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“A Garden in Cornwall (A Wedding in Cornwall Book 12)” by Laura Briggs

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coverWith their lives exactly what they’ve always dreamed, Matt and Julianne await the arrival of the third member of their family — but their happiness is threatened when their landlady Mathilda announces her intention to sell their beloved Rosemoor Cottage for an impossible value. Devastated, Julianne struggles to accept the cold reality of her and Matt making their home elsewhere.

Matt’s life has taken a new turn as he finally puts aside his academic work to pursue his gardening hobby as a career:  his first new job as a landscape designer involves neglected Penwill Hall’s ‘lost’ garden — one with a truly romantic Cornish past. But the task of restoring its legendary beauty from nearly seventy years ago proves difficult among the ruins lost in weeds and wilderness.

With notions of secret gardens and wartime stories echoing in her thoughts, Julianne is determined to help Matt and the estate’s new owner after the discovery of a hidden mural in the hall itself, depicting a breath-taking garden that may well be the lost one. Her efforts to uncover the past lead her to a curmudgeonly local gardener who just may hold the knowledge that would restore the ‘lost garden’ to its former glory. Will Julianne’s quest help her find a way to deal with losing the home she loves?

Hellos and farewells abound as Dinah returns to lend a helping hand at Cliffs House and Julianne relives her favourite memories of her and Matt’s beloved cottage in Book Twelve — the final installment in the bestselling series A WEDDING IN CORNWALL.

Purchase Link – http://smarturl.it/agardenincornwall

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EXCERPT

Thanks so much to Felicia for letting me share about my latest book with her readers here on Nesie’s Place! It’s called A Garden in Cornwall and is the final installment in a series of twelve novellas about American event planner Julianne’s adventures living in Cornwall. In this scene, Julianne and her husband Matt are discussing his latest job, which involves restoring a forgotten garden among the ruins of an old castle. Which somehow leads to the topic of possible names for their yet unborn baby!

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I sighed, and settled more closely against him. “I wonder what the castle’s name was, when it was still standing,” I said. “Before it became part of the ‘ruins garden.'”

“We’ll never know,” said Matt. “Not unless someone finds a very antiquated map of Cornwall which happens to reveal it. Although that seems almost as likely at this point as finding a photo of the garden seventy years ago.”

“Does the garden have Cornish heath in it?” I asked.

“I’m afraid not,” said Matt. “Only some lady’s smock in a very small patch. We’re outside the heath’s territory on those grounds, by the realities of both geography and agriculture.”

“A pity,” I said. I felt Matt’s cheek rest against my head.

“You know,” he said. “Heath really would be a decent name for a boy.”

“Wouldn’t it?” I said. “I think Marigold would be a nice name for a girl. It makes me think of the garden. Of the ones you picked for me when I first came here.”

“Of course … Marigold Rose,” he pointed out.

“So?” I said. “I can think of worse names to be stuck with.”

I felt his smile even though I couldn’t see it, the soft movement of his cheek against my hair. “I had forgotten about those marigolds,” he said. “I had an abundance of them in pots. The lady’s smock was in the trench box on the far side of the hothouse that year, where I was propagating more of it for the preservation group.”

“You raided your special stash just for me?” I said. “I’m touched.”

“You were worth it.” He kissed the top of my head. “Where is the list of names?” he asked. “I’ll write these down if you like.”

“Not yet,” I said. “I’m too comfy to let you go,” I said, wrapping my arms around him. “It’s been a long day and we both have to work tomorrow. Let’s just stay here for awhile, and doze off before our tiny fire.”

“I’m not sleepy,” said Matt, chuckling. “Of course, I’m not the one carrying a small entity which relies on me to eat and breathe, either. But if you want me to stay here, I will.” He placed his hand over the baby’s presence beneath my white blouse, fingers moving gently with this touch. “Shall I tell you a bedtime story?” he asked.

“Sure. Tell me more about the garden,” I said. A bedtime story from my childhood, the locked garden of roses and spring crocus and daffodils, slumbering alive beneath the thick blanket of dead leaves.

“I think I told you almost every detail in the car,” he said.

“You must have missed something,” I murmured. “Describe it for me. I won’t see it until Saturday, but I want to picture it in the meantime.”

I felt Matt settle against me more comfortably. “You’ve seen the path to it already from the hall’s windows, but if you follow it into the glen, then climb to the top of the hill that overlooks the partly-dug pond in the field, you see the first stones over the grass on the land rise,” he began. “It’s not wild grass, but a domesticated variety that wrapped itself around the former cornerstone of the castle … ”

I wasn’t drowsy enough to fall asleep, so Matt’s bedtime story only transported me away to the images I had seen of the hall’s famous garden. Curled up on our comfy but stiff old sofa, with the scent of Matt’s garden flowers in the mantel vase in the air and the quiet creak of our house settling, even sleep couldn’t make me more content than I already felt.

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Laura Briggs

Author Bio – Laura Briggs is the author of several lighthearted romance novels and novellas, including the bestselling Amazon UK series A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

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#Excerpts2 “Stolen Obsession (Annalisse Series Book 1)” by Marlene M. Bell

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EXCERPTS

Number Three

Behind her, his chair squealed, then in less than a second, Peter’s body pressed hard into her back, and his erection harder at her butt. His hands were locked around her in a death grip, painfully squeezing both breasts.

“Get the hell off!” She felt one arm release, and thrust herself backward, but he was stronger. He trapped her between his body and the wall, a human sandwich. “You freak!” She wrenched against him but made no headway against his surprisingly strong grip. The photo crashed to the tile, shattering glass at her feet.

He worked one hand over her mouth.

Annalisse squirmed, fighting to breathe through her nose. Blood pounded her eardrums. Think. He’s drunk, and your mind’s clearer than his. Spin the nozzle. Pick your moment.

“Don’t fight it, Ann. You know you’ve wanted this. You said I’m good. Let me show you.”

The vile mixture of body odor and cheap whiskey swirled in the little air she had available to her. She hoped the gallery surveillance cameras were on and recording her assault. Annalisse gagged behind his clammy fingers, too far from her teeth to bite, and readied the tube of pepper spray.

“Anna?” Chase asked, muffled by the distance.

In her jumbled thoughts, she’d forgotten Chase, but the surprise voice from outside was enough to break Peter’s concentration.

Annalisse slammed back against the man’s rock of a forehead.

“Oww!” he cried.

The pressure against her body slackened, and his palm disappeared from her face.

Annalisse spun a half turn and kneed him in the groin with the as much force she could muster.

“Sick bastard!”

Peter fell on his side holding himself, yelping in pain.

Chase flung open the door and ran to her side. “Dang, dude. Zip it up.” He shifted his eyes to her. “You hurt?”

“Get back.” She checked her aim, depressed the nozzle, and let the cone of mist spread over his balding head and exposed skin, saving a little for his genitals, until the canister emptied and he was a rolling, crying, blathering idiot.

Annalisse tossed the pink tube in the trash can and gagged against the pepper smell cutting off her air.

With both hands plastered over his eyes, Peter wailed, writhing on his back and wheezing.

“I can’t breathe! Bitch. You blinded me! Get me something to wipe this burning shit off! Jesus, you’re gonna pay.” He doubled over on his knees and spat gobs of yellow-tinged saliva on the floor. His moans bounced throughout the ten by ten space.

Chase pulled her to the doorway. “Back away Anna! He’s trying to get up.” He waved a hand in front of her. “Man, the fumes. The scuzbag left marks. Your mouth’s red.” Chase looked at him. “He’s sure got a hurt on.”

“Yeah, to match his hard on—call 911. I’m out of here. The stench is making my eyes water.” She coughed and kicked Peter in the shoe. “By the way, slimy bastard, I quit.”

Number Four

Annalisse set her purse down into the flipped over cushions on the couch, repositioned them, and stepped through what used to be neat stacks, years of gallery research. A groan passed her lips when she walked to the desk marred with new scratches, bereft of her monitor and tower hard drive. She looked around the room for her laptop; it, too, was missing.

Cursing under her breath, she saw her prized possession, a two-foot bronze statue of a shepherdess with a pair of sheep grazing near her feet, lying on its side next to a toppled plant stand. An expensive work of art from Florence she’d had no business buying, but she couldn’t resist. When Generosa had called from Italy describing it, Annalisse had to have it. Everyone who knew her well understood her love for sheep. Even if she’d declined Generosa’s offer to bring it back for her, she’d felt certain the bronze would end up in her hands eventually.

Alec waited by the stairs and whispered, “Your bedroom up there?” He pointed upstairs.

She nodded, lifted the mahogany stand upright and, with both hands, replaced the hefty bronze to its rightful place next to the desk.

“Stay downstairs. You’ll be safer. I won’t be long, and I’ll look for your cat.” Alec hit the first step.

“Be careful.”

Whoever destroyed her home had acted with malice. They had her personal data and internet search history, where she shopped online, email correspondence as well as business contacts. A privacy breach she couldn’t afford. Compiling a list of possible suspects in her head, she felt so violated, even more so than by what had happened with Peter. Names and faces blurred together. With fingertips pressed at her temples, she willed the jackhammers in her head to stop.

Raising her arms, as if a make-believe thief told her to, she said, “I give up. I may as well set a match to this place, for all the good it’s going to do me now.”

Alec uttered a sentence upstairs she couldn’t make out.

“Alec, did you find Boris?”

The sound of shuffling filtered downstairs then a thump.

“Alec, what fell?” She looked up at an empty landing.

The unnatural silence pricked the hairs straight out on her neck. “Answer me.”

A mechanical voice broke the silence. “Don’t move.”

She stopped breathing and froze, afraid to look up, but then looked anyway.

A figure in a brownish ski mask and desert camouflage occupied the top of the staircase. Holding Alec. He—or she— held him at gunpoint. One arm cradled Alec’s waist and a black pistol so close to Alec’s right ear, his curls hid part of the barrel.

She’d expected Alec’s expression to be as wild as hers must have been, but he appeared strangely calm.

“I’m all right, Annalisse.”

“Shut up.” The voice was distorted with some kind of voice altering mechanism. Deep tones, similar to a bumblebee in distress.  

Number Five

A second later, he was beside her, his Zavos gaze in desire mode. “You’d do that for me?”

“I should’ve checked you before now. Stop me the next time I become too self-involved. Lift the shirt.”

Alec grimaced and pulled the long-sleeved tee over his head, exposing a dark patch of glistening chest hair. An extremely broad chest. All muscled up like guys who work out. Damn Sam, he’s gorgeous.

His hypnotic aroma engulfed her with creamy heat.

Annalisse considered whether or not his chest hair was soft or wiry, or if he’d hold her tenderly or with restrained force. Licking her lower lip, she tore her eyes from his pecs to his shoulder and gently pulled the adhesive tape. She peeked at the neat row of stitches to calm the flutter in her heart. The area around the sutures had reddened and were puffy.

“We’ll watch the swelling. Having been in battle with metal and gunpowder, I expected worse. I’d find something waterproof to put over it in the shower. Like a liquid bandage. And finish all of your antibiotics even if you feel better.” His skin was smooth under her fingertips.

“I’ll do that, Dr. Drury. Thank you.” He glanced at her fingers on his shoulder. “Anything else?”

Annalisse’s face flushed with heat. She jerked her wrist back and balled her hand in her lap. Her mind told her to get some distance from him, but her feet had other ideas.

With his forefinger, he rotated her chin so she’d face him. “It’s just you and me.”

He was far too close. Close enough to kiss his perfectly matched, parted lips. God. Being next to him like this…it was too soon. His wonderful mother as her mother-in law…quit! She shuddered.

“Are you afraid of me?” His question came disguised in a throaty growl.

She clenched her jaw, afraid what he’d say to the truth.

He took her hand and flattened her palm to his chest. “I want you to trust me.”

She opened her mouth, but couldn’t speak.

“I’ll take that as a maybe.” One side of his mouth lifted into a sly smile.

Her head swam at his touch. Helga gone, she could allow herself to taste want, defer her loneliness; Alec could wash so much sadness away, even if temporarily. No, she couldn’t. Not with him. As much as she wanted—needed—sex like crazy, this kind of man could damage her heart in an unspeakable way. Too much risk in a hunky, charming, dreamy Greek. Her throat tightened, and she swallowed.

Annalisse slipped her hand from his and drew back from no-return territory. “I’ll get your shirt.” She jumped for his polo at the end of the chaise and wobbled backward, grabbing the edge of the seat.

Alec caught her waist with one arm. “Gotcha.”

~~~~~

Title: Stolen Obsession

Author: Marlene M. Bell

Genre: Romantic Suspense

PEOPLE DIE, BUT LEGENDS LIVE ON.

Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.

But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?

Stolen Obsession teaser

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Marlene M. BellAuthor Bio

Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

 

Links

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Author Website

Stolen Obsession Book Page From Website

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FACEBOOK 

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#Excerpts1 “Stolen Obsession (Annalisse Series Book 1)” by Marlene M. Bell

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~~~~~

EXCERPTS

 Number One

Alec lifted her hand seductively and kissed her knuckles like they’d just met. Greek men were so different. She felt the urge to curtsy, but buried the impulse with a smile. She didn’t want to feel anything for Alec, and wished she were home, safe from the schoolgirl thuds banging away in her chest. She wasn’t ready to date yet. Not since they found Sam.

“Now, what do you think of the necklace?” Generosa twirled her arm toward the case in game show host style.

Annalisse loved the way Generosa’s gestures followed her words. A modest woman whose confidence and positive attitude had rescued Annalisse from more than a few scrapes with Harry.

“It scares me, Gen. I’d like your permission to cover it tonight.”

“Nonsense, bambolina.” Generosa escorted Alec to the display.

“It’s a bad omen. Where’d you find it?” Annalisse balled a fist and banged her hip.

Generosa clicked the glass with her acrylic nails. “Doesn’t the motif remind you of your beautiful horses, son? I know we shouldn’t have copied Sam’s bracelet, but I had to have one. We added filigree next to the acorns for a modern touch and redesigned it in fourteen karat.”

Annalisse peered inside the case then slowly met Generosa’s gaze. “You are one of the most special people in my life, so please don’t take this the wrong way. There’s no filigree, and it’s not a recent piece.” She lowered her voice. “I beg you— shove it in a safe deposit box. I don’t care, lock it away, but don’t tell anyone you have it, and never wear it.”

“Why?” Alec stepped between her and Generosa.

“Sam. The curse this necklace carries—the same destiny as her bracelet.”

“Pooh.” Generosa tsked.

“What curse?” Alec leaned closer.

With the speed of an open water faucet, Generosa’s words ran together. “I know every painting and artifact in this gallery. I sell only new jewelry, Annalisse. I’ve planned this event for months. Must we do this?”

“It’s from ancient Persia. The ruling Mushasha had ordered death to the wearer of any collection piece. Sam bought her bracelet just before she died. I know her killing wasn’t random.” Annalisse touched Generosa’s wrist. “And I won’t stand by while this necklace hurts you.”

“Mu-what?” Generosa’s lips soured in a pucker.

Annalisse’s breathing intensified into short bursts. Marble statues mocked her with their stares. If Generosa made a copy, then someone switched her necklace with the true artifact. But, taking a fake and leaving the real one in its place made no sense.

“Do you have the matching ring, too?” Annalisse swayed. When she stumbled, Alec caught her around the waist. “I’m okay.” Annalisse adjusted the foot that slipped out of her shoe. “Shouldn’t have skipped lunch.”

“Eat something.” Generosa crooked a finger at a server near the staircase. “The jewelry collection’s been missing a long time. Hundreds of years. It’s priceless, and now someone wants the pieces back. This display in your shop makes us a…target.”


Number Two

SEVERAL WILD-EYED WOMEN stood in a semicircle, their hands pressed against their cheeks or over their mouths. Annalisse broke for an opening in the rigid line of guests. Her heart stopped at the sight of Alec administering the Heimlich maneuver to her boss. A cool clamminess rushed the nape of her neck while she watched Alec’s repeated cupped fists to Harry’s upper abdomen. Harry’s stoic, ashen face left her woozy.

“Alec, let me help.” Annalisse ran to Alec’s side.

Harry’s dead weight collapsed on Alec, and he stumbled to keep Harry from falling on her. Alec slowly laid him on his back. Lifeless. Not breathing. Annalisse’s suspicions were confirmed. Harry was sick.

The silk fabric clung to her waistline while perspiration trickled down her thighs. She sank to her knees and leaned over Harry’s paunch, loosened his tie, and checked for a pulse at his neck. Heat from the crowd suffocated her. Open mouthed, she labored for breath. Westinn’s bedrock, its patriarch, couldn’t leave her. Not yet.

She clutched his shirt and yelled, “Don’t give up, Harry!” Touching his cheeks, she found them cool. Annalisse scanned the room. “Is anyone a doctor or EMT?” Vacant stares met her question.

A reel of her first aid training ran through her head. Annalisse tilted Harry’s head back, looked down his throat and did a finger sweep. “No food in the airway,” she mumbled. She checked for a pulse again at the carotid, and, one hand over the other, pressed the heel of her palm over his breastbone and pumped in short bursts. Counting to thirty in her head, she huffed after each thrust. Her arms ached and her palms hurt. “Harry, breathe! Damn it, breathe!”

“Did someone call an ambulance? Where is it?” Alec checked the Rolex on his wrist and crouched next to her. “When you’re ready, I’ll take over.”

The irony. Harry had forced his employees to take the CPR course with no idea he’d be the one in need.

A lonesome siren’s wail pierced her ears when the vehicle stopped in front of the gallery. Annalisse glanced through the entrance as the FDNY emergency truck’s blaze red and yellow door opened. The myriad of blinding lights split the evening. She turned back to her unresponsive boss and ripped open his shirt, sending buttons flying to the tile before she continued CPR.

Muffled voices, footsteps, and a metallic clank sounded from behind. Ambulance attendants rushed through the double glass doors, banging their gurney along the way. In the cool relief of the air from outside, she silently said a prayer for Harry.

“I appreciate everyone’s concern, but please allow the emergency personnel room to do their work.” Generosa swiped her forehead with the back of her hand. “Hang on, Harry.”

~~~~~

CoverTitle: Stolen Obsession

Author: Marlene M. Bell

Genre: Romantic Suspense

PEOPLE DIE, BUT LEGENDS LIVE ON.

Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.

But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?

Stolen Obsession teaser

~~~~~

Marlene M. BellAuthor Bio

Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

 

Links

Book Trailer

Author Website

Stolen Obsession Book Page From Website

TWITTER

FACEBOOK 

~~~~~

 

Stolen Obsession teaser 2

Buy the Book

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Amazon CA

Amazon AU

 

Giveaway

Win 2 autographed paperbacks of Stolen Obsession and a $50 Amazon Gift Card for each winner!
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#Excerpt “Joshua N’Gon: Last Prince of Alkebulahn” by Anthony Hewitt

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coverWhen a secret world of ancient alien kingdoms and evil corporation’s clashes with adolescents, school, and homework. You won’t be able to put down this wild adventure of discovery, friendship, and coming of age!

What would you do if you discovered you were descended from ancient alien African royalty and you could hold the key to save your friends, family, and the world from evil destructive forces?
Joshua N’Gon seemed like an ordinary boy. Raised in a loving foster home in north London and a gifted student at the St Augustine private school. But as he grew older, a thirst for meaning and true purpose began to grow greater and greater…

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

On Joshua’s tenth birthday he received mysterious packages from his birth parents. Parents who had left him as a baby under mysterious circumstances. Opening the packages, he would find gifts that would forever change him both mentally and physically. Magical technology unlike anything he had ever seen and the best part, only he could use it. But his secrets would not stay that way for long. Evil forces were gathering and they would stop at nothing to acquire the powerful science behind his amazing inventions

With the help of his two best friends, Brick and Mina, Joshua sets out to develop his abilities, find his real parents and stop the Technology Billionaire Kanu Umbekwi from subjugating the planet.

Buckle up and get ready to go on an exciting thrill ride, full of suspense, mystery, and alien technology with Joshua N’Gon: The Last Prince of Alkebulahn.

pdf Excerpt

Downloadable 11-page excerpt from Chapter 6 (.pdf)

Amazon US   |    Amazon UK   |   Amazon CA   |   Amazon AU

(All links open to new browsers.)

~~~~~

Author Bio Anton Marks

Anton Marks is a self-published author based in London.  His self-styled Urban Fantastic genre is speculative fiction using crime, action adventure, horror, sword and soul and sci-fi to highlight the black experience through the lens of the extraordinary. At present, he has eight books in the Amazon Kindle store, Dancehall, Bushman, Bad II the Bone, In the Days of Dread, 69, Messiah, Chauffeur and a Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel called Joshua N’Gon: The Last Prince of Alkebulahn written as Anthony Hewitt. The second in his Bad II the Bone Series, Good II be Bad is due in 2018.

Social Media Links

Website   |   Pinterest   |   Facebook   |    Twitter  |   Goodreads

~~~~~

G I V E A W A Y

Win one of 10 Signed Copies of Joshua N’Gon: Last Prince of Alkebulahn (Open Internationally)

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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#BlogTour “Stolen Obsession (Annalisse Series Book 1)” by Marlene M. Bell

Tour banner ~~~~~

Title: Stolen Obsession

Author: Marlene M. Bell

Genre: Romantic Suspense

PEOPLE DIE, BUT LEGENDS LIVE ON.

Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.

But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?

Stolen Obsession teaser

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Marlene M. BellAuthor Bio

Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

 

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#BlogTour “Miranda Bay” by Susan Tarr

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Title: Miranda Bay

Author: Susan Tarr

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Miranda, a strong-minded and lovable young woman, splurges her inheritance on the old Miranda Bay Sanatorium in the sub-tropical Bay of Islands, New Zealand, simply because it bears her name. She knows little about running a business and depends heavily on loyal cousin Pansy’s expertise.

In her frantic drive for success Miranda hires a local character to get cracking on the property. Hamilton, her lascivious financial advisor, seizes the opportunity to undermine her. But now with paying guests expected, she must make some serious decisions.

So the guests trickle in – hardly the sophisticates Miranda has envisaged.

At the brink of despair, she experiences deepening depression and manic behavior. She contrives an outlandish economic solution to the problem. What follow is intrigue and terror, and an emotional and tender unfolding of events in the face of financial ruin.

“Witty and wicked, scandalous and scary, this is a story to make you laugh and cry.”

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Book Excerpts

Excerpt 3

The catwalk stretched briefly into the ebbing tide. The backdrop was black calico, not the wooden flats used in real catwalks for real fashion shows because Miranda was on a tight budget. When Mihi, first down the ramp wearing a column of white, twirled one time too many, she was gone. The girl twirled herself right off the stage! A two-meter drop, she plunged straight into the water beneath. Miranda gasped!

Because no one was really taking any notice the show went right on.

Along came another of Mere’s nieces and, believe it or not, the girl did the same thing. She was completing a full turn, when hello! She was gone. Straight off the end of the walkway, plunging into the water alongside Mihi.

“For goodness sakes, how many kilometers do they need?” Miranda muttered.

So the runway was too short—the girls were plopping right off the end. She got Neville to organize an additional meter. Now Miriama was so nervous about her big chance she was throwing up over the side of the jetty, in full sight of everyone.

Since there were not a lot of models, they’d practiced some pretty fast maneuvers this past week. When it was time for Melissa, Miranda gesticulated cautiously for her to twirl and turn, twirl and turn until the others swam ashore, flicked their hair back, toweled off and changed into swimsuits.

She’d overspent with this modelling idea, but with good reason—Hamilton hinted strongly that her business didn’t stand a chance, said he’d reassessed her accounts. He also said she might be better off selling and moving back down to the city—where he could keep a closer eye on her. As a friend, of course. Her solution was to pour money into the resort.

Her cheeks were flushed, her tongue loose and colorful and she sold, sold, sold. Those items not snatched up were hung back on the rack and brought right out again for the next show.

Her unflagging energy was bringing in the dollars. She purred, a wine glass dangling from her left hand, gesturing toward Mimi in Moschino. She knew her clothes were stunning but distanced herself from them now the money was coming in.

Pansy exchanged Miranda’s empty glass for a full one, all the while shoving girls into outfits.

Excerpt 4

This night, she took refuge in the dank darkness of the spa room where the windows were misted over and there was not a trace of light or movement within. Yet Hamilton was there with his door-tapping and knob-turning. Rigid with inordinate fear, she stifled a high panicky cry with her fist shoved in her mouth.

And as he stood outside the door, for the first time since all the crazy stuff started happening, she felt she was in the presence of pure evil.

The spa room was clammy, almost airless, and from the deep shadows inside, she could hear labored breathing. She shivered uncontrollably. Evil was not that tangible. Evil was a thing of the soul, self-contained, not pervasive.

In the ensuing silence, the sound of the knob turning had her belly barreling into her ribs. A scrunching of feet as he shifted his weight. Then she watched frozen in fear as a hand moved back and forth across the steamy window in an attempt to clear a space, his face pressed close to the glass, peering, trying to see her in the gloom. As her senses reached out into the darkness she forgot to breathe, resuming abruptly with a gasp. She had flattened herself down into the water, waiting motionlessly. The silence went on for a long time, and in the tepid fugue of the chlorinated water she shivered. Fear brushed the walls in her chest.

Her hair was hanging in cold locks against her shoulders, her teeth chattered and her lips were quivering.

But now her bladder pressed heavily. Silently, and very slowly so as not to ripple the water, she slid the foam cover back across the pool until only the top of her head was showing. Then, as she peeked over the top, Hamilton wiped a hand across the window once more, and pressed his bloated face against the glass, his ghostly white, flattened cheek devoid of shape. The pressure on her bladder was intolerable.

At what seemed like midnight but was probably much earlier, she heard Hamilton’s uneven gait as he made his way from the fern garden edging the spa room and back to his suite. Just an insignificant little man with no power over me. Her waterlogged brain chimed in, Of course, he has. He’s got lots of power over you. Success or failure. Yours. What if he hasn’t gone? What if it is all a trick, something elaborate and terrible?

She retreated into herself, consoling herself. In the morning she would unlock the door and walk out into the safety of a bright new day. Meanwhile, in the cool water, she dozed fitfully.

A hand shook the door handle, jerking and straining at it.

She screamed. She struggled toward wakefulness through a morass of dreams, fighting to breathe, her mouth doughy with sleep and dread.

 

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Susan Tarr

Author Bio

Susan Tarr has been writing for 25 years, drawing on her international travels, work within the NZ tourism industry, and her work in various psychiatric hospitals within New Zealand.

She lived in Kenya, East Africa, for some years where she began her family.
Although she writes from personal experience, she also uses anecdotal information from conversations and other peoples’ stories, resulting in her characters taking on a life of their own and becoming larger than life. She enjoys a wide variety of personalities.

Susan says, “As I write their stories, my characters will often lead me to places I couldn’t imagine. So I relax and let them form as they will. I am passionate about my writing and I usually have three books on the go at any one time.”

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#Excerpt “The Picture (When Greed Turns Deadly)” by Roger Bray 18+

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A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in disheveled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.

But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.

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EXCERPT

Context:  Vince Brown is a key protagonist in the story, he hits on the idea of a reality TV show focusing on natural disasters.  He thought of the idea after seeing how much money was donated after the Japanese Tsunami.  In a chance meeting in a bar with a TV producer he lets the other man think that Vince is the key figure in an iconic picture taken during the Tsunami relief effort, which he is not.  As a throwaway line he thought it unimportant but it takes on primary importance when the idea of a reality TV show is closer.  Vince’s celebrity has begun to grow and he is being introduced as the ‘guy in the picture’.  Vince is starting to reap the rewards he believes he deserves and won’t give up easily.

Lying naked on the big bed, with both hands behind his head, Vince smiled to himself as he watched the girl, equally naked except for a big, floppy and overly fluffy Santa hat, pour two flutes of champagne and then come back to the bed, passing one of the glasses to him.

Vince reached out and took the offered glass as the girl knelt on the bed next to him and raised her glass.

“Happy Christmas, Vince, I hope there will be a lot more like this one.”

Vince held his glass up.

“Happy Christmas, and I’m sure that there will be plenty more to come,” he said before thinking, but probably not with you, darlin’.

Their last seminar had pulled them in over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars profit, and sixty thousand in voluntary donations, which is how they intended to disguise the overflowing buckets that had multiplied since the one first mayo tub. After they had divided the cash, they had separated for the holidays with Vince heading for Vegas and Beck for … well, Vince didn’t actually care. They had organized to meet up in Boise in the New Year.

Beck had already put out some feelers with a couple of local stations for a chat show spot, Vince wasn’t sure which station, CBS or NBC, one of those, whichever, it didn’t matter, one of those gigs and maybe a couple of radio spots as well, and their advertising would be pretty much done for them.

By Easter, if it all worked out, Vince knew he would have more cash than he knew what to do with, and then the real work would start. That was where Beck would come into his own.

Vince had to admit that Beck was good at setting up the TV spots; he had a way about him, trust even. He could sell an idea, and that idea was Vince the winner, Vince the savior of small communities, Vince the good guy that people could believe in.

Everyone liked to be associated with a winner and with a peoples’ champion, and Beck was selling that to the networks. And if Vince was a winner, well next time round people would tune into them, viewers meant numbers and numbers meant advertising which meant more cash for the network. And all because, Beck impressed upon them, they had taken a small chance on someone who was a sure fired goddamned American hero in the making.

But the real reason Beck was on board was his skill at tax avoidance schemes or of blatantly spiriting the money away where only Vince would know where to look.

In the meantime, they had cash, and lots of it. Expenses Beck had dismissed as trivial, but Vince wasn’t so sure he knew, he’d seen how these things could so easily blow up in someone’s face. Get pulled over by the cops on a routine check, no problem except for the few hundred thousand in the glove box.

“Can you explain this, sir? No?”

And suddenly they were all over you like sweat on a fat girl, and the IRS would come on in like an uninvited and unwanted guest at a family funeral.

Vince didn’t want to leave that to chance; he didn’t want to leave anything to chance, not now, not with this. This was his big score, played right this could set him up, played badly and … well, he didn’t want to even think about that.

What Vince needed was a way to launder his cash for now and do it in a way that was foolproof and that even Beck didn’t know about and where better to hide that money away and scrub it clean than a casino.

Vince had played the tables for twelve hours straight when he had first arrived three days before. His play money carefully separated, he had started with an even sixty thousand and had doubled it on the night and doubled that again at this and two other casinos on the second day.

He was on fire. On. Fucking. Fire, man.

A professional sycophant in the employ of the casino had seen the pile of chips that Vince had won on the first night and had insisted he accept a room upgrade with an open invitation to eat for free at any of the casino’s restaurants, buffets, or room service, a seemingly endless supply of De Margerie Grand Cru Cuvee, and an introduction to the naked girl next to him, whose name was …

Fuck!

Something beginning with … S, no, sounds like an S but it was … Cynthia, Cyn for short. How apt.

Vince smiled and put his glass down and reached out and cupped his hand over her closest breast. Cyn threw her leg across him and moved until she was squatting over his waist.

Oh yeah, Vince thought putting his hands back behind his head and looking up at the girl, this is going to be a fucking excellent Christmas, and this was only the beginning of his plans.

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Roger Bray1Author Bio –  I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation IRoger Bray2 then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

 

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