Friday, June 30, 2017

The Watson Girl Book Tour and Giveaway for Starbucks and Amazon Gift Cards!


The Watson Girl
Tess Winnett Series, Book 2
by Leslie Wolfe
Genre: Crime Thriller, Police Procedural

A GRIPPING SERIAL KILLER THRILLER


An entire family is murdered and, by a quirk, a young girl is left unharmed. For fifteen years, she believed the killer had been caught, and he’s now on death row, awaiting execution. While trying to be content with her adoptive family, she’s living in relentless uncertainty and the fear of remembering what really happened that night when she was five years old. She’s The Watson Girl. 

A therapist has asked her to participate in regression session treatments to attempt to bring back those lost memories. The closer she gets to the truth, however, the less time she has to remain alive. Now, the real killer is going to silence her, before she can remember the details of that horrifying night, when she was an innocent witness. 

Laura Watson is young, she’s beautiful, and she’s a serial killer's loose end. 

Join the smart, relentless, and short-fused FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett and her team in a heart-stopping search for the serial killer who has managed to stay hidden for many years. Explore the inner workings of the murderer’s mind, and find out what motivates such predatory, blood-lusting behavior, while following every twist and turn of an existence spent taking lives. 

Laura Watson’s family was murdered fifteen years ago. 

That was only the beginning. His beginning. 

If you’re the apple of his eye, you’re already dead. 

Special Agent Tess Winnett will hold nothing back to stop the killer before he takes another innocent life. She never fails, no matter what’s at stake. Even her own life. 

The best-selling author of Dawn Girl is back with another suspenseful, gripping thriller. If you’re a fan of David Baldacci and James Patterson, you will enjoy Leslie Wolfe.






Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe is passionate about writing fiction, despite spending a significant number of years climbing the corporate ladder. Leaving the coveted world of boardrooms for the blissful peace of the Florida-based "Wolves’ den," Leslie answers one true calling: writing. 

Leslie’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style. 

Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels, and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first-person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller. 

Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.





Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!






Thursday, June 29, 2017

Not Through Loving You Book Tour and Giveaway for a Print Book and $5 Amazon Gift Card


NOT THROUGH LOVING YOU
By Patricia Preston
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pub Date: 6/20/17


In the Southern town of Lafayette Falls, a new life brings together a woman with everything to lose and a doctor with everything to prove.

When a sickly infant is surrendered at the Lafayette Falls Medical Center, and orphaned soon after, pediatrician Aaron Kendall arranges to adopt him. After a painful divorce, the busy baby doc is about to realize his own dream of becoming a father when the baby’s beautiful estranged aunt turns up. She doesn't exactly approve of the Kendall bachelor pad, complete with Aaron's cranky dad and wacky brother, forcing Aaron to form a risky alliance with her.

Country singer-songwriter Lia Montgomery barely knew her half-sister, but she's determined her tiny nephew goes to a good home. If only she fit the bill herself, but her stressful life on the road is no place for a baby. Yet despite her misgivings, as she gets to know Aaron, she realizes the smart and sexy doctor is everything a child could want in a dad -- and more unsettling, everything she's ever hoped for in a man. After all she's put him through, is it too late to form a family -- and maybe put a song in the good doctor's heart?



An Excerpt from Not Through Loving You

He took a moment to admire her. She wore the pretty white dress she’d worn that night when they’d met in the hotel restaurant and he had been determined to send her packing. A lot had changed since then. Lucky me, he mused as he took the music box out of her hands.

He placed it on the chest of drawers and restarted the song.

As “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” started to play again, he reached out his hand to her. “May I have this dance?”

For a moment, it appeared her breath halted before she took his hand. “Yes. Yes,” she repeated as if she had agreed to more than just a dance.

They settled against one another as they waltzed around the nursery in small steps, a couple forward and backward since there was little open space. “We need a bigger room,” he said as they bumped into the armoire.

“This is fine,” she whispered. She began to softly sing the lyrics to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

He smiled. He loved for her to sing to him, and as she sang about dreams coming true, he glanced at the picture of himself holding John Aaron. The baby was a dream come true, and so was the woman in his arms. He sensed a shift in her as she slid her hand from his and roped both of her arms around his neck as they swayed to the music.

“We should call it a night,” he murmured.

He shut off the light in the nursery as they headed across the hall to their bedroom...



Patricia Preston is a Mississippi author who writes witty mainstream historical and contemporary romance as well as humorous short stories. She won the William Faulkner Award for Short Fiction, the Lone Star Writing Competition for Historical Romance, and Harlequin’s World’s Best Romances Short Story Competition. Besides working as a medical office manager, she has also worked as a librarian. She loves the atmosphere of small towns but would love to live in New Orleans or Nashville, her favorite cities. Her other interests include history, cooking, photography, and getting together with friends and family. She is happiest when she is in her writing cave with a glass of sweet iced tea and ideas flowing. 



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!







Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Freedom Broker Book Tour and Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card ~ 2 Winners!


The Freedom Broker
by KJ Howe
Genre: Thriller

KIDNAP & RANSOM
IN-DEPTH RESEARCH FOR CANADIAN AUTHOR’S DEBUT INTERNATIONAL THRILLER

There are twenty-five elite kidnap negotiators in the world. Only one is a woman. And she’s the best in the business. Meet Thea Paris in THE FREEDOM BROKER.

With over 40,000 reported kidnappings every year -- which translates to five people every hour -- the world of kidnap and ransom is taking on a newsworthy role across the globe. Displaced military and police in third world countries have no way to put food on the table, but they do have security skills, so they have turned to kidnapping as a way of making a living. Also, terrorists are using kidnapping as a fundraising enterprise, filling their coffers with over 125 million dollars since 2009. Kidnappers used to only abduct high net-worth individuals and executives of multi-national organizations. Not anymore. Journalists, aid workers, and family members of executives have now become high value targets.

Kidnapping is a growing international crisis. What tools do we have to fight against this increasing threat? There are twenty-five elite kidnap negotiators who travel to the globe’s hotspots to bring hostages home, through negotiation or recovery, and they are called response consultants or freedom brokers

Local to Toronto, author K.J. Howe has immersed herself in the world of kidnapping for the last three years, interviewing kidnap negotiators, former hostages, kidnap and ransom insurance executives, hostage reintegration experts, psychiatrists specializing in the captive’s mindset, and the Special Forces soldiers who deliver ransoms and execute rescues. 

Howe’s research culminates into her debut thriller, THE FREEDOM BROKER, published by the Hachette Book Group under the Quercus imprint in the US, Canada, U.K. and many foreign territories. The book has reached attention North America wide, and has led to reviewers such as #1 NYT Bestseller James Patterson calling it “fact and fiction at its best.” 

K.J. Howe’s novel has received positive and international acclaim from some of North America’s most influential mediums and authors including:

*
TIME Magazine called the book a “Dark Delight.”

*
#1 NYT Bestseller Lee Child endorses the book: “Razor sharp and full of you-are-there authenticity -- a superb thriller.”

*
NYT Bestseller Linwood Barclay shares, “Breathless action, great characters, and convincing details make Howe’s debut a surefire rocket to the top of the lists.”

*
In The Providence Journal, USA Today Bestselling author Jon Land reviews, The Freedom Broker is a blisteringly original, superbly crafted thriller that promises to be one of the major debuts of 2017. K.J. Howe’s gut-wrenching foray into the world of hostage negotiation turned upside down propels her straight into the league of Linda Fairstein, Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Scottoline, and Karin Slaughter, thanks to a tale framed by an emotional complexity and structural elegance both rare for the genre. As riveting as it is bracing, this is reading entertainment at its absolute best.”



An Excerpt from Chapter One

500 feet above Kwale, Nigeria
November 1st
2:30 a.m.


Thea Paris knew the drill.

If the mission failed, no one would retrieve her body. She’d be left to rot in the jungle, unidentified and forgotten. And that wouldn’t do. She couldn’t miss her father’s 60th celebration.

Her gloved hand glided over her flak jacket and M4 with practiced ease. Night vision goggles, flares, grenades, extra magazines -- all easy to access. The weapon had been tested, cleaned and oiled, ready to combat the humidity of the jungle. Pre-mission checks done.

The hypnotic purr of the resurrected Hughes 500P helicopter set the tone for the operation. Black, in every sense of the word. Sound, movement, light, all kept to a minimum. They were flying Nap-of-the-Earth; low, utilizing the terrain to stay below the radar.

As operational commander, she’d led her seven-man team through endless rehearsals, using a model of the targeted area. Now it was time for execution. Brown listened to Hendrix in his earbuds, his way of psyching up. Johansson stared into space, probably thinking about his pregnant wife who wasn’t happy he’d accepted this mission. Team A, following behind in the other gutted chopper, consisted of twin brothers Neil and Stewart -- yep, born in Scotland -- and a wizened former French Foreign Legionnaire named Jean-Luc who could outshoot them all. She’d handpicked each one from the pool of operatives at Quantum International Security.

Except Rifat Asker, her boss' son.

Who was staring at her. They’d known each other since they’d been kids, as their fathers were best friends. Rif had serious combat skills, but they often locked horns on methods of execution. She traced the S-shaped scar on her right cheek, a permanent reminder of Rif clashing with her brother Nikos.

She pressed a special app button on her smartphone. The glucose monitor read 105. Batteries were fully charged. Perfect. Nothing screwed up a mission more than low blood sugar. She slipped her phone into the pocket of her fatigues beside her glucagon kit. Rif’s assessing gaze still focused on her. Did he suspect she had diabetes? She’d done her best to keep her illness under wraps. Competition was tough among this elite group, and she didn’t want anyone thinking she wasn’t up for the job.

The pilot's voice crackled in her earpiece. "Three minutes to touchdown."

"Roger that. We're green here."

The second helicopter followed somewhere behind them, but the stormy sky obliterated all evidence of its existence. She wiped her damp palms on her fatigues. Rain rattled the chopper's fuselage, and the turbulence unsettled her stomach. Flying had never been her strong suit. The reduced visibility worked in their favor, but the cloying humidity and heat degraded the airtime and performance of the chopper. To compensate, they'd reduced their fuel load to stay as light as possible, but that left only a minimal buffer for problems.

Rif shifted to face Brown and Johansson. "Okay, boys, let's grab this 'Oil Eagle'."

The hostage, John Sampson, an oil executive based in Texas, earned high six figures to visit remote drilling sites and increase their output. Sampson had two kids, and his wife taught third grade. He coached baseball every Thursday night, but he'd missed the last ten weeks because he'd been held captive in the swamp by MEND -- Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta. Seemed like every terrorist group had some catchy acronym, like they’d hired PR firms to come up with them.

This Nigerian militant group wouldn’t budge from a three-million-dollar demand, and Sampson’s kidnapping insurance topped out at one mil. That left one option. Rescue. But one out of five was the success rate for extractions.

"One minute until touchdown," the pilot warned.

She slipped on her night vision goggles and clutched the straps anchored to the cabin walls.

"You sure there's no leak?" Black camo paint emphasized the tension in the lines around Rif's eyes.

"Roger that.” She concentrated on the positives -- always better than bleak thoughts when descending into hellfire. They should have the element of surprise, and she’d selected a crackerjack team. Every member would put his life on the line for the others, and their combined combat experience read like the Ivy League of special ops.

The pilot threaded the riverbed using the narrow view provided by the FLIR camera mounted near the skids. Flying into the thick jungle on a moonless night was far from optimal, but their intel was time sensitive. They had to get Sampson out tonight.

"Thirty seconds." The pilot's warning was like a shot of caffeine injected into her veins.

They’d arrived at a small clearing in the triple canopy jungle two miles from the rebel camp. A film of perspiration coated her back. Her body tingled. Alive, awake, adrenalized.

"Ten seconds."

The pilot raised the bird’s nose, flaring to a hover, then settled onto the grass. She nodded to her team, and they hit the ground and rolled away from the chopper. Heat emanated from the rotorwash, as their transport rose up and away.

A moldy stench flooded her mouth and nose, the residual effect of endless rainy seasons. They huddled in the thick bush while the other Hughes dropped off Jean-Luc and the two Scots. She scanned the area. The choppers faded into the distance, their peculiar silhouettes showcasing the modifications for stealth.

Night sounds returned. Crickets chirping, water gurgling from the nearby river bed, the ominous roar of a hippo. She checked her GPS, signaled Rif, and entered the dense foliage. Forty-two minutes to execute the rescue, rendezvous with the helicopters, and get the hell out of here. She circumnavigated the heaviest brush, then froze.

A sound. Scuffling in the bushes. Her hands tightened on her M4. A sentry so close to their launch point?

She glanced over her shoulder. Rif's large frame crouched two feet behind her. Brown and Johansson squatted beside him while Team A covered the rear. The shrubbery to their left rippled in the brisk breeze.

Silence. A mosquito implanted itself in her neck. She ignored the sharp sting.

A branch snapped. She flicked off the safety.

Crunching footsteps. A shrill cry.

She scanned right, left. Movement flashed in front of them at ground level.

Her finger hovered beside the trigger.

More footsteps.

A porcupine scurried across their ingress route, its quills in full attack mode.

She exhaled a long breath and gave Brown a half-smile. Dammit to hell. She’d almost shot the prickly creature, which would have blown their cover. Brown touched the rabbit's foot around his neck and nodded. Good luck charms were an operational must. She always wore the St. Barbara silver pendant her father had given her on her twelfth birthday. It hadn't let her down yet.





Born in Toronto, Canada, K.J. enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle during her early years, living in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Caribbean, which gave her an insider’s view into many different cultures. While abroad, she read every book she could find, which triggered in her a desire to create her own stories.

She attended Salzburg International Preparatory School, Neuchâtel Junior College, and Albert College before earning a Specialists Degree in Business from the University of Toronto. K.J. found success in the corporate world, but her passion for travel, adventure, and stories drew her back to school where she earned a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She also won several writing awards, including three Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.

While honing her fiction skills, K.J. worked as a medical, health, and fitness writer. She then became involved with the International Thriller Writers as the executive director of ThrillerFest, the organization’s annual conference held every July in New York City.

In preparation for writing THE FREEDOM BROKER series, which focuses on elite kidnap negotiator Thea Paris, K.J. spent extensive time researching the dark world of kidnapping. She has interviewed former hostages, negotiators, hostage reintegration experts, Special Forces operatives, and K&R insurance executives.

K.J. is an avid tennis player, cyclist, and swimmer. Travel and adventure still rank high on her priority list. She has had the pleasure of riding racing camels in Jordan, surfing in Hawaii, zip lining in the Costa Rican jungle, diving alongside Great White Sharks in South Africa, studying modern combat in the Arizona desert, and working with elephants in Botswana. Home is in Toronto, Canada, but she is often missing in action.

K.J. Howe is available for interviews and appearances along with presentations about kidnapping and travel safety. For media appearances, interviews, speaking engagements, and/or book review requests, please contact mickey.creativeedge@gmail.com by email or by phone at 403.464.6925.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!





Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dating the It Guy Book Blast: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world, and it doesn't help that his picture-perfect ex, Lauren, seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her, and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the "it guy."



An Excerpt from Dating the It Guy:

The next day, I went to the newspaper office to drop off my story. I hoped I wouldn’t run into Lauren, Brendon’s perfect ex, but she was there with her feet up on her desk, talking on the phone. She put up her finger to signal me to wait. There was no place to sit so I stared at the posters on the wall. Lauren was wearing a blue zip-up sweatshirt and sweatpants. Her shiny hair was pulled back in a ponytail (a bouncy one, of course), which showed off her diamond earrings. She had some pearly lavender lipstick on, the kind that makes most people look like a corpse, but on her it showed off her flawless complexion and rosy cheeks. Plus, she didn’t need any other makeup with those gray eyes. I had spent forty-five minutes on my hair and makeup and wore a pair of designer jeans I got on sale and a cute fitted sweater I borrowed from Margaux, yet Lauren was hotter in her sweats and ponytail with hardly any makeup on.

“Sorry, talking to the assistant editor at the Post,” she said.

Stupid namedropper—wait, the Post? Where I had gotten the internship—the same one taken away from me?

“I’m interning there,” she said.

“That’s nice.” Get me out of here. She got my position?

“This is my second time there. I started in the summer, but they wanted me to stay on for the fall. So what can I do for you?” she asked as I tried to keep myself from howling over the unfairness of the universe.

“Here’s the Halloween party story. I e-mailed it to the submission address, but Brendon said you also needed a hard copy.”

“Oh, I thought Brendon was going to write this,” she said.

“He asked me to … is it okay?”

“I guess.” She dropped it in a box and began typing furiously on her laptop.

“You’re welcome.” I hated her. I can’t believe she got my internship at the Post and moved in on my ex-boyfriend. I could just imagine her and Brendon’s life together—it would be like a glossy, preppy perfume ad. Their house would be in a magazine where they’d praise her for her good taste. Then their two perfect children, Brendon Jr. and Lily (or whatever rich people name their daughters), would be dressed in perfect little outfits that matched the furniture. Meanwhile, I’d still be trying to work at the Post and wearing designer clothes from the final markdown sale rack at some bargain-basement store.



Praise for Dating the It Guy:

Dating the It Guy is an entertaining story that is as absorbing as it is hilarious.”~Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

“A satisfying YA romance that is really about growing up and learning how to deal with life.”~Writing Pearls book review blog

“There is so much to love about this book. Krysten Lindsay Hager knows how teens think and speak, and she understands why Emme would feel overwhelmed by everything about Brendon -- his looks, his popularity, his feelings for her, his exes, his family.”~Vox libris: the voice of books book review blog



Author Krysten Lyndsay Hager

Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends ... Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2), and Dating the It Guy. Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Best Sellers award. Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, The Grand Haven Tribune, The Beavercreek Current, The Grand Blanc View, The Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

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Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
Ends 7/23/17

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Warrior of Fire Book Tour and Giveaway for a Print Book and $5 Amazon Gift Card


WARRIOR OF FIRE
By Shona Husk
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pub Date: 6/20/17


Is theirs a love match?

For Leira Venn, her future is a given foretold by the oracle of the Albah, the ancient people she was born to. Which is why she knows from the moment she meets Dr. Julian Ryder that he is fated to be hers. But nothing else about the prophecy feels right. For the handsome doctor is shrouded by darkness, and intimately involved with a woman who seems intent on killing Leira…

Or a death wish?

Sorrow has shadowed Julian Ryder for as long as he can remember. But from the moment he meets lovely Leira, his heart is filled with hope for the future -- a future that is as combustible as the powerful attraction between them. For Leira is marked for death by the very forces who killed his mother. The very darkness that stole everything he held most dear. Only this time, Julian is stronger, more in control of his powers than ever. But will it be enough to save Leira from those who would destroy her?




An Excerpt from Warrior of Fire

Emily slipped her phone into her pocket. He hadn’t been lying about leaving the hospital late. She’d watched him walk out the door. She’d spent a lot of time watching him and not enough doing anything. The times they were together they got as close as two people could, yet Julian had managed to keep the rest of his life completely apart from her. She was pretty sure that no one even knew they were dating.

She sat in her car without starting it. They weren’t really dating and she shouldn’t be feeling pissed that he’d blown her off. He was a mark, not her lover.

He was her kill to get her full membership to the Guardians of Adam. She closed her eyes and leaned over the steering wheel. So why hadn’t she done it already? She should’ve done it months ago when they first met. She’d known that he was Albah from the curl of his ears. But he was also attractive, educated, and nothing like the egotistical magic-using maniacs her mother had told tales about. She should’ve questioned him and killed him two weeks ago while the undead horror was alive and killing. Now the Albanex had vanished and she knew a Guardian hadn’t killed it. The Albah were probably protecting it. Hiding and feeding it.

She shuddered.

How could Julian, a well-respected doctor and burns specialist, participate in something like that? Yet it was in his blood to become an undead, blooddrinking Albanex. She needed to find out where his father lived -- which was harder than it should have been. She’d tried.

There was a tap on her window. Her heart stopped and she almost died.

What a Guardian she was, jumping at a security guard doing his rounds.

She opened her window a crack. “Yes?”

“Just checking you’re all right, miss.” The security guard looked concerned.

Emily softened her features as though she’d seen a dying relative and sniffed. “Yeah. Just gathering myself before I drive home.”

“Never wise to linger in the car park. Better safe than sorry.” He smiled.

He looked as though he couldn’t run down a thief even if the thief was carrying a box full of donuts and a coffee to wash them down.

Emily nodded and obediently started her car. When he didn’t move away, she pulled out of the bay. She needed to get home. It was late, but no doubt her mother would want a status update.

No change. Nothing to report.

The only excuse she could give for why the Albah was still alive was that he could lead them to more … and hopefully the Albanex.

She paid for her parking and headed out of the city. She’d go to Julian’s place and wait to see if he came home tonight at all. That twinge in her chest was not jealousy.

He didn’t have another lover.

He barely had time for her.

She knew the real reason Julian was still alive was because she did fancy him just the tiniest bit. And he saved people. Maybe he wasn’t like the other Albah.

But all Albah could become Albanex. Albanex were the vampires that humans thought existed only in myth. Albah were more like the elves or witches, harmless until they did the magic that would make them drink blood and live forever. The Guardians should’ve wiped them all out 200 years ago instead of calling for a truce; then she wouldn’t be in this position.

Doctor Julian Ryder, for all his good work, was still only one magic ritual away from becoming an undead monster.


Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination, she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult, she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back. With over forty published stories, ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





Monday, June 26, 2017

Seducing Mr. Sykes Book Tour and Giveaway for a Print Book and $5 Amazon Gift Card


SEDUCING MR. SYKES
By Maggie Robinson
Genre: Historical Romance
Pub Date: 6/20/17



In Maggie Robinson’s sparkling new series, the quaint village in Gloucestershire is where the wayward sons and daughters of Great Britain’s finest families come for some R&R -- and good old-fashioned “rehab.” But sometimes they find much more…

No one at Puddling-on-the-Wold ever expected to see Sarah Marchmain enter through its doors. But after the legendary Lady’s eleventh-hour rejection of the man she was slated to marry, she was sent here to restore her reputation ... and change her mind. It amused Sadie that her father, a duke, would use the last of his funds to lock her up in this fancy facility -- she couldn’t be happier to be away from her loathsome family and have some time to herself. The last thing she needs is more romantic distraction…

As a local baronet’s son, Tristan Sykes is all too familiar with the spoiled, socialite residents of
the Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation -- no matter how real their problems may be. But all that changes when he encounters Sadie, a brave and brazen beauty who wants nothing more than to escape the life that’s been prescribed for her. If only Tristan could find a way to convince the Puddling powers-that-be that Sadie is unfit for release, he’d have a chance to explore the intense attraction that simmers between them -- and prove himself fit to make her his bride…



An Excerpt from Seducing Mr. Sykes

Chapter 1

Puddling-on-the-Wold, September 1882

“It’s Lady Maribel all over again,” the grocer Frank Stanchfield muttered to his wife, checking the lock to his back room. “How the girl discovered the telegraph machine is a mystery.”

Except it wasn’t such a mystery, really. Lady Sarah Marchmain -- “Sadie” to her late mama and very few friends -- had eyes, after all, and there it was behind an open alley window, gleaming on a worn oak desk.

She had climbed in, her tartan trousers very convenient for hoisting oneself into the building. After being caught trying to send a message to who knows who, she was now unrepentantly inspecting the jars of candy on the shop counter.

She might try to steal some of it, if only the shopkeepers would stop hovering over her.

“Bite your tongue!” Mrs. Stanchfield whispered, looking over nervously at Sadie. Apparently no one wanted another Lady Maribel de Winter in Puddling. The first had been bad enough. Sadie had heard of her in snatches from the villagers, and the woman’s portrait hung in the parish hall. Her wicked reputation had outlived her, even if her decades of good works once she married had mitigated some of it. She had been a wild young thing who would have made Napoleon quake in his boots.

Or take her to bed. Lady Maribel had been, according to gossip, irresistible to men. Fortunately her husband, a local baronet called Sir Colin Sykes, had taken her in hand as best he could once they were married.

Sadie was determined never to be taken in hand.

Puddling was known as a famous reputation-restorer, a place to rusticate and recalibrate. Prominent British families had sent their difficult relatives here for almost eighty years. Lady Maribel was among the first to be gently incarcerated within its limits in 1807, according to the elderly vicar’s wife, who seemed to know everything about everyone dating back to William the Conqueror.

Now it was Sadie’s turn to be gently incarcerated, and she didn’t like it one bit.

The village had a spotless reputation. It was a last resort before a harsher hospital, or worse, killing one’s own offspring. Or parent. Lady Sarah Marchmain had angered her father so thoroughly that they’d come to blows. When the Duke of Islesford dropped her off, he had been sporting a significant black eye.

Well-deserved, in her opinion.

Sadie’s own eyes were unbruised and light green, the color of beryl, or so her numerous suitors had said. Occasionally they threw in jade or jasper -- it was all so much nonsense. Right now she was examining the penny candy in a glass jar, lots of shiny, jewel-like drops that looked so very tempting. Sweet, edible rubies and citrine, emeralds and onyx. Frank Stanchfield hustled over to the counter and screwed the lid on tighter.

She licked her lips. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a penny to her name.

She was entirely dependent on her housekeeper Mrs. Grace to dole out a pitiful allowance every Friday, and Friday was millions of days away. Sadie had spent the last of her money on a cinnamon bun earlier and had reveled in every bite.

Her father’s draconian restrictions were designed to sting. Or so he thought. Sadie didn’t really mind being impoverished and hungry in Puddling-on-the-Wold. It meant she was not about to be auctioned off to Lord Roderick Charlton, or any other idiot her idiot father owed money to. The Duke of Islesford’s taste in men and luck at cards was, to put it bluntly, execrable.

So far Sadie had overstayed her visit by one week. Originally consigned to her cottage for twenty-eight days, she had somehow not managed to be “cured” in that time.

Rehabilitated.

Restored.

Brought to reason.

Knuckle under was more like it. She was not getting married.

In fact, she’d like to stay in Puddling forever. It was very restful. Quiet.

The little lending library was surprisingly well stocked, and she’d gotten a lot of reading done between lectures from the prosy ancient vicar who instructed her daily. She also helped Mrs. Grace keep the cottage up to a ducal daughter’s snuff.

Despite the fact that Sadie had no interest in becoming a wife, she was remarkably domestic. It came of hanging about the kitchens of Marchmain Castle, she supposed. The servants had been her only friends when she was a little girl and she’d been eager to help them.

All that had changed after she was presented to the queen at seventeen, wearing those ridiculous hoops and feathers that threatened to put out someone’s eye. Suddenly, Sadie became a commodity, a bargaining chip to improve her father’s ailing finances. A surprising number of gentlemen -- if you could call them that, since most men were absolute, avaricious, thoughtless pigs -- were interested in acquiring a tall, redheaded, blueblooded, sharp-tongued and two-fisted duke’s daughter as wife. For the past four years, she’d avoided them with alacrity, aplomb, and those aforementioned fists.

Needless to say, her reputation was cemented in ruination.

It amused Sadie that her father was using the last of his funds to lock her away here in this very expensive Puddling prison, hoping that she would change her mind, acquiesce and marry the one man who remained steadfastly interested.

Not bloody likely.

She touched the glass jar with longing.

“What may we help you with, Lady Sarah?”

The poor grocer sounded scared to death. His wife hid behind him.

Sadie batted her lashes. Sometimes this feminine trick worked, although these Puddling people seemed remarkably impervious to charm.

They were hardened souls, harboring the odd, uncooperative, and unwanted scions of society for a hefty fee, believing that being cruel to be kind was the only way.

“Do forgive my transgression, Mr. Stanchfield. I so longed to communicate with my old governess, Miss Mackenzie. Miss Mac, as I so affectionately call her. I found a book on telegraphy in the library and wondered if I had any aptitude for it,” she lied. Science in all its forms confounded her. In truth, she’d read nothing but Gothic romances since her arrival, very much enjoying the fraying sixty-year-old books written by an anonymous baroness.

Moreover, Sadie’s old governess had been dead for six years and had been an absolute Tartar in life. There had been little affection on her part, Sadie thought ruefully. The woman was at this moment no doubt giving the devil a lesson on evil and grading him harshly.

“You know that’s forbidden, miss. No telegrams, no letters. Perhaps when you are r-r-released, you may visit with the lady. A r-reason for your good behavior, what?”

Goodness, she was causing the poor fellow to stutter. She stilled her lashes.

“Ah.” Sadie gave a dramatic sigh. “But I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. Being Puddling-perfect, that is. Every time I get close, something seems to happen.”

Like stealing Ham Ross’s wheelbarrow full of pumpkins. It had been very difficult to push her loot uphill, and so many of the bloody orange things chose to roll out and smash along the road.

Or turning up in church in her tartan trousers ... her stolen tartan trousers.

Some poor Puddlingite was foolish enough to hang them on a clothesline to tempt her. After some tailoring -- Sadie was handy with a needle -- they fit her slender waist and long legs as if they were made for her.

Her father had always wanted a son. Instead her horrible cousin George would be the next duke, and Sadie would lose the only home -- well, castle -- she’d ever known.

It wasn’t fair. She sighed again.

“Here, now, Lady Sarah. I don’t suppose I’ll miss a few boiled sweets.” Mr. Stanchfield relented and unscrewed the jar, his wife looking disapproving behind him. He filled a paper twist with not nearly enough, and passed them to her.

Sadie saw her opportunity for well-deserved drama. Any chance to appear happily unhinged must be seized with two hands, so she might stay here in Puddling just a little longer. Dropping to the floor on her tartan-covered knees, she howled.

She had been practicing howling at night once her housekeeper Mrs. Grace went home. Her neighbors were under the impression a stray dog was in heat in the village, perhaps even a pack of them.

“Oh! You are too good to me! I shall remember this always!”

She snuffled and snorted, slipping a red candy into her mouth. Red always tasted best.

“A polite thank you would do just as well.”

The voice was chilly. Sadie looked up from her self-inflicted chest pounding and the candy fell from her open mouth.

Good heavens. She had never seen this man before in all the walking she was made to do up and down the hills for her daily exercise. Where had he been hiding? He was beautiful.

No, not beautiful exactly. His haughty expression was too harsh for beauty. Compelling, perhaps. Arresting.

But, she reminded herself, he was a man, and therefore wanting.

Lacking. Probably annoying. Not probably -- certainly. Lady Sarah Jane Marchmain was twenty-one years old and had more than enough experience with men in her short lifetime to know the truth.

The man reached a gloveless hand to her to help her up, but it didn’t look quite clean. Something green was under his fingernails -- paint? Plant material? Sadie made a leap of faith and gripped it anyway, crunching her candy underfoot when he lifted her to her full height.

He was still taller than she was.

Not lacking there. Not lacking physically anywhere that she could see.

His hair was brown, curly and unruly, his eyebrows darker and formidable. His nose was strong and straight, his lips full, his face bronzed from the sun. His eyes -- oh, his eyes. Blue was an inadequate adjective.

Cerulean? Sapphire? Aquamarine? She’d have to consult a thesaurus.

But they weren’t kind.

She found herself curtseying, her hand still firmly in his.

“Thank you, sir, for coming to my rescue.” She fluttered her eyelashes again.

“You were in no danger on the floor. Mrs. Stanchfield sweeps it thrice a day. One could eat off it, it’s so immaculate.” He dropped Sadie’s hand and kicked the crushed candy aside.

The grocer’s wife pinked. “Thank you, Mr. Sykes.”

Sykes. That was the name of the family the infamous Lady Maribel married into. Interesting.

“I only speak the truth, madam.”

Sadie considered whether she should fall to the floor again. It would be fun to gauge this Mr. Sykes’s strength if she pretended to swoon. Would he pick her up and hold her to his manly chest? Whisper assurances in her ear? Smooth loose tendrils of hair behind her pins?

But perhaps he’d just leave her there to rot. He wasn’t even looking at her anymore.

Sadie was used to being looked at. For one thing, she was hard to miss.

At nearly six feet, she towered over most men. Her flaming hair was another beacon, her skin pearlescent, her ample bosom startling on such a slender frame.

She had been chased by men mercilessly, even after she had made it crystal clear she had no interest. These past years had tested her wits and firmed her resolve. She was mistress of her own heart, body, and mind, and determined to remain so.

Mr. Sykes probably knew that -- apparently everyone in Puddling had received a dossier on her. She’d come across a grease-stained one at the bakeshop under a tray of Bakewell tarts, and had tucked it into her pocket for quiet perusal, along with one delicious raspberry pastry. Theft was apparently in her blood.

It had been most informative. The dossier, not the tart. Sadie had been gleeful reading an account of her past recalcitrance. She rather admired the clever ways she’d gone about subverting her father’s plans for her -- she’d forgotten half of them.

It had meant, however, that she had to exercise creativity in Puddling and not repeat her previous pranks. No sheep in the dining room. No bladder filled with beet juice tossed out the window. No punching fiancés or fathers.

There was only the one father, but Sadie had endured several fiancés. The latest, Lord Roderick Charlton, was getting impatient. He’d given her father quite a lot of money to secure her hand. To be fair, he’d tried to woo Sadie with credible effort.

There wasn’t anything really wrong with Roderick, she supposed. But there wasn’t anything right about him either.

If Sadie could just resist the pressure to marry, she’d come into a substantial fortune when she turned twenty-five. She wouldn’t have to turn it over to some man, and her father wouldn’t be able to touch it. She could live her life just as she liked. She might even buy herself a small castle, if one could be found. One that wouldn’t fall down around her ears. One that had working fireplaces and no rats.

However -- and this was a huge however -- the Duke of Islesford was threatening to have her declared incompetent, seize her funds, and lock her away in a most unpleasant private hospital. Sadie did not think it was an idle threat, and to some, it might look as if she deserved to be there.

She was much too old now for the tricks she’d played, and four years was a very, very long time to stall. Sadie was beginning to realize she hadn’t done herself any favors with the pumpkins or the trousers or the howling.

But she couldn’t succumb -- she just couldn’t. No matter how many times Mr. Fitzmartin, the elderly vicar, reminded her of a proper woman’s place -- as helper to her husband, silent in church, subordinate, obedient -- she felt her fingers close into a fist.



Maggie Robinson didn’t know she wanted to write until she woke up in the middle of the night once really annoyed with her husband. Instead of smothering him with a pillow, she decided to get up and write -- to create the perfect man -- at least on a computer screen. Only to discover that fictional males can be just as resistant to direction as her husband. The upside is that she’s finally using her English degree and is still married to her original, imperfect hero. Since she’s imperfect, too, that makes them a perfect match. Until her midnight keyboarding, she had been a teacher, librarian, newspaper reporter, administrative assistant to two non-profits, community volunteer, and mother of four in seven different states. Now Maggie can call herself a romance writer in Maine. There’s nothing she likes better than writing about people who make mistakes, but don’t let the mistakes make them.




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