Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017 Book 65: THE UNDATEABLE by Sarah Title

The Undateable (Librarians in Love #1) by Sarah Title 
ISBN: 9781420141832 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781420141849 (eBook)
ASIN: B01GBAG6MI (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Publication Date: February 28, 2016



One San Francisco librarian would rather check out a good romance than dare to experience it herself. Luckily, her own next chapter is full of surprises…
Melissa "Bernie" Bernard isn't familiar with fame. After all, she works at a college library with hardly any visitors. But when a video of a marriage proposal in her stacks goes viral, it's not the bride and groom who capture the Internet's attention. It's Bernie—caught rolling her eyes. Now, just as she's ready to go into hiding and permanently bury her nose in a book, a handsome reporter appears with a proposal of his own…
If Colin Rodriguez doesn't do something big to attract new readers, his boss will hire someone else to dole out dating advice. Determined to prove he's an expert at romance—despite his own pitiful track record—he pitches a story: He will find dates for the undateable. Specifically, for the now-infamous, love‑hating librarian at Richmond College.
Even though Bernie doesn't believe in happily-ever-afters, she's not one to resist a good challenge. Yet with one disastrous date after another, she's ready to give up. Until Colin proves he'll do anything to find her the perfect match—even if it means putting himself up for the role…



Imagine living a quiet life as a college librarian. One day you go into work, a flash mob descends on your workplace, a co-worker is proposed to, and the only thing that comes out of this (other than the co-worker becoming engaged) is an internet meme featuring your face. That's exactly what has happened to Melissa "Bernie" Bernard. Her quiet and somewhat reserved, and yes, somewhat stereotypical life as a librarian has been destroyed. She is now the butt of librarian jokes due to the viral "disapproving librarian" meme. If that's not bad enough, her boss has made bookmarks and other promotional items featuring the meme to take advantage of the free publicity. The only thing left for Bernie is to take a few days off work. Happy to stay at home with her elderly neighbors and their adorable poodle, Starr, Bernie is then asked to take part in a makeover and dating project for a local online magazine. Colin Rodriguez is a journalist at women's interest online magazine. His role is to provide the man's point-of-view on all things female. Now Colin's job might be on the line as the online magazine seems to want only one reporter and there's a young journalist on staff vying for Colin's job. Unbeknownst (great word) to most, Colin also operates an online advice blog as his alter-ego "Dear Maria." Colin's younger sister knows Bernie from college and before you know it, Bernie has committed to 30 dates in 30 days, a radical makeover (so long comfortable shoes), and a nosy journalist, Colin Rodriguez, tagging along documenting everything. Is it possible for Colin to find the perfect date for Bernie? Will this experience cause Bernie to turn her back on dating? Will Colin's career be saved? Can Colin take his own advice when it comes to work, life, and love?

The Undateable is the first book in a new series, Librarians in Love, by Sarah Title. Bernie enjoys wearing comfortable clothing and shoes and doesn't feel that women have to wear makeup in order to be considered attractive. Unfortunately, the online magazine doesn't agree. Bernie is pushed outside of her comfort zone with a new wardrobe, new lingerie, new shoes (that she can't walk in without falling), a new hairstyle, and makeup. You probably know this whole dating thing isn't going to go well, but reading about the dates and the date prep is often laugh-out-loud hilarious. Both Bernie and Colin are at turning points in their lives and it's fascinating reading about what happens next. (No, I'm not going to tell you what happens next. Read the book!) I enjoy reading romance as much as I enjoy reading mysteries and thrillers, and The Undateable was a fast-paced, engaging, and wholly enjoyable read. It's also pretty cool that Ms. Title included her poodle Starr as a character in the novel (trust me, read the book!). I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ms. Title provides stories that are smart, sassy, and sexy. Her female characters are unapologetic (and rightfully so) in their desire to live their lives on their own terms. Her characters are easy to relate to, the stories are plausible, and the settings are the perfect complement to the storylines. Yes, the books have HEA endings, but isn't that how romance stories are supposed to end?! If you've read any of Ms. Title's previous stories, you'll definitely want to grab a copy of The Undateable to read as soon as possible. If you haven't read any of Ms. Title's previous stories what are you waiting for? Seriously, I've recommended them to you repeatedly. Go, grab a copy of The Undateable, and spend a few hours smiling, laughing, and falling in love with her characters and story. I look forward to reading more in the Librarians in Love series. 

Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from the author for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."




I enjoyed reading The Undateable by Sarah Title so much that I'm giving away one print copy. This is an international giveaway and the only limitation is that BookDepository must ship to your country (check to see if your country is listed here: http://bit.ly/2lPL3RC). This giveaway runs from 12:01 AM ET on February 28, 2017, through 12:00 AM ET on March 7, 2017. The winner will be announced within 12-24 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Please note that this prize is being sent via BookDepository and shipping times will vary. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.




Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Book 62: SWEET LAKE by Christine Nolfi



Sweet Lake: A Novel (Sweet Lake #1) by Christine Nolfi 
ISBN: 9781503942516 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781536609264 (audiobook MP3)
ASIN: B01IH81XUM (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 
Publication Date: February 28, 2016


Linnie Wayfair knows just how many people are counting on her. But knowing doesn't make doing any easier.
Everyone in Sweet Lake, Ohio, wants her to muster all her business sense and return the Wayfair Inn to its former glory. Her parents hope she'll forgive her scoundrel of a brother and reconcile the family. The eccentric Sweet Lake Sirens want her to open the inn—and her heart—to new possibilities. And her hilarious lifelong friends Jada and Cat are dropping none-too-subtle hints for her to ignite a romance with Daniel Kettering, the sexy attorney who's been pining for her for years…
Now a shocking turn of events will open old wounds and upend the world Linnie has carefully built. She has to make changes quickly—and the results, though not entirely what she expected, might be what she's been yearning for all along.


Linnie Wayfair always grew up in the shadow of her older brother. Primarily because the Wayfairs were known to have only one child per generation and that child has always been a son. Her parents broke that tradition by having not only a second child but a daughter. It isn't that her parents don't love her exactly, it's just that tradition dictates the son takes over the management of the Wayfair Inn and they don't buck tradition. Linnie's parents don't seem to be overly concerned that their son took funds from the family and the Inn in order to leave town and start his own business elsewhere. Her parents won't even acknowledge that it has been Linnie that has kept the Inn operating for the past seven years bringing it back from the brink of bankruptcy. What's worse, is that her brother is back in town and even he doesn't seem to care or acknowledge that Linnie has kept things going all these years. Linnie's friends, the older ladies of the town known as the Sweet Lake Sirens, and her friend and probably-not-so-unrequited love interest, Daniel Kettering, all know and respect everything Linnie has and continues to do. Is it possible for Linnie to stand up for herself, confront her brother and parents about the Inn, and finally make a move on Daniel?

Just so you know, I absolutely love reading books by Christine Nolfi. Needless to say, when offered the chance to read and review her newest book I jumped at the chance. Sweet Lake was an incredibly fast-paced read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the small-town setting of Sweet Lake and the idea that everybody knows what's happening in their neighbor's lives, personal and business. I enjoyed the machinations and, yes, eccentricities of the Sweet Lake Sirens. I enjoyed getting to know Linnie and can't wait to really get a feel for her friends, Cat and Jada, as well as others in Sweet Lake. I truly felt for Linnie and wanted to smack her brother and parents at times. Sweet Lake was equal parts coming-of-age and romance for this reader. Ms. Nolfi has provided tons of drama, hints of intrigue, bits of humor, and romance (and the romance had its own dramatic moments). Yes, there's a lot more going on in this story...read the book to find out more! If you enjoy reading stories set in small towns or romance, then you'll definitely want to read Sweet Lake. If you haven't read stories set in a small town or a really good romance in awhile, then you'll also want to grab a copy of Sweet Lake to read. I am quite anxious to read the next installment of this new series and while awaiting that book, I'll be reading and rereading other books by Ms. Nolfi.

Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from the author for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Showcase: STOLEN by Carey Baldwin

Stolen

by Carey Baldwin

on Tour February 14 - March 3, 2017



Synopsis:


Stolen by Carey Baldwin

Is she missing…or a murderer?


When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family's Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn't so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn't have a deep, dark hole in her memory.
Now she's missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura's nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?


Book Details:


Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN:  0062495542 (ISBN13: 9780062495549)
Series: Cassidy & Spenser #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 




Read an excerpt:



Chapter One


Twilight
Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
    Consciousness was the enemy and Laura Chaucer its captive. No matter how badly she wanted to flee into a dark, unseeing void, the menacing chill of the knife pressed against her neck forced her to keep her chin high and her eyes open. As her pulse raged, pounding against the deadly blade, she wondered, horrified, if it was possible for her throat to slit itself.
    If only her mind would drop into an abyss. If only she could crawl into a black hole and escape awareness, at least then she wouldn't suffer. Cowardice dragged her eyelids shut.
    Stop running away.
    From deep within, a voice demanded she bear witness to her own death. Like broken wings beating against a gale, her eyelids fluttered up. Evil had been swirling around her for as long as she could remember, but she'd never had the courage to face it. Now, in her last moments, she must find the will. Before she left this twisted world, she needed to know the truth.

    Who are you?
    The answer she'd been running from her entire life loomed right behind her.
    But the knife prevented her from swiveling her head to confront the bastard. A defiant move like that would surely cost her whatever precious seconds she had left. His breath, warm on her cheek reeked of booze, its stench curdling in her already woozy stomach.
    Careful not to move her head, she braved a glance down and noted a wood floor.
    Where am I?
    A candle nub flickered in the dark; its yellow light illuminating patches of dust caked on an uneven plank tabletop. Bare log walls surrounded her. Eager for more clues, she sniffed. The scent of rain and earth hung heavily in the air. He must've stolen her from her room and brought her to a cabin—a primitive one.
    Who was he?
    You know, the voice within insisted. Stop pretending you don't.
    "I-I don't know anything," she answered, as if he and her thoughts were one and the same. "P-please, just let me go."
     The knife slipped across her throat, leaving fire trailing in its wake. Blood, warm and sticky, dribbled down her chest. Her head became heavy. The room spun. It would be so easy to let her chin fall, to drift into blessed unconsciousness, to leave it all behind.
    But that would mean dying the same way she'd lived: running from the truth.
    It's not too late. As long as you have one breath left, there's still time to change your craven ways.
    Watching the blood, already darkening from contact with the air, snake between her breasts, she took it all in, and a gasp agonized its way up her throat.
    She was naked.
    Bound around the waist, chest and ankles to a chair.
    It all seemed so…unreal. But the scrape of splintered wood beneath her bottom, the shivers that wracked her body from the frigid air, told her this was no dream. This wasn't another one of her ubiquitous nightmares.
    If she closed her eyes now, she'd never wake up.
    Her throat burned with the urge to scream. But sensing that might give him pleasure, she clamped her teeth together, stuffing her fear down deep. She inhaled a fortifying breath through her nose. Wiggled her freezing fingers. But when she tried to shift her arms into a more comfortable position, she found that they, too, were tied to the chair, just up to the elbows. He'd left her hands and lower arms free, giving her enough slack to cross her palms in her lap and cover herself. Tears of gratitude for this small kindness welled in her eyes.
    Maybe he of the knife had a tiny, shriveled semblance of a heart.
    He proved he did not by dragging the jagged blade across her neck again—a shallow retracing of its former path that produced exquisite pain and more hot red blood. The need to cry out shook her body so hard the legs of the chair rattled against the floor. Then he pressed the knife's point into the hollow of her neck—that spot that ought to be reserved for a lover's kiss. It was as if this monster could not decide whether he wanted to kill her with a long, decimating swipe or by a swift, stabbing impalement. She didn't know whether he was deliberately prolonging her agony or working up his nerve.
    A spasm of fear knotted her toes. Her vocal chords trembled from the impossible effort of restraint. Finally, she opened her mouth, releasing a hysterical noise.
    He wanted to hear her scream? Let him hear her laugh instead. Her pulse bounded harder against the blade, but she no longer feared the consequence.
    Whether he revealed himself to her or not, she suddenly didn't care. It didn't matter who he was. It only mattered who she was. Relief flooded her entire being, drenching her in joy. Her death would be a victory.
    Because it answered, once and for all, the question that had haunted her since the age of eight.
    She was not a murderer.


Excerpt from Stolen by Carey Baldwin.  
Copyright © 2017 by Carey Baldwin & WitnessImpulse. 
Reproduced with permission from WitnessImpulse. 
All rights reserved.





Kudos for Carey Baldwin:



Judgment, the first book in my Cassidy & Spenser Thriller series, has been named one of the "BEST BOOKS of 2014" by SUSPENSE MAGAZINE

Both Judgment & Confession are BOOKSELLERS BEST AWARD Finalists

Judgment is a DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MYSTERY/SUSPENSE Finalist and a SILVER FALCHION finalist.


Author Bio:


Carey Baldwin
Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She holds two doctoral degrees, one in medicine and one in psychology. She loves reading and writing stories that keep you off balance and on the edge of your seat. Carey lives in the southwestern United States with her amazing family. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and chasing wildflowers.

Catch Up With Ms. Baldwin On:





Tour Participants:







Giveaway:


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carey Baldwin and William Morrow | WitnessImpulse. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Stolen by Carey Baldwin. The giveaway begins on February 12th and runs through March 5th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Showcase: END OF THE ROAD by LS Hawker

End of the Road

by LS Hawker

on Tour January 30th - February 28, 2017



Synopsis:


End of the Road by L.S. Hawker

Great minds can change the world

or leave it in ruins . . .


When tech prodigy Jade Veverka creates a program to communicate with her autistic sister, she's tapped by a startup to explore the potential applications of her technology. But Jade quickly begins to notice some strange things about the small Kansas town just beyond the company's campus—why are there no children anywhere to be seen, and for that matter, anyone over the age of forty? Why do all of the people living here act uncomfortable and jumpy?
On the way home one night, Jade and her co-worker are run off the road, and their lab and living spaces are suddenly overrun with armed guards, purportedly for their safety. Confined to the compound and questioning what her employers might be hiding from her, Jade fears she's losing control not only of her invention, but of her very life. It soon becomes clear that the threat reaches far beyond Jade and her family, and the real danger is much closer than she'd ever imagined.


Book Details:


Genre: Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date:  January 31st 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 006243523X (ISBN13: 9780062435231)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 




Read an excerpt:



September 7

Jade Veverka unwrapped the frozen bomb pop she'd bought from the gas station on the corner of Main and 3rd and took a bite. She sat gazing at the pile of magazines on the barbershop coffee table while a rhythmic alarm-clock buzz went off in her head. Not an urgent warning, just buzz buzz buzz.
Her friend and coworker Elias Palomo sat in the barber chair, getting his customary fade crew cut, the same one he'd presumably sported since his plebe days at the Naval Academy. So the background to her mental alarm clock was an actual buzzing from the electric razor punctuated now by a sharp yip of pain from Elias.
"Sorry about that," the barber said.
Elias rubbed his ear, and Jade attempted to keep her face neutral, looking at his scowl in the mirror.
Buzz buzz buzz.
She leaned forward and fanned the magazines—Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated, ESPN—all this month's issues. Jade took another bite of bomb pop and grinned.
"What are you smiling at?" Elias grumbled, rubbing his nicked ear.
"I don't know how to tell you this," Jade said, "but you are not the center of my universe. I do occasionally react to things outside of you. I know it comes as a shock."
"Shut up," he said, his dark eyes flashing.
Jade stared now in fascination as the razor tracked upwards on Elias's skull, his glossy black hair—or what was left of it—uneven, his scalp an angry pink. This guy was the worst hair dresser Jade had ever seen. And the least talkative. In her experience, growing up in rural Ephesus, Kansas, barbers had always fit the stereotype—gregarious and gossipy.
Elias was the shop's lone customer, and only a few folks walked by outside the window, through which Jade could see the hardware store and the occasional slow passing car.
Buzz buzz buzz.
It struck Jade now that this was less a barbershop than what amounted to a barbershop museum, complete with an actor playing the part of the barber. She wanted to point this out to Elias, but it would mean nothing to him. He'd grown up in Reno, Nevada, a vast metropolis compared to Jade's 1200-population hometown an hour southeast of this one, which was called Miranda, Kansas.
Not only was this man not a barber, he wasn't a Kansan either, Jade would have bet money.
"Hey," she said to him. "What's your name?"
The man went on butchering as if she hadn't spoken. Elias's eyes met Jade's in the mirror, and his dark thick brows met on either side of a vertical crease, his WTF? wrinkle. He leaned his head away from the razor, finally making the barber pay attention.
"The lady asked you a question," Elias said.
Jade had to hold in a guffaw. This never failed to tickle her, him referring to her as a lady. No one other than him had ever done that before. Plus she loved the authoritative rumble of his voice, a trait he'd probably developed at Annapolis.
The barber froze, his eyes locked with Elias's. Weird.
"Need a prompt?" Elias said. "Your name."
The man cleared his throat.
"Is it classified?"
Jade did guffaw this time, and she watched the barber's jaw muscles compress as she clapped a hand over her mouth.
"My name's Richard."
"Hello, Richard, I'm Elias. This is Jade. We work out at SiPraTech."
Jade could see from Richard's face he knew very well where they worked. He nodded and got back to destroying the remains of Elias's hair.
"Whereabouts you from, Richard?" Jade said.
He pulled the razor away from Elias's head and blinked at her.
What in the world was this guy's problem?
Buzz buzz buzz.
Elias emitted a loud sigh, clearly exasperated by the guy's reticence, and waved a hand as if to say, "Carry on, barber-not-barber."
Jade laughed again.
"Here," Richard mumbled. "I'm from here."
Like hell. What was he, in the witness protection program or something?
And then it hit her. The magazines, every last one of them, was a current issue. In a barbershop. The place where back issues of magazines go to die.
She'd worked for SiPraTech just over three months now, and Miranda, the closest town, had always given her an itch. Something about it was slightly off, but she couldn't say what. She'd brought it up to her team members—Elias, Berko Deloatch, and Olivia Harman, and each of them had looked at her like she was schitzy. They all came from big cities, so Miranda struck them as weird in general.
Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz.
As if drawn by static electricity, her eyes tracked to the window where a man in mirrored shades peered into the barbershop. The man had a dark mustache and wore a blue baseball cap pulled low over the sunglasses.
What was he staring at? She glanced behind her, but there was nothing to see but a white wall. When she turned back, the man mouthed something at her, his exaggerated soundless enunciation wringing a sharp intake of breath from her.
"What?" Elias said in response to her gasp.
Was it her imagination, or did this man she'd never seen before say her name?
Jade Veverka.
She looked at Elias, and said, "There's a man out there—"


Author Bio:


LS HAWKER
LS HAWKER grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.

Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called "People Are So Stupid," edited a trade magazine and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.

She's got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters, and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland. She is the author of The Drowning Game, a USA Today Bestseller, and Body and Bone.

Visit Ms. Hawker's Website , her Twitter Feed , & her Facebook Page .




Tour Participants:

Visit the other tour participants for interviews, guest posts, reviews, & more great giveaways!







Check Out This Awesome Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for LS Hawker and William Morrow. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook Coupon for End of the Road by LS Hawker. The giveaway begins on January 24th and runs through March 2nd, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Blast: REVEALING NICOLA by Sam Cheever

Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever Tour Banner

Revealing Nicola

by Sam Cheever

February 21, 2017 Book Blast



Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever

Synopsis:



She has to overcome a lifetime of secrets…the shock of discovery.
He must protect a treasure that has turned passion to hate…reason to incoherence.
Poisoned by danger, intrigue, lust, and greed…their very survival is in the balance.
Can they endure the conspiracy and find love? And if they do…will it be enough?



Book Details:


Genre:Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Electric Prose Publications
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 183
ISBN: 978-1-63587-971-1
Series: La Fortuna DeVitis #1
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | iTunes  | Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:



A coughing sound engaged Franco's training and he had her on the ground beneath him before the second shot was fired.
The roast chicken exploded, sending shredded meat across the table and raining over them.
Nici's eyes were wide with fear. "What?"
"Stay down. Don't move."
He crawled off her, reaching for his piece as he positioned himself between the car and the table. From the trajectory of the shots, Franco figured the shooter had gone high, probably sitting in a tree to the south of their position. If Nic stayed down on the ground between the table and the Jeep she should be out of his range. But he had no intention of leaving her there.
He needed to get her into the car and out of that park as fast as he could.
Another shot sighed past, hitting the side of the car. Behind him, Nic yelped and he was afraid she'd been hit. "You all right?"
"Other than peeing myself? I'm just dandy. You need to get down, Franco. You're going to get shot."
He couldn't help smiling as his gaze slid slowly along the perimeter. "I'm the bodyguard, remember? I'm the one who's supposed to get shot."
"Don't even joke about that."
There! A dark form shifted between the branches of a tree, seventy-five yards away. Franco dived to the ground as three rounds peppered the table, spewing food in a messy arc around them. "Damn! This guy's good."
"Well yeah, I can see he's really pissed off at that potato salad."
Franco barked out a laugh. "Keep it down back there. I'm trying to concentrate."
"Well can you hurry? I really do have to pee and I'm thinking you don't want me to squat right here."
The words were light but her voice quavered with fear. He nodded. "You're right. Let's quit screwing around with these jerks. When I say 'go', I want you to roll over to the car and slide underneath it. Move as quickly as you can to the other side and climb in. Keep your head down."
"What about you?"
"I'll be right behind you."
"Okay."
Franco lifted his head so he could see the guy in the tree. He hadn't moved. He scanned the roads around the park and saw they were empty. Then he checked his magazine and found it half full. Hopefully it would be enough because his spare ammo was in the canvas bag in the back of the Jeep. He'd beat himself up for his carelessness later. At the moment he had bigger problems.
The SUV he'd seen driving past had pulled into position on the opposite side of the park, pinning them in.
"Franco?"
He slid back down, assessing his options. "No good. They've got the other side of the car covered now."
She sighed so long and hard he glanced her way. She was glaring at him. "I told you I needed my gun."
He shook his head, thinking fast. There had to be some way… Franco shoved at the picnic table but it was bolted down. Too bad, he thought, it would have made a good shield while they climbed into the car. His gaze caught on the trash can beside the table. It was metal, hopefully filled with a nice depth of neutralizing trash. It wasn't much but it was the best chance they had. "Okay, new plan. I'm going to lay down cover fire while you climb into the Jeep on this side. Lie down on the floor in the back."
"Then how are you going to get in?"
"I'm going to use that trash can as a shield."
Silence met his statement. "While shooting, opening the car door, and driving away?"
"I didn't say it was a good plan."
"Here's a better one. Give me the gun. I'll provide cover while you grab the can and we can both use it to get into the car."
"Not a chance."
"Dammit, Franco! What's the point in my having all this self-defense training if nobody will let me use it?"
"That's a last ditch plan."
"This is about as last ditch as it gets, homey."
He scrubbed a hand over his face. "I just gained new respect for your brother. If I was him I'd have introduced you to the nuclear wedgie at an early age."
"Give me the gun, Franco."
He would have liked to blow a hole in her plan. Unfortunately it was better than his. Dammit! "Okay. But try not to shoot me with it."
She took the gun, ejected the mag like an expert, checked the rounds and slammed it back home. Then she sat up and slid across the grass to the table, peering over it. "That's the shooter up there?"
"Yeah. You won't be able to hit him but…"
Nic settled the muzzle of the gun onto the table and closed one eye.
"You shouldn't close your eye…"
"Shut up, this works for me."
"Okay, whatever, shoot the bad guy in the tree. Not the good guy sprinting toward the can. Got it?"
"Shoot the mouthy bodynapper with the can and gain myself some peace and quiet. Got it."
"Lord help me."
"Just go already, before these guys get restless."
Right on cue, the Jeep jerked under a fresh round of bullets from the SUV. Franco glanced over the hood and saw that they were on the move. "The SUV's coming on. We've got to do this now."
"That's what I said," Nic murmured. She fired into the tree and Franco took off running.
Several more rounds sizzled through the air as he threw himself to the ground behind the can, some of them heading for him.
The can jerked under a couple of rounds, one of which went in high and passed straight through. There was a yelp behind him. Panic flared. "Nic?"
"I'm fine. He just stomped on my last nerve."
Franco grabbed the can and hunkered behind it as a fresh round of bullets slammed through the air toward the shooter in the tree. There was a yelp and a rifle pinwheeled through the air to the ground, followed by the darkly clad shooter.
"Well, damn."
"Lose the can, Martin. Here come the bad guys."
She opened the door and threw herself inside as the SUV barreled toward them, a gun sticking out of the front passenger side window. Franco flung himself into the Jeep, trying to keep low as he clambered into the driver's seat, and turned the key, gunning it forward as soon as the engine caught. Bullets continued to ping off the metal sides and back. A back window shattered and glass sprayed over them.
Franco headed for a copse of massive evergreens, figuring the guys in the SUV would have a harder time hitting them with a bunch of trees around. They slipped under the drooping branches and the shower of bullets stopped as they barreled across a thick carpet of dried needles. The sharp tang of evergreen filled the car as he took a turn on two wheels and headed toward the back of the park, keeping sight of the SUV driving alongside the thicket. The big car was managing to stay even with them and the occasional tree trunk exploded under a wayward bullet.
Nici's head popped up.
"Stay down."
"Hit the street, there's a delivery truck backing out of that driveway there."
She was right. If they could tuck in behind the truck…
"Hold on!" He jerked the wheel hard right and the passenger side door squealed as it scraped along a row of trunks with prickly branches. They emerged from the evergreen copse and hit a sidewalk, heading straight for a hydrant.
"Franco!"
He jumped as she squealed. "Stop that! You scared the crap out of me." He jerked the wheel and the car missed the hydrant by inches, heading for a fat gray squirrel holding an acorn, its shiny brown eyes wide.
"Franco!"
"Oh for god sakes!" He jerked the wheel again, barely missing the stupid rodent, and they dropped with a bang of tortured suspension into the street just as the boxy white truck started toward the intersection. Franco tucked the Jeep in on the opposite side of it, blocking them from the SUV's view, and took the first turn into a large subdivision as the truck lumbered on down the street.
A few quick turns later brought them out of the subdivision and Franco headed for the highway, the SUV nowhere in sight.


Excerpt from Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever.  
Copyright © 2017 by Sam Cheever. 
Reproduced with permission from Sam Cheever. 
All rights reserved.



Author Bio:


Sam Cheever
USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

If you haven't already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:


Newsletter: http://www.samcheever.com/newsletter.html Subscribe to Sam's newsletter and win a free copy of the fun and sexy Honeybun Fever Box Set
Text News Alerts: https://mobile-text-alerts.com/samnews
Website: www.SamCheever.com
Blog: http://samcheever.com/blog/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/samcheever
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamCheeverAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/samcheever
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/samcheever1/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/samcheever/



Blast Participants:







Don't Miss Your Chance to WIN!



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sam Cheever. There will be 1 winner of one (1) $20 Amazon.com gift card. The giveaway begins on February 19th and runs through February 27th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, February 20, 2017

Book Showcase: CARDIAC by Jeffrey Monaghan

Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan Tour Banner

Cardiac

by Jeffrey Monaghan

on Tour February 1-28, 2017



Synopsis:



Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan
Embattled CEO Jack Getty is nervous. This is his final chance to save his company. He is announcing his firm's breakthrough discovery at the world's largest annual biotech conference. A discovery that trials show will extend human life by 75%. But as Jack approaches the podium, he suffers a major heart attack and collapses on the stage, stunning the conference attendees.

Jack is rushed to the emergency room where surgeons implant the latest Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker, saving his life in the process. What Jack doesn't know, however, is that an underground hacking group has its sights set on manipulating his "secure" pacemaker to get information only he can provide. Despite the hackers unrelenting terror, Jack refuses to give them what they want and soon starts to uncover the true motives of this mysterious and powerful group.



Book Details:


Genre: Thriller
Publication Date: May 2016
Number of Pages: 230
ISBN: 1533641463
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Goodreads 




Read an excerpt:

(Mild profanity alert.)


Chapter 1


Jack dropped his cell phone into his pocket, took a deep breath and focused on the moment at hand. The lights on stage were intense, their heat radiating to the dark spot where he stood just behind a thick, dark curtain off stage. A deep, musty odor floated off. A smell that reminded him of his grandmother's sewing room. It was comforting during such an anxiety filled moment. He leaned closer, unaware, and took a deep breath. Then the stage exploded with light.
The energy and murmurs of the enormous crowd filled the auditorium. Jack's heart began to race with a nervous excitement. He had done this a dozen times, but this time he was literally going to change the world, and hopefully save his company at the same time. He closed his eyes and took a deep, slow breath. Deep inhale. Deep exhale. And again. Slow, deep inhale. Slow, deep exhale, pushing the recent phone conversation to the back of his mind. The moisture on his palms felt cool and the tips of his fingers, cold.
He concentrated on the moment as thoughts of his pending presentation repeated in his head. Introduction...industry direction...announce test results of groundbreaking new drug...then Algen's plans for the future...closing. Introduction...industry direction...announce DD13...Algen's plans for the future...closing. With this announcement, he was about to push his company to the forefront of the biotech industry, and garner worldwide recognition and influence for himself and Algen.
The waiting was the torturous part. Once he started speaking it always came together. In fact, once he began, he usually slipped his notes into his pocket after the first few minutes. It was a rush having the attention of thousands waiting on every word. In fact, he enjoyed speaking in front of large crowds far more than speaking in small groups. He could avoid questions in a large crowd by simply not asking for them. He could just keep speaking. Small groups were more intimate and Jack was not good at small talk. He did his best to avoid talking to others about his personal life.
The announcer's voice reverberated through the vast hall, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to thank you all for attending our 10th Annual ASR International Life Sciences and Biotechnology Conference." Jack rubbed his palms on his pants, standing just out of reach of the bright lights.
"As many of you know, this is a very exciting time in our industry. A time that has shown extraordinary advancement in our understanding of the fundamental biological mechanisms of human life. A time when major discoveries are coming at an increasingly accelerated rate. And a time that will be looked back on as the dawning of a new age in meeting the needs of patients and doctors across the globe."
Jack fiddled with the knot in his tie, wiggling it to make sure it was straight. He ran his palms down the front of his suit and tugged at the bottom of his jacket to eliminate imaginary creases. He stood waiting for his cue. As he waited, two sharp buzzes stung his thigh. He fumbled for the phone in his pocket.
"Crap!"
He slid the cool metal phone from his pocket and braced for more bad news. Instead, it was a text from his wife.
'Are you free? I have more questions about Miller'
'can't right now. about to go on stage'
'OK. Good luck. You'll do great.'
'will call you later'
Jack grinned and wished he could talk to his wife now, but there wasn't time. He allowed himself a moment. A moment to remember how lucky he was. His heart rate slowed and he felt calm. He reread the exchange with Cynthia as he noticed the subtle aroma of the stage curtains again. His eyes closed and he tipped his head back. She had always believed in him. Even when he told her about the times when he drank too much and ended up on the streets. Even when he didn't believe in himself. She was the talented one, an amazing writer. But it was always she that insisted he was the one who capable of doing big things. Jack was not so sure back then. But here he was, about to do something unimaginable.
A light tap on the shoulder startled Jack. A thin, dark-haired young man stood beside him. A large identification badge hanging around his neck. He looked like a local college kid, called to work at the convention center whenever there was a big conference in town. He wore the basic conference employee uniform. A black t-shirt and khakis. The name tag hanging from his neck read Zachary Dietrich, 10th Annual ASR Conference Employee.
"Don't forget this, Mr. Getty. You know how to use it, right?" The young man handed Jack a small remote that would allow him to change the slides in his presentation.
"Oh shoot, thank you..." Jack looked at the employee's name tag, "...Zachary. That would have been a little embarrassing getting stuck on the first slide."
"I'm sure you would have figured something out, sir."
"Well, I appreciate the thought, but you can't always save someone from themselves."
The young man smiled. "Is there anything else I can get for you, Mr. Getty? Would you like some water?"
"I think I'm good for now, thank you."
"I don't mean to be pushy, sir, but I highly recommend at least one drink." Zachary lifted a steel thermos. "It's warm water with a little lemon. My public speaking professor recommends it. It helps with dry mouth and cuts through any mucus buildup in your throat. It's awesome."
"Well, okay, just a quick sip."
The young stagehand unscrewed the top and handed the thermos to Jack. Jack took it and tipped it to his lips. The young man was right. The warm, slightly sour water provided immediate relief to his parched mouth. Jack took a second drink.
"Thank you, Zachary," Jack said as he handed the thermos back to the stage hand. "I appreciate your help."
"No problem, Mr. Getty. Good luck, you're going to do great," replied the youthful man, visibly pleased that he was able to help the man of the hour. Jack smiled as he watched the young, go-getter scurry off to attend to other business. He turned his attention back to the stage.
"And we are so thankful to the city of Baltimore for making us feel so welcome." The speaker clapped in appreciation and the crowd joined him with pleasant applause. Without thinking, Jack applauded as well.
"We have a number of excellent speakers over the next few days. And I will get to those in a few moments. But first, I'd like to introduce one of the top leaders in our industry. He's a true innovator and respected member of our community. His company, Algen Incorporated, is leading the way in minimizing and reversing the effects of Alzheimer's and other age related diseases. Please help me welcome the CEO of Algen, Mister Jack Getty!" The speaker reached his hand out towards the side of the stage, inviting Jack to come out and join him. Jack put on a smile and headed out into the lights; confident, adrenaline pumping through his veins and heart pounding in his chest. He was about to shock the world.
The crowd stood and cheered. Jack raised his right hand in acknowledgement, "thank you" he mouthed, walking onto the stage. The spotlights caused him to squint as the crowd roared in the darkness just beyond their hot, white brilliance. Jack turned back towards the speaker and continued walking, hand extended for a firm handshake. As he moved across the stage, his vision blurred. He opened his eyes wide and then squeezed them closed for a moment.
"What the..." Jack murmured.
When he opened them the speaker split in two, then four, then dozens of images swirled in front of him. Another step and now his chest began to tighten. Jack moaned, putting both hands on his chest. He blinked again. His vision began to fade and the muscles in his chest squeezed ever tighter. A heaviness pulled him towards the floor. Gasping for air, Jack struggled to keep his balance.
His next step became a lunge and he felt himself falling, unsure of when and what he would hit. A desperate reach for the shape of a podium turned into a vain attempt to catch himself. His left hand grasped for the microphone, snagged it with two fingers, and pulled the entire podium to the floor as he fell. It smashed on the stage, breaking into large pieces. The squeal of feedback ripped through the auditorium speakers. Jack slammed into the floor next to the podium with a heavy thud. His vision focused long enough to catch a glimpse of a woman in the front row, hands over her ears grimacing at the screeching microphone. He heard screams in the distance.
A hushed murmur fell over the crowd. Jack fought to stay conscious; the heaviness in his chest forced the air from his lungs. The lights above flooded into his spinning vision. He lay flat on his back, struggling to fight off the darkness that threatened to consume him.
"Someone call an ambulance!"
The pain in Jack's chest shot down his left arm. I'm dying!
The silhouette of a person appeared above him and blocked out the light. "Jack, can you hear me? Jack? Shit!" Jack wanted to respond but couldn't. He was directing every effort to staying conscious.
"Shit, shit, shit," Jack heard the frantic, trembling voice say. There was a firm tugging around his neck and a second voice broke into the chaos.
"Loosen it as much as you can. And unbutton his shirt. Make sure he can breathe."
"I'm trying. Shit! Come on, Jack. Keep breathing." The tugging at his neck became more frenzied. The voices started to fade and Jack could feel himself losing awareness.
"We're losing him! We're losing him! Someone please..."
He could hold on no longer. Jack willingly gave in to the darkness that was pulling him away from the voices. His body relaxed and he felt at peace. He saw his oldest son as a toddler, football grasped with both hands and that lopsided smile that warmed his heart. He saw his youngest son putting on his baseball uniform for the first time. And a vision of his wife on their wedding day pulled him deeper into his memories and away from the desperate voices.
All the commotion provided a distraction for a young, red-headed man seated at the end of the aisle. He was thirty rows back near one of the exits.
"Everyone, please remain seated," came an announcement over the loudspeakers. The man ignored the instructions. He rose from his seat, doing his best not to draw attention. "Mr. Getty is getting the necessary medical assistance and will be okay." The red-headed man knew this wasn't true, at least not the part about Jack being okay. He slipped out the side doors and onto the busy streets of downtown Baltimore, anxious to blend in with the pedestrians. As he walked, he turned on his cell phone. He fought against his shaking fingers as he dialed. The phone rang.
"Yes, it's done...yes I'm sure...I saw him hit the stage...I don't know...they were tending to him as I left....I said I don't know...sorry, I'm not going back in there...no way...I don't care. I did what you asked and now I'm done."
The man ended the call, slid the phone back into his pocket, and looked around to see if anyone had listened to his conversation, still disturbed by what had taken place. The people on the street had more important concerns than eavesdropping on a conservatively-dressed college type, so he vanished into the afternoon sun.
After a few blocks, a park appeared on the opposite side of the street. The man looked both ways and careened across the street, horns honking at him as he went. His stomach churned with anxiety and he was not completely aware of his surroundings, focused on creating as much distance as possible between him and the conference hall. He needed to find a calm, secluded place to sit and catch his breath; and his sanity.
He entered the park and saw a worn, stone bench under a large elm tree about fifty yards away. He turned to see if anyone had followed him, then made his way to the tree and settled on the hard, cool bench. He took a deep breath. His right leg bounced, quick and uncontrollable.
"Son of a bitch..."
The man ran his hand up his forehead and grasped a handful of hair between his fingers in a tight fist. He breathed again. His leg stopped bouncing and he began to relax. Then, just as he had begun to calm down, his phone buzzed in his pocket.
"Hello...sorry, I didn't mean to hang up on you...the whole thing freaked me out. I've never seen anything like that in person. There's a big difference between seeing Darth Vader choke out Admiral Motti and seeing a real human being hit the ground like that. I had to get out of there...yes, I know. All I can tell you is that it worked. I'm guessing we'll be able to find out by the end of the day...Will do."
The red-headed man dropped his head, slumped his shoulders, and rested his elbows on his knees. A pleasant breeze rustled the leaves in the tree above.


Jeffrey MonaghanAuthor Bio:


Jeffrey Monaghan is a Silicon Valley executive with an unhealthy obsession for technology. He grew up in Southern California and currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children. Cardiac is his debut novel.

Catch Up with Jeffrey Monaghan on Facebook !





Tour Participants:

Check out the participants on this tour! Visit their sites for giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts, & excerpts!






Don't Miss Your Chance to WIN!



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeffrey Monaghan. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan. The giveaway begins on January 31st and runs through March 3rd, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway