Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Crystal Snowflake by Holly Barbo

Title: A Crystal Snowflake
Author: Holly Barbo
Series: Quick Reads #7
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: November 20, 2016
When Chayse’s friend is murdered before he can get protective custody, she and her department in Homeland Security are thrust into a race to stop a destructive cyber worm from wiping out all bank and stock market records during the Christmas break.

The good news is there is an inoculating code which will stop the worm. The bad news is it is hidden in a special crystal concealed in the sculpted walls of a beautiful ice hotel in the lapland region of Sweden and the terrorists are searching for it too.

As the snow flurries of November becomes frozen December each side rush to find the crystal…with entirely different goals. Will the Christmas holiday bring destruction for western financial systems?

A Crystal Snowflake is a contemporary thriller. It has been previously published in Tendrils, The Edge of Madness boxed set and Wrapped with a Bow boxed set. It was also entered in a story competition seeking cinematic quality stories for movie potential, and made the quarter finals.

Chapter 1: Fire and Ice
Orion gave a quick scan of the room. He needed to make sure he had everything important. His backpack was stuffed and the computer case held so much that there were edges of paper sticking out of it in a haphazard manner. The slender young man slung the strap of the computer bag over his shoulder, grabbed the backpack, and headed for the front door. His hand paused as he reached for the knob and looked out the window.

It was dark and he could see the snow falling through the street lights. There didn’t seem to be anyone about, so he slipped from the house and walked casually to his trusty old Chevy, his breath coming out in rapid visible puffs. The nonchalance was an act. Orion wanted anyone watching to assume he was going to M.I.T. to get in some late night work. He scanned the shadows, hoping no one was there and threw his backpack on the passenger seat, wedging the computer case between it and the seat back. The young man wanted both within easy reach. Once buckled in, he allowed his nervousness to slip out and thoroughly checked the view from his mirrors.

Orion eased onto the street and when there was no sign of his tires slipping, increased his speed. Orion reached into the pocket of the backpack for the pre-paid phone he’d picked up when he determined his cell had been tapped. At the stop sign he punched in a number. The snow flurries were increasing so he switched on the wipers. Orion waited for his friend to pick up.

The fair-haired man smiled when he heard her voice and responded by saying, “I’m on my way and no one is following me. Just in case, I sent instructions to our safe place. Don’t worry about retrieving the envelope unless I don’t get there by morning. Okay. Gotta go. I’ll be at your door for breakfast with your favorite croissants. Have the coffee brewed.”

Orion laughed at the response. “Okay. I need to concentrate on driving in this stuff. See you soon, Chayse. Bye.”

Beyond the stop sign, the road sloped down to a picturesque country bridge, one of many that dotted the New England states. Orion had to admit it was beautiful in the snowfall, but with the driving conditions worsening, he focused on how the car responded to his small adjustments in steering.

Without any warning, Orion’s power steering quit. Working to compensate on the slick road, he fought to correct the fish-tailing motion of the car. “Shit!” He tapped the brakes and was horrified as his foot went all the way to the floor.

Fighting the wheel and the momentum of the old Chevy on the slippery surface became his entire focus… and he was losing. He tried gearing down and applying the emergency brake, but the car went into a spin. Orion caught a glimpse of the bridge railing coming up too fast. “Shit!” The car broke through the wooden barrier and sailed into the darkness over the side.


The watcher stood in the shelter of some trees on the far side of the road. The muffled figure took a box out of his pocket, pointed it at the car and pushed a button. The loud sibilant schwuff of the slush hitting the car’s undercarriage drowned out the pop.

The quiet of the snowy darkness was shattered by sounds of a scream and a crash. The watcher waited to see if anything else would happen. Walking to the broken railing, he looked down into the gorge. The car was lying on the driver’s side and he didn’t detect any movement. Orion could have died on impact. He thought about that for a moment before looking at the box in his hand and pushing a second button. Under the trunk, a small flame ignited close to the cracked fuel line. There was a whoosh as the greedy flames engulfed the Chevy. The watcher turned away and calmly walked back the way he came, disappearing into the night.

Author Bio:
Holly's world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice. Holly's stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.


A Crystal Snowflake #7

A Beltane Gift #1

The Tin of Honey #2

The Dragil: Broken Magic #3

A Battered Ball #4

Blinding Contract #5

Treasured Legacy #6

Brought to you by:

Tangled in Tinsel by Stacy Eaton

Title: Tangled in Tinsel
Author: Stacy Eaton
Series: Celebration #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 29, 2016
Welcome to Celebration Township.

Casey Lowe is new in town and hiding from her past. Her next-door neighbor, Thad Wagner, is a sexy police officer, who is good with his hands, and his lips, but Casey refuses to get involved with a married man, and Thad can't seem to understand why she keeps pushing him away. No matter how they try to stay apart, something keeps drawing them together. When an unexpected visitor shows up at Casey's house the week before Christmas, her future is on the line. Will Thad figure it out in time to save her, or will Casey become a conspirator to a murderer?

Tangled in Tinsel is the first book in the thirteen-story novella series that takes place in quaint Celebration Township, Pennsylvania. The rest of the series will begin to release in the fall of 2016.

Ten minutes down the road, a siren caught my attention, and I saw the telltale red and blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror.

“Shit. How fast was I going?” I glanced at the speedometer. “Only sixty-five. What’s the speed limit here?”

“I don’t know,” Brandy said as she glanced over her shoulder. “Maybe it’s your neighbor.”

“Crap, let’s hope it’s not.” I slowed and pulled over to the shoulder, hoping he was only trying to get around me. No such luck as he stopped behind me. “Damn, I think it is him,” I said as I stared harder into the mirror.

“That’s good. I’m sure you can get out of this then,” Brandy said as she put mascara on. “Actually, I’m glad you got pulled over, now I can put my mascara on without getting it all over the place.”

“Figures you would find something good in me being pulled over by the police,” I retorted as I dug through my purse for my wallet. A tap on my window brought my head up fast, and I lowered the window as I glanced up.

Lord, have mercy on my soul! This man was incredible looking. His short hair was light brown and parted on the side. His blue eyes were striking as they stared down at me.

“Morning, ma’am. I’m Officer Wagner of the Celebration Police Department. Do you happen to know how fast you were going?”

I opened my mouth to speak and found words escaped me as I watched his lips to see if they would continue to move. He had the most incredible lips I had ever seen, and I wondered how they would feel.

He tipped his head to the side and studied me. “Ma’am, are you alright?”

“Casey,” I stuttered out.

“Excuse me?”

“My name is Casey, not ma’am.”

Brandy snickered beside me, and I almost elbowed her.

A smirk raised one side of his mouth and displayed the cutest damned dimple I had ever seen. “Okay, Casey, do you know how fast you were going?”

“Um,” I cleared my throat. Did I tell the truth? Of course I tell the truth! Jesus, I knew what happened with the police when you didn’t. “Sorry, I was going about sixty-five, but I don’t know what the speed limit is.”

“Actually, you were going sixty-nine when you were clocked, and the speed limit is thirty-five.”

I cringed, “I’m so sorry. We woke up late, and I’m rushing my friend to the airport. She has a flight out at eleven. I honestly didn’t know the speed limit.”

“Well, Casey, now you do, and I hope that in the future you will obey it.” He grinned down at me and held out his hand. “I’m Thad, by the way, I believe we’re neighbors.”

I looked at his long elegant fingers as they came my way. Why was my heart beating like it was trying to get out of my chest? I placed my hand into his and we both stared at one another. “Casey,” I said again lamely.

“It’s nice to meet you, Casey. Do me a favor and slow down. Get your friend to the airport safely.”

“Yes, sir,” I stated automatically while I realized I was still holding his hand. I yanked mine back, embarrassed at my reaction to him.

He laughed a deep laugh and put a smile on his face that made his eyes seem brighter than they had been just moments before. “I’m letting you off with a warning today, not because you are my neighbor, but because you did me a favor last night. Thank you for dropping the food off at home for me.”

“You’re welcome, and thank you for not giving me a ticket. I promise I’ll pay better attention.”

“Drive safely, Casey,” he leaned down and peered past me to Brandy, “and have a safe flight.” Thad’s subtle cologne reached my nose with his movement. Thank god I was seated, or my knees might have buckled.

“Thank you,” Brandy replied.

Thad stared at me for another moment before he stood up, “I’ll see you around, Casey. It was nice meeting you, and welcome to Celebration.”

“Thank you.” My voice came out huskier than it should have, and I cleared my throat as he walked away. I used the side mirror to watch him; his back was as nice as his front. When he reached his driver’s-side door, he turned and our gazes locked in the reflection. He winked and climbed into his truck.

“Talk about a hottie,” Brandy said as she fanned her face. I put the window up and checked my mirror again to make sure it was safe to get back onto the road.

I’d learned two things just then: One, Officer Thad Wagner was an extreme hottie; second, he was also a very dangerous man, if only to my starving hormones.

Author Bio:
Stacy Eaton began her writing career in October of 2010 and as each year goes by, she releases more and more novels. Stacy recently took an early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service, with her last three in investigations and crime scene investigation.

Stacy resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, who works in law enforcement, and her teen daughter who is working toward her second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and on the choral and cheerleading squads at school. She also has a son who is currently serving in the United States Navy.

Stacy is very involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years. She continues to volunteer with them when she has time.


Tangled in Tinsel #1

Tears to Cheers #2

Heathens to Hearts #3
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES

Brought to you by:

Past, Darkly by Hunter S Jones

Title: Past, Darkly
Author: Hunter S Jones
Series: The Dreams #2
Genre: Historical Fantasy Fiction, Folklore
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Where do dreams end and reality begin?

Sexy rock star James van Lee and Dr. Maggie Pickett meet in Atlanta, at an encounter unknowingly arranged by Rhett Turnquest and Natasha. This complex story continues, taking it's intriguing cast of characters from the Reconstruction South of 1873 into contemporary 2016. Past, Darkly blends historical fantasy, fairytales, and a dash of Victoriana into an enchanting read. This version includes Story 1 & 2 in The Dreams Series.

Please note: The story from 1873 is written in a southern US dialect used in the late 1800s. For historical accuracy, this book includes exclusive photographs and maps shared by permission of the Library of Congress.

Rhett whispered into the phone, “She wants us both to be there. We are all lifelong friends, Maggie. This is huge for her.”

“For her? Why should I care about what happens to her?” Maggie screamed before she realized what she was saying, a lone tear escaping down her cheek as he broke her heart yet again.

After a pause in which Maggie heard Rhett tap a pen against a tabletop, he said, “Look, Maggie. I meant everything I told you. I love you and I always will. But Natasha and I have a history and she needs me. Please do this. We’ve all three been friends since we were kids.” She heard him breathe deeply and he continued, “Besides, if we aren’t there, she’ll make our lives a living hell. You know how vindictive she is. Just go to the after party. You don’t have to go with us, or even see the show. Simply be there, even if it’s for a few minutes, and let her have her moment of glory.”

Maggie couldn’t breathe. She believed she would pass out. Seeing a bench nearby, she made her way to it and sat on the cold concrete before she said anything. This was all Natasha’s revenge. She knew we were happy and now she wants to gloat. This is her way of proving to me that Rhett is her boyfriend, once and for all. The tears fell down her face, landing on her lap.

“Maggie, Maggie? Are you okay? Please say something,” Rhett whispered in his velvet bass voice.

She wiped the tears away with her left hand. “I’m fine and I’ll be there. When is it?”

She heard the sigh of relief from the other end of the phone. “Mark your calendar for the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The after party starts at 11:00 p.m. in the Grand Salon, which is upstairs, next to the Egyptian Ballroom. I’ll get the pass to you.”

She paused, not really wanting to let him go, yet knowing she had to do it. “That’s great, Rhett. Send it to my email or text it to me. I’ve got to get to my next class.”

The pause on the line let her know that Rhett felt the same as she did. “Thank you, Maggie. This means a lot to me.” She heard his voice tremble as he continued, “I can’t wait to see you.”

“I’ve got to go, Rhett. This call is over.” With that, she clicked the phone, feeling as if her heart would never recover, and knowing her body would never forget the way he felt when they were lying in bed together. No one should ever feel that good. It was more like an addiction and she would never be cured of him. She simply had to endure the absence of him and accept it.

By the next morning, Maggie knew what she had to do. First, she called Salon Vis a Vis and booked a cut and color. By the end of the day, she had a platinum-blonde bob. She knew Natasha would dress in black—it was her trademark, at least when she did wear clothes. Maggie knew from pictures that she now had long black extensions, and Maggie was determined to be the diametrical opposite of her.

She called Neiman Marcus and booked an appointment on Sunday with Paul, her favorite stylist. Explaining the event to him and giving him the date she needed everything, he asked, “Do you want me to get some of our latest looks together for you? Something edgy, maybe?”

“No. I want to be a princess."

Lovers & Sinners #1
Will that which you most desire destroy you?

James van Lee is a lonely gypsy boy. His isolation leads him to become the greatest rock star in the world, yet he dreams of a girl he knew long ago.

Dr. Maggie Pickett of Emory University has never loved anyone but Rhett Turnquest, but he is under the spell of Natasha, who has secrets no one will ever know.

Lovers & Sinners introduces a world of stardom and those who seek it, as well those who wish only to be loved. The story intrigues with its open sexuality, international locales, and a mysterious link to Russia’s cursed royal family with secret ties to the love affair of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

Based loosely on fairy tales and legends, the journey begins in The Dreams, Story 1.

Author Bio:
Deb Hunter writes fiction as Hunter S. Jones. She is a member of the prestigious Society of Authors founded by Lord Tennyson, Rivendell Writers Colony, Historical Writers’ Association, Historical Novel Society and the Atlanta Writer’s Club. Her Tudor History blog, Fear and Loathing in Tudor England, is a reader’s favorite. Originally from a Chattanooga, Tennessee, she currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband. Her best seller, PHOENIX RISING, a fictional story of the last hour of Anne Boleyn is available on Amazon.com and at a bookstore near you.


Past, Darkly #2

Lovers & Sinners #1

Brought to you by: