Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Showcase: Anarchy Of The Mice by Jeff Bond

Anarchy Of The Mice by Jeff Bond Banner

 

 

Anarchy of the Mice

by Jeff Bond

on Tour July 1 - August 31, 2020

Synopsis:

Anarchy of the Mice by Jeff Bond
From Jeff Bond, author of Blackquest 40 and The Pinebox Vendetta, comes Anarchy of the Mice, book one in an epic new series starring Quaid Rafferty, Durwood Oak Jones, and Molly McGill: the trio of freelance operatives known collectively as Third Chance Enterprises.

How far could society fall without data? Account balances, property lines, government ID records — if it all vanished, if everyone’s scorecard reset to zero, how might the world look?

The Blind Mice are going to show us.

Molly McGill is fighting it. Her teenage son has come downstairs in a T-shirt from these “hacktivists” dominating the news. Her daughter’s bus is canceled — too many stoplights out — and school is in the opposite direction of the temp job she’s supposed to be starting this morning. She is twice-divorced; her P.I. business, McGill Investigators, is on the rocks; what kind of life is this for a woman a mere twelve credit-hours shy of her PhD?

Then the doorbell rings.

It’s Quaid Rafferty, the charming — but disgraced — former governor of Massachusetts, and his plainspoken partner, Durwood Oak Jones. The guys have an assignment for Molly. It sounds risky, but the pay sure beats switchboard work.

They need her to infiltrate the Blind Mice.

Danger, romance, intrigue, action for miles — whatever you read, Anarchy of the Mice is coming for you.

Book Details:


Genre: Action-Adventure
Published by: Jeff Bond books
Publication Date: June 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 445
ISBN: 173225527X (978-1732255272)
Series: Third Chance Enterprises, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE
The first I ever heard of the Blind Mice was from my fourteen-year-old son, Zach. I was scrambling to get him and his sister ready for school, stepping over dolls and skater magazines, thinking ahead to the temp job I was starting in about an hour, when Zach came slumping downstairs in a suspiciously plain T-shirt.
“Turn around,” I said. “Let’s see the back.”
He scowled but did comply. The clothing check was mandatory after that vomiting-skull sweatshirt he’d slipped out the door in last month.
Okay. No drugs, profanity, or bodily fluids being expelled.
But there was something. An abstract computer-ish symbol. A mouse? Possibly the nose, eyes, and whiskers of a mouse?
Printed underneath was, Nibble, nibble. Until the whole sick scam rots through.
I checked the clock: 7:38. Seven minutes before we absolutely had to be out the door, and I still hadn’t cleaned up the grape juice spill, dealt with my Frizz City hair, or checked the furnace. For twenty minutes, I’d been hearing ker-klacks, which my heart said was construction outside but my head worried could be the failing heater.
How bad did I want to let Zach’s shirt slide?
Bad.
“Is that supposed to be a mouse?” I said. “Like an angry mouse?”
“The Blind Mice,” my son replied. “Maybe you’ve heard, they’re overthrowing the corporatocracy?”
His eyes bulged teen sarcasm underneath those bangs he refuses to get cut.
“Wait,” I said, “that group that’s attacking big companies’ websites and factories?”
“Government too.” He drew his face back ominously. “Anyone who’s part of the scam.”
“And you’re wearing their shirt?”
He shrugged.
I would’ve dearly loved to engage Zach in a serious discussion of socioeconomic justice—I did my master’s thesis on the psychology of labor devaluation in communities—except we needed to go. In five minutes.
“What if Principal Broadhead sees that?” I said. “Go change.”
“No.”
“Zach McGill, that shirt promotes domestic terrorism. You’ll get kicked out of school.”
“Like half my friends wear it, Mom.” He thrust his hands into his pockets.
Ugh. I had stepped in parenting quicksand. I’d issued a rash order and Zach had refused, and now I could either make him change, starting a blow-out fight and virtually guaranteeing I’d be late my first day on the job at First Mutual, or back down and erode my authority.
“Wear a jacket,” I said—a poor attempt to limit the erosion, but the best I could do. “And don’t let your great-grandmother see that shirt.”
Speaking of, I could hear Granny’s slippers padding around upstairs. She was into her morning routine, and would shortly—at the denture-rinsing phase—be shouting down that her sink was draining slow again; why hadn’t the damn plumber come yet?
Because I hadn’t paid one. McGill Investigators, the PI business of which I was the founder and sole employee (yes, I realized the plural name was misleading), had just gone belly-up. Hence the temp job.
Karen, my six-year-old, was seated cheerily beside her doll in front of orange juice and an Eggo Waffle.
“Mommy!” she announced. “I get to ride to school with you today!”
The doll’s lips looked sticky—OJ?—and the cat was eyeing Karen’s waffle across the table.
“Honey, weren’t you going to ride the bus today?” I asked, shooing the cat, wiping the doll with a dishrag.
Karen shook her head. “Bus isn’t running. I get to ride in the Prius, in Mommy’s Prius!”
I felt simultaneous joy that Karen loved our new car—well, new to us: 120K miles as a rental, but it was a hybrid—and despair because I really couldn’t take her. School was in the complete opposite direction of New Jersey Transit. Even if I took the turnpike, which I loathed, I would miss my train.
Fighting to address Karen calmly in a time crunch, I said, “Are you sure the bus isn’t running?”
She nodded.
I asked how she knew.
“Bus driver said, ‘If the stoplights are blinking again in the morning, I ain’t taking you.’” She walked to the window and pointed. “See?”
I joined her at the window, ignoring the driver’s grammatical example for the moment. Up and down my street, traffic lights flashed yellow.
“Blind Mice, playa!” Zach puffed his chest. “Nibble, nibble.
The lights had gone out every morning this week at rush hour. On Monday, the news had reported a bald eagle flew into a substation. On Tuesday, they’d said the outages were lingering for unknown reasons. I hadn’t seen the news yesterday.
Did Zach know the Blind Mice were involved? Or was he just being obnoxious?
“Great,” I muttered. “Bus won’t run because stoplights are out, but I’m free to risk our lives driving to school.”
Karen gazed up at me, her eyes green like mine and trembling. A mirror of my stress.
Pull it together, Molly.
“Don’t worry,” I corrected myself. “I’ll take you. I will. Let me just figure a few things out.”
Trying not to visualize myself walking into First Mutual forty-five minutes late, I took a breath. I patted through my purse for keys, sifting through rumpled Kleenex and receipts and granola-bar halves. Granny had made her way downstairs and was reading aloud from a bill-collection notice. Zach was texting, undoubtedly to friends about his lame mom. I felt air on my toes and looked down: a hole in my hose.
Fantastic.
I’d picked out my cutest work sandals, but somehow I doubted the look would hold up with toes poking out like mini-wieners.
I wished I could shut my eyes, whisper some spell, and wake up in a different universe.
Then the doorbell rang.
CHAPTER TWO
Quaid Rafferty waited on the McGills’ front porch with a winning smile. It had been ten months since he’d seen Molly, and he was eager to reconnect.
Inside, there sounded a crash (pulled-over coatrack?), a smack (skateboard hitting wall?), and muffled cross-voices.
Quaid fixed the lay of his sport coat lapels and kept waiting. His partner, Durwood Oak Jones, stood two paces back with his dog. Durwood wasn’t saying anything, but Quaid could feel the West Virginian’s disapproval—it pulsed from his blue jeans and cowboy hat.
Quaid twisted from the door. “School morning, right? I’m sure she’ll be out shortly.”
Durwood remained silent. He was on record saying they’d be better off with a more accomplished operative like Kitty Ravensdale or Sigrada the Serpent, but Quaid believed in Molly. He’d argued that McGill, a relative amateur, was just what they needed: a fresh-faced idealist.
Now he focused on the door—and was pleased to hear the dead bolt turn within. He was less pleased when he saw the face that appeared in the door glass.
The grandmother.
“Why, color me damned!” began the septuagenarian, yanking open the screen door. “The louse returns. Whorehouses all kick you out?”
Quaid strained to keep smiling. “How are you this fine morning, Eunice?”
Her face stormed over. “What’re you here for?”
“We’re hoping for a word with Molly if she’s around.” He opened his shoulders to give her a full view of his party, which included Durwood and Sue-Ann, his aged bluetick coonhound.
They made for an admittedly odd sight. Quaid and Durwood shared the same vital stats, six one and 180-something pounds, but God himself couldn’t have created two more different molds. Quaid in a sport coat with suntanned wrists and mussed-just-so blond hair. Durwood removing his hat and casting steel-colored eyes humbly about, jeans pulled down over his boots’ piping. And Sue with her mottled coat, rasping like any breath could be her last.
Eunice stabbed a finger toward Durwood. “He can come in—him I respect. But you need to turn right around. My granddaughter wants nothing to do with cads like you.”
Behind her, a voice called, “Granny, I can handle this.
Eunice ignored this. “You’re a no-good man. I know it, my granddaughter knows it.” Veins showed through the chicken-y skin of her neck. “Go on, hop a flight back to Vegas and all your whores!”
Before Quaid could counter these aspersions, Molly appeared.
His heart chirped in his chest. Molly was a little discombobulated, bending to put on a sandal, a kid’s jacket tucked under one elbow—but those dimples, that curvy body...even in the worst domestic throes, she could’ve charmed slime off a senator.
He said, “Can’t you beat a seventy-four-year-old woman to the door?”
Molly slipped on the second sandal. “Can we please just not? It’s been a crazy morning.”
“I know the type.” Quaid smacked his hands together. “So hey, we have a job for you.”
“You’re a little late—McGill Investigators went out of business. I have a real job starting in less than an hour.”
“What kind?”
“Reception,” she said. “Three months with First Mutual.”
“Temp work?” Quaid asked.
“I was supposed to start with the board of psychological examiners, but the position fell through.”
“How come?”
“Funding ran out. The governor disbanded the board.”
“So First Mutual...?”
Molly’s eyes, big and leprechaun green, fell. “It’s temp work, yeah.”
“You’re criminally overqualified for that, McGill,” Quaid said. “Hear us out. Please.”
She snapped her arms over her chest but didn’t stop Quaid as he breezed into the living room followed by Durwood and Sue-Ann, who wore no leash but kept a perfect twenty-inch heel by her master.
Two kids poked their heads around the kitchen doorframe. Quaid waggled his fingers playfully at the girl.
Molly said, “Zach, Karen—please wait upstairs. I’m speaking with these men.”
The boy argued he should be able to stay; upstairs sucked; wasn’t she the one who said they had to leave, like, immedia—
“This is not a negotiation,” Molly said in a new tone.
They went upstairs.
She sighed. “Now they’ll be late for school. I’m officially the worst mother ever.”
Quaid glanced around the living room. The floor was clutter free, but toys jammed the shelves of the coffee table. Stray fibers stuck up from the carpet, which had faded beige from its original yellow or ivory.
“No, you’re an excellent mother,” Quaid said. “You do what you believe is best for your children, which is why you’re going to accept our proposition.”
The most effective means of winning a person over, Quaid had learned as governor of Massachusetts and in prior political capacities, was to identify their objective and articulate how your proposal brought it closer. Part two was always trickier.
He continued, “American Dynamics is the client, and they have deep pockets. If you help us pull this off, all your money troubles go poof.”
A glint pierced Molly’s skepticism. “Okay. I’m listening.”
“You’ve heard of the Blind Mice, these anarchist hackers?”
“I—well, yes, a little. Zach has their T-shirt.”
Quaid, having met the boy on a few occasions, wasn’t shocked by the information. “Here’s the deal. We need someone to infiltrate them.”
Molly blinked twice.
Durwood spoke up, “You’d be great, Moll. You’re young. Personable. People trust you.”
Molly’s eyes were grapefruits. “What did you call them, ‘anarchist hackers’? How would I infiltrate them? I just started paying bills online.”
“No tech knowledge required,” Quaid said. “We have a plan.”
He gave her the nickel summary. The Blind Mice had singled out twelve corporate targets, “the Despicable Dozen,” and American Dynamics topped the list. In recent months, AmDye had seen its websites crashed, its factories slowed by computer glitches, internal documents leaked, the CEO’s home
egged repeatedly. Government agencies from the FBI to NYPD were pursuing the Mice, but the company was troubled by the lack of progress and so had hired Third Chance Enterprises to take them down.
“Now if I accept,” Molly said, narrowing her eyes, “does that mean I’m officially part of Third Chance Enterprises?”
Quaid exhaled at length. Durwood shook his head with an irked air—he hated the name, and considered Quaid’s branding efforts foolish.
“Oh, Durwood and I have been at this freelance operative thing awhile.” Quaid smoothed his sport coat lapels. “Most cases we can handle between the two of us.”
“But not this one.”
“Right. Durwood’s a whiz with prosthetics, but even he can’t bring this”—Quaid indicated his own ruggedly handsome but undeniably middle-aged face—“back to twenty-five.”
Molly’s eyes turned inward. Quaid’s instincts told him she was thinking of her children.
She said, “Sounds dangerous.”
“Nah.” He spread his arms, wide and forthright. “You’re working with the best here: the top small-force, private-arms outfit in the Western world. Very minimal danger.”
Like the politician he’d once been, Quaid delivered this line of questionable veracity with full sincerity.
Then he turned to his partner. “Right, Wood? She won’t have a thing to worry about. We’d limit her involvement to safe situations.”
Durwood thinned his lips. “Do the best we could.”
This response, typical of the soldier he’d once been, was unhelpful.
Molly said, “Who takes care of my kids if something happens, if the Blind Mice sniff me out? Would I have to commit actual crimes?”
“Unlikely.”
Unlikely? I’ll tell you what’s unlikely, getting hired someplace, anyplace, with a felony conviction on your application...”
As she thundered away, Quaid wondered if Durwood might not have been right in preferring a pro. The few times they’d used Molly McGill before had been secondary: posing as a gate agent during the foiled Delta hijacking, later as an archivist for the American embassy in Rome. They’d only pulled her into Rome because of her language skills—she spoke six fluently.
“...also, I have to say,” she continued, and from the edge in her voice, Quaid knew just where they were headed, “I find it curious that I don’t hear from you for ten months, and then you need my help, and all of a sudden, I matter. All of a sudden, you’re on my doorstep.”
“I apologize,” Quaid said. “The Dubai job ran long, then that Guadeloupean resort got hit by a second hurricane. We got busy. I should’ve called.”
Molly’s face cooled a shade, and Quaid saw that he hadn’t lost her.
Yet.
Before either could say more, a heavy ker-klack sounded outside.
“What’s the racket?” Quaid asked. He peeked out the window at his and Durwood’s Vanagon, which looked no more beat-up than usual.
“It’s been going on all morning,” Molly said. “I figured it was construction.”
Quaid said, “Construction in this economy?”
He looked to Durwood.
“I’ll check ’er out.” The ex-soldier turned for the door. Sue-Ann, heaving herself laboriously off the carpet, scuffled after.
Alone now with Molly, Quaid walked several paces in. He doubled his sport coat over his forearm and passed a hand through his hair, using a foyer mirror to confirm the curlicues that graced his temples on his best days.
This was where it had to happen. Quaid’s behavior toward Molly had been less than gallant, and that was an issue. Still, there were sound arguments at his disposal. He could play the money angle. He could talk about making the world safer for Molly’s children. He could point out that she was meant for greater things, appealing to her sense of adventure, framing the job as an escape from the hamster wheel and entrée to a bright world of heroes and villains.
He believed in the job. Now he just needed her to believe too.
CHAPTER THREE
Durwood walked north. Sue-Ann gimped along after, favoring her bum hip. Paws echoed bootheels like sparrows answering blackbirds. They found their noise at the sixth house on the left.
A crew of three men was working outside a small home. Two-story like Molly’s. The owner had tacked an addition onto one side, prefab sunroom. The men were working where the sunroom met the main structure. Dislodging nails, jackhammering between fiberglass and brick.
Tossing panels onto a stack.
“Pardon,” Durwood called. “Who you boys working for?”
One man pointed to his earmuffs. The others paid Durwood no mind whatsoever. Heavyset men. Big stomachs and muscles.
Durwood walked closer. “Those corner boards’re getting beat up. Y’all got a permit I could see?”
The three continued to ignore him.
The addition was poorly done to begin with, the cornice already sagging. Shoddy craftsmanship. That didn’t mean the owners deserved to have it stolen for scrap.
The jackhammer was plugged into an outside GFI. Durwood caught its cord with his bootheel.
“The hell?” said the operator as his juice cut.
Durwood said, “You’re thieves. You’re stealing fiberglass.”
The men denied nothing.
One said, “Call the cops. See if they come.”
Sue-Ann bared her gums.
Durwood said, “I don’t believe we need to involve law enforcement,” and turned back south for the Vanagon.
Crime like this—callous, brash—was a sign of the times.  People were sore about this “new economy,” how well the rich were making out. Groups like the Blind Mice thought it gave them a right to practice lawlessness.

Lawlessness, Durwood knew, was like a plague. Left unchecked, it spread. Even now, besides this sunroom dismantling, Durwood saw a half dozen offenses in plain sight. Low-stakes gambling on a porch. Coaxials looped across half the neighborhood roofs: cable splicing. A Rottweiler roaming off leash.
Each stuck in Durwood’s craw.
He walked a half block to the Vanagon. He hunted around inside, boots clattering the bare metal floor. Pushed aside Stinger missiles in titanium casings. Squinted past crates of frag grenades in the bulkhead he’d jiggered himself from ponderosa pine.
Here she was—a pressurized tin of black ops epoxy. Set quick enough to repel a flash air strike, strong enough to hold a bridge. Durwood had purchased it for the Dubai job. According to his supplier, Yakov, the stuff smelled like cinnamon when it dried. Something to do with chemistry.
Durwood removed the tin from its box and brushed off the pink Styrofoam packing Yakov favored. Then allowed Sue a moment to ease herself down to the curb before they started back north.
Passing Molly’s house, Durwood glimpsed her through the living room window. She was listening to Quaid, fingers pressed to her forehead.
Quaid was lying. Which was nothing new, Quaid stretching the truth to a woman. But these lies involved Molly’s safety. Fact was, they knew very little of the Blind Mice. Their capabilities, their willingness to harm innocents. The leader, Josiah, was a reckless troublemaker. He spewed his nonsense on Twitter, announcing targets ahead of time, talking about his own penis.
The heavyset men were back at it. One on the roof. The other two around back of the sunroom, digging up the slab.
Durwood set down the epoxy. The men glanced over but kept jackhammering. They would not be the first, nor last, to underestimate this son of an Appalachian coal miner.
The air compressor was set up on the lawn. Durwood found the main pressure valve and cranked its throat full open.
The man on the roof had his ratchet come roaring out of his hands. He slid down the grade, nose rubbing vinyl shingles, and landed in petunias.
Back on his feet, the man swore.
“Mind your language,” Durwood said. “There’s families in the neighborhood.”
The other two hustled over, shovels at their shoulders. The widest of the three circled to Durwood’s backside.
Sue-Ann coiled her old bones to strike. Ugliness roiled Durwood’s gut.
Big Man punched first. Durwood caught his fist, torqued his arm behind his back. The next man swung his shovel. Durwood charged underneath and speared his chest. The man wheezed sharply, his lung likely punctured.
The third man got hold of Durwood’s bootheel, smashed his elbow into the hollow of Durwood’s knee. Durwood scissored the opposite leg across the man’s throat. He gritted his teeth and clenched. He felt the man’s Adam’s apple wriggling between his legs. A black core in Durwood yearned to squeeze.
He resisted.
The hostiles came again, and Durwood whipped them again. Automatically, in a series of beats as natural to him as chirping to a katydid. The men’s faces changed from angry to scared to incredulous. Finally, they stayed down.
“Now y’all are helping fix that sunroom.” Durwood nodded to the epoxy tin. “Mix six to one, then paste ’er on quick.”
Luckily, he’d caught the thieves early, and the repair was uncomplicated. Clamp, glue, drill. The epoxy should increase the R-value on the sunroom ten, fifteen, units. Good for a few bucks off the gas bill in winter, anyhow.
Durwood did much of the work himself. He enjoyed the panels’ weight, the strength of a well-formed joint. His muscles felt free and easy as if he were home ridding the sorghum fields of johnsongrass.
Done, he let the thieves go.
He turned back south toward Molly’s house. Sue-Ann scrabbled alongside.
“Well, ole girl?” he said. “Let’s see how Quaid made out.”
CHAPTER FOUR
I stood on my front porch watching the Vanagon rumble down Sycamore. My toes tingled, my heart was tossing itself against the walls of my chest, and I was pretty sure my nose had gone berserk. How else could I be smelling cinnamon?
Quaid Rafferty’s last words played over and over in my head: We need you.
For twenty minutes, after Durwood had taken his dog to investigate ker-klacks, Quaid had given me the hard sell. The money would be big-time. I had the perfect skills for the assignment: guts, grace under fire, that youthful je ne sais quoi. Wasn’t I always saying I ought to be putting my psychology skills to better use? Well, here it was: understanding these young people’s outrage would be a major component of the job.
Some people will anticipate your words and mumble along. Quaid did something similar but with feelings, cringing at my credit issues, brightening with whole-face joy at Karen’s reading progress—which I was afraid would suffer if I got busy and didn’t keep up her nightly practice.
He was pitching me, yes. But he genuinely cared what was happening in my life.
I didn’t know how to think about Quaid, how to even fix him in my brain. He and Durwood were so far outside any normal frame of reference. Were they even real? Did I imagine them?
Their biographies were epic. Quaid the twice-elected (once-impeached) governor of Massachusetts who now battled villains across the globe and lived at Caesars Palace. Durwood a legend of the Marine Corps, discharged after defying his commanding officer and wiping out an entire Qaeda cell to avenge the death of his wife.
I’d met them during my own unreal adventure—the end of my second marriage, which had unraveled in tragedy in the backwoods of West Virginia.
They’d recruited me for three missions since. Each was like a huge, brilliant dream—the kind that’s so vital and packed with life that you hang on after you wake up, clutching backward into sleep to stay inside.
Granny said, “That man’s trouble. If you have any sense in that stubborn head of yours, you’ll steer clear.”
I stepped back into the living room, the Vanagon long gone, and allowed my eyes to close. Granny didn’t know the half of it. She had huffed off to watch her judge shows on TV before the guys had even mentioned the Blind Mice.
No, she meant a more conventional trouble.
“I’ve learned,” I said. “If I take this job, it won’t be for romance. I’d be doing it for me. For the family.”
As if cued by the word “family,” a peal of laughter sounded upstairs.
Children!
My eyes zoomed to the clock. It was 8:20. Zach would be lucky to make first hour, let alone homeroom. In a single swipe, I scooped up the Prius keys and both jackets. My purse whorled off my shoulder like some supermom prop.
“Leaving now!” I called up the stairwell. “Here we go, kids—laces tied, backpacks zipped.”
Zach trudged down, leaning his weight into the rail. Karen followed with sunny-careful steps. I sped through the last items on my list—tossed a towel over the grape juice, sloshed water onto the roast, considered my appearance in the microwave door, and just frowned, beyond caring.
Halfway across the porch, Granny’s fingers closed around my wrist.
“Promise me,” she said, “that you will not associate with Quaid Rafferty. Promise me you won’t have one single thing to do with that lowlife.”
I looked past her to the kitchen, where the cat was kinking herself to retch Eggo Waffle onto the linoleum.
“I’m sorry, Granny.” I patted her hand, freeing myself. “It’s something I have to do.”
***
Excerpt from Anarchy of the Mice by Jeff Bond. Copyright 2020 by Jeff Bond. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Bond. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Jeff Bond
Jeff Bond is an American author of popular fiction. His books have been featured in The New York Review of Books, and his 2020 release, The Pinebox Vendetta, received the gold medal (top prize) in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards. A Kansas native and Yale graduate, he now lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.





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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Showcase: Tooth For Tooth by JK Franko

Tooth for Tooth

by JK Franko

on Tour June 1 - July 31, 2020

Synopsis:

Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

IN THIS BLISTERINGLY RELENTLESS SEQUEL TO HIS DEBUT SHOCKER, EYE FOR EYE, J.K. FRANKO TAKES READERS ON A BREATHTAKING JOURNEY OF CAT AND MOUSE



Book Details:


Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal
Published by:Talion Publishing 
Publication Date: April 4th 2020
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781999318819
Series: Talion Series, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon || Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Before meeting Susie and Roy, I had never met a murderer. But then, I had also never lied to the police or destroyed evidence. I had never seen the inside of a jail cell. And I had most certainly never been complicit in a homicide.
I have to reluctantly admit that I am a better person for the experience. I now appreciate that murderers really are just regular people like you and me. Indeed, I have come to consider Susie and Roy more than mere patients... they are friends. And I think back on our time together with nostalgia—fondness, even.
This did not happen overnight. It was a process.
What would you do if you found out that your neighbor was a murderer? Would you double-check that you’d locked your doors every night? Keep an eye out for strange comings and goings? Would you ultimately put your house up for sale, not disclosing what you knew about the folks next door to potential buyers?
For most people, being in the proximity of a killer is neither pleasant nor desirable.
Imagine how I felt about having not one but two as-yet-undetected murderers as my patients. Sitting with each of them for hours every week. Trying to guide them toward more moderate conflict resolution techniques. And failing.
Well, I’m here to tell you that despite the complexities inherent in that situation, I found my path to inner peace and happiness.
I know. I may have said elsewhere that, as a psychologist, I’m not a big believer in “happily ever after.” But my thinking has evolved.
I’ve come to believe more in choices—in the power of decision. This is the key nugget of wisdom I have taken away from this whole mess: We are not what happens to us. We are what we choose.
And I am pleased to report, for the first time in years, that I can finally say I am happy.
You have to understand that my unhappiness was not due to lack of trying. Chalk it up to naiveté—but, at first, it was difficult to process everything Susie and Roy told me and still be happy.
It’s hard to put a positive spin on murder.
Selfishly, I was overwhelmed by the fear that they might turn on me. They had shared everything about their crimes with me in meticulous detail. It was manifestly apparent that I was the weak link. The one person who could bring them down.
I was not just a loose end.
I was the loose end.
And, though I tried, I could not initially find peace under these circumstances. But, as I said earlier, happiness is a choice. And it was a choice that I made which finally ended my torment and brought me to a place where I could be at peace—even though everything ended tragically: my relationship with Susie and Roy, their marriage, the whole mess.
For you to understand the rest of my journey with Susie and Roy, I must share with you something that happened years ago at an ostensibly happy event. I say ‘ostensibly’ because it was a wonderful night for almost everyone concerned.
There were two people at that event who figure in this story—in my story.
The first is Sandra Bissette. For her, the night in question was the beginning of what would become a successful career in politics and law.
For the other, Billy Applegate, the night would end in tragedy.

PART ONE

Billy Applegate

1974
Everybody loves a party.
And there’s nothing quite like an election night party. What makes an election night celebration different?
The guest of honor. You see, all parties—birthdays, anniversaries, wakes—feature a guest of honor. But an election night party is a completely different animal because it isn’t about any one person or couple. It’s not even about the candidates.
At an election night party, the guests of honor are the attendees.
The people who gather to watch election results together are all of one mind. Of one spirit. They are like pack animals, all focused on the same outcome. They all share the same heroes and the same enemies.
If their candidates win, they all win. And a “win” means real-world changes for them—tax breaks, preferential government spending, judicial appointments—and money in their pockets.
Now, that’s a party.
This particular election night party took place in Maryland in 1974. To be precise—because I can be—this party was held on the night of the 1974 midterm elections, on Tuesday, November 5th.
It was a good year for Democrats.
This was the first national election after Watergate. Nixon’s resignation had severely damaged the Republicans’ chances in the election. Gerald Ford was just three months into his presidency, having taken over from Richard Nixon a few months earlier. And, of course, having pardoned Nixon in September, Ford had destroyed his own hopes for re-election and added to the national animus against Republicans.
This election night party took place in a spacious colonial-style home decorated in red, white, and blue, with American flags hanging from the windows and banisters. It featured a spacious living and dining area. The kitchen was large and well-equipped. There was a generous backyard with a comfortable deck and a terrace around the pool. All four bedrooms—aside from one guest bedroom—were upstairs.
There was even a “pin the tail on the donkey” game set up near the bar, for those with a sense of humor. No one actually played.
This house belonged to Dan and Annette Applegate, two proud and active members of the Democratic party in Maryland.
Dan’s family had always been active in politics. His grandfather had been a state representative. His father had served as a county judge for most of his career. Dan—born Daniel Parsons Applegate IV—was the fourth generation of Applegates admitted to the Maryland bar. While he would never actually serve in public office, he understood the value of political contacts and actively cultivated them.
This party was part of that effort.
Dan was dressed in a three-piece, tan wool suit, a white Brooks Brothers shirt, and a burgundy silk tie. The lapels and tie were wide, and the shirt collar oversized—all very fashionable at the time. Annette wore a slim, gold-belted, navy blue flare-leg pantsuit with a pale blue silk blouse and a pair of simple gold earrings. Apropos for the gathering, and it went quite nicely with all the flags, she’d decided.
Their twelve-year-old son, Billy Applegate, was in dark green overalls with a white shirt and blue Keds. A handsome boy, Billy had inherited his mother’s cornflower blue eyes and his father’s thick sandy blond hair, which he wore in a neatly trimmed surfer cut.
Billy was an only child. His parents doted on him, as did his grandparents since he was the only grandchild in both families. Even so, Billy was a good boy and knew to stay out of the way when his parents had guests, though he stayed close enough to be in the mix and see what was going on. He was at the age where he still enjoyed watching the grown-ups. Spying on them. In fact, he was familiar with many of the faces that night from other events of this kind. It was a small community.
Tonight, Tuesday night, the guests were arriving early, many coming over straight after work before polling places even closed.
It was going to be a long night.
The band played. Alcohol flowed. Anticipation and excitement were in the air at the prospect of big Democrat wins. And, after everything Nixon had put the nation through, how could voters not want a change?
In the living room, a handsome mahogany console TV with a big twenty-five-inch-diagonal color screen announced results as they came in. Dan was loitering by the avocado green Trimline rotary phone, mounted on the kitchen wall, that rang periodically with live information. The spring-coiled, twelve-foot receiver cord allowed him to pace anxiously as he fielded calls from the few Democrats charged with providing up-to-the-minute results from county polling.
Remember, this was back in the days before computerized voting machines. Back then, voters travelled to their precinct’s designated polling station and used a machine to punch holes in their ballot. These were then collected and transported to a central counting center where the ballots were put through a counting machine which tabulated the results that were then released to the public.
Dan relayed results to his guests, with each ring of the phone bringing more good news. More cheering and more drinking.
It was a good year to be a Democrat.
At the peak of festivities, there were over 250 guests in and around the property, to the point where the party overflowed onto the street, which was not a problem. No one was going to complain, as most of the neighbors were in attendance. And these were all good white folk. The police were kind enough to block off both ends of the street and make sure that those who’d had too much to drink made it home safely.
Inside, the house was a political orgy. Supporters rubbed elbows with candidates. Candidates rubbed elbows with incumbents. Incumbents rubbed elbows with donors. And lobbyists rubbed elbows with everyone except each other.
There were a number of judges in attendance. Several city council members hovered by the buffet, and a few state representatives were sprinkled through the crowd.
It was into this whirlwind of excitement that Sandra Bissette arrived.
At a time when men still ran everything in politics, Sandra hoped to make a name for herself. The fact that she was a Yale-graduated lawyer didn’t hurt, nor did the fact that she had both the figure and the looks of Jackie Kennedy.
Sandra was the daughter of lifelong Democrats, and her father happened to be the county sheriff. Although Sandra was not part of the elite set in Maryland, she was making her way. She was two years into working as an associate at a top law firm after having done a couple of high-level summer internships in D.C.
That night, Sandra was primarily interested in meeting two people: one was Annette Applegate. Although Sandra knew that both Dan and Annette were active in the Maryland Democratic party, Dan was known to be a snob—his career consisted of riding on his family’s coattails. Annette was universally recognized as the nicer of the two. Annette knew everyone, and everyone loved Annette. It was with her that Sandra was hoping to build a connection.
The second person who Sandra had added to her charm offensive for the evening was Harrison Kraft—another young Yale lawyer who, unlike her, was connected in all the right ways. Having graduated a few years ahead of her from law school, Harrison was running for state representative. He checked all the right boxes— family pedigree, education, professional credentials. There was no doubt the man was going places. Sandra had heard good things about him as a person and was interested in seeing for herself.
It was a little after 9:00 p.m.—Dan had just announced the results from Precinct Four in Montgomery County when Sandra saw an opening. Annette was by the buffet chatting with Howard Patrick, an older lobbyist—handsy, and a bit of a bore. Sandra straightened her back, raised her chin, and approached.
“Hello Howard,” she said with a big smile.
“Sandra! Hello, my dear. Don’t you look beautiful tonight?” “Why, thank you, Howard. Ever the charmer,” she said, allowing him to kiss her hand.
“Have you met our hostess, Annette Applegate?”
As Sandra turned to greet Annette, she noticed that the woman was looking past her, over her shoulder.
“Um, excuse me, young man!” Annette said, eyebrows raised and pearly white teeth dazzling.
Sandra turned and followed Annette’s gaze to a young boy in green overalls filching shrimp from the buffet. She guessed he was just shy of being a teenager.
“Aw, crap,” said Billy as he chewed.
“Come here, you,” Annette said, narrowing her eyes in mock disapproval.
The boy hesitated as he took in the young woman, the fat old man, and his mother, who stood waiting for him expectantly with her hands on her hips. He’d never seen the young woman before. She was new.
Unconsciously, he slowly moved to return the three shrimp in his sticky hand to the platter.
“With the shrimp, silly,” his mother said, shaking her head. Billy moved toward her, chewing rapidly so he could stuff
the other shrimp into his mouth.
Howard put his hand against the small of Sandra’s back, a little too low, and harrumphed to her under his breath, “Better seen, not heard. That’s how it used to be.”
Sandra tried to smile and fought the instinct to pull away.
Howard’s breath smelled of scotch and cigarettes.
Annette overheard, but ignored the old lobbyist’s comment.
“I suppose I don’t need to ask if you’ve had dinner? I left meatloaf for you in the kitchen.”
“I know. But, Mom, these shrimp are amazing.”
“And the meatballs?” asked Annette, looking over Billy toward the platter on the buffet.
Billy blushed. “Those, too.”
“Well, it’s getting a bit late for you,” Annette said, ruffling her son’s fair hair and then kissing him on the forehead, making him squirm. “Finish up the shrimp and get to bed.”
“What about Dad?” Billy asked, looking around. Annette’s face darkened, and she sighed. “I’ll send him up for a goodnight kiss. But you come along now, young man.” She put her hands on her son’s shoulders and steered him towards the stairs. “Excuse me for a moment,” she said over her shoulder.
Shit, thought Sandra as she twisted politely away, getting the old lobbyist’s hand off her lower back as he struck up a conversation. While she tried to focus on what he was saying, it was all she could do not to stare at the green thing wedged in between the man’s tar-stained teeth.
It took her ten minutes to extricate herself from Howard, thanks to Alan Watts—a wiry man who was only modestly more interesting. His family ran a small chain of grocery stores. Alan had asked her out a while back, and though she’d declined, he still had hopes—she could tell.
After a few more minutes of polite conversation, Sandra fell back on “old reliable” with a forced smile. “Excuse me, gentlemen… ladies’ room.”
Once she was sure she had escaped, she continued to work the room. About half an hour later, as she accepted another glass of white wine from a passing waiter, she felt a hand pressing low on the small of her back.
Oh fuck, not again.
“Yes, Howard?” She turned, fake smile firmly in place, to find Annette Applegate standing behind her.
“Gotcha!” laughed Annette.
Sandra laughed, both from relief and from delight at the inside joke made by the woman to whom she’d hoped to ingratiate herself.
This is going to be a great night.
While Sandra and Annette chatted amiably, many other members of the party were well beyond civility.
The drinking had begun five hours earlier, but there was more than just alcohol flowing. Other substances were being abused. It was all very discreet, of course. Most were partaking solely for recreational purposes, but a few were ingesting more heavily. Beyond alcohol and drugs—and most hazardous of all, given that it was infecting everyone to some degree and was in ample supply—was the potent and dangerous combination of two psychological stimulants, victory and power.
You see, politics doesn’t attract only “normal” people. As in every part of society, there is a spectrum. And politics, too, has its outliers. The smug and the superior. The arrogant and the snide. And the sociopaths.
Victory and power are dangerous to all, but more so to the sociopath.
Do not consume alcohol or operate heavy machinery while taking...
For these select few, the alcohol, drugs, and victory combined with power was toxic. It created a euphoria that knew no rules.
No limits.
No fear.
* * *
Upstairs, Billy had fallen asleep with the soothing press of his mother’s goodnight kiss still fresh on his cheek.
A small nightlight plugged into a wall socket illuminated his bedroom, casting a warm glow on a baseball snuggled in a catcher’s mitt that lay in a corner next to a wooden Adirondack baseball bat.
On one end of his small dresser sat a model airplane—a Douglas A-20 Havoc that he’d built with his grandfather. It was a replica of the plane Gramps had flown during World War II. The model was flanked by a teddy bear that Billy claimed he’d outgrown but refused to give away. The other end of the dresser was reserved for the little boy’s current prized possession—Rock’em Sock’em Robots. A gift from his parents for his birthday.
The room was quiet, the party sounds muffled.
Suddenly, the door opened, spilling light into the little boy’s room along with the blare of music and the chaotic chatter of voices. Then, just as quickly, the door shut, returning the room to calm semi-darkness.
Billy was groggy and didn’t try to open his eyes. Instead, he just spoke out loud. “Dad?”
He felt the bed sag as his father sat next to him in a cloud smelling of alcohol and cigars.
Then he felt dry lips on his forehead. The kiss made him smile sleepily.
A hand stroked his head and his hair as Billy snuggled into his pillow and drifted back to sleep.
Suddenly, the same hand that had been stroking his hair gently clamped over his mouth. It was a man’s hand, but it was soft. Clammy. It was not his father’s....
Billy tried to sit up, but the hand squeezed harder, the man leaning into him, pushing him down and pinning him to the bed as a second hand groped at him, pulling away his sheets.
Billy didn’t know what to do. He was terrified. He opened his eyes, but with just the little nightlight on, he couldn’t see anything other than the vague shape of the form pressing down on him. He could smell booze and food on the man’s warm breath.
Tears came as the vise over Billy’s mouth forced him to suck air noisily through his nose as the groping continued—searching, finding, fondling, stroking, then reaching, penetrating, sending a hot shard of searing pain through his body. Inside.
He tried to fight, but couldn’t. The hands were too strong. The body too heavy. He felt sick. The stench of cigars, food, and alcohol on fetid breath was nauseating. And he was scared. Terrified. In pain.
Bile rose in Billy’s throat. But the hand over his mouth prevented him from vomiting. He gagged, then swallowed everything back down.
His body began to convulse.
To thrash.
As it did, the second hand stopped.
The man’s weight eased on top of his body, no longer pinning him down. The hand over his mouth loosened slightly, and Billy felt the other stroking his hair. He wanted to move, but he was paralyzed with fear.
The whole ordeal lasted minutes, but it felt like hours.
Then the presence leaned over and whispered, “Sleep. Sleep.
You were dreaming. Go back to sleep.”
The weight lifted from the bed, and as it did, the hand fell away from Billy’s mouth, leaving him shivering in the aftermath.
The door opened, first slightly. Through the crack, the man looked out into the hall as the babble of music and voices invaded the bedroom. Then the door swung fully open, and as it did, Billy saw the man clearly in the light from the hallway. The image burned itself into his memory. The image of a stranger whose identity he would eventually learn.
The door closed and the crowd cheered as the band started playing—“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
And Billy Applegate cried himself into a fitful sleep.
***
Excerpt from Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko. Copyright 2020 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

JK Franko
J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.
His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.
J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On:
jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!




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Friday, June 19, 2020

Blog Tour: Aftermath of Secrets by Cate Beauman

★★★ AFTERMATH OF SECRETS ★★★


by

Cate Beauman

The Carter Island Trilogy, Book 2

RELEASE DATE:  June 4, 2020


BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When The Secrets Of The Past Threaten To Destroy The Future…
Boston’s Most Eligible Bachelor has it all: good looks, a great career, and plenty of wealth and prestige. But Bradley Sanderson’s charmed life quickly falls apart when scandal rocks his famous family. Arrests have been made; the media circus has begun, and Brad’s been tasked with the daunting chore of restoring the Sandersons’ good name. Moving back to Carter Island and picking up the pieces hasn’t been easy, especially when the one person he needs the most won’t give him the time of day.
Bakery owner and island resident Molly Carter is loyal to her core, but that doesn’t mean Brad’s homecoming hasn’t left her torn. Brad’s darkest days aren’t lost on Molly, but reaching out to her lifelong friend isn’t so simple when she’s forced to guard her heart. Everything changed when she woke up alone after their sexy summer night.
The complications keep coming when Brad’s long-lost brother shows up in town, bringing the remnants of his checkered past with him. Forgiveness and redemption are possible for all, until new secrets come to light that may have dire consequences.

*A contemporary romance with twists of mystery and suspense


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REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS:


5 Stars! “I'm a big sucker for a good love story, especially one that has drama. Aftermath Of Secrets by Cate Beauman provided both in a beautiful way. I was swept in by the characters, their wants, and desires.” -Shannon Winings, Readers’ Favorite Book Awards

EXCERPT:

“What do you think it’s been, five or six years since you’ve been home for more than a week in a row?”
Brad nodded slowly. “Yeah, something like that.”
“It’s like the good old days.”
He shrugged, pushing off the wall, moving her way. “Sort of.”
Molly winced, foolishly forgetting that life for Brad was currently unrecognizable. “I guess that was pretty dumb of me to say.”
“No, I just meant Nate isn’t here hanging out in his boxers, and I haven’t done this yet.”
She frowned. “What?”
“Dunked you,” he said as he pressed his hand on top of her head and sent her under.
She sank beneath the watery depths, slapping at his hand and arm as he kept her submerged for a good three or four seconds. She came up sputtering and glaring. “You idiot.” She coughed again. “Are you trying to drown me?”
He dismissed her with a chuckle and flippant raise of his brow. “So dramatic. We had about three minutes before we needed to start worrying about brain damage.”
Her eyes narrowed again. “Oh, you’re dead,” she said, gritting her teeth, charging after him.
He laughed, swimming away.
But they were well-matched, both of them excellent swimmers. All the Sanderson and Carter kids had had numerous lessons in their younger days due to their proximity to the Atlantic.
She hooked her arm around his neck, maneuvered her way onto his back, and sent them both underwater, her legs locking around his waist to keep her leverage. But his sheer size and strength were her disadvantage.
Then they both surfaced for air, Brad laughing before she brought him under again. Within seconds, he had their positions reversed, and he held her against him, one arm wrapped around the front of her waist, the other around her shoulders as they came up for another draw of air.
His breath puffed against her neck in hot torrents as their legs brushed with their kicks to stay afloat, while he let her waist go and used his arm to tread water. “Molls, this is quite a predicament.
He wasn’t kidding. She was pinned beneath his strong arm, and her back was pressed against his solid chest, with no choice but to grip his muscular forearm caging her in place. “Fine. You win.” She just needed him to let her go.
“That’s it? Since when do you give up so easy?”
Since he’d kissed her brainless and taken her to bed. “Since I realized it’s time to get home and get changed for your party at Nate and Callie’s.” She tried to move away from him.
He switched arms, now holding her around the waist, and began keeping their heads above water with his opposite arm. “No problem. Just say, Brad, you’re the best Scrabble player I know. I bow to you, you genius.”
She huffed out a laugh, raising her arm to the surface to help keep their chins from bobbing under. “I won. Three years in a row now.”
“Just luck.” He held her tighter, whispering next to her ear, his voice full of teasing. “You’re the best, Brad. That’s all I need to hear.”
“Broody Brad,” she murmured, knowing he hated it when she called him that—a slight from their childhood.
“What was that?” he asked, drilling his fingers into her side, tickling her.
She scream-laughed. “Damn it, Brad.” She fought him enough to turn and immediately realized her huge mistake as he held her chest to chest, and they stared into each other’s eyes.
He grinned. “This is certainly a situation.”
A droplet trailed down his face to land on his firm bottom lip, and his eyelashes were webbed together, making him even more irresistible than he already was. Her heart pounded, her pulse thundering in her throat, and she glared at him, needing to be free of him, well aware he was enjoying this far too much.
There was an undeniable attraction between them. All she had to do was press her mouth to his, and they would have a repeat of August. But they weren’t going there again. She wasn’t risking their friendship a second time.


ABOUT CATE BEAUMAN



Cate Beauman is the multi-award-winning, international bestselling author of The Bodyguards of L.A. County series and the Carter Island Novels. She is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense and contemporary stories.
Cate's novels have been named Readers' Favorite Five Star books and have won the Booksellers' Best Award, Maggie Award for Excellence, the Holt Medallion Award, two-time Aspen Gold Medal, two-time Readers' Favorite International Gold Medal, three-time Readers' Favorite International Silver Medal, and the Readers' Crown Award.
Cate makes her home in New Hampshire with her family and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack.


Contact Cate

Website:  https://catebeauman.com/
Newsletter:  http://www.catebeauman.com/getmyfreebooks
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CateBeaumanAuthor/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/realcatebeauman/
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Cate-Beauman/e/B00A05KHVM
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cate-beauman
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6543858.Cate_Beauman


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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Spotlight: F-Bomb Affirmations by Natalie Stokell



Self -help
Date Published: 20.4.20 20th April 2020
Publisher: Change Empire Books

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F-Bomb Affirmations is the self-help book for people who are fed the f•ck up with the same old stories keeping them from reaching their dreams and goals.

In this insightful and entertaining book, self-proclaimed affirmation queen Natalie Stokell breaks down the brain science of why we achieve some of our goals but not others. In 11 easy-to-read chapters, you’ll learn:

• How beliefs are formed from a neuroscience perspective and how these beliefs filter your view of the world

• How to discover what stories are keeping you from reaching your goals, so you can push through these blocks and make some epic sh•t happen in your life

• How your brain works so you can start rewiring it for success and reach your goals faster

• What goals trigger your ‘not good enough’ stories and how to shift this so you can begin to feel worthy to receive

• Why swearing is actually good for you and how you can use it as an effective mindset tool

• How to create affirmations that actually work, so you can use them with confidence and create the life you were meant to live

By the end of F-Bomb Affirmations, you’ll understand how your brain works and how to work it. You’ll have five keys to supercharge your affirmations – and you’ll discover how to immediately start applying these keys to the things you want to be, do, and have in your life.

Everything is possible. Your dreams are within your reach. And you’ve got what it takes.

You are one f•cking incredible human.




About the Author


Natalie Stokell lives and plays on the Sunshine Coast, Australia, with her partner, their two children, nine chickens, and seven alpacas. She has a master’s degree in psychology and has used affirmations for years to create the life of her dreams. Her affirmation recordings on SoundCloud have had over 219,317 plays. In this kickass book, she shares all her tips so that you too can change your life. You can find out more and connect with her at www.fbombaffirmations.com.


Contact Links
Facebook @fbombaffirmations
Instagram @fbombaffirmations

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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Spotlight: Say Goodbye and Goodnight by David Ruggerio



Romance
Date Published: 6/11/20
Publisher: Black Rose Writing

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This is the love story to end all love story’s! 1977, the most tumultuous year in New York City’s history. In a place called Bensonhurst, a young Italian-American fighter named Anthony Marino meets his love in Romeo and Julie disco on 86th Street. Gia steals his heart away, and through tremendous trials and tribulations, their love survives. A modern Shakespearean tale that pulls on every heart string we possess.


About the Author

Known worldwide as a celebrity chef, David Ruggerio’s life-story is one of redemption, sacrifice, and a new lease on life as an award-winning genre fiction writer.

Ruggerio rose to the position of top chef at the famous La Caravelle in New York by age 25. He went on to take command of Pierre Cardin's New York outpost of Maxim's de Paris, where he garnered three stars fromThe New York Times. In 1995, Robert Mondavi, the note vintner, named him one of the thirteen best young chefs in America.

With two acclaimed cookbooks under his belt, David Ruggerio became known as a "Super Chef" and was called for television guest spots that quickly became opportunities. He hosted the iconic TV showsRuggerio to Goon the Food Network, andLittle Italy with David Ruggerioon PBS. Throughout his outstanding career as a chef, Ruggerio cooked for five US Presidents.

Today, Ruggerio lives on the East Coast and spends his days writing mostly genre fiction.He is an Amazon bestselling author and the recipient of the Maxy Award for Best Horror 2019 for his debut horror novel,A Wistful Tale of Gods, Men and Monsters. His second book of fiction, Say Goodbye and Goodnight, releases June 2020.


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