Series: Fatal Dreams #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
I’m so pleased to be participating in this Book Blitz for my friend Sheri’s first book, A Hero to Hold. Keep reading all the way through, and besides learning more about this great book, there’s a giveaway at the end!
The first step will be proving she is her own person, unafraid of the lies and deceit that came before. Then she will defy her father and all others who try to steal her independence. Never again will Charlotte have a husband or seek the perfect marriage of her best friend Jane, but perhaps she will dare the wrath of the gossip-mongers and indulge her tiniest desire. To do so will bring her face to face with a stranger in an alcove. It will lead to learning Mr. David Scott is not only a war hero soon to be awarded the Victoria Cross, but also the most formidable man she has ever met. Broken in every way except the ones that count, he just might make her believe in love. And only she can show him that he is not alone.
The malicious edge of humor in the baroness’s voice made her words a parody, and resentment speared Charlotte. “You’re a poor liar, Lady Garret, and you really needn’t expend the effort. I’m immune to your poison.”
The baroness noticed their silent companion, whose gaze was fixed upon her. “What, no introduction, my lady?”
The man did not react in any way. Well, Charlotte decided, at least he dealt out rudeness impartially.
The man shot her a look, brows lifting as if in question—as if he knew her and was silently communicating. Following blind instinct, Charlotte settled herself next to him on the empty half of the settee. She felt immediately and impossibly steadied.
Lady Garret’s mouth firmed, and her attention returned to Charlotte. “I’m surprised to see you here, my lady. Especially tucked away in a corner with a gentleman. It’s been a mere eighteen months since your husband passed. I’d go so far as to say this makes a mockery of his memory.”
Charlotte schooled her expression to one of polite interest. She would not show Lady Garret even an inkling of distress.
“I’d guess your actions will provide society with some entertainment,” the baroness continued. “A bit of a scandal is always appreciated. At least, it amuses me. It might even inspire me to pen another novel.”
A slow smile curled her enemy’s lips, and a quivering beset Charlotte deep inside. She kept her vision fixed on the baroness’s glittering eyes and wrapped her hand around the edge of the divan seat, anchoring herself. Over and over, for the past year she’d imagined this meeting. God willing, she would prevail.
She leaned back against the divan and forced her shoulders to relax. She had to appear confident, so she concentrated on keeping her voice composed. “I’m no longer that naive young woman you manipulated and tried to destroy. This time I won’t stand by while you spread lies about me. I’m not afraid of you, and I won’t crumble.”
The gentleman beside her turned his head, the chilly look gone from his eyes. Like heat from the sun, waves of quiet strength radiated from him and emboldened Charlotte. She marshaled her thoughts, leaned forward just enough to lend emphasis to her words, and continued with a harder voice. “You tell lies about me again, and I’ll make sure all of London is familiar with your machinations and your wicked soul. Until then, I’ll leave you be.”
Lady Garret’s eyes narrowed to mere slits. “How dare you threaten me?”
Charlotte did not look away. Didn’t this woman understand that she had already been consumed by the fire of scandal and risen from the ashes?
“You can say whatever you like about me,” she vowed. “You can tell all of London you saw me walk naked down the center of Regent Street. I don’t care. If it happens again, this time I won’t hide myself away—and I’ll make sure no one believes you.”
She felt the man sit straighter beside her, and a sudden desire to do something actually outrageous overcame Charlotte. To do something worthy of gossip, possibly even scandalous, and to do it without a care for the watchful eyes of Lady Garret. The thought left her giddy, and Charlotte closed her eyes to steady herself. Such an act would prove beyond all doubt that she had no fear of the baroness.
The gentleman beside her still radiated waves of quiet heat. His hand rested on the divan, and before she could consider the wisdom of her idea, Charlotte found herself caught up in it. She placed her hand atop his and laced their fingers. He tensed, and her heart began to race. What was she thinking? And yet, her daring thrilled her as nothing ever had, and when Charlotte looked at Lady Garret and saw the baroness struggling to hide her surprise, suddenly she was sure.
“At least this time,” she announced, “what you write will be based on truth instead of falsehood.”
In the grip of something foreign and reckless, Charlotte turned to the gentleman, gazed into his eyes and curled her hand around the back of his head. He resisted a bit as she drew him near, but she couldn’t afford to hesitate now. She didn’t relent.
In exactly one week, I’ll be enjoying San Diego and my writer friends. It will be the start of the huge event, RWA National Conference, this year being held in San Diego.
Every year, Conference seems to somehow sneak up on us (even though it’s scheduled literally years in advance…and we register in February…and it’s on like every calendar I own!). And yet, here we are. Almost ready to leave, and suddenly running around like a crazy person in a pre-Conference fog (not to be confused with the post-Conference fog when you’re too exhausted to breathe.)
But I digress.
Dress at the Conference is business casual. Which means not a formal business suit (unless that’s your thing), but probably nice slacks, a skirt, a decent blouse or shirt. That part is relatively easy to pack for – once you figure out what fits, what you like, and then stuff it all in a suitcase.
The part that is sometimes a bit more difficult to prepare for is the mental aspect of Conference. Yes, it’s wonderful because you meet a whole bunch of people who have a whole bunch in common with you. Not only are these other writers, these are other romance writers. There are opportunities to find out what’s going on at the various publishers. Pitch sessions with editors and agents. Workshops. Inspirational speakers.
And it’s a lot. And you really do have to pace yourself. But, since this will be my sixth National Conference, I’ve realized there’s one crucial thing I have to bring: a great attitude.
It sounds trite, doesn’t it? It isn’t. As wonderful as Conference is, it isn’t cheap considering the flight, hotel, conference fees, plus assorted other costs. It’s a week away from my family and one my husband takes off to watch our kids. I need to make the most of my time and energy there. And a good attitude is the only way I can do it.
Because I won’t let anything ruin my time there. I will enjoy it. I will find the joy in everything, in a way I sometimes wish I could do in my everyday life. I won’t let negativity (from people or events) get me down. And because of all that commitment to myself, I KNOW that I will have an absolutely fantastic time. And I do, every time. Even when things haven’t been perfect. I just won’t let it ruin things for me.
So yes, I will be bringing my business casual clothes, my business cards, devices, comfortable shoes and water bottle. But it’s my attitude that will make it all work no matter what happens.
Are you packing yours? If so, I can’t wait to meet you there!
Thanks for reading, and wishing you a great week of writing, rewriting, or travels if you’re heading to San Diego like I am. 🙂
I’m so excited to be part of the Release Blitz for Pintip Dunn’s THE DARKEST LIE! Check out the book’s details and teaser, and be sure to enter the giveaway below!
The Darkest Lie
Publisher: Kensington YA
Publication: June 28, 2016
“The mother I knew would never do those things.
But maybe I never knew her after all.”
Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.
As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…
“I’ve been researching the story of her suicide,” Sam says. “And I came across something in my research that nobody could explain.”
“What is it?” I say dully, even though I can probably guess. I mean, there’s lots that’s inexplicable about my mom’s behavior. Tons.
Like: How could a grown woman be sexually attracted to a boy? Or more importantly: Why would she act on it? And my personal favorite: Did she have any kind of moral fiber—even a few lost threads—at all?
But Sam bypasses all the obvious questions and picks up a lock of my hair. I feel the slight tug all the way to my roots.
“Her hair.” He rubs my strands between his fingers, and I suppress a shiver. “It was chopped off, jagged. One article said it looked like it was lopped off with a butcher knife.”
I shrug, but even that simple movement is infused with the awareness of his touch. Still, he doesn’t let go.
“They said she was crazy,” I say. “Out of her mind. Maybe she was disfiguring herself as a sign of her shame. Who knows what motivated her actions?”
But even as I repeat the explanation the detectives gave for just about everything, my dad’s words echo in my mind: I knew your mother. She wasn’t capable of those things. I don’t believe she did any of it.
All of a sudden, my excuses sound exactly like what they are—easy, surface-level assumptions designed to make it easier for the detectives to close the case.
Sam frowns. “I guess I could buy that if I hadn’t seen the interview with her hair stylist in one of the local papers.”
Oh. One of those. Every newspaper in a fifty-mile radius went berserk when my mom committed suicide. Every day, there was a new article, featuring interviews with her fellow teachers, former students, even our lawn guy, for god’s sake. If there was a story on her hair salon, I must’ve missed it.
“The stylist kept saying your mom’s haircut was inconceivable, and I couldn’t understand why. So when I was scooting past Cut & Dry the other day, I stopped to talk to her.”
“Did she confirm my mom was a natural redhead?” I raise my eyebrows. “Reveal the exact color of dye she used to cover her silver sparkles?”
“Not at all,” he says, and something about his tone stops me. The chill begins at the base of my spine and crawls its way up, one long spider leg at a time. “The stylist said she’s been cutting your mom’s hair for two decades. And in all that time, your mother never let her cut more than half an inch. In fact, she came into the salon two days before she died, and they had the exact same argument. The stylist tried to talk her into a bob, and your mom adamantly refused.”
Abruptly, he lets go of my hair, and the strands swing back over my shoulder, loose, unencumbered, and very, very cold.
Sam’s eyes pierce right into me. “So what I want to know is: What could’ve happened in two days that made her change her mind? Unless . . . she didn’t.”
Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”
Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, is a finalist in the Best First Book category of RWA’s RITA® contest. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.
She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.
There are 2 prizes! One winner will win a signed copy of THE DARKEST LIE (US only), and another winner will receive a $50 gift card to Amazon or Book Depository (international)!
NO BETTER MAN by Sara Richardson
When it comes to business, Avery King always comes out on top. So after a very public breakup, work is the perfect excuse to flee the Windy City for the gentle breezes of Aspen, Colorado. Her mission: acquire the land of a rundown mountain ranch. Avery expects an easy win . . . until she meets the rugged and irresistible rancher who won’t give up his property without a fight.
Bryce Walker is stunned by the stubborn beauty determined to get what she wants. But what she wants is his last connection to the life he used to have. Bryce has plans to return the ranch to its former glory and no way will he sell his family home. Yet the more time he spends with Avery, the more her sweet touch makes him forget his painful memories. Now Bryce must decide whether living in the past is worth losing his future . .
NIGHT HUSH by Leslie Jones
Night Hush is a 2016 RITA® nominee for Best First Book, and the winner of the New England RWA’s Reader’s Choice Award.
In this gripping and action-packed debut, an Army Intelligence officer and a Delta Force soldier must race against the clock to stop a catastrophic terrorist attack …
When Army Intelligence officer Heather Langstrom’s military convoy is ambushed and she’s taken prisoner, she knows she’ll need all her strength and courage to survive, escape her captors, and report the whispers of unrest brewing in the Middle East.
Delta Force Captain Jace Reed isn’t one to throw caution to the wind, but when his team stumbles upon beaten and weak Heather fleeing the terrorist training camp they’ve been dispatched to destroy, he’ll risk everything to get her to safety.
Once back on base, they learn her convoy’s ambush was no accident … she’d been targeted. As the evidence of an impending attack mounts, Jace and Heather uncover a deadly terrorist plot that could kill hundreds of civilians.
But Jace’s protective instincts and Heather’s fierce independence put them at constant odds. And as they close in on the extremists, they must learn to trust one another in order to save innocent lives … even if it means sacrificing their own.
THE STRONGEST STEEL by Scarlett Cole
“An incredible story about healing, pain, and trust…you don’t want to miss this one!” –New York Times bestselling author Jen McLaughlin
“I know what you’re up to,” she said.
“And what would that be?” he asked with a devious smirk.
“Is it working?”
She looked over her shoulder to where he was still reclining against the wall, watching her patiently. All the reasons she’d vowed to stay alone, to remain uninvolved, fled as he grinned at her.
In Scarlett Cole’s The Strongest Steel, Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning. The scars that decorate her back are just one more reminder of things she’d rather forget, the past she wants to leave far behind her, but before she can move on, she needs him.
Trent Andrews has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And there’s no way in hell he’s going to turn Harper away. Not when a swirling mix of tenderness and desire slams into him every time he sees her. Being with Harper is like going ten rounds in the ring―exhilarating, powerful, and dangerous. She stirs feelings in him he thought were long gone… if he can only get past her carefully constructed defenses.
Running was the only thing that saved Harper last time, but each session at Second Circle Tattoos brings her closer and closer to Trent. His lingering touches seduce her, making her believe in a life without fear, where she can be happy, whole, in love. But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper’s phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. She ran from her past once before; this time will she have the strength to fight back?
ALTERED by Marnee Blake
When “normal” ends, survival begins…
The sickness came on suddenly and violently. When it was done, waitress Blue Michaels was different in a really strange way. And the entire town of Glory was dead…except for her.
Only that’s not exactly true. A handful of people made it, including U.S. Army Specialist Seth Campbell, who was caught in the wrong town at the worst time. He’s fierce and protective, and way too good-looking. As much as they need a leader—as much as Blue wants to trust him—there are too many questions and not enough time for answers. Now they are hunted. But what their pursuers don’t know is each of them has strange new powers. And they’ll use their “gifts” to survive…no matter who stands in their way.
VIKING WARRIOR RISING by Asa Maria Bradley
Immortal Vikings are among us.
Leif Skarsganger and his elite band of immortal warriors have been charged to protect humanity from the evil Norse god Loki.
Under attack from Loki’s minions, Leif is shocked to encounter a dark-haired beauty who fights like a warrior herself. Wounded and feverish, the Viking kisses her, inadvertently triggering an ancient Norse bond. But when Naya Brisbane breaks away and disappears before the bond is completed, Leif’s warrior spirit goes berserk. If Leif doesn’t find her fast, he’s going to lose himself to permanent battle fury.
But Naya doesn’t want to be found…and he’ll do anything to track her down. Because they’re both running out of time.
Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.
When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.
FORGET TOMORROW by Pintip Dunn
Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.
It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision-a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.
Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.
In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo-a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.
But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all-Callie, herself.
PAIRING OFF by Elizabeth Harmon
American figure skater Carrie Parker’s Winter Games dreams were dashed when her philandering partner caused one of the greatest scandals in skating history. Blacklisted from competing in the United States, her career is over…until she receives a mysterious invitation and is paired with the most infuriating, talented—and handsome—skater she’s ever met.
Russian champion Anton Belikov knows sacrifice. He gave up a normal life and any hope of a meaningful relationship to pursue his dream. And he’s come close—with a silver medal already under his belt, the next stop is the gold. All he needs is a partner. While he’s never forgotten the young American skater he seduced one long-ago night in Amsterdam, he never expected to be confronted with their past…never mind share the ice with her.
When what starts as a publicity stunt grows into something real, Carrie and Anton’s partnership will test their loyalties to family, country and each other. With only a few months to train for the competition of a lifetime, can they master technique and their emotions, or will they lose their footing and fall victim to the heartaches of their pasts?
There’s a massive wildfire burning in my province right now that has forced the evacuation of the entire town of Fort McMurray, the largest evacuation in our province’s history. Yesterday, it was expected that the fire was almost under control. And then today, winds turned unexpectedly, and the fire spread faster and hotter. It’s already consumed homes of people forced to leave on short notice, watching flames licking higher than the trees in what’s being described as an apocalyptic horror. Tomorrow is expected to be an even more severe day for the fire.
And it’s a drastic reminder of in some ways, how life can change in the blink of an eye. Just when we think we have things figured out, just when we figure out how to best balance our life and career / maneuver through the publishing industry / just get through the day with some measure of control, the game changes.
I’ve been feeling lately how easy is to slide into an overwhelmed state where the sometimes crazy-making nature of the publishing industry gets me down. My writing career is always finding the balance between my personal life and my writing life – a particular challenge when writing and my stories are such a part of me, it can be difficult to set them aside or balance them with other needs in my life. There’s also the other balance between the creative side of the job (ie: the brainstorming, writing, and playing with words) balanced with the business side of the job (promoting / selling my work, social media awareness for my career, deadlines, etc).
So I tried to make the equation simple for me, because I am nothing if not eager to simplify anything that could be construed as math. 😉
What I can’t control?
Lots. More than I can possibly list. And trying to consider it all? That’s crazy-making. I can no more control how an agent or editor reacts or feels about my work than I can control or predict the path of a wildfire. Yes, there’s some I can do, like write the best book I can, keep improving, and sometimes get out of the way. But for the most part? I have to learn to live with what I can’t control.
What I can control?
My writing, and the design of my latest teapot. Those I know I have control over.
This is a survival requirement for me. Because if I started thinking about all the factors I can’t control, it will paralyze me with fear.
Just like if I started thinking about the possibility of our heavily forested area catching fire, and potentially having to face the possibility of leaving my dream home behind. If I worried about this all time, or let it consume me just as I could thinking about the publishing industry all the time, I’d be a nervous, paralyzed wreck!
Because what matters is how you survive. Whether that means bringing things down to a simple equation of what you can control, and releasing all that you can’t, or remembering that even if you did have to abandon your home, if you have your family with you, your lives and the very great of you, you can move forward no matter what happens.
My thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the Fort MacMurray wildfire. And if this isn’t familiar to you, here’s an article where you can find more information and which was in my thoughts while writing this post. Article for information: Wildfire in Alberta’s energy heartland forces thousands to flee.
And to you: thanks for stopping by! Wishing you a week where you focus on what you can control, leave the rest behind, and remember what’s really important.
I’m so excited and pleased to be able to help with the cover reveal for my friend and fellow Dream Weaver sister, Asa Maria Bradley’s second book in her fantastic Viking Warriors series. Isn’t it gorgeous??? I love that while the first book had a super sexy guy, here we get all female power. 🙂 I look forward to getting my copy. What about you?
VIKING WARRIOR REBEL (Book 2 of the Viking Warriors series)
She can’t let him discover…Immortal Vikings are among us.
Astrid Irisdotter is a Valkyrie, a fierce warrior fighting to protect humanity from the evil god Loki and his brutal minions. She’s on an urgent mission for her queen when everything goes hideously sideways. Undercover agent Luke Holden arrives on the scene just in time to save her life—and put his own on the line. Luke may have saved her, but that doesn’t mean Astrid can trust him. Tempers flare as they hide secret upon secret from each other, but Astrid’s inner warrior knows what it wants…and it will not take no for an answer.
2016 double RITA finalist Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired the immortal Vikings and Valkyries in her paranormal romances. She arrived in the U.S. as a high school exchange student and quickly became addicted to ranch dressing and cop shows. Asa currently resides on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with a British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. She graduated from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers program at Eastern Washington University with an MFA in creative writing and also holds an MS in Medical Physics from University of Colorado. Visit her at http://www.AsaMariaBradley.com, or follow her on Twitter @AsaMariaBradley.
Barnes & Noble: http://hyperurl.co/2ojqh6