Tuesday, February 25, 2020

#TellTaleTuesday #ThePurrfectPredicament


Title: The Purrfect Predicament
Series: Australian Shifters book 3
Author: Angel Castle
Email: jazzgenie@hotmail.com
Genre: Erotic Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 5


BLURB: The Purrfect Predicament

Shifter twins, Andy and Hamish, are shocked to discover they have to share a mate. A bigger shock is in store for them when they finally track down their mate. But things are not as they first appear.
Juniper is in hiding form a vicious hit man by taking on a male identity. Opening her back door she discovers a huge, brown panther. But letting the clearly tame, big cat in, leads her to be kidnapped by two sexy brothers.
Juniper learns there is more to the brothers than meets the eye, but can she take the risk of placing her life and heart in their hands, or will her past hunt them down and destroy them all?


EXCERPT: The Purrfect Predicament

This is not good, not good at all!Andy Brown paced outside of the café by the north docklands of Sydney Harbor. The cooling autumn breeze coming off the bay felt refreshing. Not that he took any notice—utter panic clenched his chest.
Every shifter gets one chance at a true mate in a life time, considering his kind lived three to four hundred years; it was a hell of a long time to wait. So many shifters went through their entire lives without ever finding their special someone.
He and his twin brother Hamish had just hit their eighties; not even into their first century, and now this.
Andy turned, staring at the café door. Nestled within, eating hot chips and sauce, sat his true mate. His Panther roared to life at the scent of the man he'd bumped into as they'd passed.
It had to be a mistake, the fates had it wrong.
"It can't be a guy…I'm not gay!" Oh Goddess what to do?The food he just purchased, he tossed on a table and fished out the mobile phone from his jeans pocket, jabbing the speed dial button for his brother's number.
Hamish answered on the second ring. "What? I wanted iced coffee, no low fat crap."
"I've found my mate! What am I gonna do!?"
"First, calm down, and next, go get her dimwit."
"No…I can't…I can't!"
"Andy calm down, why can't you? If it's your true mate, you have to."
"No, there's a mistake, m…my mate's not what it seems." Damn, he couldn't even bring himself to tell his own brother. They shared everything; they didn't keep any secrets between them.
"I'm just signing for the shipment now; I'll be there in a moment. Keep an eye on her and don't lose track."
The line went dead.
Their cousin, and Alpha of Black Town, River Black, had sent them down to pick up a shipment of diamond-head cutters for their Earth moving company.
He paced again; his Panther was agitated not caring about the gender of his 'mate.' His cat was far more interested in getting to him and mating.
It made his stomach roll, damn. I'm not gay, I'm not. I love women! Where the heck is Hamish?
The urge to go back into the café and take another peek at his mate, rode him hard. Maybe his eyes were just playing tricks on him? His hand settled on the door of the café, ready to push it open, but stopped at the sound of Hamish's blue Ute.
Andy turned to watch his brother's car roll to a stop outside the curb of the dock. Hamish climbed out, but his calm collected swagger as he strode forward didn't help matters. Hamish's brown eyes regarded Andy, no doubt amused at his flustered state.
"So where is she?"
Andy growled low and threatening. "Heis in there." There! It was out. He'd told his brother.
Hamish's left eye brow quirked up in surprise. "He?"
"You're not deaf, my mate is a he! This is so screwed, I'm so screwed!"
"Hummm…" Hamish rubbed his chin. "Just take some deep breaths or something. Let me check this out, which one, is uh, it?"
"He's wearing a black baseball cap and blue patterned shirt and has a scent like orange lilies."
Hamish shook his head and walked into the café.


Monday, February 24, 2020

#MysteryMonday #ASt.Patrick'sDayTale


Title: A St. Patrick's Day Tale
Author: Christine Young, C.L. Kraemer, Genene Valleau
ISBN: 978-1-936403-17-2

Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

Buy at: Amazon

BLURB: A St. Patrick's Day Tale

Tumble through time… 

…to Ireland in 1817, when tensions are high between Protestants and Chatolics and faey people guide the fate of villagers. A lovely Catholic lass stumbles upon the weakly ritual fisticuffing between Irish lads. She falls into the lap of a handsome young Protestant. Family ties, grudges, and two conniving faeries threaten their budding love. But the faeries outsmart themselves when they hijack a time machine that has mysteriously appeared in their forest and are whisked to…

…Eugene, Oregon in the 20th century, amid a property feud between the local faeries and night elves. The conniving faeries from Olde Ireland try to stir up more mischief. However, a warrior gnome convinces the magic folk to control their own destiny, and forces the intruding faeries to take refuge in the time machine again, spinning their way toward…

…A modern day castle in western Oregon. An eccentric inventor is determined to reclaim his wayward time machine and save his beloved wife from her latest misadventure. If only they can travel safely past the black hole…


EXCERPTS: A St. Patrick's Day Tale

Star Crossed
Christine Young

Ireland 1816

The ring of knuckles hitting flesh thundered through the brilliant spring morning. Casey O'Connell lifted her skirts and raced up the little knoll behind the old white church. She knew her big bro was fighting. They always fought after church on Sunday. For the life of her, she couldn't figure out why.
"No! Stop it, I say. Patrick O'Connell, you--" Breathing hard Casey barreled through the ring of brawling men.
"Of course, Casey, anything you say," her brother and his friends laughed as he stepped aside.
"Get him, Casey! Land a punch for your big brother and St. Patrick," one of the young men called out.
"The O'Connell's are getting their women folk to fight their battles now?"
"I'll have your head for that, Shaunasey," another joined in.
"Watch your mouth and where you're a starin' or you'll have a black eye so swollen you won't be able to see."
"Woo--eee!" The brawl escalated then seemed to settle around Casey and her off-balance charge through her brother's foes.
Surrounding her she heard raucous cheers, cat calls, and whistles as well as her name. Her arms flailing, she ignored them all and tried desperately to keep her balance.
"Hmph!" She hit hard--a solid rock of muscle--heard the slightest grunt from the object in front of her. Air rushed from her lungs and stars seemed to circle inside her head.
"Oh…" she wailed as the object she hit cradled her with his arms on their way to the dampness of the ground below. Dizziness overwhelmed her. She let her head rest on a muscled chest. She heard a slow even heartbeat then a low rumble of laugher.


Meadows of Gold
C.L. Kraemer

A gentle breeze sighed, undulating the meadow grass lazily and whispering past the forlorn figure slumped on the tree trunk, hands clasped tightly in his lap. Thomas, a forest leprechaun, released a long melancholy breath between his cracked, dry lips. A single plump tear meandered down his stubbled cheek.
The sun sent bright shafts of light through the pine boughs and around the wooden pedestal upon which the morose figure resided. Ignoring the dancing beams, the leprechaun pulled a shuddered breath into his lungs and stared at a spot in front of the stump where a crumpled daisy chain necklace lay withering in the warmth of the afternoon. Another plump tear snaked down his unshaven face.
In the distance, a lone figure scuffed up the lane, which crossed in front of the tree stump. Thomas paid no heed to the approaching form, pulling a thin silver flask from inside his rumpled vest. He blindly opened the lid, placed the opened top to his lips and pulled a deep draught from the container. Refitting the cap to the top, he slipped the silver spirit holder back into his vest. His next shuddered breath was interrupted with a hiccup.
The figure on the road drew closer. Thomas raised his head and squinted his eyes. Was she coming back? He hiccupped and straightened up. Maybe she had been teasing him when she ran away and now she realized how much he cared for her. His eyes brightened and a smile began to touch his lips.
The figure came around the bend and toward him. The last he'd seen her, she was wearing a diaphanous, thin dress. Had she changed? The form nearing him was clad in leather breeches, a braided leather tunic, and knee-high, soft leather boots. A sword blade strapped to the figure's back flashed in the sunlight. Was Cary so angry she meant to cut him in little pieces? His heart began to pound in his chest and inside his mouth his tongue stuck to the roof.
The figure stopped two lengths from him and raised a hand to shade its eyes from the brightness of the day.
Thomas realized he was shaking. This was it…his life was over. He hung his head.
"Thomas?"
The voice was familiar but it didn't sound like Cary. If it wasn't her…


St. Batzy and the Time Machine
Genene Valleau

Horace Ainsworth patted the side of the giant red fire hydrant towering two stories above him then addressed the terrier mix dog staring at him curiously. "It's finished. Now don't you dig in my Maddie's roses any more or potty on the pansies."
Batzy stared at Horace's retreating back for a moment before he hiked his leg on the nearest flowering plant.
Then he turned his attention to the odd-looking structure the Big Human had erected. Not like any fire hydrant he'd ever sniffed. A canine would have to be the size of King Kong to give this thing a proper marking. 
Though it did smell like the water that sprayed out of the hose when the human across the street yelled at him. Batzy grinned and lifted his leg, imagining he was returning the spray of the yelling human. 
As he circled this mysterious structure, the smell of fresh paint and overturned earth drifted into his nostrils. It was bigger than the merry-go-round at the park where his human, Chloe, sometimes took him. 
Wonder what's inside?
Batzy scratched at the side of the structure then trotted another few steps and scratched again. About halfway around he found an opening. Not tall enough for the Big Human, but just about perfect for his little girl, Chloe.Batzy darted inside and lifted his face to sample the aromas. 
No scents of danger but much to explore. Like this box of dirt. Odd. Big humans usually didn't appreciate the joys of digging. Hadn't he just been told not to dig in the rose bushes? A sniff and a poke with his paw uncovered a bone. Fresh out of the package. Batzy looked around. What game was the Big Human playing? 
"Batzy!" his little girl was calling him. 
Batzy stepped out of the digging pit. Hmm. I smell peanut butter.
He put a front paw on a cabinetfor balance and nosed a button. A bone-shaped treat fell into a bowl below. Also fresh out of a package. The Big Human was definitely up to something. Batzy gobbled it down quickly before looking around again.
"Batzy!" 
Drat!He had to go. On his way out, Batzy stepped back into the digging box and snatched up the bone. Outside once again, he pushed the bone through the gap under the fence, and squeezed through after it. 
He popped up on the other side with only a few more streaks of mud on the white of his belly and wagged his tail at Chloe. He'd go back to explore the Big Human's structure later. 




Sunday, February 23, 2020

#RomanceSunday #TheGift


Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1



This story is straight from the heart. Told in a passive voice and as a first person account through Elice and Micha's eyes. Their thoughts tug your heartstings. Their memory of their past life, the war and of course the present. They never fell out of love but exhuming those feelings hurt. They also had to face the consequences of their actions when an unexpected visitor arrived in their plantation home. Elice and Micha found out that in war, there is something worst than death and it is cowardice.

BLURB: The Gift


EXCERPT: The Gift


"I have bath sheets for you." Her voice was unsure and Micha didn't like the vulnerability he heard. 

"Come in," he said. If you have the courage to confront the man you love.

The silence that followed unnerved him. He'd wanted so badly to pick up the pieces from where they'd left off five long years ago. He'd been a fool to think picking up the pieces would be remotely possible. A long campaign would only wear her down. The skirmishes would not make her love him, nor would it regain her trust in him.

The door creaked open. The creak was one of a long list of things to do to help Elice with the upkeep of her home. He'd already set his men repairing fences as well as the land for spring planting. He'd talked to them for a long time about the work, and the men he'd brought with him were all willing to help out before they traveled home. Some said it was a hell of a lot better than fighting.

"I'll put them on the shelves here. Don't let me bother you." She stared openly at him for a half-second before flushing crimson and turning her back on him. But she didn't leave the room.

Do you like what you see?he wanted to ask. "You would never bother me. You can stay," he told her. "Wash my back."

"When pigs fly." 

He grinned. That held shades of the woman he loved. "You don't have any," he said. "So that's hardly fair." 

Her shoulders stiffened and the steel rod in her spine couldn't get any straighter. He needed to find a way to bring back the woman he once knew without changing the indomitable courage that seemed to have become her calling card.

Buck naked he rose from the bath, water sluicing from his skin. He heard her slight gasp, and he wondered if he had just made a huge mistake. She'd seen him naked before. Inwardly, he sighed. One step backward and two steps forwards sometimes worked. He stepped from the tub. He wondered if the wounds on his body upset her. She didn't look upset just curious.

"Could you hand me a bath sheet," he asked nonchalantly.

Her beautiful azure eyes were huge. He watched her swallow then lift her chin a notch. She unfolded a sheet and walked to him, holding it out. He didn't mean to make this too easy for her. But he also didn't want to scare her away. He let her get within a few inches before taking the sheet from her. He wrapped it around his waist and grabbed another sheet from the counter where she'd set the rest of them. He towel dried his hair and chest then sat down on a chair near the tub.

"I'm ready anytime you are. Do you want to change your mind?"

"I'm not afraid of a Yankee soldier, if that's what you're asking," she said as she put the scissors and the razor on a table near the chair where he sat.

"Maybe you should be."

She ignored him. "Scoot the chair out so I can get around the back," she said, the tone in her voice told him her courage returned full force.

He obliged with a smile and a nod. At the moment, teasing her didn't seem like a great idea so he rested his hands in his lap and let her work her magic. When she ran her fingers through his hair, he closed his eyes and clenched his fists, wishing for things that couldn't be right now. Beneath his ribs his heart thundered as loud as stampeding horses. When she smoothed the soap across his jaw and upper lip, he hardened. When she moved in front of him, his legs spread wide to let her stand between them. He understood a need so great he'd do everything in his power to convince Elice Weld he deserved another chance.

He groaned.

She paused, the razor hovering near his upper lip. "Are you all right?" she asked.

"Just dandy," he said, wondering why he'd wanted to torture himself. One of his men could have done this.

Ah, but not as well as Elice and not with her breasts an inch away from his mouth, not with the scent of vanilla lingering and swirling around him, enticing every sense he possessed.

"Do you want me to take off the mustache?"

"Yes," he choked out. When he made love to her, he wanted to feel every soft and gentle touch of her finger tips.

Thinking about making love brought an unconscious reaction from him. Without giving it a second thought, he brought his hands to her hips. His fingers tightened, his thumbs and hands exploring while he still had the chance. 

Startled, the razor nicked his cheek. "That's probably not such a good idea," she whispered.

"What?" he asked, knowing full well of what she spoke.

"Touch me," she whispered raggedly.

"I thought you would never ask," he said smoothly but let his hands drop to lap once again.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

#SciFiFantasySaturday #ShadowFire


Courtney Rene

Genre:YA/ Paranormal/Fantasy
Book Heat Level: 3

Buy at: Amazon

BLURB:  Shadow Fire

No one really knows who Leif is. They know the man he portrays and the things he has done, both good and bad. He was a boy that came from nothing and grew into a man full of rage that almost killed the one person he set out to save. He roams the realms waiting for death. Waiting for an absolution that doesn’t come. Then a rumor surfaces. A threat has been made against Sunny. Leif sets out to try to right the wrongs of his past. He sets out to do what he was meant to do from the beginning, save the queen. Can he do it alone or will he have to do the one thing that is hardest for him, which is:  Ask for help. 


EXCERPT: Shadow Fire

"I have been looking for you."
I opened my eyes, turned my head, and stared up, way up into a pair of big brown eyes fringed in long lashes. Eyes so dark they looked almost black.
"You're a hard person to find."
That was the point. I didn't want to be found. I liked my hermit existence. I didn't have to see anyone or talk to anyone if I didn't want. I liked to roam the realms and see what I could find. There were so many things we didn't know about the four realms. It wasn't so much as fun, as it was time consuming. That was what I wanted, though. The sooner time passed, the better off I would be.
"You look like crap, Leif," she said when I didn't respond.
Her voice, although lowered in disdain, was soft and feminine. If I weren't waiting for death, maybe I would have cared more. I tried not to notice her creamy, pink tinged skin. I tried not to notice her high cheekbones, and lush lips. I tried not to, but I did anyway. How could I not? She was beautiful. Not that I cared.
"Man, and you stink. God, when was the last time you shaved…"
I lifted a hand up to my face and felt the length of coarse hair that covered the bottom part of my face. How long had it been?
"…or taken a bath for that matter."
A bit longer than I had realized apparently. "What do you want, Cinder?"
She was silent for a moment. Was it my voice? It was gravelly with disuse, but the tone was indifferent, not aggressive.
Finally she said, "I came to bring you this." This, being a sunshine yellow envelope with my name written in bold calligraphy on the front. She held it down to where I lay on the rocky red ground.
I hesitated a moment before I took the proffered envelope. I didn't open it. I could only stare at the writing. I knew the writing and, therefore, who it was from without even having to open it. What did she want? What did it say?
"Why are you here? Why are you laying down there on the ground like that?" Cinder asked.
I used her questions as an excuse to put off the inevitable and said, "I like it down here." I lay sprawled out on the rocky red dirt that made up the Fire Realm. The air was hot, the sun even hotter. If I lay there long enough, maybe I would just evaporate and be gone. No more Leif. No more running. No more hiding. Just gone. Finally.
"Yeah, but why?"
I didn't answer, instead my attention returned to the yellow envelope. I lifted the unsealed flap, and slid out the thick ivory card with silver writing.
…cordially invited…..
…..Sunshine…..
….Lucas….
….Wedding.
I slipped the card back within the envelope and dropped it down next to where I lay. One grain of the red clay had found its way on top. My eyes fell to that red dot.
"So?"
"So, what?" I said still focused on the grain of clay.
"So, are you going to come?"
"No."
"No?"
"No."
"Why not?"
I stayed silent. Everyone knew why not.
"She's not mad at you. In fact, she misses you. She talks about you all the time," Cinder said.
She did? Did she talk about how I tried to kill her? What about how I used her?
"She really is hoping you will come. That's why I'm hand delivering your invite. She wanted to make sure you got it. Saw it."
Did she really want me there? Was it all just a joke to get me back for all I had done?
"Will you at least think about it?"






Friday, February 21, 2020

#Friday'sFeaturedTitle #TheBlackCoach


Title: The Black Coach
Author: Nickie Fleming

Genre: Gothic Romance
Book Heat Level: 3


REVIEW: The Black Coach

The Black Coach
Nickie Fleming

Reviewed by Tamara White

5 Stars of 5

Abuse, Murder, Love, and the Black Coach

Nickie Fleming’s crisp and colorful words thrust the reader back into a time where horse drawn coaches were the mode of transportation and women’s dresses dragged on the ground. The author’s words give you a real sense of being there. I enjoyed the pace of the book. The book moves effortlessly through the well-defined plot. The book creates an immediate interest in the main character. From the first page the author quickly draws you into the tumultuous life of the young blonde hair woman Maggie. Maggie is a woman who possesses a quiet determination that gives her the strength she needs to defy her beginnings.  From the moment you meet Maggie you want to see her make it. Neil Pickering, the man whose life becomes unexpectedly intertwined with Maggie’s, is a unique character. He is as intellectually strong and determined as he is handsome. Whenever Pickering is present his personality commands the scene. His need to understand medicine matches her need to survive. I enjoyed the gritty murders that take place in the book. The murders have a dark undertone, which left me eager to finish each page and discover who has such a thirst for death. The Black Coach plot offers its readers mystery, hope, intrigue, and a quiet love story. It is an immediate for anyone passionate about reading.


TAGLINE

The Devil is riding his black coach across the moors of Yorkshire and hunts virgins. Or is this so?

BLURB: The Black Coach

Strange things are happening in the village of Pickering, Yorkshire. Two girls are found murdered, and there is talk about strange going-ons at night. Caught in the middle of this turmoil is Maggie Thompson, an orphan, who needs to fend for herself. Running away from an employer who maltreated her, she nearly dies during a winter storm. She is rescued by a man who lives in a nearly abandoned house. Neil Harrington has his own secrets however. Maggie will have to trust on her feelings to know what is right or wrong. And she can’t forget there is a killer on the rampage…

EXCERPT: The Black Coach

It didn't take long before Maggie was fast asleep once again. When Martha noted her drooping head, she put a cushion behind it, to make the girl more comfortable and lastly spread a plaid over her, lest she should catch a cold.
She studied the girl for a while. Cleaned up, she already looked a lot better than the previous day. She had better talk to the master. The girl's speech was remarkable fine for a working-class child. She felt sure there was something of a mystery involved here. Perhaps thinking about this would lighten Neil's mood. He'd been mourning Lady Suzanne long enough to her liking.
Around noon her son walked into the kitchen for his lunch. He looked up when he saw the sleeping girl.
"Is she fit to come down already?" he wanted to know.
"She's not completely better," Martha told him, "but she ate all of her breakfast, and as you can see she's sleeping again. No better healer then rest, I say."
"The master asked me how she was," Amos said. "I'm glad I can tell him she's doing fine."
"Did he need you to fetch something?" Martha wanted to know. They both knew to what she was referring.
"I brought in the usual. I don't mind, though," her son acknowledged.
She nodded. "We have a good master in his lordship. No matter what other people may think, he's a decent human and I'm proud to be serving him."
"So am I," Amos agreed.
He sat down at the kitchen table and immediately began to eat when his mother put a full plate before him.
"I thought you'd like some stew," Martha said. "There is enough meat in it to give you stamina for the next trip."
No need for more words. Mother and son understood each other perfectly.

~ * ~

Later that afternoon, in Pickering village, the men of the region gathered in the local pub after ending their work on the fields and farms. The talk was lively and the beer flowed freely.
John Barry put down his pint, wiped his mouth with his sleeve and remarked to his mate Ben, "Saw that black coach again yesterday, when I went to check on the sheep."
Ben hardly looked up. "Aye, I'm listening."
"Wonder whose property it is and what its business is. Always appears when darkness falls."
Ben took another gulp of his pint. Then he acknowledged what John mentioned. "My brother's son, Tim, saw it too. He said it rode so fast, as if chased by the devil."
"Yeah, it was speeding for sure. Could not see who or what was in it."
"Not the first time it's been seen on our road. Something strange going on, I think."
Joshua Thistlewaite, the landlord, heard the comments but didn't comment on them. He just poured the drinks like a good landlord. Besides, he couldn't well afford to spend time talking to his customers. The pub was full, as always around this time. His sharp eyes surveyed everything to be sure he could intervene at a timely fashion.
All the men and lads he knew from around, except for the one stranger. He'd never seen the man before. The man entered about half an hour ago and ordered a light ale in a polite way. Now he was seated in the farthest corner of the pub, sipping his pint.
While enjoying a calmer moment behind the tap, Joshua studied the stranger more closely. He looked to be in his forties, had a stern face and lips which seldom laughed. A lawyer or a banker in all probability,he thought.
What bothered him a little was that the man appeared to be listening in on the conversation of Ben and John, although he couldn't fathom why such ordinary talk would interest a man of his quality.
Disturbing his thoughts, the stranger beckoned him.
"What can I do for you, sir?" he asked, hurrying over to his table and trying not to show he had been studying him.
"First, fetch me another pint of this excellent lager and then, if you can spare the time, I'd like to talk to you for a while."
It was said in a cultivated tongue, and Joshua could immediately tell the stranger didn't originate from this part of the country. London or some other southern town, he guessed.
He hurried to carry out the order, while asking Ben to step behind the bar for the time he was occupied elsewhere. He returned to the table.
"I am now at your disposal, sir."
He saw how the stranger glanced shortly at Ben, who was already tapping another pint for John.
"Do you get a lot of people in here?" he then wanted to know.
"It depends," Joshua replied. "On weekdays it can get busy when all the men need to water their throats."
"You must know quite well what goes on in the village," the stranger continued.
Joshua shrugged. He carefully weighed his words, not wanting to reveal too much. His instinct told him something was not right here.
"Not much goes on in Pickering I don't know about."
The gent nodded. "I thought so. Well, I am trying to locate a young woman by the name of Margaret Thompson. She would be eighteen years of age and has blonde hair. Do you know if any such girl lives in or passed by your village?"
Joshua was silent for a moment. The request confirmed his ill feelings. He understood he would have to be very sparse in answering, to make sure he didn't cause harm to anyone or anything.
"Why do you need to know?" he asked, but in such a way the other would not be insulted.
The man smiled. To all appearances, he looked innocent and seemed trustworthy. Joshua knew better. He felt an underlying coldness and sensed some feeling of threat.
"She's come into an inheritance and the trustees have asked me to find out her whereabouts," the man answered, while smiling again, and producing a gold coin out of one of his pockets.
Joshua eyed the coin and reconsidered. It could be true. He knew there existed men who were employed to search for people who were lost or had disappeared. After all, the stranger had done nothing wrong yet.
"Farmer Aldleigh has a blonde girl working for him," he offered, feeling at last he could trust the man enough. "She came asking for work not so long ago. Perhaps she's the one you are looking for?"
"It might be," the other agreed, while putting the gold coin into his hand. "Can you be so kind as to give me directions to this farm?"
"It'll be my pleasure, sir," Joshua beamed. "When you follow the road leading out of the village, you go until the crossroads and then turn left. Aldleigh's farm is a mile or so from there. If you don't wait too long, you can be there before darkness falls."
"Thank you. I'll go and have a talk with the farmer."
"Glad to be of service."
"No, it is I who must thank you," the stranger said while putting a second gold coin on the table. He then got to his feet and grabbed his overcoat.
Joshua returned to his work. His eyes followed the gentleman as he made his way through the throngs of farmers and finally left the pub.

REVIEW:

The Black Coach

by Nickie Fleming

3.5 stars

Reviewed by D. A. Cairns


A troubled young woman flees an abusive situation and is rescued by a mysterious man. Another man is searching for her, and a series of murders links all three in this intriguing, and suspenseful romance.
The Black Coach was engaging from the beginning. I immediately fell for Maggie and wanted a happy ending for her. I was curious about her rescuer’s activities and behavior, and also wondered how the murders were connected to her, even though it was obvious they most certainly were. Lots of questions and doubts were raised in my mind as I read, especially with Fleming’s deft foreshadowing. Nice slow burn on the sexual tension between the lead characters who were very believable. Very neatly plotted, it is a pacey and compelling story which I can recommend to readers of mystery/romance.
I read the whole novella length book in one sitting because I enjoyed it a lot. I suspect you will too.


REVIEW:

THE BLACK COACH--a gothic romance
by Nickie Fleming
Rating-- 4.5
Reviewed by G. Lloyd Helm

Ms. Fleming has written a wonderfully Dickensian tale of a poor girl who has the great good fortune of almost dying on the road in front of a coach carrying a kindly young doctor. There is some Bronte-esque serendipity throughout the story, but it only makes the story more charming.

I knocked off a half point of the rating because the story is somewhat predictable, but not so much so as to be clichéd. It is worth the read with a satisfying happily ever after ending.

G. L Helm

REVIEW:

The Black Coach
By Nickie Fleming
Review by Courtney Rene
Rating 4 Stars

Maggie Thompson, an orphan flees from an abusive household, and is then rescued by a mysterious man, Neil Harrington, but strange happenings continue to follow in her wake. Two girls are found murdered, there is a strange black coach that is traveling the roadways at night, and aman is searching for Maggie.

The Black Coach took off and engaged the reader from the start. Maggie although struggling with life trouble at the beginning, shows herself to be a strong character and I connected with her right away. Her inner battles and her strength, paired with her kind nature, makes you cheer her on from the other side.  Neil is a question. Who is he? What is he doing and is he a good guy or not? The intrigue and the romance make for fun read. The story stayed strong throughout and the book and kept you moving along at a nice pace. I enjoyed the read. The author makes believable characters and realist dialogue. The mystery and romance made for an easy and enjoyable read. 

REVIEW:

Title of the book: The Black Coach
Author: Richard C. McClain
Rating: 4 stars of 5

Reviewed by: ERJ

The Coterie is the first novel in a series set in present day America. The central character, the teenaged Dakarai Holt, is an awkward genius, unable to speak and yet able to hack into any bank account he chooses.
Dakarai is arrested for hacking and sent to the Sheffield Academy, a rehabilitation centre for juvenile offenders. There he must learn to live with others, survive attempts at brainwashing and confront his own issues.
Dakarai is a character who grew upon me and it is unclear how reliable a narrator he is until the story gets underway. However this adds to the tale’s slightly paranoid atmosphere and engages the reader. I felt as though I had gotten under the skin of an interesting, albeit not always likeable, character. What he does next should make interesting reading.

REVIEW:

TITLE: THE BLACK COACH
AUTHOR:  Nickie Fleming
RATING 4 Stars
REVIEWED BY: Lucia Carter Keates

At the age of fourteen Maggie has to leave the orphanage and take up an offer of employment with Tobias Hadley. Tobias is a cruel man whose demands go well beyond domestic duties. When he attacks Maggie she hits him with  a candlestick and escapes. Cold and hungry after two days and nights in the bitter cold of Yorkshire's winter, Maggie collapses. She is found by Lord Neil Stoketon and taken to his mansion. As she begins to recover Neil finds himself attracted to the pretty, blonde haired girl whom he suspects may be of noble birth.
A black coach has been seen travelling the roads late at night. Every time the coach appears a young, blonde haired woman is found with her throat cut. The local villagers believe it is the work of the devil. And someone has been asking about Maggie.
Neil Stoketon is a bit of a recluse although he is often out late at night. His servants are sworn to secrecy. Maggie falls in love with Neil but when the police become suspicious of him, the black coach he travels in and his nocturnal visits to the cemetery, Maggie's life takes a dangerous turn.

I wanted to read this Gothic romance because it's set in Pickering, Yorkshire ( I used to live in Yorkshire). I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. It's fast paced with plenty of dialogue and it keeps the reader's interest flowing. It never flags. I felt it lacked description with regards to the setting and certain scenes but did not detract from the story. I would definitely recommend you read it.


#Friday'sFeaturedTitle #TapestriesInTime

Title: Tapestries in Time
Author: Christine Young
              C. L. Kraemer
              Genie Gabriel

Genre: Anthlology/Romance/Historical/contemporary/Fantasy/Paranormal

Book Heat Level: 

Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Google Play


TAGLINE

Travel to the Mediterraneanisland of Sardinia in three tales of destiny woven together in a tapestry of time.

BLURB: Tapestries In Time

Taylor's Destiny

Enjoying a day of sailing, Taylor Maxwell never expected after a suffering a concussion she would wake up in another century. A resilient independent woman in the twenty-first century, the blond beauty is ill prepared for life in the 1800s. Her first sight of the naval captain who rescues her makes her heart stop, giving her hope for her future.

Born to a life of ease, Reid Stewart defies the dictates of those born to aristocracy and chooses a life of adventure in the navy and as a spy for the crown. When he discovers a nearly naked woman on the bow of small sailing ship, his heart warms. His love for Taylor and his need to protect her from a man who pursues her might cost him his life as well as hers.

Sardinian Sunset

What can one Euro purchase provide? Missing ancestry and a future with a handsome Sardinian contractor.

Street Dog Dreams

What if dogs were royalty and humans their loyal servants? Hop aboard our invisible flying machine as Aunt Maddie and Uncle Horace join an international search for a new dogdom. The Royal Canines are recruiting street dogs who want a better life with devoted humans who speak the language of dogs. As foretold in an enchanted tapestry, their dream will turn an abandoned village in Sardinia, Italy, into an automated town where dogs can open their own refrigerators, play in the park all day, and always have a soft bed to sleep on--after they take a shower, of course!


EXCERPTS: Tapestries In Time

Taylor’s Destiny

“I don’t trust myself with you. I don’t fall into anyone’s bed the first day I meet them,” she told him and knew there was a greater chance these impulsive feelings could quickly change to sex. Before she let him make love to her, she needed to know more about him and where exactly she was.
He chuckled softly. “Again your honesty amazes and intrigues me. I don’t know any other woman who would be brazen enough to imply they wanted to make love or they were even thinking about it.”
“Is it shameless here for a woman to tell a man how she is feeling?” She knew it was in any other century but her own. Even then many women did not speak of their feelings and needs. Men still assumed control.
“Americans are different,” he told her. “But since you admitted feelings for me, could I plead my case for a kiss, a chaste kiss, well maybe not too chaste.” He pushed her hair behind her ears, his hands settling gently on her face.
Unable to help herself, she moistened her lips and leaned into him at the same time. His mouth settled softly against hers. She opened for him, accepting the tantalizing warmth of his breath before feeling his tongue touch hers. In the back of her throat she moaned, accepting all he gave. One hand now resting on the small of her back, he drew her closer to him.
Her breaths came in short intervals. When he looked at her, she knew she craved more but also told herself she didn’t want him to think she gave herself to anyone or everyone who kissed her.
In his arms, she turned in a slight effort to distance herself from him and regain a tiny measure of composure. This was happening too quickly. In a rush, she found she was falling in lust with him. She’d only felt this way once before and that was with Sean. It had been incredibly hard to remain chaste with her fiancéwhen she craved intimacy.
“That was enough for one night,” she told him, running her hands along his arms, wishing her life was more stable.
“Never enough but I’ll abide by your wishes.” His hands now rested on the bare skin at her waist and she realized with the slightest invitation from her, he would explore higher, perhaps slip his large, calloused hands beneath her top.
“You told me you were in the Navy. A captain perhaps?” She needed to discover more before sex kept her from thinking rationally.
“I was, but I didn’t fight in the War of 1812.” He moved his hands a bit higher until they rested just beneath the swell of her breasts, “I was too young for a commission.”
“Did your family buy you one?” she asked, curious about the workings of the British government and trying to find out more about the time. She told herself she had to keep her mind on the questions and not where he explored.
“No, a friend of my family bought the commission with the provision I work for him once my duty to my country was done.”
“What do you do for him, this man who helped you become a captain?” She laughed, understanding he wouldn’t appreciate her question.
“If I told you I’d have to kill you.” He trailed kisses down the back of her neck in what she assumed was an attempt to distract her.
“You’re a spy.”
“I can’t answer that,” he said as his teeth slowly seduced, leaving an impression as they investigated. She shivered, succumbing to his seduction of her.
“Doesn’t matter if you deny or confirm. I’ve no interest in anything secretive.” If he were on a mission on this tiny island...well, she couldn’t imagine unless he was after a person. Perhaps she was more interested than she let on.
“Earlier you spoke of an office and a boss. Seems strange. Women work in America?”
“Whatever I told you, you wouldn’t believe me and I don’t want you to think I’m lying to you.” Nothing she told him about her work would be believable to him. She was a graphic artist who specialized in advertisements, emphasis on the internet and social media. She could tell him she drew pictures.
“Try me.” He wrapped one arm around her and leaned against the railing with his other arm.
When one door closes, another one opens. For the first time since Sean left, she felt protected and safe. More than anything she wanted to tell him what he asked but... She didn’t want to find herself committed to some insane asylum.
“You have no faith in me?”
“It’s not that...” she paused.
“What is it then?”

Sardinian Sunset

Clusters of thoughts crowded Olivia’s brain clouding her insight to the hovering presence to her right. When she tried to move that direction, a wall of humanity stopped her motion. Returning to her situation of the moment, she turned to stare at the impediment. “Excuse me?”
She stared at a face she’d not seen in several months. “Brian. How?”
“Were you really going to leave town without telling me?” His blue eyes appeared so earnest she almost believed him. Then she remembered to whom she spoke.
“I was under the distinct impression you didn’t care and, frankly, I don’t give a damn whether you know or not. You closed the door on—us—several months ago.”
“Wow. You’re going all Gone with the Windon me. I’ve come to my senses and thought maybe…”
“Don’t think. Don’t what if, if only, or all the things you suspect will work to sway me right this moment.” She pushed past him. “I’m leaving the Northwest. Goodbye, Brian.” Olivia bolted to the gate for the pre-flight security dance. If that jerk made me miss my plane, I swear, I’ll kill him.She arrived at the waiting area noting she had twenty minutes to spare. After checking in with the airline personnel, she sat watching the tarmac and planes ferry people in and out of the Portland airport. There were things she’d miss about Oregon, but Brian Froeschner was not one of them.
The only time she’d taken down her self-imposed, emotional wall, the guy turned out to be a philandering letch. She’d tired of feeling as though she were an observer in her own life. His ministrations to con her into thinking he was interested in her while he was trying to mine her for financial, i.e. insider information, to plump his portfolio wore her out. Early in the relationship after yet another lunch spent pretending he wasn’t ogling every female in the place, Olivia decided to end the charade.
“Brian, I think we need to end this, this whatever it is, we have. You aren’t interested in me, and it’s painfully obvious to everyone in the room; including me. Don’t call again.”
She got up and left him, mouth gaping. Stepping into the mist of a winter’s day, Livy reveled in the sensation of sunshine. She hadn’t realized the weight of the deception he was attempting to pull off was so heavy. She smiled at a passerby and hummed all the way back to the office, pulling his file, and trading portfolios with Liam, a burly Rugby player and fellow broker, for a sedate, retired couple only interested in safe stocks.
He swept into her office around two the same afternoon, bearing a single red rose and the specialty coffee she liked so well. Accepting the coffee, she directed him down the hall, commenting that Liam would love the rose. Later, Liam would ask why she was willing to give up such a lucrative client. Her mumbled comment spoke to downsizing her risk factors. She asked him to inform her when the client was to be in the office for a conference. It was pure coincidence her outside appointments seemed to coincide with these visits.
Livy sighed. “And that’s why I have no use for romance or men in my life.”
When her flight was announced over the speaker, Olivia Martin stoically marched down the boarding corridor to one of the planes flying her home. Taking her seat in business class, she tucked her purse beneath her feet, having stowed her carryon overhead. She allowed the muscles of her neck to loosen.
“Ma’am?” The attendant gently touched her arm. “You need to bring your seat back fully upright and buckle up. Once we reach altitude, the lights will go off and you can relax.”
There was a sudden kerfluffle at the entry door. The voice of an excited female was speaking rapidly, met by a response, presumably from the attendant, which seemed to calm the late passenger. The routine for departure from PDX continued, albeit a few minutes late.
Now what?Olivia felt annoyance starting to build behind her eyes. Just chill.You have all the time in the world.When the attendant escorted the person toward Olivia’s row, she cringed and turned her gaze to outside the window. The last thing she needed on a long flight was some over-apologetic person babbling away.
The soul sat next to her, placing an item beneath the seat, and buckled in as instructed. Olivia continued to stare at the scenery until she heard the engines ramp up. A bumping motion let the passengers know they were rolling away from the terminal. She watched rainbows created by moments of sunshine through summer showers. Her departure was bittersweet. Portland had been good to her, but the time had arrived for Olivia Francesca Porcu Martin to start living. Imagining sunshine and the dulcet sounds of oak trees whispering in warm Mediterranean breezes helped her settle for the flight to a new life.
“Is the invitation to stay at your new home still open?” The familiar voice jolted Livy from her reverie.
“Tay! You made it!”
“I thought about it and decided there was no time like the present to get myself together. I hope you meant what you said about me staying with you.”
“Of course, but right now, the place is in dire need of repairs. You’re welcome to share my hotel while I work to make a part of the house livable.”
“I may take you up on that if they don’t have any rooms open. In the meantime, I think we might consider napping a bit. It’s going to be a long few flights.”
Olivia and Taylor waited until the seat belt sign was turned off. They swapped ideas on the future of Livy’s new home and giggled with excitement over their adventure. When they stretched out their seats, both quickly dropped into a light slumber.


Street Dog Dreams

While Chiara donned the dog costume and stood on her usual street, Greta's wealthy dog owner had searchers combing the streets for her beloved canine. Though worried about their canine friends, Horace and Maddie let the searchers do their job while they respected the Canine Queen's wish to move ahead in finding a place for a new dogdom
So they journeyed to the advertised one dollar house. Though disappointed in that place, a short distance beyond they found an entire abandoned city. Crayon-colored houses marched shoulder to shoulder up the hillside crowned by a castle-like fortress. Although many of the stone structures were crumbling, a large number were mostly intact and could provide shelter while repairs were underway in the rest of the city. 
Maddie marched from house to house, snapping multitudes of photos to send to the Canine Queen. At the same time, Horace tagged along behind, juggling a measuring wheel and his new computer tablet to calculate and record the size of houses, the width of streets, and how large the entire town was. 
"Do you think the Royal Canines would like living here?" Maddie asked.
"I can think of many ways to make life easier for our doggie friends." Horace frowned thoughtfully as he touched the screen of the computer tablet. "They won't all need the robotic gloves with human-like thumbs if we automate the doors to open, have pedals to operate refrigerator doors, build self-driving vehicles to transport puppies and older dogs–oh my! So many possibilities. I'll be busy tinkering to help our friends for quite some time."
"Maybe you can take on an apprentice," Maddie suggested.
Horace scratched his head, encouraging his spiky white hair to stand up even more. "Maybe I could if the right person–or dog–was interested. Maybe I could."
"Don't forget your rolling measure, dear," Maddie said as Horace began to wander down the narrow cobblestone streets, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. Horace kept walking, so Maddie shrugged and tucked the instrument into the wheeled cart that contained several other tools anda picnic lunch.
Maddie easily caught up with Horace and took his arm as they resumed examining the houses.
When they neared the top of the hillside city, Horace paused to take a deep breath. In spite of the joy of being with his beloved wife, Horace missed his basement laboratory at home in their modern day castle. He also wasn't sure how much of this adventuring his out-of-shape body would tolerate. Maddie seemed tireless and fearless while he...well, he was much more cautious and ready to go home. Well, at least back to his host's home.
"Have we seen enough for today?" Horace asked.
Maddie looked toward the top of the hill just a short distance away. "Let's go see what's behind those rock walls. Maybe it's a castle like ours."
"Or just crumbling stones."
"Come on, where's your sense of adventure?"
"Down the hill a ways, I think, along with most of the soles of my shoes."
With a laugh, Maddie said, "You've been such a good sport for our first adventure together. A quick look at the castle, then we'll go back to my cousin's house."
Horace took a breath, then marched the rest of the way to the top of the hill with Maddie.
Indeed, the rock walls did seem to be crumbling in many places, with stones scattering down the hillside. However, inside the walls, the structures were more solid.
"This building seems to be in good shape." Maddie pushed open the door of a two-story stone structure. 
"Not as new as our castle back home." Horace scanned the building.
"And without most of the conveniences you have invented for us, I would imagine." Maddie smiled before she stepped inside.
"Be careful, my dear. There may be rodents or rotting floors."
"Oh, my." Maddie stopped just inside the doorway.
Not expecting her abrupt halt, Horace bumped into her. "Apologies, my dear."
"Horace, look at this!" Maddie whispered with awe.
She stepped closer and examined a scene of the village spread out below them with stars twinkling above. Several people stood in the narrow streets and dogs peeked around corners of the houses. "It's a tapestry."
"Two of these dogs look like Reynaud and the Canine Queen." Horace squinted, trying to see the detail through glasses that insisted on slipping down his nose. "And I believe those are their puppies playing in the courtyard."
"A dog in every house." Maddie's grip on Horace's arm conveyed her excitement. "This is the new dogdom."
"How can you be so sure just from a picture?"
"It's not just a picture. This is a sign–an omen. The Canine Queen will be so pleased."
As they hurried out of the stone fortress and back down the hill into the city, a woman watched from inside the stone structure, smiling.



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