Friday, July 21, 2017

FRIDAY'S FEATURED TITLE: When Olivia Laundon uncovers a hidden agenda in a Washington D.C. watchdog group, it takes her to a plot of homegrown terrorists planning the unthinkable. THE PHOENIX CONNECTION BY K. J. DAHLEN



Title: The Phoenix Connection
Author: K. J. Dahlen
ISBN: 978-1-62420-109-7
Email: kjdahlen1@yahoo.com

Genre: Mystery
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1


When Olivia Laundon uncovers a hidden agenda in a Washington D.C. watchdog group, it takes her to a plot of homegrown terrorists planning the unthinkable.  After two friends are murdered in front of her, she goes on the run only to be discovered by FBI agent Jesse Cantral. Together they uncover more of the plot but to stop it they rely on a special group of Americans. Can they stop the Phoenix Society before they ruin the world as we know it?

EXCERPT

A man in a hazard suit entered the code into the security pad outside the Biohazard lab and when the light turned green he opened the door and slipped inside. He walked over to the vault and entered another code. The door popped open and the man reached inside and searched for the correct container. He chose one and pulled it out.
The man turned the container on its side and noted the number on the label—NC211. He closed the vault and tucked the vile into a small cooler. Zipping up the cooler he turned to leave the lab. On his way out he paused at one of the lab areas and turned on a Bunsen burner but didn't light it. When he got to the door, he opened it then turned to light a match and toss it back inside the lab. Closing the door quickly, he watched the room burst into flames, ducking as the chemicals in assorted containers bubbled over and exploded. Glass shattered. The heat was very intense as the gas spewed from the burner. Flames spread quickly as the man in the suit hurried toward the door leading to the hallway. The heavy door blocked the fire from spreading to the rest of the building. The man rushed to the changing room and stripped off the suit.
When he emerged a few minutes later, he watched the sprinkler systems trying to douse the flames in the lab. He knew he didn't have enough time to vacate the building without some help so as he passed the fire alarms he reached out and pulled the handle down. A sharp horn bleated the signal and people began appearing in the hall. They were stunned by the noise then someone noticed the smoke and shouted 'fire.' Everyone panicked and stampeded toward the exits.
The man got into the line heading for the escape. He went down the stairs with everyone else and once outside he turned and walked away from the pool of people standing in a crowd waiting for the fire department. Sirens could be heard coming closer but the man simply got into his car and drove away. His mission was done.

~ * ~

The next morning Doctors Nathan and Jean Laundon entered the burnt out lab to access the damage done by the fire.
"Well this is a fine mess," Jean admitted as she gazed around the room.
"How could this have happened?" Nathan wanted to know. "No one is supposed to be in here after hours."
He paused then turned to stare at his wife, "You don't suppose…"
"Quickly, check the vault," She urged him.
Nathan crossed the lab and punched in the numbers. When the vault popped open, he checked the vials. Not finding the one he was looking for, he turned and looked at her. Slowly he shook his head, "Damn how did they find it? How did anyone even know about NC211?"
"I don't know, but we have to report this," Jean told him.
"I know but we have to be careful who we report it to," Nathan said. "After all, we don't know who broke in here to take the vial. Only a handful of people even knew it existed."
"Or what it could do." Jean reminded him.
"I think I was able to neutralize it, but we didn't have time to test it."
"That's what I'm worried about," Jean admitted.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

He'd bought land in America, looking to put down roots and end his life of adventure, but Aric Lakeland got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful heiress who made a promise she didn't want to keep. A MARRIAGE OF INCONVENIENCE BY CHRISTINE YOUNG



Author: Christine Young
Email: achristay@aol.com
Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

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A REGAL BEAUTY

When the duchess decides to wed her to a wastrel and a fop, Ravyn Grahm takes matters into her own hands and declares her engagement to another man. Instead of fessing up and telling her great aunt what she has done, she goes through with the pretense. Aric Lakeland is the bastard son of an earl and has a dangerous reputation. But Ravyn is willing to do most anything to keep the duchess from discovering the lie.

A DEVIL-MAY-CARE SMUGGLER

He'd bought land in America, looking to put down roots and end his life of adventure, but Aric Lakeland got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful heiress who made a promise she didn't want to keep. But the promise could not be undone and standing between them were more obstacles than either ever dreamed. Aric had made plans to spend the rest of his life in America and that was at odds with Ravyn's plan of living in England and running her father's estate. Now, he'll have to choose between his dreams and the woman he loves more than life.


EXCERPT

Aric Lakeland dodged foot-traffic along the boulevard in a crazy attempt to keep up with the bouncing erratic carriage he followed. The day was intolerably hot and his mood was no better. He resented this mission. He’d left a cool pub and a cold brew to sweat beneath the hot sun.

His idea of fun was not traipsing after a notorious gambler and womanizer. Nor did he want to baby sit a spoiled debutante.

Yet, he’d promised. A wave of guilt washed through him.

Sweat beaded on his forehead, dripping down his face. He swiped it with the back of his hand and sidestepped, nearly knocking packages from a lady just exiting a dressmaker’s shop.

“You owe me, my friend. When this is done, I will collect,” he swore beneath his breath and began thinking of all the favors he might ask of his half brother.

The carriage he followed turned a corner and disappeared from sight. He plowed into a lamppost, swore again and raced through the crowds. Richy Richmond did not deserve this absurd protection. Richy could deal with his own affairs. The other part of his half brother’s request bothered Aric. He did not want anything to happen to the lady he followed. His half brother had reason to believe Richy might do something to compromise her. His gut instincts had never been wrong. Ravyn Grahm, cousin to his half brother’s wife, was in serious trouble.

Richy’s carriage came to an abrupt halt. Richy jumped from the vehicle. His cane in hand, he strode toward a dress shop Aric had reason to visit on occasion.

Aric watched, fascinated as the scene unfolded. He started forward but noticed Richy race to protect the women Aric followed. 

“You ruffians!  Get your hands off me!”  The white-haried Duchess shrieked, her age-lined face mottled with rage, pushing at two little guttersnipes who seemed more intent on shoving the elderly woman around than stealing the packages she carried.

Ravyn swiped her parasol across a boy’s head and turned to the other, her eyes blazing, shooting violet blue sparks.

“Stop it!” she cried out, raising her parasol again and again. “Take that!  And that!”

Amused, Aric leaned against a lamppost similar to the one he had run into earlier in his race to keep Richy’s carriage in view.

He crossed his arms over his chest, grinning as he watched Ravyn batter the boys who had had the audacity to try and harm the Duchess.

He chuckled, prepared to step in if needed but it appeared the two women had the situation under control. Ravyn, he mused, the regal, classy lady who seldom had a hair on her gorgeous head out of place was decidedly disheveled. Her cheeks were flushed, her hair flowed beautifully from its perfectly coiffed hairdo. Her jacket sleeve was torn and to his amazement, she grinned as if she were having the time of her life.

“Go on, get,” Richy stepped in, shooing the two boys away. He grabbed hold of one of the boy’s arms and shook him. “Patrol,” he yelled, looking around for help. The boy stomped on Richy’s foot. Surprised, Richy let go. “Bloody hell!  Come back here. Little brat,” he yelled as the boy ran off.

Aric cocked an eyebrow, watching and wondering what would happen next, knowing Richy had a card up his sleeve. He had not forgotten he was supposed to be watching Richy, nor had he forgotten the man had suffered innumerable losses at the gaming tables and the racetrack the last few days and he might do something to Ravyn.

Aric pushed away from the lamppost and strode toward the women and Richy. He watched Richy change demeanor. Suddenly instead of rescuer, he was attacker. Aric’s heart stopped for a moment then raced.

Richy wrenched Ravyn against him, pulling her close, her arm behind her back, his mouth close to her ear as if he whispered something to Ravyn.

“Let go,” Ravyn cried out, twisting and thrashing her arms. It seemed to be the opposite scenario as moments before. The crowds that had previously closed around the women had now dissipated.

“Let go,” Ravyn cried again. 

“You’re mine, Ravyn,” Richy said in a low well-modulated voice. “You should have realized it months ago and I’d have won the wager. But instead, you ignored me. You taunted me and sometimes you pretended to care while other times you turned up your pert little nose when I walked by.”

“What do you think you are doing?  Let go of me!”  Ravyn cried out, hatred now in her stormy violet eyes.

To Aric, she sounded incredulous, perhaps confused. But strangely, not afraid.

“We--“he paused a moment--“are going to Gretna Green. We are getting married and I will inherit your estate. You will be mine.”







Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Damian Andrews couldn't afford to trust the emerald-eyed spitfire who happened upon his secret. THE WAGER BY CHRISTINE YOUNG FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED





Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level:
978-1-936403-51-6

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BLURB:

Amorica Hepburn was sent to London to find a husband. However, finding a man was the last item on her agenda. With her two cousins, Amorica wagers she can dissuade her suitor before the others. Despite her efforts she discovers a chemistry that cannot be denied. Suddenly she is the arrogant man's wife, pledged to a marriage neither desire. But swept off to his ancestral home above the Dover cliffs and into his strong embrace, Amorica is soon possessed by a raging passion for the husband she had vowed to despise…

Damian Andrews couldn't afford to trust the emerald-eyed spitfire who happened upon his secret. Amorica's hatred of all men of his kind only inflames the war that rages between them. Still, he can not control the intense desire his stubborn bride inspires, or make her surrender to his will until he has conquered the headstrong beauty on the battlefield of love…

EXCERPT

Coast of England 1816

"It's a bloody cursed day." Damian Andrews swept the child into his arms and waded through the pounding surf to the beach. He braced himself against the out-going current then sloshed through the crashing waves. Salt spray clung to the wind, stinging his nostrils.

Damian turned. Beneath his ribs, his heart pounded the cadence hard and fast. He swore again as he watched the captain shout orders to his crew. The French brandy that was supposed to have arrived this night would have to wait.

Standing in the longboat, the captain of the ship that brought the brandy as well as the political refugees from the Germanies held a torch aloft--the only light in the vast darkness. "Hurry, laddie. We have human cargo tonight and the tide is changing."

A little girl whimpered.

Damian pulled her into his arms, bent on protecting her at all cost.

"It's all right. You will all be together soon." The smuggling of French brandy was a cover for the cause that meant so much to him. Religious and political refugees--at times it seemed they came in droves. All were seeking a better life. A life of freedom. "Your mother is coming as well as your baby brother. You will all be safe."

Damian looked to the captain. "The father?" he queried.

"He didn't come with his family. He said he had one more thing to do. You must hurry."

The child leaned into Damian, her little face nuzzling his shoulder, her silent sobs gut-wrenching. He pulled her closer, cursing at the elements as well as mankind and wishing he could find a way to shield the tiny child from all harm. He knew the feat to be impossible. The little girl touched a place in his heart and for a moment filled that broken space with light. Yes, the mother would be with her children, but why had the father stayed where his life was in peril? He had learned long ago one could come to regret rash actions. And he'd also learned one could lose all chance at love in one instant.

Lord, but he'd lost his concentration and in losing that, he could well lose his edge.

No secrets-- no lies. The thought haunted him.

His life was a lie, but he would change nothing until his penance was paid. A constant drizzle soaked him to the skin. The wind sent goose bumps rising on his arms. He reached shore and handed the girl over to Aric Lakeland, a trusted friend and accomplice in this night's work, then turned and walked back to the longboat. Her baby brother as well as her mother waited.

He had never meant to get involved. It was the greatest of ironies that he was here now. He'd been a man who loved his family and his home.

He'd been content but that seemed years ago--a life time.

It felt like centuries.

The captain spoke, his voice hushed. "Hurry, now, Master Damian.

It's the watch. They are due to ride by here any time now. The patrols have doubled these last few weeks. I fear it's not as safe as it used to be." The captain handed over the baby wrapped in blankets. Damian stared at the child. The babe couldn't be a year old. The child didn't make a sound, not even a whimper.

This was injustice, a travesty. He looked at the mother. "Can you make it on your own?" He prayed the fragile lady standing before him had more courage than she appeared to have. She nodded and with the captain's help, she stepped into the ocean, struggling for balance. Yet her shoulders were squared and her spine stiff.

As soon as the captain placed the babe in Damian's arms and the three of them were headed for land, he gave orders. Two sailors rowed out to sea, moving toward the black ship that rose and fell on the distant waves.

On a cliff above, the dark silhouette of a third man, Ryder McClaren, could be seen for a brief moment. He waved his arms then disappeared into the shadows once more.

"Hurry," Damian bade the mother, his hand resting on the small of her back, urging her forward.