Tag: Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Her Leading Hero by Maggie Dallen

Posted December 10, 2017 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Her Leading Hero by Maggie DallenHer Leading Hero (A Reel Romance) by Maggie Dallen
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Is she getting a second take at her Hollywood ending?
Despite her leading lady looks, Tamara Pierce has always been happiest out of the spotlight, especially since a painful breakup drove her away from her society friends. Now she's happily managing a magnificent, historic old movie house that's in danger of being torn down. It's good news when a billionaire buyer shows interest. If only the billionaire in question weren't Gregory Blanchard, who once fueled her fantasies of happily after ever.

Known for his reckless endeavors in romance and business, Gregory's determined to prove his worth with this new project. And he knows how to do it: making Tamara the public face of the Ellen Theater. She's poised, passionate-the perfect partner on his arm at fundraising events. Once he lures her into the limelight, the shy beauty gets under his skin in a way no woman has before. But will a heartbreaker like him be the one to lead her back to love?

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Excerpt

“Tamara?” His low voice cut through the music and the chatter, stopping her in her tracks.

The original cold fear returned and a shiver raced through her at the sound of his voice.

She turned slowly. There was no escaping it now. Resignation at her fate had her steeling her spine and squaring her shoulders. She had known this day would come eventually.

He was smiling down at her, and the sheer sex appeal behind it stole her breath away. Sweet Jesus, he’d always been hot, even as a teenager. But now, he was literally breathtaking. He’d filled out, his chest and shoulders molding the suit to perfection. His jaw was even more defined, if that was possible. He’d matured into the aristocratic features that had made him seem older as a teenager. Now they made him look like what he was: a whip-smart, highly educated leader in the city. One not to be trifled with by enemies and whose cool elegance made him a favorite match for supermodels and actresses. Last she’d read, he’d been linked to someone famous. Who was it?

What did that matter? A distant voice mocked her for obsessing over his looks and love life at a time like this. But now that the moment she’d feared was finally here, an odd calm came over her. It was almost… Relief.

Maybe that was why she was able to summon a smile when he said her name again. “Tamara Pierce?”

He’d lowered his head a bit and leaned in so they could speak over the noise of the crowd. It was an oddly intimate gesture, like they were part of an exclusive club. She could smell a warm musky cologne as he drew even closer, his eyes fixed on her and filled with warmth.

It was then that his words hit her. Pierce. He’d called her by her mother’s maiden name, the name she’d been using ever since she left Boston.

She blinked up at him as the significance of that one word sank in. “Ms. Pierce,” he continued, apparently not thinking it odd that she was staring at him like a mute idiot. “I’m a friend of Ben’s.” He gestured over his shoulder toward Ben, who was leaning against a wall glaring at the poor man who was speaking to his girlfriend, Caitlyn.

Was it possible Gregory didn’t recognize her? A flicker of hope had her breath quickening and her smile broadening. She looked to Ben—of course, he was a friend of Ben’s, hadn’t Caitlyn told her that? He could be here to support Ben. Or maybe Caitlyn invited him….

Gregory started to speak again, and she turned her attention back to him. She instantly wished she hadn’t done that. His eyes were unnerving. His gaze was too direct. Too intense. Too…sexy.

“He told me you were the expert here,” he said. A smile hovered on his lips as he shoved his hands into his pockets and ducked his head again, in a charmingly self-effacing gesture. As if he was just another guy looking to learn some history and not a freakin’ billionaire playboy.

A billionaire playboy who didn’t recognize her.

A Reel Romance

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We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.**

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About the Author

Maggie Dallen

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

Maggie Dallen is a huge fan of happily-ever-afters. She writes contemporary and YA romance and has been known to rewrite the endings to classic love stories to ensure that they end on a happy note. In Maggie’s version, Ingrid Bergman does not get on the plane. She lives in Northern California and works at a yarn store to support her knitting addiction. For more info please visit maggiedallen.com.

Follow her on Twitter @Mag_Dallen. Or connect with her on Facebook


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Sunday Spotlight: Christmas in Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Posted December 3, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

Also in this series: Atlantis Awakening (Warriors of Poseidon, #2)

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I thought we could kick off the month of December Sunday Spotlights with a good old fashioned Christmas romance brought to you by some of my favorite Atlantians. Alyssa Day writes fantastic paranormal romance. I first got into her series back when it was first published in 2007. I’ve been hooked ever since. I really love reading how different authors have different takes on Atlantis. It’s fascinating.

Christmas in Atlantis
Series: Warriors of Poseidon
Genres: Paranormal romance
Release Date: December 4, 2017
Publisher: Holliday Publishing

The Gift of the Magi…in Atlantis

A tortured warrior…

Warrior-turned-pirate Dare is the black sheep of all Atlantis. He enraged Poseidon, the sea god, so much that Dare had to forfeit his ship and the water spirit who inhabits it. For Dare, being denied the ocean is worse than death…until he comes home to a woman who drowns him in waves of hunger more powerful than the sea. But black sheep and scoundrels can never deserve love, even during the magic of the first Christmas in Atlantis.

An artist who sees the world through song…

After the accident that killed her parents and blinded her, Lyric discovered she had a special gift—that of song sight. She now sees the world in her own unique way, and her paintings are full of light and magic. When the Atlantean warrior she’s fallen in love with takes her to his home in Atlantis, she finds a rare magical artifact that could change her world forever. Or it could deliver to Dare the thing he most desires.

Atlantis’s first Christmas is coming…

It’s the season of miracles in Atlantis. A chance to make wishes come true. And when Lyric tells her new Atlantean friends O Henry’s story of The Gift of the Magi, the world—and Lyric and Dare—may never be the same.

Order the Book:

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Excerpt

“Time to close up shop.” Lyric turned toward the door, but before she even took a first step, it crashed open.

“I think I need your help,”

It was Dare; she knew him instantly. She could smell the sharp sent of wind and sky and saltwater that was uniquely his; she could pick his voice out of a thousand others.

“Dare?” She started toward him. “Are you–”
“I think I need –”

A heavy thud was the only conclusion to his sentence. He’d collapsed. She rushed over and knelt down beside him. She reached for his pulse, her fingers finding their way to the spot. His pulse was there; strong and reassuring. He was soaking wet, though; his skin was icy cold and he was shivering violently.

“Dare? Dare? What happened?”

He didn’t answer. Maybe he couldn’t answer. And of course she couldn’t see him, so she couldn’t even guess how badly he was hurt.

She pulled her phone out of her pocket and told it to call Dr. Miller.

No. She pressed END CALL.

“Call 911.”

No pirates were going to die on her watch.

Warriors of Poseidon

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Alyssa Day

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Alyssa Day is the pen name (and dark and tortured alter ego) of author Alesia Holliday. As Alyssa, she is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, and she writes the Warriors of Poseidon and Cardinal Witches paranormal romance series and the Tiger’s Eye Mysteries, a paranormal mystery series. As Alesia, she writes comedies that make readers snort things out of their noses, and is the author of the award-winning memoir about military families during war-time deployments: Email to the Front. She has won many awards for her writing, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award for outstanding romance fiction and the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance novel of 2012. (With all that romance writing, you’re probably not surprised to hear that she’s a board member of the amazing writing organization, Romance Writers of America.)


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Sunday Spotlight: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

Posted November 26, 2017 by Rowena in Features | 6 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Loretta Chase is a fantastic historical romance author and Lord of Scoundrels remains in my top ten of favorite historicals of all time. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m over the moon excited for her latest upcoming release, A Duke in Shining Armor. I’m super stoked to share an excerpt from her book to whet your appetite since the book comes out on Tuesday. Not a long wait, at all!

A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #1
Genres: Historical, Romance
Release Date: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon

Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

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Excerpt

Newland House, Kensington
Late forenoon of 11 June 1833

If the bride was drunk—which she wasn’t—it was on account of celebrating.

In a very little while, Lady Olympia Hightower was going to make all of her family’s dreams come true.

Hers, too, most of them.

She would become the Duchess of Ashmont.

Teetering on the brink of six and twenty, she ought to thank her lucky stars she’d won the heart . . . admiration

. . . something . . .

. . . of one of England’s three most notorious libertines, a trio of dukes known as Their Dis-Graces.

She narrowed her eyes at the looking glass. Behind gold-rimmed spectacles, eyes of a can’t-make-up-their-mind grey-blue-green took a moment to focus on the grandeur that was her. She. Whatever. Elaborate side curls of a commonplace brown framed her heart-shaped face. An intricate arrangement of plaits, topped by a great blossom of pleated lace adorned with orange blossoms, crowned her head. A blond lace veil cascaded over her bare shoulders, down over the full, lace-covered sleeves and on past her waist.

She looked down at herself.

Four knots marched down to the V of the waistline. Below that swelled full skirts of brocaded silk. A great waste of money, which would have been better spent on Eton for Clarence or a cornetcy for Andrew or something for one of the boys. Apart from his heir—Stephen, Lord Ludford—the Earl of Gonerby had five sons to support, a subject to which he’d given no thought whatsoever. His mind, unlike his daughter’s, was not practical.

Thus her present predicament. Which wasn’t a predicament at all. So everybody said. There was nothing predicamental about being a duchess. In any event, practicality had nothing to do with this bridal extravaganza. The money must be thrown away on Olympia, on a single dress, because, according to Aunt Lavinia, it was an investment in the future.

A duchess-to-be couldn’t wear any old thing to her wedding. The bridal ensemble had to be expensive and fashionable, though not flamboyantly so because a duchess-to-be ought to look expensively fashionable, though not flamboyantly so.

After the wedding was another matter entirely. A duchess could pour the entire contents of her jewel boxes over herself and never be overdressed. With a few adjustments, a different arrangement on her head, and more diamonds or pearls or both, Olympia would wear the dress to the next Drawing Room, when her mother or perhaps Aunt Lavinia, the Marchioness of Newland, would present the new Duchess of Ashmont to the Queen.

That wasn’t all that would happen after the wedding. There was the wedding night, which, according to Mama, would not be unpleasant, although she’d been rather vague regarding details. But after the wedding night came the marriage, years and years of it. To Ashmont.

The about-to-be Duchess of Ashmont picked up the cup of brandy-laced tea Lady Newland had brought to steady bridal nerves. The cup was empty.

“Do not even think of bolting,” her aunt had said when she delivered the doctored tea.

Certainly not. Too late for that, even if Olympia had been the sort of girl who backed down or ran away from anything, let alone the chance of a lifetime. She had six brothers. Being the second eldest child counted for nothing with boys. It was dominate or be dominated.

Some said she was rather too dominating, for a girl.

But that wouldn’t matter when she became a duchess.

She bent and retrieved from under the dressing table the flask of brandy she’d stolen from Stephen. She unstopped it, brought it to her mouth, and tipped in what she gauged as a thimbleful. She stopped it again, set it on the dressing table, and told herself she was doing the right thing.

What was the alternative? Humiliate the bridegroom, who’d done nothing—to Olympia, in any event—to deserve it? Disgrace her family? Face permanent social ruin? And all on account of what? The sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, which surely was nothing more than the usual wedding-day anxiety.

Only a lunatic would run away from becoming the bride of one of the kingdom’s handsomest, richest, most powerful men, she told herself. That was to say, Ashmont could be powerful, if he’d bother, but he . . . She lost her train of thought because somebody tapped at the door. “Please,” she said. “I’m praying.”

She’d insisted on time alone. She needed to collect herself and prepare for this immense change in her life, she’d told her mother and aunt. They’d looked at each other, then left. Soon thereafter, Aunt Lavinia had returned with the doctored tea.

“Ten minutes, dear,” came her mother’s voice from the corridor.

Ten minutes already?

Olympia unstopped the flask again and took another sip.

Nearly six and twenty, she reminded herself. She’d never get an offer like this one, ever again. It was a miracle she’d got this one. And she’d known what she was doing when she said yes. True, Lucius Wilmot Beckingham, the sixth Duke of Ashmont, was a bit of an ass, and so immature he made nine-year-old Clarence look like King Solomon. And yes, it went without saying that His Grace would be unfaithful.

But Ashmont was handsome, and he could charm a girl witless when he set his mind to it, and he’d definitely set his mind to charming her. He seemed to like her. And it wasn’t as though any great shocks were in store for her. His character was well known to anybody who read the gossipy parts of the fashionable periodicals.

The important thing was, he’d asked. And she was desperate.

“A duchess,” she told the looking glass. “You can practically change the world, or at least part of it. It’s as close as a woman can come to being a man, unless she becomes the Queen—and no mere consort either, but Queen in her own right. Even then . . . Oh, never mind. It’s not going to happen to you, my girl.”

Somewhere in Olympia’s head or maybe her heart or her stomach, a snide little voice, exactly like her cousin Edwina’s, said, “The Love of a Lifetime is never going to happen to you, either. No Prince Charming on his white charger will come for you. Not even a passionate lord. Or a shop clerk, for that matter.”

She suffocated the voice, as she had wished, many times, to suffocate Cousin Edwina. The Olympia who’d entertained fantasies of princes and passionate gentlemen had been a naive creature, head teeming with novel-fed romantic fantasies as she embarked on her first London Season. For seven years, she’d been voted Most Boring Girl of the Season. In seven years, she’d received not a single offer. That was to say, she’d received no offer any young lady in her right mind, no matter how desperate, would accept or, as had happened in the case of an elderly suitor, would be allowed to accept. And so, when Ashmont had asked, what could she say?

She could say no, and face a future as an elderly spinster dependent on brothers who could barely support themselves and their own families. Or she could say yes and solve a great many problems at once. It was as simple as that. No point in making it complicated.

She took another sip of brandy. And another.

There came louder and more impatient tapping at the door. “It’s the right thing to do and I’m going to do it,” she whispered to her reflection, “because somebody has to.”

She took another swig.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited about this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Loretta Chase

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Loretta Lynda Chekani was born in 1949, of Albanian ancestry. For her, the trouble started when she learned to write in first grade. Before then, she had been making up her own stories but now she knew how to write them down to share. In her teenage years, she continue to write letters, keep a journal, write poetry and even attempt the Great American Novel (still unfinished). She attended New England public schools, before she went off to college and earned an English degree from Clark University.

After graduation, she worked a variety of jobs at Clark including a part-time teaching post. She was also moonlighting as a video scriptwriter. It was there that she met a video producer who inspired her to write novels and marry him. Under her married name, Loretta Chase, has been publishing historical romance novels since 1987. Her books have won many awards, including the Romance Writers of America RITA.


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Sunday Spotlight: Dream On by Stacey Keith

Posted November 19, 2017 by Holly in Features | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley and thought it sounded super cute. I was on a break from contemporary romances for a little while, but now that I’m back this sounds right up my alley.

Sunday Spotlight: Dream On by Stacey KeithDream On by Stacey Keith
Published by Kensington
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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Deep in the heart of Texas is a small town where secret wishes have a funny way of coming true . . .

With a nine-year-old daughter, an overdue light bill, and a job slinging burgers while zooming around on roller skates, Cassidy Roby is not living the glamorous life. But Cuervo, Texas, has its charms: quiet streets, loving family, and the down-home familiarity of knowing which of your neighbors are mean as snakes. With Cassidy’s reputation, she knows what will happen if she steps a foot out of line. But how can she help it now that Mason Hannigan’s back in town?

As Cuervo’s high school quarterback ten years ago, Mason was all rock-hard abs and yes-ma’am manners. Now that he’s living the glitz and glory of the NFL, he’s all that plus a couple million bucks. The desire blazing between them is too hot to hide. Cassidy has some experience getting her heart broken by the hometown hero—and having the whole world watch her try to pick up the pieces. Will adding fame, fortune, and paparazzi be a playbook for disaster—or lead to the biggest adventure of her life?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

Cassidy stood shivering and barefoot on her porch. No one was up this early except the Perkins boy who weaved along the sidewalk on his bike, pitching newspapers.

But the hush of morning made everything beautiful—the silver mist, the dew-covered grass, the gray light of dawn. And she knew with absolute certainty that this one moment, when her body ached so deliciously and her heart felt so full, would stay with her forever.

Behind her, she could hear Mason washing his breakfast dishes in the sink. She’d cooked for him just as though they were any other couple and this were any other morning. There he’d sat grinning up at her from the table, and she was so in love with him, her hands shook when she scraped eggs from the skillet onto his plate. Every piece of toast she buttered was his toast. Every cup of coffee she poured was his coffee. While he ate, she ran her fingers through his thick dark hair and that feeling of delirious happiness moved through her, so intense it felt like pain.

Waiting out on the porch, she heard him close the zippers on his rucksack. Last night, the sound of a zipper had driven her crazy with desire. Now, there was no lonelier sound in the world.

Then Mason walked out on the porch, dropped his rucksack, and gathered her in his arms. Just touching him was enough to make her pulses go haywire, but as he claimed her mouth, heat and urgency and a terrible sense of loss crashed over her. Mason’s kiss deepened. Tears smarted behind her eyelids. All she could do was hope she didn’t fall apart in front of him.

“I don’t want to go,” he muttered against her lips.

“You have to. Practice, remember?”

“I can’t stop touching you.”

“Your coach is going to chop you up into tiny pieces.” Despite her sadness, no way was she going to hold him back or get him in trouble.

With visible reluctance, he released her. He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against hers. Did he guess her heart was breaking? That no matter how much he said he loved her, she knew enough about the world he inhabited, a world of fame and money and adoration, that would inevitably take him away from her.

Mason lifted his hand and gently stroked one side of her face. “Cassidy…”

“Yes?”

“Come to Dallas. We’re playing the Giants this weekend. Lots of wives and girlfriends will be there. You’ll love it. And that way, you can meet everybody.”

Everybody. She forced herself to smile. Everybody sounded like she would be on the receiving end of a whole lot of what Kayla served, only dressed up and with more money.

But this was for Mason. It came with the package.

“All that matters is getting to see each other,” he said. “I could send you a plane ticket. Or maybe you’d rather have a driver and a limo.”

A limo? She tried to picture one of those shiny black cars like the one she’d ridden in for prom and cringed when she thought what a stir that would cause in Cuervo. “Flying is good. But I don’t know yet if I can make it.” Or how she would make it. She had a daughter. A house. A job.

She forced another smile before he read her thoughts, yet worry intensified. It made her head ache. But then every muscle in her body ached right now from what he’d given her last night and, from the look on his face, wanted to give her again. A car drove by with more than a few faces pressed to the window. Heat crept up to her cheeks. They were out on her porch. Everyone could see it was him and what they were up to.

“I’ll videochat you tonight,” he said. With a glint in his eye, he added, “What do you think my chances are of getting your clothes off?”

Doesn’t that sound cute?

Dreams Come True

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Stacey Keith

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST
TUMBLR | GOODREADS

Award-winning author Stacey Keith doesn’t own a television, but reads compulsively—and would, in fact, go stark raving bonkers without books, most of which are crammed into every corner of the house. She lives with her jazz musician boyfriend in Civita Castellana, a medieval village in Italy that sits atop a cliff, and she spends her days writing in a nearby abandoned 12th century church. But the two things she is most proud of are her ability to cook pasta alla matriciana without burning down the kitchen, and swearing volubly in Italian with all the appropriate hand gestures.


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Sunday Spotlight: Hello Again by Brenda Novak

Posted November 12, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I am in love with this book and with Brenda Novak. She got me out of my slump. Honestly, I’ve always loved Brenda Novak. I’ve read her romantic suspense and her romance. She just knows how to weave a story together. This series blends romance and suspense perfectly. There is a lot of suspense, but the romance doesn’t make it as overwhelming as it could be.

Hello Again by Brenda Novak
Series: Evenlyn Talbot Chronicles #2
Also in this Series: Her Darkest Nightmare
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: November 2nd, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

From NYT bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.

Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world’s worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?

When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except…Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . .

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

If she could just get the cords that bound her hands to loosen a tiny bit more, she could get free.

Christina Piper felt the slight give, knew her captor hadn’t tightened the knot as carefully and securely as he usually did. He’d been in such a foul mood when he appeared earlier, had been angry before he even saw her.

Mercifully, he hadn’t had much time. After torturing her for half an hour, he’d mumbled something about his wife (whom he referred to as “that bitch”) and tied her up as quickly as possible before stomping out of the old camper and slamming the door behind him.

Hands numb and swelling from pulling against her bindings, Christina paused to gather her breath and her strength. Thank God it wasn’t summer. She’d been in the camper for four days. Without air-conditioning, anyone imprisoned in the barren desert near Phoenix, Arizona—where temperatures often skyrocketed to 120 degrees—would’ve been dead by now.

Still, it was hard to breathe, what with the stench of who-knew-what (she couldn’t even allow her mind to supply a possible answer for the terror it would elicit). And the pain from her injuries made her nauseous. She couldn’t see out of one eye, had terrible burns on the insides of her thighs, which had blistered and were oozing puss, and several broken toes. She hadn’t had anything to eat or drink, either, except for the vile substances he’d forced down her throat. She’d thrown up when he made her eat a spider, and he’d slugged her so hard she didn’t know how long she was out, just that when she came to, he was gone.

She couldn’t last like this much longer. If she didn’t escape, she’d die.

Unless he decided to keep her alive. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to end the torment. He was enjoying it too much.

At last, she got the cord to stretch. She almost couldn’t believe it when she managed to free her hands and untie her ankles. Briefly, she rubbed her sore wrists, trying to get the blood flowing, but she didn’t waste another minute as she scrambled to get out of her 1970’s dungeon.

Her poor toes, which he’d taken great pleasure in smashing with a hammer, made it almost impossible for her to walk. Only by using the counter and stove, and then the wood-paneled wall, was she able to remain upright.

As soon as she flung open the front door, saw the sun and felt the chill winter wind on her face, she started to cry. All she could see for miles was bare land and desert scrub, but it was beautiful to behold. She’d thought she’d never see anything again, anything other than the inside of that camper.

She had no idea how far she was from civilization, or in which direction she should travel in order to find help, but she didn’t care. She’d wander in the desert until she died of thirst and exposure before she’d allow the man who’d dragged her into his van when she left the bar near her house abuse her for another second. Each time he arrived, what he put her through grew worse.

“You’re a monster. I hope you die a death far more painful than the one you have in store for me.” Or worse than the pain he’d caused others. She wasn’t his first victim. She couldn’t be. He was too practiced. Too calm. Too unflinching in the face of her suffering.

When she stepped out, she fell and couldn’t get up. She was too weak, too dizzy.

Cursing, screaming and crying, she began to drag herself away from the camper. But she only made it ten or fifteen feet before she heard a car and turned to see her captor bring his van to a skidding stop.

He’d seen her. She had no way to fight him, and there was no help.

That meant there’d be no escape, either.

Evelyn Talbot Chronicles

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About the Author

Brenda Novak

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It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking–she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!


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