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Promised Land: A Galatia #Novel by @cdverhoff #excerpt #fantasy

In this excerpt, due to a catastrophic disaster, the people of Galatians Bunker have been forced the surface of the Earth centuries ahead of schedule. Sixteen-year-old Josie has escaped with her mother and young niece. The fate of her other family members is unknown:

The acid air was beginning to burn Josie’s eyes. The cold invaded her like an army intent on conquering every bit of flesh and bone. It was like nothing she had ever felt before, making her muscles cramp and sending violent shivers deep through her body. She pulled the collar of one of her layered shirts over her nose, but it didn’t do much good. Bad luck to emerge in what surely must be the dead of winter. Families huddled together in groups, but she could barely make them out through the thick mists. If she lived a thousand lifetimes, the sounds of her people’s wailing would never leave her head.

Coughing spasms wracked her frame. Her head felt all woozy. She sidled up to her mother, and they sheltered Shasta between them. Speaking was becoming difficult. Josie, Shasta and Josie’s mother clung together amid the swirling fumes.

They were cheek to cheek.

“I love you, little Shasta,” mother said, voice quaking. “You too, sweet Josie.”

“I love you too, Mom.” Josie’s chest felt constricted. Through a fit of coughing she asked, “Do you think Feenie and Jo made it?”

“Shhh,” Mom said, her legs slowly crumpling beneath her weight, but Josie held her up. “We’re all going to be fine—just fine.”

Josie felt the poisoned air weakening her as well. In her despair, fear turned to sadness. I’m not ready to die, she sobbed inside, thinking of Shasta, who was only a little girl, and Nicholas, so innocent and sweet, who had been swallowed up by the crowd. Josie wasn’t sure which religion had it right about God, if any, but she shook a fist at Him or Her for good measure. “This is so unfair!”

Then, up on a hill, a bright light burned away the fog. The tainted mists parted to reveal a barren wasteland. There were no trees, no vegetation of any kind, or any life whatsoever. And there on the summit, a lone figure stood above the world, glowing as if illuminated from within.

“Is that the mayor?” someone asked.

“Red Wakeland, Junior,” her mother whispered. “What are you up to?”

“Is it some kind of super charisma?” Josie gasped.

Surely, there was no reason to expect salvation, but seeing him like that planted the seed of hope.

They watched him reach the summit, where he turned in a circle, and stretched his hands toward the sky. The blaze emanating from him grew brighter. In a voice like thunder, he called out to the heavens, “In the name of my father!”

A burst of energy radiated from his body like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond. He dissipated the tainted green mists and the mustard-colored clouds engulfing the land. The pulse went right through Josie, setting her nerve endings on fire. Intense white burned her eyes through her closed lids. Then came a boom, so deep and vibrato she thought that her veins would explode.

Sure that she was being incinerated, Josie wanted her final words to be lofty ones, but all she could muster up was, “Here we go!”


The last survivors of the human race are riding out nuclear winter in an underground bunker when disaster strikes. Forced to the surface centuries ahead of schedule, what they find blows their minds. Who can explain it? Two social misfits work together to unravel the mystery.

After living in a posh underground shelter his entire life, Lars Steelsun is plunged headfirst into a mind-blowing adventure on the surface of the Earth. As Lars and his displaced bunker mates are led across the grasslands by Mayor Wakeland, a man of questionable sanity who claims to talk with God, they discover a primitive world where human beings are no longer welcome. Even more mystifying is the emergence of new senses and abilities from within. Learning to use them has become a priority, but his biggest challenge comes from the vivacious Josie Albright. Her lust for glory is going to get them both into trouble. Sparks fly when her gung ho ways clash with his cautious personality. Can they overcome their differences to find love and a homeland for their people?

May not be suitable for younger readers. Contains mild profanity, sexual situations (infrequent), and violence. 

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Genre – Epic Fantasy

Rating – R

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#BlogTour – A Lady in France by Jennie Goutet @aladyinfrance #Women #Memoir

For our first night there, we decided to stay in a hotel on Waikiki beach before heading over to the house where we’d be spending the rest of the vacation. As we were walking back to the hotel after a day of sunbathing, we noticed a skit being performed on a portable stage on the beach, so we stopped to watch.

They were really good—funny, moving, talented. And it was only at the end of the show that it became clear that the whole performance was about God.

In general, outward expressions of faith offended me, especially outward expressions of Christian faith. I’m not sure why this was so—perhaps I just found the religion judgmental in spite of my own connection to it. As a sophomore, when I was a Resident Advisor for my dorm, I was furious when some of the freshmen on my floor came back from an off-campus gathering—where the subject matter was “God, Satan, and the Occult”—crying because the professor hinted that they were not going to heaven. I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I went to the next speech he gave, which was actually more reasonable than I expected it to be, and listened to him with a set jaw. When it was over, I followed him and his groupies into the room reserved especially for people who had questions. I barely entered the room before spluttering, “How dare you tell people whether or not they’re going to heaven? Who do you think you are?”

“Come in,” the professor said kindly. But I stayed where I was in the doorway glaring at them all. One of the girls, whom I recognized from class, was standing next to a guy my friends called “BJ” because he had gotten a blowjob on the bus ride home from a campus ski trip. The girl said, “You know, it’s like when you believe in God… it’s like, you know, if everyone thinks the sky is blue, but the sky is not blue, it’s green. And…”

I stared at her, my mouth open.

“Why don’t you come in and talk for a bit?” the professor urged again, gently interrupting the girl who was starting to ramble. But I decided to leave right away. There was no way I was going to stick around to be brainwashed by some evangelical Christians. And I had a feeling I was not going to make a dent in their way of thinking. As I was walking home and remembering BJ and that girl with her green sky, I muttered under my breath, “What a bunch of fools you are.”

But these little skits on the beach in Hawaii were different. The people were talented, the dialogue was clever, and they spoke on the innocuous subject of love. The entire performance was so professionally done it was enjoyable to watch. When I finally realized what it was all about, I was a little impressed that such talented people would talk unashamedly about God.

Just as the applause was dying down, one of the actors jumped off the stage and singled me out in the crowd.

“Would you like to study the Bible?” she asked me with a broad smile.

“Huh?” I blushed, startled. “Um…” I paused as I blinked at her.

“No, thank you,” I finished with the ghost of a smile, and glanced at my friends who were starting to walk away. I quickly ran to catch up with them.

In my year of solitude and hopelessness, this was the first time I was invited to learn about God. This was the first time I was called.


At seventeen, Jennie Goutet has a dream that she will one day marry a French man and sets off to Avignon in search of him. Though her dream eludes her, she lives boldly—teaching in Asia, studying in Paris, working and traveling for an advertising firm in New York.

When God calls her, she answers reluctantly, and must first come to grips with depression, crippling loss, and addiction before being restored. Serendipity takes her by the hand as she marries her French husband, works with him in a humanitarian effort in East Africa, before settling down in France and building a family.

Told with honesty and strength, A Lady in France is a brave, heart- stopping story of love, grief, faith, depression, sunshine piercing the gray clouds—and hope that stays in your heart long after it’s finished.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG-13

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Belinda Garcia @MagicProse #Suspense #TBR

1. I am a closet romantic. I write love stories into most of my books. I love to watch romantic movies and read romantic books that make my heart beat fast. I love the famed romantic couples; Rhett and Scarlet; Darcy and Elizabeth, etc.

2. I’m a computer nerd (which is probably why I’m a closet romantic and not a romantic). I worked as a computer programmer and web developer. It’s like a drug, and I now get my fix by working on my website or creating my book covers.

3. I believe in personal power. I once heard that human beings only tap about 4% of their brain. Within everyone lies unimaginable power and strength. Believe in yourself and you can do anything!

4. I love movies. I go nearly every week. I prefer love stories but enjoy action-packed movies that my husband likes. Feel-good movies and funny comedies are the best; but so is a touching movie that stirs the emotions, leaving my cheeks wet with tears.

5. When little, I would stand up on a chair to dry dishes and count the silverware. Thank goodness for DVD players. When I used to watch a tape on a VCR, I would have to cover the numbers with a towel else I’d be adding them up as the movie played down. I think the counting is related to my nerdicitis.

6. I love to dance.

7. I’m a bit too independent. My father abandoned my family when I was 11 and my mother was ill so I would walk to a strip mall to buy my school clothes and supplies, etc. I was sort of on my own. When I was 16, my mother died, I was pretty much on my own.

8. I’m crazy about Zumba, a Latin-dance-exercise. I attend a class 4 or 5 days a week. I spend so much time sitting at my desk that Zumba keeps me limber. For some reason, when my mind is relaxed, my brain likes to start writing. I start hearing dialogue in my head, or narration starts writing. I have to run to my notebook, do some scribbling, and then get back in line to continue the song.

9. I never worry. It’s a total waste of time and doesn’t change anything. Worrying is frustrating and nerve-wracking. My philosophy has always been, don’t worry about the fire until you see the flames!

10. I have great faith in God, though I confess I rarely attend church. From the time I was six until the age of 16, when my brother and I were forced out of our home by the man who owned the mortgage, I used to lie on the roof of our shed and talk to God about my life. He was a great listener and many times helped me and still does in my life. God has literally reached out and touched me, and no one can ever convince me that He doesn’t exist.


The last thing Miranda ever expected was to see her brother’s ghost at the fallen Twin Towers.

It’s bad enough survivor Christopher Michaels scares her with claims that if one dies violently, his ghost will haunt the place that holds his name. And to top it all, one of those thousands of ghosts follows Miranda to her hotel. The only certainty is the ghost grabbing her under the covers is not Jake.

Their parents’ deaths separated Miranda from Jake when they were kids. Michaels insists Jake brought them together and it’s no coincidence that of thousands mourning at Ground Zero, it’s his best friend she bumps into. Some best friend. Michaels is more like a moocher. The cheapskate never has money, just a blood-stained wallet he broods over. Miranda has no choice but to hang out with the weird Michaels in order to unravel her brother’s past.

As Miranda spends time with Michaels, she begins to wonder who he really is. Against her better judgment, Miranda becomes emotionally entangled with Michaels, a bitter alcoholic with a secret linked to her brother and that blood-stained wallet.

I Will Always Love You is part mystery, suspense and romance, a novel that will keep the reader turning the pages!

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Genre – Suspense, Mystery, Romance

Rating – PG

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Connect with Belinda Vasquez Garcia on Facebook & Twitter


#BlogTour – The Copper Witch by Jessica Dall – #HistFic #AmReading

It was getting dark by the time they turned to head home, and the festival was not winding down in the slightest. A large stack of wood had just finished being stacked and it seemed a row of bonfires was imminent. Adela checked over her shoulder, seeing bits of glowing in the distance. Who knew how long the festival would continue down in the valley.

“We should have left earlier.” Thomas stepped around a puddle. “We’re liable to step into a sinkhole at this rate.”

“You seem perfectly agile.” Adela smiled. “If anyone is going to get themselves stuck in mud it will be me. Luckily I’d have you to rescue me.”

“You’re so sure I would be able?” He smiled, helping her step around a puddle.

“I have complete faith,” she said. “I feel incredibly safe with you, Thomas. I’m sure the worst that would happen is that I’d lose a shoe to the mud.”

He laughed. “And I would do my best to even save that.”

“Shoes are replaceable,” she said. “Much more so than people. I’d prefer you forget my shoe and focus on me.”

“It would be impossible not to.”

She slowed, looking at him.

“What?” He frowned.

“You are probably the sweetest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet, Thomas. That or the man most skilled in flattery that I have ever met.”

“I’m not one to flatter when there’s no backing for it,” he said.

“You see?” She smiled. “I’m surprised I haven’t seen more women throwing themselves at you.”

“I believe your cousin frightens them away,” he mumbled.

“She can be a very frightening woman,” Adela answered, whether or not he was looking for one.

He cleared his throat. “Not that it seems to assuage you any.”

“Well, there’s not much she can do to me, Thomas,” Adela said. “Worse comes to worst, I’m sent back to Penrith. She can hardly excommunicate me.”

He caught her hand, turning to face her.

She looked up at him, eyes wide. “Is something wrong, Thomas?”

He looked at her.

She blinked. “What?”

He took her hand and held it in between both of his. “You are the most remarkable woman I have ever met, Miss Tilden.”

“Thank you,” she said with an easy smile. “But you’ve only known me a few days.”

“It feels much longer.”

“In a good way, I hope.”

“In the best of ways,” he said.

With not much else to say, she smiled.

He didn’t move to talk, didn’t move at all, just stood there holding her hand.


Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.

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Genre – Alternate Historical Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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#Suspense – Lazar’s Target – “James Bond Meets 50 Shades of Grey” by @ksterlingwriter


Sergei Mikhailova faded into the shadows of the dockside building and lit a cigarette as he waited for the courier with the critical package. He flipped closed the Zippo lighter he had stolen from an American tourist, took a long draw off the rich Marlboro Red and exhaled through his nose, the rising smoke sifting through the light above him. Without his cherished cigarettes and regular shots of vodka, he didn’t know how he would cope with his arduous and demanding job.

It was dead silent out there except for the occasional ship blowing its fog horn in the distance, and because of the late hour, there wasn’t another person in sight. The air was bitterly cold, so the intermittent breeze carrying the ocean’s salty humidity stung his face like sharp needles, and his ears felt like they might fall off. The area also reeked of dead fish, which made his stomach turn, but the strong tobacco was starting to help.

As he waited and smoked, he noticed the huge piles of dirty snow up and down the dock, which had no doubt been plowed in layers from one storm after another. The sight of it made the place seem all that more frigid and revolting.

One thing was for sure. He didn’t want to wait there any longer than absolutely necessary.

Sergei checked his watch. It was ten minutes after midnight, which meant the courier was late or, God forbid, not coming. The thought of the latter possibility turned his stomach again, and he quickly took another drag off his precious smoke.

The item he awaited was essential in paving the way for Alexei Chernikova’s master plan, and Sergei knew the man trusted no one else to ensure its safe delivery to their office in St. Petersburg. It was such a crucial component, in fact, that even the slightest hitch in tonight’s plan made Sergei anxious.

Failure was not an option, and suffering it at the hands of another was totally unacceptable. So, with every minute that passed, Sergei became more and more enraged, and the likelihood of this delinquent courier leaving the docks alive grew less and less.

Finally, the white compact car he was told to expect approached in the distance, and it slowly weaved through containers, barrels and snow piles until it stopped at the far edge of the next warehouse building. It sat there for a moment before backing up, hesitating, and finally turning right.

What is this idiot doing?

Anger swelled inside him as he watched the car disappear behind the structure. And for several minutes thereafter, all he could see were lights dancing this way and that as the driver apparently searched for the drop-off point. The package was so close Sergei could almost taste it, but this buffoon was playing keep away with the damned thing like a sadistic teenager.

Sergei had certainly killed people for less.

He lit another cigarette and continued to wait as the cold started to seep into his bones. His fingers grew stiff, and his feet were so numb he could hardly feel them. And all of it was because of this asinine courier.

Finally, the car rounded the near corner of the building as if the driver had circled the structure’s entire perimeter. But now he was back on track, continuing along the dock.

Sergei was relieved until he saw the vehicle stop again.

Now what?

The interior light came on, and the car sat there for several minutes as if the driver was reacquainting himself with the directions.


Sergei drew on his cigarette and continued to steam. He fantasized about wrapping his hands around the driver’s neck and feeling the pleasure of snapping it in his grasp. Just the fantasy of doing it made him shiver with satisfaction. Or maybe it was just the goddamn cold.

The car continued ahead, albeit at a snail’s pace, but it eventually pulled up to the designated drop-off point, twenty minutes late.

Not fucking acceptable.

Sergei was tempted to approach the vehicle, snatch the package from the driver, and shoot him in the head. But that simply would not do. Instead, he stepped into the light to reveal his presence, worked the stiffness out of his neck, and waited for the man to emerge from the car. The courier would come to him, not the other way around.

The driver’s door opened, and the man stepped out. He was a small, skinny guy wearing a black overcoat, and he held a small parcel, about the size of a cereal box. He made eye contact and brought it over.

“What took you so fucking long?” Sergei growled as he dropped the cigarette butt to the concrete and crushed it with his shoe.

“Sorry. I had a lot of trouble finding the place. All these warehouse buildings look the same, and I didn’t see any addresses.”

Neither did I, but I still made it here on time.

Sergei took the package and slipped it into his empty attaché case, which sat on the crate next to him. He flipped the latches closed and glared at the little man, fantasizing about how he would best enjoy killing him.

“Where is my payment?” the courier asked.

“Payment?” Sergei belted out a throaty, foul laugh and coughed through it. “Here it is.” He reached inside his coat, pulled the trusty knife from the sheath at his belt and let fury drive him. He swiped the blade and slashed the man’s carotid artery before the bastard even knew what was coming.

The driver clasped his hands around his throat and dropped to his knees as blood seeped through his fingers. Then he fell to his side, coughing and gurgling as Sergei watched over the scene with pleasure.

It was tempting after that to stab the son of a bitch like crazy and work out his frustrations, but it was hardly necessary. Besides, he was having so much fun watching the idiot gasp, flounder and die on the ground beneath him.

The feeling of sheer power was exhilarating.

Satisfied that the courier was finally dead, Sergei dragged him back to his car, opened the door and worked him into in the driver’s seat. He belted him in, turned the key to start the ignition and rolled down the window before closing the door. Then he reached inside, shifted the car into gear and used the steering wheel to direct it off the side of the dock.

He heard the heavy splash as he walked to the edge and watched the vehicle slowly bob and sink into the ocean, thankful that the dock lights were so bright. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to see everything, and could there possibly be a more splendid sight?

The rear end of the car made a sucking sound as it finally disappeared beneath the surface, and the deed was done.

There were no words to describe Sergei’s satisfaction. He finally had the package in his custody, and the bastard who had no respect for the importance of the exchange had been handily eliminated. He had completed the most important step toward Alexei’s glorious new era. And who knew…maybe there would be a place for him in the annals of history.


“James Bond Meets Fifty Shades of Grey”

Immerse yourself in the world class novels that combine action, mystery & suspense with tantalizing and tastefully written erotica. You’ll find all your sensibilities roused at once with Kevin Sterling’s ultra-sexy, action-packed Jack Lazar Series.

In this fourth action-packed thriller, Jack travels to Denmark for a business venture, but what seems to be a textbook transaction turns into a nightmare after he gets involved with Katarina, a vivacious Danish girl who apparently lacks a moral compass, not to mention an off button. After naively believing their liaison was just a random encounter, Jack discovers she’s connected to his business deal, and there’s a dangerous political group with skin in the game, too.

Katarina makes a convincing case of being a victim, not part of the conspiracy, but can Jack really trust her?

The firestorm gets out of control as Jack digs deeper, unearths the convoluted plot behind it all, and discovers that innocent people are being heartlessly killed. He’s not only horrified by the reason why it’s happening, but how it’s being done, and there appears to be no way to stop it from occurring again.

Then the scheme’s real objective emerges, launching Jack into action with intelligence operatives to prevent it. But that’s not so easy with assassins on Jack’s tail, forcing him to struggle for survival while trying to prevent Katarina from getting caught in the crossfire.

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Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense

Rating – R

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#BlogTour – Haunted by @EileenMaksym #YA #Paranormal #Giveaway

Once in the lab, Tara shrugged off her overcoat and scarf, and hung them on a hook inside the door.  While Steven was hanging up his jacket, she  pulled on a white lab coat.

“You can sit there,” she said, gesturing toward a cluttered desk.  Steven sat and pushed aside an odd mixture of magazines: Neuroscience, The Chicago Literary Review, People, Cosmopolitan.

Tara disappeared into a back room, then reappeared, carrying a small black tray that held maybe 20 slides.  Steven noticed a bit of mist curling up from the black plastic into the warm room.  Tara set the tray down, sat, and picked up a clipboard.  She took out a slide, positioned it in the microscope, flipped a light switch, and leaned forward to peer through the eyepiece.

Steven took the Laceys’ number out of his left pocket, his cell phone out of his right, and dialed.  One ring.  Two rings.  Three rings.  Four rings.  He started to wonder if they were home; what he would say if he had to leave a message on a machine.  Five rings.  Six –


“Hello, may I please speak to Mr. Lacey?”

“You’re speaking to him, son.  What can I do you for?”

“My name is Steven Trent, and I’m a member of my university’s Society of Paranormal Researchers.”

Tara turned her head over her shoulder and grinned at him.

He grinned back.

Mr. Lacey chuckled.  “This is about that article in the Register, isn’t it?”

“It is, yes.”

“Thought so.  My wife warned me about this; she said that if we had the story published in the paper, chances were we’d attract more than just potential buyers.  I wasn’t too concerned about it, though – figured any publicity would be good publicity at this point.”  He chuckled again.  “You wouldn’t want to buy the house, would you?  It’s really a spectacularly good bargain.”

Steven smiled.  “As a college student, I’m afraid I’m not in the market.”

“Ah, well; I had to ask.  So, Mr.…what did you say your name was again?”

“Trent.  Steven Trent.”

“Mr. Trent.  You haven’t called to buy my house…unfortunately…so, what can I help you with?”

“Well, we here at the Society were wondering if you might be willing to allow us to investigate the property.  Usually, when we get reports of ongoing hauntings, the houses are occupied, which limits what we can do; most people don’t want us tramping through their house at all hours.”
“I can imagine.  What sorts of things are involved in these investigations?  You’re not going to break windows, are you?  Scratch up the wood floors?  Tear down the vintage wallpaper?  Or otherwise lower the value of our property?”

“No, no worries,” Steven answered, amused.  “We won’t damage anything.  Basically, we spend some time in the house – ideally overnight.  We have cameras that take regular pictures, as well as some that take infrared shots; we take a number of pictures throughout the house.  Then, we use instruments that measure electromagnetic waves and temperature changes.  And that’s pretty much it.”  Steven didn’t mention Paul.  Even though the Laceys believed in ghosts, he figured they might balk at the idea of using a psychic in their house.  Bringing up the subject had the tendency to make people’s opinion of the Society of Paranormal Researchers go from “odd but credible” to “who the heck are these wackos, and how did they get my number?”

“Well…” Mr. Lacey said, “I’ll have to run it by the wife, of course, but I don’t see why not.  The house is just sitting there empty anyway.  It would be interesting to know a bit more about the scientific side of the things we heard and saw for 20 years.  Say,” he said, his voice becoming more serious, “what do you do with all this information?  You won’t publish it in the paper or anything like that, will you?”

“Not unless you want us to – more publicity, right?  We’ll write up a report with everything that we find, including copies of all the photographs.  We’ll keep one copy of it for our files, and we’ll give you a copy to do with as you wish.  Heck, if you wanted to, you could give it to anyone who asks about the haunting when they come to see the house.”

“That’s a great idea,” Mr. Lacey said.

“We’ll even make you a few copies, if that helps.  And if we ever want to use it for any future publication of any kind…an article for a journal, a book, whatever…we will get your permission in writing first, and you can have your names changed and the actual location of the house obscured, if you wish.”

“Sounds pretty good.  Tell you what: let me go ask the missus.  Can I call you at this number?”

“Sure thing.”

“Great.  Let me go talk to Susan; she’s right out back.  I’ll give you a ring in a moment.”

“Great; talk to you then.”

Steven hung up and turned toward Tara.

She was bent over the microscope.  “So,” she said without looking up, “that sounded like it went well.”

“He’s clearing it with his wife as we speak.  I definitely think he’s up for the idea.”

“Certainly sounded that way.”  She sat up, made a few notes on her clipboard, then looked back into the microscope, adjusting the focus knob. Steven’s phone buzzed. Tara smiled.  “You’re on, Mr. Trent.”

“Cute,” he smirked, then answered the call.

A few minutes later, Steven had the name and number of the Laceys’ realtor, as well as some more information about the haunting.  Aside from the moving furniture, Mr. Lacey and his wife had seen lights moving up and down the stairs and had heard scratching on their bedroom door.  They knew nothing of the origin of the haunt, however, and had learned to live with it, even coming to regard it, in a strange way, as their child.

Steven noted all of this, thanked Mr. Lacey, and flipped the cell shut.  “Well, there you go: we have permission to investigate.”

Tara lifted her head.  “Good job.”

“Thanks.  How’s the research going?”

“Slowly.  I’m on slide number five, and I have to get through all 22 now, since I can’t refreeze them.  Would you mind hanging out while I finish up?  It might take an hour or two, but after that we can go to the library.”

“Luckily, I have some Plato with me…”  He pulled a beaten-up copy of The Republic from his bag.  “And if I want to sound at all intelligent in class, I should probably actually read it.  Because, y’know that whole learning-by-osmosis thing?  Doesn’t work.”

“Don’t I know it.” Tara turned back to her microscope and put the next slide in place.

Steven sat and looked at her for a long moment, noticing how her red locks fell down her back over the white lab coat.  Then he shook his head and opened his book.

As Tara went through her slides, Steven read about political theory in ancient Greece –  looking up every once in a while to glimpse her cascading hair.


Tara Martin – exceptionally accomplished neurobiology major with a troubled past. Steven Trent – confident political science major with an irresistible attraction to Tara. Paul Stratton – history major who is able to hear spirits. Together, they make up the Society for Paranormal Researchers at their prestigious New England University. When they’re not in class or writing papers, the three friends are chasing their passion….ghosts.

When the group learns of a local retired couple trying to sell a house they claim is haunted, they decide to investigate. As the clues unfold, a familiar spirit interrupts their investigation and Tara finds her life in danger. Can her friends save her before it’s too late?

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA paranormal, NA paranormal

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Eileen Maksym on Facebook & Twitter



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#BlogTour – Generation (Medical #Thriller) by @_William_Knight #Crime #Horror

What Gerard Debonfort loved most about a Mercedes was the odour of treated cow-hide and the cool solidity of the seats. He’d not driven anything else since he was 21, and although the right-hand-side driving of this particular rental dulled the experience, he still felt at home in this king of cars. The fluorescent instruments, the silent running, the clunk of the doors; like a beast perfectly adapted to its niche. It was red in tooth and claw and he sat in the driving seat at the top of the automobile food chain. He insisted on a Mercedes and he was never disappointed – they wouldn’t dare.

Turning into the driveway of the Manchester premises of Mendel Pharmaceuticals at 9:47 am, Debonfort slid the car past the noses of the protesters. They already seemed subdued and less vocal than when he’d arrived three days before. Most of them huddled around a brazier of burning cardboard, their banners and hoardings discarded hopelessly against the iron fence.

He grinned.

The arched iron gates swept closed behind the car, and he waited at the security post for the guard to check credentials. He’d been given this assignment because a few misguided activists had chained themselves outside Mendel’s premier research labs. Millions had gone into branding and customer relationships – a worldwide effort putting the benefits of Mendel patented genome treatments in front of GPs, hospitals and the public. To have it damaged by a few scaly hippies with cardboard placards was careless.

He parked the car and climbed the steps to reception. He paced through the sliding doors, crossed the white-tiled lobby and stood before the semi-circular desk waiting for the receptionist.

She looked up and recognised him immediately.

“Good morning Mr Debonfort. Your office is ready on the top floor. I’ll get someone to show you up,” she said.

“I’ll find my own way, if you could just buzz me through, please.”

He took the stairs through a security door to the left of the reception desk and enjoyed the click of his leather soles on the polished concrete steps. He loved Mendel’s 1930’s Art Deco building in Manchester. Light flooded the stairwells through clear-glass bricks, and each floor was circled by steel-framed windows that were opened by metal push-rods punched with holes. So different from the modern box of his Geneva office that had been killed by eco-planning, carpets and climate control.


A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.

Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.

A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.
Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.
Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.
In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.

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Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror

Rating – R-16

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#BlogTour – Holderby’s Landing #Historical #Fiction by J. D. Ferguson

The glower leaves his face, and with the help of the drink, Philby manages a lopsided sneer for a smile. She may have given in too easily, and that would normally leave him suspicious, but he does not want confrontation but acquisition; and that he has. So be it. “Good, dearest, very good, then. I will make all travel arrangements. Shall we say three days hence? Good, good. I hear that Doctor Bent has an interest with their church. Perhaps he intends to be there also? I shall send him a note to the fact that you are going and he may wish to accompany. Traveling alone is so fraught with danger for…”

At the mention of Doctor Regis Bent, Leah allows her husband’s contrived monologue to fade into the background and the smiling countenance of the good doctor to capture her thoughts. It is with no small amount of self control, that Leah allows such day-dreaming without any outward sign of her quickly arousing state showing in her calm demeanor. Just the idea of traveling with Regis Bent leaves her almost breathless and with a pleasant but inconvenient warmth growing in her lower abdomen and between her legs. Out of the corner of her eye she watches her husband draining his glass with a relish. The room is getting much too warm, and her position much too uncomfortable. She rises from the chair and moves to the door, “Well, husband, I know you are busy, and if I am to leave in the next several days, I have much to do also. I had best be about my business.” She acts as if to leave then turns back in afterthought, “You may ask Doctor Bent if he intends to travel to the fundraiser, but, I dare say, he is much too busy to be worried about accompanying me and my schedule. Leave the poor man to his work and I will take care of myself, thank you.” She stands at the door with calm indifference.

“My dear, Doctor Bent has no greater concern than the tasks I might request of him. If I ask, he had best find time. You leave him to me.”

With her thin smile in answer, Leah passes through the doorway, down the hallway to the back stairs, and ascends to her room on the second floor. She holds herself steady until the door is safely closed and locked behind her, before allowing herself an immodest shiver of delight. She quickly pulls her dress away and moves to the basin on the night stand. She daintily splashes water to her face with cupped hands. She wets a washcloth and sponges her hot body around her underclothes. It is then she notices the wetness between her legs, and with a shaky incredulity at her lust, reaches down with the wet cloth to wipe away her desire.


When Justin Thorne, coddled student and heir apparent to Sylvan Springs Plantation, is forced to find his heritage, his manhood, and his destiny, in the space of one brief spring, all hell breaks loose on the banks of the Ohio River. His Virginia of 1836 is a time of transition and enormous growth. Northern industrial might and southern aristocracy, abolitionist movements and slave cultures, collide in turmoil and lay bare the raw needs and desires of those intrepid spirits confronting the frontiers of the antebellum South. Coming of age is an expected result of time and circumstance. It happens to all who live so long, but to each within the dictates of their own lives. The process is on-going and ever dynamic. Every person is a precious product resulting from the effects of nature and nurture. One’s ancestry, culture, and environment collude in myriad ways to make us; all as different as each life’s story, and as singular as snowflakes. This theme is played out over-and-over throughout the world and throughout history, in millions of places like Holderby’s Landing; as similar and as different as each human is to the other. Holderby’s Landing is a single glimpse in time at the coming of age of a land, a community, and a few determined souls thrown together in love, strife and chance. What they make of the time, the opportunities and themselves is the story told and the living breath of this book.

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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#BlogTour – Message of the Pendant #Historical #Mystery by Thomas Thorpe

Suddenly, a loud voice bellowed upstairs. “Bastard!”

Charles raced up to the third floor and found Arthur Hurst sitting at a desk, rummaging through drawers.  He clutched a piece of paper in one hand, shaking with rage as he looked up at Charles.

“Businessman, hah! This man, Black is a British agent! Here’s the proof of his duplicity. Where is he? It’s time to put an end to the vermin.”

Charles gasped in shock. The entire charade was unraveling! He tentatively leaned toward the desk and reached for the note. “What do you mean? What evidence?”

Hurst glanced down at one of the drawers. He reached inside and picked up a ledger. “Wait a moment. There’s something else.”

Charles’ eyes darted toward the window, knowing Black lay outside, unconscious and defenseless. Quelling an urge to run, he pretended to be curious and slowly edged around behind the man, as if to look over his shoulder. What could he do? Desperately his gaze searched for an answer until he spied a letter opener. In one motion, he grabbed the dagger and plunged it into Arthur’s back. The rotund body jerked upwards, dropping the notebook. He tried to turn around, but instead, slumped forward onto the desk.

For a moment, Charles stood shaking in disbelief at what he had just done to his sister’s husband.


William Darmon and wife Elizabeth were powerful figures who in 1818 set society’s pace from expansive grounds known as Mayfair Hall. When a family member is murdered, a mysterious pendant is found containing a long lost request by Napoleon Bonaparte for an American mission to burn down Parliament buildings. The couple sets out on an action filled pursuit of the killer. While interviewing Henry Clay in post-war Maryland about the failed mission, they uncover evidence of a conspiracy to free the Emperor from exile. The Darmons infiltrate the cadre, but a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland, a firestorm at the Darmon’s Manor and a harrowing assault on the Island of St. Helena loom before the mystery can be unraveled.

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Genre – Mystery, Historical, Thriller

Rating – PG

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Flash Bang by @KellenBurden #BlogTour #Thriller #GoodReads

In the dream they’re shooting at me. Rounds screaming past my face and popping around my head and I need to return fire, but my rifle’s empty, and my hands won’t work. They keep doing that classic fucked-up dream thing where I can’t coordinate my fingers to wrap around the magazine to jam it into place to slam the breech, bring the round home and bring the hate to the fuckers on the ridge line. I scream for Mullens to call in air support, but Mullens is down. Why Mullens? They weren’t aiming at Mullens. The one who shot him wasn’t aiming at all. Then it’s just me and McDowell. I shoot him in the face. My hands work now. When I wake up, my phone is wiggling its way off the milk crate next to the bed. I’m sweaty and my jaw hurts, like I’ve been grinding my teeth and I roll over and answer the phone like this:


On the other end of the line, Etch says, “Parks, you sound like shit.”

Say “Fucker.”

Says, “Classy.”

I squeeze my eyes hard to clear the smoke, say, “What the fuck?”

Etch gets tired of my razor-sharp wit, says “He bit. It’s go time.”

I’m upright now, a start. And I’m naked. Not unusual. I’m alone, too, not exactly surprising either. I say, “Which one, and how long?”


“Brock Mason. Two hours from now. City Park.”


I’m out of bed, wander into the kitchen to load the French press with the heavy shit, saying, “You called Harkin yet?”


Harkin says, “I’m here.” But not on the phone. It takes me about six seconds to realize that he’s sitting at my kitchen table. He’s in full battle rattle, too. Fancy, all-white BDUs, tactical vest, ski mask, Bushmaster ACR with an ACOG scope mounted to it, and a Starbucks coffee in his hand. I’m still naked.

I say, “Sup.”

And he says, “Homo.”

And I blow him a kiss, turn the burner on under the kettle and wander back into my room.

Into the phone, I say: “Never mind, we’re good. I’ll be ready in five.”

Etch: “Let’s hook ’em and book ’em.” And I hang up before one of us screams yeehaw.

It works like this: We catch bad guys. Then we bring them to good guys who don’t have the manpower or skills to find them on their own. In the good old days, bounty hunters did that by carefully cultivating contacts and listening to the word on the street, and then simply knocking on doors and doing good, old-fashioned leg work. Unfortunately, that method is inefficient, outdated, and a really good way to get your ass shot off. You raise your enemies’ awareness of you by asking their friends where they are for days on end. Then you confront them in a place in which they are familiar, and attempt to take them somewhere they really, really don’t want to go. Our method is better; safer, easier and, 9 out of 10 times, funnier.

Brittany Hart is 5’6”, 120 pounds. She has blond hair, blue eyes, a knock-out smile, and a body that would make a Barbie doll gag herself. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Denver, Colorado in March of 1998 for school. She majored in “gettin’ loose” before hitting the bricks in ’99 and working full-time at a club downtown. She likes FarmVille, Hooked on Colfax, and Jersey Shore. She is:

Headed to the park to spark up with an old friend, 15 minutes ago.

First you find your fugitive, someone stupid who has a vice that you can exploit, like multiple drug charges or sex offenses. Then, you find their Facebook page. Almost anyone under 40 has one (yes, even wanted fugitives), and almost all the ones over 30 don’t have the Internet-savvy to set their accounts to private.

Brittany Hart went to John R. Madden High School with Brock Mason. That’s where he thinks he knows her from. It’s a big school, especially for Michigan: 2,000 students and Brock doesn’t remember a fraction of the classes he took, let alone all the people he sat through them with. But Brittany Hart is a fucking fox, and Mason would pretend to remember anything she wanted if it meant breaking off a piece of that.

Then, you find several pictures of the same sexy girl on the Internet. You make sure that this girl is very far away. Somewhere like Russia, or Yugoslavia. Once you have enough pictures to make this girl look like an average, sexy woman of an appropriate age for your target, you create a fake Facebook profile for her. Fill in all the information, tailoring her identity to interest him in some way. If he went to a big high school, she went to the same one. If he used to work at the Target on 15th Street, so did she. From there, it’s all about making contact.

Brock Mason, according to his Facebook profile, is a full time hustla, in Da Streets of Denver. He lives with his auntie and her two grandkids somewhere near Federal Boulevard. He likes Kanye West, Real Thugz, and (believe it or not) FarmVille. He has hundreds of pictures of himself flashing gang signs, holding money, and posing with his shirt off in front of mirrors, a gangly white guy with tattoos slithering across his pasty body like leeches. Nowhere on his profile does it explain that he spent seven years in a federal penitentiary for aggravated assault. Nor does it state that he is wanted in Wisconsin, Wyoming, Nebraska, and right here in Colorado, for everything from possession with intent to sell, to sexual assault. It doesn’t say that there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest, either, or that he almost never leaves his auntie’s apartment except to pick up more liquor or to pop out for the occasional booty call. A booty call like Brittany Hart. Brock Mason is:

Hyped for today, 56 minutes ago, and Rollin’ out, 20 minutes ago.

Then you send him a message. Something innocuous but provocative, like, “Hey, stranger, long time no see ;).” (Idiots love emoticons.) If he answers back, you’re golden.

Brock Mason is walking through six inches of freshly fallen snow in the middle of City Park right now, steam pouring from his face like dragon’s breath in the frigid winter air. Brock Mason is at least 30 pounds heavier than his Facebook page says he is, and judging by the way he’s walking, he’s carrying a weapon in the front of his pants.

I put my gloved hand to the Bluetooth in my ear and whisper:
“Etch, target is inbound from St. Paul Street, moving northbound through the park.”

“Copy that, I have eyes on.”

Snow falls softly on the hood of my jacket, pattering like tentative fingertips all around my head, landing in my eyelashes, settling on my cheeks. The balaclava around my face keeps the steam from escaping and giving away my position. Mason trots nearer, sticking to the trail, and from where I lie I can make out the prison tattoos on his neck. He’s wearing a red snow jacket, black pants that are roughly four sizes too big for him, and a pair of red Nikes. He’s fatter, paler, and duller than his mug shot photos. Mason is thirty feet away from me now, looking left and right but still moving, intent on getting to shelter from the snow. I am a ghost, dressed all in white, packed into a snow drift in the shadowy gloom of the tree line.

After you’ve flirted with him for about two weeks, lure him to a controlled environment where he is both isolated and disoriented.

City Park is the biggest park in Metro Denver. There’s a zoo, a museum, and a lake scattered throughout it. At the edge of the lake on the southern shore is a gazebo, 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, with iron gates on either side, effectively enclosing the inside of the structure. It was built 98 years ago by some rich industrialist to function as a band shell. Now it’s used for weddings and parties. When it’s not being partied in, all of the doors are locked except for one at the western end, which the park leaves open so that joggers can use the water fountain. That’s where Mason is headed. He’s headed there because Brittany Hart asked him to meet her there so that they could “smoke some weed, and see what happens ;).” I know that because I am Brittany Hart. Well, we are Brittany Hart.

When you’ve got him horny, disoriented, and all alone, you and your ex-military buddies swoop in like the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and wipe his ass out. Oh, yeah, join the military and make some friends. Simple as that.

“Subject entering the gazebo. Engage.”

I’m running now, up and running through the driving snow, with ice pluming off me in clouds. To my left I see Etch moving, too, diagonally through the trees, 12-gauge Benelli M1 Super on his shoulder, checking for hostiles. I see him only because I know where he is supposed to be, and even then it’s difficult to make him out. Harkin hangs back for support, further north, lined up with the building. As the edge of the tree line nears, I yank the FNP .45 from the holster on my hip and bring it to a ready position midway up my chest.

Harkin in my ear: “Subject has moved to the western end of the building. Be advised, subject is favoring a weapon, front waistband.”

Out of the trees, across the clearing, the building looms before us like a monolith. Etch and I converge on the eastern wall of the structure. There are no windows or doors on this side, so we’re covered for the moment. The wind howls, furious, and my legs are on fire from lying in the snow for so long, but I’m ready to do this, so I give Etch the signal and we split, Etch around one side, me on the other, around the corner sharply, and in the open gate. The wind outside the building is deafening, and Mason’s back is to me when I enter.

“Brock Mason.” My voice is steady, ice-cold mercury, and Mason’s shoulders rise infinitesimally in alarm. He does not reach for the weapon, so I don’t put a double tap in his spine. He turns to look over his shoulder. Brock Mason is:

Shitting his pants, 5 seconds ago.

I’m not a big guy, about 5’8” and lean, going on stocky; but I don’t know anybody who likes being on that side of a .45, especially when the person holding it is in full tactical with a ski mask on.

Mason says: “Fuck.”

“Mason: raise your hands out to either side and interlace your fingers behind your head. If you move for the piece I will light you the fuck up.” He considers his options for a millisecond, and then the arms go up.

“On your knees, Mason. Good. Now put your forehead on the ground. Flatten out.”

I move closer to him, watching him breathe heavily on the other side of my iron sights. Five feet away I say:

“Mason, I’m going to cuff you now. If you fight me, my friend will shoot you in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun.” On the other side of the iron bars, Etch appears like a ghoul and blows him a kiss over the breech of his weapon. Mason grinds his forehead into the floor. I holster my weapon, grab his right wrist and drop to a crouch, my knees on his neck and low back. Wrist, click, wrist, click and he’s done. I turn him over with my boot and yank a Taurus .25 from the front of his pants. Clear it, stow it.

“Harkin, subject in custody. Extracting to the tree line, move to cover.”

He says: “I’m at Taco Bell. Be there in like fifteen minutes.”

I tell him to fuck his own face.

We extract Mason from the park quickly and quietly. Harkin brings the van around, and the four of us are gone before anyone even knows we exist. It’s a short drive to our usual bail bondsman’s place of business. Etch phones ahead to tell Mark that the bust was good, and that we’re bringing Mason in. Mark says he’s just hanging around. Big fucking surprise. Mark’s an ex-Department of Corrections guy who got booted from his gig as a prison guard for smuggling dope into a correctional facility. After that, he decided to try his hand at putting shitheads in prison instead of keeping them there. Mark is a burly, lazy-looking S.O.B. A hulking white guy with a beer gut and a shaved head, teeth like a mammoth, forehead like a caveman. Like if Barney Fife had a baby with Chuck Liddell. We drop Mason off at the duplex Mark runs his gig out of, and he meets us at the door in jeans and a T-shirt. He says, “Cool.”

Mark gives us $5,000 under the table, three quarters of what Crime Stoppers is going to give him for the bust. We need Mark because:

a) The way we operate is pretty illegal.

b) The criminal justice system crawls as far as payment systems are concerned (six months to wait for five grand, and that’s if Mason gets convicted) and we are way too broke to wait that long.

Mark needs us because:

a) We bring him free bad guys.

b) He’s a piss-poor bounty hunter.

Two and a half hours later finds Etch, Harkin, and myself in the Goosetown Tavern. The snow is falling harder outside; flakes like cotton balls, falling heavily, lumbering on the breeze and settling on the sidewalks and in the gutters and streets. It’ll pile up by evening, freeze by night, melt in the morning and flood the gutters by tomorrow afternoon. Then it’ll freeze again. Fucking Denver. Beers hit the table with a splash, and the waiter stammers something about the pizza being on the way as he retreats from the table in reverse. No one’s surprised. We’re all wearing our tactical shit. The weapons are in the car, but you can’t blame the kid for being careful. Plus, Harkin and Etch look like comic book characters. The two huge fuckers with their shaved heads, John Harkin with his lumberjack beard, Eric “Etch” Echevaria with his goatee, 500 pounds of muscle, paunch, and sinew between the two of them.

The beer is cold and cheap, the way I like it, and I down it with fervor while the winter paces like a lion outside the windows.

Etch says, “So, what? About $1,700 each?”

About $1,660; but either way, it isn’t a terrible haul for a few hours’ worth of ninja shit and a few days on Facebook pretending to be a sexy blond. When Etch gets home he’ll wipe Britney’s profile and clean out his temporary Internet files so Mason can’t come looking for her, or us, when and if he gets to use a computer again. That’s the other reason we use pictures of girls in Russia; it’s not likely that one of these assholes is going to run into them at a bar anytime soon.

Etch wipes foam off his face with the sleeve of his coat, asks, “What’s the plan for your pieces?”

I’m spending mine on not starving or getting evicted from my apartment, say, “I’m going to buy a tiger with a saddle. Just for cruising around.”

Harkin says, “I’m going to buy a rocket ship, strap my girlfriend to it.” He makes a blast-off sound, trails a finger off into the cosmos. Getting rid of his girlfriend, Stacy, has been a running gag since their first date, and my theory that anyone crazy enough to go on a second date with Harkin is jacked in the brain still stands. Two weeks ago she got drunk and stuck Harkin with a fork because he “was asking for it.” He may very well have been, knowing Harkin; but still. Not a Nicholas Sparks novel in the making.

Harkin asks Etch what he’s got planned. He smiles, tips his mug at us and mumbles something like “soon,” and before anyone can ask what he’s talking about, the slices are on the table. Three of them, the size of kites, steam curling off like a naked flame, cheese running down onto the plate. The Tavern makes some of the best $3 pizza in the city, and I always order mine with pineapple and jalapeños because I’m a troll. It gets real quiet at the table. Etch and Harkin watch Man vs. Wild with the sound off on the flat screen above the bar, and I scoop the dismembered newspaper off the table behind us. Ads, ads, Big 5: box of 50 .40 caliber rounds for $15.99, Sports section, Opinion. Half a world away, people are charging checkpoints with dirty bombs strapped to their chests. No articles, no pictures, nothing. You can walk into any grocery store in America and find out what top J-Lo wore to the beach or who Ashton Kutcher is having sex with, but if you want to know who got their face shot off while brushing their teeth in a tent so that J-Lo or Ashton could keep rocking in the free world, good fucking luck. Your average teen can tell you the entire cast of the Jersey Shore, but has no idea where Afghanistan or Iraq is on a map. I swallow down the bitterness with my next bite. Buried beneath it all on the second page of the local section I find a two-paragraph article about some kid getting stabbed to death near The Stampede, a country-western bar in Aurora. Something about it bites me. Call it a premonition, call it gas. I read it twice, and can’t figure out what it is that feels wrong about it, turn the page, flip to the funnies. On the TV, Bear Grylls drinks his pee out of a snake.


Sebastian Parks is drowning in a flood of his own creation. Dishonorably discharged from the Army, he’s wracked with night terrors and an anger that he can’t abate. Unemployable and uninterested in anything resembling a normal job, Parks makes his living in fugitive apprehension, finding wanted felons on Facebook and thumping them into custody with his ex-military buddies John Harkin and Eric “Etch” Echevarria. When the body of a teenage Muslim boy is found in front of a downtown Denver nightclub Parks, Harkin and Etch are called on to do what they do best: Find bad men and make them pay. 

First-time author Kellen Burden serves up edgy humor, brutal action and characters you can’t get enough of. Flash Bang will keep you turning pages until the end.

Received “Honorable Mention at Los Angeles Book Festival 2014”

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Genre – Thriller, Mystery

Rating – R

More details about the author

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