Showing posts with label series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label series. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"Scream Muddy Murder" by Lesley A. Diehl


GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Scream Muddy Murder
(Big Lake Murder Mysteries Book 3)
by Lesley A. Diehl

Scream Muddy Murder (Big Lake Murder Mysteries Book 3) by Lesley A. Diehl

Scream Muddy Murder is the third book in the Big Lake Murder Mysteries series by Lesley A. Diehl. Also available: Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed.

Dumpster Dying by Lesley A. DiehlGrilled, Chilled and Killed by Lesley A. Diehl


Scream Muddy Murder is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


More books by this author: Old Bones Never Die (read my blog post) and Killer Tied (read my blog post).

Description
Emily Rhodes does it again! This time she nosedives into a mud puddle at a Seminole War battle reenactment and finds she’s sharing the muck with a dead body. As usual the hunky detective she loves to aggravate, Stanton Lewis, cautions her against getting involved in the case, and as usual she ignores him. Emily’s sleuthing pays off, revealing disturbing information about the victim’s past. Is it the reason behind his murder? With the help of her family and friends, Emily sets out to uncover secrets kept too long and puts herself and the people she loves in the killer’s path. Too late she realizes Detective Lewis was right. Her snoopiness proves to be a deadly idea.

Excerpt
THE RAIN POURED down on the combatants as they took up their stances on opposite ends of the field. One side stationed their men behind the palm trees and live oaks, while the fighters on the other side positioned themselves out in the open, preparing to march straight at the enemy—a foolish strategy, but insisted upon by their commander.
Emily pushed wet locks of hair off her face and prepared to advance with the first wave of troops. She held no weapon for defense; her assignment was to beat her snare drum. She grasped her drumsticks tightly for fear she’d drop one and would be unable to beat out the martial tempo she’d been assigned. Emily’s daughter, Naomi, holding the American flag, stood beside her, the two of them dressed as boys from the early nineteenth century, shirts with long, full sleeves and knee britches. Naomi had been smart to tie her blond hair back with a leather thong. Their only concession to modern dress was that each wore a pair of rubber boots. Naomi’s sported a yellow duck pattern, Emily’s were a nautical blue with a thin red stripe around the top.
“How did we get ourselves into this mess?” asked Emily, attempting to lift one foot out of the mud. Her boot made a sucking sound. “This is as bad as quicksand.”
“It was your idea to take part,” replied Naomi. “You said it would be fun and a service to the community.”
“It would have been fun if it hadn’t been raining for three days. The field was so flooded the organizers cancelled yesterday’s performance. It’s not much better today.”
A shot rang out signaling the start of the reenactment of the Battle of Okeechobee, an event held each year at the site of the original battle fought in 1837, a military engagement in the Second Seminole War. Emily started at the sound of the gun and stumbled forward, almost falling to her knees. Naomi reached out and steadied her mother. The announcer thumped the microphone to determine if it was working. It gave forth a screech and again startled Emily, but this time she held her position. With a clearing of his throat and another squeal from the loud speaker, the announcer began his account of the military tactics used by the soldiers of the United States commanded by General Zachary Taylor and the Seminoles led by their chief, Alligator, often called Billy Bowlegs.
“Maybe all this water will shortcircuit the loudspeaker, and they’ll call off the event. We could get electrocuted, you know,” Emily said, but began marching, careful to avoid yet another hole in the soggy ground. She took up a steady drumbeat. The two women staggered forward, the thick mud making their advancement slow and difficult.
“Having trouble keeping up?” asked the tall man in front of Emily, slowing his pace and turning back to address her. How he managed to look dry and comfortable in all this rain was beyond Emily, but she always found Detective Stanton Lewis the other side of comprehensible in her mind. He was a member of the local police department, and the man who had arrested Emily for murder on one occasion, and on another, kissed her with passion.
“If I’d have known he’d be volunteering for this event, I would have stayed home,” Emily said.
“I heard that,” replied Lewis, “and I know you don’t mean it.”
Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t. Emily could never tell how she felt about Stanton Lewis. It seemed that whenever they got together two things happened: first there was the verbal battling, and then there was the warmth she felt somewhere south of her waist. He was about the handsomest man she’d ever met, and the most annoying. It seemed he knew the effect he had on her, and he loved to aggravate her by standing too close or smiling that annoying smile with his full, very kissable, lips.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“In the mood for a protagonist who just won't quit? Who won't let obstacles and naysayers dissuade her from her self-appointed rounds? Who has a strength of character and will power we might all emulate? I give you Emily Rhodes, the feisty and strongly self-determined heroine of Lesley A. Diehl's Big Lake Murder Mysteries. […] Scream Bloody Murder is compelling and heartwrenching, with never a dull moment throughout.” ~ Mallory A. Haws: The Haunted Reading Room Reviews
“This is a great read, with a suspenseful plot and a bit of romance thrown in. Diehl gives her readers a multi-layered plot. […] Of course to have a great book, you need great characters as well. This book, like the previous books, are packed with memorable characters. One reason I love reading a series is with each book, I get to know more about the main characters and even some secondary ones, and this book does just that. […] If you are looking for a great mystery, with great characters, and just the right of romance thrown in, you can’t go wrong with this book, and the whole series!” ~ Christie72
“Everyone seems to know more than they are saying and nobody is willing to spill the beans. Fun characters from previous books return to make things crazier. The tension and relationship between Emily Rhodes and Detective Lewis get more muddied than ever. Who enjoys aggravating the other more? […] Nonstop action as the danger mounts. Emily swears she is not going out of her way to interfere in an investigation. This is my favorite book of the series so far.” ~ Laura S Reading

Guest Post by the Author
Writing in the Swamps
Scream Muddy Murder is a cozy mystery, or at least I think it is. The protagonist, Emily Rhodes, is a reluctant amateur sleuth, the kind of snoopy gal one would expect in the cozy genre. She was a preschool teacher until she retired but finding herself strapped for living expenses because her life partner died and left nothing to her, Emily decided she needed to update her skills. Her good friend and next-door neighbor was impressed with Emily’s mixology skills, so Emily enrolled in a mixology course and found herself seeking employment as a bartender in rural Florida, in a town whose bars catered to country dancing, cowboys, cold beers, giant steaks, and barbecue. Could Emily handle enthusiastic cowboys who had had too much to drink? Apparently not because she lost her first job and would have had to find another post retirement career if the manager of the restaurant and bar at the local country club hadn’t hired her to tend bar there. It was a perfect match for Emily who knew many of the golfers. The patrons tended to be older and the bar catered to an early crowd.
Bartender is not the usual profession found in cozy mysteries, but it’s a perfect blend of the traditional with the unusual and provides the reader with a one-of-a-kind protagonist in a cozy mystery. Let’s say Emily’s profession squeaks in under the cozy guidelines.
But what about the setting for the book? The community isn’t a typical cozy mystery village, but a farming and ranching community set on the edge of the largest fresh water lake in Florida. The swampland of south-central Florida as well as southern prairies creates an environment that is beautiful but somewhat deadly. Think large reptiles, I mean really big reptiles and swamps, lots of swamps. It’s not what we usually view as a “cozy” cozy setting.
Because of the large influx of winter visitors who come during the season to fish the lake, the setting has some advantages for a cozy mystery. It avoids the Cabot Cove problem of small village and too many murders wiping out the meager population. Outsiders provide both suspects and victims, and because the area includes wide flung ranches and farms that often employ migrant workers, an element of international intrigue works here also. Not far from the town nearer to the West Palm polo farms breed and raise horses for polo matches drawing hundreds of competitors and attendees. The community may be small and rural, but the surrounding areas attract people from Europe, Central America and South America. Emily quickly realizes that as isolated as the community feels at first, it is connected to the flashier life of the coast and international intrigue.
Regardless of how I have extended Emily’s life beyond the village to a wider community, I have tried to maintain the feeling of intimacy with the people Emily encounters. There are the folks in the retirement village she lives in, the people she meets at the country club and the locals who have lived in the town for years, sometimes generations. This latter group is most important in providing Emily and the reader with the flavor of the rural south Florida. Donald Green, the bartender she hires to work at the country club with her, fishes the lake in his flashy and fast bass boat, allowing Emily to learn about bass fishing. Winning fishing tournaments is more important Donald than bartending and he lets Emily know this at every turn. If the day dawns sunny, but Donald is scheduled to work at the bar, Emily is likely to find herself without a bartender as Donald takes off for the lake.
Fishing the lake is an everyday backdrop for the series, but special events make the setting unique. Everyone in the area loves barbecue and barbecue contests. What better place to locate a dead body but in a beer cooler truck at the local barbecue cook-off. Emily did just that in Grilled, Chilled and Killed. In Scream Muddy Murder, I bring the history of the area into play by opening the book at the annual Battle of Okeechobee, a re-enactment of a famous Seminole War battle which took place in the 1830s. It is the perfect place for Emily to find her third dead body. Lucky gal. Now she has another case to solve. As with all Emily’s snooping, the man who adores her, Detective Stanton Lewis, will find her interference aggravating. That’s perfect, too. What better an element in a cozy mystery than a little romance?
So, of course, I have written a cozy mystery. Ignore the alligators and swamps. They’re just there for atmosphere to get the reader in the mood for a little rural Florida spin on the genre. No alligators, cattle, cowboys or other innocent characters were harmed in the writing of these books, only a couple of bad folks brought to justice.

About the Author
Lesley A. Diehl
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida - cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She’s presently interviewing for a coyote to serve as her muse for her books and stories set in rural Florida.

Giveaway
Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to have your name used in a future book OR to win an ebook copy of Scream Muddy Murder by Lesley A. Diehl (US only).

Links

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

12 Days of Clean Romance featuring Rachael Anderson


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
My Brother’s Bride
(Serendipity Book 2)
by Rachael Anderson

My Brother’s Bride (Serendipity Book 2) by Rachael Anderson

During the month of December, we have been featuring 12 authors who write clean romance. Today we feature our final author, Rachael Anderson, with My Brother’s BrideAlso available in the Serendipity series: My Sister’s Intended.

My Sister’s Intended by Rachael Anderson

This book blast and giveaway is hosted by I Am A Reader and Clean Wholesome Romance.


Description
Abigail Nash leads a lonely existence. Her mother died giving birth to her, her father’s business dealings took him away more often than not, and her ailing great-aunt, unable to provide much in the way of companionship, was a lack-luster guardian at best. So when her dear friends offered to launch her into London society, it appeared Abby’s life was taking a turn for the better, with suitors and social engagements aplenty. When she marries a proclaimed darling of the ton, it seems she will at last settle into the life of her dreams.
But appearances aren’t always what they seem, and dreams often become disappointments.
Just months into her marriage, Abby finds herself widowed, penniless, increasing, and determined to never hope again. But when her late husband’s brother, the Earl of Brigston, attempts to thaw the numbness surrounding her heart, Abby must decide if she has it in her to risk another chance at happiness, knowing the odds are not in her favor.

Excerpt
MUSIC PERVADED THE crowded ballroom, carrying couples through the steps of the quadrille, while onlookers clustered around the dancers, talking, laughing, sipping drinks, and observing.
Morgan Campbell, the Marquess of Brigston, did only the latter. He lingered near a door that opened onto a small balcony, where, every now and again, he’d feel a slight draft. Although it provided some relief from the heat in the room, the open door offered no other boon. This was not the country, and London air could never be described as fresh, not even on Grosvenor Street. Too many horses pranced about, too many bodies filled the streets, and too many unpleasant scents lingered as a result.
Only one month more and Morgan could leave his parliamentary duties behind and return to his coastal hometown of Cawley, Hampshire. Most considered the country to be a bore, but Morgan thrived there. The chirping birds, the salty breezes, the peace he felt every time he walked outside—Oakley Grange revitalized him as nowhere else could. It was London that tired him, or at least the endless social obligations. He despised frivolous chatter. It rang in his ears and made his head ache.
A servant offered Morgan a drink, but he declined, directing his attention towards the middle of the ballroom, where his younger brother, Jasper, danced with a paragon of beauty. Her blue eyes sparkled, her golden hair shone, and her sapphire silk dress glittered with the light of the crystal chandeliers. She moved with natural grace and elegance that bespoke good breeding.
It was no surprise she had captured his brother’s attention. Jasper had always been drawn to beautiful women, especially those with fair coloring. He called them angelic. He would dance with them, take them driving in Hyde Park, and shower them with pretty posies—at least until his interest waned or was captured by another pair of blue eyes and golden locks. It had been the pattern for years now, ever since Jasper had finished at Eton. With his good looks and charisma, he’d always been able to charm most women.
Not long ago, their mother had asked Jasper if he planned to settle down at some point. He’d chortled, as though the mere suggestion was laughable, then insisted he had no intention of getting caught in the parson’s noose anytime soon.
Yet here he was, recently returned from Gretna Green with a wife.
A wife.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“I haven’t read a book by Rachael Anderson that I didn’t absolutely love and this awesome book didn’t fail to meet that grade.” ~ Vicki
“This forbidden Regency romance was excellent! Once I started, it was hard - almost impossible to put down.” ~ Charissa
“This is the first full-length novel I’ve read by Rachael Anderson, but it definitely won’t be the last. I really enjoyed the story - the writing was really good with no annoying parts or awkwardness, the plot was interesting, the characters were endearing (I loved the banter between Brigtson and Abby!), and this book was just really good. Highly enjoyable. Great choice for those who like clean, well-written Regency romances.” ~ AE2
“This is a wonderful story for anyone who enjoys a clever and heart-warming historical tale that will leave them with a smile on their face. “~ Phyllis

About the Author
Rachael Anderson
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.




Also by Rachael Anderson:

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Links

Monday, December 17, 2018

12 Days of Clean Romance featuring Mylissa Demeyere


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The Songs That Brought Me Back
(The Songs Series Book 2)
by Mylissa Demeyere

The Songs That Brought Me Back (The Songs Series Book 2) by Mylissa Demeyere

During the month of December, we will be featuring 12 authors who write clean romance. Today we feature Mylissa Demeyere with The Songs That Brought Me Back. Also available in The Songs Series: The Songs of You and Me (read my blog post).

The Songs of You and Me by Mylissa Demeyere

This book blast and giveaway is hosted by I Am A Reader and Clean Wholesome Romance.


Description
Have you ever made a mistake? One so monumental you lost everything? I did, and I hate myself for it! All I want to do is close my eyes, and let the darkness consume me. Make it all go away. The end.
Ainsley is drowning in the depth of her despair. One wrong decision left her alone, with only regret as her constant companion. To escape it all, she makes another choice. One she hopes will end everything. Instead, she’s thrown into a whole new world filled with opportunities she doesn’t believe she deserves.
Ethan gives the appearance of breezing through life. But underneath his bright facade, he’s scarred by loss. When fate leads him into Ainsley’s world at the exact moment she needs someone the most, he can’t ignore the chance to right the wrongs of his past.
Ainsley and Ethan will struggle to help each other heal and start anew.
They’ll learn that the secret to conquering their pain lies within their power, if only they can do it together.
Always together.
Sometimes the ending is really the beginning.


Excerpt
ETHAN
“FILL THESE OUT, PLEASE.” The nurse at the ER admin desk shoved a clipboard holding a stack of insurance forms into my hands. “Once we get your partner stabilized, I’ll go find out about sending you in to see her.” She gave me a curt nod and disappeared behind the desk.
What had I been thinking? I hadn’t been thinking. Not much beyond getting my neighbor here in time. I had been living next door to Ainsley for the last six months, ever since the construction on my house was completed. And I had noticed her from day one. Who wouldn’t, with her striking blue eyes, long blonde hair, and a body every man dreams of? But there was more. She had this frailty about her, if you looked close enough. And it drew me in, right from the start. But she never let me get further than a few pleasantries. Still, it didn’t stop me from trying. And I had tried to be her friend.
When I found her earlier today… I shuddered as the memory washed over me.
I clutched the letter in my hand, secretly happy I had an excuse to ring Ainsley’s doorbell. The mailman had messed up and I couldn’t let the opportunity slide, noting her car in the driveway.
Walking up to the door, I rolled my shoulders and took a deep breath, aiming for cool and suave, not flustered and eager like she had me feeling each time I caught a glimpse of her.
I rang the bell and turned to soak up the bright rays of sun, feeling my stomach knot as the anticipation rose. A few seconds passed, but no one came to open the door.
I turned to ring the bell again, sure she was home, when I stopped dead in my tracks, my hand still suspended in the air. My heart started pounding in my chest as the ground beneath me felt like it was moving.
“Ainsley! Ainsley!” I pounded on the door, her lifeless body sprawled on the floor in the hallway just visible through the sidelights. My palms felt moist as I fought against the rising panic.
“Ainsley!!” My voice was hoarse as I belted out her name over and over.
Instinct took over. I ran to the back door and found it unlocked. I hadn’t ever let myself in, but now wasn’t the time to worry about that.
“Ainsley!” I fell on my knees next to her, taking in the full scene. Her chest was barely moving, her lips a faint shade of blue. An empty pill bottle lay on the floor beside her. I picked it up, already sure of what was going on but needing to confirm it. Time seemed to stand still as I pieced it all together, but the loud, ringing sound in my ears forced me to move and get help.
“Ainsley, what have you done?” I cried as I slipped my phone out of my back pocket and called 911. I hoped I wasn’t too late, that we still had time.
“What happened?” One of the paramedics loaded her on a gurney while the other got to work checking her vitals. I rehashed all I knew, which wasn’t very much.
They loaded her in the ambulance, and after getting the right info about where they were taking her, I sped over to the hospital in record time.
“What’s your relationship to the patient?” The ER clerk typed in Ainsley’s name without making eye contact.
“I don’t see how that’s important now,” I growled.
“Only the next of kin can see the patient.” She looked up for the first time and took in my panicked state.
“I’m her…boyfriend.” Where did that come from? I didn’t even know her that well, but I couldn’t take it back now.
“I see.” The woman stared up at me over her wide-rimmed glasses, pausing as she studied me. Did she pick up on my hesitation? Did she detect the lie? “Please take a seat. I’ll have her paperwork ready in just a sec.”
I released the breath I held and dropped down in the vinyl seat, overcome by the events of the past hour.
I’d been waiting for over two hours, and I was frantic. I didn’t do so well in a hospital setting.
“Mr. Van Der Beek?” A doctor dressed in light blue scrubs walked into the waiting area. I stood up.
“Yes?” My heart beat double time, waiting for him to give me news on Ainsley.
“We were able to stabilize your girlfriend.” The word made me wince. The doctor luckily mistook it for the info he was delivering, and his expression softened, his eyes full of sympathy. “Ainsley experienced respiratory depression, and we needed to intubate her to ensure she was getting enough oxygen.”
I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and nodded my understanding.
“We’ll keep her in the ICU until she gains consciousness.”
“But she’s going to be okay?” I pleaded.
“We’ll know for sure tomorrow. I think you got to her in time.” He patted me on the shoulder and turned to leave but reconsidered. “Mr. Van Der Beek.” He stared into my eyes.
“Yes?” I felt the weight of the day settle on my shoulders.
“Your girlfriend is very sick. Even if she makes a full physical recovery, you have a long road ahead of you.”
I nodded, my eyes stinging. “Thank you, Doctor.” I sank onto one of the chairs lining the side of the waiting area. If anyone knew how long that road was, it was me.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“A heartfelt romance with a powerful message about the sanctity of human life. If you’ve ever simply needed a friend, The Songs That Brought Me Back will resonate – and leave you thankful for the people in your life.” ~ Taylor Dean, author of I’m With You and Chasing Fireflies
“Another remarkable read by Mylissa Demeyere. Ethan and Ainsley had me laughing and crying as they face their own demons and fall in love while doing it. This book adds even more depth as it confronts suicide head on. Suicide has become an epidemic that some are afraid to address; Demeyere brings it to light from both the victims and the survivors giving us insight on the struggles of so many. It does not disappoint and I, again, am excited to see what comes next from this talented writer.” ~ Amazon Reviewer
“A beautiful sequel to The Songs of You and Me that cleverly illustrates that there are always two sides to every story and that it is never too late for love to overcome any challenge.” ~ Amazon Reviewer
“This poignant redemption story about second chances and forgiveness yanked my emotions all over the place. I cried, I yearned, I hoped. A beautiful story about what true love is and does.” ~ Charissa Stastny, author of Between Hope and the Highway and The Ruled Out Romance Series


About the Author
Mylissa Demeyere
Mylissa Demeyere was born in Belgium and resides in the beautiful city of Ghent. She lives in a somewhat organized home with her four beautiful children and the love of her life. If she isn’t working, she’s writing, running, reading, or enjoying time with her kids, who are growing up way too fast.
The Songs That Brought Me Back is the sequel to The Songs of You and Me, with third book releasing in the middle of 2019.






Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Links