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THE SECRETS OF VILLA ROSSO by Linn B Halton #guestpost #giveaway

Villa Rosso

The Secrets of Villa Rosso

by

Linn B Halton

 

Villa Rosso

Genre: Cosy mystery/romance

Release Date:21 July 2017

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Secrets of Villa Rosso:

Escape to Italy for a summer romance to remember

When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.

It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?

What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.

BUY LINKS

Amazon:

http://smarturl.it/SecretsofVillaRosso

KOBO:

http://ow.ly/2ANQ30bbpBZ

EXTRACT

It isn’t just the sunshine and the electric blue sky, but the musical calls of the countryside that reach out to me. A chorus of low-level sounds play like a soft melody in the background. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I feel like I’m watching a re-run of a favourite film. I could stand here for a long time simply taking in the detail and with each sweep of my eyes noticing something new.

Spinning around I look back at the villa, taking in the rustic beauty of the stonework and the pale orange-red hue of the sun-bleached roof tiles. This is, quite simply, unreal. It’s a little piece of heaven and, so far removed from my daily life that it’s hard to believe this is on the same planet. The sheer scale of the landscape literally steals your breath away. I’m a mere speck, small and insignificant in the grand scheme nature is presenting to me. But rather bizarrely, it doesn’t feel alien in anyway at all. The vastness isn’t overwhelming, but strangely comforting.

I walk back to a cluster of wooden tables surrounding a small fountain and take a seat. As I dive into my bag to extract some sunglasses, I hear a polite cough and look up at the face staring down at me.

‘Mrs Maddison? I’m Max, Max Johnson. Welcome to Villa Rosso.’

I stand, automatically plastering a pleasant smile on my surprised face as recognition kicks in. I know this man, I mean, I’ve met him before. At least I think I have, but there’s nothing similar reflected back at me, only a warm smile. The sort of smile that radiates out from mysteriously deep, hazel eyes. We shake hands. He’s younger than I expected, probably in his early forties and tall. Six foot something that’s for sure, because I feel he’s towering over me.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you. I just wanted you to know that I’m here at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin. Would you like me to fetch you a coffee so you can sit for a while and enjoy the view?’

Although I knew he was British, his tan and elegant demeanour lend an air of cosmopolitan sophistication. I would not have been at all surprised if he had been Italian. He’s hovering politely and I still haven’t answered him…

Villa Rosso

The Secrets of Villa Rosso – how does a story begin?

Every time I begin a new novel I have, if I’m lucky, a paragraph hastily jotted down when I’m out walking, or in bed at night. Usually, though, it’s one single line – the idea that I know will spark an entire story.

So how do I grow that single thought into a plotline? Quite simply I let the words unfold. Usually I have one character who will have inspired that initial idea and as I expand that one-liner I begin to get a feel for who they are. Because I don’t know them, and neither does my reader, I need the character to show me who they are through their thoughts, words and emotions.

Of course, it’s never long before another person pops onto the scene and another, then another … and that’s how it begins to grow. Suddenly they are all clamouring to give me lines to take the story forward and it becomes necessary to rein them in, becoming selective. And yes, side characters do sometimes become such good friends that I want to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ of their personal stories. But there comes a point, usually around fifty thousand words when I start to panic. I rarely know that far ahead how a story is going to end, although just occasionally I have written the end chapter before I’m very many words into the story. But I know there’s still a lot of story to be told and it’s necessary to focus, rather than amble towards the ending.

And that was the case with The Secrets of Villa Rosso. The challenge all along was never how it was going to end, it was how this story would unfold and what would be the twists and turns? That had only happened to me once before and I had to trust that the characters would steer me in the right direction.

Many writers do a lot of detailed planning, even to chapter level and they have the bare bones of the story from the start. Maybe the characters that jump into my head are just an unruly bunch who don’t like rules, or maybe it’s the bizarre way my brain works. However, I prefer to think of it as being a reader who happens to type and the characters are the real authors of the story.

I love it when I get to write from the male perspective, too, as it’s exciting being inside a male character’s head. Oh, the power to see both perspectives and it’s heady stuff. It makes my days full of surprises and a day at work is never, ever boring!

The downside for me is always when I type ‘The End’ – and, of course, editors always take that out. But for me it signifies saying goodbye to the friends who have been with me through a very personal journey and I miss them afterwards.

Writing full-time is my job, but to me writing is also my guilty pleasure. Bar of chocolate, or sit down and write another chapter? Sorry chocolate, as tempting as you are you come second!

ABOUT LINN B HALTON

Villa Rosso

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.

“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, writing … and house renovation! Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache…”

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love also became best-sellers in 2016 & 2017. Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Linn writes chick lit, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.

 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Goodreads Author Page: http://ow.ly/mk3H30atV5h

Website:  http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

COMPETITION (no purchase necessary)

A pamper kit (UK ONLY)

Villa Rosso

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

THE BRIDE’S TRAIL by A. A. Abbott #Excerpt

bride's trail

THE BRIDE’S TRAIL

by

A. A. Abbott

Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer and Ruth Rendell

Twenty grand has vanished from Shaun Halloran’s casino, and so has gorgeous blonde croupier Kat White. Once he’s tracked her down, he’ll shoot first and ask questions later.

Amy Satterthwaite’s just learned Kat stole her ID for a sham marriage. Desperate to clear her name and save her friend from Shaun, she swallows her pride and turns to arrogant Ross Pritchard for help. But can they find Kat in time?

Twists and tension keep the pages turning in A.A. Abbott’s stunning crime thriller. As Kat’s trail leads from London’s smart Fitzrovia to secret tunnels below central Birmingham, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Extract

“What do you want?” she asked.

“Where’s Kat? I need to see her.”

“I don’t know.”

He took the knife from his pocket.

“No,” Amy said, “I really don’t know. If I did, I’d tell you. She’s been gone for three days and I can’t reach her. I’ve tried, believe me.” This was no time for heroics. Had she the slightest idea of Kat’s whereabouts, she would have divulged them, of that she was sure.

His eyes darted down to the knife. He flicked it open, stroked its blade, then looked up at her again. “I need answers, Amy,” he said, almost sorrowfully. “If someone had stolen twenty grand from you, you’d want some answers too.”

“Kat stole twenty thousand pounds?” A week ago she wouldn’t have believed it. Now, she couldn’t be sure. “That’s not all she’s done. She married an illegal immigrant, using my name. The police were round this morning.”

“Do they know where she is?”

Amy sighed. “No.”

“Good. I want to see her before the police do. I don’t suppose they’ve searched this flat for clues to her whereabouts?”

She was silent.

“No,” he said. “I thought not. You and me, Amy, we’re going to do that now, before any such clues might do a vanishing act like our mutual friend. Show me Kat’s room.”

“You’re in it.”

He looked around, shook his head. “Really? I thought this was the lounge. Okay, I want you to take everything out of those boxes.” He pointed to a stack of wooden wine crates, painted white, in which Kat’s belongings were stowed.

The top crate was crammed with shopping bags, over a dozen of them, bearing the names of designer boutiques: Prada, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and more. Reluctantly, Amy picked up a bag.

“Open it,” the knifeman said.

It was from Agent Provocateur, a powder pink paper bag sealed with a black ribbon. Carefully, Amy untied the bow. Inside, there was a pink cardboard box.

“Now that,” he ordered.

“Must I?” Amy pleaded. “These are Kat’s personal things.”

“That’s the whole point.”

Silently, she opened the box, unfolded the black tissue paper inside and shook out a frilly silk underwear set. A receipt showed it had cost two hundred pounds.

He whistled, leering. “Very nice. Now the rest.”

Altogether, Kat had spent over four thousand pounds on unworn purchases. “A shopping addiction,” he said thoughtfully, reflecting Amy’s surprised reaction. “Carry on.”

The crates below mostly contained clothes, neatly folded, and shoes in bags. There were a few books, overspill from the shelves by the wall, and finally, a box file containing paperwork.

“Give me that,” the dangerous stranger commanded. He fished out a letter. “Dearest Kat,” he read aloud, “I hope you are well. I am fine, and so is Cedric the Cat, but he is very old now. I have a little job now at Treasures in Harborne. Same old, same old. Do write and tell me your news. With love, Auntie Lizzie.” He paused. “Isn’t that sweet?” he said sarcastically. “Let’s see if there’s more of the same.”

He rifled through the box, shaking his head. Evidently, nothing further was deemed worthy of comment. He asked her to empty the only other article of storage in the room, a large rosewood chest, but that merely yielded towels and bedding.

“Interesting, and predictable,” he muttered. “I’ll tell you what we haven’t found. No suitcase, money, passport, women’s things like cosmetics. No certificates for qualifications, birth, marriage even.” He looked pointedly at Amy. “She’s done a runner.”

Amy bit her tongue. He was unlikely to appreciate being told he was stating the obvious.

He pocketed the letter. “I’ll be back. And you’ll tell me where she is, okay?” He fingered the knife again. “Not a word to the Old Bill. I’ve never been here, not on your life.”

“What about the CCTV?” she couldn’t resist challenging him.

“What about it?” he said dismissively. “None in that car park. I cut the wires.” He stood to leave, putting a finger to his lips. “You’re a lucky, lucky girl, Amy, because I believe you. Thousands wouldn’t. Now don’t forget – not a dicky bird, okay?”

When he’d gone, Amy bolted the door and searched the kitchenette for alcohol. Finding a bottle of Snow Mountain vodka, less than a quarter full, she drank all that was left of it and went straight to bed.

Please note there is also a taster story, The Gap, at:

http://aaabbott.co.uk/free-stuff/

About A.A. Abbott

bride's trail

AA Abbott (also known as Helen) chose her pen name in a shameless attempt to slot into the first space on your bookshelf. Born near London, she’s lived in Birmingham and Bristol, and worked in all three cities. She works for big companies for half the year as a tax accountant, taking temporary work so she can spend the rest of the year writing fast-paced crime thrillers. Although her work gives her inspiration, she says none of her colleagues have murdered, blackmailed or defrauded anyone. Hanging out in coffee shops and cocktail bars, she loves city life and can’t resist writing about it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AAAbbottStories/

Twitter: @AAAbbottStories

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7339437.A_A_Abbott

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AAAbbott

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/aaabbottstories

Blog: http://aaabbott.co.uk/

Website: http://aaabbott.co.uk/

GOODBYE, MY LOVE ~ Roxanne’s Ghost Saga Book 1 ~ by Maggie Tideswell

Goodbye

Goodbye, My Love ~ About

Roxanne’s Ghost Saga, a new mystery series from internationally acclaimed author Maggie Tideswell, is set against the stunningly beautiful backdrop of modern day South Africa. It is a compelling ghost story of identical twin sisters’ love for the same man, and the magical connection the women share.

And the theme?  Nothing is what it seems.

Here, we move into the realms of the mists of time that could either reveal or conceal.

Book 1, Goodbye, My Love, sets the scene. It introduces country vet, Ben, his four-year-old autistic daughter and the would-be nanny, Jessica James. Jess’ interview with Ben for the nanny position takes place on Friday the 13th. An attraction between the two is immediate, which by all accounts isn’t entirely normal.
Ben’s three oddball sisters-in-law descend on him for the anniversary of his wife Roxanne’s death. They try to convince Ben that Roxanne isn’t dead, more than likely to put an end to whatever might develop between Ben and Jessica. But Ben knows that no one could have survived what led to Roxanne’s death.

His daughter, diagnosed as autistic, only sometimes does she display the symptoms that led to her diagnosis. Autism is not a disease, it’s a condition. A condition with symptoms that can’t be turned on and off at will. So…what is the child really suffering from?

Ben’s wife’s twin sister, Millicent, is accompanied by an overboard caricature of a psychic to Ben’s home in order to help them find Roxanne. Of course, Millicent isn’t happy to find Jess already in Ben’s house—trouble is imminent. But only as far as Ben’s ancient housekeeper, will allow her to. What does the housekeeper know that will keep Millicent’s ruffled feathers under control?

More importantly…

Where is Roxanne?

Goodbye, My Love ~ Excerpt

Goodbye, My Love

Does anyone live here?

The house looked deserted, kind of spooky. Jess couldn’t see any other houses nearby. Sally had not been kidding—this was a rather isolated place.

Dilapidated outbuildings behind the sprawling house looked as unused as the house itself. Some sort of creeper covered most of the buildings except the house—it looked far too fragile to bear the added weight.

There were what looked like turrets on each end of the house, and a domed one in between. That might be a skylight. Jess worried her bottom lip. What century was this place built?

Lightning played over the majestic mountains behind the house, silhouetting it against the darkening sky, but down here in the valley, the late sun cast long shadows over the overgrown garden.

It all fit so well with Friday the thirteenth because this was creepy. What had she been thinking? She should have postponed the interview until Monday. One weekend surely wouldn’t have made that much of a difference.

Jess studied the map on her tablet, which she held propped up against the steering wheel. This could be the right place, but she had thought that about both the previous two places, and neither had turned out to be Weltevreden. Neither had been as eerie as this place, either.

No, this couldn’t be it. Tapping her finger against the edge of the tablet, she studied the house again. This whole thing smacked of a Friday the thirteenth Sally-prank.

Sally, her bestie since high school, ran a very successful employment agency. The professional image notwithstanding, she still loved pranks of any kind—she would never outgrow them.

Her eyes had lit up that morning when Jess sat in front of her desk, mugs of coffee steaming on the polished wood between them. The platter of doughnuts had been for Jess’ benefit. Sally and her perpetual dieting.

“Something different,” Sally mused, tapping her pen against her front teeth, then pressed a button on her laptop, and reached for the sheet of paper the printer spewed out. “This might be just the thing. It came in just now.” She’d tossed her platinum curls over her shoulder, grinning at Jess.

Another thing Sally would never outgrow, her Barbie-doll looks.
“It has my name on it, then.” Jess leaned her forearms on Sally’s desk. “Tell me, tell me, tell me.” She grinned back, barely able to contain her excitement. “Does it involve a man?”

Neither Sally nor Jess had found their Mr. Full Potential yet, although both had been ready for wedded bliss, the kids and the house in the suburbs thing, a long time ago.

“As a matter of fact it does, but he doesn’t seem to be in the market. It says here that a nanny is required for a four-year-old autistic girl. Dr. Arnold specifically requested that only older women be put forward for the position.”

“How old-fashioned. Where is this job?”

“In the Wellington area.” Sally frowned at the monitor.

“There you go. He won’t find anybody qualified to work that far from Cape Town. It is his child, I presume?”

“It is, but do you seriously want to give this a go?” Sally looked worried as only she could. It went with the Barbie look. “I’m intrigued. What kind of doctor is he?”

“A veterinary surgeon. And a widower, it says here. That is all the information I have for you, I’m afraid.” Sally sat back in her chair. “I shouldn’t disregard so specific an instruction, Jess, but just this once, I’ll make an exception. Then it’s up to you to change his mind for him. It’ll be in his own best interest in the end.” She passed an information sheet across the desk. “I’ll tell Dr. Arnold to expect you at four. I’d pack an overnight bag if I were you. Call me, okay?”

Now, sitting in front of the house that might or might not belong to Dr. Ben Arnold, Jess didn’t feel all that confident anymore. And it didn’t really sound like a prank unless Sally had kept some information to herself.

There was only one way to find out, and that was to knock on the door and ask.

If there was anybody in the house to ask.

Switching the engine off, she consulted the rear-view mirror to apply some color to her lips and pat her shoulder-length bob into place. She took a moment to admire the rich auburn color in the late afternoon sunshine and sighed.

I don’t know about this. It was a long way from Cape Town.
What did people do around here for fun?

Trying her best to ignore the goose bumps on her forearms, she opened the car door and stepped out. Her heels sank into the gravel, her shadow stretching all the way back to the gate.

Only when she turned toward the house did she see the man sitting on the top step in the shadows, his shoulder against the railing, one knee pulled up with his arm resting on top of it. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and it looked as if his feet were bare, too.

Was he there a moment ago? Why didn’t I see him?

Smoothing her palms down her red pencil skirt, she started toward the house and the man on the steps. If he wasn’t Dr. Arnold, maybe he could give her directions.

Taking a deep breath, Jess reminded herself that she wasn’t superstitious about this Friday the thirteenth nonsense. People liked to scare themselves with the silliest things. What was supposed to happen on this day? It was a day like any other.

That certainly looked like a real man on the steps. He wasn’t going to bite her. Today being a Friday and the thirteenth meant nothing, but now that she’d thought of it, the idea would stick with her like the taste of garlic.

Leaving the car door open for a quick escape should she need it, she’d gone no more than a few steps when she heard something other than the crunch of her shoes on the gravel. It sounded suspiciously like a dog whining.

She slowly turned her head, curling her fingers into the fabric of her skirt. It couldn’t be a dog. She hadn’t seen any dogs when she drove through the gate.

I don’t do dogs!

Her breath hitched in her throat when she saw them. They were right next to her car, beside the door she’d deliberately left open, a whole pack of them. Their lips curled away from their teeth, their tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths, dripping saliva onto the gravel. Yellowish eyes watched every move she made.

Where did they come from?

How many were there?

They cut her off from the safety of the Fiesta!

Now she had only one way to go—into that house. Why hadn’t that man called them off? Why wasn’t he helping her?

Slowly, making no sudden moves, she took another step toward the porch. The dogs followed her. Her heart hammered against her ribs. Another couple of quick steps toward the house. The dogs did the same. She broke into a trot, her scream shattered the still of the afternoon.

Missing the first step, she stumbled, recovered her balance, and took the rest of the stairs two at a time. The dogs were on her heels, whining and yelping, their breaths hot on the backs of her legs.
Just as a sharp whistle rent the air, but looking at the dogs, she careened into the man before the noise had even died down. Her momentum sent them both crashing to the floorboard. She landed on top of him, but with the dogs all around them, she hid her face in his neck. Another whistle— right in her ear—made her cringe, but the dogs were gone.

He lifted his head off the floorboards to glare at her, his hands at her waist, as if he was about to lift her off him. Stubble covered his jaw, his lips pressed into a tight line. A muscle jumped in his cheek. He dragged his eyes out of her gaping blouse to meet her stare.

They had to be the greenest pair of eyes she’d ever seen, and he was clearly not amused.

Then she noticed how much leg was exposed by her skirt bunched around her hips and she quickly scrambled to her feet, pushing her skirt back down her legs.

“Sorry,” she muttered, her face on fire. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him, but from the corner of her eye, she saw the stranger slowly unfold himself from the floor. Up and up he went until she felt him looking down at her. Even in her heels, the top of her head barely reached his nose.

With fists on his hips, he glared at her. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she lifted her chin and stared back.

Despite her bravado, she was intimidated and she had no idea if she had reason to be. She didn’t have a clue who he was. For all she knew, he was a vagrant taking advantage of an abandoned house.
She quickly looked him up and down, hoping he wouldn’t notice. A vagrant—looking like that? This man looked too strong, too well-fed, and clean, to be homeless. He smelled good too, of soap and sunshine. Wide shoulders tapered to a flat stomach and slim hips in a pair of well-washed denim cutoffs. The button was undone and the zipped half down. And he had a hard-on!

Jess swallowed with difficulty, forcing her eyes to the garden. Maybe he was the gardener or something.

If he was the gardener, he wasn’t very good at it, judging by the state of the place. The flower beds were overgrown with weeds, and grass seeds reached for the sky. With a bit of care, it could be a rather pleasant garden.

Her attention whipped back to the man when he spoke. “What’s wrong with you, woman? Those are lap dogs.” His voice was deep, the timbre vibrating on her skin. “They thought you were playing with them.”

She’d forgotten about the dogs. Erections did that to her, they made her forget everything else. She took another look at the animals. There were only four of them, and now that they were at a safe distance and there was a man on hand whom they seemed to obey, they didn’t look all that fierce, or even very big. By panicking, she’d unnecessarily gotten them both in a rather embarrassing situation.
The veranda was shadowed, despite the lightning dancing over the mountains, yet the peeling paint was clearly visible. She should ask this man for directions so that she could be on her way, but at that moment her nose itched and she sneezed instead. She just barely managed to get her hand across her nose. The dust from the floorboards and she most likely had it all over her face now. She needed to freshen up before she met with Dr. Arnold. Rubbing her hands over her face was probably making matters worse.

“Bless you,” the man said, his jaw clenched. “Explain yourself.” Fists planted on his hips, his bare chest rose and fell. Jess’ fingers itched to test the contours more fully before she realized that the man was actually angry.

Who was he? And what was he so angry about? Knocking him over had been an accident, which he could have avoided it if he’d controlled the animals sooner. His annoyance didn’t stop him from giving her a thorough inspection, though.

Barely suppressing the urge to stamp her foot, Jess snapped, “Those animals should be locked up.” The hand she pointed at the dogs was streaked with dust. Dropping it, she rubbed at the smudge with her other hand.

“They were, until a few minutes ago. When the visitor I expected didn’t show up, I let them out again. Who are you and what do you want?”

“How rude!” Jess gasped. “Do you welcome all visitors half naked?” His arousal was disturbing her.

“Uninvited visitors never come into the yard,” he growled. He knew she knew about his condition. “That’s what the clinic entrance is for. And I’m not half naked, I’m shirtless because I took it off when my visitor failed to show up for her four o’clock appointment. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot. If you’re Jessica James, you’re way too late—”

“The directions weren’t very clear,” she interrupted. “I got lost.” Hesitating only a moment, she stuck her hand out to him. “You’re Dr. Arnold?”

He ignored her hand and question, reaching instead for the shirt draped over the railing behind him and shrugged it on. Doctor or not, the man has no manners.

Buttoning the shirt, he leaned in closer. “So, it’s my fault you can’t follow a set of simple instructions? Look, miss, you might as well go back to wherever you came from. The position has been filled. Good day.” He started to turn away.

“What? When? I had an interview for this afternoon!”

He glanced at his wristwatch. “You missed the appointment. You wouldn’t have gotten the job anyway. Sorry for the inconvenience. It was nice meeting you. Goodbye, Ms. James.”

She noticed his eyes on her lips as he dismissed her. “Just a minute. You’re going to disregard my application because I’m a few minutes late? I have excellent credentials, and the agency—”

“Had been told that only older women need to apply.”

“So you’re dismissing my application because of my age, is that it?”

“Yes. And you’re more than a few minutes late. The appointment was for four o’clock sharp, and it’s nearly six now. Take your gripes up with your agent, Ms. James. Your timekeeping actually has very little to do with it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, you’re wasting my time.”

Jess narrowed her eyes. “I pity the person you’ve employed, if that is in fact the truth. You are a very rude man, Dr. Arnold.”

He wasn’t exactly what she’d expected—in his early to mid-thirties and attractive, in a wildly blond caveman kind of way. And hot.

If only he had some manners.

It had sounded quite romantic when Sally first told her about this position, but the reality was far from romantic. She didn’t need this man or his job, and especially not his erection. There had to be other positions available in Cape Town. Sally would find her a good job, with interesting work. She would get into her car and drive away without a backward glance.

Not being given a fair interview had nothing to do with Friday the thirteenth. A damp gust of wind blew her hair into her eyes as she turned toward the stairs. It had everything to do with him being turned on by her.

Jess remembered the dogs when they jumped to their feet, tails wagging.

She froze, clutching her skirt. They might be small, but they were dogs. They had teeth. Damn it, she was going to need his help to get back to her car. Gnawing the corner of her mouth, she glanced at him. Would he help her, or would he cross his arms and enjoy the spectacle from the veranda?

Before she could do anything, the door behind them creaked open and pale, gnarled fingers curled around the edge of the wood. Jess took an involuntary step closer to the doctor, goosebumps covering her entire body, her hand to her throat. Oh, God.

BUY LINK

http://tinyurl.com/n2ko8u4

About the Author

Goodbye

Maggie lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with hubby Gareth. Over the years she’s worked in everything from nursing to catering, and then she started writing love stories. With three kids, a girl and two boys, and eleven cats at that time, life could become quite interesting.

The paranormal, things that happen for which there are no logical explanations and ghosts, are of particular interest to Maggie. What events in a person’s life would prevent that person from ‘resting’ after death? The ‘Old Religion’ is another special interest.

And love, of course. Why do people fall in love? What keeps them together for a lifetime when so many relationships fail?

LOVE BLEEDS BLUE by Emma Calin #PassionPatrol

Love Bleeds Blue

Emma Calin announces today the release of the third novel in her ‘Passion Patrol’ series: ‘LOVE BLEEDS BLUE’.

Firmly in the ‘suspense romance’ genre,  this story features another sassy female hero-cop who is as passionate about her job as she is about the love in her life. Each Passion Patrol novel can be read as a stand-alone story, characters from previous stories make cameo appearances across the series.

Book Title:

LOVE BLEEDS BLUE  by Emma Calin. A stand-alone fast-moving action adventure with a love story at its core. The third novel in the Passion Patrol Series, featuring hot cops, hot crime and hot romance.

love bleeds blue

Blurb:

A London girl cop, a violent political crisis, an instant decision. One moment of courage to catch the destiny of history.

When single mother Sergeant Sophia Castellana stumbles into a terrorist shooting, things are not as they seem. Global forces beyond her grasp sweep her up into an audacious scheme to re-unite a world in chaos. The love of a far younger man, the infatuation of a charismatic woman leader seduce her into a blur of inappropriate love and infinite danger. Power and celebrity beckon, betrayal and violence threaten every move as events unfold in the city of Paris. Her brute courage and loving woman’s heart confront ruthless enemies who offer no second chances. She knows the streets, she knows her power as a lover. Can she, dare she seize the prizes before her? Will a world offer her the choice?

Love Bleeds Blue, another stand-alone novel in the #1 Kindle Bestseller, Passion Patrol suspense romance series . Steamy Emma Calin holds nothing back to bring you her juicy mix of cops crime and passion.

EARLY REVIEWS FOR LOVE BLEEDS BLUE:

“Politics – Philosophy – Terrorism – Romance – Coup D’ Etats –  Assassinations – World Reordering – Steamy Hot Sex! An intriguing love story.” Charles Smith, USA.

“Between the criminal plots, assassination attempts, and cases of almost innocent subterfuge, Ms. Calin weaves in passionate sex scenes that threaten to set the pages on fire.” Anneli Purchase, Canada.

“Staggering!! Wonderfully descriptive coupled with an outstanding story line makes this book a must read! The underlying satire provides some essential humor through out the book.” Evonne Hutton, South Africa.

Launch Details: 

LOVE BLEEDS BLUE is out, worldwide, on Amazon for Kindle and digital e-readers, on the 3rd April 2017.  The print edition will be available by May 2017.

The launch price is 99c/99p and FREE on Amazon Kindle Unlimited but will go up to $2.99/£2.50 after the 17th April.

Universal Book Sales Link on Amazon:  http://www.smarturl.it/AmazonLBB

COMPETITION:

For the two weeks following the launch there is a Rafflecopter sweepstake link in the back of the book, to win a brand-new Kindle Fire 7″ Tablet worth $50 (gift card equivalent alternative in countries where product not available).

love bleeds blue

FREE BOOK FROM THE PASSION PATROL SERIES: Try one of the Passion Patrol novels for free  https://www.instafreebie.com/free/1LZ7p

 

A BED OF BRAMBLES by Sam Russell #Contemporary #Romance #Giveaway

bed of brambles

A Bed of Brambles

by

Sam Russell

 

bed of brambles

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Draymere Hall #2

Release Date: 11th March 2017

Hettie and Alexander are back, and this was never going to be a conventional love story. No bed of roses. Proud, passionate and wilful, they are alike in so many ways. That has to be a good thing doesn’t it? Or it could be a disaster…both carry scars, and old wounds have a habit of causing new hurt.

Physical attraction draws them together but hearts and minds can be thorny. One thing is certain, together or apart their lives will move on. Alexander and Hettie’s clashes of spirit will only be part of the story.

Second chances. New beginnings. The opportunity to make things right. Or to make the same mistakes all over again. Unless fate takes the future out of your hands…

Praise for Sam Russell

‘Russell delves into her characters’ minds exposing their innermost thoughts, fears, and desires’

‘The author’s ability to flesh out a character into a believable human being is what sets a great book above the rest’

‘Sam Russell’s beautiful writing draws you right into Draymere alongside Hettie, Alexander the horses and dogs, and keeps you there’

EXCERPT

Her sharp green eyes slipped over him as she scanned the arrivals hall. He noticed the dusting of sun-freckles across her cheeks and his heart clenched as he waited. He needed to read her face, to believe she was back for good. Her gaze swept around again, and this time their eyes connected. For a suspended moment it felt as if his heart stopped beating, and the pit of his stomach fell.

Then she grinned at him.

The suitcase swung into her legs at her sudden change of direction. He waved, and she abandoned the case and ran at him. He lifted her off the ground and pressed his eyes shut, not trusting himself to speak. He felt her breath warm on his neck.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

ABOUT SAM RUSSELL

bed of brambles

Sam Russell was born in London, but it was her family’s move to the countryside which ignited her passion for writing and love of the rural life. She worked as a groom and trained as a riding instructor, teaching in the UK and abroad before returning home and marrying a farmer.

Sam ran a livery stables from the farm whilst raising their three children. Her writing, which was a hobby while the children were young, took off when they flew the nest. She was encouraged to write and publish her debut novel, A Bed of Barley Straw.  Her latest book, A Bed of Brambles, is the second novel in the Draymere Hall Series.

When she’s not writing, Sam will be out and about on the farm with the animals and the dogs. You can read more of her story on her Rustic Romance blog.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamRussellAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamRussellBooks

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13571859.Sam_Russell

Blog: https://russellromance.com/blog/

Website: https://russellromance.com/about/

GIVEAWAY

A signed paperback copy of the book (UK only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ONE DARK LIE by Clare Chase #Mystery #Giveaway

One Dark Lie

One Dark Lie

by

Clare Chase

 

one dark lie

Genre: Mystery

Release Date: 12 December 2016

Series: London & Cambridge Mysteries #3)

Publisher: Choc Lit Ltd (Death by Choc Lit imprint)

The truth can hurt, and sometimes it leads to murder …

After becoming embroiled in a murder investigation, Nate Bastable and Ruby Fawcett have decided to opt for the quiet life. But crime has a habit of following them around.

When her work dries up, Ruby finds herself accepting a job researching and writing about Diana Patrick-John, a colourful and enigmatic Cambridge academic. Simple enough. But then there’s the small fact that Diana was found dead in suspicious circumstances in her home – the very place where Ruby has now been invited to stay.

As she begins to uncover Diana’s secret life, Ruby’s sleuthing instinct kicks in, leaving her open to danger and retribution. But can she rely on Nate to support her? Especially when his behaviour has become increasingly distant and strange, almost as though he had something to hide …

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Apple iBooks

Kobo Books

Google Play Books

NOOK Book

ABOUT CLARE CHASE

one dark lie

Clare Chase writes mysteries set in London and Cambridge featuring crime-solving couples. She fell in love with the capital as a student, living in the rather cushy surroundings of Hampstead in what was then a campus college of London University. (It’s currently being turned into posh flats …)

After graduating in English Literature, she moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

One Dark Lie is her third novel with Choc Lit. Previous titles are You Think You Know Me and A Stranger’s House.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClareChaseAuthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ClareChase_

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10204574.Clare_Chase?from_search=true

Blog: https://clarechase.com/blog/

Website: www.clarechase.com

GIVEAWAY!

A fantastic prize going to one winner!!!

  1. paperback copy of A Stranger’s House (the first Ruby Fawcett and Nate Bastable Cambridge mystery),
  2. a sweet treat from Hotel Chocolat and
  3. a Cambridge key ring.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SINS OF THE FATHER by Sheryl Browne #Thriller #Giveaway

Sins of the father

Sins of the Father

by

Sheryl Browne

 

Sins of the Father

Genre: Thriller

Series: DI Matthew Adams #2

Release Date: 28th Feb 2017

Publisher: Choc Lit (Death by Choc Lit)

A roller-coaster of a read which you won’t want to put down! Former Police DCI Stuart Gibbon

What if you’d been accused of one of the worst crimes imaginable?
Detective Inspector Matthew Adams is slowly picking up the pieces from a case that nearly cost him the lives of his entire family and his own sanity too. On the surface, he seems to be moving on, but he drinks to forget and when he closes his eyes, the nightmares still come.
But the past is the past or is it? Because the evil Patrick Sullivan might be out of the picture, but there’s somebody who is just as intent on making Matthew’s life hell, and they’re doing it in the cruellest way possible.
When Matthew finds himself accused of a horrific and violent crime, will his family stand by him? And will he even be around to help when his new enemy goes after them as well?

EXCERPT

Matthew woke abruptly, hurtled from sleep by a nightmare he thought would never end. Sweat saturating his face, pooling in the hollow of his neck, he pulled himself upright and squinted against the thin trickle of sunlight filtering through the slatted blinds at the window. His first thought was that he had a hangover the size of an airdrome. His second, that they had no blinds at their bedroom window.

Easing his legs over the edge of the bed, a wheeze rattling his chest and nausea gripping his stomach as the room revolved in sick-making revolutions around him, his gaze went instinctively to the bedside table. His inhaler was there, the blue curative he carried with him, lined up neatly alongside his phone. Disorientated, Matthew blinked hard. His vision was blurred. His memory? Where the bloody hell was he?

A hotel room. Functional, he registered. Scanning his surroundings, he noted the fire instructions pinned to the door, the ancient fire extinguisher on the wall, the dusty circa nineteen eighties carpet. A shithole. Matthew closed his eyes and swallowed against the acrid taste in the back of his throat, then almost had a heart attack as his phone rang, loud and shrill, screeching through his brain like an express train. Scrambling around his mind for some recollection of what had happened the night before, he came up with nothing that was tangible, his tenuous thoughts seeming to slip away, like sea filtering ineffectually through sand. He had a few grainy, grey memories: Jasmine, the apartment, tastefully decorated. The painting, abstract colours intermingling. Coffee. Dripping. Shoes, clacking, like the ominous slow tick of a clock. One shoe. A stiletto. Connor …? Had he been there? Here? Matthew squeezed his eyes shut, tried desperately to remember. Natalie? Christ, no.

His phone rang again, sharp, insistent. Becky, it had to be, and Matthew had no clue what to say to her. Attempting to control his escalating panic, to regulate his breathing, he let it ring and reached for his inhaler instead … and then stopped dead.

Seeing the crimson stains on his hand, Matthew’s heart somersaulted in his chest.

Dried blood, he registered, trying hard not to let the panic, now gripping his gut like a vice, cancel out logical thought. Old blood. His? How old?

Bringing both palms shakily to his face, he examined them. They were ingrained with the stuff. He flipped them over. His knuckles were bruised. Right hand. Sweet Jesus, what had he done? Disentangling himself from the duvet, Matthew scrambled to his feet, then quelling the nausea now clawing its way up his windpipe, he checked himself over. Deep wheals ran vertically down his chest. Four. Matthew swallowed hard. Checked his limbs. Found scratches on his arms. His neck, too. He could feel those, raw and sore.

His pulse rate ratcheting up, he yanked the duvet back. More blood. Too much. Stark against the grey-white of the sheets. Trying desperately to keep a lid on his emotions, he turned, stumbling towards the bathroom, where he leaned over the toilet and vomited the sparse contents of his stomach.

Standing unsteadily, Matthew clutched the sink hard for support. Deep gouges on his cheek, he noted through the mirror, then flinched as a flashback hit him head on: Jasmine, smiling, her eyes, flat and emotionless. Her fingernails trailing down his face, his torso. Her touch had been light. She’d inflicted no damage. So how? Who? Natalie? A fresh image assaulted him, Natalie lying next to him. On top of him. Had he? No! His gaze straying to the wall behind him, Matthew’s legs almost gave way. There were blood spatters on the tiles. Perspiring profusely, he dragged an arm over his forehead. Irregular, splattered all over the walls. Christ, this couldn’t be happening.

A terrifying scenario unfurling in his head, Matthew willed himself to turn to the bath. His hand visibly shaking, cold trepidation snaking the length of his spine, he steeled himself to reach for the mould-stained shower curtain, hesitated, and drew it back.

A tap dripped, slowly, steadily. Each drip echoing distortedly around the room, sounding like a nail being driven into his coffin. He registered the watery trickle of blood washing over the carcass of a spider wedged in the plughole.

No body.

Wilting with relief, Matthew turned away. Taking several slow breaths, he grabbed a towel from the rail, whilst simultaneously reaching for the sink tap, and then stopped, his head screaming, his instincts colliding. If he cleaned himself up, he’d be destroying evidence. If he ran … Matthew stared hard at himself in the mirror. More images assailed him, disjointed memories. Surreal, foggy recollections. He’d been here with two women. Jasmine and Natalie. Matthew knew that much. Thought he did. And every indication was that one of those women had been badly injured, or worse, possibly by him. If he was going to call this in, and terrified though he was, his conscience told him he had to, he couldn’t wash. He needed to. The smell in the room was cloying. A woman’s scent. It was all over him.

He had to call Becky. Trying to keep calm, to not give into his urge to run from the room and keep running, Matthew headed back to the bedroom, where his phone had been ringing constantly. Whatever had happened, she needed to hear it from him first. He needed to tell her … Tell her what? Something’s happened, but I don’t know what? I think I’ve been set-up but I have no idea why? I might have had sex with someone but it wasn’t intentional?

Consensual.

No! Disbelieving, Matthew gulped back an immediate deep sense of shame.

 BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

CHOC LIT

ABOUT SHERYL BROWNE

sins of the father

Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.

sins of the father

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Amazon US | Pinterest

Loveahappyending Lifestyle

Choc Lit | Romantic Novelists’ Association

GIVEAWAY

AN ECOPY OF THE BOOK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Marquess and the Midwife by Alina K Field #EggcerptExchange

The Marquess and the Midwife

by

Alina K Field

 

marquess midwife

Tag:

Separated by lies, united by secrets

Logline:

Finding the woman he lost turned out to be easy. Winning her is another matter.

Blurb:

Once upon a time, the younger brother of a marquess fell in love with his sister’s companion. He was sent off to war, and she was just sent off, and they both landed in very different worlds.

Now Virgil Radcliffe has returned from his self-imposed exile on the Continent to take up his late brother’s title and discover the whereabouts of the only woman he’s ever loved.

Abandoned by her lover and dismissed by her employer, Ameline Dawes has found a respectable identity as a Waterloo widow, a new life as a midwife, and a safe, secure home for her twin girls. Called to London at Christmas to attend her benefactress’s lying-in, she finds herself confronted by an unexpected house guest–a man determined to woo her anew and win her again.

But, is loving the new Marquess of Wallingford a mistake Ameline cannot afford to repeat?

Short blurb:

Uncovering a lie drives a new marquess back from a self-imposed exile at Christmas to find the only woman he’s ever loved. Finding her turns out to be easy, uncovering her stunning secrets, a bit harder. But winning her back will be the greatest challenge of all.

Excerpt:

Ye gods, but her ladyship needed more maids, and a couple more footmen with both arms and both legs, at least for this type of fetching and carrying.

Ameline chided herself for being insensitive and balanced the steaming bucket. She set down the lamp momentarily to gather her skirts, along with the lamp handle.

A pair of men’s boots moved into view and the lamp bobbled. Fine boots they were.

She sighed, gritting her teeth. Lord Hackwell’s visits had unnerved his lady, and Ameline had counseled him to leave.

Very well, she’d thrown him out, once almost literally. He would wonder what she was doing below stairs. He might send for the accoucheur he was mumbling about, and his lady would not like it.

“I’ve just popped down to the kitchen for a word with Alton, my lord,” she said. “All is going well, except he’s a bit short on staff.”

“We have noticed that.”

The skin on her back rippled and she shivered. This wasn’t Hackwell—it was him.

Panic flared in her and her hands and ankles began to tingle. He carried no light. She let her own lantern dip lower and stepped to one side. What was he doing on the servants’ staircase in the middle of the night?

If he saw her, he would remember her, but he would not want to, unless he would think to befriend her again. Heat flamed in her.

She took in a breath. “Let me pass, Lord Hackwell,” she said.

“Let me carry that bucket for you.”

“No.” She forced in another breath, willing herself to speak calmly. “That is, no thank you. I shall send a servant for you when it is time.”

Footsteps scurried on the stairs. “Mrs. Dawes?” Jenny called, breathless.

Her heart raced again. She’d tarried too long in the kitchen. “I’ll be right—”

Heat touched her hand as the bucket came out. The lantern, too, lifted higher, and she looked up into the face of Lord Virgil Radcliffe, now the latest Lord Wallenford.

Mrs. Dawes?” His eyes widened and then narrowed, and his lips curved down.

Anger spiked in her. “Lord Wallenford.”

He moved down to the step below her, putting them at eye level, and crowded her against the hand rail.

“Give me the bucket, sir. I can manage quite well without your help.” Quite, quite well.

“Can you, indeed?” he drawled, sounding just like his brother the day he’d sacked her.

Blast him. Blast the Wallenfords. Blast the Hackwells. “Alton has a bottle set out. Best go and fetch it.”

His lips quirked.

She gritted her teeth. “Give me the blasted bucket, Virgil.”

Buy Links

Amazon:  http://a.co/5tSH05P

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-marquess-and-the-midwife

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-marquess-and-the-midwife/id1167622013?ls=1&mt=11

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1125068696?ean=2940156905331

Author Bio and links:

Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a mid-century home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, and a 2016 National Reader’s Choice Award finalist, Liliana’s Letter, as well as her latest release, The Marquess and the Midwife. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit her at:

http://alinakfield.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield

https://twitter.com/AlinaKField

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

https://www.pinterest.com/alinakf/

https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field

The Rest of Forever by Carrie Pulkinen #EggcerptExchange

The Rest of Forever

by

Carrie Pulkinen

 

Carrie Pulkinen

Genre: Paranormal Romance – Angels

Blurb:

Suspended between two worlds—belonging to neither—April must let go of her dreams and embrace her duties in the afterlife to win the man she loves.

April Carter is a high school history teacher who dreams of finding the perfect man to whisk her away from her small-town life. She wants it all—the husband, the house, the kids, the car. But her dreams of living the perfect life are shattered during a school shooting. ​Now she must learn to accept her fate if she’s ever going to find the life she loves. ​

Damian ​Perkins ​is ​April’s Guardian Angel, though no one would guess that based on his attitude. A tragic event in his past has left him bitter and resentful, and he won’t let anyone get close enough to care about him​. He’s tried to make April hate him, but she sees through his abrasive exterior and awakens a part of his soul he thought had burned out long ago. Damian​ must​ let go of his past​ and​ accept his responsibilities​ ​or​ ​​he’ll​ spend the rest of his existence alone and miserable​.

Excerpt:

Damian lay on the bed behind her with his arm across her body. God, I wish I could feel her. The memory of the way she fit in his arms tightened his chest, and he yearned to feel her warmth again. To feel her soft curves pressed against his body. She could’ve used some real affection. But as much as he wanted to give it to her, it wasn’t his place. He’d have to settle for comforting her from The In-Between.

She took a few deep breaths and slowly drifted to sleep. The tension in her body relaxed, and her pulse slowed to a steady, rhythmic beat. Rest was exactly what she needed to chase away the fear and guilt that must’ve been coiling inside her. To be betrayed by someone who was supposed to love her. He couldn’t imagine what she must’ve been feeling.

Well, yes he could…

He breathed in her intoxicating scent and closed his eyes. He was getting in too deep, and he needed to get away.

But as the last of the tension left her body, she exhaled and whispered, “Damian.”

Hearing his name dance from her lips made his heart lodge in his throat. Was she dreaming about him?

“I’m here, April. You’re safe.”

A soft moan vibrated from her chest, and she nestled her head into the pillow.

She couldn’t possibly be dreaming about him, could she? He’d tried so hard to make her hate him. What dream could possibly be twirling through her mind? She was sound asleep, and he knew it was safe to leave her alone.

But he stayed.

As much as he hated to admit it, he liked holding her, whether he could feel her body pressed to his or not. There was nowhere in the universe he’d rather be. And he desperately wanted to hear her whisper his name again.

Get it together, man. It’s not gonna happen.

The sun set, and soft moonlight filtered through the window, giving her skin an angelic glow. Even with her tear stained cheeks and disheveled hair, she was magnificent. The soft rise and fall of her chest, her gentle breath, her fragile posture. He could’ve held her forever.

But he needed to leave. To get away from her before his thoughts went any farther down the path he’d been avoiding all this time.

He pulled his arm from around her and prepared to Jump. She moaned and reached to the place where his arm had rested moments before.

“Please don’t leave me, Damian.”

He froze, his body paralyzed in anticipation, and swallowed down the lump in his throat. Did she sense him? Did she know he was there with her? No, it wasn’t possible. Charges felt comfort from their Guardians, but they never knew why.

“Damian, please.”

Liquid warmth flowed from his core, out to his limbs. His heart raced at the sleepy sound of her voice. He imagined it was how she’d sound in the morning, after a long night of lovemaking.

But he could not think about her that way. There was no way in hell he’d ever fall for a Charge. Not if he could help it.

Available at Amazon for $2.99 or FREE in KU: http://amzn.to/2jJZqpI

 

Author Bio:

 Carrie Pulkinen has always been fascinated with the paranormal. Of course, when you grow up next door to a cemetery, the dead (and the undead) are hard to ignore. Pair that with her passion for writing, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an exciting storyteller.

Carrie spent the first part of her professional life as a high school journalism and yearbook teacher. She loves red wine and chocolate, and in her free time, she likes to read, take pictures, and spend time with her family.

Connect with Carrie here:

Website: http://www.CarriePulkinen.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarriePulkinen/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarriePulkinen

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/carriepulkinen

 

Lily and the Gambler by Linda McLaughlin #EggcerptExchange

Lily and the Gambler

by

Linda McLaughlin

 

Lily, Gambler

Thanks so much for hosting me today!

I’m so thrilled about my latest release, a Western romance set in the California Gold Country, specifically Grass Valley, 1868. My husband and I visited the area some years ago and I fell in love with it. Grass Valley was especially interesting to me because of the large Cornish population in the 19th century. This area had deep gold veins that couldn’t be panned. Cornish miners were encouraged to come because of their experience in the tin mines of Cornwall, which were petering out. To this day, the Cornish pasty is a local treat, and the city still celebrates a Cornish Christmas.

A shorter, sexier version of this story was previously published by Amber Quill Press. When I got the rights back, I realized I now had the opportunity to tell the tale as I’d originally intended, as a sensual romance. It was fun to revisit Lily and King’s world and spend time with them again. They are two of my favorite characters. I hope readers will agree.

Linda

Lily & the Gambler

By Linda McLaughlin

Sensual Western Historical Romance

Blurb:

Respectability is in the eye of the beholder. Or so Lily Penhallow hopes when she assumes the guise of the widow Albright. She has learned the price of flaunting convention and is determined to obey society’s rules from now on. After her lover, Nigel Albright, was killed in a duel over a card game, Lily dons widow’s weeds and travels to Grass Valley, California where she plans to marry the man her uncle works for, a respectable mine owner named Hugh Ogilvie. Then, on the riverboat from San Francisco, she meets Creighton ‘King’ Callaway, a professional gambler, just the kind of man she should avoid.

King believes that since life is a gamble, there’s no point in planning for the future. You have to trust Lady Luck. After meeting Lily, King knows he has found his Queen of Hearts. But can he convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp?

Only Lady Luck knows for sure…

(Previously published in a shortened version by Amber Quill Press)

Buy links:

Amazon Kindle US: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01MYMEKMD/

BN/Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lily-and-the-gambler-linda-mclaughlin/1125157205

Coming Soon to Other Retailers

 

Excerpt:

Lily smiled at him. “That was quite a trick. Do you tell fortunes, too?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. Is the lady interested?”

“Perhaps,” she said, aware he was flirting with her again and annoyed with herself because she was enjoying it. “There should be a deck of cards here somewhere.”

“No cards required. Just let me see your palm.”

Unable to stop herself, Lily stripped off her gloves and let him take her hand. He held it in his left hand, and with his right index finger, traced the lines on her palm. Shivers ran up her arm at each caressing touch. His scent, a mixture of bay rum, male musk, and a faint hint of tobacco, overwhelmed her.

“What do you see?” she asked, her voice suddenly breathless.

“Health and long life.”

“What, no handsome stranger?” she joked.

He raised his head and stared into her eyes. “Oh, yes, I see romance ahead for you. With a dark haired fellow. But he isn’t a stranger.”

For what seemed an age, she stared into his green-gold eyes while her pulse quickened and warmth stole through her veins. It would be so easy to surrender to the feelings he evoked.

“I also see a fork in the road ahead,” he added softly. “You have a decision to make. A very important decision.”

She snatched her hand away, knowing she couldn’t afford to be distracted by him. It wasn’t as if he had made her any promises. “I think you need to practice your fortune-telling skills, Mr. Callaway.”

He chuckled. “There’s something else I’d like to practice.” Cupping her chin, he stared at her, his eyes full of half promises. “Oh, hell, I may get my face slapped for this, but…” His hand moved to the back of her neck as he lowered his head and captured her lips in a kiss that stole her breath away.

For a moment, she closed her eyes and gave herself up to the kiss. Then a door slammed somewhere in the house, reminding her of where they were. She pushed him away. “How dare you?” she hissed.

He gave her a lazy grin. “What’s that old saying? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?”

“I think you’d best be going.”

He paused at front door, turned and held her gaze for a moment, then left.

She sighed and leaned against the doorjamb. What had she been thinking to let him kiss her, however briefly?

 

Author bio:

 

Lily, Gambler

Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of books and history, so it’s only natural she prefers writing historical romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy to erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O’Farrell. A native of Pittsburgh, PA. she now lives in Southern California.

You can find her online at http://lindalyndi.com

Blog: http://lindalyndi.com/reading-room-blog/

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

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/lindamclaughlin

Twitter: @Lyndi Lamont https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont