Book Blitz: Two Truths and One Liar by Deirdre Riordan Hall @DeirdreSpark @XpressoTours

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Two Truths and One Liar
High School Murder Mystery #1

Deirdre Riordan Hall
Publication date: December 27, 2021
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

Knives Out meets One of Us is Lying with a hint of the Inheritance Games. Like the original whodunnit, Clue, this suspenseful mystery also has three possible endings explaining what could have happened.

They all have secrets. They all have motives. They all tell lies.

Every year, at a prestigious boarding school, Professor Groff hosts the Midnight Masquerade. But this year, before the festivities, he’s discovered dead in his office. Yet six students still receive invitations. The same six students who’re questioned about his murder.

The show must go on. At the Masquerade, two additional students claim to know the truth. The lights go out and when they come back on, one of them is dead. Anyone could’ve been at fault.

Francisca blind in one eye and deadly on the rugby field. Toshi a number ninja and the campus punching bag. Taz who struggles with anxiety and lingers in the shadows. Fish the golden boy hiding wounds and not only in his heart. Caroline the heiress and the image of perfection. Gorgeous George the resident Greek God with nothing to lose.

The six receive anonymous notes, making them question themselves and the assumptions they’ve made about each other. Brought back together, they must prove their innocence before the all-school meeting the next morning, otherwise, they risk humiliation if their secrets are exposed exposed—and worse, if they’re found guilty.

It’s a long night of theft, danger, and threats by a secret society that shows Professor Groff was right during his final lecture.

Everything that can go wrong will.

Goodreads // Barnes & Noble // Amazon

EXCERPT:

Dean Hammond straightens a stack of papers then looks up. With a severe lift to her eyebrow, she scans those of us present, and then says, “Oliver Groff was found dead in his office at 3:22 pm, shortly after his last class of the day.”

A weight in my stomach sinks just as it did when Arpad made the announcement in the dining hall. Questions roll through my mind and collide when the realization hits me full force. He was alive, teaching earlier today, making dire pronouncements about how basically everything sucks.

Boy, was he right. Now, he’s gone.

The circumstances were different the first and second times someone in my life died but the familiar emptiness, the void, vacancy returns—or maybe it never left.

“Yeah, we heard—” George’s tone tells me he wants to say something more about loss and tragedy, something sentimental perhaps, but he’s hard-wired for nonchalance as the campus crush and most likely to smoke, hook up, and skip classes.

Caroline clasps her hands in front of her chest. Her knuckles pale. “I’m so sorry to hear that.” She pauses. “He was an…efficient teacher.”

I imagine she struggles to think of a nice thing to say about Groff. I sneak a glance at the others because I can’t be the only one wondering why we’re here.

Arpad already announced the news in the Refectory. There’s a good chance not everyone was there. Hammond inhales.

“Francisca Thompson-Sanchez, nice seeing you again.”

Francisca’s expression doesn’t suggest the feeling is mutual, although she is wearing a mud-streaked rugby uniform and likely feels as out of place in the plush office as I do.

“Can you please tell me where you were from the end of English class until now?” Hammond asks.

She focuses on something on the wall behind the dean but her hands tremble slightly. “I went to talk to Mr. Groff after class, but he looked, um, busy. Then I went to the bathroom.” She glances at Caroline. “Uh, then my dorm, followed by rugby practice, and then the Refectory.”

Arpad writes rapidly on a yellow pad.

Hammond’s penetrating gaze lands on a math whiz, gamer kid whose dorm room is by the day student room in my dorm. “I was at the Library then Refectory.” He speaks clearly, but he’s all-over sweaty.

“Tazmin King?” Hammond says, going down the line.

“Taz,” she corrects. Eyeliner stains the space around her big brown eyes like she’s been crying. “After class, I went to my dorm and then dinner. If Oliver died, it was because of a broken heart,” she blurts. Emotion streaks across her features, but she captures it and makes it disappear.

“And how would you know that, Tazmin?” Hammond’s tone is dark.

“It’s none of our business,” she answers. Then it’s as though she ghosts even though she’s still in the room with us. Hammond barely conceals a look of disgust.

“Moving on. John?”

“Maybe the professor was tired of his life and wanted to escape. Suicide? Or maybe he just wanted out. Faked it. On a plane to Tahiti.”

By Hammond’s pinched expression, I instantly realize this is the wrong answer. My sweat now rival’s Toshi’s. I cannot get kicked out. I cannot afford to go back to Burningham. Whatever this is about… I cannot lose my spot here.

“No, we found the body. Poetic though. However, the question was where were you this afternoon?” Accusation fills Hammond’s tone.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I misunderstood. I was in the dayroom at my dorm, Varth Dader, then lacrosse practice in the lower fields.”

She glances at me dismissively and nods at Caroline. I know all too well not to allow relief to replace the nerves inside. Best to stay alert.

“I was with the Promenade committee, finalizing some items for tomorrow. Wait. You’re not canceling prom because of this are you?” Typical Caroline, always concerned about her agenda.

The goth girl, Taz, narrows her eyes. “It should be after the tree went up in a blaze and now Oliver, I mean Professor Groff, is dead.”

Hammond hardly looks at them. “Ladies, that’s none of your concern. Now, George. If you please.”

“I was in the student center. You can ask Mrs. Carson.” He smirks. Likely, he was hooking up with someone.

“Do any of you have a reason to want Oliver Groff dead?” Hammond’s question is like a stone thrown in a lake. The ripples of this implication could be devastating.

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About the Author

Deirdre Riordan Hall is the author of the contemporary young adult bestsellers Sugar and Pearl as well as the High School Murder Mystery series. She’s in an ongoing pursuit of words, waves, and wonder. Her love language involves a basket of chips, salsa, and guacamole, preferably when shared with her family.

Connect with the author:

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter

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Book Blitz: A Holiday Haunting at the Biltmore by Eva Pohler @EvaPohler @XpressoTours

 

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A Holiday Haunting at the Biltmore
The Mystery House Series, #8
Eva Pohler
Publication date: January 1st 2022
Genres: Adult, Horror, Mystery

Ellen should have known that a gathering in America’s
last castle would entail a few uninvited guests.

During a Christmas eve wedding at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville,
North Carolina, Ellen and her friends are visited by multiple ghosts.
The spirits have come to tell their stories, to right the wrongs that
history has done to their memories. Each of them died in Asheville
with their voices stifled. One spirit is particularly adamant and
threatening, despite her small size, and her mood fluctuates like the
mountain winds surrounding the great estate. She claims to be the
ghost of Zelda Fitzgerald, and she wants her story told,
even if she has to kill to make it happen.

*Although this is book eight in The Mystery
House Series
, these books can be read in any order.

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

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EXCERPT:

Chapter One: Hot Tub Musings

Ellen clung to the handrail as she eased down the steps into the hot, bubbling water. She adjusted her black one-piece bathing suit, making sure she was still covered. The aquafit class had rearranged everything.

From behind her, Sue said, “I can’t believe I let you guys talk me into this.”

“It wasn’t that bad,” Tanya said from where she was already resting in the tub.

Ellen sat across from her. “Speak for yourself. I could barely breathe.”

Sue followed Ellen through the water, the ruffles of her polka dotted bathing suit dancing on the surface. “I may have even died for a few minutes. I thought I saw a light at the end of a tunnel and my mother waving to me.”

“That was probably just the Nazi instructor on deck telling you to lift your knees higher,” Ellen teased.

Two other women from the aquafit class, both in their early seventies, joined Ellen and her friends.

“That instructor isn’t as good as the one on Tuesdays,” one of them, a petite woman with white hair, said. She was nearly as thin as Tanya.

The other woman, rounder than Ellen but not as round as Sue, nodded. “The one on Tuesday really works you.”

“Oh, Lord.” Sue pushed her dark brown bangs from her eyes. “Let’s not come on Tuesday.”

“We already agreed that we would,” Tanya pointed out. “At least until the wedding.”

Ellen tugged at her shoulder straps, trying to keep everything in the right place. “You can count on me. I’m determined to lose twenty pounds or die trying.”

Sue scoffed. “Well, maybe I love life more than you.”

“If that were true,” the petite woman with the white hair began, “you’d keep coming. I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. I used to be bigger than both of you combined.”

The woman pointed at Ellen and Sue. Ellen tried not to be offended. The audacity of some people, she thought.

“I’m sold!” Sue said comedically, lifting her finger high in the air. “Sign me up! Oh, that’s right. Tanya already did.”

The other women laughed, and Ellen’s mood lightened.

“Did I hear you say that you have a wedding coming up?” the rounder woman asked Tanya.

“Not my wedding,” Tanya said as her blue eyes widened. “It’s Ellen’s son. He’s getting married on Christmas eve at the Biltmore Estate.”

“Oh, how nice,” the petite woman said. “That’s the most beautiful house in the country.”

Ellen leaned against the lip of the tub and breathed in the smell of lavender and musk. “That’s what my son’s future in-laws say, too. They’ve been planning this wedding since their daughter was a baby, I think.”

“Are they from Asheville then?” the petite one asked.

“They live there,” Sue said. Then, turning to Ellen, she asked, “Is it the mother that’s related to the Vanderbilts?”

“Yes,” Ellen said.

“Which means they’re getting the works,” Sue gloated. “The entire wedding party and their guests will be staying at the Biltmore House, which is never done anymore.”

Ellen gave Sue her keep-your-mouth-shut look. Maya’s parents had asked them not to talk about the event with others. They wanted to avoid a media circus.

“How wonderful,” the petite woman said. “You sure you don’t need another grandmother to come?”

Ellen smiled but said nothing in reply.

“That sounds like a once in a lifetime experience.” The round woman climbed from the tub. “I hope you enjoy it, and have a nice weekend, ladies.”

“You, too,” Ellen said as Sue and Tanya waved.

“I should go, too,” the petite woman said. “Will I see you all on Tuesday?”

“We’ll be here.” Tanya turned to Sue. “Right?”

Sue shrugged. “We shall see.”

After the two women left, and she and her friends were alone in the hot tub, Ellen said, “Poor Lane is so stressed over this wedding.”

“I thought that was the job of the bride,” Sue said.

Tanya stood up. “It can be hard on the groom, too. Poor thing. What’s been the most stressful for him?”

Ellen sighed. “Maya’s grandparents. Both sets are still alive, and, apparently, one set can’t stand the other, and vice versa.”

Sue furrowed her brows. “Do you know why?”

“Lane doesn’t know the whole story. The grandfathers were friends long before Maya’s parents were born. According to Maya, they can be really nasty when forced to be in the same room.”

“That’s too bad,” Tanya said as she took her damp blonde hair from its ponytail, and then remade it higher on her head. “I hope they won’t ruin the wedding.”

Ellen’s stomach clenched. She wanted Lane’s wedding day to be perfect for him so that only happy memories would be made.

“I would think the setting alone would be enough to sweeten even the sourest grapes of the bunch,” Sue said reassuringly.

Ellen lifted her brows. “I hope you’re right.”

“Is it Maya’s maternal grandfather or grandmother that’s related to the Vanderbilts?” Tanya asked.

Ellen submerged to her neck. She let out a small gasp of pleasure as the hot water relaxed her muscles, tight from the workout. Then she said, “Grandmother. Melissa Dresden—used to be Brown. She’s the daughter to a cousin of George Vanderbilt, the one who made it all happen. I just read a book about it called The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan. It was interesting to read about the estate’s history. George fell in love with Asheville when he took his ailing mother there to breathe.”

“To what?” Tanya asked.

“To breathe,” Ellen repeated. “Back then, they believed fresh air was the cure for almost everything—especially tuberculosis—and Asheville had become known for its breathing porches that overlooked the beautiful Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.”

“George’s mother had tuberculosis?” Sue asked. “Most people didn’t survive it.”

“No, she had malaria, and she recovered from it, but not before George fell in love with the area and began buying up all the land.”

“What year was this?” Tanya asked.

“Late 1800s,” Ellen said. “According to the book, George wasn’t interested in the family business like his two older brothers, who took over various railroad companies when their father died. George was more of a scholar. He loved to read and to collect art, and he wanted something different for himself. So, he decided to outdo his siblings by building the largest private home in America.”

Sue nodded. “That he did.”

“It was more than that, though, wasn’t it?” Tanya asked. “Didn’t he build a famous dairy?”

“Yes—though now it’s a winery. He also hired the best forester and horticulturalist and created a forest preserve and foresters’ school. Later, his wife Edith, who outlived him by many years, created a school for the villagers that focused on textiles and crafts, I believe. Apparently, Edith did a lot for Asheville. I think she was the real heart of Biltmore, only because George died young. They had a daughter named Cornelia, but, according to the book, she was never as devoted to Biltmore as her mother.”

“How old was George when he died?” Sue asked.

“Early fifties, I think. Younger than us.”

“Can you believe I turn sixty next year?” Tanya asked.

“Already?” Sue covered her face with her hands. “I’m right behind you.”

“Brian’s sixty-two, and he’s fine,” Ellen pointed out. “It’s not the end of the world.”

“Not yet, anyway,” Sue said.

“That’s too bad about Maya’s grandparents,” Tanya said. “I really hope they behave themselves at the wedding.”

“Me, too.” Ellen sighed and leaned back on the lip of the tub. “Lane says that Maya’s Vanderbilt grandmother was originally engaged to Maya’s other grandfather, and that’s why the two sets of grandparents don’t get along. One man stole the Vanderbilt bride from the other.”

“Must be hard for the grandmother who isn’t a Vanderbilt,” Sue pointed out. “She might feel like chopped liver. Don’t you think?”

“I know I would, in her situation,” Tanya said. “How selfish of her husband that he can’t let it go.”

“Lane doesn’t think that’s the whole story,” Ellen said. “I just hope they can be civil for the sake of their granddaughter.”

“And for the rest of us,” Tanya added.

Sue shrugged. “I don’t know. Drama at the Biltmore might be fun.”

“Don’t say that,” Ellen insisted. “I’m worried enough about the other encounters we may have while we’re there.”

“Did the book say the house is haunted?” Tanya asked.

“No, and when I asked the Biltmore wedding coordinator about it, she said that they weren’t allowed to discuss it.”

“It’s rumored to be.” Sue furrowed her brows again. “And if Biltmore employees have been warned against talking about it, then you know what that means.”

Tanya stretched her arms. “It’s a good thing we’re taking along some of our equipment.”

“I’m afraid not to,” Ellen said. “Ghosts have a way of finding us, and I don’t want to be caught unprepared.”

“They find us because we have the gift, and they can sense it,” Sue said.

“What do Lane and Maya think about it?” Tanya climbed up and sat on the edge of the tub with her legs in the water.

“I haven’t mentioned it to them,” Ellen admitted. “I’d like to keep any ghostly happenings away from the wedding, as much as possible.”

“Have you done any research, to learn if anyone has written about hauntings there?” Sue asked.

Ellen combed her fingers through her short, damp hair. “I’ve read about ghosts in Asheville, but very little is said about hauntings at the Biltmore. One book claimed that George Vanderbilt’s ghost is there.”

“I wonder what unfinished business a billionaire would have, that would keep him from moving on,” Tanya said.

Ellen climbed up and sat beside Tanya. “Hopefully, it’s only a rumor, and the wedding will go off without a hitch—worldly or otherwise.”

“I’m sure it will,” Tanya reassured her.

“We’ll find out in two months’ time,” Sue said. “That is, if we survive Aquafit.”

Ellen and Tanya looked at each other and grinned.

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                                                                     Author Bio:

After earning her Ph.D. in English and teaching writing and literature for over twenty years, Eva Pohler became a USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels in multiple genres, including mysteries, thrillers, and young adult paranormal romance based on Greek mythology. Her books have been described as “addictive” and “sure to thrill”–Kirkus Reviews.

Contact the author:

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
Instagram / Bookbub / Youtube

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Book Blitz: Imperfect by Holly Carr @XpressoTours

 

Imperfect
Holly Carr
Moshpit Publishing
Publication date: August 2nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

She isn’t looking for love. He’s running from it.

A workplace crush is supposed to be light-hearted. Frivolous, even. Just some daydream inspiration to make the hours go faster, or to fill in twenty boring minutes.

Sam isn’t ready to develop actual feelings for someone. Not with Logan still looming so large in her heart, and especially not when the subject of her infatuation is her new employer.

Alex doesn’t plan to fall in love ever again. Not after what happened with Victoria.

But fate seems determined to begin an unwanted love story, and a tentative romance blossoms as Alex and Sam battle the malicious sabotage of a rival company.

That is, until Alex’s evil ex-wife re-enters his life, threatening to take custody of their daughter.

Sam’s determination to help the desperate man stand up for himself brings the two would-be lovers closer, but Victoria’s antics only highlight to Alex the dangers of leaving himself vulnerable.

Can Sam convince him to set aside eleven years of stanch celibacy and give into his feelings?

And just how did he get that mysterious scar on his face?

This contemporary romantic suspense novel is perfect for readers with a soft spot for a hesitant love story, a single dad, and a relatable heroine.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords

EXCERPT:

Sam stood just inside the door to Dimitri’s office, leaving it ajar so she could see though the gap. She peered down the hallway so she could warn Alex if their unauthorised presence were pending discovery. Unable to relax, she repeatedly lamented her decision to accompany him. All that stopped her from abandoning her post and returning to the party was her fear she’d be caught on the way, thus making it more likely Alex would also be busted.

She’d uselessly checked the clock on her phone twice already. It made no difference, as Alex hadn’t specified a time limit. He wasn’t going to suddenly give up just because their breaking and entering had totalled ten whole minutes. But it gave her something to do, and she sorely needed a distraction to take the edge off her panic.

She periodically turned to watch Alex, hoping he would either find something soon or give up. He was going through Dimitri’s desk, skimming papers, and meticulously putting them back in the same order. So far, nothing out of the ordinary had shown up.

She’d already voiced her opinion it was unlikely anything so important would be written down on paper, and Alex had admitted she was probably right. Short of hacking his desktop, this was almost certainly a futile exercise. He’d confided that he was holding out hope because Dimitri was somewhat ‘old school’. There was potentially an interesting hardcopy stashed somewhere.

Finishing with the drawers, Alex started on the single tray of documents on top of the desk. Dimitri’s workspace was unencumbered by the clutter littering Alex’s. Being well past retirement age, Sam suspected he didn’t have as much to do with the day to day running of his company as Alex did.

I wonder how much work it would take to make Alex’s desk look like that, she thought. Probably more than she’d care to contemplate. Even if she managed it, the lack of visible tasks would only serve to make him anxious anyway. He was too used to having three people’s work to do.

Her head whipped back to the door when she heard a bell ring in the distance. ‘Someone’s getting out of the lift,’ she whispered urgently.

Alex looked up, startled. He was only about halfway through the tray, and she saw his eyes dart back to the pile, eager to keep looking. He spoke distractedly, more engrossed in his task than their conversation. ‘I’ll just finish looking at this and we’ll …’ A sick pallor washed over his face as he looked up at Sam again, who was frozen in shock.

They had both realised their predicament at the same time. Her self-appointed position as ‘lookout’ was completely useless. The only way out was the lift or the stairs beside the lift. If someone was coming this way, they were going to be caught red-handed.

Sam couldn’t believe they had both been that stupid. Alex’s eagerness combined with her discomfort had blinded them to the obvious. They’d trapped themselves. Their only hope was that whoever it was didn’t plan on coming in this direction.

Watching the hall nervously, she saw shadows coming from around the distant corner, and her heart sank as she realised the voices were getting closer. There was no doubt about it, they were coming this way.

Swiftly closing the door, she confirmed this fact to Alex. He uselessly put the papers back into the tray. No one would ever know he’d been through them if they could just somehow not be caught.

Their mere presence made his intentions obvious though. Even without the physical evidence of disorder, what other reason could they have for being here?

Sam answered her own question as she watched Alex stride around the desk looking grim. He appeared to be mentally preparing himself to face the music, but maybe they didn’t have to.

It’s crazy, she thought. Too crazy, but I can’t think of anything else.

It was a risk on a lot of levels. They’d still be ‘busted’ in a way, and she was sure Alex wasn’t going to like it, but it was all she could come up with on short notice. ‘Take off your jacket and undo your tie,’ she whispered.

Alex’s look of bleak determination turned to confusion. The request certainly didn’t fit the situation, but she didn’t have time to ease him into it gently.

‘If we can’t get out before they come in, we need a different reason to be here. Take off your jacket, and undo your tie and some buttons,’ she whispered again, more urgently this time, beginning to untie her skirt.

Author Bio:

Holly Carr was born in Victoria, Australia, where she still lives today with her husband and a cat with no sense of personal space. She graduated from Deakin University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts (Public Relations), majoring in Literary Studies.

Holly first began writing creatively while she was at university, only setting aside her incomplete manuscript due to time constraints. It took ten years before she finally sat down to write again, and her first completed novel ‘IMPERFECT’ practically wrote itself. She enjoyed the experience so much she has already begun work on another.

When she takes a break from writing, she enjoys occasional visits from her grown-up son, pole dancing, eating far too much Mexican food, and pretending to know a lot about wine.

You can get the first two chapters of her forthcoming novel ‘UNLUCKY’ for free at her website http://www.hollycarr.com.au, or follow her on Facebook @hollycarrauthor and Instagram @holly_ylloh_holly.

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Book Blitz: The 7th Lie by Tamara Grantham @TamaraGrantham @XpressoTours

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The 7th Lie
Tamara Grantham
(Chronicles of Ithical, #1)
Publication date: June 15th 2021
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction

Agent Sabine Harper is thrilled to receive her first mission—until she learns what it is. Turns out, all she has to do is save the world from certain destruction. And she has two weeks to do it.

Sabine survives her grueling training by the Vortech Agency, but now she must protect the world from a devastating solar flare by finding seven energy stones—cerecite. If she refuses, they’ll terminate her father’s life-sustaining cancer treatments.

Sabine is transported to an isolated civilization hidden beneath a dome. She assumes the identity of the invalid prince’s caretaker and finds herself strangely attracted to the prince. But she’s perplexed by this strange island’s many mysteries. The air smells mechanical. Every blade of grass is identical. The island’s dimensions are bigger than they should be. What Vortech told her may not be true. She may not even know where she really is. And someone doesn’t want her to leave—at least not alive.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Freezing wind gusted as I stepped outside the facility. I pulled my hood over my head and followed Agent Logan through the snow.

“You ready?” he called, his frame hidden under bulky layers of clothing and a gray overcoat, a red-letter V stitched over the breast pocket.

I hesitated before answering. I’d spent half my night wondering if I’d made the right decision by staying. Finally, I’d sent off a quick message to Dad, telling him I loved him, I would come back. I was sorry about Mima June. My emotions were too raw to know what else to say.

“I’m ready,” I called back.

“You got everything?”

I straightened my backpack’s straps. If he was asking if I had all my material things, then the answer was probably not, as I was famously lousy at remembering everyday things like a toothbrush and underwear. If he was asking if I had everything in my head—all the knowledge of Champ Island, the Bering Sea, the weather patterns, the gateway cave, the dome and the little information we knew of what was under it—then the answer was yes. I hadn’t spent the last six months of my life in training for nothing.

“I’m good,” I yelled back.

He nodded, then sat on his snowmobile, pulled his goggles over his eyes, and cranked the engine. The roar mingled with the howling wind. I cast one last glance at the facility.

The stark metal building loomed against a churning white sky. A single red light flashed from the antennae reaching up into the storm, as if it were a beacon screaming for help. I wasn’t sure it had stopped storming since I’d arrived half-a-year ago. I’d had no idea what I was getting into.

My nerves on that first day had been unbearable. After joining Vortech and making the cut to elite status, they’d sent me here to the top of the world, to a tiny, unknown island north of the Russian mainland. A place filled with mysterious sphere-shaped boulders that pocked the unforgiving landscape.

That’s when I’d learned about the dome, and my Kansas way of thinking—of Earth and everything in it—had been shattered forever.

After cranking my snowmobile’s engine, I pushed the throttle. Snow spewed behind me as I sped forward and followed Logan. I allowed myself to revel in the rush of wind, the crispness of the air, and the taste of ice on my tongue, something unfamiliar after being trapped inside the facility, with only a few trips to the outside world on my survival expeditions.

We sped past the wreck of the old immigrant’s ship. Weathered wooden planks comprised its hull. In some places, the boards stuck up like the bones of a whale’s skeleton. Whatever storm had pushed it to the top of the world must’ve been massive in scope.

The ship conjured images of the pages of a book I’d read as a child. The Lost Shipwreck of Champ Island. The book opened as if I were reading it again. Black-and-white photos and their captions popping out at me. How the ship got here is still a mystery. The immigrants’ disappearance is a mystery, too. After fifty years of study, scientists are beginning to fit the puzzle pieces together. No bodies were recovered, and in extreme temperatures such as those found on Champ Island, their remains would’ve been easily preserved. Some scientists believe they may have found a cave to take shelter in, yet no evidence of such an event has been recorded.

Beyond the ship lay an expanse of snowy wasteland. I dodged sphere-shaped boulders, some as small as ping-pong balls, others larger than my snowmobile. A blanket of white covered their tops, as if to hide their secrets. Lines of text from the Atlas of Champ Island jumped out in my mind.

Perfect spheres don’t exist in nature. Scientists have discovered the boulders were formed by water. However, because of the extreme temperatures, there are no recorded civilizations living on Champ Island, and no conclusive evidence that the spheres were formed by human hands.

Ice crystals crunched under our snowmobile’s skis, bringing me from my thoughts. I shook my head. Sometimes this photographic memory thing was a pain. I couldn’t stay focused on anything long enough before a book page hit me out of nowhere, and my concentration got jerked from one idea to another.

A howling wind echoed through the expanse. This far away from civilization, I imagined what it would feel like to be a shipwreck victim out here alone, with the screaming wind and the numbing cold. Where would I have gone from here?

The void of white faded with the setting sun, leaving the world drenched in gray. As we approached the substation, only the blinking red lights gave any indication we were near the bunker. The roaring engines grew quieter until we shut them off, leaving me with ringing ears in the sudden silence.

Logan removed his goggles. “You good?”

“Fine,” I called back.

We got off our snowmobiles and headed for the entrance. I flexed my stiff fingers. Despite my gloves, the cold managed to seep through, straight to my bones, until numbness settled inside.

The black metal hatch loomed, a block letter ‘V’ etched into the plate. We trudged through the snow until we reached the keypad. Logan removed his gloves just long enough to press his thumb to the fingerprint pad. A red laser scanned his finger, then the pad turned green, and the hatchway opened.

Snow particles blustered around us. I stepped onto the metal grating and inside the bunker, then I walked with Logan down a metal staircase, our footsteps echoing with hollow clangs. The door sealed shut above us. Panic of being caged in weighed heavy in my chest, but I gripped the railing.

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Author Bio:

Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series, the Shine novellas, and the Twisted Ever After trilogy. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 200 five-star reviews.

Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lamar University. She has been a featured speaker at multiple writing conferences, and she has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.

Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks–which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds–and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at http://www.TamaraGrantham.com.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

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Book Blitz: Deep State Down Boxset by Dana Fraser @wickedchrista @RockstarBkTours

 

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I am so excited that DEEP STATE DOWN BOXSET by Christa Wick
writing as Dana Fraser is available now and that I get to share the news!

 

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book,
be sure to check out all the details below.

 

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC
courtesy of Christa, &
RockstarBook Tours. So if you’d like a chance to
win, check out the giveaway info below.

 

 ************

About the Books:

Title: DEEP STATE DOWN BOXSET

Author: Christa Wick writing as Dana Fraser

Pub. Date: June 2, 2021

Publisher: Christa Wick

Formats:  eBook

Find it:  https://books2read.com/u/bojAza?redirect=off

This is the complete DEEP STATE DOWN series bundle, which includes two intense post-apocalyptic survival thrillers:

 

–  HARD WAY HOME (Book 1)

–  DARK ROAD BACK (Book 2)

 

Set in a dystopian U.S. that has been thrown into a deadly new dark ageNew York Times bestselling author Christa Wick (writing as Dana Fraser) brings readers a gripping 210,000-word high-octane saga with a compelling cast of strong,
imperfect character
s, each fighting to find and protect their loved ones against unthinkable odds.

 

BOOK ONE: HARD WAY HOME

 

Two strangers. Almost no chance of survival. Even less hope.

When a massive cyber breach hits every U.S. hydroelectric station just as the Gulf Coast refineries are decimated by a volatile storm, the attack knocks out the nation’s entire power supply, instantly throwing America into a deadly new dark age.

 For Army veteran Cash Bishop, getting back to his family before it’s too late becomes a fight to survive in a race against time. His only ally? A brilliant energy scientist who may be the only person still alive with more things to be afraid of than the impending apocalypse.

 Dr. Hannah Carter doesn’t know who’s after her or when she became a target. But getting captured is not an option. Seems the stranger she meets on her dangerous cross-country trek is the only person she can trust now to help get her home. And keep her alive.

 With chaos escalating and the country on the brink of collapse, Cash and Hannah need to figure out who executed the attacks on the U.S. power grid, and why these people are so willing to kill him to get to her.

 

BOOK TWO: DARK ROAD BACK

 

In this gripping sequel to the post-apocalypse action thriller HARD WAY HOME, the answers behind an onslaught of not-so-natural disasters only lead to more questions as a global depopulation conspiracy threatens Americans from right in
their own back yard.

Retired Army Colonel Thomas Sand returns to the U.S. during its darkest days, only to find the leaders left in government—puppeted by the deep state elite—want him dead. Between the threat assessment algorithm he developed before the apocalypse, and the fact that his wife Becca and stepdaughter Hannah are both brilliant scientists critical to the new world order, his family isn’t short on enemies. And despite all his training to the contrary, his only duty now is to them and their safety. Unbeknownst to him, halfway down the coast, his wife is fighting to drag her fevered and battered body home with no means of communication, and only the help of a nameless stranger…

Meanwhile, Dr. Hannah Carter, still traveling with the Army veteran who saved her life, discovers she may be the linchpin to
destroying the dangerous shadow government that now controls what remains of the fast-crumbling U.S. But to do so, she must leave behind everyone she cares about and face off against the hidden puppet master pulling the strings from his bunker. Unbeknownst to her, Cash Bishop, her fearless companion turned ruthless protector, has followed her into the lion’s den, no
violence spared. His only light in their new broken world of neverending darkness, finding Hannah is a given. As is taking down the corrupt powers that destroyed his country once and for all…

 

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An Excerpt

— EXCERPT —

DARK ROAD BACK

© 2021 by Dana Fraser

Chapter 4: Good Riddance

All total, Thomas spent fifteen minutes in the house after shooting Gavin once center mass, then again in the head. He quickly ransacked the man’s clothing and desk, taking the wallet and a key ring that had fobs for both vehicles. From there, he sprinted to the master bedroom, removing Agnetha’s diamonds from the corpse and dumping the rest of her jewelry box into a pillow case before heading to the oversized utility closet at the back of the garage where Gavin kept his golf clubs and, more importantly, most of his hunting equipment.

Entering the garage, he hit the remote start for the Land Rover. Nothing happened. He hit it again, then a few more times trying different combinations of pressing the button. Next he tried the Z4. With the only sound in the garage that of Thomas swearing, he stalked over to the Land Rover, threw the driver side door open and tried starting the vehicle in the more conventional manner.

He lost ten seconds to pounding out his fury against the steering wheel then popped the hood, got out and lifted it the rest of the way open. He stared, mind numb at the jumble of slashed wires and hoses, the inner protective covering of the Land Rover’s engine missing. Spotting a note taped to the inside of the hood, he pulled it off and read, his flesh heating in rage.

Whoever you are, you weren’t meant to survive.

Your Host,

Gavin DeBerg

Even though he knew he would find the same cruel sarcasm beneath the hood of the Z4, Thomas had to check. Each step, each wasted second pounded in his chest, but he opened the driver side door, popped the hood and surveyed the carnage.

Yep, DeBerg really was a cold-hearted bastard. If the world wasn’t ending around him, Thomas would have returned to the basement and unloaded the Maxim’s remaining twenty-seven bullets into the corpse’s groin and face. 

Hell, he’d grab an extra magazine and turn the body into Swiss cheese.

But the world was ending, so he kept a tight grip on his focus and turned to the utility closet. He twisted the doorknob, found it locked. He tried both keys on the ring he had taken from Gavin’s desk drawer. When that failed, he lifted his leg, took a quarter second to brace then kicked as hard as he could, his anger doubling the force of the blow he landed.

Hollow and made out of plywood, the door peeled away from its frame to expose two backpacks and a Browning bolt-action rifle in camo finish kitted out with a custom stock and a Leupold VX-6 rifle scope with a 6:1 zoom ratio.

He tested the weight of the two packs then opened the heavier one, finding two extra magazines and several boxes of ammunition, as well as all the other contents he would expect Gavin to carry on a hunting trip or in a bug out bag.

Conscious that someone could show up and challenge him at any second, Thomas stood with everything but his gaze immobilized as he tried to figure out how to get the extra gear back to the Caddy. Then he remembered the separate garage, the one with the au pair suite above it.

He hadn’t asked Gavin about the girl, hadn’t even thought that she could be alive and walk in on him.

Get your head out of your ass, soldier!

With a curt nod acknowledging his own stupidity, he headed to the breezeway that joined the main house to the small wing. A glance in the garage revealed no third car, but there was a riding lawn mower. A jog up the stairs offered a self-contained suite filled with furniture, but an empty refrigerator and cupboards. He ran back down, hit the garage door opener then returned to the main garage, grabbed the two packs and the rifle and dragged them to the lawn mower.

Spotting a fifteen-gallon gas caddy, he almost pissed himself with joy.

With the mower’s key in the cup holder, he spent his last two-point-five minutes in Gavin’s house getting everything strapped onto the machine using the garden hose he found hanging in a coil on the garage wall. He took the same route from house to woods, barely slowing once he was past the tree line to retrieve his pack.

He stopped when he got close to the trail, turned the mower off and made a scouting trip to check the area around the Caddy. When he was satisfied no one was watching, he brought the mower up alongside the Cadillac, started the old beast and popped the trunk. He put the fuel container in first. He had already tested the seal on the nozzle and fill hole in the garage, but he tested them again then grabbed the lighter of the two packs from the storage closet.

He figured the bag was meant for Agnetha to carry and dumped the contents in the trunk for a quick survey. The neutral line of his mouth turned to a frown as a couple dozen diapers fell out. Then he laughed, thinking about the NASA astronaut who had worn adult diapers for a marathon cross country drive with the intent to slay a sexual rival. If they had been adult sized, he might have entertained the idea because every stop he made on the trip home would heighten his exposure. Still, the diapers might come in handy if he injured himself. And the baby formula and jar food was worth keeping as long as he could.

Looking at the contents, Thomas could understand the thought process that had spurred Agnetha’s revolt. She had put on her most alluring dress and favorite jewels before poisoning herself. The woman had preferred to die looking like a million bucks instead of living with makeup running down her face and dirt under her nails, with no au pair to hand Gisa off to. Thomas could count on one hand how many times he’d seen the woman hold her daughter over that four-day weekend.

Leaving the contents of the bag scattered, he tossed in the garden hose then slammed the lid. The heavier pack he placed on the passenger floorboard of the front seat, taking a few seconds to dig inside and remove the shortwave radio. He placed the radio in the center of the seat then climbed behind the wheel and carefully drove backwards for a quarter mile until he was off the bike trail.

The best route to his home in Evansville, Indiana, was also the most direct. He passed unmolested through Manassas then headed southwest to Interstate 81. He followed it south to the I-64 exchange then headed west into the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.

Surrounded by the quiet beauty of the woods and hills, he could almost relax. Between the full tank he had started with and the gas caddy, he figured he would make it at least as far as Huntington, West Virginia. Before that, he would keep an eye out for both the conventional and unconventional opportunities to get more gas. He had cash to pay, and some of the commercial operations would have tanks of fuel with generators running. Timber companies and farms would have hand pumps if they didn’t have generators, and he would pass plenty of both getting to Evansville.

The farmers would be reluctant to give him any gas because it was specially dyed to mark it for agricultural use only. They would tell him to wait, tell him that the pumps in town would be working within a few hours, either because the power would be back on or the generators would be up and working. They would be wrong, but Thomas would do nothing to warn them. Instead, he would pull out a piece of Agnetha’s gold jewelry from his pocket.

Greed would spark in the farmer’s gaze and the gas would flow into the Caddy’s tank. For a day or two, the farmer would shake his head in memory, maybe chuckle to his wife about the foolish traveler who had traded a thousand dollars worth of gold or a
three-strand diamond bracelet for less than a hundred in gas.

Then reality would set in and the farmer and his wife would weep.

 

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Christa Wick (writing as Dana Fraser) has been hybrid publishing since 2012 in various genres. Along with her post-apocalyptic action thrillers as Dana, she’s written over fifty romance and paranormal titles as Christa and C.M. Wick, and also writes high-octane suspense fiction and urban fantasy novels under other pen names.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter

 

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Giveaway

1 lucky winner will win a $10 Amazon GC, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz: Welcome to Planet Lara by Eliza Gordon @eliza_gordon & @RockstarBkTours

 

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I am so excited that WELCOME TO PLANET LARA by
Eliza Gordon is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book, be
sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed finished copy of
WELCOME TO PLANET LARA and a couple eBooks courtesy
of Eliza and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance
to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

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Title: WELCOME TO PLANET LARA

Author: Eliza Gordon

Pub. Date: April 8, 2021

Publisher: SGA Books

Pages: 412

Formats: Paperback, eBook

 

Find it: Goodreads,
AmazonKindleB&N, iBooks,
Kobo
TBD, Bookshop.org 

 

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About the Book

“There are … stipulations on your inheritance, Ms. Clarke.”

Lara J. Clarke is used to getting her own way. Motherless at ten and raised by her oft-absent eco-warrior/philanthropist grandfather, she lives the high life afforded by her seemingly bottomless trust fund.

 

That is, until Grandfather Archibald sheds his mortal coil in a very public manner, and Lara’s privileged life is set adrift, headed for a collision course with the gorgeous, private Thalia Island off the coast of British Columbia. According to the will, Lara will step into the role of Project Administrator, wherein she has one year to fulfill her late grandfather’s dream of a self-sustaining, eco-friendly, family-centered utopia.

 

The stakes are real: fail, and lose access to the family fortune—forever.

 

Convinced Thalia Island will be an extension of the heiress lifestyle she’s long led, Lara is surprised to find her new coworkers—and neighbors—aren’t as pliable as the underlings of her former life. Even with the hunky lead engineer Finan Rowleigh showing her the ropes, Lara quickly learns just how unprepared she is to trade her Louboutins for steel-toed Timberlands.

 

When a series of calamities reveals a sinister element undermining the security of the island and her residents, Lara and Finan must reach beyond their job descriptions to protect Archibald’s precious utopia from those who would do her harm.

 

And while keeping her late grandfather’s flame alight, Lara finds her own flame burning hot for a charming, kind man who wants nothing from her but her heart.

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Praise For WELCOME TO PLANET LARA:

“Eliza Gordon delivers a unique premise, delicious romance, and
plenty of intrigue. I loved it and can’t wait for more from Planet Lara!”

 Samantha Young, NYT and USA Today bestselling author

****

“Smart, hilarious, and completely unpredictable,
Welcome to Planet Lara is your next must-read. West Coast Canada
Schitt’s Creek meets grown-up Nancy Drew for a riches-to-rags
adventure filled with murder, romance, mystery, and a heroine you
love to hate–until the moment you realize you just love her.”
Suzy Krause, author of Sorry I Missed
You and Valencia & Valentine

****

“I absolutely loved Welcome to Planet Lara! It made me
feel all the feels … what a crazy ride! Eliza, once again, brings
her characters to life with humour, heart and realness. I loved
every minute of it and did not want it to end! Cannot wait to find
out what Eliza has in store for Lara.”– Brandee Bublé,
children’s author (O’Shae the Octopus and Jayde the Jaybird)

****

“I love it, and I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THE NEXT ONE. The
concept is amazing, and the eco-message is so timely and very
dear to my heart. [Eliza] has tackled so much, and done it with her
usual spunk and zest.”– Stephania Schwartz, author and editor


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An Excerpt from
Welcome to Planet Lara

Chapter One

DEARLY BELOVED

I don’t know why they have pickles on this table. My mom hates pickles. Hated. Past tense. I heard Rupert correct my grandfather when he mentioned my mother the other day—they were talking in Grandfather’s huge office lined with bookshelves and Louis XV Savonnerie carpets and giant windows the housekeepers complain about cleaning when they don’t know anyone’s listening, and Rupert referred to my mother in past tense. I wasn’t supposed to hear their conversation—that’s
why the outside door was closed. When it’s closed, I’m not allowed in. But I’m very good at hearing things I’m not supposed to hear because, like that kid in my class who always smells like wet dog says, I’m so scrawny, he could stuff me into his rolling backpack and throw me into the ocean and no one would ever miss me.

I’d like to think that someone would miss me. Only now that we’re speaking of my mother in past tense, I guess that’s one less person who would wonder if I’m floating out to sea, trapped in a rolling backpack covered in dog hair. Also, I’d like to think my English teacher, Mrs. Buck, would be proud of me for understanding the difference between present and past tense, even if her nylons on her beefy thighs scrape together when she walks between our desks and the sound makes me shiver.

Like I was saying, I’m scrawny, so two days ago, I snuck into my grandfather’s office and tucked myself into the antique liquor cabinet—he doesn’t drink so the cabinet is empty and the perfect place for me to hide when I don’t want his bossy housekeeper to find me because her job is to vacuum and change sheets and make Grandfather’s special food but now she keeps trying to hug me and pet my hair and her boobs squish my face and I can’t breathe, so she thinks I’m crying about my dead mom, my mom who’s only alive in the past tense now, but I’m not crying about my dead mom. I haven’t cried yet. I think that makes me the worst kid ever.

Yeah—I mean, yes, since Rupert won’t allow me to say yeah—so I was in the cabinet and I heard Rupert say we needed to refer to my mother, Cordelia Josephine Clarke, in the past tense. “It will be easier for Lara if we don’t give her hope that her mother will be returning.” Rupert—I call him Number Two, like that character in Austin Powers, a movie I wasn’t supposed to watch but did anyway because one of the housekeepers invited me to her daughter Madi’s ninth-birthday sleepover because she felt bad for me that I never get to go to sleepovers. So I went, and Madi is basically my best friend now, but the housekeeper and her husband drink a lot of wine that comes in a box and they play their country music really loud. The biggest difference from the Number Two in the movie and Rupert Bishop is that Rupert doesn’t have an eye patch and he hardly ever laughs or smiles and even if he does smile, he’s like a hundred feet tall so I can’t even see up to his unsmiling face most of the time.

“They didn’t find a body, Rupert. They found the wrecked plane, but no Cordelia. What if she made it? What if someone in that god-awful jungle has her?”

Through the slats in the square cupboard door, I saw Number Two shake his head and look down at his shiny brown loafers. One of these days, I’m going to take a black marker and color the tops of his shoes so he can’t shine them anymore. I’m also
going to cut off those stupid tassels and use them as fishing lures.

“Sir, this is the best course. Do not cancel the memorial. Plant the tree, give Lara some closure. Let her move on. She’s only ten. Still young enough to have a satisfactory life wherein her memories will fade, even in the face of this tragedy. It’s not as though she’s spent a lot of time with her mother anyway.”

My grandfather’s face hardened for a minute, that look he gives when he’s about to blow his top, his chin jutting and eyes narrowed.

“Pardon me, sir. I overstepped.” Rupert folded his hands behind his back. He’s not wrong, though. My mother hasn’t been around for a long time. She works a lot, or so she says. When she’s home, it’s all fun, fun, fun, like she’s trying to make up for the next time she leaves a note on my nightstand covered with Xs and Os and smiley faces and promises of trips to zoos and museums and amusement parks and my favorite ice cream shop when she gets home.

Rupert told me once that my mother’s first love was her airplane. And even though she named it Lara, after me, I have always known that Lara the plane was more important to my mom than Lara the human kid.

My grandfather, unlike me, has cried a lot since the men in black suits showed up a week ago and asked for a place to talk privately. Rupert’s comment has made my grandfather cry again. Maybe I will forget coloring his shoes and just drop them all—his entire collection of fancy, tasseled loafers—into the pond in the back with the koi.

Cordelia was my grandfather’s only daughter. His only child, actually.

I am his only granddaughter.

Archibald Magnus Clarke the First, and only, was almost an old man when Cordelia was born. Her mother left her behind, just like Cordelia left me behind.

I haven’t cried yet. Maybe I will later.

But there are pickles on this big stupid table, and Cordelia hated pickles. And everyone in the room—all these faces I’ve never seen before—are looking at me like they’re expecting me to burst into tears at any moment.

Instead, I pick up the plate of pickles of all varieties and whistle once with my fingers tucked into my lips like Madi taught me. Once I’m sure I’ve got the room’s undivided attention, I launch the plate overhand, anticipating the satisfaction that will come when the glass hits the de Gournay papered wall and shatters into a thousand pieces and stinky pickle juice seeps across the bamboo floor and into the fibers of the eighteenth-century Persian rug we’re not supposed to wear our shoes on.

Except at the same moment, this tall, lanky kid steps into the plate’s trajectory and the heavy crystal hits him instead with a dull crack!

Everyone in the spacious, light-filled room gasps. The kid, stunned, looks in my direction, big brown eyes wide, not quite sure what just happened. And then blood spills down the side of his head and he slumps to the floor into the pile of pickles and juice, followed by grown-ups freaking out and the big-boobed housekeeper barking orders at some other member of the house staff to get the first-aid kit and then Rupert’s bony but well-manicured hand is around my arm and he’s pulling me out of the solarium and forcing me down onto the soft, carpeted steps in the main foyer.

“What on earth possessed you to do that, young lady?”

I look up at him and am surprised when tears sting my eyeballs. I didn’t mean to hit that kid.

“My mother hates pickles. If any of you guys even knew her, you’d know she hates pickles.”

Past tense, Lara. Your mother hated pickles.

Rupert kneels, his joints cracking even though he’s not even that old.

A commotionbehind us draws our attention. Two parents huddle around the tall boy who is again on his feet. They pause just long enough for me to look at the kid, a bloody cloth pressed against the left side of his head and face.

“Sorry,” I whisper.

He nods once, and they leave.

Then I start crying, and I don’t stop for a year.

************

About the Author

A native of Portland, Oregon, Eliza Gordon (a.k.a. Jennifer Sommersby) has lived up and down the West Coast of the United States. Since 2002, home has been a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. When not lost in a writing project, Eliza is a copy editor, mom, wife, bibliophile, Superman freak, and the proud parent of two very spoiled tuxedo cats.

Eliza writes stories to help you believe in the Happily Ever After; Jennifer Sommersby writes young adult fiction. Her debut, Sleight, was published in 2018 by HarperCollins Canada, Sky Pony (US), and Prószyński i S-ka (Poland). The sequel, Scheme (called The Undoing in Canada), is out now!

Follow Eliza on social media or go to her website at http://www.elizagordon.com and sign up for her newsletter.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Eliza’s Newsletter|
Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

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Giveaway Details: International

1 winner
will receive a signed finished copy of
WELCOME TO PLANET LARA, International.

2 winners
will receive an eBook of
WELCOME TO PLANET LARA sent by
BookFunnel, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz: CODE by Mary Ting @MaryTing @VesuvianMedia @XpressoTours

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Title: CODE
Series: International Sensory Assassin Network #4
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon

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About the Book

Behind enemy lines, new soldiers will emerge, and unexpected heroes will rise.

Ava is a prisoner. And she is not the only rebel held hostage at ISAN’s secret
compound. As she plans an escape, the lives of the rebel prisoners are
in her hands, along with those she thought were dead.

Rhett and his team desperately search for Ava while one of the Remnant Council
joins forces with another network looking for the creator of the Helix serum. And
time is running out. Mr. Novak has been secretly creating an army called CODE,
and what he plans for Ava will mean a permanent end to the rebels–and her.

************

An Excerpt from CODE

I should have landed on him, but instead I dropped to the floor on my hands and knees like a wounded deer. An electrical sensation zapped through my middle and wrapped around me like invisible arms, holding me in place. Hundreds of needles pricked me all at once.

Excruciating pain seared from head to toe. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even blink. I had been wounded many times on missions, but nothing I’d felt in ISAN compared to what had just hit me.

Immobile, a foot from my monster of a brother, I’d never felt so vulnerable. My muscles simply shut down. A whimper escaped me, but it could have been only in my head. Worse, a tear slid down my cheek. I felt humiliated beyond measure.

“Aw, sis. Are you crying? Does it hurt?” Gene took his hand out of his pocket and showed me a metal trinket, a circle about the size of his thumb.

“I thought it was best to have it handy in case you lost control.” He came dangerously closer and lowered, his warm breath brushing the shell of my ear. “Now you know, sis. I can contain you. You might want to show me some respect if you don’t want to be on the ground, helpless and weak. I might accidentally hurt you. We don’t want that do we?”

Oh, the pain. Every tiny movement—every blink—hurt so much.

He ran a knuckle down my cheek to wipe away another teardrop, and then grazed his index finger slowly across my neck, savoring my weakness.

“Next time it won’t be so soft,” he said. “You should get some rest. You look like hell.”

I screamed in my head. Peering up under my eyelashes, I watched him walk toward the sliding door. I wanted to rip out his throat, stomp on his heart, but I couldn’t move. Even a fraction of movement felt like a knife slitting deeper into my spine.

I couldn’t win. At least not this time. But I would find a way. There had to be a way.

Gene’s back to me, he held up that metal circle trinket and clicked. Just as the door blended into the wall, he released me. I thumped my head on the tile floor and wept for Brooke and the rebels who had died because of my stupid mistake.

Groaning, I crawled like a worm, my knees and elbows digging across to get to the rug, each movement agony. I refused to lie on the cold ground like I was nothing.

I’d never felt so small. No—I had, when my foster father beat me. Where was he now? Locked up. That would be Gene’s fate, too.

Just you wait, big brother. Just you wait. Karma is a bitch.

************

About the Author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years.

Website / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter
Instagram / Newsletter / Bookbub

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GIVEAWAY!
$10 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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