Book Showcase: THE ESCAPE ROOM by Megan Goldin



The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
ISBN: 9781250219657 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250219671 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250221520 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07J4LQFK5 (Kindle edition)
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 30, 2019


Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success in style—but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.

Invited to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise, the ferociously competitive co-workers crowd into the elevator of a high rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go off and the doors stay shut, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they’re caught in a dangerous game of survival.

Trapped in the dark, the colleagues must put aside their bitter rivalries and work together to solve cryptic clues to break free. But as the game begins to reveal the team’s darkest secrets, they realize there’s a price to be paid for the terrible deeds they committed in their ruthless climb up the corporate ladder. As tempers fray, and the clues turn deadly, they must solve one final chilling puzzle: which one of them will kill in order to survive?





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Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE



It was Miguel who called 911 at 4:07 a.m. on an icy Sunday morning.

The young security guard spoke in an unsteady voice, fear disguised by cocky nonchalance.

Miguel had been an aspiring bodybuilder until he injured his back lifting boxes in a warehouse job and had to take night-shift work guarding a luxury office tower in the final stages of construction. He had a muscular physique, dark hair, and a cleft in his chin.

He was conducting a cursory inspection when a scream rang out. At first, he didn’t hear a thing. Hip-hop music blasted through the oversize headphones he wore as he swept his flashlight across the dark recesses of the lobby.

The beam flicked across the classical faces of reproduction Greek busts cast in metal and inset into niches in the walls. They evoked an eerie otherworldliness, which gave the place the aura of a mausoleum.Miguel paused his music to search for a fresh play list of songs. It was then that he heard the tail end of a muffled scream.

The sound was so unexpected that he instinctively froze. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard strange noises at night, whether it was the screech of tomcats brawling or the whine of construction cranes buffeted by wind. Silence followed. Miguel chided himself for his childish reaction.

He pressed PLAY to listen to a new song and was immediately assaulted by the explosive beat of a tune doing the rounds at the dance clubs where he hung out with friends.

Still, something in the screech he’d heard a moment before rattled him enough for him to be extra diligent.

He bent down to check the lock of the revolving lobby door. It was bolted shut. He swept the flashlight across a pair of still escalators and then, above his head, across the glass-walled mezzanine floor that overlooked the lobby.

He checked behind the long reception desk of blond oak slats and noticed that a black chair was at an odd angle, as if someone had left in a hurry.

A stepladder was propped against a wall where the lobby café was being set up alongside a water fountain that was not yet functional. Plastic-wrapped café tables and chairs were piled up alongside it.

In the far corner, he shone his flashlight in the direction of an elaborate model of the building complex shown to prospective tenants by Realtors rushing to achieve occupancy targets in time for the building’s opening the following month.


The model detailed an ambitious master plan to turn an abandoned ware house district that had been a magnet for homeless people and addicts into a high-end financial and shopping precinct. The first tower was almost finished. A second was halfway through construction.

When Miguel turned around to face the elevator lobby, he was struck by something so incongruent that he pushed his headphones off his head and onto his shoulders.

The backlit green fluorescent light of an elevator switch flickered in the dark. It suggested that an elevator was in use. That was impossible, because he was the only person there.

In the sobriety of the silent echo that followed, he convinced himself once again that his vague sense of unease was the hallucination of a fatigued mind. There was nobody in the elevator for the simple reason that the only people on-site on weekends were the securityguards. Two per shift. Except to night, Miguel was the only one on duty.

When Stu had been a no-show for his shift, Miguel figured he’d manage alone. The construction site was fenced off with towering barbed-wire fences and a heavy-duty electric gate. Nobody came in or out until the shift ended.

In the four months he’d worked there, the only intruders he’d encountered were feral cats and rats scampering across construction equipment in the middle of the night. Nothing ever happened during the night shift.

That was what he liked about the job. He was able to study and sleep and still get paid. Sometimes he’d sleep for a couple of hours on the soft leather lobby sofa, which he found preferable to the lumpy stretcher in the portable office where the guards took turns restingbetween patrols. The CCTV cameras hadn’t been hooked up yet, so he could still get away with it.

From the main access road, the complex looked completed. It had a driveway entry lined with young maples in planter boxes. The lobby had been fitted out and furnished to impress prospective tenants who came to view office space.

The second tower, facing the East River, looked unmistakably like a construction site. It was wrapped with scaffolding. Shipping containers storing building materials were arranged like colorful Lego blocks in a muddy field alongside idle bulldozers and a crane.

Miguel removed keys from his belt to open the side entrance to let himself out, when he heard a loud crack. It whipped through the lobby with an intensity that made his ears ring.

Two more cracks followed. They were unmistakably the sound of gunshots. He hit the ground and called 911. He was terrified the shooter was making his way to the lobby but cocky enough to cover his fear with bravado when he spoke.

“Something bad’s going down here.” He gave the 911 dispatcher the address. “You should get cops over here.”

Miguel figured from the skepticism in the dispatcher’s cool voice that his call was being given priority right below the doughnut run.

His heart thumped like a drum as he waited for the cops to arrive. You chicken shit, he berated himself as he took cover behind a sofa. He exhaled into his shirt to muffle the sound of his rapid breathing. He was afraid he would give away his position to the shooter.

A wave of relief washed over him when the lobby finally lit up with a hazy blue strobe as a police car pulled in at the taxi stand. Miguel went outside to meet the cops.

“What’s going on?” An older cop with a thick gut hanging over his belted pants emerged from the front passenger seat.

“Beats me,” said Miguel. “I heard a scream. Inside the building. Then I heard what I’m pretty sure were gunshots.”

“How many shots?” A younger cop came around the car to meet him, snapping a wad of gum in his mouth.

“Two, maybe three shots. Then nothing.”

“Is anyone else around?” The older cop’s expression was hidden under a thick gray mustache.

“They clear out the site on Friday night. No construction workers. No nobody. Except me. I’m the night guard.”

“Then what makes you think there’s a shooter?”

“I heard a loud crack. Sure sounded like a gunshot. Then two more. Came from somewhere up in the tower.”

“Maybe construction equipment fell? That possible?”

A faint thread of red suffused Miguel’s face as he contemplated the possibility that he’d panicked over nothing. They moved into the lobby to check things out, but he was feeling less confident than when he’d called 911. “I’m pretty sure they—” He stopped speaking as theyall heard the unmistakable sound of a descending elevator.

“I thought you said there was nobody here,” said the older cop.

“There isn’t.”

“Could have fooled me,” said the second cop. They moved through to the elevator lobby. A light above the elevator doors was flashing to indicate an elevator’s imminent arrival. “Someone’s here.”

“The building opens for business in a few weeks,” said Miguel.

“Nobody’s supposed to be here.”

The cops drew their guns from their holsters and stood in front of the elevator doors in a shooting stance— slightly crouched, legs apart. One of the cops gestured furiously for Miguel to move out of the way. Miguel stepped back. He hovered near an abstract metal sculptureset into the wall at the dead end of the elevator lobby.

A bell chimed. The elevator heaved as it arrived.

The doors parted with a slow hiss. Miguel swallowed hard as the gap widened. He strained to see what was going on. The cops were blocking his line of sight and he was at too sharp an angle to see much.

“Police,” shouted both cops in unison. “Put your weapon down.”

Miguel instinctively pressed himself against the wall. He flinched as the first round of bullets was fired. There were too many shots to count. His ears rang so badly, it took him a moment to realize the police had stopped firing. They’d lowered their weapons and were shouting something. He didn’t know what. He couldn’t hear a thing over the ringing in his ears.

Miguel saw the younger cop talk into his radio. The cop’s mouth opened and closed. Miguel couldn’t make out the words. Gradually, his hearing returned and he heard the tail end of a stream of NYPD jargon.

He couldn’t understand most of what was said. Something about “nonresponsive” and needing “a bus,” which he assumed meant an ambulance. Miguel watched a trickle of blood run along the marble floor until it formed a puddle. He edged closer. He glimpsed blood splatter on the wall of the elevator. He took one more step. Finally, he could see inside the elevator. He immediately regretted it. He’d never seen so much blood in all his life.


ONE
THE ELEVATOR


Thirty-four Hours Earlier

Vincent was the last to arrive. His dark overcoat flared behind him as he strode through the lobby. The other three were standing in an informal huddle by a leather sofa. They didn’t notice Vincent come in. They were on their phones, with their backs to the entrance, preoccupied with emails and silent contemplation as to why they had been called to a last-minute meeting on a Friday night at an out-of-the-way office building in the South Bronx.

Vincent observed them from a distance as he walked across the lobby toward them. Over the years, the four of them had spent more time together than apart. Vincent knew them almost better than he knew himself. He knew their secrets, and their lies. There were times when he could honestly say that he’d never despised anyone more than these three people. He suspected they all shared the sentiment. Yet they needed one another. Their fates had been joined together long before.

Sylvie’s face bore its usual expression, a few degrees short of a resting-bitch face. With her cover-girl looks and dark blond hair pinned in a topknot that drew attention to her green eyes, Sylvie looked like the catwalk model that she’d been when she was a teenager. She was irritated by being called to an unscheduled meeting when she had to pack for Paris, but she didn’t let it show on her face. She studiously kept a faint upward tilt to her lips. It was a practice drummed into her over many years working in a male-dominated profession. Men could snarl or look angry with impunity; women had to smile serenely regardless of the provocation.

To her right stood Sam, wearing a charcoal suit with a white shirt and a black tie. His stubble matched the dark blond of his closely cropped hair. His jaw twitched from the knot of anxiety in his guts. He’d felt stabbing pains ever since his wife, Kim, telephoned during the drive over. She was furious that he wouldn’t make the flight to Antigua because he was attending an unscheduled meeting. She hated the fact that his work always took precedence over her and the girls.

Jules stood slightly away from the other two, sucking on a peppermint candy to disguise the alcohol on his breath. He wore a suave burgundy-and-navy silk tie that made his Gypsy eyes burn with intensity. His dark hair was brushed back in the style of a fifties movie star. He usually drank vodka because it was odorless and didn’t make his face flush, but now his cheeks were ruddy in a tell-tale sign he’d been drinking. The minibar in his chauffeured car was out of vodka, so he’d had to make do with whiskey on the ride over. The empty bottles were still rattling around in his briefcase.

As they waited for their meeting, they all had the same paranoid notion that they’d been brought to a satellite office to be retrenched. Their careers would be assassinated silently, away from the watercooler gossips at the head office.

It was how they would have done it if the positions were reversed. A Friday-evening meeting at an out-of-the-way office, concluding with a retrenchment package and a nondisclosure agreement signed and sealed.

The firm was considering unprecedented layoffs, and they were acutely aware they had red targets on their backs. They said none of this to one another. They kept their eyes downcast as they worked on their phones, unaware they were the only ones in the lobby. Just as they hadn’t paid much mind to the cranes and construction fencing on their way in.

Sam checked his bank account while he waited. The negative balance made him queasy. He’d wiped out all the cash in his account that morning paying Kim’s credit-card bill. If he lost his job, then the floodgates would open. He could survive two to three months without work; after that, he’d have to sell assets. That alone would destroy him financially. He was leveraged to the hilt. Some of his assets were worth less now than when he’d bought them.

The last time Sam had received a credit-card bill that huge, he’d immediately lowered Kim’s credit limit. Kim found out when her payment for an eleven-thousand-dollar Hermès handbag was rejected at the Madison Avenue store in front of her friends. She was mortified. They had a huge blowup that night, and he reluctantly restored her credit limit. Now he paid all her bills without a word of complaint. Even if it meant taking out bridging loans. Even if it meant constantly feeling on the verge of a heart attack.

Sam knew that Kim spent money as much for attention as out of boredom. She complained that Sam was never around to help with the twins. He’d had to point out that they’d hired a maid to give her all the help she needed. Three maids, to be truthful. Three within the space of two years. The third had walked out in tears a week ago due to Kim’s erratic temper.

Kim was never satisfied with anything. If Sam gave Kim a platinum necklace, she wanted it in gold. If he took her to London, she wanted Paris. If he bought her a BMW, she wanted a Porsche.

Satisfying her unceasing demands was doable when his job prospects were good, but the firm had lost a major account, and since Christmas word had spread of an impending restructure. Everyone knew that was a euphemism for layoffs.

Sam never doubted that Kim would leave him if he couldn’t support her lifestyle anymore. She’d demand full custody of the girls and she’d raise them to hate him. Kim forgave most of his transgressions, she could even live with his infidelities, but she never forgave failure.It was Sam who first heard the footsteps sounding through the vast lobby. The long, hurried strides of a man running late to a meeting. Sam swung around as their boss arrived. Vincent’s square jaw was tight and his broad shoulders were tense as he joined them without saying a word.

“You almost didn’t make it,” observed Sylvie.

“The traffic was terrible.” Vincent ran his hand over his overcoat pocket in the habit of a man who had recently stopped smoking. Instead of cigarettes, he took out a pair of glasses, which he put on to examine the message on his phone. “Are you all aware of the purpose of this meeting?”

“The email invite from HR wasn’t exactly brimming with information,” said Sam. “You said in your text message it was compulsory for us to attend. That it took precedence over everything else. Well, we’re all here. So maybe now you can enlighten us, Vincent. What’s so important that I had to delay my trip to Antigua?”

“Who here has done an escape-room challenge before?” Vincent asked.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Sam said. “I abandoned my wife on her dream vacation to participate in a team-building activity! This is bullshit, Vincent. It’s goddamn bullshit and you know it.”

“It will take an hour,” said Vincent calmly. “Next Friday is bonus day. I’m sure that we all agree that it’s smart to be on our best behavior before bonus day, especially in the current climate.”

“Let’s do it,” said Sylvie, sighing. Her flight to Paris was at midnight. She still had plenty of time to get home and pack. Vincent led them to a brightly lit elevator with its doors wide open. Inside were mirrored walls and an alabaster marble floor.

They stepped inside. The steel doors shut behind them before they could turn around.


TWO
SARA HALL


It’s remarkable what a Windsor knot divulges about a man. Richie’s Italian silk tie was a brash shade of red, with thin gold stripes running on a diagonal. It was the tie of a man whose arrogance was dwarfed only by his ego.

In truth, I didn’t need to look at his tie to know that Richie was a douche. The dead giveaway was that when I entered the interview room, a nervous smile on my pink matte painted lips, he didn’t bother to greet me. Or even to stand up from the leather chair where he sat and surveyed me as I entered the room.

While I categorized Richie as a first-class creep the moment I set eyes on him, I was acutely aware that I needed to impress him if I was to have any chance of getting the job. I introduced myself and reached out confidently to shake his hand. He shook my hand with a grip that was tighter than necessary—a reminder, perhaps, that he could crush my career aspirations as easily as he could break the bones in my delicate hand.

He introduced himself as Richard Worthington. The third, if you don’t mind. He had a two-hundred-dollar haircut, a custom shave, and hands that were softer than butter. He was in his late twenties, around five years older than I was.

When we were done shaking hands, Richie leaned back in his chair and surveyed me with a touch of amusement as I settled into my seat across the table.

“You can take off your jacket and relax,” he said. “We try to keep interviews informal here.”

I took off my jacket and left it folded over the back of the chair next to me as I wondered what he saw when he looked at me. Did he see a struggling business-school graduate with a newly minted MBA that didn’t appear to be worth the paper it was written on? Or was he perceptive enough to see an intelligent, accomplished young woman? Glossy brown hair cut to a professional shoulder length, serious gray eyes, wearing a brand-new designer suit she couldn’t afford and borrowed Louboutin shoes that were a half size too small and pinched her toes.

I took a deep breath and tried to project the poise and confidence necessary to show him that I was the best candidate. Finally I had a chance at getting my dream job on Wall Street. I would do everything that I could humanly do not to screw it up.

Richie wore a dark gray suit with a fitted white shirt. His cuff links were Hermès, arranged so that the H insignia was clearly visible. On his wrist was an Audemars Piguet watch, a thirty-grand piece that told everyone who cared that he was the very model of a Wall Street player.

Richie left me on the edge of my seat, waiting awkwardly, as he read over my résumé. Paper rustled as he scanned the neatly formatted sheets that summed up my life in two pages. I had the impression that he was looking at it for the first time. When he was done, he examined me over the top of the pages with the lascivious expression of a john sizing up girls at a Nevada whorehouse.


Excerpt from The Escape Room by Megan Goldin reprinted with permission from the publisher. 
Copyright © 2019 by Megan Goldin. All Rights Reserved.




Meet the Author

Megan Goldin is the bestselling author of The Escape Room, praised by Lee Child as “one of my favorite books of the year”, as well as The Girl In Kellers Way, a critically-acclaimed domestic noir thriller nominated for Australia’s leading crime fiction awards.


Megan worked as a journalist for Reuters, the Australian ABC and Yahoo! News before writing her debut psychological thriller The Girl In Kellers Way



Connect with the author via her website, Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads

Book Showcase: AN EYE FOR A LIE by Cy Wyss

An Eye For A Lie by Cy Wyss Banner

An Eye for a Lie

by Cy Wyss

on Tour May 27 – July 27, 2019



Synopsis:


An Eye for a Lie by Cy Wyss


Lukas Richter is a San Francisco police detective with a cybernetic eye and heightened senses. He can detect the same autonomous responses as a polygraph machine, so he has a leg up in determining guilt.

In An Eye for a Lie, his first full-length novel, Richter is accused of murder and the evidence seems incontrovertible, including a bullet that was somehow fired from his gun when he claims he was nowhere near the crime scene. In the background, San Francisco is aflame over Richter’s shooting of an unarmed Asian man, an incident some are calling “the Asian Ferguson.”

Can Inspector Richter convince a plucky and suspicious FBI agent of his innocence in the face of overwhelming accusations and public persecution?




Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Nighttime Dog Press, LLC
Publication Date: May 27, 2019
Number of Pages: 258
ISBN: 978-0-9965465-3-9
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:



“All units, active shooter in progress, be advised perp is SFPD…”
The police frequencies in Vessa’s sedan couldn’t get enough of the situation. She was hardly in her car before the address where Richter was came over the air. She headed there immediately, lights flashing, accelerator floored.
He was in a townhouse on ninth, near Tehama, only a handful of blocks from the Hall of Justice. The entire area was cordoned off and blanketed with police cars. Vessa badged her way through and got to Commander Bayes who stood with Deputy Chief Forrest several yards from the front door. The townhouse was painted lime green and the entrance stood ajar.
“Commander, what’s the situation?” Vessa asked.
“He’s holed up in there,” Bayes shook his head toward the house. “Got a hostage.”
“A hostage? You’re kidding.”
“Wish I was. Teenage girl, still up there. He let the rest of the family go.”
Now, Bayes shook his head a different way, indicating Vessa should look near one of the ambulances. There was a man and a woman, firmly behind police lines. Both were slender with brown hair and the woman wore a red sweater. She was crying and the man and a paramedic were trying to comfort her.
“Commander, none of this makes sense. Can you imagine Richter taking a hostage? It doesn’t feel right.”
“C’mon, Agent Drake,” Bayes said. “None of us can say we really know him now.”
Vessa frowned up at the building. Between her and the front door lay perhaps twenty feet of tarmac and parked cars. Bayes turned to Forrest and they conferred. Before Vessa even knew what she was doing, she was off –crossing the street at a sprint.
“Hey!” Bayes yelled.
Forrest pointed. “Stop her!”
It was too late. She broke away from the lines and was at the door before anyone could grab her. She pushed the dark portal open and slipped inside, shutting it behind her, closing it fully so it locked. Inside, it took a couple of minutes for her eyes to adjust to the pale strobe lights coming through the front blinds and door windows. She was in an open living room. It was small and closely furnished with a dining room capping it off near the back of the building. She guessed the kitchen would be around the corner. To her right, a staircase led upward. The landing was dark.
Vessa had taken her gun out without consciously realizing it. Now, she stared at it in the undulating red and blue lights. What was she going to do with it? Shoot her lover when she found him?
She holstered the gun. “Oh, Luke,” she said softly. As if in answer, something moved above her, making a dull thud on the floor. She startled.
Slowly, she made her way up the stairs. “Luke?” she called. “I’m coming upstairs.”
There was no answer. At the top of the stairs were three doors. Two were dark and closed. Wan light traced the outline of the third door. She opened it cautiously.
“Luke?”
The door creaked on its hinges to reveal a seemingly empty bedroom. The air was stale although the room was tidy and sparsely furnished with a queen-sized bed and two nightstands. The fluorescent lights from the street diffused around the edges of a thick curtain drawn across a large window. The occluded light wasn’t strong enough to dispel the rooms shadows.
“Luke?” Vessa noticed she was whispering. She cleared her throat and spoke with as normal a voice as she could muster. “Luke? Where are you?”
“Here,” came a reply.
She was practically on top of him by that time. He sat with his back to a wall across from the foot of the bed.
Vessa jumped. “Oh! You startled me.”
He was staring at her. She half expected his evil eye to glow in the dimness but instead, she saw only normal dark eyes glittering from his outlined face. He sat with his knees bent and his arms resting between his legs. In his hands was a mass of blackness-his gun. That ugly piece of metal was a cursed reminder of what was going on and why they were here, facing each other in this shadowed space.
Vessa craned her neck around but didn’t see anyone else. “Where’s the girl?”
Richter watched Vessa intently for several seconds before answering. “The couple’s outside. I let them go.”
“No, apparently there’s still a teenager in here somewhere.”
Richter’s gaze dropped to the carpet in front of him. “That would explain why it’s just you and not SWAT. They think I have a hostage. Well, I don’t.”
“You have me.”
His head snapped up. “You’re not a hostage. Why are you here, anyway?”
“I’m here to get you. I don’t want them gunning you down.”
“You’re here to arrest me, Special Agent Vessa Belle Drake?”
“Oh, Luke. We’ll figure this out.”
Richter brought the gun up in his right hand and pressed it to the underside of his chin, angled back toward his brain.
Vessa gasped. “No!” She was rooted to the spot, eyes wide.
He stared at her. “I guess whether I do it or SWAT does it, it’s still death by cop.”
Tears burned her eyes. “No, Luke. No. Why would you even think it? There must be some mistake. There must be some reason why those bullets matched.”
“I won’t be locked up. I won’t be put back in the cage and poked and prodded, and studied to death this time.”
Vessa remembered the shaking man sweating beside her in his bed at night. Even though he didn’t speak of them, she knew he was having nightmares. Was it possible he was actually capable of pulling that trigger? Her chin throbbed where he’d bitten her. She couldn’t stand this. How could she have been so wrong? She was never wrong. She swallowed. Never before had she fallen for a guilty man. How was she so blinded by hubris that she could feel this way about Richter when he was a merciless killer?
He stared at her, gun in his hand. He didn’t move. She shook slightly with the emotions flooding her. Here she was, at the cusp of what she felt was the most important moment in her life. The man she loved sat before her, ready to take his own life if she didn’t do or say the right thing next. She was paralyzed-absolutely paralyzed. All her training, and here she was, a shaking, paralyzed ball of nerves.
She burst into tears. How utterly professional.
Richter frowned.
Vessa’s nose and eyes ran uncontrollably and she heaved great sighs. She didn’t dare wave her arms around and wipe her face. Instead, she simply stood there and let her emotions pour down her cheeks.
Richter sighed. He lowered the gun. He dropped it with a thud to the carpet and kicked it toward her.
“How am I supposed to kill myself with you crying like that?”
She rushed to pick up the weapon and tucked it into the small of her back, under her blazer. She faced Richter, this time allowing herself to wipe the fluids from her face with her hands and sleeves. She could only imagine how many shades of fired she would be if Bully Benson had seen her outburst. She almost felt like declaring herself unfit for duty on the spot.
“I can’t stand it,” she said. “I can’t lose you this way.”
He said nothing. What was there to say? They stared at each other. Tears fell from her eyes until the momentum of her outburst ran its course and she finally managed to get a grip on herself.
Richter sat, inordinately relaxed, leaning against the wall, hands folded innocently between his legs.
“What now?” he asked.
She glanced toward the thick curtains shielding them from the snipers across the street.
“I’ll have to cuff you. Then you won’t be seen as a threat. Keep your head down, and I’ll stay between you and them.”
He craned his neck and looked over the bed toward the window. He watched the dark cloth for several seconds.
“Is your eye working? What do you see?”
“It’s working,” he said. “And, I see only reflections. Your temperature is up, though.”
She came over and stood beside him. “Stay low,” she said softly.
He got up and they crossed the room with him crouched low. They entered the windowless landing. Vessa closed the bedroom door behind them. She looked at the other two doors. The girl was probably behind one of them, asleep or with her headphones on, completely oblivious. Vessa pulled her cuffs out. Richter stood tall.
“All right?” she asked. She needed him to cooperate. She wasn’t about to subdue such a large man in such a small space.
“Just a second,” he said.
He bent and kissed her. They embraced. Vessa wanted the floor to open up and swallow them so they could stay like this forever. Of course it did not, and the moment had to end.
He straightened up again, turned his back to her, and extended his arms behind him so she could easily cuff him.
“I didn’t shoot him,” he said.
Before she could even think about it, Vessa responded.
“I know. I believe you.”

***

Excerpt from An Eye for a Lie by Cy Wyss.  Copyright 2019 by Cy Wyss. Reproduced with permission from Cy Wyss. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:


Cy Wyss

Cy Wyss is a writer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a Ph.D. in computer science and her day job involves wrangling and analyzing genetic data. Cy is the author of three full-length novels as well as a collection of short stories and the owner and chief editor of Nighttime Dog Press, LLC.

Before studying computer science, Cy obtained her undergraduate degree in mathematics and English literature as well as masters-level degrees in philosophy and artificial intelligence. She studied overseas for three years in the UK, although she never managed to develop a British accent.

Cy currently resides in Indianapolis with her husband, daughter, and two obstreperous but lovable felines. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and walking 5k races to benefit charity.


Catch Up With Cy Wyss On:


cywyss.com, Goodreads, 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 Cy Wyss. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on May 27, 2019, and runs through July 29, 2019. Void where prohibited.


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2019 Book 225: NEVER HAVE I EVER by Joshilyn Jackson

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson 
ISBN: 9780062855312 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062855336 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062855336 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07DTC3MTW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 30, 2019 
Publisher: William Morrow


In this game, even winning can be deadly…


Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it—teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy’s sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it’s naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way—a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.

When they’re alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn’t give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love-filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson’s trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.




Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Audiobook  |  B&N Nook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  eBooks  |  Kobo eBook  |  Kobo Audiobook


Amy Whey is a happily married woman with a teenage stepdaughter and infant son. She loves her family and her life. It has taken Amy a long time to get to a point in her life where she feels happy with who and where she is in life. Amy was involved in a car accident as a teenager that took the life of a neighbor that she babysat for and destroyed a family. Her mother never forgave her for being the reason their family had to uproot their Florida roots and relocate to Massachusetts during her beloved older brother’s senior year of high school. Amy never forgave herself for not standing up for her best friend, Tig, immediately after the accident. It took years for Amy to forgive herself and get her life on an even keel and now she’s back in Florida and quite happy until Angelica Roux shows up and seems intent on destroying the calm and sisterhood in the neighborhood as well as Amy’s liberty. Blackmail isn’t pretty, but can Amy pay Roux the money she’s demanding and be assured that will be the end of it? The bigger question seems to be just who has more to lose and can you ever be free from your past? Who has more to protect and gain? How far is too far when it comes to protecting your freedom, your family, and your friends?

I think I’ve probably read everything that Joshilyn Jackson has written and I definitely have my favorites (The Almost Sisters ranks at the top at the moment although I may have a new favorite). Never Have I Ever is a bit different from most of the books written by Ms. Jackson as this is her first suspense thriller and let me tell you she’s not playing around with this one. This story has plenty of twists and turns in it that kept me guessing until the very end, especially when it came to Roux (no, I’m not going to reveal the secrets — read the book to find out for yourself!). Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, you guessed it, plot twist. I loved the fact that I couldn’t quite figure out where the story was going on. I knew Roux was a bad girl, but there were a few times when I felt sympathy for her (that didn’t last long). I really liked Amy, her husband Davis, her stepdaughter Madison aka Maddy or Mads, Amy’s friend Charlotte or Char, and Tighler “Tig” Simms, and baby Oliver. I loved the introduction of Amy’s backstory in bits and pieces because it felt as if I was putting together a puzzle along with the contemporary storylines. I enjoyed the friendship between Amy and Char, as well as the interactions between Amy and her family. There’s a lot going on in this story, but it all works and works quite well. There are surprises throughout the story as well as a surprise ending (again, no I’m not telling you what the surprise is, read the book!) and I don’t think it could have ended any other way. I’m hardpressed to find anything about this story that I didn’t like especially the themes of family, friendship, expiation for past mistakes, forgiveness, and guilt. If you’ve ever read anything by Ms. Jackson in the past, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Never Have I Ever to read. If you’re into suspense-thrillers and haven’t read anything by this author, then I strongly encourage you to get a copy of Never Have I Ever to read. I’ll be putting my copy of Never Have I Ever on the shelf for a few weeks before I re-read it (yes, it was just that good!). Happy Reading, y’all!


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss+ and a free print review copy from the publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewers’ Program. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Guest Post: J.C. Kenney – A GENUINE FIX


Good day, book people. Over the years, TBDR has welcomed authors, publishers, fellow book bloggers, and primary characters from books as guests. Well, today I’m pleased to welcome the brother of a primary character, Luke Cobb. Luke will be helping us get to know his sister, Allie, who is featured in the Allie Cobb Mystery A Genuine Fix by J.C. Kenney. I hope you’ll enjoy learning a bit more about Allie. Please follow the blog tour to learn more about the book and author.



A Chat with Luke Cobb


Hi, everyone. I’m Luke, Allie Cobb’s older brother. You know, ever since Allie figured out who killed Thornwell Winchester, not a day goes by that someone asks me about her. What’s she really like? Is she brave or just a psycho with a death wish? And then there’s my favorite.

Is she really only five foot, one? 

Normally I tell people if they want to know something about my little sister, they should ask her themselves. I mean, she lives and works right here in Rushing Creek. The town’s not that big, so she shouldn’t be all that hard to find.

She’s kind of predictable, so if you’re ever in town and you want to track her down, start at Renee’s Used Bookstore. At times, I think Allie keeps that place in business all by herself. I guess it makes sense that she loves books since she’s a literary agent, but she buys five or six books every week. I’m lucky if I have the time to read five or six books in a year. I guess all those books she reads help make her a great agent, though. 

Just don’t tell her I said that. I don’t want her to get a big head!

If she’s not at the bookstore, you might check at Creekside Chocolates, hanging out with her buddy Diane Stapleton. Diane owns the shop. She makes some amazing chocolates, coffee, and drinks. She’s got Allie totally hooked on her hot chocolate. Which, to be honest, is pretty understandable. Diane sells the best tasting chocolate stuff I’ve ever tasted. 

Which reminds, me, I need to stop by there and get Sloane some treats. I guess it shows how small Rushing Creek is that not only is Sloane Winchester my wife, she’s also Allie’s best friend. Sloane’s the most amazing woman I’ve ever met and if it wasn’t for Allie, I’d never had a chance to get to know Sloane as well as I have. Like I said, she’s pretty incredible and I’m a lucky guy to have her in my life.

But back to Allie. Since she’s single, she eats out a lot. At lunchtime, you might find her at either The Brown County Diner or Big Al’s. Allie likes to go to the diner for their seasonal pies. At Big Al’s, she usually goes for a booth in the back where she absolutely inhales one of Al’s gourmet burgers and a platter of fries.

I swear, my little sister eats like a pro football player and is still teeny tiny. It makes me a little jealous. As Director of the Rushing Creek Parks Department, I spend a fair amount of time performing manual labor, but I still have to watch what I eat. Allie, the little quirt, eats whatever she wants and doesn’t even put on a pound.  

Of course, she literally walks or rides her bike everywhere. As in, one hundred percent of the time. She doesn’t own a car. She says she never needed a car when she lived in New York City and is happy living without one now. I can’t imagine life without my truck, but it seems to work for her, so more power to her.

Oh, one last place you might find Allie. Our sister Rachel owns the Rushing Creek Public House, a restaurant on the south end of town. It’s the go-to place when Cobb family members have dinner out. Plus, Allie’s on a couple of volunteer boards in town and uses the banquet room at the Pub for meetings. The three of us kids get together for dinner there every Wednesday, so I guarantee you’ll catch her then.

Good luck catching up with her. Who knows, maybe you’ll cross paths with her when she’s out taking her cat Ursula for a walk. That’s correct, her cat. Allie is the only person I’ve ever met who has a cat that she walks like a dog. She can be so weird. 

Yeah, that’s my little sister for you. She’s one of a kind. But her eccentricities work for her, so who am I to judge? Well, I need to get back to work, but before I go, I’ll answer one question people always ask me.

Is she really only five, one? No. In fact, she’s barely five feet tall. The extra inch she claims must be vanity. Don’t tell her I said that, though. Thanks to the kickboxing she does, rumor has it she’s got a serious left hook. That’s one thing about my sister I totally believe!


****


About the Author


J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.


Author Links
Website – https://www.jckenney.com;
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JCKenney1;
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JCKenney1;
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/JCKenney;
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/j.c.kenney/




A Genuine Fix

(An Allie Cobb Mystery)
by J.C. Kenney

About the Book



A Genuine Fix (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (July 16, 2019)
Paperback: 194 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108604
ISBN-13: 978-1516108602
Digital ASIN: B07KDWV2RX


Murder takes a page out of a killer’s playbook when literary agent Allie Cobb becomes her Indiana town’s number-one bestselling suspect …

Running the family literary business while preparing for her best friend’s wedding, chairing a park planning committee, and getting her rescue cat to bond with her boyfriend’s golden retriever doesn’t leave Allie Cobb much time for crime-solving. But when the guy who stood her up the night of her high school senior prom is killed and dumped in a pile of mulch, Allie’s suddenly the prime suspect.

It’s insulting enough that gambler, drunk, and all-around lowlife Georgie Alonso was found on the site of the memorial park honoring Allie’s deceased father. Now she’s fighting to clear her name and hold off a rush to judgment. But politics, decades-old secrets, and a slew of high-profile suspects make dangerous bedfellows as the eve of the park’s grand opening draws nearer. She’ll have to nab a killer soon, before her storybook life gets a bad ending …


Purchase linksAmazon   – B&N  – Kobo


Giveaway

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS


July 18 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 18 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 18 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

July 19 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

July 19 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 19 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

July 20 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

July 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 20 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

July 20 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

July 21 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

July 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 21 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

July 22 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

July 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

July 23 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

July 23 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY



Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?


Book Spotlight: GORE IN THE GARDEN by Colleen J. Shogan


Gore in the Garden

(A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan


About the Book



Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Camel Press (July 16, 2019)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1603817239
ISBN-13: 978-1603817233
ASIN: B07S4F8XZZ


Purchase Links
Amazon Paperback     Kindle   B&N         Kobo      Smashwords


After her boss narrowly escaped political defeat, Kit Marshall is settling into life as a busy congressional staffer. While attending an evening reception at the United States Botanic Garden, Kit’s best friend stumbles upon the body of a high-ranking government official. The chairwoman of a congressional committee asks Kit to investigate, and she finds herself once again in the thick of a murder investigation. The complications keep coming with the unexpected arrival of Kit’s younger brother Sebastian, a hippie protestor who seems more concerned about corporate greed than the professional problems he causes for his sister. To make matters even worse, the romantic lives of Kit’s closest friends are driving her crazy, diverting her attention from the mystery she’s been tasked to solve. The search for the killer requires her to tussle with an investigative journalist right out of a noir novel, a congresswoman fixated on getting a statue of James Madison installed on the Capitol grounds and a bossy botanist who would do anything to protect the plants he loves. When the murderer sends a threatening message to Kit via a highly unusual delivery mechanism, Kit knows she must find the killer or risk the lives of her friends and loved ones.



About the Author





Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery, “Stabbing in the Senate,” one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. Colleen’s first book won the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery. Her books have been RONE and Killer Nashville finalists in the mystery category.


Author Links
Webpage – www.colleenshogan.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/washingtonwhodunit
Twitter –  www.twitter.com/cshogan276
GoodReads –  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1269678.Colleen_J_Shogan


Giveaway

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 16 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
July 16 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
July 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
July 18 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
July 18 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
July 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
July 21 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 24 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
July 24 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 26 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
July 27 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
July 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
July 29 – The Book Decoder  REVIEW


Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?


Book Spotlight: Oceanic Dreams Series – Part 1



Good day, my bookish peeps. It’s summer and for many of us, our dreams turn to days lounging beachside or perhaps on an ocean liner. Well, today you get to hop aboard the Oceanic Aphrodite and cruise with the Oceanic Dreams series in eight novellas. The Oceanic Dreams series is a multi-author series and each book can be read on its own. Each book will focus on an individual couple and these eight unsuspecting couples just might find true love on the high seas. 


I Saw Him Standing There by Holly Kerr 
Time of My Life by Laura Heffernan 
Circle in the Sand by Tracy Krimmer 
I Thought it Was You by Kirsty McManus 
I Will Follow Him by Holly Tierney-Bedord 
Take a Chance on Me by Delancey Stewart 
Shut Up and Dance With Me by Monique McDonell 
The Best of You by Sophie-Leigh Robbins


Watch the trailer for the Oceanic Dreams series here.


So sit back, relax, learn about the first four books in this series, and don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaway. Remember to come back next week to rejoin the cruise and learn about the last four books and perhaps enter another giveaway (or two). For now, it’s all aboard the Oceanic Aphrodite!




I Saw Him Standing There Oceanic Dreams #1 by Holly Kerr
ISBN: 9781989203033 (paperback)
ASIN: B07QQ2XXTN (Kindle edition)
Release Date: May 20, 2019


This stowaway sets sail for love!

Small-time con artist Siggy needs to get out of town fast. When she’s offered tickets on the legendary Oceanic Aphrodite cruise, Siggy jumps at the chance. A week on a luxury cruise ship, with a suitcase full of clothes and all expenses paid? Yes, please! The only catch is that she has to pretend to be someone else.

No problem. Siggy has no intention of getting close enough anyone to discover her secrets.

But this is the Oceanic Aphrodite and love is in the air. When Siggy sees assistant cruise director Will taking tickets, Cupid’s arrow hits the target. Luckily, Will’s too busy smiling at her to check out her fake passport because he’ll toss Siggy off the ship if he finds out about the scam.

Onboard, dolphins and cameras and runaway ferrets bring Siggy and Will together. The more time they spend together, the more Siggy wants to tell him the truth. Cupid’s arrow has struck deep but is it worth it for Siggy to stop running?



Purchase Links
Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle      

Meet the author

Holly Kerr writes chick-lit with the sole purpose of showing the world there is more to the genre than pretty shoes and brooding heroes. Except for J.B. in Unexpecting. He can be kind of broody.

When she’s not writing, Holly spends time with her kids, watching Star Wars and superhero movies, and training for this marathon she signed up for.


Connect with the author via her website, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads


Giveaway:

Enter to win one Kindle copy of I Saw Him Standing There by Holly Kerr courtesy of the author. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. The ebook will be provided to the winner by the author after the giveaway has ended. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Void where prohibited by law. 


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Time Of My Life Oceanic Dreams #2 by Laura Heffernan
ISBN: 9781095681534 (paperback)
ASIN: B07QNFP9XN (Kindle edition)
Release Date: June 3, 2019

Janey’s never felt this way before, but the staff is forbidden from dating passengers. It’s only one dirty dance… 

Legend says everyone who boards the Oceanic Aphrodite finds love. Janey’s on the ship to teach pole fitness, not for romance. Then she meets Frank. He’s everything Janey isn’t–refined, classy, rich–but his good looks and charm make him undeniably appealing. Unfortunately, he’s also a passenger.

When Janey’s partner can’t perform in the end-of-cruise talent show, Frank offers to fill in. He’s never done pole, but she’s got time to teach him. As they grow closer, Janey finds herself hoping the legend is real–but if she gives in to temptation, she could be out of a job.




Purchase Links Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle      


Meet the author

Laura Heffernan once broke up with her now-husband during a board game after realizing that he was ahead 96-3. She hasn’t played that particular game since. Her best friend still talks about the Great Uno Card Throwing Incident of 2003. Yet, somehow, Laura insists that she is incredibly gracious whether winning or losing. She lives in the northeast with her husband, new baby, and two furry little beasts.



Connect with the author via her website, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads





Circle In The Sand Oceanic Dreams #3 by Tracy Krimmer
ISBN: 9781098553128 (paperback)
ASIN: B07QW9L497 (Kindle edition)
Release Date: June 17, 2019

Follow the rules. Be reliable. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. 

Living by these words didn’t put librarian Isla Hunter any closer to the life she imagined at thirty. With her birthday in only a few days, she can’t wait to sail away on a week in the sun with her friends Asher and Charlotte. It may be just what she needs. 

When an attractive woman takes a liking to Asher, Isla’s heart feels threatened in an unfamiliar way. She’s used to Asher flipping through women like a playbook without a second thought, but this time it’s different. As she tries to sort out her emotions, she struggles with Asher’s connection with this woman. Is it time for Isla to finally break the rules or will that only lead her in hot water? 




Purchase Links  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle      


Meet the author

Tracy Krimmer loves penning chick lit and Women’s Fiction as well as reading the same genre. Her passion for the written word began at a young age and her favorite place as a child was the library.


When she’s not writing, she enjoys fitness, crushing candy, and napping. She lives in the Midwest with her family.


Connect with the author via her website, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.



I Thought It Was You Oceanic Dreams #4 by Kirsty McManus
ISBN: 9781074229764 (paperback)
ASIN: B07RNZGYHK (Kindle edition)
Release Date: July 1, 2019

When Liv Turner takes a cruise to get away from a bad break-up, all she wants to do is hide from the world for a while—and maybe hang out with her brother, who works in the ship’s casino. But soon after boarding, three things happen in quick succession: 

1. Liv meets Wells, a gorgeous charity worker on his way to Cozumel. 2. She discovers that her ex has completely drained her bank account. 3. TV celebrity Jamila Castro begs Liv to take on the role of her rehab nurse to stop a vengeful ex co-star from ruining her career. 

With Liv broke, and a twenty-thousand dollar incentive to help Jamila out, she reluctantly agrees to a week of pretending to be Nina from Louisiana. The only catch? She isn’t allowed to talk to Wells again. But that becomes difficult when he keeps showing up all over the ship and proving himself to be the perfect guy. 

To make matters more complicated, Liv’s brother had booked her trip through a singles group, where it is a requirement to participate in their activities—as herself. 

Will Liv be able to avoid having her cover blown, and stop Jamila from being exposed in the media? And will she be able to put Wells out of her mind? 

Anything can happen on the Oceanic Aphrodite, but smooth sailing isn’t always one of them. 




Purchase Links  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle      


Meet the author

Kirsty McManus was born in Sydney, Australia and moved to Queensland when she was 14. When she was 25, she lived in Japan for a year with her partner Kesh and worked as an English teacher. This was the inspiration behind her debut novel, Zen Queen. She also spent a year in Canada and then settled back down on the Sunshine Coast in 2008. She now writes almost full time, designs the occasional website and looks after her two little boys.


Connect with the author via her website, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.




If you don’t want to wait another week to learn about the last four books in this series, visit the Oceanic Dreams series website today to find out more. Catch you next week at sea and Happy Reading!

Guest Post: Christin Brecher – MURDER’S NO VOTIVE CONFIDENCE


Hello, my bookish divas and divos. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I spent the weekend reading, of course, in preparation for two local book group meetings this week. One of the many things that I enjoy about book groups and blog tours is that I’m introduced to a lot of books, characters, and authors that I’d probably never know about. As a result, I’m constantly adding books to my ever-growing TBR list (trust me, that’s a good thing). I’m especially pleased to welcome today’s guest, none other than Stella Wright, the primary character in Murder’s No Votive Confidence, the first book in the Nantucket Candle Maker series by Christin Brecher. Ms. Brecher sets this book in Nantucket, a place close to my heart as I lived in Massachusetts for six years. Stella will be providing us with some details about her life and background, so sit back, visit awhile with Stella, follow the rest of the blog tour, and I hope you’ll be inspired to grab a copy of the book. 





Hi, Vivian. Thanks for talking with me today. I love your website and the idea of a “blog for the basic reader, by a basic reader.” I definitely fall into the category of basic reader. I’m usually busy making candles and selling them at my store in town, the Wick & Flame, so when I have time to read, I want to be inspired by the story and characters.  

Recently, I was caught up in a murder investigation on Nantucket, so my summer reading has turned to mystery. Honestly, my Memorial Day weekend could have been a book in itself.  As some of you may know, I was hired to design a candle-themed wedding on the island for Jessica Sterling, where a two-foot tall, six-inch diameter unity candle was planned to be the centerpiece of the wedding ceremony. In a terrible twist, my candle was used as a murder weapon to kill Simon Sterling, the bride’s uncle, rather than as the sign of peace and unity it was meant to be. Even worse, Bill Duffy, salt of the earth, was arrested. Before I knew it, I’d jumped into the case and followed the clues until I found the real killer.

The following weekend, I went to the town library, the Athenaeum, for some advice on mystery books. I watch detective shows when I’m tidying up at home, or have a free night, but I realized I wanted to expand my knowledge of the genre. After some discussion, I was drawn to Agatha Christie and chose one called The Hollow. I was drawn to the book because it is about a murder that takes place at a country house, with many house guests, and even a celebrity neighbor. The premise reminded me a lot of my own Memorial Day mystery. I’ve taken more Christie books out since. As a Nantucket native, I relate to the British backdrop of small towns, which are often somewhat isolated and whose landscapes are both breathtaking and brutal.  

Next on my list, however, is The 39 Steps by John Buchan, a mystery recommendation I received from one of my candle-making student, Cherry Waddle. Please feel free to share your favorites with me!  






Murder’s No Votive Confidence

(Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
by Christin Brecher


About the Book




Murder’s No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
ISBN-10: 149672139X
ISBN-13: 978-1496721396
Digital ASIN: B07HVYJNRD


Nantucket candle store owner Stella Wright specializes in creating unique candles for every occasion. But someone sets the stage for murder when a Memorial Day celebration becomes a wedding to die for . . .

Jessica Sterling’s candlelight-themed nuptials promises to be the perfect kick-off to the summer’s first official holiday weekend. Stella’s thrilled to have been chosen to provide the decorative centerpiece for the wedding ceremony: a two-foot-tall scented unity candle—a symbol of the happy couple’s love. But it looks like the bride-to-be’s uncle won’t be walking his niece down the aisle after he’s found dead. The murder weapon is Stella’s seemingly indestructible candle, now split in two.

When a beloved local bartender is arrested, Stella’s sure a visiting police captain running the case made a rush to justice. With superstitious brides-to-be canceling orders and sales waxing and waning at her store, the Wick & Flame owner decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Abetted by a charming reporter and challenged by the town’s sexiest cop, Stella’s determined to shine a light on the truth and uncover a killer who’s snuffing out her own flame.


Purchase LinksAmazonB&NKoboBAM
IndieBoundHudson BooksellersGoogle Play




About the Author


Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.


Author Links









Giveaway

Enter to win one (1) of five (5) print copies of Murder’s No Votive Confidence by Christin Brecher. Giveaway limited to US residents only. Void where prohibited by law. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.


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TOUR PARTICIPANTS


July 8 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

July 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 8 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

July 8 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

July 9 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

July 9 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

July 9 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

July 9 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 

July 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 10 – The Avid Reader  REVIEW

July 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 11 – Author Teresa Watson – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 11 – Babs Book Bistro – Candle Making 101 Notes Post

July 12 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW 

July 12 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

July 12 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

July 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

July 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 15 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

July 15 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 16 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

July 17 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST 



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Guest Post: David Marlett – AMERICAN RED


Good day, my fellow book people. Instead of focusing on contemporary fiction, today our sights are turning to history, specifically historical fiction as I welcome the author of the recently released American Red, David Marlett. Mr. Marlett is an award-winning author of historical fiction and today he will be providing us with some background information on how this book came into being. So let’s travel back in time with Mr. Marlett and American Red.





Ten years ago, I had heard about the first assassination by bombing in the United States (of the governor of Idaho in 1906), and I was familiar with Clarence Darrow’s famous closing argument in the subsequent murder trial. But my interest in tackling this sweeping epic as a historical novel didn’t begin until I read J. Anthony Lukas’s non-fiction book on the subject, Big Trouble. That lead me to explore more, and with each additional trial transcript and uncovered fact, the closer I came to the story. Soon the characters began to take form, and the plot structure began to reveal itself. But, as it is a big story across a large part of the United States, a significant obstacle was narrowing the story to its key events and characters, finding the arcs, etc., and of course, deciding what I wanted the novel to say.

Even with that narrowing, and the merging (in a couple of instances) of historical characters into single invented ones, etc., American Red still plays host to an ensemble cast—each with unique traits, strengths, quirks, weaknesses. I was once asked whom among them I most enjoyed writing—to which I responded that it was the old Pinkerton, Chief Detective James McParland. He was one of American Red‘s many actual characters from history—a true-to-life man, bold and brazen—wildly famous at the time for his daring detective work. We find him squinting at the dimming light of his life and career, while rooted in the century that had passed. So, he does what he knows—he takes action—one big gamble, one last major action, convincing himself that the flagrant illegalities he undertakes are balanced by the justice he is trying to bring. I love his single-minded focus in the face of such obvious conflicts of loyalty and duty. That moral struggle and wrestling with mortality is so universal that McParland rises to almost iconic stature.

American Red is unique among historical novels, even those set in American history. Rather than addressing oft-trod paths and characters, American Red ventures into a societal wilderness, a lesser-explored time in American history that seems shockingly familiar, even over a hundred years later. I am hard-pressed to find a comparable book of that time and geographic area. Most historical crime stories of that era focus on mob developments on the east coast, of the first-generation immigrant experience. But American Red tackles the men and women of what was, by then, the end of the Wild West. The march of technological advancement had arrived, and their isolationist world was collapsing, with new international ideas flooding in, seeping out into the far west. To me, this is far more reflective of who/what America would become—as the nation unknowingly raced toward the World Wars and the Depression. Further, American Red provides a glancing, raw image of the unique role of faith of the era, and a candid look at the relationships between men and women. American Red is a tapestry of humanity (not just Americans), both in honor and in horror, both in victory and defeat—and therein do can we see ourselves. 






Author Bio:


David Marlett

David Marlett is an award-winning storyteller and writer of historical fiction, primarily historical legal thrillers bringing alive the fascinating people and events leading to major historical trials. His first such novel, Fortunate Son, became a national bestseller in 2014, rising to #2 in all historical fiction and #3 in all literature and fiction on Amazon. The late Vincent Bugliosi — #1 New York Times bestselling author of Helter Skelter

— said David is “a masterful writer of historical fact and detail, of adventure, peril and courtroom drama.” Just released is American Red which follows the extraordinary true story of a set of radical lovers, lawyers, killers, and spies who launched the Great American Century. Visit www.AmericanRedBook.com. He is currently writing his next historical legal thriller, Angeles Los, which continues some of the lead characters from American Red. Angeles Los is based on the true story at the 1910 intersection of the first movies made in Los Angeles, the murderous bombing of the Los Angeles Times, and eccentric Abbot Kinney’s “Venice of America” kingdom. In addition, David is a professor at Pepperdine Law School, was the managing editor of OMNI Magazine, and guest-lectures on story design. He is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, the father of four, and lives in Manhattan Beach, California. For more, visit www.DavidMarlett.com.

Find Our Author Online:


davidmarlett.com | Goodreads | BookBub | Twitter | Facebook




American Red

by David Marlett

on Tour July 1 – August 31, 2019


Synopsis:


American Red by David Marlett


In American Red, as the Great American Century begins, and the modern world roars to life, Capitalists flaunt greed and seize power, Socialists and labor unions flex their violent will, and an extraordinary true story of love and sacrifice unfolds.

In his critically acclaimed debut novel, Fortunate Son, David Marlett introduced readers to a fresh take on historical fiction-the historical legal thriller-bringing alive the people and events leading to and surrounding some of the most momentous, dramatic legal trials in history. Now he returns with American Red, the story of one of the greatest domestic terrorists in American history, and the detectives, lawyers, spies, and lovers who brought him down.

The men and women of American Red are among the most fascinating in American history. When, at the dawn of the 20th century, the Idaho governor is assassinated, blame falls on “Big Bill” Haywood, the all-powerful, one-eyed boss of the Western Federation of Miners in Denver. Close by, his polio-crippled wife, Neva, struggles with her wavering faith, her love for another man, and her sister’s affair with her husband. New technologies accelerate American life, but justice lags behind. Private detectives, battling socialists and unions on behalf of wealthy capitalists, will do whatever it takes to see Haywood hanged. The scene is set for bloodshed, from Denver to Boise to San Francisco. America’s most famous attorney, Clarence Darrow, leads the defense-a philandering U.S. senator leads the prosecution-while the press, gunhands, and spies pour in. Among them are two idealists, Jack Garrett and Carla Capone-he a spy for the prosecution, she for the defense. Risking all, they discover truths about their employers, about themselves and each other, and what they’ll sacrifice for justice and honor-and for love.



Book Details


Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: July 2nd 2019
Number of Pages: 535
ISBN: 1611881781 (ISBN13: 9781611881783)
Purchase Links:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads




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2019 Book 203: WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by Kerry Winfrey

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey 
ISBN: 9781984804020 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781984804037 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781984890467 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07HLP2MN3 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 11, 2019 
Publisher: Berkley


A rom-com-obsessed romantic waiting for her perfect leading man learns that life doesn’t always go according to a script in this delightfully charming and funny novel.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?





Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  Audiobooks  |  AudiobooksNow  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Nook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  eBooks  |  Kobo eBook  |  Kobo Audiobook


To say that Annie Cassidy is obsessed with romantic-comedy films is somewhat of an understatement. She majored in film in college and has studied all things romantic-comedy. She has a picture of Nora Ephron in her bedroom beside a picture of her parents. Her ideal man is the actor Tom Hanks, well Tom Hanks as the characters he portrayed in romantic-comedies from the 1990s. This is partially due to the fact that some of Annie’s best memories are linked to watching romantic-comedies with her mother as well as the fact that her mother constantly told her that she and her father had the kind of forever love portrayed in films. Sadly, Annie’s father died before she was born and then her mother died while she was in high school. Now it seems that Annie is stuck living vicariously through film. Her best friend Chloe is determined to find her real man, but no one can live up to Annie’s idealized and fictionalized Tom Hanks. 

Annie is a late twenty-something still living in her parental home in Columbus, Ohio with her mother’s brother, Don. She works writing articles for the internet and dreams of finishing her own romantic-comedy loosely based on her BFF’s sort of, kind of, almost, love life. Her uncle works part-time at a gaming store and plays Dungeons and Dragons with his friends and attends gaming and other cons. Annie’s friend Chloe works part-time in the neighborhood coffee shop, attends college full-time, and lives in the garage apartment at Annie’s house. When a Hollywood film comes to town, it is thanks to Chloe and Uncle Don that Annie gets hired as the assistant to the director. After a disastrous run-in with the film’s male star, Drew Danforth, Annie is sure that her time on this film is going to be the worst experience of her life. Although Annie and Drew have plenty of misunderstandings, there do seem to be sparks. They only get to spend two weeks together but their non-relationship relationship may just be the real deal until the “great catastrophe” occurs. Is it possible for Annie to rectify the situation and apologize to Drew before it’s too late or has she lost her real life “Tom Hanks” forever?

The only thing better than a straight romance or a romantic-suspense read for the summer might be a romantic-comedy. I read Waiting for Tom Hanks in just a few hours over the course of a night and late afternoon (darn you migraine headaches) and thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the reasons for my enjoyment was the mention of one of my favorite indie bookstores (hey, Joseph-Beth Cincinnati), along with all of the great romantic-comedy films that I’ve watched and loved over the years. I especially enjoyed the interaction between Annie and her friends in the coffee shop: Chloe, Nick, Tobin, and Gary. And the date with Barry was hilarious (trust me when you read the book you’ll more than understand). I enjoyed the push-pull relationship between Annie and Drew and their constant struggle to understand one another. Waiting for Tom Hanks is a bit more than a romantic-comedy in my opinion, it’s also a little bit of a coming-of-age story, a story about self-awareness and self-realization, a story about family secrets, and yes, romance. For my romance readers, if you’re looking for a fun romance read then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Waiting for Tom Hanks. For those of you looking for a light-hearted read for your vacation or staycation, then I recommend you grab a copy of Waiting for Tom Hanks to read. Seriously, Waiting for Tom Hanks is the type of story that has a little bit of something for everyone (did I mention Wookies?). Happy Reading! 📖



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”