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Stephen Whitfield is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Omari and the People

“Omari and the People” by Stephen Whitfield

Published as… Historical Adventure

Stephen Whitfield’s Excerpt

As was his way, bin Aswad took no part in the celebration, and actually enjoyed his time alone as everyone else danced, sang and ate. Indeed, he had always found great pleasure in his love of numbers – calculating expenses, inventories and ultimately, profits. Despite Omari’s warnings about making money from the needs of others, bin Aswad had found it profitable to provide specialty clothing for those who could afford it. He found that some people paid well for themselves and or their family to look good in new clothing, and he was very clever in the re-use of old clothes to make new garments, as his cloth supply dwindled. Instead of being rich in coin, he now had more than his share of food, water, tools and other valuables.

He was happily humming a tuneless melody while he sat counting a number of small gems, when his tent flap flew open. A stunning young woman moved in quickly and stood over him. Astonished, he scrambled backwards with his eyes and mouth wide open, spilling the gems onto the tent floor.

“Ho, bin Aswad. Easy,” said the woman in a husky voice, and a bright smile that revealed white, even teeth. “I wish you no harm.” She raised her palms to calm his fright and sat down. “In fact, I believe I might be of some service to you. My name is Saba Khan. Did you drop something?”

No longer terrified, bin Aswad was still too surprised and embarrassed to form any reply, except to start picking up his gems while glancing up at the stranger. At first glance, Saba Khan possessed what might be called an extraordinary beauty – enough to turn heads, and very pleasing to the eye. In bin Aswad’s lamplight, her complexion was a satiny smooth, golden brown that seemed to blend into the darkness. Her finely sculpted face framed dark amber, almond-shaped eyes, which made him pause. For the brief moment he held her gaze, he was so struck by their sheer intensity, intelligence and perceptiveness that he stopped picking up his gems. His attitude changed to awe and he was willing, even eager to hear what she had to say.

“How do you know my name?” he mumbled, too awestruck to ask all the questions in his mind.

“You are well-known, bin Aswad. You have many customers—people you talk to and trade with. Some of the things you receive in trade are precious gems, such as that one you missed, just there.” She pointed a slender finger at a ruby behind him.

“That gets people’s attention. Some of the things you’ve said are bound to get even more attention – such as the fact that you are unhappy with Master Omari’s leadership.” She leaned forward and opened her eyes wide. “Allow me to offer you some free advice – trade your gems away and keep your opinions to yourself.”

Bin Aswad noticed the hilt of a dagger in her waistband. As the idea of danger began to form in his mind, beads of sweat broke out on his upper lip. “That’s some strong advice,” he said, in an effort to sound self-assured. “What do you have to do with my opinions or my gems?”

Saba Khan chuckled. “I’m not here to harm you, bin Aswad. I’m here to suggest that I might be able to help you solve your problem with Master Omari…for the cost of some of your gems.” She raised her brow and tilted her head to the side. “Are you interested in seeing someone else in charge of the caravan? Someone more sensitive to your business interests?”

He frowned and leaned forward. “And how would you…”

“You don’t need to know that,” she said. “All you need to know is if you pay my price, your satisfaction is guaranteed.”

He stared at the woman in amazement. “What do you do? Are you some kind of killer? I don’t want to kill anyone.”

“I make things happen,” she replied. “And don’t worry; you don’t have enough gems for anyone to be killed. Not even that great blue jewel you have hidden in your robe.”

Bin Aswad’s eyes widened again. “You know about the jewel?”

“That is why I’m here,” she said in a low voice. “Remember my first advice? You’re not going to be able to hang onto such a stone much longer anyway. Too many people know about it. Right now, all you have to do is say ‘yes’ to the deal. If you do, I will give you more details later. Of course, whether you agree or not, I must refer you back to the second advice – keep your business to yourself. Now, do we have a deal?” She leaned forward and smiled as if she knew the answer.

About the Book

In an ancient time, a people made homeless by a devastating fire are led across a treacherous desert by a thrill-seeking thief, to a land he doesn’t believe exists – and he started the fire.

In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based on descriptions of the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter,) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home on fire to start anew and cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place to which only he can lead them, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.

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About the Author

Stephen Whitfield Author Photo
Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. Stephen currently resides near Orlando, Florida.

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Codi Gary is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Bad for Me

“Bad for Me” (Rock Canyon Romance, #5) by Codi Gary

Published as… Contemporary Romance

Cody Gary’s Excerpt

“I’ve almost got it.”

“Thank you. This was really nice of you, especially when I haven’t given you a reason to be.”

Everett looked up at her, wiping the rain off his face so he could meet her gaze. “You seem to assume that just because people are kind to you, they want something. Sometimes people help because it’s the right thing to do.”

Her gaze shifted away, and he went back to tightening the nuts on the wheel. He’d said his piece, but knew he wasn’t going to convince Callie with words that his intentions were honorable.

He had to prove it to her.

When he finished, he released the jack and gathered up all the tools, sliding them back in the spare tire kit. “I’ll put this and the new tire in the back, and you’ll be good to go. I’ll haul this one off to the dump for you.”

She knelt down next to him and took the kit from him, their fingers brushing. Despite the chill of their skin, heat sizzled between them, sending a shot of awareness down his throat. Her blonde curls were wet and falling out of her messy top knot, and drops of rain were clinging to her cheeks. Before he could stop himself, he traced the pad of his thumb across one, catching the cool droplet on his skin. Her amber eyes widened, and he dropped his hand, cursing his impulse.

“Sorry. You had something on your cheek.”

Callie cleared her throat and stood up. “It’s okay.”

He climbed to his feet and couldn’t help wondering if she’d felt something too. Was that why she kept pulling away?

But if she didn’t want him, why was he pushing?

Because she doesn’t treat you like a defective puppy she’d have to fix.

Grabbing her spare tire from the back of his truck, he slid it into the back of her Jeep. She stood back as he closed the door, and he could tell she was nervous—her hands kept twisting.

“Well, you’re all set. You should get home and change out of those wet clothes. If you get sick, I’ll have to listen to one of those ridiculous weekend deejays, and they play nothing but crap.”

Everett started to head back to his truck, but she caught his hand. “Hey.”

Just the touch of her hand sent his heart from a trot to a gallop. He loved the way her soft skin wrapped around his.

Facing her, he waited, afraid to move a muscle and scare her off.

But she moved so fast, he wasn’t prepared when her lips brushed the scarred side of his face. He stiffened as the warmth seeped through his cheek, his stomach twisting up as a thousand thoughts and insecurities made him wince. Had the roughness repelled her? Why hadn’t she picked the untouched side?

“Thank you. For being kind.”

Callie dropped his hand and ran to her car, as if afraid he would come after her. As she started it and pulled forward, he was finally able to move again, backing up a ways to watch her disappear down the road.

Everett’s hand came up to rest against his cheek, and he realized that he’d lied to Callie when he said he didn’t want anything from her.

He wanted everything.

About the Book

Callie Jacobsen isn’t about to open her heart to just anyone. Not so very long ago, trusting someone changed her life forever—and not in a fun way. Now she’s better off focusing on her career, her friends, and her dog. So when former Marine Everett Silverton takes an interest in her, Callie’s more than a little wary. No matter how charming he is, men are a bad idea. In fact, she’s got the scars to prove it. But Everett isn’t convinced Callie should shut everyone out—especially not him. He may be a hero to the people of Rock Canyon, but he’s got his own demons, and he bets they’re not that different from Callie’s. Still, he knows it’s going to take more than chemistry to get her to let her guard down. Everett will do whatever it takes to show her she’s safe with him. All she has to do is take a chance, take a step…and take his hand.

Buy the Book at Avon Romance, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Kobo

About the Author

Codi Gary Author Photo
An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy small-town contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.

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David Morrell is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Inspector of the Dead

“Inspector of the Dead” by David Morrell

Published as… Historical Mystery

David Morrell’s Excerpt

As the gentleman continued up Constitution Hill, his watch now showed eight minutes past five. The watches of his associates—also synchronized with the Greenwich Royal Observatory—would display the same time. Everything remained on schedule.

At Piccadilly, he turned right toward one of London’s most respectable districts: Mayfair. He had waited what seemed an eternity for what he was about to enjoy. He had suffered unimaginably to prepare for it. Despite his fierce emotions, he kept a measured pace, determined not to blunt his satisfaction by hurrying.

Even in the fog, he had no trouble finding his way. This was a route that he had followed many times in his memory. It was the same route that he had taken fifteen years earlier when, as a desperate boy, he had raced to the right along Piccadilly, then to the left along Half Moon Street, then left again onto Curzon Street, this way and that, begging.

Please, sir, I need your help!

Get away from me, you filthy vermin!

The echoes of that hateful time reverberated in his memory as he came to the street known as Chesterfield Hill. He paused where a gas lamp showed an iron railing beyond which five stone steps led up to an oak door. The knocker had the shape of a heraldic lion’s head.

The steps were freshly scrubbed. Noting a boot scraper built into the railing, he applied his soles to it so that he wouldn’t leave evidence. He clutched his walking stick, opened the gate, and climbed the steps. The impact of the knocker echoed within the house.

He heard someone on the opposite side of the door. For a moment, his anticipation made it seem that the world outside the fog no longer existed, that he was in a closet of the universe, that time had stopped. As a hand freed a bolt and the door opened, he readied his cane with its silver knob.

A butler looked puzzled. “His Lordship isn’t expecting visitors.”

The gentleman struck with all his might, impacting the man’s head, knocking him onto a marbled floor. Heartbeat thundering with satisfaction, he entered and shut the door. A few quick steps took him into a spacious hall.

A maid paused at the bottom of an ornate staircase, frowning, obviously puzzled why the butler hadn’t accompanied the visitor. In a rage, the gentleman swung the cane, feeling its knob crack the maid’s skull. With a dying moan, she collapsed to the floor.

Without the disguise of his beard, the gentleman had been to this house on several occasions. He knew its layout and would need little time to eliminate the remaining servants. Then his satisfaction could begin as he devoted his attention to their masters. Clutching his cane, he proceeded with his great work.

Memories needed to be prodded.

Punishment needed to be inflicted.

About the Book

David Morrell’s MURDER AS A FINE ART was a publishing event. Acclaimed by critics, it made readers feel that they were actually on the fogbound streets of Victorian London. Now the harrowing journey continues in INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD.

Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his Confessions of an Opium-Eater,confronts London’s harrowing streets to thwart the assassination of Queen Victoria.
The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The Empire teeters.

Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.

This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to kill Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose lust for revenge has destroyed his soul.

Brilliantly merging historical fact with fiction, Inspector of the Dead is based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria.

Buy the Book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, iBooks, IndieBound or Kobo

About the Author

David Morrell Author Photo
David Morrell is an Edgar, Nero, Anthony, and Macavity nominee as well as a recipient of the prestigious career-achievement Thriller Master away from the International Thriller Writers. His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic espionage novel. The Brotherhood of the Rose, the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl. A former literature professor at the University of Iowa, Morrell has a PhD from Pennsylvania State University. His latest novel is INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD, a sequel to his highly acclaimed Victorian mystery/thriller, Murder as a Fine Art, which Publishers Weekly called ”one of the top ten mystery/thrillers of 2013.”

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Stacy Eaton is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

My Blood Runs Blue

“My Blood Runs Blue” by Stacy Eaton

Published on… January 2015
Published as… Paranormal Romantic Suspense

An Excerpt from My Blood Runs Blue

“Julian, if you want someone else to go after him, I can send Gabe—” he started to say.

“No, Alexander, I can do this alone. I want him. I need to finish this myself,” I was quick to reply.

“You’re taking this personally, Jules.” He put his hand up to stop me when I would have interrupted. “You know it is better to not have a personal attachment to your assignment. I have allowed you to stay on this case because I know how good you are and how focused you can be. I also figure that maybe your close attachment to him might help you find him, to allow us to finally grieve and move on.” He looked down at his desk, knowing he had made a mistake in his words as he fingered the expensive pen in his hand.

I caught the “us” in there. Yeah, you loved her, too. But she chose me.

I couldn’t repress the sigh as I looked down at the beautifully hand-sewn Oriental rug at my feet, not really seeing it, but noticing its bright reds and blues, the same colors that were swirling around in my mind. Red for hatred and blue for the loss I had suffered. I was taking it personally, I knew that, but I would not allow any other warrior to find Damon and take him to the other world. This would be my vengeance, and mine alone.

I looked back up at him with that heated emotion stark in my expression as he continued.

He tried to redeem his words, and I almost laughed. “We cannot allow Damon to keep up with this behavior. Killing our females and children is not what we are about. If he continues, our race will end.”

“Master, I know it is not. I will be fine; I can distance myself from the attachment. You, of all people, know that,” I said calmly.

“Fine, so be it, but Gabriel is going with you this time,” he said, with a flick of his hand.

“You don’t need to send a babysitter with me, Alexander,” I retorted, as anger bubbled under my skin.

He regarded me with a quick tight-lipped expression which told me he was about to lose his cool. “It is not to watch over you, Julian. It is to assist you.

About the Book

“I’m still a cop, and my blood runs blue.” Officer Kristin Greene has always felt that something was missing from her life. Even though her job with the Fawn Hollow Township Police Department keeps her busy, she continues to feel as if there is something else out there she is meant to be doing. Kristin finds herself investigating a homicide where a young woman has had her throat ripped brutally out. As she begins to dig for the answers, she finds herself thrown into a world she never knew existed. When Julian and Alexander crash into her life, she finds herself being pulled into a love triangle that has been going on longer than she has been alive. Kristin in determine to figure out who they are and why they keep calling her Calista. Join Kristin as she fights to learn the truth about the recent murder, the two seductive men who have entered into her life and the real truth about herself in a suspenseful tale that weaves paranormal into to the realistic world of law enforcement.

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About the Author

Stacy Eaton Author Photo
Stacy Eaton has been a full-time police officer since 2000. Her current assignment is as Detective of her small town department. She enjoys crime scene investigation; taking a passion in putting the pieces together to figure out the crime. She is also a business owner where she helps people get the awareness out for the causes they care most about. She is a mother of two, a son proudly serving in the United States Navy and a young daughter. Her husband is also in law enforcement. She is very much into photography and carries her Nikon Digital SLR with her almost everywhere, just in case.

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Andrea Cefalo is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

The Fairytale Keeper

“The Fairytale Keeper” by Andrea Cefalo

Published as… Young Adult/Historical/Fairytale Retelling

Excerpt from The Fairytale Keeper

Intro: Adelaide’s plan to humiliate the callous parish priest, Father Soren, backfires. She and her father, Ansel, end up in the stocks for a crime they didn’t commit. Proud to have thwarted Addie, Soren comes to gloat.

Excerpt:
Flutes trill and lyres thrum as the throng dissolves into the market for Annunciation Day celebrations. I catch the savory scent of roasting sides of beef and suckling pigs. My stomach howls. I haven’t eaten since Saturday dinner. Dozens rush at the archbishop, seeking an audience. Soren saunters toward me, smirking proudly.

He kneels, and I look him in his piggy eyes. “You thought you were pretty smart, did you not?” he goads. “You didn’t think I would find out about your little plan, did you? Oh, but I did. You would be surprised at how little I had to pay for that information, and now look at where you and your father are.” He cocks his head to the side. “I bet you should like to throw another stone at me now, would you not? But you cannot with those pretty little hands bound, can you? No, no, no…”

“You have become a thorn in my side, girl, and I think you’ll find that I can become a spear in yours.” He pulls a cloth from his robes, and I recognize it immediately. “This was your mother’s, was it not?” He places it beneath his nostrils and breathes in deeply. “She smells lovely…nothing like that day we burned her.”

I’ll claw out his eyes! I shove my hands through the holes as far as they can go.

“You are a feisty little witch!” he laughs. “This is the last of your mother’s things. I am having the rest of them burned in the streets right now. I am having all of your things burned in the streets.”

I pull backward, slamming the base of my head hard against the wood. My neck burns from the pain, but I try again, desperate to break through the stocks so I can get Mama’s clothes, her lavender satchels, anything that smells like her, anything that reminds me of her. Soren laughs.

“Do you want this back?” he asks smugly. Of course I want it back. He knows I want it back. “Swear to me, on your mother’s soul, that you shall sit in my church every Mass for the rest of my days. I shall save you a seat in the first pew so I can look upon your angry, defeated face.”

I collect all the saliva in my mouth and spit, hitting him on the side of his nose. “Keep it,” I hiss.

He wipes my spit from his face with the linen. “Very well, then. I think I shall use this to wipe my arse.” He rises and walks away.

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About the Book

Adelaide’s mother, Katrina, was the finest storyteller in all of Airsbach, a borough in the great city of Cologne, but she left one story untold, that of her daughter, that of Snow White. Snow White was a pet name Adelaide’s mother had given her. It was a name Adelaide hated, until now. Now, she would give anything to hear her mother say it once more. A rampant fever claimed Adelaide’s mother just like a thousand others in Cologne where the people die without last rites and the dead are dumped in a vast pit outside the city walls. In an effort to save Katrina’s soul, Adelaide’s father obtains a secret funeral for his wife by bribing the parish priest, Father Soren. Soren commits an unforgivable atrocity, pushing Adelaide toward vengeance. When Adelaide realizes that the corruption in Cologne reaches far beyond Soren, the cost of settling scores quickly escalates. Avenging the mother she lost may cost Adelaide everything she has left: her father, her friends, her first love, and maybe even her life. Seamlessly weaving historical events and Grimm’s fairy tales into a tale of corruption and devotion, The Fairytale Keeper, leaves the reader wondering where fact ends and fiction begins. The novel paints Medieval Cologne accurately and vividly. The story develops a set of dynamic characters, casting the famous villains, heroes, and damsels of Grimm’s fairy tales into believable medieval lives. Though historically set, The Fairytale Keeper brims with timeless themes of love, loyalty, and the struggle for justice.

Buy the Book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or Kobo  

About the Author

Andrea Cefalo Author Photo Besides being the award-winning author of The Fairytale Keeper series, Andrea Cefalo is a self-proclaimed medievalist, hopeless bookworm, and social media junkie. She graduated with honors from Winthrop University in 2007 where she studied Medieval art history and children’s literature. The next three books in The Fairytale Keeper series—The Countess’ Captive, The Baseborn Lady, and The Traitor’s Target—will debut in 2015 and 2016. She resides in Greenville, South Carolina—ever perched before her trusty laptop—with her husband and their two border collies.

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The Fairytale Keeper

Nnaziri Ihejirika is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

A Rainy Season

“A Rainy Season” by Nnaziri Ihejirika

Published as… African Historical Fiction

An Excerpt from A Rainy Season

I was in seventh heaven and pressed closer to the window.

After a few minutes, she reached out and turned off the green lamp beside her bed. My public show was over. With a disappointed sigh, I stepped away from the shadows and into the light by tank. I gave one wistful look back and there she was, standing by the window, peering out. At once, I panicked and ran off toward the back stairwell of the building, hoping to God she’d not seen me, making noise as I ran. I didn’t care. Clearly she knew someone was outside her window. I was determined that she not match a face to the deed. Reaching the stairwell, I paused. I had left the bucket beside the tank. If Tamara decided to go outside to check, she would find it. The buckets I used to fetch water were distinctive because they were made of iron. Almost everyone else used plastic. I had to retrieve the bucket before she went outside or raised an alarm. If she reported the incident to my parents, I would be on the hook immediately. My two brothers were younger than me and, besides, I was the one responsible for fetching water. My father would kill me with his cane if such an incident reached his ears. And I would have to bear the stigma of being known as a peeping tom, although, in truth, most young adolescents were guilty of that at one point or another, given the communal living conditions of Lagos. I waited another five minutes, then, decided to be brave. I silently crept forward and picked up my bucket, escaping back up the stairwell. I had been gone for the better part of an hour. Hopefully, I could sneak to my room without my parents noticing.

No such luck.

As I tried to slide from the kitchen to the corridor leading to the bedrooms, my father’s voice boomed out from the living room.

“And where have you been, young man?”

I stammered. “J-j-just fetching water, daddy.”

“For the last hour? I was not born last night.” He glared at me. I tried to think.

“I ran into someone downstairs and we started talking. I must have lost track of the time. I’m sorry.”

With my parents, especially my father, it was better to be sorry before they asked if you were. It had saved me many a beating.

“Who were you talking to that distracted you from your chores? Not that useless gateman Mutiu, I hope?”

My father disliked Mutiu intensely. He blamed him for the recent thefts of diesel and petrol from the tanks stored by the various owners in a secluded area of the compound, although, he did not have any proof. It was another paradox that for a country, which was one of the world’s largest exporters of crude oil, there were not enough petroleum products for the daily use of Nigerians. As a result, most people of means had taken to hoarding fuel from the black market to ensure that they were always supplied. Others who could not afford the black market prices had simply given up driving and were now in the habit of taking public transportation. One such person was Mr. Ekwe who lived above our flat. In fact, the rumour among some of the other owners, confirmed to me by his niece, Nonye, was that he could no longer afford the rent on the flat and would be forced to leave for a cheaper place soon.

“No, dad, I was talking to Jude. He was also fetching water.”

That was as safe as it could get for me. My parents were fond of Jude, viewing him as a son, and they encouraged me to cultivate his friendship. Of course, my father was not in favour of his work with the military regime, but they liked his personal habits and comportment. He was often invited to Sunday lunch with us.

“Jude is a sensible young man, even if he needs to find a new job and stop dining with the devil. You won’t be getting into trouble hanging around with him. But, try to be mindful of the time in the future.”

“Yes, daddy.”

“You need to be studying for your certificate exams, not fooling around.”

The senior secondary certificate examination was the common exam written by all students as they left Secondary School. It was required for entry into a Nigerian university. I was expected to achieve distinctions in at least six of my nine subjects and to better the scholastic abilities of my parents. I hoped for more than that, but my studying was yet to kick into high gear, so wishes remained horses at this point.

“Yes, daddy. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, son.”

I resolved to ask Jude to cover for me since my father was not above asking him to verify our meeting, or even berating him for delaying me from completing my chores. A few days later, I discovered just how narrow my escape had been.

About the Book

It is the rainy season of 1998. An autocratic and corrupt ruler has just died in the arms of courtesans at the presidential villa leaving one hundred million citizens of Africa’s most populous country in co-mingled states of joy, grief and uncertainty.

Through the eyes of eight fictional characters, A Rainy Season tells the story of Nigeria’s latest journey to democracy. Hamed, the government contractor. Ekei, the desperate fashionista. Jude, the underground radical. Kurdi, the womanizing pastor. Tamara, the ambitious divorcee. Elechi, the inquisitive schoolboy. Mutiu, the disillusioned guard. Nonye, the blossoming idealist. The sprawling metropolis of Lagos is the junction where their stories intersect. In this most chaotic of cities, they are as divided by ethnicity, religion, gender and social class as they are united by a desire to survive at any cost.

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About the Author

Nnaziri Ihejirika Author Photo
Nnaziri Ihejirika is a proud Nigerian-Canadian writer who is inspired by his and third-party experiences growing up in Nigeria during the late 20th century. He currently resides in Canada and is enthusiastic about providing social commentary on ethnicity, gender, religious, and social class issues in Nigeria. The same topics are tackled in his first book, “A Rainy Season”, casting a spotlight on the human condition during that period. Nnaziri is a frequent contributor to online social media with an emphasis on socio-political issues.

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L.A. Rose is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Ice Pretty Love

“Ice Pretty Love” by L. A. Rose

Published on… 15 November 2014
Published as… New Adult Romance

LA Rose’s Excerpt

“So you want me to change.” His jaw is taut.

“You need to change, or you’re not going to get what you want,” I say. He needs to hear it. “And you’re going to be miserable your whole life—”

“I don’t know how to change!” he says loudly.

I stop, half-expecting the divider separating us from the driver to roll down, but it doesn’t. We’re still alone in the backseat. I should be afraid, should be recoiling the way
I do whenever a man raises his voice to me. But when I reach for the fear, I don’t find it. All I find is…pity?

“I know what I am. What I’m like.” His voice cracks, just slightly, but he masters it. “If I
could be different, I would. Do you understand that? I’m not like you. I can’t slip on someone else’s persona like changing my clothes.”

That stupid twinge of pity turns into a full-fledged needle. I’m very familiar with that shadow in his voice, because it’s been in my heart for years. Self-loathing. At least I can escape myself by being other people. He doesn’t even have that luxury.

Stop it, Rae. Don’t you dare feel sorry for him. He has everything you’ve ever wanted, remember?

“That’s bullshit,” I say bluntly. “You can change. Anyone can change.”

“Show me.”

“What?”

He turns his full gaze directly on me, and I lose myself for a brief second in those ice eyes. “Show me how to be someone else. You do it so easily. You’re getting paid enough, I might as well get some use out of you.”

“You mean like…give you niceness lessons?”

He grimaces. “I’d rather we didn’t call it that.”

“Well…” I hesitate.

“Please,” he says emotionlessly. And if I had to bet on it, I’d say it was damn near the first time that word had passed through those perfect lips.

About the Book

Glass-doll beauty. A shy, proper smile. Georgette Montgomery is the perfect billionaire’s fiancé.

Or she would be, if she existed.

A dark past. A smile that hides everything. At nineteen, Rae Grove escapes her disaster life by pretending to be other people—specifically, whoever the man paying her that night wants her to be.

Until she’s offered enough money for a one-way ticket to a better life. All she has to do is fly to Paris and pretend to be the fiancé of young business tycoon Cohen Ashworth for one month. Within an hour of meeting Cohen, Rae knows three things about him:

1. He hates everyone and everything.

2. He has abundant wit and a knife-sharp tongue.

3. He uses 2 to make everyone aware of 1.

Before long, Rae’s determined to crack open his unbreakable shell. Cohen’s determined to stay unbroken.

But no one escapes unscathed when two opposite worlds collide.

Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

L.A. Rose recently made it out of college alive and with an English degree. She’s a habitual beach bum, a cuteness aficionado, and a not-quite-recovered romance addict. She’s a big believer in laughter as medicine and steaminess as…more medicine. You can never have enough medicine. James Games is her second New Adult standalone, and her next release, Icy Pretty Love, will be out 11/15/2014.

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Lance Erlick is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

The Rebel Series

“The Rebel Within” by Lance Erlick

Published on… 25 March 2013
Published as… Young Adult, Science Fiction

“Rebels Divided” by Lance Erlick

Published on… 12 June 2013

“The Rebel Trap” by Lance Erlick

Published on… 1 October 2014

Lance Erlick’s Excerpt

I won. I lost. I’m out. I’m in. I cannot tell a soul. It was enough to spin my head, to make me wish I was back in that zoo of a high school I just left.

My thoughts darkened with the implications of what I’d done and the commitment I’d just made. I hurried out of Commander Hernandez’s sparse office; even the khaki-colored corridors looked darker than I remembered only an hour before. The drab lobby of the Tenn-tucky Mechanized Warrior compound brimmed with sister warriors, a gauntlet I had to squeeze through on my way out. Yet, I could no longer call them “sister” anything.

“Loser!” someone yelled. It sounded like one of Dara’s girls. Defeating the amazon bully in the mech tournament final hadn’t silenced her, or her posse.

“Hey, Annabelle,” Dara yelled, “how’s it feel to wash out?” She stood a head taller than the other girls like some ruling monarch.

Joke’s on you. I took deep, steady breaths while I marched toward the exit. Don’t get into a fight, I reminded myself. That was what she wanted, bringing up how, after the tournament, I’d refused to kill my male opponent in the separate arena final.

Hot, locker-room bodies surrounded me, sweat-soaked from their own arena fights to the death against boys pumped up with steroids and chemical enhancers to make the challenge even tougher. Some two dozen male corpses lay in the arena morgue, testament to the training and bravery of these recruits. Unlike them, I couldn’t bring myself to kill Morgan for sport, even when I had him pinned in a chokehold. For that failure, they took my title and kicked me out of the Mech Corps. Well, to hell with them.

Things weren’t that simple, though. They never were for me.

“You don’t have what it takes,” Dara shouted. The amazon’s large face tightened like a monstrous fist. She growled, “Weakness finally caught up with you.”

“They’ll strip away your title,” scrawny Margarite said from behind Dara.

I inched forward through the crowd, my eyes fixed on the tinted, bulletproof door that promised freedom. Don’t fight. Only a few more feet.

Dara stepped in front of me to block my exit. “You know what that means? I’ll have the title that’s rightfully mine. All that work for nothing. Sucks, doesn’t it?”

Not like getting a title you didn’t earn.

Brandy, my closest mech friend, cowered in the corner, face hidden beneath auburn curls. She brushed the hair aside and glanced up, eyes pleading. I hated letting her down. During training, she’d latched onto me as her lifeline. I sensed she wanted to talk, to get answers, but I was a pariah. I embarrassed the entire program by winning the tournament and the arena contests, yet disqualifying myself on a technicality.

I wanted to reassure Brandy, and thank her for being a good friend, but that would make her life hell with her sister recruits. I couldn’t do that to her. I looked for a path around Dara, one I could take without stirring a fight with one who needed no provoking.

“What ya do, fall in love with that redhead?” Rox yelled. The dark-complexioned loner must have decided to align herself with Dara now that I was out.

The jibe bit hard. Yeah, I’d like to get to know Red—Morgan. Even if I didn’t, I won’t kill for sport. Maybe if I hadn’t saved him several times before the arena match, I might have acted differently, but that wasn’t it.

For the past six weeks as a mech trainee, I’d counted these girls as friends, with the exception of Dara. Now, their scornful looks reminded me of high school. Escaping at 16 had been a gift. Now I longed to return to a cage I understood.

I held my head high, squeezed between Dara and Margarite, and pushed the weaker girl out of the way. I ached to yell out the truth, but Commander Hernandez had been clear and insistent: “Tell no one you’re still in the program.”

Instead, I kept moving and endured jabs to my arms, already inflamed from my fight. Morgan had been a tougher competitor than Dara, and almost killed me twice. Yet, I couldn’t hurt him. Stay calm.

Dara grabbed my arm and pulled me back. “I’m not finished with you.”

“Yes, you are.” I yanked free and pushed through the glass door into sticky heat. Haze drifted in from Knoxville. I was tempted to take my mech-cycle and race to the Outland border to make sure Morgan crossed safely. Then the mechs would follow me and catch him for sure. Patience, Annabelle. Besides, the commander took my electric cycle when she officially kicked me out of the program.

The forest-camouflage guardhouse across the concrete clearing seemed miles away. My adoptive mom and her electric sedan weren’t waiting for me outside the gate, where the commander had arranged for her to pick me up. Nor was Mom’s car among the line of other cars and buses leaving the arena parking lot. Sweat soaked my neck and beaded up on my forehead.

On unsteady legs, I moved toward the gate. It felt like nightmares where I reach for my birth mother while mech-warriors tear me from her arms and send her to prison for trying to help my dad escape. That happened when I was three. Yet the horrid ache returned to me nightly as a fresh wound. To spare me from an institution Mom adopted me and raised me as her own.

I picked up my pace to get away from the taunts that echoed from Dara and her crew on the steps behind me. I had to get outside the compound, which reminded me of a prison with its high concrete walls, concertina wire, and hidden cams.

Still shaken by the mess I’d gotten myself into, I also reeled over having just witnessed someone try to assassinate Tenn-tucky State Senator Cora Scott, my adoptive mom, in the middle of my life-and-death struggle with Morgan. What a cluster. I prayed no one would connect his escape to Mom or me.

She still wasn’t outside the gate.

While getting out of here sounded great, I couldn’t face Mom’s disappointment at my failure or relief that I was out of the mech program. I wasn’t out. Yet. But I couldn’t tell her. I didn’t need Janine’s probing questions either, or her attempts to comfort me as if I were the younger sister. At least with me officially out of the program, she wouldn’t feel the need to join the mechs to follow me.

Where are you, Mom?

I reached the guardhouse. Still no car.

The stocky guard with coal-black hair stepped out of the shadows and blocked my exit. Though shorter, she had the commander’s solid build and looked ready to take my head off—me, the true winner of the Spring Mech Tournament. She probably could. Even though I’d gone through grueling mech qualifications, I hadn’t completed my training yet.

I hung my head. “Sorry, Sandy.”

She grabbed my arm and spun me around to face the building. “You will be. Commander wants you back in her office.” She pushed me toward the mech building and that gauntlet of angry recruits.

“What’s going on?” I looked behind and still couldn’t see Mom’s car.

“Don’t cause me any grief,” Sandy said. Her thick fingers dug into my forearm, making me gasp.

She pushed me back to the building. “Whatever it is, I suggest you humble yourself. The commander has never recalled a washed-out recruit before.”

“Come on, Sandy, give me something.”

Dara, Rox, and Margarite glowered at me from the top step. They blocked the door.

“I don’t know, but good luck,” Sandy said. “For the record, I had my money on you.”

She pushed me up the steps. “Everyone out of the way.”

Dara looked like a giant next to Sandy, but the great amazon stepped aside. Sandy dragged me along the khaki-colored corridor back toward the commander’s office. My eyes watered. It was like getting a pardon from prison, only to have the judge reverse her decision.

“Haven’t you had enough?” Dara yelled after me. “Had to come back for more?”

I dropped my gaze to the concrete floor. Moving toward freedom had given me courage. Now, as my nerve bled away, I could only imagine what had gone wrong.

<Don’t be alarmed,> a muted bass voice said directly into my skull.

You know how when someone says think fast, you can’t? My brain scrambled to make sense of this male voice deep inside my head, given that I’d never heard a masculine tone until six weeks ago.

Sandy tugged me forward. “Don’t keep the commander waiting.”

I pulled back. Morgan, what are you doing in my head? It felt like the mech com-link that allowed you to hear another’s projected thoughts. I couldn’t imagine how to turn the blasted thing off, or how to talk to him without Sandy overhearing. I couldn’t let her or the commander think I was crazy on top of everything else. I considered that possibility.

Morgan said.

I froze. I wanted to see Morgan’s face. Yet I didn’t trust all this craziness inside me, as if I wanted more than just to see him. His tone did sound comforting, though, the only really friendly voice since I ran the gauntlet.

Sandy yanked me forward.

Morgan said somewhere inside my skull.

I followed Sandy, shook my head, and mouthed, “No.” As if somehow, he could see that. I’d done my bit. I’d tried to help him escape.

The gravity of my situation sank in. Had Commander Hernandez caught the nurse helping the boys, or connected the escape to Mom? The entire idea had been stupid, a rushed effort because I really liked Morgan, despite having to fight him. I should have had a better plan, but I was not a planner.

About the Book

The Rebel Within

Sixteen-year-old Annabelle Scott lives under the iron rule of a female-dominated régime that forces males to fight to the death to train the military elite. When pressed into service as a mechanized warrior to capture escaped boys, Annabelle stays true to herself by helping some escape. Her defiance endangers everyone she loves and thrusts her to a place of impossible life and death decisions.

Rebels Divided

Nineteen-year-old Mechanized Warrior Annabelle Scott should kill rebel Geo Shaw during a military operation. Instead, she lets him escape, which mystifies them both. With the nation divided into a female-dominated Federal Union and an Outland wilderness, the Outland warlord and Federal governor conclude a secret deal. It pledges Annabelle to the warlord to provide heirs, and puts a bounty on Geo and his father.

When Annabelle refuses, the warlord kidnaps her and her beloved sister, but underestimates her resourcefulness. Betrayed by their own people, Geo’s plans to bust loose from his impoverished Outland glen and Annabelle’s attempts to escape and enlist his help backfire, and bring them into conflict with military on both sides of the border. Can Geo and Annabelle overcome mutual distrust and work together to rescue her sister and gain justice for his father’s murder? And will their feelings for each other derail or further their goals?

The Rebel Trap

Voices in 16-year-old Annabelle Scott’s head aren’t God or signs she’s going mad—yet. Despite being a Mech Warrior recruit, she rebels against her post-Second Civil War society by not only refusing to kill Morgan, a boy she’s attracted to, but also helping him to escape. After officially kicking her out of the program, Commander Samantha Hernandez gives Annabelle auditory implants and contact cams for an undercover assignment to investigate her corrupt police captain. Morgan hacks the implants to plead for her help in freeing his brother from a heavily guarded geek institute.

Unable to get either her commander or Morgan out of her head, Annabelle can’t confide in her adoptive mom, her beloved sister, or anyone else. While this rift tears at her bond to her sister, circumstance prevents her from searching for her birth mother or who tried to assassinate her adoptive mom.

As a pawn in a bigger game, who and what can Annabelle trust, including whether her mission is the commander’s vendetta? Can she find a way to help Morgan and discover the link between the attempted assassination, the geek institute, and her corrupt police captain without leading Morgan into a trap, being exiled and separated from her family, or getting herself and those she cares about killed?

The Rebel Trap was written as a standalone story, but also follows Annabelle’s adventures from The Rebel Within.

Find the Series at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Smashwords

About the Author

Lance Erlick's Author Photo
Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.

He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He’s the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age.

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L. A. Rose is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

James Games

“James Games” by L. A. Rose

Published on… 30 September 2014
Published as… New Adult Romance

LA Rose’s Excerpt

“Leave,” James repeats. The word sweeps over the boys surrounding me like an icy cold breeze from the asscrack of Antarctica. He’s really got the serial killer vibe going on. Even I have to resist the urge to jump up and run for the hills. I don’t blame my harem for scattering, leaving me sitting exposed and undefended on the counter, at the mercy of James Reid.

I point at him. “You scared away my harem.”

“Those guys were looking at you like you’re a piece of meat.” His tone is thick with disgust.

“Technically I am a piece of meat. Plus bones and stuff. Also, don’t you think that’s a bit hypocritical?”

I expect him to scoff at this, to shrug it off or deny it. Instead he cuts his eyes away from me. “I’m sorry,” he says finally. “I shouldn’t have jump—”

“Jump-started my car for me,” I interrupted loudly, fully aware that Sigrid is straining to listen in on our conversation, even if she is across the room. “You’re right. You should have just let me take it to the shop. Some things should be done by professionals.”

A ghost of a smile traces its way upward from the corners of his lips. It’s the first time I’ve seen him smile, and damn, is it dangerous. I swallow and look away. “Although—even though I know that I shouldn’t have let you near my car, and you’re definitely not coming near it again, you don’t need to apologize. At the time, I really wanted you to jump-start my car.”

My phone buzzes. I glance down. A text from Iris. Think of a better euphemism. You’re not being subtle.

“Did you just say I’m not a professional?” he asks, leaning one-handed on the counter so that his thumb is bare inches away from my thigh. He’s close enough to count the goose pimples that appear on my skin.

“Definitely an amateur,” I smirk.

His hand inches closer. “Why don’t you call me next time your car needs some work done and I’ll show you more of what I’m capable of.”

About the Book

Every year, the girls of Phi Delta Chi, Fiona Arlett’s dream sorority, hold a competition.

The prize?

James Reid, king size bar of eye candy and famous actor turned haughty undergrad.

The rules?

No girl but the winner can touch him.

The problem?

Fiona miiight have unknowingly banged his brains out last week.

Losing the competition may mean wearing a chicken suit to the sexiest Halloween costume contest, but she’d rather have feathers up her butt than let the truth out.

Unfortunately, she and James have lots in common and more chemistry than the science wing. Soon they’re sneaking around behind the backs of UCSD’s hottest and most vengeful girls.

If they find out?

Fiona’s screwed.

Buy the Book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo

About the Author

L.A. Rose recently made it out of college alive and with an English degree. She’s a habitual beach bum, a cuteness aficionado, and a not-quite-recovered romance addict. She’s a big believer in laughter as medicine and steaminess as…more medicine. You can never have enough medicine. James Games is her second New Adult standalone, and her next release, Icy Pretty Love, will be out 11/15/2014.

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Hannah Fielding is Visiting!

The Echoes of Love

“The Echoes of Love” by Hannah Fielding

Published on… 10 February 2014
Published as… Romance

Hannah Fielding’s Excerpt

The clock struck midnight just as Venetia went past the grand eighteenth-century mirror hangingover the mantelpiece in the hall. Instinctively she looked into it and her heart skipped a beat. In the firelight she noticed that he was there again, an almost illusory figure, leaning against the wall at the far end of the shadowy room, steady eyes intense, watching her from behind his black mask. An illusory figure indeed, because when Venetia turned around he was gone.

Venetia shivered. Nanny Horren’s voice resounded through her head, reminding her of the strange Celtic superstitions that the Scottish governess used to tell her. One in particular came to mind. ‘Turn off the light and look into the mirror by firelight at midnight on Shrove Tuesday,’ the old woman would whisper to the impressionable and imaginative teenage Venetia, ‘and if you see a face reflected behind your own, it’ll be the face of the love of your life, the man you will marry someday.’ Was this what had just happened to Venetia? Was this stranger the love of her life?

Rubbish, she remonstrated, laughing uneasily into her own eyes, you’re mad! Haven’t you learnt your lesson? Venetia had indulged in such fantasies several years ago and had only managed to get hurt. Now, she knew better. Still, she did not move away. Venetia leant closer to the mirror that reflected her pale, startled face in the flickering light, as tremors of the warm feelings of yester love suddenly flooded her being. For a few moments she seemed to lose all sense of where she was and felt as though she stood inside a globe, watching the wheel of time turning back ten years.

Gareth Jordan Carter. ‘Judd’. It was a diminutive of Jordan, chosen by Venetia who hated the name Gareth and didn’t care much for the name Jordan either. Judd had been her first love, and as far as Venetia was concerned, her last. She had been young and innocent then; only eighteen. Today, at twenty-eight, she liked to think she was a woman of the world, who would not allow herself to be trapped by the treacherous illusions of passion, however appealing they might seem. She had paid a high price for her naivety and impetuosity.

Venetia tried to shake herself clear of those haunting phantasms and her thoughts ambled back to the masked stranger – well, almost a stranger.

Their brief encounter had occurred the evening of the first night of Il Carnevale di Venezia, ten days before Shrove Tuesday …

About the Book

Venetia Aston-Montague has escaped to Italy’s most captivating city to work in her godmother’s architectural practice, hoping to put a lost love behind her.

Paolo Barone, a charismatic entrepreneur who bears the scars of a tragic past, is endeavoring to build a new life for himself.

Venice on a misty carnival night brings these two people together.

When Venetia finds herself assigned to Paolo’s magnificent country home, love blossoms in the beautiful hills of Tuscany and the wild Sardinian Maquis. But if they are to be together, they must first confront their past and dark forces in the shadows determined to come between them.

Daring to love again after so many years, can Venetia overcome her own demons? Or will Paolo’s carefully guarded, devastating secret tear them apart forever?

Buy the Book at Amazon (US), Amazon (UK) or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Hannah Fielding Author Photo
Hannah Fielding is a novelist, a dreamer, a traveller, a mother, a wife and an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: she writes full time, splitting her time between her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

Her first novel, Burning Embers, is a vivid, evocative love story set against the backdrop of tempestuous and wild Kenya of the 1970s, reviewed by one newspaper as ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’. Her new novel, The Echoes of Love, is a story of passion, betrayal and intrigue set in the romantic and mysterious city of Venice and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany.

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