Friday, March 27, 2020

Character Interview – The Dragon’s Staircase


Giveaway Alert!


MG: Craig, how would you describe Alexa?

Craig: This could get me into trouble.

MG: Nah, she’ll have her chance to share a few things about you.

Craig: She’s amazing. Your turn.

MG: Cop out. Alexa is strong yet feminine, tough yet vulnerable. She grew up in Alaska with three brothers, so she knows how to handle herself, but like many women, she’s not immune to doubt, fears, and of course, falling in love. She chose her occupation because of events in her past, and those events drove her to become who she is . . . except she realizes that everything she’d worked toward wasn’t what she ultimately wanted. Her discovery of self—sidetracked by a lot of action and an unexpected someone—is an interesting and exciting journey.

Craig: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Alexa: I liked your “She’s amazing” response.

Craig: Glances at Alexa with a big smile and a wink.

MG: Craig, another one for you. What does Alexa do best?

Craig: She’s great at solving puzzles! Of course, she’d have to be to gain the success she did with the FBI. She’s a great protector, even when she knows she’s up against the worst of mankind, she’s willing to put herself on the line.

Alexa: You put yourself on the line plenty for me. You’re not too bad at puzzles either.

Craig: That’s why we make a great team.

MG: Alexa, what do you think drove Craig to get involved with your case?

Alexa: Craig is ex-Special Forces, so he already has that “save the world” action-based mentality going for him.

Craig: Thanks, Alexa.

Alexa: [winks at Craig] He knew a scared young boy who needed help and keeping the boy out of danger drove him back into the mindset that had been so ingrained. He became really involved and saw the case through to the end.

MG: Was it just for the boy?

Craig: No, it wasn’t.
MG: Uh-huh. I didn’t think so. Craig, did you ever have any doubts?

Craig: Never.

MG: Not even in the beginning? You had a rocky start when you first met Alexa.

Craig: You’re trying to get me into trouble.

MG: I promise I am not.

Craig: It was rocky at first, and I only say this because Alexa remembers it well. She is personable in most situations, but she’s focused and driven in her work. At the end of the day she’d rather be with family, a few close friends, or alone. She really is a different person around people she knows well—full of life and humor. Once I got to know her better, there wasn’t any force in nature that could have pulled me away from the case—or her.

Alexa leans over to kiss Craig.

MG: Okay you two. We’re almost done. Alexa, what’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Alexa: Craig. But guilt? No, just pleasure.

MG: Don’t blame you. Craig, I’m going to assume Alexa is your . . . well, let’s move on. Craig, what is Alexa’s weakness.

Craig: Family, though it’s not necessarily a weakness. She’d do anything—ANYTHING—for them, and they would for her, and that knowledge in the wrong hands could certainly be a weakness. She also loves chocolate!

Alexa: Everyone loves chocolate.

Craig: Not really.

Alexa: Name one person you know who doesn’t.

Craig: Silence

MG: Alexa, where does Craig go to unwind and regroup?

Alexa: Since we’ve been together, Alaska. He has a remote place in Colorado, but he also travels a lot for work. As long as he’s in nature, he’s pretty happy.

Craig: And when I’m with you.

Alexa: Goes without saying.

MG: Alexa, will you give up three of your deepest, darkest secrets?

Alexa: I’m terrified of losing someone else I love.
I’ve come close to pulling the trigger when I knew there was a better way.
I’m afraid of failure.

Craig pulls her closer to him on the sofa they are sharing.

MG: If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?

Alexa: The ability to read minds, but turn it off whenever I didn’t want to listen. It would have come in handy many times throughout my FBI career.

MG: Craig?

Craig: The ability to keep Alexa from harm, no matter what.

MG: I knew there was a reason I love you.

Alexa: Excuse me?

MG: Don’t worry, I love your brothers, too. It’s a happy byproduct of spending so much time with them. Craig is all yours.

Alexa: So long as we’re on the same page.

MG: Tell us one thing you must do before you die, and why?

Alexa: Find whoever took away the people I loved most. They have to pay for what they’ve done.



The Dragon’s Staircase
By McKenna Grey and Everly Archard


A woman haunted by her past. A man willing to do whatever it takes to save her. A killer closing in.

FBI Agent Alexa Kyndall devoted eight years of her life to the search for justice, showing no mercy to the guilty and depraved. When she joins a special task force to bring down a serial killer, Alexa encounters the most unexpected criminal of her career.

When a child witnesses a brutal slaying, Alexa's life becomes intertwined with Craig Pierson's, a man with his own haunted past. They join forces, only to discover they must put everything on the line in a pulse-pounding struggle to protect and survive.

Nestled in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, The Dragon's Staircase is an intriguing, nonstop adventure that will keep readers enthralled from start to finish.




Praise for The Dragon’s Staircase
The Dragon’s Staircase is a mind-boggling adventure that will keep you guessing until the last page." Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick

"Holy smokes! This is one suspenseful, anxiety-ridden, skin-crawling tale of murder, mystery, and psychological creepiness. Looking for a hard-to-figure-out mystery with a side order of nail biting? Then look no further!" —InD’tale Magazine

“THE DRAGON’S STAIRCASE by McKenna Grey and Everly Archard is romantic suspense full of thrills and spine-tingling moments. The twist at the end is as unexpected as it is disconcerting . . . the story keeps you guessing at every turn. This is a great start to a series that promises to be full of wonderful surprises."
Readers’ Favorite

“I’m amazed at how smooth these two authors have combined their talents into one fabulous story." Linda Thompson, Host of www.TheAuthorsShow.com


Ebook: Amazon ~ Nook ~ Apple ~ Kobo


Series: Kyndall Family Thriller, Book One (stand-alone; no cliffhanger)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Content Rating: PG-13. No graphic sex. The violence isn't gory, but it's there. Mild language and not much of that.
Book Trailer URL: https://youtu.be/X56-scWlsXI





Author Bios

McKenna Grey is the contemporary alter-ego of an award-winning, historical romance author. She writes romantic suspense and thrillers where she blends touches of romance with gripping adventure and mystery. She also writes small-town, contemporary novelettes to break up the murder and mayhem. McKenna enjoys a quiet life in the Rocky Mountains where she manages to stay out of the trouble her characters can't seem to avoid. Visit her online at www.mckennagrey.com.

Get new release updates: BookBub ~ Amazon ~ Newsletter


Everly Archard is the pseudonym of an award-winning paranormal and fantasy romance author. Her passion for romance with an edge led her to explore the world of romantic suspense.




Excerpt from The Dragon’s Staircase

From a random place in the book . . .

Tepid water rushed down Alexa’s neck as a shudder overtook her entire body. Her fingers gripped the edges of the porcelain sink as though it were a life raft. She told herself it was the changing weather bringing a chill over her blood and not the visions of heart-wrenching pain she’d endured. But that was a lie. Alexa knew exactly what had elicited the response.

 Him.

But he was dead. She watched the life seep from him before she was pulled to safety. Yet here he was haunting her as if he’d defied the grave.

She lifted her head until she met her own reflection in the mirror. Shame filled her heart as she recognized the look on her face: fear. She grabbed a brown paper towel from the dispenser, wiping down her sweat and water-dampened skin. She let the stiff edges grate against the soft flesh of her cheeks until they were tender. Alexa Kyndall didn’t fear anything, and she wasn’t about to start now.

She stood upright, straightening her shoulders as she took a deep breath. There was no way she was going back out there until she’d pulled it together. She wouldn’t give the smug bastard the satisfaction of seeing her like this. Weak, frail, broken. She smoothed her ponytail, licked her lips, and pulled her emotions inward until her face reflected a calm mask of civility.

If she was lucky, she’d leave without incident. She grabbed the jacket she’d discarded earlier off the floor and slipped out of the bathroom.

End of Excerpt © McKenna Grey and Everly Archard

Giveaway:
One autographed copy of THE DRAGON’S STAIRCASE to one lucky reader leaving a comment or email entry. The winner will also get a character named after them in the book four of the Kyndall Family series.

Books 1 and 2 of the Kyndall Family series are only $0.99 (e-books) through the end of March.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST March 28th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

I SHOULD BE WRITING


Congratulations to "Karin", the winner in Angi's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize.


I don’t know about you, but my emotions have been (and probably will be) all over the place this month.

This week I should have been at the Book Lovers Conference but it postponed until a certain pandemic is over. I could have been sitting in my double-wide chair with my feet propped up, chihuahua by my side and a lap desk, well…on my lap. But that didn’t happen either. I’ve been distracted with what’s happening everywhere. And since it IS happening, it seems silly to promote my latest release. But here I am…humbly reminding you that you can still get a paper copy of CRIMINAL ALLIANCE for a while.


BUT THE BIGGER PICTURE is the world…or our little part of it. Tomorrow, Dallas begins to shelter-in-place. I am determined to accomplish something every day without letting worries distract me. And not only that, I’ll be holding myself accountable on my Facebook page [ @AngiMorganBooks ]. If you’re online, I hope you’ll join me for a little bit of positive sheltering-in-place.

I want to be positive and do positive things so I’m also going to share some love today and introduce you to a new country artist, Roger Morgan. Hearing this original song tonight has inspired a new idea for a story. It made me want to sit at my keys and create. I hope it inspires you, too. Roger is a high school classmate of mine, Texas bred and influenced. I'm so so proud of him following his dreams. AND AND AND...he's just plain good. I love all of his songs. But what a great line in this one: "If not for you, I wouldn't be me."  Here’s his video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/fgABQMEAbsXT7S5v6.


Hang up your hat for some fun on the run! 
~ ~ ~
CRIMINAL ALLIANCE is the conclusion of Texas Brothers of Company B. It’s original title was Ranger Warrior (Wade) and follows Ranger Protector (Jack), Ranger Defender (Slate), and Ranger Guardian (Heath). You can find a short summary of their stories on JRS here.

Amazon
 | BandN | Google | iBooks | Kobo | Walmart
~ ~ ~
USA Today Bestselling author ANGI MORGAN writes on-the-run suspense where honor and danger collide with love. Her work is a multiple contest finalist and Publishers Weekly best-seller. She drags her dogs –and husband– around Texas for research road trips so she can write off her camera. They now have a map with highlighted roads they’ve traveled. Every detour somehow makes it into a book. 
Website   Facebook   FB Fan Page   Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr     
Check out my newsletter or follow me on Amazon or BookBub


DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Giveaway on JRS ends at midnight March 24th.  One contestant entering the drawing by leaving a comment on Just Romantic Suspense will receive a $5.00 gift card. Don’t forget to check back to see who won!

How are you making use of your time?
Did you take a listen to Roger?




Friday, March 20, 2020

CROSS HER HEART


Congratulations to "Johanna", the winner in Melinda's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize!

A homicide detective’s violent family history repeats itself in #1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s novel of murder, secrets, and retribution.


For more than twenty-five years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide…Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There’s just one chilling difference. Erin’s husband, Justin, has vanished.
Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn’t adding up. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and death, as she promised Erin’s children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree’s family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her.

If you’re a fan of mysteries, thrillers and Melinda Leigh’s fast-paced tales, be sure to add CROSS HER HEART to your reading list this Spring!





About the Author:
#1 Amazon Charts and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh has sold over 8 million books. As a fully recovered banker and a life-long lover of books, she started writing as a way to preserve her sanity while raising her kids. Melinda's debut novel, SHE CAN RUN, was an International Thriller Award finalist. Since then, she has garnered numerous writing accolades, including two RITA® Award nominations and an induction into the NJ Romance Writers Hall of Fame.

Melinda holds a 2nd degree belt in Kenpo Karate. She's dabbled in Arnis stick fighting, studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and taught women's self-defense. She lives near the beach with her family and two spoiled rescue dogs. With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination. Find out more about Melinda by visiting www.melindaleigh.com.


Giveaway:
Melinda is giving away a free copy of CROSS HER HEART with a signed bookplate to one lucky reader leaving a comment or email entry.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST March 21st. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Uncovering More Blood Secrets: INHERENT LIES


Giveaway Alert!

I’m so excited to return to Just Romantic Suspense to announce the continuation of the Blood Secrets saga with the release of Inherent Lies, Blood Secrets Book 2. As if Inherent Truth wasn’t twisted enough, book 2 delves even deeper into the secrets that underpin the very fabric of Liv Sullivan’s existence. Liv and Ridge’s story plays out with a hallmark stamp of revenge as secrets and lies continue to unravel.


Of course, book 2 holds a special place in my heart. Why? It opens in Liv’s ancestral home of Ireland, of course! And to make it even better, it’s peppered with personality in the form of some new characters inspired by that fair isle.

Eccentric psychotherapist, Herman Mayhew, makes his first appearance in Inherent Lies as Liv’s mentor and friend. Playing cards with dead writers, Oscar Wilde specifically, is one of his favorite past-times, as is riddling his way under Liv’s skin, as he does in this snippet:

But Liv’s not the only one with a few new friends. Ridge’s sister, Skylar, makes her debut in Inherent Lies, and their typical sibling relationship takes Ridge’s indignant ways down as notch.

As she does here:

Of course, it wouldn’t be a sequel without the chance to explore the scars of some of our favorites a little more deeply.

So, grab a copy and explore more dark secrets in Inherent Lies, Blood Secrets Book 2. What better way to continue celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!

Now, without further ado, I sit a spell and enjoy this snippet of Ridge’s attempt to return to Liv’s life in Inherent Lies, Blood Secrets Book 2:

The thumping music drowned out any rational thought Ridge might have had as he looked across Cohen's pub toward Liv. It also effectively muted the intense conversation she was having with Ashlyn, a fact that raised his level of irritation with every percussive whack of the bodhrán.
Every time she smiled that perfect smile at the waiter a little piece of his sanity vanished. Lucky for him, the conversation she was having with Ashlyn put an end to the polite smiles. Their past rushed at him. The music of her laughter. The silkiness of her skin. The memory of her lips on his. So much time had passed. He’d been too stupid. Waited too long. Hurt her too deeply.
The last night he’d seen her was eight months ago. A 911 call from Liv’s cell at Sullivan Farm lured him there. He could still picture the shock in her eyes when he found her on the stairs in the barn. He’d heard the shot. Knew he’d find Abbott with a bullet in his skull. But the truth of Liv’s involvement came out later. Much too late to apologize for trying to protect himself from the pain of her loss. Even now he had trouble rationalizing his own stupidity.
Ridge turned his attention to the pint glass in front of him, twisting it in a circle between his thumb and middle finger. He’d treated her like a criminal that night. Had left her to fend for herself as she fought to clear her name. You were following orders, he reminded himself, scrubbing a hand over his face. He might as well have that mantra tattooed to his arm for as often as he needed the reminder.
What are you doing here? He could answer that question, not with any convincing argument, but he could provide an answer. He imagined that's what Liv would ask when he finally summoned the courage to approach her. Part of him preferred lurking in the shadows, providing protection from afar.
Motion from Liv's side of the pub distracted him. She was leaving. Auburn curls hung in ringlets down the back of her green sweater. Her jeans hugged her thighs. The curve of her hips sending a spike of heat through his core. She looked good, even better than he remembered. Jesus, McCaffrey, pull yourself together.
He tossed a twenty Euro bill onto the table and tried to act as if he belonged, weaving his way toward the exit that led to the rooms above the pub. He'd scoped them out before she'd arrived. And he knew exactly which one was hers, room 211, on the left-hand side of the narrow hall. He’d even found the sitting area at the end of the hall from where one of the photos found in Garrison’s apartment had been taken. It was too close for comfort.
Liv was already at the door when he got to the top of the stairs. It wasn't until then that the reality of the situation crashed in on him. Here he was, a man she hadn't seen in more than half a year, one that should be three thousand miles away, suddenly approaching her from behind in a dark hallway. Nice. That’s one way to get yourself tased–or shot.
He was almost close enough to touch her when her hand paused on the handle of the door. She froze, her gaze still on the key in the lock in front of her. But her respirations increased, her chest rising and falling with each gulp of air.
“What are you doing here?”
Her voice was almost a whisper. If Ridge hadn't been so intently focused on her, he might have missed it. He swallowed hard, scanning the empty hall around them, wishing he had a better explanation. Jumping on a plane under the guise of protection for a woman he'd purposefully avoided when she needed him most suddenly took on a fresh air of idiocy.
“I was worried about you.” Faced with Liv just feet in front of him, it was the best he could do.
She turned to face him. Her complexion was paler than he'd remembered, but those eyes, they were still just as green, and right now they were piercing him to the core. He took a step back.
“You lost the right to worry about me a long time ago, Ridge. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's late and I have work to do.”

~~~
Uncover more of Ridge and Liv’s story in Inherent Lies.

~~~
Meet the Author:
Alicia Anthony’s first novels were illegible scribbles on the back of her truck driver father’s logbook trip tickets. Having graduated from scribbles to laptop, she now pens novels of psychological suspense in the quiet of the wee morning hours. A full-time elementary school Literacy Specialist, Alicia hopes to pass on her passion for books and writing to the students she teaches. Her works of fiction have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Golden Heart®, Claymore, and Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mystery/Suspense. The second installment of the Blood Secrets Saga, Inherent Lies, was a 2018 Silver Quill Award winner. Alicia finds her inspiration in exploring the dark, dusty corners of the human experience.

Website: www.AliciaAnthonyBooks.com
Newsletter: Sign up for author news & a free sample of Inherent Truth delivered to your inbox.
Facebook: @AliciaAnthonyBooks                
Instagram: @AliciaAnthonyBooks
Twitter: @AliciaAAnthony


GIVEAWAY TERMS and CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Inherent Truth by Alicia Anthony. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Alicia Anthony. Giveaway ends 4/30/2020 @ 11:59pm EST.
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Monday, March 16, 2020

Top 10 Favorite Movie Kisses


Congratulations to "Colleen C.", the winner in Julie's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize!


I have been a fan of movies from the time my folks took me to see Mary Poppins as a little girl and I was enchanted. Over the years, I’ve developed several Top 10 lists on everything from favorite hero to most joyful scene to—you guessed it—my favorite movie kisses.

In my March 17th release, TARGET ON HER BACK, I wrote one of my favorite kisses ever between socially awkward brainiac Professor Gigi Brennan and my sidekick with a heart of gold hero, Detective Hudson Kramer. Here’s a brief glimpse of that scene:

He reached the edge of the porch before he felt a tug on the sleeve on his jacket. When he turned, Gigi’s fingers slid along his jaw to pull his mouth to hers. Her soft lips molded to his, branding him with her surprising heat. Her kiss was sweet and chaste and brave for this woman, and Hud couldn’t help but respond to her touch, to the fingers fisting in his jacket and scudding across the stubble of his beard to sink into his hair.

He settled his hands at her hips, sliding beneath her hoodie to find the slim nip of her waist. The tips of his fingers brushed against a strip of soft, warm skin between her top and pants, and the discovery triggered a satisfied growl in his throat. He held himself in check for as long as he could, savoring the tender, close-mouthed kisses. Her arms drifted around his neck, her fingers clutching his scalp, tickling the nape of his neck, pulling herself closer until her long thighs butted against his. His arms moved with the same leisurely exploration around her waist until he palmed the smooth skin of her back with one hand and squeezed a handful of that decadent bottom with the other.

Gigi’s sexy purr of frustration called to Hud like a siren. She wanted more and so did he. He lapped up her surrendering sigh and took over the kiss. He teased the seam of her mouth with his tongue, and when her lips parted, he drew her full bottom lip between his. He breathed in her warm vanilla scent and tasted the spice that lingered on her tongue when he thrust inside to claim her mouth…

Easing the tightness of his hold on her, he straightened her pajamas to cover her skin and rested his forehead against hers. Her glasses had fogged up to the point he couldn’t see her eyes, so he studied her pink, swollen lips and the slightly abraded skin around her beautiful mouth. “Damn, woman. I’m not complaining, but what was that about?”

“Me going after what I want. In case I have to wait another two years for my next kiss.”
***

Hud and Gigi’s kiss got me to thinking about other memorable kisses, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you. What makes each scene my favorite can be anything from the steam or tenderness to the emotion or dialogue surrounding the kiss. It could be humorous, dramatic, or fleeting in the heat of battle. But, for whatever reason, the kiss left a memorable impact on me.

Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorite movie kisses. I hope they resonate with you as much as Hud and Gigi’s kiss.

  1.    Beauty and the Beast (Disney Animated version)-Belle and the Beast 
  2.    Easter Parade-Fred Astaire and Judy Garland
  3.    Raiders of the Lost Ark-Harrison Ford and Karen Allen
  4.    Sarah, Plain and Tall—Glenn Close and Christopher Walken
  5.    Gone with the Wind—Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
  6.    French Kiss—Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan
  7.    Jumangi: Welcome to the Jungle—Dwayne Johnson and Karen Gillan
  8.    Lady and the Tramp (Disney Animated version)—Lady and Tramp
  9.    Spiderman—Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst
  10. From Here to Eternity—Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr

Giveaway:
Do you have a favorite kiss scene from a movie? Do you want me to explain what resonated with me for that particular movie? 

Share in the comments below—or ask a question or leave a comment about TARGET ON HER BACK. I’ll give away one copy of TARGET ON HER BACK—print or digital—to one lucky reader. (Or something from my backlist if you already have TARGET.) JRS will randomly choose a winner from among the posts.

Happy Reading!
Julie Miller

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST March 17th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

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