Friday, July 31, 2020

Blog Tour ~ Tooth for Tooth - Book 2 of the Talion Series by J. K. Franko

Tooth for Tooth

by JK Franko

on Tour June 1 - July 31, 2020

Synopsis:

Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko

What would YOU do?



What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?



Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.



Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.



But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.



Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.



The hunters have become the hunted.



IN THIS BLISTERINGLY RELENTLESS SEQUEL TO HIS DEBUT SHOCKER, EYE FOR EYE, J.K. FRANKO TAKES READERS ON A BREATHTAKING JOURNEY OF CAT AND MOUSE


Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal

Published by:Talion Publishing

Publication Date: April 4th 2020

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 9781999318819

Series: Talion Series, #2

Purchase Links: Amazon || Goodreads



Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Before meeting Susie and Roy, I had never met a murderer. But then, I had also never lied to the police or destroyed evidence. I had never seen the inside of a jail cell. And I had most certainly never been complicit in a homicide.
I have to reluctantly admit that I am a better person for the experience. I now appreciate that murderers really are just regular people like you and me. Indeed, I have come to consider Susie and Roy more than mere patients... they are friends. And I think back on our time together with nostalgia—fondness, even.
This did not happen overnight. It was a process.
What would you do if you found out that your neighbor was a murderer? Would you double-check that you’d locked your doors every night? Keep an eye out for strange comings and goings? Would you ultimately put your house up for sale, not disclosing what you knew about the folks next door to potential buyers?
For most people, being in the proximity of a killer is neither pleasant nor desirable.
Imagine how I felt about having not one but two as-yet-undetected murderers as my patients. Sitting with each of them for hours every week. Trying to guide them toward more moderate conflict resolution techniques. And failing.
Well, I’m here to tell you that despite the complexities inherent in that situation, I found my path to inner peace and happiness.
I know. I may have said elsewhere that, as a psychologist, I’m not a big believer in “happily ever after.” But my thinking has evolved.
I’ve come to believe more in choices—in the power of decision. This is the key nugget of wisdom I have taken away from this whole mess: We are not what happens to us. We are what we choose.
And I am pleased to report, for the first time in years, that I can finally say I am happy.
You have to understand that my unhappiness was not due to lack of trying. Chalk it up to naiveté—but, at first, it was difficult to process everything Susie and Roy told me and still be happy.
It’s hard to put a positive spin on murder.
Selfishly, I was overwhelmed by the fear that they might turn on me. They had shared everything about their crimes with me in meticulous detail. It was manifestly apparent that I was the weak link. The one person who could bring them down.
I was not just a loose end.
I was the loose end.
And, though I tried, I could not initially find peace under these circumstances. But, as I said earlier, happiness is a choice. And it was a choice that I made which finally ended my torment and brought me to a place where I could be at peace—even though everything ended tragically: my relationship with Susie and Roy, their marriage, the whole mess.
For you to understand the rest of my journey with Susie and Roy, I must share with you something that happened years ago at an ostensibly happy event. I say ‘ostensibly’ because it was a wonderful night for almost everyone concerned.
There were two people at that event who figure in this story—in my story.
The first is Sandra Bissette. For her, the night in question was the beginning of what would become a successful career in politics and law.
For the other, Billy Applegate, the night would end in tragedy.

PART ONE

Billy Applegate

1974
Everybody loves a party.
And there’s nothing quite like an election night party. What makes an election night celebration different?
The guest of honor. You see, all parties—birthdays, anniversaries, wakes—feature a guest of honor. But an election night party is a completely different animal because it isn’t about any one person or couple. It’s not even about the candidates.
At an election night party, the guests of honor are the attendees.
The people who gather to watch election results together are all of one mind. Of one spirit. They are like pack animals, all focused on the same outcome. They all share the same heroes and the same enemies.
If their candidates win, they all win. And a “win” means real-world changes for them—tax breaks, preferential government spending, judicial appointments—and money in their pockets.
Now, that’s a party.
This particular election night party took place in Maryland in 1974. To be precise—because I can be—this party was held on the night of the 1974 midterm elections, on Tuesday, November 5th.
It was a good year for Democrats.
This was the first national election after Watergate. Nixon’s resignation had severely damaged the Republicans’ chances in the election. Gerald Ford was just three months into his presidency, having taken over from Richard Nixon a few months earlier. And, of course, having pardoned Nixon in September, Ford had destroyed his own hopes for re-election and added to the national animus against Republicans.
This election night party took place in a spacious colonial-style home decorated in red, white, and blue, with American flags hanging from the windows and banisters. It featured a spacious living and dining area. The kitchen was large and well-equipped. There was a generous backyard with a comfortable deck and a terrace around the pool. All four bedrooms—aside from one guest bedroom—were upstairs.
There was even a “pin the tail on the donkey” game set up near the bar, for those with a sense of humor. No one actually played.
This house belonged to Dan and Annette Applegate, two proud and active members of the Democratic party in Maryland.
Dan’s family had always been active in politics. His grandfather had been a state representative. His father had served as a county judge for most of his career. Dan—born Daniel Parsons Applegate IV—was the fourth generation of Applegates admitted to the Maryland bar. While he would never actually serve in public office, he understood the value of political contacts and actively cultivated them.
This party was part of that effort.
Dan was dressed in a three-piece, tan wool suit, a white Brooks Brothers shirt, and a burgundy silk tie. The lapels and tie were wide, and the shirt collar oversized—all very fashionable at the time. Annette wore a slim, gold-belted, navy blue flare-leg pantsuit with a pale blue silk blouse and a pair of simple gold earrings. Apropos for the gathering, and it went quite nicely with all the flags, she’d decided.
Their twelve-year-old son, Billy Applegate, was in dark green overalls with a white shirt and blue Keds. A handsome boy, Billy had inherited his mother’s cornflower blue eyes and his father’s thick sandy blond hair, which he wore in a neatly trimmed surfer cut.
Billy was an only child. His parents doted on him, as did his grandparents since he was the only grandchild in both families. Even so, Billy was a good boy and knew to stay out of the way when his parents had guests, though he stayed close enough to be in the mix and see what was going on. He was at the age where he still enjoyed watching the grown-ups. Spying on them. In fact, he was familiar with many of the faces that night from other events of this kind. It was a small community.
Tonight, Tuesday night, the guests were arriving early, many coming over straight after work before polling places even closed.
It was going to be a long night.
The band played. Alcohol flowed. Anticipation and excitement were in the air at the prospect of big Democrat wins. And, after everything Nixon had put the nation through, how could voters not want a change?
In the living room, a handsome mahogany console TV with a big twenty-five-inch-diagonal color screen announced results as they came in. Dan was loitering by the avocado green Trimline rotary phone, mounted on the kitchen wall, that rang periodically with live information. The spring-coiled, twelve-foot receiver cord allowed him to pace anxiously as he fielded calls from the few Democrats charged with providing up-to-the-minute results from county polling.
Remember, this was back in the days before computerized voting machines. Back then, voters travelled to their precinct’s designated polling station and used a machine to punch holes in their ballot. These were then collected and transported to a central counting center where the ballots were put through a counting machine which tabulated the results that were then released to the public.
Dan relayed results to his guests, with each ring of the phone bringing more good news. More cheering and more drinking.
It was a good year to be a Democrat.
At the peak of festivities, there were over 250 guests in and around the property, to the point where the party overflowed onto the street, which was not a problem. No one was going to complain, as most of the neighbors were in attendance. And these were all good white folk. The police were kind enough to block off both ends of the street and make sure that those who’d had too much to drink made it home safely.
Inside, the house was a political orgy. Supporters rubbed elbows with candidates. Candidates rubbed elbows with incumbents. Incumbents rubbed elbows with donors. And lobbyists rubbed elbows with everyone except each other.
There were a number of judges in attendance. Several city council members hovered by the buffet, and a few state representatives were sprinkled through the crowd.
It was into this whirlwind of excitement that Sandra Bissette arrived.
At a time when men still ran everything in politics, Sandra hoped to make a name for herself. The fact that she was a Yale-graduated lawyer didn’t hurt, nor did the fact that she had both the figure and the looks of Jackie Kennedy.
Sandra was the daughter of lifelong Democrats, and her father happened to be the county sheriff. Although Sandra was not part of the elite set in Maryland, she was making her way. She was two years into working as an associate at a top law firm after having done a couple of high-level summer internships in D.C.
That night, Sandra was primarily interested in meeting two people: one was Annette Applegate. Although Sandra knew that both Dan and Annette were active in the Maryland Democratic party, Dan was known to be a snob—his career consisted of riding on his family’s coattails. Annette was universally recognized as the nicer of the two. Annette knew everyone, and everyone loved Annette. It was with her that Sandra was hoping to build a connection.
The second person who Sandra had added to her charm offensive for the evening was Harrison Kraft—another young Yale lawyer who, unlike her, was connected in all the right ways. Having graduated a few years ahead of her from law school, Harrison was running for state representative. He checked all the right boxes— family pedigree, education, professional credentials. There was no doubt the man was going places. Sandra had heard good things about him as a person and was interested in seeing for herself.
It was a little after 9:00 p.m.—Dan had just announced the results from Precinct Four in Montgomery County when Sandra saw an opening. Annette was by the buffet chatting with Howard Patrick, an older lobbyist—handsy, and a bit of a bore. Sandra straightened her back, raised her chin, and approached.
“Hello Howard,” she said with a big smile.
“Sandra! Hello, my dear. Don’t you look beautiful tonight?” “Why, thank you, Howard. Ever the charmer,” she said, allowing him to kiss her hand.
“Have you met our hostess, Annette Applegate?”
As Sandra turned to greet Annette, she noticed that the woman was looking past her, over her shoulder.
“Um, excuse me, young man!” Annette said, eyebrows raised and pearly white teeth dazzling.
Sandra turned and followed Annette’s gaze to a young boy in green overalls filching shrimp from the buffet. She guessed he was just shy of being a teenager.
“Aw, crap,” said Billy as he chewed.
“Come here, you,” Annette said, narrowing her eyes in mock disapproval.
The boy hesitated as he took in the young woman, the fat old man, and his mother, who stood waiting for him expectantly with her hands on her hips. He’d never seen the young woman before. She was new.
Unconsciously, he slowly moved to return the three shrimp in his sticky hand to the platter.
“With the shrimp, silly,” his mother said, shaking her head. Billy moved toward her, chewing rapidly so he could stuff

the other shrimp into his mouth.
Howard put his hand against the small of Sandra’s back, a little too low, and harrumphed to her under his breath, “Better seen, not heard. That’s how it used to be.”
Sandra tried to smile and fought the instinct to pull away.
Howard’s breath smelled of scotch and cigarettes.
Annette overheard, but ignored the old lobbyist’s comment.
“I suppose I don’t need to ask if you’ve had dinner? I left meatloaf for you in the kitchen.”
“I know. But, Mom, these shrimp are amazing.”
“And the meatballs?” asked Annette, looking over Billy toward the platter on the buffet.
Billy blushed. “Those, too.”
“Well, it’s getting a bit late for you,” Annette said, ruffling her son’s fair hair and then kissing him on the forehead, making him squirm. “Finish up the shrimp and get to bed.”
“What about Dad?” Billy asked, looking around. Annette’s face darkened, and she sighed. “I’ll send him up for a goodnight kiss. But you come along now, young man.” She put her hands on her son’s shoulders and steered him towards the stairs. “Excuse me for a moment,” she said over her shoulder.
Shit, thought Sandra as she twisted politely away, getting the old lobbyist’s hand off her lower back as he struck up a conversation. While she tried to focus on what he was saying, it was all she could do not to stare at the green thing wedged in between the man’s tar-stained teeth.
It took her ten minutes to extricate herself from Howard, thanks to Alan Watts—a wiry man who was only modestly more interesting. His family ran a small chain of grocery stores. Alan had asked her out a while back, and though she’d declined, he still had hopes—she could tell.
After a few more minutes of polite conversation, Sandra fell back on “old reliable” with a forced smile. “Excuse me, gentlemen… ladies’ room.”
Once she was sure she had escaped, she continued to work the room. About half an hour later, as she accepted another glass of white wine from a passing waiter, she felt a hand pressing low on the small of her back.
Oh fuck, not again.
“Yes, Howard?” She turned, fake smile firmly in place, to find Annette Applegate standing behind her.
“Gotcha!” laughed Annette.
Sandra laughed, both from relief and from delight at the inside joke made by the woman to whom she’d hoped to ingratiate herself.
This is going to be a great night.
While Sandra and Annette chatted amiably, many other members of the party were well beyond civility.
The drinking had begun five hours earlier, but there was more than just alcohol flowing. Other substances were being abused. It was all very discreet, of course. Most were partaking solely for recreational purposes, but a few were ingesting more heavily. Beyond alcohol and drugs—and most hazardous of all, given that it was infecting everyone to some degree and was in ample supply—was the potent and dangerous combination of two psychological stimulants, victory and power.
You see, politics doesn’t attract only “normal” people. As in every part of society, there is a spectrum. And politics, too, has its outliers. The smug and the superior. The arrogant and the snide. And the sociopaths.
Victory and power are dangerous to all, but more so to the sociopath.
Do not consume alcohol or operate heavy machinery while taking...
For these select few, the alcohol, drugs, and victory combined with power was toxic. It created a euphoria that knew no rules.
No limits.
No fear.
* * *
Upstairs, Billy had fallen asleep with the soothing press of his mother’s goodnight kiss still fresh on his cheek.
A small nightlight plugged into a wall socket illuminated his bedroom, casting a warm glow on a baseball snuggled in a catcher’s mitt that lay in a corner next to a wooden Adirondack baseball bat.
On one end of his small dresser sat a model airplane—a Douglas A-20 Havoc that he’d built with his grandfather. It was a replica of the plane Gramps had flown during World War II. The model was flanked by a teddy bear that Billy claimed he’d outgrown but refused to give away. The other end of the dresser was reserved for the little boy’s current prized possession—Rock’em Sock’em Robots. A gift from his parents for his birthday.
The room was quiet, the party sounds muffled.
Suddenly, the door opened, spilling light into the little boy’s room along with the blare of music and the chaotic chatter of voices. Then, just as quickly, the door shut, returning the room to calm semi-darkness.
Billy was groggy and didn’t try to open his eyes. Instead, he just spoke out loud. “Dad?”
He felt the bed sag as his father sat next to him in a cloud smelling of alcohol and cigars.
Then he felt dry lips on his forehead. The kiss made him smile sleepily.
A hand stroked his head and his hair as Billy snuggled into his pillow and drifted back to sleep.
Suddenly, the same hand that had been stroking his hair gently clamped over his mouth. It was a man’s hand, but it was soft. Clammy. It was not his father’s....
Billy tried to sit up, but the hand squeezed harder, the man leaning into him, pushing him down and pinning him to the bed as a second hand groped at him, pulling away his sheets.
Billy didn’t know what to do. He was terrified. He opened his eyes, but with just the little nightlight on, he couldn’t see anything other than the vague shape of the form pressing down on him. He could smell booze and food on the man’s warm breath.
Tears came as the vise over Billy’s mouth forced him to suck air noisily through his nose as the groping continued—searching, finding, fondling, stroking, then reaching, penetrating, sending a hot shard of searing pain through his body. Inside.
He tried to fight, but couldn’t. The hands were too strong. The body too heavy. He felt sick. The stench of cigars, food, and alcohol on fetid breath was nauseating. And he was scared. Terrified. In pain.
Bile rose in Billy’s throat. But the hand over his mouth prevented him from vomiting. He gagged, then swallowed everything back down.
His body began to convulse.
To thrash.
As it did, the second hand stopped.
The man’s weight eased on top of his body, no longer pinning him down. The hand over his mouth loosened slightly, and Billy felt the other stroking his hair. He wanted to move, but he was paralyzed with fear.
The whole ordeal lasted minutes, but it felt like hours.
Then the presence leaned over and whispered, “Sleep. Sleep.
You were dreaming. Go back to sleep.”
The weight lifted from the bed, and as it did, the hand fell away from Billy’s mouth, leaving him shivering in the aftermath.
The door opened, first slightly. Through the crack, the man looked out into the hall as the babble of music and voices invaded the bedroom. Then the door swung fully open, and as it did, Billy saw the man clearly in the light from the hallway. The image burned itself into his memory. The image of a stranger whose identity he would eventually learn.
The door closed and the crowd cheered as the band started playing—“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
And Billy Applegate cried himself into a fitful sleep.
***
Excerpt from Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko. Copyright 2020 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.





Author Bio:

JK Franko
J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.
His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.
J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On:

jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!






Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!










Enter To Win!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be six (6) winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by JK Franko (print) and two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by Jk Franko (eBook). The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.
a Rafflecopter giveaway







Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 


Book Tour & Giveaway ~ Shifter Kings L. A. by Holly Gunn


Eagle 
Shifter Kings L.A. Book 1 
by Holly Gunn 
Genre: Paranormal Romance 


He’s prideful, rich, and next in line to be king of the eagles.
She’s an eensy bit prejudiced, and a lot rock and roll.
What these two City of Angels’ supernaturals are about to discover is that there is so much more to a person than what meets the eye.

Eagle Fitzwilliam Ambustus is controlled, precise, and direct. He doesn’t have the time nor the emotional wherewithal to be anything other than who he is. Others think him cold and unfeeling, but that’s just the surface. Beneath his suits, he is so much more.

Elizabeth Argueta is a free spirit. She’s a rock and roll, go-with-my-flow drummer on a mission to live life to the beat of her own drum. And most importantly, she’s got a view of the world that sets her firmly apart from the rich and the clingy of the L.A. scene.

When these two meet, it might be sparks-at-first-sight, but they’ll have to get over their pride and their prejudice to not only overcome those trying to keep them apart but also to understand and come to love each other ... just as they are.

Note: The first book in the Shifter Kings L.A. series is short, sassy, sexy, shift-tastic, and a whole lot of rock and roll … with a little Pride and Prejudice thrown in. 





Grizz 
Shifter Kings L.A. Book 2 


A grizzly who’s out to find a perfect queen.
A shy tabloid writer with a dark secret.
Throw in a meddling ghost, a town full of bear shifters, and a vacation in a gothic mansion and what could go wrong?

Grizzwold Rochester Ambustus is a rock god (or on his way to becoming one)—and the future king of the Grizzly tribe. He’s also world-weary and determined to find a queen who is as angelic and pure as can be.

Esly Ryan is a witch—she’s just not a good one. Good thing this shy bookworm has a day job that keeps her in shifter romances and puts a roof over her head. While Esly may spend her days spinning tales of happily ever after, her own HEA doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

She’s got a secret.

One so dark that, when she finally meets the king she’s waited her whole life for, it might remind him that she’s not the angel he seeks. She’s the madness he despises.

Note: The second book in the Shifter Kings L.A. series is not short, but it is sweet, sassy, sexy, shift-tastic, and a whole lot of Rock ‘n’ Roll … with a little Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester thrown in. 





Heavy 
Shifter Kings L.A. Book 3 


He’d give up his kingdom for her.
She’s been in love with him since he first held her hand.
But fate has always kept them apart … until now.

Henrietta Richland dropped everything to chase her dreams of being the new guitarist for Shyfter. But just like in real life, outside of her music, she’s running blind. She’s also running toward the only person she’s ever loved.

Heavy Allen would have given up everything for Henry. She wouldn’t let him. And now, ten years later, she’s back in his life, digging her lioness claws into his heart once more. He hasn’t spent one minute looking for his queen, and with twenty-one days to go … he has to wonder, does that mean something?

Full of angst, this beauty and beast are about to get a dose of reality–and it will be everything glorious.

Note: The third book in the Shifter Kings L.A. series is short, sweet, sexy, shift-tastic, and a whole lot of Rock ‘n’ Roll … with a giant beast and a sassy beauty for your reading pleasure. 






I'm the proud momma to a golden retriever named Charlie, two tortoises named Jake and John, a frog named Toad, and a gopher snake. The latter is my girl, Holly Jr. There's also the fact that I'm a thunderstorm-loving, front porch-sitting, hot cocoa-drinking, beauty product-hoarding, self-proclaimed environmentalist who just happens to write erotic romance. Saddle up, sweetheart. I've got a slew of shifters, bad boys, dirty men, and smart, sexy babes to get you started! 






Amazon gift card - 2 for $5 each 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 




Virtual Book Tour ~ The Life God Gives You by Shaquia Jimson





 Write Now Literary is pleased to be organizing a two-week book tour for The Life God Gives You by Shaquia M. Jimson. The book tour will run July 20-31.
           
Genre: Non-Fiction

Paperback: ISBN-13: 979-8642355381
E-book: ASIN: B08BJB9SXZ

Meet Shaquia

Shaquia is a  Certified Life Coach and the owner of Overcoming Bondage, a consulting business, where clients come and received emotional, spiritual, and physical therapy. Shaquia also is a pillar in her community where she donates to local shelter and assist at food banks for the homeless.

She resides in Kings Mountain, North Carolina with her family.










About the Book



Do you know your family history and the struggles they endured? Have you ever taken a moment to realize the sacrifices your parents made to give you a better life?

Take a Journey with Shaquia Jimson as she reminisces the journey of Grace Ann Jimson. Shaquia shares her family lifeline as they struggle through financial hardships, social acceptance, mental and physical abuse. This riveting book shows how Shaquia’s family made it through some of the most difficult
circumstances so that she could live a better life.

Shaquia’s book brings awareness to the cause of sex trafficking and domestic violence.


CONNECT SOCIALLY



PURCHASE A COPY

BARNES & NOBLE               AMAZON





Book Blitz ~ I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch


I Kissed Alice
Anna Birch
Published by: Macmillan
Publication date: July 28th 2020
Genres: LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult
For fans of Leah on the Offbeat and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, Anna Birch’s I Kissed Alice is a romantic comedy about enemies, lovers, and everything in between.
Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.
Rhodes, a gifted artist, has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts (until she’s hit with a secret bout of creator’s block), while Iliana, a transfer student, tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.
They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a webcomic. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other… a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?
EXCERPT:
Iliana
It was the end of our junior year when everything between Rhodes and me came to be as it is now.
It was May, and we were at a pop-up installation on the edge of campus. Clouds of heavy, weed-scented smoke hung up around the light fixtures of an old gas station with bars on the windows, and rain was falling in through a spot where the roof had caved, leaving puddles on the dirty tiled floor.
Behind each ancient cooler door was an installation: women with tape over their mouths. Women with their hands bound. Women dressed like schoolgirls, and dressed like moms, and dressed like frumpy old ladies with curlers in their hair. There was a gas station attendant behind the dilapidated old counter, a girl barely older than us with shiny red lip gloss and breasts begging to escape from a Play- boy Bunny costume. Word around campus was that participants had to be eighteen so they could sign the liability waiver provided by the lead artist.
Men wandered from one cooler to the next, shopping quietly, selecting someone to take with them along with six-packs of beer and packs of beef jerky.
Rhodes and I had become friends, sort of.
We weren’t talk-on-the-phone friends, or even text-on-occasion friends.
But Sarah had been my best friend since the third grade, and Sar- ah and Rhodes had become completely symbiotic during their first and second years as roommates at the Conservatory. It had taken weeks of begging for Sarah to even suggest to Rhodes that I come along—no matter what I did, Rhodes thought my work was “pedestrian.”
She didn’t think I’d understand the show—called Quickies at the Kwickee Mart, clever them—or that the art installation would speak to me the way it spoke to her and Sarah.
But by some force of nature, I had been the one to win a scholar- ship at the Savannah College of Art and Design only a week before. My art wasn’t an existential crisis played out with paint and canvas, and it didn’t make any grand political statements, but it was going to pay for my college—and apparently it meant I was allowed to play with the big girls now. Only two days later, Rhodes invited me along herself.
A week after that, we stood side by side, stoned out of our minds and attempting to make sense of the little theater that played out in front of us. Some of the girls in the cases were seniors at the Conservatory, and I knew about half of the people standing around us from campus as well. The rest were unimaginably sophisticated, worldly looking artist types—people with ink-stained hands and tattoos that crept up from under the collars of their shirts and onto their necks.
If my perception hadn’t been completely altered, I would have thought to be a little embarrassed by my own clothing choices. I felt so metal sneaking out in my tattered-on-purpose Slipknot T-shirt and my tattered-on-purpose acid-washed shorts and my tattered-on-pur- pose pink-and-white-striped tights.
“It’s, like, feminism—” Rhodes said.
Her brows were knit together; her cogs were turning.
She didn’t understand. I didn’t want to tell her otherwise, to ruin the night like I always do. It wasn’t enough to say it was about “like, feminism.” Anything can be about feminism, because in everything there’s an imbalance of power. There will always be one person in the room that has more privilege than the rest, and that person is almost always an Ingram.
It didn’t surprise me that Rhodes didn’t understand then, and it doesn’t now—she doesn’t really know what it means to be a little further down the food chain than everyone else. I’m not much further down than she is—I’m just as white, Christian-adjacent, abled, and straight-passing as she is—but I’m aware of it.
“Yeah, just, you know—” Sarah’s pupils were blown out. She held on to me for dear life, the way Rhodes’s barely-younger brother and then-dance-track student, Griffin, clung to Rhodes’s arm. Sarah liked Griffin then—she was infatuated, really. I think she thought he’d be an easy segue into being a fixture in Rhodes’s life forever.
She thought wrong.
“The motherfucking patriarchy,” said Griffin.
The motherfucking patriarchy. As if that phrase in and of itself wasn’t the purpose of the installation, the fact that women are continuously victims of sexual violence in Western culture, so much so that it has permeated our patterns of speaking and even the way we curse.
Rhodes sighed, and nodded appreciatively. Sarah sighed, and nodded appreciatively. Griffin sighed, and nodded appreciatively.
This is art, they communicated, with stoops in their shoulders and ennui-burdened frowns. This is life.
This is suffering.
Pot only ever makes me more philosophical. Everyone around me was melting into puddles, and I was practically writing ninety-nine theses on third-wave feminism on the back of a fifteen-year-old Kwickee Mart napkin that had been stuck to the bottom of my boot.



Author Bio:
Anna Birch is the author of I Kissed Alice. She was born 'n' raised in a rural area on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. She traded thick forests and dirt roads for the heart of the city, where she lives now with her husband, three children, and dog. She loves knitting, brie, and hanging out with her family.

XBTBanner1

Review + Book Tour ~ The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

 

 

The Crushing Depths

by Dani Pettrey

on Tour July 1-31, 2020

Synopsis:

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey


When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.



Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.



Just as the case seems like it'll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they're cut off from any rescue–and right where the killer
wants them. It's a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.


Book Details:

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Published by: Bethany House

Publication Date: June 30th 2020

Number of Pages: 320

ISBN: 0764230859 (ISBN13: 9780764230851)

Series: Coastal Guardians #2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Late September
Thirty-eight miles off North Carolina’s coast
Greg Barnes clinked along the grated metal steps, his boot heels rasping with each shuffle as he headed topside for a much-needed breath of smoke.
Thrusting the door open with a resounding creak, he stepped out into the night air.
A litany of protestors’ chants mimicked the shrill whining of cicadas.
He glanced at his watch. 1930. Didn’t those eco-nuts ever give it a rest?
As if the cursed rig wasn’t enough—they had the dang relentless protestors going practically day and night.
Exhaling, he rubbed his thumb along the smooth surface of the tarnished gold lighter in his pocket. His tight muscles seized, making his movements stiff. He shook his head. Those people needed to get a life.
Edging around the far corner of the main separator facility, he pressed his back against the structure’s cool outer wall. Generators whirred across from him, finally drowning out the clatter. He scanned his surroundings and exhaled in relief. Finally, alone.
His leg twitched. Just one drag . . . maybe two. It’d been an awful day, and that was the gentleman’s way of putting it.
With unsteady hands, he pulled the plastic-wrapped pack from his shirt pocket.
It crinkled beneath his hold and the sweet scent of tobacco wafted beneath his nose. He tamped the cigarette in his palm and slid it between his cracked lips. Just one drag.
Tugging the lighter from his pocket, he flipped it open, then rolled the pad of his thumb across the ignitor.
A spark flashed and fire roared, hissing over him in a sizzling cascade of torment.

Chapter Two

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Rissi Dawson sat at the long table on Dockside’s waterfront deck, gaping at Mason Rogers. He turned to look at her, his green eyes illuminated in the bright pole lights lining the wooden structural beams. She averted her eyes as heat rushed up her throat, spreading across her cheeks. He’d caught her staring again. Embarrassment drenched her. It’d been three days since his arrival, and she still couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact he was actually sitting next to her.
The boy she’d had the biggest crush on as a teen was back in her life. And on her Coast Guard Investigative Service team.
He handed her the basket of hush puppies the restaurant served instead of bread to start everyone off. His hand brushed hers with the movement, and her heart fluttered. “Thanks,” she said, keeping her gaze fixed on the red basket as she pulled two balls of fried cornmeal from it. She plopped the still-warm puppies onto the round plate to the right of her Coke. Get it together, girl!
The whir of a boat’s motor dropping to an idle sounded over the deck’s edge. A teen jumped out of the white outboard and onto the pier, tying her up to the cleat. Rissi loved living in a place with a boat drive-thru.
Noah raised his glass of iced tea. “Everyone . . .” The team lifted their glasses in response to their boss’s prompting.
Noah dipped his chin. “Welcome, Mason. Happy to have you on board.”
The team clinked their glasses together, even Caleb who sat brooding to her left. Observant as he was, there was no chance he missed the way she looked at Mason. In recent months, he’d developed feelings for her, so it wasn’t surprising he’d bristled at Mason’s arrival—especially after learning she and Mason shared a past, though he didn’t know the half of it. Only that they spent time in a children’s home together for a handful of months as teens.
The opening riff of “Sweet Home Alabama” emanated from Noah’s jean pocket. He hitched up as he extracted his phone. “Rowley,” he answered. “Yes?” Standing, he headed down the ramp toward the restaurant’s pier.
“Rockfish tacos,” the waitress said, placing the plate in front of Rissi. The sweet, tropical scent of the mango slaw swirled in the air.
The waitress handed out plate after plate to each of them, setting Noah’s burger at his spot while he continued to pace the pier.
Caleb bit into his Carolina BBQ pork sandwich, the scent of vinegar wafting in the night’s gentle breeze.
Finn Walker did the same with his crab cake sandwich. He and Noah, who was from Maryland, had argued for months over which state had the best crab cake. Finn had been convinced it was North Carolina, right up until Noah had crab cakes flown in fresh from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore. It took two bites for Finn to concede the win.
“Sorry about that, folks,” Noah said, retaking his seat.
“Everything okay?” Emmy Thorton asked. Rissi looked forward to seeing the quirky angel every day at the station.
“Rissi, Mason.” Noah lifted his chin in their direction. “I’ve got an assignment for you.”
Her and Mason? They’d worked a case his first day on the team, but Finn had joined them for most of the investigation. This would be the two of them . . . alone. A mixture of elation and fear sifted through her.
“Great.” Mason set down his lemonade.
“We’ve got a death out on the Dauntless.”
“The offshore oil platform?” Mason asked, swiping a drop of lemonade from his bottom lip.
Stop staring, girl. So he’s jaw-dropping gorgeous. So you share a past. Still, staring is plain rude. Despite not having a mother to teach her, Rissi knew or, at least had come to learn, her manners.
Noah laid his napkin across his lap. “You two need to determine if the death was an accident or if foul play was involved. Helo is leaving from Textra Oil’s copter hub in forty-five. I need you both on it.”
Mason pushed back from the table. “No problem.”
“Great,” Noah said. “You’ll be joining the head of operations, a commercial diver, and the deceased’s replacement on the company copter.”
Rissi took one last bite of her taco before setting it down. She dabbed the corner of her lips with a napkin. “They aren’t wasting any time in replacing the deceased.”
“The deceased’s name is Greg Barnes. I talked to the head of operations, Bob Stanton, and he said they needed to replace him ASAP.”
“Must be an important position.” She reached for her glass and took a final sip.
“You’d think,” Noah said. “But Bob said the main reason they need to replace him fast is they’ve been working with a skeleton crew.”
Mason’s brows pinched as he stood. “Why?”
“Several guys didn’t show up for their three-week rotation transport out,” Noah said, popping a fry in his mouth.
“I know why they didn’t show up for that copter ride out there.” Tom Murphy leaned toward them from his table situated to their right.
“Why?” Mason asked, moving around to the back of Rissi’s chair. He held it out for her as she stood.
She glanced over her shoulder at him and smiled. “Thanks.”
He nodded.
Tom, one of Wrightsville’s most colorful fishermen, crooked his index finger, drawing them in. “That rig’s cursed.”
“Cursed?” Caleb chuckled. “You can’t be serious?”
Tom waggled his finger. “It’s no laughing matter, young man.”
“I’m sure it’s a good story, Tom,” Rissi said. No reason not to be polite. “But I’m afraid we’ve got to catch a copter ride.”
Tom shrugged and turned back to his food. “It’s your lives at stake.”
“What do you mean?” she asked before they passed his table, unable to stem her curiosity.
“You’ll see.” He smiled, his right incisor missing. “Henry’s curse is real.”
“Henry?” Why was she letting herself get sucked into this?
Tom let out a high-pitched chuckle. “Oh, you’ll learn all about Henry.”
“Shall we?” Mason said, gesturing to the wooden ramp leading down to the gravel parking lot.
Excusing themselves, they moved down the ramp. Mason leaned in. He smelled of the ocean and warm spice. He whispered, “Did that guy seriously just cackle?”
She nodded, strangely curious about the old man’s ghost story.
“I thought people only did that on Scooby-Doo.”
She let out a slip of laughter.
“I wouldn’t be laughing,” Tom called after them as they rounded the ramp on his side of the deck. “You two be careful out there, you hear? It’s a dangerous place to be. Just ask the men on board.”
***
Excerpt from The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey. Copyright 2020 by Dani Pettrey. Reproduced with permission from Dani Pettrey. All rights reserved.





On the edge of your seat thriller that will keep you reading long into the wee hours of the morning! I give this 5 full teacups! Dynamite read, I absolutely loved this book. The characters are very relatable and fully developed. There are lots of twists and turns throughout the book that take the reader by complete surprise, love that so much! If you love a good mystery with lots of intrigue, then this is the book for you!

Author Bio:

Dani Pettrey
Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.
Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).
Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and have appeared on the CBA, ECPA, Publisher’s Weekly, and Amazon #1 bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award.

Catch Up With Dani Pettrey:

DaniPettrey.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!






Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!










Enter To Win!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dani Pettrey. There will be 4 winners. Two (2) winners will each receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each win THE CRUSHING DEPTHS by Dani Pettrey (Print ~ Open to U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on July 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.
a Rafflecopter giveaway







Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 


Blog Tour ~ Zon - Beyond by Maureen A. Miller

Blog Tour ~ With Clipped Wings of Butterflies by L. C. Son


With Clipped Wings of Butterflies

by L.C. Son
Publication Date: April 19, 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Purchase: Amazon
From Amazon Best Selling Short Story Author, L.C. Son, go beyond the dreamscape of the epic paranormal romance, Beautiful Nightmare, and dive deeper into the series.

When one woman’s desperate desire to be loved leads her into the arms of one of the most powerful and sadistic Altrinion-Vampires ever known, she soon learns her life is no longer her own. In this coming of age Beautiful Nightmare Short Story, follow young Delia Peyroux on her journey of perilous passion, leading her amidst dangerous liaisons toward a decision that changes her world forever.
Purchase: Amazon
What doesn’t BREAK you can make you.

Theadra Marshall’s world has flipped upside down. Newly orphaned, her life restarts like a breath of fresh air. The only problem for this spunky sixteen year old is she’s afraid to breathe.

When the hottest guy in school invites her to his basketball game, her hopes for normalcy are shattered by an untold supernatural force within her and a heart-wrenching tragedy, spiraling her down a dark road. With her breaking point in reach, Theadra unlocks the truth of her family’s origin and discovers a newfound power desperate for release.
Purchase: Amazon
The Great Fire of New Orleans has an origin befitting a hauntingly beautiful nightmare.

In 1788 two brothers, Decaux and Dalcour Marchand, arrive in New Orleans seeking to make it their home. While one brother has seemingly found love and the other a prominent public face, a deep-seeded hatred seeks to threaten their newfound happiness; thus kindling a fire that would burn beyond two hundred years.

With Hearts Like Fire is a Beautiful Nightmare Short Story
Purchase: Amazon | All Retailers
What can be more haunting than true love?

Damina Nicaud, a beautiful, successful art buyer in Washington, D.C., is plagued by hauntingly romantic dreams of a mystery man every night. While she knows she shouldn’t consider her dreams to be anything more than anxiety brought on by her upcoming nuptials, she can’t help but be lured into its entreat. Unbeknownst to her, the dreamscape that plagues her mind will be all that carries her through eventual heartbreak and learning the truth of her orphaned lineage.

She is more than human.

Escaping to New Orleans on the heels of her broken heart, she begins to unravel the mystery of her life while discovering a love powerful enough to unleash an ancient power residing within herself. Weaving through a world of artistic passion, vampires, wolves, and the supernatural, Damina Nicaud begins to take hold of her Beautiful Nightmare.

About L.C. Son

Known for her Amazon Best Selling Short Story, With Hearts Like Fire and the series starter and epic fantasy novel, Beautiful Nightmare (Book One), L.C. Son is the happy wife of more than twenty years and loving mom of three.

Growing up, she spent hours reading comic books she “borrowed” from her older brother which inspired her love for heroes and all things fantasy and paranormal. Much like the characters she adored, she lives a duplicitous life. By day she works tirelessly to champion the employment of persons with severe disabilities. By night she puts on her wife-mom cape, sharing with her husband at their church and juggling their kid’s very active schedules.

Presently, she’s working on the next installment in the Beautiful Nightmare series, Awaken: Beautiful Nightmare Book Two.



Release Boost ~ Love Her - Military Men of Lexington by Andrea Johnston

Title: Love Her
Series: Military Men of Lexington
Author: Andrea Johnston
Genre & Tropes: Contemporary Romance; Small Town Romance; Military; Single Mom; Slow Burn; Redemption of the Mean Girl


Felicity
 The day I left that small town behind, I swore I’d never be back. I was better than Lexington and its small-minded residents. No one bothered to look beyond the mask I wore to protect my heart.
Then or now.
Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way we plan. Having kids was the best thing that I ever did. Returning to the one place I’m least welcome might be the most humiliating. The one thing about this town is a reputation follows you. So despite life humbling me, this town won’t forgive easily, and my past bad deeds still haunt me.

Connor
Running from one war to another in the military, I spent years trying to find what was meant for me, to figure out where I belonged. It wasn’t in the city where I grew up or overseas. My soul needed settling and Lexington seemed like a good place to be alone.
Then I met her.
She owned my attention from the moment I saw her, my heart right after. Through the grapevine, I learned Felicity had a past worth gossiping about. So do I. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to her.
I moved here for a fresh start, a second chance to live a peaceful life, but she has me reevaluating that plan. Maybe it’s not peace I need but love that I’ve been missing all along.

**The Military Men of Lexington series is a series of interconnected, standalone, small town romances.**
This is the final book in the MMoL trilogy, and the end of Lexington.





Read for FREE with KindleUnlimited










Meet the Military Men of Lexington
a series of interconnected, standalone, small town romances



Promise Her




Read for FREE with KindleUnlimited



Cherish Her




Read for FREE with KindleUnlimited



Love Her
Read for FREE with KindleUnlimited





Andrea Johnston spent her childhood with her nose in a book and a pen to paper.
An avid people watcher, her mind is full of stories that yearn to be told.
A fan of angsty romance with a happy ending, super sexy erotica and a good mystery, Andrea can always be found with her Kindle nearby fully charged.
Andrea lives in Idaho with her family and two dogs. When she isn’t spending time with her partner in crime aka her husband, she can be found binge watching all things Bravo and enjoying a cocktail. Nothing makes her happier than the laughter of her children, a good book, her feet in the water, and cocktail in hand all at the same time.

Signed set of the Military Men of Lexington Trilogy, $10 Amazon GC, $10 Starbucks GC (US Only)
Enter to win!

ENTER HERE