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Stranded With Ella – A tale of a ghost, a landslide, and pink hair…

Stranded with Ella by Shelley Munro

 

Stranded With Ella, book 4 in the Military Men series is out today!

 

Why should you read this book?

It has a quirky heroine with pink hair.

It has a grumpy alpha soldier hero.

There’s a ghost.

It’s set in New Zealand.

There is danger.

Romance and spicy love scenes.

A happy-ever-after ending.

Grab your copy at your favorite online book retailer.

Cover Reveal: Stranded with Ella, Military Men #4

At long last—a new addition to the Military Men series.

The Military Men series features three NZSAS soldiers who met during training and became close friends. There is love, adventure and a good dose of humor in the first three books. The heroes are all military men and their heroines are equally strong with a side of sassy determination.

I’m really excited to show you the latest cover in the Military Men series. Stranded with Ella features Dillon Williams (Summer’s brother) and Ella Liddington-Walsh, a woman with pink hair and a love of vintage clothing.

And NEWSFLASH, there’s a giveaway to celebrate my cover reveal. Scroll down for details!

STRANDED WITH ELLA

Military Men, #4

Release Date 20 March 2019

Stranded with Ella by Shelley Munro

Here’s an excerpt from INNOCENT NEXT DOOR that introduces Dillon and his brother to the reader. Note: There are a few F-Bombs in this particular excerpt.

“Summer!” a masculine voice hollered. The angry sound echoed and bounced off the walls in a too-familiar manner.

“Oh, no,” Summer muttered. Somehow, she didn’t think closing her eyes and pretending she was asleep would solve this one.

Nikolai slithered from the bed and pulled an ugly-looking gun from under the bed.

“Don’t go. Did you lock the bedroom door?”

“No.”

“Summer!” The second voice sounded a shade deeper but just as angry.

“Shit, there’s two of them,” Nikolai said, and he grabbed his jeans and yanked them on.

“Unfortunately.”

Nikolai cast her a strange look, but the thump of heavy boots outside the bedroom forestalled his questions.

“Don’t come in!” Summer shrieked. “I don’t have any clothes—”

The door burst open and crashed against the bedroom wall. Two huge men paused at the threshold, and the four of them stared at each other with varying reactions.

“Fuck,” Nikolai said in a fierce undertone.

Summer nodded.

Yep, this was a situation that called for a stronger word than “shit”.

She tugged the covers up to her chin and considered crawling right underneath to hide. She thought about it for all of two seconds and cast away the cowardly idea. Someone needed to referee. She was the lone candidate.

“What the hell are you doing?” Dillon, her oldest brother, roared. He balanced lightly on his toes, his biceps bulging beneath his T-shirt. His dark hair stuck up, appearing as ruffled as his temper.

Josh, her other brother, folded his arms across his broad chest. He didn’t smirk but the glint in his baby-blue eyes said he wanted to. “Oh, it’s obvious what they’ve been doing,” he drawled, confirming her supposition. The louse thought this was funny.

“Tarei.” A pulse throbbed at Dillon’s temple, and he looked as if he wanted to haul Nikolai from the room and beat him to a pulp. “Jake said Summer was here. Didn’t expect you too.”

“Sex,” Josh added helpfully.

Summer swallowed despite her best efforts to keep her anxiety contained. Her week just kept getting better. Murder, a little sex, and a fistfight chucked in for good measure. She had it all. Who needed to read the Sunday tabloids?

“I don’t want to think about my sister and sex in the same sentence,” Dillon snapped.

“Especially with him.” Josh shifted his weight and clenched and unclenched his fists. The ever-present humor in his baby-looking face riled Summer. Time to take control.

“Out,” she snapped, trying to ignore the fine tremor of nerves that shook her limbs.

“Fine.” Dillon glared at Nikolai. “He can come with us.”

“I don’t think so,” she returned sweetly. If they laid one hand on Nikolai, so help her… She would Tae Kwon Do her two soldier brothers. “Nikolai stays with me.”

Dillon and Josh exchanged a glance.

Summer narrowed her eyes. “He stays with me. He’s seen me dress before.”

“I don’t think they want to hear that, sweetheart.”

“Fuck, no.” Dillon jerked his head toward the door. “Out, Tarei. You’re coming with us.”

“You do know Nikolai?” Summer glanced from brother to brother. Their hard faces gave away little, but she guessed they weren’t telling her something big. Fine. She’d worm the information from Nikolai the minute she got rid of her brothers.

Summer sat and made a show of grabbing the covers. The sheet slipped dangerously close to flashing her nipples.

“Aw, Summer!” Josh said, starting to back away. He grabbed his brother’s arm and yanked.

Dillon resisted until Summer made another move. “The kitchen in five minutes,” he ordered. “A second longer and we’ll come back and drag you out.”

Her brothers exited the room, their remarks to each other peppered with enough swear words it was a wonder her mother didn’t make an appearance with her bar of soap.

The Giveaway:

One reader will win a paperback copy of Enemy Lovers, a cute plus Kiwi, and an olive soap that comes complete with an Evil Eye good luck charm all the way from Greece. (It’s the bar of soap Summer needed for her brothers!)

The giveaway is open to all readers including International. Complete the rafflecopter below with at least one of the options and you’re in the draw!

Stranded with Ella Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Collision Point by Lora Leigh #review #newrelease

Collision Point by Lora LeighFrom #1 bestselling author Lora Leigh comes Collision Point, part of the thrilling Brute Force series—packed with powerful men, steely women, and explosive passion.

SHE’S NOTHING BUT TROUBLE
Riordan Malone is more than a bodyguard. As an Elite Ops agent, he’s ripped, raged, and ready to rumble—a true warrior, inside and out. But no war zone can compare to the battle in Rory’s heart when he lays eyes on the only woman he’s ever loved—and thought he had lost forever. . .

HE’S EVERYTHING SHE NEEDS
As the daughter of a crime lord, Amara Resnova has endured the cruelty of her father’s enemies—and has tried to escape that world ever since. Now, she must reach out to the one man who saved her life, even if she’s never forgiven him for breaking her heart. But Amara is tougher today than she was then. She’s also more desirable to Rory—and dangerous to love. Can he protect her from her father’s enemies without surrendering to his own passions…or will love seal their fate for good?

Review:

Lora Leigh is one of the first authors I read when it came to erotic romance, and although I haven’t read her books in recent years, I grabbed the opportunity to review this one.

In a brief precis of the plot we have Amara Resnova who was abducted and badly injured six months ago. Also injured during her rescue, we have her lover Riordan Malone, soldier and protector. We meet our two lovers when they come together again. Amara doesn’t recall much about what happened or who did it and while Riordan knows more, he’s playing his cards close to his chest.

Amara is strong and determined. She’s feisty too, and her father’s overprotectiveness drives her crazy. She also has vulnerability due to the abduction. Now someone is attacking her anew and she seeks help from Riordan, bringing them together again.

Riordan is strong, arrogant and confident. He knows what he wants and that is Amara. He is determined to keep her safe. He and her father know more about her abduction, but they’ve been advised to let her remember on her own.

Emotion drips off the page, and the heat between Amara and Riordan is combustible. They push each other, yet the love between them is palpable, especially toward the end of the book.

The layers of this story unpeel slowly as Amara recalls the things that happened before and during her abduction. Danger lurks in this suspenseful read and everything comes to a suspenseful climax. The epilogue gives us the seeds of the next romance in this action-packed series.

There is a fated mates feel to this series that I like very much. I mean who doesn’t want to find the soul that completes them? This is the first book in a new series, but it feels as if it is the second because it ties into another one of Ms. Leigh’s series.

My one criticism is that the type of characters and the dynamics between them are very similar to those in other Lora Leigh romances. While I enjoy the bossy arrogance of the hero and the spirited heroine, I’d love to see something slightly different from Ms. Leigh.

I enjoyed this romance for its suspense, the heat and the emotion, and I ended it wondering why I’d drifted away from this author. Big mistake! She writes a steamy and highly enjoyable, highly emotional romance. 4 stars.

Grab your copy today!

Innocent Next Door is FREE – Today only! #romance #romanticsuspense

Grab your free copy of Innocent Next Door, book 1 in the Military Men series. Today only!

Innocent Next Door

Grab your copy from Amazon today

Photo Essay: Playing to Win #Kindle #romance

My romantic suspense, Playing to Win is set in New Zealand. During the course of the book my hero and heroine take a journey to Taupo, a childhood haunt of mine. Here are some photos of their journey to go with the text…

Matamata

Kate listened to the ebb and flow of his voice and laughed as he painted colorful word pictures of a group of men and the close bonds between them. This man not only appealed to her senses, she liked him too.

There was little traffic on the road and none of the usual hold-ups due to road works. They passed Matamata and Waharoa with its small cafes and antique shop. Jersey cows grazed in lush green pastures while other herds ambled to the sheds for their afternoon milking.

“How about a stop in Tirau for a cup of coffee?” Kate asked.

“Sounds good.”

 

~*~*~*

Sheep's Head, Tirau
“I like Tirau,” she confided when they sat at one of the outside tables. Relaxed, now with more space between them, she leaned back to enjoy the sun. “I enjoy browsing in the antique shops, and I always make time to look in the shop over there.” Kate pointed at one of Tirau’s landmarks. The entrance to the shop was a large sheep’s head made of corrugated iron. Through the gaping mouth or doors, shelves were crammed full of wool, soft sheepskins and hand-knitted sweaters. While they watched, a bus filled with tourists pulled up in the car park and the passengers descended on the staff.

“Yeah, I noticed it before. It’s impressive. The tourists seem to enjoy their visit.”

 

~*~*~*


Antique shop, TirauIn the last shop, Kate lingered in front of a small pink music box. Not an expensive one but the type a young girl might fill with treasures. With a gentle finger, she pushed open the lid and the sweet strains of Swan Lake rippled through the shop while a ballerina twirled around and around. “I haven’t seen one of these in years.” She slid her teeth over her lower lip, disturbed by the bittersweet memories the tinkling tune evoked of her parents and happier times. “Not since…”

“Since?” Lane’s indulgent tone made her want to weep. He was so different from Steve.

“I used to have one almost exactly the same.” Until Steve broke it after he’d caught her smiling at one of his friends.

 

~*~*~*

Shelter BeltsLane appeared with several packages. “Do you want me to drive?”

Kate shook her head. “Thanks, but I’m happy driving.”

Gradually the scenery changed from farmland to pine plantations. Tree shelterbelts of a different species glowed in autumn colors ranging from green and gold to red and burgundy, protecting newly planted pines from strong winds.

“Nearly there,” Kate said as she drove through the outskirts of Taupo.

Lane peered toward the lake. “If we’re lucky, we’ll catch a glimpse of the mountains. There isn’t much cloud.”

 

~*~*~*

Mountains and Lake Taupo Although early evening, they could make out the trio of mountains, Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe across the large expanse of blue-black lake.

Kate let out a satisfied sigh. “This is one of my favorite views.”

They shared a smile. “I’d forgotten how beautiful the New Zealand scenery is,” Lane said. “I haven’t visited Taupo for years. Where is Adam and Danielle’s holiday home?”

“Tui Road,” Kate answered, negotiating traffic and the holiday pedestrians still thronging the streets. “You can’t see the mountains or the lake from their house, but it’s only a ten-minute walk to the water.”

SHELLEY’S NOTE: Unfortunately on the day I visited there was cloud!

 

~*~*~*

Tree and Lake Taupo

Lane, who had walked over to a set of sliding doors to watch the boys, said suddenly, “John, I think we’re needed. The boys have snagged the kite in a tree.”

“But there’s only one tree in the reserve,” John said.

Kate moved to survey the scene. A bubble of laughter escaped. “The boys have caught the kite in it. It looks as though they’re deciding who retrieves the kite.”

John groaned. “Come on, Lane. Supervision required.”

 

~*~*~*

 

Here is the blurb for Playing to Win:

Playing to WinThe truth has many layers…

Professional rugby player, Lane Gerrard is used to women throwing themselves at him, but a scurrilous tabloid article naming him as father of a child sends his temper soaring. The woman he confronts doesn’t fit the blackmailer profile. Kate Alexander is attractive with an enchanting innocence, enticing. A total stranger. Her feistiness draws his unwilling admiration, but the child…he is the image of Lane.

Kate can’t deny her son’s similarity to the sexy man at her door but no way will she hand him over without a fight. Kate doesn’t possess money but she can shower her son with love. With public speculation rife, Kate reluctantly works with Lane to discover the truth. They grow closer as distrust slowly turns to mutual fascination, but the tabloid articles bring out a stalker. Mild pranks escalate into danger, and suddenly Lane realizes Kate is a woman he could love. With Kate and her son, he could have a family. Now, with his heart on the line, this is one game he’s playing to win…

Purchase or Borrow from Amazon

A Taste of Poison

Crime Scene: Poisons

One of the cool things about writing books with mystery and suspense elements is that you get to kill people off. The murder can be behind the scenes where the reader doesn’t see the grisly stuff, or the murder can be graphic and gritty and give readers nightmares. And then there are all the interesting methods of killing characters off. Choices galore and so much fun—for the writer that is!

Today I’m going to discuss poison. I’ve heard it said poison is a woman’s weapon. Since food is the ideal vehicle for poison and food preparation is often the domain of women, it’s simple to slip a little extra into the dinner. With poison, all the murderer requires is a way to introduce it to the victim’s system and their job is done. They don’t have to get up close and personal or get blood on their hands.

Poison was used by ancient tribes, within the Roman Empire and in Medieval Europe. Many noble families employed people to taste their food before they dined, so if the meal did contain poison, the taster keeled over first. These days most poisonings occur accidently, and the victims are often children.

Arsenic

This is a common poison in fiction, and it was very popular with the Borgias and de Medicis.

Arsenic is usually swallowed, but it can also be inhaled in industrial circumstances. Symptoms of arsenic poisoning include gastric problems, jaundiced skin, a skin rash, pain and vomiting. The skin becomes cold and victims become dizzy and weak from in drop in blood pressure. These symptoms are followed by convulsions and a coma. Death finally occurs due to circulatory failure. Not a nice way to go!

In the eighteenth century a Frenchman killed off his wives with arsenic. During sex he used a goatskin sheath to protect himself, but he placed a lethal dose of arsenic on the outside of the sheath. The women absorbed the arsenic during intercourse and died. Authorities became suspicious when so many of his wives died. He was found guilty and hanged.

Cyanide

Cyanide comes in three common forms: potassium cyanide, sodium cyanide and hydrogen cyanide. The potassium and sodium forms are solid and have the distinctive bitter almond scent while hydrogen cyanide is a gas. Cyanide can be swallowed, inhaled and absorbed through the skin. The cyanide interferes with the enzymes responsible for getting oxygen into the body. Death is fairly quick—short of breath, dizziness, nausea and a drop in blood pressure are some of the symptoms. Although the bitter almond scent is an indicator of the presence of cyanide, not everyone is able to smell this aroma.

Agatha Christie used cyanide in several of her mysteries. I distinctly recall Hercule Poirot detecting the scent of bitter almonds in a recent TV episode.

These are only two poisons to consider—there are countless others for your characters to use to rid themselves of troublesome foes.

When deciding to use poison as a murder weapon consider the following:

1. Is your book a historical or a more contemporary title?

Poisons were readily available from apothecaries in years past, and the possession of poisons didn’t prove guilt. It is more unusual to have poison readily available these days (apart from general household cleaners) and it isn’t always easy to purchase poison. Some require a special license before they can be purchased.

2. Think about the symptoms and the dosage required to kill off a character. i.e. their size, age and sex.

3. Do you want a quick death or do you want them to suffer for weeks?

4. Is there an antidote available?

5. How are you intending to introduce the poison? Will the character swallow, inhale or absorb the poison through their skin?

6. Do you want the crime discovered quickly or not? Maybe the murderer needs time to set up an alibi.

Poison is an interesting addition to the writer’s arsenal, and it might be just the weapon for you!

Authors: Have you used poison as a murder weapon before? What is the most interesting way you’ve killed off a character?

Readers: What are your favorite murder weapons in books? Do you like the sly murderer who uses poison or would you prefer a gun? Do you like your murders to take place off the page or do you like to experience them along with the characters?

Sources: Deadly Doses, a writer’s guide to poisons by Serita Deborah Stevens with Anne Klarner

A New Path: Kindle Scout with Jenny Schwartz

Last week, I discovered Australian author Jenny Schwartz is doing a Kindle Scout campaign. I was curious and contacted her with my nosy questions, which she has graciously answered.

Welcome, Jenny!

skg1

Please tell us a little about the Kindle Scout program.

In its own words, Kindle Scout is a program that lets readers discover never-before-published books, nominate them and, if they’re selected for publication, receive a free digital copy. Yep, free! That’s awesome.

The nomination period for a book is 30 days. After that, it can take anywhere up to 45 days to hear if a nominated book will be published, or not.

The Kindle Scout is run by Amazon, so if you’re a kindle-reader (like me) it makes things very convenient.

What made you decide to try the Kindle Scout route for your book, Sky Garden?

I decided to test the Kindle Scout waters with Sky Garden for a few reasons. For a start, I thought that the romantic suspense premise of the novel suited Kindle Scout. More on that later! Secondly, discoverability is a big issue these days, with so many books being released. Since Kindle Scout is part of Amazon, I hope it’ll help readers discover Sky Garden AND my other books. Thirdly, I wanted to try something outside my comfort zone, something that pushed me to strategic promotional activity (I discuss my marketing campaign here and my Facebook advertising here).

What do you think are the advantages of a program like this?

For readers, it’s a chance to discover new books and score some free! I take that as a win J

For authors, it opens a few doors. Whether Kindle Scout picks your book for publication or not, the 30 day campaign opens a lot of doors. Some of these are about building your support network (I’ve found this Kindle Scout support/info thread on Kindleboards very encouraging). Others are about engaging in some reality checking – Kindle Scout gives you the statistics of page views and sources of traffic (I discuss the value of these statistics here).

What is the hardest part of this program for you?

Sky GardenThe 30 days of the campaign! Who knew 30 days was so long???

I’m not a very patient person, and actually, that’s a bit of what appealed to me about Kindle Scout. All joking aside about a month being a long time, the turnaround is actually super-fast for publishing, and that appeals to me.

Tell us about Sky Garden, your romantic suspense.

Sky Garden is a contemporary London romance with a haunting edge.

Lanie Briers used to perform as a medium, before a serial killer kidnapped her. Now she hides above a quirky Bloomsbury museum because the killer might be dead, but his evil haunts her.

Nick Tawes is filming a TV series on roof gardens. He intends to build one in Lanie’s rooftop retreat. The illegitimate son of British aristocracy, he fights his own demons.

As summer progresses and the sky garden grows, secrets are revealed. But someone is watching, and he’ll kill to bury forever one final truth.

Where can we nominate Sky Garden for Kindle Scout?

Here! https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3C4OSPPILOSLJ And thank you :) The nomination period ends November 21, 2015.

Thanks so much, Shelley, for the chance to chat about my Kindle Scout experience. I’ve tried not to ramble, but if anyone has any questions, I’d love to chat some more, so please, ask!

Jenny Schwartz is a hopeful romantic with a degree in Sociology and History—people watching and digging into the past. She lives in Western Australia and is working towards her dream of living by the sea. Jenny writes contemporary romance, paranormal romance and steampunk. Find all her books listed on her website, http://authorjennyschwartz.com

The Reveal – Secrets of Honor by Carol Kilgore

I’m really excited to take part in the cover reveal for Carol Kilgore’s upcoming release. I met Carol online via blogging. She has a wonderful blog called Under the Tiki Hut, and there is always a fun post to read. Definitely check out her blog – Under the Tiki Hut

And now without further delay, Carol’s gorgeous cover…

Secrets of Honor by Carol Kilgore

 

BLURB for SECRETS OF HONOR

By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

BIO

Carol writes grocery lists, texts to her family, new lyrics to old songs for her dogs, love notesCarol Kilgore Author Photo to her husband, and novels for herself. And for you. In between, she blogs weekly at Under the Tiki Hut and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol and her books here:

blog . website . facebook . twitter . goodreads . amazon

I think the cover is gorgeous and there are jewel thieves in this book. I’m sold!

Sleep, My Friend!

Sleep, Shanghai

Sleepy Worker, Shanghai

Today I’m really excited to visit my friend Mary at Dark Thoughts….Without sleep we become tall two-year-olds. Read more at Dark Thoughts

About once a month I blog over at Not Your Usual Suspects, which is a blog about romance, mystery and suspense. If you like a dead body in your fiction, you need to visit us.

So… we are going to celebrate by giving away lots and lots of downloads from the multi-published, multi-talented NYUS writers. To enter, just go to

Not Your Usual Suspects

and leave a comment at the announcement post or email our Fearless Leader at

CLARELONDON11 at YAHOO . CO . UK (you know how to make that work). Just one email, please…

On THURSDAY 25 JULY we’ll make the draw. Clare will contact each winner in turn by email, and then it’ll be. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED for the winner’s choice of author’s work. So take a look at the announcement post and have your first few choices in mind!

I hope to see you during my visits!

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Solomon’s Compass by Carol Kilgore – Crime Fiction with a Kiss!

Today I’m thrilled to take part in the cover reveal for Carol Kilgore’s Solomon’s Compass. Carol writes mystery, suspense and romance—Crime Fiction with a Kiss—and she has a wonderful blog called Under the Tiki Hut where she showcases her sense of fun and tells us about her writing life. If you haven’t already visited, go and check it out.

And so without further ado I’d like to introduce Solomon’s Compass by Carol Kilgore!

Solomon's Compass

Here’s the blurb:

A missing belt—her uncle’s prized possession. The lure of buried treasure. And a sexy former SEAL who makes U.S. Coast Guard Commander Taylor Campbell crazy. What more could any woman want. Right?

Taylor is in Rock Harbor, Texas, on a quest to unearth her uncle’s treasure—a journey far outside the realm of her real life. There’s one glitch. Taylor’s certain the buried treasure was all in Uncle Randy’s dementia-riddled mind. Now he’s dead.

Former SEAL Jake Solomon is in Rock Harbor under false pretenses to protect Taylor from the fate that befell her uncle and the other members of a tight circle of Coast Guardsmen called the Compass Points who served together on Point boats in Vietnam.

Jake is definitely not supposed to become involved with Taylor. That was his first mistake. Taylor is attracted to Jake as well, but she refuses to wait for him to locate the killer when she knows her plan will force her uncle’s murderer into action.

But the killer’s actions are just what Jake is afraid of.

Carol KilgoreCarol Kilgore has always had stories and characters in her head, but she didn’t know she should write them down until about a dozen years ago. Once she started, she couldn’t stop.

Her first published short story won the Derringer Award for Best Short-Short Mystery. She continued to write short fiction for a few years and also enjoyed a small success as a freelancer before giving it all up for her true love—novels.

Carol writes a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls Crime Fiction with a Kiss. Always at least one crime; always a love story. Solomon’s Compass is her second published novel.

As the wife of a Coast Guard officer, Carol has lived in locations across the U.S. She and her husband now live in a San Antonio suburb and share their home and patio with two active herding dogs that keep them free from all danger, real or imagined.

You can find Carol here:

website . blog . facebook . twitter . goodreads . amazon

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Do you have any questions or comments for Carol?



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