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#PromoBlitz ~ Rolling Thunder by #MarkBerent ~ @RABTBookTours

Historical Fiction/Military Fiction
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Rolling Thunder is an historical novel about the decisive role politics played during the Vietnam War. Its characters range from men in the field to the Pentagon and the White House. Fighter pilots and Special Forces warriors try to do their best but are hampered by President Johnson, Secretary of Defense McNamara, and their staff members who despise the military. Only one aging USAF general, who fought in Korea and WWII, is on their side. His clashes with his Commander in Chief, Lyndon Johnson, are epic in proportion and startling in content.
In Rolling Thunder, the time is late 1965 and 1966 in war zone places such as Saigon, Hanoi, Bien Hoa, Da Nang, and Tahkli. While back in Washington, LBJ sits over lunch and personally picks bombing targets in an attempt to fight a limited war. In Vietnam the war knows no limits.
There, as the hostilities escalate, the fates of three men intertwine: USAF Captain Court Bannister, overshadowed by a famous movie star father who fought in WWII as a B-17 gunner, driven to confront missiles, MiGs, and nerve-grinding bombing raids in order to prove his worth to his comrades — and to himself…Air Force First Lieutenant Toby Parker, fresh from the States, who hooks up with an intelligence unit for a lark, and quickly finds his innocence buried away by the lessons of war…and Special Forces Colonel Wolf Lochert, who ventures deep into the jungle to rescue a downed pilot — only to discover a face of the enemy for which he is unprepared.
Four airline stewardesses, who fly the civilian MAC contract flights that bring American soldiers to and from the war zone in Vietnam, have difficult love affairs with G.I.s and fighter pilots. After one flight they come under attack while on an airbase.
Young American G.I.s are cursed and taunted as they return to the United States.
Through their eyes, and those of many others — pilots, soldiers, lovers, enemy agents, commanders, politicians, profiteers — Rolling Thunder shows us Vietnam as few other books have, or can. Berent captures all the intensity and drama of that searing war, and more, penetrates to the heart and soul of those who fought it. Rolling Thunder rings with authenticity.
 
Other Books in the Wings of War Series
Five months after we left them in Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger brings back USAF Major Court Bannister, Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Wolf Lochert, and USAF First Lieutenant Toby Parker, now scattered to their new posts: Bannister in Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California, Wolf Lochert at Lang Tri, Republic of Vietnam, carrying out covert operations in Laos, and Toby Parker, in the pilot training program at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. Soon their diverse paths will lead all three men back to Vietnam for a second tour of duty — in the very heart of the conflict.
In Phantom Leader (May 9, 1991) Berent, himself a highly decorated Air Force Pilot, once again captures the intensity of the most controversial war in modern history. Phantom Leader shows readers exactly what it was like to be a pilot caught between the immediate reality of death and the distant decisions of Washington.
In Eagle Station (June 8, 1992) the newest installment in his Vietnam War series, Berent puts on the heat and raises the stakes, creating his most electrifying tale of war to date. Beginning with a hair-raising cliff side helicopter rescue under heavy fire, and racing toward a climactic ground battle played out in the dark of night, engaging top secret USAF first special operations gun ships, Eagle Station is filled with adventure and acts of daring, woven into a compelling and powerful plot.
Storm Flight, (Book Five of Five) the intense conclusion to his saga, the action is touched off by a daring raid on the Son Tay prisoner-of-war camp that reveals some startling information. With American prisoners in terrible jeopardy and crucial national secrets in danger of being discovered, the characters we have met in Berent’s earlier books are put to the ultimate test. They must call upon all their skill, leadership, guts, and strength to complete their missions.
As always, Berent highlights his knowledge of little known facts about the war, and his keen insight into the minds of members of the fighting forces. In one exhilarating sequence, Parker and his instructor pilot Ken Tanaka each shoot down two MiGs in the course of one fight, involving four MiGs and an unarmed transport. Despite the chewing out that they receive later from their superior officer, the two fighter pilots refuse to shoot down the transport. Ironically, that decision was the one that saved the life of one of their strongest critics, Jane Fonda, who had once called fighter pilots “professional killers.” (This incident is based on a true story.) Parker later makes “ace,” a title given to the rare fighter pilot who shoots down five MiGs.
Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE
1320 Hours Local, 17 December 1965
Airborne in an F-100D near
Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
Precisely how a crashing jet fighter breaks up is a function of its speed, of its angle of impact, and of the topography of the ground it strikes. A high speed impact at a ninety degree angle ensures small pieces mashed into a neat circular hole with narrow wing trenches extending from each side. Depending on soil consistency, the engine can burrow down 30 feet and be compressed from twelve feet in length to three. Lesser angles of impact splash the wreckage in the direction of flight. A near-zero glide angle on smooth terrain is another matter entirely. Unless the air­craft cartwheels, which it often does if one of the landing gear collapses, the wings will usually remain intact al­though probably separate from the aircraft. Large sections of the tail assembly and fuselage usually remain. If the pilot is not killed upon impact, he may survive if the wreck doesn’t burn. Usually they burn.
USAF Captain Courtland EdM. Bannister knew all this as he delicately babied his shotup F-100D Super Sabre jet fighter toward his home base of Bien Hoa located 15 miles northeast of Saigon in III Corps, South Vietnam. There were six half-inch holes in his airplane, two nearly lethal.
Less than an hour earlier, Bannister and his flight leader, Paul Austin, had been scrambled from runway Alert to aid an American Special Forces unit in trouble up near Loc Ninh in War Zone C. In pairs, Bien Hoa F-100 pilots pulled three types of Alert: runway, cockpit, and standby. Each flight of two could be airborne streaking toward a target in one minute, five minutes, or 20 minutes.
Almost all Bien Hoa missions, whether scrambled from or scheduled the night before on the Frag Order, were air-to-ground doing what the USAF had been sent to Vietnam to do; support U.S. or Vietnamese troops in battle. The weapons hung under their wings were a mixture of bombs, rockets, napalm, and cluster bomb units known as CBU. Each carried 800 rounds of ammo for the four 20mm cannons mounted internally under the scoop nose of the fighter.
A radar controller in a small dark room had Bannister on his scope.
“Ramrod Four One, I have you twelve miles out on the 275 radial of Tacan Channel 73. Squawk Three Four, acknowledge, Bien Hoa.” To ‘squawk,’ a pilot toggled a switch to send a burst of energy to the radar scope.
“Bien Hoa, Four One, squawking Three Four. I have a situation here. I need a straight-in. I’m leaking bad; gas and, ah, hydraulic fluid. Get me down quick, you copy Four One?”
“Roger, Four One, GCA copies.”
The Ground Control Approach controller had picked up Ramrod Four One from Bien Hoa Approach Control who advised him the pilot had declared an emergency due to battle damage and low fuel. Bannister had not mentioned he was bleeding. Approach Control also said they had no contact with Ramrod Four Zero, Bannister’s flight leader.
As the controller prepared to transmit, another voice broke in. It was neither as low pitched as that of the GCA controller nor as calm.
“Four One, this is Ramrod Two speaking, Ramrod Two. You got gear? You got three good ones down? How about flaps? You got flaps? Where’s your flight leader?” Ramrod Two, Bannister’s operations officer and immediate commander, had channeled into the conversation using the squadron radio.
Bannister didn’t have time to answer his nearly hysterical operations officer. He was busy keeping his crippled airplane aloft. Suddenly, a red warning signal lit up drawing his attention to a small hydraulic gauge on a lower panel in his cockpit. The needle of the gauge bobbled twice, then yielded up the few remaining pounds of utility hydraulic pressure as the main pump ground to a halt, then violently broke up deep inside the big fighter. Bannister thought he could feel the grinding. He quickly raised his eyes out of the cockpit to see if he could spot the runway. He had to squint and to blink away blood. All he could see was the jungle canopy a thousand feet below stretching out for miles into a reddish haze.
Several slugs from a big quad-barrel Russian ZSU-4 12.7mm antiaircraft gun had stitched his Super Sabre from scoop shovel nose to just short of the tail section. They had punctured and ripped tubing and control lines causing a loss of hydraulic fluid which required Bannister to engage his emergency flight control system. That system was powered by a Ram Air Turbine called RAT by its acronym. The engine itself was untouched. One slug, however, had ripped a small hole in the belly fuel cell allowing fuel to stream out behind the F-100 like a smoke trail.
Another slug had crashed through the starboard quarter panel glass of the windscreen, smashing the gunsight, zinging fragments of metal and glass into Bannister’s face. His helmet and oxygen mask protected all but the area around his eyes and forehead. He wore no sunglasses and had not lowered either the sun visor or the clear plastic visor mounted on his helmet. The fragments had etched a few minor lacerations above Bannister’s right eye. While neither particularly painful nor disabling, the wounds produced prodigious capillary bleeding effectively causing Bannister to lose the sight of his right eye. Wiping with his gloved hand smeared it worse. Bannister unhooked his blood-filled oxygen mask and let it dangle. Pooled blood splashed down the front of his parachute harness and survival vest and mingled with his sweat. He heard the measured cadence of the controller through the headset in his helmet.
“Ramrod Four One, check gear down. Prepare for descent in one mile.”
Bannister cupped the mask to his face with his right hand, bracketed the control stick with his knees, and pushed the trans­mit button on the throttle with his left hand. He countered a right wing drop with a leftward motion of his knees pressing on the stick.
“Bien Hoa, my situation is a bit worse. No Utility pressure, Flight One is out, Flight Two is going, and I’m not getting much RAT pressure, flight controls stiffening. Yeah, and I only got about 100 pounds of fuel.” Bannister still didn’t mention the blood. He did not consider himself wounded, merely inconvenienced at a rather harrowing time.
“Where’s your leader, where’s Four Zero? Ramrod Four One answer me.”
“Get off the air, Ramrod Two,” the GCA controller broke in, “there’s an emergency in progress and I’ve got it.” His voice was brittle, not the calming one he used with Ramrod Four One.
Bannister shoved down a lever with a replica of a wheel on it. The lever released the lock pins allowing the gear doors to open and the heavy wheels and struts to fall free. Then he pulled the lanyard that shunted emergency hydraulic fluid into the last two feet of hydraulic lines locking the nose and left main gear into place. The right main didn’t lock causing its cockpit indicator light to remain red. Bannister pushed to test the green indicator bulb. It worked. He already knew his flaps wouldn’t go down; he had tried them at a higher altitude doing a damage check. His flight leader was not there to assist him and report whatever damage Bannister could not see.
“Ah, Bien Hoa, the right main is still red. I don’t think it’s locked in place. And this will be a no-flap landing. Put the barrier up, I’ve got to make an approach-end engagement.” Without flaps he had to bring his plane in fifteen knots faster. Bannister didn’t intend to eject unless the engine quit.
He punched a button activating a solenoid that released a heavy steel bar with a hook on the end which extended under the aft section of his plane. If he touched down in the right place, the hook would snatch the cable stretched across the approach end of the runway and yank him to a stop in a few hundred feet, exactly the way a Navy fighter engages a cable during an aircraft carrier landing.
“Roger, Ramrod Four One, Bien Hoa copies. Barrier crew noti­fied. This is your final controller, how do you read?”
“Loud and clear,” Bannister yelled into his dangling mask. From here on he needed his right hand on the control stick, his left on the throttle.
“Ramrod Four One, you need not acknowledge further trans­missions. Steer right Two Six Five degrees and start your descent…now.”
The controller frequently released his mike button for an instant in case Ramrod Four One had to make a transmission that his emergency was worsening.
Bannister concentrated on his heading, but did not start the standard 600 feet per minute rate of descent that would give him a smooth 3 degree descent angle to the runway. He needed to hold his altitude until the last minute in case his engine quit from fuel starvation. Then he would decide if he was close enough to glide in or if he would be forced to eject. He rapidly blinked his eyes as he scanned his instruments every few seconds while simultaneously searching forward for the runway. His right eye cleared. When he finally spotted the white concrete landing strip he started to breathe more rapidly as he estimated altitude and distance to the point of touchdown. His airspeed gauge indicated two hundred knots. He was flying into a five knot headwind giving him a speed over the ground of 230 miles per hour or 338 feet per second. In 23 seconds he would be on the ground, one way or another.
The controller’s voice faded for Bannister as he concentrated on aligning his craft and deciding when to start his last minute descent. If he was too late, his steep descent angle would cause him to overshoot the runway which would force him to bailout or crash, since he did not have enough fuel to go-around and try again. If he started too soon and the engine quit, he would also have to bail out or crash short of the runway.
One mile from the runway Bannister decided it looked right and started an abnormally high rate of descent. He could see the crash crew lined up along the side of the runway; red foam trucks, a yellow wrecker, and a blue ambulance. At 800 feet above the ground and 4000 feet from the end of the runway his engine sucked up the last drops of JP-4 jet fuel and quickly unwound.
“Flameout,” Bannister yelled into his mask.
The big plane wanted to quit flying but Bannister held his speed by shoving the control stick forward which forced the nose down more. His rate of descent increased to 1000 feet per minute. Airspeed had to be high to spin the RAT and give him hydraulic pressure to work the flight controls. He would need a lot of control response to break the glide and flare for touchdown. Though Bannister’s heart rate went up another notch, he felt confident he could make it. All the numbers were right. He calculated he had enough altitude to trade for airspeed to make the touchdown point where his hook would grab the cable. The camouflaged airplane plunged closer to the jungle, barely topped the palm trees, streaked across the half-mile clearing before the concrete, then flared smoothly as Bannister applied enough back pressure on the control stick to break the rapid descent but still make a firm touchdown so the hook wouldn’t bounce over the barrier.
It all worked. The hook snatched the cable with the immense force generated by 17 tons of mass in motion at 300 feet per second. The four-foot brake drums on each side of the runway feeding out cable screamed and smoked, absorbing kinetic energy as they decelerated the big fighter. The jet slewed sharply left, then, at 100 knots, the right main gear collapsed, slamming the right wing to the ground and starting a cartwheel.
Bannister’s head banged against the canopy as the wing hit the ground. He grunted as he pushed without results on the now frozen control stick and rudder pedal to counter the violent movement that would end in a fireball. Of the three remaining forces acting on the plane, forward momentum, right roll, and hook deceleration, the hold-back by the hook was the most powerful and won out. The left wing rose ten feet off the ground, the plane pivoted thirty degrees on the crushed right wing tip, the hook held and slammed the flat-bottomed airplane back onto the concrete runway. Bannister’s seat survival pack absorbed most of the impact for him but his head, weighted by the three-pound helmet, thudded down on his chest harness so hard the metal snap gashed his chin. The violent impact dazed him. For an instant he was on the edge of consciousness.
The fire trucks and crash crew surrounded the wreck almost before it settled. They shot great streams of sticky white foam over and under the plane, around the hot engine and aft section. Without fuel there was little chance of a fire. Four firemen in aluminum suits, looking like bulky astronauts, ran to the airplane, two to each side. One jerked the external lanyard blowing the canopy off while the others positioned a ladder and ran up to get Bannister, who was rapidly coming around and able to undo his own helmet, harness, G-suit, and oxygen connections. The years of programming himself to instinctively perform all the ground emergency egress actions were paying off.
 The fireman at the top of the ladder on the right side thought so much blood in the cockpit was unusual. Usually a guy hit this bad wouldn’t make it back. He passed Bannister’s helmet to another fireman, who, facing aft toward the open cockpit, was straddling the nose of the aircraft like a horseback rider. “Are you okay, Sir?” the closest fireman asked through his helmet faceplate.
 “Yeah, Chief, fine, thanks. How about fire? We got any fire?” Bannister, thinking the plane would blow up, was struggling to get out.
“No, no fire. No sweat, Sir, just hang on a minute.” The firemen gently placed his gloved hand on Bannister’s shoulder. He held the groggy pilot down until the Flight Surgeon from the ambulance could climb up the ladder and check his condition.
“Hey Court, how ya doing? Where ya hit?” Major Conrad Russell, MD, asked as he leaned over Bannister to wipe away blood and assess damage. He saw the facial rips and tears where the blood had already clotted. He thumbed up Bannister’s right eyelid and noted that the eyeball looked intact and functional. The nick in the chin was barely oozing.
“No place. I’m not hit. Just some junk in my face. Is my right eye okay?” Bannister asked. He looked up at Russell, squinting his gray-blue eyes as much from the residual blood as from the sun behind Russell’s back. Bannister’s brown hair, released from the confines of his helmet, soaked with sweat and plastered against his head, was trimmed almost to crew-cut length. His close-shaved sideburns ended at mid-ear. His face was square, his jaw line strong. Bannister was six foot two and normally trimmed out at 190. Vietnam heat and O’ Club food had dropped him to a dehydrated 170. He was 30 and had been a USAF fighter pilot for ten years. This was his first crash.
Major Russell, his preliminary check complete, said, “Come on, let’s get out of here. We gotta clear the runway. Other guys want to land too, you know. Your eye will be fine.” He tugged at Bannister to get up and climb down the ladder.
The Flight Surgeon started to smile and hum as he moved his bulky figure down the ladder, accepting the helping hand of a nearby fireman. Doc Russell was doing what he loved best. He wore standard Shade 45 USAF blue two-piece fatigues which were now smelly and stained badly by the foam. His name, rank, and Flight Surgeon wings were embossed on a piece of leather stitched to his left breast. Russell was overweight, rotund in fact. His round, young-looking face vaguely resembled that of Baby Huey, the cartoon character. The fighter pilots at Bien Hoa, particularly those of the 531st, the squadron he was responsible for, quickly gave him that nickname. Russell, a 34 year old major, would have been a pilot were it not for optic problems so bad that his eyes tended to cross whenever he was tired.
He walked Bannister to the ambulance. The letters and devices on the leather nametag on the pilot’s left breast stated he was Courtland EdM. Bannister, Capt., USAF. A star above his pilot’s wings indicated he had flown at least seven years and had amassed 2000 flying hours and was rated a senior pilot. Below his pilot’s wings were the parachutist’s wings he had been awarded after training with the Special Forces in Germany. Bannister still wore his G-suit and survival vest, and carried an olive-green bag stuffed with his helmet, kneeboard, and maps. On his feet he wore Army issue jungle boots which were perfectly suited for tropical wear but would provide no ankle support in a parachute landing.
Standing next to the squadron jeep edged up to the blue USAF ambulance, watching them approach, was Ramrod Two, Major Harold Rawson, five-ten, black hair combed straight back, a pencil-thin mustache over his thin upper lip. He looked the type who missed the days of puttees and riding britches. He wore, instead, the standard K-2B cotton one-piece green flight suit with the standard thirteen zippers. On his head was a regulation USAF blue flight cap with silver officer piping on the rim and the gold oak leaves of a major pinned front right. Rawson was the operations officer of the 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron, second in command to the squadron commander and responsible for day-to-day fighter operation. The commander, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Warton, was back in the States on emergency furlough leaving Rawson in charge. He felt burdened with the unexpected responsibility.
Rawson watched Bannister and Russell approach, barely resisting the temptation to run up to Bannister crying “What in hell did you do?” Instead he waited until the two men drew closer.
“Where’s Four Zero?” he asked. Then, unable to contain himself, “How could you lose your leader?”
Before Bannister could answer, Russell shoved him toward the ambulance and said to Rawson, “Look, Harry, I’ve got to check this guy out before you or anybody from Intel gets to talk to him. Now back off.”
Bannister’s face colored. He seriously considered slamming his fist into Rawson’s small, turned down mouth which seemed to perpetually sneer whenever its owner spoke.
“I didn’t lose anybody, Goddammit. Austin got hit and went straight in,” Bannister said in a tight voice over his shoulder as he climbed into the back of the ambulance. As the double doors swung shut he turned to see Rawson struggling with only limited success to control himself.
In the coolness of one of the nested trailers that served as a hospital on the Bien Hoa Air Base, Russell remained silent until he had finished swabbing the cuts on Bannister’s face. They would not require stitching and would heal quickly if kept clean.
“Well,” he said straightening up, “all that blood and these cuts are worth a Purple Heart.”
Bannister stood up and walked to one of the small sliding windows that looked out. He had taken off his G-suit and dark green net survival vest. The sweat beneath was crusted white with salt and starting to dry on his flight suit. He dug a crushed pack of Luckies from his zippered left sleeve pocket and lit one before he answered. The Zippo he used had a thick rubber band around it. He had learned that trick from his Special Forces buddies at Bien Hoa to both keep the lighter from slipping out of a pocket as well as prevent it from clicking on another metal object.
“Forget it.” He inhaled deeply, held it, and blew the smoke out in a long sigh. He could still see the fireball that Major Paul Austin’s plane made after it hit the ground.
 “Why?” Russell asked after a minute.
“Too piddly.”
“Well,” Doc Russell said, “I guess I understand that.” He stood up. “At any rate, Paul Austin will get one.” He was silent for a moment. “Hell of a way to earn it, though.”
After another pause he added, “Isn’t his dad a general in the Pentagon?” He nodded to himself. “Sure he is, a three-star. So that’s why Harry Rawson is so distraught.” He looked to Bannister for corroboration.
“That’s the one,” Bannister said. He hoisted his gear and started for the door. “I’ve got to go debrief. There’s big stuff going on up there near Loc Ninh. We stumbled into something hot and I don’t mean just gun barrels.”
“Okay,” Russell said, nodding. “Keep your dirty mitts off those cuts. Maybe I’ll see you tonight at the club.”
Bannister walked out the door thinking about the intelligence debriefing session he was about to face in the wing headquarters building. He knew he could convince the lower ranking Intel people that something was up at Loc Ninh, but he wasn’t at all sure whether the high level ones at Saigon would agree. They had their own concepts and didn’t like input that upset them. That was one problem he could probably deal with. He wasn’t so sure about the other.
What weighed on Bannister’s mind far more than the Loc Ninh buildup was the lie he planned to tell the Flying Safety Officer about why Paul Austin crashed.
About the Author

Mark Berent is admirably suited to have written his historical fiction five-book Vietnam Wings of War series for he lived each story. He served four years and one day in the Vietnam War during the period from November 1965 until August 1973.
When asked why he kept going back, he replied: “A lot of reasons; because it was there, because I wanted a MiG, because when the threat goes up the paperwork goes down and the weinies run for cover, but mostly because the guys were still fighting. Everyday I’d pick up a paper and find another buddy KIA, MIA, or POW. I just couldn’t stay on the beach.”
Now he writes about these men. He has five books in print and Ebooks; Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger, Phantom Leader, Eagle Station, and Storm Flight. Although historical fiction, the books are about the men and women who gave everything they had in a war they weren’t allowed to win. FAC pilots, Phantom crews, Thud, Hun, and Buff crews, gunship pilots and gunners, green berets, grunts, carrier jocks, MAC contract stews, boomers and tankers, from corporals to colonels; the whole nine yards about the day-to-day heroism and heroes we all know and loved . . . and some we hated. By way of contrast, LBJ in the Oval Office and McNamara in the Pentagon E Ring are included and the words they spoke as they picked strike targets over lunch are included in great detail, yes indeed. As are those of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden.
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#BookBlitz ~ A Star to Steer Her By @1bethannemiller #Giveaway @XpressoTours

 

 

A Star to Steer Her By
Beth Anne Miller
Published by: Entangled Embrace
Publication date: March 20th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

I’m scarred. Broken. I’ll never be the same.

But I will take this journey.

Ever since my last dive ended in bloodshed, I’ve been terrified to go back into the water. But the opportunity to spend a semester at sea is too good to pass up. I need to get my life back.

I never expected to love it this much. And I never expected Tristan MacDougall.

Rugged, strong, and with demons of his own, Tristan helps me find the courage I thought I had lost and heals me with every stolen moment we share. But the rules of the ship mean we can’t be together.

When a dive excursion goes terribly wrong, our only hope for survival is each other.

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EXCERPT:

I was standing alone at the helm, under full sails and a glittering sky, guiding the ship unerringly across the endless black sea with only the stars to guide me, like the sailors of old. It was amazing. This was why I was here, why I’d gone ahead with this semester at sea, even after everything that had happened. Because I loved the sea, and wanted it to be a part of my life.

I returned my gaze upward, focusing on my guide star.

“‘And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’”

The low voice came out of nowhere. I spun to the right, where I could just make out the vague outline of someone leaning against the stanchion that held Speedy the motorboat suspended at the stern.

“Tristan?” As soon as the question left my mouth, I rolled my eyes in the darkness. Of course it was him.

“Aye, it’s me.”

“How long have you been standing there?” I hissed. “And where the hell did you come from?” I’d been at the helm for at least half an hour, and I knew he hadn’t been there the whole time.

There was a flash of white in the darkness as he grinned. “I’ve been here for about five minutes. You were so focused on staring up at the stars that you didn’t see me. I didn’t want to disturb you.”

“So instead, you just lurked in the dark until you could scare the hell out of me. Makes sense,” I muttered, trying not to be too thrilled that he’d chosen to hang out up here with me. “What was it that you said, anyway?”

“It’s from a poem. The full verse is:

“‘I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.’”

His lilting accent gave the lines a musical quality, and a shiver ran down my spine. “It’s beautiful,” I said, “and perfectly describes the way I feel. You didn’t write that, did you?” Because it would be supremely unfair for him to be kind, gorgeous, athletic, musically brilliant, and a poet, too.

 

Author Bio:

My first book, written in elementary school, was bound in pink fabric and was about—what else?—a girl and her horse. I soon began cheating on horses with the sea, becoming an open water scuba diver at age 14. That love of the sea led me to a college semester aboard a schooner. I returned with fond memories of the exhilaration of being on a ship under full sail, less fond memories of hurling over the leeward rail on a daily basis, and a sailing bug I couldn’t quite shake.

In addition to horses and the sea, I have a fascination for all things Scottish (including, but not limited to, men in kilts), which I explored with my first novel, INTO THE SCOTTISH MIST (The Wild Rose Press, 2011), and carried into my new novel, A STAR TO STEER HER BY (Entangled Embrace, 2017). A native New Yorker, I work in the publishing industry and am always looking ahead to my next voyage, whether a short one on a dive boat or whale watch, or, with luck, a longer one on a tall ship.

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#BookBlitz ~ The Supernatural Pet Sitter by @DianeMoatAuthor #Giveaway @XpressoTours

 

 

The Supernatural Pet Sitter
Diane Moat
(The Magic Thief, #1)
Publication date: March 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Middle-Grade

Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen.

Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the familiars in her neighborhood. A familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, familiars aren’t all that different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky the high-strung ferret, Frank the laid-back parrot, King Arthur the elderly tortoise, and many others.

Then, something terrible begins happening to the familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them but breaks their magical connection with their people. When King Arthur’s magic is stolen, his owner’s powers stop working too. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared.

In order to protect the animal’s magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets.

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EXCERPT:

Familiars don’t do well when they are separated from their witches. That was how Pepper got into the business of pet sitting. Gnomes have a low-level connection with all supernatural animals. Gnomes are kind of like the Dog Whisperer, except that they communicate well with Familiars, basilisks (a magical lizard), unicorns and so on, rather than the more usual “pets”.

Pepper’s business of helping witches by taking care of their Familiars had boomed over the past year. Thank goodness she wasn’t sitting for the McCrorys last month when “it” happened.

Mr. McCrory was an accountant and Mrs. McCrory worked part-time at the downtown Dewitt Mall. Their two kids lived away at college. Mrs. M’s Familiar was a huge, bright-green-and-blue parrot named Frank. Pepper had only checked on the parrot once when the McCrorys drove their kids to their out-of-state campus several months earlier. Frank didn’t cause any trouble, so the job was easy money.

Supposedly, Mrs. M was at work one day last month when she had a “bad feeling” that prompted her to go home to check on Frank. The house seemed undisturbed, and everything looked fine at first. But when Mrs. M went to Frank’s cage, she found him looking away from her. He wouldn’t even turn around when she called his name. When she walked around the cage to greet Frank face-to-face, he had only ducked and bobbed his head the way a normal parrot would. But Frank wasn’t normal.

Next, Mrs. M had reached out to the Familiar with her magic, but got no response from him. Not only that, but she said she had trouble focusing, and even her own magic had felt weak. With hands trembling, she had picked up Frank to try again. Nothing. Since that day, Frank’s magic was gone, and Mrs. M’s magic was broken.

 

 

Author Bio:

Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. Dog Gone is her debut novel, born from years of hearing animal rescuers say about animal abusers, “If only I could get my hands on that person…” Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.

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#PromoBlitz ~ Games of Mind by @AuthorDQuiles ~ @RABTBookTours

Political Thriller/Suspense
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When former naval intelligence officer Jack Steele opens a letter from his aunt, he makes an immediate decision to head to Nome, Alaska. Although he hasn’t seen Marie in twenty years, he’s concerned when she tells him her husband, Uncle Jimmy, is in trouble. From the moment Jack picks up that envelope, he knows he’s about to enter a situation better left alone. But loyalty to family is stronger than a gut feeling.
Jack, a private investigator with Connor, Steele & Harrison Private Investigation Agency lands in Nome and discovers that Lindberg Research Corporation has been using the people of that city as guinea pigs to perfect mind-control research. He has stumbled onto a massive conspiracy that has held hostage the noble people of Nome. The plot threatens America’s way of life, the life of the vice president of the United States, and Jack’s own survival.
Alone and without his usual resources and special equipment, Jack is over matched and is nearly killed before he can even scratch the surface of what’s really taking place in Nome. Jack must elude an ex-Special Forces Green Beret—a man who has sworn over his dead son to kill Jack—and work around local law enforcement and other mysterious forces in order to save the people of Nome and the vice president of the United States.
About the Author
Dennis Quiles earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in business administration. A US military veteran and a veteran of the protection business, he is the director of global security services for one of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Quiles and his wife have three children and currently live in Illinois.
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#BlogTour #Spotlight ~ In Plain Sight by @Melcom1 #Hero #BlogHounds @Bloodhoundbook

No one is safe… not even the police. DI Hero Nelson is used to violent crime but this one is personal. When he’s called to a crime scene he discovers the victims are two police officers one of whom is a good friend.
Determined to track down the killer, he’s dealt another blow as the body count continues to rise. To catch the killer before he strikes again, Hero calls upon the public for help. But when the criminal ups the ante by taking hostages, he soon regrets his decision.
Can Hero and the police catch the murderer before more innocent victims are hurt?
Hero must apprehend the killer who is hiding in plain sight before the time runs out.

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About the Author

Thank you for hosting me, here’s a little about me for your readers.
I’m a New York Times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, iBooks top 5 bestselling and #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. So far, I’ve sold over one and a quarter million copies sold world wide. I am a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that’s when I turned my hobby into a career. In February 2016 I returned to the UK and now live in beautiful South Wales with the Brecon Hills as an inspirational backdrop. I share my home with my beautiful rescue Labrador, Dex, who is the most intelligent dog we’ve ever owned, but it also means he’s a little wilful at times too.

I started writing the Justice series in 2006 and released the first book in the series Cruel Justice in 2010, there are now 14 books and several novellas and short stories available in this bestselling series. To date I have written 30 novels and several novellas and short stories across series. I have also co-authored a few books with NY Times bestselling author Linda Prather and the talented Tara Lyons.

My latest release, In Plain Sight has been published by my wonderful publishers Bloodhound Books, you can sign up to their website  HERE where they often have free books available for readers.

I hope you enjoy my books … You can find out more about me here:
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#BookBlitz ~ Flames of Rebellion by #JayAllan #Giveaway @XpressoTours

 

 

Flames of Rebellion
Jay Allan
(Flames of Rebellion, #1)
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

A group of rebels fighting for independence sows the seeds of revolution across the galaxy in this blockbuster military sci-fi adventure from the author of the Crimson Worlds and Far Stars series.

The planet Haven slides closer to revolution against its parent nation, Federal America. Everett Wells, the fair-minded planetary governor, has tried to create a peaceful resolution, but his failure has caused the government to send Asha Stanton, a ruthless federal operative, to quell the insurgency.

Wells quickly realizes that Stanton has the true power . . . and two battalions of government security troops—specifically trained to put down unrest—under her control. Unlike Wells, Stanton is prepared to resort to extreme methods to break the back of the gathering rebellion, including unleashing Colonel Robert Semmes, the psychopathic commander of her soldiers, on the Havenites.

But the people of Haven have their own ideas. They are not the beaten-down masses of Earth, but men and women with the courage and fortitude to tame a new world.

Damian Ward is such a resident of Haven, a retired veteran and decorated war hero, who has watched events on his adopted world with growing apprehension. He sympathizes with the revolutionaries, his friends and neighbors, but he is loath to rebel against the flag he fought to defend. That is, until Stanton’s reign of terror intrudes into his life—and threatens those he knows and loves. Then he does what he must, rallying Haven’s other veterans and leading them to the aid of the revolutionaries.

Yet the battle-scarred warrior knows that even if Haven’s freedom fighters defeat the federalists, the rebellion is far from over . . . it’s only just begun.

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EXCERPT:

“Hey, Grant, let’s go, man.” Tomas Lopez spoke angrily, his face twisted into a scowl. He held a heavy bar of steel in one hand, and the other was raised above his head, curled into a defiant fist. He stared at Jamie Grant for a few seconds, as though he expected his fellow prisoner to leap up and rush to his side. But Jamie just stood next to the exposed rock wall and looked back.

“C’mon, Grant!” Lopez repeated. “It’s time. We’re shuttin’ down this whole damned mine this time. Ain’t nuthin’ gonna stop us. They won’t have no choice. They’ll have to listen to us when the ore stops flowin’!” Lopez stood about two meters away from his workmate, his grimy coveralls almost black from the ore dust that hung in the very air of the mine. There was rage in his face, and it seemed to radiate all around him.

There was activity everywhere in the massive cavern, and more angry yells. Dozens of mine workers, hundreds perhaps, were streaming away from their workplaces. They almost acted as one, grabbing tools, metal bars, anything that looked remotely like a weapon. They were shouting, a riotous cacophony of rebel slogans along with more generic cries and screams. The sound reverberated off the low ceilings of the tunnel, and Jamie could barely hear his friend’s words over the din.

“Not me, Tomas.” Jamie’s voice was grim, somber. He looked around the mine, feeling a wave of surprise at how many seemed to be joining the instigators. There had been work stoppages before, and a few outright riots, but this looked like something bigger, more dangerous. He felt the urge, just as his comrades did, to strike back against the federals, against the system that had stolen so much of his life. Against the guards who too often took sadistic delight in their work. But he couldn’t. He wouldn’t. There was something more important to him, and he struggled to stay focused on that.

“I’m staying right here,” he said finally. He wanted to go; every fiber in his body was twitching to join the riot. But he fought back against the urge. “I’ve been here twelve years, Tomas. Twelve years. I shoulda been outta here two years already. I can’t afford more trouble.”

Jamie had seen his share of disciplinary actions for sure. He’d been fifteen years old the day he was arrested for the third time. He’d gotten off twice before that with a flogging and a reduction in public assistance, but he’d only stolen food those times. The last time he’d taken money . . . and he’d used it to buy a hit of Blast. It hadn’t been for him, but for his mother. But that hadn’t made any difference.

Alicia Grant was a good-natured woman who’d become addicted to the drug when she’d been issued a month’s supply to deal with her grief after Jamie’s father was killed. Harold Grant had been shot when the federal police cracked down on a street rising. He’d lived for almost two hours, lying bleeding on the pavement, but by the time the authorities got around to the wounded rioters, it was too late.

 

Author Bio:

I currently live in New York City, and I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy for just about as long as I’ve been reading. My tastes are fairly varied and eclectic, but I’d say favorites are military and dystopian science fiction and epic fantasy, usually a little bit gritty.

I write a lot of science fiction with military themes, but also other SF and some fantasy as well. I like complex characters and lots of backstory and action. Honestly, I think world-building is the heart of science fiction and fantasy, and since that is what I’ve always been drawn to as a reader, that is what I write.

I’ve been an investor and non-fiction writer for a long time, a fiction author more recently. When I’m not writing I enjoy traveling, running, hiking, reading. I love hearing from readers and always answer emails. I think you stop growing as a writer if you stop listening to readers.

Among other things, I write the bestselling Crimson Worlds series.

Join my mailing list at http://www.crimsonworlds.com for updates on new releases.

 

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#PromoBlitz ~ The Color of Pain by @misseebiz ~ @RABTBookTours

Contemporary Fiction
Date Published:  March 2016
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As a small boy, Alex becomes ensnared in the schemes of his mother, Cathlean, as she seeks to entrap a white British soldier, John, and “marry up” to improve her status in life. Her plan comes to fruition when John becomes obsessed with his black wife, marries her, then takes her and her son away from her native country of Belize to live in England. Cathlean becomes the society woman in England but begs her husband to return to Belize so she can show off her new status to her friends and fellow “good-time” girls. They return ten years later, but an unhappy Alex seeks solace in the arms of Sherrette. They fall head over heels but soon find their own problems as fast-paced revelations affect their fragile relationship. Told in a first-person view of life in Dangriga, Belize, young Alex’s story reflects on the color of his pain as he seems to bear the brunt of Cathlean’s selfish brand of pain that she calls love.
Excerpt

 

Prologue
Present-Day Dangríga
Stann Creek District
Belize, Central America
Friday night, and the plain pine coffin stood on three unpainted sawhorses in the middle of the floor. Mourners murmured among themselves as they gathered under the white tent and stood directly in front of the coffin looking down at the almost angelic face of the deceased. A copper penny had been placed on top of each of the deceased’s eyelids in true Garífuna fashion. The toes of the new white socks had been attached together with a shiny safety pin; that too was a Garífuna tradition, origin unknown. The copper pennies were vaguely representative of the “toll” that the dead would have to pay to get a pass from Saint Peter into heaven. Yes, you couldn’t always tell, but Garífunas, one of which the deceased was, believed in heaven, hell, and an afterlife.
Sure, they dabbled in Obeah, the Belizean-African system of spells, hexes curses, and magic, and they regularly participated in Dugú, a voodoo-like healing ritual, in the Dabúyabah (Temple) to appease the spirits, but they wanted to make absolutely sure the deceased paid their way into heaven. They, functioning in the shadowy, dual world of Christianity and spiritualism, wanted to make sure that all bases were covered, just in case the deceased needed help to get to meet their maker.
Directly to the right of the coffin sat a woman in a wheelchair, a tragic figure, her head bent and sobbing or at times wailing and cursing at God, blaming him for the loss of the deceased. An average, nondescript gentleman stood awkwardly behind her, talking soothingly to her, rubbing her shoulders and back, trying in vain to comfort her.
Another male, this one a stranger, stood near the inside entrance of the tent, shuffling from one foot to the other, twisting a beat-up brown fedora between gnarled hands. He seemed ill at ease, reeking of marijuana and rum; he too was sobbing pitifully. Some people whispered to each other, wondering who he was, what his connection to the deceased was, and why he was there, but nobody was brave enough to ask him. The few who knew who he was would not satisfy the curiosity of those clueless to his identity.
To complete the tableau of mourners, near the front, just to the left of the coffin, was a young girl of about fifteen or sixteen years of age, beautiful but clearly wracked with sorrow, with head bowed as she shrieked in agony. You could tell from looking at her that she was hugely pregnant, like she was about eight and a half months along. Many of those present wondered whether she would last through the funeral or if she would have to be rushed to the hospital even before the night was over. She was quite literally “ready to pop” and deliver her baby, but some were reassured because they saw that Mamma Graciela, the local midwife known for her magic fingers and calm demeanor, even in breech-birth situations, was in the crowd. They were confident that she would be able to handle things or whatever complications would arise.
A local band kept a lively flow of Punta music and other favorites going; people were nodding their heads and shaking their bodies to the sounds, even the non-Garífunas: Kriols, Indians, Spanish, or gi-yows as they were called. Papa Deuce had his card table set up in a corner and was doing a brisk business at four different tables at a dollar buy-in; one table was dedicated to the dice game “under or over,” the second to five-card Pitty Pat, the third to checkers, and the fourth to a cutthroat game of dominoes, or “bones.” The domino table drew the largest crowd as gleeful players loudly yelled “Domino!” as they slapped winning tiles to the appropriate end of the domino board.The louder the slap at the placing of that final tile, the more in-your face the win and temporary bragging rights until that winner was taken down by the next challenger, and so on. Marty, the most recent winner, taunted Louis as he slammed the winning domino tile down.
About the Author
MELISA E. ARNOLD was born in Dangriga, Belize, Central America, and has been writing stories since she was a young girl. Her family says she always created stories and always won essay-writing competitions in school. She is a thrice-published poet but has always felt that she had at least “one great novel” in her that needed to be written. This book is the result of her collaboration with fellow Belizean expatriate Alexander Cassanova, with whom she discovered she had much in common as they make their way in their new country of residence, the United States of America. Ms. Arnold resides in Los Angeles, California.
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#BlogTour #Spotlight ~ A Bed of Brambles by @SamRussellBooks #Giveaway @BrookCottageBks

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Draymere Hall #2
Release Date: 11th March 2017

Hettie and Alexander are back, and this was never going to be a conventional love story. No bed of roses. Proud, passionate and wilful, they are alike in so many ways. That has to be a good thing doesn’t it? Or it could be a disaster…both carry scars, and old wounds have a habit of causing new hurt.
Physical attraction draws them together but hearts and minds can be thorny. One thing is certain, together or apart their lives will move on. Alexander and Hettie’s clashes of spirit will only be part of the story.
Second chances. New beginnings. The opportunity to make things right. Or to make the same mistakes all over again. Unless fate takes the future out of your hands…

Praise for Sam Russell
‘Russell delves into her characters’ minds exposing their innermost thoughts, fears, and desires’
‘The author’s ability to flesh out a character into a believable human being is what sets a great book above the rest’
‘Sam Russell’s beautiful writing draws you right into Draymere alongside Hettie, Alexander the horses and dogs, and keeps you there’

EXCERPT
Her sharp green eyes slipped over him as she scanned the arrivals hall. He noticed the dusting of sun-freckles across her cheeks and his heart clenched as he waited. He needed to read her face, to believe she was back for good. Her gaze swept around again, and this time their eyes connected. For a suspended moment it felt as if his heart stopped beating, and the pit of his stomach fell.
Then she grinned at him.
The suitcase swung into her legs at her sudden change of direction. He waved, and she abandoned the case and ran at him. He lifted her off the ground and pressed his eyes shut, not trusting himself to speak. He felt her breath warm on his neck.

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About the Author

Sam Russell was born in London, but it was her family’s move to the countryside which ignited her passion for writing and love of the rural life. She worked as a groom and trained as a riding instructor, teaching in the UK and abroad before returning home and marrying a farmer.
Sam ran a livery stables from the farm whilst raising their three children. Her writing, which was a hobby while the children were young, took off when they flew the nest. She was encouraged to write and publish her debut novel, A Bed of Barley Straw. Her latest book, A Bed of Brambles, is the second novel in the Draymere Hall Series.
When she’s not writing, Sam will be out and about on the farm with the animals and the dogs. You can read more of her story on her Rustic Romance blog.

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#BookBlitz ~ The Storm by @rjprescottauth #Giveaway @XpressoTours

 

 

The Storm
R.J. Prescott
(The Hurricane #3)
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

Marie Kelly is a survivor who doesn’t know when to quit. Against all odds, she’s living a life she never dreamed she could have. It was enough… until a stubborn boxer makes her want more.

Irish charmer Kieran Doherty has been a fighter at Driscoll’s Gym for most of his life. He’s been content to let his best friend take the spotlight, now it’s his turn to make a name for himself in the world of heavy weight champions. Falling in love is the one thing he vowed never to do, but meeting Marie changed everything.

It’s easy to imagine a happy-ever-after when the sun is shining. But when the storm comes, and all hope seems lost, they both learn that if you want something badly enough, you have to be willing to fight for it.

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EXCERPT:

When I finally plucked up a bit of courage, I peeped out of the curtains to see Kieran throwing stones at the window.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,” he mock shouted, when he caught my eye. I opened the window to whisper loudly back at him.

“Are you high?” I asked. “Why didn’t you just ring the doorbell or call me?”

“I thought this would be more romantic,” he said.

“If I ignore the fact that my nipples probably have frostbite, I am feeling romanced,” I replied. He looked pained. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“You said ‘nipples’ and now I can’t think of anything else,” he replied, making me smile.

“Now I’m down here, what’s the chances of seeing an accidental nip slip?” he asked.

“Depends,” I replied.

“On what?” he asked.

“What’s in the bag?” I said.

“Hot chocolate and warm doughnuts,” he said, holding up the bag as if to barter.

“Well, I would have said slim to none, but fresh doughnuts might have just tipped the odds in your favour,” I replied.

“Yesss!” he said, fist bumping the air in victory.

I closed the window and ran to buzz him in. He bounded up the stairwell, his heavy footsteps echoing loudly in the hallway. When he got to my door, he looked me up and down, taking in my short royal blue, silk pyjamas. Dropping the sack, he speared his hands into my hair and pulled me into a kiss that had me melting. Kier didn’t kiss with just his lips; he did it with his whole body. Without shoes on, I was tiny in comparison, but inside of the cage of his huge arms, I felt protected and safe. Despite his size, his lips were so gentle. He didn’t treat me like I was fragile, but like I was precious, as though every touch was one that he was experiencing for the first time and memorizing for later.

Feeling bold, I traced the seam of his mouth with my tongue, and when he parted his lips and touched his tongue against mine, I groaned. Every sensation was too much, and not enough. Breathless, he pulled away from me to nuzzle his face in the crook of my neck. I reached up and gently stroked the short hair at the back of his neck, making him sigh.

 

Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author R.J. Prescott was born in Cardiff, South Wales, and studied law at the University of Bristol, England. Four weeks before graduation she fell in love, and stayed. Ten years later, she convinced her crazy, wonderful firefighter husband to move back to Cardiff where they now live with their two equally crazy sons. Her debut novel The Hurricane was an international bestseller and finalist in the Goodreads Awards in the category of debut author.

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#BookBlitz ~ Working for The Billionaires Club by @AuthorSkyCorgan #Giveaway @XpressoTours

 

 

Working for The Billionaires Club
Sky Corgan
Publication date: August 16th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Now enlisting volunteers! Looking for ten super-rich men willing to please some lucky ladies for a good cause.

Requirements: You must make at least a billion dollars annually. You must be hot as hell. You must be a stud in the bedroom.

Job duties: Treat our clients like the queens they are. Fulfill their every fantasy while they enjoy their stay at our state of the art resort. You’ll have access to all of our amenities and fantasy rooms so that you can create the best experience for our clients.

The Billionaires Club is a non-profit organization. Clients pay good money for your time, and all proceeds go to a charity of their choice.

Do something great for your community and have some fun in the process. Join The Billionaires Club!

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On sale from 03/15 – 03/21 only!

EXCERPT:

“I wouldn’t trade you for any woman in the world, Raven.” He clutches my hand tightly before pressing it over his chest. “You are my heart. I love you, and I’d never do anything to fuck things up between us again.”

I smile, letting my guard down. “You’re a really good guy sometimes, you know.”

“I’m a really good guy for you. I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me.”

“You’re a really good guy. Don’t pretend to be an asshole.” I tap my fingers over his heart.

He draws me to him, and I rest my head on his chest, listening to the rhythmic sound of his heartbeat. “I would kill any man who ever tried to touch you. You are mine.”

“I am yours,” I reply, dropping my walls and allowing myself to feel for him.

 

Author Bio:

Sky Corgan is a USA Today Best-Selling author. When she’s not typing away at the next steamy romance series, she’s busy planning for future vacations.

You can get a FREE Sky Corgan book and stay up to date on her latest releases by signing up for her newsletter here: Here

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