Showing posts with label women's fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women's fiction. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

"Shadow Dancing" by Julie Mulhern

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Shadow Dancing
(The Country Club Murders Book 7)
by Julie Mulhern

Shadow Dancing (The Country Club Murders Book 7) by Julie Mulhern

Shadow Dancing is the seventh book in Julie Mulhern's Country Club Murders series set in the 1970s. Also available: The Deep End (read my blog post), Guaranteed to Bleed, Clouds in My Coffee, Send in the Clowns, Watching the Detectives (read my blog post), and Cold as Ice (read my blog post).


Shadow Dancing is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Visiting a psychic is outside the norm for Ellison Russell. Finding bodies is not. Unfortunately, the psychic’s crystal ball says she’ll soon be surrounded by death. Again.
Drat.
Now there’s a corpse in the front drive, a witchy neighbor ready to turn Ellison and her (not so) little dog into toadstools, and a stripper named Starry Knight occupying the guest room.
How did 1975 go so wrong so quickly?
Ellison must handle Mother (who’s found a body of her own), make up with a certain handsome detective, and catch a killer, or the death surrounding her might be her own.

Excerpt
“Ellison!” Mother’s voice was a mix of relief and exasperation. “Where have you been?”
Tell Mother I’d visited a medium? I’d rather hammer shims under my fingernails or wander around outside without my coat. “Out.”
“I need you.”
Time stopped. Mother never needed me. “What’s wrong?”
“I need you.” Apparently that was the only explanation I was getting. “Can you come over? Please?”
Please? What had happened? “Of course, I’ll come. Are you okay?”
“Hurry.” She hung up.
Aggie appeared in the doorway, a steaming mug of all-things-good in her hand.
“Would you please put that in a travel mug?” I asked.
“Of course. Problem?”
“She won’t tell me what’s wrong.” Mother was not given to crying wolf. Whatever the issue was, it was big. A trickle of dread chilled my blood. “The ambiance committee is meeting here at three. I’ll be back before then.”
“I’ll have everything ready.” Aggie was indispensable. How we’d ever gotten along without her was a mystery. With her sproingy red hair, vivid kaftans, and outspoken ways, Aggie was not Mother’s idea of a perfect housekeeper. Mother’s opinion didn’t matter. I thought Aggie was the best thing since sliced bread.
A moment later I was back in the car, snug in a fox jacket with matching hat. I settled the plastic travel mug filled with coffee between my thighs and wished I hadn’t. The plastic was hot. I turned the key and ELO’s “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” nearly deafened me. I sympathized. Even with hitting a pedestrian and Mother’s crisis, there was a man I couldn’t get out of my head. I turned off the radio and motored down the drive.
Mother’s door opened as soon as I pulled up in front of her house.
I took a quick gulp of coffee then hurried up the front walk. “What’s wrong?”
Mother looked from left to right as if her neighbors were hanging around in the cold, waiting to eavesdrop. “Come in.”
With the door safely closed behind me, Mother sighed.
“What? What’s happened?”
The color had leeched from her skin and the perfect helmet of her hair was mussed. “I found a body.”
Mother? A body? It was about time someone in this family besides me found a body.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Although almost all the characters in this series are “a cut above,” actually several socioeconomic levels above me, the author’s wry humor, use of irony, and judicious eliciting of empathy, make the series endearing, despite the cultural disparity.” ~ Mallory Heart’s Cozies
“I love the characters in this series. They are expertly written and feel like old friends. Their dialogues are fantastic.” ~ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
“I started this book one night and I didn’t go to sleep till I finished, really, it was addictive!” ~ Varietats
“I love, love, love Ellison. Each time I get to read her latest adventure, I find myself adoring her more.” ~ Bibliophile Reviews


About the Author
Julie Mulhern
Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym, and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean - and she's got an active imagination. Truth is - she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog, and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.




Giveaway
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed print copy of Shadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern (US only).


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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"Lies in the Wind" by Judy Bruce


NEW RELEASE and EXCERPT
Lies in the Wind
(Wind Series Book 5)
by Judy Bruce

Lies in the Wind (Wind Series Book 5) by Judy Bruce


Today we feature Lies in the Wind, the fifth book in the Wind Series by Judy Bruce. The author stops by to share an excerpt from the book. Keep an eye out for my review, coming soon. Also available: Voices in the Wind (read my blog post), Alone in the Wind (read my blog post), Cries in the Wind (read my blog post), and Fire in the Wind (read my blog post).

Alone in the Wind by Judy BruceCries in the Wind by Judy BruceFire in the Wind by Judy Bruce


For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Death Steppe: A World War II Novel.

Description
In the fifth book in the Wind Series, two Dexter residents die in an apparent murder-suicide. Sensing great evil, Megan seeks the truth. When another murder occurs, Megan and the police understand the mortal danger to others, including a young autistic.
Meanwhile, Megan’s love life falls apart. Again. With the help of Edgar Allan Poe, she uncovers fraud, betrayal, and lies, thereby exposing the killer, and forcing a fight for survival. Again.

Excerpt from Chapter 1
Life calmed down a bit—I hadn’t killed anyone for several weeks. And I didn’t intend to shoot my new boyfriend, Jay. I spent a horrible day in jail falsely accused of murdering my last boyfriend, but I made bail and was later dismissed from charges. I continued to wallow in grief and guilt over the death of my unborn child; otherwise, life was good.
Still, as I rode my black stallion across a swath of buffalo grass, I sensed the roiling in my guts meant something was coming to invade my desolate corner of the world, also known as western Nebraska. I’d been shot at, divorced, knifed twice, and I’d solved murders and family mysteries; yeah, I knew about trouble. After I slowed Strider to a canter, I checked my smartphone for messages, but found none. I turned my horse around and spurred him to a full charge certain of one thing—the calamity now brewing would find me.
***
The next day passed normally, though my clients shocked me with their punctuality; still, my barometer of danger, my guts, percolated. Late in the afternoon, I stood chatting with Eldon Strumple, a retired minister, in the doorway of my law firm office when pounding sounded at the front entrance. Glenda, my receptionist, asked through the intercom who called.
Glenda turned toward me and said, “It’s Celeste Percival. She’s rather excited.”
“Let her in,” I said as I shook Eldon’s hand.
As Eldon wandered over to chat with Glenda, who was preparing to leave for the day, Celeste burst through the door, paused, spotted me then ran toward me.
“Megan! My aunt and uncle are dead and they’ve arrested my dad!”
Well, that got my attention. I ushered her into my office and closed the door. Celeste was early twenties, with dark hair and a medium build. I met her during my jail stint.
“Okay, now take a deep breath and tell me what happened.”
“Well, my mom called me and that’s what she said.”
“So your father was arrested for murder?”
“Yeah.”
“Hang on,” I said as I dialed my phone. Within a few minutes, one of my law partners, Rich Dewey, entered the room.
“Now, let’s go through this step by step,” I said. “Your dad has been arrested. Do they think he killed your uncle?"
“And my aunt. He went to their house because no one came to get Mitch and they didn’t answer the phone.”
“What police department was at the scene?” asked Rich.
“Ah, the county sheriff. But this makes no sense. My folks and my aunt and uncle always got along. Now they’re dead. My God.”
When she began to blurt and sob, I summoned Glenda, who brought a root beer and a cream cheese pastry.
After Celeste took a few swigs of the root beer, she said, “No sense, no damn sense. Those Redmonds always hated the Goblets and my mom is a Goblet and my aunt Val is a Redmond and Shiny Goblet would kill anyone for a buck.”
Rich looked at me in utter confusion then turned to Celeste and said, “I’ll go the sheriff’s office to see your dad. I’ll be in touch.”
Rich closed the door behind him.
“Who’s Shiny Goblet?” I asked.
“Fred Goblet.”
“Oh, right, he operates an insurance agency in Kimball. He seems respectable enough.”
“Oh, he’s a snake, a’right. A slimy cheat. Got divorced because he was foolin’ around on his wife. That was years ago.” She heaved a great sigh. “My aunt and uncle…just can’t believe it…finally getting’ that room built on…and now they’re dead.”
“Celeste, I want you to go home. Mitch is there, isn’t he?”
“Yeah. Van brings him about quarter till four.”
“Then go home…help take care of him. I will go to the scene. You’ll hear from me or Rich, or maybe Gus, my other partner.”
“But I want to go with you,” she said.
“They’ll never let family get close. I don’t even know if I can get in even as the family attorney. Listen, your family needs to keep Mitch, at least for now. I’ll try to collect clothes and things and bring them over.”
Celeste nodded as she rose and walked stiff-legged to the door. It occurred to me that I hadn’t smelled smoke on her, which pleased me.
I rang Melanie Sundstrom, my Nordic-blonde paralegal, who quickly appeared at the door. I gave a quick sketch of the situation then told her to follow Celeste home.
“Wait, take this.” I walked over and gave my National Geographic floor globe a spin. “Mitch loves this…the colors and the texture of the mountains. I can get a new one.”
“I saw Junior and Valerie at Custer’s just last week,” she said.
“I know...it’s horrible. Oh, let Gus in on things when his meeting ends. Thanks.”
On the way to the Percival house on this chilly November day, I thought about Edward  “Junior” Percival and Valerie Percival. Last week, they’d brought in Mitch, their only child, a profoundly autistic, mentally retarded, nonverbal youngster of fifteen. That poor boy—he struggled greatly with change, so the permanent disappearance of his parents would hit him hard. As I neared the Percival house, my hands began to sweat. I’d never visited a murder scene—well, except for the ones I’d participated in. Three Cheyenne County cruisers were parked in the street blocking traffic. So I parked a block away. Onlookers gathered in the yards. An ambulance was parked backwards in the single-lane driveway behind a silver pickup truck I assumed to be Junior’s. The Dexter police car was parked directly in the front of the house—the presence of our chief of police heartened me.
Chief Tate McNeill met me as I approached the sidewalk of the narrow, light beige, single-story house.
“Megan, I don’t know if they’ll let you in,” he said.
“Well, let me try.”
The moment I approached the front porch, the county sheriff and one of his deputies crowded me to a stop.
“What do you think you’re doing?” said Sheriff Stan Smythe.
“Do you know Mitch?” I asked.
“I know about him,” said the burly cop.
“Then you know he’s epileptic.”
“Ah, right.”
“Now that boy is going to suffer greatly over a loss he’ll never understand. I don’t think he needs seizures on top of the deaths of his parents, do you?”
The sheriff scratched his late-day whiskers.
“I’m here to collect meds and clothing for Mitch. I’m also his attorney and the attorney for the Percival estate. Now, I’m asking that you allow me to enter this house. Chief McNeill can supervise me.” I handed him my card.
“You will not disturb or take photos of the crime scenes,” said the sheriff.
“I have no legal interest in the criminal aspects of the case. I do plan to bag up several of Mitch’s toys and DVDs, with your permission and inspection, of course.”
“All right, make it quick,” said Sheriff Smythe.
As soon as I stepped into the front room, I heard him—a gasp of surprise then a grunt. And I felt it—evil. Cold and terrible. Then I saw him—flat on his back, blood had run down from the bullet hole under Junior’s chin onto his neck, staining his sweatshirt collar dark. Blood had pooled beside him on the wood floorboards and the edge had been smudged. Blood was splattered on the taupe wall behind him. A rifle lay on the floor next to him, but not in his hand. My God.
I knew this man. He was no more. Why?
Chief Tate gently tugged my arm and I walked with him. But leaving the room gave me no relief—the house was thick with menace and pain; fear hung in the air as we entered the kitchen. The second death happened here—I knew it before I saw her.
A scream jolted me to a stop. She had screamed in terror, gasped, and then gurgled. I stepped forward and peered around the kitchen table. Val was slumped against the door to their bedroom, a dark hole in her forehead. She wasn’t bloody, but a dark smudge was visible on the left side of her neck. Her head was propped up by the frame of the door, her arms hung down at her side, and her left leg was straight out in front of her as the other was bent so that her foot rested against the inside of her left knee. Along the inside of the pant leg was a dark spot and the sole of her gray slipper showed a dark smudge. Like Junior, she wore jeans, but with a royal blue fleece pullover, probably the clothes they changed into after work. My phone buzzed inside my purse, but I ignored it.
“The evil just hangs in the air,” I said.
“Um, right,” said Chief Tate. “The Sheriff says Junior must have shot her, shoved her against the door…she’s got bruises on both sides of her neck. Then he went into the front room and shot himself.”
“But that can’t be. I know these people…I mean, not close…but it doesn’t seem right.”
My whole body went to lead. Chief Tate pulled me to a cupboard in the kitchen.
“Ah, right. Meds.” I started opening the cupboard doors.
“Here,” Tate said as he looked into a cupboard beside the sink.
On the inside of a door was a list of medications, their dosages, and the schedule of times for administration. Prozac, Seroquel, Risperdal, Depakote, multivitamin, Miralax, melatonin—no wonder they needed a list. I found a box of plastic bags. I started loading the stash of bottles into the sack. Tate gently pulled down the list from the door and added it to the bags. I took it to the front door where I set it down for the deputies to investigate. The sheriff walked over to me.
“Judge Shelton is a family friend. I’m going to tell him of your good judgment in allowing Chief and me to get these items for Mitch…or would that get you in trouble?”
He nodded to me. “That would be fine, Miz Docket.”
When I walked back to the kitchen, Tate was grinning at me.
“Quite the diplomat,” he whispered.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“I’m a huge fan of the Wind Series and this one is by far, the best! Judy Bruce pushes Megan, already reeling from the loss of her unborn child and many other lives, to the very limit and we’re left to watch as Megan picks up the pieces. Emotional roller coaster wrapped up in a brutal double-murder is the crux of Lies in the Wind. While there was quite a bit more characters to keep straight, it added to the depth of the mystery and I enjoyed trying to figure it out before Megan did. An edge of your seat thriller with a flawed female protagonist who puts her life on the line to help solve the crimes in her town. Highly recommend!” ~ N. N. Light
Lies in the Wind is a murder mystery with just enough romance sprinkled in it to give it a real down to earth feel. This novel is evenly paced and is a well-written whodunit. Bruce covers all her bases on this one keeping the reader involved, tracing over the clues and the characters woven into the story. Bruce will keep you guessing who the killers and if Megan Docket will be able to prove the guilt of the real murderer? The mix of deduction, intuition, and well, quiddity kept the pages turning. I just could not wait to see what happened next. So if you’re up for a ‘who done it’ with a little Western/American Indian twist you could easily get hooked with this latest in Judy Bruce’s Wind Series. You can rest assured you will not be able to set it down.” ~ AuthorsReading
“Bruce keeps up a crackling pace in her fifth Docket novel, helping the reader keep track of a large cast through good exposition and a cast list. Megan’s psychic abilities help nudge her in the right direction but aren’t overly convenient, giving her room to demonstrate her lawyerly and investigative chops. As with the previous novels, Megan’s personality interestingly blends compassion and practicality. She’ll kill if she has to but pleads with God, ‘Please don’t let me be evil.’ A few clever surprises keep readers guessing with a satisfying outcome. Another fine series entry, featuring a well-rounded heroine whose psychic abilities are just some of her gifts.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

About the Author
Judy Bruce
Judy Bruce is a novelist and screenwriter. In addition to her acclaimed novel, Death Steppe: A World War II Novel, five stories have been published from her Wind Series: Voices in the Wind, Alone in the Wind, Cries in the Wind, Fire in the Wind, and Lies in the Wind. Judy maintains a website and a blog. She is a wife, mother, and sister residing in Omaha, Nebraska, and a Creighton University law school graduate. Her autistic son keeps her in touch with her quirky side.







Links

Monday, March 26, 2018

"My Sister’s Intended" by Rachael Anderson


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
My Sister’s Intended
(Serendipity Book 1)
by Rachael Anderson

My Sister’s Intended (Serendipity Book 1) by Rachael Anderson

My Sister’s Intended is the first book in the new Serendipity series by Rachael Anderson. This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by I Am A Reader. You can also follow along with the book tour commencing 28 March.



Description
For as long as Prudence can remember, it has been understood that her sister will one day wed the eldest son of their nearest neighbor. Such an alliance will benefit both families and bring a great deal of joy to all parents involved.
Unfortunately, Prudence has never been able to feel as joyful. She believes her sister is mad to consider marrying a man she hardly knows, even if he will one day make her a countess. Titles and wealth shouldn’t factor into matters of the heart, and as an aspiring romance novelist, Prudence cannot fathom how anyone could even think of settling for less than love. She certainly wouldn’t, and she doesn’t want her sister to either.
Unable to stand by and do nothing, Prudence sets out to help the awkward couple discover the best in each other with the hope that they will eventually find love. What she neglected to foresee, however, was the possibility that she might fall in love with Lord Knave herself.

Excerpt
When Prudence lifted her eyes to his again, they sparkled with a challenge. “I was going to save this question until later so as not to shock you from the get-go, but I really do need to know . . . What does it feel like to kiss a woman?”
A large lump formed in Brand’s throat, and his mouth went dry. What the deuce? She had promised not to ask questions that would make him uncomfortable, but already he wanted to flee like a frightened kitten. How could he possibly explain how it felt to kiss a woman?
Brand searched his mind for a way to avoid answering until he heard a snicker escape her lips. She was laughing at him. Him! Hildebrand Ethan Cannon, Viscount Knave—a man at least eight years her senior and a great deal higher in social standing.
Unbelievable.
“You are teasing me,” he said, hoping it was true. If she’d posed the question to make him squirm—and perhaps make him more inclined to answer her other questions—then she wouldn’t be expecting an answer.
She shook her head, still smiling. “I’m afraid not, my lord, although I did find the look of terror on your face vastly amusing.”
“I’m glad I could entertain you.”
“I hope you will be equally glad to instruct me on a few things as well. The first scene in my book will include a kiss, and I have no idea how to describe the experience. Do a woman’s lips feel warm or soft or even moist? Would your pulse quicken? Aside from touch, what other senses are engaged? How would it make you feel and what would you notice when you held a woman in your arms?”
If she thought he’d appeared terror-stricken before, there would be no word for how he looked now. Did she earnestly expect him to answer such questions? Surely even she knew how inappropriate it would be to discuss such things, her being an innocent.
“I cannot say,” he finally muttered.
Her brow puckered in confusion. “Have you never kissed a woman, my lord?”
Brand was sorely tempted to lie and say he had not, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so. Any man of six-and-twenty who had never experienced a kiss would be laughed out of his manhood. Women were expected to remain innocent until married. Men were not.
“Yes, I have kissed a woman,” he finally admitted, “but I have no intention of discussing any of the details with you.”
“Why not?” she asked, her large brown eyes blinking at him curiously. “Would you rather I invent the information?”
“Yes.”
She obviously didn’t appreciate his retort because she scowled. “Can you not tell me at least a little?”
“No.”
“Why?”
“Because a kiss could never be described with any sort of accuracy, at least not by me. It involves too many feelings and sensations and complexities of thought. If you wish to know what a kiss feels like, you’ll have to experience it for yourself.”
Too late, Brand realized his mistake. Her expression became contemplative, as though she was actually considering doing just that. Good gads, had he really just encouraged an innocent young woman to go hunting for a kiss? Who would she ask? A groom? Stablehand? The next peddler that came to town?
“I think you are right,” she said at last. “I really must experience a kiss for myself if I am to describe it with any sort of accuracy.” She blinked up at him with that innocent expression again. “Will you kiss me Lord Knave? No, how silly of me. You are to marry my sister, so that would never do.” She pursed her lips for a moment before musing, “Perhaps one of the footmen would be kind enough to show me how it’s done.”
Kind enough? Brand could think of a great many reasons a footman would comply with such a request, and kindness did not factor into any of them. Brand would kiss her himself before he allowed a footman near her.
He rubbed the bridge of his nose, feeling a headache coming on. “Perhaps I can try to explain what it feels like after all.” Better that than having her chase after a footman.
“But you only just said you couldn’t do it justice,” she pointed out. “I realize I sound dreadfully forward, but I really must know, and experience is the best teacher, is it not?”
“No, it isn’t,” he lied. “And you are not going to kiss a footman.”
“Then who? Felix or Lionel, perhaps? I’m fairly certain I can convince one of them to do it, if given the opportunity. The question is how to go about it?”
It was plain to see by the firm set of her jaw that she would not rest until she had experienced a kiss of her own. She didn’t seem to care who did the deed, only that the man did a thorough job of it. A quick peck on the lips wouldn’t satisfy her curiosities.
“Perhaps I could send a note to Felix and ask him to call on me,” she continued to muse. “We could take a stroll through the maze in the gardens. There is a hidden alcove on the south side, which could be quite perfect. We would have to evade Ruth, obviously, but—”
“Devil take it,” Brand growled as he pulled her to him. Her quick intake of breath was the only sound she made before his mouth covered hers. 
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“When I turned to the last page, I had this goofy grin on my face. I absolutely adored this book. I sat in kind of a stupor for a minute rethinking parts of it and had the strongest urge to go back and start it again.” ~ Julie C
“Ah, perfection! Seriously this is so good! I wouldn't change a thing about this book.” ~ Kathy Habel
“Another keeper from Rachael Anderson. I absolutely loved Prudence’s character! Her passion for life and others truly made this story. The secondary characters were well written and I can’t wait to read the next books in the series.” ~ Katie

About the Author
Rachael Anderson
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.




Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links