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Spotlight – The Old Man’s Request

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About the Author

Joab Stieglitz

Joab Stieglitz was born and raised in the Warren, New Jersey. He is an Application Consultant for a software company. He has also worked as a software trainer, a network engineer, a project manager, and a technical writer over his 30 year career. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Joab is an avid tabletop RPG player and game master of horror, espionage, fantasy, and science fiction genres, including Savage Worlds (Mars, Deadlands, Agents of Oblivion, Apocalypse Prevention Inc, Herald: Tesla and Lovecraft, Thrilling Tales, and others), Call of Cthulhu, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Pathfinder.

Joab channeled his role-playing experiences in the Utgarda Series, which are pulp adventure novels with Lovecraftian influences set in the 1920’s.

Website Address: http://joabstieglitz.com

Twitter Address: @joabstieglitz

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/rantingsofawanderingmind

About the Book:

Title: THE OLD MAN’S REQUEST
Author: Joab Stieglitz
Publisher: Rantings of a Wandering Mind
Pages: 117
Genre: Historical Suspense

The Old Man's Request

BOOK BLURB:

An Innocent Favor for a Dying Old Friend…

Fifty years ago, a group of college friends dabbled in the occult and released a malign presence on the world. Now, on his deathbed, the last of the students, now a trustee of Reister University enlists the aid of three newcomers to banish the thing they summoned.

Russian anthropologist Anna Rykov, doctor Harry Lamb, and Father Sean O’Malley are all indebted the ailing trustee for their positions. Together, they pursue the knowledge and resources needed to perform the ritual.

Hampered by the old man’s greedy son, the wizened director of the university library, and a private investigator with a troubled past, can they perform the ritual and banish the entity?

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Book Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

June 18, 1929

Final papers in hand, Anna emerged from the Edison science building and made her way toward Olson Street to catch the trolley to the house she was renting on the other side of the river. She was petite, with dark bobbed hair, and smooth pale skin, and wore a fashionable blue, knee-length skirted suit, white blouse, and a loose, black necktie which flapped gently in the breezes blowing eastward off the slow-moving Woolley River.

It was another typically beautiful day, warm and dry, in Wellersburg. About halfway across the quad, she spied Father O’Malley approaching hurriedly. “Hello. Father,” she said with a smile, her Russian accent revealing her origins. “Is it not a fine day?” O’Malley, a tall, slender man with short, curly brown hair, usually had a warm, engaging smile, but today his expression was grim.

“Jason Longborough is in the hospital again,” O’Malley said. “It doesn’t look good, and he’s asked to speak to you with some urgency.” Anna was concerned and a little surprised. The ailing trustee of the university had been her champion in the faculty selection committee last summer, but she had neither seen nor spoken with him since that time. He was directly responsible for her appointment to fill Dr. McMahon’s chair for three years while he and his team were on their expedition to Australia. Longborough was also instrumental in Father O’Malley’s appointment to the Ancient History department to fill similar vacancies during the Egyptian expedition, which was to occur concurrently.

“Of course,” Anna replied without hesitation, “I will just drop off these papers in office.”

“He may not hold out that long. Please come with me now. It may be your only opportunity.” With that, the priest took the pile of exam papers from her and led the way toward the Reister University Hospital.

Anna was born Tatyana Trevena, the sole daughter of poor Russian immigrants. In exchange for passage to Brooklyn, the sixteen-year-old was married to the much older, exiled Fyodor Rykov shortly after their arrival in America in 1912. Rykov was an old world man. He treated his young wife as his property and she lived in submission to him until he died of a heart attack two years later.

Tatyana inherited a modest fortune. Wanting to be more American, and having the means to do so, she adopted the name Anna and attended Columbia University, where she studied Anthropology. She completed her degree in three years and went on to pursue a doctorate. In 1924, she did field research for the Russian archaeologist Aleksey Sergeyevich Uvarov in Gnyozdovo, a part of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the site of a ring of 10th century Viking settlements.

Upon returning to the United States in 1926, Dr. Anna Rykov, expert in the Varangians, or Russian Vikings, found that there was little interest in a female professor, especially one of Russian descent, who had done field work in the Soviet Union and could have potentially been a Bolshevik. When Jason Longborough reached out to her with a temporary position at Reister University filling in for tenured staff while they were on a three-year expedition, she gladly took the offer.

There were many new instructors at Reister. Among them, Anna met Harry Lamb and Sean O’Malley. Dr. Lamb had just completed his residency at Reister University Hospital and was teaching Basic Anatomy to first year medical students. Father O’Malley was well-versed in Middle and Far Eastern history and served as an Ancient History instructor. Anna, Harry, and Sean were all new to the area, and the three quickly became friends exploring their new home together.

She was enjoying the small college-town life in Wellersburg and its uncrowded streets. The people of Wellersburg were courteous and friendly, even to a Russian immigrant, on account of the more cosmopolitan influences of the university. She enjoyed the peace and tranquility of a small town where everyone knew everyone, and no one locked their doors.

The hospital room was small and dark, illuminated by a lone window on the far side of the room. Jason Longborough lay in his bed. The withered old trustee was frail beneath his shock of gray hairs. He had looked much stronger when Anna had seen him last. Now his yellow complexion and paper-like skin clearly indicated his infirmity. Dr. Harold Lamb stood over the patient, taking his pulse. Lamb was taller than average and muscular, with broad shoulders and short, black hair neatly parted on the right. He wore a blue, pinstriped suit and a yellow tie under his lab coat. The doctor smiled slightly when the two entered the room. Longborough was alerted to their presence by the closing of the door.

“It was good of you to come,” the patient said with some effort. “My time draws to an end soon, and there is a grave matter from my past that must be addressed.” Some strength returned to his voice. “I fear I have become too feeble to attempt it myself, and wish to enlist your services in this matter.” He sighed heavily.

“How can I be of service to you, sir?” Anna asked. While she was indebted to Longborough for her position at the university, she was hardly acquainted with the man. What could a businessman like Longborough need of an archaeologist?

“Sit. I have a story to tell you.” He gestured to two chairs by the side of the bed.

“I’ll be back to check on you later,” Dr. Lamb said as he started for the door. Suddenly, with uncharacteristic dexterity, the ailing trustee reached out and grasped his wrist.

“I wish you to aid me as well, Doctor.” His gaze was fixed on Lamb’s eyes. The physician left the room, and a moment later brought a chair in from the hall.

“I can spare a few minutes, but then I must complete my rounds.”

“This is not a long story.” The trustee cleared his throat and Anna poured a glass of water for him. He took a few sips from it, and then cleared his throat again. “Back in the spring of ‘71, when I was a freshman here at Reister, I came upon an interesting upperclassman named Brent Hanke, an amateur occultist.” He coughed painfully.

“Five of us formed a group to explore the secrets of the unknown. We called it ‘the Cabal.’ It was quite innocuous at first, but after a while other students became disturbed by our activities, and so we bought an old farmhouse in Stuckley for some privacy.” He coughed again and took another drink of water.

“It was at the farmhouse that things grew out of hand. Brent Hanke’s family was in shipping, and as a result, he was able to obtain rare and unique items from the Old World. He used these trinkets to keep us interested. Among these was a small gold box of Russian origin,” he indicated a length of about eight inches with his bent fingers, “that contained a piece of amber. According to a ritual he found in an ancient tome, this amber could be used to contact a powerful oracle. Being precocious lads, we set out to cast the spell at the farm and seek our fortunes.”

Longborough’s subsequent coughing fit caused the onlookers to jump, and Dr. Lamb went to call a nurse, but the old man recovered quickly and motioned for them all to sit again. After a few fairly deep breaths and another drink of water, he continued his tale.

“It was clear that night in March of 1871. I remember the full moon illuminating the living room of the farmhouse so brightly that Brent was worried that there might be too much light. Still we continued, lighting the fire in the fireplace as well as several candles, and drawing a pentagram in chalk on the floor. In the center, Brent placed the amber. As designated observer, I sat in a corner and wrote down the events of the evening in my journal. The others sat in a circle and recited the incantation while Brent threw some foul-smelling powder into the fire.”

“This continued for nearly two hours. Finally, something happened. A plume of smoke arose from the amber and it began to melt. Then it came!” Longborough began to hyperventilate. Dr. Lamb sprang to the bedside and adjusted his position, putting the patient’s head back to open his throat. After a moment of coughing and wheezing, Longborough recovered.

“It was insubstantial.” The trustee’s voice was still agitated. “Barely perceptible in the moonlight, but it was there. And it made a horrible growling sound. Brent threw some of the powder on the creature, and all chaos broke out. Most of us were paralyzed by the sight. John Dalton, however, rose to his feet and stepped forward to embrace the entity. The creature grasped his head in its indescribable appendages and twisted it with a terrible snap. Then it threw the head back to land in Homer Cunningham’s lap. Homer’s face turned white and he began making that chirping sound.” Longborough stared off into space for a moment.

“Roger Furlong apparently doomed us all,” he continued after a pause. “He destroyed part of the pentagram. Free from the bonds of its confines, the creature burst from the house with the force of a hurricane and was gone.” He stopped to catch his breath. “Nevertheless, Hanke believed there was still hope. The spell bound the creature to the house, so it would have to return, and the many glyphs and warding symbols Hanke had previously carved into its structure allowed the creature to only inhabit the attic.”

“Mr. Longborough,” Doctor Lamb said with skepticism, “this kind of superstitious fantasy is probably what caused your condition in the first place. You were probably enjoying the effects of some hallucinogenic drugs this Hanke character threw into the fire.”

“John Dalton was found decapitated the next morning.” The aged and frail patient bore down on Lamb with a look of rage. “We staged an accident with a carriage and said he was run over. The authorities believed us, and they took Homer Cunningham to the Old Oak Sanitarium. He was never released. Brett said that if the spell is cast again in reverse, the creature could be destroyed, or at least sent back to where it came from . That is what I want you to do.”

“Still,” Dr. Lamb continued, “you can’t expect us to believe that reciting some ancient poetry will lay a ghost to rest?”

Anna was divided. The story was completely unbelievable, especially by a scientist such as herself, but how could she deny the request of a dying man?

“You want us to cast this spell?” Father O’Malley asked indignantly.

“Yes,” Longborough said, his features calm and sharp, “I do.”

“By all that is holy, that is the worst kind of sacrilege.” But Sean O’Malley was not a typical parish priest. He was a Professor of Ancient History specializing in the Dark Ages. His training had been under the tutelage of Father Christophé, the exorcist from Martinique regarded as the Church’s leading “expert” on the activities various “nameless cults.” O’Malley was more than prepared to accept Satan’s intervention in the sorry affairs of this once gullible youth. The sly smile from his lips surprised his two colleagues. Finally, he said, “But I accept your request.”

“Are you crazy?” Lamb exclaimed. “This delusion has gone far enough. It’s nearly killed this man. Father, I think we should let this matter, and this patient, rest.” He rose and started off to return his chair to the hall.

“What difference does it make?” Anna asked in earnest. “Mr. Longborough believes that there is threat to all in Stuckley. If it is just a fantasy, then all that will come of it is the easing of his conscience for the unfortunate incident with his friends.”

“Then you’ll help me?” the old man inquired of Anna with hope in his eyes.

“Yes, sir,” she said, holding his hands in hers. “I owe it to you for all you have done for me.” He smiled.

Rykov and O’Malley cast questioning glances at Dr. Lamb. He looked at them incredulously, and then back at Longborough, who returned his gaze with a pitiable look. After a moment, he sighed and said, “O.K., I’m in. But nothing is going to happen. You’ll see.”

“You don’t understand,” the patient started. “You must believe in the innate power in all of us. You must tap into that power to perform the ritual. Only if you are committed will the spell be successful. If you fail, the creature will be released from the house! The little remaining power I can still muster won’t be able to keep it there much longer. Whenever I let my guard down, it got out and killed someone.” He started to gasp and wheeze. Immediately, Dr. Lamb burst from the room to get assistance.

Longborough indicated the drawer of the nightstand beside Rykov and she picked up a locked metal box from it. Then he removed a key from around his neck and handed it to her. “Take these,” he said with the last of his breath, “it is all the help I can give you.” With that, his breathing became erratic. Moments later, Lamb returned with some orderlies and a nurse and ushered the pair from the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why Defining Your Setting is Important

A lot of would-be writers set out to write a specific story: a fantasy with wizards and dragons, a spy thriller with a megalomaniac villain out to conquer the world, a vampire and werewolf love story, etc. These are all fine ideas, but where they take place is just as important as the characters and the plot.

Just as you want three-dimensional heroes and villains, a well-developed setting is imperative for your story to come to life. Locations are more than an address. They are sights and sounds, past and current events, the physical and emotional sensations that are evoked. All these aspects add to the reader’s immersion into the environment.

For example

The agent’s’ eyes were stung by the smoke as they descended. The remote darkness was broken by the flames of the nearby village that had been their destination. The sounds of machinery announced the passage of the column of troop carriers, the smell of exhaust filling the air as they carried the villagers away.

This scene implies a lot of things that the author needs to know and bring out in the narrative. Where does the story take place? When? Is this Nazi occupied France, post apocalypse Colorado, or Alpha Centuri Prime? Are the agents parachuting, in an aircraft, or falling from orbit in drop pods?

Filling out the details of the environment allows you to add “reality” to your story by making the reader part of the scene rather than just an observer. When the reader experiences sensations in addition to the characters’ thoughts and actions, and a clear understanding of things such as the environment, the weather, and the social and political situation will make a scene come alive.

In my books, I have selected a very specific time and place: immediate pre-Depression New York. Through this lens I can present attitudes, experiences, personalities, and perspectives that are unique. My heroine, Dr. Anna Rykov, is a woman, a Russian immigrant, and a professional. These qualities present specific challenges to her in 1929.

The choice of genre is the first step. An even bigger decision is the setting. An author needs to understand the environment in which the story takes place to present a complete picture to the reade

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Spotlight – Material Things

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About the Author

Larry Spencer

LARRY SPENCER published his first novel, The Tipping Point Of Oliver Bass in the summer of 2017. A story that covered the life of a pathologically arrogant, wealthy young man who sets off on a journey of self-discovery, family tragedy, and sexual conquest in a modern California noir backdrop. Spencer has been a Writer’s Guild of America member since the late 70s, having written and produced a multitude of highly successful TV shows, which culminated into writing several feature films. He was then encouraged to pen his second book, Material Things, a story based on true events that takes place in the 60s &70s and tackles organized crime, drugs and embezzlement during a time when bellbottom pants ruled the fashion scene. He lives in Valley Village, California.

Visit his website at www.larryspencerauthor.com.

About the Book:

Title: MATERIAL THINGS
Author: Larry Spencer
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 367
Genre: Fiction

Material Things

BOOK BLURB:

Larry Spencer’s riveting, interlocking narratives circle the lives of Matthew Street, Jon Lewis and Christopher Styles, in a 1970s California backdrop that takes them from owning and operating a fashionable clothing boutique into the gripping world of an FBI under cover operation, drug trafficking, prostitution and a nefarious criminal element, that brings to light a Mafia contract killer, who’s out to bump off a stoolie in their midst.

Material Things is based on true events surrounding the store that introduced bellbottom jeans to a hip Southern California crowd and how it became, not only a cottage industry but also an arena fraught with danger and moral strife that put the store and it’s owners under close scrutiny after an alarming number of felonious activities surface.

The climax is anything but conventional as Matthew, Jon and Christopher are confronted with a life threatening reality that they never imagined could happen just by selling bellbottom pants.

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Book Excerpt

It’s 1:15 a.m. in California, so you can bet this call was not a frivolous inquiry about the weather. It had to be serious, and Matthew was guessing this was one of those rare holy crap moments that jolt you out of your comfort zone. Someone had died. Someone he knew. Either in an awful twisted-like-an-accordion car wreck or a body was found in a shallow grave somewhere in the Mojave Desert. With his ear pressed to the receiver, Matthew waited with trepidation for the news—he was right on target, speculating death. Chris, his voice at a low pitch, tells him that their estranged friend and former business partner, Logan Alexander, shot himself in the head this last weekend.        

   “Accident?” Matthew asks.

Intentional. In his garage. In front of his car and the lawn mower,” he says. 

Spotlight – My Last Baggage Call

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About the Author

Glenn Powell

Sergeant First Class Glenn W. Powell (Retired) is a native of Toledo, Ohio. He enlisted into the United States Army in 1982 and retired in 2002. During his military career, he served as a heavy vehicle driver, a squad leader, and non-commissioned officer.

In September 1991, SFC Powell joined the George HW Bush White House as a chauffeur, and in 1992, was promoted to transportation coordinator for the white house Press Corps, serving in the Clinton Administration.

In December 1995, he assumed the duties of transportation supervisor for Air Force One.

In January 2001, during his service under President George W. Bush, SFC Powell was transferred to the White House Military Office, Customer Support and Organizational Development where he served as deputy director.

SFC Powell retired with distinction from the Military in 2002. He received numerous awards and decorations throughout his service, including the Legion of Merit Metal, Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the United States Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He received U.S. Service Ribbons for both domestic and overseas service.

Glenn and Ronda Holloway Powell have been married for 25 years, and have three sons, Darius, Warren, and Glenn, II. They reside in Virginia.

His latest book is My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One: A Journey of Sacrifice, Service, Family and Friendship.

For more information, or to contact Glenn Powell regarding availability for speaking opportunities, please email him at glennwpowell@aol.com. Visit his website at: http://www.gwpowell.com

Follow on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/GlennWPowell

Follow on Twitter!

http://www.twitter.com/glennwpowell1

About the Book:

Title: MY LAST BAGGAGE CALL ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE
Author: Glenn W. Powell
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 226
Genre: Memoir

My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One

BOOK BLURB:

This exciting memoir chronicles the life and memories of SFC Glenn Powell, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, and 10-year veteran of the White House where he served under Presidents George HW Bush, President William J. Clinton, and President George W. Bush.

SFC Powell was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. He says his real-life journey began in 1982 when he bypassed his high school graduation to join the U.S. Army. That journey would take him from Fort Dix, New Jersey, to Manheim, Germany where he met Ronda Holloway, a young, beautiful soldier and fellow Ohioan, who has been his wife and soulmate for 25 years.

Powell’s poignant and inspiring story includes both, his own memories, and memories from some 50 white house colleagues, family members and lifelong military buddies who enriched his life, and made an indelible impact on his journey. SFC Powell’s story is that of a restless young man who grew up in a working-class environment with ample opportunities to journey down the wrong path. Yet, thanks to his childhood village –the many role models whose lives exemplified the best in American values—made all the difference in his journey.

Except for that “village,” of his childhood, Glenn believes his story might have had a different ending. The hardworking citizens living purpose-filled lives, served as a buffer against the discontent and civil unrest plaguing the rest of world. The centerpiece of that village, Glenn says, was his parents who, while they never lived under one roof, both loved him unconditionally.

Margaret Powell was a young single working mother, and a constant reminder of the importance of working toward excellence at one’s chosen career. She would become Kroger Stores’ first African American manager. His father, a prominent entrepreneur in the Toledo area, would remain a constant in Glenn’s life until the end.

Glenn says these lessons sustained him throughout his journey – from the pampered child, to the responsible teen, to the ambitious young soldier, to the doting husband and father; and the loyal and “never say never” Sergeant and aide to the President of the United States of America.

My Last Baggage Call Aboard AF1” chronicles a most amazing journey that magically transformed Glenn Powell’s life, and so richly impacted those who knew him.

Glenn W. Powell was a featured speaker on The Christian Authors on Tour TV Show. Hosted by Leroy Mckenzie Jr. and Lynn Pinder. Watch the CAOT TV replay of the interview: https://youtu.be/1OfUReG_VAk

Purchase My Last Baggage Call Aboard Air Force One by Glenn W. Powell

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https://www.amazon.com/Last-Baggage-Call-Aboard-Force/dp/1986878406

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https://www.amazon.com/LAST-BAGGAGE-CALL-ABOARD-FORCE-ebook/dp/B078KQ9Z89

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https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-last-baggage-call-aboard-air-force-one-glenn-w-powell/1128407880

Book Excerpt

A Soldier’s Story 

Shortly after I turned 18, I enlisted in the army. Around that time, I learned that the young woman I’d been dating was pregnant, so going into the army would be an opportunity to provide for my child. The army sent me to Fort Dix in New Jersey for boot camp training on April 22, 1982. It was the perfect enlistment site for me.

Because of the popular television show, Dallas, I had in mind that I wanted to go to Fort Hood, Texas and meet JR Ewing. Not only did I meet Larry Hagman, the actor who played JR, but I also met the entire cast at one of the big Dallas malls. That was in the 80s when the networks spent money to have cast members show up to greet their fans, and when fans could easily get a photo with the stars. Meeting JR had been on my mental bucket list. Later I learned that “Klinger” from Mash and Danny Thomas were both from Toledo, and so I added them to the list.

In 1983, I re-enlisted and chose Hawaii as my next army stint. There for 18 months, I’m convinced that the Hawaii move helped me look long and hard at myself and my future. In Hawaii, I decided I needed to better myself. I enrolled at the Wahiawa Community School for Adults and got my high school diploma. My mother was so disappointed when I didn’t graduate from high school, so I did it as much for her as for myself.

My long transportation management career began in Wahiawa. I was one of a large number of applicants who applied for a temporary mission of driving for the Sergeant Major for the division. He was the senior enlisted man at the post. I beat out the other candidates for that position. Later, I drove for the one-star general at the post. After that, I returned to my unit and worked as the battalion mail clerk until he left in 1985. While there, I met friends and mentors who would help me decide on my career journey. That same year, I was asked to re-enlist, and First Sergeant Herbert Harris became a lifelong mentor and friend. Sergeant Harris recommended that I choose Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia for my re-enlistment. I remained at Fort Eustis from April 1985 until January 1988.

I became a squad leader, and for the next six months, I managed a squad of truck drivers in and around the base. After that, I was set on transportation becoming my specialty, but my career trajectory changed some when I was appointed to head up NCO Training, where I was responsible for the training of 270 soldiers.

Around this time, I met First Sergeant Fletcher Walker. He was sent in to straighten out our company, and he did just that. He would stand up at the top of the stairs with his hat covering his eyes, but looking down at us. Sergeant Walker was a ‘soldier among soldiers,’ an airborne paratrooper, a Vietnam Veteran who had been shot three times. There was no one more surprised when he chose me to run the training.

I knew he had high expectations, and I was determined not to disappoint him. He was the kind of leaders for whom soldiers would fight and die. He was a true hero who taught me how to be a soldier and a man. He shared a lot about life with me. I imitated him in many ways so much that everyone would call me “Baby Walker.” I met his family and it was an honor. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major.

Spotlight – A Broken Reality

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About the Author

Rob Kaufman

As a child, Rob Kaufman was always fascinated by the stories recited by those around him and the words used to tell them. As he got older, his need to tell his own stories grew, as did his ability to share them in exciting and captivating ways.

However, he wanted to share more than just stories. His primary desire was to create characters with whom people could relate, while at the same time bringing them through a journey from which most would crumble.

His degree in Psychology was the first step toward getting beneath the surface of the people in his life. What followed was a lifelong search for what makes people tick – what forces them to become evil when deep down in their heart of hearts, they are yearning for love. Rob’s characters walk this search with him, deep into the human psyche, creating psychological thrillers from every day events.

Rob’s second book “One Last Lie” continues to receive great praise and is selling well in both electronic and paperback formats. His current book, “A Broken Reality” is much darker than his first, with characters who hold bits and pieces of strangers he’s known, friends he’s had and personal tragedy he’s lived through.

“This book hits home for me,” says Rob. “There were a few pages that made me laugh out loud as I wrote them… and many that made me cry. And the great thing is, I’m finding that many readers of this book are experiencing the same emotions.”

Through social and other media, Rob hopes to get “A Broken Reality” into the hands of millions, so that they, too, can experience the ups, downs, twists, turns and final tragedy that has helped make this book a Five-Star contender.

Website Address: www.AuthorRobKaufman.com

Blog Address: http://authorrobkaufman.com/blog/

Twitter Address: @RobKaufmanCT

Facebook Addresshttps://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobKaufman/

About the Book:

Title: A BROKEN REALITY
Author: Rob Kaufman
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 320
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Psychological Thriller
A Broken Reality

BOOK BLURB:

On a fateful night in the dead of winter, an unimaginable tragedy changes the lives of two families forever. How will they manage to deal with reality while stopping the sociopath who is pushing them toward the edge of sanity?

Ten-year-old, Danny Madsen, has been missing for four days when Jesse Carlton begins his own search for his godson on a frigid, snowy night. Driving along a deserted rural road, Jesse hits a stretch of black ice at the same time Danny appears from the thicket. Unable to control the car, Jesse slams into the boy and watches helplessly as Danny’s body flies back into the dark brush.

When Jesse regains consciousness, he has no recollection of how he and his car wound up in a ditch. However, there’s a witness: Charles Hastings, the sociopathic kidnapper who chased Danny through the brush and into the path of Jesse’s car.

Hastings takes this chance to set up Jesse so he’ll take the fall for both Danny’s disappearance and death. And so the mind games begin–an onslaught of psychological manipulation that devastates Jesse, his wife, Danny’s parents and the cops’ investigation. Inexplicably, the torment continues even after the primary suspect is killed and the rollercoaster of emotions and confusion seems never-ending until the final and devastating truth is revealed.

If you like gripping, suspenseful page-turners that keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end, this is a must read!

Link to book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Reality-Rob-Kaufman-ebook/dp/B07HRYRSBP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538875993&sr=8-1&keywords=a+broken+reality+kaufman

Link to book on B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-broken-reality-robert-kaufman/1129769311?ean=2940156129126

Book Excerpt:

Danny Madsen had been missing for four days, and hope was fading faster than the weak sunlight giving in to the cold night ahead. Worse, there’d been intermittent periods of snow and sleet throughout the day, creating slick surfaces on unlit county roads and leaving behind asphalt without traction or boundaries.

Like every other evening since the boy’s disappearance, the approaching dusk put a damper on the search effort. Each was another day past the critical “48-hour window,” another night for Jesse Carlton to fight back tears of frustration as he crawled the icy streets of Hingham, Massachusetts in his silver BMW, looking for the ten-year-old boy the Amber Alert described over and over as white with blond hair and blue eyes, weighing fifty-six pounds and standing about four feet six inches. When last seen, they’d always add, he was wearing a bright blue North Face coat, blue corduroy pants, Nike sneakers and a backpack with the name “Danny” stitched into the left shoulder strap.

Danny’s description echoed in Jesse’s head as he made the right off of Main Avenue onto Forest, which passed the hundred or so square acres of conservation land. He didn’t need the Amber Alert to picture Danny. He’d recognize him the instant he saw him since he’d known the boy from the day he was born. Jesse had long been best friends with his parents, Becky and Don, and Danny had become the son Jesse and Melissa tried and tried for but could never have. They’d become so close to the Madsens, in fact, that they’d purchased a home up the block from them, sight unseen, when Becky and Don told them it had come on the market. It was apparent to all of them that the less distance between the families, the more fulfilled their lives would be.

It was this honorary parenting of Becky and Don’s only child that had Jesse driving the streets and highways in and outside of every neighboring town for the past four nights—pursuing leads he’d overheard cops discussing at the Madsen home, following up on hunches he’d get after scouring the Internet for clues from past abductions. Each evening as he began his search, Jesse prayed he’d be the one to bring Danny home safe, sound and emotionally intact.

Jesse knew his nightly searches were pointless, but he could no longer bear pacing the floor at home or sitting in the Madsen’s cop-filled living room waiting for another bullshit tip, another clue that led nowhere but deeper into heartache. Melissa spent her nights comforting Becky while Don worked with the police to pursue every potential lead. Jesse’s need to do something, anything, forced him into his car each night with dissipating hopes and, by the way things had been going recently, unrealistic dreams.

The last person to see Danny was the school bus driver who watched him jump down the vehicle’s steps four days earlier, just three blocks from Don and Becky’s. And that clue was as solid—and as clear—as mud.

Jesse turned off the radio and clicked on the high beams. The pavement was pure white from the newly fallen snow, and there wasn’t another car anywhere to be seen. In front of him was blackness; behind him was blackness; on each side, nothing but blackness. How did he expect to see anything out here, let alone find a scared and freezing kid? He didn’t know, but it didn’t matter. This was the only action he could take that made him feel like he was actually doing something to help.

The yellow light poles every 300 feet or so did nothing but offer a blurry glow that barely reached the road. And now that a smattering of snow had started again, the soft crunch of flakes beneath the tires filled the silence with an eeriness that sent a strange tingle sliding up Jesse’s neck.

On either side of Forest Avenue lay the Terrence Ford Conservation Land, acres and acres of brush, swamp and trees with a few neighborhoods dotting the outskirts. Since the homes were hidden behind the dense thicket and prodigious pines, they were usually invisible to Forest Avenue drivers. Tonight though, even in the deep blackness of this night, he could see their pinpricks of homey yellow light, which, like the rickety poles lining the road, was nothing he could see by.

As he passed the two-mile marker, his phone rang, jolting him from his concentration. The display on the dash showed Melissa’s cell. He took a calming breath and pressed the button on the steering wheel. “Hey, babe.”

“Where are you?” Melissa sounded almost panicked, her voice trembling.

“What’s wrong? What happened? Where are you?”

“I’m at Becky and Don’s. They just got a call from Agent Rivera…hold on.”

He tried to be patient, but after a few more seconds of muffled voices he couldn’t hold back. “Missy!” he yelled and banged his fists on the steering wheel. “For Christ’s sake, what did Rivera say?”

“Sorry, Jesse. I’m just getting more details.” The muffled voices he’d first heard faded away as though she was moving into another room. “Someone just called the hotline from somewhere out in Hingham. It was an older woman who lives—”

Jesse felt like his heart skipped a beat. “I’m in Hingham! Where in Hingham, Missy? Where?”

“Oh my God, Jesse. Wait, I wrote it down.” His pulse pounded against the side of his neck as he waited for the crumpling of paper to stop and her words to start again. “Okay, the woman lives on Tower Road off Route 228, on the east side of that conservation area.”

He brought up the GPS and frantically searched for 228. “I’m like five minutes from 228—five minutes. I’m literally on the other side of the woods.” His voice was shaky. “I’ll put Tower Road in the GPS.”

 “She says she saw a boy fitting Danny’s description running past her house a couple of hours ago. She didn’t call right away because she wasn’t sure.”

Jesse let out a shout of frustration. His shallow breaths quivered in his throat. “Shit, it’s starting to sleet,” he said. “I’m on Forest right now. It runs parallel to Route 228. I’ll turn around and work my way toward Tower to see if I can meet up with one of the units.”

“Jesse, please be careful. I don’t want you getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.”

“This isn’t nowhere, Missy—it’s Hingham,” he said with a sigh, knowing there was nothing he could say to help quell her anxiety. She was a worrier, plain and simple. It was something he’d become accustomed to and had learned to be patient with, but tonight his nerves were too raw, his patience too thin.

“Jesse, sleet means ice. Ice means slippery. Slippery means…”

Missy,” he snapped. He bit his lip and took another breath. “I’m going to turn around and head back toward 228.” He gazed into the darkness to his right, wishing there was a road that cut through the conservation area. “Once I get there, I’ll give you a call. Until then, sit tight. This could be the break we’ve been hoping for.”

“Oh God, Jesse. I hope so. Please be careful. I’ll wait for your call. I love you.”

“I love you, Babe,” he replied, making sure to sound as composed as possible as he disconnected.

Jesse was once again alone, the soft muffle of the car engine filling the otherwise empty silence. Keeping safety in mind despite his own anxiety to find the boy safe, he made a careful K-turn in the middle of Forest Avenue. The tires slipped a bit on the icy road, so he let up on the pedal allowing the car to straighten itself out. When he faced south, he stepped on the gas again and drove as fast as he could without completely losing traction.

Jesse could see the lights of Hanover Mall through the melting snow on the windshield. The liquid dripping down the glass made it look as though the lights were dancing, shimmying back and forth to the steady beat of the tires crunching the ice beneath him. He glanced at the speedometer: 25 mph. If he could keep up this speed, he’d be back at the intersection of Forest and Main within four minutes.

A faint smile crossed his lips as he remembered finding Danny’s favorite Spider-Man action figure in the back seat earlier that week; Danny must’ve dropped it the day Jesse helped out Don and Becky by picking him up from rehearsal for his school’s play. The toy had been right in the middle of the seat, and he wondered if he could reach it—maybe it would change his luck, somehow attract Danny to him.

Jesse reached back, fumbling around, trying to reach Spidey. Nothing. He leaned further and slid his open palm along the seat. Still nothing. Angling backward as far as he could, he patted the floor mat behind him in hopes that the figure had slid during a turn.

No luck.

A quick glance showed the tiny superhero jammed into the corner of the back seat. Spider-Man was tonight’s lucky charm; the idea felt right, and it would help him find Danny. It was a superstitious and even desperate move, but doing things by the book had so far turned up nothing.

“Gotcha!” he cheered when he snagged the action figure’s foot. He turned back toward the road to see a black figure stumbling out from the brush in front of him. In less than a second, the headlights shown on the figure’s face—it was Danny.

Horror seized Jesse by the throat and he gasped as he slammed on the brakes. The car went into an immediate spin, flying directly at Danny whose eyes went wide in the headlights. Jesse felt a thud against the back panel of the car. He screamed, the view from every window only blurred streaks of light. He tried to focus, to spot Danny somewhere in the whirl of his surroundings. But the boy was gone. He screamed again, his cry now muffled by the airbag exploding against his face. He squeezed his eyes shut, feeling the BMW skid off the side of the road and nose-dive into a shallow ditch filled with snow.

As the car lay on its side, ruined engine still ticking, Jesse could barely hang on to consciousness. Images and sounds swirled through his head: the screech of metal dragging along the pavement, Danny’s face hitting the window, the sickening thump as the car smashed sideways into the little boy’s body.

“It didn’t happen,” Jesse whispered. “This is a dream,” he panted. “Just a dream.” He repeated the words again and again until the weight of his eyelids became unbearable and he closed his eyes, allowing the sound of his sobbing to lead him gently into his own personal darkness.

VBT – BREAKDOWN SERIES

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

BREAKDOWN is a unique and groundbreaking four-book suspense series that will keep you turning pages until the killer is finally exposed.

In this explosive new miniseries, the idyllic community of Shutter Lake, nestled in the peaceful Sierra Nevada Mountains, is rocked by a shocking murder. Four women, friends who moved to the area to find healing and solace, must now dig deep and overcome the scars of past troubles to find a ruthless killer.

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So Many Secrets, BREAKDOWN Book 2 by Vicki Hinze

THE BREAKDOWN DEEPENS… Seven years ago, Dr. Dana Perkins came to idyllic Shutter Lake seeking safety from a traumatic experience in Phoenix. She became the principal at Shutter Lake School–and found her refuge… until Sylvia Cole was killed and one of Dana’s best and brightest students, Vinn Bradshaw, confessed to the murder. A murder Dana is certain he didn’t commit. But who is he protecting? Why? Seeking the truth shatters Dana’s safety. Yet who could have predicted proving Vinn innocent would jeopardize her friends and neighbors… and expose so many secrets?

breakdown_series

Read an Excerpt:

Five days.

Impossible to believe but that’s all it had taken for the idyllic vision of Shutter Lake, California, lauded by Country Living as the most perfect town in all of America, to prove perfection is a façade and all the safety and security sought and found in it had been an illusion.

One murder. Illusion shattered.

One murder, and so many secrets…

A shiver crept up Dr. Dana Perkins’s backbone. She stiffened against it, determined to reclaim her sense of security here. At the deli counter inside Stacked, a block off downtown’s main square, she ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad and a bottle of Evian berry-flavored water, then glanced over to the cluster of two-dozen tables. About half-full. A lot of people were having a late lunch today.

Dana took a table surrounded by empties then settled in and reached for a sheaf of papers from her tote. She had been through the school records at least a dozen times, but maybe in the sandwich shop, she would be more objective, gain some new insight, and see something she had missed.

Oh, but she needed to be certain she hadn’t missed anything. After Phoenix, to retain her sanity she had to be absolutely certain she hadn’t missed any warning sign.

There had to be a reason this year’s best and brightest student had confessed to murder. Some logical, rational reason that Vinn Bradshaw, gifted future nanotechnologist, studious, popular basketball player, who exhibited nothing short of fantastic leadership skills, confessed. Vinn could not have killed anyone much less a prominent Shutter Lake founder’s daughter like Sylvia Cole.

Nolan Ikard, about thirty, tall and lean with sandy blond hair and a handsome man’s confident swagger, paused at her table. Nolan owned The Grind, a coffee shop sharing a common wall with Stacked that Dana frequented every morning on her walk from home to the school.

“How’s our favorite principal?” Nolan asked. “Things settling down any at S.L.S.?”

Many students, current and former, referred to Shutter Lake School as S.L.S. “Getting better,” she said because it was expected and not because it was true. “The students are still rattled, but then aren’t we all?”

He nodded and avoided her eyes, his own gold-flecked ones clouded and troubled. “Guess the kids won’t settle down until their parents do. Maybe we will all get back to normal soon.”

“Maybe we will.” Dana smiled.

He walked on to his favorite table beside hers and next to the front window. How many times in the last year had she seen him staring out that window as if he had lost his last friend? She’d been tempted often to ask if he was okay, or to offer to listen if he needed to talk, but something had held her back. She couldn’t say what, but she always followed her instinctive urges on things like that. In his case, she hoped she didn’t live to regret it.

so many secrets large

About the Author:

Raised in New Orleans, Vicki Hinze began writing before Kindergarten but her journey to writing books included a lot of corporate pit-stops. Eventually, she settled in and her first novel landed an array of awards and on the bestseller list. With nearly 40 books published, she’s been back many times with awards in multiple genres and appearances on multiple bestseller lists, including USA TODAY. Vicki is recognized by Who’s Who in the World as an author and an educator and is best known for chilling suspense, trailblazing, and creating series that genre-blend. Her works include suspense, mystery and romance. Since 1994, this former VP of International Thriller Writers has written heavily about military and military families and in nearly all genres except horror. Hinze is a Floridian married to a former Hurricane Hunter/Special Operations Officer. She constantly pushes the boundaries on existing genres, opening the door for new novel blends.

https://www.vickihinze.com/

http://facebook.com/Vicki.Hinze.Author

https://twitter.com/vickihinze

https://www.pinterest.com/vickihinze/

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FLD4513

The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

VBT – Gun Kiss

TourBanner_Gun Kiss

Gun Kiss
by Khaled Talib

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GENRE: Thriller

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Teaser_Gun Kiss

BLURB:

The United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

Ex-Delta Force Blake Deco receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana.

With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue.

What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00069]

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Excerpt:

Clad in tactical black, Blake rested on his chest in the dark chaparral. He watched his curly-haired friend beside him maneuver the tiny dragonfly drone with his phone. The luminous screen showed its flight path toward Dai Lo’s hacienda in the northeastern outskirts of Tijuana, nothing around it for miles.

The drone sent back images of the 375,000 square feet compound, including some of Dai Lo’s men patrolling. It hovered in front of the three-floor mansion built with stacked balconies and double-hung windows. It then swooped down to a porch with three tall columns under a pediment. Finding no entry point, Jack raised it up again.

“I’m going to circle behind,” Jack said.

“Do that,” Blake responded.

“You going to kill Dai Lo?” Jack asked.

“Not unless I have to. I’m not an assassin,” Blake said.

“So why did you give Chavez the impression you will?”

“If Chavez knew what I was thinking, he wouldn’t give me the weapons. Then how are we going to save the actress?”

“You better know what you’re doing, Blake.”

“If you still want to go on that European tour, start thinking positive.”

The tiny drone went around the mansion and flew past a lit pool, buffeting over a garden and an annex connected by a sheltered catwalk. It moved sideways until it came to a lit corner window on the third level. The visual zoomed closer to the windowsill and sent back an image that left both men recoiling with gasps.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

AuthorPhoto_GunKiss

Khaled Talib is a former journalist with local and international exposure. He has authored three thrillers since 2014.

The author’s works have been praised by NY Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, NY Times bestselling author Ruth Harris, USA Today bestselling author Jon Land, NY Times bestselling author Keith Thomson, K.J. Howe, and Jon McGoran.

His debut thriller, Smokescreen, was listed as one of the six “boundary-breaking indies” in 2016 by the IndieReader. His second novel, Incognito, won the Silver Award for the AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest 2017. Gun Kiss is his third novel.

Khaled, who is also a member of the International Thriller Writers, resides in Singapore.

Authors website : http://www.khaledtalibthriller.com
Twitter account: https://twitter.com/KhaledTalib
Author Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/khaled.talib/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/khaledtalibbooks
Author Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00DYPSB72?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6940359.Khaled_Talib

Gun Kiss (YouTube) Book Trailer

GUN KISS Buy links:

The book will be on sale for only $0.99.

Author website direct: http://khaledtalibthriller.com/books/
Amazon Kindle
https://www.amazon.com/Gun-Kiss-Khaled-Talib-ebook/dp/B07CVGKQY6
Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/823918
Kobo
https://www.amazon.com/Gun-Kiss-Khaled-Talib-ebook/dp/B07CVGKQY6
B&N
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gun-kiss-khaled-talib/1127553149?ean=2940155243199
Ibooks/Apple
https://itunes.apple.com/nz/book/gun-kiss/id1380716623?mt=11

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Khaled Talib will be awarding a Amazon Fire 7 8GB tablet to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. The prize is limited to U.S. and Canada only.

Enter to win a Kindle Fire – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview With … Khaled Talib

Welcome Khaled. Tell us about you as a person.

I’m intuitive and stubborn, but that doesn’t mean I won’t offer a lending ear. I’m considered serious by many, but that’s because I know who will appreciate my humor and who won’t. I’m not loud and I like my privacy, so when people obtusely ask me personal questions, which is common where I live, they’ll never see me again.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

George Clooney. I like his style and temperament. I enjoy watching him in all kinds of movies. He’s a cool and sensitive guy. I remember reading about him once settling the bill of another customer at a restaurant in Berlin. He thought he and his friends were noisy and he was concerned that they might’ve disturbed the customer’s peace.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

Gun Kiss is an accidental book. After completing my second thriller, Incognito, wasn’t sure if I could write another book. I couldn’t sleep one night because my legs were cramping. While rubbing them with an ointment, I watched an old comedy starring a famous actress.

Suddenly, an idea came to write a novel. I started working on it immediately. It’s a fun and breezy novel set in southern California. I can’t say what movie or which actress inspired me to write the book, at least not now. It’s my little secret.

Gun Kiss is a story about a former Delta Force soldier who runs a taco restaurant in Sunset Boulevard. He wears a few hats. He gets into trouble after rescuing a famous movie star from an obsessed drug lord in Tijuana. He finds himself falling in love with her, but their moments together are constantly interrupted by the drug lord stalking them and killing everyone around them to exact revenge.

What is your writing process? 

I can write anytime with music or without. Sometimes I listen to music with a certain tempo to boost my energy level, especially for action scenes. When I do listen to music, it doesn’t have to be something that was recently released. It could be from any era. After all, music is music. I also stockpile chocolates to boost my endorphins. I don’t force myself to write if I’m tired. I’ll just take a break and watch some TV and resume the next day.

Tell us about your main character:

Blake Deco is a fictional character. He lives in Hollywood Hills and he’s been trying to break into the movie business as a screen writer. He’s not been successful. He joined the army for a while before setting up a taco restaurant in Sunset Boulevard. Blake is a slightly tense personality with money concerns. He’s worried about the restaurant’s overheads. So, he also moonlights for Homeland Security and the FBI as an artefact hunter. In the beginning of the story, he is tasked by the FBI to recover the Deringer that shot Abraham Lincoln, which has been stolen by a Russian military general in the Balkans. At the same time, he’s compassionate, which explains why he decides to rescue the abducted movie star. It wasn’t part of any assigned mission, but something he chose to do on his own.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.

James Marsden. I see him as Blake Deco. His expressions are not rigid and he’s capable of expressing different emotions. My protagonist is complex; he can be funny and angsty at the same time. He’s also action-driven and well-toned. He’s neither big nor small.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a thriller set in South Australia. It’s called Spiral. I used to manage the public relations account of the South Australian Tourism Commission for the Singapore office. My duties included bringing journalists to the State, so I’m familiar with the region. Spiral is a mystery thriller that introduces a Sydneysider working in a Clare Valley vineyard. One night, he stumbles on a dead body…

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?

You can’t afford to detach yourself from the marketing and promotion side. It means spending time every single day creating awareness through social media platforms, advertising on book promotion sites, and pitching to book bloggers. I also manage an email newsletter that goes out to my subscribers. I feel the newsletter is most important because you’re in direct contact with your readers.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?

The Bone Shroud by Jean Rabe. It’s a thriller about an archivist at the Chicago Field Museum who travels to Italy to attend the wedding of her brother. However, the occasion turns into a desperate search for historical relics, and a struggle to stay ahead of a killer.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I create my own book trailers. Please let me know what you think of the one I did for Gun Kiss.

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?

If I could be like Superman and fly, I would protect every child on earth.

Any final thoughts?

I want to write more stories. I hope I can.

Book Blast – His Wicked Love

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anya will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Mason Stewart is in a pickle. He and his brother are the co-owners of the Black Elkhorn Lodge and Resort. Their dream stands at the precipice of utter ruin because their previous chef embezzled every last dime of savings they had for the lodge. In a last ditch effort to save his business from the brink of annihilation, Mason hires a new chef for their restaurant; sight unseen.

Nothing can prepare him for Emily, the red-haired siren who waltzes into his resort, carting a set of chef knives and demanding to see her new kitchen. She challenges his authority. She inflames his every wicked desire. She is everything he has ever wanted. And he can’t touch her. He’s her boss. And it would be wrong to give in to the incendiary heat between them… wouldn’t it?

Read an Excerpt:

“If you want to lug a heavy suitcase, be my guest, sweetheart. I think we need a demonstration, a sample of your skills, before we go any further. Don’t you?” Mason challenged, letting his annoyance creep into his voice. She’d accepted the position without the clause of needing to see the kitchen first. So she thought she could toss in an extra demand, put a wrench in his plans to bring the lodge back from the brink, test who was in charge? It wasn’t her. Miss Fox could try but she would fail. This was his place and he would fight like a rabid dog to save it, to protect it further from outside harm. He wouldn’t ever allow the lodge or himself to be overrun by a pretty face.

She smiled. The air was charged between them, electrified, as she stared him down, then said, “Cowboy, once you’ve had my cooking, you will be my slave and beg me to stay.”

An image of Emily, collared, naked, and on her knees begging him to take her flashed through his mind. The unbidden thought unleashed a windfall of lust and it roared through his bloodstream. Mason tensed, beating back the unsolicited desire. Compartmentalizing the unwanted, erotic images, he narrowed his gaze. “Doubtful. I could take my pick from twenty line cooks today from one of the restaurants in town.”

She rolled her eyes in an exasperated fashion and asked, “Then why did you call me?”

“That’s what I’m beginning to wonder,” Mason retorted, not admitting that he wanted a chef at the top of their game. That he believed if they offered culinary delights not found at other resorts or restaurants, they would attract customers, and maintaining the current menu that was a crowd favorite was paramount.

She was their Hail Mary Pass, even though she didn’t know it. Nor would he tell her that. She already had an overabundance of confidence.

Cole intervened, severing the electric livewire connection as he stepped between them. Mason finally inhaled a deep breath while Cole gave him a brief glance with his brows raised high enough they nearly disappeared beneath his Stetson, and a ‘what the hell?’ expression. Then Cole shifted fully toward Miss Fox, his face calm with the pleasant smile he typically used to win over a sub, and said, “Emily, why don’t I take you over to the restaurant and you can see if it’s to your liking? We updated the kitchen two years ago and have all the latest equipment. Not that I have any idea what all those gadgets do.”

It was the gamine grin, the spread of her pale pink lips exposing her straight, white teeth, and transforming her face into breathtaking. And it was directed at his brother. It shoved Mason toward caveman status. He wanted to snarl at Cole to back off, not to touch her, that she was his. Which was fucking asinine, and only fueled his internal engines to near record levels.

“That would be fabulous. Thank you. Is he always like this?” she asked Cole, indicating Mason with a jaunty tilt of her head. Her hair shifted, making it shimmer.

A half grin spread over Cole’s face and he replied, “No. Sometimes he’s worse.”

Emily’s full-bodied, sexy laugh sucker-punched Mason in the sternum. The sound skittered along his spine and pooled in his groin. The throaty, jazz singer sound made him wonder what she sounded like when she came. It made him yearn to discover whether she was a screamer or issued almost silent, throaty moans. There was a part of him that wanted to bend her over his desk and fuck her until his legs buckled.

“Good to know,” Emily responded with another shake of her head which made the waterfall of red tresses shift and move like flames. The color was so vibrant, Mason ached to feel the strands in his hands. Would they be as soft as he imagined, or would they singe his flesh?

“It is; better to be armed and prepared. If you’ll follow me,” Cole murmured, diffusing the situation and ignoring Mason.

“Honey, I’d follow you anywhere,” Emily flirted. With his brother. Jealousy gripped Mason, which was idiotic at best. He couldn’t want Emily. Wouldn’t allow himself to desire her. One, she was his employee and there were some roads that were better left untraveled. Two, he wasn’t sure he liked her. She was brash and mouthy, and most likely as vanilla as they came.

But that didn’t seem to matter to his dick, who liked the thought of playing boss and naughty secretary with her a little too much.

Except then Cole picked up the ball Emily had lobbed his way and responded, “Likewise, sweetheart. Mason, you coming?”

Almost.

And from a damn fantasy. He shook his head, attempting to distill the lust raging through his veins. He bit out, “I’ll be right behind you two.”

About the Author: Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher http://www.maggiemaegallagher.com/. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Visit her website here:

http://www.anyasummers.com

Visit her on social media here:

http://www.facebook.com/AnyaSummersAuthor

http://www.twitter.com/AnyaBSummers

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15183606.Anya_Summers

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anya-Summers/e/B01EGTVRKC/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/anya-summers

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anyasummersauthor

Anya will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast – Soft Marble

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and a swag pack to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

One touch from his lover and this marble will come to life.

Kratos, God of power and strength, has been imprisoned in pure white marble for more than two centuries. His lover can break the spell—if only his lover would find him.

Andy Green knows his ancient artifacts. He spends his days restoring works of art. When the sculpture of Kratos enters his studio, he can’t hide his attraction. Will he be able to free the god or will forces beyond his control destroy everything he’s earned?

Read an Excerpt:

©2018 Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved

“When you are trapped underwater for two centuries, you do not learn much. I was rescued before in the nineteenth century, if the man who removed me from the water was telling the truth. He placed me in his studio and talked to me much as you have done. I might have stayed out of the sea if his studio had not collapsed. He liked to paint the water and the sunsets. I assume he is not the man who loaned me, as he would be dead by now.” Kratos rubbed Andy’s biceps. He’d stepped so close, his warm breath skittered across Andy’s cheeks. “I would very much like you to teach me about the world right now.”

Andy bit back a whimper. The tips of his ears burned and his skin itched. The dirty thoughts from his cleaning sessions came back. He wanted to do more than teach Kratos about the twenty-first century. He wanted to suck the man’s cock.

“You are thinking.” Kratos trailed his index finger over Andy’s bottom lip. The electricity snapped between them. Every nerve ending in Andy’s body sizzled. Kratos caged him in his arms. “I like you, Andy.”

“You hardly know me.” Fuck, fuck, fuck. That was the silliest thing to blurt out. Well, kind of. He didn’t know Kratos well at all.

“You do not understand.” Kratos walked Andy backward until he bumped into something. A desk? Andy wasn’t sure. Kratos fixed his gaze on Andy’s. “You spoke to me. I might not have been able to answer you right away, but I heard all the things you said.”

“All the things?” Like including the sexual things? His brain buzzed.

“Yes,” Kratos replied. “I did not understand every word, but I knew what you meant. When was the last time you fornicated?”

Fornicated? Andy fumbled for where to put his hands. He smoothed his palms up Kratos’s muscled chest. “I-It’s been a while.”

About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

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