The Plague Letters by V.L Valentine @viperbooks @valentinevikki #ThePlagueLetters #blogtour #review

WHO WOULD MURDER THE DYING…

London, 1665. Hidden within the growing pile of corpses in his churchyard, Rector Symon Patrick discovers a victim of the pestilence unlike any he has seen before: a young woman with a shorn head, covered in burns, and with pieces of twine delicately tied around each wrist and ankle.

Desperate to discover the culprit, Symon joins a society of eccentric medical men who have gathered to find a cure for the plague. Someone is performing terrible experiments upon the dying, hiding their bodies amongst the hundreds that fill the death carts.

Only Penelope – a new and mysterious addition to Symon’s household – may have the skill to find the killer. Far more than what she appears, she is already on the hunt. But the dark presence that enters the houses of the sick will not stop, and has no mercy…

My review

With great thanks to Viper Books for allowing me to join this very suspicious and exciting blog tour, the plague death with a touch of murder too!

The story begins straight away as you are thrown into the storyline of the plague infected cities, gore and the smell of death is everywhere! The descriptions throughout the story are very vivid bringing the story to life and bringing the stench straight to your senses! The main characters are introduced well, understanding where they came from and what their involvement is within the plague.

The dark and witty comments between the main two characters; Rector Symon Patrick and Penelope are in plentiful. Symon has his own agenda with a distant love, however when he finds very strange and horrific injuries on the plague dead, his curiosity gets the better of him. He asks for the help of what some might call, not very professional medicine men, The Plague Society. They all have their own opinion of what might be needed to be done to eradicate the plague, however some feel this act of work on the dead is barbaric and unprofessional.

Penelope was introduced to the Rector household purely as she was very unwell, however now fighting fit, she is one very head strong and willing detective to investigate into these strange bodies, whether Symon likes it or not!

As the story moves from the killer preparing for their work, to the streets of the plague, it is a mix of more bodies arriving with marks and a hunt to find the killer, before there is no one left! Why would they do this, where are they hiding? Questions that keep you guessing right up to the end.

With houses being emptied, the dead just increasing, the murderer is still going, bodies keep being found as they are brought in for burying with the other plague victims, but no one seems to see who is putting the bodies there.

I enjoyed seeing the maps of the plague in between chapters, an additional historical insight.

With such dark and in-depth characters (likeable or despicable), the atmospheric descriptions along with a dark murder mystery, this book has it all. The historical research behind it, is very clear to see and you can appreciate the time spent, giving the reader more than they bargained for!

I personally liked the ghostly visits too, something I was not expecting!

An absolute must read!

Purchase it here from Amazon or here at Waterstones.

Dead in the Water by Chris McDonald @cmacwritescrime @reddogtweets #review #blogtour #cosycrime #StonebridgeMysteries #DeadInTheWater

Dead in the Water (Stonebridge #2) by Chris McDonald

The Stonebridge Regatta is looming. The town’s annual face-off against neighbouring Meadowfield is usually a weekend filled with sunshine, laughter and camaraderie. 

This year is different.

A week before the race, the body of Stonebridge team captain Matthew Henderson is found dead in the water. The police file his passing as a tragic accident however, his grieving widow disagrees and suspects foul play is involved. She enlists the help of Adam and Colin, the town’s amateur (self-proclaimed) private detectives to unearth the truth.

Did Matthew simply slip and fall into the water, or is there more to his death below the surface?

My Review

With huge thanks to Red Dog Press for inviting me to join this amazing blog tour and for providing an e-book copy to review.

I’m already a fan of Chris’ work and was very much looking forward to the mix of this author’s writing with some local cosy crime mysteries!

The story itself is only 100 pages long, however do not be fooled into thinking it would not be worth reading, as you would be completely wrong! The story overall is set at a good pace for the reader, along with plenty to enjoy along the way. There is also a full on ending filling in the spaces or questions that you may have, to be honest it was quite a surprise to find out!

The two private detectives – Colin and Adam, already have a reputation for solving mysteries within Stonebridge, where they live. Their reputation draws them into the mysterious death of Matthew Henderson. Matthew’s widow wants Colin and Adam to look into her husbands death, as she believes there is more to it and not an accident.

From start to finish I enjoyed the conversations and banter between the two main characters, what they do for a living, their lifestyle choices along with future plans. You get to know the characters really well, what they will do to even get results, regardless of the possible risks.

I believe this is quite an amazing writing skill, to include detailed information about characters while including an engaging, thrilling storyline to keep you hooked, in only 100 pages!

The stories of rival teams, the lengths they will go to to intimidate them, together with seedy little secrets, brings life to this mystery.

With this type of story the characters are relatable, you read about the methods they use to get the information they need, to piece together the clues, using their own lives to make it more believable. One of my favourite parts was the eureka moment, when all the clues came together, breaking through the ‘clue fog’ – as I call it! A race against time to save someone and get those final questions answered.

The ending was the perfect cosy mystery, classic village event, bringing together all the characters within the book, with a little clue to what might be next in Colin and Adam’s journey.

Publication date: 27 March 2021

Buy Links: 

Amazon

The Red Dog Shop

About the Author

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime. A Wash of Black is his first attempt at writing a book. He came up with the initial idea whilst feeding his baby in the middle of the night, which may not be the best thing to admit, considering the content. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs. Whispers in the Dark is the second installment in the DI Erika Piper series, and Chris is currently working on his latest series, The Stonebridge Mysteries, published by Red Dog Press in 2021. 

No Love Lost by Robert Crouch @robertcrouchuk #murdermystery #review

How can a simple job interview end in complete carnage?

When Mandy Paige seeks Kent Fisher’s help to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby, he has no idea of the mayhem his investigation will unleash. With only a photograph of a woman he once knew, he discovers she left her office one Friday afternoon twenty years ago and never returned.

Did Helen Cassidy escape an abusive husband or was she abducted and murdered?

People connected to Helen begin to die in mysterious circumstances. An old foe returns, leaving cryptic messages on the windscreen of Kent’s car. He seems to know Kent’s every move, hounding and taunting the sleuth, attacking those who can help him solve the mystery.

When the main suspect dies, Kent’s investigation lies in tatters – until he realises he’s not the one pursuing the killer. The killer’s pursuing him.

My review

With huge thanks to Robert for inviting me to join him in another brilliant adventure with Kent Fisher!

I have loved every book that I have read in the Kent Fisher mystery series, they are a classic whodunit, but with so many more twists to the story and characters that you will love, hate and adore!

Kent Fisher seems to be constantly in the middle of the chaos, with work being harder than ever especially with his new development on his animal sanctuary, he has his work cut out! The storyline is full this time, there is so much more going on with a death happening early on that Kent can’t understand, a mysterious girl that turns up with a surprise for Kent, to someone that wants to give him cryptic messages! His close friend DI Ashley Goodman, who helps with some very clever detective work.

The clues keep arriving and Kent seems to be delving in his own past this time, following up clues that are bringing this case close and personal! At every turn in the story you are gripped to know what happens next, who will bring the next clue or surprise! Along the way you are never short of a giggle to two!

The stories are not only true to detective work with research completed beforehand, the characters are relatable and fun to read about.

I would be happy to be left on a desert island with a collection of Kent Fisher mysteries! Another absolute must read!

Author bio

Robert Crouch is the author of the Kent Fisher murder mystery series. Set in today’s world, the books pay homage to the traditional murder mystery and classic whodunit.

Based on his career as an environmental health officer, Kent Fisher is a different kind of detective, described as ‘unique in crime fiction’ by one reviewer.

Having left environmental health, Robert now writes full time from his home on the East Sussex coast. He loves walking on the South Downs with his wife, Carol, and their Westie, Harvey, reading crime fiction and photography.

To find out more, you can visit his

Robert Crouch website

Amazon page

Facebook Author page

Blood Ties by Peter Taylor-Gooby @PeterT_G @matadorbooks #content #BloodTies

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Ritchie’s life is shadowed by the death of his wife, Cat, in a car accident twenty-two years previously. He was the driver. He loves his children – Nic, who is bi-polar and often impulsive, and Jack. Both are active in the campaign to welcome asylum-seekers and refugees to Britain. His life comes to a crisis as he realises how much his children despise his trade in advertising and how much the loss of Cat still means to them all.

Ritchie abandons his career but achieves new success in driving Britain’s treatment of refugees up the political agenda. This earns him the respect of his children but brings him to the attention of Makepeace, the populist Home Secretary. Nic, his daughter, strives to show she can overcome her disorder. She infiltrates a people-trafficking gang but is arrested as a criminal. Makepeace uses this to blackmail Ritchie to help him in his political schemes. Ritchie is horrified to discover that his task is to sell the reintroduction of forced labour, modern slavery, to the public. As a result he is once again rejected by his children.

Ritchie has reached rock bottom. He is desolate but believes he can outsmart Makepeace. Blood Ties shows how he finally resolves the situation, embraces the causes his children hold dear and reunites his family.

Peter Taylor-Gooby: Bio I enjoy talking to my children, holidays, hill-walking and riding my bike. I’ve worked on adventure playgrounds, as a teacher, as an antique dealer and in a social security office in Newcastle. Before that I spent a year on a Gandhian Ashram in Vijayawada, supporting myself as assistant editor on a local English-language newspaper. In my day job I’m an academic but I believe that you can only truly understand the issues that matter to people through your feelings, your imagination and your compassion. That’s why I write novels. My first novel, The Baby Auction, 2017, is a love story set in a fantasy world where the only rule is the law of the market. That someone should help another because they care for them simply doesn’t make sense to the citizens of Market World, any more that auctioning babies might to us. My second, Ardent Justice, 2018, is a crime story set in the world of high finance and city fat-cats, where money rules, but greed can trip even the most successful. My third, Blood Ties, 2020, is about the ties of love in a troubled family, and the bonds of debt that chain illegal immigrants to people-traffickers, and how they can be broken through self-sacrifice. I hope you enjoy them.

Content

A Protest in Parliament Square

I wait by the crossing at the Parliament Square end of Whitehall. The sun’s hot on my neck. I lick my lips.

The lights change and the green figure strides forward. Jaunty bugger. I shuffle out, head down. The iron collar chafes at my neck, my arms stretch out to the cuffs that clamp my hands to the yoke and the chain between my legs clatters on the tarmac. People are already taking photos. A group of Americans, their backs to me, snap selfies with the weirdo. Performance art – you get a lot of that in London.

My knees are already bowing but I keep going, the breath harsh in my throat. The green man’s flashing and I know I’m not going to make it. I feel sweat running down my back. My trousers are sticking to my legs and my feet ache. The last of the crowd streams past, a woman in a yellow jacket drags a child who stares up at me, an ice-cream fast to his mouth.

Engines rev up and a motor-bike shoots in front of me, followed by three cyclists, two in pink and white lycra and one in a pinstripe suit, with the whirr of an electric motor.

‘On your bike,’ he mutters out of the side of his mouth.
I take another step and the iron ball on the chain between my legs rumbles after me, the anklets scraping at my skin. A car hoots and I catch the uneasy howl of a siren. I’m doing well, nearly half-way and the taste of rust in my mouth, but I’m still moving. Vehicles squeeze past in front of me, a taxi, a dustcart, a bus. The sweet smell of biodiesel keeps me going for another stride. On the other side of the road a man with a London Dungeon sandwich board cheers. People line the pavement, pointing at me, holding up mobile phones, laughing. They think the chains are plastic. They aren’t.

Big Ben chimes the hour and all the faces jerk upwards. Five pm on a Tuesday in early September. Rush hour, start of the parliamentary term – maximum impact. I catch sight of Nic in the crowd, a huge grin on her face, her hand raised in a thumbs up. I try to grin back, but it’s not Nic, it’s someone else, holding up a placard to the cameras:

“Kill the Bill. Welcome to the World”.

I drag myself forward another pace, lift my head up so everyone can see my face and fall to my knees and then flat out, my chains crashing onto the tarmac on both sides. For an instant I feel an immense luxury, lying there. The wrapper from a Paradise Bar blows past, right in front of me, absolute colours, black and white and red. I could do with one right now.

I force myself up off the road and start dragging my body forward, my knees scraping on the tarmac.

‘Stag night was it, sir? Don’t suppose you’ve got the key?’
I twist my head sideways. A helmet, blue eyes and a moustache. I shake my head and the iron collar bites at my neck.

‘Alright, get his other arm, someone take his legs. We’ll get you out of everyone’s way and then we can have a chat.’

More camera flashes, and the crowd makes way. About time someone showed up from

the real media. A woman I nearly recognise in a blue suit with neat blonde hair leans down towards me, holding a microphone.

‘Why are you doing this?’
A younger woman in jeans stands behind her, a TV camera clasped to her shoulder.

Brilliant! I told you I’ve still got contacts.

Another policeman in a flak jacket with a submachine gun slung across his chest is forcing his way through the crowd towards the camera. He’s not your ordinary copper and he’s going to slap his hand over the lens. One chance.

‘Britain needs immigrants!’ I shout and start coughing, my throat as sore as if I’d run five miles.

I spit. ‘Who’ll staff our care homes? Where will our nurses come from?’
Another officer, this one wearing a steel helmet, with goggles pushed up on it and a mask like a visor across his mouth, stands between me and the interviewer. He pulls the mask down under his chin with a gloved hand and grasps the interviewer by the elbow.

‘Madam, you are obstructing the pavement. There will be a statement later.’
Dave timed the call just right. They’ve sent the terrorism squad and Parliament’s in lockdown. My heart’s pounding but I haven’t blacked out. Everything is going splendidly.

Amazon Buy Link

 

 

No Love Lost by Robert Crouch #CoverReveal #MurderMystery #blogtour @robertcrouchUK

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How can a simple job interview end in complete carnage?

When Mandy Paige seeks Kent Fisher’s help to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby, he has no idea of the mayhem his investigation will unleash. With only a photograph of a woman he once knew, he discovers she left her office one Friday afternoon twenty years ago and never returned.

Did Helen Cassidy escape an abusive husband or was she abducted and murdered?

People connected to Helen begin to die in mysterious circumstances. An old foe returns, leaving cryptic messages on the windscreen of Kent’s car. He seems to know Kent’s every move, hounding and taunting the sleuth, attacking those who can help him solve the mystery.

When the main suspect dies, Kent’s investigation lies in tatters – until he realises he’s not the one pursuing the killer. The killer’s pursuing him.

********** Cover Reveal **********

No Love Lost ebook cover final

Another very intriguing cover for this new book from Robert Crouch – No Love Lost! I love the green tone on this cover, very fitting with the other previous covers. The most fascinating part for me is ‘This Time It’s Personal’ – definitely an eye catcher!

The Kent Fisher Mysteries are very addictive, I would recommend reading them!

Pre-Order it here at Amazon.

Author bio

Robert Crouch is the author of the Kent Fisher murder mystery series. Set in today’s world, the books pay homage to the traditional murder mystery and classic whodunit.

Based on his career as an environmental health officer, Kent Fisher is a different kind of detective, described as ‘unique in crime fiction’ by one reviewer.

Having left environmental health, Robert now writes full time from his home on the East Sussex coast. He loves walking on the South Downs with his wife, Carol, and their Westie, Harvey, reading crime fiction and photography.

To find out more, you can visit his

website at https://robertcrouch.co.uk

Amazon page at https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01HFPCYOM

Facebook Author page at https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor

Rob Harvey

No Love Lost Book Launch

Fire on an Island by Timothy Jay Smith @TimothyJaySmith @lovebooksgroup #excerpt #FireOnTheIsland

Fire on the Island - Arcade book cover (1)

For lovers of crime fiction and the allure of the Greek islands, Fire on the Island is the perfect summer read.

FIRE ON THE ISLAND is a playful, romantic thriller set in contemporary Greece, with a gay Greek-American FBI agent, who is undercover on the island to investigate a series of mysterious fires. Set against the very real refugee crisis on the beautiful, sun-drenched Greek islands, this novel paints a loving portrait of a community in crisis. As the island residents grapple with declining tourism, poverty, refugees, family feuds, and a perilously damaged church, an arsonist invades their midst.

Nick Damigos, the FBI agent, arrives on the island just in time to witness the latest fire and save a beloved truffle-sniffing dog. Hailed as a hero and embraced by the community, Nick finds himself drawn to Takis, a young bartender who becomes his primary suspect, which is a problem because they’re having an affair. Theirs is not the only complicated romance in the community and Takis isn’t the only suspicious character on the island. The priest is an art forger, a young Albanian waiter harbors a secret, the captain of the coast guard station seems to have his own agenda, and the village itself hides a violent history. Nick has to unravel the truth in time to prevent catastrophe, as he comes to terms with his own past trauma. In saving the village, he will go a long way toward saving himself.

A long time devotee of the Greek islands, Smith paints the setting with gorgeous color and empathy, ushering in a new romantic thriller with the charm of  Zorba the Greek while shedding bright light on the very real challenges of life in contemporary Greece.

Excerpt

Immediately drenched, and quickly waist deep in the churning sea, they had to struggle to stay upright. The water knocked them one way while the undertow dragged them the other. When they’d worked their way around to the other side, they crawled onto a stone landing and collapsed, wracked with shivers, elbows tucked under them for warmth. “You call this a hot bath?” Nick finally managed to say.

Takis blindly dropped a hand on his back. “Just wait.”

Nick shook his hand off, and Takis, wondering why, saw his scars. “You were in a fire?” he asked.

“I should’ve warned you. It’s why I usually don’t get naked on a first date.”

“Your scars won’t bother me.”

“They bother me.”

“Maybe a hot bath will change that.” Takis stood up. The hammam’s short door was unlocked and he stooped to step through it.

Nick followed him.

“Don’t move until your eyes adjust to the light,” Takis cautioned as he closed the door behind him. “You don’t want to fall into it.”

Moonlight streaming through round vents in the curved ceiling revealed the black pool. Rectangular, it stretched the length of the hammam, and the steam rising from it smelled faintly of minerals.

“I promised you a hot bath,” Takis said. “I also promise, you’ll never take a hotter one.”

He sat on its edge, stuck his legs out and bobbed his heels in the water.

Nick sat next to him. The flagstones felt cool on his bare skin. He copied Takis and stuck out his legs, but the first time he bobbed his heels, he retracted them. “Holy shit that’s hot! You actually put your body into this?”

In the next instant, Takis slipped into the pool up to his neck. His chest heaved from the shock.

Again Nick tested a heel in the water. “I can’t believe this doesn’t melt flesh.”

Without warning, Takis grabbed his foot and pulled him into the water.

Nick flailed, and yelped. “I feel like the meat in cannibal soup!”

“Run your fingers over the water. You’ll see how it feels even hotter.”

Nick did, and it did feel hotter, but he was getting used to it. Takis, too, drifted his fingers on the water’s surface, and their hands touched. Fingers entwined, they pulled each other into a tentative kiss that became a long one. With lips trying to stay together, they crawled onto the cool flagstones, hands venturing where their mouths would later explore.

Purchase it here from Amazon.

About the author

Tim has traveled the world collecting stories and characters for his novels and screenplays which have received high praise. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his first book, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, “Stolen Memories.” His recent novel, The Fourth Courier received tremendous reviews. His screenplays have won numerous international competitions. Tim is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. He lives in France.

Timothy Jay Smith (S#1)

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One Fatal Night by Helene Fermont @helenefermont @Lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours 63% saving ebook only £2.99!

One Fatal Night Graphic Two

One woman’s quest for revenge unearths a fatal secret from her past.

Astrid Jensen holds one man responsible for her mother’s suicide, and she’ll do whatever’s necessary to get close to Daniel Holst and destroy his life – even if it means sleeping with him to gain his trust. Astrid knows he’s not who he pretends to be. But before she can reveal his dark secret, people from her mother’s past start turning up dead, and it looks like she and Daniel are next. In order to survive, she might have to put her trust in the man she has hated for so long.

Daniel Holst has worked hard to climb into Norway’s most elite and glamorous circles, and he’s not about to let any woman bring him down. But when a psychopathic killer starts murdering people from his shadowy past, he discovers that the only person who might be able to save him is the woman who wants to destroy him.

As Astrid digs deeper into her past, she uncovers secrets long buried and realizes everything she once believed is based on lies. What began as a quest to avenge her mother’s death becomes a desperate struggle for survival and leads to the truth about what happened one fatal night ten years ago—and the surprising mastermind behind the most recent murders.

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Author Bio

Hélene is an Anglo-Swedish fiction author currently residing in her home town of Malmo, Sweden, after relocating back from London after 20 years.

Her thrilling character-driven psychological fiction novels are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

Hélene is the proud author of four novels – One Fatal Night, Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret.

Buy Link –
Kindle edition

(Discounted price of the eBook, down to £2.99 from £7.99)

Paperback 

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Belters by Greg Alldredge @MrAlldredge @Shalini_G26 #excerpt #Belters

Belters

While humanity races toward the stars…

…They never expected to find company.

The Earth is dying, fractured by conflict, pollution, and disease. Old divisions make the jump to space. Can they survive?

Life spreads, as the Moon, Mars, and Ceres all become hubs for human expansion. Earth provides an ever-ready source of bodies willing to risk all for space.

For the wheelchair-bound Jacob, a chance to leave proves a no brainer…

… Freedom waits for him. Zero gravity becomes his great equalizer.

All is not bliss. Secretive corporations call the shots. Humankind struggles to find a place in the dark, free of Earth’s influence.

An unexplained gamma-ray burst threatens the delicate balance. Weapon, alien, or terrestrial, the cause must be discovered.

Three unlikely ships join together in an extraordinary interplanetary adventure. All to seek the truth and discover what lies beyond.

Follow humanity as they make a leap to the stars, long before discovering Far Reach Station.

Get Belters now.

 

Excerpt

Two-liter paint cans were lobbed at the front of the car, covering the front windshield and blocking Lea’s view of the gate into the CBD.

Without help, she would be lucky to reach the safety behind the wall. If the sensors on the car were disabled, she would be screwed. No matter how thick the armor, a determined attack would eventually find a way inside.

A series of pops and white plumes of smoke was the only indication help was on the way. Despite the heavy filtration system of the vehicle, she tasted the sting of pepper spray. Guards on the wall covered her approach.

Never to let passengers stress out over the environment, the car increased the oxygen level in the cabin while turning up the volume of the insipid relaxation music. “Remain calm, the situation is under control.” The inane mechanical voice spoke softly to her.

Today wasn’t the day she’d be pulled from the safety of her ride to be murdered in the streets by club-wielding thugs. Though she expected that might be the way she one day would meet her end.

Lea relaxed slightly. The way to the CBD cleared under the rain of teargas canisters. The defenders of the gate moved to suppress the crowd. A line of plexiglass shields and truncheons marched toward the transport.

On the wall, mounted water cannons poised to strike the mob with high-pressure jets of saltwater.

Lea’s celebration proved to be short-lived. An explosion rocked the car. The storefront next to the gate erupted in a flash, shredding protesters and defenders alike before her eyes. Lea could no longer hear the hum of the drive wheels. The ringing in her ears covered all other sounds. The steady ring of automatic fire pummeled the walls of her chariot.

Purchase it here from Amazon

Author Bio

Greg Alldredge grew up reading all the excellent Science Fiction and Fantasy of the past decades. He hopes to add his voice, in a small way, to the giants of the genres. He wants to write stories he himself would want to read and hopes to be successful as a storyteller first.

He is currently living out of a suitcase, with his wife Connie and no pets. They travel too much. Please enjoy the journey.

Author Social Media

Greg.alldredge@gmail.com

www.greg-alldredge.com

@G.Alldredge on Facebook 

@MrAlldredge on Twitter 

greg.alldredge on Instagram

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Gina’s Therapy by Silvia Sbaraini @SilviaSbaraini @MercierBooks #excerpt #GinasTherapy

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Gina has enough to deal with for one week: a disapproving daughter, her ex-psychotherapist living next door and a hopeless ex-husband she’s still in love with. Without a diagnosis of cancer.  Catapulted into the unknown territory of surgery, chemo and support groups, Gina faces her predicament with strength, wit and a faithful pair of elasticated-waist trousers. As treatment progresses, Gina finds herself asking surprising questions. Will she ever be able to concentrate on what her oncologist is saying, without being distracted by his enormous moustache? Should her best friend’s thirty-year love of David Essex prevent her advice from being taken seriously? And how will she explain her bald bonce to her seven-year-old granddaughter?

Please have a look at the YouTube video of the book – here.

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Excerpt

‘This one’s going well,’ says Moya.

‘Do I have eyes this time?’

‘No. And only one leg.’

Great. When Moya introduced herself at a party, saying she was an artist and would like to paint me, I’d envisaged portraits of vibrant beauty. She told me I looked like ‘a post-iconic Debbie Harry’. Despite realising that ‘post-iconic’ meant ‘gone to seed’, I was flattered. In your forties, compliments are not as forthcoming as they used to be. I reasoned that, if I agreed to pose, I’d be entitled to refer to myself as ‘a model’. And even if Moya had a Lucian Freud style – brutal in its fleshy honesty – at least I’d be immortalised. But it turns out Moya’s work is unflatteringly abstract, which explains why I never appear with a full set of limbs or facial features. And why she rarely sells anything. You have to give the well-to-do, buying public what they want, and what they want are pleasant-looking young women, not middle-aged catastrophes.

I used to be married to an artist. It was wonderful, if you happened to like having an installation of gas masks and Victorian nighties swinging from wire coat hangers in a corner of your living room. But if you needed a bill paid or food on the table, it was rubbish. As if thinking of the devil has summoned him, I hear Olly’s distinctive tap-tap-tapping on my front door. Olly has devoted himself to remaining permanently stoned for the twenty-six years I have known him. His arrival is, as always, accompanied by a creeping, soporific brain mist, which causes all rationality to desert me. This effect must have something to do with his dazzling good looks, which, infuriatingly, have not diminished with time.

He taps again. I sigh, then get up from the table in the dining room, where I have been typing on the laptop while Moya paints me. Quite often during these combined working sessions I’ll forget she’s here. Although I don’t have to sit still for Moya, I am mindful of what objects are about me, for she will include them in the composition. The memory of seeing myself with a two-litre bottle of cola incorporated into my torso still disturbs me.

I open the door to Olly, and am consumed by his smiley emerald eyes, black dancing lashes, and lips, lips, lips that make me quake. Every time I see Olly I fall in love. Every time I fight this off. I have trained myself to remember what a useless git he is. So I now recall: the bailiffs arriving, even though he’d promised he’d paid the bills; leaving him to babysit Skylark and coming home from work to find her playing in the gutter and him stoned, asleep in the back garden; Olly claiming he slept with one of my friends because he ‘mistook’ her for me. If I allow myself to remember any more, I fear tipping myself over the edge, so I usually restrict it to three, but there is a range of hundreds, probably thousands, from which to choose.

I sigh again. Sighing replaces pouting when you get to my age.

‘It’s me,’ says Olly dumbly, but with a magnificent, sunbeam smile.

He makes for the front room. He has come to watch my Freeview TV as he only has an analogue, and because his girlfriend presents a bargain programme on the Happy Holidays Channel and he likes to roll spliffs and talk to her from the sofa.

‘Tea?’ he enquires hopefully.

I wonder when the ‘Olly effect’ will wear off. He is forty-four now, but it still shows little sign of waning. Perhaps it’s our shared history. We met when I was twenty-two and he was eighteen. We have spent our adult lives loving and hating each other, often simultaneously. Well, I have. Olly just smiles glibly, whether you’re telling him you’d die for him or want to bash his skull in. He’s always taken the path of least resistance, but it seems to have paid off. And he does have artistic talent, sort of. He was ahead of his time in the late seventies, as was pointed out in a review only last weekend.

There was an unsurprising lack of appreciation for his early artistic endeavours: installations consisting of disorientating, joining rooms constructed from plasterboard, onto which random cartoon images were projected along with strobe lighting. Fortunately, Olly went on to discover the more peaceful, and successful, craft of sculpting. Now he spends his days carving smooth egg shapes out of stone. His sculptures are beautiful: fine grained, but with the tiniest flaws which ‘make’ them, their sheer surfaces offering themselves up to be touched. Critics have called them sublime and transcendental, the perfection of their form sacred and moving. And those qualities are discernible, to the spiritually inclined. But I have come to see them as a reflection of Olly: a lovely surface with nothing underneath.

I’m being unfair, probably. Trying to reduce my painkiller consumption, having got rather attached to them after a recent operation, is no doubt making me extra crotchety. It was only day surgery, keyhole, but the healing has been slow. Moya took a message for me earlier, from the hospital. They asked me to ring back as soon as possible. I did, but it went straight to their answering machine. Now I’m waiting for them to call me back. The surgery was to remove a large cyst, but the doctor had to take the ovary as well, because it had become so twisted. That was weeks ago, but the follow-up appointment still hasn’t come through, which must be why they’re phoning.

Olly, yes, he earns a good living, or has done in the last ten years or so, the decade in which we finally divorced, so I haven’t felt the benefit of it. He has an undeserved lucky streak, too. Like the time his sculpture sank the ship that was transporting it to Italy. It had been commissioned for a small fortune by a luxury car manufacturer, but insured for five times as much, so Olly’s now waiting for the huge payout.

You can purchase it here at Amazon.

Gina's Therapy

The Honest Liar by Leslie Georgeson @lesliegeorgeson @Shalini_G26 #excerpt #TheHonestLiar

Honestliar

THE PACT DUET: Two friends. One pact. A dangerous plan with an elaborate deception. In a world where they must rely on each other to survive, how far will each of them go to honor the pact?  

Nobody likes a liar.

Yet sometimes lies are essential.

In my world, the truth can kill.

For years I tried to escape the cartel.

But will I ever be free of its pull?

I have a Big Plan, and no one is getting in my way.

Not even a stubborn, sexy cop who won’t keep her nose out of my business.

Jamie Sanderson is determined to end me.

But she doesn’t know how powerful I am.

Even so, some things are beyond my control.

Now she’s in danger.

I will do whatever is necessary to keep her safe.

I don’t want to hurt Jamie, but I’m already buried so deep in the lies that neither one of us will emerge unscathed.

Is losing her really worth seeing my plan to fruition?

Excerpt

The front door of the business opened and people spilled out of the building. All men. All toting the “thug” look. Shifty eyes. Mean expressions. Most under thirty and dressed in low-slung jeans and Tees. They strode to their cars, and the parking lot emptied out.

There was no sign of Rafael Ortiz.

Keith cleared his throat. “Are you sure he’s here?”

“Well, this is his car…” I trailed off as the door opened again, and Rafael emerged from the building.

“Shit,” Keith whispered, his mouth gaping open.

Yeah, shit was right.

Rafael moved slowly, limping as he headed toward us. His face sported numerous cuts and rapidly forming bruises, his left eye was puffy and swollen shut, and bloody tissues plugged his nostrils. He looked hideous. Like he’d taken one hell of a serious beating. I flinched in sympathy. Oh, what a shame to see that beautiful face marred like that.

His open right eye focused on me as he halted before us.

“What the hell happened to you?” I blurted.

His cut lip twitched in a smirk. “Thank you for asking, Detective. Here I thought you didn’t care about me, except to find reasons to arrest me.”

Keith snickered.

“That’s not true.” My face heated. Was I really that rude to him?

He glanced at Keith. “How did you get dragged into her persecution of me? I thought you were my friend.”

Keith reddened. “I simply offered to be her backup since her partner is out sick today. That’s all.”

“I’m not persecuting you,” I denied. “I was just following a lead. I know you’re up to something. All those men who just left here are associated with a cartel.”

Rafael grunted, his right eye centering on me again. “So, once again, I’m guilty by association? This is a gym, Detective. People come here to work out all the time. To fight. To smooth out their issues.”

I huffed. “Well, you obviously just got your ass kicked. Did you get your issues worked out? You look like shit.”

He chuckled softly, wincing in pain. “Oh, you got it all wrong, Detective. I didn’t get my ass kicked. I won.”

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Author bio

Leslie Georgeson writes romance and suspense, sometimes with a dash of sci-fi or paranormal tossed in to make things more interesting. She is the author of the popular military romantic suspense series, THE DREGS, which was nominated for the 2018 TopShelf Indie Book Awards. Her other titles include the UNLIKELY HEROES series, the UNDERNEATH series, the standalone romantic mystery, NO SON OF MINE, and the newly released romantic suspense duet, THE PACT. Book one, The Mocking Man, is now available on Amazon and book two, The Honest Liar, is scheduled for an early June 2020 release. Leslie lives with her husband and daughter on a quiet country acreage in Idaho.

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