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Author Archives: So Many Books, So Little Time

About So Many Books, So Little Time

Hey! I'm Ana, I've been reading since I read my first Harry Potter Book about 9 years ago, which was Book 6, The Half-Blood Prince, I had seen all the movies up til that point but I just really wanted to read it before the movie came out. And reading The Half-Blood Prince really got me into Books, Thank you, J.K Rowlings for inspiring me and writing an amazing series like Harry Potter. Honestly, If it wasn't for reading that HP book, I probably wouldn't love reading as much as I do today. I got into blogging about 6 years ago, and I love it! I love sharing my thoughts on books, just as much as I love reading them, and I love learning things from the books I read. Hey, if you have any books that you think I might like please recommend them! All recommendations are happily welcome and appreciated!

Book Blitz ~ Kissing Princeton Charming by C.M. Seabrook & Frankie Love: Excerpt + Giveaway!



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Kissing Princeton Charming
by C.M. Seabrook & Frankie Love

Publication date: January 17th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

We have reputations for a reason.

His?

Spencer Beckett:

Princeton Charming. Ivy League Playboy. Rich AF.

Hers?

Charlotte Hayes:

Campus sweetheart. Virgin. Working her booty off to get through this last semester.
When a bet pushes these two together it’s fire and ice … and Charlotte is melting.
Fast.
But Charlotte has a chip on her shoulder. She doesn’t believe that fairy tales exists in the real world.
One kiss tells her this is a bad idea.
Two kisses tells her he’s too good to be true.
Three kisses and she’s royally screwed.
Spencer Beckett might be everyone else’s Prince Charming but can he sweep this princess off her feet.

Goodreads | Amazon

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~Excerpt~

His eyes are bright, like he sees something he likes, something he wants. It takes me a moment to realize that thing is me.

His hand cups my cheek. “You are an enigma, Charlie Hayes.”

I draw in a tight breath. “And you are very smooth.”

Wait, how does he know my last name? Or for that matter where I live. This whole thing is unnerving.

“You like smooth?” His mouth is so close. His lips practically on mine.

God, I want him. But warning bells blare in my head. I should tell him to leave. Instead, I stutter over words, “I’ve never had smooth.” It’s the truth. I’ve had boys kiss me who didn’t know what they were doing, sloppy and unremarkable. I’ve had guys kiss me who were desperate and trying way too hard.

But Spencer Beckett is neither a high school boy nor a clingy college guy. He is something else entirely. He knows what to do as he lifts my chin ever so slightly. As he licks his lips, tempting me to lick my own. His eyes search mine and for a moment I feel found — or at least seen.

“You said yes before,” he rasps, blue eyes searching mine.

I whimper, “I…”

“I’m going to kiss you now, Charlie.” His head lowers, and his lips brush against mine before I have a chance to change my mind.

One kiss and I know I’m in trouble.

One taste and I know my resolve is gone.

~~~

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Author Bio~

Frankie Love writes filthy-sweet stories about bad boys and mountain men. As a thirty-something mom who is ridiculously in love with her own bearded hottie, she believes in love-at-first-sight and happily-ever-afters. She also believes in the power of a quickie.

Author links:

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest

Amazon bestselling author C.M. Seabrook writes hot, steamy romances with possessive bad boys, and the passionate, fiery women who love them. Swoonworthy romances from the heart!

Author links:

Website / Facebook / Goodreads / Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN)

Signed copy of Kissing Princeton Charming

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz ~ Hot Justice by Lynn Raye Harris: Excerpt + Giveaway!



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Hot Justice
by Lynn Raye Harris

(Hostile Operations Team #14)
Publication date: January 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

She’s searching for justice. He’s searching for peace.

What they need is each other. They just don’t know it yet…

Dean “Wolf” Garner is the kind of guy who loves hard and leaves fast. From the moment he rescues reporter Haylee Jamison in the Guatemalan jungle, he can’t stop thinking about the dark-haired beauty. His life is too complicated for romantic entanglements though–and not even a woman like Haylee can convince him otherwise.

Haylee wasn’t supposed to be in the drug cartel’s compound, but she was captured while on a mission of her own: find the trail of fake opioids entering the US and halt the operation. Back home in DC, Haylee can’t stop thinking about the gorgeous military operator who rocked her world for one steamy night before leaving. But when she uncovers a conspiracy and finds herself in danger, there’s only one man she trusts to keep her safe.

It’s easy for Wolf to risk his life to protect Haylee and give her the justice she desires. The hard part is taking a chance and admitting what’s in his heart before it’s too late.

Before he loses the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

“Lynn Raye Harris is the undisputed Queen of Military Romance because her Hostile Operations Team series just keeps getting better and better.” ~ Diane B.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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~Excerpt~

Mexico-Guatamala Border

Dean “Wolf” Garner waited for the jump command. He was standing nut-to-butt with his teammates, all of them suited up and ready to go. This was a HAHO jump where they’d fall out of the aircraft one behind the other, open chutes about fifteen seconds in and then coast for forty miles to the landing zone. Cade “Saint” Rogers was team lead and he’d be first out the door. Wolf was second. Echo Squad would stack up behind the leader while they were airborne and follow Saint’s lead as he guided them using GPS and landmarks.

The C-130 Hercules doors were open and they’d switched over to oxygen bottles. HAHO jumps were hell on the body, whether from the minus-zero wind temps, the lack of oxygen and threat of hypoxia, or the incredible snap of the harness when the chute deployed. It was a necessary evil when trying to sneak up on the enemy, though.

They were currently at T-minus two. The PT had cleared them all to jump and the jumpmaster was about to give the signal.

“You bastards stick with me,” Saint said into their earpieces. “Let’s go get those hostages and get the fuck out.”

Seconds later, Wolf was free falling into the sky behind Saint. Wolf deployed his chute, grunting as the harness snapped him hard against the restraints. Jesus. He was carrying a hundred pounds of gear and weaponry, which made the experience even more fun.

He sighted in on Saint and lined up. The rest of the team followed, everyone checking in, and then they were gliding under canopy toward the LZ.

The sun perched in the sky behind them, sinking quickly toward the horizon. Everything below was bathed in golden light that faded into darkness the father east Wolf looked. It was a beautiful sight and he never took it for granted.

The terrain here was mountainous and green and a river cut through the landscape, marking the border. This was the area where the Mexican cartels got their rocket-propelled grenades and grenade launchers as well as other military-grade equipment they used as they fought each other for territory. It’d be fine if all they did was kill each other, but unfortunately civilians often got caught in the crossfire.

Sometimes those civilians were American, and sometimes they were held for ransom. Like now. A group of dentists and opticians on a mission to provide services to an impoverished village had been swept up in the raid and HOT had been tasked with getting them out.

It took twenty minutes, but the team touched down and shrugged out of their chutes. They buried them, along with the special jumpsuits and oxygen canisters. Then they slung their M4 rifles across their chests and started the trek toward the camp where the cartel was holding the hostages.

HOT had pictures of the camp from drone photography and they knew the layout and the approximate number of people who guarded it. Echo Squad wasn’t just there to extract hostages—they were also there to take out the cartel members who were in the camp. At last count, that had been twenty.

Wolf didn’t feel sorry for the men. They were rough, evil, nasty men who terrorized innocent civilians. They killed indiscriminately, and they left messages in the form of headless bodies dangling from bridges and trees.

No, Wolf had no problem with killing them. It took Echo another forty minutes to reach the camp. It was dark by then, and the cartel men were drinking. The hostages were nowhere to be seen, but HOT knew they were being held in a rough concrete structure in the center of the camp. Ten men and women from somewhere in Alabama, on a church mission to help the poor. They were no doubt terrified and probably dehydrated and hungry.

“Like we planned it,” Saint said into their earpieces. The team split up and fanned out around the camp. Wolf and Noah “Easy” Cross slipped silently toward their target. They waited for the signal, then glided toward the men they’d marked. A quick slip of the knife and two cartel members would never harm anyone again.

A man emerged from the building where the hostages were, dragging a woman with him. She was small and dark-haired and she fought mightily. Wolf stiffened as the man thrust her against the side of the building and dropped his mouth to her neck. She wrenched her head to the side and tried to hit him but he caught her wrist and pinned her to the wall.

Wolf signaled Easy that this one was his. Easy nodded, lifting his rifle to provide covering fire if necessary as Wolf crossed the distance. The cartel members were falling quickly as his teammates took them out. Soon, Echo would converge on the building.

The woman was fighting hard when Wolf slipped up behind the man. Before Wolf could grab him, the man grunted and stumbled backward. His hands dropped to his crotch and Wolf nearly laughed. Smart girl. Brave girl.

He yanked the man back and stabbed him in the kidney, dropping him to the ground. The woman’s dark eyes widened. She was wearing a stained white button-down shirt that had been torn open and jeans with tennis shoes. Her black hair was wild and her skin was golden, and his heart thumped once before he clamped down on the reaction.

“You’re American?” she asked in a soft southern accent. “You’ve come to rescue us?”

“Yes,” he told her, turning to place her behind him as he scanned the camp for any stragglers. Someone shouted in the distance and a shot rang out.

“Got him,” Jax “Gem” Stone said in Wolf’s ear. “Fucker.”

“Status,” Saint ordered.

“All clear,” Malcolm “Mal” McCoy replied. The rest of Echo Squad followed suit.

“Let’s get the hostages,” Saint said.

Wolf turned back to the girl, knowing that Easy had his back and that his teammates were converging on the building to extract the hostages. “You okay?” he asked, dropping his gaze over her body, back up to her eyes. Dark, fiery eyes. Angry eyes.

She lifted her chin as she pulled her shirt together. “Yes. Fine.”

“What’s your name?”

“What’s yours?” she shot back.Wolf grinned

. “Wolf.”

She blinked. “Is that really your name?”

“No, but I like it better than my real name. Which is Dean, by the way.”

“Dean.” She paused for a moment. Then she thrust out her hand. “I’m Haylee. Pleased to meet you.”

He took her hand. A sizzle of something electric rolled through him. “You always so polite in dangerous situations?”

She grinned, and his heart thumped again. “I don’t know. This is my first kidnapping.”

~~~

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~Author Bio~

Lynn Raye Harris is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the HOSTILE OPERATIONS TEAM SERIES of military romances as well as 20 books for Harlequin Presents. A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former-military husband, two crazy cats, and one spoiled American Saddlebred horse. Lynn’s books have been called “exceptional and emotional,” “intense,” and “sizzling.” Lynn’s books have sold over 3 million copies worldwide.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


~Giveaway~


Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN)

$25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of Hot Secrets, Hot Seal Target, & Hot Seal Redemption

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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{Review} Nemesis by Elle Cross


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Nemesis
by Elle Cross

Kindle Edition, 250 pages
Published November 29th 2018
Rating: 3/5 stars

Goodreads

I have been called many names in my long life.
Kali. Hel. Santa Muerta.
To the Cabal, I am simply Immortelle.
As the daughter of Nyx and sister to the Furies, I was used to being an ever-living weapon to the Powers That Be that run the Cabal.
As the mistress to War, Death gloried in the carnage I wrought as I danced with Mischief and Strife.
Until one day, I fell in love with a mortal human who called me by other names.
Lover. Partner. Wife.
He gifted me with love and peace, and I thought I could be happy.
And then too soon, he died.
I mourned his death for one year and one day.
On the next day, they came for me. Like I knew they would.
War. Death. Mischief. Strife.
Except they didn’t come to recruit me back. They came to tell me how my husband truly died.
Now, I have taken on another name… an older name… one that I hadn’t worn in a long, long time…
Nemesis.


~Review~


*a copy was provided by the author*

Hmm…I don’t know how to feel about this book, this took forever to read, and I stopped reading at one point but kept at it, the ending turned around my opinion and now thinking of keeping an eye out on the second but wont rush it.

He was determined to learn what it was that Immortelle needed. Even now, as she lay dying, the need for love and belonging reeked from her soul. If she hadn’t felt like she had belonged before, she would damn well feel it now.

I wavered between 2 and 3, but decided I’m just going to stick with a 3 stars.

I started out with high hopes for this, since I’ve been recommended her books before, so I was pretty excited. But I was disappointed….

I liked it but not enough… well, I guess the second half of the book was a bit better.

The world the author created seemed pretty cool if I actually had understood what was going on, it kind of felt as if she was just jotting down ideas instead of fleshing them out into a story buuuut, the whole premise of the story had a ton of potential, I just wish it was done a bit better…


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~Author Bio~

Elle CrossHi, I’m Elle Cross, and I write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. I live in NYC with my husband and the imaginary dog that we will one day adopt. I have a massive makeup collection and I’m grateful that, as a freelance makeup artist, I can justify buying even more.

When I’m not playing with color or my imaginary friends, I can usually be found in the nearest diner or bubble tea shop trying to take the perfect picture of my drink while my husband rolls his eyes.

(Yes, we’re that couple. And, no, I don’t post my food pics on my Instagram feed.)

Twitter | Website | Instagram | Goodreads

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Happy Reading!

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Book Blitz ~ Holli’s Hellfire by Tish Thawer: Teaser + Giveaway!



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Holli’s Hellfire
by Tish Thawer

(The Women of Purgatory #3)
Published by: Amber Leaf Publishing
Publication date: January 15th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Will she choose to stay the Reaper she is, or become the Goddess she was?

Holli’s memories of her life as the Goddess Hel are starting to resurface, and the timing can’t be a coincidence.

Her father’s quest continues to threaten Purgatory, and her decision to embrace her past has the potential to save or destroy it all.

Find out in the exciting conclusion to The Women of Purgatory trilogy.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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~Author Bio~

2017 – #1 Bestseller in Historical Fiction (Witches of BlackBrook)
2017 – Top 100 Bestselling in Paid Kindle Store (Witches of Blackbrook)
2015 – Best Cover – Penned Con (The Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 – Readers Choice Award – My New Favorite Book Awards (The Witches of BlackBrook)
Bestselling and Award Winning Author, Tish Thawer, writes paranormal romances for all ages. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the Twilight phenomenon, myth, magic, and superpowers have always held a special place in her heart.
Tish is known for her detailed world-building and magic-laced stories. Her work has been compared to Nora Roberts, Sam Cheever, and Charlaine Harris. She has received a RONE Award nomination (Reward of Novel Excellence), as well as nominations for Best Cover, Reader’s Choice, and Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery).
Tish has worked as a computer consultant, photographer, and graphic designer, and is a columnist for Gliterary Girl media and has bylines in RT Magazine and Literary Lunes Magazine. She resides in Arizona with her husband and three wonderful children and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin, and Fountain Literary Management.
You can find Tish on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTishThawer
A common FAQ: “How do you pronounce her last name?”
Answer: Think “Bower” or “Thow-er”. It’s Persian!

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (US only)

A signed copy of all three books in the series (Raven’s Breaths, Dark Abigail, and Holli’s Hellfire)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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{Review} Bared to You by Sylvia Day


Bared to You (Crossfire, #1)

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

(Crossfire, #1)
Paperback, 360 pages
Published April 3rd 2012
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Goodreads

Our journey began in fire…

Gideon Cross came into my life-like lightning in the darkness—beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds… and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart…..


~Review~


Re-read this since I finally bought the last book in the series. I really forgot how much I loved this one. It has everything one could want in a book. A great plot, great writing, great setting and great characters. Not only are both of the main characters awesome, but so are all the side characters. But don’t be fooled. This is not an entirely light read. At times it can be pretty dark.

The story is told from the perspective of Eva Tramell, a 24-year-old who comes from money but wants to make it on her own in the world. She chooses to start at the bottom and work her way to the top and gets a job in an advertising agency where she meets the guy who owns the company she works for (and pretty much everything in NYC) Gideon Cross and it’s just an instant connection between then. Sparks fly from the first glance. And things go from there.

He’s so messed up but he’s trying his absolute best to be everything his girl needs him to be. I love how on the outside he’s this unobtainable larger-than-life god but on the inside, he’s just a man who wants to be loved by his girl.

I loved re-reading this book, and series again. Definitely a good series to read. I recommend it.


~Author Bio~


Sylvia Day (aka S. J. Day and Livia Dare) is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 international bestselling author of over 20 award-winning novels sold in more than 40 countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in 28 countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Visit her at www.sylviaday.comFacebook.com/AuthorSylviaDayand on Twitter @SylDay.

Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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Happy Reading!

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Book Blitz ~ Phoenix by Carolyn Anthony: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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Phoenix
by Carolyn Anthony

(Flames & Ashes #1)
Publication date: January 7th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Valentina.

When Jaxxon Reginhardt walks into my gym, my rigidly structured existence begins to crumble. He’s a beast of a man, the personification of power, and more beautiful than any man has a right to be. He’s everything I avoid. Everything I fear. Yet, the second I see him, something deep within me roars to life. He makes me want. He sets my body aflame with just a look, and makes me wish I wasn’t a damaged shell no one will ever love.

I don’t have time for men when my whole world is built around self-preservation. But Jaxxon breaks down all of my strategically constructed boundaries like no one ever has.

How can I give into these new cravings, when there is a half-remembered demon from my past waiting for me to fall asleep, preying on my vulnerability?

If he ever knew the truth, he would run, and it would destroy me …

Jaxxon.

The last thing I need in my complicated life is a snarky, frustrating, spitfire of a woman like Valentina Durare. As if that isn’t bad enough, there’s something haunted about her. My head says stay the hell away, but I can’t seem to get on board with that logic.Some

thing about me scares her. I can feel it. She’s a beautiful enigma I ache to understand.

The closer we get, the more she responds and draws me in. It can’t be me she fears. There must be something else … Something tied to the scars she refuses to show me.

But I’m stubborn son-of-a-bitch. I want all of her—not half. Because when we touch, nothing less will do but her complete surrender.

I need her to trust me, before her fear destroys us.

Goodreads | Amazon

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~Excerpt~

He moved his hands to my back and unhooked the chain holding the back of my gown together. As the sides loosened and fell open, my muscles strung tight, but I stayed where I was.

Resting his hands on my shoulders again, he slipped his fingers under the sides of the loosened sleeves. “Look at me, sugar.”

I leaned back enough to see his face and crossed my arms over my chest, which earned me the shit-eating grin that both got under my skin and made me wet as hell.

With his eyes locked to mine, he inched the top of my dress down my arms, causing my breasts to push up over the neckline.

“When’s the last time you came?”

I couldn’t stop my mouth from falling open. He wrapped his hands around my wrists, his fingers warming my overheated skin. “I think that’s a bit personal.”

“Sweetness, we’re about to get very fuckin’ personal. You’re straddling me. I can feel how turned on you are, and I’m trying not to freak you out. It’s a legitimate question, given what you’ve told me.” He kept his hold loose, but still held onto me.

When I looked down at our hands, my vision blurred…

Cuffs. Leather cuffs. Metal table. The images flashed like slides in an old movie reel and I jerked away from him on a gasp.

“Valentina!” My name came out in such a hard tone it jolted me right out of the dark place. His thumbs dug into the pulse points of my wrists, before I fell back. “Where’d you go, sugar?” His eyes searched mine, the concern visible even in the dim light. “You okay?”

I gave a quick nod. Fast, it was so fast, so clear—but enough …

No! Not now … Please, not now!

“You sure?” Letting go of my wrists, he brought both hands to the back of my head.

“Mmm-hmm. Yes.” I covered his hands with mine and interlocked our fingers, holding onto him like a lifeline.

“When, baby?”

“I—I don’t remember.”

Please, Jaxxon. Please, take it away …

He nodded. “Then that’s way too long.” He pulled me against him.

I wedged my arms between the back of his head and the cushions. The warmth of his bare skin, the strength of his huge arms, transferred to me as I pressed my body harder against his.

For a while, he simply held me. When my breathing regulated and the shock of the memory waned, the contentment to simply be held faded. His erection lay pressed against my throbbing clit. A simmering heat built in my core and spread outwards. I buried my face against his neck, brushing my lips under the tender part of his ear, lightly at first, but when he started rubbing my bare back with firmer, more aggressive strokes I sat up in his lap.

No more preamble needed, he slid the top of my dress down my arms, dragging the material between our bodies. The seam of the neckline scraped over my swollen nipples. I inhaled quickly at the twinge of pain, and embraced the pleasure it left behind.

~~~

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~Author Bio~

Carolyn Anthony is a sucker for a dark romance with a dominant, tattooed, alpha man at the helm. Her characters deal with real life issues: the painful, the tragic, the damaging sort of life events that leave both external and internal scars, because she’s been there. Her heroines are strong women at the core who will always find what’s been lost, taken or exploited: their strength, their self-worth, their identity, their innocence or their love. She writes about women exploring their sexuality, owning that sexuality and enjoying it. Along for the ride, the flawed, yet redemptive and gorgeous men who prove worthy enough to be on that journey with them.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest | Google+ | Bookbub

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN)

a Kindle Fire and a signed copy of Phoenix
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Posted by on January 15, 2019 in Book Blitz, giveaway

 

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Book Blitz ~ Killer Lies by Zia Westfield: Excerpt + Giveaway!



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Killer Lies
by Zia Westfield

(Deadly Encounters, #2)
Publication date: December 21st 2018
Genres: Adult, Suspense

Kelsey Tremayne’s life unraveled in the summer of her 16th year when she and a friend were abducted. She came out of the experience alive, but without memories of her abduction and her friend was never found. Rumors that she’d killed her friend in jealousy, and that she was mentally unstable, started and eventually her parents moved her away from Carville. Now, she’s back in Carville to settle her aunt’s estate. However, someone is watching her, playing with her mind. Could it even escalate to murder?

One man is willing to stand by her, protect her, and breach the barriers that have guarded her heart for so long.

Sam Carmichael stays focused on the job and keeps his personal interactions limited. The emotional instability of his wife and her subsequent suicide have made him leery of getting deeply involved with anyone. Even so, someone is targeting Kelsey Tremayne and the roots go back twelve years to an abduction that was never solved. As Sam is drawn deeper into the case, he can’t help admiring Kelsey’s strength and compassion and he vows to do everything he can to find the truth and bring her kidnapper to justice.

Can two people hurt by their pasts survive a criminal’s web to find a future together?

Goodreads | Amazon


~Excerpt~


CHAPTER 1

Sam Carmichael switched his high beams on and eased off the pedal as he drove the narrow mountain road. Fat raindrops splattered the windshield of the SUV in a steady torrent that even the windshield wipers working double time couldn’t keep up with.

The Tremayne mansion drive should be another half a mile up the road. He’d be glad to get there. The mountainside wasn’t known for landslides, but the amount of rain that had been coming down steadily had been causing a number of accidents

throughout Carville. Best-case scenario, he’d see the crazy cat lady and get back into town before anything bad happened.Thund

er cracked overhead, followed by a flash of light that lit up the road, revealing towering trees on both sides. He also caught sight of the gate that signaled the Tremayne estate.

He made the turn and pulled up beside the box attached to the wall. He lowered his window, pushed the button and waited for a response.

He’d been out here years ago when he’d been riding patrol. A woman dressed in shawls and surrounded by dozens of cats, or so it had seemed, had answered the door. She’d insisted that he find the person who was trying to steal her cats.

Setting aside his private thoughts, he’d checked the house and the grounds, but had found no signs of anyone having been there.

He’d chalked it up to experience and had forgotten about it until tonight, when the desk Sergeant had roped him into coming to check out a report of a possible burglary before going home.

“Lucky me,” he said into the darkness.

“Excuse me?” The voice crackled across the intercom.

Sam leaned out, ignoring the rain that pelted him, and spoke loudly.

“Detective Sam Carmichael, Carville PD. I’m here about the burglary.” He pulled his head back in and waited for the gate to open. Instead, the intercom crackled to life once more.

“Would you show me your badge, Detective?”

Sam reminded himself that he had become a detective to serve the public, even on foul nights when man and beast knew better than to be outside. He fished his badge out of his pocket and thrust it out towards the camera. How the hell the person on the other side expected to see anything with the rain coming down like it was, he didn’t know.

The gate suddenly creaked and slowly began opening.

“You’re welcome,” Sam muttered.

While he waited for the opening to be large enough for him to drive through, he gave himself a stern talking to. Crazy cat lady or not, he would do his job and be professional. Some days were the pits and today ranked as one of them, but he wouldn’t let it interfere with his job.

He drove up the long drive, noting the overgrown lawn and the creepy vibe given off by the ivy crawling up every inch of the turreted mansion, the branches overhanging the drive, and the coldness that seemed to emanate from the dark exterior. Before he left tonight he would make a point to the person who called the stationhouse to add lights to dispel the gloom.

He pulled the SUV as close to the front porch as he could, but he was still soaked by the time he reached the top step.

He pushed the bell next to the door and prepared to meet the crazy cat lady.

The door opened, and Sam stared dumbfounded. The woman before him was dressed in shawls and a long dark grey skirt, and had one cat in her arms while another curled up on a straight back chair that butted up against the wall.

But she was years younger—younger than him, he’d guess—and punch-in-the-gut beautiful.

None of it made sense and he said the first words that popped into his mind.

“What happened to the other crazy cat lady?”

***

Kelsey Tremayne winced at the question. When she’d opened the door, she hadn’t been sure what to expect. The security system needed a major upgrade. She had barely been able to hear the detective identify himself, and the rain and poor camera quality had made it impossible to see his badge clearly.

Though she’d debated the risk in letting him approach, she had decided to chance it. She gripped the pepper spray she held in her hand which was concealed by the shawls. It hadn’t been easy to call the police given her history with them, in fact, her stomach still felt queasy over the decision, but she needed the incidents on record.

Crazy cat lady, indeed.

“Please come in, Detective.” She stepped back and petted Sabina, the white Persian mix that had sought comfort in her arms when the thunder had started.

The detective entered, dripping water on the wood floor, and surveyed her from head to foot. He was tall, over six feet, if she had to guess, with a rangy build, brown close-cropped hair, and a stubborn jaw.

Kelsey could imagine what he saw. A not-very-tall, not-very-short, brown-haired, brown-eyed female with more cats than friends. Okay, he wouldn’t be able to guess the last, but it wouldn’t take long for him to stumble onto the truth.

Then again maybe he already knew it. After all, he’d asked about the other cat lady.

“If you’d follow me,” she said, and turned to head down the hall to the one habitable room.

For whatever reason, her aunt hadn’t put her mark on the library. Perhaps it had remained a tribute to her aunt’s father, Kelsey’s grandfather. Whatever the reason, Kelsey was grateful for the comfortable furniture and the working fireplace. The heater had shown itself to be temperamental and the fire burning in the fireplace was the only source of heat she had. In a few weeks, when winter dumped snow on the ground, she’d be in trouble if she didn’t get someone to fix it. Lately, she never seemed to warm up, as if the cold lived and breathed inside her, spreading its tentacles throughout her body.

She shivered, mentally relegated the broken heater to the long list of repairs she had written, and focused on the detective.

“Would you like to have a seat, Detective? Can I get you anything to drink?” She knew she’d said the wrong thing from the way his eyes widened.“Ma’am—”

“Kelsey. Kelsey Tremayne. Ma’am makes me sound old.” She moved a little closer to the fire, wanting the heat to dispel the chill that had taken up permanent residence in her bones.

The detective splayed his hands on his hips and watched her.

“Ms. Tremayne, you called the station and reported a burglary.”

Kelsey wet her lips and wished he’d asked for a drink. Her mouth felt dry and her throat parched.

He wouldn’t believe her. She could tell from his stance and from the way his gaze swept over the room. He had made up his mind about her. Maybe he’d even heard the rumors about her.

He’d obviously heard the ones about her aunt or why would he have called her the “crazy cat lady”?

Suddenly the room seemed to shrink. Her pulse rate increased and sweat broke out on her brow. A panic attack was imminent if she didn’t do something to head it off.

That would be all he would need to see to confirm that she was as crazy as her aunt. She couldn’t let him.

“I’m sorry, detective, for wasting your time. You should go. I made a mistake. I’m sorry. Please chalk it up to the horrible weather.” She tried to smile, but her lips seemed to tremble instead. She couldn’t even look him in the eye; her gaze slid away. She marched purposely to the door, hoping he would follow.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

She tried to remember everything her therapist had told her. Her control, though, was slipping. Footsteps sounded behind her and she knew a moment of relief. He would go.

Once he was gone, she could fall apart.

She juggled Sabina in order to grab the doorknob and pull the heavy front door open. Thunder boomed overhead and lightning lit up the sky. Sabina yowled and leaped from Kelsey’s arms, scratching them in her descent. Kelsey tripped on her floor-length skirt and fell backward.

Arms caught her and pain exploded in her head. “Let go!” She kicked and scratched and fought, determined to fight her way free.

One minute she was trapped and the next she was thrust into a hard-backed chair. Detective Carmichael stood a few feet away, looking at her as if she were indeed crazy. She wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.

If only she were a cat-like Sabina, who’d scampered to the top of a stack of boxes further down the hallway and was observing them from her perch.

“Please go,” Kelsey whispered, her voice raw.

Silence pressed in on her, despite the sounds of the storm made louder by the open front door. She’d asked him to leave. Why didn’t he leave?

He walked over to the door and closed it. He blew out a breath and rubbed the top of his head.

“Look, you called about a burglary. Why don’t we focus on that?”

She shook her head. “I was mistaken.” She twisted her fingers in the shawl’s fringe. “You can go.” Maybe if she repeated it enough he’d get the hint.

He bent down and picked up the pepper spray that must have fallen out of her hand when she’d tripped. He put it on the table in the entry, next to her chair. He looked puzzled.

She waited for the barrage of questions. Memories of another interrogation intruded into her mind and once more her control began to crumble. She got to her feet, strode purposely to the front door and pulled it open.

“I’ve asked you to leave. I told you it was a mistake. Please go or I’ll have to call the station to register a complaint.” She wouldn’t, of course. Her days of dealing with the police were at an end. She’d thought she could handle talking to them, after all of her therapist’s encouragement to see beyond her own nightmarish experience. But, again, images and voices crowded into her mind, threatening to push out here and now if she didn’t hang on.

“All right. I’ll go,” he said.

He spoke evenly, and she focused on the words, not wanting to look into his eyes and see pity there.

She expected him to step past her and out onto the porch so she could shut the door. But he paused directly in front of her, facing her, though all she saw was his dark blue shirt tucked into a pair of jeans. She forced her head up to meet his gaze, her hands tightening the shawl’s material around her.

His eyes were gray, turbulent, like the storm outside. Something inside her wanted to shy away from the way he seemed to be stripping away the layers she’d successfully piled on to protect herself. But she made herself withstand the scrutiny.

He shook his head. “You know, none of this makes sense. This,” he waved his hand around to encompass the hallway, “doesn’t make sense. Mostly, though, you don’t make sense.” He reached into his shirt pocket, pulled out a business card and held it out to her.

She wet her lips, aware of his gaze suddenly focused on her mouth. She felt the heat rushing to her cheeks.

“If I take the card, will you leave?” Her voice sounded husky to her own ears and she wanted to kick herself. The last person she needed to be attracted to was a police detective.

“Just take the card,” he said.

She reached out to pluck it from his fingers, but he held on to it.

“First, get some light and better security. Second, I don’t know why you called the police, or what’s going on, but if you change your mind or need assistance, my cell phone is on here. I’ll pick up day or night.” With those final words, he released his grip on the card and walked out, closing the door behind him with a snap.

A cat meowed, and she felt the animal rub against her legs. Pulling her gaze away from the door, she reached down and picked Sabina up. She was still holding the card in her hand as she carried the cat to the library where warmth lay. She should throw it away, yet she couldn’t quite rid herself of the image of those gray eyes and that penetrating stare. He’d called her a crazy cat lady, but when he’d zoomed in on her lips, he’d seemed attracted.Of cour

se, it might all be in her imagination, but that didn’t matter. If she concentrated on how he’d been captivated by her lips, she wouldn’t have to think about who had been in the house and whether they would be back.

~~~

~Author Bio~

Zia Westfield creates suspenseful, exciting stories with romance at the heart of them. There is nothing more thrilling than watching two people fall in love despite the odds and the danger surrounding their every move.

She makes her home in Tokyo with her husband and three sons. She holds a full-time job, volunteers too much because she doesn’t know how to say “no,” and generally

finds peace between the pages of a book or when she’s writing out the stories in her head.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


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