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text 2018-07-21 12:35
Blog Tour: Cruelty's Daughter by Anna Willett with Excerpt and Giveaway

Today’s stop is for Anna Willett’s Cruelty's Daughter. We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 


When a young girl is abducted by a notorious serial killer, a woman risks her own life trying to save her.

Mina is struggling to come to terms with her past. Having led a reclusive life, shunning human contact, she decides to take on a local college course to help get her life back on track.

However, when a young girl who tries to befriend her is abducted by a serial killer, Mina feels responsible. She refused to wait with the girl for her mother to pick her up. And she shrugged off the youngster’s fears.

Now Mina cannot rest until she finds out what happened. But as she probes into the events of that evening, her own nightmares start to return. She has put herself in danger, one that leads to an increasingly tense standoff with a cruel and vicious man who will stop at nothing.

Can she find the strength to stand up to her demons, past and present? And will she do so, even if it means risking everything?

CRUELTY’S DAUGHTER is the fifth novel by best-selling Australian author, Anna Willett. She writes in the thriller genre, with a touch of horror. Her books explore how women react to difficult situations. The books are full of tension, physical and psychological, and they are difficult to put down.

Buy Link

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The flap on the back of the mailbox clanked open. The box was not as overflowing as she’d expected. Reclusive behaviour has its advantages, she thought, flicking her tongue over her suddenly dry mouth. Glancing around, she was struck by how silent the street seemed. In the windows, lights flickering behind closed curtains and blinds were the only sign of life. With the stack clutched to her chest, Mina turned and hurried up the path. A glass-rattling clang echoed and the front door slammed behind her. Another envelope, identical to the last. The same rich texture and an odour. She tried to identify it but all that came to mind was polish of some sort, maybe wax. Had the smell been on the first note? Mina dropped the packet on the table and sat. It wasn’t over. How had she ever convinced herself it was? She let out a long breath, surprised at how laboured it sounded. I could throw it away. If I don’t look, I won’t have to know. Her mind raced through possible scenarios. Maybe this time the Magician would give details. A location. Mina pulled her hair over her right shoulder and twisted it around her hand. She picked up the envelope and tore it open. Once more, a single sheet of paper, thick and grainy. Before unfolding it, she shook the envelope and a second penguin clip tumbled out. A soft noise somewhere between a sigh and a gasp escaped her lips. The clip bounced on the table and then lay still. Mina had the urge to sweep the little plastic clip to the floor and crush it under her foot. Instead, she unfolded the paper. This time the message was longer, but no less disturbing. The gift that keeps on giving. The large sloping letters were unmistakably written by the same person. Mina stared at the words trying to see more than what appeared on the page. What does he mean? And more importantly, where is this going? Six words. Enough to send a trail of sweat running down her spine. She put the page on the table alongside the clip and focused on one word, keeps. Did that mean Andrea was still alive? Maybe he was trying to tell her something? But why her? In movies, the killer often sent taunting notes to the police or the hero. But this was no movie and she was as far from a hero as a woman could be. The light drained out of the day, reflecting darkness into the kitchen. She had the eerie sensation of being watched: someone hiding outside the house, peering in the windows. She had the urge to turn and look out of the kitchen window, but the fear that she might actually see a face pressed against the glass kept her from looking over her shoulder. She needed light to chase the shadows away. Half out of her chair, the shrieking of her phone erupted. The noise was so shocking in the darkening room that Mina slapped her palm on the table in surprise. The phone was on the counter where she’d left it after Lee had called. She stood on numb legs and reached for it, keeping her eyes off the window.

Anna Willett is the author of Backwoods Ripper, Retribution Ridge as well as the bestselling, Unwelcome Guests and the tense new psychological thriller, Forgotten Crimes. Raised in Western Australia, Anna developed a love for fiction at an early age and began writing short stories in high school. Drawn to dark tales, Anna enjoys writing thrillers with strong female characters. When she's not writing, Anna loves reading, travelling and spending time with her husband, children and dogs.
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text 2018-07-19 12:35
Blog Tour: The 12 Terrors of Christmas by Claudette Melanson with Excerpt and Giveaway

Today’s stop is for Claudette Melanson’s The 12 Terrors of Christmas. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 


Award-winning author Claudette Melanson offers eleven new and original stories to make your skin crawl at any time of the year. This horror anthology also includes an original short by Amazon International Best-Selling Author, Lynn Lamb, titled "Bring Me Flesh and Bring Me Wine." A special bonus story is also included by Melanson, "Mislead," previously published only on the Halloweenpalooza blog. Grab a cup of cocoa and make sure the windows and doors are locked tight as you settle in by the fire to enjoy these tales of terror, but be warned...locks have never succeeded at keeping Santa from gaining entry. If you enjoy a slice of horror with your holiday cheer, this collection of Christmas horror shorts will satisfy all your dark cravings during the holidays...and beyond.

Terror One:

Who is Santa really? Does something sinister lurk beneath the red suit and apple-cheeked visage? More importantly, what does Santa want for Christmas?

Terror Two:

It is said that every wish bears a cost...even a wish of good intent. What do Detective Talbot and his son, Mallory, stand to lose when the pair seek to right a wrong on Christmas Eve?

Terror Three:

Christmas can be a time for great joy...but also for heart-wrenching regret. Can the magic of Christmas Eve turn back the clock before time runs out for Morana and her family?

Terror Four:

Snow falls white and clean, seeming to purify the small town of Moon, Pennsylvania, but the woods behind Vaughn's home have taken on a sinister cast. The snow keeps falling in record-breaking depths, but does evil lay hidden beneath its seemingly-innocent luster?

Terror Five:

As his elves scurry to fill the toy orders for the busy season, unknown terror creeps toward the workshop intent on releasing an evil meant to cancel Santa's yearly deliveries forever.

Terror Six:

A well-meaning elf casts a spell which could inadvertently reveal the dark truth about Santa's workshop and its inhabitants. The world's children may end up paying a terrifying price, proving that the path of good intention oftentimes does indeed lead to hell.

Terror Seven:

A scary twist on a classic Christmas poem

Terror Eight:

Santa's sleigh plummets to the ground, tearing all hope of a merry Christmas to bits and pieces. Will the elves be able to employ enough magic to stitch together some sort of solution? Or will their efforts only deliver greater horror and loss?

Terror Nine:

Trinette is preparing to celebrate her first Christmas in love. Her boyfriend says he found the perfect gift for her, but beneath the shiny red paper and ribbon lies a secret he's kept hidden during all the months of their courtship...

Terror Ten:

The world's population explosion means business is booming at Santa's workshop, with the need to expand making a difficult excavation below the permafrost necessary. But the elves should use caution lest they dig up an evil best left buried.

Terror Eleven:

A special holiday treat for Maura DeLuca fans! Riptide ended on a happy note, but how did Maura's extended family celebrate Christmas? Could it be that the holiday didn't quite play out the way the vampires planned?

Terror Twelve:

It's a dangerous time to call oneself a non-believer. Those who scoff at Santa's existence are melting all over the world. But could the benevolent head elf turn out to be the murderer?

 

Vampires, ghosts, demons, elves, werewolves, serial killers and a rampaging Krampus are just a few of the monsters creeping amongst the pages of The 12 Terrors of Christmas. Are you brave enough to venture inside to experience the flip side of the typical Hallmark-themed Christmas?

 

 

 

 

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The date was December 1st, twenty-two long, boring days before school let out for Christmas break, and it was snowing like hell. I’d never admit it to anyone, but I was slightly creeped out by the murderous details in the story I’d just been listening to. For some reason, watching little Lamia creep off into the woods alone disturbed me even further. I yanked the red-and-white Beats earbuds—an early present from my dad, who was equally proud of my Audible habit—from my ears only to find myself surrounded by the eerie soundlessness which always seemed to accompany a heavy snowfall. I felt like all the normal noises had been sucked away from the air around me, completely. All I could hear as I continued toward the spot where Lamia had disappeared was the soft groan of my boots sinking into the thick carpet of icy fluff beneath me. “Hey, Kid!” I called out, but she ran on as if she hadn’t heard me, the snow muffling my voice as it had all other sound in our little corner of the world. She hadn’t turned her head in response or even slowed the pace of her run a tick. When I reached the line of trees, I hesitated. Must’ve been the dread the story I’d been listening to had inspired, I told myself, but I was angry in the space it took my heart to pump out another beat. “Shit, really?” I mumbled under my breath. “That kid’s not even old enough to go to school, and she ran in there like she was the one born with the nuts… Awwww, to hell with it.” I slid the backpack from my shoulder so that I could enter the woods as unhindered as possible and dove in. I’d never admit I did so with my eyes closed. As the squeak of the snow under my feet became the only sound—I’d lovingly packed my precious earbuds into a special pocket reserved only for them—echoing softly off the damp-dark tree trunks, I tried to brush off that tickle of fear which had begun to climb each individual vertebrae in my back like a lizard inching along a palm frond. After all, I’d always wished to see something scary, gone in search of ghosts on more than one occasion. Always hoped to find some kind of proof to turn all those journal entries into truth. So many of the early settlers had written accounts of seeing or hearing things that didn’t belong in the realm of the living. How could so many of them have been wrong? But as much as I’d searched the woods ringing the whole of Whispering Woods Drive, and even the deserted, burnt-out shell of the Henderson place which stood waiting for the insurance money to come through so they could rebuild, I’d never seen a whisper of vapor, never heard so much as a whisper that couldn’t be explained away by the logical or mundane thing which had made the sound. Of course, everyone in Moon had seemed to stop writing about ghosts, abruptly, in 1890. Our history teacher had told us this happened because that had been the real beginning of scientific advancement, bringing about all the means to discover those logical explanations I mentioned previously to explain away all the strange things they couldn’t before. The end of superstition giving way to the birth of rationale. Still, I’d always hoped… It was the weird smell which stopped me in my tracks. Earthy…savory…familiar. My mother burned sage incense often in our home; it was one of her favorite scents. It had irked me for years because I’d just known she was chasing all the ghosts away with the smoke even though several people on the internet were of the opinion you could only use a sage smudging stick to cleanse a house. I’d seen where one person commented on Yahoo Answers that three or four incense sticks bound together could be used in place of one, so I’d tried to console myself with the fact my mother only burned one at a time. Before I laid eyes on her, I heard her. It was really bizarre to hear a child chanting…like something out of a ChildrenoftheCorn-esque horror movie. "Air, fire, water, earth. Cleanse, dismiss, dispel." She repeated the prayer over and over, and I must’ve listened to it twenty times before I calmed enough to peek out from behind the large tree trunk I’d been resting my back against. Lamia held an actual smudge stick… I’d seen enough of them on the internet and my favorite shows to know what one looked like. “You little bitch…” I growled under my breath. No wonder I’d never seen so much as a parlor trick performed by a poltergeist. Between Lamia and my sage-burning mother, no self-respecting ghost would come within a mile of Whispering Woods Drive. But what had Lamia seen or heard that would prompt a four-year-old to ghostbust the woods surrounding her home?

 

 

 

Claudette Melanson writes dark fantasy, horror and children’s books in Kitchener, Ontario with seven bun babies at her side: Tegan, Pepper, Butters, Beckett, Sansa, Daenerys & Caramel. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories...along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.

Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.

 

Links:

 

Website *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Pinterest *** Instagram *** Google+ *** Bookbub *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/07/19/blog-tour-the-12-terrors-of-christmas-by-claudette-melanson-with-excerpt-and-giveaway
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review 2018-07-18 17:19
Review: The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn
The Rending and the Nest - Kaethe Schwehn

When ninety-five percent of the world’s population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can’t afford to lose. Four years after the Rending, Mira has everything under control. Almost.

Then Mira’s best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first in this strange world and a new source of hope for Mira. But Lana gives birth to an inanimate object—and soon other women of Zion do, too—and the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new world begins to fray. As the community wrestles with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world outside Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn’t return, Mira has to decide how much she’s willing to let go in order to save her friend, her community, and her own fraught pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

*I received a free copy from the publisher and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*

 

 

1 ½ ★

 

 

Sadly this book was a DNF, I don’t like to DNF books and I rarely do it but I just couldn’t connect with this book.

I like to say that the writing is what put me off, and that I’m sure many people will enjoy this book and its writing style. It just was not for me.

For one it seemed a bit too much philosophy for me. Yes, I like when I book makes you think and maybe see a bigger pictures but as far as I read this book was too much of it, almost was like fill in the blanks feeling for me. It started out with the world building or the lack of it, in this case. We are just thrown into the story with very little info about the world or prior events. We don’t know why 95% of humanity disappeared or what lead up to it. It’s just a fact no explanation or anything and we just supposed to take it. While sometimes that can make a book, it defiantly didn’t in this case, at least not for me. It just made me feel lost and disconnected to the book. That also goes for the characters. I had a hard time to connect to any of them and it just felt sort flat to me.

Another issue I had was that it seemed incredible slow to me , I only made it to page 116 but it felt like I read 300 some pages. But to be honest it could have been just the fact that I was not a huge fan of the book.

While this book was not for me, I still think plenty if people would enjoy it and appreciate the writing style much more than I did.

I rate it 1 ½ ★ for the 116 pages that I have read if the book.

 

 

Image result for nah gif

 

 

 

 

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Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/07/18/review-the-rending-and-the-nest-by-kaethe-schwehn
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text 2018-07-17 12:35
Blog Tour: Flip the Beat by Roxanne D. Howard with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Roxanne D. Howard’s Flip the Beat. We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

Molly Ivers thinks she is falling for the opposite of Prince Charming, and she knows she should give him up, but, oh, the temptation.

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR Molly Ivers thought she found Prince Charming, complete with a devilishly sexy accent, and six months ago she gave into their undeniable attraction. But the swarm of ever-present groupies was so not part of the fairy tale. As much as it hurt her heart, she shut out rocker Evan Castle. Now, on the verge of finishing her graduate degree and moving to Paris—she even hires a French life coach—Molly begins to realize Evan, who hasn't given up on her, might be the man of her dreams after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Links

 

 

Amazon *** Boroughs Publishing

 

 

 

 

Molly laughed while she told her what had happened last night, though at the moment, she wasn’t sure it was a joke. She sighed and left the computer to go make scrambled eggs. Nell followed her to the kitchen. “So, should I call you ‘Number One’ now?” She could never keep a straight face with Nell. Molly speared a peach slice with a fork and nibbled the end of it. Sweetness filled her mouth. “‘Make it so.’ No, nerd. He seems pretty cool. I mean, if I check it out, this may turn out to be a positive change. At the least, he’ll get me in shape for Paris. His bio says he’s from Giverny, and he’s a retired civil-rights attorney. His website says that when he retired, he decided to change his objective to improving people’s lives, which is why he’s a life coach. Pretty impressive.” “So, you’re going through with it?” “Going through with what?” They both looked into the living room, where a bemused Evan stood half naked and barefoot in a pair of black pajama bottoms. Molly licked nectar off the peach on the end of her fork to save it from dropping to the floor. Evan’s jaw tightened, and his eyes gleamed as he zeroed in on her. He cleared his throat and lifted an empty half gallon of milk. “Sorry, you left the door cracked open. I came to borrow milk.” “Jesus, Evan! Knock next time, or at least text. I’m in my panties.” Nell smacked him on the arm and tugged down her nightshirt as she ran past him into her bedroom. “Sorry,” he said, but he seemed distracted as he strode toward Molly, eyes glued to her lips. She sucked the rest of her peach slice into her mouth and wiped at a little of the nectar at the corner of her lips. Her cheeks blazed at the hungry longing in his eyes. She turned away to open the fridge to get the milk. It wasn’t uncommon for them to borrow food from one another, and he always watched out for them. He had a comforting, protective nature she’d gotten used to. She grew painfully aware of her night shorts, which had a tendency to ride up her butt and cut off at mid-thigh, and her thin white tank top. Could he see her nipples? And jeez, Louise, why did they have to harden every time he came near her? She pushed hair out of her face and poured the milk into his empty half gallon. “Help yourself to the fruit in the bowl there. Nell had leftovers. How much milk do you want?” “Enough for a bowl of cereal, please. I’ll get some at the store later.” His voice only dropped that low and husky during sex. She stopped after she poured enough milk, then gave him extra. Evan reached over her to open a nearby drawer. He took out a fork, inserted it into the flesh of a peach slice, and brought it to his lips. “Forbidden fruit, hmm?” He teased the fruit around his lips with a wicked smirk. He winked at her and sank his teeth into half the peach as he watched her, licking it. Her mouth went dry. Oh, he knew what he was doing.

 

 

 

 

 

Roxanne D. Howard writes sizzling erotic romance with Boroughs Publishing Group and The Wild Rose Press. She is a U.S. Army veteran, and a Columbia College alumni. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. Also, she is an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and marine biology geek. Roxanne resides in the western U.S., and when she's not writing, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, children, and furry companions. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media.

 

 

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Website ***Newsletter *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Instagram *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

 

 

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text 2018-07-16 12:35
Blog Tour: Darkness and Blood by Steve Haberman with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Steve Haberman’s Darkness and Blood. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


 

 

There are letter bombs. There are car bombs.

And in Steve Haberman's upcoming DARKNESS AND BLOOD, there is a file bomb, ultra top secret information so horrifying in its content that an unintended recipient, after downloading it, dies from a heart attack?

The south of France, past midnight.

An American intelligence officer, accompanied by several bodyguards, has secretly flown in from London, with some terrible news. The news is for a friend, a very ex-intelligence agent, hiding out in an ancient farmhouse. A mutual confidant, a retired MI5 analyst, he explains, has suffered an odd cardiac arrest and died. To compound the mystery, just before the death, three men had entered the deceased's flat. Two of them ranked high up in British domestic intelligence; the third--from the CIA or MI6?--was an unknown. Minutes later, presumably after their old friend had passed away, those three fled his flat and disappeared into the London night.

So sets in motion with this strange night tale the soon-to-be-released thriller, DARKNESS AND BLOOD. The unnerving, all-too-real sequel to THE KILLING PLOY.

 

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon *** Apple *** B&N *** Kobo

 

Chapter 1 THE MIDNIGHT INTRUDER

Pablo de Silva, ex-CIA agent, awoke from the restless sleep of a man on the run. Had he heard a noise somewhere outside his farmhouse? Intel operatives had found his hideaway to kidnap him back to his former boss? Terrorists, avenging the killing of their leader, had tracked him down? Or a jealous husband set on murdering his wife who had fled his beatings and who lay just as uneasily beside him. “Qu'est-ce que c'est?" she asked in a whisper. What is it? He whispered back, "Je ne sais pas." I don't know, and he put a finger to her lips. He listened a moment longer in the absolute stillness of the country night, trying to place the sound. After a moment longer, sure now he had heard something, he patted her warm naked thigh; stay here, his intimate gesture implied. He leaped from their bed and tiptoed to the room’s threshold. A dash across the darkened living room, and he stood at one of the two windows that overlooked the dirt drive. He knelt, feeling the cold wooden floor on his knees, and, nudging apart the curtains, peered out. Squinting past the crack in the partly opened wooden shutters, he saw nothing except the thick blackness of night. He heard only the same sound that kept him tense, a mechanical rattle. It came from a car, he saw at last, headlights out, its menacing silhouette looming closer to the end of his farmhouse’s drive. He realized they didn’t have time to flee or for him to search for his 32 cal revolver. “It’s Robert, I know it is. He’ll kill us both, Pablo.” Pablo glanced over his shoulder. “Stay in our bedroom, Gabriella." “He's that kind of husband. He’s crazy with jealousy.” “Just do as I say, dammit, and lock the door.” Pablo peeked out through the curtains again, ending further discussion. Only one car, not several. Parked about ten feet from the stone steps leading to his front door. Three men in silhouette in the car; a fourth in darkened outline, above average in height, stepping out. Four men in one vehicle, not a convoy bringing a snatch or kill team. More than likely Gabriella’s husband with his armed investigators had somehow found them out. The man passed in front of several cypress trees bordering the drive, and Pablo silently cursed losing sight of him. He pressed his ear against the paneled oak wall, straining to hear through the thick wood. "I'll do the front," the man called out to his companions. "You guys check around back. The barn especially. Search everywhere." Or did he say, "Search for that pair?" Pablo pressed his ear hard against the wall. "You sure we got the right farmhouse?" an accomplice, younger sounding, asked. "With all these weeds, the place looks pretty abandoned." "It's not abandoned, trust me. It's exactly where someone wily would hide out." He paused, muttering about the damn cold and the damn mud. In that moment Pablo believed he had heard that soft voice before. Then saw he had forgotten to turn the locks, and his thoughts were on the impending attack. A heavy tread, heel, toe, heel, toe, now inches from the front door. A man not afraid to make his presence known especially with backup. The intruder nudged the front door open, waited a moment as though appraising the darkened inside for any unpleasant surprises before chancing a foot in. In the near darkness Pablo heard something uttered, but the intruder was now fully inside the living room. He threw the man against the oak panel wall. He jerked back his own arm to ram his palm up into the intruder’s chin to snap his neck. The man thrust an arm in front of his face to block the blow. "Hey, stop, wait! Don’t. It's me for fuck's sake, Stuart." A slice of light from the bedroom opposite the living room caught the man’s craggy, lined face and the mass of unkempt brown hair. “Bishop?” Pablo heard a metallic click. He looked sharply over to the bedroom doorway. “No, no, no, don’t shoot. It's not your husband. I know him.” He released his grip on Stuart’s blazer. “Christ man, why the hell didn’t you call out?” He flicked on the row of brass ceiling lamps to be sure of the man's identity. "You must have been too keyed up and not heard me. Get a phone, so I can call next time and avoid getting killed." He sagged against the wall, a hand over his chest as though to catch his breath, while he closed his eyes. "You alright?" Stuart, his eyes still closed, managed a slight nod. "Yeah, yeah, sure, don't sweat it.” “You certainly are.” “Just give me a minute, will you. You gave me the scare of my life. I’d forgotten how quick you are." He fluttered his eyes open after a further moment, inhaled deeply before pushing himself upright, and extending a hand in greeting. "There now, back among the living." He swung back and forth the front door, its undersurface scraping against the wooden floor. “Half the world's major cops and intel boys want Mr. Man-on-the-Run dead or alive, and you leave a door unlocked? You're getting pretty careless in your middle age." “I must have been tired, when I returned from hiking and forgot.” "Shame on you, Pablo. With what you've been through, you should know better." Stuart glanced out beyond the front door to the dark and gave a flick of his head. “Guys, I found him. Come on in.” Two men in overcoats, one barrel chested and with bulldog jowls, the other sharp faced and hollow cheeked, trotted heavy booted up the steps into the living room, leaving muddy foot prints in their wake. Both had short hair, cut military style. Stuart didn't introduce them; neither did they. They glanced only a minute at the figure in the bedroom doorway before going into a routine, all business. The sharp featured one dropped into a crouch next to curtained windows near the front door, binoculars trained out into the night. His companion stepped heavy footed to the back of the farmhouse, also gripping field glasses. Stuart kicked shut the door, turned the three locks, yanked the door knob several times with showy concern for safety. “I think we have security now. Hopefully anyway. Hell of a way to treat someone, who got your ass out of Vienna.” An attempted joke, a bit of a smile. “I thought you were someone else.” “Who, the Germans invading France again? Pity whoever he is, if he ever shows.” Stuart looked around the living room. “Cozy place you got. Sure beats hiding out in a damp cave by a long shot.” “It was till you showed.” “Mum’s the word, Pablo. Promise, don't worry. I won’t tell George about your bolt-hole.” “Let’s hope so. And I call it a farmhouse.” “Fine, a farmhouse. A remote one, too. Once we left Arles, it took ages to find. Exit this autoroute. Take that back road. Follow that Centre Ville sign. Pass that vineyard. You've got a real talent for disappearing.” "Can you blame me?" Stuart Bishop was a CIA bureaucrat with refined tastes, Pablo reminded himself. London theaters. Paris and Milan art museums. The idea of country living seemed foreign. “The provençal isolation helped my dad forget the headache running his hotel.” He glanced across to the bedroom's doorway and noticed Gabriella still pointed the 32 cal revolver shakily at Stuart. He motioned to lower it. “Ca va." It’s okay. “Who’s the dark haired beauty?” Stuart tugged out a monogrammed white handkerchief from his breast pocket and used it to beat away dust from his jacket and pants. “A friend.” He glanced with a raised eyebrow at Pablo. “Some friend. A Juliette Binoche look-alike in a negligee.” “Her name’s Gabriella, Stuart. Her husband’s a bigwig Paris politician, who's had one too many affairs. She wants out. He threatened to find and kill her, if she gets divorced. She’s leaving anyway. We thought you were him when you showed.” He had had enough polite small talk. “What's this about for crying out loud? You got scared? You have any idea how you scared us? You know what time it is?" “Something bad's happened in London," Stuart said, ignoring his complaint. "Maurice is dead.” Pablo felt a sharp stab of pain in his stomach. “He’s what?” “Yeah, I know, it's hard to believe." Stuart's face was as grimly serious, he noticed, as his must be hearing the news. "Dead, Jesus, Maurice?" "I can't believe it myself, but I heard it briefly on the BBC London news, and that's not the half of it. I’m very sorry. He was a good and honorable man in a sometimes rotten profession. A rarity these days, considering who's running MI5's shop. We've a big problem on our hands....

 

 

 

A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. "Murder Without Pity," a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. "The Killing Ploy" (with heavy overtones of "fake news" before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, "Darkness and Blood," the sequel to "The Killing Ploy," and "Winston Churchill's Renegade Spy" also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.

 

Links

 

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Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/07/16/blog-tour-darkness-and-blood-by-steve-haberman-with-excerpt-and-giveaway
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