#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Hunter’s Rules – Val Penny @valeriepenny @crookedcatbooks @darkstrokedark

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

Hunters Rules

Today I’m on the ‘Hunter’s Secret’ 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 :

sGCoOwzwHunter’s Rules is the sixth book in Val Penny’s Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series of novels published by darkstroke.
Val Penny’s other crime novels in this bestselling series are Hunter’s Chase, Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force, Hunter’s Blood and Hunter’s. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available now and she has most recently contributed her short story, Cats and Dogs to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland.
Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and their cat.

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Synopsis :

Hunters Rules CoverWhen best-laid plans go awry…
Hunter and Meera’s romantic plans come to an abrupt end when they stumble into the scene of a crime.
A young woman was attacked in a hotel lift. She has traumatic injuries, but she clings to life. Hunter notes that her wounds are like those inflicted on two other women, who died from their ordeal.
Can Meera keep the injured woman alive long enough for her to identify the assailant? Is the same person responsible for all three crimes?
When Hunter is identified as a suspect, can he establish his innocence and lead his team to solve the crime and keep Edinburgh safe?

Purchase Links:
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Excerpt :

Meera and her colleague, David Murray, were the attending pathologists for the two women who had been murdered.

Meera scrubbed up and disinfected her hands then made her way over to the examination room where David was already waiting for her. He had wheeled in the body of the second victim into the hospital mortuary. She looked around her domain and thought how much her post-mortem examination room looked like an operating theatre.
David had already transferred the corpse to a stainless-steel table that occupied the middle of the spotlessly clean white floor. The victim was lying on her back with her arms loosely resting by her sides. Meera glanced at David and shook her head.
“This is so vicious,” she said. “And very difficult when we know so little about the victim.”
“That’s true. But we’ll find out what we can. Who do you think will attend for Police Scotland today?”
“I believe metallurgists found the corpse in its original site on Cramond beach. PC Neil Larkin was the first officer on the scene. Hunter told me that he planned to second Neil to CID, so I believe he and Nadia Chan have been delegated to come today.”
“Well I hope Neil manages a little better than some of the other first timers. Didn’t Bear Zewedu faint during his first post-mortem?”
Meera nodded.
“But Nadia is a trouper. We can always rely on her, at least to stay conscious.” David smiled.
Meera turned her attention to the body on the table. She noted the livor mortis on the woman’s body caused by the settling of the blood.
“She was definitely not killed in the location where she was found.” David frowned.
“True enough indeed. Oh, it sounds like the boys and girls in blue are arriving,” Meera said.
As Neil and Nadia walked towards the examination room, Meera looked up and smiled.
“DC Chan, how good to see you again.”
“Thanks Doctor Sharma. This is my colleague, DC Larkin.”
“DC Larkin, hello. Thank you for coming. It seems we were correct on our guess of attending officers, David.”
“Post-mortems are always interesting, but I would happily never come here again if it meant that people stopped getting killed.” Nadia looked at Meera then at Neil.
“And I would just quite happily never come here again. It smells awful,” Neil said.
“We should get gowned up, Neil,” Nadia said. “This way.”
“There really is a distinctive smell in here, isn’t there?” Neil commented as he followed Nadia.
“Yes, a bit like a combination of formaldehyde, antiseptic and industrial soap, isn’t it? It’s also a bit chilly, just those few degrees below what would be considered comfortable makes all the difference.”
“It’s a big room,” said Neil, when Nadia and Neil returned to witness the post-mortem.
“Yes, well by the time I’ve got my large double sinks along the wall, a metal counter to hold all the tools and the channel leading to the drain, I suppose it has to be big,” Meera said.
“When you two are finished discussing the equipment, might we get on with the job?” David asked.
The two DCs moved so that they could see the body on the stainless-steel examination table below the powerful circular halogen lights which were suspended from the ceiling. Meera positioned herself on the other side of the table from the two detectives. They watched in silence as Meera first freed the body from its sandy, laced shoes. There were cuts and grazes on the body’s hands, possibly from a fight she put up against her attacker, and there were animal bites and scratches that she had suffered since death. Meera also noticed the tiny abrasions and colour changes to around the neck.
“Look at this,” Meera said. “Her neck was bound, held or restrained in some way, by the looks of things. She might have been throttled into unconsciousness before her eyes were removed.”
David pulled a face as he watched Meera remove the clothes from the top of the body to get a better look. “There’s bits of sand and dirt stuck to that,” he said. “Probably from after she was dumped on the beach.”
“Yes, that would be right. She was just above the tideline when the metal detecting guys called it in. That’s where I first saw her,” Neil said.
As each piece of clothing was taken from the body, Meera methodically gave them to David. He put every item carefully into plastic evidence bags which would be handed over to the forensics experts for further examination. Meera then took blood, urine and hair samples as well as oral, vaginal and anal swabs. When Meera removed the victim’s underwear – the next thing she noticed was the large bruise on the victim’s belly.
“Have you seen this David?” she asked. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he knelt on her to get the purchase to remove the eyes. We’ll need to check for injuries to the internal organs.
“Nasty!” David Murray frowned.
“I don’t suppose there’s much doubt about the cause of death.” Neil grimaced.
“I don’t like to pre-empt our findings, but the poor soul would have suffered severe shock from the removal of the eyeballs and if we find damage to the internal organs, there could be massive internal bleeding inside the abdominal cavity,” Meera said.
Then David looked at Neil. “We expect to find evidence that she was drugged like the first victim. If so, she would never have recovered consciousness from that and the strangulation. The victims may not even have felt the pain from the cuts.”
Nadia gasped. Neil closed his eyes and fell to the floor with a thud.
“And he was doing so well,” David said.
Nadia didn’t respond. She just placed Neil gently into the recovery position, apologised to the doctors and invited them to continue with their work.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : Her Legendary Highlander – Nicole Locke @NicoleLockeNews @HarlequinBooks @MillsandBoon

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

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Today I’m on the ‘Her Legendary Highlander’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

ocBgtkswNicole first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Convinced hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly).
If she isn’t working on the next book in her historical series, she can be reached at NicoleLocke.com!

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Synopsis :

dryYGcLQHer rugged prisoner
… becomes her fiercest protector.
Capturing legendary Highlander Malcolm of Clan Colquhoun was Andreona’s last chance to win her tyrannical father’s respect. Instead he orders them both to be killed! Resigned to her devastating role as the family outcast, she and her prisoner escape and continue on his quest to return a treasured heirloom. They find solace in their unexpected passion, but haunted by a lifetime of betrayals, will either dare to hope it could last beyond their journey?

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Guest Post :

Top Ten Things about Malcolm

1. Malcolm is the third brother, and one of five siblings in Clan Colquhoun.
2. He insists he has black hair, but one woman (ahem Andreona, the heroine he’s past due to love) insists he has red in it like the rest of his clan.
3. He’s rash, impulsive, and quick to temper.
4. His eyes are green. Or…as Andreona notices: ‘His eyes were the colour of grass in the summer sun and spring foliage on trees. But nothing so still or tranquil. Certainly, nothing of celebration or renewal. Unrest roiled and retribution turned. That colour was never meant for such wrath and determination. But it was all that was there and none of it felt new. Which was foolish, she knew, for how could any man hold rage for long?’
5. Yeah, I wrote that kind of hero. The kind who loves, but who loses that love. Who has honour and bravery, only to be betrayed. Who gets up and attempts and tries, but keeps getting knocked down. By the time he meets Andreona, he isn’t getting up again. He’s cynical, cruel, and someone whom she really needs to say: “Pass!”
6. But Andreona knows what it’s like to be betrayed and to lose love. She, however, also knows what it takes to believe again. It takes a few hundred pages for Malcolm to start listening though. Stubborn Scot.
7. Her Legendary Highlander is a standalone, but Malcolm’s in previous books: The Knight’s Broken Promise, Her Enemy Highlander, and The Highland Laird’s Bride.
8. Along the way he made enemies of his family, the Warstones, The Englishman Sir Richard Howe, the mercenaries hired by the Warstones and Sir Howe, etc. Basically, he’s on the verge of being killed or thrown into pit. So he meets Andreona with a bit of baggage.
9. He’s got a friend though, Finlay, who’s also in The Highland Laird’s Bride, and he’s halfway through with his quest to reunite the legendary Jewell of Kings with the hollowed dagger, so that must be good, right? (So good, whew).
10. It took me forever to write this story and finish the series, but I hope the wait is worth it. All I know is the Epilogue made me cry.

Giveaway :

Win a Signed Copy of Her Legendary Highlander (Open Internationally).
*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

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : Murder on High (The Much Winchmoor Mysteries Book 4) – Paula Williams @PaulaWilliams44 @darkstrokedark

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

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Today I’m on the ‘Murder on High’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

x7tQhRRgPaula Williams is living her dream. She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent years that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, UK, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue dog, a Dalmatian called Duke. She is very proud to be a member of both the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association.
Her Much Winchmoor Mysteries are based in a small Somerset village which bears in uncanny resemblance to her own – although none of her friends and neighbours have murderous tendencies – as far as she knows! Her novels often feature a murder or two, a dog and cat or two and are always spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.
Paula is, indeed, living her dream. But she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into performing ‘the play what she wrote’.

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Synopsis :

9R3cvyhA‘Remember, abseiling is only the second fastest way down a church tower.’
The note pinned to the teddy bear lying at the foot of the church tower could have been a joke – if it hadn’t been for the body on the path next to it!
Somebody wants to make very sure that everyone knows this was not an accident or suicide. But why?
Suddenly, no one in the village has any enthusiasm for the Teddy Bear Abseil, planned to raise money for the children’s play area, as, once again, a murderer walks the narrow, twisty streets of the small Somerset village of Much Winchmoor.
And, once again, Kat Latcham, reporter/dog walker/barmaid and occasional reluctant hair salon gopher, finds herself unwillingly dragged into a murder investigation.
This fourth Much Winchmoor mystery is spiked with humour and sprinkled with romance.
And, of course, one carefully planned, coldly executed murder.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Daughter Of The Sea – Elisabeth J. Hobbes @ElisabethHobbes @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK

– ‘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 ‘Daughter Of The Sea’ 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 :

Elisabeth’s writing career began when she finished in third place in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013.  She was offered a two-book contract and consequently had to admit secret writing was why the house was such a tip.  She is the author of numerous historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon covering the Medieval period to Victorian England, and a Second World War romantic historical with One More Chapter. She lives in Cheshire because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.

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Synopsis :

On a windswept British coastline the tide deposits an unexpected gift …
It was the cry that she first noticed, the plaintive wail that called to her over the crash of winter waves. Wrapped only in a sealskin, the baby girl looks up at Effie and instantly captures her heart. She meant only to temporarily foster the young orphan but when news reaches Effie that her husband has been lost at sea, and months pass without anyone claiming the infant, she embraces her new family – her son Jack and her adopted daughter Morna.
Effie has always been an outcast in her village, the only granddaughter of a woman people whisper is a witch, so she’s used to a solitary existence. But when Midsummer arrives so too does a man claiming to be Morna’s father. There’s no denying Lachlan is the girl’s kin and so Effie is surprised when he asks her to continue looking after his daughter, mysteriously refusing to explain why. She agrees, but when he returns six months hence she pushes him for answers. And Lachlan tells a story she never anticipated … one of selkies, legend, and the power of the sea …

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Excerpt :

Lachlan, the enigmatic father of Effie’s foster daughter, has visited on Midsummer’s Day and invited her for a walk along the beach.

The breeze was still warm from the heat of the day. Effie wrapped her shawl over her arm rather than wear it. Her neck felt sticky and she longed to feel the air on her skin. She undid the top button of her blouse and then the one below that and loosened her collar to let the breeze do its best to cool her. Lachlan had draped his fur over his arm. It looked heavy and hot but he didn’t seem to mind.
The beach curved away from the village towards the inlet called Boggle’s Cove. Effie and Lachlan walked side by side until they reached the stream that trickled down to join the sea from the cove between the rocks. The bay was sheltered and out of sight of the village. They would only be visible from the sea itself. Any worries that they might be seen melted away.
Lachlan selected a large, smooth boulder. He spread his fur out and sat on it before gesturing to Effie.
“Will you join me?”
The boulder was not large and they would be sitting intimately close. Her heart gave another thud, quickly followed by a shiver that ran down through her stomach and settled low in her belly. He had no idea what effect he had on her but, given his brief show of jealousy over Walter, she wondered if she was having the same effect on him.
She spread her shawl out next to the skin but not touching, and sat on it. She twisted round to face him and where his collar fell open she noticed a blueish-green circle about the size of a thumbprint. At first she thought it was a bruise but it was too regular. It must be a tattoo of some sort. She wondered what the rest of it – the part concealed by the shirt – looked like.
“You seemed ill at ease with Morna,” she said.
“I’m not used to children. I don’t know what to do with them.”
“You’ll grow better. You did well tonight soothing them to sleep.”. Effie patted his arm. “The song you sang was beautiful.”
Lachlan ran his hands through his hair and over the back of his neck.
“Tell me about Morna.”
Effie thought before answering. How to conjure a child’s life in a few words for a father who seemed reluctant to know her in person.
“She’s wilful,” she said, smiling as she added, “and I don’t mean that in a bad way. She’s strong and determined to get her own way as all children are. She likes strawberries but not in jam. She fights going to sleep. At least usually she does. If I could sing to her like you did I’d have an easier time.”
“I could teach you the tune but the words are harder to learn. The language is ancient,” Lachlan said. “Tell me more.”
Effie chatted easily now, listing the new words Morna had learned since his last visit, how well she could walk and how close she and Jack were. Lachlan nodded in encouragement, asking questions and before long Effie had almost forgotten her awkwardness.
“Children grow so quickly. If you came more often you would see the change yourself,” she said.
“I can’t do that.”
A breeze blew the warm scent of saltwater across the beach. Effie inhaled with a satisfied sigh and was instantly consumed by the urge to wade into the depths. She looked towards the sea.
“If you want to go in then do it,” Lachlan murmured.
She turned to him in surprise.
“How did you know that is what I was thinking?”
“You have a very expressive face. Also, I was thinking the same thing.”
She kicked off her clogs then turned her back to Lachlan and discreetly peeled off her stockings. The sand was cool and she burrowed her toes in it with a sigh of pleasure She picked her way over the shells and pebbles to the edge of the water and stood close enough for the gentle waves to lap at her toes as they washed in.
Lachlan was still sitting on his fur watching her with a look of longing on his face.
“Will you join me?” she called.
After a moment he pulled off his boots and came to stand beside her at the water’s edge. He rolled up his trouser legs, revealing well-shaped, smooth calves that were lightly tanned. He took a couple of steps further out than Effie. This brought them to the same height so that when he turned back his eyes were level with Effie’s. He smiled and the edges of his eyes crinkled.
The sea was chilly but not as cold as it would be by morning. It felt refreshing. Invigorating. Her skin came alive. Effie wished she could lift her skirts and wade in as deep up her legs as Lachlan. Wished she could spread her arms and fall backwards into the waves.
“Morna loves the sea,” she said, smiling at him. “She makes it her purpose to reach it at every opportunity.”
Lachlan looked at her sharply.
“Has she managed it?”
Effie took a step back, surprised at his sudden ferocity. “I take her to play in the waves. It doesn’t do any harm. She was so determined it seemed cruel to deny her. She wanted to do it so much I was worried that forbidding it would lead to her trying all the more.”
“Did something happen to make you suspect that?” Lachlan asked. His voice was soft once more, inviting her to tell him.
Effie gazed out to sea as she told him of the terrible day when she had lost sight of Morna and how the child had almost gone headfirst into the foam. While she spoke, Lachlan stood rigidly, face carved from granite and eyes never leaving the sea.
“I’m so sorry,” Effie whispered. “I should never have taken my eyes of her. If she had drowned…”
She swallowed the end of the thought, a painful knot tied in her throat. She stumbled back to the rock and sat on it, her head in her hands. Warm tears bubbled at her eyes. She felt Lachlan draw close and looked up.
“It wasn’t your fault. It is in her nature. I had hoped…”
He broke off and gazed out to sea. “It matters not. The fault is mine.”

Giveaway :

Win a signed copy of Daughter of the Sea (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions – UK 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

#BookBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : CORINTH 2642 AD #CORINTH2642AD – Bindiya Schaefer @bindiyaschaefer #BindiyaSchaefer #SciFi

– ‘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 ‘CORINTH 2642 AD’ book blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Bindiya is a former defense and aerospace journalist. Before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, she lived in Dubai, UAE and Bangalore, India.
When she’s not writing, she’s camping in the California wilderness (where she also writes) with her husband and baby-dog.

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Synopsis :

A lot has changed in 2642 AD. Chocolate has become extinct, Hyperloops have replaced cars and wearable technology is the norm. But nothing has changed more than humans themselves. People no longer identify themselves as White, Asian, Brown or Black. Because of globalization and war, no one person is ethnically like the other because they are a beautiful mix of every race that existed before them.
This is the world that Cara yearns to escape to. She can no longer be a part of the pureblood, white supremacist cult (led by her imperial grandfather Julius Bull) where she was raised, so she and other young people make a run for it.
Desperate to keep Cara’s dissidence quiet for fear of losing face and potentially inciting a power struggle against his own police force, Bull calls in some favors and requests Jimmy Matoo, a Special Investigator from San Francisco, to help him.
For Matoo, the visit to Corinth, Oregon, is eye-opening. He has never seen a white person before, at least not in real life. He quickly discovers that to keep their bloodline pure and grow the populace, the surviving colonies have been intermarrying to keep producing the next generation of survivors. And, that’s not all. His investigation reveals dozens of young colony members have gone missing over the years, and some have been found dead on the outskirts of Corinth.
With the clock ticking, Matoo’s missing persons investigation soon becomes a fight for survival—turns out the residents don’t like a brown fellow in their midst. Can he find Cara, figure out what happened to his brother, and save the leader’s family from the cabal terrorizing Corinth before it’s too late? Maybe. But first, he must find out who in the colony has the means and connections to smuggle the dissidents out without being detected because it could be the difference between life and death.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BookBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : Mistress Of Rye #MistressOfRye – Emma Reid #EmmaReid @mkwebsiteandseo #RegencyRomance

– ‘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 ‘Mistress Of Rye’ book blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

//

Synopsis :

In this intriguing Regency romance, Lady Katherine’s stepbrother has tried to assault her in order to force a marriage and obtain her inheritance. She mistakenly believes she has killed him in self-defense, and so, she has to run away to escape the gallows. She must avoid scandal at all costs. She must protect the family name so her brother, who is missing in the Napoleonic wars, can return home to claim his rightful inheritance. Seeking shelter from the law, Lady Katherine offers herself as mistress to the enigmatic Duke of Rye, a national hero. She plans to leave the country the moment her brother is back on English soil. The duke, himself traumatized by the war, takes her as his mistress, thinking she is an imposter or an actress. But, as he comes to appreciate her noble qualities and her courage, he cannot help falling in love with her in spite of the difference in their station. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her, both her brother and the duke belong to a secret group within the War Office. The group is currently focused on rescuing her brother, while also searching for his missing sister who has suddenly disappeared. No one in the group suspects that the missing sister is the duke’s new, mysterious mistress. But what will happen when they do? What will happen when the duke finds out he is harboring a murderess?

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #HarlequinTradePublishingBlogTour @htp_books / #Excerpt : Cry Wolf #CryWolf – Hans Rosenfeldt @Hanover_Square @HarlequinBooks

– ‘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 ‘Cry Wolf’ blogtour, organized by Harlequin Trade Publishing Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Hans Rosenfeldt is a Swedish screenwriter, radio presenter, novelist and actor. He created the Scandinavian series The Bridge, which is broadcast in more than 170 countries, as well as the ITV/Netflix series Marcella.

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Synopsis :

Title: Cry Wolf
Author: Hans Rosenfeldt
ISBN: 9781335425713
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
Publisher: Hanover Square Press

A DEAD WOLF
A DRUG DEAL GONE WRONG
A LETHAL FEMALE ASSASSIN
The first book in a new series by Hans Rosenfeldt, creator of the TV series The Bridge as well as Netflix’s Emmy Award–winning Marcella.
Hannah Wester, a policewoman in the remote northern town of Haparanda, Sweden, finds herself on the precipice of chaos.
When human remains are found in the stomach of a dead wolf, Hannah knows that this summer won’t be like any other. The remains are linked to a bloody drug deal across the border in Finland. But how did the victim end up in the woods outside of Haparanda? And where have the drugs and money gone?
Hannah and her colleagues leave no stone unturned. But time is scarce and they aren’t the only ones looking. When the secretive and deadly Katja arrives, unexpected and brutal events start to pile up. In just a few days, life in Haparanda is turned upside down. Not least for Hannah, who is finally forced to confront her own past.

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Excerpt :

Everything had gone according to plan.
First their arrival.
Be the first in place, park the jeep and black Mercedes be-side each other on a rutted clearing in the middle of the forest, used by lumber trucks and harvesters for loading and U-turns, then position the coolers to face the narrow forest road they’d just come down. The ruts beneath them, the nocturnal birdsong around them, the only thing besides absolute silence until the sound of engines announced the arrival of the Finns.
A Volvo XC90, also black, drove up. Vadim watched as Artjom and Michail took their weapons and left the Mercedes, while he and Ljuba climbed out of their jeep. He liked Ljuba, thought she liked him, too. They’d gone out for a beer together a few times, and when they asked her who she wanted to drive with, she’d chosen him. For a moment he considered telling her to wait in the car, take cover, say he had a premonition this might go wrong. But if he did that, what would they do afterwards?
Run away together? Live happily ever after?
That would be impossible once she knew what had happened. She’d never betray Valerij; she didn’t like him that much, he was sure of it. So he said nothing.
The Volvo stopped a few meters in front of them, the engine switched off, the doors opened and four men stepped out. All of them armed. Looked around suspiciously as they fanned out.
Everything was still.
The calm before the storm.
The Finnish leader, a large man with a buzz cut and a tribal tattoo wrapped around one eye, nodded to the smallest of the four Finns, who holstered his gun, walked behind the Volvo and opened the trunk. Vadim also backed up a few steps to un-lock his jeep’s trunk.
So far everything was going according to their plan.
Time for his plan.
A bullet from a rifle with a silencer on it entered just beneath the eye of the large Finn closest to the car. The sudden explosion of bone, blood, and brain matter as the projectile made its way through the back of his head made the others react instinctively.
Everyone started shooting at the same time.
Everyone except Vadim, who threw himself behind the shelter of the jeep.
The man with the tattoo on his face roared loudly, hugged his trigger, and immediately took down Michail with four or five shots to the chest. Artyom answered with gunfire. The tattooed man was hit by two bullets, staggered back, but re-gained his balance and turned his weapon on Artyom, who threw himself behind the cover of the Mercedes, but it was too late. Several bullets hit his legs from the hip down. Shrieking in pain, he landed on dry gravel. The tattooed man continued bleeding, roaring, and shooting as he moved toward the Volvo, determined to make it out of here alive. But a second later he fell to his knees gurgling, let go of his weapon and pressed his hands to what was left of his neck.
Somewhere more shots were fired, more screams could be heard.
Artjom slid up into a sitting position, while trying to stop the blood that gushed from his thigh in the same rhythm as his racing heartbeat. Then another series of shots, and he went still, his gaze turning from desperation to emptiness, his lips forming some soundless word before his head slumped onto his chest.
The third Finn had thrown himself into the cover of a shallow ditch with a good view beneath the parked cars. A round of concentrated fire from his semi-automatic had hit Artjom in the back. Vadim realized that he, too, must be visible and flung himself around the jeep to hide behind one of its large wheels. When he got to the side of the car, he saw the smallest of the four Finns lying dead on the ground.
Ljuba wasn’t visible.
Another round of shots sounded from the ditch at the forest edge and bullets hit the metal on the back of the wheel, puncturing the tire. One went through the rubber and hit him in the side, just above his butt. The pain was a white-hot flash through his body. He closed his eyes, swallowed a scream, leaned his forehead against his knees and made himself as small as he could. As he slowly let the air in his lungs out again, he realized the gunfire had ceased.
It was silent. Completely silent.
No movement, no voices, no roar of pain or betrayal, no bird-song, nothing. As if the very place itself were holding its breath.
He peeked out carefully from behind the jeep.
Still silent. And still.
Slowly, slowly he raised his head for a better view. The sun hung below the trees, but still above the horizon; the scene in front of him was bathed in that particular soft, warm light of the midnight sun.
He rose cautiously to his feet. A bullet was still lodged in his muscle and tissue, but it didn’t seem to have damaged any vital organs. He pressed his hand to the wound. Blood, but no more than he could stop with a compress.
“Ljuba?”
Ljuba was leaning against the rear bumper of the Finn’s car, breathing shallowly, the front of her gray T-shirt beneath her jacket soaked in blood, the gun still in her right hand. Vadim assessed the damage. The blood was running out at a steady rate, so it hadn’t nicked an artery. No air bubbles, so her lungs were probably intact. She might very well survive.
“Who shot us?” she asked, out of breath, grabbing Vadim’s jacket with a bloody hand. “Who the fuck started shooting?”
“He’s with us.”
“What? What do you mean with us? Who is he?”
“Come on.”
He gently took the gun away from her, pushed it into his pocket before standing up, leaned forward and helped her to her feet. She grimaced from the pain of exertion but managed to stand. With his arm around her waist and her arm around his shoulders, they walked out into the open area between the cars. When they reached the rise where the tattooed Finn had fallen, Vadim stopped, gently removed Ljuba’s arm, released his supportive grip from around her waist, and backed away with two large steps.
“I’m sorry…”
Ljuba’s gaze was uncomprehending at first, but she soon realized what was happening, why he’d brought her here. Seconds later a bullet pierced her temple and she was thrown to the ground.
Vadim pressed his hand to the wound on his lower back and stretched, let out a deep sigh.
In the end, everything had gone according to plan.

Excerpted from Cry Wolf by Hans Rosenfeldt, Copyright © 2022 by Hans Rosenfeldt. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 / #QandAs : Strangers’ Kingdom – Brandon Barrows @BrandonBarrows @brwpublisher

– ‘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 ‘Strangers’ Kingdom’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Brandon Barrows is the author of the novels STRANGERS’ KINGDOM, BURN ME OUT, and THIS ROUGH OLD WORLD. He has published over seventy stories, selected of which are collected in the books THE ALTAR IN THE HILLS and THE CASTLE-TOWN TRAGEDY. He is an active member of Private Eye Writers of America and International Thriller Writers and was a 2021 Mustang Award finalist.

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Synopsis :

Title: Strangers’ Kingdom
Publication Date: August 25th, 2021
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Politically blacklisted detective Luke Campbell’s last chance in law-enforcement is a job with the police department of rural Granton, Vermont. It’s a beautiful town, home to a beautiful, intriguing girl who’s caught his eye, and it’s a chance at redemption. Even if his new boss seems strange, secretive, and vaguely sinister, Campbell is willing to give this opportunity a shot. And no sooner does he make that decision than the first in a series of murders is discovered, starting a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone in this once-quiet town…

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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! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve been writing stories for my own enjoyment pretty much as long as I can remember. About twelve-thirteen years ago, an opportunity arose and I started writing comic books professionally. Eventually, I transitioned to (or perhaps back to is a better way to put it), writing prose.
I still write comic books now and again, and have roughly a hundred individual issues’ worth to my name, but mostly I write crime, mystery, and western short stories and novels now.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
When I was a kid, I was really big into JRR Tolkein. I read The Hobbit first when I was in third grade and then struggled through The Lord of the Rings trilogy in fourth and fifth. I had a teacher who encouraged my love of literature and loaned me a lot of classics like The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. They were pretty tough reads for a kid that age, but from there, I branched out and found my own loves, which included Robert Howard, Piers Anthony, and a lot of science fiction paperbacks.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point as an adult, I mostly stopped reading horror and fantasy and sci-fi (though I still do occasionally) and moved on to crime, mystery, and western fiction. Some of my all-time favorite authors in those genres are Gil Brewer, Ross MacDonald, and Louis L’Amour.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’m not sure. Honestly, most of my favorite authors are dead, which limits my choices, unless I delve into necromancy. If I could pick anyone, though, I’d be interested in talking to Ross MacDonald about plot construction. His Lew Archer novels have some of the most complicated, deeply layered mysteries I’ve ever encountered – often to the point where you might think, “He can’t possibly wrap this all up in the pages we’ve got left.” And yet he does, every time, and the solutions to his mysteries are always so logical that you’re left wondering how he managed to pull all those threads together so brilliantly.
Plot is the most difficult part of writing for me. I can draft prose until the cows come home, but I often struggled when it comes to the question of “What next?” or “How do I tie this all together?” Speaking with a true master of complex plotting would be very interesting to me.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Most of my characters are not people I’d want in my home truthfully, haha. If I chose one, though, I think Luke Campbell, the protagonist of my most recent novel, Strangers’ Kingdom, would probably make the best guest. He’s a lifelong professional detective and I’m sure he has plenty of interesting stories even I haven’t heard.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not rituals, per se. I like to write in as quiet an environment as possible, so no music or anything like that. I know many people keep the radio or TV on in the background while they work, but I find it distracting.
I do drink most of my coffee while writing, though, if that counts as a habit. I also spend a fair bit of time with my favorite online thesaurus, looking for alternatives to some of my most used words so I’m not repeating myself too often.
That’s pretty much how I write: quiet, coffee, and my trust thesaurus.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Well, no, I’ve only killed off a couple people I know in stories, and they were both crappy neighbors, so nobody I actually like will have to worry.
Ideas and plots can be tough for me. Often, titles pop into my head and I try to work out a story that will fit the title. I find, ironically, that I get my best ideas for novels when I’m working on a short story and vice versa, though. If I just sit around looking for ideas, I won’t find any, but if I’m occupied, whatever part of my subconscious is responsible for that stuff usually comes up with something or other.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
It depends. I would say 70% pantser, but as ideas come to me I often jot them down and arrange them into a semblance of an outline so I don’t forget them.
The only novel I’ve written entirely from an outline was Burn Me Out, my most hardboiled noir novel to date. That one the ideas came to me so quickly, I had to sit down for a couple days and just bullet stuff out. As I was doing that, bits of dialogue and descriptive passages came to mind and I added those, as well. By the time the outine was done, I had a really solid skeleton for the novel and the prose was very easy to write. The first draft only took about five weeks.
On the other hand, Strangers’ Kingdom took me close to three years, with a lot of breaks, because I kept coming to points in which I really had no idea what came next. I finally got sick doubting myself and just powered through, deciding that it didn’t matter what I put into a first draft, as long as I had a first draft. When I went back to it a few months later, I was quite pleased to discover that most of what I wrote during that period wasn’t bad at all.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Read a lot and write a lot.
Read everything until you know exactly what speaks to you personally. I’ve met many would-be authors that don’t seem to actually like reading that much, but like the idea of thinking of themselves as a writer. If you don’t like reading much, you won’t like writing, either.
And it should go without saying, but write as much as you can. A lot of people love the idea of their own stories, but don’t want to put in the work to craft them. Telling people about all your great ideas may temporarily scratch the storytelling itch, but it doesn’t amount to anything if you never write the book.

What are your future plans as an author?
To keep writing as much as possible, hopefully expand my audience. I have four novels either under consideration or under contract with publishers, so the next two years or so will be a pretty busy time.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Sure. How does this grab you?

When I arrived on Rosalie’s street, fifteen minutes after her call, I saw exactly who she was worried about and exactly why. He stood just outside the circle of light cast by a streetlamp, hanging around the mouth of an alley. I watched for a few minutes and he did nothing at all – not so much as light a cigarette, shuffle his feet or cough. He wasn’t worried about seen.
I exited the vehicle and approached.
Closer up, I could see he was a sickly thin young man, skin so pale it almost seemed to glow in the dimness. He wore a faded blue hooded sweatshirt that hung from him like laundry on a line and his hair was short, mussed and unwashed, making it look like blond barbed wire. I’d have bet his diet consisted largely of amphetamines.
The guy’s eyes, watchful and wary, scanned me as I approached. I flashed my badge and said, “Evening.” That was all it took. Those animal-alert eyes went wide and his fist swung out in an arc and then he was gone, rabbiting towards the nearest hole.
My feet pounded the pavement, echoing sharply in the narrow, trash-strewn space, all senses searching for signs of the danger I was rushing headlong into. Light beckoned from a short distance and after a moment, I burst out into the next street. Even the soft yellow glow of sodium lamps seemed brilliant after the pitch-dark of the alley and, as my eyes adjusted, I turned left then right, spotting a figure disappearing around the corner. I followed, telling myself I was being stupid, telling myself I should go back to Rosalie Stompanato’s, make sure she was all right, call it in, ask for additional officers, all while my feet took me closer to where I saw that retreating form.
I turned the corner, saw a flash duck around yet another corner. At the mouth of the alley, I allowed myself an instant’s rest before entering. Even from the street, it was clear this was a dead-end. There was nothing but darkness down this brick corridor – the alley was blocked up midway down.
I drew my weapon, fumbled in my coat pocket for my penlight, flicked it on, then aimed it and the weapon down the length of the alley, sweeping the narrow width of the space.
“C’mon out. There’s nowhere left to go.”
My heart pounded in my chest and there was a stitch in my side, but I felt good all the same. Stompanato’s intimidation failed, and I caught his crony in the act. Witness tampering charges would be a bonus year or two on Stompanato’s sentence.
There was a rustle behind a pile of discarded cardboard boxes. “Let’s go,” I commanded. “Now.”
The figure rose like a scarecrow in a concrete field, arms lifted in a half-hearted pose of surrender. I flicked the flashlight’s beam upwards; he shied away, blinded by the brilliance, his head turning and one arm flying up to protect his eyes. I shifted the light so I could hold both it and my weapon in my right hand then started forward, plucking a pair of handcuffs from my pocket. With my left hand, I reached for the man’s wrist. Up close, I could see he was barely more than a kid.
“You’re under arrest for disobeying a lawful command, resisting an officer and—“
I never got to finish.
The fist I’d narrowly avoided before thrust out again, catching me hard in the right shoulder, a wave of pain and shock jolting down the length of my arm. He was a lot stronger than his frailness suggested. He followed up with a two-handed push that sent me spinning off to one side, banging my other shoulder off of the rough stone wall of the alley, before rushing past, trying again to escape.
I threw out a hand, grabbing a fistful of his sweatshirt. It stopped him, but only long enough for him to half-turn and chop an open-handed blow down onto my elbow. Fresh pain skittered along my nerves, but I didn’t let go, instead raising my right hand, only to discover it was empty. Somewhere in those chaotic two or three seconds, I dropped my gun.
I cursed and struggled for a better grip on the kid’s clothing. He was thrashing wildly, yelling, “Let go! Let go!” his voice shrill and his mind going into panic mode. The decision between fight or flight was no longer his to make, but it seemed as if he was trying to choose both options simultaneously.
“Settle down! Cut it out, God damn it!” I snarled, freeing one hand to cuff him alongside the back of the neck, trying to startle him into a semblance of calm. “Nobody’s going to hurt you, but you’re digging yourself one hell of a hole!”
He ignored the words and continued to flail around. I tried to tackle him around the waist and ended up dragging both of us down to the filthy floor of the alley, where we rolled around for a few seconds, trading a punch a two. We were making enough noise that lights in the surrounding buildings came on. I hoped someone would have the sense to call 911, but even if they did, I knew nobody would arrive soon enough to help me get out of this. I was on my own.
Just as the thought flew through my head, the kid stopped moving. I allowed myself to hope he was coming to his senses at last. Then his hand shot out, straining to reach beyond my head, and when it came back into view, his fingers were wrapped around a chunk of brick the size of a small loaf of bread. He reared up, holding the thing above his head, prepared to end things between us. In the scant light of the nearly forgotten flashlight, his eyes looked huge and empty.
My own eyes flew all around, frantic, searching for a way out. The other man was straddling my chest and his knees kept me effectively pinned to the ground, but my arms were free and my fingers scrabbled across the rough, cold ground, searching for something, anything, to break this deadlock. They closed around something even colder, something metallic and familiar.
As the brick came down, my fist came up, and the explosion of noise and light only inches from my face all but knocked me senseless.

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

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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 #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #PromoPost : Scattered Legacy: Murder in Southern Italy – Marlene M. Bell @ewephoric

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

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Today I’m on the ‘Scattered Legacy: Murder in Southern Italy’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

author-picMarlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer, artist, and sheep breeder who resides in beautiful East Texas. Her renown sheep photographs grace the covers of many livestock magazines.
The third book in the Annalisse Series releases in 2021. Scattered Legacy is an international mystery with light touches of romance. Stolen Obsession and Spent Identity, books one and two, received numerous awards including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery in 2020. Her mysteries can be found at marlenembell.com.
Marlene also writes children’s books. Her first children’s picture book, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! is based on true events with Natalie from the Bell’s ranch. It’s a touching story of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb. Mia and Nattie is honored to be a Mom’s Choice Gold Award winner.
Marlene shares her life with her husband and a few dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.

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Synopsis :

Title: Scattered Legacy: Murder in Southern Italy
Publication Date: November 4th, 2021
Genre: Mystery / Suspense

Cover(5)To outsiders, the relationship between Manhattan antiquities assessor Annalisse Drury and sports car magnate Alec Zavos must look carefree and glamorous. In reality, it’s a love affair regularly punctuated by treasure hunting, action-packed adventure, and the occasional dead body.
When Alec schedules an overseas trip to show Annalisse his mother’s birthplace in Bari, Italy, he squeezes in the high-stakes business of divesting his family’s international corporation. But things go terribly wrong as murder makes its familiar reappearance in their lives – and this time it’s Alec’s disgraced former CFO who’s the main suspect.
Accompanied by friend and detective Bill Drake, Annalisse and Alec find themselves embroiled in a behind-closed-doors conspiracy that threatens the reputation and legacy of Alec’s late father – linking him to embezzlement, extortion, and the dirty business of the Sicilian Mafia. The search for the truth sends the trio straight into riddles, secrets, and an historic set of rosary beads. Annalisse leads Alec toward a discovery that is unthinkable, and events that will change their futures forever.
Scattered Legacy is the third in Marlene M. Bell’s thrilling Annalisse series, which weaves romance, crime, and historical mystery into addictive tales to instantly captivate fans of TV show Bones or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

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Giveaway :

US Only!
A Signed Copy of Scattered Legacy – The Annalisse Series
Annalisse Series Flashlight (red)
Biking in Tuscany Wooden Puzzle
Tessilechiti Italian Designer Throw Blanket (51×67 inches) Made in Italy

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#BookBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : Cold Quarry #ColdQuarry – Brent Ladd @BrentLoefke #BrentLadd @BookBuzznet #BookBuzz #Thriller

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

Cold Quarry Blitz Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Cold Quarry’ book blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

6f2aa398b3284648ae6e96ffdbfcc359Brent Ladd is a successful television commercial director, writer, with hundreds of TV commercials to his name. He is an avid outdoorsman and a Beach Volleyball addict. His work has allowed him to visit some remarkable people and locals around the globe and he loves to include them in his writing. Codi Sanders is built from the many amazing women I have had the pleasure of working with. She defines determination and independence, while still trying to find a place for her heart.

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Synopsis :

a18c801c6f2849c393a6e8bc7b06e123A cold case from the 60’s comes back to life when a body is discovered in the jail of a small town long buried under a manmade lake.
In Cold Quarry, Codi and her team at the FBI Special Projects division must peel back the evidence and follow a twisting path to uncover a clever terror plot that is nearly complete. With a ticking clock and most of the odds against them, they must fight for every inch to stop those responsible and save thousands of innocent lives.

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Other Books in the Codi Sanders Thriller Series
Terminal Pulse
Blind Target

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds