NEW RELEASE! A NUN WALKS INTO A BAR

 

Release Blitz:
A Nun Walks into a Bar
by
Tracey Jane Jackson
Mar 29th
 

 

 

 

After growing up in an abbey, orphan
Sadie Ross becomes Sister Abigail Eunice. Her life and career are on track
until a chance meeting with a handsome stranger in a place no nun should ever
go.

Ryder Carsen’s sister is missing, and he doesn’t
have time for distractions. But when a pretty nun walks into his bar, he can’t
ignore his attraction to her, even though she’s not the “sister” he’s looking
for. He’s relieved when she walks out of his life for what he believes is
forever.

Sadie’s life takes a surprising detour when she
finds her path crossed with Ryder’s once again. When they are brought back
together, Ryder knows he’s found the only woman he’ll ever love, but time is
running out for his sister.

Will Ryder save his sister from the men who took
her?
When a source far too close to home threatens
Sadie, will she trust Ryder enough to let him save her too?
 

 

    

 

    

 

 

CHAPTER ONE
Sister Abigail Eunice
I HAVE BEEN told
I look like Mila Kunis, and you’d think this was a good thing, but in my line
of work, it’s more of a hindrance. You see, I’m a nun. Admittedly, I’m not a
very good one, but nonetheless, I am, in fact, a nun.
Which (in a very
roundabout way) led me to a tiny, hole-in-the wall bar at the edge of the Pearl
District in Portland, Oregon, on a quiet Wednesday night.
I was supposed to be
meeting my friend, Laura, for dinner, but as I stepped off the MAX, I realized
I’d gotten off at the wrong stop and, as was my luck, the small wet sprinkle
coming from the sky quickly turned into a downpour.
“Well, crap!” I
slapped a hand over my mouth and mumbled, “Sorry, Lord.”
Seriously, I was the
worst nun ever.
Unsure of which
street I was on, I took shelter under an awning next to a building with a frog
motif, but no other identifying information. Frustrated, I fished my phone out
of my purse and tried to figure out where I was. I had a missed call from
Laura, and a new voicemail, which I could only guess meant she wouldn’t be able
to make it.
“Hey, lady. I’m so
sorry, I’m stuck at work and I can’t get down to the Pearl for another hour. Do
you still want me to try or do you want to resched?” Yes, she said, “resched.”
“Anyhoo, text me and let me know what you want to do. Love ya, ’bye.”
Laura Chan was my
oldest friend. She was actually the only one who knew me before the nunnery,
and therefore knew me as Sadie Ross, not Sister Abigail Eunice. Laura’s parents
had moved from China, and into the house next door, the summer before second
grade. She’d spoken very little English, but we still managed to communicate
and we roamed the neighborhood, inseparable until my parents’ death. I adored
her, even though she wasn’t always reliable. Ever hopeful, however, I always
gave people the benefit of the doubt, so here I stood, only slightly protected
from the pouring rain. And it was pouring. I fired off a quick text to
Laura, pressing send… just as my phone died.
“Oh, holy mother of—”
I pulled my sweater closer around me and stepped toward the building’s entrance
so I could warm up and perhaps borrow a phone, but just as I moved away from
the wall, something came loose from above, dropping a bucket’s worth of
collected water on my head. I let out a quiet squeak and pulled off my now
soaked veil, yanking open the heavy wooden door and slipping inside.
“ID,” a gruff voice
demanded.
I nodded even though
I couldn’t see anything in the dark space, reaching into my purse and pulling
out my Oregon ID.
A large hand swiped
it from me then handed it back. “Sister Abigail, you look lost.”
I let out a snort.
“You have no idea. I’m stranded and my phone died.”
“Ryder can call you a
cab.”
“Ryder?”
“Owner.” He nodded
toward the back of the building. “He’s at the bar.”
“Do I really need to
go to the bar?” I asked.
“Lady, he’s got the
number for the only cab company he trusts and if I let you leave in one from a
company he doesn’t trust, he’ll be pissed.”
I gave him a look of
mock concern. “That sounds serious.”
Bouncer dude
chuckled. “Yeah, he’s got this weird thing about sweet women being protected.”
“What about women who
aren’t sweet?” I challenged.
“Those too.” The
bouncer laughed. “But the sweet ones always seem to get special treatment.”
I smiled. “Okay, I’ll
head to the bar.”
“Good plan.”
I walked past the
pool tables, dartboards, and a jukebox playing something with a heavy drumbeat
next to the bar, the counter of which ran the length of the building. There
weren’t a whole lot of patrons, just a few who looked as though they paid
weekly rent for their stools. However, I was surprised by the heart motifs
hanging and taped up in a few key places. I guess it made sense… Valentine’s
Day was tomorrow, so the bar was probably getting ready.
A tall man with his
back to me turned and I felt sucker punched. Like, as in, the breath left my
body.
His light-blue eyes
met mine and seemed to peer into my soul. I froze, unable to take one more step
under the weight of his scrutiny. He crossed his arms, keeping eye contact, and
I was drawn into his tractor beam-like pull. I inched forward, one baby step at
a time, taking in his light-blond hair, a full beard—not quite Portland hipster
full, but still sexy-as-heck full. When my gaze landed on his lips he gave me
this incredibly delicious sideways smirk, and Lord help me, I wanted him to
kiss me.
See? Worst nun ever.
“You lost, Sister?”
“How did you know I’m
a nun?” Without my veil, most people just threw pitiful glances at my clothes
as though I didn’t know how to dress in anything fashionable. I wore a sturdy
black wool dress, black tights, and a gray button-up cardigan.
“Couple years of
Catholic school. ’Course, I never saw a nun who looked like you, but it’s your
shoes that give you away. It’s always the shoes.”
“Oh.” I bit my lip,
glancing at my feet. “Well, you got that right. They call them sensible… I
call them ugly.”
“Not touchin’ that
one.” Ryder smiled. “You need directions?”
I shook my head. “I’m
that tale of woe, I’m afraid. My friend couldn’t make our dinner date and my
phone died.”
“You need a cab?”
“Yes, but do you mind
if I just warm up for a minute?”
“You want some tea?”
I couldn’t stop a
huge smile of relief as I sat on one of the stools. “I would love some
tea.”
“Give me your phone
and I’ll charge it for you.”
“No, that’s okay.” I
waved my hand dismissively. “I doubt you’ll have a charger that works.”
He chuckled. “You’d
be surprised.”
I pulled out my
six-year-old flip phone and slid it to him.
“Right,” he said.
“Solve that one,” I
retorted with a giggle.
“Oh, you don’t think
I can?” He pulled open a drawer next to the cash register. After testing
several cords against my phone, he let out a, “Gotcha!” and faced me again,
plugging my phone into the wall. “Found one.”
“How is that even
possible?”
He laughed. “We never
throw anything away and people leave shi—ah, stuff here all the time.”
I raised my hands and
gave him quiet applause. “Well done, sir. Well done.”
He grinned and handed
me a cup of hot water and a couple of tea bags. I was pleasantly surprised to
see he had my favorite licorice flavor and steeped it in the water while Ryder
went about his business.
“You look like you’re
gearing up for Valentine’s Day,” I said, and sipped my tea.
Ryder shook his head.
“Not my choice.”
“Aren’t you the
owner?”
He chuckled. “Doesn’t
mean I’m not ruled by my patrons.”
“Ah, so not a
romantic, then.”
“Just think men
should show their women they love ’em every day… not wait for one day out of
the year. The whole holiday is a farce, in my opinion.”
I smiled. Maybe he was a
romantic.
As he freshened my
hot water, I wondered what my fellow sisters would think about the predicament
I’d gotten myself into. Granted, they rarely left the abbey, but they also
didn’t have jobs like I did.
Being a fourth-grade
teacher and working for the Catholic school next to our living quarters was a
perfect setup for me. Lately, however, I’d been feeling restless and I know
Reverend Mother noticed. In fact, I had a meeting with her in the morning and
it sounded serious, so being late or tired would not be an option. Perhaps my
ill-fated evening was cut short for a very good reason. Mother always says God
works in mysterious ways.
“You ready for that
cab?”
Ryder’s question
pulled me from my thoughts and I smiled, shaking my head. “Is it okay if I
stick around for a little bit?”
“Knock yourself out.”
He glanced at his watch. “But you’re outta here within the hour. It gets a
little rowdy at night.”
“Your bouncer warned
me about you.”
“Yeah?”
I wrapped my hands
around the cup, warming them. “He said you’re very protective of women.”
He glanced behind me
and then met my eyes again. “Bennie talks too much.”
“Maybe so.” I
shrugged and then sipped my tea again.
“What do people call
you other than ‘Sister’?”
“Nothing. I’m Sister
Abigail Eunice. Although my parents named me Sadie.”
Now why did I share
that? I hadn’t used my real name in years.
He leaned against the
bar. “Pretty.”
My breath caught. “My
parents thought so,” I said once I could speak again.
“But not you?”
“No, I like it fine.
I guess I don’t really think about my name much.” I shrugged. “My students call
me Sister and I don’t have many friends outside of… well, outside.” I shook
my head. “Gosh, that sounds so narrow.”
Ryder grinned.
“Sheltered perhaps.”
“That’s very
gracious, Ryder.”
He cocked his head.
“Never been called gracious before.”
Elbow on the bar, I
settled my chin in my palm. “That surprises me.”
“Of course it does.
You’re a nun.”
“Meaning?”
“You’re gracious to
everyone, so you assume others will be gracious as well.”
“I’m not gracious to everyone.
I’m a nun, not perfect.”
Ryder shrugged. “Fair
enough.”
“I should go.”
“Probably a good
idea.” He grabbed his cell phone and put it to his ear. “Hey. Got time to drop
someone home?” He faced me. “Where do you live?”
“Beaverton.”
“Beaverton. Great.
Yeah, five minutes works. Thanks.” Ryder hung up and slid his phone back in his
pocket.
“You’re pretty
friendly with the cab company, huh?” I took the last swig of tea and set the
cup down.
“One of my guys is
taking you home.”
“I thought you were
calling me a cab.”
“Can’t let a nun pay
the cab fare all the way to Beaverton.”
I frowned. “You don’t
think I can pay for cab fare?”
“Not what I said,
Sister.”
“Wow, you really take
this whole I-am-man-hear-me-roar stuff, to a whole ’nother level, huh?”
His gaze went to
something (or someone) behind me and he nodded. “Ride’s here.”
I decided not to
argue; probably because it would do absolutely no good, and slid off my stool.
“Thanks for the tea.”
“Anytime, Sister.”
Somehow, him calling
me “Sister” felt lacking. I took a deep breath. Lordy, I was ridiculous… and
I probably needed to confess, but I knew I wouldn’t.
Again, worst nun
award goes to…
Ryder grabbed my
phone and stepped out from behind the bar. “My number’s in there if you need
anything.”
“What would I need?”
I asked, and took the phone from him.
He shrugged. “You
never know, Sister. It’s a resource. Feel free to use it.”
What a strange thing
to say.
“Thanks for
everything, Ryder,” I said, leaving my internal thoughts in my head.
“No problem.” He
nodded toward his friend. “This is Reese. He’s gonna take you home.”
Reese was tall, dark,
and handsome as they say, but he had an edge about him that made me a little
nervous. His hair was longer than Ryder’s and kind of shaggy, and he was quite
muscular. I was fairly confident he wouldn’t hurt me, but had I met him under
different circumstances, I might have declined a ride.
A warm hand settled
on my back and I felt a shiver steal down my spine.
“You okay, Sister?”
he asked.
“Yes, fine.”
“You’re safe with
him, yeah? You have any issues, you call me.”
“Okay.” I stepped
away from his touch and forced a smile. “Reese, it’s lovely to meet you. Thank
you for the ride.”
“No problem.” He
waved his hand toward the door. “This way.”
With a backward
glance and smile to Ryder, I followed Reese out to the car, grateful he wasn’t
a big talker. Our conversation consisted of him asking me for my address and me
giving it to him. The rest of the ride strictly featured me gripping the door handle
(as was my habit). I hated cars and avoided them whenever I could.
It didn’t take long
to arrive at the rectory and I thanked Reese and climbed out of the car, a
little taken aback when he followed. “I’m fine from here.”
“Ryder’d kick my
a—rear if I didn’t make sure you made it inside safely.”
“Right, his
protection fetish.”
Reese chuckled but
didn’t comment.
I led him up the
brick walkway and to the back of the building where I unlocked the door and
stepped inside. “Thanks again for the ride.”
“My pleasure, Sister.
Have a good night.”
He walked away, and I
closed and locked the door.

 

 

 

New York Times Bestselling Author,
Tracey Jane Jackson, was born and raised in New Zealand, and that’s where her
love of horses was formed. Her grandfather taught her to ride at four years
old, and she couldn’t get enough.
Her love and passion for Abraham Lincoln and the
entire Civil War era might have come from her American father, however, he lays
no claim to influencing her. Tracey’s mother used to tell her she was simply
born in the wrong place in the wrong time.
Tracey hasn’t always wanted to write. It took
her a long time to get started, but now she doesn’t seem to be able to stop,
the joy of escaping to the 1860s is too much fun.

She’s been happily married and gooey in love
with her husband for more than twenty years. They live in the Pacific Northwest
with their two sons.

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Meet Mystery Author Jamie Cortland

Author Jamie Cortland

Author Jamie Cortland

My Genre:

Romantic Suspense.

I started writing because:

I love to tell stories.

The best thing about writing:

The journey from the beginning to the end.

My favorite read:

The “Sixth Grave on the Edge” by Darynda Jones.  What a journey that is!

Weslynn McCallister, pseudonym, Jamie Cortland was born in Evansville, Indiana and raised in Roswell, New Mexico. Today, she lives in the southwest. A published novelist and an award winning poet, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Mystery Writers of America, and is a founding member of the Florida Writers Association.

Website URL: Weslynn McCallister, Author www.jamiecortland.com

Facebook URL: https//www.facebook.com/jamiecortland

Twitter: Weslynn McCallister@twitter

 

Dying to Dance 3D Book Cover

 

Buy Dying to Dance

Char and Diana Mansville, two sisters in their early twenties, lose their parents in a tragic accident. Finding themselves on the brink of financial disaster, they re-locate to southwest Florida to live with their aunt, a beautiful and wealthy ballroom dancer.
Once there, they meet handsome and charismatic Roland Donovan, who is a sociopath and involved in a deadly insurance scheme. Stricken by Diana’s beauty and charm, he sets his focus upon her and relentlessly begins his pursuit of her.

Meet Mystery Author Cheryl Hollon

 

Author Cheryl Hollon

Author Cheryl Hollon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My genre: I write a cozy mystery series based on the family-owned Webb’s Glass Shop in St. Petersburg, Florida.

I started writing because: I found the contrast between the hard science of flight simulation versus the peaceful zen of writing inspired me to achieve more in both.

The best thing about being a writer: Readers – cozy mystery readers are loyal, enthusiastic and a joy to meet at conferences and signings.

My current favorite read: The Shepherd’s Crown (Tiffany Aching) by Terry Pratchett

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About Shards of Murder:

When a glass-making competition turns deadly, glass shop owner Savannah Webb must search for a window into a criminal’s mind…

As the new proprietor of Webb’s Glass Shop, Savannah has been appointed to fill her late father’s shoes as a judge for the Spinnaker Arts Festival, held in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. With her innovative glass works, the clear winner is Megan Loyola, a student of Savannah’s former mentor.

But when Megan doesn’t show up to accept her $25,000 award, rumors start flying. And when Savannah discovers the woman’s dead body on festival grounds, the police immediately suspect her of murder. To keep from appearing before a judge herself, Savannah sorts through the broken pieces of glass scattered around the victim for clues as to who took this killer competition too far. . .

Buy Pane & Suffering
Buy Shards of Murder

About Cheryl Hollon

Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

You can visit Cheryl and her books at

http://www.cherylhollon.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Hollon-Writer/357992230995844
http://www.twitter.com/cherylhollon

Meet Author Georgia Rose

Georgia Rose 2

Author Georgia Rose

My genre is: romantic suspense – I write mysterious and romantic adventure stories with plenty of action and strong characters.

I started writing because: I had a story that had finally come to me in a complete form and this time I was determined to get it down before it disappeared from my head, as my ability to be able to hold onto such thoughts in the past has been pretty ephemeral.

The best thing about being a writer is: when I get the chance to spend some time in the fictional world I am creating and write a bit more of the story I am trying to tell.

My current favorite read:
I have been fortunate since starting to write to have found some terrific writers in the online world I often inhabit, and I’ve enjoyed many wonderful books, but there is one that leaps to mind that I have not been able to forget since reading it. Once Upon A Time In The City of Criminals by Mark Barry. I recommend it everywhere I go.

GET GEORGIA ROSE’S Before the Dawn WHILE IT’S ON SALE!

Before the Dawn

‘…he moved closer and slowly ran the point of his blade along my jaw line as he spoke softly, intimately, to me.

“So, you are Trent’s woman. Now that is very…appealing.” I glared back at him silently.’

There are testing times ahead for Grayson and Trent as trouble threatens Melton Manor. When an attack is made against those on the estate, Grayson gets caught in the middle finding herself and those around her in terrible danger. Terrified when she thinks tragedy has struck again she fights to protect those she now views as family and, suffering bloodshed and pain, confronts  her fears – both those brought by the enemy and by the one she loves.

Buy links – where it is currently on offer at 99c/99p!

Universal link for Before the Dawn at Amazon:- getbook.at/BeforeTheDawn

The Next Shiny New Thing by Georgia Rose

Georgia Rose 2

Author Georgia Rose

I’m sure I am not alone in this writing world when I say that I’m not a fan of having to get involved in the marketing of my books. In fact, I would give a lot to be able to hand that task over to someone else. I am a person who likes to have some control in the things I do, this is a reason why I love being an indie author, but I find the marketing world a confusing one. Someone on Facebook recently described trying to run a successful book promo like throwing darts in the dark and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve been struggling with setting promotions up recently and wading through the bewildering array of promotion opportunities is enough to make your head spin.

Perhaps I should clarify this a little because I understand the concept of spreading the word in as many different ways as your time, and energy, will allow in order to reach as wide an audience as possible. However, it’s the plethora of advice available over which routes to take, which sites to sign up to, which sites to give your shiny pound/dollar to if you get granted the opportunity, of course, to be accepted onto their site in the first place that’s hard to decipher.

I must however give a huge round of applause to the indie world out there who being endlessly generous and supportive of each other think nothing of having a decent sales spike after a promo and then willingly tell everyone how they achieved it.

Rather unusually, but please indulge me, I’m going to use a football (soccer) analogy here because seeing authors leaping onto the bandwagon of ‘the next big thing’ I’m reminded of watching my son play when he was an 8-year-old when he and his team moved as one, huddled around the ball which attracted them as if it had magnetic powers and much as a laser does to a tumble of kittens (see YouTube for examples).

I’m finding that this is happening to me. I start out reasonably focused on the marketing tasks I’m planning, I pop onto the internet to, you know…tweet…and all that then before I know it I spot a blog post discussing how someone shifted goodness knows how many gazillion copies of their book in a day which, obviously, sounds like a great idea and I will be derailed. This happened to me last Sunday when I ended up setting up an Amazon Giveaway for a couple of paperbacks of my first book. It wasn’t planned and I really need to stop these spur of the moment, and distracting, decisions.

What it comes down to is that we are all after the next shiny thing. The latest, and greatest, marketing whatever that has worked for someone and will also give us some, hopefully, spectacular results. I guess I should make up a proper marketing plan. Now, I just need to know what one of those looks like…I’ll pop onto Google to try and find out… it won’t take a moment. 😉

ABOUT GEORGIA ROSE
Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her overactive imagination! Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire where she lives with her much neglected family of a husband, two grown up children and two dogs.

CATCH GEORGIA’S Thicker Than Water WHILE IT’S ON SALE!

Thicker than Water (Book 3 of The Grayson Trilogy)

Amazon US
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CONNECT WITH GEORGIA ROSE

Website and Blog:- http://www.georgiarosebooks.com/
Twitter:- @GeorgiaRoseBook
Facebook:-Facebook  

Meet the Author: Christine Burke

Headshot of Christine Burke

Poet Christine Burke

Hi Everyone, I’m Christine Burke, a poet interested in multi-media work such as filmpoems and audio poems, several of my poems are illustrated and I have a filmpoem Cover the Mirrors on Youtube.

My Genre: Poetry

I started writing: when my husband left me for a younger model and I wrote in the middle of  the night when I couldn’t sleep.

The best thing about being a writer is: the new world that’s open to me –learning about poetry; reading poetry; going to literary events and meeting people with similar interests; the whole online process and conversation – I love it all, it’s my indulgence.

My current favorite read: I love re-reading Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds– TS Eliot Prize 2012, Pulitzer Prize 2013. I love Sleekit Cowrin, the digressions, the images, the way I feel as she felt, when reading the whole book not just this one poem  “as if a deck were tilting under me”.

My latest collection LEGACY  has just come out on Kindle.  It’s about relationships, politics,  dreams and love, and various poems on odd subjects that are hard to classify, such as a garden shed!  Click the Amazon link to see inside –  LEGACY

Cover Legacy

 

 

My Amazon author page link

My website is www.christineburkebooks.com

 

 

 

If anyone would like to contact me through the contact page on my website I’ll email you BREAK-UPS SUCK!  FREE!

I haven’t got automatic downloads set up yet so you might have to wait a couple of days …

A Poet Finds Her Voice–Christine Burke

My poetry started life in the wee small hours after my husband left me for a younger model. I couldn’t sleep or think straight and used to write my thoughts down to try to get them out of my head. I suppose it was like screaming on paper.

Headshot of Christine Burke

Poet Christine Burke

The silver lining is that when I moved house years later, I found what I’d written and realised some of it was poetry. I started taking writing holidays and online courses with the aim of publishing – I didn’t want what I’d been through to be for nothing. The best MOOC online course I did was with the University of Pennsylvania led by Al Fireis – Modern Contemporary Poetry – being with thousands of other students learning about poets from Emily Dickinson thru Robert Frost to Sylvia Plath was extraordinary and changed my life. Poetry became something other than therapy for me, it became my new world.

And the writing holidays are amazing too – meeting great writers and being encouraged and inspired by fabulous, fun people from all walks of life who love writing and all have stories to tell. I learned that I have to write a little each day rather than wait for inspiration to strike – exercise my writing muscle – and then the Muses will visit!
The poem I’ve chosen to talk about is the first of my poems that made someone cry. (yes, other poems have done it since then!!!) I thought it might be interesting to some of you. It was my first unintentional attempt at prosody, I’m still learning…

THE FRIDGE
The little light came on,
the only warmth in this cold place.
She reached for sustenance,
hesitated, withdrew
from the two eggs,
the rotting carrots,
and the meal for one –
calorie counted,
past it’s sell-by date.

Once upon a time there was cake, fresh cream;
wine, ginger, Brie,
St. Agur (her favourite)
and Stilton.

Still surprised by the emptiness,
she could have cried for the Stilton.

I suppose it’s obvious that what shocked me even a long time after my husband left was that there was nothing in the fridge. In my head the fridge should have been full for a party or a dinner, as it used to be (no-one has that variety of cheese unless it’s a dinner party!). So when I opened the fridge in a fruitless search for physical and mental sustenance, there was nothing there, and I thought I was ‘past my sell by date’. And I guess this touched some people, maybe they empathised, because it was one of the poems Encarna Dorado Cuenca chose to illustrate for me. It’s amazing how she paints the coldness of the kitchen. You can see some of her illustrations on my website illustration page if you’re interested – I love them all.

My website is www.christineburkebooks.com

If anyone would like to contact me through the contact page on my website I’ll email you BREAK-UPS SUCK! FREE!
I haven’t got automatic downloads set up yet so you might have to wait a couple of days …

With all best wishes, bye for now…
Christine

Bio:

Christine studied languages at school, worked in computing and lived around the world for fifteen years, including three years in the US. She enjoys dog walking, metal detecting and modern jive.  She has indie published six books of poetry and is working on the next one.

Christine’s Amazon Page
Christine’s latest collection is LEGACY

Cover Legacy

 

WILD IRISH HEART by Tricia O’Malley

A young woman living in Boston receives an unexpected gift that draws her to Ireland and reveals a birthright she’s not sure she’s prepared to claim.

Wild Irish Heart (Mystic Cove, #1)

Wild Irish Heart

The setting of this book enchants as much as the characters do. I could easily visualize the Irish coastal village and Keelin’s grandmother’s cottage and land. Keelin’s relationship with Fiona is wonderful…warm and genuine. The backstory is handled well, and the author communicates the complicated family situation in a way that keeps readers from getting confused. The otherworldly elements entertain without going over the top into full-on paranormal. This is still more a romance than a paranormal novel.

Uneven pacing distracted me in places. The author also repeats key phrases and emotions–like “soul sings.” Flynn makes a great love interest for Keelin, but the climactic scene between them, on the cliffs, is abrupt and less believable than the rest of the book. It was the only point at which the plot felt forced.

On the whole, WILD IRISH HEART is absorbing and full of romance.

A DANGEROUS HUNGER by J.S. Scott

When a reclusive academic’s work on demons lands her in danger, she must accept the protection of a sentinel demon with an appetite for food and romance.

A Dangerous Hunger (The Sentinel Demons, #2)

A Dangerous Hunger

This was my least favorite of J.S. Scott’s The Sentinel Demon series. The chemistry between Dr. Talia Maris and Drew Winston never quite gets going. The book starts out with some excitement as Drew plots to capture his elusive charge. It’s kind of cute how he finally manages to lure her into his clutches. But the relationship never really takes off. Drew is the least smoldering of the three heroes in the series. There’s nothing particularly unique about him. Talia is a more fully developed character–and she has a great cat.

The underworld introduced in A DANGEROUS BARGAIN is explored and it’s pretty scary. But the bad demons (the “Evils”) aren’t as big a threat as in the first book, where they caused all sorts of trouble.

The book entertains but it doesn’t sweep you away.

Death & Dominion by Carol Hedges

In this third murder mystery starring Victorian-era London detectives Stride & Cully, a case of arsenic poisoning becomes something much more sinister.

Death & Dominion: A Victorian Sensation Novel

Death & Dominion: A Victorian Sensation Novel

One thing that amazes me about this series is how Carol Hedges manages to set her novels firmly in their time and place and still give each book a twist that makes it completely unique. For DIAMONDS & DUST (my review), that means a scary, otherworldly flavor. HONOUR & OBEY (my review) out-Dickens Dickens in its realistic lens on the social and economic inequities of the era, while at the same time setting loose a gruesome serial killer who would make Jack The Ripper tremble in admiration. This time around the author dips her pen into the Victorian “sensation” novel, with its domestic melodrama, smooth-talking con-men, and cunning acts of revenge.

The plot of DEATH & DOMINION seems straight-forward at first–murder by arsenic poisoning–but things get complicated as the bodies multiply and useful leads lay thin on the ground. Detectives Stride & Cully, still the favorite prey of the local gutter press, are stonewalled by some of London’s most genteel ladies and gentlemen, who have more to hide than most courtesans–including our favorite ex-madam, Lilith Marks. Her cameo appearance is one of my favorite things about the book. I also enjoyed the Belinda Kite subplot. This “lady’s companion” with a murky past is a great mix of vulnerability and daring. She and the handsome trickster Mark Hawksley are a perfect match. Awful as they are (well, as awful he is and she would LIKE to be) I found myself rooting for them.

Hedges does a wonderful job exposing the seedy underbelly of Victorian propriety, especially when it comes to marriage and fidelity. I followed with morbid fascination the icy home life of Frederick and Georgiana Undershaft. Georgiana’s situation and her personal quandary–what does a good wife have the right to expect from her husband–remained with me long after I finished the book.

I will say that the wrap up of both the main plot and the sub-plot left me a little dissatisfied. Here I need to take care not to ruin it for you. Let’s say that both main parties get what they deserve, though the means of this “rough justice” is highly melodramatic. Now, this fits right in with the conventions of the Sensation Novel–soap opera at its finest. I can appreciate this, but being a modern reader, I would have preferred a more extended and character-driven wrap up.