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Hell & Back Blitz

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Outbreak Task Force, Book #5

Romantic Suspense

Date Published: 9/21/2020

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

 

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Racing to lock down the CDC’s deadly virus samples from terrorists,
ex-Special Forces medic Henry Lee partners with Ruby Toth on the Outbreak
Task Force. But the terrorists always seem one step ahead. As they work side
by side, Henry’s taken with how Ruby accepts and respects him, instead of
pitying him for all he lost overseas, including his leg. Ruby’s hiding
something, though, and Henry fears she’s been leaking sensitive information.
Terrorists have kidnapped her brother, and now microbiologist Ruby Toth
faces a horrible choice. If she doesn’t give them a vial of Small Pox as
ransom, her brother will die. She knows her prickly—yet very
hot—boss, Henry, could provide the help she needs. But she joined the
CDC to root out insiders plotting to unleash a bio-engineered pandemic, and
she can’t trust anyone. Not even Henry.

 

Excerpt

 

About time he called her. Where the hell was he?

She answered the phone with, “Where have you been?”

“Your brother is with us, Miss Toth,” a distorted voice said. “If you don’t do everything we tell you to do, you’ll never see him in one piece again.”

A cold fist punched her in the stomach, and she was standing without recalling how she got there. The cold pushed its way through her body, weakening her knees until she collapsed back onto the chair she’d been sitting on.

“Who is this?”

“You know who we are.” The distortion made it impossible to discern if the voice was male or female. “Your brother is healthy. For the moment.”

Assholes. Anger freed her diaphragm from its icy cage. She harnessed the energy and rode it, breaking it down into something useful. Patience.

Watch, wait, listen, then act. She’d learned the hard way not to let her emotions hijack her mouth. To get along with difficult people, you had to figure out what they wanted and what they didn’t before you spoke.

What kind of response would a bunch of terrorists who’d kidnapped her brother want from her? Defeat, not defiance. Compliance, not confidence. She needed to make them believe she’d do whatever they told her to do.

“Please don’t hurt him. Wh-what do you want?” There was enough adrenaline surging through her system it wasn’t hard to stutter and breathe a little too hard. To sound like she was on the edge of panic.

“A live sample of smallpox.” Despite the distortion, the voice sounded self-satisfied. Arrogant. Superior. For a moment, she couldn’t quite believe what she heard.

“You can’t be serious.”

“Get it or your brother dies.”

“How do I know he’s not already dead?” Her voice broke on the last word.

 

About the Author

Full-time author and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s first career
as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West
Territories and Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she still resides. Her most
recent titles include Search & Destroy book #4 of the Outbreak Taskforce
series and Trapped with the Secret Agent book #1 of the Trapped with Him
series. Julie’s articles have appeared in magazines, such as Romantic
Times Magazine, Today’s Parent magazine and Canadian Living. Julie
facilitates communication workshops at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, and
has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and
Canada. You can find her at www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter
@julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor.

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The Haunting on Palm Court Release Week Blitz

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Book #1 in the Isle of Palms Suspense series

Romantic Suspense

Date Published: Sept. 1, 2020

 

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After Blake Nelson catches her abusive fiancé, Parker, with another
woman, she seeks serenity at her late grandmother’s beach cottage. He
follows Blake to the island and attempts to kill her, but instead, he dies
in an accident while fleeing the police. His malevolent spirit returns to
the cottage to finish what he started. The haunting intensifies when Blake
reconnects with her first love, Clint. Will Blake discover how to banish
Parker before it’s too late?

 

About the Author

 

Stephanie Edwards has been writing professionally since she landed her
first newspaper column at the age of 13. Her love for the Lowcountry, the
Atlantic Ocean and a good ghost story inspired her to write her first book.
She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Ron, and their adorable dog,
Shadow.

 

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First Second Coming TOUR

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Book One In The New God Series
Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
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In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.
Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.
God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.
 
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EXCERPT

From Chapter 1 – Stranger in a Strange Land :

Thirteen hours late, my cross-galaxy voyage to the All-Souls Transit Center ends in a puff of soft lunar dirt on Mare Tranquillitatis. I expect to meet the legendary God of planet Earth in his office but as I deplane he’s shuffling down the concourse toward his departure gate. He’s easy to spot – inside this small, sparse four gate terminal we are the only life forms in sight. 

With his stooped posture and unkempt shoulder length gray hair, God reminds me of the mythical Atlas. His tremors underscore the physical and emotional toll he has had to bear. Did his mental state also degrade? He spent two millennia managing a planet populated by quarrelsome headstrong terrestrials. Over that much time any deity posted to such a world would succumb to the effects of prolonged stress. 

I quicken my pace, catch up to him and extend a hand. “Good day, Lord.”  

“This is how you address your superiors?” The decibel level of his gruff voice implies impaired hearing. “Where are your manners? A bow is in order.”

Though I have not yet fully adapted to the musculature of this adult male body I inhabit, my flawless execution of a deep obeisance brings a quick smile to my face.

God gives me a brusque signal to rise. “You’re my replacement, are you?” 

“Correct, Lord. I am humbled and honored to take your place.” I bow again, less fully.

“Call me NTG if you wish. I prefer answering to that nickname.” 

So the rumor is true. That he calls himself the New Testament God instead of his given name means he has indeed gone native. This explains a lot.

We sink into a ‘maximum comfort’ couch – or so the attached tag boasts – stuffed full of condensed nimbostratus cloud threads imported from Earth. An ugly green tarp spread over the cushions prevents our clothes from getting soaked by residual moisture. 

God adjusts his overcoat and leans toward me. “I trust you had an enjoyable flight?”  

“I would like to say yes, but what a hellacious trip.” That’s an understatement. “We flew through several cosmic storms, circumvented an unmapped black hole and limped here on back-up power after the anti-matter fuel engine failed. I will never fly by chartered spaceship again.”

“Now that you’ve arrived, what makes you think you can take on a tough job like this?”

“This is my fourth assignment, though the first for Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.” I place my carry-on bag on the tan moonrock table and open a side pocket. “I have a résumé, if you want to peruse it. In each previous posting, the planets I shepherded returned to optimal status. Whilst this assignment is more complex, I assure you my record shall remain unsullied.” 

“Humph.” He spits into the thin puddle created by the leaky couch and waves off my résumé. “I thought those spineless MWGI decision-makers would send a rank amateur. After only three postings, you expect to fix this mess? You’re still wet around the ears, sonny. Have you even hung your precious university degrees on a wall yet?” He points at the nearby picture window. “On Earth they say you learn more through failure than success.” 

“Elder, I did not travel here to fail. MWGI reached out because of my extensive training as a planetary turnaround specialist. They are confident I am the best available deity for this job.”

“And you agree with that assessment, do you?” He fidgets, as though trying to stand and walk away, but can’t get off the couch.   

“I would not otherwise have taken the job, Lord. Once I did, I undertook considerable research. The travel delays afforded me extra preparation time. I have learned everything a new deity should know about Earth and its inhabitants. I am ready to take the reins.”

“Your extensive reading helped you form opinions regarding the humans, did it?”  

I disregard the sarcasm implicit in the question. If I ever reach his wizened old age, young deities will receive better treatment from me than this. His attitude is understandable, though. Forced retirement is a difficult pill for anyone to swallow, supreme beings included.

“Lord, these sentient beings do have many laudable qualities. However, whilst I prefer not to focus on the negative, on the whole humans strike me as a rather unpredictable species.”  

NTG spits again and rummages through the pockets of his black overcoat, pants and vest. “Where’s the damn thing? Did I forget it? Ah, here. Since you’re not dead, you’ll need this to get into heaven.” 

He hands me a Holyday Inn card key with “NTG” stenciled on the back side. I stare at the card whilst mulling over my research, which characterized heaven as an imaginary afterlife sanctuary. With a shrug, I deposit the card in the pocket of my blue denim shirt. 

“Many humans call it heaven, but I consider it home.” God’s melancholic smile comes and goes in seconds. “Souls get over the false advertising once they adjust to their newly deceased status. Follow the overhead signs to the tram that’ll take you to the complex. My office is by the main gate so I can greet arrivals on St. Peter’s days off. Ask for Angie, my chief of staff. She’s a real angel in every sense of the word.”



About the Author

Jeff Pollak grew up in Riverdale – not the one in the Archie comics and movies, the one in the Bronx. After graduating college in Buffalo’s often frozen tundra, he moved to Los Angeles to thaw out and learn to play golf without losing the ball in snow drifts. While there, a law school accepted him into their night program. Now retired from life as a civil trial litigator, Jeff lives in the Crescenta Valley where the closest Jeff comes to winter is his sporadic attendance at hockey games.
FIRST SECOND COMING, Jeff’s debut novel, was inspired by 9/11. Like everyone else, Jeff was transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. Unlike everyone else, Jeff had clients in the World Trade Center, his law firm had given annual seminars at Windows of the World, at the top of the building, and he’d become familiar with some of the staff. While watching the WTC collapse, the thought “earth needs a new God who’s a planetary turnaround specialist,” came to mind. Over the ensuing decade, this odd idea germinated in the deeper recessions of Jeff’s overactive brain until this story hatched in 2015. Jeff’s been writing it ever since.
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First Second Coming Blitz

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First Second Coming cover
Book One In The New God Series
Supernatural Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Date Published: August 1
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.
Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.
God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.
 
 

Excerpt

Thirteen hours late, my cross-galaxy voyage to the All-Souls Transit Center ends in a puff of soft lunar dirt on Mare Tranquillitatis. I expect to meet the legendary God of planet Earth in his office but as I deplane he’s shuffling down the concourse toward his departure gate. He’s easy to spot – inside this small, sparse four gate terminal we are the only life forms in sight.

With his stooped posture and unkempt shoulder length gray hair, God reminds me of the mythical Atlas. His tremors underscore the physical and emotional toll he has had to bear. Did his mental state also degrade? He spent two millennia managing a planet populated by quarrelsome headstrong terrestrials. Over that much time any deity posted to such a world would succumb to the effects of prolonged stress.

I quicken my pace, catch up to him and extend a hand. “Good day, Lord.”

“This is how you address your superiors?” The decibel level of his gruff voice implies impaired hearing. “Where are your manners? A bow is in order.”

Though I have not yet fully adapted to the musculature of this adult male body I inhabit, my flawless execution of a deep obeisance brings a quick smile to my face.

God gives me a brusque signal to rise. “You’re my replacement, are you?”

“Correct, Lord. I am humbled and honored to take your place.” I bow again, less fully.

“Call me NTG if you wish. I prefer answering to that nickname.”

So the rumor is true. That he calls himself the New Testament God instead of his given name means he has indeed gone native. This explains a lot.

We sink into a ‘maximum comfort’ couch – or so the attached tag boasts – stuffed full of condensed nimbostratus cloud threads imported from Earth. An ugly green tarp spread over the cushions prevents our clothes from getting soaked by residual moisture.

God adjusts his overcoat and leans toward me. “I trust you had an enjoyable flight?”

“I would like to say yes, but what a hellacious trip.” That’s an understatement. “We flew through several cosmic storms, circumvented an unmapped black hole and limped here on back-up power after the anti-matter fuel engine failed. I will never fly by chartered spaceship again.”

“Now that you’ve arrived, what makes you think you can take on a tough job like this?”

“This is my fourth assignment, though the first for Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.” I place my carry-on bag on the tan moonrock table and open a side pocket. “I have a résumé, if you want to peruse it. In each previous posting, the planets I shepherded returned to optimal status. Whilst this assignment is more complex, I assure you my record shall remain unsullied.”

“Humph.” He spits into the thin puddle created by the leaky couch and waves off my résumé. “I thought those spineless MWGI decision-makers would send a rank amateur. After only three postings, you expect to fix this mess? You’re still wet around the ears, sonny. Have you even hung your precious university degrees on a wall yet?” He points at the nearby picture window. “On Earth they say you learn more through failure than success.”

“Elder, I did not travel here to fail. MWGI reached out because of my extensive training as a planetary turnaround specialist. They are confident I am the best available deity for this job.”

“And you agree with that assessment, do you?” He fidgets, as though trying to stand and walk away, but can’t get off the couch. 

“I would not otherwise have taken the job, Lord. Once I did, I undertook considerable research. The travel delays afforded me extra preparation time. I have learned everything a new deity should know about Earth and its inhabitants. I am ready to take the reins.”

“Your extensive reading helped you form opinions regarding the humans, did it?”

I disregard the sarcasm implicit in the question. If I ever reach his wizened old age, young deities will receive better treatment from me than this. His attitude is understandable, though. Forced retirement is a difficult pill for anyone to swallow, supreme beings included.

“Lord, these sentient beings do have many laudable qualities. However, whilst I prefer not to focus on the negative, on the whole humans strike me as a rather unpredictable species.”

NTG spits again and rummages through the pockets of his black overcoat, pants and vest. “Where’s the damn thing? Did I forget it? Ah, here. Since you’re not dead, you’ll need this to get into heaven.”

He hands me a Holyday Inn card key with “NTG” stenciled on the back side. I stare at the card whilst mulling over my research, which characterized heaven as an imaginary afterlife sanctuary. With a shrug, I deposit the card in the pocket of my blue denim shirt.

“Many humans call it heaven, but I consider it home.” God’s melancholic smile comes and goes in seconds. “Souls get over the false advertising once they adjust to their newly deceased status. Follow the overhead signs to the tram that’ll take you to the complex. My office is by the main gate so I can greet arrivals on St. Peter’s days off. Ask for Angie, my chief of staff. She’s a real angel in every sense of the word.”



About the Author
Jeff Pollak grew up in Riverdale – not the one in the Archie comics and movies, the one in the Bronx. After graduating college in Buffalo’s often frozen tundra, he moved to Los Angeles to thaw out and learn to play golf without losing the ball in snow drifts. While there, a law school accepted him into their night program. Now retired from life as a civil trial litigator, Jeff lives in the Crescenta Valley where the closest Jeff comes to winter is his sporadic attendance at hockey games.
FIRST SECOND COMING, Jeff’s debut novel, was inspired by 9/11. Like everyone else, Jeff was transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. Unlike everyone else, Jeff had clients in the World Trade Center, his law firm had given annual seminars at Windows of the World, at the top of the building, and he’d become familiar with some of the staff. While watching the WTC collapse, the thought “earth needs a new God who’s a planetary turnaround specialist,” came to mind. Over the ensuing decade, this odd idea germinated in the deeper recessions of Jeff’s overactive brain until this story hatched in 2015. Jeff’s been writing it ever since.
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Zone of Action Blitz

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Romantic Suspense

Date Published: 7/27/2020

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

 

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Former terror cell expert Audrey Jenkins has seen enough death and
destruction to last a lifetime. When she uncovers her ex, Brett, a
higher-ranking officer in her unit, selling military secrets, she turns him
in and returns to the simpler life she has embraced since leaving the army.
CID Special Agent Cam Harris is a career military man with a strong sense of
duty. When a military prisoner who once saved his life in Afghanistan
escapes while in his custody, he requests the assignment to track him down.
Cam’s manhunt leads him to Audrey’s door. His prisoner—her
ex—will resurface here, he’s sure of it. The feisty woman wants
nothing to do with hunting down her ex, but when a terror cell she’s
all-too-familiar with launches a deadly attack on army intelligence soldiers
and officers, she knows it’s Brett. Helping Cam is the right thing to
do. But the attraction burning between them may be the mistake that gets her
and Cam killed…

 

Excerpt

Her tears had stopped. She should release him. But a new storm threatened. She hadn’t been with a man since Brett, hadn’t trusted her choices in companions. Brett’s defection, and subsequent courtroom nastiness, had cautioned her into remaining celibate. He’d been so far from what she’d imagined, she’d decided to swear off men. That had been easy, until Cameron appeared on her horizon.

His hot body in a uniform plus overall good looks had snared her attention at the court martial, as well as Elena’s. They’d salivated over him at the time, and then moved on. They’d returned to work, and she’d begun to pick up the pieces after Brett. She didn’t need a man to be fulfilled. Or so she thought. By the way she was reacting to Cam now, she realized her attraction from back then had only lain dormant. His kindness, gentleness, and quiet strength had awakened her desires. God, she felt protected in his embrace. Protected and aroused.

The arousal part scared her. Here she was, finding another soldier wildly attractive. If she was smart, she’d push him away, thank him for his kindness, and call it a night. He wouldn’t insist. He’d already proven he was a gentleman. He was nothing like Brett.

Since she’d met him a few days ago, he’d been only professional and understanding, quietly strong and reliable through the home invasion, the fire, and now their flight into the wilderness. He’d never come on to her, had simply offered opinions while listening to her explanations. She had no idea whether he looked at her that way or not. He’d make a great poker player, with no hint of what he was thinking visible to another person. Perhaps that was why she was getting more turned on as the seconds ticked by. She’d love to see him lose control.

Brett never had. He’d always been in full control in the bedroom, as well as in the war room. His orgasms had been quiet, disciplined releases, and she’d stifled her screams to match his restraint. She had no idea whether Cam would be the same. Maybe she was destined to only be attracted to cold fish.

She pressed closer to him and felt his arousal between them. So, not a cold fish. She raised her head and opened her eyes. His dark brown ones stared back at her, a glint of confused desire in their depths.

“What the hell are you doing, Audrey?” His voice was hoarse, questioning. He stepped back, arms dropping to his sides. And ran a hand over his face. She took a step forward. Their chests touched. His gaze never left hers. “What are you doing?”

Her heart skipped a beat. It had been a long, long time since she’d acted on a sexual attraction. Part of her wanted to turn tail and run to her room. It wasn’t too late. She could still keep face. A larger part of her wanted to remove Brett’s final hold on her. She didn’t want her last lover to be a traitor. She met his look head on.

About the Author

Cathy Skendrovich has always loved a good story, and spent her formative
years scribbling what is now called Fan Fiction. The current heartthrob of
the time featured heavily in all her stories. Unfortunately, once she went
to college, her writing took the form of term papers, written on typewriters
instead of computer keyboards.

Upon graduation, Cathy took a job as an English teacher in a middle school.
Along the way, she married her husband of thirty-six years, and had two
sons. Now an empty nester, she and her husband have embarked on their own
adventure, moving to Idaho to live overlooking a pond.

Romantic suspense has always been her favorite genre to read and write,
though she has dabbled in historical romance. Creating an unpredictable
storyline is her goal, and she hopes she has done so in her current and
previous books. Prisoner of Love is her first published novel, followed
closely by The Pirate’s Bride, The Pirate Bride’s Holiday Masquerade,
and Undercover with the Nanny. Zone of Action is her fifth book, and her
first military suspense. For research, she asks her son in Army Intelligence
for up to the minute information. Lately, he’s stopped taking her
calls.

 

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