February 25, 2017

Murder at Peacock Mansion by Judy Alter - Spotlight and Guest Post

Published: November 3, 2015
Number of pages: 258
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Blue Plate Cafe Mystery #3

Arson, a bad beating, and a recluse who claims someone is trying to kill her all collide in this third Blue Plate Café Mystery with Kate Chambers. Torn between trying to save David Clinkscales, her old boss and new lover, and curiosity about Edith Aldridge’s story of an attempt on her life, Kate has to remind herself she has a café to run. She nurses a morose David, whose spirit has been hurt as badly as his body, and tries to placate Mrs. Aldridge, who was once accused of murdering her husband but acquitted. One by one, Mrs. Aldridge’s stepchildren enter the picture. Is it coincidence that David is Edith Aldridge’s lawyer? Or that she seems to rely heavily on the private investigator David hires? First the peacocks die…and then the people. Everyone is in danger, and no one knows who to suspect.

About the author:
I'm really a mystery author! Hard for me to believe because it's always been my secret ambition to write mysteries. Six Kelly O'Connell Mysteries--Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death--are now available in print and as e-books. And three Blue Plate Cafe Mysteries, Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House, and Murder at Peacock Mansion, are also available. In that series, I move from an inner city urban neighborhood to a small town in East Texas.
New in October 2014: a self-published title, The Perfect Coed, which is a big leap for me in many ways, and I'm excited about it. It's set on a fictional college campus in Texas and features a prickly English professor who finds a coed's body in the trunk of her car. So far,it's gotten high praise. I'm the author of about eighty books for children and adults.My main interest for years was the experiences of women in the American West, and I've written six adult novels with that theme and seven young-adult novels. Three of the adult novels, now called Western Historical Romances--Libbie, Cherokee Rose, and Sundance, Butch and Me--are available on Kindle, as are Ballad for Sallie, a book about the late 19th-century street children in Fort Worth, Mattie, a novel about a pioneer woman physician on the Nebraska prairie, and Sue Ellen Learns to Dance, a collection of short stories about women in the Ameerican West. Also available are children's books on a variety of subjects and a memoir/cookbook (Cooking My Way Through Life with Kids and Books), ...and other works.
Another big switch in April 2016--back to historical with The Gilded Cage, set in Chicago as it grew from swampland to host of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, following two leading historical figures: tycoon and hotelier Potter Palmer and his activist wife Bertha Honoré Palmer who fought for women’s rights and help for the poor. A story of love, major historical events, class warfare, intrigue, a forbidden love interest, and murder. Retirement is great, and I'm having fun writing. Please feel free to email me at j.alter@tcu.edu.

Guest Post:
High Tea 

In Murder at Peacock Mansion, the eccentric recluse who feels threatened, delights in serving afternoon tea. It turns out to be what American generally call “high tea,” and Kate looks forward to those cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, as well as the scones and tiny cakes. But at best, per the British who gave us the tradition, it’s not high tea—it’s either afternoon tea or low tea. 

Traditionally in 19th century Britain, high tea was served on a high table and was a substantial meal designed to feed the working class. It was heavy with meat and fish, crumpets, and potato and onion cakes, perhaps baked beans or a cheese casserole. 

Afternoon or low tea on the other hand didn’t come about much until the mid-1800s when kerosene lamps had made it easier for Brits to have their dinner as late as eight or nine. Supposedly, the Duchess of Bedford complained of feeling light-headed from hunger in the late afternoons. She requested small cakes and pastries be sent to her room. Then she began to share her afternoon repast with other high society friends, and the custom became fashionable. Eventually it spread beyond high society to other socio-economic populations. 

A typical afternoon tea features light foods, designed to appeal to ladies of leisure. There are often scones, sort of the quick-bread equivalent of American biscuits but made without yeast. They come plain or in a variety of flavors-cinnamon/raisin, cheddar/herb, gingerbread, and are often served with Devonshire or clotted cream—a thick cream made by heating whole cream cow’s milk and then letting the cream rise slowly to the top as the mixture cools. As it does so, clots or clumps form. In England it’s a great luxury, although you don’t hear much about it in the U.S. Scones however have become quite popular in this country. 

A second course would be finger sandwiches—small, crustless sandwiches made to be eaten in two or three bites. They may be cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon (those two are Kate Chambers’ favorites in Murder at Peacock Mansion). Chicken, tuna, egg or shrimp salad may be used as sandwich fillings. So can pimiento cheese—let your imagination run wild. 

Some typical sandwich directions: 
Cucumber sandwiches – spread one slice white bread with butter, cream cheese or mayonnaise, and thinly sliced peeled cucumber. Top with second piece of bread. Cut off crusts, and slice diagonally twice to make four triangular sandwiches. Egg spread sandwiches – again, use white bread. Mix two finely chopped hard-boiled eggs with one Tbsp. mayo, one Tbsp. plain yogurt, one Tbsp. Dijon, one tsp. dried dill, one tsp. chopped parsley. Assemble sandwich as above for cucumber sandwiches. 

Curried chicken salad – Two cups finely shredded chicken, one half c. mayo, 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, thoroughly drained, one-fourth cup mango chutney, a tsp. or two of curry according to taste. Use wheat bread for this. Add the curry a bit at a time—it’s easy to get it too strong and overwhelm your guests taste buds. 

Smoked salmon – layer smoked salmon on one piece of pumpernickel bread and add a bit of horseradish and some dill; or add cream cheese. With the latter, try to also add thinly sliced cucumber. 

Radish and goat cheese – Thinly slice small bunch of radishes. Toss with a small amount of salt and let sit about ten minutes, then drain and rinse. Make sandwich as you would cucumber sandwich. For other uses, salting radishes softens their taste. 

And then top it off with sweet cakes and pastries—probably what we’d call petit fours. 

Of course you must serve hot tea, never iced (an American abomination)—usually at least one different variety with each course. There are 1500 types of tea in Britain, many imported from India and some from China. Most popular teas include Ceylon, Twining, Darjeeling, Taylors of Harrogate. Of course you must do as the Brits—brew loose leaf in a proper teapot and put milk, never cream, in your tea. 

This is not the food Kate serves in the café!

February 20, 2017

The Piper by Charles Todd - Spotlight

Published: January 10, 2017
Number of pages: 100
Genre: Mystery
Series:  Inspector Ian Rutledge #19.5

Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge returns shell shocked from the trenches of World War I, tormented by the spirit of Hamish MacLeod, the young soldier he executed on the battlefield. Now, Charles Todd features Hamish himself in this compelling, stand-alone short story.

Before the Great War, Hamish is farmer in the Scottish Highlands, living in a small house on the hillside and caring for a flock of sheep he inherited from his grandmother. When one spring evening he hears a faint cry ringing across the glen, Hamish sets out in the dark to find the source. Near the edge of the loch he spots a young boy laying wounded, a piper’s bag beside him. Hamish brings the piper to his home to stay the night and tends to his head wound, but by the time Hamish wakes the boy has fled. He tracks the footsteps in pursuit of the injured lad and finds him again collapsed in the grasses—now dead.

Who was the mysterious piper, and who was seeking his death? As Hamish scours the countryside for answers, he finds that few of his neighbors are as honest as he, and that until he uncovers a motive, everyone, including Hamish, is a suspect.

About the author:
Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

February 19, 2017

The Amish Wanderer by Laura V. Hilton - Review and Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: February 14, 2017
Number of pages: 240
Genre: Amish Fiction

Bethany Weiss is ready to leave town. Tongues haven’t stopped clacking in Jamesport, MO, since her daed, the bishop, was admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community. But her sharpest wounds Bethany hides from prying eyes, quietly biding her time until she can take a chance at a new life—away from Jamesport and away from God.

Silas Beiler was kicked out of his own home. Dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, he begins hitchhiking across the country, sleeping in barns where he can, working for food when possible—headed for Pennsylvania in the hope of some stability.

When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Now, however, those months of bliss seem naïve and idyllic. Was their old love strong enough to overcome new pain? Or will hurt and rejection continue to haunt their path?

My thoughts:
I thought this was a good book. The author grabbed me on the first page and kept me going as I wanted to see what was going to happen next. It was interesting how the author took an common tragedy and wove it into her story to see how the Amish handle it. The characters were very well developed. There was a lot of things going on in this story which helped the book to move along nicely. I look forward to more books by this author. 

About the author:
Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away Amish Wanderer, Patchwork Dreams (Amish of Seymour #1), Snow Globe (Amish of Jamesport #1),
a 10 x 17” canvas banner: “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly” (Micah 6:8), and
Abba Scripture Candle (3” natural, clean-burning wax, scented) – “With God All Things Are Possible”! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d8

Blog Stops

February 14: inklings and notions
February 15: A Rup Life
February 15: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
February 15: Lane Hill House
February 16: Daysong Reflections
February 16: Blogging With Carol
February 17: Bigreadersite
February 18: Rhonda’s Doings
February 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
February 19: A Greater Yes
February 19: A Holland Reads
February 21: Mom Is Forever
February 22: Splashes of Joy
February 23: Moments Dipped in Ink
February 23: Carpe Diem
February 24: Pause for Tales
February 24: Quiet Quilter
February 25: For The Love of Books
February 25: Donna’s BookShelf
February 26: Christian Bookaholic
February 27: Giveaway Lady
February 27: Autism Mom

The Drawing Game by Deidre Verne - Guest Post and Giveaway

Published: December 25, 2016
Number of pages: 275
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Sketch in Crime Mystery #3

A lover of all things green, CeCe Prentice is not impressed when a fully-sustainable development, Green Acres, pops up next to her family’s homestead. It’s not so much the ridiculous price tag of the million dollar homes built entirely from re-usable materials and powered by the sun, but rather the new neighbors who think they can simply buy a green lifestyle.
To make matters worse, one homeowner turns out to be CeCe’s high school nemesis, Phoebe Purcell, a hair-tossing vamp who tried to break up CeCe and her long-time boyfriend, Charlie.

Already disillusioned by the so-called eco-friendly development, CeCe’s family home is threatened when a series of power-outages at Green Acres kicks off a rash of home invasions. When neighbors start showing up dead, the mood at Green Acres turns south. But when Charlie, CeCe’s on-again, off-again love interest is implicated in the murders, CeCe springs into action when she discovers the only clue – a portrait she painted years ago.

About the author:
Deirdre Verne is the author of Drawing Conclusions (2015), Drawing Blood (Feb 2016) and The Drawing Game (Dec 2017). Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character, CeCe Prentice, who Dumpster dives her way through the Sketch in Crime mystery series. “Verne’s mystery is a winner…” Kirkus Reviews. A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre’s stories appear in all three NY chapter anthologies – Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters.

Author Links

Guest Post: 
Thanks for stopping by for a visit! I’m excited to tell you about the third book in The Sketch in Crime mystery series – The Drawing Game. If you haven’t had a chance to meet CeCe Prentice, then be prepared to leave your Sunday best at home. My main character is a Dumpster diver, a roll-up your sleeves kind of girl who doesn’t mind getting dirty, especially when it comes to solving a murder.

Why the Dumpster diving? CeCe is an artist and a true environmentalist. She believes she can get by on what others discard. It’s a weird way to live, but CeCe’s got a bunch of Dumpster diving pals and together, they’ve managed to cobble together a very nice life. It’s a perfect fit for CeCe and a low-cost way to live for an artist whose sole source of income amounts to a few annual commissions for her portrait art.

Sketching faces comes easily to CeCe as she has an almost annoying knack for never forgetting a face. She’s so good at it that the local police have hired her to sketch suspects. It doesn’t hurt that the town detective has a face CeCe thinks is pretty darn cute!

About those portraits. CeCe has been lucky enough to paint some of her town’s most famous residents. Unfortunately, when one of the town’s luminaries shows up dead, a portrait CeCe painted years earlier proves to be the only clue.

I invite you start at the beginning and follow CeCe and her Dumpster-diving pals through a series of rollicking fun.

Guest Post:

Tour Participants

February 8 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 9 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
February 11 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
February 12 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
February 13 – Mythical Books – GUEST POST
February 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
February 16 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
February 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 19 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
February 20 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 21 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

February 17, 2017

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher - Review and Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: January 31, 2017
Number of pages: 336
Genre: Amish Fiction
Series: Amish Beginnings #2

In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

My thoughts:
I enjoyed the setting and the time period of this book. I can not imagine what they were all going through coming to a new and foreign land. The author did a good job of helping us to understand what they were feeling. You can tell the author did her research as it shows in her writing. For me this did not seem like the typical Amish story as it included a little more of the historical and the starting of our country than I have read in Amish stories before. I thought this really made the book even better for me. I look forward to the next book in this series so I can see what is going to happen next. 

About the author:
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d1

Guest Post:
Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar—the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.

The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.

In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes—ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut—used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”

Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.

Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish—cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.

Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrants…a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes—probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man one stole her heart?)…but definitely delicious. Enjoy!

Lentil Chili

Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers.” You can expand it even more by serving over rice.

1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 c. water
1 lb. dry lentils
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)
½ tsp. pepper
2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed

Tour Stops:

February 7: cherylbbookblog
February 8: Just Commonly
February 9: A Reader’s Brain
February 9: Genesis 5020
February 10: Lane Hill House
February 10: Blogging With Carol
February 11: Quiet Quilter
February 11: Daysong Reflections
February 12: Christian Bookaholic
February 12: Jeanette’s Thoughts
February 13: Karen Sue Hadley
February 13: Just the Write Escape
February 14: Rhonda’s Doings
February 14: Bigreadersite
February 16: Bibliophile Reviews
February 16: Book by Book
February 17: Pause for Tales
February 17: A Holland Reads
February 18: A Greater Yes
February 18: The Power of Words
February 19: Lighthouse Academy
February 20: By The Book
February 20: Giveaway Lady

February 14, 2017

Two Suitors for Anna by Molly Jebber - Review and Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: January 31, 2017
Number of pages: 288
Genre: Amish Fiction
Series: Keepsake Pocket Quilt #3

In 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for and a new, very different future…

Since Anna Plank moved to Berlin, Ohio, with her widowed mamm and two schweschders, she’s found a real sense of belonging. As soon as her beloved Noah Schwartz proposes, they’ll begin a new chapter here together. But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they’re married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves.

Daniel Bontrager’s arrival adds to Anna’s confusion. Since taking over his late brother’s farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share…

My thoughts:
I thought this was a nice book. The characters were very nice and I enjoyed reading about them. I felt like they were real people. The setting of the book was well described as well. I also liked the historical aspect of the book. The romance part of the book was good but not too overwhelming. You had to feel bad for Anna during the story as she had her heart set on marrying Noah but he wanted her to travel. Then she meets Daniel and that changes things. She felt like she was being pulled in two different directions. I enjoyed following her journey. I look forward to more books in this series. 

About the author:
Molly Jebber’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times has given them a near excellent rating. She’s on RWA’s Honor Roll. She’s a speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and she offers presentations on writing, publishing, Amish lifestyle and traditions. She has received widespread media coverage, including live interviews, across the United States for her books and speaking engagements.

She’s just signed a new contract for four more Amish books! She loves interacting with her readers. She loves God, her husband, family and friends. She has a hard time saying no to cupcakes, swimming, nine holes of golf, and walks on the beach. Coconut, oatmeal, and onions, on the other hand, are not hard to say no to!

To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a Kindle Fire HD. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/af95

Tour stops:

January 31: cherylbbookblog
January 31: Giveaway Lady
January 31: Bibliophile Reviews
February 1: A Greater Yes
February 2: Lane Hill House
February 3: Just Commonly
February 4: Bigreadersite
February 5: Quiet Quilter
February 7: Pause for Tales
February 8: Splashes of Joy
February 10: inklings and notions
February 11: Carpe Diem
February 12: Donna’s BookShelf
February 13: autism mom
February 14: A Holland Reads

The Wages of Sin by Bo Brennan - Spotlight and Giveaway

Published: January 14, 2017
Number of pages: 422
Genre: Thriller
Series: A Detective India Kane & AJ Colt Crime Thriller
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light.

For overworked firefighter Gray Davies, an emergency call-out to the scene of a horrific hit-and-run is all in a day’s work . . . until the terrified Asian victim disappears, leaving her blood on his hands and unanswered questions on his lips.

For his sister, Detective India Kane, it’s an added complication in a far more sinister crime – a series of brutal murders the missing hit-and-run victim could hold the key to solving. With a mutilated corpse on her patch, and the dead woman’s identity shrouded in secrecy, India’s set on a collision course with a deadly, unknown enemy.

Her lover, Detective Chief Inspector AJ Colt, is well acquainted with the enemy – courtesy of a divisive high-profile case, he’s currently public enemy #1. As cultures clash, simmering tensions explode, bringing terror and bloodshed to the streets, and placing Colt firmly in the sights of some of the country’s most dangerous and deranged individuals.

When one of them brings their work home, nothing will ever be the same again – for the wages of sin . . . is death.

About the author:
Bo Brennan is a ‘Crime Thriller’ writer who has lived and worked in various locations. None were exotic.

Bo’s favourite past times are reading, writing, and eating. Unfortunately, the three combined do nothing for the waistline so moving about occasionally is a must.

Bo’s debut novel, STEALING POWER, is the first in a series of chilling crime thrillers featuring British Detectives India Kane and AJ Colt.

BABY SNATCHERS is the second.

THE WAGES OF SIN is the third.

Bo’s books can be read in sequence or independently . . . but are probably best read with the lights on.

Catch Up With Bo on Goodreads, Twitter , & Facebook !

Monday, 5th March


Her vision blurred as her gloved hands fumbled with the combination lock securing her bike. She swiped at her eyes, kidding herself it was the brightness of the morning making them run.

It wasn’t, it was self-pity.

She didn’t want to go back there, not today. The constant drunken comings and goings were becoming increasingly unnerving as more workers arrived. Naz had sympathised, but she couldn’t help. Couldn’t make it better, easier, or safer. With property prices high and funds low, she knew she should be grateful for a job and a home, but today she was struggling. Today she wanted more.

She wanted a life.

She wasn’t sure she could stand this one. Her breath caught in her throat as the emptiness and isolation she faced overwhelmed her.

“The first one is the worst one,” Naz had said, hugging her as she tied the knitted scarf around her neck. “Be brave.”

She wanted to be brave, as brave as Naz, but she felt weak and lonely and lost. Discreetly dabbing her eyes with her new scarf, she took a furtive glance back at the building. Naz stood at the window, watching her. With a half-hearted smile, she dropped her backpack at her feet to fasten her bicycle helmet. Naz smiled back and pressed a hand to the glass. In the time it took to pick up her backpack and hook it over her shoulders, Naz had gone.

With a heavy, resigned sigh, she pushed her bike down the long shingle drive to the entrance gates. Once outside she propped the bike against the kerb and cautiously glanced up and down the quiet tree-lined avenue – almost jumped out of her skin when a car door slammed somewhere up ahead. Seeing a blue light poking up from the row of parked cars, she pressed herself into the shadow of a tall oak tree, heart stuttering in her chest.

Her eyes followed the police officer as he strolled across the road and let himself into a house.

he didn’t know a police officer lived there. She didn’t know she’d been holding her breath either, until it juddered from her body when the door shut behind him.

Hands trembling, she drew a deep, steadying breath, mounted her bike and set out for the short journey home.

Home. Memories stabbed at her heart and stung at her eyes.

She shook them away as she cycled onto the main road and into the safety of the crowded morning traffic, feeling her shoulders finally relax. Relaxation was dangerous. Naz said it would get her killed. The words echoed in her head, causing her body to tighten once more. Gritting her teeth, she pedalled harder. Kept her head down as she passed the last of the picturesque shop fronts adorned with nice things she’d never own, and concealing aisles she’d never browse. She hated this life. Wished so much that she could go back, back to before she knew. But now that she did know, back wasn’t an option. Her only option was forward. Her only option was to run.

At first, the angry chorus of blaring horns seemed normal background noise, the same as every Monday morning approaching the Winchester bottleneck. It was the sound of a high revving engine that had her glancing over her shoulder to glimpse a white van pushing aggressively through the traffic.
Her mouth went dry.

A white van. There were probably millions of them, billions even.

It was probably nothing, just the bog standard enemy of regular road users trying to get ahead, but she never knew when or where they would come for her. And she knew what they’d done. Knew what they were capable of.

As a precaution, she bumped her bike out of the bus lane and onto the pavement, meandering slowly and carefully, wary of the pedestrians heading her way. Behind her she heard the prolonged guttural torque of an engine racing at breaking point. A split second later, a single heartbeat, her world span upside down in a silent slow motion strobe of black and white as she rotated endlessly past trees filtering sunlight.

This is it, she thought, spinning through the air. This is The End.

It wasn’t how she’d imagined it to be. And she’d imagined it a million times. Thought it would be painful. They’d promised it would be painful. They’d given her every graphic gory detail of how her end would be.

But it was nothing like they’d promised.

A serene sense of calm engulfed her as she closed her eyes and accepted her fate, her everlasting freedom.

Excerpt from The Wages of Sin by Bo Brennan. Copyright © 2017 by Bo Brennan. Reproduced with permission from Bo Brennan. All rights reserved.

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Bo Brennan. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Wages of Sin by Bo Brennan. The giveaway begins on February 12th and runs through February 22nd, 2017.

BLAST Participants: