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Saturday, August 1, 2015

EAT CROW and DIE by Maris Soule Tour & #Giveaway


I'm happy to have Maris Soule back with another mystery. It's a busy summer for Maris with two books released almost simultaneously. Eat Crow and Die is the 3rd book in her P.J. Benson Mystery series. I loved the other two books so I had to read this one.  (See my review below.)
About the Book
Picture Eat Crow and Die (A P.J. Benson Mystery - Book 3)
by Maris Soule
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Books
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Five Star Publishing
Release Date: May 20, 2015
Length: 281 Pages

P.J. Benson knows Sheriff’s Detective Wade Kingsley wouldn’t blow up his own boat to kill his ex-wife and her new husband, Michael Brewster. Sure, Wade wasn’t happy that his ex was taking their six-year-old son, Jason, to live in California, but Wade and Jason were also onboard the boat when it blew up. Wade would never have endangered his son that way. Nevertheless, the investigating detectives consider Wade their prime suspect, and Wade’s ex in-laws loudly accuse him and threaten to file for custody of Jason.

Under the circumstances, P.J. is certain this isn’t the right time to tell Wade she’s pregnant, but bouts of morning sickness give her away. Wade is upset by the news. P.J. wonders if it’s because he’s afraid he’ll be put in prison for a double homicide he didn’t commit, or if he’s afraid the new baby will cause P.J. to become schizophrenic, as was the case with her mother. Even P.J. is worried about that. Although Wade doesn’t want her playing detective, P.J. soon discovers that Michael Brewster wasn’t as great a guy as everyone thought. But did anyone hate the man enough to kill him?

Excerpt - Eat Crow and Die
As I headed for the room number Ginny had given me, I thought back over the four months I’ve known Wade. The first time I saw him, he reminded me of Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise wrapped up in one man. He certainly didn’t look like a homicide detective. Back then he thought I’d murdered someone. That or I was crazy, like my mother. We've had a couple more misunderstandings since then, but for the most part we’ve gotten along quite well—in bed and out. On the other hand, there are times when he can be stubborn, irritating, and unreasonable. As I neared his room, it sounded like he was being all three.

“I’m fine,” he bellowed. “I do not need to be in bed.”

“Until the doctor releases you,” a feminine voice said, “you need to stay put.”

“Damn the doctor. I told them downstairs I need to get back to South Haven.”

“Are you giving the nurse a bad time?” I asked as I entered the room.

Wade made a grunting sound as he looked my way. “They’re treating me as if I’m sick. I hit my head, that’s all.”

The poor nurse looked at me and shook her head. “He’s supposed to rest.”

“Be a good boy, Wade. Do as she says. Put your legs back up on the bed and rest.”

He glared at me—at both the nurse and me—but he put his legs back up on the mattress and allowed her to pull a sheet up to his waist. He didn’t lay back, so I asked, “Can he have the bed cranked up, so he can be in a seated position?”

“If it will keep him in bed, I guess so.”

She didn’t make a move, and neither did Wade, so I stepped closer and pushed the button that raised the back so Wade could be in a fully seated position. “That better?” I asked.

He grumbled, but gave a slight nod, then winced.

He had a four-inch square bandage on his forehead, and I could see some discoloration along the side of his face, but it wasn’t until he went to lean back against the pillow behind him and grimaced that I knew it wasn’t just his forehead that had been injured.

“If you need anything, press that button,” the nurse said, indicating the red one on the corded remote.

Wade grunted, and she quickly left. I’m sure she was glad to leave him to me. He clearly wasn’t in a good mood.

“You seen Jason?”

“I just left him. He’s with Ginny.”

“He’s okay?”

“He seems fine. They’re waiting for the results on a couple of tests, then, Ginny said, she’ll bring him by your room.”

“That or I’ll pick him up as I leave.”

“I don’t think they want you leaving today.”

Again the glare. “I’m fine. I hit my head, that’s all.”

“Uh-huh. And how many stitches?” I asked, pointing at the bandage on his forehead.

“I don’t know.” He gave me a crooked smile. “Maybe fifteen.”

“And the back of your head?”

“I have a little goose-egg, that’s all.”

I reached behind his head, but I’d barely touched his scalp before he let out a yelp. From what I could feel, his “little goose-egg” was more like an ostrich egg. “How did you hit both the back and the front of your head?”

“I don’t know.” He let out a deep sigh. “I don’t remember anything from the time Linda and that arrogant bastard she married finally arrived at the boat with Jason until I found myself on a stretcher, being lifted into a helicopter.” He narrowed his eyes. “I don’t even remember that very well. It wasn’t until they poked my head with a needle that I really started focusing on what was happening.”

“You don’t remember taking the boat out on Lake Michigan?”

He started to shake his head, but immediately stopped. “Not a thing.”

The pupils of his eyes were dilated, and since Wade doesn’t do drugs, and it was fairly light in the room, I figured the doctors were right, he did have a concussion. I’d heard how people who had concussions often couldn’t remember what happened before or even after the accident. Some lost entire days. Sometimes the memories came back; sometimes they never did.

“I do remember Linda said they didn’t want to fish,” Wade grumbled. “Here she insists she wants to go on this fishing trip with Jason and me, that both she and Brewster want to go along, and then as soon as she arrives—an hour late, at that—she starts making a fuss about going fishing. I’d even brought fishing poles for the two of them.”

“But they did go out on the boat with you? With you and Jason?”

“They must have.” Wade looked out beyond the end of the bed, and I could tell he was trying to remember.

“Do you have any idea where you and Jason were when the boat blew up?”

“No.” Wade looked back at me. “You haven’t heard anything about Linda?”

“Nothing.”

“So they’re not here, not in the hospital?”

“I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so.”

From his expression, I knew what Wade was thinking. If Linda and her husband were on the boat and had been thrown to safety, Linda would be with Jason now. The woman had become paranoid since telling Wade that she and her new husband were moving to California and taking Jason with them. She was sure Wade was going to do something to stop her.

“If she was on the boat . . .” I started to say, but didn’t finish. The thought of what might have happened to Linda—to both Wade’s ex and her new husband—caused my stomach to lurch.


About Award-Winning Author Maris Soule
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page
Writer, teacher, artist, wife, mother, dog trainer, horse rider, boater. Maris Soule can list an array of occupations and avocations. Even as a writer her 29 published books span a variety of genres and subgenres, ranging from short stories to romances, romantic suspense, and mystery. A two-time RITA finalist, Soule has placed in and won several writing contests. Born and raised in California, Soule and her husband now spend their summers in Michigan and their winters in Florida.
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Review by Diane Burton

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'd read the other two P.J. Benson books (you don't have to in order to enjoy this one) and have been waiting on pins and needles for this book to be released. As a fan of Maris Soule's, I've watched its progression and even participated in the choice of title.



P.J. Benson can't leave a mystery alone. She knows Deputy Sheriff Wade Kingsley couldn't have blown up his own boat, not with his son aboard. When detectives are convinced Wade did it to get rid of his ex-wife and her new husband, P.J. does her own detecting. In the previous two books, people have wanted to kill her. Same in this one. But she's got more to worry about and a surprise of her own for Wade.



A compelling plot, well-developed characters, and suspense makes this mystery a page turner. This is another of Maris' books that kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning. I couldn't wait to see if I was right about whodunit. (I was partially right.) As a fellow Michigander, I love the references to places I know. Maris Soule has certainly found her niche with outstanding mysteries.


Monday, July 27, 2015

New Release - The Protector



The Protector
by Diane Burton
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Length: 370 Pages

It's finally here! After nine months, my "baby" is ready to meet the public. Of all the books I've written, The Protector was the hardest, the most emotional for me as a mother. I had to dig deep to image how a mother would feel upon losing her child. Not to miscarriage, which is difficult enough, but to kidnappers. Even years later, how would that mother feel? What would she have to do in order to cope? Although only a mother who has experienced this tragedy would know, I hope I've conveyed her emotions well.

Blurb:
After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from raiding the frontier colony. She’s met with apathy and disbelief. Because she lost her own baby to traffickers, she’s determined that no other mother will suffer the same heartache. Industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran aids her in rescuing more children. Little do they know they’re about to tangle with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger. Dillan’s loved her for years despite her claim she’s too old for him. As they fight the traffickers, will she finally see him in a new light?

Excerpt:
Fortuna hurried into the kitchen. “To what do I owe this honor?” The pleasure house owner laughed. “Finally going to take me up on my offer to sample my newest provider? He’s absolutely delish. And what stamina.”
Though her cheeks flamed, Rissa brushed aside the offer then quickly explained her need for small clothing.
“Slavers?” Fortuna screwed up her face in disgust. “I heard rumors of disappearances in cities like Rhadaman but not in the colonies.”

“About the clothes?” Rissa needed to return before the girls decided to explore. Or, worse, leave.
Fortuna led her up the back stairs to the sleeping quarters. “SeeMee isn’t working right now. She’s the smallest.”

A few mins later, Rissa had a bundle of clothing from the generous SeeMee who was only too happy to help the escapees. “I chose this life,” the tiny pleasure worker explained. “Nobody should be forced into it.”

And that, Rissa thought, made the difference between pleasure houses and prostis. Choice. She had to make sure those girls bathing in her sanitary could make their own choices.

“The other girl is taller than you,” Rissa said to Fortuna. “About this high.” She leveled her hand near her own shoulder.

Fortuna nodded. “Wait here. Don’t want to interrupt anything.” She grinned.

When she returned to the tavern with the clothes, Rissa found the girls wearing what she’d left them. Her shirt hung almost to Anaris’ ankles. On Pela, it reached her knees. They’d been sitting on her settee, Pela brushing Anaris’ hair. They jumped up when Rissa came in.

Both eyed her warily.

Pela broke the silence. “What are you going to do with us?”

Rissa sat on the end of her bed across from them. “I can find transport so you can return home.”

“No.” Pela’s sharp response surprised her. “I won’t go back.”

Anaris looked even more frightened. “Please don’t,” she whimpered.

With delicate probing, Rissa got their stories. Both girls had been sold by their fathers to the traffickers. Her heart twisted for them. How could a parent not appreciate the gift of life given to them? To sell their flesh and blood was unconscionable.

Rissa reined in her anger. “You have a choice where to go, what to do. Nobody will force you. Now try on these clothes, and when you’re ready come down to the kitchen.”

Pela stood in front of Rissa. “Why are you helping us? What’s in it for you?”

“Repentance.”

The Protector is available at:  Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords 

This week, I'll be at other blogs with different excerpts. I hope you'll stop by.

Today (Monday): Jessica Subject  
Wednesday:  Linda Carroll-Brad
                     Elizabeth Meyette
Thursday: Liza O'Connor  
                 Roses of Prose

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Killer Past by Maris Soule Tour & #Giveaway


I am pleased to have Michigan author Maris Soule here today. I've admired her work ever since I met her more than twenty years ago. Here she is to tell you about her new release, A KILLER PAST. 

Thank you, Diane, for inviting me to your site. You write about other worlds and switched identities. Seventy-four-year-old Mary Harrington lives in our world, in a small town in southwest Michigan, but who is she, really?

Her friends would say Mary is the widow of the local dentist, mother of a financial advisor, and loving grandmother to an eighteen-year-old granddaughter.  Her neighbors actually know little about her other than she goes to the gym regularly and just recently had her picture in an article about men and women staying active in their seventies, eighties, and nineties. No one realizes what Mary did in her twenties—really did—or what her name was back then.

If the two teenaged gang members had known, maybe, when Mary’s car broke down just two blocks from her house, those boys wouldn’t have considered her an easy target. And maybe if one of the boys hadn’t grabbed her arm, she wouldn’t have reverted to old habits. She’s pleased with herself for not killing them, but not pleased that a police sergeant is now investigating the incident. No matter how many times she tells him she wasn’t the one who put the boys in the hospital, he keeps nosing around, looking into her past.

A Killer Past was a fun book to write. It’s an action packed suspense as Mary tries to protect her family, save her own life, and convince her son that just because she has some bruises, she doesn’t need to go into a retirement home. There’s also a touch of romance as Sergeant Jack Rossini goes from simply being curious to truly caring what happens to Mary.

I can picture Helen Mirren as Mary Harrington, and I wish I had some of Mary’s physical and mental abilities, but I guess I’d have to go to the gym more often, and I certainly don’t want to kill anyone.

A Killer Past was first published in London, England last March by Robert Hale Ltd. and was released in the US and Canada in June. It is available as both a hardcover and e-book and can be ordered from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com or from ipgbook.com

 A Killer Past
by Maris Soule
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | Books-A-Million
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Published by: Robert Hale / Hale Books
Release Date: June 1, 2015
Length: 224 Pages

Most people in the town of Rivershore, Michigan view Mary Harrington as a quiet widow whose only oddity is that she spends a lot of time at the gym. Her son thinks it’s time for her to move into a retirement home. Two gang members think she’ll be an easy target. No one in Rivershore knows what Mary did in her younger years—really did—but the two gang members discover they’ve underestimated their victim . . . and Mary fears reverting to old habits may have jeopardized her future.

Excerpt:
 

Mary limped into her living room and sagged into Harry's Lazyboy. Her heart hadn't stopped pounding since she'd left the two boys. Even though pain radiated up her leg, the adrenalin racing through her body overrode the sensation. Excitement clashed with fear. My God, what had she done?

The boys hadn't been content to simply take her purse and run. Oh no, they wouldn't leave it at that. The short one blocked her escape while the tall one looked inside her purse. He said a twenty wasn't enough, wanted to know where she'd put her credit cards, where she lived. They'd threatened her.

When the tall one grabbed her arm and reached for the lapel of her jacket, she didn't even think before she reacted. Forty-four years might have passed, but her body automatically responded with ingrained moves. A shift of position, one step back, and she had her assailant off balance. She used her cell phone as a weapon, jamming the edge hard against the bone of his forearm. As she applied pressure, a sweep of her foot, along with a twist to her side, had him falling forward. The moment he hit the ground, she dropped down and slammed her knees into his back and ribs. Before he could react, she used the edge of the cell phone to cuff his ear, then grabbed his arm and gave a violent twist. He started screaming right after she heard his shoulder pop.

A quick roll to the side put her on her back. The short one stared down at her, his mouth open and his eyes glazed with confusion. She knew she didn't have much time, but springing to her feet was not an option. Her joints might remember the moves, but age had robbed her body of its elasticity. What once had taken a single maneuver now required three stages, but she was on her feet before Shorty truly understood what was happening.

She used the cell phone in her hand to deliver the blow to his face, a side kick took out his knee, and a chop to his neck put him down on the ground. In the past, she would have finished him off then, finished both of them off. She knew the killing points. Two strategically placed jabs, and both of the boys would be eliminated, no more threatening old ladies.

But that was in the past.

"You stay where you are," she demanded over their whimpering.

She retrieved her purse from where the tall one had dropped it, gave the pair one last glance, and turned away. Breathing hard, she hoped she wouldn't have a heart attack before she reached her house.

About Award-Winning Author Maris Soule
Website | Blog | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads Newsletter | Amazon Author Page
Writer, teacher, artist, wife, mother, dog trainer, horse rider, boater. Maris Soule can list an array of occupations and avocations. Even as a writer her 29 published books span a variety of genres and subgenres, ranging from short stories to romances, romantic suspense, and mystery. A two-time RITA finalist, Soule has placed in and won several writing contests. Born and raised in California, Soule and her husband now spend their summers in Michigan and their winters in Florida.

Review by Diane Burton

Wow. All I can say about this book is WOW. Since reviews should include more, I’ll say “Criminals, watch out for Mary Harrington. She will take you down.” Looks are deceiving. Two gang members find out the hard way that 74-year-old Mary can kick butt. When Detective Jack Rossini probes into the situation with the injured gangmembers, Mary’s hidden past is about to be revealed.

The outstanding pace of this thriller made me read way into the night. Mary’s character, though flawed, is very believable. Her son’s overprotectiveness, Jack’s bulldog determination, her granddaughter’s enthusiasm for adventure add depth to the story, making the characters come alive. The setting is very well done. Although the town of Rivershore, Michigan is fictitious, the reader is grounded by references to real places. Well done, Maris Soule.