Friday, October 22, 2021

Look-out. There’s a dead guy behind you. – #Paranormal #Vampires #Ghosts @ShielaSue

Secrets of the Dead cover
By Shiela Stewart (Guest Blogger)

Ghosts, vampires, demons, shifters and witches. Yah or nay?

My favorites are Ghosts, Vampires and Demons. I don’t dislike Witches or shifters. I have written a few, Charming the Darkness and Surviving the Darkness are two. But if you’ve checked out any of my books, you’ll see which paranormal creatures are the ones I prefer. My Darkness Series are about evil bloodthirsty Vampires ( I know, aren’t they all evil bloodthirsty?) who use a ritual to blot out the sun over Jacobs Cover. (Now comes the not evil bloodthirsty vampires.) It starts with one female vampire, Trinity, who was scorned by her vampire lover, Basil, king of the vamps, and is determined to take out as many vampires as she can to save her city. Along the way she is joined by other vampires, a witch and humans. Oh, and Basil, the vamp that cheated on her. It’s an eight book series that takes place over several months.

I love to write about Vampires. They’re so much fun to write about. I can do whatever I want with them. One thing I will never, ever, ever do, is make them sparkle. You know who I’m talking about. LOL

I do however allow them to shift into different forms. Not entirely like shifters, but similar. Basil, for one, is the prince of vampires and has very strong powers. He can shift into any creature. One of his most powerful ability is to stir wind and cause objects to move to take out the enemy. You may be thinking, ‘So what. He can stir wind’. Trust me, he can create a tornado. It’s also handy when trying to confuse the enemy so that others can sneak up and kill them.

On to Demons. They are similar to vampires in that they need blood to sustain their life. They don’t go about biting other humans for the blood. They do have the ability to rip out a person’s throat and gobble it down. Draco, in Awaken the Demon, is a direct descendant from Satan and was created to gather souls for Satan. After several lifetimes of servitude, he convinces Satan to let him go so he can try having a different life. He becomes rich and very famous in the business community. What he want’s most is love. When he finds out there is a demon human woman, he is determined to find her and have her. (Demons are not allowed to mate with humans) Things don’t always go as planned as is the case in all three Demon books. I loved writing Demons, they can be so nasty.

But my favorite subjects to write about are ghosts and people who can communicate with them, as is the case in Discovery in Passion and my Lost Souls series. Let’s start with Discovery. It’s about a woman who moves into a haunted house, falls in love and tries to solve a crime. There’s plenty of sex and mystery. One of my favorite books to write. As a child, I too, lived in a haunted house. I use that in my books.

Onto The Lost Souls series, Secrets of the Dead, Book 1, and the soon to be released, Innocence of the Dead, Book 2. C.J. Dowling has the ability to see and communicate with the dead. He has had this ability all of his life. He’s hired by real estate companies to rid supposed houses of their spirits. This one particular house causes him a lot of trouble and brings up secrets from the past. Ghosts he’s used to, feisty redheads determined not to believe he is not. Jessica gives him a run for his money.

Innocence of the Dead is twenty-plus years in the future and focuses on C.J. and Jessica’s daughter who has her father’s ability and hates it. She’s even tried running away in hopes to be rid of them. No such luck. When a small child comes to her for help, she can’t ignore the girl and begins to research missing children. In the meantime she meets debonair Ethan Montgomery and is instantly attracted to him. Problem is, he’s still married, at least technically.

So why do I love ghosts more than anything else? As I said, I lived in a haunted house and have on occasion, seen ghosts. I know, you’re probably snorting or laughing right now. Like C.J., I’ve grown accustomed to it. I don’t walk around shouting, ‘Hey, I see dead people”, or “Look-out. There’s a dead guy behind you.” Though that would be fun, it would be foolish. I don’t see them everywhere I go. Mostly I see loved ones who have passed. On occasion, I have predicted a death which is always unsettling.

Now you know why I have a fondness for Ghosts. I hope I didn’t scare you away. If you’re still reading, check out my current release, Secrets of the Dead. Also, one lucky commenter will win a copy of Secrets of the Dead.

Blurb

Jessica Coltrane is a die-hard sceptic who believes that ghosts and paranormal activity are nothing more than a figment of an overactive imagination. That is until she finds herself locked inside a haunted house with the enigmatic paranormal investigator C.J. Dowling.
Born with the ability to see and speak to the dead, C.J. Dowling thought investigating a haunted house would be a job like many others. He’s prepared for anything—except smart and sexy Jessica.

Working together in close quarters, C.J. and Jessica discover it isn’t only negative tension between the two, but sexual as well. Giving into their desires seemed like a good idea at the time, until they wake and find the spirits thought otherwise. Trapped with the ghost of a child long forgotten, an amorous entity that is threatening Jessica, and a powder keg of a spine-tingling mystery that might just be better left buried.

Excerpt

Something tickled her nose. Using her hand, she tried to swipe it away and felt the brush of hair against her knuckles. Planting her hand, she felt the warm flesh beneath her palm.

Recognition hit and woke her with an angry slap. Eyes shooting open, she sat up quickly and instantly regretted it when the room spun wildly around her. Laying back down, closing her eyes, she waited out the dizziness the hangover caused. Her mind raced to the night before.

The soft ache in her loins reminded her of what she’d done. Carefully opening her eyes, she turned her head to see a naked C.J. beside her.

Oh, God.” She looked over his naked body, remembering how good it felt having him inside her. She hadn’t been that drunk that she couldn’t remember the event, and lord, what an event it had been. They had literally torn each other’s clothing off. She’d been an animal, which was so not like her.

What did they do now? Would they go on as they had been, sniping at each other, treat this as a one-night fling and move on? In truth, the guy irritated the hell out of her, yet he’d made her feel so incredible the night before. How was she supposed to respond to him now, after sharing something so intimate?

Dowling,” she spoke quietly. “Dowling.” When he moaned, she slapped his chest. “Dowling!”

Jesus.”

Wake up.”

I’m awake.” He looked at her with a smile. “Morning.” Then his eyes went wide. “Holy hell.” He bolted upright and jumped to his feet, nearly knocking her over. “Oh, my God.”

What the hell?” The sofa stood on its end, two sitting chairs slammed up right against it, all pushed against the window. The coffee and end tables stood one on top of the other, in front of the fireplace.

Carefully, Jessie stood up, waiting out the dizziness. She had to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. It looked like a hurricane had blown through. “How…”

I need to check my equipment.” He flew off, still nude, and she got one hell of a look at his ass.

She saw her shirt by the fireplace, straps torn. She couldn’t exactly wear it in its condition. Spotting his shirt hanging over the couch, she grabbed it and put it on. It barely covered her, but would have to do for now.

This is incredible. The meters went off the scale. The temperature recorded several degrees below freezing at one point. It didn’t last long, though, as it rose exponentially. And we slept through it all. Damn, I have never seen anything like this before. It’s phenomenal.”

You’re naked, you know?”

What?” He didn’t even look up.

You’re naked.” She tossed him his jeans, hitting him square in the face.

Unaffected by it, he grabbed the jeans and slipped into them using his free hand. It amused her to watch him shimmy into his tight jeans, jumping from one foot to the other. “The cameras!” He rushed to the video equipment as he did up his pants. “Do you know what this means?”

That you were a busy boy last night.”

He looked at her, confused. “Beg pardon?”

I don’t know how you managed it all alone, but I give you credit for a job well done.”

You think I did all of this?”

No, I know you did all of this. Boy, you’ll do anything to make me a believer.”

His eyes narrowed and his voice dipped an octave. “You think I did all of this just to make you believe there are ghosts here?”

Well…yeah.”

Fine.” Walking to her, he grabbed her arm and led her to the camera.

Let go of me.”

Not until you see this.” Taking her by the shoulders, he turned her to face the monitor attached to one of the cameras. “Watch.” He pressed play.

Folding her arms across her chest, Jessie glared at the screen. He’d recorded them having sex.

Oh my God, you taped us making out? How could you?”

I have my cameras set on timers that begin taping on their own. I didn’t know we were going to go at it like rabbits last night. Watch.”

You will erase those tapes,” she insisted, then grunted when he turned her face back to the monitor. “What the hell?”

Keep watching.”

She couldn’t pry her eyes away if she tried. The furniture lifted in the air, spun around wildly before they slammed in front of the fireplace and window. “Oh my god!”

My sentiments exactly. I need to check the rest of the house.” He left her mesmerized in front of the TV.

* * *

And my soon to be released sequel, Innocence of the Dead:

Samantha Dowling sees ghosts. As much as she hates her gift, she can’t ignore them when the spirit of a murdered young girl haunts her dreams. As she digs into her death, she learns she’s not the only missing child in the city. And no one seems to be doing anything about it.
Running into the very sexy Ethan Montgomery at his bookstore where she’s doing her research, she is instantly attracted.

From the first moment Ethan Montgomery saw Sam, he knew he had to have her. The problem with that is his soon to be ex-wife, Gwen. She’s determined to bring Ethan down any way she can, so when she finds out he’s seeing Sam, she uses that against him.

Despite the obstacle, Sam and Ethan continue to see each other. Sam knows he’s the love of her life. Ethan can’t deny his love for Sam. But sneaking around isn’t as easy as they thought when others discover their relationship.

Discovering who the killer is could be the end for Sam. Unless Ethan finds her before it's too late.

Excerpt

She struggled in the darkness that surrounded her. The cold, damp dirt smothered her and clogged her nails as she fought to escape. Her eyes and nose stung from the strong smell of defecation and rotting flesh. The taste of blood in her mouth made her want to gag.

She’d been buried. Alive!

Desperate for air, for escape, she clawed at the dirt, pushing it aside in her frantic need to escape. It covered her eyes, filled her nostrils and ears. Unable to breathe, she fought desperately to find air. When her hand finally broke through the surface, she felt giddy, then gasped when a hand grabbed onto her arm. Yanked up, free of her grave, she scrambled to her knees, spitting dirt from her mouth, shaking it from her ears, gasping for breath. In the distance, a tiny voice spoke.

Save us.”

Who are you?” She rubbed the dirt from her eyes, blinking away the blurriness. What she saw before her made her stomach roll and her heart clench.

Propped against a wall sat a small child, who couldn’t have been more than seven. Her eyes, a foggy white stared at her blankly and she felt them penetrate her soul. Across her neck, from ear to ear, was a gaping wound.

Horrified, she scrambled back and screamed when an arm came around her waist. Before she could comprehend what happened, something cold and hard touched her neck.

In one quick motion, it sliced across her throat.

Sam woke with a scream, her hands clutching her neck. It took her a moment to orient herself as she stared wildly across the room.

She was safe, in her bed, in her home.

As the picture of the little girl flashed through her mind, Sam began to cry.

She hated this. Hated it with a deep passion.

Why did she have to live with the dead?

The tears slid down her face, dampening her cotton nightshirt. It never got any easier to see the dead in her dreams, even after dealing with it all of her life.

Sniffling back her tears, Sam mopped her face dry. Climbing out of bed, she grabbed her sketchbook and pencil, then sat back down in bed to draw. It always helped to sketch her dreams.

Though her hand shook, Sam managed to sketch the face of the child that had come to her in her dream.

The flesh was decaying, her bones protruding and Sam even drew the maggots that crawled over the child’s dead body. She had blue eyes, beneath the fog of death, and Sam drew them as she saw them behind their milky white stare. Dirt and blood coated her blonde hair. She wore a red fuzzy shirt and blue jeans with silver gems along the seams and pockets. She had on one running shoe in white and blue, the laces untied and caked in mud and blood. Her once white socks were filthy.

One of her upper teeth was missing.

Sam paused briefly before sketching the gaping wound in her neck. The flesh had been torn open from ear to ear, nearly decapitating the frail child. Sam could taste the blood in her own mouth, and as she reached up to her throat, remembered the feel of her own torn flesh.

It was just a dream. Not real.

* * * *

To read blurbs and excerpts of all my books, go to www.shielastewart.com.

Where to find me and my books

Website: www.shielastewart.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shiela.stewart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShielaSue

Apple Books. : https://books.apple.com/us/author/shiela-stewart/id411957870

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shiela-Stewart/e/B002BLN95E

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Shiela%20Stewart

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/search?query=shiela%20stewart&fcsearchfield=Author

Decadent Publishing: https://decadentpublishing.com/search.php?search_query=Shiela+Stewart&Search=

About the Author

Shiela Stewart is a paranormal suspense author with a writing history that stems back to her youth.  Always a dreamer, wondering if her stories would ever reach an audience, she was finally published in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since.  It is rare to find a stand-alone book as she prefers series stories. Her longest running series to date is her Darkness series, which is a vampire romance.

Her joy for scary suspense is evident in each of her books. She has had several accomplishments, including fighting for the top spot in the rankings with author Stephanie Myers, receiving glowing reviews as well as interviews on local television and reviews and interviews in The Romantic Times Magazine.

When not writing, Shiela spends her time with the love of her life, William, and their children and grandchildren. Her strong affection for animals is evident in the many cats she cares for.

Her favorite time of the day is at sunset.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

An epic tale of interplanetary struggle – #SciFi #Empire #Giveaway

The Cairns of Sainctuarie banner

AboutThe Cairns of Sainctuarie

Volume I - The Bleikovat Event

Volume II – The Missing Planets

Volume III – Inanna Phantom

From a rocky outcrop a battle-widowed Etkaa, gazed down at the death and upheaval. Rancid green Murian blood stanched the dusklit breezes from the haze-dimmed river marshlands. Nothing has been spared by the Green Dragon forces of Bleikovia. In skirmishes along the Feldon River, EtkaaĆ¢'s mate is fatally wounded with deadly selvon poison. Through a gruesome mountain trek of icy blizzards, they elude the Green Dragon. The battered starving Feldovats reach the coast at Eedov City only to be confronted by their implacable enemy determined to destroy the remaining Klarvkon rabble. Taking passage on crowded Maalon freighters, the refugees escape toward a new life among their Maalon hosts. Enraged Bleikovats move against the Klarvkons, bringing indiscriminate bloodshed. War once again surfaces, as it did in the muddy filth along the Feldon River of Malfesov, and becomes a different kind of war.

Generations after the great Murian upheaval of the Malfesian War against the Bleikovats, the Accords between planets Terato and Myr are signed.

Provisional Outpost Terato is under construction near a farm where Teratoan orphan Eklam a'Qoc lives with his uncle and cousin. Inquisitive strong-minded Eklam, Ek to everyone in the village, is captivated by the off-worlders technology, and becomes an apprentice to the Outpost Terato's Murian commander, Grand Duke Korvo. Uncle a'Qoc disapproves; wants nothing to do with these outlanders, wants their shimmering doorway portals-of-travel banned from Terato. As Outpost Terato becomes operational it seems to become a harbinger stirring ageless secrets of The Old Ones and their frightful weapons, of ancient Teratoan ruins, mysterious glowing lights, unexplained killings, a sacred book in a language no Teratoan can read, a moon that doesn't behave like a moon in its wobbly orbit.

From cosmic reaches beyond space and time the ominous secrets of Terato's ancient ruins become more threatening. Ek and Korvo realize both their worlds face extinction with any hope buried somewhere in unknown galaxies far beyond a pastoral Terato or the sophisticated star-empire of the Murians; of missing planets in a star system with its single star in a galaxy far-removed unknown to Terato or Myr. They travel across the universe to a place long forgotten to fight this unknown foe with weapons only dreamed of. Together they face the beast that wishes to consume the entire universe.

The threat of rift invasions seems long passed. Plentiful harvests abound. The Murian first-contact Terato Outpost has grown into the sprawling Terato-Murian Terminus Terato with a hub of relay portals reaching across the vast uncharted galactic expanses and connecting with its eon-extinct Lantaraan prehistory. An exploratory Terato-Murian Jupiterr outpost is established on the gas giant seventh planet, and its quantum and gravitational energies are used to power outpost portals for an archeological survey of the fourth planet, Eorthe. The Lantaraan database aboard Terato’s ancient Downday moon shows that one or more planets of the Solaris planets have apparently been lost. Expanded archeological records on other Lantaraan orbital bodies in the Solaris system show the fourth planet from the star—Eorthe—to be a sterile wasteland. Except it is not. Eorthe’s civilization is not to the level of the Murian Empire, but it is far advanced to those of a pastoral Terato. Terato and Eorthe form the confederated United Terran League under the nominal figurehead leader of League High Judikarr Eklam a’Qoc. Jupiterr outpost expands into a major League stronghold, Jupiterr Base, when civil unrest erupts in the League, the unexpected return of rift intrusions threatens, and the Murian Emperor Klarvko Celo is assassinated. As they prepare for confrontations with an unknown ancient enemy, the internal tensions on Myr and Eorthe push Murians and Teratoans to dangerous discords.

Excerpt

From Volume I - The Bleikovat Event

There had been warnings…far from the Feldon River, across the flat prairies and far-flung farming settlements, in the grain fields and remote gelf ranches of the far-west reaches of Feldon provinces. Most dismissed them, “…idle gossip from those with too little to do.”

The onslaught struck late and faraway during the last harvesting moons of the growing season, and once again unsettled whispers passed. Among the markets and along trade routes far from the fields and farms of the Feldovat fiefdoms the word spread. That was before dispatch riders and message runners on ponderous muscled claks brought more disturbing rumors: “Heavy raids and ambushes all along the hinterlands this side of the Bleikov-Bormeikovat frontiers.”

One grizzled Murian farmer’s slit-pupils narrowed to thin slivers. Gently tightened the reins. Hooked to the plough, the lumbering gelf plodded to a stop. He laid the planed-wood handles of the plough sidewise onto the fresh furrow. Without moving from the trenched rows the gelf reached its thick neck to nibble the green tufts around its feet. The weathered work-aged farmer carefully slipped the reins off his shoulder. Fingered the split creeping along one sweat-stained handle, “…get this to the woodworker before spring ploughing times. Get it braced before I have to barter for a new plough handle.” Pulled off his wide-brim woven hat; wiped his forehead. Uncorked his gelf-leather water pouch; took long slow swallows. Spit a bitter-chewed slurry of brown chakklu; scowled, "…ill-tempered uplander Bleikovats." Another long swallow…re-plugged the pouch. Bit off another twist of dried chakklu.

About the Author

With postgraduate degrees and faculty positions in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. His professional writing includes articles on chordate neuroembryology, and aerospace research on muscle metabolic behavior in multi-orbital environments.

In addition, Hawk has authored several works of fiction including a historical romance Moccasin Trace which was nominated for both the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. His Cairns of Sainctuarie Science Fiction Series and his Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series have received national and international attention.

www.hawkmackinneyauthor.com

www.sagewordspublishing.com

https://www.amazon.com/Cairns-Sainctuarie-Bleikovat-Event-Book-ebook/dp/B00A6BR6YG/

https://www.amazon.com/Missing-Planets-Cairns-Sainctuarie-Book-ebook/dp/B01402PJM2/

https://www.amazon.com/Inanna-Phantom-Cairns-Sainctuarie-Book-ebook/dp/B07Y2DQRT3/

Hawk MacKinney will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

I’ve always been fascinated by madness – #Paranormal #Halloween #MFRWHooks

Underground cover

Halloween is hurtling toward us. With starting a new job and trying to finish my latest novel, I haven’t had time to prepare. Certainly I haven’t had a chance to write any new paranormal stories to celebrate what has always been my favorite holiday.

So for today’s Book Hooks hop, I’m sharing the beginning of a chillingly erotic paranormal tale from my backlist, Underground. This intense story about a relationship with an incubus might not be to everyone’s taste, but I think it’s one of the best pieces I’ve ever written.

Note: this excerpt is rated R for graphic language.

The Hook

So maybe it’s not totally sane. I’ve always been fascinated by madness.

As for safe, where’s the thrill in safety?

You can’t, however, deny that it’s consensual.

Ducking into a blank alley, one of thousands in this city, I make my way to the metal door near the end. The keypad gives off a faint green luminescence. I tap in the combination and the door swings open; my pulse is already climbing. My boot heels ring hollow as I descend the industrial steel steps, and the thump of the bass rises to meet me. Excitement wells up, flooding my cunt, even before I’ve buzzed the final door and been admitted to this most particular and perverse playground.

The techno soundtrack punches me in the solar plexus. My heart stutters like I've been shocked by a defibrillator. Delicious weakness sweeps over me, a premonition of what’s to come.

A few black clad figures shuffle to the hypnotic beat, clinging to one another as though drowning. Beyond the dance floor, naked bodies are draped over couches, shackled to walls or splayed wide on the bare concrete floor. Familiar scents reach me—pussy, cum and blood.

Some of those who frequent Underground are actual vampires, or so I’ve heard. I believe it. Others just like to play with knives.

Then there's me.

He is waiting for me in his usual spot by the bar. In contrast to the sunken-eyed Goth creatures who haunt this place, Z looks healthy and normal. Silver-threaded brown curls tumble over his forehead, almost obscuring his eyes, which are the turquoise of a tropical sea. He's fair but not pale, with full, claret-red lips that always seem ready to smile, but never do.

Outside of Underground, we don't communicate. We don't coordinate our encounters. He does not send me messages in the times between, when I'm recovering, or when I'm struggling against my resurgent need. He neither summons nor invites me. Still, I know I'll find him here when I finally stop resisting and descend those stairs again.

Indeed, even here we hardly speak. His utter stillness draws me to his side. When he takes my hand, my pulse flutters and slows, while my sex grows slick with inevitable arousal. He leads me to one of the private rooms, settles me upon the clean white mattress, peeling off my ragged black dress and laddered stockings. Ready for him as always, I wear nothing else.

His fingers are warm against my throat. I smell ice and lilies. He traces my collarbone, circles my beaded nipples, trails his fingertips down the hollow between my breasts to my flat belly. Liquid pools in my cunt and leaks onto the sheets. My clit swells into a throbbing second heart. Lust rages through me. I want to hump the palm cupping my sex, to grab his hand and force his fingers into my slit. I want to clamp down on his fist and drench him with my juices.

Instead I lie motionless upon the cool cotton, as if he'd bound me hand and foot. I wait, as he has taught me.

Desire turns inward, spiraling into a blazing knot in my pelvis, then shuddering up my spine. I watch him shed his unexceptional clothing. His cock rears up from the grizzled nest in his groin, twitching with suppressed power. His naked flesh glows like clouded moonlight. He rakes a fingernail across my aching nipple and captures my gaze with his extraordinary eyes, coming as close to a smile as he ever does. I will myself to stillness, slowing my breath, letting myself drown in those twin lagoons of blue fire.

The nail bites deeper. Blood wells up from the shallow wound. Fear strikes me like summer lightning, before I remember. I want this.

Are you ready, Elena?”

He knows the answer already. But he always asks.

Buy Links

Kinky Literature - https://kinkyliterature.com/book/4592-underground/

Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HYDVL65/

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07HYDVL65/

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/898486

Barnes and Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/underground-lisabet-sarai/1129661349?ean=29401558288

Kobohttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/underground-95

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42122221-underground

Be sure to visit the other authors participating in today's Book Hooks!


Monday, October 18, 2021

Review Tuesday: Of Mice and Mechanicals by Kirsten Weiss -- #Steampunk #GoldRush #ReviewTuesday

Of Mice and Mechanicals cover

Of Mice and Mechanicals: A Steampunk Novel of Suspense by Kirsten Weiss

Misterio Press, 2015

Having survived her harrowing confrontation with the Mark, a ruthless cabal determined to steal the results of her brilliant father’s research (in Book 1 of this series, Steam and Sensibility), young inventor Sensibility Grey wants nothing more than to be left alone to build her clockwork marvels. She has established a workshop in the gold-obsessed frontier town of San Francisco, where she supports herself by designing machines for mining entrepreneurs. Meanwhile she secretly pursues her deceased father’s investigations into “aether”, a mysterious force with the potential to transform society – or to power near-irresistible weapons.

Alas, Sensibility’s work attracts unwelcome interest from many quarters. Agents of the U.S. government want to recruit her to the federal cause. Vigilantes, possibly associated with the Mark, keep trying to kidnap or kill her. A medium who claims to have contact with the spirit world believes Sensibility can build devices for him that will scientifically validate the occult phenomena that occur during his seances. Finally, a stranger – a young female inventor at least as brilliant as Sensibility herself – has vowed to revenge herself on Sensibility for the supposed theft of her own father’s aether research.

I don’t just write steampunk; I also love to read it, especially when the stories center around female protagonists. However, as a steampunk author I may be more critical than a normal reader. Steampunk needs the right balance between fascinating but plausible gadgetry and believable alternative history, which is rather difficult to achieve (as I know from personal experience).

I enjoyed this book more than the first installment in Ms. Weiss’ series. Sensibility has more opportunity to demonstrate both her cleverness and her courage. Nevertheless, the myriad characters and multiple crises still struck me as a bit of a mishmash. The plot continues to be somewhat incoherent, and the heroine continues to behave naively, despite all the demonstrated threats to her existence.

The connection of aether with the supernatural, and the appearance of weird other-worldly characters in the story, also violate my expectations for steampunk. There’s technology, and there’s magic; in most cases I don’t think they mix.

The character of Flora is a great addition (as well as the continued presence of dauntless FBI agent Jane Algrave). The chapters told from Flora’s perspective are compellingly creepy. I was disappointed, however, when she vanished from the story without any resolution.

Then there’s the romance thread introduced in the first book, which seems to peter out in this one. The author subtly suggests that one of the federal agents might step into the role of Sensibility’s suitor at some point, but in this book the young inventor is left somewhat bereft when the man she’d started to see as a potential romantic partner turns into nothing more than a friend.

I must say that Kirsten Weiss does a great job on dramatic, climactic scenes. The battle in the Mission church at the end of Book 1 was fantastic. This novel ends with an equally rousing, edge-of-your-seat extravaganza. It’s almost worth reading the book just for this final scene (which I won’t describe, since I don’t want to spoil the pleasure).

All in all, Of Mice and Mechanicals was an enjoyable read, despite my criticisms. I have a suspicion I’ll probably succumb to the temptation to buy the next book in the series.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sent to murder the woman he loves.... #MafiaRomance #DarkRomance #Giveaway @TinaDonahue

Target e-reader cover

A Russian kingpin wants her dead… the only one who can stop it is the man sent to murder her.

Toni Flores loved her dream job working for a respected US senator until he raped her. She’s determined to bring him to justice, no matter the cost.

For years, Dimitri Valesky, head of a Russian crime family in America, has bought off those in government. Just like the senator responsible for Toni’s assault. When she won’t keep quiet about it and risks Dimitri’s business, he orders his stepson Michael to kill her.

Michael’s a lobbyist not a mafia enforcer. He refuses the insane demand, but Dimitri insists. The power he holds over Michael and his brothers is absolute… or so he believes.

Rather than murder Toni, Michael intends to romance her. Once he convinces her to keep quiet about the Senator, she won’t be a target any longer and Dimitri will back off on the hit. The plan falls apart and now they are dodging mafia enforcers, bullets, and Dimitri’s outrage.

Michael and Toni fight to stay alive and save those dearest to them as they also fall hopelessly in love.

This is book one in the Valesky Crime Family series and has an HEA.

Publisher’s Note: This contemporary dark mafia romance contains elements of mystery, suspense, action, adventure, adult themes, and possible triggers for some readers.

Excerpt

Once outside the capitol, my phone buzzes. The display shows my mother’s picture and name. Worried, I answer. “Mama, are you all right?”

It’s me,” Dimitri says.

I squeeze the phone, wishing it were his throat. If Mama hadn’t married him… If she hadn’t been desperate about feeding and housing her boys when we were little…

Too late now for regrets. The SOB’s tentacles surround each of us. Unless, or until, I kill him, nothing will change. Before I speak, I make certain to mask my disgust. If I piss him off, he’ll take out his rage on my mother, his nearest and weakest target. “He’s voting your way. This time, he won’t change his mind.”

Khorosho.” Russian for good. “I knew you’d come through for me, Mikhail.”

Only because he has the proverbial gun to my head. There isn’t one thing I don’t detest about Dimitri, including his guttural voice. Despite having lived in the States since he was fifteen, he still has a thick accent.

Wanting to end this as quickly as possible, I lie. “I have another appointment. When I’m through with it, I’ll send you details of what Cyrus and I discussed.”

That’s not why I’m calling.”

Despite the warmish spring weather, my skin goes clammy. “Is Mama all—”

She’s fine, and will stay that way, as long you do what you’re told.”

I long to call him every vile thing imaginable but keep my tongue. Something I learned as a kid. His beatings were always worse if I cried or cursed him. If I was silent, that enraged him further, but he wore himself out faster. A win for me.

He clears his throat, but still coughs, thanks to his three-pack a day cigarette habit. Innocent kids get cancer, but not him. What a screwed-up world.

I have another project for you, Mikhail.”

Damn. “What bill is it this time?”

Not a bill. A woman. Toni Flores.”

I’m crossing the street when he says the name. My step pauses. Someone from behind bumps into me.

She’s causing trouble,” Dimitri says. “You need to get rid of her.”

What?”

A different person bumps into me. I cross to the other side. “What are you talking about?”

She’s causing problems for Stowe.”

Lucian Stowe is another senator Dimitri owns. “What kind of problems?”

She’s been claiming to the police and anyone else she can that he sexually assaulted her. It’s not true, but she won’t stop lying about it and she never shuts her mouth.”

I hurry down the street to a less crowded area. “How do you know she’s lying?”

Because I said so!”

In Dimitri’s world that makes perfect sense. “That’s no damn proof.”

Even if she is telling the truth, it doesn’t matter!” He’s shouting louder than I did. “I need Stowe in my pocket! She has to be eliminated! I want you to do it.”

My stomach falls. “No. I don’t do that kind of work. Ever. Especially to a woman who’s—”

I don’t care what she is or how you found out about her. I want it done. No arguments.”

Before I can speak, he ends the call.

 


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About the Author


Tina’s an Amazon and international bestselling novelist who writes passionate romance for every taste – ‘heat with heart’ – for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She’s won Readers’ Choice Awards, was named a finalist in the EPIC competition, received a Book of the Year award, The Golden Nib Award, awards of merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competitions, and second place in the NEC RWA contests. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

On a less serious note: she’s an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, brakes for Mexican restaurants, and has been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally while wolfing down tostadas. She’s flown a single-engine airplane (freaking scary), rewired an old house using an ‘electricity for dummies’ book, and is horribly shy despite the hot romances she writes.

Author Links

Website: http://tinadonahuebooks.blogspot.com/?zx=95d61d0b25f33bf4

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/tinadonahue

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tinadonahue

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tina-Donahue/e/B001IZPJXO

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/146988.Tina_Donahue

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