Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Excerpt: Hot Pursuit by Jennifer Zane

This woman, Anna Scott, followed the lawyer with her eyes, but otherwise remained devoid of emotion. She didn’t look like she was on drugs—she definitely wasn’t amped up on meth, and if she was on some kind of downer or hooked on pain meds, she’d be unconscious or glazed over, not quiet and focused. I didn’t think she was in shock, even if Peters wondered just that. She just looked…in control.
I recognized the two detectives, Gossing and Werbler, who took seats on the other side of the table. They were good men and good detectives. If this woman had shot Bobby Lane, they would wheedle it from her.
Werbler began. “Do you know Bobby Lane?”
The public defender nodded at the woman. Anna Scott cleared her throat. “No.”
“Paul Moretti?”
“No. You know I’m from New York. I don’t know anyone here.” Her voice was soft, but deep with intent even though the speakers in the wall.
“Ever been to Denver before?”
“No.”
“Ever been to Scorch?”
“If it’s in Denver, then obviously I haven’t.”
“Come on, Ms. Scott, give us something to work with here, because otherwise I’m willing to believe you killed Bobby Lane.”
Anna Scott looked between the detectives. “You’re the good cop and you’ve drawn the short straw for bad cop. It’s not going to work. You know my name and all the other information about me you’ve been able to pull up on the computer in the past two hours I’ve been sitting here. You no doubt know I’m in town for the weekend with a friend for his sister’s wedding by seeing our hotel rooms were reserved for the wedding party.” She swallowed deeply, licked her lips. Why did I find that really hot?
“Boyfriend?” I asked Peters, keeping my eyes on the other room.
He shook his head. “Two hotel rooms, so I don’t think so.”
“Are you sure you don’t want some soda?” Werbler asked, pointing to the can.
“I’m not touching that can so you can get my fingerprints.”
Werbler’s mouth fell open, but he shut it quickly.
I lifted an eyebrow at her knowledge. She was a surprise. And a delight. I watched as the detectives shifted in their seats.
“Is she a lawyer?” I asked Peters.
“Records say architect. Runs her own business. Works from home.”
An architect that knew about the law.
“I flew in last night at eleven thirty, which I’m sure you know. Passenger records are easy enough to obtain, which I’m sure you’ve done. So being on a plane somewhere over Nebraska at the time of death with over one hundred other people is a pretty solid alibi.”
“Are you saying you know when he was killed?” Gossing asked. “Does that mean that you were involved, but maybe didn’t pull the trigger? Getaway driver, perhaps?”
The detectives were trying to fluster her. They’d made grown men cry before, but their attempts didn’t appear to be working now. Her hands hadn’t moved, her skin wasn’t flushed in anger. Nothing.
“I saw the man, you said Bobby Lane was his name? I saw him in the trunk of the car with the two traffic officers for about ten seconds. Rigor had set in because he was curled up in the fetal position. I don’t have to be an ME to know that means he’d been dead for at least twelve hours.” Anna tucked her hair behind her ear. Her first sign of movement. Her nails were short with a simple manicure. No wedding ring.
“Not a doctor? Parents? Anyone a doctor?” I asked Peters, my eyes focused on Anna.
I saw Peters look at a folder on the desk out of the corner of my eye. “Says her mother died when she was six, father when she was eighteen. No record of how. No siblings. No living relatives.”
I saw a small smile play at the corner of the public defender’s mouth. I could tell she was enjoying this. So was I. Holy hell, it was like watching a teacher scold two recalcitrant school boys. But I never had a teacher who looked like Anna Scott.
“Even if I had somehow shot him,” she continued, “I couldn’t have lifted him up from wherever I’d done it to place him in the trunk. I’m not big, or strong enough, to do it.”
I couldn’t tell with her sitting down, but she wasn’t more than five-five. Bobby Lane was a big man, well over six feet and hadn’t exercised in his life. The extra fifty pounds he’d carried around his middle was proof.
“Maybe you killed him when he was standing in front of the trunk and he collapsed into it after you shot him.”
“No blood. No bullet hole in the trunk. No GSR on my hands.”
“So you’re willing to test for gunshot residue?”
“I am.”
I had to know more. She was like a puzzle I had to solve. “Any information on IQ, medical records, being institutionalized?”
“What, you think she’s a psychopath? Sociopath? Schizo?”
“Doubtful, but she’s very smart, very knowledgeable…familiar with all this.” I waved my hand at the room around us. “How can she look so innocent and wholesome and be so…well versed in police proceedings? In death?”
“Ted Bundy looked pretty wholesome back in his day.” Peters shrugged. Not all answers were available. Some detectives had to dig for it. Sometimes they never learned all the answers. Peters was well aware of this. “All I know is that she acts like she’s got a stick up her butt.”
I cocked my head, watched her closely. “She acts like it. Act being the key word.” I looked at her eyes. Flat. Unfeeling, but focused. “She’s…scared. She’s hiding behind, what’s the word?” I snapped my fingers. “Aloofness. As if this isn’t affecting her. I bet she’s shitting a brick on the inside.”
Anna took a deep breath and I enjoyed watching her breasts rise and fall. Calm as can be, she continued. “As for the car, I put my rental agreement in my carry-on when I left the lot at the airport last night. I assume you checked with the company and know that car isn’t mine. Since I have an alibi, and the car isn’t mine, the only explanation is that my car is still in the lot at the hotel.”
It was the detectives’ turn to take a deep breath. The public defender tapped her pen on the table.
The answer clicked into place for me. She was right. She’d been in the wrong car.
“Valet,” I said.
“What?” Peters asked.
“The valet.” I pointed at her. “No way this woman parks her car in a dark hotel lot after midnight when she got in. She’s too smart to do something as dangerous as that. She flew in with a friend. I’m guessing he has his own rental since he’s part of the wedding party. Probably has wedding stuff she doesn’t have to do. A different schedule. He’s not her boyfriend. You said two rooms.” I paused, considered her through the glass. “She doesn’t trust him enough to drive her—definitely not a boyfriend or anyone close then. If he drove his own rental and they got separated from the airport to the hotel, she wouldn’t chance being alone in the lot. So she valets the car. She’s in complete control of everything. She has to be. She’s handling Gossing and Werbler like it’s their first day at the Academy.” I stood and paced in front of the window. “Fuck, it’s so simple. The valet gave her the wrong car. What kind is it?”
“Ford Taurus.”
I gave a quick bark of laughter, turned to look at Peters. “There are a million of them out there.
I’m right, aren’t I?”
Before Peters could answer, Werbler spoke up. “Miss Scott, your rental is indeed in the parking lot of your hotel. It seems when you gave your ticket to the valet this morning he brought you the wrong car. They said you had a burgundy Taurus.”
“Maroon.”
“Excuse me?” Gossing asked, leaning his elbows on the table.
“My rental car is maroon, not burgundy.”
“You couldn't tell the difference when the valet gave it to you?” Werbler wondered.
She arched one elegant eyebrow. “I'm not suggesting the car in question and my rental car are two different colors. What I'm stating is that the valet you questioned is clearly color blind since he doesn't know the difference between the two. Perhaps he isn't the most reliable of sources of information. How many cars did he valet this morning? How many were a Taurus like mine? You're just wasting my time with this line of talk as you're both smart enough to have already validated everything by my rental agreement with the car company ”
Maroon and burgundy were the same to me, but I was no artist, so what did I know? I couldn’t help but grin at her don't-fuck-with-me tone and glanced over at Peters. The way she looked, all fresh and innocent, the way she dressed, all tame and soft, screamed prissy. But she wasn’t, because that type of woman did nothing for me. Annoyed the shit out of me. Anna Scott was…an anomaly. I read people. I was good at it. It was my job to be good at it. Saved my life a time or two. But I couldn’t get a bead on her. Which made her a challenge, and I loved a good challenge. And if said challenge happened to make me wonder what she was wearing beneath her prim little outfit, all the better.
I’d wager her appearance was all for show. Some kind of outward shell she showed to the world. Beneath, she’d wear soft lace and satin. Would her skin be as silky soft as it looked? Would her nipples be as pale pink as I imagined? I shifted against the table. “You’re right, this is interesting.”
“You’re telling me I’m sitting here in a Denver police station being questioned for murder because a valet didn't look at his ticket and gave me a supposed burgundy Taurus instead of maroon,” Anna Scott stated matter-of-factly.
Werbler and Gossing shifted once again, embarrassment keen on their faces. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Then I’m free to go.” It wasn’t a question.
She glanced at her lawyer who gave a quick nod. The woman hadn’t said a word. It seemed Anna Scott didn’t really need legal council, just the protection one afforded her by law. The protection of keeping her mouth shut until she’d gotten her ducks in a row to defend herself.
“Yes, you are,” Gossing told her. “After you submit to a GSR test.”
“All right.” Anna Scott shifted her seat back, the metal scraping against the linoleum floor and stood. I was right, about five-five. Standing, without the table to shield her, she looked…fragile. Even with her shoulders back, her dark hair like a waterfall, her chin tilted in a way to make her look like she had a stick up her ass, she was lovely. Almost innocent of the world, which was the strangest statement since she’d obviously had a run-in with cops before, regardless of what her record said. My mouth went dry just taking in my fill. I took a sip of my now cold coffee. Winced at the miserable taste.
Her thumbs brushed slightly against her skirt, but other than that she was still. No smile, no
sparkle in her eyes at her victory over the police. I’d be dancing a jig after getting myself out of a possible murder charge. That, or I’d need new pair of pants. I moved closer to the glass for a better look. She was damaged. Something had happened to her, but I didn’t know what. Hadn’t we all? Anyone who made it to adulthood had to have something happen to them. It’s how you survived that mattered. And it appeared to me that Anna Scott was surviving. And that was it.
A strange emotion settled in my chest, one I hadn’t felt in a long time. I tamped it down. No way was I going to feel something, anything, for this woman. The fact that she looked so alone—so aloof surrounded by so many—made me want to pull her into my arms and tell her everything was going to be okay. To protect her. I shook my head at my crazy thoughts. Women like her and those protective feelings only brought me trouble I didn’t want.

BLURB
A fun weekend at a friends wedding in Denver takes a bizarre twist for Anna Scott when her rental car is pulled over due to an "anonymous tip". In her trunk...one dead body linked to warring crime families in Denver and New York. It should be easy for an innocent woman to be cleared for an innocent mix-up. But was it a mistake? The police aren't so sure, and neither is the crime boss who wants vengeance for his son-in-law's death. You see, Anna Scott didn't exist a couple of years ago, she knows way too much about criminal procedures and about talking to cops. Anna Scott has a secret, and this twist of fate could not only expose her, but place her and anyone close to her in danger.

Jake Griffin is playing a dangerous game. He's spent the last few months undercover in the Moretti crime family. Anna Scott is a big problem. Moretti assigns him to find out who she is, what she wants, and to kill her if she's a threat. Jake needs to keep his nose clean and focus on taking down Moretti, not a sexy woman who is a complete mystery. He can't stop thinking about her; her knowledge, her name, her dangerous associates, her fear, or the bone deep desire every time he sees her. Nick's at war with the whole world over one alluring, yet vulnerable woman, and he can't seem to stop taking dangerous chances where she's concerned. The most dangerous of all might be trusting her with the truth.

BUY LINKS
Also available for pre-order on Apple. 

Join Jennifer Zane's mailing list to keep up to date on the Hot Pursuit series:

 
 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cover Reveal: Even the Moon Has Scars by Steph Campbell

We're excited to share the cover and an excerpt of Even the Moon Has Scars by Steph Campbell! Let us know what you think!


Title: Even the Moon Has Scars
Author: Steph Campbell
Age: YA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designed by The Cover Lure
Scheduled to release: October 28, 2014
Goodreads

Blurb:
Two strangers.
Two broken hearts.
One night to set each other free.

Almost dying from an undiagnosed heart condition means every second of your life is a precious gift to be guarded.
Lena Pettitt was born a miracle.
And her parents never let her forget it.
Even if that daily reminder kept her from experiencing the one thing they were trying to protect most--her life.

Gabriel Martinez’s heart has been ripped out.
His pride has been stomped on.
Oh, and he now has an arrest record that’s caused an even bigger rift between him and his DA mother. All for a love that wasn’t really true.

Now he’s exiled to his grandmother’s, working on his late grandpa’s old Corvair when a shivering girl knocks on the garage door. Lena, left alone for the first time ever, has locked herself out of her house--in the snow. Gabe knows he could help this girl get back inside her house--but that may mean missing the next train to Boston to pick up the part he’s spent eight weeks tracking down. She can wait for him at his grandmother’s or…

A few hours, an aluminum valve cover, and some strong coffee later, neither Gabe or Lena can feign disappointment when they race to the station and arrive just as the last train home from Boston is pulling out.

As jaded as he is, Gabe can’t deny the fact that he’s excited to spend the night exploring a city he knows nearly every corner of, with a girl who sees magic in the simplest things.

Lena has been waiting for her tiny world to crack open her entire life. Now that it’s finally happened, she finds the only thing she can focus on is the unexpected tour guide who opens her eyes to possibilities she never imagined.

All they have is this one night, together, under the bright moon in a city full of hidden beauty.

It’s one night that will change how they see the world and the paths their hearts will take forever.



EXCERPT
“So what happened?” Lena asks. She takes another sip of her drink, then rests her hand on the the laminate countertop near mine. I want to focus on that. How close she is. How close she’s allowing me to be to her for the first time tonight. What I don’t want to be doing is talking about my ex-girlfriend. "Why aren’t you together anymore?"
Making love to her was like sleeping with a starfish.
She loved the thrill of a political protest more than she actually loved me.
She was happy to see me hauled off to jail for her cause, because it added a little drama to her life.
“I don’t know, I guess you can only make exceptions for people for so long before they all just sound like excuses.”
“You, or her?”
I suck in a quick breath before answering,“Maybe both?”
She stares down at her wrist, spinning the blue beads on her bracelet as she says, “But you loved her.”
It isn’t a question.
I nod slowly. “I did.”
“And now--”
“Now, I’ve moved on.” I shrug.
“Have you really?” Lena asks. “Because when she hugged you--”
I don’t really understand why we have to talk about this. So we ran into Jemma, it doesn’t mean the entire relationship needs to be rehashed over pie. Doing that will only lead to me having to discuss my arrest, and that’s not something I want to talk about with the girl who looks at me with those big brown eyes that scream trust and understanding and all the things I don’t even come close to deserving from someone.
I turn my barstool toward her, brushing her knee with my own. The simple touch is more electric and intimate than sex with my starfish ex.
“Look, Lena,” I say, as I wrap a straw wrapper around my index finger. “This isn’t something I want to get into.”
“You’ve asked me a bunch of questions tonight,” she presses.
That’s fair. I’ve spent the last several hours trying to drag every bit of information I can out of this crazy mysterious, beautiful girl.
Our server comes by the table to refill our drinks. “Can I just get the check?” I ask, hopeful she'll just let it drop after a change of venue.
“I’m not finished,” Lena says, motioning to her half-eaten piece of pie.
“I’m ready to go,” I say.
“Oh, because I asked you a question you don’t want to answer now?” she demands.
“No, Lena. I’m just ready to go.”
“Liar,” she mumbles under her breath. It’d be cute if it weren't so damn accurate.
I pull out my wallet as soon as our check arrives and hand over my debit card.
“I’m not a liar," I say, it comes out more harsh than I intend. "It’s just--being in love doesn’t define you. No matter what romantic idea you have in your head, love doesn’t go to the most deserving. It's not something you collect, like, the more the better. Love isn't a trinket passed down. It’s a wound left behind. Love changes you, but not always in a good way. It’s a goddamn scar.”

Pre Order the novel here!


REVIEW TOUR: November 4-11
RELEASE DAY BLAST: October 28 


About the Author:

Steph Campbell grew up in Southern California, but now lives in the hot, humid south. She has one husband, four children and a serious nail polish obsession. When she's not writing or taking care of her brood, she's reading or scouring travel sites, always ready for life's next adventure.

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorstephcampbell
blog: stephcampbell.blogspot.com
twitter: @stephcampbell_
instagram: _steph_campbell

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Novel Spotlight: Open My Eyes by Jennifer Collin

Everything happens for a reason, they say. And sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions. Sleeping with her sister's best friend is one of the dumbest things soon-to-be divorcee Emily Evans has ever done. But she's determined to put it behind her and move on. She's walked away from her cheating husband, managed to make a new friend, and found herself a real job and somewhere to live so she doesn't have to couch-surf any more. Everything should be falling into place but for one problem – there are some mistakes from which you can't move on.

Meanwhile, Ben Cameron is getting on with his life. After all, it's the only thing to do once your heart has been stomped on by the woman of your dreams. Expanding his business and getting cosy with the girl next door are proving welcome distractions. He's even happy to babysit his nephew, as long as he can to hand him back when he's done! And thankfully, Emily Evans, the woman with the heavy boots, is avoiding him like the plague.

But Emily can't avoid him forever, and when she drops a bombshell that turns Ben's world upside-down, suddenly, getting on with his life takes on a whole new meaning.

Author Bio


Jennifer Collin writes quirky, and sometimes gritty, love stories about ordinary people dealing with what life throws at them.  She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, two noisy children and a cantankerous cat.  She used to party, but now her idea of a good time is an uninterrupted sleep.  These days, her characters do her partying for her, and she doesn't necessarily let them sleep. 

Buy the Book

Connect with Jennifer

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

Title:  Virgin
Author:  Radhika Sanghani
Genre:  New Adult
Publisher:  Berkley
Release Date:  August 5, 2014
File Size/Pages:  1758 KB/304 pgs
Source:  NetGalley

My Rating:  2/5

Summary:  Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.

Yet.

This is normal, right? I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

Review:  I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion, and honestly I wasn't thrilled about this novel. The story begins with the main character, Ellie Kolstakis, in the Doctor's office. In that scene, we learn that Ellie is 21-years-old, a Senior in college, and a virgin. The entire novel is based on Ellie's journey and the lengths she goes to to actually lose her virginity. There were a number of reasons I didn't really care for this novel. The first reason is because it was way too detailed. For example, the author would take you step by step of how the main character shaved her nether regions or how to properly give a "blow gift" as they called it in the book. Another reason this novel didn't sit well with me is because the main character was way too hard on herself, and didn't find herself pretty until after she lost her virginity. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being sexually active, but a woman also shouldn't feel as if she needs a man or sex to justify her beauty. It was hard for me to finish this novel. Although this novel wasn't my most favorite read, I must still commend the author for being brave enough to put such a provocative novel out!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: Better Critiquing for Better Writing by Kelly Hart

Title:  Better Critiquing for Better Writing
Author:  Kelly Hart
Genre:  Writing, Research & Publishing Guides
Publisher:  Better Scribe
Release Date:  February 22, 2014
File Size/Pages:  784 KB/108 pgs
Source:  Kelly Hart

My Rating:  5/5

Summary:  Turn the fear of what others will think and say about your writing on its head and discover how to harness the power of critiquing and feedback to elevate your writing to the next level.
Whether you're writing your first word or you're a first-time fiction author, Better Critiquing for Better Writing is the book that shows you how to implement one of the best-kept secrets to writing.

Inside this ACTIONABLE guide you'll discover how to:

- Rapidly improve your fiction writing with the power of short critiques
- Harness the mechanics of critique to receive powerful writing feedback
- Find the right critiquing partner or group for you
- Give valuable feedback and have other writers and authors love you
- Find the best critique websites online - this book tells you what they are
- Take a bad critique and use it to improve as a writer

This book is ideal for:

- Those who are writing fiction and want to leverage critiquing to elevate their writing skills quickly
- New writers who want better writing skills and critiquing experiences
- People who are writing a novel, novella or short story and want to know what to expect when getting feedback
- New writers who want to join a critiquing group
- Writers and authors who benefit from visual examples of what 'to do' and 'not to do' when identifying story structure flaws
- Writers who feel that their critiquing group is not as helpful as they expected. This book will show you why.

BONUS: Free Online Fiction Writing Course and Formatting Guide Inside!

From your initial idea to writing your first draft, this free step-by-step writing course will be the kick-start you need for better writing skills and to complete your manuscript.

Review:  I received this novel from the author in exchange for my honest opinion, and I absolutely loved this novel! The great thing about this novel is that Kelly gives you a lot of useful tips giving and getting critiques. A week before I started reading this novel, I joined the site, Ladies Who Critique, so I was thrilled to see that Kelly mentioned this website as one of her recommended online resources for writers. After reading Kelly's novel, I feel comfortable and confident enough to give and receive critiques on my current and future manuscripts!