Book Showcase: MISFIRE by Tammy Euliano

Misfire, Book 2 in the Kate Downey Medical Mystery Series, by Tammy Euliano
ISBN: 9781608095223 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781608095230 (ebook)
ASIN: B09X5ZPQCL (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 368
Release Date: January 23, 2023
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Genre: Fiction | Medical Mystery | Thriller

MISFIRE by Tammy Euliano cover featuring a bluish-gray x-ray of a human chest with a defibrillator highlighted

A device that can save a life is also one that can end it

Kadence, a new type of implanted defibrillator, misfires in a patient visiting University Hospital for a routine medical procedure—causing the heart rhythm problem it’s meant to correct. Dr. Kate Downey, an experienced anesthesiologist, resuscitates the patient, but she grows concerned for a loved one who recently received the same device—her beloved Great-Aunt Irm.

When a second device misfires, Kate turns to Nikki Yarborough, her friend and Aunt Irm’s cardiologist. Though Nikki helps protect Kate’s aunt, she is prevented from alerting other patients by the corporate greed of her department chairman. As the inventor of the device and part owner of MDI, the company he formed to commercialize it, he claims that the device misfires are due to a soon-to-be-corrected software bug. Kate learns his claim is false.

The misfires continue as Christian O’Donnell, a friend and lawyer, comes to town to facilitate the sale of MDI. Kate and Nikki are drawn into a race to find the source of the malfunctions, but threats to Nikki and a mysterious murder complicate their progress. Are the seemingly random shocks misfires, or are they attacks?

A jaw-dropping twist causes her to rethink everything she once thought she knew, but Kate will stop at nothing to protect her aunt and the other patients whose life-saving devices could turn on them at any moment.

Perfect for fans of Robin Cook and Tess Gerritsen

While the novels in the Kate Downey Medical Mystery Series stand on their own and can be read in any order, the publication sequence is:

Fatal Intent
Misfire

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Praise for Misfire:

“From surgery to suspense, Tammy Euliano knows the worlds she writes of. Misfire is a first-rate medical thriller—the kind that leaves you thinking that was too close!” —Michael Connelly, New York Times best-selling author

“A medical thriller meets domestic suspense meets serial killer terror all rolled into one page-turning extravaganza. You will read Misfire for the plot, but absolutely stay for the characters. I miss them already.” —Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“Medical suspense as sharp as it gets. Euliano is off to a good, no, a brilliant start.” —Kathy Reichs, New York Times best-selling author

Read an Excerpt:

“You aren’t gonna let me die this time, are ya, Doc?”

Oh boy.

So started my Wednesday, with about the worst line any anesthesiologist can hear from a patient in preoperative holding.

“This time?” the nurse said.

“Last time my heart decided to dance a little jig instead of pumpin’ my blood.”

Sitting close beside Mr. Abrams, his wife squeezed her eyes closed. “Abe, tell Dr. Downey the whole story.”

“I read about it in your chart last night,” I said. “Last time they tried to fix your hernia, your heart needed a jump start.” To the nurse I added, “V fib,” a chaotic heart rhythm that usually requires electrical shock to convert back to a normal rhythm. “It happened when they were putting you to sleep and they canceled the case.” Instead of a hernia operation, Mr. Abrams ended up with a very different procedure that day—placement of an automated internal cardioverter defibrillator, or AICD. A device implanted in his chest to detect and treat the problem should it recur.

“Your AICD hasn’t fired, right?” The device had been checked by cardiology the day before.

“Right. Rosie watches it like a hawk huntin’ a rodent.” He nodded to his wife, who slipped her phone under the book in her lap.

“I completely understand,” I said to her, nodding at the hidden phone. “My aunt has the same AICD, and I can’t stop checking the app either.” Maybe a downside of the novel AICD, the Kadence communicated through the patient’s phone to the cloud, where I could view status reports on my beloved Aunt Irm’s heart. “I don’t expect any problems this time, but we’re ready if your heart decides on another jig.”

“Dr. Downey, I need to ask a favor.” Mrs. Abrams didn’t look at me, or at anyone. She gripped her paperback as if it would fly open.

“Call me Kate.”

“Come on, Rosie, let the doc do her job,” Mr. Abrams said.

She ignored him. “Dr. Yarborough is his cardiologist. She said if he could keep his phone during the operation, she would be able to watch his AICD.”

I generally like to honor requests. This one required a caveat. “I’ll make a deal with you. We’ll keep the phone close for Dr. Yarborough as long as you promise not to watch the app.”

Her sparse gray eyebrows drew together.

“During surgery, there’s electrical noise that can confuse the AICD. I don’t know what it might report and I don’t want you frightened.” Sometimes we turn off AICDs during surgery, but this operation was far enough away from the device implanted near his left shoulder that the noise shouldn’t cause a problem. What she might see on the app, though, I couldn’t predict.

She nodded uncertainly.

Eric, the anesthesia resident assigned to work with me on the case, arrived with a small syringe of a sedative. “What do you think about some happy juice?”

“I think my wife needs it more than me,” Mr. Abrams said.

Her lipstick appeared to redden as her face paled.

“Unfortunately, it goes in the IV,” Eric said with a kind smile for her. “We’ll take good care of him.”

“You’ll watch his blood sugar,” she said.

“Yes, ma’am.” Eric unlocked the bed.

“And be careful with his AICD.”

“We will.” He unhooked the IV bag from the ceiling-mounted pole and attached it to one on the stretcher.

Tears dampened her eyes as Mrs. Abrams stood and leaned down to kiss her husband’s cheek.

“I’m gonna be fine, Rosie. Don’t you worry. I’ll be huntin’ by the weekend, and we can try out that new squirrel recipe before our anniversary.”

“We are not serving squirrel stew for our fiftieth anniversary,” she said.

Eric and I exchanged a smile.

“Oh now, you wait and see.” Mr. Abrams patted his wife’s hand.

“What’s squirrel taste like?” Eric pushed the bed from the wall.

“Tastes like chicken.” Mr. Abrams laughed loudly. “No, just kiddin’ with ya . . .” As they turned the corner, the voices faded. I stayed behind to reassure Mrs. Abrams.

“I can’t lose him.” Eyes squeezed shut, a sob escaped.

I wrapped an arm around her ample shoulders and waited. I knew that feeling; had lived that feeling; had lost.

“I’m sorry.” She dabbed her eyes with a tissue.

“No need to apologize. Last time scared you. Tell you what, once he’s asleep, I’ll give you a call and let you know it went fine.”

That calmed her. We walked together to the main doors, where I directed her to the waiting room. I turned the opposite direction to not let her husband of fifty years die during a hernia operation. No pressure there.

In the OR, we helped Mr. Abrams move to the operating table. After applying monitors and going through our safety checks, Eric held the clear plastic mask over his face and said, “Pick out a good dream.”

“Oh, I got one.” He winked at me. “I’ll try to behave this time, Doc.”

“I’d appreciate that.” I maintained eye contact and held his hand as I injected the drugs to put him off to sleep. Despite having induced anesthesia thousands of times, I always experience a tense few moments between the time the patient stops breathing and when the breathing tube is confirmed in the windpipe. During those couple of minutes, if we couldn’t breathe for him, there’s a real, if remote, chance the patient could die. Not a failure to save, but, in essence, a kill. Anesthesia is unique in that. We take people who are breathing fine, mess it up, then fix it, so the surgeon can correct the real problem.

When Mr. Abrams’ induction proceeded without incident, I felt an extra sense of relief and was happy to share that with his wife. The operation, too, went well, and an hour later, he awoke from anesthesia, gave a sleepy smile, and said, “How’d it go, Doc?”

“Fine. No more hernia. Are you in any pain?”

He shook his head. “Nope, you done good.”

As Eric gave his transfer-of-care report to the recovery nurse, I helped re-connect the monitors. Mr. Abrams looked great. Whether he’d be hunting squirrel in a few days, I couldn’t say. I headed toward the pre-op area to see our next patient.

“Dr. Downey!”

I spun back to see Mr. Abrams’ head loll to the side, his eyes closed, his hands on his chest. In two steps I was back at his side. “Mr. Abrams?” I placed two fingers to his neck where his pulse should be while the ECG monitor above showed ventricular fibrillation—a randomly bumpy line—and his pulse oximeter, the sticker on his finger that recorded pulse and oxygen, became a flat line. Cardiac arrest.

What the hell?

I forced the image of his wife saying, “I can’t lose him,” from my mind as I lowered the head of the bed and started chest compressions. “Eric, manage the airway.”

He placed a mask over Mr. Abrams’ nose and mouth and started squeezing the breathing bag. “Why isn’t his AICD firing?”

Good question.

The overhead monitor flashed and shrieked an alarm.

The fire-engine red crash cart arrived and a nurse snapped off its plastic lock. As she tore open the foil pack of defibrillation pads from the top of the crash cart, the charge nurse assembled medications. A smoothly running team, each member with his or her own tasks.

The overhead alert began, “Anesthesia and Charge Nurse stat to the PACU.” I tuned it out as a crowd in scrubs assembled around us. The anesthesiologist in charge of the recovery room said, “How can I help?”

“Call Nikki Yarborough in cardiology.” As I continued chest compressions, the nurse reached around my arms to place the large defibrillator pads on Mr. Abrams’ chest. I noticed the small scar where his AICD was implanted and silently ordered the damn thing to fire. The charging defibrillator whined with an increasing and eventually teeth-itching pitch.

Seconds before I yelled, “Clear!” the ECG monitor traced a “square wave”—three sides of a bottomless square, up-across-down. I held my breath, though it was only seconds. Normal sinus rhythm followed. His AICD had finally fired, kick-starting his heart back to normal electrical activity.

I stopped chest compressions and placed my fingers on his neck. Strong pulse. “Mr. Abrams?” I grasped his hand and leaned forward. His head turned toward me. “How do you feel?”

He rubbed his sternum with his other hand. “Chest hurts.”

“Like a heart attack, or like someone pounded on it?”

“Pounded.” He opened one eye.

“Sorry about that.”

“No. Thank you.” The corners of his mouth turned up weakly. “You did good.”

“I’ll have cardiology come check out your AICD and figure out why it took so long to fire.”

He nodded. “Can you tell my wife I’m okay?” It struck me his first thought was for his wife, and that I’d told her everything would be fine. Crap. It also struck me she might have peeked at his app.

The recovery room attending waited for me as I stepped away. “Dr. Yarborough’s in a procedure but will come by as soon as she’s done.”

I thanked him and hurried to the waiting room to check on Mrs. Abrams.

She must have followed directions, because I found her in the back corner of the crowded space, the book unopened in her lap. At my approach, she looked up.

“He’s fine.” Always the best lead, but she didn’t smile. I sat beside her and lowered my voice in an attempt at privacy. “After the surgery, he had a rhythm problem like before.”

She gasped and I placed a hand on her arm.

“We did CPR until his Kadence fired and everything is fine now. He’s awake and he asked me to tell you that.”

Tears filled her eyes.

Though I wasn’t supposed to invite her to the recovery room until the nurse was ready, Mrs. Abrams needed to see for herself. I knew what that felt like. “Would you like to see him?”

She nodded and walked with me in silence.

The very understanding nurse lowered one of the stretcher’s side rails, and Mr. Abrams extended an arm to embrace his wife. “Now, Rosie, I told you I’d be fine.” He looked past her shoulder and winked at me, but his eyes shone as well. Such a beautiful couple. I returned to work before we were all bleary eyed.

Excerpt from Misfire by Tammy Euliano.
Copyright © 2023 by Tammy Euliano.
Published with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Tammy Euliano author photo showing a smiling white female with brown, shoulder-length hair, wearing a blue-print top and a necklace with a blue stone

Tammy Euliano writes medical thrillers. She’s inspired by her day job as a physician, researcher, and medical educator. She is a tenured professor at the University of Florida, where she’s been honored with numerous teaching awards, nearly 100,000 views of her YouTube teaching videos, and was featured in a calendar of women inventors (copies available wherever you buy your out-of-date calendars).

When she’s not writing or at the hospital, she enjoys traveling with her family, playing sports, cheering on the Gators, and entertaining her two wonderful dogs.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website 

Giveaway

This is a giveaway for one (1) print copy of Misfire by Tammy Euliano and a bookmark. This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States only. All entries by non-US residents will be voided. To enter use the Rafflecopter link.

This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 01/10/2023 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 01/16/2023. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 01/17/2023. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Colleen Coble – DARK OF NIGHT

Dark of Night

by Colleen Coble

January 9-February 3, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Good day, my bookish peeps. I was recently asked by a family member what I planned to do for the New Year’s weekend and I responded that I’d be curled up in my reading chair with a pot of tea and a few good books. I ended 2022 and began 2023 by reading romance. Some were romantic suspense reads, a few were paranormal romance and historical romance, and the others were romantic comedies. What can I say, the past few years I’ve been reading a lot more romance than normal. Romance has become my go-to genre whenever I’m in a reading slump, feeling a bit down, or having a sick day. I’m incredibly thankful to the authors that create these wonderful romantic stories. One such author is Colleen Coble, with her soon-to-be-released, Dark of Night, book two in the “Annie Pederson” romantic suspense series. Thank you, Ms. Coble, for coming back to visit with us. I can’t wait to learn your thoughts on romance, the blog is all yours.

The Power of Romance
by Colleen Coble

I’ve always been a romantic at heart. Back in my teen years, I swooned over Barnabas in Dark Shadows (I know that’s weird, and also dates me, but what can I say? ) I married at nineteen and have been married to the same wonderful guy for 51 years. Being a romantic has been instrumental in that long happy marriage!

I have always taken romance a bit for granted since my husband is also a romantic, but I recently had a wake-up call when I received an email from a reader. They’d just read one of my books. All four books in my Lonestar series have the same marriage of convenience underpinning, and the reader realized that love is a choice. She let me know she was choosing to love her husband all over again and was going to try again in her marriage. Whoohoo! I love being able to be part of making people think about life and relationships.

Many people think of love as a feeling—and it is of course—but it’s much more than that. We don’t always feel like being loving. The house is a mess, the kids are snarking at each other, and you feel like giving as good as you’re getting from everyone else. But it’s those times when we need to stop and realize that we can choose to love even when we don’t feel like it. That decision can carry us through the bad times that always come. Romance novels aren’t frivolous. There is nothing more important than choosing to love someone and being an agent of change in the world that way. Thinking of someone else’s happiness first could bring deep and lasting changes to our lives—and to the world.

Romance always has an edge of optimism to it because we know there’s going to be a happily ever after. Life isn’t always that way, but I like looking at the world through a romantic prism because it helps me see the good even when bad things happen. I know things will eventually turn out fine even if that happy-ever-after finale has to wait until heaven to materialize.

Synopsis:

Dark of Night by Colleen Coble cover

The law is about justice—not grace. But perhaps ranger Annie Pederson can find a way to have both.

As if the last few months haven’t been hard enough—complete with threats on her life and the return of her first love, Jon—Annie has to figure out whether or not to believe a woman who claims to be her sister, Sarah, who was abducted twenty-four years ago at age five. Annie’s eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, has plenty of questions about what’s going on in her mother’s life—but there are some stones Annie doesn’t want uncovered.

As Annie grapples with how to heal the gulf between her and her would-be sister and make room in her daughter’s life for Jon, she’s professionally distracted by the case of yet another missing hiker in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A woman named Michelle Fraser has now been abducted, and though the woman’s estranged husband is at the top of their suspect list, Annie and her colleagues will need to dig deeper and determine whether these recent mysteries are truly as unrelated as they seem.

In this second novel of bestselling author Colleen Coble’s latest romantic-suspense series, Annie and Jon must fight for the future—and the family—that could once more be theirs.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 2023
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN10: 0785253742 (Paperback)
ISBN13: 9780785253747 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9780785253754 (eBook)
ASIN: B0B1WKV7M4 (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B0B61MK9BK (Audible audiobook)
ISBN: 9780785253761 (Digital audiobook)
Series: Annie Pederson #2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | B&N Audiobook | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | ChristianBook | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:
colleencoble.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @colleencoble
Instagram: @colleencoble
Twitter: @colleencoble
Facebook: colleencoblebooks

Tour Participants:

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GIVEAWAY:

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Book Showcase: TOKEN by Beverley Kendall

Illustrated cover for TOKEN by Beverley Kendall showing a close-up headshot of a young Black woman, with curly shoulder-length dark brown hair, wearing purple drop earrings, a yellow-beaded necklace, and a yellow topToken by Beverley Kendall
ISBN: 9781525899973 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780369720528 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488218248 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9798212222815 (MP3 audiobook CD)
ASIN: B0B8QM22WT (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B0B1JM2HDF (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 352
Release Date: January 3, 2023
Publisher: Graydon House/HarperCollins
Genre: Fiction | Multicultural & Interracial Romance | Romance

She’s brilliant, beautiful…and tired of being the only Black woman in the room.

Two years ago, Kennedy Mitchell was plucked from the reception desk and placed in the corporate boardroom in the name of diversity. Rather than play along, she and her best friend founded Token, a boutique PR agency that helps “diversity-challenged” companies and celebrities. With corporate America diversifying workplaces and famous people getting into reputation-damaging controversies, Token is in high demand.

Kennedy quickly discovers there’s a lot of on-the-job learning and some messes are not so easily fixed. When Kennedy’s ex shows up needing help repairing his company’s reputation, things get even more complicated. She knows his character is being wrongly maligned, but she’s reluctant to get involved—professionally and emotionally. But soon, she finds herself drawn into a PR scandal of her own.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Apple Books | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | B&N Audiobook | BookDepository.com \ Books-A-Million | Bookshop.org | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | Google Play Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Target

Praise for Token:

“A smart, sexy rom-com that had me chuckling from the first page. I loved it.”—BRENDA JACKSON, New York Times bestselling author

 

Token is a rom-com perfect for our times. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!”—KAIA ALDERSON, author of Sisters in Arms

Read an Excerpt:

Looking for a job sucked.

Getting laid off sucked even more.

Three weeks ago, Kennedy Mitchell found herself in both unenviable positions.

While searching for a new job in her field of expertise—marketing and five solid years of it—she’d accepted a four-week receptionist position to tide her over. Hey, student loans didn’t pay off themselves and they couldn’t care less about your employment status. But, as grateful as she was to have money coming in, she hated the part of the job that had her slapping herself awake every five minutes.

That also sucked.

It would be one thing if the place were a bevy of human activity (she generally liked people and they tended to like her back). Nope, that wasn’t even close to what she was dealing with. Per the visitor log, a grand total of six had passed through the first-floor lobby of ECO Apparel in the two weeks she’d been there. Three on one day alone. And during the hours when the employees were upstairs ensconced at their desks, the place resembled a ghost town. Seriously, she wouldn’t be surprised to see tumbleweed roll past the reception desk one fine windy day. Although, for a ghost town, the lobby was sleekly modern, all sharp angles, and glass and chrome.

Glancing down at her cell phone, Kennedy released a long-suffering sigh. How was it possible that only three minutes and not an hour had passed since her last five-minute check-in? This was usually when she prayed for one of two things: the power to control time, or another job.

Since the chances of either happening within the next seventy-two hours were zero to none, she grudgingly resigned herself to her fate and tapped the keyboard, bringing the sleeping monitor back to life, and the email from an interested recruiter back into view. Seven hours to go, and the jury was still out on whether she would make it until noon—much less to the end of the day. The ding of the elevator broke the lonely silence and was soon followed by the click of heels on the faux marble floors. Twisting in her seat, Kennedy spotted Nadine from Administrative Services striding purposely toward her, folder and purse in hand. She hastily closed out of her email and treated the brunette to a bright smile.

“Hey, Nadine, is it break time already?” The pretty admin assistant usually came to relieve her for a midmorning break at ten. Currently, it was an hour shy of that, and taking a break right now would upset the monotony of her day. How would she cope with the upheaval?

“Mr. Mullins wants to see you in his office, and I’ll be filling in for you for the rest of the day,” her coworker announced abruptly.

Kennedy stiffened and her eyebrows rose at the hint of annoyance and resentment threading Nadine’s tone.

Well, good morning to you too.

What the hell happened to the pleasant, chatty girl of not even twenty-four hours ago? And why on earth did the director of Human Resources want to see her in his office? Especially as she, like Nadine, reported to the manager of Administrative Services.

Then Nadine’s folder landed with a splat on the desk near the monitor. Kennedy’s gaze flew to hers and she found herself on the receiving end of a very pointed come on—get a move on, girlie. There’s only one chair and you’re sitting in it look.

That was enough to galvanize Kennedy into action even as her jaw ticked and she prayed for calm. She hurriedly collected her purse from the bottom drawer before surrendering her seat to her visibly impatient coworker.

As if it’s my fault she’s getting stuck down here answering the phone.

Despite Kennedy’s own growing annoyance, she paused and turned before leaving, her shoulders squared, and chin lifted. “Any idea why Mr. Mullins wants to see me?” Her voice was stiff but scrupulously polite.

Since her interaction with him was limited to a brief walk-by wave on her first day during a tour of the offices, she was at a loss. Nadine gave a bored shrug. “I hear no evil and speak no evil. They tell me nothing. I just go where I’m told to go, and do the work they pay me to do, if you know what I mean.”

Kennedy’s heart instantly softened, and she excused Nadine’s uncustomary churlishness for what appeared to be the frustration that came with being the Jane-of-all-menial-work of the company.

“Believe me, I know exactly what you mean.” They shared a commiserative what we women have to put up with look before Kennedy took the elevator up to the eighth floor.

Honestly, the drawbacks of possessing a vagina were sometimes too much. Giving birth was only one of them. Or so she’d been told. Her turn in the stirrups hadn’t come yet, but she assumed one day it would, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

The company directory alone pointed to an obvious gender bias. Not one woman held an executive, director, or senior-level management position.

Not. One.

And it had been eight years since the previously all-male clothier had ventured into female clothing. One would think that one woman would have made it to the ranks of at least a senior manager position by now. What were they waiting for, a march on Washington?

But wait. If she didn’t think it could get worse, it did. Kennedy had yet to see one Black face of any hue in the parade of employees who walked by her every day—that was, unless she looked in a mirror, and her hue skewed to the lighter shade of that spectrum. She wouldn’t be surprised if that was one of the reasons she’d been picked to grace the reception desk. In the twenty-first century, one would think that impossible. Especially in the city that didn’t sleep, and could be touted as America’s United Nations, every race, ethnicity, language, and sexual orientation duly represented on the postage-stamp island.

Be that as it may, Kennedy knew better than most that the city tended more toward separate individual dishes—separate being the operative word—rather than one big old melting pot. Once off the elevator, she detoured to the bathroom, where she freshened her lipstick, powdered the shine off her forehead, and gave her long, thick brown curls a few twists.

With her hair and face in order, she ran a critical eye over her outfit, a purchase of pure indulgence. Although had she even the vaguest idea that she’d be unemployed a week after she bought it, she most assuredly would not have indulged.

But the cream pencil skirt and the baby blue fitted shirt ensemble had called out to her. Buy me. I come in your size. Your body will thank you in the end. And Kennedy, self-proclaimed clotheshorse that she was, hadn’t been able to resist the Siren’s call.

Okay, so maybe due to financial constraints she was more a clothes pony.

After ensuring no visible panty lines ruined the overall effect of polished professionalism and stylishness, she proceeded to Mr. Mullins’s office.<

She found him at his desk, the door to his office wide-open. Upon seeing her, a smile broke out across his face. “Ah, Miss Mitchell, come in.”

Kennedy met him halfway, where they shook hands, and she offered a pleasant greeting. He then gestured toward the table and chairs at the other end of the room. “Please sit down. Make yourself comfortable.”

Average in height and build, hair graying and thinning at the crown, the man himself was as nondescript as middle-aged white men came. If his smile—wide and genuine—was any indication, she could relax, which she did one vertebra at a time. It didn’t look as if she was about to be let go early. Typically, people didn’t smile like that when they were about to deliver bad news. Unless, of course, they were psychopaths. No, they tended to furrow their brow, feigning concern and sympathy.

Kennedy took a seat where instructed as Mr. Mullins swiped a sheaf of papers off his desk before joining her. She looked around for somewhere to put her purse that was not on the table or the floor and found nothing suitable. In the end, she simply plopped it on her lap.

Sliding on a pair of reading glasses, Mr. Mullins glanced down at the papers in front of him before directing his attention back to her. “So how are you settling in? Everyone treating you all right? No one bothering you, I hope.”

Yeah, nope! Absolutely not. No way was she falling into that trap. This was the kind of throwaway question people asked when they didn’t want or expect an honest answer.

“No, everyone has been great.” She certainly wasn’t going to tell him that two of the managers had asked for her number and the head of IT asked her out for dinner. As someone personally opposed to mixing business with pleasure, and that included dating coworkers—been there, regretted that—invitations like that were shot down faster than a clay pigeon at a skeet shooting competition.

“Good, good, good. Now, I’ve just been looking over your résumé—” he paused, glanced at it and then back at her over the rim of his glasses “—and by the looks of things—your previous experience and education—it’s apparent that you’re overqualified for the receptionist position. Any receptionist position, for that matter.”

For the measly sum of two hundred and fifty grand—the majority of which had been covered by scholarships or else she wouldn’t have been able to afford a school like Columbia—for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she sure hoped she was overqualified for the task of greeting visitors and forwarding calls.

“Yes, but this wasn’t supposed to be permanent. The agency said it was a four-week assignment.”

Mr. Mullins nodded. “That’s right. I’ve been told Nancy should be back in a few weeks.” He lowered her résumé, but still held it loosely between his fingers. “Does that mean you aren’t interested in a permanent, full-time position? I might have thought you’d prefer something in Marketing.”

Kennedy watched as he turned the situation over in his mind. He seemed determined to solve the mystery of the overqualified temporary receptionist. But this wasn’t Agatha Christie-level stuff. No amateur sleuthing required.

“I was laid off and this just sort of fell into my lap. The right job at the moment,” she stated simply.

There were layoffs and then there were layoffs. Hers had been the latter, as she’d been assured she’d keep her job after the merger. The following week, she’d walked into the offices of Kenners in the morning and was carting a box with every personal item she’d accumulated over the course of five years—including a dazzling pink slip—out the front door by the time the clock struck noon.

Just like that, five years of job—no, financial security—ripped out from under her. And to add insult to injury, two weeks of severance was all she had to show for years spent busting her ass putting in fifty- and sixty-hour weeks.

God, how she hated them, pink slips, which shouldn’t be pink at all. They should be black like the hearts of the people who played favorites with other people’s livelihoods.

“Completely understandable,” he replied, nodding. “Now, getting to the reason I wanted to speak with you. I assume you’ve heard of Sahara, right? She’s a singer. Won several Grammys. I believe she’s recently gotten into acting. Really a lovely young woman.”

Have I ever heard of her?

Almost everyone on planet Earth had heard of Sahara, and she wasn’t just some wannabe actress. Her first role garnered her an Oscar nod. Not too shabby for a small-town girl from New Jersey, who bore such a striking resemblance to Aaliyah, some people in the music industry called her Baby Girl. Rumor had it she hated the name with the fires of a thousand suns. If true, Kennedy didn’t blame her.

She’s a woman. Call her by her stage name, dammit!

Ironically, her real name was Whitney Richardson, a name she decided not to use professionally, fearing it would invite certain comparisons. One Black superstar singer named Whitney was enough.

“That’s a pretty sound assumption.” Especially since her songs were on heavy rotation on every major radio station in almost every major city in the country. “She’s very popular.”

Popular was an understatement. Sahara was huge. As big as Beyoncé but with first-rate acting chops. And her social media game was, bar none, the best Kennedy had ever seen. Her fans called themselves the Desert Stormers and congregated at OASIS, an online community, to discuss everything Sahara. And God forbid anyone say one bad word about their Desert Queen, they went after them guns blazing.

“I had a feeling you would,” he said with a smugness Kennedy found hard to fathom. It wasn’t as if he’d discovered Jimmy Hoffa’s remains or the identity of Jack the Ripper. “Well, this afternoon we are going to have the pleasure of her company. She and her representatives will be meeting with our executive team.”

“That’s…wonderful.” She didn’t know what he expected her to say. Was he looking for tips on how to interact with young Black women and assumed she was an expert on the subject? Should she tell him she hadn’t yet read this month’s issue of The Secret Guide to the Black Female Mind?

His expression became earnest as he leaned forward, bringing his face closer to hers. “The CEO of the company would like you to attend.”

Her jaw dropped. A sound escaped from her suddenly dry throat.

Okay, that she hadn’t seen coming.

She reflexively convinced herself he couldn’t have meant what she thought he did, since she was certain she’d heard him correctly.

“Do you mean attend the meeting? With Sahara?” She needed to make sure they were reading from the same hymnal.

His mouth twitched. “Yes.”

Her fingers curled around her purse strap. “Why would Mr. Edwards want me there?” She was a temp. How did the CEO of the company know who she was? Or that she even existed? She only knew his name because it was at the top of the company directory. She couldn’t say for sure she’d actually seen him in the flesh, and if she had, he certainly hadn’t introduced himself.

“Well, you see, Kennedy, I believe the collective thought was that you represent exactly the type of young woman Sahara will be targeting with her clothing line, and having you in the meeting would make her…more comfortable. Put her at ease.”

Ah, yes. She got it, all right. As clear as glass.

“I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean. What type of woman is that?” she asked, all wide-eyed and guileless.

Surely, he meant intelligent, professional, ambitious, and highly educated?

Yeah, right.

The crests of his cheeks reddened, but he was stalwart in his determination to hold her gaze. “Well, you’re a beautiful young woman with an obvious eye for fashion, and her line hopes to encompass all aspects of work, life, and play.”

Nice save, bub. But not good enough.

“And the fact that I’m Black didn’t have anything to do with the decision? Not even a little?” she coaxed, doubting anyone had ever taken him to task on the subject of race this directly, if at all.

His Adam’s apple bobbed. “Well, yes, there is that too.” No, there was no too—that was the whole of it.

Suddenly, his expression turned apprehensive. “I hope that didn’t offend you. With this whole #MeToo movement, I’m not sure if I just crossed the line. Am I still allowed to compliment you on your looks?”

Oh dear lord, shoot me now.

Did this man not interact with any women in a professional capacity? A sensitivity class or four wouldn’t go awry at this company.

“No, I’m not offended.” At work, she generally took such compliments in stride. As long as they weren’t accompanied by a suggestive leer and a hotel room key card pressed into her palm during a handshake. True story. That had actually happened.

“Things have changed so much lately, sometimes it’s best to ask, or the next thing you know… Well, who knows what will happen,” he finished, flashing her an awkward smile.

“Anyway,” Kennedy said, eager to get back to the subject at hand, “about the meeting. As much as it would be a thrill to meet her, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with that. I don’t know very much about the inner workings of the company. I’m probably not the right person—”

But Mr. Mullins was having none of that, bulldozing her objections with, “For your additional responsibilities, you’ll receive five thousand dollars.”

Kennedy had to steel herself from physically reacting. On the inside, however, it was nothing but fits of jubilation. Cartwheels and back handsprings that would make the women’s Olympic gymnastics team proud.

Five thousand dollars! Found money, all of it. And to think of how happy she’d been last month when she found a twenty between the cushions of her sofa and last year when she’d discovered a ten spot in the pocket of an old pair of jeans.

Careful to calibrate her response, she began slowly, “That is—”

“No, no, my mistake,” Mr. Mullins interjected again, his eyes darting from her face to the paper in front of him, which he proceeded to tap repeatedly with his finger. “I meant seventy-five hundred. An additional seventy-five hundred.”

Kennedy sat there utterly gobsmacked. “Mr. Mullins—” “Ten thousand.”

Another minute and Kennedy was certain the strain in his voice would give way to full-blown panic.

Ten thousand dollars for one meeting? Oh my god, that’s wild.

But the best kind.

With dollar signs flashing like a bright neon sign in her mind, she smiled. “What time should I be there?”

Excerpt from Token by Beverley Kendall.
Copyright © 2023 by Beverly Kendall.
Published with permission from Graydon House/HarperCollins
All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Beverley Kendall author photo: headshot photograph of a Black female with straightened shoulder-length dark brown hair, wearing a pink button-down blouse.
Author Beverley Kendall

BEVERLEY KENDALL published her first novel in 2010, a historical romance with Kensington. She has since published over ten contemporary and historical romances. She also manages the romance review blog, Smitten by Books (smittenbybooks.com). Bev now writes full-time while raising her son as a single mother. Both dual citizens of the U.S. and Canada, they currently call Atlanta home.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Website
This book showcase and excerpt brought to you by Graydon House/HarperCollins

 

Guest Post: Heather Day Gilbert – ROAST DATE

Good day, book people. For those of you in the US experiencing the recent Arctic blast and Snowmaggedon, I hope you’re all staying safe, dry, and warm. In my little corner of West Virginia, we’re not expected to get much snow (please don’t let us get snow), but we are expecting frigid temperatures and a possible ice storm. (Something tells me this could be a good day to curl up in my reading chair, fix a pot of oolong tea, and grab a book or two and read the day away.) I’m incredibly pleased and honored to welcome Heather Day Gilbert, a fellow West Virginian and author of the Barks & Beans Cafe series including the latest release, Roast Date. Ms. Gilbert will be discussing her fictional cafe with us. So grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s learn more about the Barks & Beans Cafe. Thank you, Ms. Gilbert, for taking the time to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Guest Post graphic featuring a stack of books above the words GUEST POST in a scripted font

Thanks for letting me visit your blog today! Since my Barks & Beans Cafe series features a cafe where folks can enjoy gourmet sandwiches and drinks while petting shelter dogs, I thought I’d give you the top five foods/drinks you’ll find in Roast Date, a Christmas-set mystery! Trust me, I have so much fun finding special tastes of the season. If you want to see more ideas, you can find all my Barks & Beans cafe Pinterest boards here.

Top Five Specialty Foods/Drinks you’ll find in Roast Date:

1. A cafe isn’t complete without its own special house blend coffee, and at the Barks & Beans Cafe, it comes from Costa Rica. It’s a fresh, cozy blend with citrus and brown sugar notes, and you’ll find amateur sleuth Macy Hatfield is selling some at the Christmas book club party in Roast Date!

2. Cafe baker and barista Charity keeps busy concocting new foods for Barks & Beans Cafe customers. Her latest hit are chocolate peppermint patty cookies, which go in gift baskets for the book club!

3. A vegetarian cafe visitor will try Charity’s delicious eggplant pesto sandwich before she leaves.

4. Homemade sweet & spicy meatballs. Macy’s neighbor Vera serves these at her ill-fated book club Christmas party.

5. Cinnamon eggnog and gingerbread cookies—Vera’s made these for the party, but her eggnog is about to get a very bad rap. You’ll have to read Roast Date to find out what happens!

Thanks so much for having me today, and happy holidays to all! ♦

Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)
by Heather Day Gilbert

About Roast Date


Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)

BOOK SEVEN in the bestselling BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

After much cajoling, Macy gives in to her neighbor, Vera, and agrees to come to her book club’s Christmas party so she can share about the cafe. While public speaking isn’t Macy’s thing, she wants to brighten Vera’s lonely holiday season…and she can sell a little house blend on the side.

When a lively book discussion spirals into a public roast of the mayor—who happens to be sitting in their midst—things get uncomfortable. Soon afterward, the mayor shows up dead in Vera’s bathroom, and no amount of gingerbread cookies or eggnog can restore Vera to the club’s good graces. ‘Tis the season for Macy to find the murderer, or else Vera might be taking a long winter’s nap in a jail cell.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade
Book 4: Spilled Milk
Book 5: Trouble Brewing
Book 6: Cold Drip
Book 7: Roast Date

Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – West Virginia
WoodHaven Press (December 20, 2022)
Number of Pages ~250
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Z8NYHX9 (Kindle edition)
ISBN : 9781735565194 (Paperback)

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Amazon | Amazon Kindle

About Heather Day Gilbert

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Author Links
Webpage: https://heatherdaygilbert.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherdaygilbert/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/heatherdgilbert
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-day-gilbert
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7232683.Heather_Day_Gilbert

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
December 20 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 20 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 20 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 20 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
December 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
December 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 21 – Lady Hawkeye – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 22 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
December 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
December 23 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
December 23 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 23 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

Giveaway

This is a giveaway hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for Heather Day Gilbert. See the Rafflecopter widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: SOMEONE HAD TO DO IT by Amber and Danielle Brown

SOMEONE HAD TO DO IT by Amber and Danielle Brown cover featuring a head shot of a Black female model-type

Someone Had to Do It by Amber and Danielle Brown
ISBN: 9781525899966 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780369720511 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488215254 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9798212016902 (MP3 audiobook CD)
ASIN: B09VYGRQ7H (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09P1MW165 (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 352
Release Date: December 27, 2022
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Thriller

SOMEONE HAD TO MAKE HIM PAY. SOMEONE HAD TO TAKE HER DOWN.

Brandi Maxwell is living the dream as an intern at prestigious New York fashion house Simon Van Doren. Except “living the dream” looks more like scrubbing puke from couture dresses worn by hard-partying models and putting up with microaggressions from her white colleagues. Still, she can’t help but fangirl over Simon’s it-girl daughter, Taylor. Until one night, at a glamorous Van Doren party, when Brandi overhears something she shouldn’t have, and her fate becomes dangerously intertwined with Taylor’s.

Model and influencer Taylor Van Doren has everything…and is this close to losing it all. Her fashion mogul father will donate her inheritance to charity if she fails her next drug test, and he’s about to marry someone nearly as young as Taylor, further threatening her stake in the family fortune. But Taylor deserves the money that’s rightfully hers. And she’ll go to any lengths to get it, even if that means sacrificing her famous father in the process.

All she needs is the perfect person to take the fall…

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | B&N Audiobook | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Downpour Audiobook on CD | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Target

Praise for Someone Had to Do It:

“A disturbing peek into the world of privilege. Someone Had to Do It is a tense page-turner that had me yelling out loud at the characters.” —Lucinda Berry, bestselling author of The Best of Friends and The Perfect Child

“Amber and Danielle Brown’s debut is a juicy, brilliant treat of a thriller that combines sexy fashion-world glamour with salient points about privilege, racism, and the corrosive effects of extreme wealth. Somehow, Someone Had to Do It manages to be both a scathing critique of our late-stage capitalist hellscape, and the perfect mental escape from it. I couldn’t put it down!” —Layne Fargo, author of They Never Learn

Someone Had to Do It has everything. A dark and riveting page turner that has the allure of pulling off the perfect crime with an intelligent twist.” —Nadine Matheson, author of The Jigsaw Man and The Binding Room

Read an Excerpt:

BRANDI

I had a ton of illusions, vivid fantasies of what it would be like to score a coveted internship at Van Doren. Deluded old me thought I would be strutting around the stunning tri-story headquarters in single-soled heels, flitting from design concept meetings to on-location photo shoots, living my best fashion-girl life. Instead, I’m in the back corner of the two-thousand-square-foot ready-to-wear samples closet scrubbing fresh vomit from a slinky gown worth double my rent during my lunch hour.

Italian Vogue‘s current cover girl borrowed the hand-sewn dress for a red-carpet event last night, and apparently getting it back on a rack without ruining it was too much for one of the other interns to handle. She was so hungover when she came to the office this morning that she vomited all over the dress before making it out of the elevator. But of course this dress needs to be ready for another model to wear to some big extravaganza tonight, and since I’m the designated fuckover intern, I have to clean it by hand because the satin-blend fabric is too delicate to be dry-cleaned.

This is what it takes.

I chant this to remind myself why I’m here as the lactic acid builds up in my biceps. Working for Van Doren has been on my proverbial vision board ever since I reluctantly gave up the idea, in middle school, that I could be Beyoncé. It’s a storm of hauling hundreds of pounds of runway samples around the city and sitting in on meetings with the sketch artists. A glorious, next-to-holy experience when I’m on duty at photo shoots and one of the stylists sends me to fetch another blazer, not a specific blazer, which means I get to use my own vestiary inclinations to make the selection. Which has only happened once, but still.

Just as I get the stain faded by at least seventy percent, I hear the sharp staccato of someone in stilettos approaching. I turn around and see Lexi. Lexi with her bimonthly touched-up white-blond hair and generous lip filler that she’ll never admit to having injected. When she steps closer in her head-to-toe Reformation, I am grateful that I remembered to put on a few sprays of my Gypsy Water perfume. The one that smells like rich people. But the way she’s staring at me right now, it’s clear that no matter how much I try, I am still not on her level. I do not fit in here. She does not see me as her equal, despite the fact that we are both unpaid, unknown, disposable interns. It’s become glaringly obvious that at Van Doren, it’s not actually about what you contribute, but more about how blue your blood is. Lexi doesn’t even know my name, though I’ve been here a solid nine weeks and I’m pretty sure I’ve told her at least a dozen times.

I’m already on edge because of my assignment, so I jump in before she can ask in her monotone voice. “Brandi.”

“Right,” she says, like she does every time yet still forgets. “Chloé wants the Instagram analytics report for last week. She said she asked you to put it together an hour ago.”

Which is true, but completely unfair since Jenna from marketing also asked me to run to Starbucks to buy thirty-one-ounce cups of liquid crack for her and her entire department for a 9:00 a.m. meeting, an effort that took three trips total, and technically I’m still working on the data sheets I promised Eric from product development. Not to mention the obvious: getting rid of the puke from the dress.

“I’m still working on it,” I tell her.

Lexi stares at me, her overly filled brows lifted, as if she’s waiting for the rest of my excuse. I understand her, but also I’m wondering how she still hasn’t realized this is not a case of Resting Bitch Face I have going on, that I am actually intolerant of her nagging.

Normally, I am not this terse. But nothing about today has been normal. Since this week is my period week, I’m retaining water in the most unflattering of places and the pencil dress I’m wearing has been cutting off the circulation in my thighs for the past couple of hours, and being that I’ve spent most of my break destroying the evidence of someone else’s bad decisions, it is not my fault that I’m not handling this particularly well.

“I’ll send it over as soon as I’m done,” I say to Lexi so she can leave. But she doesn’t.

“HR wants to see you,” she says with what looks like a smirk.

My mouth opens. I have no idea what HR could want, and although I’m still new to this employee thing, I know this can’t be good.

“Like, now,” Lexi barks and pivots away in her strappy, open-toe stilts.

I hang the sample next to the door, and before I leave the room I pause to briefly take in the rest of the dresses stuffed on the racks, each one in that chic, elevated aesthetic that is the cornerstone of Van Doren. This is my favorite part of the day, the chaotic nature of this room a little overwhelming but also inspiring, and I can’t wait for the day that this is my world, not just one I’m peeking my head into. A world in which I command respect.

I cross through the merchandising department, where everyone has their own private office with aerial views of Hell’s Kitchen, Soho and the Garment District, and then move through the maze of the sprawling suite in a mild sort of panic until I remind myself that I have done nothing wrong. Ever since spring semester ended, I’ve been putting in more hours than the sun. I slip in at six-thirty when the building is dark and vaguely ominous, my eyes still puffy with sleep, and when I finally drag myself into the elevator at the end of the day, it’s just as black and quiet outside. I religiously show up in current-season heels despite the blisters, albeit mass-produced renditions of the Fendi, Balenciaga and Bottega Venetas the other summer interns casually strut around in, and mostly stick to myself. I am careful about raising my voice, even if I vehemently disagree with my neurotic supervisor. I keep my tongue as puritanical as a nun’s, even when fucking incel or coddled narcissistic bitch are on the tip of it. I’m not rude or combative. I stay away from gossip. I complete all my tasks with time to spare, which is usually when I check Twitter and help out some of the other interns, even though I’d rather FaceTime Nate in the upstairs bathroom with the magical lighting. I even entertain the gang of sartorially inclined Amy Coopers in the making who insist on obnoxiously complaining to me about all of their first-world, one-percenter problems. I’ve done nothing but consistently given them reasons to think I am a capable, qualified, talented intern who would make an exceptional employee.

I have nothing to worry about.

When I knock on the door to Lauren’s office, she looks up from her desk and waves me in through the glass. I have a feeling this will not go my way when I see that my supervisor, Chloé, one of the more amiable assistants, is also here, fiddling with her six-carat engagement ring in the corner and avoiding eye contact.

“Have a seat, Brandi,” Lauren says, and I tell myself to ignore that her bright pink lipstick extends above her lip on one side.

There is no small talk. No hello or how’s it going? Under alternate circumstances, I would feel slighted, but because I’m growing more anxious by the second, I’m grateful for her smugness.

As I sit down, Chloé shifts in her chair, and I speak before she can. “I’m sorry. The Instagram report is at the top of my task list. I’ll definitely have it to you before I leave today. I just—”

“That’s not why you’re here, Brandi,” Lauren interjects.

“Oh.” I pause, and as she glances down at her notes, I try to make meaningful eye contact with my supervisor, but she is still actively dodging my eyes.

Lauren begins by throwing out a few compliments. My work ethic is admirable and I have great attention to detail, she says, and the whole time my heart is pounding so loud, I can barely make out most of her words. Chloé jumps in to effusively agree, then Lauren finally stops beating around the bush and looks me directly in the eyes.

“We just don’t feel like you’re fitting into the culture here at Van Doren.”

Every word feels like a backhanded slap across the face, the kind that twists your neck and makes the world go still and white for a few disconcerting moments, like an orgasm but not like an orgasm. It’s obvious what they mean, yet can’t quite bring themselves to say.

They just don’t like that I’m black.

They don’t like the way I wear my braids—long and unapologetic, grazing my hips like a Nubian mermaid.

They don’t like that I’m not the smile-and-nod type, willing to assimilate to their idea of what I should be, how I should act.

Culture.

That’s their code for we-can’t-handle-your-individuality-but-since-we-don’t-want-to-seem-racist-we’ll-invent-this-little-loophole.

Black plus exceptional equals threat.

“If we don’t see any improvement in the coming weeks, we’re going to have to let you go,” Lauren says with no irony, her mouth easing into a synthetic smile.

I blink. I cannot believe this is happening right now. It wasn’t supposed to go like this, my internship at Van Doren, the one fashion company whose ethics align with mine. I wasn’t just blowing smoke up Lauren’s ass when I interviewed for this job, though I was looking at her sideways, wondering why she had not a stitch of Van Doren on. I’d splurged on a single-shouldered jumpsuit from this year’s spring collection that I couldn’t really afford just to impress her, while she hadn’t even felt the need to represent the brand at all as she shot out all those futile questions interviewers love propelling at candidates, I’m convinced, just to see them squirm. Even minuscule amounts of power can be dangerous.

This is bullshit, being put on probation, and I’d give anything to have the balls to call them on it. As I sit here paralyzed, Lauren’s words reverberate in my head and I rebuke them, want to suffocate and bury them.

Excerpt from Someone Had to Do It by Amber and Danielle Brown.
Copyright © 2022 by Amber and Danielle Brown.
Published by arrangement with Graydon House/HarperCollins
All rights reserved.

Meet the Authors

Authors Amber and Danielle Brown; two Black women wearing long box braids and black tops

 

AMBER and DANIELLE BROWN both graduated from Rider University where they studied Communications/Journalism and sat on the editorial staff for the On Fire!! literary journal. They then pursued a career in fashion and spent five years in NYC working their way up, eventually managing their own popular fashion and lifestyle blog. Amber is also a screenwriter, so they live in LA, which works out perfectly so Danielle can spoil her plant babies with copious amounts of sunshine.

Connect with the authors via: Instagram | Amber’s Twitter | Danielle’s Twitter | Website
This book showcase and excerpt brought to you by Graydon House 

 

Guest Post: Kelly Oliver – CHAOS AT CARNEGIE

Good day, book people. Most of you are probably aware that I have an eclectic reading style. Although I read mostly fiction, I’m not tethered to just one genre. I read a little bit of everything. I’m especially in awe of authors of historical fiction. Stop and think about it folks, these authors have to do quite a bit of research to ensure they’re describing the clothing, customs, and language accurately. Yes, any author can use creative license when crafting their stories, but we readers generally don’t expect to see a reference to a telephone or television if the story is set in the 18th or 19th century. Please help me welcome Kelly Oliver, author of Chaos at Carnegie. Ms. Oliver will discuss her thoughts on some important considerations about crafting historical fiction. Thank you, Ms. Oliver, for joining us today and welcome. As a reader of historical and contemporary fiction, I’m looking forward to what you have to share with us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Guest Post graphic featuring a stack of books above the words GUEST POST in a scripted font

Do you like historical mysteries?

I do. I love reading historical mysteries—Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs, Rhys Bowen’s Georgiana Rannoch (and her standalones), Sujata Massey’s Perveen Mistry, and Mariah Frederick’s Jane Prescott, L.A. Chandler’s Lane Sanders and more.

I also love writing historical mysteries. I’ve written nonfiction books, contemporary suspense, and children’s mysteries, but my historical series, the Fiona Figg Mysteries, is my favorite to write. Why?

I love doing historical research. It is so fun to discover weird details about the past. And it is helpful to have real events to anchor the plot. For me, it makes writing easier. And I think readers are more interested in characters who are grounded in real-life events and true crime.

I’ve learned a lot about writing since I started writing fiction. But there are some particular lessons I’ve learned from writing historical mysteries.

Historical Details Shape Plot and Setting

I love the fact that the details of history can help shape not only my plot but also the everyday lives of my protagonists. It’s like having a cheat sheet.

The challenge, of course, is getting it right. And not just being accurate but also finding the right balance between historical details and story.

History can play so many roles in the novel, from those spicy tidbits sprinkled throughout the text, to the rich tapestry of everyday life that forms the background or setting for your story.

Since the Fiona Figg Mysteries are set in 1917 during WWI, I’ve learned about war strategy, early twentieth-century British slang, what soldiers ate in the trenches, WWI female spies, and so many fun details.

Fiona’s nemesis throughout the series, Fredrick Fredricks, is based on a German spy named Fritz Duquesne, who was a fascinating character in real life. He was a spy for the Germans in both world wars (which means Fiona can chase him across the globe for years to come). He used various aliases, including Fredrick Fredricks. And, like a chameleon, he changed his looks, personality, and professions to evade capture. He is definitely a worthy adversary for Fiona.

Historical Research is Fun

As a nerdy academic, I love doing the research! It’s so fun to look through old newspaper advertisements or to use William Brohaugh’s English Through the Ages, Etymonline, or an old Baedeker’s guidebook. So fun to hold those antique books in your hands.

Of course, the Internet is a vast source of information about everything from the food and clothes of an era to the political events that shaped it. It’s amazing where you can find helpful information, especially stuff to help you paint a vivid picture of the details. First-hand accounts in documentaries, autobiographies, and nonfiction are also great resources.

In the latest Fiona Figg Mystery, Chaos at Carnegie Hall, Thomas Edison, Dorothy Parker, and Margaret Sanger make appearances.

In the past, I’ve resurrected Mata Hari, Mileva Einstein (Albert’s first wife and collaborator), and a mysterious French serial killer.

For the next in the series, I’m researching French aviator and sportswoman, Marie Marvingt. I love reading about powerful women who may have been forgotten by history.

Anachronisms are Fascinating

Even the dreaded anachronism can be fascinating. What words and gadgets existed and when? Anachronisms are things or words used in the wrong time period, either because they didn’t exist yet, or because they were already out of use. There’s also the issue of region or place.

Words used here might not be used there, even in the same time period. For example, in the US we say “cafeteria” and in England they say “canteen.”

And on top of that, some words or things might feel out of place, even if they aren’t. Even though it would be fair game to use a phrase like “hang out” in a 19th Century novel, it might make your reader stop and question its accuracy. So, you need to use words that not only are right but also sound like they’re right.

Facts versus Truth

It might sound like writing historical fiction is full of landmines and pitfalls, but those same challenges and obstacles can become a great help in fashioning a believable and engaging story. And, while emotions and reactions are also period and place-dependent, a good historical novel adds the fleshy truth of experience to the bare bones of historical fact. A great historical novel makes people, places, and the past come alive.

How about you? What are your favorite historical novels? ♦

Chaos at Carnegie Hall

by Kelly Oliver

December 5 – 30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Oliver

Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in the Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane Mystery series opener.

Can Fiona catch a killer and find a decent cup of tea before her mustache wax melts?

1917. New York.

Notorious spy, Fredrick Fredricks, has invited Fiona to Carnegie Hall to hear a famous soprano. It’s an opportunity the War Office can’t turn down. Fiona and Clifford are soon on their way, but not before Fiona is saddled with chaperone duties for Captain Hall’s niece. Is Fiona a spy or a glorified babysitter?

From the minute Fiona meets the soprano aboard the RMS Adriatic it’s treble on the high C’s. Fiona sees something—or someone—thrown overboard, and then she overhears a chemist plotting in German with one of her own countrymen!

And the trouble doesn’t stop when they disembark. Soon Fiona is doing time with a group of suffragettes and investigating America’s most impressive inventor Thomas Edison.

When her number one suspect turns up dead at the opera and Fredrick Fredricks is caught red-handed, it looks like it’s finally curtains for the notorious spy.

But all the evidence points to his innocence. Will Fiona change her tune and clear her nemesis’ name? Or will she do her duty? And just what is she going to do with the pesky Kitty Lane? Not to mention swoon-worthy Archie Somersby…

If Fiona’s going to come out on top, she’s going to have to make the most difficult decision of her life: the choice between her head and her heart.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Cozy Mystery
Published by: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: November 2022
Number of Pages: 298
ISBN: 9781804831564
Series: The Fiona Figg Mysteries
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Kelly Oliver

Kelly Oliver is the award-winning and bestselling author of three mystery series: the seven-book suspense series, The Jessica James Mysteries; the three-book middle grade series, Pet Detective Mysteries; and the four-book historical cozy series, The Fiona Figg Mysteries.

Chaos at Carnegie Hall is the latest Fiona Figg mystery, and the first to feature sidekick, Kitty Lane.

When she’s not writing novels, Kelly is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

To learn more about Kelly and her books, go to:
www.KellyOliverBooks.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @KellyOliverBook
Instagram – @KellyOliverBook
Twitter – @KellyOliverBook
Facebook – @KellyOliverAuthor

Tour Participants:

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

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Guest Post: Adam Sikes – LANDSLIDE

Good day, book people. I’ve learned that some readers appreciate gaining insight into authors and their “writing process.” Every author, from those just starting out to those with years of writing and publishing experience, seems to have a writing routine or process. Some of these routines seem very similar, such as writing in the morning and having a favorite beverage on hand, and others are quite unique, writing in longhand with a specific type of writing instrument. I enjoy learning about them all and am very pleased to welcome Adam Sikes, author of Landslide, to the blog today. Mr. Sikes will be answering the question “what is your writing process?” for us. I hope you’ll enjoy the information he’s sharing, follow the blog tour to learn more about this author and his book, and grab a copy of Landslide to read. Thank you, Mr. Sikes, for taking the time to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

What is your writing process?

The “writing process” is something I didn’t understand until I started doing it. I had to learn my process over time and, in truth, it took a few years.

Although I just recently started writing fiction seriously in the past ten years, I’ve always considered myself a writer. I remember in junior high trying to outline a techno-thriller along the lines of Tom Clancy. When I was in high school, I recall enjoying writing historical research papers, which I then continued in college and during graduate school. With the CIA, writing was a part of my daily experience. And even while in the Marine Corps and special operations, I wrote.

When I began writing novels, however, I approached and experienced writing differently. I found the process of thinking about a subject, outlining the story, and then writing the narrative to be insufficient. My writing was flat, lacking the kinds of sentences and word use that I so enjoyed from other writers, and as one editor called my dialogue, it was “wooden.”

Consequently, in addition to seeking out education and training to improve my craft, I engaged in self-reflection to understand how I produced my best work. This led me to a multi-step process that allowed me to think through single scenes as well as plotting an entire book, honing my writing to engage the reader, keep them turning the pages, and feel connected to the characters.

  • Running: I found that movement stimulates my creativity and when I went running, I was able to think through the various aspects of a plot, a character’s personality, and especially tough scenes I felt stuck on.
    Notebooks: I handwrite every scene in a Moleskine notebook using a form of shorthand. I write fast and small, trying to keep the scene flowing and not getting hung up on precise language. I also use a handmade pen given to me by my brother, a woodworker and craftsman. This pen is very dear to me and physically connects me to the pages and my writing.
    Typing 1 of 2: After I handwrite a scene, I then type it in Word, double-spaced, font Garamond 12. This initial typed scene is raw and barebones.
    Typing 2 of 2: Now that I have the scene on the computer, I go back through slowly, adding the “meat” to the story, being precise about words and phrasing, and endeavoring to flesh out the narrative.
    Read Aloud and Type: In the final stage before entering the editing process, I try to write in the morning and read aloud as I go through the scene once more, listening to how the words and phrases sound and editing grammar and punctuation to achieve the desired effects.

This process works well for me and gives me confidence that even if my first run-through seems weak, as I perform each step, the writing gets stronger and better. On the other hand, I am also able to see when a scene or piece of writing isn’t working. If that happens, I don’t hesitate to start over. I find it better to start from scratch rather than continually trying to force a scene to work.

And finally, I always have a cup of coffee or tea with me when writing. Even if it just sits there and goes cold—it’s there.

Landslide

by Adam Sikes

November 14 – December 9, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Landslide by Adam Sikes

 

International Arms—Private Military Companies—Corruption at Every Turn

U.S. Marine veteran Mason Hackett moved to London to start his life over, and he’s done his best to convince himself that what happened fifteen years ago doesn’t matter—the people he killed, the men he lost, the lives he ruined. But when Mason sees the face of a dead friend flash on a television screen and then receives a mysterious email referencing a CIA operation gone bad, he can no longer ignore his inner demons.

Driven by loyalty and a need to uncover the truth, Mason launches on a perilous journey from the Czech Republic to Romania toward the war-torn separatist region in eastern Ukraine to honor a fifteen-year-old promise. The answers he seeks—the fate of a friend and his connection to the underworld of international arms dealers and defense corporations—throw Mason into the cauldron of a covert war where no one can be trusted.

Praise for Landslide:

“Sikes imbues the emotionally complex Mason with a palpable sense of grief. Readers will look forward to his further adventures.”

Publishers Weekly

 

Landslide is not only a gripping geo-political thriller, but a morally-complex tale. It grapples with fraught questions of both individual and national loyalty as well as killing and the grim realities of war. I read this book over the course of two-white knuckled days that I won’t soon forget. Adam Sikes is a huge talent.”

Elliot Ackerman, New York Times best-selling author

 

“Adam Sikes is the consummate storyteller. What a fast-moving train Landslide is, a real rollercoaster of a ride, gripping, emotional and thought-provoking. I enjoyed every thrilling second. This is good stuff!”

J. Randy Taraborrelli, New York Times best-selling author

 

“A gem of a read with mach-speed mayhem, loaded with rich detail from a writer who knows what he’s talking about.”

Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author

 

“With an irresistible hook that grabs you from the get-go, Landslide is an action-packed, nonstop espionage thrill ride that will keep you furiously turning the pages. Marine Corps veteran and former intelligence officer Adam Sikes delivers a fast-paced, gritty, supercharged read.”

Andrew Kaplan, New York Times best-selling author

 

Landslide is a seismic quake of an international, high-stakes thriller in the grand tradition of Daniel Silva, Brad Thor, and Brad Taylor. Adam Sikes has penned a seminal effort that’s bracingly effective in its portrayal of current geopolitical dynamics through the eyes of former Marine, and current expatriate, Mason Hackett. A terrific tapestry of a tale with the kind of stitching that would make the likes of Alistair MacLean and Frederick Forsyth take notice.”

Jon Land, USA Today best-selling author

Book Details:

Genre: Spy Thriller
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: September 2022
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781608095049 (ISBN10: 1608095045)
Series: A Mason Hackett Espionage Thriller, #1
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Oceanview Publishing

Author Bio:

Adam Sikes

Adam Sikes is a novelist and freelance writer. He is a graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in International Politics and a Masters in History. Prior to taking up the pen, he served in the US Marine Corps with combat tours in the Balkans, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Following the Marines, Adam joined the CIA and conducted operations in Central Asia, East Africa, and Europe. He is the author of the international thriller Landslide and is the co-author of Open Skies: My Life as Afghanistan’s First Female Pilot. He lives in Southern California.

Catch Up With Adam Sikes:
www.AdamSikes.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @sikesar
Instagram – @Adam_R_Sikes
Twitter – @Adam_R_Sikes

Tour Participants:

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

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GIVEAWAY:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Adam Sikes. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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Book Spotlight: THE URBAN BOYS: DISCOVERY OF THE FIVE SENSES by K.N. Smith

 

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses
by K.N. Smith

 

About Discovery of the Five Senses


Discovery of the Five Senses

A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory superpowers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, can the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

Young Adult Action-Adventure, Young Adult
Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/ Thriller
1st in The Urban Boys Series
Reading age ‏ : ‎ 13 – 18 years
Two Petals Publishing (9/15/21 2nd edition)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0989474755
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 9780989474757
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B015ZS01MI

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Amazon | Amazon Kindle || Universal Book Link (UBL): https://books2read.com/knsmith

About K.N. Smith

K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, and a Readers’ Favorite “Gold Medal” honoree for “Young Adult – Mystery,” is an author and passionate advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. Her lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist and grind through action-adventure and urban fantasy in edge-of-your-seat narratives. K.N. has over twenty-five years experience in communications and creative design as an award-winning consultant. Reading is still her foremost hobby. K.N. inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. Visit K.N. Smith at www.knsmith.com.

Social Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorknsmith
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/knsmith_author/

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 16 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
November 17 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
November 18 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
November 20 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 21 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT
November 22 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
November 23 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – THANKSGIVING
November 25 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
November 26 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
November 27 – Books Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
November 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

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Guest Post: Emma Dakin – DANGER IN EDINBURGH

DANGER IN EDINBURGH by Emma Dakin blog tour banner with book cover featuring an Edinburgh street looking uphill on the left, author Emma Dakin on the upper right corner (white older female with short grayish-blonde hair)

Hello, book people. Have you ever read a book and wondered “what in the world are they thinking?” about a character. Some characters are so fully fleshed out that they seem like real people we might actually know and we become invested in their lives and actions. We want to advise them, caution them, or scold them. There are numerous characters, some appearing in fiction series, that I feel I’ve gotten to know simply because they evolve over the series and I feel I know them better and understand their actions. If you’ve ever wanted to jump into the head of a character, today’s your lucky day. Please help me welcome Emma Dakin, author of Danger in Edinburgh, part of the British Book Tour Mystery series. Ms. Dakin will be providing us with some insight into the thinking of one of her featured characters. Sit back, grab a favorite beverage, and let’s learn a bit more about Jaswinder Patal. Thank you, Ms. Dakin, for joining us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you

Character from the book: Jaswinder Patal
by Emma Dakin

Does every mother look at her fifteen-year-old and wonder who she is? Fiona used to be a quiet, wee girl. What happened? Ms. Barclay, the tour guide who has guests with us caught her sneaking through the window into our guest last night. What will she think of me? What will she think of Fiona? It’s right gey as they say here in Scotland. Scary. There’s a killer about and Fiona thinks somehow she will not be attacked. Yes, Scotland is usually safe but not right now.

My husband Wally and I left the Punjab when we were twenty-two. We had some family money and bought The Royal Stewart here on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh. It’s been a good business: I cook the breakfasts and supervise the cleaning staff. Wally does all repairs and looks after the guests. Fiona used to help in the kitchen but she is busy with her schoolwork and now her skateboarding. Skateboarding? What kind of nonsense is that? She tells me I’m old-fashioned.

“You aren’t Scottish enough,” she said. “You don’t even sound Scottish.”

“I speak English.” I learned English in India. I understand it and speak it.

“You sound funny like you’re singing English.”

I didn’t know I sounded odd. It was discouraging.

One of the guests, Dr. Ferguson, a guest from Texas and on Claire Barclay’s tour, heard Fiona tell me that and was very kind.

“Most fifteen-year-olds criticize their parents,” she said. She is a doctor, a psychologist so I listened. “If you are loving and supportive of her, she’ll get some wisdom and be easier to live with soon, I promise.”

“Just accept it?”

“No, you have to set boundaries to keep her safe.”

That was the difficulty that Wally and I talked over many times. What rules do we insist she must follow and what are unreasonable? What will keep her safe? Safe was our goal right now because someone was targeting young women, university students, and killing them. Fiona must come in at night. This man, it must be a man, picks out lovely, hard-working students and somehow lures them off the path and kills them. Fiona is lovely and, I admit, hard-working. I worry.

Wally’s cousin, Derrick Hamilton, is a police inspector. He drops by to see us occasionally. I encourage him as I want the police to be seen to visit. He takes his breakfast at the Magpie Café next door. I would like to sit in the café and listen to what the customers are saying about the murderer. But I am too busy. Fiona says I’m blate but no, I am not shy, I am busy. Wally goes there and tells me what they say.

It’s not good what they say. Another murder. Ms. Barclay found a wee lass on the Dean’s Path. Truly, it was her dog, Gulliver who found her.

“A dog finds your dead daughter. That is clatty. Disgusting,” I said to my husband.

“Better a dog found her than nobody did,” Wally said.

“That’s true.”

But Dean’s path is close to here, far too close. I worry. ♦

Danger in Edinburgh (The British Book Tour Mysteries)
by Emma Dakin

About Danger in Edinburgh

Danger in Edinburgh (The British Book Tour Mysteries)

Claire Barclay, owner and tour guide of The British Mysteries Book Tours, leaves her house in Hampshire and her significant other, Mark Evans, puts her dog Gulliver into her van and heads off to Scotland for the start of a fortnight tour.

She expects to lead her guests to various literary sites where authors set their stories. She had just settled everyone into their luxurious Edinburgh hotel when, on a quick outing with Gulliver, she discovers a body. A young woman has been the victim of the serial killer who targets university students.

She calls Mark. But Mark, although a Detective Inspector of the Major Crimes Investigation Team, has no jurisdiction in Scotland. He can only sympathize and advise—and protest her involvement. Her guests meet for breakfast every morning at the Magpie Café where Claire finds characters who live or work nearby, including the local beat copper Sheila McKinnon and Detective Inspector Derrick Hamilton. Christopher, an accountant, brings his dog Suzy. Ryan, a neglected teen, slips in for free food and Bert Anderson, a middle-aged entrepreneur, cheerfully tries to interest everyone in investment schemes.

The waitress is Isla, a university student, who is researching a paper on psychopaths.

All the guests speculate on the murders and attract the attention of the inspector. Claire is frantic to protect her guests from police investigation. At the end of the tour, after she has put her charges safely on their respective planes and trains, Claire takes a last walk with Gulliver and meets one of the café regulars. She sees irrefutable evidence of murder and is so surprised that she betrays her knowledge and puts her own life in jeopardy.

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Camel Press; 1st edition (September 14, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 264 pages
ISBN10 ‏ : ‎ 1684920248
ISBN13 ‏ : ‎ 9781684920242
ISBN : 9780593098653 (eBook)
ISBN : 9781666111668 (Audiobook)
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09YMWP92G (Kindle edition)
ASIN : B0BKP6YWFL (Audible Audiobook)

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Kindle edition | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | Kobo eBook

About Emma Dakin

Author photo: Emma Dakin; smiling, white middle-aged female with short grayish-blonde hair wearing a dark blue button-down shirt.

Emma Dakin lives in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast of British. She has over twenty trade-published books, including a 2022 Award-winning memoir Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, but continues to enjoy writing The British Book Tour Mysteries. Her love of the British countryside and villages and her addiction to cozy mysteries keep her immersed in discovering the different cultures of the country and the different dialects. She gives us characters who live and work in those villages, isles, and cities. She introduces readers to the problems that disturb the idyllic setting. Research is essential to give the reader an authentic setting. It was necessary for Emma to sit in The Whiski Bar on The Royal Mile, to tour Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood, and to play her fiddle in the Tay Inn. A trip to the Highlands and the iconic isle of Iona were vital. When not writing or traveling, she paddles with her outrigger crew on the waters of the Pacific Coast and walks her dog who is much less obedient than Claire’s fictional Gulliver.

Author Links:

Webpage/Blog emmadakinauthor.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/emmadakinauthor/
Goodreads http://tiny.cc/ttk3az
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 14 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 15 – Mythical Books – AUTHOR GUEST POST
November 16 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, RECIPE
November 18 – The Editing Pen – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 19 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
November 20 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
November 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR GUEST POST
November 22 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 23 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – THANKSGIVING
November 25 – ebook addicts – REVIEW
November 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 27 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Tour Giveaway

This is a giveaway for one (1) of ten (10) digital copies of Danger in Edinburgh hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for Emma Dakin. Enter using the Rafflecopter link by clicking here. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Baer Charlton – SECRETS OF THE GOLD

Good day, my bookish peeps. I’m preparing for my winter hibernation by ordering a new bookish blanket and some loose-leaf oolong teas. I’m also trying to select from the 2000+ titles on my TBR list books to read over the next few months. Growing up, I could always be found in a corner somewhere reading a book. I usually attended my younger brothers’ football and baseball games and carried a book to read. Many of my younger brothers’ friends are shocked to learn that they have a sister until my brothers described me as the girl sitting in the bleachers reading a book or the girl in the corner with a book. Amazingly, most of these adults remembered “the girl with the book” from their childhood game-playing days. It’s kind of funny what we remember and what we end up associating with certain memories. Today’s guest is Baer Charlton, author of Secrets of the Gold, and he’ll be discussing his writing origin story and childhood memories. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and its author. Thank you, Mr. Charlton, for stopping by today, the blog is now all yours.

Banner with Guest Post in a script font under a line and with a stack of books over the word "guest"

When and why did you begin writing?

Stick with me here. This is about the mystery of the human spirit and condition.

I grew up a Forest Service brat. The youngest of four. The summer I was almost four, my brothers and sister had tied me out over a fire ant nest. I had swollen up like a beach ball enough to shred the hand-me-down shorts and t-shirt. The hospital was two hours away.

About halfway there, I had returned to normal size and was drowning in my father’s t-shirt and boxer shorts. I remember the day because mom bought me a new pair of shorts and t-shirt. New. For me. I’m sure I kept smelling the newness.

As we sat in the coffee shop, I realized the only time mom was ever alone and I wouldn’t have to compete with my siblings was when she was setting type or printing on her small printing press. So I asked her to teach me how to set type. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know how to read. Each letter is an icon. The combined icons make up the icon of a word. And so on and so on. By the time I was in kindergarten, I was picking my way through the books on the bottom shelves of my parent’s library. When I reread The Hunchback of Notre-Dame several years later, it was a different story, but just as captivating.

Setting type and then printing on a hand-operated printing press is tedious to mind-numbing. Five hundred business cards, one at a time, has you standing at the press for a long evening. Over the years, this produced thousands of hours of just my mother and I, quietly surrounded by the sound of the ka-chink-a-rattle, and the smell of ink. We talked about many things. Nothing was off the table. In either my life or hers.

But we also talked through stories. The notes mom wrote in a cribbed font on yellow three-by-five cards. The small stack eventually grew to a little more than an inch thick. It was bound in two printers’ rubber bands of vulcanized rubber, so they never break. One was red and the other blue.

A few years after she passed from cancer, my father handed me the stack, saying he was pretty sure she had wanted me to have it. I knew exactly what it was.

I took it home and placed it in the back of the top drawer of my new desk.

A few years later, I was cleaning out the desk for the new computer with a “real” hard drive. In the back of the top drawer, I found the old friend.

The red band came off the stack and right onto my left hand. The blue on the right hand. It was as automatic that day as it had been fifteen years before. I could hear the birds outside and smell the ink on the press, and what was left of the White Shoulders mom would dab judiciously behind her ears for church.

As I cracked open the packet, a tiny piece of yellow paper fell onto the floor. I stared at the single word hand-printed in Uncial Romana, our favorite font. I realized this word was the total of my inheritance. And the boot on my butt. The word “publish” wasn’t about the stack of stories, it was about the one I would tell on my own.

Three months later, Rider Magazine published the first of many stories and articles. It was a start. ♦

Secrets of the Gold

by Baer Charlton

November 7 – December 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Secrets of the Gold by Baer Charlton

Concealed in his jacket are ingots of gold; he just doesn’t remember why.

A young girl running from an abusive foster home kidnaps an older biker with a mystery for a past.

Leaving the mining town in Colorado and crossing state lines, anything can happen.

What neither is looking for or expecting is friendship.

But in the cold of the desert night, life lessons can go both ways—even if they are not about a million dollars in gold.

Growing up is hard enough, even without the shooting.

Praise for Secrets of the Gold:

“kept me spellbound”

“you will have a very hard time putting this book down!”

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Coming of Age, Female Sleuth
Published by: Mordant Media
Publication Date: March 2022
Number of Pages: 374
ISBN10: 1949316203
ISBN13: 9781949316209 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781949316216 (eBook)
ASIN: B09TZF6ZXB (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Kobo eBook | Books2Read | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Baer Charlton

Baer Charlton is an Amazon Best-Selling author and a Social-Anthropologist. His many interests have led him worldwide in search of the unique.

As an internationally recognized Photo Journalist, he has tracked mountain gorillas, been a podium for a Barbary Ape, communicated in sign language with an Orangutan named Boolon, kissed a kangaroo, and had many other wild experiences in between. Or he was just monkeying around.

His love for sailing has led him to file assignments from various countries, as well as from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard a five-mast sailing ship. Baer has spoken on five continents, plus lecturing at sea.

His copyrighted logo is “WR1T3R.” Within every person, there is a story. But inside that story, even a more memorable story. Those are the stories he likes to tell.

There is no more complex and incredible story than those coming from the human experience. Whether it is a Marine finding his way home as a civilian or a girl who’s just trying to grow up, Mr. Charlton’s stories are all driven by the characters you come to think of as friends.

Catch Up With Baer Charlton:
www.BaerCharlton.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @BaerCharlton
Twitter – @baer_charlton
Facebook – @WR1T3R

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