Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Addicted to Writing Presents: Dakota's Bride by Christine Young $0.99



Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level:


BLURB:

When Emma St. John received her brother's letter imploring her to escape her stepfather's vengeful scheme and to trust Dakota Barringer with her life, she was willing to chance it. But the handsome, brooding riverboat owner Emma found in Natchez a danger of another kind. For Emma soon found herself surrendering to an unrelenting desire.

Raised by the Sioux when his parents were killed, Dakota had been betrayed once before by a white woman. He wasn't about to trust another, especially one claiming that her stepfather, a powerful U.S. senator, had framed her as a murderess. But he couldn't let Emma's intoxicating effect on him. Now Dakota would risk his very life to protect the innocent beauty who had seduced him with her tender love.

EXCERPT:

Moonless and frigid, the December night sent chills down Emma's spine. Yet she didn't stop at the lighted inn nearby, nor did she break stride when she stumbled over a rut in the muddy road. Instead, she pulled her skirts higher. A carriage raced by, hell-bent in the same direction, spitting mud as it flew past

A frantic look over her shoulder did nothing to relieve the fear. He was closing on her, forcing her from her hiding place. She stopped for a moment while she quickly shook the mud off her cape, then she turned to the little girl.

"You all right, Clare?" Emma asked.

The little girl nodded but didn't say anything, her face screwed tight with concentration, her breaths ragged and hard.

The big Mississippi paddle wheeler, due to leave in ten minutes, let out two loud, booming whistles. To Emma's frayed nerves, the sound was heart-stopping.

The wind from the docks smelled of fish and tar. When it shifted, she could make out the aroma of fresh baked scones coming from the inn. Emma gripped the tiny hand she held in her own a little tighter, and prayed that Clare could keep up the pace.

"It's only a wee bit farther. We can make it," Emma told the little girl, her sister. Half sister, she reminded herself.

Clare's father was not her own. His demonically hand­some face leering at her while he calmly explained what he meant for Emma to do in the bordello was something she'd never forget.

Clare was a tiny and very fragile seven-year old. She had loving green eyes and a long, slender nose coupled with delicate cheekbones. Emma knew that someday Clare would grow into a classic beauty.

One long blond lock of hair slipped loose from Clare's cap. The little girl pushed it away with her free hand, wrinkling her nose disgustedly.

Frost coated the road, and each hurried step caused the almost frozen mud to crunch beneath their feet. A horse and rider passed them, the man tipping his hat as he and his mount thundered by. Church bells rang out, the sound hollow and thin. It was almost six o'clock. She had five minutes to reach the boat.

A gust of wind caught her broadside and whisked the hood of her cape off the top of her head. She grabbed the soft fur and pulled the fabric back where it belonged. Distracted by the wind and her haste to reach the boat, Emma caught the toe of her shoe on a rock and balanced precariously for an instant.

She swore softly under her breath.

Had only one month passed?

No, three weeks ago her mother had died and two weeks ago she had learned the awful truth. Lawrence Stevens had slowly poisoned her mother. He had given her a small dose of arsenic each day until finally her mother took to her bed. Several days later Emma had held her mother's hand while she breathed her last.

Emma would never have known about the murder if she hadn't overheard Stevens speaking in harsh whispers with a friend of his. There were other things said and promised, things Emma had not wanted to acknowledge.

Disbelief and denial had caused her to waste precious time. Seven days had come and gone since she'd had her last horrible encounter with her stepfather. It was an encounter that had left her with no doubts that everything she'd heard was the god-awful truth. Stevens had meant to sell her to a whorehouse. Still, she'd had a difficult time believing the extent of Lawrence Stevens's depravity. But when he'd installed her in Madame leBon's bordello, she realized too late that her life was in grave jeopardy.

And Clare, sweet, sweet Clare, had understood all she'd told her and perhaps more. With the eyes of a child, Clare had somehow sensed the evil that surrounded her father long before anyone else did.

Five long days and nights they'd spent on the run. Clare had not complained. No matter how exhausted or hungry she was, the little girl had pressed on, understanding the imminent danger that faced Emma. Clare had somehow known that Emma had to get as far away from Lawrence as possible.



This incredible romance is one I positively fell in love with and is good enough to read again and again.
Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
4 Cups
I can’t remember the last time I was so engrossed in a book: Dakota’s Bride took over my weekend, and even now, am wishing to go peruse it one more time…

Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon Long and Short Reviews

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Addicted to Writing Presents Tell Tale Tuesday: Shadow Chaser by K. J. Dahlen



Shadow Chaser
K. J. Dahlen
kjdahlen1@yahoo.com

Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1


BLURB:

When serial killer, Aaron Chrispen comes back to Angel City, it's to claim the only victim in eleven years to get away, Hannah Masters, and for revenge on the police officers, Jesse Wyatt and Sam Dylan, that almost ended his life. When Jesse tells Hannah that the killer is back Hannah is plunged into a nightmare she thought was over.

FBI agent Eli Stone has been after this killer for eleven years and joins Jesse in the hunt. In the final showdown between Aaron, Jesse and Eli only one will die, but which one will it be?

EXCERPT

He had learned to be patient, very patient. Over the years he had discovered that anything worth having was indeed worth waiting for, and he really wanted this. He had wanted this for five very long years. He had come back to this small Wisconsin town for a purpose and soon he would get back what he lost but he had to wait a little longer. He had to wait until he had all the players playing his game.

He sat back against the wall of the shop and waited. The ground he sat on was hard and dry, but he didn’t seem to notice. He had long ago trained his mind to overcome certain situations. Everyone had been fooled by his resolve. They claimed his debt to society had long been paid, and he was a free man but he’d fooled them all. Oh, his debt was paid; he spent the better part of his youth in a hospital for the criminally insane, but he learned to play the game they wanted him to, and he fooled everyone when he made his escape.

For the past eleven years, he had lived the life he wanted. Traveling from place to place, outwitting everyone. He was doing what he wanted to do. That what he did was against the laws of God and man was beside the point. He had long ago stopped caring to please anyone but himself.

He had been sitting here since early morning; hidden by the bushes in front of him, he could see the daily life of the ordinary people all around him. It was late afternoon. Soon the same people he’d seen this morning rushing off to start their day would be hurrying home from work and school to have supper and go about their lives. He could see it all playing out in front of him. Kids would be outside playing and laughing while their parents were taking care of business inside. Then one by one each family would retreat inside for their tedious evening ritual.

Daylight would fade into darkness and the laughter and other everyday sounds would settle into quiet. The empty streets would fall into shadows and finally the quiet would be swallowed by the night. His mind’s ramblings could have been a scene from a bad movie, something so old it was shown in black and white. He chuckled silently and wondered why people really lived this way. Didn’t they have any fun any more? Where was the excitement?

He sat unnoticed as daylight faded. He had been in town for fourteen days, and no one knew he was here, and that fact suited him fine. The streetlights began casting shadows all around him and he welcomed them. The shadows comforted him like a blanket comforts a child. He felt safe.

This was his time of night. He loved it. He could be either a saint or a sinner and while he preferred to be a sinner, he could become whoever and whatever he wanted. He could move anywhere and no one would see him among the shadows. He felt himself come alive. His primary senses sharpened and his lackadaisical attitude disappeared. He walked freely during the day but preferred to conserve his energy because at night he came alive, at night like the mighty lions of Africa, he hunted and his quarry didn’t escape death.






Monday, August 31, 2015

Addicted to Writing Presents Mystery Monday: why did Bernie have to DIE? Free



Title: Why Did Bernie Have to Die?
Author: Genie Gabriel
ISBN: 978-1-62420-218-6
EMAIL: genene@genenevalleau.com
Genre: Mystery
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2
Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

TAGLINE

Can a hot-tempered Irish rogue become a loving dad, a heroic cop, and a small town legend?

BLURB

After a series of tragedies, Bernie O'Shea turns his Irish stubbornness to becoming a loving dad, a heroic cop, and a small-town legend. He doesn't plan on finding a woman who becomes his courageous life partner or enemies among those he thought were his friends.

EXCERPT


Bernie's heartbeat stuttered as his old pickup topped the gentle rise of land that marked the boundary of his grandparents' farm. The burned out remains of the old house slammed memories as hard as a fist into his gut as he braked to a stop.
The flames licked greedily up the brick chimney, consuming the tinder dry wood siding, and lighting up the night sky. Bernie bellowed in helpless rage, dunking himself in the water trough used for livestock before plunging into the flames and toward the bedroom his grandparents had shared since their marriage decades earlier.
Fury fueled his strength as he cradled his grandmother in his arms and carried her outside, then returned for his grandfather. He laid them side by side on the cool, damp grass, searching frantically for a pulse. But he knew it was futile. They were already dead.
Tallie laid her hand over Bernie's whitened knuckles. Through the sheen of his tears, he saw the mirror of his sadness in her eyes. He turned his hand over and clasped hers tightly.
Together, they would rebuild. A house. A family. A legacy this town would never forget.
Bernie lifted his foot off the brake and drove the pickup a short distance past the site of the old house.
"Is the barn safe?" Tallie asked. "Perhaps we could set up the tent near there so the boys would have a place to play if it rains?"
"Good idea." Bernie smiled at her. "I married a woman who is both beautiful and smart. We'll check it out."

~ * ~

Bernie pushed open the door to the general store and stepped inside, pausing to fill his lungs with the remembered smells of ripe cheese, pickles, cured meats, leather, and tobacco smoke that had permeated the building's walls since the store opened over a hundred years before.
Even the old pot-bellied stove remained in one corner, flanked by several wooden chairs that once invited pioneers to sit a spell and swap stories.
However, shelves once crowded with treasures that fascinated Bernie as a boy now held only a few sparse items.
"Well, Bernie O'Shea. I heard you were back in town." A white-haired old man with a curved back limped slowly toward him with the assistance of a knobby cane.
"Mr. Haroldson." Bernie walked across the plank flooring and stretched out his hand in greeting. "I need a few things to build a house on my grandparents' place."
"So it's true?"
"Yessir."
"Took you long enough to come back, boy."
"I have a wife and two boys now. We plan to make our home here."
A slow smile curved the older man's mouth. "The hell you say."
"Think you could order some lumber, nails and roofing for the house?"
"Might need some plumbing supplies and paint too."
"That we might. I can give you the cash up front."
The old man grinned and clapped Bernie on the shoulder. "Welcome home, boy. Welcome home."

~ * ~

A satisfied feeling settled in Bernie's gut as he drove back to his grandparents' property. The feeling lasted until he topped the rise of land from where he could see the site of their future home—and a police car parked in the driveway.
Bernie pulled his shotgun out of its rack as he drove the pickup around the cruiser. He stopped beside Tallie and the boys, opening the door so it shielded her. When he stepped out of the pickup, the shotgun was pointed at Randall Weston's chest. "You're trespassing, Weston."
The chief of police eased back toward his cruiser. "Just checking out a report of squatters at your grandparents' property."
"My property. My wife. My kids. Get off and don't come back."
"Well, that's not very neighborly—"
The metallic ka-ching of Bernie cocking a shell into the barrel had Weston back-stepping quickly. He slid behind the wheel of the police cruiser and sped away.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Addicted to Writing Presents Romance Sunday: Until I Met You by Rosemary Indra



Author: Rosemary Indra

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: www.roguephoenixpress.com

BLURB:

J.T. Reynolds returns from the war a broken man with one goal on his mind, protect his deceased brother’s baby. When he meets the baby’s guardian, Jessica Reid, he conceals his identity in order to judge if she’s a competent caregiver. He finds peace and contentment in her arms and longs to build a loving family with her.

Jessica has been lied to by most of the men in her life and finds it difficult to form a lasting relationship. With sole guardianship of her nephew, she struggles to find a trustworthy babysitter until a handsome man moves into the neighbourhood. Learning to trust again, Jessica finds strength and love in Tyler’s strong arms. Jessica is devastated when she learns Tyler has deceived her. Is her love resilient enough to forgive him?


EXCERPT

J. T. Reynolds stood motionless on Jessica Reid's porch. His military training had kicked in; know your adversary before you strategize. Intent on getting to know her, he first introduced himself to her neighbors. He'd gleaned the three women on the cul-de-sac were close. Their bond extended to more than three single women living on the same street. He'd learned Jessica hadn't lived here long but she'd known both of the women for some time. Jessica and Blake had been friends since elementary school. J. T. was amazed at how much the women revealed when he talked to them.
The exterior of her home was well maintained, but J. T. knew all too well appearances were deceiving. His family always gave the pretense of a loving family until they were behind closed doors.
A porch with white columns covered the majority of the front of her house. He glanced in the large window, studying his quarry. From where he stood, he could see her sitting in a rocking chair, holding the little tike. Mesmerized, he watched the woman hold the infant in her arms and slowly rock back and forth.
Jessica had a braid of long brown hair across the opposite breast from the baby. From where he stood, her features looked plain. No—solemn. Her face drawn and shoulders slumped. Impulsively, J. T. wanted to comfort her with an embrace. For a woman he didn't know, yet, she brought out a protective instinct in him. He tried to remember what his brother had said about the woman but drew a blank. This was personal, yet after so many years in the service, he felt as if this was another mission and pushed his emotions aside.
For some reason he wondered what color her eyes were. J.T. shook his head. He wasn't here because of the woman. The baby was his reason for this task. The child didn't know it, but he was the closest person J.T. had to a family. He would do anything for his foster brother's son.
Growing up, J. T. had spent years being shuffled from one foster home to another. He never felt a connection to any of the families until he moved in with Grant Markham's family. The two of them had become best friends and referred to each other as brothers.
When Wyatt was born, Grant emailed J. T. in Afghanistan with the news. He asked him if he'd be the baby's godfather and to look out for the boy if anything should happened. At the time, J. T. joked with him about how dangerous Grant's job as a computer programmer was and he needed to watch out for paper cuts. J. T. would give anything to hear Grant's laughter again.
J. T. focused on Jessica gently swaying in the rocking chair. Listening carefully, he swore he could hear her soothing voice sing a lullaby. The scene in the house was very hypnotic and he felt a sense of peace. For the first time in years, he wanted to belong to a family. To come home to a wife and children would be a peaceful change to the world he'd witnessed lately. Putting his arms around a woman at the end of the day, sharing the good and the bad would be heaven. J. T. quickly reached out and pressed the doorbell without another thought. He wasn't here for a touchy-feely moment. The child was the only reason he stood on her porch.
The doorbell chimed, piercing the still morning. He could still see her image through the window as she walked toward the door. Her movements were lithe and gracefully. Enticing. With a moment of doubt, J. T. stepped back and started to retrace his steps down the porch when he heard the door open.
The first thing he noticed when she opened the door were her rich brown eyes. Expressive bedroom eyes. He'd seen recognition in her gaze. In a moment of silence, a sensation of desire heated his blood. It had been too long since he had sex if one look from her had him thinking in that direction.
Jessica wore jeans and a white eyelet blouse which hung low, where she held the baby, revealing the swell of her breast. Her creamy white skin had him yearning to caress her.
"You must be Tyler."
He was glad to see the corners of her mouth curve into a smile and chase the sadness away.
"Blake called and said you saw her yesterday."
He'd done his homework. Talking to her friends and neighbors helped paved the way to meet her. J. T. removed his cap and pressed the cloth between his hands. Always able to talk himself out of any situation, at the moment, he struggle for a coherent thought. "Yes, ma'am."
"Won't you come in?"
Her hospitality was genuine and sincere. J. T. speculated Jessica wouldn't be so friendly if she knew who he was and his plan to spy on her to determine if she was fit to watch over Wyatt.
Her eyes widened with surprise. She held Wyatt against her shoulder the way she had the other day in front of the window. Then she reached out her free hand to him.
"I recognized you from the other day. Nice to meet you. I'm Jessica Reid."
Her soft fingers wrapped around his hand. The warmth and tenderness created a connection to the family closeness he'd seen moments ago causing him to yearn for a better life.
"The pleasure is mine."
Startled by the serenity he felt with her, J. T. wanted more and leaned toward her. He breathed in her fresh, clean scent, a fragrance he didn't recognize. Her deep brown gaze studied him closely and he wondered who was doing the investigation, her or him.