Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

Exclusive Excerpt

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Gone with the Ghost by Erin McCarthy

 Two things I was obsessed with as a kid- ghosts and murder mysteries. Yes, I was a weird child. Yes, my mother debated therapy for me at one point given my active imagination and macabre hobbies, but she decided to trust her gut and let it play out. Now she’s happy to know I’m not a psychopath, I’m just a writer. Starting a new series and branching into mystery from romance was an easy leap for me. I always loved adding an element of mystery to my romance novels and I’ve been a mystery reader since childhood.

When my daughter was a baby and I had zero money, I went to the library three or four times a week and eventually checked out every Agatha Christie book they had (close to 60, I would guess) and then worked my way through all their cozy mysteries. If it had a kitten or a cupcake on the cover, I was all over it! So when the opportunity came along to create a mystery series, my heroine Bailey popped into my head immediately. An amateur sleuth with a love for fashion and HGTV yet who grows intrigued by mayhem and murder? Very close to my heart. While I’ve always been fascinated by ghost stories, I honestly am not even sure where the idea for the ghostly sidekick came from. Suddenly Ryan was there talking and the first book just about wrote itself.

If your best friend came back as a ghost, what would be the first thing you would do with them?

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: Jenna Ryan’s DARK LILY

Dark Lily Jenna Ryan

We’re enamored with this excerpt of Dark Lily by Jenna Ryan. Ghosts + mysterious backgrounds + cute kids with possible powers =a win in our book. We hope you enjoy!


New Orleans, 1993

“I have to do this, Gaby.” The beautiful woman, whose red hair framed pale, perfect features, stared into her daughter’s eyes. “Mama Madeleine says it’s the only way to keep you safe. Do you understand? Can you understand?”

But a child of three wasn’t interested in understanding anything except that her stuffed dog, Mojo, probably shouldn’t get wet. Hard to keep that from happening though, with rain falling in buckets from a sky blacker than the mashed-up beans and dirty rice she’d eaten last night.

“Mojo and me want to go home and watch a scary movie,” Gaby said firmly.

Her mother looked sad, but she smiled. “You can do that another time. Right now, I want you to think about the best adventure ever.”

“Haunted house.” Gaby giggled when thunder shook the train platform under her feet. “Wanna take a ride with a ghost.”

Her mother sighed. “I know. You’ve always loved ghosts. You’ve always seen ghosts. Sometimes real, sometimes not. That’s the problem.”

“Ghosts don’t scare me.” Gaby watched a freckle-faced boy walk past pulling the wrapper off an ice cream bar. “They just want someone to talk to.”

The hands clasping her arms tightened briefly. “That’s what Mama Madeleine says too. Now—” she pressed her lips together, kissed Gaby’s cheek and forehead and hugged her hard before pulling back, “—it’s time. Could be it’s past time. I pray it isn’t, but we’ll see. Remember this, Gabrielle. I love you. I’ll always love you. You’re going on a big adventure tonight.”

Gaby’s eyes brightened. “Mojo too?”

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Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: HER ROGUE ALPHA by Paige Tyler

Her Rogue Alpha Paige Tyler

Turning the mic over to the amazing Paige Tyler to introduce this action-packed excerpt of Her Alpha Rogue:

This excerpt is piece of an action-packed scene in the book where the hero, Jayson Harmon, a wounded Special Forces soldier, and his girlfriend, feline shifter and newest Department of Covert Operations agent, Layla Halliwell, have broken into the home of the dangerous man who has kidnapped a dozen young women in Ukraine. Unfortunately, Jayson and Layla don’t know exactly where inside the sprawling estate the girls are being held prisoner, so they have to depend on her keen sense of smell to find them. All the bad guys roaming around makes that tricky enough, but when Jayson and Layla finally get inside, they’re shocked to realize they have to rescue someone else as well.


Excerpt:

As if on cue, an explosion from the front of the estate shook the ground beneath them and a big, red fireball rolled up through the night sky. Seconds later, the popping sound of small arms fire filled the air like someone was hosing down the front of the estate with a half- dozen machine guns.

Shit. If they blew this because he was too busy throwing a pity party for himself to stay focused on the mission, he was going to be pissed.

“Go!” Jayson urged.

Trusting the teens’ distraction would get everyone’s attention turned the other way, Layla took off running for the back of the house, Jayson at her side. Dropping to one knee, he put his back to the rough stone and cupped his hands in front of him. He tensed, knowing it was going to hurt, but doing it anyway. Layla read his mind, launching herself at him, her booted foot thumping into his outstretched hands on the fly. He shoved up at the same time she jumped, propelling her to the top of the wall.

She stretched out on her stomach, then threw one of her legs over the top and reached down with her free hand. Jayson didn’t know how the hell a woman her size could hold his weight even if she was a shifter, but he leaped up and grabbed her outstretched hand anyway. The moment their palms clapped together, she gripped tightly, pulling him up as he kicked with his legs. Considering they hadn’t practiced this particular move, they executed it amazingly smoothly, and within a few seconds, they were both dropping down to the far side of the high wall and were inside the estate.

Jayson pulled the AK-7 4 off his back as Layla drew her pistol. He waited while she tested the air inside the compound with her nose and ears to make sure there weren’t any guards hanging around back there.

After a moment, Layla gave him the all- clear signal.

“Let’s head for the main section of the house, then hope that you pick up Anya’s scent from there,” Jayson said.

Layla nodded and took point. Jayson followed her across the property as she tried to stay in the deep shadows as much as possible. They moved fast but carefully, too. It wouldn’t do Anya or anyone any good if they ran into a group of armed guards.

As they ran past a big swimming pool artfully surrounded by raised flower beds made of stacked stone and shaped concrete, Jayson had a hard time not gawking.

The place looked more like something you’d see on a private island getaway in the Mediterranean than an estate in Ukraine.

He followed Layla around the loungers and outdoor bar as she led the way to the large french doors that led into the main house. Jayson expected the gunfire from the front of the house to start to taper off—surely there couldn’t have been that many rounds of ammunition in the trunk of a car—but as he and Layla reached the heavy glass doors, the sound of weapons fire actually got heavier.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Sarah Ballance’s 5 Favorite Mystery Books

Dangerous Illusions Sarah Ballance
  1. My favorite gets top billing for one reason alone: it introduced me to romantic suspense. I’d just gotten a new computer with a built-in e-reader (new stuff to me back then) and one of the free books offered was Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by B.J. Daniels. I read it and absolutely fell in love with the genre, which played a huge part in getting me where I am today.
  2. Speaking of where I am today, I have to give some serious props to Jane Beckenham’s To Love a Thief and Eve Devon’s Heart of Steel. Yes, they are books one and two in the Steel Hawk series, but they’re also really incredible stories with fantastic writing. Both of these authors blow me away, time and time again.
  3. Another book that stands out for me is Jenna Ryan’s A Voice in the Dark. The author’s voice is amazing and the book is just so fun to read, but it also has another level. The hero, Noah, has kept himself hidden, and the moment he reveals himself to the heroine absolutely melted me into a puddle of goo.
  4. I can’t make this list without mentioning the Nancy Drew Case Files. There was just the barest hint of romance between Nancy and Ned, but the chapter endings were what got me. I was probably twelve-ish and staying up all night because I couldn’t put the book down at the hook. I remember that now as an author when I close my chapters, and to this day I read suspense in one sitting.
  5. The book that holds the honor of most amazing moment I’ve ever read is…unknown. I forgot the title. It’s a romantic suspense from Harlequin Intrigue, and the hero kidnaps/rescues the heroine from her house in the nick of time, as heroes are prone to do. They end up on the run, their enemies ruthless, and there’s a lot of biting dialogue exchanged. The hero is tough as nails, and he refuses to tell the heroine his name for much of the book. The moment he finally trusts her with that piece of information is one of the most amazing I’ve ever read. I think of it often and needless to say it drives me absolutely crazy that I’ve lost track of which book it is, so if anyone out there knows, I’m on my knees. Tell me, please!

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Giveaway, Guest Post

Katie Ruggle on Kick-Ass Heroines and Sisterhood

Gone Too Deep Katie Ruggle

As I was thinking about a topic for this blog post, I realized something. I talk a lot about heroes. I write a lot about heroes, about what makes a hero, how a hero expresses his love, why I have a little bit of extra adoration in my heart for a certain hero (George of Gone Too Deep).

But why, I asked myself, am I neglecting the heroines? I didn’t in the books. In my Search and Rescue series, I wrote each one almost exclusively from the heroine’s point of view, even when that was difficult (ahem…I’m looking at you, Daisy). The women were able to express their feelings and their motivations and their experiences directly, while readers got to know the heroes through the heroines’ eyes. My female characters also did a fair amount of ass-kicking, saving the heroes just as many times—if not more—than they themselves were saved.

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Q&A

Q&A: James Lear of THE SUN GOES DOWN

The Sun Goes Down James Lear

Today we take a small peek into the mind of James Lear, the brilliant author behind The Sun Goes Down, out today! Get a glimpse at what influences and inspires one of our favorite erotica writers.


FAVORITE MOVIES

What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?

Now, Voyager with Bette Davis, which is the ultimate romantic wish-fulfilment/self-denial movie.

Showgirls, which is an anti-romantic movie with a lot of romantic elements in it.

Brokeback Mountain, which is incredibly depressing but does feature a very persuasive love story.

Cabaret, which I found intensely romantic as a young man

If…, the Lindsay Anderson movie about a revolution in a boys’ boarding school, which includes a great love theme between two boys.

 

Describe your favorite scene from each one!

Now, Voyager: the scene when Charlotte descends the stairs on the boat for the first time, we see her fantastic shoes first then pan up to take in the whole transformation. It’s probably my favourite scene in any film, ever.

Showgirls: the scene in which Nomi has sex in a swimming pool. It’s berserk.

Brokeback Mountain: the scene in which the two men are reunited for the first time after their initial affair, and they can’t keep their hands off each other. They have a passionate kiss just outside the house, as I recall.

Cabaret: the dialogue goes something like ‘Fuck Max!’ ‘I do!’ ‘So do I.’ I thought that was really exciting and daring at the time.

If….: There’s a scene in which the pretty younger boy watches the older boy (played by Richard Warwick, one of the most beautiful men ever in a film) in the gymnasium. It’s really intense.

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Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: SEX, LIES, AND SWEET TEA by Kris Calvert

It’s been raining all week at EverAfter HQ and we’ve been longing for better weather and better moods. Thankfully, we’ve found a book that hits just the right spot, and it’s on sale. Raise the temperature with this fantastic book from Kris Calvert!


Sex, Lies, and Sweet Tea by Kris Calvert

Hotter than hell and half of Alabama, FBI Agent, Mac Callahan is thirsty for everything except love. Coming home to bust a white-collar crime ring, Mac intends to execute his usual practice with work and women¬ – get in, get it on and get out. Instead, he finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the legacy of his family, his plantation, and the charms of a Southern girl. Samantha Peterson possesses everything he needs in a woman, including the evidence to wrap his case. As the investigation heats up, so does their passion and a dangerous game ignites. But, then again, everything’s hotter in the South.

And if you love Sex, Lies, and Sweet Tea, you’re going to want to dive into Sex, Lies, and Bourbon, out 5/17!

 

Sex, Lies, and Bourbon by Kris Calvert

FBI Agent, Win Holloway is going home to Kentucky—and not under the best of circumstances. At odds with his family since turning his back on their lucrative and long-standing bourbon empire, the blond haired golden boy carries not only a badge and weapon, but the unwarranted guilt of his mother’s death twenty-three years ago. When his father is found murdered in their family estate in an identical fashion, Win is forced to face his family’s past and the history of Winter Bourbon while searching for answers to not only his father’s death, but his mother’s unsolved murder.

Special Agent, Virginia “Ginny” Grace has been called in to investigate what seems to be a high-stakes deal gone wrong. But as she uncovers shocking Winterbourne family secrets, finds herself in the middle of her late father’s unsolved case and deep in the lives of the bluebloods of bourbon—including her one-time lover, Win Holloway.

When murder is an inside job, you keep your enemies close, and your family closer.


Kris Calvert is a former copywriter and PR mercenary, who after some coaxing, began writing novels. She loves alliteration, pearls and post-it notes.  She’s married to the man of her dreams, who just happens to be a fabulously talented composer. They live in the South where he scores her crazy and completely out-of-the-box life. She’s Momma to two kids, now in college – one at the University of Kentucky, and one at New York University -Tisch. She is also responsible for one very needy dog. When she’s not writing, she’s baking cupcakes.

Kris can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and KrisCalvert.com.

 

 

Guest Post

Guest Post: “The Gay 90s” by Kate McMurray

Ten Days In August Kate McMurray

Last time I was here, I talked a little about what it was like to be gay in the 1920s. My new novel, Ten Days in August, is set in 1896. So what kind of difference does going back in time thirty years make?

The 1890s were a rough time for LGBT people. There was new scholarship on homosexuality and an increased recognition of it in some medical circles, but in the U.S. and Europe, prosecution for sodomy was on the rise. “Gay” as we think of it now wasn’t really a thing yet; men who we’d call gay or bisexual now often married women but hooked up with men on the side. In New York, men could go to find other men in dance halls and clubs, particularly those in what is now the East Village, along the Bowery or tucked into Bleecker Street. Men of the 1890s had their own version of the hankie code, too—men seeking men could identify each other by certain markers: a red ascot, dyed blond hair, a certain way of dressing.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Katie Ruggle on Forensics, Nerdery, and HOLD YOUR BREATH

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

When I started working on a police Crime Scene Team, I discovered something: I’m a forensics nerd. On the first day of training, a whole world opened up, one overflowing with the possibility of evidence. No fingerprints? Then check for shoe prints. No? Let’s try DNA. Or maybe fibers or gun powder residue or bullet casings or anything else that could have been left behind at the scene.

The processes available fascinated me. At one burglary scene, we found a pair of used latex gloves. The burglar’s fingerprints could be on the inside of the gloves, but how could they be retrieved? After (very carefully) turning each finger inside out, we hung them in a Plexiglas container with a small amount of superglue and secured the airtight lid. When we heated the superglue, a fog-like vapor filled the space.

The superglue vapor attached to what the person wearing the gloves had left behind (amino acids, fatty acids and proteins), leaving a white residue that followed the lines of the latent prints. In this way, the invisible became visible and told us who’d been wearing the gloves (in this case, the home owner. It turned out that he’d faked the burglary to get insurance money).

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Giveaway, Guest Post

Guest Post: “The Heart of the Matter” by Anise Eden

All The Broken Places Anise Eden

With due apology to all of the writers who have labored over the books I’ve read, I have been known to flip past beautifully written passages about very important things just to find out what happens next in the romantic subplot. Even as a child, before I was reading about romantic love, what I cared about in stories were the relationships—between friends, siblings, parents and children, characters and their pets—anything that made a heart-to-heart connection.

When I wrote my first novel, All the Broken Places, I didn’t set out to write a romance, but I suppose it should come as no surprise that I did. The heart has always been where I live, and it is also where the wellspring of my inspiration lies.

One of the best things about writing romance is that the subject of love is so rich. It includes many of our most compelling human experiences—loyalty, sacrifice, intimacy, generosity, humor, forgiveness, persistence, empathy, and sympathy, among other things. Love is a dazzling kaleidoscope of our existence. Perhaps that is the reason why it has been the driving force behind so much of our behavior, including so many of our creative endeavors.

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