Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Clothes & Characters in the Old West: #NewRelease from Julie Howard

Julie Howard's newest book, THE THREE WIDOWS OF WYLDER, released yesterday, October 18, 2021. Today she's here to talk about what her old west characters are wearing in the book. Thanks for being here, Julie!


Thank you, Jana, for having me on your blog. My latest release, The Three Widows of Wylder, came out this week – a historical fiction about three women with terrible secrets.

The story is set in 1882 and the three main characters are very different in backgrounds and personalities. One way to illustrate their differences is through their attire and even their attitudes toward clothing. At the time, of course, women wore long dresses. Bustles were in style, corsets required, and most people wore hats when in company. Straw hats were in fashion and women decorated their hats with ribbons, feathers and fabrics.

Clara, who lives in Missouri at the start of the novel, is a simple, practical woman. She has five dresses and in her mind, that’s plenty:

She had always considered herself wealthy enough with five dresses— three simple calicos for everyday use, a modest charcoal for church, and an old navy, threadbare at the hem and cuffs, for cleaning the stove or other grimy chores. 

When Clara meets Mary Rose, she encounters a vain, spoiled woman whose identity is caught up in her attire:

Mary Rose fussed among her belongings. Dresses laid out, either to air or loosen wrinkles. Lavender, yellow, crimson, emerald—a constellation of hues overlapping like a spring bouquet. 

Then, of course, there is the very different Emma, an expert horsewoman and crack shot:

Thin face swallowed by cheekbones, wide gray eyes and a hard-set mouth that no longer recalled how to smile. Stained brown pants held up by a braided leather belt, and a blue long- sleeved shirt tucked in tight. A battered cowboy hat, found near a graveyard two months ago, covered her hair. Her pistol holstered on one hip

Simply through their clothing, a picture of their personalities is drawn. These women would have nothing in common in normal times, but there is nothing normal about their lives as the story begins. They must cling together for survival and an uneasy friendship ensues.

Here is more about The Three Widows of Wylder:


Blurb:

Three women on the run.

After the death of her husband, Clara flees a hanging judge and seeks refuge with her brother in Wylder, Wyoming.

With secrets of her own and good reasons to flee, spoiled and vain Mary Rose joins Clara on the trek to Wyoming. Surely a suitable man exists somewhere.

Emma is a mystery. A crack shot and expert horsewoman, her harrowing past seeps out in a steady drip. She’s on the run from something, but what?

After the three women descend on Wylder, a budding romance leads to exposure of their pasts. As disaster looms, will any of them escape?


Excerpt:

Emma stood, legs apart, one hand on the pistol at her hip. The covered wagon was the type used years ago by pioneers, before trains tamed the prairie, and they still lumbered across areas where tracks hadn’t been laid. Two women sat side-by-side, too focused on their argument to yet notice the camp they entered. Their one horse, overmatched by the heavy wagon, was damp with sweat, its mouth flecked with froth. 

“We should have stayed on the main road.” The peevish one appeared much younger, curly gold hair topped by a large straw hat. She wore a light-yellow dress with lace at her wrists and throat, a perfectly inadequate outfit for travel. “Someone could have provided directions.”

The older woman had finely-drawn features, a few strands of gray threaded through her dark, uncovered hair. Dressed in sensible blue calico, she gripped the reins too tight and the poor horse gave a pathetic shake of its head. “The whole point was to avoid people,” she sniped.

Emma strode forward and seized the reins. “For God’s sake, you’re killing him.”

The two women gaped as though at an apparition. The horse, released from harsh hands, lowered its head and halted. Its sides heaved as flies drank at its sweaty flanks.

“Whomever let you two fools handle a horse should be whipped.” Tempted to dispatch the women to hell for their cruelty, Emma rested her hand on the pistol’s handle.

The two travelers spoke in tandem. “Who are you?” and “How dare you call me a fool.”

As Emma crooned into in the horse’s ear, her expert fingers undid the buckles at its shoulders and haunches. By the time the older of the two women climbed to the ground, the horse was unhitched and Emma led it to the creek.

“That’s our horse,” cried the one in yellow. “Clara, what is that insane girl doing? She’s stealing him.”

Emma halted, shoulders stiff. She turned and pointed the pistol at the one with lace at her throat. “I’m no horse thief.” She cocked the hammer. “Apologize.”


About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.

Website: http://juliemhoward.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/juliemhowardauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18116047.Julie_Howard 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Howard/e/B07D6CS4NQ/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/julie-howard?list=author_books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JulieMHoward

Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward 


Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Widows-Wylder-West-ebook/ 

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-three-widows-of-wylder/id1585169665

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-three-widows-of-wylder-julie-howard/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-three-widows-of-wylder-the-wylder-west-by-julie-howard

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58903448-the-three-widows-of-wylder

Friday, October 15, 2021

Karen Guzman's Blog Tour for ARBORVIEW

 I'm part of Karen Guzman's blog tour today! Make sure to enter her draw at the end of this post. Thanks for being here, Karen!

 


Arborview

by Karen Guzman

Genre: Women's Fiction



When the recipe for a new life is bittersweet…

Ellen Cahill's financial future rides on the success of her new pastry shop. A bruising divorce has drained her bank account, along with her spirit. A man enters her life promising love, but Ellen, haunted by the past, questions whether she can pull off this new beginning.


College student Rosa Escamilla has her own culinary dreams—and a difficult mother who's dead set against them. Rosa won't be deterred. She scrapes up the money to enroll at a prestigious culinary school, setting out to prove everyone wrong.

When hidden betrayals by the people they love most surface for both Ellen and Rosa, can they overcome the blows they never saw coming on the road to where they want to go?



That was how she had come to think of herself: a divorced person. She disliked ”divorcee,” which Alice liked to throw about suggestively. The word had the faint stink of misogyny, of finger-pointing, the whisper of failure—more so a woman’s than a man’s. Why was that? Men were simply “divorced,” a neutral proclamation. No cutesy name had been invented to designate their failed-marriage status.

In truth though, if Ellen had failed anyone, she had failed herself. That stinging little insight had come to her in Arborview, lying in dappled sunlight, where she was free to look at things, to test them out, and creep near the truth. The truth was she had fallen like a stone to the earth after all these years, and the voice that she had learned to ignore had only grown louder. God, forgive me. She had abandoned, or at least shelved, herself, long before Zach worked up the courage to do it.

She really should tell Rosa this: Don’t worry about what your mother thinks, or your brother, or anyone else. Choose, or the world will do it for you. That was what the girl needed to hear.


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Karen Guzman is a fiction writer and essayist. Her new novel, Arborview, will be published on September 29 by The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Homing Instincts, was published by Fiction Attic Press in 2014. Karen’s short fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, and her story collection, Pilgrims, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award.

Karen is a regular contributor to the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings Online magazine. She is the recipient of a 2021 writing fellowship at the Collegeville Institute.

You can find Karen’s books on Amazon, and learn more about her work at www.karenguzman.com

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads


Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Print Copy of Arborview,

$10 Amazon giftcard

-1 winner each

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Interview with Shiela Stewart!

Today paranormal romance author Shiela Stewart answers some of my interview questions, and I'm excited to get to know her better. We recently discovered we come from the same province in Canada! Thanks for being here today, Shiela! 


Where did you get the idea for your new novel Secrets of the Dead

I’ve always believed in ghosts, having seen quite a few of them. The first time I saw one was when I was 8. I saw my grandmother standing in my parents doorway, which in itself is weird because she couldn’t stand or walk. The next morning my mother found out my grandmother had died during the night. 

I’ve written a few ghosts stories over the years, but Secrets of the Dead is my favorite because I know how C.J. feels when no one believes him that he sees the dead.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read your book? 

I’d like the readers to have an open mind to the possibilities of spirits among us who haven’t, or can’t pass on.

How many books do you have under the proverbial bed? Will they ever see the light of day? 

Oh lord. Too many to count. LOL I have a huge box of manuscripts (Yes, real paper copies) in my storage room. There are a few I would like to bring out and put on my computer, but they are so raw it would take me forever to edit them. 

What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to learn about you?  

I’m Bipolar. I’ve suffered from Depression all of my life but was only diagnosed in my 30s. 

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

I’ve been married for 36 years to a wonderfully supportive man who is more than just my husband. He’s my best friend and biggest fan. We have three grown children, one daughter in law and four wonderful grandkids ages 11, 4,4 and 3. I’m a Canadian living on the prairies and have all my life. I’ve always been a storyteller. As a child, I would make up stories for my cousins and as I got older, I would jot down the ideas for stories that popped into my head. Most of my stories come from dreams or nightmares.  

Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person? Or are you into totally different pets, like goldfish? What do you like best about your pet?  

Are you ready for this? I have 7 cats. In no particular order. Castiel, Tigger, Gizmo, Meg, Salem, Misty and Cinder. 10 Angelfish. Three glow fish. Six clown loaches. 

Each one of my cats is unique in their own way. Castiel for instance has the nickname as Casshole, because, well. He’s an asshole. He knocks things off of tables, stands, bed tables and anything else he can sit on. He is also deaf. Tigger is my snuggler. He HAS to sleep in my arms. If he can’t, he leans into my face and whines until I open my arms for him. Misty and Cass play fetch. Gizmo plays flop on my feet and shows me his belly to scratch. Meg…we call her a sloth because she’s so lazy. Salem Dances when she wants milk. Cinder purrs so loud it will wake us up. 

What are your hobbies away from the computer? 

I love to crochet blankets, clothing, and recently I’ve been making bunnies and jellyfish. It’s really relaxing and my grandkids love them.

What do you like best about your hero in Secrets of the Dead

C.J. Dowling is funny at times and serious at others. I love his warped sense of humor. Unfortunately, a lot of his comedic moments were taken out of the final version.

What do you like best about your heroine? 

Her determination. She refuses to believe purely on the word of someone. She has to see to believe.

How can readers reach you or find you online? 

I have several places. They can find my books and other info on my Website at www.shielastewart.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shiela.stewart 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShielaSue 

Blog: https://shielasbooksnstuff.blogspot.com/ 

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why? 

I recommend Secrets of the Dead because it has everything you could want. Its funny, serious, scary and lots of love. 

Tell us about your next release.

Innocence of the Dead, Bk 2 in The Lost Souls series which is a continuation from Secrets of the Dead. It takes place 20+ years after Secrets about the Hero and Heroine's, (C.J. and Jessica) oldest daughter who has C.J.’s abilities to see spirits. Only thing is, she hates it and has tried everything to ignore them, including running away to become an artist. When her father suffers a heart attack, she comes home and is haunted by the spirit of a little girl who has been murdered. While trying to get information on the child she meets Ethan Montgomery and falls in love with him, despite him being married and going through a divorce. As she digs deeper into the murdered child, she discovers she’s not the only one.

Secrets of the Dead

Lost Souls Series 1

Website: www.shielastewart.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shiela.stewart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShielaSue

Apple Books. : https://books.apple.com/us/book/seducing-the-darkness/id1050480128

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shiela-Stewart/e/B002BLN95E%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seducing-the-darkness-shiela-stewart/1014485332?ean=2940152679007

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/secrets-of-the-dead-17

Decadent Publishing:  http://decadentpublishing.com/secrets-of-the-dead/


Author Bio:


Shiela Stewart is a paranormal suspense author with a writing history that stems back to her youth.  Always a dreamer, wondering if her stories would ever reach an audience, she was finally published in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since.  It is rare to find a stand-alone book as she prefers series stories. Her longest running series to date is her Darkness series, which is a vampire romance.

Her joy for scary suspense is evident in each of her books. She has had several accomplishments, including fighting for the top spot in the rankings with author Stephanie Myers, receiving glowing reviews as well as interviews on local television and reviews and interviews in The Romantic Times Magazine. 

When not writing, Shiela spends her time with the love of her life, William, and their children and grandchildren. Her strong affection for animals is evident in the many cats she cares for. 

Her favorite time of the day is at sunset.

Secrets of the Dead 

Blurb:

Jessica Coltrane is a die-hard sceptic who believes that ghosts and paranormal activity are nothing more than a figment of an overactive imagination. That is until she finds herself locked inside a haunted house with the enigmatic paranormal investigator C.J. Dowling.

Born with the ability to see and speak to the dead, C.J. Dowling thought investigating a haunted house would be a job like many others. He’s prepared for anything—except smart and sexy Jessica. 

Working together in close quarters, C.J. and Jessica discover it isn’t only negative tension between the two, but sexual as well. Giving into their desires seemed like a good idea at the time, until they wake and find the spirits thought otherwise. Trapped with the ghost of a child long forgotten, an amorous entity that is threatening Jessica, and a powder keg of a spine-tingling mystery that might just be better left buried.

Excerpt:

Something tickled her nose. Using her hand, she tried to swipe it away and felt the brush of hair against her knuckles. Planting her hand, she felt the warm flesh beneath her palm.

Recognition hit and woke her with an angry slap. Eyes shooting open, she sat up quickly and instantly regretted it when the room spun wildly around her. Laying back down, closing her eyes, she waited out the dizziness the hangover caused. Her mind raced to the night before.

The soft ache in her loins reminded her of what she’d done. Carefully opening her eyes, she turned her head to see a naked C.J. beside her.

“Oh, God.” She looked over his naked body, remembering how good it felt having him inside her. She hadn’t been that drunk that she couldn’t remember the event, and lord, what an event it had been. They had literally torn each other’s clothing off. She’d been an animal, which was so not like her.

What did they do now? Would they go on as they had been, sniping at each other, treat this as a one-night fling and move on? In truth, the guy irritated the hell out of her, yet he’d made her feel so incredible the night before. How was she supposed to respond to him now, after sharing something so intimate?

“Dowling,” she spoke quietly. “Dowling.” When he moaned, she slapped his chest. “Dowling!”

“Jesus.”

“Wake up.”

“I’m awake.” He looked at her with a smile. “Morning.” Then his eyes went wide. “Holy hell.” He bolted upright and jumped to his feet, nearly knocking her over. “Oh, my God.”

“What the hell?” The sofa stood on its end, two sitting chairs slammed up right against it, all pushed against the window. The coffee and end tables stood one on top of the other, in front of the fireplace. 

Carefully, Jessie stood up, waiting out the dizziness. She had to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. It looked like a hurricane had blown through. “How…” 

“I need to check my equipment.” He flew off, still nude, and she got one hell of a look at his ass. 

She saw her shirt by the fireplace, straps torn. She couldn’t exactly wear it in its condition. Spotting his shirt hanging over the couch, she grabbed it and put it on. It barely covered her, but would have to do for now.

“This is incredible. The meters went off the scale. The temperature recorded several degrees below freezing at one point. It didn’t last long, though, as it rose exponentially. And we slept through it all. Damn, I have never seen anything like this before. It’s phenomenal.”

“You’re naked, you know?”

“What?” He didn’t even look up.

“You’re naked.” She tossed him his jeans, hitting him square in the face.

Unaffected by it, he grabbed the jeans and slipped into them using his free hand.  It amused her to watch him shimmy into his tight jeans, jumping from one foot to the other. “The cameras!” He rushed to the video equipment as he did up his pants. “Do you know what this means?”

“That you were a busy boy last night.”

He looked at her, confused. “Beg pardon?”

“I don’t know how you managed it all alone, but I give you credit for a job well done.”

“You think I did all of this?”

“No, I know you did all of this. Boy, you’ll do anything to make me a believer.”

His eyes narrowed and his voice dipped an octave. “You think I did all of this just to make you believe there are ghosts here?”

 “Well…yeah.” 

“Fine.” Walking to her, he grabbed her arm and led her to the camera.

“Let go of me.”

“Not until you see this.” Taking her by the shoulders, he turned her to face the monitor attached to one of the cameras. “Watch.” He pressed play.

Folding her arms across her chest, Jessie glared at the screen. He’d recorded them having sex. 

“Oh my God, you taped us making out? How could you?”

“I have my cameras set on timers that begin taping on their own. I didn’t know we were going to go at it like rabbits last night. Watch.”

“You will erase those tapes,” she insisted, then grunted when he turned her face back to the monitor. “What the hell?”

“Keep watching.”

She couldn’t pry her eyes away if she tried. The furniture lifted in the air, spun around wildly before they slammed in front of the fireplace and window. “Oh my god!”

“My sentiments exactly. I need to check the rest of the house.” He left her mesmerized in front of the TV.

Friday, October 8, 2021

TARGET:#NewRelease from Tina Donahue

 Today Tina Donahue's blog tour for her new release TARGET stops at my blog. Be sure to enter Tina's giveaway at the end of the post. Best of luck!

 


Target

The Valesky Crime Family Book 1

by Tina Donahue

Genre: Dark Mafia Romance



A Russian kingpin wants her dead… the only one who can stop it is the man sent to murder her.

Toni Flores loved her dream job working for a respected US senator until he raped her. She’s determined to bring him to justice, no matter the cost.

For years, Dimitri Valesky, head of a Russian crime family in America, has bought off those in government. Just like the senator responsible for Toni’s assault. When she won’t keep quiet about it and risks Dimitri’s business, he orders his stepson Michael to kill her.

Michael’s a lobbyist not a mafia enforcer. He refuses the insane demand, but Dimitri insists. The power he holds over Michael and his brothers is absolute… or so he believes.

Rather than murder Toni, Michael intends to romance her. Once he convinces her to keep quiet about the Senator, she won’t be a target any longer and Dimitri will back off on the hit. The plan falls apart and now they are dodging mafia enforcers, bullets, and Dimitri’s outrage.

Michael and Toni fight to stay alive and save those dearest to them as they also fall hopelessly in love.

This is book one in the Valesky Crime Family series and has an HEA.

Publisher’s Note: This contemporary dark mafia romance contains elements of mystery, suspense, action, adventure, adult themes, and possible triggers for some readers.


Excerpt:

Once outside the capitol, my phone buzzes. The display shows my mother’s picture and name. Worried, I answer. “Mama, are you all right?”

“It’s me,” Dimitri says.

I squeeze the phone, wishing it were his throat. If Mama hadn’t married him… If she hadn’t been desperate about feeding and housing her boys when we were little…

Too late now for regrets. The SOB’s tentacles surround each of us. Unless, or until, I kill him, nothing will change. Before I speak, I make certain to mask my disgust. If I piss him off, he’ll take out his rage on my mother, his nearest and weakest target. “He’s voting your way. This time, he won’t change his mind.”

Khorosho.” Russian for good. “I knew you’d come through for me, Mikhail.”

Only because he has the proverbial gun to my head. There isn’t one thing I don’t detest about Dimitri, including his guttural voice. Despite having lived in the States since he was fifteen, he still has a thick accent.

Wanting to end this as quickly as possible, I lie. “I have another appointment. When I’m through with it, I’ll send you details of what Cyrus and I discussed.”

“That’s not why I’m calling.”

Despite the warmish spring weather, my skin goes clammy. “Is Mama all—”

“She’s fine, and will stay that way, as long you do what you’re told.”

I long to call him every vile thing imaginable but keep my tongue. Something I learned as a kid. His beatings were always worse if I cried or cursed him. If I was silent, that enraged him further, but he wore himself out faster. A win for me.

He clears his throat, but still coughs, thanks to his three-pack a day cigarette habit. Innocent kids get cancer, but not him. What a screwed-up world.

“I have another project for you, Mikhail.”

Damn. “What bill is it this time?”

“Not a bill. A woman. Toni Flores.”

I’m crossing the street when he says the name. My step pauses. Someone from behind bumps into me.

“She’s causing trouble,” Dimitri says. “You need to get rid of her.”

“What?”

A different person bumps into me. I cross to the other side. “What are you talking about?”

“She’s causing problems for Stowe.”

Lucian Stowe is another senator Dimitri owns. “What kind of problems?”

“She’s been claiming to the police and anyone else she can that he sexually assaulted her. It’s not true, but she won’t stop lying about it and she never shuts her mouth.”

I hurry down the street to a less crowded area. “How do you know she’s lying?”

“Because I said so!”

In Dimitri’s world that makes perfect sense. “That’s no damn proof.”

“Even if she is telling the truth, it doesn’t matter!” He’s shouting louder than I did. “I need Stowe in my pocket! She has to be eliminated! I want you to do it.”

My stomach falls. “No. I don’t do that kind of work. Ever. Especially to a woman who’s—”

“I don’t care what she is or how you found out about her. I want it done. No arguments.”

Before I can speak, he ends the call.


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Tina’s an Amazon and international bestselling novelist who writes passionate romance for every taste – ‘heat with heart’ – for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She’s won Readers’ Choice Awards, was named a finalist in the EPIC competition, received a Book of the Year award, The Golden Nib Award, awards of merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competitions, and second place in the NEC RWA contests. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

On a less serious note: she’s an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, brakes for Mexican restaurants, and has been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally while wolfing down tostadas. She’s flown a single-engine airplane (freaking scary), rewired an old house using an ‘electricity for dummies’ book, and is horribly shy despite the hot romances she writes.


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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Mafia Anthology #ComingSoon! SAVAGE BLOODLINE

Under the cover of darkness, in every major city, a DeLuca rules the streets. Get ready to fall hard for the DeLucas! These powerful, sexy Italians will dominate your body and soul, making you beg for mercy and release. You’ll become an instrument for them to play in their skilled hands. The moment you think it impossible to fall deeper in love, or that your panties couldn’t get any wetter, the savages will show you that pleasure and pain are virtually the same. 


Book Info:

Release Date: 3/15/22

ASIN- B092D9RGRW


Blurb:

Darkness lurks behind their gazes. There’s something sinister about their smiles. Their name incites fear in their enemies. Their touch arouses passion in the women they love. They are the DeLucas. In the streets and in the sheets, there’s one word that describes them best. SAVAGE.

The men of the DeLuca family are proof that the bigger the alpha, the harder they fall… in love.

Download this exclusive anthology featuring 20+ BRAND NEW mafia romances to find out which DeLuca you will fall in love with. But first, you must ask yourself one question: Are you ready to give your heart and body to a savage?

Immerse yourself in this dangerously seductive collection that includes:

*Second-chance.

*Friends to lovers.

*Enemies to lovers.

*Billionaire.

*Arranged Marriages. 

*And more!


Excerpt:

Tears or Rain?

 Someone was going to die tonight.

Someone’s life was going to end before the clock struck twelve. Midnight. Their death would be painful, brutal. No mercy would be shown to them. Anyone who tried to defend them, anyone who got in the way, they too would die. That was the promise Enzo DeLuca had made to his grandfather.

And it was a promise he intended to keep, even if he had to burn the entire city to the ground to do so. Before he could keep his pledge, he first had to bury their fallen. He had to say his final goodbye to the man who’d been more like a father than a grandfather to him. The man who’d raised him. The man who’d nurtured him. The man who’d shaped him into the person he was today.

To this man, he owed his life. For this man, tonight, he was going to take a life. Rain fell in sheets on that cold and dreary January day in Bari, Italy. It was as if even mother nature was mourning the loss of Ermanno Deluca. Unlike most of those around him, Enzo DeLuca refused to stand under the shield of an umbrella.

He wanted to feel the cold rain against his skin. He wanted it to drip down his face like tears. Tears he refused to shed. There would be no crying for him. Not yet. Not until he’d kept his promise to his grandfather. Not until he’d put a bullet in the heart of the bastard responsible for the pain the DeLuca family was feeling today.

Perhaps this rain was a parting gift from his grandfather, who knew Enzo would not feel worthy of crying over his death, not until the person responsible was dead too. Enzo refused to allow his grandfather’s body to grow cold in the earth while his killer lived life to the fullest, making money, eating, sleeping, fucking, living as if he hadn’t caused the death of a Don. As if he hadn’t taken the patriarch of the DeLuca family away from them.

He refused to allow the DeLuca name to be made weak by the actions of a coward. Though he’d yet to kill the person responsible, those who knew Enzo knew that the coward was a dead man walking. A zombie. He could see, he could feel, he could hear, but he was already dead. There was already a bullet chosen for him.

A bullet blessed by his grandfather before he’d taken his final breath and left Enzo to deal with the chaos the coward had created. Yes, the coward was still moving around in the world of the living, but he was on borrowed time. And that time would expire tonight. It had taken Enzo a few days, but he now knew who the killer was and where to find him.

A life for a life. That was the code they lived by. The bastard would pay for his sins with his life. Not only because of the promise Enzo had made his grandfather but also to prove to their enemies that the DeLuca family was still a family of savages. Under his grandfather’s rule, they’d been nicknamed savage gentleman by some.

They kept to themselves and handled their business as gentlemen, Men of Honor. But when fucked with, they revealed just how brutal their bloodline was, how ruthless their organization was. He knew other families were watching and waiting to see if they’d live up to that title. They were watching to see if they would fall apart or rise up now that Ermanno DeLuca was no longer around.

It wasn’t only their enemies who were watching them. Members of the family were also paying close attention. Today, family members from all around the world were attending the funeral of their Don. Yet, half of them hadn’t shown their faces in Italy in years. They’d moved away and only returned home for funerals and weddings.

Some didn’t even come for that. Yet, they’d come for the funeral of Don DeLuca. Not out of respect, love, or loyalty. They came to see if there would be drama and to see if the passing of the title would cause chaos amongst the organization. Already there was speculation of who the new Don would be.

Whispers of who some wanted it to be had already reached Enzo’s ears. Whispering and talking behind backs were actions of weak men. Enzo liked to handle things face to face. And those who were whispering behind his back would soon have to face him. There was another group of people who’d come to the funeral. His grandfather always referred to people like them as vultures.

They were the ones who’d shown up so they could sidle up to the new Leader and try to get on his good side early so they could make requests of him later. Then there were those who were happy the old Don was dead. They were there to verify it for themselves and to silently gloat that they’d outlived Ermanno DeLuca.

If Enzo could, he’d put a bullet in all those who felt that way. Then he’d bury them underneath his grandfather’s grave so that he could rest in peace the same way he’d lived, with his enemies beneath his feet. As Enzo stared around him, he noted that there was one last group of people present. The loyal.

They were the ones who’d truly come to pay their respects to their fallen Leader. Ermanno DeLuca had been hated by many but loved by more. He’d been a fair Don, who’d steered the organization away from wars and into alliances that benefited them. Some had been happy with the changes he’d made. Others had wanted to go back to the old ways.

They wanted to go back to the old days. The days when organizations fought against organizations regularly to prove who was the more ruthless, to prove who should be the king of the streets. Don DeLuca had won that war and claimed that title. He’d found no need to fight continuously.

However, there were some who’d enjoyed the wars, the chaos, the death, and destruction. It was true. The wars had led to the respect their organization and family enjoyed today. It led to them becoming the most feared family in Italy. The name, DeLuca, was feared and respected worldwide. Yet, the wars hadn’t only brought them glory.

It had brought death and destruction to so many of their people. A lot of blood and tears had been shed for them to hold the position they held today. The Don had taught Enzo to respect those who’d died so that he could stand where he stood. He’d told Enzo not to let those blood and tears be shed in vain.

Some of the family didn’t feel the same way. The problem was determining the motives of those around him. It was hard to tell who was for you and who was against you at a time like this. How was he to know who was crying and who wasn’t? Tears or rain? That was the guessing game he was playing. And he was losing.

The voice of his right-hand man, Stefano Masiello, sounded over the comm-link in his ear. “Enzo, after the funeral, you must go to the reception. You have to show your face there. We all do. As soon as the funeral is over, we can head there.”

Enzo was impatient. He didn’t give a damn about a reception. If he could, he’d skip the entire event. It would only be a bunch of motherfuckers, smiling in his face, telling him stories of the old days and things Don DeLuca had done. He’d heard those stories. He’d seen those smiles. Why the fuck did he need to see and hear them again?

“Nod if you agree, Enzo.”

His gaze darted to the other side of the burial site where Stefan stood. He knew Stefan was only looking out for him. He knew he needed to attend the reception to keep up appearances. However, there were more important things he needed to do. He wouldn’t be able to rest until his fingers were coated with the blood of his enemy.

He wouldn’t be able to rest until his grandfather was avenged and the entire world knew it. But the reception was not something he could skip. Therefore, he nodded. A shadow crept overhead, and the chill of the rain ceased descending upon him. From the corner of his eye, he saw his cousin, Vito DeLuca, stepping forward, holding an umbrella.

“The rain is getting harder,” Vito told him.

“I know.”

“But you don’t care, right?”

Enzo nodded. Vito sighed. Both men stood there, silent once more as they listened to the preacher.

“Sorry, I got here late,” Vito apologized.

“At least you came. Some did not. They will pay the penalty.”

“Not everyone was as close to Grandfather as you and I.”

“But we’re all of his blood. And we’re all supposed to come home when we’re called.”

“You’re right. Family is family. We’re bound together by blood. When needed, we must come.”

“You sound like Grandfather.”

“That’s because those are his words. I’m going to miss our monthly chats over the phone.”

“When did you last talk to him?”

“A week before he was shot. If I’d known then what I do now, I would’ve stayed on the phone with him longer.”

Like his cousin, he’d also been playing the ‘If I’d known game’. If he’d known what he knew now, he would’ve spent more time with his grandfather. He would’ve made time to travel with him.

Every time the Don mentioned taking a trip to the States, Enzo’s excuse was always that he was too busy. He’d give anything to take that trip with him now. Enzo swallowed the lump of aguish rising from within him. No tears. Not yet. It wasn’t time.

Facing Vito, he asked, “What were Grandfather’s last words to you?”

“He told me to always remain true to what I believe in. He told me that he trusted me to do what was right for the family, even if it wasn’t of popular opinion.”

“Grandfather talked about you a lot. He liked the road you’d chosen. He said we needed more men like you to keep us on the right path.”

For a while, neither of them said a word. Then Vito asked, “What were his last words to you?”

The Don’s last words to Enzo were much different from what he’d said to Vito. That was because he expected something different from Enzo. Though the weight of his grandfather’s expectations of him was heavy, Enzo wouldn’t let him down, and he wouldn’t fold under the pressure.

He’d do exactly as he was told. His eyes were glued to the casket as it was lowered into the ground. Goodbye, Grandfather. Rest in peace, Don Ermanno DeLuca. No crying. It still wasn’t time for that yet.

“Enzo,” Vito called to him. “What were Grandfather’s last words to you?”

As the casket disappeared, Enzo responded. “He told me to remind them of who we are.”

Savages.


Buy Links:

Universal Buy Link - https://books2read.com/SavageBloodlineBoxset  

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B092D9RGRW/ 

Nook - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/savage-bloodline-kenya-wright/1139270630 

Apple - https://books.apple.com/us/book/savage-bloodline/id1561989851


Book Trailer:

Facebook https://drive.google.com/file/d/18bg_qNXH11EwDn6FbLCJ2TPUrdIpErcE/view?usp=sharing


Series Authors:

Kenya Wright, Amarie Avant, Xavier Neal, Keta Kendric, Sonja B, LeTeisha Newton, Courtney Dean, L Loren, Sage Young, M’Renee Allen, Tiye, Shani Greene-Dowdell, Tamika Brown, Lyndell Williams, Imani Jay, Siera London, PE Kavanagh, Cassie Verano, Amaya Black, Theresa Hodge, Kasey Martin, and Lola Joy.

Follow us on Social Media: 

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Instagram: Savage Bloodline Box Set (@savagebloodlinemafiacollection) • Instagram photos and videos 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

FOREVER WINTER: #NewRelease from Amber Daulton

 Please welcome Amber Daulton and her new sweet historical romance FOREVER WINTER, which releases October 5, 2021. The novella is on sale for .99 cents for a limited time, so get your ecopy now! 

A perfect Christmas wedding, a snowstorm, and a shocking secret. What could go wrong?

Susanna Lorican must marry the man she loves before the truth is discovered, or face the gossip of the ton. With an unexpected snowstorm injuring the minister, her future hangs in the balance.

Viscount Camden Beckinworth vows to keep his bride safe, even if he must betray her confidence. When their love is put to the test, how will he uphold her honor without jeopardizing his own?


– Warning: this sweet, complete Regency romance novella features a brief scene where the heroine is assaulted.

– Second edition. Newly revised and edited.


Will their love withstand the storm to come?

Excerpt:

Oh, my. The air in her lungs froze as he teased and tasted her lips in a decadent, feather-soft kiss. She moaned into his mouth and closed her eyes.

“You are so beautiful.” He trailed his lips down her neck.

“Camden.” She gasped and gripped his broad shoulders for an anchor in the storm of bliss threatening to sweep her under. Spots dotted her vision like twinkling stars peeking through dark clouds. She blinked several times and nodded to the entryway. “We must control ourselves. Anyone could see.” The smirk crawling up his cheeks clenched something deep and primal inside her. She breathed harder and inched closer to his heaving chest.

“Let them. We are betrothed. Two people in love who are about to wed are expected to kiss.”

“Kiss, yes,” she whispered. “You, my lord, make love with your lips.” Heat flamed in her cheeks and surely reddened her face.

Camden laughed and trailed his fingers up her bare arm to the puffed sleeve. “Do I? You have never admitted that before.”

“There are some things you should not be privy to.”

“Really? I’m honored that my bride appreciates the way I kiss. If she didn’t, what kind of man would that make me?”

She stepped away and smacked his biceps. “There are eyes and ears everywhere, Camden. Especially today. I’m positive the servants are already gossiping that we are spending time together on the one day we should keep our distance. It is bad luck.” And since their chaperone had left them unaccompanied, she expected another servant to arrive any minute, courtesy of her mother.

Camden drew her back into his arms and brushed his lips across her hairline. “I make my own luck. We control our destiny, Susanna; no one else. Besides, you have nothing to worry about. The one activity we shared truly worth gossiping about will never reach the light of day.”


Add to Goodreads – https://bit.ly/foreverwintergoodreads

Check it out on BookBub – https://bit.ly/foreverwinterbookbub 


Purchase Links:

Amazon – https://bit.ly/foreverwinteramazon

Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/foreverwinternook

Kobo – https://bit.ly/foreverwinterkobo

Apple/iBooks – https://bit.ly/foreverwinterapple 

Google Play – https://bit.ly/foreverwintergoogleplay

Universal link – https://books2read.com/foreverwinter


About the Author:


Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. 

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats. 


Social Media Links: 

Universal link – https://linktr.ee/AmberDaulton 



Friday, September 24, 2021

5 Things About WHAT HAPPENS IN DENVER by Liz Crowe

Liz Crowe joins me today with a look at her new release, What Happens in Denver. Welcome Liz!

Top 5 Things to Know About What Happens in Denver

Releasing 9/20 

By Liz Crowe

5.  The story is set in the world of craft beer. I draw on my own experience, helping found a brewery in Michigan, working my way into that world, then being somewhat unceremoniously dumped from the company. But many of the friends I made in my craft beer journey are amazing and I learned a lot about the business from brewing, to marketing and sales and distribution. And I have used the craft beer setting a lot in my books—this time for a chick lit style romance.

4.  It is the story of one woman’s (Andi Rigby’s) journey from the top to the bottom and then her climb back up. It focuses on her new friendship with Sloane and a surprise new romance with a hot, beardy brewery guy named James. But the focus is less on her relationship with him and more on her coming to terms with what she has done in her life and what she plans to do going forward after everything falls apart.

3. Her new friend Sloane has serious body dysmorphia. In short, the woman is anorexic and the story focuses a fair bit on how we women tend to define ourselves by how we appear to other people based on society’s insistence that we be a certain size or look a certain way. I have received a bit of criticism for my “over-emphasis” on weight and body issues but I tend to write books that come from my own experiences and as a 54 year old woman, I can tell you that for most of my years I have been on some form of a diet or another and frankly, I’m tired of it. But this obsession with bodily perfection sometimes can take a dangerous turn for some women, and Andi learns that Sloane needs her friendship more than ever during a particularly tough period for her.

2.  There is an HEA, because at the end of the day, it is a romance—if less a traditional contemporary one and more of a chick lit style, given the 100% focus on Andi’s point of view. But item number 2.5 to know about What Happens in Denver? (drum roll) There IS a sequel, called What Happens in Chicago which is Sloane’s backstory with her boyfriend, Michael (James’ brother). It will release in early 2022 and it is scorching hot contemporary erotic romance.

And the Number 1 thing to know about WHAT HAPPENS IN DENVER….

You’ll learn a lot about craft beer, even more about Andi’s story, and be able to cheer her on as she recovers from the low blow her ex-husband strikes by emerging stronger, with a new friend, and a bonus new boyfriend in the bargain!


Blurb: 

Meet Andi Rigby. She and her husband own a famous bar. Andi can mix a cocktail, change a beer keg, soothe ruffled customers, and drink you under the table — all within the same hour. Life is good, until the day she finds herself both divorced and unemployed. After a suitable period of ice-cream and whiskey infused mourning, she heads to a beer fest in Denver on a mission to rediscover her joy, not to mention a new job.

 Between fielding gossip, saving a drunk woman from herself, and dodging a hot, but ill-advised boozy hookup, the weekend doesn’t go quite as planned. She ends up employed with an unexpected bonus—a new friend. Oh, and the guy she kissed? Turns out her new job includes selling his brewery’s beer. No big deal. Except the bit about him being practically perfect for her at a moment she’s determined to focus on her own success.

 A story of new friends, fresh starts, and a side order of romance, served up with a nice cold pint.

  

Buy links:

Universal: https://books2read.com/whathappensindenver

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BZZMVHM/

Trailer:  https://youtu.be/0mFc-jGVq8Y

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58740150-what-happens-in-denver?


Excerpt:

“May I join you?”

I opened one eye, already knowing who it was and figuring it for some kind of effed-up karma. “If you must.”

I moved my shoes down to the sidewalk and shifted as far to the left armrest as I could. James Burke plunked himself right in the middle of the thing.

“Do you mind?” I crossed my legs to avoid having our thighs touch. I wasn’t in the mood for flirting or otherwise. I’d just done something great for myself for the first time in over a year and didn’t feel like sharing the victory.

No matter how good-looking said potential victory- sharer might be.

Or how close he was sitting to me.

“Don’t you have a Burke Brothers beer dinner to handle?” He didn’t. I knew, thanks to my new-found stalkerish behavior. I’d discovered the brothers weren’t hosting one this year. Odd. This would have been a great way to showcase their new quality-problem- solved brews to their fellow professionals. But it was their brewery, not mine.

“Nope,” he said, putting his hands behind his head and stretching out his long legs.

“Nice manspreading, dude,” I said in my prissiest voice.

“Nah, not really.” He glanced at me, then bent his knees and opened his legs out to each side, jamming me even farther into my corner. “Now this is nice manspreading.”

Without even thinking about it—and thanks to my three martinis—I twisted around and plopped my legs on his lap. He grinned, grabbed my left foot and dug his knuckle into my arch. I tensed, until my poor battered foot relaxed.

“Oh...my God...yes.” I closed my eyes and let him do what he would, no longer caring that we were making a spectacle of ourselves.

After a few moments, he switched to my other foot. I shivered and sighed again, stretching out like a cat until I realized my hips were practically on his lap.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, shifting away until only my feet were there. He shot me a look that made my face flush hot. “Okay, I’m good. Thanks much.” I rotated and put my feet back on the sidewalk where they belonged.

“My pleasure,” he said, his voice soft and low.

I glared at him. “Don’t flirt with me, pal. I’m not in the mood. And you’re not my type.”

“So quick to judge,” he said, stretching his arms back and his legs out again.

When he closed his eyes, I allowed myself a quick, up-close assessment, which was a bad idea, in my weakened state. I’ve established that the guy could pass for an NFL player with his wingspan, immense shoulders, and ever-so-long legs. His beard was neatly trimmed off his neck and cheeks. The matching dark brown hair was thick and a bit on the long side, which made me have to curl my fingers into fists to keep from touching it.
Oh boy. Where did
that come from?
It came from the bottom of your third martini glass, you silly girl.

I jumped to my feet. James opened his eyes, slow and easy, as if knowing I was about to make a panicky bolt for it and figuring he should go slow, to treat me as if I were a rabid animal trapped under his front porch. Forcing myself to relax and smile, because I was in control of this, after all, I picked up my shoes and made a point to look at my phone screen.

“Don’t stare. It’s rude,” I said, my finger poised to call for a ride.

“Can I buy you a beer?”

I sighed and looked at the darkening sky, never more aware of how badly I did want to sit with him, to have a beer and a chat. But I was determined not to develop bad habits, like the one that had landed me with Matt in my post-grad years.

I would not—could not—allow myself to do anything more than drink and enjoy his company, then I’d get my sorry tail back to my hotel and pack. I had a lot of things to do after all. I had a move to plan.

“Andi?”

I flinched. I’d been standing here too long, not answering him. My inner polite young lady kicked in. “Sorry. Um, sure. Okay.”

“Don’t get too excited about it.”

I glared at him. “Fine. I won’t. Catch you on the flip side, Jimmy.”

I was a solid fifty steps down the sidewalk before he caught up and fell into step with me. He kept his hands to himself, which I appreciated. I was too jumpy by half and needed my personal space honored. I gave him a mental half-point. He stuck his fingers in his jeans pockets, and we walked a while in comfortable silence. 

 

Author Bio:

Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in Central Illinois. She's spent her time as a three-continent expat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner and bar manager, and is currently a social media consultant and humane society development director, in addition to being an award-winning author. With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, at times frustrate, and always linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

 

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