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text 2018-09-13 11:00
Blog Tour with Excerpt! Wheels Up: A Novel of Drug, Cartels and Survival by Jeanine Kitchel!

 

 

Title: WHEELS UP: A NOVEL OF DRUGS, CARTELS, AND SURVIVAL

 

Author: Jeanine Kitchel
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 294
Genre: Thriller

 

 

BOOK BLURB:

 

Layla always wanted to run the family business. But is she willing to kill for it?

When her notorious drug lord uncle is recaptured, Layla Navarro catapults to the top of Mexico’s most powerful cartel. Groomed as his successor, Layla knows where the bodies are buried. But not all the enemies. She strikes her first deal to prove her mettle by accepting an offer to move two tons of cocaine from Colombia to Cancun by jet. Things go sideways during a stopover in Guatemala whe Layla unexpectedly uncovers a human trafficking ring. Plagued by self-doubt, she must fight off gangsters, outsmart corrupt officials, and navigate the minefield of Mexican machismo. Even worse, she realizes she’s become a target for every rival cartel seeking to undermine her new standing. From her lush base in the tropics, she’s determined to retain her dominant position in Mexico’s criminal world. If she can stay alive.

 

 

AVAILABLE in print or ebook at:

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Wheels-Up-Novel-Cartels-Survival/dp/0692064699/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1531070072&sr=8-1&dpID=51WOvdpfbqL&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

 

 

Chapter 1
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Present Day
The Gulfstream jet, loaded with two tons of Colombian cocaine, careened over dense Yucatan jungle as Layla stared out the compact window, horrified. If they weren’t running on empty and destined to crash, it might have looked lush to her, even beautiful.
Without fuel, the engines starved into silence, she heard only the whooshing sound of the aluminum plane as it cruised over mangrove swamps and fast-approaching mahogany trees. All thoughts of her hasty departure from Guatemala to escape Don Guillermo’s wrath had vanished along with any hopes of safely landing in Cancun. They were going down.
Layla gripped the armrests, dropped her head between her knees, and prepared for the worst.
#
Three weeks earlier, Layla was sitting at the crowded bar in Bucanero’s Cantina in Ensenada, on Mexico’s west coast, while she waited for Clay Lasalle, Canada’s biggest pot dealer, to show up. Carlos, her bodyguard and sometime lover, was with her, but rather than relieving the stress, his overbearing presence just added to the pressure.
With the recent recapture and imprisonment of El Patrón, her notorious uncle, Layla had catapulted to the top of the Culiacan Cartel as his replacement. Now she was facing her first deal without her uncle’s guiding hand. To calm her jitters she resorted to the one thing that never failed her: tequila shots.
“Don Julio, por favor!” Layla called to the paunchy bartender over the clamor of the rowdy, alcohol-fueled crowd—mostly tourists in shorts and Hawaiian shirts. Above the polished mahogany bar a framed poster-sized photo showed a nude blonde being ushered out of the century-old watering hole by two Mexican policia. Of course it’s a gringa, Layla thought, Mexicans treaded more carefully in shark-infested waters. She waved a two-hundred-peso note as the bartender passed by with a tray of margaritas.
“Momentito!” he promised.
Carlos stepped away just as she downed her second shot. Though he’d given her his “cuidado” or “be careful” look before heading to the restroom, she ignored it. When a handsome gringo sat next to her and started talking, she was all in.
By the time Carlos returned, Layla was too busy chatting with her neighbor to worry about her bodyguard’s glare. Carlos hated outsiders as much as seeing her drink, but she needed to chill. Tequila shots and flirting were a mindless diversion. The agave centered her, allowing her to distract herself without losing her edge before the meeting.
“You’re from Chicago?” she asked. “I’ve been there.”
The man gazed at the dark-haired Latina by his side. “What did you think?”
She gave a dismissive shrug. “Too cold.” Her intelligent almond-shaped eyes were the color of charcoal. “I prefer Mexico.” A sardonic smile highlighted her cheekbones, making her face even more appealing.
Layla turned back toward her bodyguard and focused on the shot glass the bartender placed in front of her. Poor Carlos. Coming to Baja always rattled him. It wasn’t only the jaw-breaking drive from Culiacan on dodgy Mexican roads. It was Ensenada—far from the safety of Sinaloa, well out of their comfort zone. But for Layla, Bucanero’s Cantina qualified as northern Baja’s one saving grace. The dive bar brought back memories of her wild, reckless early years. At thirty-five, Layla still had plenty of the right stuff. Her five-foot-six frame seemed mostly legs and Carlos’s rare compliments always focused on her tiny waist. She emphasized her striking physique by wearing low-cut tops but her most notable feature was the cascade of curly dark hair that spilled over her shoulders.
She downed her last tequila shot, scooted off the wooden bar stool a step ahead of Carlos and moved towards the empty dining room. The cantina was not the best place for a meeting, but it suited their needs: an easy landmark near the border with a back room for business. Layla slipped into the barely lit room, accepted a menu from the waiter, and handed him a two-hundred-peso note.
“Our associate arrives soon. We need privacy. Close the restaurant,” she ordered. “Your manager knows.”
He nodded, pocketed the bill, and turned towards the kitchen.
Layla walked across the worn wooden floor to a corner table in the back. She took a deep breath to steady herself before sitting down. Things would escalate into a full-scale argument once Carlos reached the table. She could already hear him scolding, “Bosses keep to themselves, especially in public.”
When Carlos had a bad day, everyone had a bad day. He could easily vie for title of most miserable man on the planet. Too bad the sex was so good. Hijole! He had the body of a male model but two sizes larger, with café au lait skin. So handsome, but so disagreeable. Granted she shouldn’t have given that gringo the time of day, but tequila made her bold.
Layla opened the menu, waiting for her bodyguard’s interrogation to begin.
Carlos banged a cheap wooden chair against the table before sitting down. “What the hell do you care about Chicago? It’s not Madrid, not even Barcelona! That guy was boring! Are you so starved for conversation you have to talk to a gringo?”
Layla silently perused the bill of fare.
“I’ve had it,” he said, his voice rising. “I’m tired of my life. Am I just your bodyguard and nothing more? Everyone, everyone, told me to keep it strictly business, even your uncle. But I didn’t listen. I thought it would be that one drunken one night stand, and now I’m fucking chained to you because of this goddamn job!”
His powerful hands clenched into fists as he rubbed them over his knees. “If only I could’ve left you in Guadalajara. But I’d have never made it out of the city before taking a bullet from your uncle.”
That was accurate: You didn’t quit the cartel, the cartel quit you. She looked at the menu, avoiding eye contact, glad the waiter hadn’t yet returned. “Should we order?”
He glared at her. “Are you acting like this conversation isn’t happening? Do you want me to walk out of here, meeting or no meeting?”
Best not to test him. He’d do it, and then she’d be without a bodyguard. The drone of his voice, the bullying, started to sink in. Chinga! She had no trouble working the cartel mob, but Carlos ran her. He was as overbearing as her two brothers. Reynoldo who should have been running the cartel had died trying, and Martín, her other brother, wasn’t up to the task. Now with one brother and two cousins dead, Layla found herself atop the Culiacan Cartel.
She looked up and said in as soothing a tone as possible, “Carlos, let’s not fight, okay? We’re here for business. I need you with me. You’re not only the man who protects me. I love you.”
She did love him, though his bad attitude and barking complaints—usually aimed at her—were tiresome. He shifted his perfectly-proportioned body forward, staring at her with eyes she’d been lost in a hundred times. He surprised her by grabbing her hand, a little harder than necessary. They never touched in public.
“After this meeting, we’ll talk about you and me.” He scowled. “I don’t know why you drink so much—and with strangers.”
These macho men! “Okay, okay. I’ll let up on the shots. One last Pacifico while we wait.”
The waiter came and they ordered. She checked her watch, 10 p.m. Lasalle would be showing up soon. She’d met him once before in Miami and sparks had flown—there was no denying they had chemistry.
Layla changed topics. “So, what does he want?”
“Chinga! Who cares?”
She backpedaled. “Carlos…”
He gave her a cold look but couldn’t hold back his opinion. “Routes for coke or pot.”
The meal went smoothly. Layla pushed an enchilada around her plate and watched Carlos demolish an order of chilaquiles, three tamales, and a couple chicken enchiladas. As he piled it in, a rare calm settled over him. He was well into his second beer when Clay walked into the restaurant. Layla saw him first, but Carlos looked up the moment Clay crossed the threshold. As a bodyguard, Carlos’s instincts were flawless.
The thirty-something Canadian smuggler was six feet two, a looker with brown shaggy hair and an easy smile. Though his frame was solid, almost hefty, he moved like a cat. Spotting Layla, he gave a nod as his long strides brought him across the room.
He let his knuckles graze the table as he flashed her a warm smile. “Layla, it’s been a long time. Good to see you again. And this is…”
“Carlos.”
“Carlos, hola. Clay.” The Canadian extended a hand.
Carlos rose from the booth. “A pleasure.” He spoke in Spanish. “I’ll be close by,” he said to Layla.
“Have a seat.” Layla slid over to allow room for Clay. Not much had changed about the northern grower since she last saw him—still that laidback air even though he controlled the lion’s share of Canada’s pot sales.
“Something to eat?” Layla continued in English, though she knew Clay spoke passable Spanish.
He shook his head. “Just a Pacifico.” She gestured toward her beer and the hovering waiter sprung into action.
“Long drive?”
“Not bad. Been waiting long?” Clay asked.
“No.”
They silently watched the waiter set down the bottle of beer and retreat from the room.
“Salud,” said Clay, raising his bottle. “Layla, I’m glad you could meet with me. I’ll get right to the point. I want a partner to move a couple tons of coke to Cancun by air—a regular run. I heard you lost a yacht recently, so a partnership could work out well for both of us.”
How did Lasalle know about the navy seizing their yacht?
“Cocaine…”
“Boats are fine, but flying’s faster and we can carry more. Plus I’m dealing directly with FARC. Gotta hand it to ’em. For a guerrilla army in the Colombian jungle, they know how to run those cocaine fincas. And we can get better prices from them than anyone’s gotten before.”
He took a swig of beer.
“Interesting,” she said without emotion. “How will you manage those good prices?”
“A combined order with you.” He paused and waited for her reaction.
She said nothing.
“The airport manager’s on board,” he said, “Already allowed some of my flights through.”
She leaned back against the worn naugahyde booth, settling into the game of cat and mouse. “What kind of planes?”
“A Gulfstream and a DC-9.”
Layla raised an eyebrow. “Who owns them?”
“A couple guys in Lauderdale run a shield for drug planes by providing American registration to the cartels. It’s complicated—big money down, more than what the plane’s worth. In return these guys maintain the plane registration, and hire Vietnam vets to do the cartel runs.”
She nodded.
“If the plane’s seized, the pilots deny responsibility. These hooked-up guys can reclaim the plane because their corporation holds the lien,” Clay said.
Layla slid forward, placed her elbows on the table and picked at the label on the empty beer bottle in front of her. “How can they do that? Someone must hold the original papers.”
“They disguise ownership by sheep-dipping it—you know, a fake identity—and pass it on to straw owners. It’s a slick process, an old scheme used by the CIA.”
“The CIA? Come on, Clay,” she said with a slight frown. Do I look naïve? She flipped her dark hair over one shoulder. Clay’s gaze shifted to Layla’s long elegant neck.
He caught himself, looked away, and readjusted his long legs under the table before speaking. “These vets couriered traffickers from Colombia to Miami for the CIA. Talk about walking the line. They did time for trafficking, but they’re back, and they’re hotshot pilots.”
“Your shipments came in with no problem?” Layla asked.
“Like I said, I have connections, and the players, they’ve worked it out.”
“Does that include the Gulf Cartel?”
He nodded.
“Hmm. I’ve got to think things through,” Layla said. “When’s your next run?”
“Got a few details to sort out. I hear you’re growing the European market—this’ll get you a lot closer to that trip across the pond.”
Layla gave him a cool smile. “If I didn’t know better I’d think you were spying on me.”
“Layla,” Clay said with a chuckle. “I’m just trying to keep up with you.”
She looked at him a second too long before she continued. “Can I get back to you?”
“Sure.” Clay finished off his beer. “Let me know where and when.”
#
Layla and Carlos left Ensenada immediately after the meeting, heading out on the road to Culiacan. Carlos high-powered the black SUV through the moonless night while Layla closed her eyes and imagined the impact of bringing in new business on her own. In a four hundred billion dollar global industry, she could begin to stake out her territory.
“By working with us, FARC will see Clay as a real player,” she confided to Carlos.
“Basta! Always business!” Carlos said, still in a huff.
Layla composed herself before responding. “Yes, it is. Business that allows you to drive a new Escalade, wear expensive suits and five thousand peso boots, and drink Don Julio and Dom Perignon. Let me remind you: My uncle’s in prison and he’s left me in charge. Get used to it!”
She leaned against the window, pulling as far away from Carlos as possible.
Always fighting. She turned her attention to the darkness outside. It was a lonely two-lane road, not used much even in the daytime. Though she couldn’t make out the mountains that surrounded them she knew they were there.
They rode in silence, absorbed in separate thoughts. Carlos concentrated on dodging potholes. Layla contemplated moving powder with Clay.
The rules were changing and in this game they all had to stay ahead of the curve. She was anxious to run the idea by El Patrón. But they had a long drive ahead.

 


About the Author

Jeanine Kitchel, a former journalist, escaped her hectic nine-to-five life in San Francisco, bought land, and built a house in a fishing village on the Mexican Caribbean coast. Shortly after settling in she opened a bookstore. By this time she had become a serious Mayaphile and her love of the Maya culture led her and her husband to nearby pyramid sites throughout southern Mexico and farther away to sites in Central America. In the bookstore she entertained a steady stream of customers with their own Maya tales to tell—from archeologists and explorers to tour guides and local experts. At the request of  a publisher friend, she began writing travel articles about her adopted homeland for websites and newspapers. Her travel memoir, Where the Sky is Born: Living in the Land of the Maya, and Maya 2012 Revealed: Demystifying the Prophecy, are available on Amazon. She has since branched into writing fiction and her debut novel, Wheels Up—A Novel of Drugs, Cartels and Survival, launched May 2018.

 


WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

 

Website - http://www.jeaninekitchel.com/

 

Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/jeaninekitchel

 

Facebook (personal) - https://www.facebook.com/jeanine.kitchel

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Jeanine-Kitchel-255426494528083/

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-06 11:00
Blog Tour with Giveaway & Review! UnderControl (Boston Fire #5) Shannon Stacey!
Under Control - Shannon Stacey

 

 

 

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS


From New York Times bestselling author SHANNON STACEY…

 

Meet the tough, dedicated men of BOSTON FIRE—and the women who turn their lives upside down.

 

When faced with the opportunity to change shifts while staying in the same house, veteran firefighter Derek Gilman jumps at the chance. His new schedule means not working Saturdays, which means more time to spend with his two kids. His divorce may have been amicable, but being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle. And when fate brings a gorgeous, wealthy woman into his life, he’s pretty sure he can’t handle more than he already is.

 

Olivia McGovern loves plans. She planned to start her own business and planned its growth. It’s earning her seven figures now, but her personal life simply doesn’t exist. Getting trapped in a broken elevator figures in exactly nowhere, and freaking out in front of a sexy firefighter definitely isn’t on the agenda. Especially not one with two kids and an ex.

 

What would have been a random incident with an attractive stranger becomes something more when a charity event brings them back together. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally—with friends, family and careers to consider. But as Derek and Olivia are discovering, chemistry doesn’t allow for plans, and love doesn’t bother with logistics.

 

Don’t miss the entire Boston Fire series by Shannon Stacey! Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited and Hot Response are available now!

 

 

BOOK INFO
Under Control by Shannon Stacey
Series Boston Fire Series
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Carina Press
Publication Date August 28, 2018

 

 

Being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle, so Derek Gilman is pretty sure adding a gorgeous, wealthy woman to his life is more than he can handle. Olivia McGovern loves plans so getting stuck in an elevator with a sexy firefighter has freaking out. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally, but chemistry doesn’t allow for plans and love doesn’t bother with logistics.

 

The blazing hot chemistry that heats up the pages of this enchanting romance will singe readers as they get to know the strong, compelling characters that easily draw them into their story and charm their way into hearts. The relationship is has a few major obstacles likes plans, distance and insecurities which cause quite a bit of emotional turbulence that tugs at the heart but the romance is sweet and readers can’t help but cheer Olivia and Derek on toward their happily ever after because in a way the characters are very different from each other but at the same time they seem fit and complement each other and what romance reader doesn’t like a real romance with lots of opposition.

 

The smooth flowing plot keeps readers engaged with lots of emotional and compelling events that adds depth and fascination to the story and the steady pace keeps readers glued to the pages as it builds anticipation. The story doesn’t focus on either of the couple’s careers but focuses on the way that those careers and family issues affect their lives and how they must overcome it. This feel good romance will delight readers from beginning to end as they get know the characters from Boston Fire and ensures that want to come back for more.

 


Author book page -
https://shannonstacey.com/books/under-control/

 

Add Under Control to your shelves

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35287633-under-control

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/under-control-by-shannon-stacey

 

 

Under Control is the 5th book in the Boston Fire series:

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/series/147314-boston-fire

 

Author - https://shannonstacey.com/books#boston-fire

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B00YW7PU0C/ref=dp_st_1335964541

 

 

which includes

 

1 Heat Exchange
2 Controlled Burn
3 Fully Ignited
4 Hot Response
5 Under Control

& #6 Flare Up ( Coming - January 29, 2019)

 


in print or ebook at

 

Amazon - https://amzn.to/2LbhFoW


B&N - https://goo.gl/xBgcvx


Kobo - https://goo.gl/5kmCbP


GPlay - https://goo.gl/thu57q


iBooks - https://apple.co/2LCqbt6


Carina Press - https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488079245_under-control.html

 

Harlequin - https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335964540_under-control.html

 

Book Depository - http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781335964540

 

BaM - http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9781335964540

 

!ndigo - http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/a/9781335964540-item.html

 

IndieBound - http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335964540

 

Powells - http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9781335964540

 

Audible - https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Under-Control-Audiobook/B07DWHF8K3

 

You can also visit the author's book page for international purchase links

 

 

 

 

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

 

To celebrate the release of UNDER CONTROL by Shannon Stacey, we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

 

 

LINK: http://bit.ly/2LyyGp5

 

 

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Carina Press. Giveaway ends 9/11/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.

 

 

ABOUT SHANNON STACEY
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author SHANNON STACEY lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and off-roading with her friends and family. You can contact Shannon through her website, www.shannonstacey.com, as well as sign up for her newsletter.


AUTHOR LINKS


Website http://www.shannonstacey.com/


Facebook https://www.facebook.com/shannonstacey.authorpage


Twitter https://twitter.com/shannonstacey


Goodreads https://goo.gl/h4Z1wW


Amazon http://amzn.to/2Fu9RbN

 

 

 


http://puretextualitypr.com

 

 

 

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text 2018-09-06 11:00
First Look with Giveaway & Excerpt! Butterfly Ops (Butterfly Ops #1) Jen Doyle!

 

 

 

Title: Butterfly Ops
Author: Jen Doyle
Series: Butterfly Ops
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy with Romantic Elements
Release Date: Sept 24, 2018
Length: 120,000 words

 

 


Blurb:


What's a superheroine to do when her super soldier ex turns up alive after more than fifteen years?

 

Lyndsey doesn't have much time to walk down memory lane before she and Ian find themselves thrown together to investigate the mysterious deaths of ten young men in the Canadian wilderness. How do such seemingly normal, healthy men's hearts just...stop?

 

With the hint of an evil spirit in the wind--and a whole lot of butterflies--there's no telling what Lyndsey and Ian are dealing with, including their own extensive baggage. Though seventeen years is a lot of life to live, there's one thing they can't deny: their attraction is as intense as ever. But is it just a spark that will burn itself out, or is it true love bringing them back together? When the force they're hunting turns its sights on them, the leap of faith required far exceeds either of their powers. But worrying about their future might be premature because one wrong move and they might not make it out alive.

 

In Book One of the Butterfly Ops trilogy, Lyndsey and Ian reconnect fifteen years after seeing each other for what each thought was the last time. That the spark is still there is undeniable—but is it enough to get past the secrets and lies that tore them apart the first time around? With old tensions rearing their heads as new challenges arise, what at first seems to be a sure path back to trust and happiness is rockier than it seems.

 

Note: this is Book One in a serial trilogy. Book Two will be released in Spring 2019; Book Three will be released in early Summer 2019. Books should be read in order.

 

 

Add Butterfly Ops to your shelves at:

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40692059-butterfly-ops?from_search=true

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/butterfly-ops-by-jen-doyle

 

 

 

Will be available in ebook at:

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Ops-Book-Jen-Doyle-ebook/dp/B07F46582R/

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/butterfly-ops-jen-doyle/1128981328

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/butterfly-ops-book-1/id1405770688

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/butterfly-ops-book-1

 

 

 


Taking a deep breath and deciding to face her demons head on, Lyndsey whirled on her heel—and proceeded to walk directly into someone who, thank you very much, had been a little too close for comfort. Coffee and bags went flying everywhere.

 

Damn it. This was not at all what she needed fifteen minutes before the meeting she didn’t even want to be at. Why hadn’t she just let the cab take her all the way there?

 

Trying to keep her irritation contained, she accepted the napkins being offered from an outstretched hand.  An outstretched hand presumably connected to the body she had knocked into, a body in such close proximity that a collision had been unavoidable. Big, solid, muscular body, by the way, all done up in Army green, medals and ribbons to boot. Not that that did much to improve her mood, of course.

 

She purposefully didn’t look up right away, knowing it was an accident and this person had no intention of spilling everything all over her and the sidewalk. Therefore it would do absolutely no good to say something like, ‘Haven’t you ever heard of personal space?’ Not until she could say it with a smile at least.

 

“I’m so sorry,” she heard the man say in a tone that seemed genuinely apologetic, as it should. “You look like someone I...”

 

His voice cut off abruptly.

 

She slowly raised her head, and...

 

No.

 

Um... No.

 

This couldn’t be real. Lyndsey backed away, looking into the eyes of a ghost. A six-foot-and-change, two-hundred pound, solidly-packed-in-all-the-right-places ghost. She stared at him, his face so familiar despite the lines around his eyes and mouth. His hair had a few flecks of gray in that distinguished way men’s hair did, but his arms and chest and shoulders had lost none of their definition in the time that had passed, nor had his body lost its ability to stir something deep within her.

Something that hadn’t been stirred in a very long time. And despite her various issues where the Army was concerned, she certainly didn’t mind seeing him in that uniform with all its medals and ribbons. Which also reminded her of all the times seeing him out of his uniform and, well, it wasn’t exactly helping her in the thought-forming parts of the brain.

 

“But you’re… You’re…” she stammered.

 

He was dead. He’d died almost ten years ago, as far as Lyndsey knew. Beyond that, she was unable to form a coherent thought.

 

Well, except that Ian—Ian Fox—seemed to be right there with her, also totally incapable of speech.

 

“Dad, please tell me you did not make this mess.”

 

Lyndsey looked past Ian to see the coffee shop girl coming towards him. A girl who called Ian, ‘Dad.’  A girl who was Ian’s daughter.

 

 

What's a superheroine to do when her super soldier ex turns up alive after more than fifteen years?

 

Follow the first look and enter to #win a $10 Amazon Gift Card or one of five digital copies of a Jen Doyle backlist title

 

Enter at: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29566/

 

 

 


A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. CALLING IT, her four-book baseball/contemporary romance/romantic comedy series, has been winning awards since its inception, the most recent being the 2017 Best Banter Contest for Calling It and a nomination for the 2017 Harlequin Hero of the Year for Called Out. She also wrote the acclaimed HANSONS OF ST. HELENA series of novellas in the St. Helena Vineyard Kindle World. Butterfly Ops: Book One is the first installment of the BUTTERFLY OPS trilogy, an epic love story and her first in the paranormal realm.

 

Jen has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as an administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”). She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

 

Website - http://www.jendoyleink.com/

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jendoyleink/

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/jendoyleink

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7093094.Jen_Doyle

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Jen-Doyle/e/B01C5WYUVA/

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jen-doyle

 

Pintrest - https://www.pinterest.com/jendoyleink/

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-06 11:00
Blog Tour with Giveaway & 4 STAR New Release Review! Three – Way Split (Comes in Threes #1) Elia Winters!
Three-Way Split - Elia Winters

 

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS


Hannah Stewart knows what she likes, and it doesn’t include relationships. She has enough on her plate with her fledgling adult novelty shop, Yes Please. But even with an arsenal of sex toys at her disposal, she’s hit a dry spot—one she wishes the sexy Mitchell Fredericks would help her out with.

 

There’s just one snag. His sexy roommate and business partner, Ben Harrington.

The last thing she wants to do is come between their friendship—even though she’d like to come between them in other ways. Instead, she comes up with a proposition for them, one that might lead to a very hot, very unexpected outcome.

 



BOOK INFO


Three-Way Split by Elia Winters
Series Comes In Threes Series
Genre Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher Entangled Scorched
Publication Date August 20, 2018

 

 

Author - https://eliawinters.com/three-way-split/

 

 

Add Three Way Split to your shelves at –

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40793943-three-way-split

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/three-way-split-by-elia-winters

 

 

 

Three - Way Split is the 1st book in the Comes in Threes series -

 

1 Three - Way Split
2 Three's the Charm (November 19, 2018)
3 Three For All (early 2019)

 

 

AVAILABLE in print or ebook at:

 

 

Amazon - https://amzn.to/2wkZwL1


Entangled Pub - https://goo.gl/iNzxy7


B&Noble - https://goo.gl/j12pTT


Kobo - https://goo.gl/hm5VjW


iBooks - https://apple.co/2N7A82I

 

 

 


Three – Way Split is a realistic romance that features polyamory and how the strong, convincing characters handle the emotional and moral ramifications of such a relationship. The romance starts off a bit on the fun side when Hannah decides that monogamy is not for her and she wants more but doesn’t really want the whole committed relationship, while Mitchell and Ben have been ‘friends with benefits’ for years and are comfortable with that. The emotional turmoil and questioning of decisions made becomes complicated when Hannah enters into a relationship with Mitchell and Ben, all of the turbulence that these three experience is portrayed in such a way that it adds the realistic feel to the story. It gives an in depth look at just what the characters feel and how they handle what they go through.

 

The story is steady paced with lots of sweet, friendly elements as well scorching hot passionate scenes in a variety of ways while it also shows the characters in their lives with enough details to make it easy for the readers to get to know these characters and what makes them tick which in turn means that readers understand the decisions and turmoil that the characters undergo once entering into the polyamory relationship and since all three characters fight giving in to ‘love’ there’s plenty of suspense in the story as well as readers wonder if they can swallow their fear and reach for that happily ever after.

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

Hannah sank back into the booth seat, the smooth leather cushioning her with the familiar cradle of a well-known spot, and looked lustfully at the man emerging through the swinging door of the Mapleton Pub kitchen. The burger he was holding was beautiful, but the head chef carrying it was definitely the tastier-looking entrée. With his blond hair, chiseled jaw, and steel-gray eyes, Mitchell Fredericks was so model pretty it was practically a cliché. Add in that body, built like a brick wall, and she would take whatever he was serving her. She smiled at Mitchell as he reached her table, resting her chin on her hand.

 

“Damn, Mitchell, all that meat for me?”

 

Mitchell gave her a tight-lipped smile, his favorite kind. “You know it, Hannah.” He slid the burger in front of her, giving her the chance to ogle his taut forearms below the rolled-up cuffs of his chef jacket. “And for you, Lori, the fish and chips.

Just as fried, just as deadly.” He pulled a bottle of malt vinegar out of his jacket pocket and set it down next to her. “And your malt vinegar. Like I could forget.”

 

Across from Hannah, her best friend, Lori, smiled up at Mitchell and accepted her plate. “Ahh, Mitchell, nobody’s coming here for the health food. You’re not going to sell salads as long as the rest of your menu is so delicious.” She shook her head in appreciation, the loose spiral curls of her afro bouncing with the movement. After tapping her fork on the batter of the fish, she made an appreciative noise that sounded obscenely sexual. “That is a beautiful batter.”

 

“Thank you.” Mitchell looked between the two women. “Do you ladies need anything else?”

 

Hannah flashed him another dazzling smile. “I was hoping to make some more inappropriate double entendres about the burger if you wanted to stick around.”

 

Mitchell sighed and shook his head. “I swear you only like me for my food.”

 

Hannah shrugged. “I can’t help it. You deliver the meat. Besides, you’d be disappointed if I stopped making lewd comments. What else are you going to think about at night?” She bit into a french fry, still looking up at him through her lashes. Teasing Mitchell was one of her favorite games.


“I’m sure I’d think of something.” He put his hands on his hips. “You planning to be at tonight’s Chamber of Commerce meeting?”

 

“You know it.” Hannah raised her water. “Some late-breaking news about Fall Festival.”

 

“Yeah, I saw the email.” He scratched his jaw, where he always had a light dusting of blond stubble. Hard to tell if he was keeping that on purpose or if he just got lazy about shaving. Probably the latter. He didn’t seem to be the type to obsess about his appearance, except for clearly working out on the regular. He kept talking as she poured out some ketchup for her fries. “I want to see if Ben will come tonight. He might want to get involved in the festival.”

 

“Ben?” Hannah hadn’t seen Mitchell’s best friend at the Chamber of Commerce meetings in a long time. She seldom saw him in general, even though he and Mitchell were co-owners of the restaurant. “Is he going to sell beer at your booth?”

 

“I don’t know. Regulations have been a pain in the ass in past years. They’ve always charged a lot more to booths that sell alcohol.”

 

“You should, you know.” Lori piped up and lifted her glass of German-style wheat beer. “Sell this stuff at the festival. Even if it costs more. I would cut a bitch to get some.”

 

Mitchell fixed her with a deadpan expression. “If you don’t want to get violent, you could just buy some in the shop. Or at the supermarket. We distribute all over western Mass.”

 

“You get your beer wherever you want, Lori. I’ll be here every week as long as everything stays so delicious.” Hannah winked at Mitchell, who shook his head at her lewd expression.

 

“Enjoy your lunch.” Mitchell took a step back. “Jess will be over to check on you soon.”

 

As soon as he was back in the kitchen, Lori rounded on Hannah. “You are a whore, you know that?”

 

Hannah laughed. “You’re not allowed to call me a whore! You’re doing your entire dissertation on alternative sexualities.”

 

“Your only alternative sexuality is flirting shamelessly with that man and never doing anything about it.” Lori sighed, turning to peer at the closed kitchen door, then turned back to Hannah. “He is a fine piece of man.”

 

“You want him, you go after him.” Hannah took another bite of burger. “You know I don’t do relationships.”

 

Lori wrinkled her nose. “I don’t know. He’s hot and all, but I haven’t dated a white guy in a really long time. And I don’t think the middle of my PhD dissertation research is the time to get involved with someone new. Plus, he’s so serious. I need someone more lighthearted. Or several someones. I don’t know.” She used her fork to break apart the flaky fish and batter. “The deeper I get into this dissertation, the more I think that monogamy is fundamentally flawed.” She popped the bite into her mouth, then sprinkled some malt vinegar over the entire plate.

 

“I don’t think so.” Hannah contemplated her friend across the table. “I know lots of people who are happy with monogamous relationships. Just because I’m not one of them doesn’t mean the whole system is a failure.” She set the burger down and gestured at Lori with a fry. “You’re having sample bias. You’ve only been talking to nonmonogamous people, and now you think monogamy is terrible.”

 

Lori broke off another piece of fish. “Maybe. But aren’t you being hypocritical here? You’re always blabbing about how you’ll never tie yourself down to one person, one man can never meet all your needs, blah, blah, blah. How is that any different than what I’m saying?”

 

Hannah picked up her burger and thoughtfully chewed a bite, considering how to answer. “I think most people are happy with just one partner. I’m too independent for that. It wouldn’t be fair to put all my desires onto one guy and think he can be everything to me.” That, and the idea of being vulnerable and risking heartbreak was not on her to-do list. “My needs are…varied.”

 

Lori snorted. “Kinky as fuck, you mean.” She gave Hannah a knowing look, and Hannah grinned in response.

 

“What can I say? I own a sex-toy store. It’s spoiled me for vanilla missionary sex.” She ate more of her burger. “God, if I could fuck this burger, I would.”

 


“That’s unsanitary and terrifying.” Lori sprinkled some more malt vinegar over her plate. “You should fuck the chef instead.”

 

Hannah sighed. “Don’t think I haven’t considered it. Nightly, and in a number of detailed ways.”

 

“What’s stopping you?”

 

“Mitchell’s a relationship kind of guy. You can just tell.”

 

“How can you just tell?” Lori pressed.

 

How couldn’t she just tell? All the conversations she’d had with him, both here in the restaurant and at their monthly Chamber of Commerce meetings—it was obvious.

 

“It’s hard to describe. You spend so long working in a sex shop, you get a feel for people. Who’s a freak, who’s not. Mitchell’s not. He’s vanilla. He’s monogamous.

He’s probably looking for a committed relationship. Or maybe he’s not looking for any relationship at all. This restaurant probably keeps him pretty busy.”

 

Lori shrugged. “Maybe he’s already in a relationship.”

 

“Nah.” Hannah paused, looking off toward the closed door, then back at Lori. “You think? I’ve never seen him with anyone besides Ben, but that makes sense since they live together.”

 

Lori raised both eyebrows but didn’t comment.

 

“No, I don’t think so. It’s not like that.” Hannah shook her head. “They’re best friends. Business partners. And Mitchell flirts with me like that all the time. I feel like if he were with someone already, I’d know about it. He’d talk about it, at least.”

 

“Maybe.” Lori didn’t look convinced, but she also didn’t continue to debate the issue with Hannah. Any sort of friendship that lasted so long—in their case, the ten years since college—came with that kind of sixth sense where she felt like she knew Hannah better than Hannah knew herself. Hell, sometimes she probably did.

 

It was probably Mitchell’s loss, though, that she wasn’t going to fuck him. She was good in bed—she’d had enough experience to confirm—and her career had taught her a few tricks not known to the more traditionally employed. After all, when you had eight hundred square feet of retail sex shop space plus two hundred square feet of storage, you had a lot of sex toys, and a lot of time to learn creative ways people might use them.

 

“If you’re not going to fuck the chef, then who are you fucking?” Lori stopped eating long enough to drink some of her beer. “I know you’ve got to be fucking somebody. I just keep thinking you’re hiding it from me. Like, maybe you’re fucking a celebrity and had to sign an NDA.”

 

Hannah snorted in laughter. “Not in over a month. Work has been crazy, and we had inventory last week, and before that, my parents were visiting.” She grimaced at the memory. She loved her parents, but having them a few hours away in Maine was much nicer for their relationship than when they were staying in her house. They always found little ways to criticize her, small, well-intentioned comments about how she might be living her life differently that left her on edge by the end of any visit.

 

“How are you even coping without sex?” Lori’s smile was teasing, a flash of white teeth.

 

Hannah shrugged. “I don’t need sex, Lori, I just like it.” She had always been the most sexually adventurous of her friends, quickest to invite a potential partner to bed, unable to wrap her mind around the shame that others seemed to feel about the act. “Good sex is like good food. It’s one of the most beautiful pleasures in life.” She held the mostly eaten burger up for emphasis. “It’s like this burger. You get a burger this good, you savor it. You don’t worry about calories, or carbs, or whatever. You live in the moment; you don’t ruin it by trying to make it be more or different than it is.” She set it down and picked up a french fry. “But you can’t live on burgers.”

 

“You’d die of a heart attack, for one.” Lori ate some of her own fries.

 

“Well, right. But you won’t get a heart attack from good sex.” Hannah paused. “Maybe from really good sex.”

 

“I’ll drink to that.” Lori clinked her glass with Hannah’s.

 

Hannah took a drink of her water. “Truthfully, though, I’m thinking about giving up one-night stands.” She set the glass down. “When I don’t know a guy well, he doesn’t fuck me well. I don’t have the time to teach him what I like.” Her most recent date came to mind, an app-generated hookup with a local grad student. “The last guy I slept with, really nice guy, but he was probably in his midtwenties, and he just didn’t know enough about how to please a woman yet. I taught him a few things, but Lori, I’m almost thirty. I don’t have time to teach college boys how to fuck.”

 

“That doesn’t sound like a one-night-stand problem. That sounds like a young-guys problem.”

 

“Maybe, but my two hookups before that were my age, and they weren’t any better. I guess my clit just has a steep learning curve.” Hannah sighed. “The fuck buddies thing was working well for a while, but Jalen moved away, and now Tim’s gotten serious with Deborah.” She rested her chin on her hand. “I need somebody I can fuck around with on an ongoing basis and have it not be serious.”

 

Mitchell walked past them carrying plates of food for another table, and Hannah watched him go, absentmindedly turning to check out the flex of his ass in his slacks as he passed by. When she turned back forward again, Lori was giving Hannah the biggest “are you fucking kidding me?” face.

 

“What?” Hannah couldn’t help how defensive she sounded, nor the red flush that crept up into her cheeks. “It’s like looking at beautiful art.”

 

Lori snorted. “Beautiful art that you want to ride like a pony.”

 

“Shut up.” Hannah smiled anyway. “No harm in looking.”

 

“What’s up for the Mapleton Fall Festival this year?” Lori drank some of her beer.

“You get a booth? It’s been a few years since you’ve done it.”

 

“Not this year.” The festival was such a blessing and a curse all at once. “It’s always the same situation. It’s a family-friendly event. I can’t sell toys. I have to sell the tamest stuff I have, like the massage bars, and the candles, and those stupid love coupons. I barely break even. Sometimes I lose money. I wish there were a way to sell my actual products, but the chamber would never go for it.”

 

“Why not? Can’t you just card people? They do it at the booths that sell beer.”

 

“They don’t want underage people to even be able to see my products.” Hannah grimaced. “I suggested a curtained-off space with ID check, and they still wouldn’t go for it, worried kids might run in and accidentally see a dildo. There was a lot of pearl clutching at the idea.” Sometimes Mapleton wasn’t nearly as progressive as they wanted everyone to think they were. “The chamber sent out some surveys over the summer asking for suggestions, and I’ve been pushing for an adults-only night event.” She gestured toward where Mitchell had been, like he was still standing there. “But it’s also like Mitchell said. Even if they give me the go-ahead, it’s pricey. I haven’t been able to afford the space in, like, three years now.”

 

“It’s a good event, though. Builds visibility. You spent all that money on marketing earlier this year. Seems like this would be more good marketing.”

 

“I know.” Hannah picked at her fries, drawing patterns in the ketchup on her plate. She did like the spirit of the festival, when the entire town essentially shut down to celebrate their community and local businesses. “It’s good for community spirit.

The problem is that community spirit is going to drain me dry.”

 

“Meh, it’s an investment.” Lori shrugged. “And you always have a good time.”

 

“You know how hard it’s been for me since the new property owner bought the building last year and raised my rent. I can’t take any financial risks right now.”

Hannah hated talking about this shit out loud. Lori might be her best friend, but it was also hard not to envy her professional competence. Lori was juggling so many responsibilities: writing for the Valley Voice paper, interning in the community, teaching a class, and writing a doctoral dissertation. Hannah was struggling to keep one simple business operational. It was pretty damn embarrassing.

 

“But a boost in sales wouldn’t hurt.” Lori tapped a fry against her lips, then ate it. “You’ve been saying for months that if you got a sudden cash boost, you could turn the tide before the holidays.”

 

Lori had a point, but Hannah had run the numbers. The financial burden was still too great. “I didn’t send in a vendor application, so I think that ship has sailed.”

Hannah rested her chin on her hand. “But I don’t know. The email they sent us was really cryptic, something about last-minute changes to the event. Maybe they’ll make all the booths suddenly free.” She forced a laugh.

 

Conversation drifted to Lori’s ridiculous schedule, and thank goodness they had moved on to talking about something other than her. Even best friends like Lori got a little intense sometimes. She didn’t want to admit it, but Lori always asked the questions she didn’t want to ask herself. Why didn’t she ever ask Mitchell out? Was it really because she thought he was a committed-relationship kind of guy, or because she wasn’t sure he was really into her?

 

All this time flirting with him, over a year of eating regularly at the Mapleton Pub, and he never progressed past flirtation. He never seemed bothered or

uncomfortable about it, but he didn’t return her affections, teasing as they may be. Even if she wanted to fuck him, she wasn’t entirely sure he was interested.

 

Normally, that sort of thing didn’t matter. She could handle rejection when it came to sex. She wasn’t everybody’s type. With Mitchell, though, something seemed different. Getting rejected by Mitchell would feel like a deeper rejection. Somehow, she’d come to care what he thought about her.

 

She watched him pass by on his way to deliver another table’s food, and as he caught her eye, he gave her a quick smile, which she returned. No, Mitchell was good to flirt with, but she wasn’t going to take that any further. She could find a fuck buddy, or she could entertain herself.

 

 

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY INFO

 

To celebrate the release of THREE-WAY SPLIT by Elia Winters, we're giving away for a $25 Amazon gift card!

 

LINK: http://bit.ly/2MJRoOA

 

 


GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. One winner will be chosen to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 9/6/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Entangled Publishing will send one winning prize, Pure Textuality PR will deliver the other. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.

 

 

ELIA WINTERS has always been a New England girl. Although she spent much of her childhood in Florida, she returned to her home state of Massachusetts as a teenager and has remained in New England ever since. She was blessed with an artsy, creative, somewhat quirky family that nurtured her eccentricities and helped shape her into the sassy woman she is today.

 

Elia holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. She balances her love of the outdoors with a bottomless well of geekiness; in her spare time, she is equally likely to be found skiing, camping, playing tabletop games, or watching Doctor Who.

 

A writer all her life, Elia likes to dabble in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother's romance novels. In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. She loves BDSM erotica and people who can use semicolons.

 

Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets.


AUTHOR LINKS


Website https://eliawinters.com/


Facebook http://facebook.com/eliawinters


Twitter http://twitter.com/eliawinters


Goodreads https://goo.gl/BEWp8Y


Amazon https://amzn.to/2BBHdXZ

 

 

 

 


http://puretextualitypr.com

 

 

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text 2018-09-05 11:00
Blog Tour with Excerpt & Giveaway! The Elusive Earl (Saints and Sinners) Maddison Michaels!

 

 

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS


Brianna Penderley has a knack for getting into precarious situations, especially when it comes to her love for archaeology. In the heart of Naples, her terrible Italian has her accidentally becoming engaged to two men at the same time. Of course, Daniel Wolcott—the Earl of Thornton and the only man ever able to vex her—shows up to rescue her.

 

Daniel has spent the majority of his life exercising rigid control over his emotions, determined never to become the rake his father was. But when he goes to aid his mentor’s danger-prone niece once again, he finds himself struggling to control his attraction to a woman who is his complete opposite.

 

When their situation goes from bad to worse, Daniel and Brianna find themselves swept up into a perilous adventure, and they must work together to set things right. Now, if they can just avoid killing each other in the process.

 


BOOK INFO


The Elusive Earl by Maddison Michaels
Series Saints & Sinners Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Entangled Amara
Publication Date August 27, 2018

 


Amazon https://amzn.to/2wow5rk


Entangled Publishing https://goo.gl/qbpWYd


Barnes & Noble https://goo.gl/6mkmM7


Kobo https://goo.gl/LG3vY4


iBooks https://apple.co/2LlcRsr

 

 

 

 

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY INFO


To celebrate the release of THE ELUSIVE EARL by Maddison Michaels, we're giving away for a $25 Amazon gift card!

 

 

LINK: http://bit.ly/2BH1N9l

 

 

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. One winner will be chosen to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 9/9/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Entangled Publishing will send one winning prize, Pure Textuality PR will deliver the other. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.

 

 

 

Prologue


Mendicino, Calabria, Italy—1833


“It was the most glorious treasure the world had ever seen. Gold, silver, rubies, diamonds bigger than a man’s fist, priceless statues and urns, all carried on the backs of the loyal army of the great Visigoth king: plunders and spoils from King Aleric’s successful sacking of Rome.”


Isabella Maria Penderley stopped short with a start, hovering just outside the slightly ajar door of her baby daughter’s bedroom. A calm and melodic voice was recounting the tale of the fabled lost treasure. It was the voice of a man she had dreaded ever hearing again.


Slowly, she pushed open the door until the entirety of the room came into view. She exhaled a sharp breath and her chest constricted at the sight that greeted her.
Her husband Edward was lying deathly still in a pool of blood in the middle of the floor, the crimson of it trickling from a jagged gash across his throat.


A broken sob wrenched from her lips, but she couldn’t move; all she could do was drag her gaze up from his still form to the man sitting beside her daughter’s cot.


“Principessa Isabella, it is good to see you again, my dear.” His words were at odds with the steel in his eyes. “I am just regaling your daughter with the ancient tale of King Aleric and the great treasure he was buried with. The treasure you and your husband tried to cheat me of.”


“Calogero, please, I beg you,” Isabella said. “We did no—”


“Enough.” His voice was calm and even, though there was no mistaking the authority in his tone. “I believe I warned you what would happen if you and your husband double-crossed me, did I not?”


“Please, you must not do this,” she implored, stepping into the room.


“You’ve given me no choice.” He lifted his right hand. Clenched in his grip was a dagger, its blade dripping with blood. “Stay there, my dear. I don’t wish to use this on you, but I shall if I must.”


Isabella felt her heart lurch, but she kept her attention steadily fixed on Calogero.

She could not let herself look back down again at Edward, or she would be lost.
Calogero glanced at the toddler, who, sitting in her cot, regarded him with innocent eyes. He turned back to Isabella and smiled, the smile that had always repulsed her with its merciless intent. “Clearly, she was destined to be a beauty like her mamma. A shame she will not grow old enough to do so. But do not fret.

You shall have even more beautiful children with me.”


“No, please, Calogero. I beg you, leave her alone. She has nothing to do with this.”


“She has everything to do with this, Isabella.” His sharp gaze pierced into her own. “What is the little bastarda’sname?”


Isabella squared her shoulders and raised her chin. “She is no bastarda. She is Brianna Elizabeta Maria Penderley, born within the sanctity of marriage. And though her surname may be Penderley, she is still my daughter and therefore of the house of Bartelli, heir to the kingdom of Cosenza.”


The man gently laughed and casually stood. “Your father all but disowned you when you broke off your betrothal and ran off with this Englishman.” He took a step toward Edward’s still form and then kicked him in the ribs.


Edward did not move. Isabella’s body clenched, but she had to block out the pain. Her daughter’s life depended on it. “My father is quick to anger but will recognize his grand-daughter.”


The man shrugged. “I doubt it. But it won’t matter after you tell me the location of the final resting place of King Aleric and his riches. Then I will have no need of your father and his wealth.”


“I do not know,” she implored. “You must believe me. Edward and I were close to finding the location, but we were not successful.”


The man sighed and walked over to the crib. “It pains me to hear you lie straight to my face. I know you found the chamber, my dear. One of my spies heard you and that English husband of yours talking about it.”


Isabella slowly began moving toward them, but he held up his knife in warning.
“I will not warn you again, Principessa.”


She stopped and could only watch as he leaned into the crib and ran his free hand lightly through her daughter’s short, chestnut curls. If she’d had her pistol on her, she would have killed the fiend then and there.


“Your mamma interrupted my story, did she not, little one?” he cooed to the baby.

“Now, where were we…? Ah yes, after King Aleric had sacked Rome and plundered its treasure, he led his army for miles, deep into the heart of Italy and through Naples. He was determined to continue to conquer each city his army swept through, but alas, when he stopped in the province of what is now known as Cosenza, he become ill with a fever and perished. His army, loyal to the very last, had workers in the region dig a burial chamber, and in it, they buried their king and all of the stolen treasures of Rome with him.”


He glanced up at Isabella. “That is the legend, yes?”


She nodded reluctantly.


“And what happens next?” he asked. “You must tell your daughter.”


Isabella fisted her hands by her side, an unholy rage beginning to consume her. If only she could get him away from the crib, she might be able to wrestle his knife away. “His army killed the workers who had built the burial chamber, so they would not be able to reveal the King’s secret resting place. Then, all but one of the soldiers, loyal to their much-beloved ruler to the very last, fell upon their own swords within their King’s tomb, determined to guard him in the afterlife. The last soldier, though, took a sacred oath to seal and protect the tomb, to ensure the King and his army would never be disturbed. Since then, the location has been forever lost, yet it is believed to be eternally protected by the ghosts of the King’s soldiers.”


His eyes glittered with greed before turning back to assess the baby. “Until your mamma and papà found it, that is.”


“We did not find it!”


“Stop lying,” he growled, his normally smooth veneer slipping for an instant. “You will tell me the location, or you will watch as your daughter dies.”


“I cannot tell you what I do not know,” Isabella tried to placate him.


He looked past her shoulder. “Take the child and drown it. We shall come and watch.”


Isabella spun around and saw one of Calogero’s burly henchman standing in the doorway behind her. “No, you cannot! Please, I beg you. She is only a baby!”


The big man slowly lumbered past her toward the crib.


“NO!” Isabella’s scream tore through the night as she lunged at Calogero.
The look of surprise on his face was suddenly replaced with frustration as she launched herself upon him. She clawed at his eyes and jerked her knee toward his midsection.


He roared in displeasure, then pushed her away. A hot, sharp pain lanced through her as something plunged deep into her stomach.


She stumbled back a step and looked down to see his dagger lodged in her abdomen. Suddenly, her legs wobbled, and her head felt light.


“No. No. No,” he cried, rushing toward her and catching her from falling to the floor. “Dannazione!” he swore in Italian. “This is not what I planned. You were not meant to die. Why did you do such a stupid thing?” He shook her. “You must tell me where the treasure is! Where is it? Where?” He shook her more vigorously.

“You cannot let the find of the century be lost forever.”


Her eyelids fluttered, and she looked across to the crib, where Brianna was gripping the railing with her chubby fingers, a keen wail coming from the baby’s lungs. A tear slid down her cheek as she slowly lifted her hand toward her daughter. “I am sorry, my darling girl,” she whispered. “Mamma is so sorry.”


“Tell me where the treasure is!” Calogero shouted.


She felt a moment of satisfaction, seeing him lose control for the first time in all the years she’d known him. With all the strength she had left, she motioned him closer to her.


He leaned his ear in toward her mouth. “Where is it?”


“I would rather go to Hell than tell you anything.”


He slapped her hard. “You little bitch.”


She managed to smile weakly at him. “It is you, though, Calogero, who will be going to Hell for all you have done,” she took pleasure in telling him. “Il Diavolo will be coming for you. You cannot hide your true nature from God as you do everyone else.”


She felt her strength start to leave her, but then she looked up to the ceiling and saw the most beautiful golden light beckoning to her. And there in the distance was her beloved Edward, smiling and holding out his hand to her. She reached for it and was at peace.



“Damn it, Fabrizio, silence that infernal baby,” Calogero barked out to his servant.

“I cannot think with her wailing. They must have left something here. Some clue as to the whereabouts of the treasure. It cannot simply slip through my grasp again.”


Fabrizio watched his master stalk around the room, pulling out cupboards and clothing, frantically searching for any hint of the fabled treasure. This behavior was going far beyond what Fabrizio was used to normally dealing with. His master was always calm and methodical, to the point where most thought the man had ice in his veins. That was until last week, when they’d received word that the Principessa and her husband had found the treasure. Since then, Calogero had been like a man possessed.


He’d been having mad rants and tantrums, which were so at odds with his normally cold and exacting nature, all in this crazed obsession of his to find this lost treasure. To the point of murder. A sense of shame was filling Fabrizio to have even played a small part in such a thing.


Abruptly, Calogero stopped and walked to where the woman’s lifeless body lay. He bent down and tenderly brushed the chestnut hair from her face. “I knew you would be trouble the very first time I laid eyes on you,” Calogero crooned to the dead woman. “But you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.”


The baby let out a loud screech.


“I told you to silence her!” Calogero whirled around to face Fabrizio. “I am saying goodbye to Isabella.”


“What do you want me to do with her?” Fabrizio asked slowly as he began treading over to the cot. He stopped at the railing and glanced down at the little one. She had the biggest blue eyes he’d seen, with brown ringlets framing a heart-shaped face. Tears streamed down her chubby cheeks, and her face was red from the exertion of her fervent cries. She was a beautiful child and couldn’t have been any older than his bambini, Bella.


“I told you to drown her, didn’t I?” Calogero’s voice was harsh. “Her death will herald an end to the Bartelli family line. Probably the only good thing to come from this disaster. Not that the Prince would have claimed her. No, Isabella ensured that when she ran off and married her untitled Englishman.”


Fabrizio leaned down into the crib and picked up the child, who was clutching a rag doll tightly to her chest. Her cries ceased abruptly, and she regarded him for a moment before a smile slowly spread across her face, little dimples appearing under the apples of her cheeks.

 

He snuck a quick look over at his master, who was placing a kiss on the woman’s forehead. There was something terribly wrong with Calogero, Fabrizio knew. But not until now did he realize how truly insane his master was. Certainly, in the past, his master had cared little for others, often ordering his men to evict villagers from their farms if they were even so much as a day late with their rent. Yes, Calogero had always been ruthless when it came to money and promises not being kept. But as far as Fabrizio knew, he’d never gone beyond the bounds of the law of the land. Although, Fabrizio had sometimes wondered over the last few years if that was, in fact, the case or not.


Calogero rose and strode over to a chest of drawers, beginning to rummage inside. “They must have left some notes about the location of the treasure. Something we can use to find it.”


“I doubt it would be hidden in the baby’s room. Not something that important,” Fabrizio mused aloud.


Calogero stopped his foraging, his eyes narrowing dangerously upon Fabrizio before he gave a reluctant nod. “Get rid of that.” His head motioned to the baby. “And then you can finish searching this room. I will explore their study.”


And just as Fabrizio hoped, his master turned on his heel, stepped over the two bodies lying silent on the floor, and strode through the door, the clip of his boots growing softer as he made his way down the corridor.


“There, there, now,” Fabrizio crooned to the baby as he surveyed the room.

Spotting an empty leather satchel in the corner, he scooped it up with his free hand and draped it across his spare shoulder. He quickly gathered up some rags for her bottom, picked up the quilt she had been sitting on, and stuffed them into the bag.


He noticed that some leather-bound books had been hidden under the quilt. He lifted one and awkwardly shifted the baby more firmly across his hip, whilst thumbing through the pages. They looked to be journals of some sort, penned in a feminine hand. Probably her mother’s.


Fabrizio peeked down beside him at the lady lying dead on the floor. She had been beautiful, and even in death, she looked like an angel. He quickly twisted the baby around, so she couldn’t see the sight.


Poor tiny thing. No parents to help her now. With a nod to himself, he snatched up the journals and put them in the satchel, too. Everyone deserved to know their parents, and unfortunately, the journals were probably going to be the girl’s only way to do so.


Because, of course, he would have to disobey his master’s instructions. He couldn’t kill a child, let alone a girl that reminded him so much of his own daughter.

 

 


ABOUT MADDISON MICHAELS


Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was 14 years old, MADDISON MICHAELS is a prolific reader and writer of romantic suspense and historical fiction. She gets her daily dose of suspense from prosecuting real life villains in the Courts.

 

A member of the RWA and RWA Australia, Maddison is as passionate about her writing as she is about her other two loves; her family and her cups of tea. Luckily she gets a healthy dash of romance married to her wonderful husband and her exercise regime is kept on track by her six-year-old daughter, who ensures Maddison is kept very busy chasing her around.

 

Maddison's historical novels are her way of time traveling back to Victorian London to experience a cornucopia of intrigue, romance and debauchery all from the comfort of her living room! Her next novel 'The Elusive Earl' is the second book in her 'Saints and Scoundrels' series, and is set in the same world as her first book 'The Devilish Duke'.


AUTHOR LINKS


Website http://www.maddisonmichaels.com


Facebook https://facebook.com/maddisonmichaelsauthor/


Twitter https://twitter.com/mmichaelsauthor/


Goodreads https://goo.gl/YQnZpo


Amazon https://amzn.to/2o67MuU

 

 

 

 


http://puretextualitypr.com

 

 

 

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