Chicago Syndicate Series Books 1-5 Limited Edition by Soraya Naomi #ReleaseBlast

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Book Title: Chicago Syndicate Series (Limited Edition Books 1-5)
Author: Soraya Naomi
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

WINNER Semi Annual Literary Awards Novel Grounds: “For Fallon” Best Breakout Novel 2014.

Limited Edition: all 5 novels from contemporary mafia romance Chicago Syndicate series.

Meet the women who fell in love with the high ranking men of the most powerful mafia in Chicago, The Syndicate. Each story is a sinfully seductive blend of lust, love, deceit, lies, and men who love hard…at all costs.

For Fallon (1): the tumultuous love story of civilian Fallon & underboss Luca.
For Luca (2): continuation of Fallon & Luca.
For Adriano (3): the illicit love story of “escaped” Cam & Capo Adriano.
For Cam (4): continuation of Cam & Adriano.
For Logan (5): the forbidden love story of mafia princess Rosalia and agent Logan (a complete standalone).

A contemporary romantic suspense. A mafia romance.

From Amazon Bestselling Author Soraya Naomi.

#1 Organized Crime 2014.

excerpt

Excerpt NA Mafia Romance For Logan (Chicago Syndicate, 5 – can be read as standalone) by Soraya Naomi – Release Date August 27, 2016

PROLOGUE

Rosalia

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” I confess in the small booth and shut my eyes, causing two tears to roll down my cheeks in regret.

Sometimes we take risks and they don’t play out as we expected, but it’s better to regret something you did do than to regret something you didn’t do. Living with what could’ve been is far worse.

“You haven’t sinned,” a familiar, deep voice comments.

My gaze shoots up to the lattice screen in time to see Logan exiting the compartment. He yanks open my door, and I’m met with stormy, sapphire eyes – the color of a cloudless sky – that have haunted my dreams for many nights as he steps forward, but I push him out of the confessional with both of my palms on his hard chest.

“Where have you been?” I demand, wiping my tears away angrily.

As my vision clears, I’m astounded by how much he reminds me of the man I fell in love with. His navy dress shirt is tucked into his slacks, showing off his toned torso. Nonetheless, this is the man who is my Heaven and my Hell. My current Hell; but the time we lived in Heaven together isn’t easily forgotten.

He studies me for a long moment, as if I’m a figment of his imagination. Then he runs his fingers through his dirty blond hair and messes up the strands, making him much too appealing in his anguish.

“Rosa,” he says in a tormented tone. Reaching for me, he cups the back of my head and threads his fingers through my long black hair.

His sandalwood cologne invades my nostrils and brings back memories that are best left in some dusty corner of my mind. He lowers his forehead to mine, and I clutch his shirt as the passion he incites in me still pumps furiously through my veins. While we stare at each other, his thumb strokes the dimple on my cheek.

“I should hate you,” I mumble, confused.

“No. I’ve come to explain.”

“Explain what? You broke my heart and left. Everything’s ruined!”

“I had to leave to set things straight and make sure I didn’t get killed in the process, Rosa,” he snarls. Yet, in a softer tone, he adds, “But I had to see if you’re okay.”

We’re standing face-to-face, and as he tilts my head up, I recognize the flame of love in his dark irises. As usual, we lose control the second his mouth slants over mine. Logan’s lips urge mine apart, guiding me hungrily into his masterful kiss. He commands my emotions with the heat of his touch. One large hand covers my ass while he palms my head, and on their own accord, my arms wind around his neck. Our teeth clash and our tongues dance in a teasing foray – desperately recapturing a love that others tried to extinguish.

Growling, he lifts me up into his arms effortlessly. My jade knee-length dress rides up my hips when I hook my legs around him before he carries me to the church’s elevated altar, surrounded by devotional statues and lit candles. I’m shoved onto the two-step carpeted stairs in front of the altar while we grind into each other.

Logan nips a path up my throat as I gaze up at the painted angels on the dome ceiling, and he pulls my lips between his teeth, biting the corner of my mouth.

“I need to fuck you,” he groans huskily, pressing his rock-hard erection against me.

We’re both breathing heavily, forgetting where we are – in the Parish of the Blessed, in the middle of the day, with people inside the sacristy.

This is what he’s done to me. Even after everything, I’m unable to deny him. I’ve chosen to plummet into a world of sensual awakening with him once before, and I’m choosing it again.

We’ve always been reckless. We’ve broken a family apart. And now, we’re tempted to fuck in the church where the wedding will take place in less than twenty-four hours.

teasers

 

meet the author

I read many genres but favor intense, seductive, and provocative novels where the male character loves fiercely, without remorse or boundaries. I also adore forbidden love tales and have an odd fascination with kidnapping romances. No, I don’t secretly want to be kidnapped, though!

I have a passionate obsession with the written word and indulge in chocolate pastries much too often.

My debut novel For Fallon (Chicago Syndicate, #1) was released on July 26, 2014. I’m honored that For Fallon won “Best Breakout Novel 2014” in the Novel Grounds Semi Annual Literary Awards.

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 I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Oak Grove Suspense Series #Bookblast Reese Stephens @PromoBookTours @ReeseAStephens

reeseAStephens
Vengence Cover verticalVengeance (Book 1 in the Oak Grove Suspense Series)
When Dr. Shayla Thorn moves back to her home town of Oak Grove, she is determined that this will be a new start for her and her son. But when Dylan’s father insists on righting the wrongs of their past, she’s torn between what she knows is right and what her heart wants. But the one thing she never expected was for her life to be thrown into utter chaos.
Ryan Jacobs, former FBI agent and lead detective for Oak Grove and its surrounding areas, is determined to win Shayla’s heart and make up for the mistakes they made in the past. He won’t take no for an answer, but everything begins to unravel when he is called to the scene of a brutal crime almost identical to a slew of murders he solved long ago.
It doesn’t take long for the pair to give into what their hearts want, but when an old nemesis seeks revenge on Ryan, everyone’s life is in danger. Will Ryan find the culprit in time to save the love of his life or will she fall victim to a vicious killer’s vengeance?

Buy on Amazon. Available on Kindle Unlimited

Penance Cover Promo_0004_Front Vertical CoverPenance (Book 2 in the Oak Grove Suspense series)
Judson Hardenbergh’s life was perfect, that is until tragedy changed the course of his life. When a fire claims his family, he gives up on everything. Will moving back to his home town of Oak Grove save him from himself or drive him into deeper despair?
For Ryan Jacobs, Oak Grove’s Chief of Police, it’s been smooth sailing since the abduction and murders that plagued the town, and almost cost him his family. Though Mathis is still at large, Ryan is confident that he’ll be able to catch him before he strikes again.
When one of Ryan’s high school friends, Judson Hardenbergh, is accused of murder, he must jump into action and determine if ‘Jud’ is capable of committing this horrible crime. What he finds is that this case is more complicated than he imagined and that penance comes in many forms.
Reese Stephens was born in the Appalachian Mountains, but was raised all over the East Coast. Since getting married Reese has settled adBBJBZjback into her Appalachian roots, and currently lives on a small farm with her husband and three children. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education, and is currently homeschooling her two school aged children. She considers herself a naturalist. She loves learning about and using natural remedies and essential oils to keep her family and herself healthy.

Writing was something Reese never thought much of, until she and her family went through several traumatic events. A friend advised her to keep a journal, but she just couldn’t put into words how she felt, so she turned to the world of creative writing. It didn’t take long for her to discover her passion there.

Reese is currently working on publishing the first book in her Oak Grove Suspense series, Vengeance which will be out this fall. The second in the series, Penance, is expected to be released spring 2017. In addition to writing crime suspense she also writes paranormal romance. Her first story in this genre is called The Reluctant Prince, expected release is late 2017. You can, however, read the first few chapters of it on Wattpad or her Website for FREE.

Social Media Contacts:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReeseAStephens/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReeseAStephens

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reeseastephens/

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/ReeseStephens

Website: https://reeseastephens.com/

I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Pleasures: A Nova Scotia Murder Mystery By Laura Stapleton #ReleaseBlast @LauraLStapleton @PromoBookTours

Pleasuresgraphic
pleasures_medTourists discover a young woman dead on the shore. The third full novel in an Atlantic Maritime series finds Mandy’s brother begging her to catch his girlfriend’s killer.

When she learns the murdered girl was a college student by day and exotic dancer by night, the pool of suspects fill an ocean. When all the evidence points to her brother, can Mandy and Aaron find the real murderer before it’s too late?

Buy on Amazon / iBooks / Barnes and Noble / Kobo

With an overactive imagination and a love for writing, Laura Stapleton decided to type out her daydreams and what-laura_stapleton_ifs in order to share her lovable characters and their worlds with readers. She currently lives in Kansas City with her husband, daughter, dog, and a few cats. When not at the computer, you’ll find her in the park for a jog or at the yarn store’s clearance section.

Find Laura online at https://twitter.com/LauraLStapleton, https://www.facebook.com/LLStapleton, and at http://lauralstapleton.com. Subscribe to Laura’s newsletter and keep up on the latest updates and new releases.

Get the first book in the series for FREE when you opt in to Laura’s newsletter through Instafreebie HERE

Welcome to the first full novel in an Atlantic Maritime series soaked in romance and murder. When a family friend of Mandy Hays washes up on shore, everything points to homicide. But how, when he was alone on a fishing trip? Her sexy neighbor, Dr. Aaron Nicholson, knows much more than he can say. As the evidence piles up, all of the victim’s family and closest friends seem guilty. Need to know more? Grab your copy of this “enticing page turner!” today.

betrayal_medI love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Alibi Aficionado (Edwin Burrows Mystery Series) by Harvey Church #ReleaseBlast

release day blitz

Book Title: Alibi Aficionado (An Edwin Burrows Mystery)
Author: Harvey Church
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Release Date: February 1, 2017
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

Edwin Burrows, CPA, can’t do anything right. Not marriage, not office etiquette, not saving his boss’s daughter, not even public accounting. So when he’s tasked with constructing an alibi for the firm’s biggest client, everyone has low expectations. Including Edwin.

In Alibi Aficionado, Edwin Burrows is an accidental investigator, an accountant without tact or a filter, or any kind of interest for investigations. A cross between Myron Bolitar and Archy McNally, Edwin says, does and behaves in the strangest manner.

Cursed with an investigation that’s doomed from the start, Edwin knows that everyone expects him to fail. But when the police arrest the all-important client, tensions rise at the firm and the stakes get as big as they’ll ever be. Edwin must decide whether he will use his knowledge to be the hero that helps a guilty man avoid prosecution, or be a zero by telling the truth and burying the firm.

excerpt

teaser

meet the author

From a young age, Harvey Church knew that writing was his destiny and, like all clichés, he wallpapered his bedroom walls with rejection slips. Discouraged by the “thank you, but…” mail, he looked to his back-up plan, which was to take a job as a banker in an industry known for lucrative bonuses and sick parties. Armed with a calculator and an appetite for expensive, LeLabo fragrances and Jack Black hair products, Harv immersed himself in his banking career and wrote inappropriate poetry to his supervisor (who ended up becoming his wife).

But, as Harv’s luck goes, the housing crash and financial crisis of 2008/09 changed banking forever. The bonuses dried up, leaving Harv with no option but to use Axe products. As he hit rock-bottom in 2015, he moved into his childhood bedroom (aka he lived with his parents) and was reacquainted with the rejection-slip wall of his youth. With nothing left to lose, Harv decided to finish his wallpaper project and sent out Alibi Aficionado to a handful of literary agents but he quickly discovered rejection slips were now electronic, which didn’t work for his project.

All of which is one really long story as to why he opted for self-publishing. After connecting with some real, traditionally published authors and book bloggers, Harv started to feel really good about Alibi Aficionado’s commercial marketability. Certain that there was a market for his writing, he geared up for self-publication. He even contacted Kirkus Reviews and was impressed when the reviewer labelled his writing as “puerile,” until he looked up the word and discovered that Merriam-Webster’s normal-person translation is “silly or childish especially in a way that shows a lack of seriousness or good judgment.”

Excited by a book review that so accurately assessed his personality (finally, someone understood him), Harv is now working toward his private investigator’s license. He lives outside of Toronto, Canada with his often-puerile wife and two amazing children. He considers himself an amateur magician under the unsuspecting mentorship of David Blaine.

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 I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

THE TICK TOCK MAN by R.M. Clark #CoverReveal @vandalrmc #FridayReveals #Month9Squad #Month9Books



Today R.M. Clark and Month9Books are
revealing the cover and first chapter for THE TICK TOCK MAN which releases May
2, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers
to receive a eGalley!!


A quick note from the author:

 

 


The Tick Tock Man is my
first foray into the world of speculative fiction. Here in New England, we are
fortunate to have many wonderful clocks around. We have clocks in church
steeples, parks, above banks and other locations. My idea for this story came from
a simple “what if”. What if there were a community of “clock
people” who kept all these great clocks running? Furthermore, what could
go wrong? Then I made something go wrong and the story “clicked.” The
Tick Tock Man takes place primarily in this fictional clock world, but the
issues, conflicts and resolutions are not unlike those in the real world.

 

 
Title: THE
TICK TOCK MAN
Author: R.M. Clark
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: TantrumBooks
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 237
Find it: Goodreads
|
Amazon | B&N | TBD
When the clocks in town stop,
thirteen-year-old CJ discovers an unusual “clock world” where most of
the citizens are clock parts, tasked with keeping the big clocks running. But
soon the seemingly peaceful world is divided between warring factions with CJ instructed
to find the only person who can help: the elusive Tick Tock Man.

With the aid of Fuzee, a partly-human
girl, he battles gear-headed extremists and razor-sharp pendulums in order to
restore order before this world of chimes, springs, and clock people dissolves
into a massive time warp, taking CJ’s quiet New England town with it.

 

Excerpt

Chapter OneSomething wasn’t right.

I’d planned on sleeping in Thanksgiving morning because, hey, it was Thanksgiving, and that meant no school and no stupid alarm to wake me up. Well, that was the plan.

At precisely eight a.m., the clock sitting a mere two feet from my head wailed.

Thunka thunka thunka thunka.

Stupid clock. That wasn’t even a real alarm sound. It was just an invented strange noise to annoy me. I checked the buttons on top. No alarm set and no radio. Maybe it was a dream? Just to be sure, I gave the clock a good whack.

All was well. Back to sleep.

Bonka bonka bonka bonka.

Now it was nine o’clock. I sat up and grabbed the clock with every intention of tossing it against the back wall. What a pleasure it would have been to see it smash into a million pieces. I win!

But, this clock was a birthday present from Uncle Artie. He’d said it was “a special clock for a special kid.” I didn’t like being called “special” because that had a different meaning at school. But it was a cool clock.

Until now. I mean, what kind of noise was that? Certainly not the alarm sound I was used to.

I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t help but wonder what crazy not-real-clock noise Uncle Artie’s “special” clock would make next. So I got out of bed.

Since it was Thanksgiving, I was not at all surprised to see my mom up and in the kitchen. The turkey was on the counter in a large pan. Her arm was halfway up the turkey’s you-know-what. Not what I wanted to see this early in the morning, thank you very much.

“Good morning,” Mom said. “You’re up early.”

“Couldn’t sleep.” I wanted to mention the special-but-stupid clock that made strange noises at weird times, but she had grabbed another handful of stuffing and stuffed it “up there.”

“We’ll need a few guest chairs from the basement when you get a chance. Nana and Papa are coming over, of course. Plus Grandma and Grandpa Boyce. And Uncle Artie too.”

“Sure thing, Mom.” I was barely awake and she was already asking me to do math. Nobody was coming over for quite a while, so I wouldn’t need the, let’s see, two-plus-two-plus-one chairs for several hours. I had tons of time.

What better way to spend it than on the couch watching TV? It would probably be the most fun I would have all day, with both sets of grandparents coming over. It was annoying enough that they had different titles: “Nana and Papa” on the Barnes side, “Grandma and Grandpa” on the Boyce side.

Then there was Uncle Artie. He wasn’t really an uncle but that’s what we always called him. I’ve also heard him called a “distant cousin,” whatever that means. He said his job as an “importer” took him around the world to some pretty exotic places such as Vienna and Timbuktu and South America. No matter what faraway land he went to, he almost always brought us back a clock. We had wooden clocks, metal clocks, cuckoo clocks, and some that were just too odd to describe. Mom would open a package from him and say, “Hey, look. It’s a clock. Imagine that.”

Each clock came with a wonderful story, so my parents loved to get them for just that reason. Unfortunately, both of them hated having all those clocks, with their constant ticking and chiming, so we kept them stashed away in the spare room upstairs until Uncle Artie came to visit. And since he was on his way, I sat up, knowing what was coming next. In three … two … one.

“CJ! Your Uncle Artie’s coming over, so you’ll need to set the clocks out.” Mom could sure belt it out when she needed to.

I knew the drill. I went to the spare room, pulled the special box out of the closet, and lugged it down the stairs. The crescent moon clock went in the living room, replacing a family portrait, which was fine with me since I looked like a dork in that picture, anyway. There was a special cuckoo clock for the bathroom that was pretty cool. The doors on the upper level opened at the top of the hour, revealing either a boy dancer or girl dancer. I set the correct time and adjusted the weights at the end of a long chain to keep the gears going. Six clocks later, I had completed the task, finishing it off in Dad’s basement shop with a clock made from a circular saw blade.

Uncle Artie’s favorite saying was, “You can never have too many clocks.” On this Thanksgiving Day, it was certainly true, even though I was sure my parents would disagree. Not me. Although I never paid a lot of attention to the clocks, I felt something strange as I took each one from the box and hung it in its rightful spot. The crescent moon clock had two huge eyes, one on the crescent side and the other on the orange side that completed the circle. The eyes were painted on but I swear they followed me as I moved around the room.

I double-checked the time on the cuckoo clock in the bathroom and admired the details in it. The entire clock was a house from a German village, with people dressed in lederhosen on the lower level. Lucky for me it was the top of the hour and the clock chimed, revealing the bird from a door at the top and children dancing in the two small doors just below it. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? What awesome detail!

I completed the clock replacement task, storing the non-clock items in the same box and returning it to the spare bedroom. That practically wore me out, so it was back to the couch. The smell from the great stuff Mom was cooking drifted into the room, reminding me I hadn’t eaten yet.

“I made you some scrambled eggs.” Mom smiled as I entered the kitchen.

“Thanks. I’m starving.”

She held out a plate then pulled it back, still smiling. “Just as soon as you bring up the chairs from the basement.”

This wasn’t fair, but it was the second time she’d asked. The third time would not be as charmed. On my way to the basement, I realized my early morning math was wrong. There were four chairs already in the dining room, so I only needed four more. I could easily get them all in one trip.

I passed Dad’s shop right at 10:30 and the heard the blade clock begin to make noise. I turned on the shop light to get a good look and, sure enough, the blade was slowly turning. Clockwise, not surprisingly. Even stranger was that the numbers never moved as the blade turned. A few seconds later, it stopped and went back to normal. Another clock I had never paid much attention to was suddenly freaking out. I hurried back upstairs with two chairs on each arm.

I got my scrambled eggs, finally.

***

At 11:00, things got even weirder. Dad was up by now, sitting in front of his computer, but that wasn’t the weird part. When the hour struck, the crescent moon clock made a strange clicking noise, and those crazy eyes began to wink at me. The painted-on lips between the four and eight went from a Mona Lisa smile to a full-blown grin. I wanted to say something to Mom or Dad, but who would believe me? I went into the bathroom, and the boy and girl dancers in the German village twirled next to each other while the bird stayed home. This was quickly moving into “bizarre” territory. It didn’t help when my watch—another gift from Uncle Artie—started chiming a sound I had never heard before. I took it off and stuffed it in my pocket. Problem solved.

***

I played video games in the back room, trying my best not to look at or listen to any of the suddenly crazy clocks in the house. It was working too, as I finished off another level of Mortal Warfare IV.

“CJ,” my mom called. “Please set the table.”

“Okay. Just one more level.” I sat up as the battle intensified.

“Now would be better. They’ll be here in less than an hour to watch the football game.”

“I’m on it.” I made it past the gatekeeper to complete the level, which allowed me to save my spot in the game.

I grabbed plates and set them out on the table. I took one plate and placed it on the TV tray next to the window. That’s where I would sit. The rule was: adults at the big table and kids somewhere else. Sometimes it was a card table when my cousins showed up. Since I was the only kid this year, I would have to settle for a TV tray.

My mom’s cell phone rang, and she talked with the phone squeezed against her shoulder as she mixed something in a large bowl. She stopped mid-mix and put the bowl down. “I’m sorry to hear that.” Her voice was all serious. She walked out of the room before I could hear any more of it.

I returned to my table-setting duties, grabbing forks, knives, and napkins. The smell of turkey and all the fixings hit me hard as I placed the silverware around the table. Maybe all this work would be worth it. I took another whiff. Maybe.

Mom returned to the kitchen, put the phone down, and stopped stirring.

“Mom, you okay?”

She looked up at me with moist eyes. “Uncle Artie is in the hospital and can’t make it for Thanksgiving. He hasn’t missed one since your dad and I have been married.” She dabbed her eyes with her apron. “Fortunately, it’s nothing serious and my parents are heading there right now, so they can’t make it until the weekend. I’d better go tell your father. Looks like we’ll only need five plates at the table.”

No Nana and Papa Barnes? No Uncle Artie? I truly hoped Uncle Artie was okay, but this was my big chance to sit at the head of the table, something I’ve always wanted to do. The head chair was bigger and had arms, and it felt like a throne. Uncle Artie always got the honors while I was stuck with the TV tray under the window.

I followed Mom out to the garage where Dad was cleaning out the van, getting it ready for our traditional late-afternoon drive. Dad didn’t seem too bummed to hear the news about Uncle Artie or his in-laws. He barely looked up as he polished the dashboard. “Yeah, well, sorry to hear about Uncle Artie. He’s never down for very long.”

The time was right to pounce. “Mom? Dad?”

Dad turned toward me and nearly bumped his head on the visor. “Yes?”

“I wish Uncle Artie was coming today, I really do.” I tried my best to act like I was crying. It must have worked because I felt my throat tightening. “His are some tough shoes to fill, but I bet he’d want me to sit in his spot at the head of table. After all, he gave me this watch for my birthday last year.” I pulled it out of my pocket to show them. “And we have the same middle name and everything.” I, Carlton James Boyce, was merely guessing at his middle name, hoping neither of my parents knew the truth. “Please? I think I’ve earned it.”

Neither of them thought about it for too long. “It’s all yours, kid,” Dad said as he leaned on the roof of the van.

“Remember your manners at the table,” Mom said. “Uncle Artie would want it that way.”

Manners? Oh, please. Uncle Artie smoked a lot, drank a lot, and sometimes swore a lot. In spite of all that, he was my favorite relative. Over the years, besides the watches and clocks, he had given me several toy cars, baseball cards, stuffed animals, and even a five-dollar bill. These gifts were always “our little secret.” Plus, he told the greatest stories.

Grandma and Grandpa Boyce arrived a little later, and each gave me a quick hug. It’s a terrible thing to say, and I know I’m supposed to love my grandparents without question, but Mom’s parents—the “good ones” who actually liked me—weren’t coming. If Mom and Dad ever found out I felt that way, I’d be grounded for a month—Dad’s typical punishment.

Dad and Grandpa went to the living room to watch the game while the women got the food prepared. I tried to help, but I mostly got in the way.

Everything was ready just before two o’clock, and I grabbed the spot at the head of the table, with Grandma and Grandpa to my right and Mom and Dad to my left. Everyone sat down except Grandpa. He placed his hands on the table and leaned toward my dad.

“I guess this doesn’t rate as a special occasion, eh, George?”

“How’s that, Pop?” Dad said.

“The Hoffhalder. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition, isn’t it?”

“You bet it is.”

The Hoffhalder was a large mantle clock that sat in the corner of the dining room on what mom called the buffet. The Hoffhalder had been in the family for decades, and Dad would only wind it on special occasions. Uncle Artie always had the honors when he came over.

“I’ll do it, Dad,” I said.

“Can he handle it?” asked Grandpa. “He’s just a child.”

I’m right here! I thought. And I’m not a child anymore. I’m thirteen.

“Sure he can,” Grandma said. “Now, make Uncle Artie proud.” She gave me her patented don’t-screw-it-up look.

“CJ, just be careful, okay?” Dad said.

“Sure thing.” I had seen it wound a thousand times. I took the key from the drawer of the small desk nearby, carefully opened the glass in front, and put the key in the keyhole near the number four. There was another near the number eight. I knew it wound clockwise on the right and counterclockwise on the left.

“Whatever you do, don’t overwind it,” Grandpa said. He gave anyone who ever got near the clock got the same warning.

I started winding. One turn. Two turns. Then it started to get tight, so I stopped. I placed the key in the left hole and began to turn in the other direction with my left hand. One turn. Two turns. It wasn’t getting any tighter. Three turns. That was odd; it usually tightened up by now, but I figured it had just been a while. Four turns and still not tight. I switched to my right hand to finish it up. Five turns. Surely it would start to get tight. Then I heard a faint click, and the key wouldn’t move anymore. Uh-oh.

“Everything all right?” Dad asked.

I pulled the key out and put it back in the drawer. “Everything’s great.” I looked at my watch, and then spun the Hoffhalder’s minute hand around until the time was five minutes until two. After closing the glass, I gently moved the large pendulum at the bottom, and the Hoffhalder began to tick. Whew! All was well.

When the Hoffhalder chimed, it made a beautiful sound. In fact, it seemed to be the only clock sound my family liked. It was a perfect combination of bells and gears and springs working in harmony. We now had three minutes until it would chime on the hour, and everyone at the table waited patiently for the moment to arrive. As the last thirty seconds ticked off, Grandpa nudged Grandma. “Here it comes,” he said in a low voice.

The Hoffhalder struck two and began to chime. Once. Then another.

But the second chime lingered way too long and the pendulum began to swing wildly, knocking into the side walls. The chime sound turned into a grinding noise, and the pendulum stopped.

“CJ!” Dad yelled. “What have you done to my clock?”

“He overwound it,” Grandpa said while making a turning motion with hand.

“Clearly,” said Grandma. “And I’ll bet Uncle Artie is rolling over in his grave as we speak.”

“Artie’s not dead,” Mom said. “Just in the hospital.”

“I’m sorry, everyone,” I said. “I didn’t mean to. Honest. It was an accident.”

“You’re grounded,” Dad said.

“For how long?” I asked.

“A month.”

“A month? Mom?”

“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?” she said.

I looked around the table, and three sets of eyes were on me. Mom reached out and touched my hand. At least someone was on my side.

“That clock’s been in the family for four generations,” Grandpa said. “Built by the finest clockmaker in Germany.”

“And smuggled out on a steamer ship during World War I,” Grandma added. “Truly one of a kind. Irreplaceable.”

I knew the details by heart, and it just made matters worse. “I’ll get it fixed, okay? I have some money saved up.”

“Sounds like you snapped the mainspring,” Grandpa said, adding a “break in half” motion with his hands.

Grandma leaned over and got as close to me as she could. “It’ll never be the same.”

“A month,” Dad said. He put a finger in my face to make his point. “For breaking my clock.”

He continued to glare at me as Mom began to serve the turkey. We ate in near silence.

I had ruined Thanksgiving.

 

 
R. M. Clark is a computer scientist for
the Dept. of Navy by day and children’s book writer by night. He lives in
Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.

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Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil by Tim Symonds #ReleaseBlast

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NEW RELEASE
SHERLOCK HOLMES
AND THE NINE-DRAGON SIGIL

Tim Symonds

Genre: Mystery and Thriller
Publisher: MX Publishing
Publication Date: November 16, 2016

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Never had Holmes and Watson found themselves up against a human-being as clever, devious and frightening as the Empress Dowager of China.

It’s the year 1907.

Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching – not in the fog-ridden back-alleys of London’s Limehouse district or the sinister Devon moors of the Hound of the Baskervilles but in faraway Peking. Holmes’s task – discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it. But are the assassins targeting the young and progressive Ch’ing Emperor or his imperious aunt, the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi? The murder of either could spark a civil war. The fate of China and the interests of Britain’s vast Empire in the Orient could be at stake.

Holmes and Watson take up the mission with their customary confidence – until they find they are no longer in the familiar landscapes of Edwardian England. Instead, they tumble into the Alice In Wonderland world of the Forbidden City.

About Tim Symonds

Tim Symonds was born in London, England, and grew up in Somerset, Dorset and the Channel Island of Guernsey, off the coast of Normandy. After spending his late teens farming in the Kenya Highlands and driving bulldozers along the Zambezi River, he moved to California and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with an honours degree in Politics.

He lives in the ancient woodland known as the High Weald of Sussex, where the events recounted in Sherlock Holmes and The Dead Boer at Scotney Castle took place. His second novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Bulgarian Codex (MX Publishing 2012), took Holmes and Watson into the very depths of the Balkans in 1900. Holmes and Watson were back in the region – Serbia – in Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter (MX Publishing 2014), and not long afterwards in ‘Stamboul’ investigating a plot against the despotic Sultan, in Sherlock Holmes And The Sword of Osman (MX Publishing 2015).

Official Tim Symonds website: http://tim-symonds.co.uk/


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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl