The Marquesa's Necklace
Oak Grove Mysteries Book 1
Harmony Duprie enjoyed her well-ordered life in the quiet little town of Oak Grove—until her arrest for drug trafficking. Cleared of all charges, she wants nothing more than to return to the uneventful lifestyle of a historical researcher she once savored.
But when her beloved old car “George” is stolen and explodes into a ball of flames, it sets off a series of events that throws her plans into turmoil. Toss in a police detective that may or may not be interested in her, an attractive but mysterious stranger on her trail, and an ex-boyfriend doing time, and Harmony’s life freefalls into a downward spiral of chaos.
Now she has to use her research skills to figure out who is behind the sinister incidents plaguing her, and why. And she better take it seriously, like her life depends upon finding the right answers.
Because it might.
I remembered that night. Jake had taken me to the fanciest restaurant in town, The Grove. Hardly original, but I'm not the one who named it. I wore a long-sleeved, low-cut, silky red dress that clung in all the right places and ended just above my knees. I felt gorgeous in that dress, and from the look in his eyes all night long, he thought so too. The dress hasn't been worn since. I should donate it to a charity.
I'll never wear it again.
That was the night he gave me the necklace. It seemed as if he'd bought it to match the dress. An arrangement of rubies and diamonds mounted in white gold, it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. When he fastened it around my neck, I felt as if I'd transformed into Old World royalty.
I really hated giving the necklace back to him, but it was far too expensive for me to accept. He got his reward anyway. When we undressed each other before tumbling into bed, he asked me to leave it on, and I did, but took it off before I fell asleep. I suppose he returned the necklace, but I never asked him and he never mentioned it again.
With cell phones everywhere these days, it would have been easy for someone to have snapped a shot of us unnoticed. I don’t remember anyone taking pictures that night, but from the looks on our faces, Jake and I were oblivious to anyone but each other. Jake told me he loved me for the first time during supper. A few weeks later, the cops busted us for suspected drug trafficking.
Today, author P.J. MacLayne shares a snippit of her novel, The Marquesa’s Necklace with us.
P.J. is also hosting a giveaway for a chance to win a free ecopy of The Marquesa’s Necklace and a $10 Amazon gift card. See the end of the post for details.
P.J. MacLayne is a computer geek by day and a writer by night. She grew up among the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and uses that as the setting for many of her stories. She currently makes her home in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.
Enter in the rafflecopter for your chance to win an ebook copy of The Marquesa’s Necklace, or a $10 Amazon gift card.. This giveaway is provided by and the responsibility of the author and Goddess Fish Promotions. Contest ends July 30, 2014.
The Frost of Springtime
Rachel L. Demeter
To rescue her was to rescue his own soul.
On a cold Parisian night, Vicomte Aleksender de Lefèvre forges an everlasting bond with a broken girl during her darkest hour, rescuing her from a life of abuse and misery. Tormented by his own demons, he finds his first bit of solace in sheltering little Sofia Rose.
But when Aleksender is drawn away by the Franco-Prussian war, the seasons pass. And in that long year, Sofia matures into a stunning young woman—a dancer with an understanding of devotion and redemption far surpassing her age.
Alongside his closest friend, Aleksender returns home to find that “home” is gone—replaced by revolution, bloodshed, betrayal—and a love always out of reach. Scarred inside and out, he’s thrust into a world of sensuality and violence—a world in which all his hours have now grown dark, and where only Sofia might bring an end to the winter in his heart.
Inspired by the 1871 Paris Commune, The Frost of Springtime is a poignant tale of revolution, redemption, and the healing power of love.
Sofia saw the memories buried within his eyes. Gunshots. Screams. Rolling cannons and the faded cries of despair. They lodged inside Aleksender, battling for his soul.
Sofia rose from the ground and tentatively crouched behind him. Remaining silent, her hands sunk below the material of his dress shirt and encouraged him with gentle caresses.
“Disease and death were everywhere. Men with boils and rashes the size of saucers. Anyway, we almost managed to escape. It was a good mile away that we were spotted. They were corrupt soldiers, nothing but hungry dogs with a taste for blood-lust. We were tied at the wrists and ankles, crammed inside a tent. Whether it was days or weeks, I cannot say.” Scoffing under his breath, he spat, “The fools demanded answers. They demanded our plans. Strategies. We refused each time. Even so none of us knew anything.”
“Oh, Alek. Why didn’t you tell them? To think you could have avoided so much pain.”
His shoulders lifted into a dry shrug. “I suppose we took a morbid delight in their frustration.” His voice was icy, harsh and void of all emotion. “And besides—it was the prospect of whipping information from our skin that kept us alive. But we were eventually returned to the camp. Bloodied, battered and burned—but alive.” Aleksender passed fingertips through his hairline. “Till this day, I have no idea what changed their minds …” Aleksender sighed and gave an afterthought, “Word had spread of their rather unorthodox methods, so to speak. According to rumor, they’d paid dearly.”
“I pray they burn in hell,” Sofia gasped. “Every last one of them!”
Aleksender laughed, amused by her goodhearted blasphemy. “Ah, Sofia, ma chérie. You do wonders for me.” And then a sudden thought came to his mind. “Christophe was there with me.”
“In the tents?” Sofia murmured, her heart reaching out to both heroes.
Aleksender merely nodded.
Although she’d never had the pleasure of meeting Monsieur Cleef, his name inspired a strange twinge of nostalgia inside her gut. Aleksender had often spoken of his dear friend—a rather admirable man of big ideas and too little restraint. From what she knew of the roguish skirt-chaser, she’d always admired him very much.
“Such wonderfully brave men,” she crooned, caressing one of many scars. “You have a soldier’s heart.”
Cloaked beneath the darkness, Sofia’s fingertips moved over his back in hypnotic motions, not leaving an inch of him unloved. “Do they pain you much?”
“No,” he hoarsely answered, “they are no bother.” His body trembled within her arms. “Not any longer.”
Between tentative kisses and muffled sniffles, she whispered, “To think of the pain you endured. The cruelty—your suffering.”
Aligning their two bodies, Aleksender cradled Sofia’s face between his palms and sweetly stroked her skin. Sofia’s toes curled against the barrier of her slippers. It was intoxicating. By far the sweetest moment in her nineteen years of life. With a last kiss, he whispered into her mouth, “Pain is in the mind. And, in my mind, ma chérie … I was with you.”
Today I welcome author Rachel Demeter to the blog with her historical fiction novel, The Frost of Springtime.
Rachel will be awarding a $15 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, plus an autographed bookmark will be awarded to 5 randomly drawn winners (US ONLY). See the end of post for entry.
Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and high school sweetheart of ten years. She enjoys writing dark, edgy romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and examine the redeeming power of love.
Imagining stories and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mom would jot them down for her. She has a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether sculpting the protagonist or antagonist, she always ensures that every character is given a soul.
Rachel strives to intricately blend elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some common themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.
Enter in the rafflecopter for your chance to win either a $15 Amazon Gift Card or an autographed bookmark . This giveaway is provided by and the responsibility of the author and Goddess Fish Promotions. Contest ends Aug. 9, 2014.
Taming Miss Tisdale
Miss Tamsin Tisdale believes herself to be completely unsuitable for London life. After a myriad of social mishaps, and the potential ruination of her family name, she’s shipped away to her cousin’s northern estate. Only after she comes to her senses will she be welcomed home.
Marcus Winston, the Duke of Grayson, has a lackluster reputation. The last in a dying line, he’s endured a protected life—rank with privilege, encumbered by isolation. After a brief encounter with rebellion, he learns the devastating consequences of his carelessness and willingly accepts living life from inside his gilded cage.
However, a chance meeting with the brazen Miss Tisdale gives Marc the opportunity to reinvent himself into the man he’s always dreamed of being. When his deception comes to light, and ghosts from both their pasts threaten to unravel the intimacy they’ve come to cherish, will either of them set their fears aside long enough to embrace love? Or will Miss Tisdale’s stubbornness divide them?
Jason looked bored. “Get to the important part, Grayson. Was she beautiful?”
Again, Marc was ill-prepared to answer such a question. Taken individually, that large mouth, those plump pink lips, her long nose, red hair, and freckled skin—nothing about her was spectacular by any means. But together, all those odd pieces and parts, which seemed so ordinary at first glance, fit together to form the picture of a particularly stunning woman.
“Yes,” he answered quite simply. No need to give Jason any more fodder for discussion by rambling on like some sort of awful poet.
Jason grinned from ear to ear. “Well, that is quite eventful, indeed.” He swept a crumb off his jacket sleeve. “Does this original have a name?”
Marc stopped suddenly, his coffee halfway to his lips. “Name?”
Jason laughed. “Yes, her name. This unique creature has to have a name. Diana? Aphrodite? Venus, perhaps?” Then Jason stopped laughing as realization spread over his face like a mordant rash. “You don’t know her bloody name, do you?”
Marc set his cup down on the table and stared at it. “She never volunteered the information and I never bothered to ask.”
Today’s guest post is by author Jessica Jefferson, sharing with us on how she handles writer’s block.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions and Jessica will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to one one lucky reader at the end of her tour.
See the giveaway details at the end of the post and to follow the tour.
Jessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it—almost Chicago. She is heavily inspired by classic sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy. She invites you to visit her at jessicajefferson.com and read more of her random romance musings. http://www.JessicaJefferson.com and www.embracingromance.com
My journey to writing was fairly uneventful. I wrote a book, submitted for publication, and managed to find a book deal. How could I have known that was the easy part?
I recently made the decision to make writing my full time career. Instead of dressing in my go-to black pants suit and showing up to the office five days a week, now I wake up and make my way over to my desk. Sometimes I even change out of my pajamas.
I used to think if given all the hours in the day to work on my craft that I’d put out thousands of words a day. I envisioned myself as this prolific writer who could easily turn out a half-dozen books a year.
Wow – was I delusional.
Some days, I’m lucky to bang out a paragraph. Before, I used to blame it on everything else in my life. It was my day job – sometimes I’d work fifty hours a week, how was I supposed to write after spending so much time at the office? Other times I thought it was the needs of my family that put me behind. I have a three year old and an eight year old – it’s not as if those kids are going to raise themselves. I blamed everything but myself…so what was the problem? I no longer had to work every day and my kids were at a babysitter…
I’ve learned writer’s block doesn’t care about deadlines or convenience. It comes and goes as it pleases, with little care as to how difficult it’s making my life. Even tasks like writing a simple 250 word blog post can take hours, if not days. So, I’ve adopted a few tricks to make it easier.
Rethinking why I write: If I showed up to a job at the mall, and couldn’t find the inspiration to fold sweaters—chances are I’d still have to fold sweaters. I’m trying to shift my thinking from “writing is my hobby and I do it because I love to do so” to “writing is my job”. It adds a sense of accountability that has never been there before.
Look for Inspiration: I listen to music, I watch movies—anything to find inspiration
Exercise: I take a walk, I take a run…whatever it takes to get my pulse up.
Writing exercises: The internet is a wealth of information—some of it’s even useful. There are tons of ideas to jumpstart the mind. Sometimes, by stepping away from the novel and writing something completely unrelated, it can actually help refocus efforts.
Thanks so much Jessica for taking the time to join me today on the blog. -Dee This giveaway is provided by and the responsibility of the author and Goddess Fish Promotions.
Enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Ends June 27, 2014.
The Past Life series
Everyone wants something.
Even if it belongs to someone else.
And some will destroy the very thing they want, just so no one else can have it.
Professional soldier David Bellotti's latest mission seems simple: steal the key card to a drug lord's compound so the empire can be infiltrated and destroyed. But when David discovers evidence of his lover Lottie’s possible infidelity, his mission turns personal. He searches for answers others would kill to keep buried and discovers a link to the past he's been trying hard to ignore.
Ancient lives, twelve thousand year old secrets, murder, and primal instincts lead David on a journey through past lives and present danger—all to save the woman he loves.
Find your way back through history, when hunter-gatherers roamed and David and Lottie's past incarnations began. The Reading Café calls Covet, Book Two of the Past Life Series, "An amazing and fascinating storyline of suspense, mystery, betrayal, hatred and love."
I blew out the entrance and took off, hustling through the panicked crowd. Another gun fired and police sirens sounded in the distance. I made a left down a small street then a right into an alley, jumping a garbage can, hurtling over a short wall, and disappearing into the neighborhood. If Galen didn't make it to our backup rendezvous point, I had to get to the safe house and that was five miles away. And right now, I had no idea if Galen and Lady in Blue were still alive.I skidded past a corner, wondering if I should take the chance and call an alert into HQ, when I heard screeching tires. I backed up, pressed myself against a wall, and realized who it was. Galen in a Toyota. He threw open the passenger door and I jumped in, slamming the door shut as Galen jammed the gas pedal.“You get it?” he asked, swerving through a turn then dropping our speed so we didn’t draw attention.I nodded. “Is Lady in Blue okay?”
Galen hugged another turn. “She will be. She came to when the gunshots were fired.”
I blew out a sigh of relief. It wasn't the first time a distraction job had taken a bad turn, but it was still a worry. “And the cops?”
“All at the nightclub. But we will have to lose the car.” He used his cell phone and dialed our contact, making arrangements for cleanup.
I pulled out Sahin’s wallet and lifted the keycard. “Payday,” I said, holding it up.
“Mommie Dearest says we should leave the wallet and card with the car.” Galen disconnected the call. “They will pick it all up at the Starbucks near the safe house in ten minutes.”
I drew in a breath and held it, forcing my heart and my lungs to calm down. Another close call. I loved this stuff.
“You love this stuff way too much,” Galen said, glancing my way.
I had known Galen all of three months, and he was far too good at reading my mind already. I was trying to get my head wrapped around the fact that we were connected in a way that didn't make sense, but that didn't mean I had to like it. Ignoring him, I sank into the seat, letting the adrenalin wear off.
“Let’s see what else we’ve got on this guy.” Inside his wallet I found a black American Express, a MasterCard, and over five thousand Euros in the billfold. A picture was tucked in with his identification. I pulled it out and held it up to catch the light from passing street lamps.
It was a photo of the love of my life kissing another man.
Today I have a great guest post by author Terri Herman-Poncé, sharing with us how on how she came up with her male character in her latest novels. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions and Terri will be awarding one free Ecopy of Covet (Book 2 of the Past Life Series) and In This Life (Book 1 of the Past Life Series), to a randomly chosen commenter at each stop and a Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
See the giveaway details at the end of the post and to follow the tour.
Creating the perfectly imperfect Alpha Male
When I was told that my blog visit today could be about anything I wanted, my mind immediately went to men. Alpha Males, to be specific.
I don’t know about you, but there’s something about a male character lead that’s jacked up on Alpha Male and smoldering looks that can really get my blood pumping. But, for me, that isn’t enough. Eye candy is wonderful stuff, but when it comes to reading—in particular, reading sexy male characters—they better have substance.
I’ve read a number of male characters over the years that really made me sit up and pause. And while I loved those characters (and in some cases, still do), I always felt like something was missing. Like these men needed more. And that’s how my male lead, David Bellotti, was born.
When I set out to write the Past Life Series, I knew I wanted a man who could stun a room into silence. I also knew that I wanted a man who wasn’t afraid of death, who stood up for what he believed in, and who would stop at nothing to protect and the love of his life.
And even that wasn’t enough.
So I spent days and nights eating dinner with him (he likes Italian), drinking with him (he recently got turned onto sipping tequila), watching television with him (he loves stupid comedies), and running with him (as a professional soldier, he has to stay fit). I imagined what he’d cook (turns out he’s a good one, courtesy of the restaurant his mom and dad used to own), that he can’t sing a lick (but he likes listening to Saving Abel), and that he hates lying and being lied to.
I also imagined his imperfections. Single-minded. Exhibits an occasional caveman mentality. Shuts down the outside world when he thinks they’re wrong.
But that’s what makes for an interesting character, right? Those imperfections? We’ve all got them, and I think seeing familiar shortcomings in a character that any of us can identify with are what truly make that character engaging. Put a perfect person on the page and I’m going to yawn, and probably close the book to find another. But give me a character that feels real and I’m going to get sucked in big-time.
So what about you? Are there imperfect sexy male characters (or, to be fair, sexy imperfect female characters?) that get your blood pumping? Share them with me. I’d love to know.
Thanks for having me here today!
Terri looks for any opportunity to make stuff up. She thinks anything that can’t so easily be explained is worth an extra look and often makes a great story. She loves red wine, scotch, sunrises, Ancient Egypt, the beach—and a host of other stuff that would take too much real estate to talk about. The youngest of five children, Terri lives with her husband and son on Long Island. And, in her next life, if she hasn’t moved on to somewhere else, she wants to be an astronomer. Terri’s fascinated with the night skies almost as much as she’s fascinated with ancient Egypt.
Terri is a member of member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and you can read about her at http://terriponce.com/.
This giveaway is provided by and the responsibility of the author and Goddess Fish Promotions.
Terri will be awarding one free Ecopy of Covet (Book 2 of the Past Life Series) and In This Life (Book 1 of the Past Life Series), to a randomly chosen commenter at each stop and a Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Paranormal Romance/New Adult
Tracey Warren has everything an eighteen year old girl should. She lives a life of expectancies; go to school, please her parents, party with friends, and revel in life as a young adult. That is until she experiences an unexpected life changing accident caused by Nathan Newcomb; an illegally attractive yet perplexed guy who has her fumbling over her words and cracking her head on the concrete. In being enthralled by his overwhelming existence, Tracey neglects his promise of death (which never falls short of Nathan) and in ignoring his guarantee, she chooses to give into love over sanity and risks her life for the opportunity of being with him.
Nathan, knowing the risks gives into this want to have Tracey presuming it may be better to jeopardize their possible ending, than to allow her to endure the pain of his devoid. Nonetheless, with him being a burdened Sephlem, not only are they burdened by their adversaries who will risk everything but the exposure of their existence to see Nathan fall. But Nathan and Tracey come to find that their most sinister enemies lie under their same roof and regrettably share the same bloodline.
For More Information
• Burdened is available at Amazon.
• Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
• Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
• Read the first chapter here.
• Watch the book trailer at YouTube
Today I have author Peiri Ann, with an interesting guest post on life choices we make.
Peiri is on tour this month with Pump Up Your Book Book Tours, and you can check out the rest of her schedule here.
Our life choices
In life, we all are bombarded with choices. At times, the wrong choice can be the right one and vice versa. But what happens when the right choice is right, but the following choices and decision made – based upon that choice are wrong. Consider these following choices.
Do you regret the original choice?
Though it felt right and originally brought you happiness.
Or, do you live with the unfortunate burdens brought upon you based off of the choice you made.
Or… do you leave, walk out and turn your back on the new life you’ve designed for yourself – based upon that choice.
The key to survival and success is based on the roads we choose to travel down AND the person we choose to travel down them with.
But what happens when you are offered to choose? Red Pill or Blue Pill
The Red Pill – You walk away forgetting the choice was offered; you live a happy life, no burdened, no unexpected deaths, no detrimental tragedies, and things appear as they should…Good. But… the devoid of not being with him practically kills you.
The Blue Pill – You choose a life with the person exclusively designed for you. Dedicated, unconditional, because you heart beats for the two of you they keep you closer then themselves type of love. But… there is death, betrayal, lies, pain, change, destruction, and controllable burdens.
Most, when brought the choice, choose love in hopes love will conquer all; the most evil, the worse magic, the worse hate, and the most deadly. That is until they find in love lies death.
In Burdened, Tracey is brought the choice to be with a burdened Sephlem whose life, one would try to avoid. But in the deepest temptation of love and an expression of happiness, she chooses to be with him – Nathan – and endure the burdens in his life. And those burdens happen to come from the people they least expect.
(In case you were wondering. There are no pills – blue or red – in Burdened)
Thank you, DeAnna, for the opportunity to share ‘Our Life’s Choices’ in a blog spot on Book Reviews by Dee.
A love for reading transpired into an admiration for writing at a young age for Peiri Ann. Starting off in writing poetry and short stories she indulged in the possibilities of creating new worlds and lives to live within them opening a window of unanticipated possibilities. In high school a pin and notebook never left her grasps and in college the pin was replaced by a keyboard and the notebook replaced by a computer screen. She holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and certified in business management.
When Peiri Ann is not writing, reading, doing homework, or working in the downtown of Chicago she enjoys spending time with her little girl, watching action flicks, and spooning peanut butter from the jar as a midnight snack.
Her latest book is the paranormal romance/New Adult, Burdened.
For More Information
• Visit Peiri Ann’s website.
• Visit Peiri’s blog.
• Connect with Peiri on Facebook and Twitter.
• Check out her books on Goodreads.
• More books by Peiri Ann.
• Contact Peiri.