous combination. In another time and place, he’d have been interested in her as a mate.
He swore. Based on his orders, their arrival meant he had run out of time.
A low whistle pierced his ear.
“Ivan, she’s got long legs. You know I like long legs, right? Why don’t we stick around and have some fun?”
“You’re a pig and the baron was clear in our instructions,” the sniper replied, with heat in his tone.
“You’re a bore. Oh, she had a kid with her in the car.”
“A kid? What kid?” The dossier didn’t mention a child! That wasn’t part of the deal. I may go down in flames if the baron makes me shoot a kid. This target is one thing but
“How do I know what kid? He looks like he’s eight or nine. Red hair, big ears. He’s playing with the dog in the vineyard.” Ivan hoped the kid and dog were off in a different direction. At home, Ivan’s son might be playing with his own dog. But that thought was dangerous. “Just make sure they don’t come this way.”
His attention back on the window, Ivan finally got a complete look at one of the other inhabitants: a short, dark-skinned woman. She wore a pale pink blouse above a blue skirt and Ivan prayed she would get out of the way. He didn’t like killing women. However, he knew that, whether he liked it or not, the latter part of the baron’s plan already called for its share of female bloodshed.
The older man, near a black sofa, came into Ivan’s sights for a brief moment. It appeared that he and the younger woman were moving into the room with all the windows. Ivan knew it was time.
Ivan was glad now they’d chosen a fast getaway car. “I must focus—go get the car ready.”
The older man came completely into view. He was tall, clean-shaven, tan-skinned, with owlish glasses. His receding black hair was streaked with gray, and he wore slacks and a white button-down shirt. Yes, finally.
But the woman was directly behind the target! Move, he willed to her. Please.
This was the best shot he had. Time had run out! He had no choice but to urge her to move at the last minute.
He took a slow, steady breath and tugged again on the two-stage trigger. Only this time, it wasn’t a test.

CHAPTER 6

9:20 a.m.
AJ and Squirrel, done with the chase and on to a game of fetch, ran around the side yard, enjoying the grass and the feel of morning in the dense, wet fog. AJ loved all things nature.
Feeling happy today made him miss his parents. He had vague memories of joyful times when they took him to his grandparent’s Ukrainian dairy farm. When the Russians came and killed his grandparents, his parents and he had fled to San Francisco. Then, one day, his mom and dad had been caught in the crossfire of a convenience store holdup while stopping for milk. That’s what he’d gathered, no one had told him.
Since his parents’ death he’d been in foster care, because all of his family back in Ukraine were dead, too. He didn’t like his foster family because they ignored him, but he loved Maddy and did whatever his foster creeps asked so that he could go to the dojo. Maddy treated him the way his mom used to, warm and caring.
Today, he was full of pleasure—hanging out with Maddy, getting to chase a dog outside. More than anything, he wanted a real family again. And a dog, just maybe not one named Squirrel. Someday, he’d get a big dog to protect him and name it Rufus, or Damien.
AJ threw a stick and tried out the new name, “Damien, fetch!”
After several minutes of chasing the stick in the side yard, AJ decided they should play a new game in the rows of vines.
“C’mon, Damien,” he called as he ran into the shadows, followed by the panting dog.
The morning was blissfully perfect as they ran up and down the rows. Then a loud crack sounded from the direction of the barns, like a tree branch breaking. He called his new canine friend and they headed off to investigate.
***
Excerpt from VanOps: The Lost Power by Avanti Centrae. Copyright 2019 by Avanti Centrae. Reproduced with permission from Avanti Centrae. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Avanti Centrae
International award-winning author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into nonstop thrillers.
Avanti Centrae is the author of the international award-winning VanOps thriller series. An avid world-traveler, she's studied aikido, been a river raft guide, and thrives on adventure. Her book, The Lost Power, took home a genre grand prize blue ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival. She resides in Northern California with her family and German Shepherds.

Catch Up With Avanti Centrae: avanticentrae.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!





Tour Participants:

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Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Avanti Centrae. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 4, 2019 and runs through January 13, 2020. Void where prohibited



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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Blog Tour: The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya

The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya

~Book Tour~

11th to 17th November



About the Book:
Mumbai, December 2016: 
A young man found an ancient-looking piece of stone with strange images and Sanskrit inscriptions. A quest to know the origin of the stone brought him to the distant part of the country. 

Chandannagar, December 2016: 
A young vivacious historian woman read an old book on a century-old secret story about a little known part of the country. Her curiosity got the better of her as the book disappeared mysteriously before she could complete it. She reached a sleepy quaint state of the country to satiate her curiosity. 

Eventually they both met and their search began from the city museum to a far-flung rock mountain which revealed a century-old story of a seductive danseuse, her enigmatic lover, a string of her admirers, a painter with a photographic memory, a bird that could speak in many voices, a benevolent king and a gruesome conspiracy. And the most important clue to decode the final secret was with the missing part of The Speaking Stone. But in the process of unearthing old secrets their lives were also in danger… 

Book Links:


Read an Excerpt:

Chapter 1

December 2016, Mumbai

“Sir, we are about to close,” a courteous but curt voice materialized from near his shoulder. These words, however, had barely any effect on him as he just groaned sleepily, without budging even an inch.

The middle-aged man standing behind him hesitated for a moment before placing his fingers on his shoulder and tapping on it.

“Sir, it is well past one-thirty. We must close now at any cost. You know those Colaba police, na?” the man in uniform urged him. After all, he could not afford to speak in an authoritative manner with someone who frequented their pub, always drank enough to make the pub owner richer by a few thousand, behaved well with all the butlers unlike many other young men his age, and, above all, was always generous to give tips to the workers in the pub. He was quite a favourite with the staff of this famous pub, Voodoo, a little behind Hotel Taj Palace in Colaba. They looked up to him for another reason, too. It was his demonic capacity to drink and remain composed and collected even after that. Never before had it happened that he placed his head on the table, pillowed on his locked arms and slept blissfully. Whenever he visited Voodoo on weekends he was accompanied by one or two friends and the attendants in Voodoo knew that one of those friends, who didn’t drink, was always at the wheel while they returned from the pub. But tonight he was all alone and completely drunk. They were not sure as to how he would ride home.

“Sir,” the uniformed man called him again, tapping on his shoulder, a bit impatiently now. This time as he leaned to touch the young man's shoulder the hanging end of his tie touched his ear and earlobe. What the earnest request and tapping of the attendant couldn’t do, the hanging end of the tie seemed to have done it effortlessly. Probably it sent a tickling sensation down his spine as he raised his head with a sleepy smile.

“Sorry,” said he, looking up.

“Sir, we are well past our closing time,” repeated the man. He passed a searching glance about and as he found the pub empty except for him a sheepish smile came over his lips.

“I am sorry,” said he, trying to get to his feet. A pleasant sweet smell of Black Label whisky issued from his mouth.

“May I use the toilet once before leaving?” he asked with his usual politeness and then headed to the Men’s with an unsteady gait.

He returned from the toilet after a few minutes, wiping his face with a handkerchief.

“Are you sure, sir, you can manage to go all by yourself?” asked the concerned attendant.

“I will,” replied he and staggered to the entrance of Voodoo.

The attendant watched his six-foot-tall frame leaving the pub and hoped he would reach home safely. He consulted the watch. It was a quarter to two.

Outside the pub the young man stood for a few moments, trying to gather his thoughts. He looked around then. The street in front of him was deserted. At the corner of the street, two stray dogs were sleeping, coiling themselves against each other to feel warm in the cold winter night. A thin wisp of smoke was spiralling up from a small heap of ashes. He knew the durwans from the nearby buildings might have lit the fire with the foliage and old discarded cardboard to warm themselves up. He did a mental calculation and tottered ahead at a slow pace. All that accompanied him was his hesitant footfall and a faithful shadow. He walked past Kashmir Emporium, Rustic Rajasthan, and an antique shop whose targeted customers were usually foreign tourists, and arrived behind the Taj Continental where scores of four-wheelers were parked. As he looked at the cars, parked in an astonishingly disciplined fashion to make the most of the space, a thought struck him. Most of the cars were white. He had no difficulty in finding his car. He opened the rear door of the car and plopped himself down on the seat. It was not long before he stretched at full length, occupying the entire back seat.

Soon he fell asleep when the crashing waves of the Arabian Sea, in front of Hotel Taj Continental, played a lullaby for him. It was the first night he slept in the car.

About the Author:


Ratnadip Acharya is the author of two successful novels, Life is Always Aimless... Unless you love it and Paradise Lost & Regained. He is a columnist for the Speaking Tree in The Times of India. He contributed many write-ups in different collections of Chicken Soup for the Soul. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Sophia and son, Akash.




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