Saturday, August 27, 2016

NEIL by Sybil Bartel Blitz and Giveaway


NEIL
Sybil Bartel
(Uncompromising #2)
Publication date: August 22nd 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Ex-Danish Military Special Forces, built like a legend, and uncompromising in every way—Neil Christensen didn’t walk into my life. The Viking-sized warrior crashed it like a hurricane.
The moment he showed up at my strip club, my life fell to shit. South Florida’s most ruthless motorcycle gang, the cops, the Feds—they all want something I don’t have, something the Viking took from me.
I thought I could run, but the motorcycle gang caught me. Now the only thing standing between me and an unmarked grave is a warrior I don’t trust.
I’m not afraid to die, but I am terrified of weathering the storm. Because when a Viking decides to unleash his fury, no one is going to come out unscathed.
Warning: This book contains alpha heroes, offensive language, violence and sexual situations. Mature audiences only. 18+
NEIL is a full-length, standalone novel and is the second book in the Uncompromising Series.
TALON, the first book in the Uncompromising Series is also a full-length standalone novel and is available now.
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EXCERPT:
He threw the gear in park, cut the engine and opened his door. The cab filled with the sound of cicadas and I glanced around in a panic. Before I could think what to do, my door opened and he undid my seat belt.
“Get out.” His features were more austere than in the warehouse.
I trembled. “No.”
“Not a request.”
Viking was alpha, all alpha. He commanded everything but he’d never forced me to do anything. Anxiety licked at my conscience but I swung my legs out of the truck because showing fear was worse than defeat.
My feet hit the ground and I looked up at him with every ounce of defiance I had. “Now what?”
His shoulders dropped, he leaned toward me and his body language went from tensed restraint to liquid seduction in half a second. “Look up,” he gently commanded.
Was this a trick? Was he only pretending to not be mad? Reluctant to take my eyes off him, I glanced at the dark sky. “What about it?”
“What do you see?”
I swallowed past the tightness in my throat. “Night.”
“The moon and stars,” his low, quiet voice corrected.
I didn’t like this. Him gentle, making me look at the stars, this wasn’t the man who’d killed to save my life. “So?”
Huge, warm fingers wrapped around the back of my neck. “The same moon that was there last night.” He moved closer. “The same stars that will be there tomorrow night.”
His body heat curled around me like everything I’d ever wanted and I pushed back. “Is this some kind of proverb?”
“Same as the night sky, I was there yesterday and I will be there tomorrow.”
My throat closed up, my chest tightened and I fought tears. It was the single most beautiful thing anyone had ever said to me. And it was a complete lie.
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Author Bio:
Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.
Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
But Seriously?
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.
She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.
To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.
GIVEAWAY!
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends September 1, 2016

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Awoken by Sarah Noffke (The Lucidites, #1)

Awoken
by Sarah Noffke

My rating: 4 stars

Series: The Lucidites - Book 1
Publisher: One-Twenty-Six Press (November 20, 2014)
Publication Date: November 20, 2014
Genre: YA Time Travel | Scifi
Print Length: 315 pages
Available from: Amazon
 
Around the world humans are hallucinating after sleepless nights.

In a sterile, underground institute the forecasters keep reporting the same events.

And in the backwoods of Texas, a sixteen-year-old girl is about to be caught up in a fierce, ethereal battle.

Meet Roya Stark. She drowns every night in her dreams, spends her hours reading classic literature to avoid her family’s ridicule, and is prone to premonitions—which are becoming more frequent. And now her dreams are filled with strangers offering to reveal what she has always wanted to know: Who is she? That’s the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. But will Roya live to regret learning the truth?

 
Awoken by Sarah Noffke (The Lucidites, #1)
Awoken (The Lucidites, #1)Roya has nightmares. Every night she drowns. Now she is having premonitions, not exactly normal for an introverted, teen who would rather read literary classics than risk one more embarrassment in front of her family, who have become like cruel strangers in her lonely world.

Sure, teens often face an identity crisis, it is part of growing up, but for Roya, the answer to her question of,”Who am I?” is about to be answered in greater detail and deadly menace than she could ever imagine. For Roya, the best defense for admitting the truth is to be offensive, but the Lucidites who have found her, Roya’s truth could save the world. Is it true that Roya is part of an elite group of Dreamwalkers who may be the last defense against a powerful entity who is determined to be the world’s darkest nightmare?

Awoken by Sarah Noffke is the story of a girl without a cause, one who is barely hanging on in a world that threatens her very existence, a world she is not sure she believes in, only to discover that even those who “know” her have been lying to her while saying, ”Trust Me…” What is Roya to do, give her life in a battle everyone knows she can never win for people who have been using her? Why?

Entangled subplots, an almost romance and betrayal and half-truths abound as Roya is treated like a mushroom in the dark and pushed beyond her limits to perform. Can you imagine being a teen alone in a world of powerful strangers and teens who clearly do not trust you? Roya does what any strong teen would do, stand tall, although she can get a little nasty sometimes.

Sarah Noffke has done a marvelous job of bringing her tale to life, one word and one twist at a time until her tale becomes like a virtual spider web of doubt. When she sacks the odds against the Lucidites in battle, it came across as a brilliant move to keep the tension high! Looking for something a little different in the YA Fantasy Genre? Great writing, strong characters and one heck of a bad guy make this one to look at!

I received this copy from Sarah Noffke in exchange for my honest review.

Liberty Awakened by Alicia Dean (The Isle of Fangs Series, Book 1)

Liberty Awakened
by Alicia Dean

My rating: 4 stars

Series: The Isle3 of Fangs - Book 1
Publisher: ePublishing Works! (July 10, 2014)
Publication Date: July 10, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Print Length: 146 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Liberty Delacort doesn't believe in Vampires. Then she meets the father she never knew, just before his death, and learns she's the last of the Van Helsing bloodline.

Eli, a 300 year old Vampire, doesn't believe Liberty has what it takes to stand between the humans and the Evil Ones on Sang Croc Island, and orders her back to the mainland.

Ryan, a friend of Liberty's late-father, disagrees and insists that Eli provide the promised training.

Now the Full Moon has come and Liberty must stand in the gap. But unbeknownst to her--she's fallen for the wrong vampire.
 
Liberty Awakened by Alicia Dean 
 (The Isle of Fangs Series, Book 1)  

Liberty AwakenedAll her life it’s been Liberty and her mother. When Graduation Day came, Liberty’s world takes a sharp dive into another world, where dark fantasy becomes both reality and very deadly. A mysterious package comes from Sang Croc Island stating that the father she believed dead was alive, but dying and she needed to come quickly. Is this a sick joke? Why would her mother have lied to her for all these years?

As if the shock of finding her father were not enough, Liberty discovers who she truly is and what her destiny was meant to be. Liberty’s dying father is THE Van Helsing, Vampire slayer and his blood runs in her veins. It is her turn to carry the torch of the Van Helsing name. Does Liberty have what it takes to fill her father’s shoes? Few seem to think so, including her, but when the chips are down, Liberty learns she will do anything it takes to keep humanity safe.

I received this copy from Alicia Dean in exchange for my honest review.

Forgotten Fate by J.L. Sheppard Release Tour & Giveaway

FATE FORGOTTEN
by J.L. Sheppard

Wicka by Christy Deveaux Blitz and Giveaway


Wicka
Christy Deveaux
Publication date: May 28th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
While mourning the loss of a mother figure, Elizabeth Blake, a smart but socially introverted seventeen year old girl from Ann Arbor Michigan, thinks she’s enrolling in an international school in the south of France to finish her final year of high school. Instead, she falls in love; finds out that she is a witch from an ancient family –– who weren’t thought to exist anymore; and discovers that her life is in danger, as the Elders believe that she is the heir to a legend they fear above all else.
Wicka, the debut novel by Christy Deveaux, has been compared to other fantasy paranormal tales such as Twilight, written by Stephanie Meyer and Harry Potter, written by J.K. Rowling. Young adults and grown ups alike are sure to love this adventure filled magical romance.
Grab your copy for 99¢ for a limited time only!
Book Trailer:


Author Bio:
Christy Deveaux is the author of The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake series. Her highly anticipated first book in the series, Wicka, was just released this spring (2014). Inspired by traveling across Europe solo at a very young age, and many travel adventures since, the character and story line behind Elizabeth Blake was born. Christy majored in political science and earned a cross-disciplinary degree from the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, three children and a fish named Cow.

GIVEAWAY!
$50 Amazon Gift Card
ends Sept 1, 2016

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Draig Series Promo Tour

THE DRAIG SERIES
by Lisa Dawn Wadler

Hunter by Sarai Henderson

Hunter
by Sarai Henderson

My rating: 5 stars

Publisher: Evernight Teen (July 7, 2016)
Publication Date: July 7, 2016
Genre: Fantasy YA | Mystery
Print Length: 155 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Sixteen-year-old Hunter belongs to the Telepathic Alliance for the Latent or Newly manifested, otherwise known as Talon, a bounty hunter community known for their ruthless tactics. Her latest mission in San Diego was supposed to be a piece of cake, but when the job takes a treacherous and deadly turn, not even her telepathic abilities could have warned her of the dangers lurking around the corner.

There is only one place for Hunter to go, and that is straight into the hands of the government and their Psychic Intelligence Team, but even the “normal” world isn’t safe. With each passing hour throwing her deeper into the game of life and death, Hunter must decide who to trust before this mission becomes her last.

 
Hunter by Sarai Henderson
HunterCan there really be a fresh YA fantasy? You bet there can! Sarai Henderson’s Hunter is a fast-paced and completely entertaining read! The secret could be in her main character, Hunter, 16, who has telepathic abilities that can be an asset or a pain in the, um, head, literally.
Hunter has become an agent for the government in a group called TALON, along with her mentor, boyfriend, Bear, they track down their “marks” with her abilities to read minds and emotions. But that last job? What should have been a piece of cake becomes the beginning of a life and death run for Hunter as it feels the world has turned against her and the good guys seem bad and the bad guys appear to be her greatest allies. Confused, hurt and terrified, who can Hunter trust? Even Bear seems different, cold and well, deadly.

When she is out of options as to how to stay alive in a world gone mad, her enemies may be her safest bet to survive. But at what cost? How is a teen supposed to cope in a world that has lied to her about her past, her father and who she really is?

Hang on tight, as we follow Hunter down the rabbit hole to danger and death. Sarai Henderson has created excellent scenes, filled them with detailed action that I could feel, as if I were Hunter and these things were happening to me! And Hunter? What a true to life character, pure teen, with all of the insecurities and limited coping mechanisms of a girl caught up in a deadly and political game of cat and mouse. Brilliant dialogue peppers each page, as the lines between good and evil are blurred and smudged. Where will Hunter end up? Who will she owe her life to if she survives?
Highly recommended, get it, read it and you’ll want more Hunter!

I received this copy from Sarai Henderson in exchange for my honest review.

Who Killed Vivien Morse by Diana J. Febry

Who Killed Vivien Morse
by Diana J. Febry

My rating: 4.5 stars

Series: DCI Hatherall - Book 4
Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc (August 1, 2016)
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Genre: Mystery | Thriller | Suspense
Print Length: 185 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Vivien Morse, a young social worker is discovered battered to death in Silver Lady Woods. Everyone assumes she was attacked by her estranged husband until her supervisor disappears. The connection appears to be Vivien’s last client. A damaged and disturbed girl who believes a bundle of rags is her lost baby and never leaves the family farm while she awaits the return of her lover.

The matter is confused by the arrival of a stranger to the area clearly searching for something or someone and an escaped convict with connections to the area.







Who Killed Vivien Morse by Diana J. Febry

Who Killed Vivien MorseDCI Hatherall has to separate fact from fantasy to discover who did kill Vivien Morse.
Diana Febry takes us back into the world of mayhem, mystery and murder as DCI Peter Hatherall and Fiona are put on the trail to unravel one of their most unusual cases ever. Step into their world of questions, clues and so much more in Who Killed Vivien Morse? Will Hatherall and Fiona work as the dynamic duo they can be or are there snags in the fibers of their team? A young woman has been bludgeoned to death and the suspect list is growing as the web of deceit and death becomes more entangled with both fact, fiction and quirky persons of interest.

When one who is associated with the victim goes missing, others are injured and a con man is lurking in the area, a delusional woman with a pretend baby only further skews the case into the realm of the unbelievable. Top that off with home-fire tensions for both Peter and Fiona and how can one expect them to follow the clues with rapt attention? Hang on tight as every time you think you know what is going on, you discover you had better leave the detective work to the professionals who have the patience to deal with following the crumbs.

Filled with Diana Febry’s classic wit and banter, fascinating characters that beg to be remembered and once again, we have another great mystery with the guts to stand strong in a world filled with unanswered questions, twisted trails and less than obvious solutions! The big question remaining? Who did it? Ponder that question with your cuppa and this fabulous read!

I received this copy from Diana J. Febry in exchange for my honest review.



Obsidian Faith by Bev Elle

Obsidian Faith
by Bev Elle

My rating: 4.5 stars

Publication Date: December 4, 2014
Publisher: Divine Nine, LLC
Genre: Romance | Suspense
Print Length: 180 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 
They were the most unlikely pair to fall in love. . .

A golden boy with a dark past. A bi-racial girl with epic faith. These two weren't supposed to survive the system, sketchy origins and all.
Trevor Kyle has loved Shanice Bailey forever—from the time they both landed in the Baptist Children's Home until they were young adults raised by adoptive families that had no resemblance to the worlds from which they came. Trevor has always been her protector and champion even when he was busy pushing her away for her own good.

Shanice has always taken her faith in Trevor seriously. Her childhood oath is strengthened when she learns the true meaning of family. But After Trevor’s adoptive parents die tragically and his bachelor uncle takes him in, she finds that the boy she’s always looked up to has changed, and not for the better. Yet, she can’t bring herself to forget him as her pure childhood love for him blossoms into something more.

The most generous heart and truest faith does not travel an easy path. Just when Trevor thinks he's found a way to keep his promise to be with Shanice forever, a specter from the past threatens their future plans.

 
Obsidian Faith by Bev Elle

Obsidian FaithThey were two children, trapped in “the system,” the abyss that orphans, unwanted children and those left without parents for any number of reasons are “placed.” We, as people have done our job and then we forget about them until they do something wrong and then we judge, criticize and say something needs to be done. Trevor became young Shanice’s “big brother” and protector in the group home they were tucked away in, just waiting for a couple to choose them and take them home. Unlike most, they were fortunate and found loving homes near each other where they could flourish. Their young familial love became more, but fate decided to keep them apart.

Trevor was a computer genius and his future was bright until the day his adopted parents were killed in an accident. From that day forward, he went to an “uncle” who used him for illegal purposes, and feeling he had nowhere to turn, he did what he was told until he was caught and left out to dry, incarcerated, a villain in the eyes of the world, but he had a secret and he would rather rot in danger than put Shanice in danger. Could a deal with the government set him free and still keep Shanice safe?

Grab the tissues, this is a heart-breaking read about the cruelty of life, the small minds of even the most “devout” Christians and one young boy who has so much honor and love in his heart that he will make the ultimate sacrifice for those he loves.

Obsidian Faith by Bev Elle had me from page one and never let go until that final page closed. Moments of sadness, sweet innocence and joy are intertwined in a tale that acknowledges the act that so many to not practice what they preach and allies come from some pretty unlikely places. Shanice is sweet, even as she grows up, her loyalty is fierce and her belief in Trevor is heartwarming. Trevor was used, too insecure and young to know he could have gotten help and then too afraid to take it when offered. What he did to correct his mistakes would make anyone proud to know someone with his strength of character. A wonderful read filled with surprises and a greater depth than expected, this is highly recommended.

I received this copy from Bev Elle in exchange for my honest review.

The Rebel's Return by Victoria James Blitz & Giveaway

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The Rebel’s Return

by Victoria James 
 Red River #4 
 Publication Date: August 22, 2016
  Genres: Adult, Entangled: Bliss, Contemporary Romance
The Rebel's Return Cover

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Synopsis: Natalia Puccini has spent her entire life playing by her overbearing but well-intentioned Italian family’s rules…except the one time she took a chance on a bad boy and fell hard. She’s worked to get her life back on track so when Aiden McCann comes sauntering back into town with his heart-stopping smile, Natalia vows not to fall for him again. There’s no way she’ll let him mess with her perfectly planned life…and there’s no way she’ll let him near her heart again…Now reformed and a self-made success, Aiden is tormented by regrets and secrets. He left Red River years ago filled with anger and resentment and a promise to never come back. But when his ill father needs help, Aiden knows it’s time to face the mess he left behind, and face the one woman he never got over. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or intriguing she is, though, because he’ll never be able to give her what she needs. As soon as his father is healthy, Aiden is leaving Red River…for good. goodreads-badge-add-38px

DON'T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE RED RIVER SERIES!

A Risk Worth Taking #1 Cover

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Synopsis: Interior designer Holly Carrington worked hard for her success. Then tragedy struck, leaving Holly the sole guardian of her infant niece. Now she’s swapped her designer purse for a diaper bag, and is going ahead with plans to renovate—and sell—her childhood home in Red River. But facing her past also means coming face-to-face with Quinn Manning all over again...
Quinn was the object of her girlhood crush—and heartbreak— and is more gorgeous than ever. He’s also the only person qualified to oversee the renovation. Now they’re butting heads every step of the way... and their attraction is more electrifying than ever! But once the house is sold, Holly needs to return to her real life. And falling for Quinn all over again is one risk she can’t take...
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The Best Man's Baby #2 Cover

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Synopsis: Florist Claire Holbrook has always played by the rules her entire life, but breaks them to spend one night with sexy lone wolf Jake Manning, a man she's adored since she was a teenager. Six weeks later things get complicated when she discovers they created a bond that will last a lifetime... Jake has never played by the rules. Getting Minister Holbrook's daughter pregnant wasn't part of any life plan, but he won't run from his responsibilities. He'll step up and be the best man he can, even if he doesn't have a clue where to begin. The more time he spends with Claire, though, the more he wants her, and the harder it is to get close because that would mean sharing the one thing he hasn't with anyone—the truth and his heart.
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The Doctor's Fake Fiancee #3 Cover

BUY:

Synopsis: Their marriage bargain is just what the doctor ordered…
Former surgeon and self-professed life-long bachelor Evan Manning has one thing on his mind—to reclaim the career that a car accident stole from him. But when he’s forced to return to his hometown of Red River, Evan comes face-to-face with the gorgeous woman who’s haunted his dreams for the last year—the woman he rescued from the burning car that injured his hand. Now Evan needs her help. In a month, he'll have the job opportunity of a lifetime...he just needs a wife to get it.
Artist Grace Matheson is down on her luck again…until she walks into Evan Manning’s office. When her sexy former hero hears that she needs work, he offers her a job and a home—if she’ll pretend she's his fiancĂ©e. Grace knows she shouldn't fall for him. Once the month is up, Evan will be back to his old life. But the more time they spend together, the more real their feelings become—and the more likely heartbreak is.
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ABOUT VICTORIA JAMES

Victoria James
Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. Victoria always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples and a cardboard cover) and did all the illustrations herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day again. In high school she fell in love with historical romance and then contemporary romance. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design and then opened her own business. After her first child, Victoria knew it was time to fulfill her dream of writing romantic fiction. Victoria is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after’s for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she’s quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat. Sign up for Victoria’s Newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming releases and exclusive giveaways, follow her blog for daily antics and insight into her daily life, and get to know her on twitter and Facebook. She loves hearing from readers! www.victoriajames.ca

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The Lost Eyes of the Serpent by Jeremy Phillips Blitz and Giveaway


The Lost Eyes of the Serpent
Jeremy Phillips
(The Rose Delacroix Files, #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
It may sound crazy, but Jonathan Delacroix is certain his sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes…
Girls are not detectives. But in the summer of 1893, in the small western town of Hope Springs, Rose Delacroix is bound and determined to prove them all wrong. When the famous Emerald Serpent Jewels are stolen from the Delacroix family hotel and the blame lands solely on her older brother Bill, Rose recruits Jonathan as her Watson-like counterpart to solve the case.
Proving your brother innocent is difficult when the evidence keeps stacking up against him…
Before Rose and Jonathan can properly start their investigation, another robbery is committed. The rusty revolver purported to have once belonged to Wild Bill Hickok has been stolen from the general store and found hidden amongst her brother’s belongings. With Bill in jail, and the owner of the Serpent Jewels planning to sue the Delacroix hotel, Rose knows she has to find a lead, and soon.
A witness comes forward claiming they saw Bill steal the jewels, but Rose isn’t about to be bullied into ignoring the facts…
Rose and Jonathan must put their sleuthing skills to the test or witness their family fall to ruin due to…
…the lost eye of the serpent.
Bonus Scene (short story):
Rose Delacroix Versus the Box
By Jeremy Phillips
Rose Delacroix sat on a stump in the bare and dusty yard behind the Delacroix Hotel, staring at a metal box sitting on another stump, a few feet away from her. She regarded the box with an ever-increasing intensity, not sure how to proceed. Time was very short, and she wished that she had more of it available to her right now.
“Whatever am I going to do with you?” Rose said to the box.
The box didn’t look like much. It was the size of a shoebox, but constructed of solid steel, with tight, straight corners. Its only visible feature was a place for a key to fit, in the front of the box. Really, it seemed simple enough. But looks, as Rose knew very well, are often deceptive.
In her hand, Rose held a couple of metal clips from out of her hair, clips which she had straightened out to use for this particular purpose. Except, it hadn’t worked yet. Rose approached the box again, the box which had at first glance appeared to be so simple, and yet had thwarted all of her prior attempts at entry.
Rose shook the box, which was deceptively heavy in addition to being deceptively difficult to break. Something solid thunked around inside of it. Whatever it was, Rose meant to have it out of that box, and soon.
Drawing a deep, calming breath, Rose tried once more to pick the lock on this thing. The books she’s been reading, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries in addition to other lesser Detective tales, always make this seem so simple, don’t they?
Using one of the hair pins that she had straightened out, Rose carefully massaged the top of the lock, to where she believed the pins that she needed to trick ought to be. She could feel the pins moving, so that was good. With a second hair pin, she applied a constant pressure on the bottom of the lock in the hopes of popping it open, when the pins were all equally deceived into believing that the proper key had been applied into the keyhole.
After another long effort, she stopped again. What time was it getting to be, now?
Really, she needed to pop this lock open. She needed, rather desperately, to know what was inside of this thing. All of her logic told Rose that whatever was inside of this deceptively secure box, was of vital importance to her investigation. Even as she sat there in this yard, monkeying around with this locked box, her brother Jon was confronting the box’s owner. Jon needed her, and he needed her now, not whenever it was that she managed to finally get this thing open.
Perhaps the problem was too obvious. This box, which she had confiscated, perhaps inappropriately, from its hiding place in a guest room of the Delacroix Hotel, belonged to a man who liked to think of himself as the world’s greatest “cracksman.” This was a term that Rose had only recently learned, but which referred to the man’s impressive ability to break into locked safes. Given the great trouble that this person had managed to cause to Rose and her family in the last few days, he had a point concerning his abilities, after all.
Rose took a moment, and tried to think about the problem logically. She had in her possession the small personal safe of a man who considered himself to be the greatest safe-breaker in the world. It only stood to reason, that the security on the safe of such a person would defy any normal attempts at lock picking.
Really, attempting to pick the thing was ridiculous, given the fact that she was an amateur at this sort of thing in the first place. Rose was self-taught, having only popped a few locks around town during her free time when no one was looking, to see if she could do it. To Rose’s way of thinking, skills such as lock picking were just the sorts of things that a self-styled Detective simply ought to know, after all.
Not that everyone was likely to understand this. She put this into the same category of small-minded thinking as seemed to possess most people that she met, the same type of small-minded thinking which implied that, given her status as a female, she was simply incapable of actual logic thought. Or much else, either. This was in the category of things that she simply refused to agree to wholesale, in other words.
Turning the safe around and looking into the keyhole with the aid of the heavy summer sunlight, Rose suddenly understood the problem more fully. The lock itself seemed to run deeper than most locks did, and what’s more, there appeared to be pins on the right interior side of the lock too. Those extra pins were placed at a different angle than were normally seen, in all of the others locks that Rose had encountered around the town of Hope Springs. This was actually a rather extraordinary lock, which would take a rather extraordinary key. It was a lock the likes of which Rose had never encountered before.
Given enough time, Rose was fairly sure that she could have broken the lock anyway. It would require another hair pin, and perhaps another hand too, to apply pressure to the lock with the tension wire while she worked at the pins from two different angles at once. But, time was something that she simply didn’t have much of. This was going to require a different approach.
Rose placed the box back on the tree stump, then went into a large work shed, which was attached to the barn in the family’s back yard. She returned a minute later with the heaviest wood chopping axe that she could find, and took a mighty swing at the top of the metallic box.
The first blow did nothing but mildly dent the box, causing it to bounce a foot or so up into the air with the force of her assault. A second and third blow did little more. But on her fourth attempt, after getting a reckless running start at the metal box from the other side of the yard, Rose managed to lodge the blade of the axe into the top of the steel box. Rose’s arms were feeling sore already, from the exertions of trying to break this thing.
It was almost comical. The axe was now lodged directly into the lid of the steel box. Feeling her anxiety increase, Rose wondered what time it was now getting to be. She wondered how things were going for Jon, who was even now confronting the burglar…a man who, the night before, had proven that he was not above pulling a gun on her brother. He might not be above murder, even.
With great effort, Rose was able to pry the axe blade back out of the top of the box. This left a large cut along the middle of the lid of the thing, but she could still not get to the contents of the box, or even really see what those contents were, rolling around inside of that damned box.
Rose set the box up on its edge. This time, it would have to work. She stepped back again, hefting the axe up over her head. She stepped back farther, and farther yet. An absurd feeling came over Rose, as though she were a baseball player up at bat, facing the third strike in the last inning of a tight game.
Well, and wasn’t that pretty much what this was, after all? How much time did Jon really have, facing off with that criminal? This was her last inning, and what all was on the line? Only the freedom and future of her other brother, Bill, who had been framed for two robberies and one attempted murder that he didn’t commit. Oh, and the possibility of the entire Delacroix family losing their ownership of the Delacroix Hotel to another criminal, and being kicked out into the streets of Hope Springs in the summer of 1893; there was that minor detail, too. Only those things. And Jon.
Steadying herself, Rose took a deep breath. In her mind’s eye, she imagined the cut that she would have to inflict to make this thing happen. She’s read someplace about the power of the mind, the power to make things happen by carefully visualizing them, first. This was something she believed in wholeheartedly.
The blow would have to be perfect. It would have to land squarely on the edge of the lid, to exactly where the hinge must be. Only that. Or else, perhaps she could go over to the Blacksmith’s shop and see if he couldn’t pop the thing open for her somehow. But there would be a lot of questions asked, then. And a lot of precious time wasted. She thought again of Jon, headed over to the Bromwell Hotel, across the street.
With a cry, Rose ran wholeheartedly up towards the box, to where it sat there on the tree stump. She brought the axe down with all her might, producing a bone-jarring ringing in her hands clear up to the shoulder, an ear-cracking SMACK when the unstoppable force of her axe came down on the immovable object of the steel box’s lid…and then the miracle happened.
The blow was perfect, more perfect than seemed fair. The hinge of the box gave way, and the contents of the box flew everywhere, scattering around to land everyplace on the dusty ground.
Rose quickly rushed around the yard, ignoring the ringing pain in her arms, picking up the box’s former contents and placing them back in the now-broken box.
There was a little leather pouch full of lock picks, proper ones, made of some fine thin steel that Rose had never seen before. These she would keep, if things turned out as she hoped they might. There was also a collection of paper money and coins. And there, sitting separate and apart from the rest of the stuff, was a round object about the size of an apple.
Quickly picking the object up, Rose examined it closely.
After a few moments a large smile came across her face, as she realized what the object in her hand was…and what it meant, for her and her all-consuming Investigation. This was becoming like a Sherlock Holmes story after all, Rose thought, which filled her with excitement and a powerful sense of adventure, although she might not have admitted this to anyone, perhaps not even to her twin brother John.
Holding on to the object and rushing out to Main Street, Rose found herself running as quickly as she could to go help her brother. Yes, this might help fix things. It might help fix things very well.


Author Bio:
Jeremy Phillips has been interested in Buddhist philosophy for more than twenty years, and attends services at a Shin Buddhist temple in Spokane, Washington. When he isn't writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a Respiratory Therapist at several different hospitals. He lives in Spokane with his wife, children, dogs, and bonsai trees.



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Breaking Through by Juliana Haygert Blitz and Giveaway


Breaking Through
Juliana Haygert
(Breaking #3)
Publication date: August 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
From the outside, Hilary Taylor has it all—beauty, money, a caring family, good friends—but inside she’s struggling, full of fears. Events from the past forever changed her, and though years of therapy have helped, she still has a long way to go…. No matter how much progress she’s made, Hil isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to trust men again. Especially one who sees her as nothing more than a pretty face. But Hil knows it’s time to face her fears, and the best way to do that is to start small.
To Guilherme Fernandes life is about three things: polo, parties and pretty girls—only one of which he takes seriously. Gui is too focused on his polo career to waste time on relationships, however he can’t help but be intrigued by the beautiful yet troubled Hil. So when she decides she’d like to learn more about horses, Gui is happy to find himself in the right place at the right time. But what was supposed to be a one time thing, soon turns into a weekly date.
As Gui helps her discover a new found love for horses, Hil’s guard begins to crumble. The more support Gui offers, the more she wants to accept…and the more the lines of friendship blur. Despite knowing better, Hil can’t help it as Gui slowly breaks through the walls she’s built. Now she has to decide if she’ll stop him there, or if she’ll finally let her fear go and allow Gui to reach for her heart.
Companion novel of Breaking Free and Breaking Away. Can be read as a standalone. Genre: NA contemporary romance. Warning: strong language, sex scene, mentions of rape and domestic violence.
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Author Bio:
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in North Carolina and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.



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