Excerpt, Giveaways, Spotlight

Excerpt from 13 Steps to the Cellar by Teresa Mathews w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #mystery #suspense

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Teresa Mathews will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

There were thirteen steps to the cellar. They were steep and they were narrow—but was a fall down them enough to have caused the twenty-seven deep lacerations to her aunt’s head?

Callie Harris travels from her home in Alabama to her aunt’s former mansion in Maine to unravel the haunting forty-year-old mystery of Dr. Laverne Harris Doss’ brutal death.

Why wasn’t a murder weapon found? Was her uncle justly convicted of the killing? Was his mistress involved? Or was the murderer the bearded stranger rumored to have arrived by train that night?

In the charming town of Richmond, located on the banks of Maine’s historic Kennebec River, Callie uncovers the community’s darkest secrets—a botched police investigation, a betrayed widow’s lie, a dead woman’s blackmail, and a wealthy philanthropist’s shame. The web of intrigue extends far beyond Callie’s suspicions and its connection to her personal story pierces her to the core.

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A man hovered over the crumpled body of the woman at the bottom of the cellar stairs. An awful, guttural sound forced its way up from deep in her lungs. A cavernous head gash bled profusely, the blood pooling, forming a red halo around her auburn hair. Her glassy, fixed eyes looked up at Callie, pleading for help. I must stop the bleeding, Callie cried. She hurried down the stairs, her feet heavy, her heart pounding. Why can’t I breathe? Why can’t I reach her? Why won’t my feet move faster? She was only steps from her aunt when the grimacing man turned toward her, then looked back to Laverne and raised his hand for a final blow.

About the Author: Teresa Mathews is a graduate of The University of South Alabama. She’s a member of the Mobile Writers Guild and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association.

An avid gardener and artist, she has multiple book covers to her credit. Several years ago after visiting the site of her real-life aunt’s murder, Teresa discovered another passion–storytelling. Although inspired by an actual tragedy, Thirteen Steps to the Cellar is fiction.

Raised on the Gulf Coast, Teresa, her husband, and son now live on a farm with a second home on the sparkling white sands of Fort Morgan, Alabama.

https://instagram.com/teresamathewsauthor
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http://www.amazon.com/author/teresamathews
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http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Mathews_Teresa

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Excerpt, Giveaways, New Release, Reviews

#Review of House of Ashes (A Haunted Bluffs Mystery) by Loretta Marion w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #mystery #suspense

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Loretta Marion will be awarding a $50 mazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it’s by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what’s happened to the young couple…even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can’t help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family’s dark curse destroys everything in its path?

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Present day ~ Whale Rock, Massachusetts ~ Cape Cod

September ~ three days since the disappearance

Back at home, I took a good look at my beloved Battersea Bluffs, with its towering widow’s walk, double chimneys, and impressive wrap-around porch. It had become part of Whale Rock’s lore that the majestic Victorian sitting high above the cliffs on the craggy northern end of town was possessed by the spirits of my great- grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, its original owners. The legend evolved from a rumor initiated by my father when he was trying to take back his rightful home. It had been a successful strategy, but he could never have guessed how prophetic his fable would become—or maybe he’d already sensed the mysterious aspects of the old house. To be fair, Papa and I had never discussed the lurking scents and sounds presented by the spirits sharing our home.

I unlatched the gate, to a warm greeting of soft whimpers and an exuberant tail.

“You’re missing them too, aren’t ya, buddy?” I reached down to stroke the German shepherd’s glossy black fur, those usually erect ears momentarily relaxed. I widened the gate.

I followed the dog to the ledge of Percy’s Bluffs, so named after my great-grandfather’s dramatic leap from the cliffs overlooking Cape Cod Bay. I stared down to where the waves were crashing against the rocks below. Through the years, this spot had become my refuge, where I’d come to contemplate decisions or brood over troubles. Exhausted and numb, I sank to the ground and idly fingered an abandoned champagne cork, probably left here the night Vince and Ashley moved in with me. We’d brought a bottle down to the cliffs to toast our new alliance and the home they were going to help me save. I closed my eyes to bring to memory the feel of the fizzy liquid against my tongue, the first I’d tasted in years. There’d not been much to celebrate in recent times. But that night, a sense of hope had returned to me.

So I went completely off the rails and read a mystery book.  Without all the romantic elements that I normally love in a story.  Shocked?  I was at first but once I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down.  Yes, could.not.put.it.down.  Normally, I’ll put a mystery down, try to figure it out and then prove myself right.  Not this time.  Ms. Marion wrote a mystery that I just couldn’t figure out at all.  The ending was NOT what I expected and this is why I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I’ve never read Ms. Marion before but I will definitely get The Fool’s Truth, her debut, to read.  Plus, I’m hoping that Ms. Marion comes back to the cape for more mysteries.  I will admit that I live in Texas and have never been the Cape but I did have a great aunt and uncle that did.  I really felt like I was there and it is stunning.  Spooky even at night.  The world that she built is fantastic even to this Texan.  I love old houses so I could totally see myself visiting.  I really enjoyed how the house and the setting, itself played into the story.

Cassandra was a mystery to me at times.  Smart, then dumb.  Sure of herself and then needing Brooks.  Now, I really liked him but at times, he really needed to shake her.  Throw in Zoe, Cassie’s sister that to me was a PIA, the disappearance of Vince and Ashley’s and she had her hands full.  Cassie stuck to her beliefs and I really liked that about her.  The mystery is just awesome.  I can’t go into because, well, spoilers.  Again, I never figured it out and was blown away by it.

Do yourself a favor and if you are looking for a great mystery with ghosts, a haunted house, with a gothic feeling to it, this book is for you.  I highly recommend it.

About the Author:

A true bibliophile, Loretta Marion’s affection for the written word began in childhood and followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she crafted award winning marketing and advertising copy and educational brochures. She then applied her writing skills as a volunteer, establishing a Legacy Story program for hospice patients, which inspired her to create her own fictional stories. Her debut novel, The Fool’s Truth, was a twisty mystery with whispers of romance. Her newest novel, HOUSE OF ASHES – A Haunted Bluffs Mystery, is the first in a series published by Crooked Lane Books.

When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador”.

Website: https://www.LorettaMarion.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LorettaMarionAuthor
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/House-Ashes-Haunted-Bluffs-Mystery/dp/1683318439
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Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781683318439

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Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews, Teaser Excerpts

Review of Rescued by the Spy by Laura A. Barnes w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #suspense #historicalromance

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Laura A. Barnes will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Kidnapped for revenge

Haunted by the man who murdered her family, Raina LeClair must always be two steps ahead of her sworn enemy through disguise and espionage. When her newest masquerade lands her back in the hands of the man she had previously kidnapped, she is awakened to the pleasure of his touch. When the threat of treason comes into play, Raina can no longer work alone to stop the destruction of England. Can she learn to trust the man who she once betrayed or will her obsession for revenge own her heart forever?

Kidnapped for love

Kidnapped and left for dead, Charles Mallory is always two steps behind in the quest to find his lady kidnapper. Discouraged, Charles turns his attention to a treason plot that is threatening his beloved England. Only to discover the lady who not only held him hostage, but stole his heart, mixed up in the crossfire. Unable to persuade her of the danger she is truly in, Charles resorts to kidnapping her to his family’s cottage. There they learn the true threat lies within their passion for each other. Can he convince her of the love in his heart or will he be left destroyed by this lady once more?

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Bessie looked back to the bar again and realized that Ray was no longer in sight. She couldn’t afford to lose her job at the tavern, but she was so lonely for a man. It had been ages since a fine-looking bloke like this one, has paid any attention to her. The sea captain who was in last week scared her and she escaped his clutches by faking an illness, but next time she would not be so lucky. He was due back in port any day now and Ray had promised her to the captain.

“Have you seen any other strangers in town, besides myself?” he whispered in her ear.

She would not admit to him about the sea captain. Her life depended on it. The owner of the bar was involved in illegal activities with him and she had overheard their plans. She shook her head no while looking over her shoulder again.

Charles felt her grow tense in his embrace. Her body shook from the fear of something or someone and he had a sense on who that was. He pulled her back into his arms more and nuzzled at her neck, feeling her relax again.

“I can protect you Bessie, you need not tell me a single word. If the question I ask you is correct, stroke your hand along my arm. Do you agree?”

Bessie raised her head to stare into the stranger’s eyes, he did not seem as dangerous as the other men coming into the tavern. More of a charmer than anything. She decided to trust him, he might be able to help her escape before it was too late. Slowly she lifted her hand and let it glide down his arm.

Smiling at her he lowered his head again, pretending to kiss her. “Has there been any unusual activity in town within the last few weeks?”

Her hand caressed his bicep, shaping it to her palm.

“Have there been other strangers in the village?” he questioned her again.

Moving down his arm she wrapped her fingers around his wrist.

“Anyone by the name of Shears?”

Her fingers tightened on his wrist as her body grew tense in his arms again. She raised frightened eyes to his as she slid off his lap.

“I need to get back to work sir,” she explained as she let go of his arm.

His arm snaked out quick, grabbing her by her wrist.

“A few hours you say?”

She nodded her head at him as she picked up his empty glass. He dropped her wrist and swatted her on her backside playfully.

“Well Miss Bessie, I will wait here for you; then we can use that room of yours for more fun later,” he winked at her.

Bessie smiled at him, forgetting he frightened her with his questions. His smile held many promises she wanted to enjoy. She wandered back to the bar with the empty glass, smiling over her shoulder at him.

Charles raised his glass at her when she looked back at him. He continued to smile, looking her body up and down in appreciation. When he noticed her blush, he knew he had her convinced that he only wanted a good time. He would wait around here until he could go to her room, then he would get the answers he desired. She knew a lot more than she was letting on, but something had frightened her. Not something but someone. He was close. If he was near, then so was she.

 

This was an interesting book.  Interesting that it was a true historical romantic suspense novel and I honestly don’t read a lot of them.  Sure, some of the ones that I have read have some intrigue to them but this one was a spot on suspense book.  Kidnappings, threats, some violence and a twist that was truly OMG.  But dear readers, you really need to read the first book.  I didn’t and there is a story arc that is being played out that I didn’t get into at first.  I’m still a bit confused but I think that wouldn’t confuse some people.

Raina is one of the best historical heroines that I have read in a very long time.  She’s smart but hurting at the same time.  Conflicted yet so sure of what her mission is.  Dealing with Charles in the first book (again, didn’t read it) and then picking up where it left off, kinda felt off for me.  That said, once this book started moving, it just took off.  Its a fast paced book with plenty of twists to keep you into the story of Raina and Charles.  I just loved Charles, too.  Perplexed at his feelings for Raina, he really had a hard time with his feelings for her.

The secondary characters are very interesting and really help the story along, too.  The villain in the book is vile and I’m really interested to see what is going to happen next.  Yes, even though I didn’t read the first one, I would definitely read Zane’s book in a heartbeat.  There are some loose threads in the suspense plot of the book that I MUST know what is going to happen.  The romance between Raina and Charles is spot on.  I might have had some problems with the plot of the book (simply because I didn’t read the first one) but the romance is swoon-worthy.

If you are looking for a true historical romantic suspense book, look no further.  Ms. Barnes has written one that left me wanting more.

About the Author:

I have always dreamed of being an aspiring author. I am making my dreams come true, one word at a time. When I am not writing, I am spending time with my family. I love reading books on lazy afternoons, and late into the night. Anytime really. Married 28 years to the love of my life and we have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides writing, I have always wanted to travel. In the last few years we have gotten our passport stamped in England and Scotland. We are hoping to add Italy to the list soon. My debut novel is Rescue By the Captain.

http://www.lauraabarnes.com
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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16332844.Laura_A_Barnes
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Rescued By the Spy Buy Links

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