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Spooky Southern Style Read

 

Southern Gothic, Mystery, Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Zimbell House Publishing

There was something very dark about Kitrina Katim’s part of the Big Thicket. It had taken Libby, one of Kit’s best friends, in the dark of night when Kit was just a girl. Kit couldn’t imagine leaving her life and he best friends, the Sisterhood of Cemetery Road. But leave them, she did. And she did not return until ten years later when she was forced back to sell her parent’s house.

Nothing had changed, including Mad Maddie McPhearson, who lived down the road, always sitting on her front porch, always trying to make Kit’s life miserable. Miss Maddie, an angry elderly woman, owned Bellewood, an old Plantation house that was crumbling around her. Kit’s attemps at kindsness only fed the old woman’s hatred. But Kit didn’t understand why. Not then anyway.

It was that hatred that awakened dark voices in the thicket and threatening figures that terrified Kit. Was it Libby? Had she come back to them? Or was it something else, something horrifyingly familiar?

Would it be the Sisterhood, or handsome Colton or his brother Jackson, who would come to Kit’s aid when the time came to do battle with the dark forces that were slowly overtaking the Big Thicket?

Other Books in the Ghosts of the Big Thicket series:

Ghosts of the Big Thicket, Book One

Publisher: Zimbell House Publishing

The House on Camp Ruby Road is the story of three generations of women living in the Big thicket of deep East Texas. It is a mystical place where Eden Devereaux, a college student in the early 1060s, is drawn into a haunting world full of damaged and grotesques people, reminiscent of Southern Gothic literature. After inheriting a crumbling southern homeplace in the Big Thicket upon the death of her mother, Eden must find out why she is entitled to it. But more importantly, who wants to make sure she doesn’t inherit it, and why.

The story weaves around three women; our heroine, who is searching for answers to a childhood dream; an elderly black woman who is living in the house and who holds the key to the mystery of the dream; and a young girl from the river bottom people, fleeing an unbearable life. They form an unlikely bond through adversity. Eden is aided in her search by handsome Jeff Callahan, who better understands the strange world in which she finds herself.

Will she be driven away by blood feuds, dark secrets, and ghosts? Or will she take a stand and claim what is hers? Through her true Texas grit and determination, she will find out the truth about who she really is, and who it is she truly loves.

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Ghosts of the Big Thicket, Book Two

Coming July 2021!

About the Author

Twyla Ellis is a descendent of pioneers who came to Texas in the 1840s, while Texas was still a Republic. She grew up roaming the dense pine forest in the Big Thicket around Livingston, Texas, at the home of her grandmother, great-aunts and uncles, and cousins. Her family was one of the founding families of Livingston, and her great-great-great grandfather was the first city treasurer in the 1840s. She fell in love with the haunting feel of the Thicket; its sounds and sights and smells. Her goal is to make people aware of the mystique and uniqueness of this novel part of Texas, one of only four rainforests in the U.S.

She holds a degree from Howard Payne University and has taught English and Music, and has been a member of NEA, TSTA, and TETA. She was a statewide officer and conference speaker with TETA (Texas English Teachers Association).

She has run her own children’s party and event planning business as well as Remembrances Antiques and Gifts in the Houston area. She is certified in computer graphic design and free-lances in her spare time.

Nothing makes her happier than road trips with her family to interesting old Texas towns. She loves church, antiquing, fossil hunting with her husband and sons (they hunt, she writes), Big Bend, the Alamo (Don’t all Texans?), exploring deserted buildings with a camera, and especially, the Big Thicket of deep East Texas.

If she had to give you a one-sentence bio of herself, she would probably say, “That obnoxiously joyful, hug driven, southern relative that you’d like to hide in the attic, just might be me.”

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Published: March 2021

Publisher: Bleaknorth Publishing

What terrible secrets lie inside those doors?

It was to be an ordinary holiday by the sea for the Miller family, a chance to bond after difficult times; but when they meet a local family, the Trevelyans, they become embroiled in a dangerous and disturbing conflict with the unstable owner of Leybury Hall, and must face the terrifying truth of The Trophy Room.

Written in a mixture of second and third person, this novel about the evil doings of the disturbed and psychotic inhabitant of Leybury Hall. The novel flirts with gothic horror but is, at heart, the story of families brought together to face terrible truths. Children from both families play a central and disturbing role.

A young boy approaches the watchtower along the cliff path. He is alone and intent on some game which absorbs all his attention. He swerves and circles, arms outstretched, and accompanies each move with excited chatter. He is about ten and has a mop of untidy red hair, and a rash of freckles.

So intent is he on his game that he doesn’t see the low, wooden door of the watchtower open, and a man step out, at least not until it is too late. When the boy does notice, he pauses, and his hands drop to his side. His shoulders hunch, and he stands there, waiting for the man to approach. The look of fear on the boy’s face seems to entertain the newcomer, because he offers an unpleasant smile—close to a sneer—and takes up a position blocking the path. The man is gaunt, with a sickly complexion, and his clothes hang loose, like they were intended for a stockier man. He’s in his mid-twenties but has a pinched, shifty look, and a hollow face which makes him look ten years older. There’s something cold about him, too, and a glint of malice lingers around his mouth and eyes. He has the air of someone who would pull the wings off a butterfly, just for fun.

The boy senses the danger and looks around for other walkers, but it’s early and it’s October, and there is nobody else out. They are alone on the cliff.

Are you following me, Sammy?’ The man’s voice curls around him like a snake, then it darts a poisoned tongue. ‘Because if you are—’

About the Author

Barry Litherland is a writer of character-driven crime / mystery thrillers, sometimes tinged with the paranormal. His books have received excellent reviews and are commended for the quality and depth of the characters, the reality of the settings, the strength of the narrative and the quality of writing. He lives in the far north of Scotland with his wife and two springer spaniels.

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Everyday Magic

EverdayMagic

I am so thrilled to share Charlie Laidlaw’s latest novel with you all, Everyday Magic! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a signed edition of the book!

Everyday Magic Front cover FINAL

Everyday Magic

Publication Date: May 26th, 2021

Genre: Literary fiction/ Contemporary Fiction/ Humour

Publisher: Ringwood Publishing

Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it.  She’s married to someone who may, or may not, be in New York on business and, to make things worse, the family’s deaf cat has been run over by an electric car.

But something has been changing in Carole’s mind.  She’s decided to revisit places that hold special significance for her.  She wants to better understand herself, and whether the person she is now is simply an older version of the person she once was.

 Instead, she’s taken on an unlikely journey to confront her past, present and future.

Everyday Magic is an uplifting book filled with humour and poignancy, and reminds us that, while our pasts make us who we are, we can always change the course of our futures.

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Chapter One

When Carole was little, she found a magic clearing in the woods near her home.  She had been exploring, surrounded by oak, birch, and hazel trees, picking her way carefully between bramble and nettle.  There was birdsong, squirrels darting across branches, and patterns of sunlight on the woodland floor.  She had been looking for bilberries, and her hands were full of small black berries.  She stopped to sit on an outcrop of rock by a wide stream that, in winter, could quickly become a torrent of brown water.  In summer, it was comforting; in winter, treacherous.  She ate her bilberries, the stream cascading over a small waterfall; the sound of water in her ears.  It was summer and the stream bubbled crystal clear.  The woodland rose in folds from the stream, and she climbed steadily upwards.  Here, the trees crammed in on her; it was darker.  When she looked up, she could only see sunlight trapped on leaves far above.  It was a part of the old woodland that she’d never been to before, but she pushed on, feeling that she was on an adventure and might suddenly come across a gingerbread house or wizard’s cottage. 

At the top of the hill she found herself in a small clearing.  It was only a few yards across, framed with oak trees, and perfectly round.  Sunlight from directly above made the clearing warm, and she stood at its centre, wondering if she was the first person to have ever discovered it.  Each of the oak trees around the clearing seemed precisely set, each one a perfect distance from the next, and she walked around them, touching each one, wondering if someone had planted the oak trees, or if the clearing really was a magic place.  She still sometimes believed in magic.  Then she stood again at its centre, wondering at its symmetry and why a long-dead sorcerer might have planted the oak trees.  Then, realising that the sorcerer might not be dead, and that she had walked uninvited into his private domain, she hurried away, not sure whether to be frightened or excited.  It was a place she often went back to that summer, and on following summers, sometimes alone and sometimes with her little brother.  They would sit in the centre of the woodland circle, eating bilberries, hoping to meet the sorcerer who had built the clearing.  She wasn’t frightened of him anymore; the clearing was too peaceful to have been made by a bad wizard.  It was their secret place, but mainly Carole’s, because she had found it.  It was a comforting place: it was somewhere she would go if she was sad or angry about something, because the woodland circle and its shifting half-shadows offered calm and new perspectives.  She could almost hear the trees speak to her, the wind in their branches making the leaves whisper, but so softly that she couldn’t understand.  She would listen, eyes closed, the leaves rustling, but she never understood what they were saying.  The circle of trees stood solid and immovable, dark and stoic, old and wise, and each one the colour of stone.

Available Here and on Amazon!

About the Author

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Charlie Laidlaw lives in East Lothian, one of the main settings for Everyday Magic. He has four other published novels: Being Alert!, The Space Between Time, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead and Love Potions and Other Calamities. Previously a journalist and defence intelligence analyst, Charlie now teaches Creative Writing in addition to his writing career.

Charlie Laidlaw | Facebook  | Twitter

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Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review)  https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Review) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

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Do you love to support Indie Authors? Who doesn’t right. Well let me share with you the story behind Project Indie Book Box…

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Project Indie was created to be a place where readers can enjoy undiscovered authors and indie authors could have a place to share their amazing work. 

Project Indie was formed and created by Abigail Lane and her partner Steven Maxwell. Abigail Lane is an indie author herself and saw the struggles that indie authors go through to get publicity and recognition for their book in a publishing world. Because of this, Abigail wanted to create a space where indie authors could get recognized for their work and have it be enjoyed by readers across the world. 

Project Indie is designed to be a monthly subscription box in which a new author is featured every month. In these boxes, you will receive a signed copy of the author’s work, a letter from the author, and 2-3 themed bookish goodies that you can use and enjoy. We hope you join the Project Indie family!

$29.99

 

The Obscurité de Floride Trilogy, Book 2

Suspense

Date Published: Jun 1, 2021

Publisher: Épouvantail Books, LLC

In the jungles of coastal Mexico, twelve-year-old Kazu Danser is on the run, his bloody past haunting and attempting to be his ruination. Hot on his heals is journalist Carson Staines, a deadly madman full of blood thirst and greed, determined to first chronicle Kazu’s criminal life – and then end it. Staines must nail him down, dead or alive; the boy being worth a huge payoff.

Making a perilous crossing of the border into the States, Kazu fights for his life, desperately heading east. Entering sunburnt Florida, he teams up with a gang of Floridian street urchins, known to the authorities as, “The disposables.”

With Staines not letting up on the chase, Kazu and the other youths go on the run, fighting for their lives.

Can the Disposables and Kazu survive?

What will they have to do to stop the murderous and resourceful monster mowing through them to get to his reward?

The second part of the book takes place in the shadows of Florida, where street urchins fights every day to survive, both bodily and in spirit. In contrast to the tropical beaches and teeming vacationers, the children will do anything necessary to keep their heads above the perilous deep waters.

Excerpt

Chapter One

Leaving the Hotel Or

In Mexico, there’s plenty of wet work for an innocent-looking boy with a 9mm. For the smart ones, there was a world of new clothes, game systems, and a bedroom door with a lock. For the smartest, there were bank accounts and dreams of living without blood-splattered shoes.

Kazu was on the run, his last job gone ugly, as in kicking-a-mound-of-fire-ants ugly. The twelve-year-old had escaped the Hotel Or with a policia dragnet reaching out to snag his heals.

Sitting forward in the driver’s seat so his boot toes could reach the pedals, he kept the speedometer buried past 140km per hour, racing down Federale 200, running south from Puerto Mita.

He had escaped the resort hotel with nothing more than his backpack and his life, taking advantage of the chaos by driving away at a forced, leisurely pace. In his rearview mirror, he watched a swarm of policia vehicles turn into the hotel road.

When the last policia truck with sweeping lights and siren swung into the hotel grounds, Kazu buried his boot toe on the accelerator.

The two-lane highway began its swaying turns through endless miles of green jungle and forests. Thirty kilometers along, he slowed up and rode in the draft of a six-wheel cargo truck, a gold tuna and ‘Fish de Jo y Maria’ painted on the rear steel door. Knowing he had to ditch the car, he stayed in the queue forming on the highway, a farm truck running behind.

Run it to empty,” he decided, leaning forward, the steering wheel inches from his chin.

He had paid cash for the stolen and re-plated Buick at the Or Petrol y Restaurante adjacent to the Hotel Or.

Get distance.” He wiped a skim of sweat from his brow and neck.

Federale 200 continued south for fifty clicks before heading eastward, away from the coast. The lush green jungle walls brushed along both sides, and over time formed tunnels of cooler but dank air of ripe rotting vegetation. He dropped all four windows, the air conditioning having died the week before.

When the fuel needle sank under the E, he drove the grass shoulder, letting the trucks and cars behind him pass. With the stretch of highway to his own, he turned the Buick from the road.

Foliage brushing the roof, the car bounced and jolted downhill. He worked the wheel as trees and rocks cracked the sides, undercarriage, and bumper. Thirty yards in, the car was invisible from the highway.

Kazu climbed out with his backpack shouldered. Hiking halfway back up the hill to a green and shaded clearing, he kneeled in the wet soil, where patchy sunlight had dried out the vegetation.

The heat and stagnant humidity were pushing down on him.

His skin was dank with sweat. Scooping up two handfuls of dirt and dust, he rubbed the front of his black t-shirt. Same with his Pirates baseball cap. He ground dirt and leaves into the front of his black shorts before standing up and looking himself over. The results had transformed him into an everyday, poor Mexican street urchin.

Pulling the cap low to shade his foreign, almond-shaped eyes, he climbed halfway back to the road through the brush and rocks.

Steal a pair of sunglasses,” he said, looking south, knowing he would come upon a village or city eventually.

Walking in the vegetation often high overhead, he paralleled the highway, standing still with his breath clenched when trucks or local buses went by.

He walked and climbed and crossed streams for the next two long hours. Sticky green vines repeatedly tried to grab and trip him up. The afternoon sun was lowering into the trees when he stopped. The highway sign up on the shoulder told him the town of Colomo was off to the east, and he headed that way.

Get a ride. Then a Pepsi with lots of ice,” he said, pushing through green clinging limbs and leaves. He was approaching a scatter of small and worn residences. When he came up upon the first few cinder-block houses, he took to the pavement, the heat from the crumbled pavement pressing into each step he took. He entered the first side street, seeing no one about, hearing only a dog barking and a radio blasting Mexican disco a few houses up.

His next ride was parked alongside a station wagon on the dirt patch of a front lawn. The house was still and the windows dark. After drinking from a garden hose, he circled to the passenger side of the Ford pickup resting on its dirt tires. He looked in before opening the door.

The keys were on the dash, the passenger side of the bench seat cluttered with food wrappers on top of newspapers. Before climbing in, he checked out the truck bed. A five-gallon can of petrol was bungee-strapped to the side. He gave it a shake, and it sloshed and felt heavy. Opening the toolbox behind the cab, he swiped a roll of Gorilla tape and from the clutter in the bed grabbed two cuttings from a fence post among the other scraps of wood and aluminum.

With blocks taped to the two pedals, he turned the key and dropped the transmission into reverse. A half-hour later, he was a good distance away, up Highway 54, heading north and east.

Icons and beads swung back and forth from the mirror. Mary Magdalena was glued to the dash. She had a bubble compass embedded in her belly.

Mary, right? Nice having someone to talk to,” he said, trying the windshield fluid knob.

It was empty.

Digging through the glove box, he pushed aside papers and food wrappers, coming up with a cashew tin full of green tobacco and some tissue papers. There was nothing to eat. He took out a sun-bleached folded map.

The miles rolled by, the road taking him through the outskirts of Guadalajara. The sun was low in the western sky when he passed through Zacatecas, where he braved a sleepy gas station to fill the tank, using forty of his one hundred ten dollars of cash. The soda icebox inside the station didn’t have Pepsi, so he bought two chilled bottles of strawberry Jarritos and two bags of chips.

Help me find a place to hide?” he asked Mary on the dash. “Somewhere with cell service and a shower?”

The bubble compass in her mid-section appeared to bob and nod encouragement.

Four hours later, he pulled off the road on the north side of Saltillo. A dusty driveway ran to a simple row motel. A large and tired man sat behind a desk in a bowling shirt, television running to his left, radio playing to the right. Before saying a word, Kazu took out fifty US dollars from his backpack and laid it out.

Una habitación para uno, por favor,” < A room for one, please> Kazu said.

The man didn’t even pause in renting a room to a short twelve-year-old boy. The entire fifty dollars was exchanged for a room key. Minutes later, Kazu parked the truck behind the motel instead of the parking lot and entered room six.

After locking and chaining the door, he got out of his black boots, stripped off his clothing, and took a long cold shower. He left the room one time to go out to the truck to pry the Mary Magdalena compass off the dash. After a dinner of chips and the second bottle of strawberry soda, he opened his backpack on the bed. Digging through his few belongings, he took out his old and battered gray Nokia flip phone.

He placed a single call to his former employer. Hitting voicemail as expected, he left a message.

Lamento tu mala suerte en el Hotel. Necesito un trabajo. Cerca de la frontera.” < Sorry about your bad luck at the hotel. I need a job. Near the border.> After a second cool-down shower, he took out pens, pencils, and pastels and his current image-novel. With his pad of hard bond drawing paper leaning on his raised knees, he drew and shaded until his eyes began to close involuntarily and his chin bobbed on his chest.

Waking an hour before dawn as usual, he pulled on his clothes and took a third shower since arriving, rubbing out the dirt stains. Checking his Nokia, he saw he had no new messages.

With his backpack on his shoulder, he walked up the street to a market.

In the parking lot of the local Supermercado , a combination hardware and grocery store, he watched a thin and very short man push a shopping bag into the rear basket on the back of a motorbike. As the man started the bike, Kazu studied each movement of his hands and shoes on the throttle, clutch, and gears. The man toed the shifter into second gear as he sped away up the road.

Finding shade under a dusty tree, Kazu sat and waited. An hour passed before he saw what he needed. A man rolled in on a seriously old Honda 90 trail bike, once red and white, then different hues of oil stains and dirt. The rider got off, leaving the keys, and did a cowboy walk into the market. A dust devil also spun into the parking lot, a brown whirlwind crossing right to left. Corralled by the gap between two farm trucks, it spiraled slowly to death.

Kazu stood and crossed to the spinning residue, not bothering to wipe the dust from his dirty face, eyes on the key.

After scanning the cars and trucks and the store’s doorway, he climbed onto a dirt bike for the very first time. Minutes later, he was running up the highway in the slow lane, the wind cooling his skin even as the sun blasted down.

About the Author

Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s. Or goes surfing.

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Once Upon A Tinder

This is a great guide that I wished I had when I started my online dating journey. If you are wanting to start online dating, I recommend reading this book.

Nonfiction / Self Help

Date Published: 27th April 2021


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If you suddenly find yourself in the dating world after a long absence, things have changed. Please don’t despair. ‘Once Upon a Tinder’ is here to gently introduce you to the world of dating Apps with some hard earned do’s & don’ts.

Dr. Ann Donnelly recounts stories of electronic communication, first dates & romantic encounters interspersed with learning tips and suggestions for your personal adventures!

As the stories unfold we explore the importance of boundaries, self love and self care while we live, love and learn. We also experience tonnes of self discovery and laughter along the way!

Relationships teach us about ourselves! Every encounter reveals more and more about where we are in our healing and growth as a person.

The overall lessons learned stimulate a sense of hope, and a call to adventure with better relationships between men and women as we grow in our knowledge of each other and ourselves.

There is no doubt about the fact that men and women are opposites, completely opposing forces. This explains why, when we do come together in love and in acceptance of each other, the potential is infinite and it is one of the greatest Magicks in life!

It is time to stop fighting and rediscover the love that is possible between a man and a woman. Your dating App is a doorway. What you do with it is up to you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Your Love Doctor Ann <3


About The Author


Dr. Ann Donnelly MB MRCGP DRCOG DFP DYT Dippallmed LFhom

Dr. Ann, ‘the love doctor”, author of Once Upon a Tinder, is a Family Doctor with over 25 years experience working in the NHS. She also has a broad portfolio of work in Palliative and Holistic Medicine. She is often consulted as a medical expert in the media, including Yahoo, Cosmopolitan and Glamour.

Her passion for helping people understand their full potential in life shines through, in this, her first book. It was written from her home in Ireland during lock down while unable to travel internationally. It was born out of a desire to create better understanding and more love between men and women. After her marriage ended, the valuable insights she gained through her personal dating life, gave her the courage to inspire others to ‘Dare to Love Again.’ In this little book about first dates and romance, she takes the lessons learned and gives a fresh perspective on what each of us bring to a potential relationship. Of course, the most important relationship of all reveals itself over and over, the one we have with ourselves. This dictates the ways in which we nurture and sustain ourselves.

Self knowledge is a key theme in healing and Metaphysical studies. Since Dr. Ann began her studies in Metaphysics with the Modern Mystery School in 2006, she has graduated as a Life Activation Practitioner, a Healer and Guide. She is also an Ensofic Reiki Practitioner and a Fundamental Ensofic Reiki Teacher. She is an International teacher with the Modern Mystery School while joyfully continuing her studies as a Universal Hermetic Ray Kabbalah Teacher.

Divina Ann serves as a Member of the Counsel of twelve women.

You are welcome to connect with her via: thelovedoctor@onceuponatinder.com

Or check out her website: onceuponatinder.com

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Project Indie

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Friends and Book lovers! Most of us LOVE Indie authors because let’s face it some Indie books are just way better than a lot of the Big 5 publishing houses books. However, they don’t get the recognition they deserve.

This new book box, which you can order monthly, is priced reasonable, it’s owned by an Indie Author and it features 1 indie signed book per month with 2-3 bookish items.

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TV history

Date Published: 6/1/2021

Publisher: The Fayetteville Mafia Press

Once upon a time ABC-TV’s Moonlighting was among the most buzzed-about shows in the country, thanks largely to the bravado of creator Glenn Gordon Caron, who never met a television convention he didn’t want to break, and the sizzling on-screen chemistry between glamorous erstwhile film star Cybill Shepherd and a New Jersey bartender nobody had ever heard of before named Bruce Willis, who bickered and flirted ceaselessly on screen and engaged in epic off-screen battles that all these years later remain the stuff of Hollywood legend. This combustible blend of creative brilliance produced some of the most acclaimed, audacious, and innovative programming of the eighties, including a black and white tribute to film noir, with an introduction by Orson Welles; a parody of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, written in iambic pentameter; an homage to The Honeymooners; and countless metafictive episodes breaking through the fourth wall — almost unheard of at the time for hourlong comedy-dramas. Without a doubt, Moonlighting helped pave the way for the era of prestige television we are now all enjoying.

The real story of this pioneering television series and the extraordinary behind-the-scenes challenges, battles, and rewards has never been told — until now. Author Scott Ryan (The Last Days of Letterman, thirtysomething at thirty: an oral history, The Blue Rose, Scott Luck Stories) interviews over twenty people, including the actors, writers, directors, and producers who made Moonlighting such a dynamic, unforgettable show, delving deep into their thoughts and feelings as they relive this magical moment in pop culture history in this full color oral history.


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A Kiss for A Kiss, an all-new surprise baby, mature adult romance from New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting is available now!

I’m Jake Masterson, single dad, and the General Manager of Seattle’s NHL team. I walked away from a career as a player so I could raise my daughter. For the last twenty-plus years, Queenie has been my main priority, but now she’s getting married.

And there’s a small complication.

A beautiful, sexy complication named Hanna.

She’s my son-in-law’s older sister. Or at least that’s how they were raised. The truth is a little more scandalous than that.

I’ve been drawn to her from the moment I laid eyes on her. And I spent months trying to keep a lid on that attraction.

Until we finally give in.

It starts with one searing kiss, but quickly ends with us between the sheets—and in the shower, and the hot tub, you get the picture—and turns into months of sneaking around.
Here’s the problem: we live on opposite ends of the country. It can’t be anything but casual. And as I’ve already said…it’s complicated.

But when Hanna finds out she’s pregnant…suddenly things get real serious.

Fall in love today!
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Excerpt

“You’re trouble tonight, aren’t you?” Her fingertips dance along my traps as she brushes past me. “And yes, to answer your question, I did, in fact, bring the red bikini.”
She disappears down the hall to the spare bedroom, where she’s sleeping tonight. Because I invited her to stay at my place this weekend rather than at King’s. It’s not that she isn’t welcome there. It’s more that she wants them to have their privacy. It also means I get more time with Hanna, so it’s a win all the way around. And I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been thinking a lot about time alone with her this weekend.
I change into my swim trunks, pour myself a scotch, heavy on the rocks, and her a glass of wine before I make my way outside. I set the drinks on the outdoor dining table, remove the hot tub cover and check the temperature, making sure it’s not too hot.
Once I carry the drinks over and set them in the cup holders, I sink into the hot, bubbly water, stretch my arms out, let my head fall back and my eyes close. All the time I’ve been spending with Hanna is starting to get to me.
Reminding me that I’m in my forties, and very much still a bachelor. There are a lot of reasons why getting involved with Hanna on a romantic level would not be a good idea. Queenie and King’s relationship being at the forefront.
But she’s fun. And sexy. And we get each other.
A minute later, the sound of the sliding door opening and closing and the slap of flip-flops against the deck have me cracking a lid.
“You better not be sleeping already!” she calls out.
“Not sleeping, just waiting on you.”
I watch as she pulls the tie on her robe and the terry fabric slips over her shoulders, revealing that red bikini I’m such a fan of. Hanna is all curves. Amazing curves. The kind I’ve fantasized about putting my hands on plenty of times over the past several months. And with us spending a lot more time together, it’s been hard not to give in to the constant draw.
I rise from the water and hold out a hand as she climbs the steps. Her fingers slip into my palm, sending a jolt down my spine and a stirring inside my swim trunks.
“Could you try to be a little less beautiful all the time?”I tease as I help her into the tub. “Could you try to have more of a dad bod?” She drags her fingers down my abs, brows waggling, a smile on her gorgeous face. “You are definitely good for my ego, Jake.” She pats me on the chest and sinks into the water on the opposite side of the tub from me.
Which is probably a good thing since I feel like we’re playing with fire tonight. The kind I wouldn’t mind pouring a gallon of gasoline on just to watch it burn brighter.
“That was a great engagement party. I think the kids had fun, don’t you?”She stretches her legs out. Her toes skim the outside of my thigh and I barely resist the urge to run my hand up her calf.
I don’t know what’s in the air tonight, but things seem…different. Heightened.
“Yeah. It was good,” I agree. She pokes me with her toe. “Then why are you frowning? You’ve been off all night. What’s going on?” With all the planning and talks we’ve been having, Hanna and I have gotten to know each other better. And she can read me pretty easily.
“I don’t know. On one hand, I’m happy for King and Queenie and I know he’s going to be a great husband to my daughter, but I spent all these years raising her, and being there for her. They’ve been living together for months, but for some reason, it’s all kind of hitting me. It’s real now.” I take a sip of my scotch. “It’s different from when she went away to college, and even when she moved out of the pool house and in with King. There’s this hole I didn’t expect.”
“It sounds like empty nester’s syndrome.” She moves to the spot beside to me, where the glass of wine I poured her sits.
“Is that what this is? I’m all morose and shit.”
She chuckles and props her elbow on the edge of the tub. “You need to look at it with a fresh perspective, that’s all. You’re not losing your daughter. It’s different with girls. Sure, she’s found her partner in life, but she’s always going to be your baby girl. And the two of you are so close.”
“I don’t know what to do with all of this freedom,” I admit. “My entire life up to this point has been revolved around raising Queenie and my career.”
“Which means you did your job. And that’s a good thing. Think about it, Jake. This is the great part about having a kid young. Sure, you lost out on the freedom of your twenties, but in some ways, this is even better. You’re in your forties. You have a great job, you’re in incredible shape.” She twists and pulls her knee up so it rests against my thigh, her arm extending along the back of the tub, fingertips skimming my . “You have all of your hair.”
“I’m definitely grateful for the last one,” I joke.
“You have great hair.” She runs her fingers through it. “It’s sexy.” She bites her lip and then shakes her head. “Anyway, what I’m saying is, you’re in the prime of your life. Most people in their forties are raising teens, or maybe their kids are getting ready to go to college. You’ve done all that. Now you can just live. You can date. Have fun. Do whatever you want.”
“Fun would be good.”My gaze drops to her lips. “And I’d like to do whatever I want.”
“Me, too.” Her bottom lip slides through her teeth. “Like right now I could kiss you.”
“You definitely could.” I skim her thigh under the water with my fingertips.
She nods. “There’s nothing stopping us.”
“So why aren’t your lips on mine yet?” I ask.
Hanna shifts again, her wet palms come to rest on either side of my jaw, and she presses her soft lips to mine.
I slip my hand under her hair and wrap it around the back of her neck. For a moment, I question whether this is a good idea. But when our lips part and our tongues meet, I forget all the reasons why it might not be.
I groan as I sink into the kiss and our tongues tangle. She tastes fruity, like the wine she’s been drinking. She straddles me and settles in my lap, her breasts pressing against my chest.
She breaks the kiss for a moment and our eyes meet. “I’ve been thinking about this for months.”
“I’ve wanted to know what your lips taste like since the first day I met you,”

About Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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Aftermath- Book Review

The opening of the book had me hooked with an explosion in a performance hall. It detailed a girl who was with her two friends who had managed to escape. Her two friends wasn’t so lucky and she already had a mental disorder, now this led to having PTSD as well. She is in desperate need to seek vengeance on the person who killed her friends.

Dustin, a prior military man with knowledge of bombs, is being set up by someone when explosive devices was found in the trunk of his car.

Jaime, his childhood friend now attorney, will do everything she can to find out who is framing him.

Will they find out who is behind the act of terrorism before anyone else gets hurt?

This was a suspenseful story and if you enjoy crime mysteries this would be recommended to you. However, it didn’t hold my attention as much as I would have wished.

Aftermath

May 10 – June 4, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock

This gripping new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock will leave you on the edge of your seat.

A devastating explosion.

Three best friends are at the venue just to hear their favorite band . . . but only one of them makes it out alive.

A trunk full of planted evidence.

When police stop Dustin with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows it’s just a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when they find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.

An attorney who will risk it all for a friend.

Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first one he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?

Praise for Aftermath:

“In Aftermath, Terri Blackstock plumbs the depth of human emotion in the face of devastating tragedy, grief, and loss. Yet, she still manages to give readers her trademark suspenseful story, sweet romance, and hope for the future. From gut wrenching scenes in a cancer patient’s hospital room to seeing the world through the eyes of a young woman with a debilitating mental health disorder, Blackstock pulls no punches about human frailties. Does the end justify the means? Romantic suspense lovers won’t want to miss Aftermath.”
—Kelly Irvin, bestselling author

“Justice may be blind but that doesn’t keep it from facing mortal danger. In Aftermath, expert storyteller Terri Blackstock ratchets up the suspense in a novel that delivers on every level. Conflicts rage and loyalties are tested to the ultimate limit. Set aside plenty of time when you pick up this book—you’ll not to want to take a break.”
—Robert Whitlow, bestselling author

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 11th 2021
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0310348587 (ISBN13: 9780310348580)
Series: Aftermath is a stand-alone novel
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

Aftermath

Chapter One

Taylor Reid’s phone flashed as she snapped the selfie with her two friends, their heads touching and their backs to the stage. The shot from the third row, with the lead singer in the background and the three of them in the foreground, was perfect. No one would believe their seats were so close.

They turned around to face the band, dancing to the beat of the song they’d been listening to in the car on the way to Trudeau Hall.

Taylor quickly posted the pic, typing, “Ed Loran targets nonpoliticals for his rally with band Blue Fire. Worked on us!”

She put her phone on videotape and zoomed onto the stage.

“I don’t want it to end!” Desiree said in her ear.

“Me either!” Taylor yelled over the music.

“Maybe they’ll play again after his speech,” Mara shouted.

The song came to an end, and the crowd went crazy, begging for one more song before the band left the stage.

But an amplified voice filled the auditorium, cutting off the adulation. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the next president of the United States, Ed Loran!”

The crowd sounded less enthusiastic as the band left the stage and Ed Loran, the Libertarian celebrity magnet, made his entrance. Taylor kept cheering and clapping, letting her enthusiasm for the band segue to him.

It happened just as the candidate took the stage. The deafening sound, like some confusing combination of gunshot and lightning bolt, a blast that blacked out the lights and knocked her to the ground. Smoke mushroomed. Screams crescendoed—shrieks of terror, wailing pain, shocking anguish . . . then sudden, gentle silence, as if she were underwater. A loud ringing in her ears filled the void.

She peered under the seats, choking for breath as dimmer lights flickered through the smoke. Even from here, she could see the fallout of whatever had happened. Blood pooling on the ground, people hunkering down as she was, feet running . . . What was happening? An explosion? A crash? She looked around and couldn’t see her friends.

She clawed her way up and looked over the seat. Smoke and fire billowed from the stage into the crowd, and heat wafted over her like some living force invading the room. Muffled, muted sounds competed with the ringing.

Get out! Now! She dropped back down and crawled under two rows of seats until she came to someone limp on the floor. She felt herself scream but couldn’t hear her own voice. Scrambling to her feet, she went to her left to get to the aisle, but her foot slipped on something wet. She grabbed the seat next to her to steady herself, then launched into the frantic crowd in the aisle. The room seemed to spin, people whizzing by, people under her, people above her, people broken and ripped and still . . . She stepped and fell, crawled and ran, tripped and kicked her way to the bottlenecked doorway, then fought her way through it.

The ringing in her ears faded as she tumbled downstairs, almost falling into the lobby below. The sound of crying, coughing, wretching, and the roaring sound of pounding feet turned up as if some divine finger had fiddled with the volume.

She set her sights on the glass doors to the outside and pushed forward, moving through people and past the security stations they’d stopped at on the way in. She made it to the door and burst out into the sunlight.

Fresh, cool air hit her like freedom, but at first her lungs rejected it like some poison meant to stop her. At the bottom of the steps, on the sidewalk, she bent over and coughed until she could breathe.

After a moment, the crowd pushed her along toward the parking garage until she remembered that her car wasn’t there. She had parked on the street, blocks away. She forced her way out of the flow of people and ran a block south. Where was it?

She turned the corner. Her car was here, on this block. Near the Atlanta Trust Bank. Wasn’t it? Or was it the next block?

Sweat slicked her skin until she found her silver Accord. There!

She ran to it and pulled her keys out of her pocket, wishing she hadn’t lost the key fob. Her hands trembled as she stuck the key into the passenger side lock and got the door open. She slipped inside on the driver’s side, locked it behind her. Instinctively, she slid down, her head hidden as if someone were coming after her.

What just happened?

One minute they’d been taking selfies and videotaping the band, and the next they were on the floor . . .

Where were Mara and Desiree? She hadn’t even looked for them! Should she go back for them?

No, that would be insane. She could smell the smoke and fire from here. They would know to come to the car when they got out.

Call the police!

She tried to steady her hands as she swiped her phone on.

“911, what is your—”

“An explosion!” she cut in, her voice hoarse. “At the Ed Loran rally at Trudeau Hall!”

“Where are you now?” the woman asked in a voice that was robotically calm.

“I got out. There’s fire . . . People are still in there. Please send ambulances!”

“Ma’am, did you see what exploded?”

“No . . . the stage area, I think. I don’t know where my friends are. Please . . . hurry!”

“We’ve already dispatched the fire department and police, ma’am.”

She heard sirens from a few blocks away and cut off the call. She raised up, looking over the dashboard for the flashing lights. She couldn’t see any, but the sirens grew louder.

She knelt on the floorboard, her knees on her floormat and her elbows on her seat, and texted Desiree.

I’m at the car. Where are you?

No answer. She switched to a recent thread with Mara and texted again.

Got out. At car waiting. Where are you?

Nothing.

She dictated a group text to both of them.

Are you all right?

They were probably running or deaf, fighting their way out like she had. She tried calling them, but Mara’s phone rang to voicemail. When Desiree’s phone did the same, she yelled, “Call me! I’m waiting at the car and I’m scared. Where are you?” She was sobbing when she ended the call.

***

Excerpt from Aftermath by Terri Blackstock. Copyright 2021 by Terri Blackstock. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She’s the author of If I Run, If I’m Found, and If I Live, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, Moonlighters, and the Restoration series.

Visit her at:
www.TerriBlackstock.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram – #terriblackstock
Twitter – #terriblackstock
Facebook – @tblackstock

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

 

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Terri Blackstock & Thomas Nelson. There will be ONE (1) winner of one (1) physical copy of Aftermath (US Addresses only). The giveaway begins on May 10, 2021 and ends on June 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

by Terri Blackstock

There’s a small complication.
A beautiful, sexy complication named Hanna.

A Kiss for A Kiss, an all-new second chance-at-love mature adult romance from New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting is available now!

I’m Jake Masterson, single dad, and the General Manager of Seattle’s NHL team. I walked away from a career as a player so I could raise my daughter. For the last twenty-plus years, Queenie has been my main priority, but now she’s getting married.
And there’s a small complication.
A beautiful, sexy complication named Hanna.
She’s my son-in-law’s older sister. Or at least that’s how they were raised. The truth is a little more scandalous than that.
I’ve been drawn to her from the moment I laid eyes on her. And I spent months trying to keep a lid on that attraction.
Until we finally give in.
It starts with one searing kiss, but quickly ends with us between the sheets—and in the shower, and the hot tub, you get the picture—and turns into months of sneaking around.
Here’s the problem: we live on opposite ends of the country. It can’t be anything but casual. And as I’ve already said…it’s complicated.
But when Hanna finds out she’s pregnant…suddenly things get real serious.

Fall in love today!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3broHRD
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/AKFAK

Add A KISS FOR A KISS to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3w4SirW

About Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Connect with Helena
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2kN5wdZ
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2mloUim
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/Zt1xm5
Facebook Fan group: http://bit.ly/2kN5yCD
Website: http://www.helenahunting.com/

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