#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : Where Your Treasure Is – M. C. Bunn @MCBunn3 #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Where Your Treasure Is’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

M. C. Bunn grew up in a house full of books, history, and music. “Daddy was a master storyteller. The past was another world, but one that seemed familiar because of him. He read aloud at the table, classics or whatever historical subject interested him. His idea of bedtime stories were passages from Dickens, Twain, and Stevenson. Mama told me I could write whatever I wanted. She put a dictionary in my hands and let me use her typewriter, or watch I, Claudius and Shoulder to Shoulder when they first aired on Masterpiece Theatre. She was the realist. He was the romantic. They were a great team.”
Where Your Treasure Is, a novel set in late-Victorian London and Norfolk, came together after the sudden death of the author’s father. “I’d been teaching high school English for over a decade and had spent the summer cleaning my parents’ house and their offices. It was August, time for classes to begin. The characters emerged out of nowhere, sort of like they knew I needed them. They took over.”
She had worked on a novella as part of her master’s degree in English years before but set it aside, along with many other stories. “I was also writing songs for the band I’m in and had done a libretto for a sacred piece. All of that was completely different from Where Your Treasure Is. Before her health declined, my mother heard Treasure’s first draft and encouraged me to return to prose. The novel is a nod to all the wonderful books my father read to us, the old movies we stayed up to watch, a thank you to my parents, especially Mama for reminding me that nothing is wasted. Dreams don’t have to die. Neither does love.”
When M. C. Bunn is not writing, she’s researching or reading. Her idea of a well-appointed room includes multiple bookshelves, a full pot of coffee, and a place to lie down with a big, old book. To further feed her soul, she and her husband take long walks with their dog, Emeril in North Carolina’s woods, or she makes music with friends.
“I try to remember to look up at the sky and take some time each day to be thankful.”

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Where Your Treasure Is
Author: M. C. Bunn
Publication Date: 23rd April 2021
Publisher: Bellastoria Press
Page Length: 454 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Victorian Romance

Feisty, independent heiress Winifred de la Coeur has never wanted to live according to someone else’s rules—but even she didn’t plan on falling in love with a bank robber.
Winifred is a wealthy, nontraditional beauty who bridles against the strict rules and conventions of Victorian London society. When she gets caught up in the chaos of a bungled bank robbery, she is thrust unwillingly into an encounter with Court Furor, a reluctant getaway driver and prizefighter. In the bitter cold of a bleak London winter, sparks fly.
Winifred and Court are two misfits in their own circumscribed worlds—the fashionable beau monde with its rigorously upheld rules, and the gritty demimonde, where survival often means life-or-death choices.
Despite their conflicting backgrounds, they fall desperately in love while acknowledging the impossibility of remaining together. Returning to their own worlds, they try to make peace with their lives until a moment of unrestrained honesty and defiance threatens to topple the deceptions that they have carefully constructed to protect each other.
A story of the overlapping entanglements of Victorian London’s social classes, the strength of family bonds and true friendship, and the power of love to heal a broken spirit.

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Excerpt :

Winifred de la Coeur was not a traditional beauty, but she was one of a kind. Or so George had whispered while they played cards. He had won the hand and taken hers in his. After all these years, she ought to know better than to trust him.
She stood with her maid in the hall before the pier glass and examined the result of their morning’s work. They had begun earlier than usual. Bathed, combed, powdered, and perfumed, Winifred wore underlinens trimmed in lace a duchess would envy. Her dress was the latest fashion. The crowning achievement was the hat, an enormous concoction of absinthe silk covered in black tulle and ostrich plumes.
“Morrant is right. I do look frightful!” Her hands flew to her head.
“Pooh! What does he know?” Bettina scoffed, none too quietly. She adjusted the veil and shot a sour glance at the butler, who strode past them into the breakfast room.
“Dr. Frost arrives at ten o’clock,” Morrant announced. He scooped the brandy bottle from where it rested by Percival’s feet then read aloud from the daybook in which the older man penned his thoughts. “‘CAN A MAN ALTER HIS CHARACTER?’ Not before breakfast, sir.”
“I’m not hungry,” Percival grumbled.
“Up late? ‘The unexamined life is not worth living,’ and so forth?”
“More like ‘Lions prowling about the door’!” He pushed away the coffee and toast Morrant set by him. “Tea with Tasha and Delilah yesterday nearly finished me. Like battling hydras!” He peered into the hall and spoke to Winifred. “Plans today?”
“The bank and luncheon with George at Simpson’s.”

******

In the breakfast room, her uncle tried to deflect his manservant’s attempt to get him to eat. She watched with affection. Two bachelors, just as she and Bettina were two old maids. While her uncle’s bad lungs had aged him prematurely, Morrant’s physique was still trim, his black hair touched with grey along the temples. She frowned at her reflection, tugged the tight bodice, and wished she was going riding on the Heath with her cousins Amelie and Bert.
Neither man had hidden his astonishment as she twirled into the breakfast room in her parrot green ensemble. Her uncle shaded his eyes. “Good lord, you’re bright as a Christmas cracker! Are we to have the Highland Fling?” He squinted at the skirt’s purple tartan trim while she kissed his cheek. “My dear, you look ready to pop!”
“It’s not Guy Fawkes ’til tomorrow, sir,” Morrant said.
“It’s so tight, I might explode!” She had inhaled against her stays. “It is vulgar. I feel like Gloriana gone wild. Add seven ropes of pearls, and call me the Virgin Queen.”
Morrant coughed.
It was impossible to tell whether his eyes expressed disapproval or suppressed amusement. About his opinion of the idiotic tea gown she had worn while she and George played cards the prior evening, there could be no mistake. Morrant and Bettina had had words over it. In spite of the man’s usual equanimity, the recent changes to her toilette had put him in a permanent state of alarm. His opinion of George had already involved the use of horsewhips. Though Bettina asserted that a woman dressed for herself, and Winifred inwardly argued that a servant’s thoughts about her wardrobe or the way she lived should not matter, Morrant’s opinion did.
She grimaced at her hat and reached for it. “Ce chapeau, est-ce que les femmes françaises appellent la Catherinette?”
Bettina caught her hands. “Poof! Do not tease about old maids. I work hard to dress you beautifully! The hat is très chic et vous êtes une femme de la mode, a fashionable lady. We want people to notice!” She adjusted Winifred’s jabot. “The cut of the jacket is so modest, so cunning!”
“I suppose it makes me look less fat.” In the long mirror, she critically regarded her hips.
“Madame Gretchen is all skin and bones, so our cousin can get away with no corset.” She pushed in Winifred’s waist. “We are not so!”

******

Richards sat on the brougham’s high box, bundled against the cold. Leaves danced along the street in a gust of wind. Morrant walked down the steps, a blanket draped over his arm. Winifred quickly followed, glad of Bettina’s insistence she wear the warm cashmere.
Morrant handed her up, checked the foot-warmer, then decorously spread the blanket over her knees. She watched his hands smooth the material. Their faces were very close.
“Morrant!”
“No, Miss, let me—if I may, speak first.”
His tone was so serious; she prepared herself.
“Though you’re not in the best spirits this morning and worried about your uncle, you appear fit to face any challenge, even in that dress and—,” he hesitated. “If one might hazard a guess at the identity of that object upon your head—that hat!”
The hint of his smile and the kind expression in his dark eyes were a relief. He returned her hand’s pressure, then closed the carriage door.
Richards cracked the reins.
Winifred twisted about to catch a last glimpse of Morrant, who stood on the steps and watched after her. The carriage turned the corner.
Hampstead’s quiet streets gave way to those of Regent’s Park. As traffic increased, Winifred’s spirits rallied. Never fond of London, this morning she welcomed its energy and activity, an astringent if not a completely palatable medicine for her nerves. Richards’ whip handle tapped her window.
“Still going to the City, Miss?”
“Yes, straight to the Royal Empire Bank!”
George’s letter with its bold cursive had arrived in the morning’s post. Morrant laid it between her and Percival. She had torn open the envelope and felt her cheeks flush. “It’s only about that piece of land he wants to sell me.” She threw the letter on the table, pushed away the nearly finished plate of kedgeree that she already regretted, and pretended to read the newspaper’s financial section.
“That detestable piece land,” Percival had snapped. “I wish the earth would swallow it!” And their owner George, she had thought. Her uncle added that he was sorry if she was disappointed. She knew he was relieved.
During a shooting party that September, George had proposed the sale of a twenty-acre wood that separated the de la Coeur and Broughton-Caruthers estates and where the game warden encouraged the foxes. Winifred said that she was not interested. George replied that she made an art of playing hard to get.
How it must gall him, she had gibed. The first son in five generations obliged to sell off parcels of land rather than buy them! His brother Charles lived in Scotland in an enormous castle with his wife and two little girls. He had a steady character and was happily matched. They had acres of hunting grounds and no mortgages in sight. Charles had little money of his own but did not owe any either. Nor did he share George’s lavish habits or the propensity for ennui that drove Hereford Hall’s heir into low company and reckless deeds.
George smirked. “But he’s boring, and neither as good looking nor as popular as I am.”
On the day before she came up to London, she rode her horse Tulip across the fields to inspect the wood. Beyond it lay Hereford Hall’s brick towers, graceful lawns, and chestnut-lined drive. She had given Tulip a smart kick and galloped down the sandy lane that led to the sea. In spite of her elder cousins’ warnings, she and George had raced one another on it many times. She bent over her mare’s neck, urged her to go faster, and pretended to outdistance her neighbor. She was Queen Bess, who ruled a kingdom of her own. No need of any man!
Her pride could not bear that George, or even her family, might suspect that while she had won the battle against her suitors, she had lost the war. At summer’s end, once the field cleared and the dust settled, she discovered she was tired of holding up the increasingly heavy standard of her virginity. The other debutantes of her year had long retired from the lists on their fiancés’ arms or were preoccupied by their confinements. She had attended so many weddings she lost track of the sprays of orange blossom Bettina cleared from her dressing table or the number of silver rattles that she and Amelie had wrapped. Her freedom was not the triumph she had imagined it would be.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #PromoPost : A Lifetime Ago (Hudson Bell #1) #ALifetimeAgo – Jim Ody @Jim_Ody_Author @QuestionPress #QuestionMarkPress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘A Lifetime Ago’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers, Horror and YA books that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written over a dozen novels and many more short-stories spanning many genres.
Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

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Synopsis :

This is a tale about how the events of one day have such catastrophic consequences on the future.
Hudson Bell is a consultant for the police. A former DI, he spends his days helping to find missing children.
May and her son go on a road trip to celebrate his birthday; Robert and Nadia buy their dream house by the sea.
But as each look to enjoy a new life, none of them can shake off what happened on that fateful day. One of them blames the others and will stop at nothing to seek revenge.
One accident and five lives changed forever.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Heavy Duty People – Iain Parke @IainParke

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Heavy Duty People’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Iain Parke imports industrial quantities of Class A drugs, kills people and lies (a lot) for a living, being a British based crime fiction writer.
Iain became obsessed with motorcycles at an early age, taking a six hundred mile cross-country tour to Cornwall as soon as he bought a moped at the tender age of sixteen. After working at a London dispatch job delivering parcels on a motorcycle, he built his first chopper in his bedroom at university, undeterred by the fact that the workshop was upstairs.
Iain worked in insolvency and business restructuring in the UK and Africa, where he wrote his first thriller The Liquidator. The success of that propelled him to write a ‘biker lit’ trilogy about the Brethren Motorcycle Club, a ‘cult’ hit which has recently been optioned for television. Today Iain lives off the grid, high up on the North Pennines in Northumberland with his wife, dogs, and a garage full of motorcycle restoration projects.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

“…a fantastic anti-hero…positively Shakespearian in his moral complexity…If I could only recommend one book this year, it would be Heavy Duty People”
– Vulpes Libris
Damage’s club has had an offer it can’t refuse, to patch over to join The Brethren MC.
But as the bikes rumble and roar across the wild Northern fells, what does this mean for Damage and his brothers? What choices will they have to make as they ride through the wind? What bloody oil stained history might it reawaken? And why are The Brethren making this offer?
Loyalty to his club and his brothers has been Damage’s life and route to wealth, but what happens when business becomes serious and brother starts killing brother?
From being in a gang to becoming a gangster, Heavy Duty People is the book that invented Biker Noir.
Get Carter meets Sons of Anarchy in this gritty British crime thriller, now in development for TV.

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Etsy (signed trilogy)

Excerpt :

It’s High Church, the whole club has been summoned to hear an address from Dazza, local president of the feared and respected Brethren MC…

‘You all know Dazza here. So I guess I’ll just let him say what he has to say.’ He turned to Dazza and with a gesture gave him the floor as he pulled out his own chair to sit down.
Dazza nodded to him and looked out across the room, calmly meeting the guys’ eyes as they stared at him.
Dazza had a presence. You could never deny that. And it was a very calmly delivered speech, very businesslike, almost a formal diplomatic address delivered to a hushed hall.
‘Well firstly I’d like to start by thanking you guys for the opportunity to talk to you here tonight at your club meeting. I know you like to keep club meetings private, so do we in The Brethren, so I appreciate being invited in.’
Very polite. Very correct. We waited.
‘We in The Brethren have known you guys now for many years, we know that you are stand up guys who we can respect and we’ve always had good relations.’
It was like hearing the ambassador from a powerful country address the parliament of a smaller, but fiercely proud, friendly power. He obviously had a message to deliver and would do so courteously but firmly, and despite being alone in this room, he was calm, protected by the knowledge of what an assault on him would mean.
‘Obviously some of us have long standing business relations with some of you, and we don’t do that lightly.’
‘Some of us’ was a bit of a generalisation on his side of the house.
So what was coming here, I wondered?
‘I’m here to offer you guys a choice. The world is changing, you’ve seen that. The Duckies are organising in Scotland and now we hear that they have been talking to The Hangmen.’
There was a stirring amongst the guys. The Duckies were The Rebels MC, The Brethren’s main rivals over here. Their patch featured a screaming eagles’ head that The Brethren insultingly dismissed as looking like a duck.
The Hangmen however were very much our regional rivals and bête noirs. They had charters in Lancashire and South Cumbria so we regularly ran up against them in a border war that had been simmering and flaring up at odd intervals for the best part of ten years or so now.
‘The regional independents are being rolled up – you’ve all seen it happening. So guys like you sooner or later are going to have to choose whose side you want to be on.’
So I could see what was coming. We and The Hangmen had in effect provided buffer states between Rebel and Brethren territory. If The Rebels made moves to absorb their buffer, then The Brethren would have no option but to respond in kind.
‘You might say why do we need to choose? Why can’t we just stay out of it, stay independent? Well that’s a mistake. You can’t.’
He certainly had balls coming in here and saying that to the guys’ faces. If he wasn’t who he was, he would probably have been stomped. And it wasn’t that we were scared of The Brethren that was stopping anyone. It’s difficult to describe to an outsider, but it was like I say, a respect thing. Almost as though he was here to parley under a white flag. He was an envoy. So it was like a tradition, his person was inviolable as he came here to speak. If we fought them later over this we would stomp him without question if we caught him. But here and now, we would hear him out and he would unquestionably walk out unharmed.
‘If you try to stay neutral in a war, you will end up the losers. And the losing side in the war won’t be able to help you, while the winner won’t have needed you to win or have any reason to value you.
‘But don’t get the wrong idea here. I’m not here to threaten you guys.
‘We don’t recruit, we recognise.
‘And I’m here to tell you, as guys we respect, we want you on our side.
‘So as I say, I’m here to offer you all a choice.
‘It’s time to step up to the big time. Time to join the international Brethren world.’
Oh fuck, I thought, so that was what was coming.
‘We want you to patch over. We want you to join us to expand the North East charter across the region.’
Oh fuck. The what happens if you don’t was unsaid. Once The Brethren had made an offer like this we were either in or against them. It was not a choice being offered but an ultimatum, however quietly and smilingly delivered. It was join us or disband.
And it was always a one time offer.
Once Dazza had finished, Tiny stood up to formally respond. He thanked Dazza for coming out to see us and for setting out what he had to say so clearly. Obviously there was a lot to take in and we as a club would need to consider what he had said; to consult; we would need to ask the brothers inside who weren’t here tonight what they thought; we would need to come to a view.
‘Of course,’ said Dazza. ‘That’s only natural. Now I could hang around but I know that this is something you guys will want to discuss amongst yourselves so I suggest I leave you to it. Obviously you all know where I am if there’s anything you want to talk to us about.’
Butcher stood up to escort him from the room.
‘But before I go, there is one thing I would like to say in conclusion.’
The room waited in silence.
‘Just don’t take too long.’

Giveaway :

Win (Open INT)
1st Prize
1 x signed copy of the Heavy Duty Trilogy
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Heavy Duty bookmark

*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : A Lethal Arrogance – D.S. Lang

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘A Lethal Arrogance’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

D.S. Lang, a native Ohioan, has been making up stories since she was a little girl, and she still is! Along the way, she studied English and social studies as an undergrad. After graduate school, she went on to teach government and American history in high school. She also taught English at the junior high, high school, and college levels. In addition, she has worked as a program coordinator, golf shop manager, and online tutor.
Now, she spends much of her time reading, researching, and writing. Most recently, she has delved into the Great War era and the years immediately after it. Her Arabella Stewart Historical Mystery Series was inspired by her Great Uncle Brice who served in the American Expeditionary Force during World War One, and by her love of historical mysteries. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, including her dog Izzy.

Social Media Link:
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Synopsis :

After returning home from her service as a United States Army Signal Corps operator in the Great War, Arabella Stewart’s goal, to save her family’s resort, seems within reach as the summer season progresses. She and her business partner, Mac MacLendon, look forward to re-establishing a successful championship golf tournament, once the signature event of the resort’s year. Problems arise when one of the contestants, an overbearing snob who has created problems at other competitions, clashes with more than one person. When he is found dead, the victim of a suspicious automobile crash, Bella once again helps Jax Hastings, the town constable and her childhood friend, investigate. As they pursue answers, Bella and Jax find several suspects who might have wanted to make the victim suffer for his lethal arrogance.

Purchase Links:
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Excerpt :

In A Lethal Arrogance, the third book in my Arabella Stewart Historical Mystery series, Bella again partners with Jax Hastings, the local constable and her childhood friend, to solve a crime. Since the Great War, when Bella served as a United States Army Signal Corps operator and Jax was an officer with the American Expeditionary Force, they have an uneasy relationship. Even so, joining forced to investigate a suspicious vehicle accident in their hometown, where one driver died and another left the scene, becomes necessary. During a road trip to interview suspects and witnesses, Bella and Jax have plenty of time to chat. That leads to Bella bringing up a sore subject.

Jax and Bella exchanged small talk as she drove out of the city and toward their next stop. After a time, she returned to the case. “It sounds like Mr. Smith’s cousin lives just outside Mohawk. It’s too bad Mrs. Smith couldn’t tell us exactly where or even what the house looks like.”
“It’s a very small town, so we should be able to find someone to give us directions.”
“That’s likely to be true,” Bella commented. In their hometown of Moreley, finding a certain house was easy because people knew their neighbors. The same would happen in an even smaller village. “I wonder if Chaz has visited this cousin recently.”
Jax hesitated only a moment before responding. “I’ve wondered the same thing. He could have visited his father last week during the tournament. After all, Chaz wasn’t angry with Mr. Smith.”
“Boys usually want to be around their fathers and vice-versa.”
Several seconds of silence filled the car before Jax spoke. “My dad would have liked for me to take more of an interest in his profession, but I never did. I imagine he’d be shocked to learn I have that same job now.”
Once again, Jax provided an opening into a more personal conversation. Bella knew there were hazards in following that lead, but she proceeded anyhow. “My dad and Matt would be shocked about you being constable, too,” she suggested. Out of the corner of her eye, Bella saw Jax turn toward her, but she kept her attention on the road.
“I suppose they would. Sometimes, I’m surprised myself.”
“You do a good job, but do you like it? I mean, I know you probably don’t love it like golf. How could you?” Although he’d turned down the offer of the golf pro job at Ballantyne, didn’t some part of him still love the game? Or maybe not. Jax seemed increasingly comfortable in his role as town constable. That could be a front or the truth.
“Spoken like a tried-and-true golf lover,” he observed with a chuckle, but his amusement fled quickly, and his next words were serious. “I don’t dislike being constable, and it has its good points. I get a steady paycheck, for one.”
“You could be a club pro and get a steady paycheck.” Bella still didn’t understand his refusal to go back to his previous career. His ideal career. Had he really relinquished his dreams? The thought made her profoundly sad.
“We’ve talked about this, Bella.” His voice held a sharp, accusatory edge.
“You don’t want to try.” Bella heard the note of challenge in her voice. She shouldn’t feel so personally invested in his decisions, but she didn’t apologize or back down. Understanding the changes in him was a Herculean task. Although Jax remained loyal to her brother’s memory, his decision to leave his dreams behind disturbed her in ways that she couldn’t quite explain, even to herself.
A harsh breath left him. “There is no point in chasing after vain hopes and wishes. It’s a waste of time and energy. I have a job, a good one, so that makes me a lot better off than many veterans. I won’t live in the past. No adult should.”
Bella flinched at his caustic tone and unyielding observations. “I’m being an adult,” she protested, immediately taking his statements as criticism. “I’m simply trying to keep Ballantyne from failing, which will help Moreley. That’s not living in the past. That’s planning for the future.”
“I’m not talking about that,” he shot back. “I’m talking about how you continue to ask me why I don’t go back to golf as a career. When you offered me the job at Ballantyne, I said you need someone who can represent the resort at big tournaments. I can’t do that because I’m physically unable, and I don’t appreciate you continuing to hound me. I’ve told you more than once that I’m not the same man who left for France. I can’t be…not for you or anyone else.”
His words stung so badly that Bella flinched. She’d already said playing in tournaments wasn’t a requirement, so she didn’t repeat herself. “I’m not asking you to do anything for me,” she said in a muffled tone. “I just wondered…” Her voice trailed off. Obviously, he didn’t cherish old memories like she did, so Bella hurried on. “I’m sorry I brought it up. Your life is your business.”
“Yes, it is. Please keep that in mind.” His icy tone fell between them like shards of sleet.
A hot flush invaded her cheeks while sadness gripped her heart. Bella focused on the road. “I most assuredly will.”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #PromoPost : The Awakening of Artemis #TheAwakeningOfArtemis – John Calia @johncalia #ScifiBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Tour Banner(9)

Today I’m on the ‘The Awakening of Artemis’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Author Pic(6)A Brooklyn-born, second generation American and the eldest of three boys, writing is his third career and the one about which he is most passionate. Following graduation from the US Naval Academy and active duty in the Navy, he embarked on a career in business. He began writing his blog “Who Will Lead?” in 2010 attracting over 115,000 readers. It inspired him to write his first book, an Amazon five-star rated business fable titled “The Reluctant CEO.” Currently he makes his home in Fairport, NY, a village on the Erie Canal.

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Synopsis :

Title: The Awakening of Artemis
Publication Date: September 29th, 2021
Genre: Science Fiction / Speculative Fiction

Cover(9)Orphaned by war and disillusioned about her life, Diana Gutierrez-Adams is on a routine military assignment when she and her team are kidnapped by a domestic militia. She learns from her captors that her cryogenically-frozen grandfather is at the center of a high-stakes plan to steal technology that will change the world for greed and great fortune.
Challenged by the conspiracy and pulled by emotions she doesn’t fully understand, Diana’s rescue mission will change her life. What happens to her is unexpected, perhaps miraculous – an adventure that embraces all her hopes for finding her true self and her place in a world dominated by powerful elites and even more powerful artificial intelligence.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #QandAs : Wolf Tones #WolfTones – JJ Marsh @JJMarsh1

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Wolf Tones’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

As an English teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, I’ve lived and worked all over Europe. Now I’m a full-time author, publisher and audiobook narrator.
My crime novels in the Beatrice Stubbs Series have become international bestsellers.
Psychological dramas Odd Numbers (shortlisted for the 2021 Bookbrunch Selfies Prize) and Wolf Tones dig deep into the world of emotional dependence.
The Run and Hide Thrillers chase a hunted woman around the world.
I live in Switzerland with my husband and dog, taking advantage of the landscape, languages, Prosecco and cheese.

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Synopsis :

You escaped the past. Here comes the present.
Fifteen years ago, Rolf was destined for the gutter.
His luck has changed. Now a cellist with the Salzburg City Orchestra, he has his dream job and dizzying prospects.
All because of her.
Smart, sexy, well connected and crazy about him, Leonor is his fantasy woman. She made him and he’ll never forget it.
Neither will she.
She chooses Rolf’s diet, his friends, his decisions and career path. She knows best. When does a champion turn controller?
While he submits to domination at home, he struggles at work. The maestro is determined to break down and rebuild his new cellist. Clash after clash shatter Rolf’s confidence until he doubts everything about himself.
Then a rumour reaches his ear. Has he misjudged his new friends? Is something more sinister pulling the orchestra’s strings?
Regardless of the drama behind the scenes, the show must go on. It’s the only way to escape his past.
A classic artist, Rolf presents the best side of himself, hiding the pain of imperfection. A strategy with devastating results.

Amazon

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Thank you for inviting me!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Jill and I write as JJ Marsh. I’ve published twelve books in the Beatrice Stubbs series, three standalone novels and am embarking on a new series of international thrillers. Writing has always been a part of my life, as has reading. I’ve been a teacher, and actor and a theatre director – all those involve storytelling. Becoming an author was a natural progression.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm is a book I read as a child and still love as an adult. From Enid Blyton through Stephen King and Jane Austen to Louis de Bernières and Milan Kundera, I learned something from all of them about the way to use words.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
J.M. Coetzee. He tackles the most heart-rending topics with a clear eye. I’ve attended one of his readings and he’s searingly intelligent. If I ever met the man, I’d probably be too intimidated to utter a squeak.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones and I could have a fun afternoon in a London tea-room, as long as they serve prosecco.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
My writing process is pretty dull. Mindmap themes, outline the plot, fill the storyboard, get the words on the page, then edit, edit, edit. But my non-writing habits are those of a magpie. I’m always aware of conversations, signposts, unusual names and unexpected images, specific tastes or atmospheres, peculiar encounters and odd experiences. My notebooks are crammed with random observations and saved for the day they come in useful. I’m a kleptomaniac in the Supermarket of Ideas.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
See above. Concepts for a novel tend to ferment a while until I can see a way of telling the story. It can be a moral dilemma, a life-changing event or a social or political point that interests me. The starting point must come from a character. As for people in my life, I have stolen names and appearances on occasion, but never from anyone genuinely close.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Plotter who lets the pants take over when the time is right. I was almost at the end of White Heron when my subconscious poked me in the ribs and pointed out how I could use one character as a ‘didn’t see that coming’ moment.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Join a critique group, online or in person. Learn how to think critically, to give and receive feedback, to constantly remember the author’s intention and help them reach their goal. After years of doing this, good habits become second nature and first drafts need fewer edits. Read books on craft and test out those theories with a short story or perfectly honed flash fiction. Pay attention to what’s happening in the publishing world and read as widely and deeply as you can. There is no one way to be a writer so make sure you’re aware of the options.

What are your futureplans as an author?
My current focus is on getting Wolf Tones in front of the right audience which will absorb most of August and September. Then in October, the second in my Run and Hide series comes out. Black River is a thriller set in the Amazon rainforest. I have sketched outlines for six books in that series so will get to work on No.3. Towards the end of the year, I’m bringing out a novella as a Christmas special for fans of Beatrice Stubbs.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course. This is when my main character, Rolf, has just arrived at his new apartment in Salzburg.

Three streets away, he found a Thai restaurant offering takeaway packages. He ordered in passable German and asked if there was shop nearby where he could buy wine. The young girl behind the counter was helpful and patient and assured him he could get to the mini-market and back in the ten minutes it would take the kitchen to cook their order.
Half an hour or so after he’d left, he unlocked the front door and ran upstairs, carrying a brown paper bag filled with containers of Thai curry and rice. In his right hand, he held a bottle of champagne. The apartment was empty so he went onto the balcony to see if she was there.
Down in the garden, Leonor was sitting at a wrought-iron table, laughing with a young man. Rolf didn’t even know how to get into the garden.
“Food is ready!” he shouted, brandishing the bag.
She looked up and her face broke into a beautiful smile. “Bring it down here with plates and glasses. I want you to meet our neighbour.”
The guy lifted his face and gave a salute. “Hi! My name is Anton, I live downstairs. I don’t want to intrude on your first night. Just wanted to say hello.”
“Give me a minute.” Rolf collected two plates, two sets of cutlery and two glasses. The gesture was pointed. Tonight they did not want company. But when he got downstairs and found the door to the garden, he saw Leonor and Anton were already drinking cocktails from martini glasses.
“Hi,” said Anton, saluting again.
“Meet Rolf, the one I’ve been telling you about.”
“Hello, Anton,” said Rolf, forcing a smile.
Leonor took the bag and inhaled. “Mmm, I love Thai food. Would you like to join us? I’m sure we can stretch this for three.”
Anton held up both palms. “Thank you, but no. I’ve already eaten and I really don’t like spicy food. I have a typical Austrian palate, I’m afraid. I’ll leave you in peace to enjoy your meal. Just so you know, there’s a house cat called Blue. He’s currently favouring my place, but changes his mind about where he sleeps quite frequently.”
Leonor waggled a glass at Rolf. “Are you ever going to open that bottle? That’s fine with us, we love animals. Thanks for the martini. Cocktails before champagne, I could get used to Salzburg.” She laughed up at him with the sparkle in her eye she always used when she wanted to charm someone.
Anton laughed with her, evidently spellbound. “Great to meet you and I’m so pleased to have friendly neighbours again. The last woman was a miserable old bag. Hey, do you two fancy going out for a drink next week? I could show you some local bars and warn you which ones to avoid.”
Leonor tilted her face to Rolf, her mouth an O of delight. She was handing him the mic and he couldn’t see a way out.
“That’s kind of you. It would be useful to learn a bit more about the area.” He twisted the bottle and the cork popped out. He poured the overflow straight into a wine glass, aware of Leonor’s giddy laughter.
Anton took his cocktail glasses, wished them a good evening and went inside his own apartment. There was no sign of any cat.
They emptied the cartons onto their plates, drank champagne and toasted their new start. As the twilight deepened and lights came on in the apartments on the other side of the hedge, their building remained in darkness. Presumably Anton had gone out for the evening. Why not? Young, not bad looking and obviously familiar with the local nightlife. What reason would he have to stay home? Rolf relaxed a little and let go of the feeling they were being watched.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, JJ Marsh.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : Down Salem Way – Meredith Allard

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Down Salem Way Tour

Today I’m on the ‘Down Salem Way’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Meredith AllardMeredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her nonfiction book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 New Release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help by Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Down Salem Way
Series: The Loving Husband Series
Author: Meredith Allard
Publication Date: June 2019
Publisher: Copperfield Press
Page Length: 352 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Down Salem Way coverHow would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts?
In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time.
But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practicing witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all?

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The Loving Husband Trilogy Banner

Her Dear and Loving Husband
Her Loving Husband’s Curse
Her Loving Husband’s Return

Excerpt :

I walked toward the sisters, stepping as quietly as I could though I was certain they could hear the twigs snapping beneath my boots. Who are these women, I wondered? Why do they appear as if out of the air? They huddled close and chanted words with the cadence of an old-time melody. What language did they speak? Greek? Latin? Hebrew? I stood a few paces away, afeared to come too near. The women stopped as though frozen. It took a moment, I’m not always good with names, but then I remembered Lizzie telling me: Malka, Mazel, and Miriam. Staring at the three sisters, I wondered if they were indeed in league with the Devil.
As the word Devil flashed through my mind, the tallest sister, the one called Miriam, laughed. I see you, she seemed to say. And I know you see me.
I opened my mouth to speak. I had so many questions. But all I could say was, “Did you mean to help Mary with your herbs? She died, you know.”
“Aye,” Miriam said. “We know. And we’re sorry for it. Truly. She was a good girl.”
“She was,” I said. The others nodded. Do they do everything in unison, I wondered? “There are those who believe Mary was bewitched.”
The women laughed, again in unison.
“Stuff and nonsense!” said Miriam. “We tried to cure her. The first time, the girl believed our herbs would help and they did. The second time, she believed she was beyond help so they didn’t. Our herbs only cure when people believe they can be cured. Yet you believe she was bewitched! Can you people not tell when someone is trying to help or trying to hurt? Tis why you cannot find your way out of your own arseholes.” The other two cackled, a sad attempt at a laugh, I thought. “Perhaps one day you shall know a good thing when you see it.”
The women turned back into a circle and raised their arms toward Heaven.
“Wait!” I called. “Tell me—are you sisters?”
They were gone, quick as you like. The wind picked up, howling its strength inland from the bay. The brisk air stung my eyes and I covered my face with my arm to protect myself from the whips of cold. Twas such a strong current I would not have been surprised to find myself blown back to Town, Odysseus in the temper of the storm. Then the wind vanished. No matter where I looked there were no traces of the sister-women, not a footstep, not a bent blade of grass.
There has been such talk about Witches and Wizards and Devils nowadays I think I see them everywhere.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BookBlitz #SaleAnnouncement #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #PromoPost : The Storm of Storms – Adria Carmichael @AdriaCarmichael

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Storm of Storms’ Book Blitz organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information and some great sale announcement.

About the Author :

Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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Synopsis :

Title: The Storm of Storms (Juche #3)
Publication Date: September 15th, 2021
Genre: YA Dystopian / Survival

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival Saga that will keep you glued to the pages.
Nari’s shocking revelation in the watermill changes everything in an instant, and Areum is once more faced with an impossible decision. Will she betray her sister in order to save her life, or support her and let her die? In the midst of this struggle, the storm of the century hits the camp, and life goes from hard to impossible overnight. Areum slowly comes to realize there is only one way to ensure their survival.
To escape!
But how can they escape from an escape-proof prison camp? And even if they would get past the ferocious dog patrols, the machine gun-equipped guard towers and the electrified barbed wire fence… will she be willing to condemn everyone they’re leaving behind to an inescapable end through torture and death?

Amazon

To celebrate the release of this book Adria Carmichael is giving the first two installments away for FREE!
From September 14th to the 18th, you can download The Demon of Yodok and The Weeping Masses on Amazon for zero dollars!

The Demon of Yodok (Juche #1)

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]
Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.
There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

Amazon

The Weeping Masses (Juche #2)

Areum’s hopes to be set free from the brutal political prison camp holding them is crushed, and the heinous assault on her sister plunges her into a state of shock and horror… and puts her on a collision course with her family. All hope seems to be lost. Just when she is about to give up, however, a disturbing revelation is made… and as the evil of the camp is given a face, Areum finds a new purpose to keep fighting.
Revenge!
But first they need to survive, and with the constantly harshening conditions and her family being targeted from all directions, daily life in Yodok turns into a never-ceasing fight to evade imminent doom.
On top of everything, an impossible tragedy strikes Choson, and the unquestionable truth Areum has built her life around is challenged to its very core.

Amazon

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #Excerpt : Greed #Greed – Tim Beeden @beedendoesbooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Greed Book Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Greed’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Tim Beeden Author PhotoTim Beeden is someone who likes to make things up. Things like stories, ideas and friends. He’s lived a varied life, has had thirteen different jobs, likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. He loves to travel and is utterly convinced he’s part Viking (much to his wife’s continual annoyance. Although he was once on holiday in Denmark where the locals often spoke to him in Danish which pretty much confirmed it as far as he’s concerned).
He’s married with one child. His wife is nothing like him (thank goodness) but his son is (thank goodness).
Greed is his first novel in a planned series of eleven books but he’s pretty new to this so isn’t aware of how ridiculous an ambition that is.
He genuinely hopes you enjoy reading Greed and that if you love it you tell your friends. If you read it and hate it, he wants you to tell your enemies so they have to suffer too.

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Synopsis :

Greed Book CoverWhen Gregory Hoffenbach unearths a valuable stone while ploughing, he believes it could put an end to all his woes.
It doesn’t. In fact it’s just the beginning.
Greg heads into the city of Calver with his brother Ralph to try and sell the stone but soon they discover that there are plenty of people in the Kingdom who’d like to own Greg’s red stone.
Over the next few days, the brothers strike a deal with a prominent crime boss, stumble into a plot to overthrow the King and have a hand in the death of an over-ambitious hay salesman.
Fortunately for them, they’ve got help. Some very useful and very violent help.
It seems everyone wants Greg’s stone and they’ll stop at nothing to get it.
Greg? He just wants a new plough.
A story about working out what’s valuable in life and then trying to take it from someone else.

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100% of the ebook sales go to support Samuel’s Charity.

Excerpt :

Greg approached the bar and elbowed himself some room. As his hands touched the thick oak of the bar, a slim, dark-haired man with a tiny pencil-thin moustache appeared as if he had been hiding under the floor behind the bar.
‘Good evening, sir!’ said the man. ‘My name’s Trevor. I’m the new owner of this fine establishment. How may I be of service to you?’
Greg wasn’t quite sure what to do. Every time he’d been in The Hairy Apple, the most he’d got in the way of a welcome was a grunt and then a mug of ale slapped down in front of him. He looked to his left at the man next to him who, by the look of him, had been sat at the bar for most of the day. ‘Don’t worry, son,’ the man said through fog-like breath, thick with alcohol. ‘He’s from the city.’
That said, he turned back to his drink.
‘I have many fine beverages available this evening!’ Trevor said.
To Greg, he seemed like the kind of person who spoke with an exclamation mark at the end of every sentence.
‘Would Sir care to see the wine list? Failing that, I have a fine collection of cocktails, which can be prepared fresh to order!’
‘Actually, I’d like to ask you a few questions,’ Greg said.
Trevor’s face lit up.
‘Ooh, excellent! They told us about this on the Publican course. Witty banter, back and forth; that’s the cornerstone of a successful landlord’s thriving business!’
‘Yes, I’m sure it is,’ Greg said, ‘but all I need to know…’
‘Problem with the missus?’ Trevor said. ‘Or maybe it’s the weather you’d prefer?’
‘No, I just need to know if you’ve seen someone, that’s all.’
‘Really? That’s it?’ Trevor said, looking dejected. ‘I do a great line about the local sports team and how they couldn’t find a way to score within the confines of a brothel.’
‘I’m looking for my brothel – I mean, brother,’ Greg said, pressing on. ‘He looks like me, only he has dark hair and he’s a bit shorter. Goes by the name Ralph.’
********
Greg knocked twice and waited. He didn’t know what he was going to say to Ralph; for the moment he was just glad he’d found him. No answer.
‘Ralph, it’s me, Greg,’ he said as he knocked again.
Again, no answer. Just as he was about to try and peer in through the window, Greg heard a rusty creak and then a thud coming from the back of the room. He ran around the back, just in time to see Ralph following his knapsack out the rear window.
‘Ralph?’
Ralph turned as he leant back out of the window. His jerkin caught on the ledge, he lost his balance and fell backwards onto the gravel.
‘Ralph, what are you doing?’
Ralph stood up, brushed himself down and turned to face Greg.
‘Quite clearly, I’m doing a runner. Now, are you going to help me or not?’
‘Ralph, I don’t understand. Why are you doing a runner?’
‘Because, Greg, I owe the landlord three rounds worth of drinks, there’s four blokes sat at a table near the back of the pub who want to break my legs and oh yeah, I lost the stone. Enough about me. How are you?’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Second Chance to Wear His Ring – Hana Sheik @HanaSoChic @HarlequinBooks @MillsandBoon

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Second Chance to Wear His Ring’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Hana Sheik falls in love every day reading her favourite romances and writing her own happy-ever-afters. She’s worked as a data entry operator, customer service rep, telemarketer, and ghostwriter—but being a romance author is without a doubt the best job ever! Born in Somalia, she moved to the beautiful capital of Canada as a toddler, and still lives there happily with her family.

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Synopsis :

y404A forgotten past…
Could pave the way to forever!
When millionaire Mansur Ali is called urgently home to Somaliland, he’s shocked to find that the woman who broke his heart needs his help. After an accident, Amal has lost many memories…including Manny’s marriage proposal and her rejection! Manny will help her seek treatment in Addis Ababa, but he’s resolved to keep his heart firmly off-limits. A promise that is tested when their journey brings them closer than ever before…

Purchase Links:
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Harlequin

Excerpt :

Hi Stefanie! Thank you for having me on the blog to share a short excerpt from my debut Harlequin Romance/Mills & Boon True Love, Second Chance to Wear His Ring.
This is a scene from the first chapter. My heroine, Amal, is an amnesiac, and my hero, Mansur has just found out about her condition. She’s questioning if the amnesia has changed her, but to Mansur, she’s still the same old Amal…

* * *

“Show me my room.”
His husky voice stroked something unexplored and forbidden inside her. Unwilling to explore it out here in the open, Amal chose to entertain his request for privacy.
“It’s this way.” She gave his hand a pointed look.
Once he’d released her, Amal turned briskly, her skirt and robe swishing as she forged her path. She wasn’t going to overthink why she was missing the warm and welcoming pressure of his palm. It should be the last thing on her mind. She needed to be concerned about her fried brain and scattered memories.
Still, she hadn’t anticipated the force of attraction she’d feel for Mansur. She had hoped for a personal connection—hoped his face would free a more recent memory than the few childhood ones that were returning to her more rapidly. But the man before her was certainly not the gawky, grinning teenager she fuzzily recalled.
Amal hadn’t gotten the chance to ask Mama Halima much about who Mansur had grown to become, and his arrival had been more or less a surprise to her. It hadn’t been until only a couple hours earlier that his mother had pulled her aside and informed her of Mansur’s journeying home to them. For her.
She now knew he had no clue that he’d traveled because of her amnesia. Mama Halima had left that part out when she’d contacted him.
If she didn’t feel obliged to guide him to the guest room that had been prepared for him this morning, Amal would have scurried off to lock herself in the spare bedroom. Maybe even insisted that she move back next door, although Mama Halima wouldn’t have been too happy about that decision. With both her brothers having moved out of their late grandmother’s home, Amal lived alone. Mansur’s mother hadn’t liked to leave her alone after the accident. She had convinced Amal into temporarily moving in with her.
The new living arrangement had worked perfectly. The two women had each other for company. But now, with Mansur home to his mother, Amal felt as though she had overstayed her welcome. Also, it must appear like she couldn’t take care of herself.
But it’s true, isn’t it? You’re helpless, weak. You need someone to save you.
No! She didn’t need rescue. She was fine.
Forcing herself to concentrate on her steps, Amal closed in on Mansur’s bedroom.
“Over here,” she said, glancing back at him.
He’d paused at the wrong door, his hand on the brass handle.
“That isn’t your room,” she said.
Disregarding her, he opened the door and pushed inside.
Amal followed close at his heels. Frustrated that he hadn’t listened, and embarrassed by the sight of her messy room, she gestured for the door, hoping he’d grasp her cue.
“I told you—this isn’t your room,” she said.
“That’s where you’re wrong.” Mansur shifted his attention, his eyes scouring her face. “It used to be my room…long, long ago.”
Amal frowned. “Well, your mother didn’t tell me,” she muttered.
“She didn’t expect I’d return anytime soon.” Walking toward the bed at the far end of the room, he looked around. “Everything almost looks the same. Except this.” He gestured at the headscarves on the bed and the books on the floor.
Amal skirted past him and collected the headscarves. She walked with them to her temporary dresser, popped them in the first drawer. Then she moved to handle the scattered books, just as Mansur lifted a notebook that the scarves had hidden on the bed.
Her journal!
Mansur smoothed his palm over the spiral notebook’s cover. “You still journal, then?”
“I try,” she replied, accepting the book when he handed it to her. He hadn’t even made an attempt to read it.
“And you’re reading, too.”
He glanced down at her books. She had been in the middle of reorganizing her reading pile. Many of the book covers were worn, hinting at how loved they were. That had to be the only upside of amnesia. Reading the books that she’d enjoyed in the past and getting the ultra-rare chance of reading them like they were new.
So far, her skewed memory retrieval had worked strangely. She recalled some things more clearly now than she had right after her accident four weeks earlier, when she’d woken up in the hospital with stitches to her right temple. But the returning memories were further in her past, which frustrated her more now that she stood before Mansur. Amal had no recent memories of him. The glimpses of the childhood of this man standing with her were hardly enough to assume his personality now. For all she knew, he could have grown to be a terrible person.
Terrible, maybe. Yet still darkly gorgeous.

Giveaway :

Win 2 x PB copies of Second Chance to Wear His Ring (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds