Book Excerpt: I INVITED HER IN by Adele Parks

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks
ISBN: 9780778308850 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780778369219 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781488035050 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488205682 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07BMVYG12 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: February 5, 2019


Imagine the worst thing a friend could ever do.

This is worse.

When Mel receives an unexpected email from her oldest friend Abi, it brings back memories she thought she had buried forever. Their friendship belonged in the past. To those carefree days at university.

But Abi is in trouble and needs Mel’s help, and she wants a place to stay. Just for a few days, while she sorts things out. It’s the least Mel can do.

After all, friends look out for each other, don’t they?

I Invited Her In is a blistering tale of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.


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     I wonder, does she? How much contact has she had? Other than the people who turn up on her chat-show sofa, does she have any interaction with kids? Is she a godmother to anyone? She must be, right? She’s perfect godparent material.

     At that moment, I hear the front door bang against the hall wall and a rucksack being dropped. I look out of the kitchen window and notice that the street lamps are on, the sky has turned a deep indigo; it will be black as a bruise in another hour. “Liam’s home,” I announce. “He’s been at football practice.”

     Liam lopes into the room and I am, as always, so very pleased to see him. Liam has an easy, cheerful manner, besides which he manages his two younger sisters with flair and effective ease; he’ll probably be able to retrieve the lippy and scent. I know Abi will be impressed by his height and his manners—all my friends always are.

     “Liam, come and meet a friend of mine.” I jump up and rush to him. I thread my arm through his, just resisting presenting him with a ta-da. “This is Abi—we went to university together.”

     He was expecting her, or at least he should have been; the house has been turned upside down by her imminent arrival and yet he looks surprised. Typical boy. It’s possible that he’s forgotten we’ve a house guest staying for a few days. Still, his manners are as perfect as ever. He leans forward and extends his hand for her to shake. She reaches for it and at the same time gracefully pulls herself up to standing.

     “Oh my God. I wouldn’t have known him.”

     “Well, you haven’t seen him since he was about two months old,” I point out, laughing.

     “He’s—” She pauses, remembering that he’s in the room. “You’re all grown up,” she murmurs, obviously shocked that in a blink of an eye my baby has turned into this. Looking at Liam no doubt makes Abi feel old in a way that even birthdays can’t. I totally understand. Kids are like egg timers. Time slips through your fingers like sand, as you stand back and watch them grow.

     “A-levels this year,” I say proudly.

     “Really? What subjects?”

     “Maths, philosophy and politics,” Liam reels off his subject choices.

     “Wow, clever as well.” I’m grateful that she hasn’t spelt out exactly what he is, besides clever.

     He’s handsome.

     There’s no doubt about it. Quite particularly so. But he’s young and absolutely hates it when my friends say as much, even though they are only trying to pay him a compliment. Even now, under her gaze, he blushes a little bit. He keeps his head down, his blond, sleek, straight fringe falling over his eyes. His eyes are arguably his best feature. Deep, dark blue pools. Framed with long, thick lashes. I already pity the girls who are going to feel the heat of his gaze once he fully understands the power of it.

     I suppose there will be quite a few. He has been seeing Tanya for eight months now; it’s serious but it can’t be it. He’s too young. There were girls before her, and there will be others after.

     “Yeah, he’s smart,” I say, not being able to hide my pride. “Wants to change the world, does our Liam. Don’t you, love?”

     Liam shrugs. He thinks I’m being flip about his ambitions to become a politician, to champion the rights of those without voices, to find a way of doing the right thing in a world where doing the wrong thing seems to pay, but I’m not. I’m proud of him. A little daunted, to be honest. His ambitions seem so big.

     Liam turns to his sisters, engaging with genuine interest. “What have you got on your face?”

     “Lipstick,” they chorus, giggling proudly. They fling themselves at him and cling like limpets. Although he is too old to comfortably accept a hug from his mum, I’m pleased to say he still cuddles his younger sisters with genuine zeal. Well, really, they don’t give him any choice.

     “Have you two had your tea?” he asks.

     I glance at the clock guiltily. It’s past six. I normally feed the girls by quarter to five. I’ve been distracted by Abi’s arrival. “Wow, no, no they haven’t. You must be starving, girls.” Although probably not—Abi hasn’t touched the brownies and yet there’s only one left on the plate. “What do you want?” I ask.

     Liam sees my panic and somehow senses my desire to stay put and chat with Abi some more. He waves his hand. “I’ll do it. No problem. What’s it to be, girls? Scrambled egg or beans on toast?” 

     “No, honestly love, I’ll do their tea but if you could just go and see they wash their hands. Perhaps listen to them reading for school, while I put something on for us all.”

     Liam leads them out of the room. Abi and I smile at one another as we listen to their chatter and laughter trail upstairs.

     “He’s quite something.”

     “Thank you.”

     “You did a fine job, Mel.” She looks me in the eye and nods.

     “Thank you. I didn’t do it on my own. Ben is a brilliant dad and my parents have been such a help.”

     “Yup, I don’t doubt it, but it’s mostly you.”

     I nod and accept her compliment because it’s what I like to believe. Not that I mostly did the bringing up. But that he is mostly me. He’s a fine boy and he is mostly mine. Nothing to do with the boy I had a one-night stand with, someone I hardly knew; he is irrelevant.

Excerpt from I Invited Her In by Adele Parks. Copyright © 2018 by Adele Parks. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission from Harlequin/MIRA.




Meet the Author

Adele Parks one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK. She has sold over 3 million books and her work has been translated into 25 different languages.

1500+ 5 star reviews have kindly been written by her fans on Amazon.co.uk 🙂

She has published 15 novels in the past 15 years, all of which have been London Times Top Ten Bestsellers.

Adele was born in the North East of England, in 1969. She enjoyed a traditional 1970’s childhood, watching too much TV and eating convenience food because nobody minded if kids did that in those days. Since graduating from university, where she studied English Language and Literature, she worked in advertising and as a management consultant. In 2010 Adele was proud to be awarded an honorary doctorate of Letters from Teesside University. 


Connect with the author via Facebook, her WebsiteTwitter, and Instagram.



Excerpt Tour Stops
(Follow the tour to read all of the excerpts)


Thursday, November 1st: Helen’s Book Blog

Friday, November 2nd: Chick Lit Central

Monday, November 5th: Novel Gossip

Tuesday, November 6th: A Holland Reads

Wednesday, November 7th: Broken Teepee

Thursday, November 8th: Cheryl’s Book Nook

Thursday, November 8th: The Lit Bitch

Friday, November 9th: Books a la Mode

Monday, November 12th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, November 12th: Books and Spoons

Tuesday, November 13th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Wednesday, November 14th: Girls in Books

Thursday, November 15th: A Dream Within a Dream

Friday, November 16th: Rad Babes Read

Monday, November 19th: Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, November 19th: Stuck in Books

Tuesday, November 20th: Books and Cats and Coffee

Tuesday, November 20th: The Book Diva’s Reads

Wednesday, November 21st: She Reads With Cats



This excerpt tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours



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I Invited Her In


I Invited Her In





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2018 Book 330: TEAR ME APART by JT Ellison

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison
ISBN: 9780778330004 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781460396711 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781538517307 (audiobook)
ASIN: B077YQH18P (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: August 28, 2018 


The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.

One moment will change their lives forever…

Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.

Who knows the answers?

The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.   



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Lauren Wright has devoted her life to providing her daughter Mindy with everything she needs, physically, emotionally, and otherwise. Now that her daughter has suffered a traumatic leg injury that has revealed a catastrophic disease process, she wants to do anything possible to prolong her daughter’s life…or does she? One little lie cascades into another and another and before anyone knows it, Lauren becomes someone no one really knows anymore. Mindy knows her mother is hiding secrets from her past and now that she knows she’s adopted, she’s wondering just what those secrets truly are. Juliet Ryder, Lauren’s sister, knows that Lauren’s story doesn’t quite add up, but she’s truly willing to do anything, even skirting the law, to find the truth and Mindy’s birth parents if it means prolonging her life. Jasper, Lauren’s husband doesn’t really know what to believe. He’s astonished to learn that Lauren isn’t Mindy’s birth mother and begins to wonder what other secrets she might be keeping from him. The more Mindy, Juliet, and Jasper uncover, the more they realize they may have never really known Lauren at all. Just how far is Lauren willing to go to protect her secrets and ostensibly Mindy’s life?

Tear Me Apart is one of those reads that you think you’ve figured out, but the twists just keep coming. This story is filled with psychological chills and thrills, along with tons of family drama, angst, and a few murders (yes, that’s a few murders…read the book to find out who dies!). Of course, there’s a lot more going on in the story than just one person trying to protect their secrets, a mother protecting her child, a child trying to recuperate from a potentially life-threatening disease, or a family recovering from a series of mind-blowing revelations. Ms. Ellison has also thrown mental illness, severe depression, and suicide into the mix for a story that left this reader on tenterhooks from beginning to end. In many ways, this year has been a banner year for me as a reader as I’ve had the fortune to read a number of wonderful books and Tear Me Apart is definitely being added to this list. I enjoyed the characters, the action, the settings, the drama, and the suspense. So, for all of you suspense-thriller readers, go out and grab a copy of Tear Me Apart to read. For fans of family drama, yes you guessed, I’m recommending you grab a copy of Tear Me Apart to read as well. Seriously, this is one story that I think every reader can enjoy reading. 


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the


Meet the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI” with #1 New York Time bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband.


Connect with J. T.




This review and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours


Book Excerpt: TEAR ME APART by J.T. Ellison



Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison
ISBN: 9780778308263 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780778330004 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781460396711 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781538517307 (audiobook)
ASIN: B077YQH18P (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: August 28, 2018


The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.

One moment will change their lives forever…

Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.

Who knows the answers?

The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.



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Read an excerpt (follow the excerpt tour to read more):

The techs wheel in the bed. Mindy’s leg is suspended, thin metal pieces disappearing into the bandages like the legs on a butterfly into its thorax. Her foot is half-casted, her toes peeking from their nest, black and blue and a strange orange-yellow—Betadine, from being sanitized before the surgery. She is still deeply asleep, her mouth slightly open. The painkillers must be tremendous to knock her out; her metabolism is Thoroughbred quick, and Lauren hasn’t ever seen anything touch it. She’s never seen her daughter asleep like this, either, unnaturally still, and the word prances in again—dead, dead, dead.

How will Lauren tell her how sick she is? How is this even happening?Mindy has been pale, yes, and she’s been tired, but Mindy thought—Lauren thought?—they all thought Mindy was simply training hard.

Oliver’s nurse watches these proceedings, then straightens a pillow and smiles at them again.

“Mrs. Wright? Ma’am? Is there someone we can call?”

“No, thank you. I’ll charge my phone and make a few calls myself. Thank you. You’re very kind.”

Lauren makes a mental note to send flowers to the nurses’ station. Something cheery, bright. They probably aren’t thanked enough. They work so hard.

Jasper comes back in the room wearing a tight smile, which makes the grooves around his mouth deepen. They are growing older, he and Lauren, but this fact often catches her by surprise. She still sees the young lawyer she married all those years ago. The strands of gray at his temples, the deepening lines—he’s aging very well. Lauren, on the other hand, worries she’s not. Too much sun as a child, too many cigarettes, too much booze in school. Soon enough she is going to be haggard and drawn, her skin wrinkled and gray.

Is Mindy going to age at all?

At the thought, she has to brace herself not to burst into tears and run screaming from the hospital.

Jasper glances at the metal halo holding Mindy’s leg in place, pales. He licks his chapped lips. “She’s in.”

“What do you mean, she’s in?”

“They called the race. Her points stand. She’s in.”

Lauren laughs, worthless and cold. She can’t help herself. All the work, all the sleepless nights and long, cold days, and the triumph her girl has been working toward is going to be snatched away by a chance encounter with a set of rogue blood cells.

Again, the thought: She is going to be so furious when she wakes.

Mindy caught a terrible cold once, right before a race. They couldn’t give her any medication because of the drug standards for the competition, and she was downright miserable, but she decided she was going to race anyway. She couldn’t breathe, her nose was running, and yet she turned in a personal best time, qualifying for junior nationals, did three TV interviews, and then let her mother coddle her with hot chocolate and chicken soup.

Nothing comes between Mindy and the mountain.

Now, a broken leg and leukemia might.

“They’re playing favorites,” Lauren says. “Won’t everyone complain?”

“Everyone wants Mindy on Team USA. You know how much they all love her.”

This is true. Even the dreaded Janice Cuthbert, a year younger and nearly as good, loves Mindy. Follows her around like a puppy, happy to be anywhere near her hero. Janice won’t make the team now. Lauren is not a vindictive woman, but she is glad, for the moment, that the accolades still belong to Mindy. She can’t imagine how her girl will be able to train and go to the Olympics if she is as sick as they say.

For the first time, she prays for a miracle.

*

The treatment plan is set by the next afternoon.

They took bone marrow and spinal fluid while Mindy was out from the anesthesia, so they have a jump start on her status. The cancer is identified as AML—acute myeloid leukemia. Not nearly as common as its sister ALL, it is tougher to treat, which means more aggressive treatment from the get-go. Lauren listens and takes notes, Jasper types on his phone. They will stay up all night reading horror stories, and by morning, will convince themselves that nothing will stop their daughter’s survival. Nothing.

The surgery will complicate the induction period, but they have no choice now. The doctors are very clear. They have to kill the cancer cells in Mindy’s blood, and they have to do it quickly. Or else.




Excerpt from Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison, 
to be released on August 28, 2018, by MIRA. 
Copyright © 2018 by J.T. Ellison.





Meet the Author



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI” with #1 New York Time bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband.



Connect with J. T.





Excerpt Tour


Monday, August 13th: Sweet Southern Home

Tuesday, August 14th: Books and Spoons

Wednesday, August 15th: Buried Under Books

Thursday, August 16th: Bewitched Bookworms

Friday, August 17th: That’s What She Read

Monday, August 20th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, August 21st: Midwest Ladies Who Lit

Wednesday, August 22nd: The Book Diva’s Reads

Thursday, August 23rd: Jathan & Heather

Friday, August 24th: Helen’s Book Blog




Giveaway

This giveaway is for one (1) print copy of Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison, courtesy of TLC Book Tours. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada and runs through 11:59 PM ET on 08/24/2018. The winner will be chosen and announced by 10:00 AM ET on 08/25/2018. All non-US or non-Canadian residents will be disqualified. Void where prohibited by law. 

Book will be supplied to the winner by TLC Book Tours. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.


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2018 Book 93: THE LONGEST SILENCE by Debra Webb

The Longest Silence (Shades of Death #4) by Debra Webb
ISBN: 9780778330752 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488023545 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488204159 (audiobook)
ASIN: B072582J4F (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: March 6, 2018


“The twists and turns in this dark, taut drama make it both creepy and compelling.” –New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

A killer stole her voice. Now she’s ready to take it back. Don’t miss the chilling Shades of Death series from USA TODAY bestselling author Debra Webb. Joanna Guthrie was free. She had been for eighteen years–or so she needed everyone to believe. What really happened during the longest fourteen days of her life, when she and two other women were held captive by a dangerous serial killer, wasn’t something she could talk about. Not after what they had to do to survive. But when more women go missing in an eerily similar manner, Jo knows her prolonged silence will only seal their fates. She’s finally ready to talk; she just needs someone to listen. FBI special agent Tony LeDoux can’t deny he finds Jo compelling–he’s just not sure he believes her story. But with the clock ticking, Jo will do anything to convince him, even if it means unearthing long-buried secrets that will land them squarely in the crosshairs of the killer…



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Joanna Guthrie has been living her life on the run for the past eighteen years. But you can never truly run from your past and that’s what she has been trying to do. Now that the only other person that knew what had happened all those years ago has died and it appears circumstances might be repeating themselves with another abduction, Joanna knows she has to confront the past once and for all. It is upon her return to Georgia that Joanna connects with former FBI agent Tony LeDoux. Tony is in town because his niece, a college student, is missing and initially no one takes her absence seriously. Tony’s sister knows that her daughter wouldn’t disappear without her cellphone, purse, or any clothes, but the local authorities aren’t so sure until another student goes missing. It is now a case of beat the clock because Joanna knows that although two girls have been reported missing, there are actually three girls that have been abducted and only two will walk away. The good thing about Joanna’s return to Georgia is that she is beginning to remember things from those days in captivity. The bad thing about Joanna’s return is that she has recognized several key players in her abduction and they just might be willing to do anything to ensure her silence. Can Joanna recall enough to save Tony’s niece and the others before it is too late?

I’ve had the pleasure of reading several books in the Shades of Death series in the past, so I was already familiar with and enjoyed Ms. Webb’s ability to pull me into a story as a reader. She has repeated that ability with The Longest Silence. I sat down and began reading this book and with the exception of a brief break to take migraine pain medication (another weather-induced migraine), I did not stop. I liked Joanna and Tony and sincerely hope there will be more from these two in the future (hint, hint). Joanna’s captivity backstory from eighteen years ago is nicely interwoven with the current abductees story. Ms. Webb provides hints of romance and undertones of horror in this taut suspense-thriller. There were also several surprise twists thrown in towards the end but it all worked quite nicely towards the end (no, I won’t tell you what the surprises where or how it ends, read the book!). If you’ve read anything by Ms. Webb, then I probably don’t have to tell you to read The Longest Silence (but I will just in case). If you’ve never read anything by Ms. Webb and enjoy suspense thrillers, then grab yourself a copy of The Longest Silence to read. If you’re not sure about suspense thrillers but are looking for something a bit different to read, then grab a copy of The Longest Silence to read. I hope to read more from Ms. Webb and the Shades of Death series in the future.


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



Meet the Author


DEBRA WEBB is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 130 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama.


Connect with Debra:     Website    |    Facebook    |    Twitter 





This review and blog tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 





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The Longest Silence

The Longest Silence

The Longest Silence

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The Longest Silence

Book Excerpt: THE LONGEST SILENCE by Debra Webb

The Longest Silence (Shades of Death #4) by Debra Webb 
ISBN: 9780778330752 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488023545 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488204159 (audiobook)
ASIN: B072582J4F (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: March 6, 2018

“The twists and turns in this dark, taut drama make it both creepy and compelling.” —New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

A killer stole her voice. Now she’s ready to take it back. Don’t miss the chilling Shades of Death series from USA TODAY bestselling author Debra Webb.

Joanna Guthrie was free. She had been for eighteen years–or so she needed everyone to believe. What really happened during the longest fourteen days of her life, when she and two other women were held captive by a dangerous serial killer, wasn’t something she could talk about. Not after what they had to do to survive.

But when more women go missing in an eerily similar manner, Jo knows her prolonged silence will only seal their fates. She’s finally ready to talk; she just needs someone to listen. FBI special agent Tony LeDoux can’t deny he finds Jo compelling–he’s just not sure he believes her story. But with the clock ticking, Jo will do anything to convince him, even if it means unearthing long-buried secrets that will land them squarely in the crosshairs of the killer…


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Read an excerpt
(follow the excerpt tour to read more):

Chapter Two


Copperas Cove, Texas
Sunday, March 25, 10:00 p.m.

The phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

The annoying sound echoed off the dingy walls of the tiny one-room apartment.

Joanna Guthrie chewed her thumbnail as she stared at the damned cell phone. Three people had this number: her boss, a research analyst she occasionally worked with and Ellen. If it was work, the caller would simply leave a message, but it wasn’t work—it was Ellen.

Jo’s foot started to tap so she stood and paced the floor. “Not answering.”

Why should she answer? The calls came about three or four times a year and they were always the same. Ellen would complain about her life and her husband and her kids. She would bemoan the hand fate had dealt her. She would never be whole. Nothing she attempted fixed her. Not the shrinks or the meditation or the yoga or any of the other crazier shit she’d tried, like cocaine, and certainly not the alcohol.

The ringing stopped.

Jo stared at the phone. Two minutes tops and it would start that fucking ringing again. She closed her eyes and exhaled a measure of the frustration always generated by calls from Ellen. Guilt immediately took its place. No matter the reason, whenever Ellen called Jo always wound up feeling guilty whether she answered the damned phone or not. A voice mail carried the same guilt-generating effect.

“Not my fault.” She paced the room like a freshly incarcerated criminal on the front end of a life sentence.

Ellen had chosen her own path. She’d made the decision to pretend to be normal. Dared to marry and to have children. Jo shook her head. How the hell could she do that after what they went through—what they did? Now the woman spent every minute of every day terrified that she would somehow disappoint her family or that something bad would happen to them because of her. Or, worse, that someone would discover her secret—their secret.

Deep breath. “Not my problem.”

Jo had made the smarter choice. She’d cut ties with her family and friends. No boyfriends much less husbands. No kids for damned sure. If she wanted sexual release she either took care of it herself or she picked up a soldier from one of the clubs in Killeen. She didn’t go to church; she didn’t live in the same town for more than a year. She never shared her history with anyone. Not that there was anything in her past that would give anyone reason to suspect the truth, but she hated the looks of sympathy, the questions.

The past was over and done. Dragging it into the present would not change what was done.

She had boundaries. Boundaries to protect herself. She never wasted time making small talk much less friends. Besides, she wasn’t in one place long enough for anyone to notice or to care. Since her employer was an online newspaper, she rarely had to interact face-to-face with anyone. In fact, she and the boss had never met in person and he was the closest thing to a friend she had.

Whatever that made her, Jo didn’t care.

Hysterical laughter bubbled into her throat. Even the IRS didn’t have her address. She used the newspaper’s address for anything permanent. Her boss faxed her whatever official-looking mail she received, and then shredded it. He never asked why. Jo supposed he understood somehow.

She recognized her behavior for what it was—paranoia. Plain and simple. Six years back she’d noticed one of those health fairs in the town where she’d lived. Probably not the most scientific or advanced technology since it was held in a school cafeteria. Still, she’d been desperate to ensure nothing had been implanted in her body—like some sort of tracking device—so she’d scraped up enough money to pay for a full-body scan. Actually she’d been short fifty bucks but the tech had accepted a quick fuck in exchange. After all that trouble he’d found nothing. Ultimately that was a good thing but it had pissed her off at the time.

A ring vibrated the air in the room.

Enough. Jo snatched up the phone. “What do you want, Ellen?”

The silence on the other end sent a surge of oily black uncertainty snaking around her heart. When she would have ended the call, words tumbled across the dead air.

“This is Ellen’s husband.”

A new level of doubt nudged at Jo. “Art?”

She had no idea how she remembered the man’s name. Personal details were something else she had obliterated from her life. Distance and anonymity were her only real friends now.

Now? She almost laughed out loud at her vast understatement. Eighteen years. She’d left any semblance of a normal life behind eighteen years ago. Jesus Christ, had it only been eighteen?

Felt like forever.

“Yours was the only name in Ellen’s phone I didn’t recognize.” He chuckled but the sound held no humor. “Her mom and dad’s number is there. Her little sister’s. The number for Alton’s school, my mom’s and the pediatrician. Mine, of course. But yours was the only other one.” He made a sound of surprise. “I never realized there was no one else. No friends. Not even any of the other mothers from Alton’s class or from our neighborhood are in her contacts. I just assumed she lunched and shopped with the other mothers. Set up playdates, but Alton said no playdates.” He sighed. “Doesn’t really matter now, I guess.”


Excerpt From The Longest Silence by Debra Webb,
to be released on March 6, 2018, by MIRA Books.
Copyright © 2018 by Debra Webb.



Meet the Author

DEBRA WEBB is the award winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 130 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama.




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2018 Book 37: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Margot Hunt

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt
ISBN: 9780778331131 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488027970 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488203947 (audiobook)
ASIN: B06Y5RLJN9 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: January 23, 2018


How well do you really know your best friend?

Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they’re very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they’re each other’s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat’s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice’s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.



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Alice Campbell and Katherine “Kat” Grant met three years ago at JFK airport on their way back to Florida after the holidays. A chance meeting due to a delayed flight became a life-line friendship for both women. Kat is unhappily married to Howard, a man that she admits routinely cheats on her, is reportedly an alcoholic, and has at times physically abused her but she refuses to divorce him because she has all the money and there was no prenuptial agreement. Kat also thinks she will be seen as the poor, battered divorcee in the wealthy circles she mixes in and she simply can’t have that be the image of her in people’s minds, so she stays unhappy. Alice is dealing with a different set of issues, namely monetary. Her family was uprooted from Miami and moved off of Palm Beach for her husband’s job, but the promised promotions never came nor did the raises. Things might not be so bad if their credit cards weren’t maxed out, if they weren’t behind on their mortgage payment, behind on their children’s private school tuition, and her husband hadn’t lost his job — their sole income. Alice has never seen Kat as a “cash cow” and has never asked her for money, but when she’s told her children will be expelled from their school if their tuition isn’t paid the next day she doesn’t know what to do. Thankfully, Kat offers to pay the tuition and doesn’t think twice about it. Or does she…because not soon after that she approaches Alice with a request that most people would consider horrifying? Soon after that Howard winds up dead, Kat is safely alibied by being out of the country, and Alice is arrested for his murder. Alice has clear logical answers for everything that happened but even she’s beginning to wonder if she really knew what was going on between Kat and Howard? Is it possible we can ever really know another person? Can we truly tell when we are being manipulated and lied to? Is Kat lying to and about Alice or is Alice lying to and about Kat?

Best Friends Forever is a taut psychological suspense thriller and one that I found to be a rather fast-paced read. I enjoyed the way Ms. Hunt presented the contemporary storyline and then went back in time to present the past building up to the present. That helped to build the tension between not only Alice and Kat, but between Alice and her husband Todd, and Kat and everyone else. By the time I was halfway through the story I began to realize neither Alice nor Kat were wholly reliable narrators and that provided this reader with a dilemma because the story is being told primarily from Alice’s perspective. Alice comes across as a somewhat disgruntled stay-at-home mom trying to do anything she can for her family (true to a certain extent). Kat comes across as somewhat manipulative and a needy (also true to a certain extent). As we learn more about each character the author provides little clues that help the reader fine-tune their presumptions about each person. Best Friends Forever is a story about friendship, but it is also a story about being realistic in that we can never truly know another person. We know people by what they say, what they reveal in their actions, and by our assumptions, but these can all be tainted and manipulated if the person is highly skilled. So in this story someone dies and yes, it’s revealed that is a murder. The questions become who did it and why. And no I will not be telling you the answers to either of those questions, read the book to find out for yourself! 

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




Meet the Author




Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews. Best Friends Forever is her first psychological thriller.




Connect with Margot at her website, Facebook, and Twitter 



Giveaway

Enter to win one trade paperback copy of Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt. This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on January 29, 2018, and will end at 11:59 PM ET on February 2, 2018. The winner announced by 10:00 AM ET on February 3, 2018. If the first winner has not responded within 48 hours after notification a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only (sorry to all of my international followers). All non-US residents will be disqualified. Books will be sent out via TLC Book Tours at the conclusion of the blog tour. Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. 

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Best Friends Forever


Best Friends Forever

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Book Showcase: THE LUCKY ONES by Tiffany Reisz

The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz
ISBN: 9780778331162 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488027994 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488204036 (audiobook)
ASIN: B073ZFLPWJ (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: February 13, 2018



They called themselves “the lucky ones.”
They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast.

Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.

Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She’s determined to find out what really happened that fateful night–was it an accident or, as she’s always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?

But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she’ll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.

A vivid and suspenseful tale of family, grief, love—and the dark secrets that bind everything together—Tiffany Reisz’s latest is enthralling to the final page.



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Read an excerpt (follow the excerpt tour to read more):

“We had sex yesterday,” she said. “Twice.”

“That wasn’t breakup sex,” he said. “And don’t give me that look. This is your own fault.”

McQueen pointed at her, shook his finger.

“My fault? My fault?” Allison was laughing in utter amazement at the sheer gall of the man.

“Your fault. You’ve been trying for years to make me a better man,” he said.

“Give more money to the poor. Be nicer to my employees. Don’t date girls my daughter’s age. Well, maybe your guilt trips finally started to sink in a little. I don’t call you Jiminy Cricket because you wear a top hat and tails.”

“You are unbelievable,” she said.

“Allison,” he said, “I am sorry about this. I truly am.”

He held out his hand to shake.

“Six years of my life,” she said, “and it’s going to end in a handshake.”

“You already said no to breakup sex,” he said.

Another hard truth. So she took his hand. As soon as her hand slipped into his he pulled her gently to him and held her close.

“You bastard,” she said even as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

“Thank you for always being there for me, Allison. You are smart and lovely and kind—when you aren’t furious at me—and I’ll miss you.”

“I hope you and your new lady and the baby are very happy together,” she said.

“I hope so, too.”

A knot formed in her throat. A vise clamped down onto her chest. One tear escaped her eye before she could capture it, lock it up and throw away the key.

“You know what the stupid thing is,” Allison said, speaking to stave off the building panic.

“I don’t even like you very much.”

McQueen chuckled. She felt his chest rumble against hers. She’d miss that, too.

“I mean it,” she said. “You’re arrogant and entitled and you do whatever you want, consequences be damned, and you’re…you’re…”

“Rich,” he said. “That’s the word you’re looking for.”

“That’s it,” she said.

“If you don’t like me, why are you so upset?” he said, his tone teasing, and any other day they’d be in bed together already.

“Because I’m going to miss not liking you.”

He pulled her a little closer, a little tighter. He kissed her cheek, her forehead and then, at last, let her go. She hated herself for letting him be the one to let go first. Once he was gone, she would be alone, completely alone. No family. No friends. A woman on call day and night for a powerful man didn’t get to make friends. She hated him and never wanted to see him again. She loved him and never wanted him to leave her. But she didn’t cling to him when he pulled away, and she counted that a victory.

“If it makes you feel any better,” McQueen said, his hands still on her face, “this wasn’t an easy decision.”

“Weird,” Allison said. “It doesn’t make me feel any better.”

McQueen raised his hands in defeat. “I’ll go.”

She swallowed again. “Bye.”

“Don’t forget there’s some mail for you in the box.”

“Anything important?” She never got mail at McQueen’s address.

“It’s a package from Oregon. No idea why it came to my house.”

“Oregon?”

She glanced in the box at the padded envelope. Sure enough, it was postmarked Clark Beach, Oregon. And the name on the return address read Roland Capello.

Allison gasped, then clapped a hand over her mouth in shock.

“Allison?” McQueen had been retreating during the conversation but now he rushed to her. “Honey, what’s wrong? You look like you’re about to faint.”

“It’s from my brother,” she breathed. “This is from my brother.”

McQueen stared at her like she’d grown a second head in the past three seconds.

“Your brother?” he repeated. “I’ve known you seven years. You never told me you had a brother.”

Allison looked at him with tears in her eyes.

“That’s because…I don’t.”


Excerpt From The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz, 

to be released on February 13, 2018, by MIRA Books. 
Copyright © 2018 by Tiffany Reisz. All Rights Reserved.




Meet the Author



Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer.



Connect with Tiffany at her website, Facebook, and Instagram  





This excerpt and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 

Book Showcase: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Margot Hunt

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt
ISBN: 9780778331131 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488027970 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488203947 (audiobook)
ASIN: B06Y5RLJN9 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: January 23, 2018


How well do you really know your best friend?

Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they’re very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they’re each other’s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat’s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice’s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.



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“It’s probably one of the neighbors,” I said. “Maybe someone has a dead car battery and needs a jump.”

Todd nodded and went off to answer the door just as the toast popped up. Whoever was at the house, they were arriving just as breakfast was ready. I checked the toast and decided to drop it down for further browning.

I heard the low murmur of Todd as he spoke, but I didn’t recognize the voices that responded. One male, one female, I thought. I couldn’t hear what Todd said in reply, but something about his tone sounded off. The smell of burning bread filled my nose. I popped the toast up. It was now charred black. I swore softly, feeling another flash of irritation at the interruption to our morning routine.

“Are you okay, Mom?” Bridget asked, appearing in the kitchen.

“I’m fine.”

“Gross,” Bridget said. “Burned?” “Burned,” I confirmed.

“I’m not eating that,” Bridget said, pointing an accusatory finger.

“No one’s asking you to.” I plucked the bread out of the toaster and tossed it in the garbage can. “I’ll make some more.”

“Who are those people Daddy’s talking to?” “I’m not sure,” I said. “Why?”

“He looks worried,” Bridget said.

I inserted a few fresh slices of bread into the toaster and put a lid on the pan of eggs to keep them warm.

“I’ll find out what’s going on,” I said. “Are your hands clean? No? Go wash them. Breakfast is almost ready.”

I passed through the open-plan living room with its well-worn brown leather sofas and floral wool rug, all overdue for replacement, out to the front hall. Todd was standing slightly to one side of the open door, so I had a clear view of the man and woman on our front step. Both were dressed in suits that looked too warm for a sunny April Florida morning. The automatic sprinklers switched on then and began spraying water across the browning lawn with rat-a-tat-tat efficiency.

“Who is it?” I asked.

Todd turned to me. Bridget was right, he did look worried. “They’re police officers,” he said. “Detectives…” Todd’s voice trailed off as he turned back to look at our visitors.

“Sorry, I’ve forgotten your names.”

“I’m Detective Alex Demer.” The detective was tall and bulky and had dark, pockmarked skin and a closely cropped beard. “And this is Sergeant Sofia Oliver.”

“I’m Alice Campbell,” I replied. Neither of them offered a hand to shake, so I followed their lead.

Oliver was the younger of the two. She was petite and fine-boned, and her auburn hair was cut short in a pixie style. Her lips rounded down, and her eyes were flinty. My best friend, Kat, would call it a “resting bitch face.” In Oliver’s case, it was an accurate description.

“Th-they want to talk to you about Howard Grant,” Todd stammered.

Howard Grant. Kat’s husband. Or, to be more accurate, her late husband. Howard had died three days earlier. The shock of his death still hit me anew every time I thought of it.

“Oh, right. Of course. You’re with the Jupiter Island Police?” I guessed. Kat and Howard lived—or in Howard’s case, had lived—on tony Jupiter Island. While their home was close geographically to where we lived, in the Town of Jupiter, the island was its own separate and quite exclusive municipality. “The Jupiter Island Public Safety Department,” Sergeant Oliver corrected me, her tone needlessly officious.

“Actually, Sergeant Oliver is with the Jupiter Island Public Safety Department,” Detective Demer said. “I’m with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement based in Tallahassee. I’ve been temporarily assigned to look into Howard Grant’s death.”

“I thought Howard’s death was an accident,” I said. Detective Demer gazed down at me, his expression inscrutable. “That’s what we’re looking into. And that’s why we need to speak with you.”

Excerpt from Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt, to be released on 
January 23, 2018, by MIRA Books. Copyright © 2018 by Margot Hunt.




Meet the Author



Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews. Best Friends Forever is her first psychological thriller.


Connect with Margot at her website, Facebook, and Twitter





This excerpt and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 




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2017 Book 439: NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
ISBN: 9781335903358 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488029264 (ebook)
ASIN: B0711QCV3C (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 26, 2017 
Publisher: Harlequin


One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.



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Nora Stuart had an idyllic childhood until her father left. Her mother, a reserved Mainer, did her best to raise Nora and her sister Lily, but she worked hard to provide for her daughters and didn’t focus on “emotional” support. Nora was a social pariah in high school, overweight, nerdy, and unpopular while her younger sister was a popular and beloved social butterfly. The only way she could get out of Scupper Island, Maine was to go away to college. Fortunately, a tech multi-millionaire provided a full scholarship to Tufts University for one student each year. This was Nora’s out, even though it meant competition against the “golden boy” of Scupper Island, Luke Fletcher. Once Nora won the scholarship, she was blamed with ruining Luke Fletcher’s life (he got high after losing the scholarship, crashed a vehicle, walked away unscathed while seriously injuring his brother). Her only option, leave home and start college early. College was just what Nora needed. She lost weight, made friends, found her voice and her calling in life, medicine. Becoming a doctor meant Nora stayed in Boston and away from home, causing further rifts between her mother and sister. Now she’s part of a thriving practice in Boston, has a boyfriend, and a loving dog. Getting hit by a van is the final straw that severs her relationship, especially since she overhears her boyfriend trying to make a date while she’s lying on a hospital bed. So much for the boyfriend. Nora decides to return to Scupper Island to recuperate. Returning home to her mother and niece sounded like a good idea until she actually got home, now she has to decide what’s next in her life. Accepting a temporary job as a physician on the island, Nora finds a few new friends and reconnects with old acquaintances, including the brother of her high school nemesis, Sullivan Fletcher, and his daughter. Can she truly begin again or will her past constantly rear its ugly head to interfere with her present and future?

Now That You Mention It was a fast-paced and enjoyable read. Although there is romance and an HEA (happy-ever-after), the primary focus of the story is Nora and her constant before and afters. Before and after her father left. Before and after she won the scholarship. Before and after she was attacked. Before and after she left her boyfriend. Before and after she returns to Maine. The reader witnesses Nora’s emotional growth as well as her relationship development, both the romantic and nonromantic kind. I enjoyed all of the characters in this story, especially Nora’s mother, her niece Poe, Sully and Audrey, Ziaowen, and her lovable dog, Boomer. There are sad events within the story, such as Nora’s sister being jailed, her father’s disappearance, her brutal attack, etc., but Nora finds that she is stronger than she thinks with each event. Don’t think Now That You Mention It is all sorrow and romance, it isn’t, there’s also lots of humor (all I can say is you should look forward to reading the scene with the ham dinner), a bungled dinner party scene, and more. If you’re looking for a romantic read that provides something a little different to start off your reading this year, look no further and grab a copy of Now That You Mention It to read.


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



Read an excerpt here.


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Now That You Mention It: A Novel

Now That You Mention It: A Novel

Now That You Mention It

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Book Showcase: LILAC LANE by Sherryl Woods

Lilac Lane (Chesapeake Shores #14) by Sherryl Woods 
ISBN: 9780778331339 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488028328 (ebook)
ASIN: B06VV67J1P (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: October 17, 2017

No one writes about friends, family and home better than Sherryl Woods. Told with warmth and humor, Lilac Lane is a brand-new story in her beloved Chesapeake Shores series, one readers all over the world have waited two years to read!

At the heart of Lilac Lane is Keira Malone, who raised her three children alone after her first marriage broke apart, and who, after years of guarding her heart, finally finds love again. But that love is short-lived when her fiancé suffers a fatal heart attack. Grieving and unsure of what’s next, Keira agrees to move from Dublin to Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, to spend time with her daughter, Moira, and her new granddaughter, Kate, as well as to help her son-in-law, Luke, with his Irish pub, O’Briens.

Not wanting to live underfoot, she rents a charming cottage on Lilac Lane, replete with views of the ocean and her neighbor’s thriving garden—not to mention views of the neighbor himself. The neighbor is none other than Bryan Laramie, the brusque and moody chef at the pub, with whom Keira is constantly butting heads. But things get real when Bryan’s long-lost daughter, whom he hasn’t seen since she was a baby, shows up out of the blue. As Bryan and Keira each delve into their pasts, reopening wounds, the rest of the town is gearing up for the Fall Festival Irish Stew cook-off, and making no bones about whose side they’re on. It’s Kitchen Wars meets This is Your Life—a recipe for disaster…or a new take on love?

You won’t want to miss this epic return to Chesapeake Shores, a place we’re betting you’ll want to stay forever.


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On the quick drive to the pub, Luke ran through the short list of waitstaff, many of whom were college students working part-time. “You’ll be working most closely with the chef, Bryan Laramie,” he concluded. “Bryan’s pretty easygoing, but he considers the kitchen his domain.”

“The name doesn’t sound Irish.”

Luke chuckled at that. “No, Bryan’s a New Yorker by birth, a graduate of the Culinary Institute, who landed somehow in Baltimore working at a deli. I’ve never heard the whole story about that. He doesn’t talk much about himself or his past.” 

“Isn’t a deli one of those places known for matzo ball soup and pastrami on rye sandwiches?”

“Among other things, yes.”

“Why would you hire someone like that to run the kitchen in an Irish pub?” Kiera asked.

“Of all the applicants, Moira and I liked him the best. And Nell put him to a test with some of her best recipes and he won the position hands down over two others we considered. You’ll see. He knows his way around the kitchen and we’re building something of a reputation for the quality of our food, as well as for our selection of ale and the fine Irish music we bring in on the weekends.”

“Then I’ll keep an open mind,” Kiera promised.

Luke gave her a worried look. “Kiera, O’Brien’s runs smoothly because we operate as a team. We all know our roles and respect each other’s contributions, from the wait-staff and kitchen staff all the way through to Moira and me.”

“And where exactly am I to fit in?”

“Once you’ve spent a little time learning the way we operate, getting to know our regular customers and so on, you’ll make recommendations just as any of the rest of us might. We’re always open to fresh ideas. And anything that ensures our customers of a true Irish experience will be especially welcomed. We’ll trust you about that.”

It all sounded perfectly reasonable to her, even if offering a little less control than she’d been anticipating. Still, she would have Luke’s ear if there were changes she felt needed to be made in the name of Irish authenticity.

“How will you be introducing me to the staff?” she asked “Am I to be one of them, or a consultant only, as Moira suggested, or a nosy troublesome mother-in-law who happens to be visiting from Ireland and can’t keep her opinions to herself ?”

Luke gave her a curious glance. “Are you in need of a formal title?”

“Not for my ego,” she replied tartly. “But it will be a help to all of us, if I know my place.”

“Since I can’t give you an official position just yet until Connor settles that paperwork, why don’t we just say you’re helping out and lending us your expertise from years of working in pubs in Ireland?”

Kiera nodded slowly. “So a voice, but no authority.” 

“Something like that,” Luke said, his tone cautious. “Are you okay with that for now?”

“I’ll do my best to make it work,” she said. She’d spent years under similar restraint in her old job. She’d had far more freedom and say at Peter’s pub, but she could put that aside for now. At least she hoped she could, if only in the name of family harmony.

Bryan looked up from the Irish soda bread he was about to put into the oven to see Kiera Malone regarding him intently, her expression radiating disapproval.

“Something on your mind?” he asked.

“Just observing,” she said, backing off a step.

“But you have something to say. I can see that you’re practically biting your tongue. Just say it.”

Ever since  Kiera had been introduced to the staff at O’Brien’s, she’d been lurking about, observing as she put it. It was driving him a little bit crazy. He didn’t like extra people milling about in his kitchen, especially with an unmistakable hint of judgment in their eyes. He’d grown used to being respected, thanks to regular praise from not only the customers, but from Nell O’Brien, who was his go-to person for inspiration with the menu and its execution.

To be fair, from what he’d seen, Kiera was a hard worker in general and she got on well enough with the customers and even the waitstaff. She wasn’t still for a minute and was always eager to take on any task that was given to her, even pitching in to help out washing dishes or scrubbing the floor after hours. All of that was admirable.

It was the way she watched him as he worked, though, that made him want to banish her from his kitchen. It was only out of respect for Luke and Moira that he’d kept his mouth shut till now and tried to accept her presence underfoot.

He studied her expression and could tell she was torn between speaking out and staying silent. “Just say whatever’s on your mind before your head explodes,” he told her impatiently.

“The soda bread is going to be hard as a rock,” she blurted finally.

He frowned at her. “And just why is that?”

“You were pounding it as if you had a grudge against it,” she told him.
Bryan drew in a deep breath to try to calm himself before he said something he’d regret. It was true, he’d been taking out his frustration over Kiera’s presence on the dough. And, quite likely, she was right. Overkneading would be the kiss of death for the soda bread. It would likely be inedible.

Rather than admitting as much, however, he simply gestured to the array of ingredients. “Would you like to show me how it’s done?”

Her expression brightened at once. “You won’t be offended?”

Given that it was his way of saving face when his own loaves of bread were tossed in the trash, no, he wouldn’t be offended at all.

“Have at it,” he said, instead. “I have other work to do if we’re to be ready when the doors open for lunch.”

When he turned back a few minutes later, Kiera was lovingly kneading the bread with a touch that stirred an annoying hint of longing. Out of the blue a shocking image of those hands on him, massaging his shoulders at the end of the day, made him more irritable than ever. Images like that were not only inappropriate, they were totally unwelcome. At this rate, the woman was going to drive him to the brink of insanity and she hadn’t even been underfoot a full week.


Excerpt from Lilac Lane by Sherryl Woods, to be released on October 17, 2017, by MIRA Books. Copyright © 2017 by Sherryl Woods. All Rights Reserved.


Meet the Author:


With her roots firmly planted in the South, Sherryl Woods has written many of her more than 100 books in that distinctive setting, whether in her home state of Virginia, her adopted state, Florida, or her much-adored South Carolina. Sherryl is best known for her ability to creating endearing small town communities and families. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 75 romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition.



Connect with the author at her websiteFacebook, and Twitter



This excerpt and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours 




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Lilac Lane

Lilac Lane

Lilac Lane

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