Category Archives: Excerpt

New Release Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: Lessons in Loving Thy Murderous Neighbour by Charlie Cochrane

How the Cambridge Fellows helped get me out of the writing garret

When I look back at my writing life when I was first published, nine years ago, my equivalent of going into the office of a morning was logging on to the computer. The authors (and readers) I met were all online, via facebook or live journal or what have you. It took me a couple of years to be brave enough to find some real life authors to meet face to face.

That first authors’ lunch I attended (after much googling and e-mailing and getting myself invited as a guest) was at the local chapter meeting of the Romantic Novelists Association. It was wonderful, not least because they were so welcoming of new blood and – perhaps more importantly – so unready to bat an eye at the fact I wrote about romance between two men, as opposed to the traditional “boy meets girl”. I felt empowered. Or something.

Next step was to join the RNA as a proper member, then carry on looking for fresh opportunities; once you’ve taken the step into the unknown you’re happy to take that step again. I’d already volunteered to be on the organising panel for UK Meet, which has become a flagship UK event for people who love the LGBTQ genre. It’s a great mixture of business and pleasure, authors and readers, industry stuff and non-industry stuff.

Still, I felt the urge to spread my wings further, and not just along the LGBTQ lines. So much I wanted to do and no idea how to make it happen; then when I least expected it, up an opportunity popped. One of the people I met through the RNA lunches, and who knew about the Cambridge fellows romantic mysteries, said, “Would you be interested in doing library talks? There’s this organisation called Mystery People who have all sorts of things going on.”I almost knocked her down in my rush to say, “Yes, where do I sign?” That point saw the first birth pangs of “The Deadly Dames” who’ve appeared at libraries, literary festivals and conferences for both readers and authors with our unique brand of murder, mystery and mayhem.

One of the other knock on effects of having a story with crime in was being able to join International Thriller Writers Inc, through which I’ve been able to access some great promo opportunities and – in a surreal moment – ended up sitting with a group of authors round Peter James’s dining room table!

I’d encourage all authors, if they can (and I know it’s just not possible for some of us to step out of the garret) to take a deep breath, be brave and go out to find kindred spirits. It’ll do you the power of good and you might just end up having the sort of author experiences you really couldn’t buy.


Title: Lessons in Loving Thy Murderous Neighbour by Charlie Cochrane
Cambridge Fellows Mysteries
Publisher: The Right Chair Press
Genre: Historical, M/M, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 82 pages

Summary:

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?

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Excerpt

Cambridge 1922

“Owens? Owens?” Orlando Coppersmith’s voice sounded louder, and clearer, from his chair in the Senior Common Room at St Bride’s than it had ever sounded before. And with good cause.

“Steady on, old man. We’re in enough of a state of shock without you making sufficient noise to wake the dead.” Jonty Stewart smiled at his friend’s uncharacteristic outburst. Although friendship would hardly be the most accurate way to describe their relationship. Even the description “lovers, companions, colleagues and partners in solving crime” didn’t quite cover the depth of the bond they’d build up in nigh on twenty years. If their hair bore the odd silver thread, their ardour hadn’t cooled.

“Wake the dead or, harder still, wake some of the dons,” Dr. Panesar agreed, mischievously.

“Good point, Dr. P.” Jonty sniggered. “Some of them give the impression they’ve been asleep since 1913.”

A quick glance around the oak panelled room supported his assertion. St. Bride’s may have been one of the most forward looking of the Cambridge colleges, embracing the fact the year was 1922 rather than pretending it was still 1622, but some aspects of the university, including crusty old dons, seemed to be an immutable fixture.

“In which case,” Orlando pointed out, “we’d have ten years of history to explain to them, much of it unpleasant, let alone this latest scandal. St. Bride’s men being asked to defend Owens. What is the world coming to?”


Author Bio

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Lethe and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


Giveaway

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Friday Feature & Giveaway: Ethan’s Daughter by Rachel Brimble

Title: Ethan’s Daughter by Rachel Brimble
Templeton Cove Series Book Seven
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Superromance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Length: 384 pages

Summary:

There’s safety in solitude…isn’t there?

Single dad and best-selling thriller writer Ethan James has no problem being Templeton Cove’s most famous recluse…until a surprise visit from the past plunges him into a real-life crime drama just as feisty nurse Leah Dixon barges her way into his world.

Ethan’s first priority is to protect his daughter. His second priority is to keep Leah out of this dark web—and that means out of his bed. Except Leah isn’t going anywhere; she’s afraid little Daisy is in danger. Ethan couldn’t live with himself if anything happened to Leah…but pushing her away may be even harder!

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Excerpt

He stared into her eyes. He had to kiss her, had to see if she tasted as good as she smelled. “Leah…”

“Just kiss me already.” She smiled and leaned toward him, her mouth hovering just centimeters from his. “I know you want to. I can see it in those beautiful eyes of yours.”

He pulled her closer and kissed her. She lightly moaned before gently easing her tongue to his and Ethan kissed her deeper, harder, sliding his hands to her waist. She lifted from the couch and slid onto in his lap. He wound his hands into the silky, soft hair at the nape of her neck and she dug the fingers of one hand into his shoulder, the other gripping his upper arm.

Deep desire rippled through his body as arousal burned, the stirring of his erection pressing against the confines of his jeans.

He drew back and released a slow breath, their gazes locked as she exhaled a shaky breath and slipped from his lap onto the couch. “Well, there won’t be any going back from a kiss like that anytime soon.”

“So it’s not just me who is kind of scared then?”

“Scared?” She shook her head and reached for her wineglass. “It will take lot more than a kiss like that to scare me.”

Daisy murmured and shifted in her sleep and Ethan snapped his gaze to the couch, his body on his alert and guilt slipping into its familiar place. “God, if she’d seen us…”

“She didn’t.” She slid her hand onto his thigh and leaned back against the couch. “Let’s just take one day at a time. We’ve shared dinner and a kiss. We’re not getting married and we’re not bound by blood.” She smiled, her gaze happy. “Who knows what might happen tomorrow? Let’s just enjoy our time together. Okay?”

He faced her as trepidation over the huge possibility of what tomorrow might bring whispered through him.


Author Bio

Rachel Brimble lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eight coming in Feb 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


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Tour Stop, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Forbidden by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Title: The Forbidden by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 368 pages

Summary:

FROM THE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE THIS MAN TRILOGY…. 

What do you do when you can’t control your feelings for someone? When you know you shouldn’t go there? Not even in your head.

Annie has never experienced the ‘spark’ with a guy-the kind of instant chemistry that steals your breath and blindsides you completely. Until a night out with friends brings her face to face with the wickedly sexy and mysterious Jack. It’s not just a spark that ignites between them. It’s an explosion. Jack promises to consume Annie, and he fully delivers on that promise.

Overwhelmed by the intensity of their one night together, Annie slips out of their hotel room. She is certain that a man who’s had such a powerful impact on her and who could bend her to his will so easily, must be dangerous. But she’s already in too deep. And Jack isn’t only dangerous. He is forbidden.

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Excerpt (MATURE 18+ ONLY)

“Thank you for your help,” I say quietly, studying him, definitely detecting that he’s deep in thought. Don’t ask, don’t ask, don’t ask. I need to get back into my apartment without engaging with him, which could prove tricky when he’s blocking the doorway and looking like he has no intention of shifting to let me in.“Annie,” he breathes. “I’m struggling so badly.”

“I’m not doing this.” I swallow, pushing my way past him. He grabs me by the top of my arm and holds me in place. “Let me go, Jack.”

“I’ve already told you I can’t do that. Annie, I’m drowning here. I’m going out of my mind, and the more time I spend with you the fucking worse it’s getting. Listening to you, talking to you, sharing a passion with you that goes way beyond the amazing time we had in bed together.”

“You have to forget!” I yell, knowing anger is the only way forward. Be angry with him. Let it dominate me and rule me, because the alternative scares me to fucking death.

He pushes me into the hall and slams the door behind us, forcing me to back up. “No,” he says, straight and even. “No,” he repeats, moving one more step forward, except this time I don’t retreat. Because I can’t. Because he has me locked in place with those grey eyes, and now they’re back to their full glory. Sparkling, even if it’s with anger. He reaches for his shirt and starts unbuttoning it before shrugging it off and throwing it to the floor, revealing the chest that’s haunting me.

I quickly look down at the pile of material, my mind reeling. His chest. His perfect damn chest. “What are you doing?”

“I have no fucking idea.” He reaches for me and slides a hand around my neck, pulling me to him. Our chests meet, and my determination to repel him vanishes under our connection. Wrongs turn into rights. Conflict turns into craving.

“I can’t get you out of my head, Annie.” His forehead meets mine, his palm massaging away the tightness in my neck muscles, softening me up until I relax in his hold. “I want you all over again, and I can’t even find the will to worry about how much more that’ll make me want you.” He breathes down on me. “I’ve played that night on repeat. I’ve dreamed of holding you in my arms again. I’ve craved the sound of your voice, the feel of your touch, the softness of your lips on mine. I know I shouldn’t want you. But I do. Nothing has ever made me feel this insane with need. Nothing has taken up so much space in my head. I can’t fucking help it, Annie.” His grey gaze sinks into me, my heart steadying to an even thrum. His head starts to shake mildly, his splayed hand moving up to the back of my head and fisting my hair. “I don’t want to help it,” he growls. “I want you. I don’t care how wrong it is.” His clenched fist tightens, gripping my hair harshly. “I know I’ve been on your mind since I fucked you every which way in that hotel room. Stop denying it. Don’t insult me and tell me you don’t crave that amazing feeling all over again. I can see it in your eyes every damn time I look into them. You. Want. Me.”

It’s me who moves in first. All me. I lunge forward and smash my lips to his, the magnetic force winning. His words winning. Jack winning. My heart winning. I coax his mouth open with hard, hungry kisses. I’ve lost my mind to a craving too powerful to fight off. And, like Jack, I don’t care how wrong it is.

Lost.

Yet as he walks me backward until my back slams into the wall, I feel found again.


Author Bio

Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands’ town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion, a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * BookBub * Amazon Author Page


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Tour Stop & Giveaway: Swept Away by S. McPherson

Title: Swept Away by S. McPherson
The Water Rushes Series Book Three
Publisher: S. McPherson
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 303 pages

Summary:

Elev nos senaremdos: Live on in memories

Milo is gone, lost beyond the realms, and Vladimir and the others plan to go after him before he gets himself killed…if it isn’t already too late. But they have no way of making the gethadrox and they are not all working as together as they think.

Secrets hushed and secrets kept are soon revealed when Dezaray gets a package that leads to her taking matters into her own hands and following a path that leads to the unimaginable.

Only Lexovia and a small band of misfits stay behind in an attempt to save the world and Lexovia soon finds herself in a position of power she never truly wanted.

Dive deeper into worlds & war of this thrilling third installment of a dark fantasy. Loved by fans of Cassandra Clare and Sarah J Maas.

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Excerpt

It’s bloody freezing in the cell they throw me into and they seem in no hurry to bring me that extra blanket I’d asked for. It seems Tinfoil was right. Last night I was free, tonight I am caged. What’s worse, they’ve tossed me into the same cell as some kooky old lady who keeps eyeballing me from her corner.

‘Can I help you?’ I ask impatiently.

‘Come into the light,’ she croaks. That’s a laugh. There’s hardly any light in this place.

‘I’m quite comfortable here thanks.’

‘Come into the light,’ she croaks a little more loudly, causing her to cough. Not wanting her to suffer a heart attack on my account, I reluctantly stroll over to the bars of the cell to be nearer the flickering florescent lights in the corridor

‘Lexovia?’ she says. ‘You are the Elentrice, Lexovia.’

‘No.’ Poor old lady. ‘I am Dezaray Storm.’

She chuckles. ‘You were always such a kidder. You are going to be in a world of trouble once they find you missing from Coldivor. Best you get back to the portal.’

I am about to disagree with this senile old woman but the mention of the portal captures my attention.

‘I am honestly not Lexovino, or whoever you think I am,’ I state, braving a few steps towards her, ‘but perhaps you can tell me more about her, Coldivor and this,’ I shrug, ‘this portal?’


Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling Author & a citizen of the world; S. McPherson was born in England, moved to Saudi Arabia when she was five then on to Dubai at the age of seven. S. McPherson briefly lived in Scotland, she is originally from Jamaica and her mind is often far, far away in lands people have never heard of.

S. McPherson has always loved writing in all its forms and at the tender age of eight, she dreamt of being a member of the next big pop group where she could sing and write songs all day. When that inexplicably fell through (how could she not be the next Beyonce??), she moved on to poems, scripts and eventually novels.

Having met many different people – imaginary and real – along her travels, S. McPherson has a vast array of characters buzzing in her head bursting to be let loose on a page or two of fantasy.

Author Links: Website * Amazon Author Page * Twitter * Goodreads


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Tour Stop, Excerpt & Giveaway: Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham

Title: Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham
Cottonbloom Series Book Four
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 336 pages

Summary:

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancé’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

Read my review HERE.

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Excerpt

Jackson grabbed Wyatt’s arm and forced him around. “You like her.”

“Everyone likes her. She’s nice.”

“I mean, you like like her. You have since we were kids—I’ve not forgotten how you walked around with cow eyes around her—and that kiss out front wasn’t pretend. You two nearly melted the asphalt.”

Jackson’s twin powers had veered sharply annoying. “I maybe, sort of like her. What’s wrong with that? She’s single; I’m single.”

“She’s been single for less than a week. She’s using you.”

“I’m using her too. In return for me squiring her around, she’s going to get her judge daddy to talk up the garage at the country club. Send some more projects our way to make up for the Camaro.”

“That kiss was all a selfless act for the garage?” Jackson’s sarcasm was not appreciated.

Wyatt had to look away from his brother’s gaze which prompted a muttered curse from Jackson.

“Do not fall for this woman, Wyatt. Whether she means to or not, she’s going to rip your heart into little pieces and feed it to the gators before she goes back to her old life.”

“We’re not getting serious. In fact, we agreed that after I take her to the gala, it’s over.”

Jackson didn’t look pleased with the news. He looked worried. “As long as you don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s anything more than that. She’ll be back with Tarwater or someone like him by Christmas.”

Because the thought had already burrowed into his chest, Wyatt’s reaction was knee-jerk and defensive. “Someone like him?”

“You know, sophisticated. Worldly. Rich. Well-connected. Well-groomed.”

“Eff you,” Wyatt shot back, but there was little heat to it.

Jackson was right. “I’ve been told I clean up real nice.”

Jackson’s smile revealed his dimples. A rare sight since their pop had died last year. “Doesn’t count if it’s from a female relative over the age of sixty.”


Author Bio

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


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Friday Feature & Giveaway: Got Mine by Nicole Loufas

Title: Got Mine by Nicole Loufas
Men of Trance Series Book One
Publisher: Nicole Loufas
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Length: 187 pages

Summary:

When his precocious daughter is accepted into a hipster private school – Theodore Sway sacrifices his ego, his morals, and his body hair so Lulu isn’t damned to a life of ramen noodles and broken dreams.

Theo takes a job at Trance; the city’s only women’s club, and soon becomes its star attraction. That still isn’t enough to pay his daughter’s tuition and the ever-rising cost of his San Francisco neighborhood. With the help of Rico, a fellow entertainer and part-time pimp; Theo earns extra cash through a series of hilarious side jobs.

When a demon from his past returns; Theo’s sexy stage persona becomes a liability and threatens his role as the world’s okayest dad.

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Excerpt

Most of my parenting skills were derived from animated sitcoms and Adam Sandler movies. My father rarely made a special appearance in my life, so guys like Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin were my mentors. I’ve never strangled my daughter or attempted to run her over with a car, and yet, I’d still take second place to Homer for father of the year.

Because one: I can’t afford a car.

And two: I don’t have a killer job in a nuclear facility that probably offers an excellent benefits package.

Fatherhood has been a learn-as-you-go experience for me. I can’t tell you how many times I wrapped my daughter in a t-shirt and plastic bag because I forgot to buy diapers. Or fed her fish-shaped crackers and apple juice for dinner. And maybe, just maybe, Lulu’s first word was shit.

Could’ve been sit or spit.

Tonight, I’m upping my game. I’m going full Mike Brady. Minus the suit and tie.

Minus clothes period.

If there is one thing television has taught me; it’s this:

Good fathers make sacrifices.

Whether it’s giving up on your dream to play professional baseball or shaving all your body hair, good dads provide a better life for the people they love. Believe it or not, there are men in this world who put their children first. I’ve never actually met one of these unicorns, but I’m pretty sure they exist. If things work out with my new job; I’ll be shitting rainbows by the end of the month.

I turn off the shower, pull a towel from the silver bar on the wall, and perform a sniff test. I try to hit the laundry mat once a week, but when you have to decide between clean towels and eating; a case of ramen noodles wins every time.

The struggle is real; but it won’t last forever. One day I’ll have so many fresh fucking towels I’ll need a closet to hold them all.

Goals.

Goals are good.

Clean towels are even better.


Author Bio

Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers.

Author Links: Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads


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