Sunday, 21 August 2016

Cover Reveal - It's a Wonderful Life by Julia Williams

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IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Julia Williams
Publishing in eBook and Paperback: 3rd November

Christmas with the family. Cosy, relaxing…and a total nightmare?

Driving home for Christmas, Beth has everything she wants. The kids and the house, the career and the husband. So why is it that when the New Year comes, she can’t stop thinking about her old college boyfriend?

Her husband Daniel is tasked with bringing a struggling school up to scratch, but when family life catches up to him, can he be a good father and a good teacher at the same time?

Beth’s sister Lou has just been dumped…again. Single and childless, she can’t help but be jealous of her sibling’s success. But is the grass really always greener?

It’s a Wonderful Life is a heart-warming novel about the lives that could have been, and what happens when you start to question the choices you made…

Do let me know if you have any questions!



Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Cover Reveal - Stroked Long by Meghan Quinn

We're so excited to share the cover for STROKED LONG by Meghan Quinn! Are you ready for Bodi?

STROKED LONG by Meghan Quinn
Scheduled to release: September 20, 2016

NA Romantic Comedy
Cover Designed by: Indie Solutions by Murphy Rae
 Goodreads

From his dirty-blond hair and breathtaking smile, to the abs from heaven and the irresistible V in his waistline, everything about Bodi Olympic-gold-medalist Banks screams hot piece of @$$.

Yet there’s more.

Dark shadows lurk behind his soulful, serious eyes.

I’m enamored. He’s captured me.

How can running an art foundation with Bodi Banks turns into a slow-burning, epic romance, even though he tries to push me away at every chance? How can I stay away from a broken, routine-driven man whose soul cries to be forgiven for a crime only he believes he committed? Or is that a lie?



There is still time to sign up for STROKED LONG!
NA Romantic Comedy
Teaser Blast: August 23, 30, Sept 6, 13
Pre-Order Blast: Sept 16-19
Release Day Blast: Sept 20
Review Tour: Sept 19-30
Promotional Event: Oct 1-8
SIGN UP


NOW AVAILABLE!

STROKED by Meghan Quinn
Released: July 19, 2016
Cover Designer: Murphy Rae

Reese King: Olympic medalist, underwear model, Greek god.

His body is chiseled from rock, sculpted by the weight room, and refined by water.

On a daily basis his skin is completely bare for everyone to see, tan and defined, only covered up by a minuscule piece of spandex. There is no denying his sex appeal.

I hate to admit it, but I’m head over heels infatuated with him.

There is one HUGE problem though. His achingly gorgeous abs, inked up arm, and cocky swagger belong to my boss, the high-profile, reality star bitch from hell and certified heinous human being, Bellini Chambers.

What I think is going to be an easy job assisting a glorified wench turns into a cluster f*ck of epic proportions.



Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if "It's Raining Men" starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing... enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!


Find me on Goodreads:

Visit my website: http://authormeghanquinn.com/

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Last Day I Saw Her by Lucy Lawrie



When lonely single mum Janey stumbles into an art workshop, she can't believe her eyes when her left hand mysteriously scribbles a picture of two little girls and a strange message from someone called 'Hattie': Janey's childhood best friend. But they lost touch after Hattie's family suddenly moved away in mysterious circumstances. Janey's instincts tell her that she must finally find out what happened to Hattie, but life is already complicated enough: she's struggling with motherhood, a custody battle over her toddler son Pip is looming, and she finds herself falling for intense art tutor Steve. And when writing appears on the walls of her flat and Pip starts playing with an invisible friend, Janey fears she's losing her mind. Is it really a good idea to go digging up the past? As dark secrets come to light, she can't be sure what's real any more - or who to trust...Moving and suspenseful, The Last Day I Saw Her is a richly emotive story of friendship lost and found, and how facing up to the past can help you find a better future.
I would like to thank Black and White publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Having read Lucy's debut novel Tiny Acts of Love when I heard that she was releasing a new book I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy.  I have to say I wasn't disappointed.  This book is the complete opposite of Lucy's debut novel and I loved all the twists and turns.

The characters in this were very well developed and I couldn't help but relate to both Janey and Hattie.  The mystery element of the story had so many strands to it that I had to keep reading to find out what happened in the end.  Without spoiling the ending Lucy pulled all the strands together perfectly.

A great second book and I for one can't wait for books three.


Lucy's play list

The Last Day I Saw Her – Playlist

When something is bothering me but I don’t know what, I often turn to music. For me, it can unlock emotions that I haven’t yet been able to put into word. It can help me with the writing process too, bringing events and characters to life in my head so I can capture them on the page. I listened to lots of different music while writing The Last Day I Saw Her, and these are some of the songs and pieces that I associate with certain parts of the story.

I Know Him So Well, sung by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson

In Chapter 1, twelve-year-old Hattie has her first piano lesson with sinister piano teacher Miss Fortune, who asks her to play a tune from memory. Hattie manages to pick out the tune of ‘I Know Him So Well’.

When I was about nine or ten I heard this song on the radio and I loved it, although I had no idea what it was. I spent weeks teaching myself to play it on the piano, but when I plucked up courage to play it to my music teacher she dismissed it as ‘banal’, just as Miss Fortune does in the story!

Take on Me, by A-Ha

Young Hattie has been given a Walkman for her birthday, but her parents (her father is a famous composer) have only given her one tape – of string quartets - to go with it. Hattie believes her house is haunted – she hears thumping noises at night, and the piano on the top floor playing by itself. So her best friend Janey secretly gives her an A-Ha tape to play at night, in the hope that it will be more effective at drowning out the ghostly noises as it is ‘really banal and really good’!

When I was writing this part of the book I listened to a LOT of eighties music to remind me what it felt like to be twelve years old, and a girl growing up in that era.  I love the energy of this song and when I listen to it I imagine Janey and Hattie jumping around their bedrooms and singing raucously into hairbrushes.

Nocturne No. 13 in C Minor, by Chopin

Young Janey, already grieving the death of her beloved grandfather, is devastated when Hattie and her family suddenly leave Edinburgh inexplicably, and all contact is cut off.  She throws herself into her piano practise and tries to learn this piece, even though it is technically beyond her abilities.

“And something about the piece let my sadness out. The longing for him, so tightly furled in my chest, my shoulders and my neck, would loosen and flow down my arms, my fingers, onto the keys. And afterwards I’d go back to class with my arms warm and shaky, my vision swimming.”

There’s a melancholy, brooding quality to this piece, but there’s a moment (at around 4 minutes 40) where its as if light suddenly breaks through the darkness. Like Janey, I find it incredibly beautiful.

Crazy for You by Madonna

When Janey is 14 years old, she ends up at a drunken teenage party, where she encounters Hattie’s older brother, James. It was quite hard to get into the right space to write this scene, and to help me, I looked up and played music that was in the charts around that time. When I hit on ‘Crazy for You’, the scene just came to life in my mind. I could get inside Janey’s feelings; the alcohol-and-hormone-fuelled teenage rush of being at the party, and the emotional fragility underlying it all.

“He smelt of cigarettes and gin, but underneath was the smell of Hattie. The lemon soap, the washing powder. Inexpressibly comforting.

The opening bars of Madonna’s Crazy for You floated up from the basement, and I melted against him. He started – oh God, he was kissing me – and in one fluid move, he opened the door of his bedroom, and moved me backwards, still kissing, until we fell onto his bed.”

Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

Janey begins a relationship with intense art tutor, Steve. He has fallen hard for her, but sometimes she senses a dark undertow to his feelings. It’s as though he’s fighting against their love even while he’s giving himself up to it.

“‘I’m scared, Janey. I’m scared, all right? I want you so much and I don’t think I can stay here any more.’

‘Stay where?’

‘On the outside. The outside of you. You’re pulling me. You’re pulling me in.’”

This song is a reflection on love and how it is broken, imperfect, complicated. And yet alongside this brokenness there is the ‘Hallelujah’ that comes again and again.

Dido’s Lament sung by Alison Moyet

I listened to this very haunting song over and over while writing one of the saddest scenes in the book.

Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler

The Last Day I Saw Her is a love story, but not the obvious kind, as it’s about the love between two friends. It doesn’t happen often, but perhaps once or twice in a lifetime someone comes into your life who lifts you up and helps you to become the person you’re meant to be. As Janey says about Hattie:

“There was no need to put it into words, because we both knew all the ways in which we had saved each other.”

The book is dedicated to my friend Arlene. I have no idea what I’d do without her, and this song is here on the playlist because it makes me think of her.
 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLq8NZYIGZQjEHdILVsziBIOga3vo8RdmN



Lucy Lawrie is a lawyer and mum of two girls. She started writing when she was on maternity leave and unearthed a primary two homework book in which she'd stated, in very wobbly handwriting: 'I want to be an AUTHOR when I grow up.' Two novels later, she’s still writing as fast as she can, to her keep her six-year-old self happy.

To find out more, or to contact Lucy, please visit her website: www.lucylawrie.com




Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Excerpt -Ghost Target by Will Jordan




From Marseille to Islamabad at breakneck pace… it’s kill or be killed for Ryan Drake and his team
Ryan Drake, once a decorated field operative, is now wanted for treason. On the run from the CIA’s corrupt Deputy Director Marcus Cain, he has spent the past six months in a remote French safehouse. Drake’s former life seems to be behind him, but the uneasy peace is shattered when Cain moves against him with startling force.

Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan is faltering in the wake of a devastating suicide attack. Cain though has a plan to find and destroy al-Qaeda’s top commanders. And nobody will stand in his way.

Backed into a corner, Drake turns to the deadly but unpredictable Anya – once Cain’s most promising agent, now his most bitter enemy. With tensions running high and their uneasy alliance threatening to tear itself apart, Drake’s hastily assembled team travels to Pakistan to intercept Cain.

With the fate of the War on Terror hanging in the balance, loyalties are tested and scores settled, as Drake embarks on the fight of his life. Only one side will survive…

From the bestselling author of Black List and Deception Game, Ghost Target is the sixth Ryan Drake thriller, and an incredible tale of deception, desperation, and ultimate betrayal.

Chapter 1
Marseille, France – three months later
Philippe Giroux hung back in the shadowy recess of the shop doorway, pretending to be texting someone on his phone as his target passed by on the opposite side of the street.
It was a quiet morning, the air just starting to warm up as the morning sun rose above the horizon. A light breeze wafted inland, carrying with it the salty tang of the Mediterranean Sea and the distant squawks of gulls circling the harbour. On a nearby road, he heard the rhythmic chug of a small van engine, perhaps a baker making his morning deliveries.
Aside from these minor distractions, the streets were almost deserted at such an early hour. Perfect for what he had in mind.
The secret of a good takedown was preparation. Most men in his profession were opportunists, taking action as soon as chance allowed, but Giroux was better than that. He took his time, observing his targets until he built up a picture of their habits, their awareness of the world around them, the possibility of them fighting back.
After patiently following and watching this one for the past few days, Giroux now felt confident enough to draw a few conclusions about him.
In his late-thirties, standing an inch or two over six feet by Giroux’s estimation, his target had the trim, athletic physique of someone with plenty of spare time to exercise. The hard, uncompromising muscles of real physical strength were visible beneath his tanned forearms, and his casual white shirt sat comfortably across his broad shoulders and firm chest.
His face was lean and sharp-featured, his hair dark brown, cut in a short and practical style, his jaw coated with several days’ growth of beard. Doubtless women found him attractive, especially his eyes. They were green; deep, vivid and piercing. The kind of eyes that saw much and gave away little.
But more than his appearance, it was the way he moved that marked him out as a man of means. It wasn’t quite an arrogant swagger, but rather the confident, measured tread of a man sure of his abilities and his place in the world.
His clothes did not speak of great wealth – just plain grey cargo trousers, a loose shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and inexpensive but practical walking shoes. But as Giroux knew well enough, rich men were often to be found in simple attire. They were confident enough to dress down, unlike those of lesser stature, who bought expensive clothes to feign the appearance of wealth.
This man belonged in the former category.
Each morning he walked into town early, before most people were up and about, and bought food from the same bakery. He never followed the same route through the old town, which spoke of a certain awareness, and an understanding that predictability and routine could lead to vulnerability.
But there were only so many different ways to reach the same destination, and even this man was constrained by the geographical layout of the city.
For the most part his route took him along La Canebière, the main thoroughfare leading from the old port, with its big luxury yachts moored side by side, all the way to the Reformes quarter to the east. But Giroux knew that at one point he would have to cut to the right, taking one of the narrow side streets that led uphill towards Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral.
That was where it would happen. That was where Giroux would take him down.
His contract hadn’t specified the manner or the location in which his target was to be killed, which was all to the good as far as he was concerned. Some people could be annoyingly particular, demanding a certain kind of weapon or a specific fatal injury, but this one had given him all the latitude he wanted. All he’d been asked to provide was photographic evidence of the kill.
Waiting until his target was a good distance ahead, Giroux pushed himself away from the doorway and followed him, still pretending to be absorbed in his phone just in case the man glanced back. His well-worn trainers made no sound on the cobbled road as he walked.
The key to following people was to look confident and relaxed, as if you had every right to be going where you were. Like an actor playing a role, you had to assume the identity of someone who was just out for a casual stroll, a man who had no interest in what was going on around him.
His appearance helped. Of average height and build, with a rounded and unthreatening face, Giroux had always found it easy to blend in. Few noticed him, and even fewer saw him as a threat. More fool them.
His target gave no hint that he was aware of being followed. He continued to walk with the same relaxed, measured pace, glancing occasionally left or right at things of interest, but for the most part just enjoying his morning stroll without a care in the world.
Keep walking, my friend, Giroux thought. That will change soon enough.
About a hundred yards further on, the side street came into view, and sure enough his target angled across the road to make for it. Giroux followed, still keeping his distance, waiting until his target had disappeared around a corner before picking up his pace. He would close the distance as quickly as he could now.
The side street was mostly used as a service entrance for the line of shops and restaurants that backed onto it. Flanked by three-storey buildings on both sides, it was nearly always in shadow. The road itself was littered with big steel bins set beside the rear doors of kitchens and other work places, many overflowing with plastic bags.
The place reeked of spoiled food. Still, it was a perfect place for a takedown. The unsavoury odours meant that few pedestrians came this way, the shops and restaurants were still closed, and the shadows and big steel bins meant that he would be hidden from prying eyes on the main road. Not that he expected anyone to be passing so early in the day anyway.
As Giroux approached the corner, his hand reached inside his jacket and gripped the moulded handle of the police baton hidden within. It was an old-fashioned wooden weapon, the kind that had long since been superseded by the lightweight telescopic night sticks used by today’s police officers. But it was simple and reliable, and he knew from experience that a good solid blow to the base of the skull would drop a man like a brick. And if that failed, he also had a knife concealed in a sheath at the small of his back.
Some men in his profession carried guns, but what was the point? Guns were expensive, not always reliable, and needed to be carefully looked after. Most importantly, guns made noise, and noise attracted attention. Takedowns were supposed to be quick and quiet, and in that regard he’d yet to find a better tool than this sturdy wooden baton.
He was almost there now. He removed the baton from his coat pocket and pushed it up into his sleeve so that it was hidden from casual view. His target wouldn’t even know what had hit him. He took a deep breath, ready for another profitable day.
He never expected what happened next.
Rounding the corner, he suddenly found himself face to face with his target. The man was just standing there, hands by his sides, staring at him with those vivid green eyes.
‘Why are you following me?’ he demanded, speaking in accented but perfectly understandable French.
Shit.
Giroux had been wrong. This man wasn’t as blissfully unaware as he’d thought. Maybe he’d heard something during the approach, maybe he had noticed him before and grown suspicious of his reappearance today. Either way, he had lost the element of surprise. But Giroux still had the baton, his opponent was unarmed, and he was already psyched up for what he was about to do.
No way was he losing this contract.
Reacting instinctively, he loosened his grip on the baton, allowing it to fall down into his hand. At the same moment, he launched himself forward, swinging the club around to strike his opponent a sharp, vicious blow across the jaw. Perhaps this takedown wouldn’t be as quick or clean as he’d planned, but the end result would be the same.
But the man was no longer there. Moving with frightening speed, he had ducked aside just as Giroux swung, throwing him off balance. He tried to adjust his posture for another swing, but even as he did so he felt the baton yanked out of his hand. Turning right to face his opponent once more, he was just in time to see a clenched fist coming right at him.
There was a sickening crunch and an explosion of white light as the punch connected. The impact sent Giroux, already off balance, sprawling on the ground in a heap, stars flashing across his vision and blood streaming from a broken nose. He had landed in a pool of fetid water, strewn with discarded trash. Within moments it had soaked into his jeans and jacket.
Snorting and coughing the blood out of his throat, tears streaming from his eyes, Giroux looked up at the man who only moments before had seemed like such an easy mark. He was standing a few yards away, looking as calm and relaxed as when he’d strolled out of the bakery.
This was a new and very unwelcome experience. Giroux was no stranger to violence, but he was used to inflicting it, not receiving it. He was used to ambushing people, catching them unawares and subduing them before they knew what was happening. He wasn’t used to his targets fighting back. But this one was.
Anger and fear flared up in him, the former magnified by the latter. He wasn’t used to being afraid of people, and he didn’t like it.
Clenching his teeth, he scrambled to his feet and reached for the knife at his back.
‘You’ve already made one mistake today,’ his enemy warned. ‘Don’t make another.’
But Giroux wasn’t hearing him. His hand went for the knife, fingers closing around the haft. Just as he yanked it out and swiped in a wide arc to catch his opponent across the midriff, the man took a step backward, swung the police baton down and knocked the blade right out of his hand, breaking a couple of Giroux’s fingers in the process.
Giroux had no time to register the injury. Before he could recover, his opponent closed in, placed one foot behind his and gave him a single powerful shove in the middle of his chest. He tripped and went down a second time, hitting his head on the rough cobbled road as he fell.
A moment later, he gasped as he felt the blade of his own knife pressed against his throat. His vision was blurred by blood and tears, but he knew his fearsome opponent was kneeling on top of him, one knee pressed into his chest. He could kill him whenever he wanted. Fear, sheer and absolute, charged through him.
‘Now you’ve made two big mistakes. You tried to kill me, and you tried to do it alone,’ he said, his voice low and menacing. ‘Don’t make another mistake by forcing me to ask a third time. Why have you been following me?’
‘T-to steal from you,’ Giroux stammered.
He gasped as the knife was pressed in harder, causing blood to well up.
‘Are you working for someone? Think carefully before you answer, my friend.’
‘It is the truth! I swear it!’ Giroux pleaded. There was no pretext of playing tough now; he was begging for his life, and he knew it. ‘You s-seemed like an easy mark. I thought you were just a rich tourist.’
The man’s intense green eyes were locked with his own, seeming to penetrate his very soul. Finally, with some reluctance, the pressure of the blade eased.
Keeping him pinned to the dirty ground, the man rifled through his pockets until he found Giroux’s creased, grubby and disappointingly empty wallet. Still, even he possessed a few cards and scraps of identification that his erstwhile victim had no problem rooting out.
‘Philippe Giroux, right?’ he remarked, comparing the battered and bleeding face before him with the far more youthful one on his expired driver’s licence.
‘Yes.’
‘Right then, Philippe. Obviously you’re not the brightest guy, so I’ll keep this simple. If you try something like this again, I’ll kill you. If you follow me, I’ll kill you. In fact, if I ever see your face again in Marseille, or anywhere else for that matter, I’ll kill you. If you understand what I’ve just said, say yes.’
Giroux stared at him. The look in his eyes told him this was a man who had made good on such threats before, and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
‘Yes,’ he said at last.
‘Good.’ The knife was removed from his throat and tossed into a walled courtyard nearby. ‘Don’t forget to wash up.’
Without saying another word, the man stood up, picked up his bag of goods from the bakery, and walked off as if nothing had happened.




Will Jordan is a British thriller writer, born in Fife, Scotland in 1983. For more information on Will and the Ryan Drake series, go to willjordanbooks.co.uk or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillJordan83.

Will's works to date include:

Redemption (Ryan Drake 1) - 2012
Sacrifice (Ryan Drake 2) - 2013
Betrayal (Ryan Drake 3) - 2014
Black List (Ryan Drake 4) - 2015
Deception Game (Ryan Drake 5) - 2015
Ghost Target (Ryan Drake 6) - 2016

After graduating high school he moved on to university, gaining an Honors Degree in Information Technology. To support himself during his degree he worked a number of part time jobs, one of which was as an extra in television and feature films. Cast in several action/war movies, he was put through military boot camp and weapons training in preparation.

Having always enjoyed writing, he used this experience as the basis for his first thriller, REDEMPTION. He was able to supplement this with visits to weapon ranges in America and Eastern Europe, as well as research trips to Washington DC, London and New York.

For his second thriller SACRIFICE, he was able to interview members of the British armed forces who had served tours in Afghanistan. His fifth novel in the Ryan Drake series, DECEPTION GAME, was released in November 2015.

He lives in Fife with his wife and two sons, and is currently working on the sixth book in the Ryan Drake series.