Book Tour + Giveaway: PAST PRESENCE, A Novel From NICOLE BROSS! @brossypants @RABTBookTours

Mystery
Date Published: April 1, 2019
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust
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Only by looking into the past can Audrey save her future.
Audrey Eames is happy living the wanderer’s life. After a near-death experience in her teens, Audrey can see people’s past lives whenever her skin touches theirs, and afraid of being labeled delusional, she’s never stayed in one place too long or made any deep connections.
So when Audrey’s estranged aunt dies and leaves her the historic Soberly Inn and Public House on the scenic Oregon coast, Audrey wants nothing to do with it. She’s determined to sell the inn and leave town before someone discovers the power she’s been hiding from the world, but clauses in her aunt’s will seem to block her at every turn.
Yet once ensconced in Soberly’s small town life, the people—particularly the inn’s bartender, Kellen Greene—start to grow on her, and she begins to feel that maybe she’s finally found a place of her own. As accepting as the townspeople seem, Audrey fears their reactions—and Kellen’s rejection—and decides to keep her visions a secret. But all is not well in Soberly. Soon after Audrey arrives, people in town start dying in the same manner as in their past lives—but in this lifetime it’s murder. When suspicion starts to fall on Audrey and Kellen, Audrey vows to use her gift to find the murderer and protect the people she loves—before it’s too late.
 

EXCERPT:

“It’s been nice chatting with you, Miss Eames.” The night coach driver offers me his hand, palm up, as I prepare to step down and off the bus. With a smile, I accept—careful not to put any weight onto his fingers, which look swollen and red with age and the decades he’s been gripping the wheel.
He handed a woman, all swirling skirts, and ruffles, off the carriage-and-four. She was laughing at something her mother had said, but before she stepped up the gravel path leading to the doors of the grand estate, flung open to welcome guests to the ball within, she turned to give him a nod and a half-smile.
“Enjoy your evening, Miss.” He returned her nod as the heat crept up under his stiff white collar, but she had already caught up with her mother, and he didn’t think she had heard him.
The way his hand clasps mine is the same. Some habits carry over from one lifetime to the next, as I’ve learned. The vision lingers in my mind even after I pull away and shoulder my duffel. The manor home looked English, and the woman’s dress was definitely late Victorian.
The sun is cracking the horizon, bathing the village of Soberly, Oregon, all twelve streets of it, in a glow that changes from sepia to marigold. The bus pulls away behind me in a cloud of exhaust and fine yellow sand, off to the next tiny hamlet along the coastal highway, leaving me standing in the empty street.
My destination is clearly visible—there is only one hotel here, the sensible, if unoriginally named, Soberly Inn and Public House. Standing one block away, it faces the sea and even from here I can see how the salt spray has faded the once-cobalt blue paint to a dull cornflower over the years. For reasons I don’t yet understand, the Soberly Inn now belongs to me, and I am here to claim it.
I had no idea my Aunt Roz had even owned the inn. The last time I saw her I was an awkward pre- teen, and she was less than twice my age. I sometimes remembered to email her on her birthday, but not, I’m ashamed to say, every year, although she never forgot mine. Yet despite our distant, superficial relationship, she had left this place to me, rather than the wife she left behind when she died of a rapidly progressing cancer ten days ago. Maybe she was an ex-wife now. I had no idea. We weren’t even Facebook friends. The notification of her death had come via her lawyer, not my father, along with the news that, for the first time in my life, I was a property owner. The news had affected me deeply, more so than I expected. Now, looking at Roz’s prize for the first time, the quiet ache in my chest ramps up to a throbbing spasm before fading again.
This was what my carefree aunt gave up her vagabond life for, and now she wanted me to do the same? I stare up at the building, taking note of the aged wooden siding where the paint has curled away in places, the cracked cedar shingles, and the plain-lettered sign swinging from two chains beside the entrance. ‘Shabby’ was the word that came to mind, and not ‘shabby chic,’ either. I could only imagine the interior was just as dusty and unremarkable as the exterior.
“What were you thinking, Roz?” I say under my breath. My feet are still planted in the same place because I don’t know where to go. There isn’t a soul in sight at this time of day, nor are any of the assortment of shops and businesses that line the main street open. I know there will almost certainly be someone at the front desk of the inn, but although I’ve come all this way, I’m not ready to make an appearance there yet, not without knowing what I want to say, something I’d neglected to plan on the long bus ride. I scuff one toe of my battered Chucks in the sand that’s accumulated along the curb, stalling. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the beach, I decide, as I step into the street with the rising sun at my back. The inn is a problem I delegate to Future Audrey. Right-now Audrey is going for a walk along the coast.
***
As it turns out, the only thing four hours of roaming the beach does is add hunger and the intense need to find a bathroom to my problems. Possibly a sunburn as well, judging from the pinkish hue my skin is taking on. I’ve always felt the injustice of not inheriting the platinum blonde or fiery red hair color that usually accompanies my level of fair skin. There’s nothing even remotely exotic or attention-getting about the flat, medium- brown I ended up with. At least I can be thankful it doesn’t frizz in the humidity, otherwise, I’d look like a positive nightmare right now.
The sun is almost directly overhead when I make my way over the last dune to the boardwalk. Although the village’s one cafe is now open and will serve my requirements, I trudge past it to the inn, standing a bit apart from the businesses surrounding it by virtue of its height, the only three-story building in a two-story town.
Faced with two doors, one into the inn itself and one into the pub, I choose the latter. It takes my eyes a moment to adjust to the dimness, but my stomach reacts to the environment immediately, growling audibly as the scent of fresh-fried fish greets me.
The pub is classic seaside kitsch, decorated with fishing nets and glass buoys, old traps, and a well-worn rowboat suspended upside-down from the ceiling. Maps of the coastline and faded photographs decorate the walls, as well as other assorted nautical ephemera, and together it paints a portrait of the rich coastal history of the town.
I’m still blinking away the daylight, taking this all in, when someone steps into my field of vision.
“Grab a seat wherever you want,” a guy holding a large plastic tub says. He’s clearing empty glasses and plates as he says it. I nod my acknowledgment because the pair of red Beats headphones he’s wearing will certainly drown out any verbal reply. His head is bobbing in time to music only he can hear as he disappears through a door leading to what I assume is the kitchen.
I duck into the washroom first, eliminating one of my problems. The maritime theme continues, with signs for pirates and wenches on the doors, and mirrors framed to look like portholes. Girls can be pirates too, and I don’t see why boys can’t be wenches. Geez, Roz. Sexist much? She’d been an ardent feminist in her early twenties. Had she stopped caring, or was I reading too much into a couple of bathroom signs?
The only table free seats six, so I choose a high stool at the near-vacant bar instead. I’ve arrived right in the middle of the lunch rush, from the looks of it. I still don’t know what to say to anyone here. “Hi, I’m the new owner,” seems arrogant, especially since I have no intention of keeping the place.
A menu appears in front of me, startling me out of my ruminations. Across the polished walnut bar stands a man whose skin is a shade lighter than the wood he’s resting his hands on. His smile widens as he stares at me expectantly.
“Sorry—what?” I shake my head, flustered. Who has teeth that straight, that white? Self-conscious, I half-cover my mouth with the back of my hand. Mine show clear evidence of my two-pot-a-day coffee habit. I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe someone of the same vintage as the decor, but it definitely wasn’t someone younger than me, although maybe only by a couple years.

“Drink?” he repeats, jerking his head at the long row of taps, each with a branded handle. Most of them I’ve never heard of, and I’m not a daytime drinker anyway. “This is a pub,” he adds and winks. The bartender who’s well aware of his good looks. I’m familiar with the type. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it my type, but I’d gone home with enough of them over the years.
“Sweet tea,” I say. “Extra ice.”
“Sure you don’t want a pint? Maybe a cold glass of white?”
I shake my head. “Tea’s fine.”
“G&T? I’ll put lots of ice in it.” He’s polishing up a tumbler, reaching for the bottle of Bombay on the shelf behind him. I roll my eyes, but I can’t keep the side of my mouth from twitching.
“Put that back. I just want the sweet tea. Are you on commission or something?”
“Nah, I just want to card you so I know your name,” he says. Unrepentant, he points to the sign nailed to a pillar that states We ID Anyone Under 25.
“You’re off the mark by a few years, my friend,” I tell him. He’s finally pouring my sweet tea from the soda tap into a massive glass full of ice.
“Bullshit.” As soon as he sets it down in front of me, I’m chugging it back, not breathing until the glass is half-empty. He snags it back and refills it while I wipe my mouth with a cocktail napkin. What I want to do is scoop the ice out and rub it all over my arms and face, which are starting to feel alarmingly hot. From all the sun, I tell myself. Not from the attention of this cocky bartender.
“We ID for all food orders too, you know.”
I lean in close and pause before speaking, making it clear I’m appraising him. “Maybe I’m not hungry.”
“You are. I saw you drinking in the smell of the fryer when you walked in. You got this dreamy smile that said you knew exactly what you wanted. So, let’s see it.” He holds out his hand with a crooked, teasing smile, but I push it away with the menu I haven’t even glanced at. He’s right. I don’t need to look at it at all, but I don’t want to admit that he can read me so well.
“You don’t have to show ID to order food here. You made that up.”
“So what? I can make up the rules if I want.”
“Oh, you must own the place?” I mirror his teasing tone, but I’m watching him closely, seeing how he’ll respond. I expect a smart ass reply in the same vein as our banter, but a shadow crosses his face and the smile slips. Shit. The owner just died, you idiot. As usual, the words spilled out of my mouth before I had a chance to think them through.
“I’m not, actually,” he says.
“I know. I’m sorry, that was stupid of me to say.” I bite my lip and plunge forward. “I’m Audrey. Audrey Eames. Roz’s niece. Umm, I’m the owner, I guess. So, they tell me. For now.” The silence stretches out between us as he takes all this in, frozen in place while I sit there, feeling like an utter moron with my hand outstretched, waiting for him to shake it. I’m just about to withdraw it into my lap when a wide grin cracks his face. He grips my hand so our forearms touch and our elbows rest on the bar, like we’re about to arm-wrestle. I’m drawn forward in the process so we’re almost nose-to-nose.
A gaggle of children ran through the field ahead of her and scrambled over the stile. They were jostling each other and shouting raucously, overjoyed to be free of the classroom for the afternoon. All but one, a small boy whose hand was clasped snugly into hers.
“Look, Miss Dean, a nest. The others missed it.” The boy spoke with a thick country accent as he pointed up at the treetops.
“Good eye, Wil. What sort of bird do you think made it?”
“Something big. A kite, maybe.” She nodded in agreement, and they continued on in companionable silence, following the sounds of laughter ahead.
“You totally played me, Audrey. I thought you were just another tumbleweed. I’m glad you’re not. Kellen Greene. It’s very nice to meet you.” The vision of his past- self fades from my mind, and I wonder what qualities he and the teacher have in common.
“A tumbleweed?” He squeezes my hand before releasing it, the pad of his thumb tracing a line up the side of my index finger like he’s trying to maintain contact up to the last possible second.
“Tourists that roll on through town with the wind, here and gone before you know it. They don’t bring anything with them, and they don’t take anything away either.”
“My bag should have clued you in that I wasn’t just passing through,” I point out, kicking it where it rests at my feet.
“Ahh, but there’s only one place to stay in Soberly,” he nods toward the ceiling and the rooms above, “and it’s full up, at least until Sunday.” Kellen walks over to the door leading into the back and swings it open. “Hey, Ma,” he shouts, drawing the attention of everyone in the pub. “Come meet your new boss.”

About the Author
Nicole Bross is an author from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where she lives with her husband, two children and one very large orange cat. When she’s not writing or working as the editor of a magazine, she can be found curled up with a book, messing around with her ever-expanding collection of manual typewriters or in the departures lounge of the airport at the beginning of another adventure. Past Presence is her debut novel.
Contact Links
Twitter: @brossypants
 
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Cover Reveal: BREAKUP BOOT CAMP, A New Rom Com From BETH MERLIN is Coming October 8th!@bethmerlin80 @XpressoTours

Breakup Boot Camp
Beth Merlin
Published by: Firefly Hill Press
Publication date: October 8th 2019
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

After weeks of training to whip Joanna Kitt into shape for her big day, her picture-perfect relationship is torn in two and Joanna is left out on her perfectly toned rear end. In an effort to put the past and her heartache behind her, she gears up for a whole different kind of boot camp – but will 12 steps be enough to get her life back on track?

Or will her getaway to get over him prove healing the heart takes a whole lot more?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

 

Author Bio:

Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Breakup Boot Camp

 

Book Tour + Excerpt: MAN OF MATRIMONY ( The gentleman Inc Series ) by THEA DAWSON!@thea_dawson

Title: Man of Matrimony

Series: The Gentlemen, Inc. Series

Author: Thea Dawson

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 2, 2019

 
Liam McGuire.
Annoyingly laid back. Hopelessly unambitious.
Cocky, irreverent, impossible.
My polar opposite.

 

My husband.

 
All my life, I’ve been the golden girl. Ivy League, MBA, the youngest executive at my company. The world lay at my feet.
 
Then the company I put my heart and soul into collapsed in scandal.
My so-called friends have deserted me.
I’m left with mounting debts and a shattered reputation, in danger of losing everything.
 
When a handsome stranger proposes a helping hand, I jump at the chance. I know it’s crazy, but all I have to do is stay married to him until he gets his green card, and he’ll support me until I’m back on my feet.
 
It’s the perfect marriage of convenience … except for the inconvenient way I’m starting to fall for him.
 
Brianna Winter.
Aggravatingly organized. Perpetually prim.
Stuck-up. Straitlaced.
Sex on a stick with a candy coating of complete indifference.
 

My wife.

I thought it would be easy. One year of marriage, and I’d be able to stay in sunny California for the rest of my life.
But one kiss changed everything.
Now, living at close quarters with the beautiful Miss B—with that toned body, that perfect skin, and that brilliant mind—I’m slowly going insane.
The memory of that kiss plays out over and over again in my mind in a kind of carnal loop of lust, but she shows no sign that she feels even the slightest bit of heat between us.
 
I may not survive my marriage long enough to get divorced.
 
MAN OF MATRIMONY is a steamy, standalone romance with heat, humor, and a sexy Irish hero! Happy reading!

Brianna

I’m sorry,” I whisper.

“For what?” he says, not moving.

“I should let you get to bed,” I reply, also not moving.

“I suppose you should.”

Neither of us moves away. Instead, I feel his arms tighten gently around me and one hand comes slowly up to stroke my hair.

Slowly, I tilt my face up to his to see those grey eyes, more serious than I’ve ever seen them, staring into mine.

A foreign emotion … I think it’s shyness … makes me look down again, but then Liam’s hand is on my cheek, tilting my face up toward his, and his lips are on mine, and I’m melting into him.

Our proposal kiss was surprising. Our wedding kiss was awkward. Our grope-on-the-couch kiss was hot.

This kiss … This isn’t like any of those.

His lips are so warm, so soft, so gentle and yet so confident that for a while, the sensation of kissing him is the only thing that exists. The ache in my back and the soreness in my feet disappear. Thoughts of that hot bath melt away—because why would I need it when I can sink into these arms, these lips, the deliciously clean smell of him instead?

Slowly, the sweet, serious kisses start to amp up, getting bolder, braver … hotter. The hand that was stroking my hair is now fisting it, the arm around my waist pulls me against the solid wall of his body and I can feel his arousal pressing into me. My brain cedes control to my loudly purring girl parts, which in turn license my hands to roam those broad shoulders, that hard chest. I run my hands all over him, unable to get enough of the soft cotton of his dress shirt and the firm muscles beneath it.

“I thought you were tired,” I murmur into his mouth. I’d thought I was tired, too, but that’s gone, replaced with a sparking, electric energy that makes my heart beat faster and my breath come quicker.

“I think I’ve found my second wind,” he mumbles, nuzzling my neck. I tilt my head back and he trails the length of my throat with his lips. I shiver, that sparking energy starting to coalesce deep within me.

“Liam …” It’s a question, a statement, a declaration.

A commitment.

“Take me to bed.”
Thea Dawson is a world traveler, vegetarian, salsa dancer, film fanatic, and lover of happy endings. In an alternate steampunk universe, she travels by dirigible and gets in sword fights with dashing villains.
 
In this one, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband/salsa partner, three antic children, and an agenda-driven cat. She writes at the intersection of smart, sweet and steamy; her goal with every book is to melt your heart and brighten your day.

 

Book Tour: MARRYING MARS, A Romantic Comedy from SHAY QUIN is LIVE! @shayquip

Title: Marrying Mars

Author: Shay Quin

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Release Date: April 4, 2019

 

For years, mineralogist Billie Sky and the whole world watched the colonization of Mars on reality TV. Marsden Greer, a handsome researcher on the colony and Billie’s celebrity crush, makes a shocking announcement. He will marry the Earth woman that wins his heart on the new highly anticipated show Marrying Mars. Life takes an unexpected turn and Billie finds out she’s a finalist. The competition is grueling with high stakes that create a roller coaster of emotions for everyone involved. The opportunity to win her dream job on another planet and the growing love between her and Marsden are just in reach. Billie could finally have everything she ever wanted but what does she need to do to get him?

 

 

 

Shay Quin grew up in a military family and went to a new school every year from first grade until high school. As the perpetual new kid, she developed a love for reading, writing and making new friends of all backgrounds. She enjoys a beautiful life in Phoenix, Arizona with her two boys who inspired her to follow her dream and finally publish her debut novel Marrying Mars. 

 

 

 

Book Tour + Giveaway: HIT ME by PETER J. THOMPSON!@pthompsonbooks @RABTBookTours

Thriller
Date Published: 03/01/2019
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Hitman. Husband. Daddy. Dead man?
Charley Fieldner has everything a man could want: a loving wife, a well-paying job, two great kids, and a beautiful home.
He also has a big secret.
Charley is a hitman with a huge complication—he is his own next target.
The background file contains the sort of details only someone very close to him could know. The suspect list is short but devastating, his wife, father, sister, and best friend. He always thought he could have it all, but the secrets, lies, and betrayals are piling up.
Charley needs time to unravel the mystery behind who wants him dead and why, but time is in short supply. Another killer took the contract. He now has a choice: roll over and die or fight for his life.

EXCERPT:

I step up on the platform as the train pulls into sight. The sun is just starting to rise and it’s still dark. Commuters stand beside the tracks, some strewn out, others in tight clusters. It doesn’t take me long to find my quarry, Alan Silverman. The guy’s exactly where I expected him to be, in a group of commuters at the far end of the platform. He’s easy to spot because first, he is a creature of habit and second, he has a distinctive look.

I’m about average height, five foot nine, but he’s at least a head shorter than I am. In his slick, black Italian suit he looks like an oversized bowling ball with a shiny human head and stubby legs.

The train barrels in and screeches to a halt at the last moment, its brakes squealing and hissing loudly. The commuters bunch up and as the train shudders to a stop they surge toward the doors. I stroll to the far end of the platform and wait in line, well back from Silverman. The doors of the 6:10 inbound to Chicago slide open with a pneumatic whoosh. I move with the crowd as we surge up the few steps and into the train. Silverman turns to the car on the right, as I knew he would.

I follow discreetly behind. He walks halfway up the car and takes an empty seat by the window. The car is already half full and most of the double seats have at least one occupant. The seat next to Silverman is empty and for a moment I consider sitting next to him. What better way to keep track of him and appear innocuous than by planting myself right beside him? But that would be too bold. I work best unnoticed, and, although he probably wouldn’t give me more than a passing glance as I sat down before returning to his paper, it’s not worth taking the chance. I move past him and slide into the seat across the aisle a few rows ahead, making sure I can still see him in my peripheral vision. I don’t even bother looking. The guy’s not going anywhere.

The last few people scurry to find seats as the train starts moving and picks up speed. I slip in my earbuds and settle in for the trip. I have my music on shuffle. The randomness, not knowing what music to expect helps me stay focused on the moment. I close my eyes, lean back in my seat and relax. No need to even think for the next forty-three minutes.

The train starts and stops every few minutes, gathering passengers at stations in Evanston, Davis Avenue, Ravenswood, and Clybourne. Our car soon fills up and the later arrivals have to stand. I mostly keep my eyes shut and focus on the mix. First Wilco, then the Shins, then some electronica. As we pull into Union Station, it’s some bad Gangsta rap I don’t even remember uploading. The train pulls to a stop and everyone rushes out of their seats and herds toward the door. I’d like to hang back, but my seatmate is impatient. He stands and shuffles his belongings around. I take the hint and step into the aisle, even though the doors haven’t opened, and no one is going anywhere yet.

I steal a look back and Silverman is in the aisle, too. We all stand together in a tight scrum. The heady mix of cologne, deodorant soap, sweat, and coffee breath makes me want to gag. We’re much closer together than strangers should ever be. We stand this way for a long minute before the outer doors open and the scrum pushes outward.

Now we are a river, flowing out of the train car, down the steps and into the noisy bustle of the main terminal. The river keeps flowing toward the escalator, which carries us up to street level. I try and slow to let Silverman pass me, but short of dropping down to tie my shoe and risk getting trampled. I’m caught in the flow. Fast food joints and convenience store kiosks line the path. I step off the escalator and duck into one and pretend to scan the headlines of a newspaper. A moment later, Silverman marches past me without a glance. I give him a little space before stepping into the river behind him as we flow toward the street.

The stream of commuters still flows outside as we move along the sidewalk and cross over the Chicago River. The sounds of traffic and the smell of diesel fumes add to the ambience. Now the sun is moving higher and reflecting off the glass of the skyscrapers that line both sides of the street. If I were a tourist, I’d hang back and take in the beauty and energy of the city. But I’m no tourist. I have a job to do. I keep walking.

My job. I consider myself a problem solver. Sometimes the problems are small and require a small
solution, and other times the problems are so big the only solution is drastic. Such is the case with Silverman. Although I don’t know the specifics, Silverman is an attorney, a prominent one. He’s had problems with various groups in the past and isn’t the type who’d win a popularity contest. These aren’t my concerns. I don’t want to know too much about him, good or bad, or it may affect the way I think of my quarry and introduce emotion into what should be a pure business transaction. My employer is an agency that does all the due diligence beforehand. If Silverman’s on the list, he deserves his fate. I have scruples. I trust the Agency to do the research, but I do have my standards.

It’s hard to keep track of Silverman because he is short enough to blend in with the crowd and I’m not tall enough to see over it. No matter. I know where he’s going and how he will get there. I’ve made this same trip four times now—I know what to expect. He works on LaSalle Street, but, by habit, he takes a short-cut through an alley that cuts on a loose diagonal between the two streets, past the trash bins and various service entrances, before connecting back to the main drag. It might save a minute or two, maybe, but it’s part of his daily routine. It’s also the one spot along the way where he is out of the crowd and the most exposed.
Sure, I know where he is going, but I needed to make sure he wouldn’t get sidetracked along the way. Now I know he is on the right path, I want to reach the spot before he does. I adjust my gait and walk a little faster. I weave between the pedestrians and pass Silverman, who is huffing and puffing and doesn’t pay me the slightest attention. I hurry on and, by the time I arrive at the alley, I figure I’m at least half a block ahead of him.

The alley is busier than I hoped. A truck is backed up to a loading dock, delivering supplies, and two young guys are manning their hand trucks while the driver supervises them. A little further on, three Hispanic men stand near a dumpster, smoking cigarettes. One is telling a story, using his hands to sketch out the details, and his buddies laugh. Compared to the street scene this is quiet, but for my purposes, it’s Grand Central Station. I pass the men and turn the curve which leads to LaSalle Street. It’s quieter here. Up on the sidewalk, maybe twenty yards away, the street traffic is a blur of motion. But right here it’s isolated, and this is the place I need to be.

I position myself on the side of the alley and make myself ready. I don’t think he’ll see me until after he turns the corner, and I doubt he’d think twice if he does, but a man standing by himself doing nothing is naturally suspicious. I pull out my cell phone and start an imaginary conversation with myself. Now, I’m perfectly normal and fit in completely.

I’m well into my conversation when Silverman rounds the corner and bobbles into view. He probably hears me talking before he sees me. When he notices me, he swings his head in my direction for maybe a microsecond, long enough to categorize what type of alley life I belong to, and to decide I’m not a threat. Then he is back to his mission. I don’t know why he’s walking but he has plenty of money to take a cab, and the way he is huffing along, he doesn’t seem like he is walking for enjoyment. He must be walking for his health. This strikes me as ironic.

He passes me when I call out his name and take a step toward him.

“Silverman? Alan. Is that you?”

He turns in my direction, a baffled expression creases his face. He stops and gives me the full once over. “Do I know you?”

I take another step forward.

I don’t have the kind of face you’d remember. In fact, there is nothing about me you would find memorable. I’ve been described as doughy, nondescript, a normal kind of guy. I’ve been told I look like an accountant or maybe a truck driver. I’m of average height and average weight. My hair is starting to thin, and I carry a little more around my waistline than I used to, but that’s not unusual for someone in their late thirties. It’s considered ordinary, which I appear to be. And it’s not surprising that he wouldn’t be able to place me, if he ever knew me.

“Alan, remember me? Dick Olson.” I take another step toward him, holding out my hand.

He’s stuck to his spot, but he’s not really buying it. Doesn’t matter. All I need is another few seconds and a few more feet. I keep moving.

“At Gibson’s. You were with Jerry, Jerry Calhoun.”

I’m basically babbling, throwing out names and places I picked up from my research on him. From his expression, I can tell I oversold it. Again, doesn’t matter. This is routine and it will all be over in short order. I am not a big fan of weapons. Guns make too much noise, knives are way too messy. But if you know what you are doing, and I do, hands are all you need. I’m almost within reach.

His hand dips into his pocket and he’s pulling something out. It might be a cell phone, or maybe he wants to give me his wallet. But I don’t think so. The time for subterfuge is over. I lunge toward him.

His hand jerks from the pocket, holding a small can. Mace or pepper spray? I grab for his neck and pull him toward me while I reach for his hand. He gasps. His chest heaves. The guy might have a heart attack before I can kill him.

The spray hits me. Sudden pain. Intense, shattering pain. My eyes tear, my lungs burn, and I can’t breathe. Pain is everywhere. My grip loosens and Silverman twists free. I drop to one knee, but I grab for him again, or at least where I think he is, because I can’t see a thing. I grab at the air and his heavy footsteps pound the pavement, running now. His locomotive breath is so loud it seems to echo off the walls.

I lurch to my feet and head after him. He’s heading toward the street. I have to stop him before he
reaches the safety of the sidewalk. This is a disaster, a royal fuck up and I don’t even want to think about what will happen if I botch this job. He’s running, but even in full panic he’s no runner. I stagger after him. My vision’s blurred, and the pain is just as intense as before, but I force myself to run though I can hardly maintain my balance.

I hear him in front of me as much as I can see him. I’m gaining on him, but even as I bridge the gap between the two of us, the street sounds grow louder still. We are nearly out of the alley and close to the sidewalk. The busy street means safety for Silverman. Surrounded by people, I can’t do a thing, and all he has to do is yell and a crowd will form, police will come, and it’ll all be over. If he makes the street— and he’s almost there—the only thing I can do is slink away.

The truth is, I can’t make it. My lungs are stuffed with hot coals and my vision is shot. He’s too far
ahead. If I had a gun I might shoot, but I’d surely miss and only make matters worse. I keep moving but I already know it’s too late. I blink back the tears and I get a cloudy look at what’s ahead. He’s out of the alley and on the sidewalk now. I’ve lost.

Silverman jerks his head back for a look at me. I can’t see his expression, but I’m guessing it’s one of joy, or relief, or maybe even anger. Or is it still panic, and fear? But he turns again and keeps running, bumping into people but still running, past the sidewalk and right into the street.

A screech of brakes.

A loud thud.

A chorus of yells, screams and gasps break through the background hubbub. I slow to a walk, cross the sidewalk and join the crowd forming around the scene.

A lady lets out a wail of lament. The taxi driver leaps from his cab, his hands aflutter. In his thick
Pakistani accent and high voice, he tells the crowd it’s not his fault. The crowd isn’t listening, their eyes are all on the broken body nearly underneath the wheels.

“Call an ambulance!” a woman yells.

“Too late for that,” someone else says.

I push through the gapers for a good look. The last voice was right. Blood is everywhere, and Silverman is not my problem anymore. The lady lets out a wail again, and I try not to smile with relief. I can’t believe my good luck.

Meet The Author:

peterthompsonfull2
Peter Thompson grew up on the east side of Chicago, in the shadow of the steel mills where the air was sooty and smelled of sulfur. His life wasn’t always so gritty, but the grit and realism finds its way into his thrillers. He has always loved stories of every kind, and one of his joys is finding a way to get inside character’s heads, seeing the world as they see it and feeling their triumphs, pain, and fear. He visualizes his characters when he writes, and they are larger than life in the big screen of his imagination.
Before pursuing his passion and becoming a full-time author, he tried his hand at everything from factory work, breaking cement in a construction crew, running his own pizza shop, and he was a well-regarded presence in the mortgage industry for nearly thirty years. When he isn’t writing, Peter loves, spicy food, live music, and exciting and thought-provoking books and movies. He is a fitness buff who loves to spend time with his grown sons and is looking forward to traveling the world and seeking adventures with his lovely partner.
To get in touch, find out more about future projects, please stop by authorpeterthompson.com. Sign up for his reading list to find out about new releases and receive free perks.
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Book Blitz + Giveaway: THEIR DISCOVERY (Legally Bound #3 )by REBECCA GRACE ALLEN!@RGraceAllen @XpressoTours

Their Discovery
Rebecca Grace Allen
(Legally Bound, #3)
Publication date: April 29th 2019
Genres: Erotica, Romance

Exploring their fantasies could save their marriage…or push it over the edge

Legally Bound, Book 3

Samantha Archer’s life has hit a wall. Her world is housework, homework and reminding her husband—the biggest kid in the family—to help out at home. Once she felt confident, powerful and sexy, but Brady doesn’t seem to notice her anymore, and now all she feels is invisible.

Brady has tried being the goofy guy who stole Sam’s heart, but it’s not working. He’s losing the woman he loves and doesn’t have a clue how to fix it. He’s keeping his darkest fantasies hidden too, sure they’re not what Sam wants, and his inability to please her cuts him deeper than she knows.

When Sam lands a new job at a law firm, Brady still won’t pick up the slack, and one night giving him orders unexpectedly reignites their missing spark. Sam discovers the Femdomme she didn’t know she was, kindling Brady’s submissive desires.

But while things heat up inside the bedroom, life outside it starts unraveling. Brady’s need to call the shots at work complicates his hunger to kneel for his wife, and Sam has longed to experiment in more ways than one. Their exploration of dominance and submission goes a step too far when they invite Sam’s sultry switch coworker into their bed, and the fallout could cost them everything.

Warning: contains a six-foot-five, ex-football player geek and a ballsy, badass redhead who’s learning to unleash her inner Domme. Scenes depicting humiliation, pegging and threesomes could disturb, or stimulate a thirst for adventure.

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The full trilogy:

EXCERPT:

She went up on her toes, stretching her supple body to put an unused juice glass back in its place. The move pulled her nightshirt away from her back, offering Brady a slice of skin in between the cotton and the edge of her pajama bottoms.

He adjusted himself and tried to think about something else, and not just because his kids were nearby. Even if they weren’t, he’d bet nothing would happen. Sam’s lack of interest in sex had been from the baby weight she’d gained. Brady never minded when she was heavier—he’d joked that there was more of Sam to love. To him it was a reminder of the years they’d spent building this family, the lives they’d lived. Her hips had seemed more lush back then, too, her breasts fuller. She’d stopped letting him play with them when she was nursing, and now that she’d lost the weight, he’d been waiting for the green light to go back there again.

She’d never given it.

They’d become platonic, disconnected in a sexless marriage. He’d taught himself to shut down his impulses, trying to find satisfaction with his right hand. But now, watching her move around, her messy red hair up in a bun, he wished he could get her even messier, wished he could reach for whatever she was trying to get, and after he’d given it to her, she’d hop up on the counter and take off her shirt. She’d tell him to kiss each tender nipple, then order him to the floor. Laughing, she’d comment on how desperate she’d gotten him, how she’d bet he couldn’t wait until his face was between her thighs.

Brady tore his gaze away from her, his cheeks blazing. He wasn’t supposed to fantasize like that. A real man didn’t want his wife to order him around, to let her take what she wanted and to revel in whatever pleasure he could give her. He was the ex-football player, the breadwinner, the dad of two little girls. He was supposed to be strong. Dominant. Like the men in her books.

He’d peeked at them once when she’d left her iPad open. After months of saying she felt fat, that the kids would hear, or one of the dozens of other reasons she’d given him, he never imagined she’d be reading, well, smut. And the men who filled those digital pages gave orders and grabbed fistfuls of hair. They were rough and aggressive, took what they wanted and commanded obedience.

That wasn’t him. And if that was what Sam wanted, there was no point in reaching for her at all.

It was ironic. A real flaw in his DNA. He knew a few strands different and he’d be more like the kind of guy Sam wanted. The kind who was forceful in bed and didn’t miss half of what she was saying because he had so much on his mind he couldn’t focus. It was like the information got stuck between his ears and his brain, which often had him standing stock-still and trying to recall what she’d asked, lowering his head in embarrassment when she had to repeat it.


Author Bio:

Rebecca Grace Allen is an author of sweet, sexy and soul searching romance, emphasis on the sexy! She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a double concentration in Creative Writing and Literary Comparison, as well as a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education, both of which seemed like good ideas at the time. After stumbling through careers in entertainment, publishing, law and teaching, she’s returned to her first love: writing. A self-admitted caffeine addict and gym rat, she currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, two parakeets, and a cat with a very unusual foot fetish.

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Discovery

Book Blitz + Excerpt: TICK COOPER by JOHN VANCE!@victorianvance @RABTBookTours

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YA & Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Black Opal Books
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“I swear by everything I ever owned that my adventure will be the honest truth—even if I had to tell a few lies along the way to get to the meaning of that truth.” So promises Tick Cooper, a twelve year old Ohio boy who’s about to accompany his Uncle Ned down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. It’s the autumn of 1860, right before the election that will send Abraham Lincoln to the White House. With his mother deceased and his father having deserted him for the chance of gold in California, Tick has been most fortunate to receive the care and love of his father’s older brother and his wife—Aunt Clara. Although she has recently passed away, she and Uncle Ned have educated the boy about living a good and proper life. But Tick hasn’t had much of a chance to put what he’s learned into practice—nor to face the moral challenges every young person will face as he or she grows up. But the river journey will provide plenty of those experiences and tests of character. Yet, reaching New Orleans does not conclude the lessons and challenges, for there Tick witnesses a slave auction, and on the block is a thirteen-year-old freed black girl named Clarissa, whom Tick had briefly met in Ohio. Now Tick faces his most significant challenge. Can he help get Clarissa back to Ohio all the way from New Orleans?
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EXCERPT

There I was jumping from the top of one tree to another. It wasn’t exactly as if I was flying, because I had to land on the top branch of each tree, but it sure felt like flying. Geese were following me and honking away like they were trying to warn me about something. But when I decided to forget about the tree tops and just fly, I fell hard to the ground thirty feet below and started rolling down the side of a hill while I was hiding my face in a pillow. I kept feeling the feathers from the goose down pillow sticking out and poking my cheeks and the side of my neck. Try as I might, I couldn’t pull that pillow off my face and it got to be stained with the blood coming out of me. But I kept rolling and rolling until I was stopped by something firm but soft. But by the time I finally pulled the pillow away from my face to see what or who had stopped me, I woke up and I never found out. That happens to me in dreams a lot. Wish it didn’t, though. What woke me up was my Uncle Ned telling me it was time to leave our house and get on the train to Cincinnati where we would get aboard the steamboat the St. Paul and head down to New Orleans. I was about to leave on the greatest adventure of my life. I swear by everything I ever owned that it will be the honest truth—even if I had to tell a few lies along the way to get to the meaning of that truth. Uncle Ned shouted from the front porch of our house in Oxford, Ohio, “Time to catch the train, Tick.” That’s my name—Tick—Tick Cooper. Or what they’ve always called me anyways. Uncle Ned said I’d always remember this day as long as I lived, but I still wrote it down when we got on the train in Hamilton so I’d be sure never to forget— “November the 1st, 1860.” We would ride some thirty-five miles to Cincinnati, the 2 largest city in the whole state. I’d a been on the train only once before—when the railway first opened, when I was six. But what gets a boy excited when he’s six and what gets him excited at twelve are quite different things—so this time I acted all grown up like I’d ridden the railroad every week. I didn’t jump around and bother Uncle Ned the way I did the first time. Even so, it was still pretty special chugging along in such high style. Nothing much happened on the train for the first twenty miles or so, but two more passengers got on and right afterward I heard some commotion going on in front of where we were sitting. “I say that’s my seat you’re sitting in. Get out of it now.” The man who said that was an elderly gent who looked like he had gotten into many tough scrapes in his life. He had long white hair and side whiskers, but what I grabbed my attention most was his scarred-up face. It looked like someone had dug trenches on his cheeks and above his right eye. And he seemed much bigger and stronger than men as old as he was. He was talking to a boy who looked younger than me—maybe nine or ten. The boy was in the seat by himself and was just too scared to say anything back. “You had better come up with a good reason why you took my seat or I’ll rip your nose right off your face, boy.” Because Uncle Ned had fallen asleep, it was up to me to do something. I just had to be sure that boy kept his nose on where it was, so I ran up to the man. “Excuse me, mister. My brother here is in the wrong seat. Come on, Ben. Your seat is back with us.” That boy almost flew out of the seat and headed to the back of the train car. “Excuse my brother, mister. He doesn’t hear well and sometimes I have to tell him things twice.” I turned and walked back to my seat, expecting that that white-haired old devil would 3 grab me and try to take my nose off. But he didn’t say or do anything. He just grunted and sat in the seat I guess he always sat in when he rode on that train. I found out that Ben’s real name was Peter Butler and that he was put on the train by his grandpap so he could take a steamboat from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh, where his mother, father, and baby sister had just settled in a house. I told him I’d look out for him until we reached Cincinnati, where his grandpap’s brother lived and would take him in for the night. We talked about the man with the scars on his face—I mean we talked softly so we wouldn’t wake Uncle Ned or let that old buzzard hear us. I told Peter that some folks believe they really own whatever they use often—cups, chairs, and such–and that it’s easy for someone big to get what they want from someone smaller, who can’t do anything about it. And if that big someone is also real ugly, it’s all the easier. When I told Peter my name, he wanted to know if I was born with it. I told him that when I was born my father named me John Polk Cooper, but those first two names never really suited me much. It was Aunt Clara who first called me “Tick” because when I was a baby I used to burrow into the blanket like a tick into a dog’s back. But the name really stuck when I started running around and hiding in bushes, old dead trees, and holes in the ground. I also like the sound of Tick Cooper better than John Cooper or John Polk Cooper any day of the week. One of my teachers said that Tick Cooper wasn’t as easy to pronounce as John or John Polk Cooper, because the first name ended with a “k” sound and the second name began with the same sound. But she was educated and I guess those things matter to those kinds of folks. Ben said that Polk was a funny name to be stuck with—and it was, but from what Uncle Ned told me I got my middle name because of the then president of the United States, James Polk, who they say kicked the Mexicans out of Texas and took it for the 4 United States. Uncle Ned said that my father thought Polk did the right thing, but from what Uncle Ned also told me, my father once shot a man in the leg who claimed that the twelve feet at the very back of my father’s land rightfully belonged to him. They say the man showed my father the papers, but my father shot him anyways, saying that it was the law that those who live on the land and cultivate it have all right to it. I guess old President Polk never heard of that law when he took Texas. So since I was born on March 3, 1848, I got stuck with a Polk between my first and last names. If I was born three years ago my name would have been John Buchanan Cooper, which was wore then the name I had. As Aunt Clara used to say, “Thank heaven for small favors.” When the train stopped in Cincinnati, we waited until the foul-looking man left the train car before we did. Uncle Ned woke up and finally met Peter, who thanked me for helping him and waited until he saw his grandpap’s brother before getting off the train. I wished he was going to New Orleans instead of Pittsburgh, because I knew I’d never see him again, but my Aunt Clara used to say that the older you get the more often folks would come in and then out of your life—sometimes on the very same day. Aunt Clara. I guess I forgot to say that she was Uncle Ned’s wife and was always like a mother to me, since my own mother died when I wasn’t yet two years old. I’m still very sad that Aunt Clara got real sick and died a few months back. The day before we left Oxford, we went to see her grave at the Old Yard Cemetery. Uncle Ned had been going there every week since she died, but he never made me go with him. I just did it on my own every few weeks or so, but it was more to be with Uncle Ned because I really wanted to go. Not that I’m afraid to visit the graves of all those dead people. I’ve been there after the sun went down with three of my friends and was the very last to run out of there, which won me the wool cap we found snagged on a tree limb the day before. 5 Anyway–at her grave, Uncle Ned told Aunt Clara that he’d be going away for a spell and he’d be thinking of her all the time. He also told her that he’d be taking me with him. She was so good to me—she really was. As soon as we got off the train, we heard a noise on the wooden platform—a kind of “ker-thump” every several second or so, so we looked around and saw a man who looked like he hadn’t shaved his whiskers in a hundred years limping along with a wooden crutch under his arm, which he dragged as he took a step with his good leg. Good leg? I should have said only leg! Uncle Ned reached in his pocket for a coin or two, which he liked to do whenever he saw someone who couldn’t walk or see too well. So I reached in mine and pulled out one of my two new Indian head pennies. My other one was back in my room at home, but I always carried one of them with me for good luck. But when I looked at the coin, I wanted to think that Uncle Ned’s contribution would be enough that the one-legged old soul wouldn’t hold it against me if I jammed my lucky coin back in my pocket. I sure didn’t want to be without luck on my grand adventure to New Orleans. But I didn’t think or act fast enough because the next thing I knew I had put my Indian head penny in the man’s hand. He closed his old fist around it, and I felt like I dropped my hunting rifle down a well. My stomach became as heavy as a cannon ball, and my throat felt as dry as if I had swallowed a campfire. Being charitable isn’t always “its own reward,” as Aunt Clara used to say. The poor man had only limped about ten feet away when two men in fancy clothes, with new top hats and walking sticks came up behind him and started laughing and pointing at his crutch. I guess these were men because they were dressed in all high fancy, but they acted like boys not much older than me. The one in the striped pants took his walking stick and swung it like he was chopping at a low limb and knocked the 6 crutch out from under the old man, who fell to the platform before I could take get close enough to break his fall. Those two dandified gents both burst out laughing as the old man let out one of them painful old man’s screeches, with a whistling sound—probably because he lacked some front teeth. The coins he had gotten from me, Uncle Ned, and some other kindly folks were scattered all over the platform. And then you know what those two popinjays did? They threw down several coins themselves! I couldn’t believe it. I guess they paid for the right to hurt the old man. Or maybe they did it to make sure their consciences wouldn’t bother them none. Uncle Ned told me once that some folks believe they can make up for their being cruel and thoughtless by giving money. And these two gents were nothing compared to what I’d see later on my adventure. But I’m running ahead of myself. When I went over to help up the old man, I saw my Indian head penny about six feet away, picking up the bright sunshine, which made it sparkle. When I got the crutch situated under the old man’s arm, I walked over and picked up the coin. I was afraid someone else would take it and use it to buy something useless. No. Now wait. That’s not all of it. I better come clean or this tale isn’t going to be worth you’re taking the time to read it if I don’t. To tell the honest truth, I picked up the coin mostly because I wanted to think more about his need for it, since four other folks gave the old man more money. I picked up my coin as the lame old man was walking away with the rest of the money that someone had picked up from the platform, along with the new coins just placed in his hand. I knew he wouldn’t miss my Indian head penny—not one bit–and seeing that it and the other penny back home were gifts from my Uncle Ned, I decided to put the penny back in my pocket. For about a second. I caught up with the old man and gave him my good-luck penny for a second time. Maybe I was wrong, but I just felt he needed the good luck 7 much more than I did. Then I heard Uncle Ned calling me, and that was the last I saw of my penny and the old man. But not the last I’d see of those two high-hatted, dandypants scoundrels who knocked the old man down.

Meet John Vance

JOHN VANCE

 

During his career as Professor of English at the University of Georgia, John Vance was the author of six books and numerous articles devoted to literary biography and criticism. He also began indulging his love of theater as actor, director, and playwright, with thirty-five of his plays staged. Now he has turned exclusively to fiction, and is the author of fourteen novels, including the humorous memoir Setting Sail for Golden Harbor and the recently BookBub featured In Mind of the Vampire. He lives in Athens, Georgia with his wife Susan.
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TICK COOPER

Book Tour + Giveaway: MAMMA’S MOON ( The Hoodoo of Peckerwood Finch ) by JEROME MARK ANTIL! @RABTBookTours

Crime/Romance
Date Published: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Little York Books
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This suspenseful sequel to “One More Last Dance” follows Peck Finch’s search for his mother after leaving home at the age of nine, and the struggles of his friend Gabe, who is simultaneously facing a second-degree murder charge. Set within the rich and storied culture of Louisiana, this tale of self-discovery explores important questions about the meaning of love, friendship, family and more.
“Mamma’s Moon” has received early praise for its layered storytelling with BlueInk Reviews calling Antil’s newest work “a lovely story about the strong bonds of friendship that often supplant family ties.”

EXCERPT:

Chapter 2 Good Morning, Murder

Bonjour, meurtre
id you murder the kid, Gabe?” Lily Cup asked. The aging army captain, veteran of Korea and Vietnam, low¬ered his newspaper just enough to see over the entertainment page.
“Close the door, honey, AC’s on,” Gabe said.
In a tight, black skirt with a tailored matching waistcoat and white Nike walking shoes, she leaned and propped a black leather briefcase against the wall by the door. She stood like an exasperated tomboy, adjusting and refastening the diamond brooch on her lapel.
“I heard you’ve been walking with a cane, dancing man. What’s that all about? You’ve never carried a cane. You jazz dance for hours a couple of nights a week and Sasha tells me you started carrying one everywhere you go when you don’t need one. It’s smelling pretty premeditated to me, Gabe. What’s up with the cane thing?”
“Does Sasha know about this morning?”
“I haven’t told her anything. She’d have a canary.”
Gabe lifted the paper again to read.
“I need to know if it was murder,” Lily Cup said.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Gabe said.
He closed the paper, folded it in half, and in half again. Dropping it on the arm of the chair, he stood and left the room.
“Define murder,” he said from the kitchen.
She tossed a handbag and white driving gloves onto the other chair, lifted Chanel sunglasses to the top of her head.
“Gee, I’ll have to think on this one. Hmmm…Oh, I know. How about the police have a cane with blood on it and there’s a dead man.”
“It’s a walking stick. My cane is over by the door.”
“Well now it’s a goddamned murder weapon. They checked for prints, and yours are the only prints on it, and their guess is the lab will say the blood has his DNA.”
Gabe came out with a coffee urn in one hand and his finger and thumb through two empty cup handles. He held the cups out for her to take one.
“No more,” Gabe said.
“You’re rather nonchalant for the spot you’re in. Why’d you clam up on me like that at the precinct? It didn’t set well with any of them. The DA entered a charge of second-degree murder. The police chief put out a warrant for you from lunch at Brennan’s.”
He held the empty cups closer to her.
“Just made it. Chicory and cinnamon.”
“If you had television you’d have seen it—‘Daylight killing on St. Charles Avenue.’ It’s all over the news, freaking out the DA and the Visitors Bureau. No telling how many videos from streetcars going by will wind up on You Tube.”
“That’s enough,” Gabe said.
“People can live with violence after dark. That’s expected in any city, but when it’s in broad daylight, forget it. The DA pushed for an early docket with a magistrate and it’s Tulane and Broad for you at nine a.m. tomorrow.”
“What’s Tulane and Broad?”
“Magistrate Court. Congratulations, Gabe, you made the big time. You have to appear before a magistrate to hear the second-degree murder charge against you.”
She took an empty cup in one hand, pinched his arm with the other.
“Look me in the eye and swear it wasn’t murder,” Lily Cup said.
“This some kind of technique they teach at Harvard Law, Miss Tarleton?”
She rolled her eyes and turned to the other chair.
“The only reason they haven’t busted down your door and you’re not behind bars is you’re a decorated veteran, and I’m your attorney, and I promised you’ll show up in the morning. Sasha warned me about you. I should have listened. You’re an ornery, stubborn old coot when you have a mind to.”
She sat down.
“I’m never ornery,” Gabe said. “But that’s enough.”
He leaned and poured coffee.
“You’re lucky we have Magistrate Judge Fontenot tomorrow. I heard her dad was killed in Vietnam. She’s been pretty fair to me in the past. A new school gal, tough on the letter of the law, but she’ll listen to reason if it solves a case. She hates red tape with a passion, and seldom lets the DA or the defense use the system for delays. She doesn’t get hung up on tradition.”
“Have you heard?” Gabe said. “Our Sasha has asked me to give her away. How about them apples?”
“Gabe, like she’s been my best friend since kindergarten, she tells me everything,” Lily Cup said. “It’s sweet.”
“I’m thinking Peck and I might throw a party,” Gabe said. “Something she’ll remember—commemorate their engagement Mardi Gras style. Lots of pictures; close friends.”
“Will you print invitations, like a formal do?” Lily Cup asked.
“But of course,” Gabe said. “Maybe costumes?”
“It’s party time! She would flip over a costume party, all our friends would,” Lily Cup said. “You and Peck celebrating her engage¬ment will mean a lot to her.”
“Should we do it here or over at Charlie’s Blue Note with the live jazz?”
“Gabe, you’ve got one picture on the mantle, two chairs, and a cardboard box in the living room. This isn’t exactly what I’d call a Commander’s Palace party room.”
“I was thinking a streetcar day pass in the invite if we do it here at the house,” Gabe said.
“That’s a nice idea—parking sucks on this street. When are you going to buy some furniture?”
“I’m too old to impose furniture on Peck. Peck would only feel obligated to keep it after I’m gone. I’ll let him and Millie pick out the furniture doodads, curtains, and the dishes when they play house. There’s time.”
“How’s your stomach with what happened today? Were you hurt?” Lily Cup said.
“What stomach? They removed it.”
“I meant how’ve you been since the operation?”
“I’m a hospice survivor with some time left in me, hopefully. At least enough time to plan a party.”
“You might be partying in Angola if the DA pushes this to a grand jury,” Lily Cup said.
Gabe stood, got the coffee urn again and brought it into the liv¬ing room.
“Warm your coffee?”
“Do you two at least have beds?” Lily Cup asked.
“Of course we have beds,” Gabe said. “Peck thinks he’s a prince— a mattress with sheets after sleeping on a canvas cot most of his life.”
“This must be a new world for him,” Lily Cup said.
“For fifteen years he slept in an unheated shed at a wood mill,” Gabe said. “Saw blades hanging over him like Macy’s parade bal¬loons. It took him weeks getting used to sleeping on a bed. I’d find him curled on the floor with his window wide open.”
“Peck and Millie,” Lily Cup said. “They do seem like a good fit, don’t they?”
“She’s loved the boy with a passion since the day he made the Greyhound bus stop so he could jump off just to give her the baby doll she left on her seat,” Gabe said.
“Her baby doll, Charlie. Sasha told me about the doll. Hell, I had my Teddy bear all through Harvard. I still have it,” Lily Cup said.
“Millie does love her Charlie,” Gabe said.
“Does she like the house?”
“That girl loves New Orleans. It’s a completely different world for her from the strict Baptist home life in Tennessee and Baylor University. But hell, the girl would love Milwaukee if Peck were there. Her mom and dad love Peck. I’m not certain Millie’s had a good look at the house the few times she’s come on her school breaks. She hits the door, pauses just long enough to hug ole Gabe here a genuine hello and a kiss on the cheek, then she’ll grab Peck’s arm like it’s an empty egg basket handle, close his bedroom door behind them and climb his bones until he comes out peaked, steps on the porch for some air and goes back in for another round.”
“Whoa, now that takes me back,” Lily Cup said. “I can remember those wild younger days of reckless abandon.”
She sipped her coffee, smiling.
“Innocent times,” Gabe said.
“They weren’t so innocent,” Lily Cup said.
“Oh?”
“I remember after school sometimes; Sasha and I’d be feeling randy and we’d corner us a couple of momma’s boys we thought showed promise. We’d sneak into one of those back storage rooms on Magazine Street and wear them out.”
“Lord help ’em,” Gabe said. “Impetuous youth.”
“We had perfect lures. Sasha was the first in our grade to wear a D cup bra,” Lily Cup said.
“Her girls,” Gabe said.
“They were magnets for high school bad boys dying for a peek,” Lily Cup said. “The bigger her girls, the ‘badder’ the boys.”
“Youth,” Gabe said.
“We developed our fancies,” Lily Cup said. “Hers was arousing a dude and putting his condom on him. She’d ride it like a sailor on a rowboat—the boy gawking up at her girls in her Victoria Secret bra she saved her allowance for. She’d never take it off. She’d say a boy appreciates a cleavage—why spoil the fantasy?”
“And you?”
“Let’s just say I developed a liking for the feel of a firm cigar.”
“Ha!” Gabe guffawed. “Is that why you smoke those short Panatelas?”
“Over the years I’ve learned to keep my expectations low.”
“Youth is uncouth,” Gabe said. “At least you’re sophisticated and couth now, little lady.”
“Too couth. I like to get mussed up on occasion.”
“You’re an attractive woman. It’ll happen.”
“She’s talking about the wedding reception maybe being at Charlie’s Blue Note,” Lily Cup said.
“If that’s true, I’m surprised James hasn’t put up a scuff,” Gabe said. “A jazz joint in an alley off Frenchmen Street isn’t what I’d call his cup of tea.”
“I think the house would be best for the engagement party, fixed up a little. I’ll help,” Lily Cup said.
“It would be more personal here,” Gabe said.
“I think so,” Lily Cup said. “This is like home to her.”
“I’ll have Peck paint the porch ceiling,” Gabe said.
Lily Cup stood, coffee cup in hand. She walked to the door look¬ing out at the porch’s ceiling.
“Why?” she asked.
“I’m changing the sky–blue to another color, maybe a white.”
“It looks freshly painted.”
“It’s a tradition thing,” Gabe said.
“What tradition?”
“A lady at the library told me a sky–blue ceiling on a front porch signals an available woman–of–age living in the house.”
“That’s phooey,” Lily Cup said. “I heard that one and three others like it. Like sky–blue wards off spiders and attracts bees away from people sitting on porch swings. I wouldn’t bother painting it.”
“I’m a Chicago boy—what would I know from superstitions?”
“It’s an old wives’ tale,” Lily Cup said. “Those are different than superstition. Sasha and I still sit on a roof in the Quarter under a full moon if it’s not lightning—it’s bad gris–gris if there are thun¬derstorms under a full moon. We light candles and talk through the 

Meet Jerome Mark Antil

JEROME MARK

 

JEROME MARK ANTIL writes in several genres. He has been called a “greatest generation’s Mark Twain,” a “write what you know Ernest Hemingway,” and “a sensitive Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.” It’s been said his work reads like a Norman Rockwell painting. Among his writing accomplishments, several titles in his The Pompey Hollow Book Club historical fiction series about growing up in the shadows of WWII have been honored. An ‘Authors and Writers’ Book of the Year Award and ‘Writer of the Year’ at Syracuse University for The Pompey Hollow Book Club novel; Hemingway, Three Angels, and Me, won SILVER in the UK as second-best novel.
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Book Tour + Giveaway: SOUL REMAINS ( Terribly Serious Darkness Book 2 by SAM HOOKER!@SamHooker @RABTBookTours

Fantasy (Humorous)
Date Published: 23 April 2019
Publisher: Black Spot Books
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It’s Dark in the Old Country.
Where do goblins come from? Why do they only turn up in the Old Country, and why do they like swearing so much? In the second book of Terribly Serious Darkness, Sloot Peril—a “hero” who’s staunchly averse to heroics—goes searching for answers. Much to his chagrin, he finds them.
Everything changed after the Fall of Salzstadt, but try telling that to the people of the city, whose capacity for denial is unmatched. They have yet to acknowledge that Vlad the Invader cut a bloody swath through their city, that the dead are walking the streets, or that the Domnitor—long may he reign—has fled to wherever despots go on very long vacations while goblin infestations take care of themselves.
The worst of villains holds all of the power, unspeakable dark forces are on the rise, and everyone wants to kidnap the Domnitor—long may he reign—for their own nefarious ends. If all of that weren’t bad enough, Sloot’s got the fate of his own soul to worry about.
Can his girlfriend help him save the Old Country from annihilation? Is Myrtle really his girlfriend? If all goes well for Sloot—which it never does—he might just sort it all out before the Dark swallows them all up.

 

MEET SAM HOOKER

AUTHOR
Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy. He is an entirely serious person, regardless of what you may have heard. Originally from Texas, he now resides in southern California with his wife, son, and dog.
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GIVEAWAY!

3 signed copies of Peril in the Old Country, the first book in the series. 
 
 

SOUL REMAINS

Book Blitz: THE OTHER ANGEL by ANN COVELL!@RABTBookTours

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Historical Fiction
Published: February 2019
Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers
 
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The Other Angel is a dramatic, startling tale of how four young people from diverse backgrounds, each with their own aspirations and values, become unlikely though firm friends. It is an absorbing story that will attract readers as they get to know the characters, whose disparate lives intertwine before the Civil War splits them up. The Gettysburg battle aftermath brings them back together. It is an exciting story filled with breathtaking scenarios of plots, war and espionage, as well as romance and pathos. The story will resonate with readers as it unfolds to an emotion-charged conclusion that will invoke their empathy.
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Meet Ann Covell

ANN COVELL
Ann Covell is a British citizen and lives in England’s glorious south-west. Ann had a long career with the British health service research section, and also served as a Justice of the Peace in England.  Her interests include history, writing and politics. She is the author of “Remembering the Ladies” (a book of unique essays on the 19th century U.S. First Ladies,) and “First Lady, Jane Pierce,” who was the 14th U,S, First Lady”.
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OTHER ANGEL