Sunday, October 29, 2017

Week at a Glance: 10/23/17 - 10/29/17

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: The Psychic and the Sleuth by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon

Psychic and skeptic—how could their love affair go wrong? 

Inspector Robert Court’s relentless insistence the wrong man hanged for the murder of Court’s cousin has him on his superintendent’s bad side. Court is assigned lowly vice cases such as exposing a confidence man posing as a medium to fleece the wealthy.

Down on his luck, Oliver Marsh learned he had an aptitude for conducting séances. He assuages his guilt by bringing comfort to the grieving and offering occasional insights coming from true psychic flashes. Marsh has tried to deny these flashes, but when he’s bowled over by a vivid memory of murder coming from the other side, he can no longer pretend he doesn’t possess a gift.

Marsh reveals details about that night which only Court’s cousin would know, and the detective vows to track down the truth—by staying as close to the fake psychic as humanly possible. But close leads to closer and soon the pair is involved in not only a torrid affair but a hunt for a killer—before he strikes again.

This is a previously released title. 

Warning: Graphic language and hot male/male sex with light BDSM themes. Despite “Descriptions of Murderous Acts” perpetrated by an unhinged killer, resist the temptation to cover your eyes—you’ll miss the good parts!

Re-Read Review October 2017:
Having read most of the Summer Devon/Bonnie Dee collaborations I decided to go back and re-read the first one that introduced me to this historical writing duo.  I found I loved it even more than the first time.  I found myself falling in love with Robert and Oliver's push-and-pull dance all over again, so much so that I can safely and honestly say that I have upped my rating from 4-1/2 to a full 5.  I can't say that The Psychic and the Sleuth is going on my annual re-read list but it definitely will be revisited again and again.

Original Review February 2015:
Robert and Oliver are such a great pair.  I don't know that I would classify this as a "enemies to lovers" sub-genre but they most definitely have the equal parts fighting and attraction down pat.  The author's warning says it best "Despite “Descriptions of Murderous Acts” perpetrated by an unhinged killer, resist the temptation to cover your eyes—you’ll miss the good parts!"  There are so many good parts mixed throughout the story, and I'm not just talking about "yummy" times, there is humor, sparring, fear, and of course murder.  By fear, I'm not just referring to the mystery, I'm also referring to Oliver's realization that he actually does have some psychic ability and Robert's same realization and having to admit that being psychic isn't an automatic conman at work.  This is the first time I've read either author or one of their collaborations but it definitely won't be the last.


London, 1892
“I’m getting a name. I believe it starts with a W.” The young man in the checked jacket spoke in the sepulchral tone one expected from a Spiritualistic medium. Lush, dark lashes fluttered against his cheeks, and full lips parted as his eyebrows drew together in a frown.

He might sound the part, but his appearance was wrong, Court decided. His clothes, for one thing. Most mediums he’d observed wore dark, dignified clothing, as if to lend gravity to their incredible claims. Oliver Marsh’s scarlet waistcoat and checked jacket were too flashy by far for the role he was playing. Made him appear more like a fly-by-night salesman than a portal to the other world.

“Wilma? No. Winifred.” Marsh’s head cocked as though hearing an unseen voice whisper the name in his ear.

Court forced his eyes not to roll at the act. The young lady beside him gasped, and her limp, clammy hand gripped his tighter. “I have an aunt named Winifred. She died two years ago.”

The spiritualist inclined his head. “I’m getting the sense of her presence, a sense of great love and peace. She’s content on the other side, but she has a message she needs to deliver.”

Miss Abigail Fontaine leaned forward, eyes wide. “What does she want to tell me?”

Mr. Marsh’s frown deepened, and he moved his head slowly from side to side as though searching for a sound that came in intermittent bursts. “She says…” A long pause. “Don’t. There is something you are about to do, a big decision. She’s warning you against making the wrong choice.”

The redhead gasped again, and her grip on Court’s hand became almost painful. “Rodney? Aunt Winifred doesn’t approve of my fiancé, Mr. Pepperidge? But that’s impossible. Why not? Ask her why not?”

Court’s jaw tightened as he watched the medium play the young woman like an angler taking his time reeling in a fish. He didn’t know how Marsh had secured the details of the Fontaine woman’s engagement or why he would interfere. Perhaps her family or the Pepperidges didn’t approve the match and had paid Marsh to encourage Miss Fontaine to end it. Any scenario was feasible except for the possibility that Miss Fontaine’s aunt was actually transmitting a message from beyond the grave.

It was Court’s job to expose Marsh as a charlatan to stop him from taking money from gullible people. Posing as a believer, he’d observe the man until he was able to prove he’d fleeced a customer or coerced money from someone. Because he’d been too damned persistent on a case that hadn’t been assigned to him, Court no longer hunted murderers. It was some consolation to reflect that he would be stopping a predator. A man who gave false hope to the desperate was the lowest sort of scum.

He would maintain his cover so he could continue to interact with the spiritualist. Soon enough the false medium would be arrested, ending another shameful career.

Marsh paused and frowned some more, belaboring the effort it took to reach through the mists of time and space to reach the dead. “This spirit seems to feel your young man is not all he has represented himself to be. I’m getting two messages from her, a sense of deep love for you and a clear warning, but nothing more specific.”

Court had tracked another medium a few years earlier—that one had stolen works of art during weekend parties—and he’d been to enough séances now to know the routine. At this point, the medium usually snapped out of his or her trance, making a great show of weariness, and would leave the table. The excited guests would break for refreshments as they pondered his great spiritual gift and discussed the messages. In Court’s opinion, there was more thrill-seeking than actual spiritual resonance about these affairs.

But tonight the medium didn’t immediately open those long-lashed eyes. Instead, he held very still, and his face turned markedly pale. He caught his breath before he spoke again, and when he did, his voice was low and rasping, scraping up Court’s spine like a file. “There is another presence.”

Their hostess and fervent spiritualist, Lady Markham, was beside herself with excitement at the prospect of more messages from beyond. “Are you all right, Mr. Marsh?”

“Oh God.” Marsh grimaced as though in pain. “She is… She needs…” he stammered.

“Who? Do you have a name?” Lady Markham murmured, anxious not to break the medium’s concentration at this delicate moment.

“A flower. White. Not a daisy. She’s”—Marsh caught his breath and exhaled a name—“Lily.”

Court felt like someone had driven a fist into his stomach. Lily. The image of his cousin’s face came to him. God, he wished he could see a picture of Lily laughing, but no, he saw the moment of her death. Every detail from the blood oozing from the back of her head, to the anguish in her eyes just before they closed for the last time—he bit down on the inside of his cheek to stop himself seeing the rest. God damn Marsh.

“The man scared her. He said she’ll join the others.” Marsh’s voice was anguished and his expression contorted. It was quite a performance, and Court was having a hard time keeping his dyspeptic stomach from lurching. The medium must know he was a police inspector and his true purpose in attending the séance. But how had Marsh found out about Lily?

Marsh choked on a sob. “She’s looking at Robert.”

“Robert Littleton?” Lady Markham looked at the white-haired gentleman seated across the table from her.

“Not I, madam.” Littleton’s handlebar moustache twitched as he spoke. “There’s never been a woman named Lily in my life.”

Robert Court stirred uneasily. He hadn’t given his first name when he’d contacted Lady Markham about her interesting new protégé; he’d simply called himself Mr. Peeler, the name he often used for this sort of work.

What was Marsh’s goal? What did he hope to achieve by baiting him? Court wanted to let go of the sweaty palm of the man named Abernathy on his left and Miss Fontaine’s slender hand on his right to jump up and walk away from the table, but he mustn’t react to Marsh’s words. He couldn’t let any of them know who he truly was, and they would interrogate him if they thought the pronouncement from beyond held meaning for him.

“He said there were others,” the medium’s desolate voice continued. “Murder. Murder.”

“Oh my goodness.” The elderly woman beside Miss Fontaine broke the circle and reached for her handkerchief to dab at her forehead. “This is too much, Lady Markham. Entirely too much. I don’t wish to participate any longer.”

“Shh, Marjorie,” their hostess said. “A murderer’s identity may be revealed here tonight. What greater purpose could there be for these gatherings than to bring about truth and justice?” Diamonds flashed in Lady Markham’s ears, matching the sparkle in her eyes. Her ladyship was the type of woman who wore jewels even for an informal gathering with friends, overdressed and with too much time on her idle hands, but a caring person at heart, Court believed. She’d be appalled to learn she was the reason her good friend Mr. Marsh had come under the gaze of the authorities.

The relatively minor case of a spiritual medium had been handed to the serious-crimes officer because Marsh had begun to bilk the wealthy. Lord Markham disliked having his wife throw money at Marsh and had complained to Sir Bradford, the commissioner.

“Carry on, Mr. Marsh,” Lady Markham said. “What else does Lily say?”

Court studied the medium’s face, noting how his eyes darted back and forth beneath the lids. He was quite an actor, with a full arsenal of emotions in his quiver. Tears leaked from the corners of his closed eyes and rolled down his cheeks. Court watched in fascination as they dripped off that smooth-shaven jaw onto his crisp white shirt collar and felt a ridiculous urge to lean forward and wipe away the tears.

It’s all a sham, he reminded himself. Bits of facts stitched together with fancy. A swindler was adept at learning everything about the people he planned to cheat and then striking them at their Achilles’ heel. How Marsh had learned about the Lily Bailey case was all that mattered.

“He was stronger than I imagined. I didn’t listen to you about being careful, dear. I should have listened to you. Oh, Phillip,” Marsh whispered the words.

Court felt another blow to his gut, for only he had heard those words after he’d been summoned to the scene by the constable. She’d returned to consciousness for a few heartbeats, whispered the few garbled phrases, just as roughly as Marsh had, and no one else had been within hearing distance. Another thought came to him—there might be a simple explanation why Marsh might have been lurking so close. He could be the murderer.

Bonnie Dee
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.

Summer Devon
Summer Devon is the pen name writer Kate Rothwell often uses. Whether the characters are male or female, human or dragon, her books are always romance.

You can visit her facebook page, where there's a sign up form for a newsletter (she'll only send out newsletters when there's a new Summer Devon or Kate Rothwell release and she will never ever sell your name to anyone).

Bonnie Dee

Summer Devon


Book Blitz: The Billionaire's Ploy by Allie Burton

Title: The Billionaire's Ploy
Author: Allie Burton
Series: Castle Ridge #5
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 25, 2017
All’s fair in love and business.

Billionaire Jackson Croft refuses to let anything interfere with his merger and marriage plans. His merger. His brother’s marriage. When Emory Barrington returns to Castle Ridge and catches his younger brother’s attention, Jackson needs to take drastic steps to stop the flirtation. Even if it means using himself as bait.

As a child Emory was infatuated with the younger Croft brother, so when he invites her to a party she can’t resist. Until Jackson interrupts their dance, tries to bribe her, and then steals a kiss. A kiss that vibrates to her soul.

To make up for the attempted bribe, Jackson offers her a job decorating his Denver penthouse. She’s just starting her interior design firm and can’t turn the business away even if it means working closely with the billionaire. The project turnaround is fast and the attraction between Emory and Jackson grows faster. She believes she sees the real man beneath the façade, but when she learns of his double-dealing her heart can’t take the betrayal.

In this take on the Sabrina story, can deception lead to love?

“My brother couldn’t make it.” Guilt slithered across Jackson’s skin, making him feel slimy. He was the reason his brother couldn’t make the rendezvous.

“Why? Is something wrong?” Emory worried about his brother, when they’d only been together for a few minutes.

A ray of green envy sliced him inside. Ryder had the life. A beautiful woman caring about him. Shey in love with him. The opportunity to choose what he wanted to do with his career.

Stepping forward, Emory made to go around.

Jackson stopped her with his hand, grazing the bare skin on her arm. Soft skin. Silky skin. He should remove his hand from her. He didn’t.

“Ryder’s sick. The doctor took him to his bedroom.”

“A doctor?” Her gaze widened, and he saw specks of black, hinting at a depth he could only imagine. “That’s serious.”

“An allergic reaction.” He tried to shake off the sliminess, wanting to grow a second skin. “He’ll be fine. He sent me instead.”

“Sent you?” She licked her lips showing her nervousness.

Frowning, a blackness dimmed the twinkling lights around them. She was afraid of him, even now. A sharp pang ripped through his chest. For good reason. He always knew she was smart. And especially attractive tonight. “To give you a message.”

Her black eyebrows rose in skepticism. A variety of colorful, flowery scents circled around, with a touch of apples. Hers? Must be the rose garden. He wasn’t close enough to smell her. Leaning in a little closer, he couldn’t stop himself from taking a tantalizing sniff.

Apples, yes. And something more exotic.

“What’s the message?” Her stilted voice reminded him of the reason he was here.

It wasn’t to smell her or paint her or be tempted by her.

“Ryder’s not available tonight. Or ever.” Jackson used the guilt and the pain and the jealousy to deliver the harsh blow. He’d hurt people before, made grown men cry. Heck, he’d made his brother ill, yet he’d never experienced this gut-wrenching emotion the moment before he slashed an opponent down.

Her eyes shimmered and her chin quivered. She flattened her lips together as if trying to hold in a cry.

He didn’t want to hurt her, and yet, by her expression, she already hated him. Why not go for broke? She tempted him as he’d never been tempted before. He understood why his brother was interested. “But I am.”

“You are what?”

“Available.” With quick reflexes, he bent his head and locked his lips onto her soft and surprised ones.

Author Bio:
Allie Burton has always been a reader and writer. She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve when she was stranded at a hospital by a snowstorm. Receiving her first romance from her grandmother, she fell in love with the genre. As an adult, she read young adult books with her own teens and was excited to find something fresh and new. Now, she writes both.

Having so many jobs as a teen and adult became great research material for the stories she writes. She has been everything from a bike police officer to a professional mascot escort to an advertising executive. She has lived on three continents and in four states and has studied art, fashion design, and marine biology.

Allie is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Romance Writers of America. She loves to ski, golf, and run. Currently, she lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.



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