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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Protecting The Enemy


Looking for a romantic suspense to curl up with this Halloween? My newest book Protecting the Enemy is full of danger and intrigue and is only $1.99! Less than a bag of Halloween candy ;)

Julianna Fox was made for her job. Or so she is told. The only memory Julianna has of her past is after the explosion. She was a nameless victim until a man pulled her out of the darkness and gave her new life. A new purpose, because anything is better than being no one. When she is about to eliminate her next mark something stops her. The moment Julianna makes eye contact with Reid Castleton, she has a flashback of her forgotten past. How does she know the man? And why can’t she follow through with her assignment? 

Expert assassin, Reid Castleton, has been told to kill the only woman he ever loved if he wants to live. When he finds his fiancĂ©e, he can’t go through with the hit, even if it means losing his own life. Either she can’t remember who she is or is damn good at acting. 

Neither one knows who to trust. Both make a truce until they can find out why the leader of ETE 7 wants them both dead. What they uncover is a long line of lies and deception that started the moment Julianna was conceived. Will love conquer all or will fear make them do the unthinkable? 
________________________________________

Excerpt:

With her face void of emotion as she listened to his instructions, Julianna stood in front of the man she knew as Boss. Light brown hair and hazel eyes were her only clue to the identity of the man behind the neoprene, black mask. The first time she met Boss, the plain mask that covered his entire face had kind of freaked her out. He’d explained the mask was necessary for his own protection.

 As a member of ETE 7 or Erasing The Enemy, a classified operation not even the CIA was aware of, she knew what was expected of her. They eliminated concentrated threats that the CIA couldn’t or wouldn’t. ETE 7 was her only priority. After Brandon had signed her out of Mercy hospital, he’d turned her over to Boss. ETE 7 was her family. 

He pushed a photo to the edge of the folding table. “You understand your assignment?”

“Yes.” As effortless as picking up her dry cleaning bill, she took the picture of her next mark from the temporary desk Boss sat behind. She turned the photo and read the name Reid Castleton written on the back. “Consider it taken care of.”

“Ms. Fox, you’ve never disappointed me.” The way he said it was different this time, more like a threat than a compliment.

With a quick nod, she turned to walk out of the empty, dimly lit warehouse, not far from the inner harbor. Her three-inch heels clicked and clacked over the concrete floor as she headed toward the exit. Every time she met with Boss, their meeting was in a different place, but always inside some abandoned building. Kind of creepy, but she was a woman who dealt with some of the creepiest people for a living. After the job was completed, she’d have a long uneventful break and then she’d get a text with the next location to meet him.

Without a backward glance, she walked outside to her red Jaguar convertible, a gift from ETE 7. Gravel grinded beneath her open-toed Jimmy Choo’s. The sun made its descent behind the beautiful Baltimore skyline leaving a yellow halo around the peaks of the buildings. She’d come to like the city and felt a strong sense of duty to protect it and the people who lived there. Before opening her car door, Julianna drew in a breath of cool air.

This was her first mission since she’d transferred from New Jersey. There was a lot of downtime in between jobs, so she was more than ready for the cocktail party where she’d find her target. She’d been molded by the best and spent the last six months proving herself. The training had come easy to her. Sometimes she felt as though deep inside, she was meant to become the woman ETE 7 had made her into.

Reid Castleton surveyed the large room. Evening gowns and suits surrounded him. People he didn’t know or care to know. There was only one reason he had crashed this cocktail party. Excitement built inside his chest as he looked for her. He’d waited so long for this moment, but never dreamed it would come to this. Would she recognize him? The job would be hard, but not impossible. He could put things aside for the greater good. After all, everything was about the greater good. 

His mouth was dry. He tried to swallow. She wasn’t the same woman she’d been when she disappeared. He had to remember that. Regardless of the rules, he took a glass of champagne and downed it hoping it would numb at least some of what he was feeling. Tonight he wasn’t comfortable in his own skin, let alone the tight Gucci jacket. 

A beautiful brunette approached him. He turned away from her to look out the window at the evening sky. 

“Lovely party. Are you here alone?” The seduction in her voice told him that he could leave with her on his arm tonight if he so chose. 

“No. I’m not.” Reid didn’t even glance her way. He kept is gaze straight ahead. Normally he wouldn’t have been so rude, but tonight things were different. The sound of the woman’s heels told him she’d given up and walked away. His hands shook, so he shoved them into his pockets. 

Maybe his date wouldn’t show. A part of him, the part he had to keep hidden, hoped she wouldn’t.

The party was well underway when Julianna arrived. She stayed in the back of the room next to a bookcase where she’d have the best view of the guests. With steady manicured fingers, she twisted the tube and re-applied the ruby red to her pursed lips. She rubbed her lips together as she tucked the compact and lipstick back into her petite beaded purse.

As trained, Julianna didn’t hesitate to use her beauty to distract her marks and take them out, clueless as to what hit them until their last breath. Her gun was a last resort, one she hadn’t had to use… yet. Bullets made things too messy and erasing the enemy in a tidy fashion was her specialty, what she’d been taught to do. She’d use her signature, poison cocktail. Simple, effective and untraceable. The fact that medical examiners couldn’t decipher the drug from natural causes was an additional benefit.

With confidence, she glanced across the crowded room at her mark. He hadn’t yet turned his head to face her, but what she’d seen so far was a man wearing a black tailored suit which showed off his assets. She tilted her head a bit to admire him. Nice and… unexpected. A man had never captured her attention this way before. His dark brown hair was the color of gourmet coffee and probably just as rich.

The blurry headshot she’d been given was no comparison to how handsome he was in person. When he turned toward her, even from afar, his chiseled face matched his amazing body. What a shame—most of her assignments hadn’t been so gorgeous. The poor guy would never know what hit him.

Her first assignment she’d felt sadness and remorse. The regret had even caused reoccurring nightmares which made her question if she was cut out for this kind of raw justice, but Boss quickly reminded her that marks were enemies and enemies had to be erased to protect the greater good. Once she’d convinced herself she was on the right side, she was able to sleep terror free again.

The low-cut black dress clung to her thighs as Julianna worked her curvaceous hips across the grand room. The aroma of champagne and caviar grew stronger as she walked past the waiters carrying round trays. She grabbed a glass of bubbly and dropped in a few drops of certain death with no one the wiser. Smiling at a chatty couple to her right, she nonchalantly swirled the liquids together in the flute. She stood next to him now, so close Julianna could smell his sandalwood cologne.

Earthy and clean and somehow familiar.

Julianna lightly touched his elbow and he turned around to face her. His warm brown eyes met her gray-blues and she was taken away to another place, another time when those same eyes looked into hers and she could feel herself smiling, happy inside. Her nerve endings sparked to life as a vivid image played in her mind. His naked, hot body glided with hers.

With a gasp, the wine glass slipped through her fingers and crashed to the marble floor beneath her feet. The sound bringing the party to a halt. Everyone in the room turned to look at Julianna and the wet, crushed shards of glass that surrounded her. Embarrassed she’d been caught off guard, her lips parted.

“Excuse me.” She rushed from the crowded area. Her strappy heels slapped against the tiled floor as she fled to the powder room. What was that? A cry escaped her red lips. She turned on the faucet and dabbed cold water onto the back of her neck. Slowing her breathing, she looked up into the mirror. Did she know him? It didn’t matter now, she’d blown it. Boss’ gruff voice echoed in her ears to never let feelings get in the way of the assignment. It had been one of the first things she was taught.

Available on Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Be sure to enter the two goodreads giveaways I have going on and please mark all my books to read!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/110691-a-guide-to-love

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/110690-treasured-hearts

I would love some new likes on my author page as well. I have random giveaways and lots of news. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christy-Newton/359791990763912

About The Author:
Christy Newton is a hopeless romantic and writes many genres of romance. She just might be the only author out there that doesn’t drink caffeine, but dark chocolate is her must have. She falls in love with each of her heroes and hopes you will too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finding Strength in the BROKEN PLACES

With: Krista Hall

Congratulations to Erin F., the winner in Krista's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.” A Farewell To Arms

That Hemingway quote was one of the things I was thinking about when writing the plot and creating the characters in Broken Places. How do we go on after the world "breaks" us? 

Broken Places is set in a gang-plagued neighborhood in D.C., where sociology professor Trevy Barlow spends her evenings teaching a literacy class for teen girls affiliated with gangs. After one of her students becomes the latest victim of a gang-slaying, Trevy is determined to protect the other at-risk teens in her class—even if it means endangering herself.

Throughout the story, a question Trevy struggles with is: What is her responsibility to act in the face of suffering? She's an urban ethnographer who is inserting herself into dangerous neighborhoods where she’s an obvious outsider. She is a witness to pain, suffering, violence, and injustice. How does she balance her personal doubts about the ethical implications of using people’s lives to document societal and cultural phenomena with the need to step in and do something to help the individuals she gets to know?

FBI gang task force agent Cruz Larsen grew up rough. He credits his success as a federal agent to bare-knuckled determination and a no-excuses personal philosophy. The meddlesome do-gooder Trevy Barlow pushes all of his hot buttons. He wants to shake up Trevy so she’ll “rip off those rose-colored glasses and take a good hard look at the real world. Then maybe she’d see what he saw. Violence that didn’t care about good or bad, innocent or depraved, right or wrong.” But most of all, he wants her out of his murder investigation. 

When a key witness, a gang member and the boyfriend of the murdered teen, refuses to talk to anyone except Trevy, she's pulled back into the investigation despite Cruz’s best efforts to sideline her. Now Trevy and Cruz—two people with very different views on how to solve the problem of gang violence in the city—have to find a way to work together.


Excerpt from BROKEN PLACES - Golden Heart Award Winner for Romantic Suspense:

“Agent Larsen, I don’t know who your tagger is, but I’ll talk to Bandit. Tell me when and where.”

Securing her cooperation should have felt more like a victory, but it was a hollow one. Cruz still had one more obstacle to overcome. And it was a gamestopper. “When was the last time you saw Bandit?”

“Sunday. At the community center.” Trevy stared at him for a moment, then comprehension sparked in her eyes. “You don’t know where he is.”

“Haven’t seen him since he left the Fifth District Station. His mother said he hasn’t been home since Sunday morning. Any ideas?” And Christ, it stung to admit that to her.

She was shaking her head before he even finished the question.

“The girls in your literacy class might know where he’s hiding.”

“Forget it, Agent Larsen,” she said, each word a terse, sharp-edged slap of sound. Dr. Do-Good knew exactly where this discussion was heading. 

“Why don’t you want to talk to me? Have you been threatened by someone?”

“How long do you think the girls will continue to trust me if I let you use my relationship with them to pin the murder on Bandit?” She folded her arms across her chest. He thought she was finished speaking, but then she added, “Whether he’s guilty or not.”  

“Why would I do that?” 

“Isn’t the boyfriend or the husband always the first person you look at when a woman is murdered?”

A tight jerk of his head was all Cruz could manage. So she thought he was looking for an easy target to blame for Lola’s death. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time someone had thought the worst of him. He was surprised by how much it stung.

Broken Places is $0.99 for a limited time on Amazon and Amazon UK! 
Kindle Unlimited Subscribers read for free! 

Paperback editions available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Giveaway:
Can a hero ever be too broken for a book boyfriend crush?
Comment below to be eligible for the giveaway: a kindle edition of Broken Places

Thank you and happy reading!

About Krista:
Krista Hall won the 2013 Golden Heart® Award for Broken Places. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband and children and newest writing companion–a chocolate Lab puppy named Rosie.

KristaHall.com | Facebook | Twitter | KissandThrill.com

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 22nd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustRomanticSuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Finding My Passion


A few years ago (I won’t tell you how many), I hit the ripe old age of forty and thought my life was over. Why not? When the entertainment industry projects the idea of valuable womanhood to be young, ultra thin, and beautiful? I no longer felt young. I’ve never been ultrathin. (The smallest size I’ve ever worn was a six, but I my appetite was off at the time. One of my legs wouldn’t fit into a size zero!) And as far as beautiful goes? I’m beautiful on the inside. That’s what matters, right?

In the midst of my mid-life crisis, I was desperately searching for something to give my life meaning. I’d trained to be an accountant, but I was never going to be a partner in an accounting firm. The desire to give it all for something so…boring just wasn’t there, so I wasn’t going to reach the pinnacle of accounting success. What can I say? Accounting is not my passion. Never has been. Now it’s something I do part time to make a few bucks so I can afford to do things I’d rather do.

I’d always loved music, but there’s no venue for a middle-aged singer. By the time it appeared on the American cultural landscape, I was already too old to try out for American Idol. In my twenties, when I could have pursued the dream, I wrote a few songs, learned a few chords, and sang numerous songs with recording artists. Of course, none of them were aware of our duets. I had no idea where to begin a musical career and I was a long way from the center of the recording industry.

Maybe I played around with writing lyrics for a while because I’ve always been fascinated with the power of words. Maybe that’s why I devoured so many books, regretting the end of the story as if I’d said goodbye to a trusted friend, a dependable comforter. The right word can change more than the meaning of a sentence. It sets the tone of what’s being expressed. Whether lyrics or literature, words create moods and foster memories.

So at the ripe old age of forty, I found my passion. I’d deserted it for years, but when I searched for something to get excited about, to devote my excess energies to, I found writing again. Putting together strings of words in the hope a collection of sentences glued together into paragraphs, scenes, and chapters might create a mood and foster a memory.

So my passion is to influence the heart, mind, or soul of a reader, those avid devourers of the written word. I’m not talking about the casual reader. There are those that read and those that are readers. We know who we are.

My latest passion is a series of paranormal romantic suspense books I’m writing entitled The Haunted Hearts Series. The first book in the Haunted Hearts series is Laurel Heights

Here is a short excerpt from the book:

Since Laurel had moved into her aunt’s house, she hadn’t fallen asleep once without pharmaceutical help. The sleeping aid usually lulled her into lullaby land, but the drug seldom got her through the night without a nightmare. She was quickly running out of the prescription and would have to resort to over-the-counter antihistamines soon. The doctor she had seen in Fairview wouldn’t renew her prescription. He hadn’t wanted to prescribe it anyway. She wouldn’t be going back to him.

She lay still beneath her comforter, listening to the unusual sounds coming from the lower floor. The house made a lot of noises, especially at night. She sucked in a ragged breath when it made a few more. Thuds and bumps sounded like footfalls. Was someone in the house or was she being paranoid? Every shadow reminded her of Rand. He was in prison and would be incarcerated for a very long time, probably the rest of his life, but he could easily send one of his loyal subordinates to find her.

She wrapped her fingers around the grip of the baseball bat she kept next to her bed and hoped she wouldn’t have to use it. Confronting an intruder with a hollow piece of aluminum seemed like a lame defense. She had been considering purchasing a gun, but hadn’t done so yet. Maybe it was time. She’d have to buy one under the radar because she didn’t want anyone doing a background check on her. Acquiring a shotgun shouldn’t be too hard. It seemed everyone in Arkansas owned a firearm of some sort.

She threw off the comforter, rose from the bed, slipped across the room with the bat over her shoulder, and opened the door to peer down the hallway toward the front stairs. Nothing moved. The house was quiet. Maybe a little too quiet. Only moments before, a symphony of strange noises had disturbed the night. It was as if opening her bedroom door had turned off the sound.

She stared at the back stairs directly across from her bedroom and considered going down to the first floor to check the door locks, but nixed the idea. Locked doors wouldn’t keep someone out of the house if they really wanted to get in. Better to barricade herself in her bedroom and keep the bat close by. She slammed the door shut.

No moonlight filtered through the flimsy fabric covering the window. The moon hid behind a thick cloud cover. She tugged at the curtains, pulling them tighter to keep out the night. Before she stepped away, she caught a glimpse of something not quite right. Peeking between the curtain panels, she stared across the backyard. On the other side of the grimy window, a dim light flitted back and forth inside the detached garage.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Laurel Heights. The book can be purchased at the following links: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.



You can find me at these sites: Facebook, Twitter, My Website, and Suspense, She Writes Blog.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Write Romantic Suspense…With What???


Giveaway Alert!

I’ve been writing suspense stories for as long as I can remember. Some of them were horrible, forever to collect dust under my bed. (Yes, I started writing in the days before computers were everywhere.) Some were revised and edited into my 1st set of novellas and some were expanded, edited and formed into my 1st full-length books. I have some hot and steamy romances with some light suspense elements. I’ve also created stories at the other end of the spectrum, with a sweet romance and an intense suspense angle. Of all my romantic suspense stories, though, none has had paranormal elements. Until now.

I tend to shy away from paranormal stories. The average plots, ghosts, for example, don’t appeal to me. But a seed of an idea, one completely off the beaten paranormal path I was used to reading about, lodged into my brain. As I thought more about it, I began to jot down books or movies with paranormal elements that I did enjoy: Highlander (with immortals), Outlander (with time-traveling), Terminator (with a machine killer), Evelyn Vaughn books (Goddess Grail Keepers), Supernatural (2 brothers fighting demons of the Underworld), and The Avengers (Okay, that one was mostly for Chris Hemsworth), to name a few. So when I finally admitted to myself that I might like some paranormal stories, I allowed myself to play with some possible plot ideas. It was at this time the ideas of the Hidden Destiny series came into mind. 
Once I began drafting Wake Me, I got lost in the story. A woman who sees the future in her dreams? How would she deal with her ability when no one believed her? What thoughts would go through her mind when she had no choice but to try to decipher her dreams? Add to all that, how would she deal with a detective grounded in reality? The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. Soon I started plotting new stories connected to this one, stories with other characters who struggle with different paranormal abilities. Wake Me may be my 1st story with paranormal elements, but it will definitely not be the last.


Her psychic dreams come true.

Sarah McKinley’s attempts to take her foreknowledge of crimes to the Seattle Police Department marked her as a troublemaker and were never taken seriously. Starting over in Austin, she plans never to reveal her gift, but shortly after she arrives, the dreams begin again, and the local police want to know why she has knowledge only the killer could possess. 

Detective Jesse Cordell watched his mother con people with her “psychic ability” all through his childhood. He hones in on Sarah, who has means, motive, and opportunity to have murdered the victim in his current investigation. Instinct tells him she didn’t commit the crime, but she definitely knows more than she’s letting on.

Can he put aside his doubts and join forces with her, against everything he believes in, to find the real killer? Or will he do his job and put her behind bars? After all, there’s no such thing as the “psychic ability.” Or is there?

To read an excerpt: http://alexabourne.com/wake/

Available at:

Giveaway:
Alexa is giving THREE prizes throughout her Wake Me Blog Tour! Leave comments in any (or all!) of the tour stops and you will be in the running! So for this stop, do you like paranormal elements in your stories? If so, how much is too much?   

The rest of the tour is here:

Bio:
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.

When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.

Social Media:

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 19th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustRomanticSuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Swift Strike


Congratulations to Jonetta, Jill, Erin, Bn100 and Jo-Anne, the winners in Loren's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
Hello Readers!

I’m Loren Mathis and I’m a new romantic suspense author.  I grew up in a rural town in eastern NC.  I went to college at UNC.  I am grateful that I’m now able to pursue my dream as a writer, and to share the characters who roam around my head with you.

Swift Strike is the second novel in my “SEAL Team 14” series.  It is a standalone novel so the first book does not have to be read in order to enjoy this installment. The SEAL Team 14 series focuses on an elite group of U.S. Navy SEALs.

SWIFT STRIKE

HIS MISSION

Ensign Jesse Denison and his comrades on SEAL Team 14 have a new assignment:  rescue a group of civilian hostages who have been kidnapped by a rogue terrorist cell in central Somalia. Little does he know, this seemingly innocuous rescue mission will change his life forever...

HER HEART

After she is rescued by Navy SEAL Jesse Denison, petroleum engineer, Lena Westlake, can’t get the handsome, brooding soldier out of her mind. Despite their intense attraction to one another, Lena doesn’t have a reason to believe that the two of them will meet again after her rescue.

NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS

When Lena is attacked again by the same terrorist cell mere days after her first rescue, Jesse comes to realize that this terror group has a broader, deadlier agenda than just oil production disruption in Sub-Saharan Africa. An agenda that includes the acquisition of a cutting edge weapons technology developed by Lena's father...
Will Jesse be able to save the woman he has grown to love before it's too late? Or will Lena share a similar death as his former girlfriend, another woman he could not save…

 Excerpt:
“Zaida ya kivuli,” the man barked out in a low, gritty voice. Jesse didn’t have a freaking clue what language the guy was speaking in. Jesse was fluent in Arabic, but the words falling out of the militant’s mouth were definitely not Arabic.

“Don’t move an inch,” Jesse commanded, raising his Sig Sauer P228 a notch higher. He repeated his directive in Arabic. It was going to be a tough shot. Lena’s head blocked all but a quarter of the shorter man’s face. “Slowly, put the knife down and step away from the woman.”

“Zaida ya kivuli,” the man recited the words again before saying the more familiar, “Allah Akbar.” 

A soft anguish-filled sob escaped Lena’s lips. Her eyes widened with fear, sweat rolling down the sides of her face. Then the militant moved his wrist. The movement was so slight as to be almost imperceptible, but he was ready for it. 

Jesse did not hesitate to pull the trigger. He took the head shot. The whole tragic ordeal was over in a matter of seconds.

Slumping to the ground, the knife slipped from the man’s lifeless fingers. Jesse sprinted toward Lena who’d also collapsed to the floor in the aftermath of the shot. 

Dropping to his knees, he reached for her. His hands swiftly skimmed her face and neck to see if she’d somehow been injured in the shooting, checking for a heartbeat. His eyes closed in relief when he felt the persistent thudding of her pulse against his fingertips. 

Slipping a hand underneath her head, he touched her shortened locks. Those assholes had apparently chopped off her hair. Luckily, she hadn’t been harmed by his shot. She was drenched in the blood and brain matter of her captor, but she didn’t have any visible bullet wounds or lacerations. She still lay unresponsive, but she had probably fainted from the stress of the situation. 

“Jesse, we have got to hustle, man,” Luke intoned quietly from somewhere behind him. “We’ve got about seven minutes to make it back to surface and to the boat.”


Available on Amazon
Giveaway:
Comment for your chance to win a free copy of my book!  There will be 5 winners drawn!

For more information about my books, you can find me at:
Official Author Site:  http://loren-mathis.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorenMathis7
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Loren-Mathis-Author/555217847856621
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7145670.Loren_Mathis

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 18th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustRomanticSuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.