Monday, June 27, 2016

DEVIL AND THE DEEP


Giveaway Alert!

Second in NYT and USAT bestselling author Julie Ann Walker’s new romantic suspense series featuring former navy SEALs

The former SEALs of The Deep Six return in a sizzling series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker.

DEVIL AND THE DEEP

A COVERT MISSION

Maddy Powers’s life revolves around cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events — but she can’t forget the daring former SEAL who appropriated her father’s yacht a few months ago … or the scorching kiss they shared before he disappeared into the deep blue sea. 

SPARKS A FLAMING DESIRE

Bran Pallidino carries a dark secret behind his lady-killer eyes — one that keeps him from pursuing a serious relationship with Maddy. But when she’s taken hostage during a trip to the Dry Tortugas, the men of Deep Six Salvage drop their treasure hunt for a sunken galleon and embark on a dangerous mission to save Maddy.


WITH EARTH-SHATTERING REPERCUSSIONS

As they fight her merciless kidnappers, they discover this isn’t a simple hostage situation, but something far more sinister. Passion boils between Bran and Maddy, but what good is putting their hearts on the line if they don’t survive the dawn? 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/28X95VJ
BandN: http://bit.ly/1Y14WmL
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Y14DbR
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1Y14SU9
BAM: http://bit.ly/1Y14PHV

Excerpt:


7:10 p.m.…

I can’t believe this is happenin’ again! Maddy silently screamed.

She’d already been held hostage once. Surely that was enough for any one lifetime. And later—that is if she lived through this and had a later—she planned to have a very stern conversation with Fate or Destiny or the Big Man Upstairs, whichever one of them was responsible for this horseshit. But for right now, she had to concentrate everything she had on staying strong for the girls. Staying calm so they would cue off her and stay strong too.

Oh, and she also needed to keep from revisiting the corned beef sandwich she’d had for lunch all over the beach…

When Louisa glanced at her, Maddy rolled in her lips and nodded, hoping to convey confidence. Concerned confidence, but confidence nonetheless. She must have come close to hitting the mark because Louisa dipped her chin, squared her shoulders, and tightened her hold around Sally Mae, who was quietly sniffling and trying her best not to flat-out cry.

“Stop blubbering!” one of the four men who’d stormed the island thundered at Sally Mae. For a couple of seconds after the fishing vessel dropped anchor, Maddy and Ranger Rick had simply stood there like a couple of lollygaggers wondering who the new arrivals could be. Well…Rick had stood there wondering. Something had told Maddy it wasn’t Bran. And since it wasn’t Bran, any curiosity she’d had about the newcomers was overshadowed by the large crack of disappointment that opened up in her heart.

That large crack of disappointment had quickly been replaced by a huge fissure of terror when, through the gathering darkness, she’d watched four hooded figures board a dinghy and zoom toward her, white water rooster-tailing from their outboard engine and the sound of gunfire echoing across the beach as they aimed their weapons in the air.

“Get to the ranger’s station!” Rick had yelled.

Despite a heart frozen with fear, Maddy had sprung into action, racing after him to the spot on the beach where the girls had been in the process of setting up their gear. She’d herded them in front of her on the mad dash to the tiny cottage at the end of the beach. They’d just piled through the front door—Rick making a beeline for the satellite phone in the corner—when the scary-looking masked gunmen wielding even scarier-looking machine guns burst in and ordered them all to halt.

“Run!” Maddy had screamed to the teens, throwing herself in the line of fire as the girls raced for the back door. But Louisa was the only one who made it out of the cottage. After a ten-minute chase around the tiny island, she’d been marched back to join the group already under guard. A few minutes after that, the gunmen had paraded them all back to the beach. Now the girls were huddled together, kept in a tight mass by two of the balaclava-wearing assailants.

They’re just kids! Maddy wanted to scream, rage boiling in her chest like a teakettle getting ready to blow. Stop pointin’ those things at them! But she wisely kept her mouth shut because a third gunman was keeping her dead center in his sights. As for the fourth masked man? Well, he was busy aiming the business end of his weapon at Rick.

“On your knees!” Masked Man Four yelled at Rick. “Get on your fucking knees!” He punctuated his order by jabbing Rick in the kidney with the barrel of his weapon, causing Rick to cry out.

“Lord almighty! Take it easy!” Maddy yelled, unable to stop herself. “He’ll do what you say! Just give him a chance!”

She nodded at Rick as he sank down, hands still raised above his head. Each of her breaths came hard and fast. Her knees felt as liquid as the tepid wave that crawled up the beach to swirl around her ankles for a couple of seconds, leaving a crab to scuttle after it when it retreated back across the sand.
“All of you, put your hands behind your backs!” Masked Man Four bellowed. Then he sucked his teeth like he had something stuck in them. It was a tic. A disgusting habit that left a sour taste on Maddy’s tongue.

Or maybe that’s just fear, she decided, complying with his command.
When she felt her captor tighten a zip tie around her wrists—his hands were warm, sweaty, but his touch chilled her to the bone—she was brought back around to her original thought…

I can’t believe this is happenin’ again!

“I said shut up!” the guy—correction: the asshole—who’d yelled at Sally Mae bellowed at the teen again, causing Sally Mae’s mouth to gape open like a ugly wound even when no other sound emerged.

“Don’t you holler at her!” Maddy shouted. Then she winced when Masked Man Four left Rick to take a menacing step in her direction.

Full darkness had long since fallen. The only light on the island glowed from the crescent moon, the few spotlights on the seawall surrounding the moat, which in turn surrounded the fort, and the small lighthouse atop the garrison that warned away passing vessels. But all combined, it was enough illumination to show the threat in the man’s eyes as he leaned close.

“In case you missed it, honey.” His words were slightly muffled because the balaclava he wore was ninja style. The kind that covered everything but his eyes. Even so, she heard him clearly enough and thought, Oh, no he did not just honey me! “You’re not calling the shots here. We are. So keep that pretty mouth of yours shut, or I might be tempted to put it to better use.” He sucked his teeth again, and Maddy was reminded of the sound a rattlesnake made when it readied itself to strike.

“Don’t you h-hurt her!” Rick gritted.

Masked Man Four—apparently he was the leader since he was doing most of the talking—looked over at Rick, his eyes cold and dark and devoid of any human emotion. Rick swallowed and tried his best to hold the masked man’s gaze. In the end, he couldn’t manage it. He dropped his eyes to the sand in front of him, his dark hair shadowing his face.

“That’s what I thought.” Masked Man Four nodded, his voice cold enough to freeze an open flame. Then he turned his attention to his cohorts. “I think we’re finally ready.” Suck, suck. Maddy was fairly certain she was going to hear that sound in her nightmares.

“Time to head out to the boat?” The other man who was guarding the girls spoke for the first time, his Southern accent thick and telling of a youth spent south of the Mason-Dixon Line. If Maddy had to make a guess, she’d say Georgia or Alabama.

Of course where he grew up wasn’t important because… The boat? Oh, sweet Jesus! She knew the worst possible thing she could do was allow the masked men to take them to a secondary location. That was pretty much How To Survive Attempted Abduction 101.

“Please,” she beseeched Masked Man Four. Like the Temptations sang, she wasn’t too proud to beg. “If it’s money you want—”

“I warned you what I’d do if you didn’t keep your pretty mouth shut, didn’t I?” Suck, suck. The barrel of Masked Man Four’s machine gun was suddenly an inch from Maddy’s nose. Her eyes crossed when she attempted to stare down its black throat.

It was hard to determine if the whooshing sounds she heard were the waves shushing against the beach or her own blood pounding in her ears. She stopped trying to figure it out when the strangest thing happened. Movement in the surf caught her attention. And if her hands hadn’t been tied behind her back, she would’ve used them to rub her eyes.

Suddenly he was there.

Like the great god Poseidon himself rising from the sea, water sheeting off his dark head and broad shoulders. Her friend. Her hero. The man who had stormed into her life like a hurricane.

Bran…

 About Julie:
Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. She lives in Chicago, IL.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 25, 2016

FORGETTING JANE


Congratulations to "Julie O.", the winner in C.J.'s giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I’m excited to announce my debut novel, Forgetting Jane, which comes out June 29th, 2016. This book had won the 2013 West Houston RWA Emily Award in the Romantic Suspense division.

There are a lot of elements in this book that I have experienced in my youth, and I’ve put them to good use when I wrote this story.

Forgetting Jane is based out of a small town in Wisconsin, where two hunters found a woman with no memory of the brutality she had endured.

Jane Doe is a strong character. Her strength and perseverance shows every time things happen. And Elias McAvoy, what can you say about a tortured soul, who will do anything to keep Jane safe from the psychopathic killer, even distancing himself.

The journey they take together would bring them closer to love, or tear them apart. Either way, someone will die.

FORGETTING JANE

Amnesia and an unspeakable crime have stolen everything from Jane Doe except the haunting image of a girl in a yellow dress, which replays itself over and over in her mind.

Small town cop Elias McAvoy is haunted as well, by the crushing guilt he feels over the deaths of two women, one by his own hand. He can’t-he won’t-let Jane down too.

Together they delve deeper into Jane’s case, battling against her memory loss, and an increasingly tangled web of lies and murder that span forty years-and ties Elias and Jane together in ways they never imagined. As the mystery of the girl in the yellow dress unfold, so does Elias and Jane’s love for each other. However, when the killer reappears, intent on finishing what he started, Elias must face his demons in order to save the woman he loves or lose her forever.

Bio
CJ Warrant is an Award Winning Author for dark romantic suspense and thrillers that pulls at your heart, makes you shiver with fear, and hope for a happy ending. A lover of coffee, baking and family, but not in that order—She’s a wife, a loving mother of three and a cosmetologist by trade. Drawing her experiences from her Korean Italian heritage and growing up as an Army brat, her stories stir in dark plots with addictive flawed characters you will fall in love with.
Visit CJ on the web at www.cjwarrant.com


 Excerpt
I’m alive.

The first drag of cold air into her lungs burned like acid. Her fingers stung, deep under the nail beds as she clawed out from the hard ground. She tried moving her legs, but her energy waned fast. No matter how hard she wrestled out of the hole, the lower half of her body was bound in the heavy cemented earth.

The sharp wind layered her like an icy blanket. A prickled sensation skated across her skin like razorblades. She shivered in pain.

A screech of an owl in the distance made her pause. Where was she? Dark surrounded her in its murkiness. Though a glimpse of morning light barely skimmed the horizon, the warmth of the day hadn’t touched her.

Too exhausted to move. Rest, she thought as she drifted in and out of consciousness. The rustling sounds of the hollow reeds and cattails startled her. The pain from her body finally dissipated, or was she that numb? The sharp whacking at the back of her skull thrummed to a continual dull pounding.

She tried to lift her head, but her neck craned the wrong way and her cheek stuck to the putrid dirt. Her joints turned rigid as a petrified log. Her brain screamed out orders to get up, but her muscles refused.

Her heavy eyelids were the only body part that moved. They drifted open, closed, and open again, using whatever energy she could muster to keep them up.

However, her focus blurred in and out; she wasn’t able to see anything specific.
A filmy splash of yellow drew her eyes in. A girl? She stood at the distance, watching her die.


Giveaway:
CJ will be giving away a signed book copy of Forgetting Jane to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST June 26th. 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. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why Authors Should Travel

With: Zara West

Congratulations to "Chris B.", the winner in Zara's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Hi everyone! Please comment at the end of the post with your name and contact information for your chance to win an electronic copy, my newly released romance suspense BENEATH THE SKIN.

Now come travel with me…

In this day and age, it is easy to go online and find maps, photos, videos, and detailed descriptions of just about every place on earth. Using Google Earth, you can drive down streets, stop and stare into store windows, and even fly like a bird over roofs of the cities and the towns where your story is set and peer into peoples’ backyards. You can find menus for local restaurants and recipes for regional dishes. Sometimes you might wonder if it is worth the hassle of waiting in security lines, staying in hotels, and eating strange foods just to experience the setting of the novel you are writing, especially if it’s a romantic suspense, and all the action is focused on the survival of the two main characters.

I am going to tell you that yes—it is definitely worth the effort. There are three major things missing from the digital experience—smells and sounds and tastes. Only by experiencing these things up close and personal can you add the sensory elements to your stories that make them come alive for your reader who may never have been to that locale and who are relying on you to transport them from their everyday existence to some place new and exotic.

In addition, during your travels, you will pick up nuances of language and gesture that add depth to your characters. You will try foods cooked using traditional ingredients and utensils. You will breathe in the scents of local plants and flowers and hear the hubbub of conversation, street traffic, and sounds of animal life found only in that place. Your skin will remember the changes in temperature and your feet will imprint the textures of the pavement, stone, and soil under your feet.

In my newly released romantic suspense Beneath the Skin, I have drawn not only on the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg where I was born, but also on my extensive travels in Greece. My hero, Aristides Stavros, is a multi-billionaire owner of a Greek island, modeled on an an incredibly beautiful isolated island I visited during one of my many trips to Greece.

Based on my experiences living in Greece, I have woven elements of village life from chickens to hand-milling  grain into Aristides‘ backstory and included common sayings as well as bits of the Greek language and familiar gestures to create his unique personality. This level of detail would have been impossible if I had never been to a Greek island.
So when deciding whether it’s worth hopping on that bus, getting on that train, boarding the next plane, or slipping behind the steering wheel, say yes and enrich your writing and your reader’s experience tenfold!

BENEATH THE SKIN 

Ex-Olympic wrestler and reclusive billionaire artist Aristides Stavros has one mission—to rescue his sister, a popular tattoo artist from the old enemy who has kidnapped her. But at every turn, he is confronted by anthropologist Melissa Dermot. Is she just an innocent girl in over her head, or is she working for the international crime boss holding his sister? 

Only one thing is certain--when Ari holds the beautiful Asian-American in his arms, questions of guilt and innocence fade against an undeniable fiery attraction. But can their wild passionate love survive the tangled web of long-buried secrets, intentional deceit, and murderous revenge that lie just beneath the surface?


Giveaway:
Please comment at the end of the post with your name and contact information for your chance to win an electronic copy of Beneath the Skin, first in the Skin Quartet Series

Author Bio:
Zara West loves all things dark, scary, and heart-stopping as long as they lead to true love. Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Zara spends winters in New York where the streets hum with life, summers in the Maritimes where the sea can be cruel, and the rest of the year anywhere inspiration for tales of suspense, mystery, and romance are plentiful.
An accomplished artist by training and passion, she brings a love of art to every book she writes. When not marooned on an island or chasing after Greek shepherds, Zara tends her organic herb garden, collects hats and cats, and whips up ethnic dishes for friends and family.
A member of RWA, Zara is an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. This is her first romantic suspense.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST June 24th. 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.          

Check out more giveaways on the JRS SHOWCASE

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mixing Elements for Great Stories

With: Susanne Matthews

Congratulations to "Colleen C.", the winner in Susanne's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Good day. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with you here. Please comment at the end of the post with your name and contact information for your chance to win an electronic copy of Secrets and Lies, my romance suspense that is part of a multi-author collection entitled, HEARTS OF BRADEN.

DEA agent, Emily Shepherd, is after the Chef, a crystal meth cook, who sets up labs for the Mexican cartel and walks away—the same man responsible for the deaths of her husband and unborn child. Her search leads her to Braden, Iowa, a small town just right for the Chef’s specialty. But identifying her quarry won’t be easy when she’s up against a woman who sees her as a threat, a male chauvinistic deputy sheriff, and an attractive school principal who might just be at the center of it all.

Jackson Harris has sworn off women. Life is satisfactory, if lonely, until he meets a hazel-eyed damsel in distress who gets under his skin, and triggers that protective instinct of his. There's a killer in town, one who may or may not be a notorious drug lord. Finding him, and keeping his town, his students, and Emily safe, may be harder than he thinks.

When I got married 45 years ago, my identity changed. I had been Susanne, Leo and Cecile’s oldest daughter, but now I was also John’s wife. After I had children that label changed again. I was Greg’s Mom, Jason’s Mom, Angela’s Mom, but I was still Susanne, Leo and Cecile’s oldest daughter, and John’s wife. Later, when the kids were all in school, I returned to the workforce, and I became Mrs. Matthews, Mrs. M., Madame, if the students were in French, teacher, Mrs.—but I was also still, Greg’s Mom, Jason’s Mom, Angela’s Mom, Susanne, Leo and Cecile’s oldest daughter, and John’s wife. Get the picture? It’s possible to be more than one thing without it having to change anything else about you. Today, I’ve added Susanne Matthews, author, to my list of who am I’s.

While some books are written and fit neatly into one genre, others do not—especially books that I write. Is that a good thing? Is it a bad thing? I don’t know. To be fair, all of my books fall into the category labelled fiction. From there, they fall under the label romance, but after that, they can go almost anywhere. A perfect example of that is my latest release, Hello Again. It won’t take much to realize this is a reunion romance, the title gives that away, but it’s far more than that.

What more is it? Well, let’s break it down.

Hello Again is a contemporary romance. The story is set in modern day, during the summer, in Saskatchewan. That also makes it a Canadian novel, primarily set on the Carry the Kettle reserve, just east of the provincial capital of the province. That now makes it a Native American novel, what we in Canada call First Nations, because of its location and the characters involved. The story is based on a Lakota/Dakota/Nakota/Sioux myth about a chief’s daughter and the chief of the wolves, which deals with a shapeshifting wolf/man and a cruel medicine man who uses black magic to get revenge. That little tidbit now makes the book a paranormal romance. And the fact that one of the primary characters is a shaman who speaks to spirits and the other is the reincarnation of the chief of the wolves, the story is firmly entrenched there.

But that isn’t all. Far from it! My heroine loses her husband and has to make it on her own. After a series of strange dreams she sets off for Saskatchewan and is almost killed in a tornado—so now we have man against nature, making it a survival novel. To top it all off, she’s rescued by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who’s on the reserve trying to catch a motorcycle gang wreaking havoc by not only terrorizing the residents, but looking for sources to sell their drugs—the same motorcycle gang responsible for murders and his own attempted murder last summer, which makes it man against man, and that makes it a suspense novel as well. One book, many different labels.

About Hello Again
For Charley Winters love means loss and pain. She’s spent the last five years struggling with her grief. Existing, not living. Drawn to Saskatchewan, she travels west take the job she’s always wanted. But life gets complicated when she's rescued from a vicious tornado by her dead husband’s double, a man who makes her feel things she hasn’t in years. Add to that a native myth, a shaman, a green-eyed wolf, and her husband’s ghost ... Can she lift a millennia old curse and find joy and love again?
There you have it, a novel that’s suspense, romance, and so much more.

Hello Again is an Amazon exclusive, available in the Kindle Unlimited Program as well as for sale. https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Again-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B01FGN88I6

Thanks for dropping by. Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win. Happy Reading!

Giveaway:
Please comment at the end of the post with your name and contact information for your chance to win an electronic copy of Secrets and Lies, my romance suspense that is part of a multi-author collection entitled, Hearts of Braden.

Follow Susanne on her:  Website    Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt
Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST June 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.

                                             Check out more giveaways on the JRS SHOWCASE

Monday, June 20, 2016

DO TITLES MAKE A STORY?

By: Angi Morgan

Congratulations to "Mary P.", the winner in Angi's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

When I write, I normally come up with character names and a title long before I have a real working plot. So changing the title is always bittersweet. A lot of fans already know this, but with so many books at Harlequin sometimes authors are given a title. GUNSLINGER is one of those for me. I’m not disappointed. Far from it. After the title was decided, it fueled ideas to make the story and setting mesh together even more.

Here’s the fun scoop on the book…

Bryce Johnson is sort of the “geek” of Company F. He’s always wanted to be a Texas Ranger, but has a gift for computers. When he’s asked to go undercover, he doesn’t have much experience in the field. Writing this story, it was one of the rare times where my hero never fired his gun. He used his strength and skills to rescue the heroine. When researching Hico, Texas I came across the Billy the Kid Museum and wanted to include it in the story.


Here’s where copy edits helped. I was able to add more about Billy the Kid (a real gunslinger that Hico has a connection to (see some photos on JRS).  I also added a couple of stories about my hero that helped make the title more relevant. I love my title…hopefully you’ll enjoy the story.

He slid his hands to her elbows, stopping her. “I’m not treating our first time together like we’re teenagers looking for a fast thrill in a game room. We’re not only too old for that, we deserve better.”

Dusting her hands as if she was done, she hurried away. “Fine. This is all I have, Bryce. All I can do.”


He touched her shoulder and she stopped. Did she want him to change her mind? Show her how much he cared about her? “If it were me… If our positions were reversed, and I was the one with scars, what would you do right now, Kylie? Would you let me run away? Continue to be afraid?”


She covered her face. “I am afraid.”

He could barely hear her. He asked just as quietly, “Of me?”


“Strangely enough, no. But yes, maybe of you most of all.”




“With lots of drama, suspense, hot chemistry and witty banter, 
Morgan pins a read that is “E” for engaging.” ~Romantic Times Magazine
    
~ ~ ~ 

Catch more photos from Hico and the other TEXAS RANGER: ELITE TROOP series on A Picture a Day. Available in stores on June 18th. Pre-Order on B&N; Amazon; iBooks.



~ ~ ~
ANGI MORGAN writes Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love. Her work is a multiple contest finalist and Publisher’s 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.
Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr      
~ ~ ~
DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAYS.
Leave a comment to be entered for an autographed copy of GUNSLINGER (international drawing ends at midnight 6-21). Enter the Rafflecopter drawing for your chance at an additional prize (ends 6-30).

Giveaway on JRS ends at midnight June 21st.  Giveaway through Rafflecopter ends on June 30th. Contestants who enter the Rafflecopter drawing can register for additional chances by leaving a comment on Just Romantic Suspense, click the JRS comment to receive your extra entries.



Bryce wanted to be a Texas Ranger when he grew up. What did you want to be?

                                                          Check out more giveaways on the JRS SHOWCASE