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VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ,GIVE AWAY, AND GUEST POST: The Toilet Papers BY Jaimie Engle


 
Short story collection (horror, humor, & historical)
Date Published: 7/23/2017
Publisher: JME Books
 
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Have you ever noticed that reading a book on the toilet takes forever? Wouldn’t it be nice to have stories suited to your specific potty needs? This collection of short stories ranges from 50 words to more than 50 pages, separated in categories labeled to fit your bathroom needs: NUMBER ONE, NUMBER TWO, and FARFROMPOOPIN. The idea is to give you, the reader, a great deal of material to read, tailored and categorized to the needs of your intestines and bladder. So go ahead, get comfortable, pull out your Squatty Potty® and enjoy some fantasy, science fiction, horror, adventure, and humor from the comfort of your own throne…the john…the latrine…your office…the bathroom, whatever you want to call it. Just be sure to wash your hands once you’re done. 

Excerpts

 

Short excerpt:

 

“Get him to his feet,” Sarah ordered.

“Watch my shoulder,” Jedediah said. “Hurts like a son of a bitch.”

Sarah slipped beneath his wounded arm while Bobby Ray slipped under the other one. They led Jedediah to a seat that hadn’t been overturned during the fight.

The cowboy knelt before him, pulling back Jedediah’s shirt to scrutinize the wound. His face remained hidden by the wide brim of his hat. He wore hide boots whose origin Jedediah could only speculate and his skin smelled like fire.

“It’s not too deep,” the cowboy said. “Won’t take me a minute.” He pressed his large flat palm against the wound.

Jedediah bit the inside of his cheek to keep from screaming. His mouth pooled with the iron-taste of his own blood.

The cowboy lifted his hand.

Jedediah stared as the gaping holes in his flesh were completely healed; the tear in his blood soaked shirt was all that remained. “Well, I’ll be damned.”

“Be careful, bartender. You don’t meant it.” He leaned over the body of what had once been Frances Deveaux and whatever had tried to eat Jedediah. “This one’s dead.”

“Course he is,” Bobby Ray said. “You killed him.”

“No. This man’s been dead.” The cowboy rolled the body on to its stomach with the steel-tipped toe of his boot. “Was before he walked through those doors.”

“The living dead?” Bobby Ray whispered.

“Of all the unholy things,” said Sarah.

Beneath Frances Deveaux’s shoulder blade lay an empty cavity where his liver should have been.

“Detestable.” Sarah covered her mouth and swept to an empty seat near the bar.

“Did he say why he was here?” the cowboy asked, staring at the body.

“Not precisely. Just said some woman tried to kill him, so he gave her what she wanted.”

“And what was that?”

Jedediah gulped hard. “Me.”

The man looked up, his face in shadows. “You?”

“That’s right.”

“Did she say what for?”

“Never got to that part.”

The man didn’t say a word as he stared at Jedediah. Finally, he spoke. “Something’s after you, Jed. I’m gonna stay in town a while to figure out what.” He looked up. “You okay with that?”

His eyes shone in a radiant shade of violet. Dirty-blond hair fell ragged from beneath his hat.

“Yes, Simeon. I’m okay with it,” Jedediah said. “I think I’m gonna need some help on this one.”

“First thing to figure out is where this man’s liver went. Hopefully, it will lead to this woman you mentioned.” Simeon stood, walked back to the entrance, and turned in the doorway. “You all better get your feet shod,” he said with a smirk, tipping his hat, “because it’s about to get ugly.”

 

 

 

 

LONG EXCERPT:

The Priest

 

1.

 

The saloon doors swung open with a creak as heavy winds wailed outside. The man stumbled in, and the bartender never would have thought twice about him or given him a second glance, if it hadn’t been for the squirrelly look in his eyes.

“Sarah,” Jedediah whispered to the young girl standing beside him behind the bar. “Go on in the back and get a message out.”

“To whom?” She stared up with her mother’s green eyes. Dark hair tumbled across her shoulders. Sarah regarded the sweat-covered man as he crept across the saloon floor mumbling beneath his breath. A thin comb-over raked by the wind stood upright as a scarecrow on top of his head.

“Okay, papa.” Sarah turned on her heels and scurried away.

“Hello there, stranger,” Jedediah’s voice boomed. “Can I fetch you a drink?”

The man teetered toward the bar, much in the way most men left it. His darting eyes finally found their way to Jedediah’s face.

“There you go,” Jedediah said, coaxing a baby. “Come on, now. Take a seat.”

Slowly, the muttering man slid – he was barefoot, Jedediah now noticed – across the sawdust laden floor and into an empty barstool. Jedediah set a glass of whiskey before him. “Looks like you need one.”

The man wasted no time slamming the drink back. Jedediah minded the dirt beneath his very long fingernails. “What’s your name, fellow?”

The man set down the glass and Jedediah refilled it on instinct. “It’s Frances Deveaux.” He sipped the whiskey with shaking hands. The wind wailed louder.

“What brings you to these parts, Mr. Deveaux?” Jedediah asked, on account of the man’s northern accent.

“Business.”

The doors flew into the hardwood walls by a heavy gust and Mr. Deveaux nearly jumped out of his skin.

Jedediah motioned for Bobby Ray, a dark-haired kid who worked for him from time to time, to close the doors. “A bit on edge tonight?”

Frances Deveaux turned around to face the bar top. His hands had stopped shaking. The fog shrouding his mind seemed to have lifted. He trained his now clear eyes upon Jedediah’s. “Guess I am.”

He had a good face, as far as Jedediah was concerned, rounded with a long nose and thick brows. A five o’clock shadow covered his cheeks and chin.

“What’s got you so scared?” Jedediah fidgeted with an already clean tumbler, taking a towel to it inside and out. Sweat beaded on his closely shaven head. His handlebar moustache tickled his upper lip.

Frances Deveaux’s hands started rattling again, as if whatever had possessed him earlier had returned. “She…tried to…kill me!” His bulging blue eyes locked on Jedediah’s steel grays. “I had to do it…”

A train horn blared through the air from the nearby station. Wind banged the shutters. The doors flapped with a heavy bang. Frances Deveaux shook his head, maybe trying to remember, most likely trying to forget.

Bobby Ray inched to within an arm’s reach of the man, his Winchester hidden beneath his long coat.

Jedediah reached for the Colt Peacemaker he carried in his holster. “Why’s there dirt beneath your nails, sir? What’d you do to her?”

Frances Deveaux’s smile lurched across his face, demented as the Devil himself. His teeth hung in pointy rows like a weatherworn picket fence. “I gave her what she wanted.”

“What was that, Mr. Deveaux?”

His eyes floated lifeless in his head and his neck bent unnaturally to the side. A new voice rolled off his tongue, and said, “Yooouuuu!”

The thing inside of Frances Deveaux lunged across the bar, swiping long fingernails at Jedediah the way a honey badger swipes its claws. Jedediah leapt. Frances Deveaux’s body slammed into the bottle display that crashed to the ground alongside him. Glass splinters stuck to his face glinted in the light of the kerosene lamps.

He growled spraying blood stained spittle through the air. Jedediah got off a shot. The bullet sunk into Frances Deveaux’s shoulder, knocked his frame off-kilter, but the man didn’t flinch. He just kept coming.

“Good, God,” Jedediah muttered, as Frances Deveaux inched closer. “Sarah!” Jedediah pumped a few rounds into the undead’s chest. “You send that message yet?”

“He’s coming, Papa!”

“Don’t you come out here.” Jedediah pulled the trigger to an empty chamber. With no time to reload, he grabbed a chair and flung it. The wood crunched with Frances Deveaux’s nose and broke them both. Jedediah side-glanced the bar. It had emptied.

Except for Bobby Ray.

He was a skinny kid with brown eyes set close together. But he was fearless. He stood in a wide fighting stance with one hand gripping his knife, the other his gun. He smirked. “Looks like you’re needing some help.”

“What the hell you gonna do with that knife?” Jedediah spat. “You don’t even know how to use it.” He dodged out of the way of Frances Deveaux’s body, which smacked into a table before hitting the floor.

Bobby Ray staggered closer to the brawl, swinging his knife at the creature in long strides. Frances Deveaux snarled, swatting the knife out of Bobby Ray’s hand as if it was a playing card. The knife landed with a clink on the floor. Panicked, Bobby Ray aimed his gun, shooting off six rounds into everything but Frances Deveaux.

“Damn it all, Bobby Ray. What the hell are you doing?”

“Helping.” He eyed the walls where his rounds had wedged.

The wind howled. The shutters slammed. Frances Deveaux screeched inhuman sounds. Jedediah had no more ammo, and wasn’t about to risk Sarah’s life by having her bring him more. He turned to Bobby Ray. “Lay a line of salt in front of the door. This may not be the only one.”

Bobby Ray pulled a satchel from his hip and marked the beginnings of a crooked salt line across the threshold. The saloon doors blew open whacking Bobby Ray in the head and sending him to the floor unconscious.

Jedediah turned, hopeful.

It was just the wind. In the split second when his attention faltered, Frances Deveaux barreled into Jedediah. The air left his lungs as his back cracked against the floor. His whole body screamed in silent pain. The sound on life itself had been shut off. But the serrated teeth grinding into his shoulder kept him grounded in reality. His eyes rolled back. Jedediah prayed.

He could see in flickers, the way lightning bolts light up the trees and things in the darkness when the heart of the storm passes overhead. In an instant, Frances Deveaux was ripped off Jedediah and flung across the room. He gulped air into his burning lungs. Jedediah’s hearing returned as a ping that evolved into muted voices.

The man who had set Jedediah free wore a charcoal gray trench coat and cowboy hat. He carried a flaming scythe in one hand, a glowing rifle strapped tight across his back. In an ancient tongue, brandishing the scythe high above his head, he swung through the air in a wide arc. The flame sliced through the body of Frances Deveaux with a supernatural crack. Frances Deveaux fell dead to the floor. The blade didn’t cut into his flesh.

It fractured his soul.

Sarah ran over to Jedediah. Bobby Ray had come to and was staggering over to help.

“Get him to his feet,” Sarah ordered.

“Watch my shoulder,” Jedediah said. “Hurts like a son of a bitch.”

Sarah slipped beneath his wounded arm while Bobby Ray slipped under the other one. They led Jedediah to a seat that hadn’t been overturned during the fight.

The cowboy knelt before him, pulling back Jedediah’s shirt to scrutinize the wound. His face remained hidden by the wide brim of his hat. He wore hide boots whose origin Jedediah could only speculate and his skin smelled like fire.

“It’s not too deep,” the cowboy said. “Won’t take me a minute.” He pressed his large flat palm against the wound.

Jedediah bit the inside of his cheek to keep from screaming. His mouth pooled with the iron-taste of his own blood.

The cowboy lifted his hand.

Jedediah stared as the gaping holes in his flesh were completely healed; the tear in his blood soaked shirt was all that remained. “Well, I’ll be damned.”

“Be careful, bartender. You don’t meant it.” He leaned over the body of what had once been Frances Deveaux and whatever had tried to eat Jedediah. “This one’s dead.”

“Course he is,” Bobby Ray said. “You killed him.”

“No. This man’s been dead.” The cowboy rolled the body on to its stomach with the steel-tipped toe of his boot. “Was before he walked through those doors.”

“The living dead?” Bobby Ray whispered.

“Of all the unholy things,” said Sarah.

Beneath Frances Deveaux’s shoulder blade lay an empty cavity where his liver should have been.

“Detestable.” Sarah covered her mouth and swept to an empty seat near the bar.

“Did he say why he was here?” the cowboy asked, staring at the body.

“Not precisely. Just said some woman tried to kill him, so he gave her what she wanted.”

“And what was that?”

Jedediah gulped hard. “Me.”

The man looked up, his face in shadows. “You?”

“That’s right.”

“Did she say what for?”

“Never got to that part.”

The man didn’t say a word as he stared at Jedediah. Finally, he spoke. “Something’s after you, Jed. I’m gonna stay in town a while to figure out what.” He looked up. “You okay with that?”

His eyes shone in a radiant shade of violet. Dirty-blond hair fell ragged from beneath his hat.

“Yes, Simeon. I’m okay with it,” Jedediah said. “I think I’m gonna need some help on this one.”

“First thing to figure out is where this man’s liver went. Hopefully, it will lead to this woman you mentioned.” Simeon stood, walked back to the entrance, and turned in the doorway. “You all better get your feet shod,” he said with a smirk, tipping his hat, “because it’s about to get ugly.”

# # #

 

 

Please also send in the Book Cover and Author Photo to chensley@myaddictionisreading.com along with this request form if it is available.

 
 


About the Author
 

Jaimie Engle was once sucked into a storybook, where she decided she would become an author. She has modeled, managed a hip-hop band, and run a body shop. She loves coffee, trivia, cosplay, and podcasting on ORIGINS, where myth and science meet (podcastORIGINS.com). Basically, if it’s slanted toward the supernatural or nerdy, she’s into it! She lives in Florida with her awesome husband, hilarious children, and the world’s best dog. She also happens to have the world’s best literary agent, Saritza Hernandez. Become a fan at theWRITEengle.com. Follow on social media @theWRITEengle and pick up books at jmebooks.com.
 
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Rafflecopter: July 6 – Aug 6 ($30 Starbucks GC; Toilet Papers ebook) 
 
Goodreads Giveaway: July 1 – July 22 (3 paperbacks)
 
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BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Seducing Mr Sykes by Maggie Robinson

SEDUCING MR. SYKES
by
Maggie Robinson
Genre: Historical Romance

 

Pub
Date: 6/20/17

 

 

In Maggie Robinson’s sparkling new
series, the quaint village in Gloucestershire is where the wayward
sons and daughters of Great Britain’s finest families come for some
R&R—and good old-fashioned “rehab.” But sometimes they find
much more…
No one at Puddling-on-the-Wold ever
expected to see Sarah Marchmain enter through its doors. But after
the legendary Lady’s eleventh-hour rejection of the man she was
slated to marry, she was sent here to restore her reputation . . .
and change her mind. It amused Sadie that her father, a duke, would
use the last of his funds to lock her up in this fancy facility—she
couldn’t be happier to be away from her loathsome family and have
some time to herself. The last thing she needs is more romantic
distraction…
As a local baronet’s son, Tristan
Sykes is all too familiar with the spoiled, socialite residents of
the Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation—no matter how real their
problems may be. But all that changes when he encounters Sadie, a
brave and brazen beauty who wants nothing more than to escape the
life that’s been prescribed for her. If only Tristan could find a
way to convince the Puddling powers-that-be that Sadie is unfit for
release, he’d have a chance to explore the intense attraction that
simmers between them—and prove himself fit to make her his bride…
Maggie Robinson didn’t know she
wanted to write until she woke up in the middle of the night once
really annoyed with her husband. Instead of smothering him with a
pillow, she decided to get up and write—to create the perfect
man—at least on a computer screen. Only to discover that fictional
males can be just as resistant to direction as her husband. The
upside is that she’s finally using her English degree and is still
married to her original, imperfect hero. Since she’s imperfect,
too, that makes them a perfect match. Until her midnight keyboarding,
she had been a teacher, librarian, newspaper reporter, administrative
assistant to two non-profits, community volunteer, and mother of four
in seven different states. Now Maggie can call herself a romance
writer in Maine. There’s nothing she likes better than writing
about people who make mistakes, but don’t let the mistakes make
them.
Follow
the tour HERE
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VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Coveted Kiss BY Karen Tjebben

Psychological Romantic/Suspense
Date Published: June 2017
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Bella Chan is a good girl surrounded by alpha-males who aren’t afraid of danger. Unfortunately, that danger comes back to bite her. She can still feel the deadly grip of Hazeem’s hands wrapped around her neck. If Jack hadn’t shown up at Savage Security, she’d be dead. Then, in pure alpha-male fashion, Jack appoints himself her personal bodyguard, but Bella soon realizes that Jack isn’t there to protect her. He’s there to win her heart.
And now, in the aftermath of the attack, the men of Savage Security band together to hunt down the terrorists living on American soil. As they navigate through the intrigue and deception that camouflages their assailants, they also confront the treason that threatens the Nation’s defenses.

Excerpts

 

Bella opened the door and stepped into Jack’s office. His arms were raised as he pulled a t-shirt over his head. At the sight of his bare chest, her heart raced as heat flooded her. She’d never seen him with his shirt off. His pecs and abs were clearly defined by hard ridges of muscle. A dusting of light hair covered his chest. A happy trail descended from his bellybutton and disappeared into his cargo pants.

Jack caught Bella’s heated gaze as he eased the shirt down his torso. If she didn’t stop staring at him like that he would pull his shirt off again and let her explore his body with more than just her eyes.

Rolling his shoulders to adjust the fit of the t-shirt as he tugged on the hem, he enjoyed the lust in her eyes. “Glad you showed up,” he said.

Heat flushed Bella’s face as she ripped her gaze from his broad chest and focused on his eyes. His smirk only embarrassed her more. He’d caught her ogling him like a horny teenager who’d never seen a hot man before.

She sucked her bottom lip into her mouth and bit, unsure of what to say. I never knew what a rockin’ bod you have just didn’t seem appropriate, so she went with, “Yeah,” as she fiddled with the laptop in her hands. “Mike said you’d be leaving soon. Thought I’d say goodbye.” She inwardly groaned at her lame response. At least she hadn’t told him to be careful.

  1. Jack’s hand on Bella’s knee zinged all kinds of emotions and feelings through her. Turning to face him, she bit her bottom lip and focused on the green hues in his eyes. She’d never gazed so uninhibitedly at his face before. Typically, he towered above her as he stood by her desk, or she gazed up at him from a few feet away as they made office banter. Would her feelings for him lessen once the threat was dealt with? Would things go back to normal? Would they become intimate? The thought heated her cheeks.

She pressed her hand to his and brushed her fingertips over his skin. He had the hands of someone who worked hard. His nails were short and stained along the edges from the different materials he worked with. Even now, staring at his toughened skin, she didn’t see imperfection. She saw strength, reliability, and adaptability.

  1. Bella looked so uncomfortable standing there, like she didn’t know what to do. He hated the insecurity in her eyes and the tense rigidity in her face. She was a woman who should never feel insecure or unsure of her talents and abilities. He did the only thing he knew to do.

Never breaking eye contact, he walked to her and slid his hands gently over her cheeks. He hated the purpling bruises around her eye and cheek. He wanted to make Eric look a thousand times worse than she did, but he wouldn’t get that pleasure. Instead, he’d have to settle for the pleasure of Bella’s touch and taste.

When his fingers brushed over her cheeks and threaded into her hair, Bella’s heart rate soared. She stood there, staring back into his eyes as his lips descended towards her. Ever so gently, he brushed a kiss to her swollen eye and then over her bruised cheek. The tenderness in his touch melted her heart and rocked her to her core. As his warm breath gently puffed against her face, she reached out and gripped his shirt at his waist. He adjusted his stance, and his tongue slid along the seam of her mouth. She closed her eyes and relished the tsunami of feelings that flooded her. She let go of her fear, of her concerns for how this may affect her at work, and she opened her mouth to him.

Jack eased the tip of his tongue along her lips and then gently explored her mouth, rubbing his tongue against hers. He made sure every movement was gentle so that he wouldn’t hurt her battered body.

Stepping closer, he brought his body flush with hers as he explored her mouth. She tasted sweet, like chocolate and soda. One of her hands settled on his chest, and her other hand wrapped around his waist. The heat from her hands ignited his blood and sent it racing through his body like lava. His cock strained against the tight cotton fabric of his boxer briefs. And when she moaned, he deepened the kiss.

 

About the Author

Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her writing career. She loves to create worlds filled with unique characters that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters’ eyes.
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BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Life’s Series

Life’s Defeat
Life’s Series Book 1
by Rebekah Raymond
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Futuristic
Tragedy places the soldier in StPatrick’s complex, determination to be
someone of use keeps her within its walls. When she finally takes her
first breaths of freedom, the soldier is sucked back into military
servitude. Her long, violent capture and imprisonment by Rochester
sets her path of physical and psychological terror.

Under his rule she learns the depth of her own depravity, and how far she
can go before she threatens to lose herself. But when Tomlin and his
team rescues her, she discovers a new threat in the life she chooses
to lead.
As the pages of her genetically-altered history are revealed, the
solider finds the key to achieving her new goal: revenge.
It’s unfortunate it might just kill her in the end.
Perma-free at .99!!!
Life’s Hope
Life’s Series Book 2
With the resolve of a child who had grown too much to return home, Seleah
stayed away from StPatrick’s complex for twelve years after her
devastating abduction and rescue from criminal mastermind Rochester’s
clutches. When her former lover and friend, Tomlin, calls with the
news of her beloved mentor’s demise, however, she decides to come
back to the school and her course is altered dramatically.


Tomlin can’t stand being away from Seleah any longer. He wants her, needs
her to return for good. His stupidity was almost his downfall. Now,
life has given him a second chance.
But with their reunion comes jealousy and hatred from an outside source,
threatening to kill them both and the new life they are seeking.
The pair must learn to accept each other once more; to heal wounds and
scars alike, and decide if their paths can really exist together
forever. Passion, sadness, violence, and the resiliency of love await
in Life’s Hope.
By day Rebekah Raymond is simply Becca–Medical Claims Adjudicator,
Academic Strategist, wife and mother of two. By night, she is Rebekah
Raymond, Calgary writer of thriller/horror, romance, science fiction
and fantasy.
Raymond is the author of the thriller Life’s Defeat (Oct
2015) and
Life’s Hope (May 2016) with the third and fourth installments coming out in 2017.
Raymond is a proficient writer, working at her writing for 1-3 hours nightly.
She attributes her wildly disconnected plots and vivid characters to
automatic and dissociative writing.
She is a member of NaNoWriMo and the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society.
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BOOK TOUR, GUEST POST AND GIVEVAWAY: Heart of Stone BY James Fant

Crime Fiction
Date Published: 7/4/2017
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Are the deacons of Shalom Bethel invincible? Legend has it that in the 1940’s, they came out of a gunfight with holes in their clothes but not their skin. Bullets bounced off of them. They walked through buckshots like water. That story is passed down by every deacon. The legend of Stephen Stone. That legend is about to be tested.
On the heels of a nightclub triple murder, a mysterious blizzard hits Shalom, a city normally warm year round. The blizzard brings with it bitter memories and ghosts Deacon Oak East thought were long gone: his prior drug conviction, his on and off relationship with his wife, the gruesome murder of his father and the role he played in it. But it’s not just the past that haunts him. In the present, a homicide detective wants him and the deacons for the nightclub murders. And a gangster named Cap Morgan wants revenge. The snow is falling. But soon, it will be raining bullets. Is the legend true? Are the deacons of Shalom Bethel bulletproof?
EXCERPT 1

 

The crime scene was the handiwork of hardened criminals. Shell casings covered the floor. Blood and bits of brain painted the wall. Three victims lay across a leather couch, bullet holes dotting their bodies. One of the victims lacked half of his head. The left side of his face looked like spaghetti sauce. His right eye socket smoked like over-microwaved meat.

Detective Warren Price cursed under his breath. And when a uniformed officer stepped to his side, he said, “This amount of carnage, and all I’m getting from the club crowd is ‘Man, I ain’t see nothin’!’”

“Nothing on the security cameras either.”

Price cursed again.

“The shooter must’ve come and gone out that back door from the VIP,” the officer said. “The bouncer in charge of that door, a big dude named Sampson, we can’t find him.”

Price lifted his brow. Tapped his chin a few times with his index finger as if giving that some thought. Then he said, “Judging from the splatter and the shell casings, they stood right along here. In a line. Like a firing squad.”

“They?”

Price nodded. “Oh yeah! Shooters—plural. As quick as it went down, these many casings, had to be more than one shooter.” He looked around the floor. Against the wall and glass opposite the three dead guys. “Only thing I don’t get is where is their blood?”

Their blood?

“Yeah. ‘Cause Curly, Larry and Moe over there got off some shots. Emptied their clips.” He pointed to the casings off to the side of the couch as well the bullet holes and broken glass opposite them. “You think they dodged the bullets?”

The officer shrugged. “Either that or they were wearing body armor.”

Price scoffed. “A triple murder! A triple I’ll never solve because everyone I’ve talked to says—and I quote— “Man, I ain’t see nothin’!

The officer laughed. “I did find a witness says she saw the whole thing go down.”

Price turned to him. Narrowed his eyes. “Well, why didn’t you say so. Lead with that next time.”

“I’ll take you to her.”

Detective Price followed the officer back through the club. Then outside to where a crowd was still watching the scene from behind the yellow police tape. Lights from the news crews brightening the dark scene at Club Pimpin,’ which was a strip joint located ten miles outside of the city. It hid at the edge of a frontage road, cloaked from the interstate by kudzu. No wonder a kill squad could make it in and out of here undetected, Price thought.

The witness waited beside a police cruiser. She wore a bright red brasserie, a black pair of lace boy shorts and nothing more. Price removed his sport coat and draped it over her shoulders.

“You dance here?” he asked her.

Her hands were shaking. Her eyes darting. Finally, she nodded and said, “I saw it happen.”

My lucky day, Price thought…or lucky night, rather. “Come with me,” he said.

He guided her to his Crown Vic and offered her a seat inside. The night air was thin and cool so she obliged, appreciating the heat that shot from the dash vents as soon as he cranked the engine.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Butterscotch.” She rolled her eyes, annoyed with herself. “Beverly. I mean Beverly.”

“Cigarette?” Price offered.

She nodded. Scissored the white stick between her quivering index and middle finger. Price had to steady her hand to light it.

He lit one for himself, placed his pack of smokes back in his cubby and asked, “So what did you see?” When she replied with a cautious glare, he added, “You have nothing to worry about, Beverly.”

“I’m not worried about anything.” Her hands trembled. “Guess I’m still a little…It went down right in front of my face.”

“Okay…okay. Just take a deep breath and walk me through what you saw.”

She took a long drag on the cigarette. Held her breath for a few seconds. Then she released a sky full of stratus clouds into the cab of the Crown Vic.

Finally, she said, “I was dancing for them. O-o-on the table. They were making it rain. Do you know what this means? Making it rain?”

“Yes. I know what it means.”

“Then these men showed up.”

Beverly’s bosom was rising and lowering at a faster and faster rate.

“How many men?”

“Four. Six…I don’t know. It happened so fast.”

“That’s okay. Did you get a good look at their faces?”

She shook her head. “They were all wearing masks.”

“Masks? Good.” It wasn’t good but Price smiled anyway. He wanted to keep Butterscotch talking. “So these men walked in and started shooting?”

“No.” Beverly looked out of the window for a few seconds. When she pulled on her cigarette and exhaled, the smoke curled back and engulfed her face. She didn’t attempt to wave it away. “The guys I was dancing for, they had guns. So they pulled them out, no questions. That’s when I ran behind the bar. If not, I’d be…you know.” She pointed toward the club. Toward three victims who would soon be leaving in black body bags.

“Okay then. What happened next?”

“Well…they started shooting at the masked men…but the bullets bounced right off of them.”
EXCERPT 2

 

The early evening air cooled Oak’s skin and caused it to tighten. The sensation was odd, like someone pinching him but all over. Bringing his skin cells closer together? The thought was crazy and Oak traveled back to a biology class in which the teacher was showing a video on mitosis. Cells were dividing, giving rise to two daughter cells with the same number of chromosomes. There were different phases. One in particular where the chromatin seemed to span the two fused cellular bodies. So cool. That’s not what was happening with Oak’s skin. It was tightening…stiffening. And how would that look under a microscope?

He shook those thoughts, jogged up to the duplex and slapped the knocker three times. The door opened and he saw Moody Norco. The man who hated his guts.

“Come on in,” Moody said. “You want something to drink?”

“Nah, I’m working. What’s up?”

“Nothing much. Getting over a cold.”

“No. I mean what’s up?”

“You mean the money?”

“I always mean the money when I ask that question.”

Moody was devious and dangerous. Instead of repelling Oak, this fact attracted him. Pulled him to the man like gravity. An invisible yet powerful force that he couldn’t escape.

He carried the weight of the world into Moody’s apartment that evening. His uncle had kicked him out the house. He had lost the women he loved. And then there was that nagging guilt, the thought that God would never forgive him for what he had done eight years before. Life had burdened him. Perhaps this devious dude was just dangerous enough to remove that burden.

Oak snapped his fingers in Moody’s face. “Come on, man, I don’t have all day.”

“I’m going to warn you right now,” Moody said, “it’s been slow.” He motioned to a half-naked woman who scampered into the back room.

“I don’t care how slow it’s been. You’re delinquent yet again. Frankly, I’m fed up with it.”

Moody’s eyes narrowed.  He tightened his fist but nothing more.

“Tell your girl to hurry up with the money,” Oak said.

“C’mon. Let me fix you some Cognac. I know you like that Yack! With Coke, right?”

“Man, you’re trying my patience!” Oak pushed Moody out of the way and stomped into the bedroom, where he figured the woman was counting the money. But there was no woman. Instead, there was an open window, curtains dancing in the breeze and two guys holding sawed off shot guns that were aimed at Oak’s chest.

“You sure you don’t want something to drink?” Moody asked again with a smile as he brandished a silver Saturday Night Special.

“Truth be told,” he said, his pistol pointed at Oak, “I hate you! Why did you all of a sudden get to be boss of the streets? You haven’t put in work. You haven’t done dirt. And what’s worse, if war comes, you’d never be man enough to squeeze a trigger. You’re not a boss!” Moody and his two gunmen backed Oak into the living room. He asked, “You’re not gonna beg for your life?”

“Not at all,” Oak replied.

“Well, I gotta say I’m disappointed.”

Oak shrugged. Sighed. “Well I’ve seen too much evil. Been the cause of too much pain. Being murdered like this is a fitting end.”

“You’re not gonna cry or try to make a deal?”

“Nah. If you’re gonna shoot me, get it over with already.”

Moody chuckled. Smiled. Then his lips straitened. “This wasn’t what I imagined would happen. In my mind, I saw you sniveling, snot dripping over your lips as you begged for your life. Forget about the money. Just don’t kill me, Moody! I would demand that you call me the king. You are the king!  Then, I’d make you get down on your knees, your hands folded in prayer and praise. But…”

Oak jumped at Moody like he was going to throw a punch. Moody flinched. His boys flinched too.

“Unbelievable,” Oak laughed. Then he screamed, “Do it!”

Shot guns lifted. Forestocks pumped. Snub nose hammer pulled back. An engine roared and the hood of a SUV came crashing through sheetrock and plaster. It was Sampson, Oak’s bodyguard. Crashing through the wall. Shooting through the windshield.

Shots blazed from every direction. Glass shattered. Sampson took one in his shoulder but served several to Moody and his boys. As they hit the floor, Sampson yelled, “Lay down and stay down!”

“O!” he screamed as he grunted his way towards him. “O.E.!”

“What?!”

“Are you wearing a vest?”

“Huh?”

He patted Oak’s chest and back. “Oh my goodness!” he said. “You’re not wearing a vest!”

Oak looked at Sampson and saw that he was bleeding heavily. He took off his shirt and pressed it against his wounded shoulder. He said, “We gotta get you outta here.” Then he helped Sampson to the passenger side of the SUV, got in the driver’s seat, and slowly backed the out of the rubble.

As he drove to Shalom Memorial Hospital, images of the shootout replayed in his head. The ear splitting pops and mind numbing explosions. He racked his brain for a reason why he was still breathing.

He said, “I’m sorry, Sampson.  I should have been the one to get shot back there.”

“You did get shot.”

“What?”

His bodyguard took a deep breath. Winced in pain. “They lit you up, man. You were getting popped left and right.”

“Sampson,” Oak smiled warily, “were you smoking dope while I was in the apartment?”

“I’m serious!” Sampson screamed. “Bullets just bounced off of you. At first I thought it was the adrenaline playing tricks on my mind. But nah. You were just walking through those bullets. I know what I saw.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

James Fant is an award winning author who lives in Charleston, SC with his lovely wife and two hilarious children. He received a degree in biology from College of Charleston and a master’s in business administration from Charleston Southern University. His love for literature was forged by the works of Eric Jerome Dickey, Walter Mosley, and Stephen King. He also finds inspiration from screenwriters Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin and Kurt Sutter. Literarily, James has always been drawn to intelligent yet imperfect characters and he writes novels with them in mind.
Contact Links
Twitter: @jamesfantjr
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BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun by Joan Schweighardt

The Last Wife of Attila the Hun
by Joan Schweighardt
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Historical
Two threads are flawlessly woven together in this sweeping historical
novel. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the
City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword;
the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to
this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in
part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle
and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers
readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all
set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue.

Joan Schweighardt is the author of five novels, and more on the way. In
addition to her own writing projects, she writes, ghostwrites, and
edits for individuals and corporations.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway
!

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VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: In the Beginning BY BCE

Sci Fi/Space Opera
Date Published: Releasing Sept 5th 2017
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The origins of Judeo-Christian religion and mythology come together in this mature science fiction page-turner.
To combat overpopulation on the planet Orion, the government releases a birth control virus to keep women from becoming pregnant. Only the brightest and most attractive of their species are allowed to mate. But the virus rages out of control, killing both mother and child. Attempts to develop a cure fail. They only have one option left: search other worlds for advanced societies that may be able to help.
The two most intelligent minds on Orion—and former best friends—Lucifer and Zues band together to search for a secret planet. When they finally arrive, they are greeted with unexplainable death and destruction. This planet is not the answer. Something doesn’t add up. They discover an extra unknown planet in the solar system.
The new planet is covered in lush land masses and bodies of water. Different species of hominids run—and mate—freely. Fire-breathing dragons guard the land. Lucifer is determined to figure out who or what created this planet. He thinks it just might be the key to saving Orion and the Orionites.
About the Author

 BCE is originally from parts unknown and currently resides in areas of the planet yet to be explored. His favorite pastime is reading old encyclopedias while eating Peanut M&M’s. He does believe that the warehouse depicted at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark actually exists. He has only one goal left in his life that he wishes to accomplish: to live long enough to see the aliens return so he may look over at his beautiful wife in her nursing-home bed and say, “I told you so.”
Contact Links
Twitter: @bceauthor

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