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.

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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

Book Review: The Ulterior Motive by Jack Coleston #BookReview @JackColeston @ReadForReview

The Ulterior Motive By Jack Coleston

Blurb

The fate of the United States hangs in the balance and only a select few can prevent the impending disaster.

Stanley Carmichael is an intelligent and hard-working member of the Central Intelligence Agency. Yet, he never expected to be named Deputy Director of the CIA so soon in his career. Nonetheless, he finds himself stepping into shoes that feel impossible to fill.

Anna Carmichael is a legend. She’s one of the fiercest ex-members of the Special Activities Division, where she saw more than enough blood and war for a lifetime. Now, she’s still CIA, but stuck behind a desk and bored. Luckily for her, it seems her fieldwork isn’t done yet. For as soon as Anna’s partnered with rookie FBI Special Agent Blayze Phillips, she realizes his investigation is a lot more dangerous than it seems—especially when it turns its attention to the mysterious Caliph al-Maqasid.
They know that the Caliph spent the last few years successfully uniting fractured terrorist groups in the Middle East. Now he’s formed the most well-funded, strategically efficient operation that’s on its way to becoming a true global caliphate. But who is the Caliph, really? Why doesn’t anyone know anything about this infinitely clever, charismatic, and terrifying man? And what, exactly, is he plotting next?

The Carmichaels will have to work together to find out, because the Caliph is about to strike at the heart of America

Amazon 

My Review

The Ulterior Motive by Jack Coleston if a very fast pace, action packed political thriller.

This book was very intense and fascinating. I thought the author did a great job with the characters. Some characters were developed and some were just in the background. I had no problems keeping up with this story.

What really intrigued me was the fact that Anna is a very strong alpha type character and her husband Stanley really wasn’t, he is the desk type person. I loved how these characters were developed. There isn’t much history about Anna, (maybe next book?) but her husband Stanley we our told more about him. I really liked both characters and I am pretty sure that is what kept me interested along with all the action.

If you love Political Thrillers this is a really great book to read. Very fast paced and lots of action. I love watching and reading stuff that has CIA and action in them. I had no problems picture this story in my head while reading it. There was no swear words that I can recall in this story.

I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s.

I gave this book 5 stars because the story exceeded my exception and was well worth my time reading.

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

Book Review: Fame and Fortune Tellers A Novel by Todd Netland #BookReview @ToddSNetland

Fame and Fortune Tellers

A Novel by Todd Netland

Amazon

Blurb

Todd Netland’s book, “Fame and Fortune Tellers,” is the story of one man’s rise to the top, almost overnight, in the music business. Randy Miller is a young choral teacher who encounters a spiritualist at the tag end of a mini-vacation who prophesizes a sudden rise to stardom for this school choir teacher. These predictions come true, but it turns out to be a life of emptiness, joylessness, and conflict for Randy and his family. Other characters enter into the story who all come together as the main plot and subplots of the story thicken and unfold. Meet Brad Applebaum, a young Christian who is very green in the things of the Lord and of life in general, but very zealous about his walk with God. Pam Jackson is an on-fire Christian and a true prayer warrior. Darryl Temple is a total loser who ends up completely destroying his life. And then there is Eric Burns, leader of the Communist revolutionary group, The Red Riding Rangers. This novel involves choices of different people and how these choices have repercussions, both in this life, and in the life to come.

My Review

When I started reading Fame and Fortune Tellers by Todd Netland, I had a hard time putting the book down.  I was young when this story took place.  Since I was 10 I have always loved rock n roll, and I was partly raised in the spiritualism community of that time period, depending on who I was living with. So, for me I understand how easy the occult can bring you into their world.

I found the book very intriguing and easy to read. The author was very thorough in developing the characters. It was easy to remember the characters story.  I loved the scripture quotes.  I loved the description of Heaven and Hell. Though I thought it was kind of long and I did get a little bored. I am thinking too much detail. I could visualize what the author was trying to describe.  I always love when the author does an epilogue I feel it completes the story. There are end notes and about the author which I love because that lets me as a reader know more about the story.

I feel this is a really interesting, and  exciting Christian book to read. I gave 4 stars because it seemed a little long in the middle. The book is worth reading in my opinion.

I voluntarily read a Review Copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely my own and no one else’s.

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

Month9Books Halloween Spooktacular #Giveaway #BookBlast @Month9Books #FridayReveals #Month9Squad #Month9Books




Hello and Happy Halloween Everyone! We here at Month9Books
love Halloween so we decided to share some of our favorite Halloween or scary books
and not just feature them but give them away!
 
The Undertakers Series by Ty Drago! We love Zombies and we
know you will too!
 



 
 
Two And Twenty Dark Tales & Very Superstitious these 2
anthologies are perfect to scare you on Halloween!
 


 
 
Into The Dark & Into The Light by Caroline Patti body
swapping can be freaky as heck!
 
 
 
 
 
Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show and Mc’Graves
Hotel by Steve Bryant full of ghosts and creatures perfect for the middle grade
crowd!
 


 
 
 
The Requiem Red by Brynn Chapman. A historical fantasy set
in an insane asylum is the ultimate read on Halloween!
 
 
 
Hair in All The Wrong Places by Andrew Buckley for all the
werewolf lovers in your life 🙂
 
 
 
Minotaur by Phillip W. Simpson what is more scary that being
inside a creature’s lair? Hearing the story from his POV for sure!
 
 
 
Giveaway Details:
1 Winner will receive a Middle Grade Pack with all the
Undertakers Books, Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show and
Mc’Graves Hotel, & Hair in All The Wrong Places, US Only.
 
1 Winner will receive a YA pack with Two And Twenty Dark
Tales & Very Superstitious, Into The Dark & Into The Light, The Requiem
Red, & Minotaur, US Only.
3 Winners will receive an eBook pack of all the books
featured, International.





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

Buried Secrets by J.C. Valentine #CoverReveal @AuthorJCV @IndieSagePR

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Buried Secrets

by J.C. Valentine
Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Genres: Adult, New Adult, Mystery, Thriller, YA, Suspense

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SPECIAL 99c #PREORDER PRICE!

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Synopsis: How do you live with yourself when you don’t even know who you are?

On a chill October night, a girl goes missing setting the small town of Oakridge on edge. James has spent the last five years running from a past that still haunts him to this day. Now he finds himself thrust back into a life he thought he left behind. Finding out his new home may be haunted and reconnecting with an old friend while being thrust into a murder mystery, James finds himself trying to figure out which end is up while questioning his own sanity.

**AUTHOR’S NOTE** Buried Secrets is a New Adult, mystery thriller with very little romance but heavy on the suspense.

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EXCERPT – PROLOGUE

Fall crept in like a burglar while the town slept. It brought with it a chill that felt refreshing after one of the hottest summers on Oakridge record. A slight, sticky fog hung in the air and evidence of Halloween was on nearly every doorstep in the form of carved jack-o-lanterns. Skeletons hung on doors, and festive orange lights draped roofs. Leaves coated the ground, wet and matted to the sidewalks and streets.

James breathed in the cool air that stung his nose just a bit. He loved when school let out at the end of the day. He never could wait to get out of the confines of the small, overcrowded classrooms. Even now he couldn’t fully escape it. Classmates of his walked and ran the same mile stretch he was, laughing and talking about anything and everything. Right now, he knew the junior high girl and her friend from his science class walking a few feet behind him were debating the hotness of Tommy Henderson, the varsity basketball player for Oakridge High. Everyone knew him, and everyone loved him. He was going to take the team to the championships. Probably would graduate and take some college to their championship, too. Something the whole town could be proud of.

They met a few years ago when James was playing in the woods. AJ found him digging for worms—he’d been on a mission, wanting to teach himself how to fish, to live off the land like the people from ancient times—and he’d offered to help. AJ had run off, leaving James to sit and wonder where he had come from—he hadn’t heard him approach in the first place. He returned cupping a handful of water in his palms. He’d dumped the liquid in the hole James had dug, and moments later, worms began squirming to the surface.

They became fast friends. James kept their friendship a secret. He wasn’t sure why exactly, except that AJ was his only friend, and he wanted to keep him all for himself. If he told someone, they might want to meet him, then the magic might go away. So they spent all that summer collecting worms and pretending to be hunters in the deep woods behind Oakridge Park. When summer break was over and school was back in session, James was disappointed to find that AJ wasn’t in any of his classes. In fact, he wasn’t in any classes in the school. No one heard of him.

He finally broke and told his mom and dad about him one evening over dinner, because he was worried about AJ and needed to share him with someone, so he could feel close to him again. Like if he kept him a secret, and didn’t see him, then he wouldn’t be real anymore. It was an odd way to look at it, he knew, but he hadn’t ever had a friend quite like AJ. He was fun and daring and super inventive, and he liked James, flaws and all.

So when he told his parents about AJ, they were happy for him. His mom said he probably just missed him in the halls. The schools weren’t huge, but they were big enough to lose someone in. His dad said that AJ probably just went to a different school. Maybe in the next town over, since no one knew him here. That settled it for a bit, and the next time James saw AJ, which was at the park just after sunset one evening when James was on his way home from skipping rocks in the small stream in the woods, he asked him about it. AJ had told him that both theories were wrong. He lived a few miles west through the woods and his mom homeschooled him. He said his dad did some sort of factory work in the next town, which was just enough to pay the bills and put food on the table, according to him. It was only then that James realized AJ didn’t wear the best of clothes, and he wasn’t as kempt as James was. But that didn’t make any difference to him. In fact, he felt closer to AJ than ever before. Finally, he had found someone who would never judge him. Someone who could truly understand him.

So when Mercy Worthington fell into step with him, James’s heart beat a rapid tempo and his stomach turned to knots.

“Hi,” she said in a very delicate, but cheerful voice.

James stared at the ground and muttered a hello, but he couldn’t get up the nerve to really look at her.

“I’m Mercy. You’re James, right? James Clearwater. I think my dad works with yours at old man Jenson’s. He does the proofs, doesn’t he?”

James nodded. His dad worked at Jenson Design Studio where he developed photographs in one of the two darkrooms. His dad had big dreams of one day owning his own studio and becoming a famous photographer. Mercy’s dad was a set designer. James knew everything there was to know about Mercy and her family, and not just because the whole town knew who her family was, but because he paid attention and took notes. James was in love with Mercy Worthington, and had been since the third grade when she’d taken a job behind the lunch counter for a day and handed him a carton of 2% with that big, white smile of hers trained squarely on him. She was a senior at the high school, which made her five years older than James, who was thirteen now and in the seventh grade.

Today, like every day, she was radiant. Her dull blond hair waved gently behind her as the breeze caught it and when he found the nerve to look up at her, he found her green eyes smiling on him.

He was going to marry her one day.

“I thought so,” she said, grinning. She took in their surroundings. “Do you take this route every day?” He nodded. “I’ve never seen you, and I walk this way every day. How come I’ve never seen you?”

He shrugged. “I dunno.” He felt awkward and short on words. He stuffed his hands in his pockets.

“You don’t talk much, do you?”

He glanced at her and caught her teasing smile. He smiled back, feeling a little of the tension leave his shoulders. Why was she being so nice to him? A part of him felt like this must be a trick, but when he looked around, he only saw other kids from school walking silently or in small groups or pairs, chatting quietly. Could she really be interested in him? The only kids besides AJ that talked to him were the ones who poked fun of his clothes or his haircut, his slight lisp or the way he tripped over his own feet. She probably just felt sorry for him. He had heard of that before, girls who felt sorry for the underdog and took pity on them. Normally, he would get mad at being a charity case, but right now he couldn’t care less. Someone other than his family knew he existed. Mercy Worthington knew he existed. Suddenly, he didn’t feel like a shadow slinking around in the world unnoticed anymore.

“So how long have you lived in Oakridge, James?” Mercy asked, as they crossed the street.

“My whole life,” he replied.

She nodded. “Do you have any friends? I never see you with anyone.”

He shrugged. “Some.” He didn’t want to look like too much of a loser.

“What about a girlfriend, do you have one of those?”

He felt himself blush. “No.”

“I know what your dad does for a living. So what does your mom do?”

“She likes to garden, but no one pays her for it,” he said. His dad was old-fashioned and believed that the wife should be home with the kids while the husband went out and provided for the family.

“That’s cool,” she said. “My mom is a painter. Sometimes she sells her art to the museum or to some person with lots of money. She’s pretty successful. I was thinking of painting when I get out of college. What about you? Do you know what you want to do after college?”

Honestly, James wasn’t sure he even wanted to go to college. His dad never pushed the notion, insisting that he wouldn’t amount to much more than a gas-station attendant anyway. He wanted to be an astronaut when he was little, like most boys that age did, then he switched to a fireman after a class field trip to the fire station in fifth grade. Now, he just wasn’t sure what he wanted.

“I’m not sure,” he said honestly. “Maybe I’ll just travel across the world for a while and live off the land until I figure it out.” That had been a dream of his and AJ’s, to hitch rides all over the country with nothing but a backpack and a few dollars in their wallet.

Her face lit up with excitement. “That is so cool that you said that. I always dreamed of seeing the world, but my dad said that education comes first. I will have all the time in the world to do what I want after I get my ducks in a row.”

James wasn’t sure he believed that, but he kept his mouth shut.

Heavy footsteps approached from behind and moments later a big, strong arm wrapped around Mercy’s shoulder. Tommy Henderson had arrived.

“Hey, babe.” Tightening his grip on her neck, he pulled her in for a sloppy kiss.

“Hey,” she said when she came up for air. “Tommy, this is James. His dad works with my dad. He’s going to travel across the world one day.” She said this with a grin that made James’ stomach flutter a little.

Tommy sized James up, and James knew he was trying to figure out where he knew him from. James knew him from the many times he “accidentally” knocked his books from his hands, and “inadvertently” tore up his homework. James was afraid if he recognized him, he might have to endure another embarrassing moment involving colorful adjectives and descriptive threats, and he just didn’t want to be made a fool of in front of a girl like Mercy Worthington.

He hung his head, allowing a few scraggly scraps of hair to shield his eyes.

“Travel the world, huh? Like a hobo or something?” He laughed, his deep, belly rolling chortle that made all the girls weak in the knees. James thought it made him look and sound stupid. “What are you hanging out with this joker for? He’s like two feet tall. I could smash him with my pinkie.”

James felt his finger press down on the crown of his head in demonstration.

“Hey,” Tommy said, putting himself between James and Mercy. “You trying to steal my girlfriend?”

“Stop picking on him, Tommy,” Mercy snapped.

Tommy sneered at James, then his features smoothed, and he turned on a smile for Mercy. “Whatever you say, babe. Just making sure the boy understands there’s no competition. You’re my girl, aren’t you, babe?”

Mercy rolled her eyes. “Of course, Tommy.”

They had come to a fork in the road where James’ house was to the left and Mercy’s to the right. “I’ll see you around, James,” Mercy told him, smiling apologetically.

“Yeah, see ya,” Tommy said, then ruffled James’ hair like he was some little kid.

James watched after them as they turned and walked off. After a few feet, Tommy turned to face James. “And, James.” James raised a questioning brow. “Stay away from my girl.”

Mercy punched Tommy in the side playfully, and he laughed, tugging her closer as they resumed walking. James felt his body begin to shake. He was angry. At that moment, he wanted to beat Tommy Henderson until his arms were too weak to continue. For the first time in his miserable existence, James thought he felt angry enough to kill.

As the sun set, the day turned bitter cold, and the rain had moved in. It was sheeting down now, and Mercy’s shoes were soaking wet as her feet beat through every puddle. She was running, the rain pouring down her face in rivers, filling her eyes and blinding her to her path. Someone was chasing her.

She’d decided to walk home after an evening at her boyfriend, Tommy’s, house, and almost as soon as she rounded the first street corner, she felt someone following her. The shadowy figure kept pace for a couple of blocks, then steadily picked up pace, until Mercy broke out running…and so did they.

She was crossing the park playground now, and she could just make out the hill ahead. Her house was just over that hill, and if she could make it, she could get help. As her feet slipped, trying to find purchase on the soft, mud covered ground, Mercy could feel her muscles begin to cramp and burn with exhaustion. Against her will, she was slowing. When her feet hit the loose bark covering the playground, Mercy did slip. She caught herself with her hands and scrambled to her feet, pushing herself harder until she finally reached the bottom of the hill. There she used her hands, her fingers digging into the grass, and pulled herself up until she could look over and beyond to her house. The lights inside were a warm beacon, and she felt a sudden urgency come over her.

As she came to her feet, Mercy heard a muffled thud, and glanced over her shoulder. It was a mistake that she wouldn’t live to regret.

The shadow stood before her, and to her surprise, she recognized the dark figure.

“What do you want from me!”

A visual sweep revealed something big and heavy looking in their hand, and with quick precision, the shadow raised its arm high in the air and brought it down hard. A slow trickle of blood broke through her hairline and ran down her forehead, then her face and dripped off her chin. A second blow caused it to grow thicker and run faster and Mercy fell to her knees, then finally her face, where her eyes focused and glazed over and her breaths faded away to nothing. And still the shadow hit her, until all the fury, all the anger subsided.

Her last vision was that of the warm yellow glow coming from the living room window where her mother and father, sister and brother sat watching the evening news and waiting for her to come walking in the door any moment.

Stooping down, the figure wrapped its cold, wet fingers around Mercy’s ankles and pulled, slipping frequently under the girl’s slight weight as it dragged her lifeless body into the copse of oak trees beyond the playground. Come morning, when the sun broke through the clouds, children would run and play, never knowing the horrors of what happened just a short distance away.

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ABOUT J.C. VALENTINE

JC Valentine

J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Series. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn’t sorry.

J.C. earned her own happily ever after when she married her high school sweetheart. Living in the Northwest, they have three amazing children and far too many pets and spend much of their free time together enjoying movies or the outdoors. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor’s in English and when she isn’t writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors.

Sign up for J.C.’s newsletter and never miss a thing! http://bit.ly/1KxXWWB

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

McGrave’s Hotel by Steve Bryant #ReleaseBlitz @chapterxchapter, @stevebryant52@tantrumbooks

Release Day Celebration: McGrave’s Hotel by Steve Bryant with Giveaway

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Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for

McGrave’s Hotel by Steve Bryant

presented by Tantrum Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Happy Book Birthday, Steve!

 

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It’s 1936, and nearly twelve-year-old JAMES ELLIOTT is a bellhop at McGrave’s Hotel, there a year since the night his parents died while on a spy mission into Nazi Germany.

JAMES craves a goodbye message from his parents, but is distracted by troublesome guests who require his help.

Assistance with locating a missing and priceless mummy, wrangling mutant spiders, and attaching the head of a bridegroom is just the kind of hospitality guests have come to expect while at McGrave’s hotel where guests are dying to check in.

But over the course of one frightful evening, James will team with Death’s daughter to fight Nazi sympathizers, monsters, and the undead in this riveting, deathly, historical adventure story unlike any you’ve read before.

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McGrave’s Hotel by Steve Bryant
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Tantrum Books

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excerpt

Miss Charles was already dressed for her evening duties in a long black gown, and her dark wavy hair reflected the dancing flames of the candles. “Sorry, no communications for you this time,” she said, glancing at him fondly. “The Other Side is rather quiet tonight.”

“Hi, Miss Charles,” James said. “Gosh, it looks as if we are going to be extra busy this evening. The hotel is full up. Mr. Nash says things could get interesting.”

“Want to know for sure?” Miss Charles asked.

Miss Charles possessed a versatile arsenal of techniques for telling fortunes including star gazing, palm reading, interpreting tea leaves, casting bones, tossing dice, analyzing bumps on the head, and gazing into crystal balls. Yet of all the arcane methods available to her, her favorite was interpreting cards drawn from a tarot deck.

She didn’t give James the chance to refuse. She produced her well-worn deck and sprang the cards from one hand to the other in a cascade, as a magician might.

“A quick reading,” she said as she spread some of the cards face down across the table. “On the house. Miss Charles knows all.”

She instructed James to slide three cards from the spread.

“These are the cards of the major arcana,” she said. “They never lie.”

James held his breath as she turned the first of his cards face up. It depicted a lady with a sword, sitting next to a pair of scales.

“Justice,” Miss Charles said. Her voice had become deeper, more mysterious. “Interesting. Tonight, you will witness an important act of justice.”

James wondered if he should take Miss Charles’s utterances seriously. Some of the hotel staff thought she merely made up her little prophecies, telling customers what they wanted to hear. Others thought her prophecies were dead on and feared them. Whatever did she mean by justice?

The second card showed a man and a woman holding hands.

“The Lovers!” Miss Charles said. “Why, James, you never told me you had a girlfriend. It appears romance is in your future.”

“Ro-mance?” he said. “I’m eleven! I don’t like girls. I don’t even know any girls. I think the cards are screwy tonight.”

James immediately realized his statement wasn’t quite true. He had known a girl once, the year he was eight, the year he and his family lived in Brazil. Her name was Renata, and she had black hair. The two of them had had real adventures, boating alone on the Amazon despite seventeen-foot-long crocs and even longer anacondas.

But she was only a summer’s best friend, not a romance. Not like Miss Charles and Mr. Nash, the night manager. They were sweet on each other, according to hotel gossip. James wondered what it would be like to be grown up and have a girlfriend like Miss Charles. She was very pretty, but she was also kind of spooky. She knew things.

Miss Charles turned over the third and final card, and her face paled as she beheld its image: a skeleton astride a horse, carrying a scythe.

“Death!” she gasped. “I’m sorry; you’re right, James. The cards are making no sense tonight. We shouldn’t have done this. Silly of me to have tried.”

She hurried the cards back into a pile. She was clearly disturbed at having revealed such a dark indicator.

“Death?” James said. “Don’t worry about it, Miss Charles. Haven’t you noticed? Death pretty much turns up here every night. This is McGrave’s.”

For McGrave’s was indeed unlike any other hotel in Gotham.

 

About-the-Author2

Steve Bryant

 

Steve Bryant is a new novelist, but a veteran author of books of card tricks. He founded a monthly internet magazine for magicians containing news, reviews, magic tricks, humor, and fiction, and he frequently contributes biographical cover articles to the country’s two leading magic journals. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

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