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Book Highlight ~ The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard + $10 GC Giveaway

Title: The Forgotten Ones

Author: Laura Howard

Genre: New Adult Fantasy

Series: The Danaan Trilogy #1

Published: April 28, 2013

Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother’s sanity.

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

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Fan Appreciation ~ 50% off Award-winning romantic suspense, REFLECTION

Because I appreciate each and every one of you, I’m thrilled to offer REFLECTION at almost 50% off the regular price! If you are looking for a hot summer read, now is the time!

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A reporter’s determination to expose an illegal human cloning project places an innocent child in the crosshairs of a master criminal.

Also, watch for another fantastic Kindle Fire giveway coming soon!
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Where to Buy

MuseItUp Publishing | Available in .pdf, epub for Sony and Nook, .prc for Kindle and HTML)

Amazon | AmazonUK | AmazonCA | Barnes & Noble

REFLECTION ~ Editorial Reviews from InD’Tale and BTSeMag

reflection333x500A reporter’s determination to expose an illegal human cloning project places an innocent child in the crosshairs of a master criminal.

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USA today

May 2013 – The book trailer for REFLECTION was featured in Robin Covington’s, Happy Ever After, Special for USA TODAY! Check it out here! A huge thank you to Robin!

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EMAG

June 2013 – REFLECTION received a 5 star review on page 71 of BTSeMag! Click here to read the magazine!

Review by Lori Zaleski (BTSeMag)

A pulse-pounding opening is just the beginning of the non-stop action in Reflection by Kim Cresswell. Whitney Steel is a headstrong investigative reporter who wants to expose the truth at all costs even while falling for Blake Neely, an undercover FBI Special Agent. As they work to take down an evil billionaire, the romantic tension builds until they give in to their desires. But, is a physical relationship enough for Whitney when she believes Blake is keeping something from her? Watching Whitney and Blake’s struggle to trust each other makes them an intriguing couple. Meanwhile, Cresswell works multiple storylines with stunning plot twists that keep the pages flying by.

Completely captivated with this romantic suspense, I could barely take a breath before reaching the high-octane climax. Cresswell masterfully ties up the major plot points while leaving the door open to revisiting these characters again. I, for one, hope she does.

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Indtale

June 2013 – REFLECTION reviewed a stellar 4 star review by InDTale Magazine!  Click here to read the full review!

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Where to Buy REFLECTION
MuseItUp Publishing | Amazon | AmazonUK | Bookstrand | Smashwords | CoffeeTime Romance | Omnilit | ARe | ibookstore | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Sony | iTunes

Available in paperback at Amazon & Createaspace

REFLECTION is UPAuthor Approved

UP Approved-1Thank you UPAuthors.com!

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Excerpt
Mason Bailey gulped down his third Glenlivet. “I didn’t kill her.”

How many times had Whitney Steel heard those words? Dozens. But never from the mouth of a United States senator. For all she cared, the man could drink himself to Mars, but not until she got what she’d come for. An exclusive.

Under the awning shading the Pink Flamingo Club’s patio, she took a sip of her lime daiquiri, and couldn’t help notice the way the mid-afternoon sunlight brutally magnified every line on Mason’s tanned face.

“Of all the reporters in Panama City, let alone Florida, why me? We cut our ties years ago.” And our losses, she wanted to say, but didn’t.

“I know I can trust you.” His gaze darted across the street then back to her. “Besides, we were married once. That should count for something.”

Whitney straightened. Anger coiled in the pit of her stomach. “Give me a break. For a year and a half, I thought we were married. Too bad your girlfriends didn’t know about our little legal arrangement.” Especially, your twenty something assistant.

“Damn it, Whitney. I didn’t ask you here to rehash our past.” He yanked a monogrammed handkerchief from his jacket pocket and dabbed the sweat from his forehead. “I need your help. I know why Carmen Lacey was murdered.”

Her eyes widened. Now they were getting somewhere. “You have my full attention. Are we on the record?”

Mason shoved his empty glass aside. “Yes.”

Her heart thumped with anticipation. This story would be the topic du jour for months. Her ratings at WBNN-TV would soar, and finally her colleagues would take notice and treat her with the professional respect she deserved.

For the past twelve years, her colleagues said she’d had a free ride because of her father, an award winning war correspondent, and her ex-husband’s political connections. This time she’d prove them wrong.

She rummaged through her leather bag, placed her digital voice recorder on the table and gave the record button a firm push. “For the record, Senator Bailey, did you kill Carmen Lacey?”

“No.” He leaned back in the chair and loosened his pinstriped tie. “It’s true. I was the last person to see her alive. But there’s more to this than you think.”

Brown eyes that once set her heart hammering now conveyed a chilling,hollow look. Was it guilt? Desperation?

No. Fear.

Uneasiness slid down her spine. She stopped the recorder. “Mason, you’re scaring me. What the hell is going on? It’s been over three years since we last spoke. Then, out of the blue, you beg me to meet with you today. I know the police don’t believe you killed that woman.”

“But do you, Whitney? Do you believe I killed her? I need to know. It’s important.”

Stunned by the urgency in his voice, she answered carefully. “Of course not. You’re many things, but you’re not a killer.”

“Thank you. That means a lot to me.” He reached for his empty glass and tapped his chunky gold ring against the side.

Whitney turned the recorder on again.

“Carmen was a scientist working for a biotech company in Nevada. ShawBioGen. Heard of it?”

“Who hasn’t? They were one of the first to clone animals in the eighties. Caused quite a stir. But I don’t understand. What does that have to do with
Carmen’s death?”

He opened his mouth to answer.

The large window behind them dividing the patio from the main restaurant exploded. A storm of glass rained down, showering the patio.

There was no warning. Everything moved so fast, yet in slow motion as if part of a horrid nightmare.

Screams. Rushed, heavy, thumping footsteps.

A few feet away, a male waiter dropped the two plates of food in his hands. He froze.

“Get down!” Mason yelled.

Whitney dropped. She huddled into a ball under the table and squashed the side of her face against the patio stones. Amid the chaos, a gunshot echoed and the waiter ran for cover.

A bullet ripped through the man’s shoulder and spun him around, the force slamming his body against the restaurant door. He folded to his knees and howled out in pain.

More shots rang out. Debris spewed through the air. Food, glasses, plates. The sickening smell of deep fried food and scorched cordite assaulted her nostrils. She gagged.

Crimson snaked toward her hand. The warm, sticky liquid met her fingertips.

Blood. Lots of blood. But it wasn’t hers.

Her gaze snapped to Mason, lying on his back. Dark red blood pumped from a gaping wound in his chest, soaking his white shirt. She held her breath to keep from screaming.

He raised his arm and reached for her. “I swear—I didn’t kill her. I swear.”

“I believe you.” Whitney kept her head down and inched her body closer. She grasped his hand. “I do. Oh, God.”

Please don’t die. Her pulse roared so loud in her ears she couldn’t hear her own words. “You’re bleeding so much. Someone help us!”

Another bullet whizzed through the air and slammed into the bottom of the wooden table leg.

Needle-like splinters from the wood slashed through her pants and drilled into her thigh like a hundred slivers. The pain knocked the breath from her. The world twisted and turned yellow. Darkness thickened and threatened to overpower her.

Can’t pass out…help Mason.

He gasped a ragged breath and shoved a key into her bloody palm and curled her fingers closed. “Don’t trust—anyone.”

She clutched the piece of metal. A knot wedged in her throat, one she couldn’t swallow. “I’m going to get help.”

“No—stay.” Blood bubbled at the corners of his mouth and trickled down his jaw. “They cloned…”

His eyelids slid shut.

“What Mason? They cloned what?”

Whitney lowered her head to his chest. “Oh, Mason, no.”

Reflection © 2013 by Kim Cresswell

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Praise

“Action packed from page one…an impressively laid out passionate thrill ride!” -InD’Tale Magazine

“I was looking forward to reading about Whitney and Blake. I anticipated a Booth and Bones relationship (from the Bones TV Series) and I wasn’t wrong…this book is definitely worth reading.” –Quality Reads UK Book Club

“A brilliant mixture of action, romance and mystery. Well worth a read…a very tough book to put down.” Jeep Diva

“Five-star page-turner! A truly edge-of-your-seat, never-a-dull-moment read! Reflection has a dramatic start and just never slows down.” Ellen Fritz at Books4Tomorrow

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Where to Buy
MuseItUp Publishing | Amazon | AmazonUK | Bookstrand | Smashwords | CoffeeTime Romance | Omnilit | ARe | ibookstore | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Sony

Available in paperback at Amazon & Createaspace

LETHAL JOURNEY ~ Excerpt

lethaljourneyfinal-333x500A killer lurks in the shadows of Hyde Park, New York…waiting. A district attorneys’ journey into the past makes her a target and anyone she has ever loved.

COMING SOON!

Excerpt

September 1997

Rain pounded down.

Lauren squinted through the windshield, a backwash of water battered the glass. She flicked the wipers on high, and then tightened her hands around the steering wheel. With a quick glance in the rear view mirror, headlights inched from behind. Miles had gone by since she’d seen another vehicle on the dark road.

The vehicle appeared to speed up, fall back, and speed up again.

Her muscles tensed. “That driver behind us seems to be in big hurry.”

Her father leaned forward in the seat and peered into the side mirror. “He’s all over the road. Might be drunk or something.”

“He’s crazy driving like that in this weather. I’m letting him go by.” She downshifted the Jaguar and steered off onto the side of road and rolled to a stop.

As the van raced by, a giant wave of water pelted across the side of the car.

“Christ, he’s really flying.”

Taillights flickered and quickly faded ahead into the blackened night.

With a quick glimpse in the mirror, Lauren steered the car back onto the road, her grip relaxed around on the wheel. “That’s better.”

Her father repositioned himself in the leather seat and stretched his legs. “The Law Society’s dinner is next week. You going?”

God, the dinner. She’d bought a four hundred dollar dress for the occasion, a navy blue Lagerfield, and even toyed with the idea of having her long hair cut into something more
sophisticated―polished for a New York district attorney. “I’ll have to check my schedule.”

“Not good enough. I want you there, Lauren. My chance to show you off. Do some bragging, big time.”

She couldn’t help but smile. “Okay, dad. Okay.”

“And don’t forget to bring a date for protection. There’ll be dancing after dinner. Don’t want a bunch of drunken seedy lawyers groping you on the dance floor.”

Her smile faded as she remembered the annual dinner years before. She’d never forgotten a single detail of that night―how Eric held her in his arms, his lips gentle against hers, how his mouth devoured her willing lips, then pulled away and left her mouth burning for more…

“What else did you hear about Eric?”

“Not much. Christ, can’t even remember where I heard the news. Thought you didn’t want to talk about Brennen?”

“I don’t. I just wondered when he got back.”

She noticed her father straightened himself in the seat, his jaw tight. “Don’t know.” His voice turned hard. “Just heard he’s back.”

Probably nothing more than just a rumor.

He’d begged her to come with him and start a new life in Florida. She didn’t have the courage to start over, leave her father, leave her job. At the time, her career was at a crossroads, ready to take off.

Now three years later, she was taking on the most important case of her career—prosecuting Gino Valdino, boss of New York’s Valdino crime family, just like her father had done a decade before.

The heavy rains turned into drizzle. The sky split, lightening lit the road ahead.

In the distance Lauren eyed the exit sign to Hyde Park.

The whining squeal of an engine roared from behind.

She glanced over her shoulder.

“God, that van is back.” She clicked on the turning signal, slowed and steered the car onto the off ramp. Her eyes darted back to the side mirror.

Headlights raced behind them, close, swerving from side to side.

She grasped the wheel with a shiver of panic.

“I’m calling the police.” Her father grabbed his cell phone out of the glove box and turned it on. “Damn it, I can’t get a signal.”

“Keep trying.”

From the mirror, she watched.

The driver gunned the engine.

The van’s grill came into view, massive and powerful.

Close. Too close.

Metal connected, scraped against the bumper.

The van shoved the Jaguar ahead on the road.

Hit the brakes.

Useless.

The car pushed forward under the van’s control.

They had to escape. Somewhere. Anywhere.

High-beams blinded her.

Lauren blinked and turned her head. Her fingers dug deeper into the steering wheel.

The van rammed the back of the car.

Metal popped and squealed as the back window disintegrated into the back seat.

The seatbelt snapped across her shoulder, her head slammed back on the head rest, then forward. “Oh my God!”

The cell phone flew from her father’s hand. “What the―”

“Dad!” Like a sling shot, the Jaguar shot down the slick road.

She slammed on the brakes. The car slid a half circle, then spun out of control. A massive tidal wave of water washed over the car roof.

Her father grabbed the dashboard. “Watch out! The tree!”

Wood splintered. Metal buckled, popped and cracked. The air bag stuck her body like a fist, and smacked her head against the side window. She shoved at it, viciously. With every move, fiery pain shot through her face, down her neck.

The sickening sweet stench of gas and smoke filled her nostrils. Her head clouded. The world darkened.

Lauren heard her own voice, pinched and muffled, cry out. “Dad!” until her words drifted into silence.

Lethal Journey © 2013 by Kim Cresswell

No Strings Attached Blog Hop

no strings MayThe No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop is here!

I’m giving away 3 eBook copies of my award-winning debut romantic suspense, REFLECTION, to three lucky winners!

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Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense Winner! (2004)

WARNING: This book contains graphic language, sexual situations, and violence.

BLURB

Florida investigative reporter, Whitney Steel, has lived in the shadow of her legendary father long enough. To prove herself she needs to find the “Big” story.

She found it.

Now it may kill her.

After Whitney receives a lead pointing to the world’s first cloned human, now a small child, she vows to unravel the truth. However, sifting through the facts proves to have dangerous results, including death threats and murder.

When Whitney is nearly killed, but is saved by undercover FBI Special Agent, Blake Neely, he refuses to let her get in the way of his own objective—at least not right away.

Caught in a lethal game between a billionaire obsessed with genetic perfection, his hit man’s thirst for retribution, and a Colombian drug lord fresh out of prison determined to make Blake pay for his twin brother’s death over a decade ago…

Can they save an innocent child before it’s too late?

Faced with tough choices, with deadly consequences for many—Whitney soon realizes that sometimes a story becomes more than just a story.

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The trailer for REFLECTION was recently featured in Robin Covington’s, Happy Ever After, Special for USA TODAY!  Click here to check out the book trailer!

USA today~

“I was looking forward to reading about Whitney and Blake. I anticipated a Booth and Bones relationship (from the Bones TV Series) and I wasn’t wrong…this book is definitely worth reading.” –Quality Reads UK Book Club

“A brilliant mixture of action, romance and mystery. Well worth a read…a very tough book to put down.” Jeep Diva

“Five-star page-turner! A truly edge-of-your-seat, never-a-dull-moment read! Reflection has a dramatic start and just never slows down.” Ellen Fritz at Books4Tomorrow

“Fast-paced…gripping…riveting!” -Bestselling True Crime Author, RJ Parker

Where to Buy
MuseItUp Publishing | Amazon | AmazonUK | Bookstrand | Smashwords | CoffeeTime Romance | Omnilit | ARe | ibookstore | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Sony

Available in paperback at Amazon & Createaspace

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****Enter the Giveaway!****

Don’t forget to visit all the wonderful bloggers and authors participating!

41.

Guest Post by SS Hampton, Sr

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Is There Really Closure Here…?

It’s not very often that I write a story about modern, contemporary life that does not have some sort of military influence. That is probably because I have spent most of my adult life in or associated with the military in some capacity. At the same time many of my writings have some sort of supernatural influence, probably because I have a very strong interest in the subject. Not only is it interesting, but if there is something valid, something factual to the presence of the supernatural, then that tells me that there really is more to the universe than what we see or what science can explain.

Being in the tightening grip of advancing age I find that possibility somewhat comforting.

All of the above being said, I tend to be drawn to stories (and movies) where everything is sometimes not what it seems.

For example, have you ever had one of those days where you have a feeling that something is not quite right? Everything looks normal but it feels like there is something out of place—you are a little uneasy because there is “something out of kilter” in your world. You try but cannot put your finger on it. It feels like there is some unknown truth lurking just out of sight that would explain everything if only you could find “it.”

Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” was good at presenting those sort of visual dramas. Sometimes there is closure to the stories, everything is explained and understood. But once in awhile there is no real closure (just like real life). It may feel like there is closure, but not really. When I think about it, Serling and his show were a larger creative influence in my life than I realized—many times in my writing I try to present the “feel” of a “Twilight Zone” episode.

One of the best examples of such a story where the truth is lurking just out of sight, is one that I have read many times and am still in awe of: Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (1890). (In 1962 the story became a short French-produced film that was later shown as an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” It was the only episode not produced by the TV series (Wikipedia).) Bierce was a Civil War veteran (Shiloh, Chickamauga) who suffered a serious head wound in combat. Bierce’s Civil War experience no doubt lent special authenticity to his writing. I have often thought that the enduring mystery of his disappearance in Mexico in 1913 is how he would have liked to be remembered.

So, in my writings I may think (hope) I have accomplished such a Twilight Zone “feel,” but only the readers will know for sure.

RUSH

“For the Glory Forever and Ever.” R.U.S.H. – Raw Unbridled Stories of Heroism – Anthology, Melange Books, September 2011.
ISBN: 978-1-61235-239-8

BLURB

Sometimes there is a blurry division between life and… An Army platoon is holding a combat outpost near Las Vegas. None of them can remember much about their lives before the war, or even the details of the war. Their final battle only hints at a possible soul shattering truth.

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“For The Glory Forever and Ever”

Sergeant First Class Dominick Brenner pinched the flesh on the back of his hand. Hard. He didn’t feel a thing. Maybe he wasn’t dreaming, though he hoped he was.

“Riders coming in from the south!” a soldier gasped as he darted into the platoon command post, the CP.

Dominick stared at the back of his pale hand as he told the radioman, “Tell 2nd Squad to give them covering fire.” The soldier spread his hands helplessly, for without batteries even the internal land line between the CP and the fighting positions was useless.

Dominick swore disgustedly and pointed at Private Ernesto Gonzales, a weary looking visitor from 1st Squad. “Go tell 2nd Squad to give covering fire!”

Dominick threw on his MOLLE gear, grabbed his Kevlar helmet and M6 Assault Rifle, and hurried out the bunker exit. Once outside he heard the zip of incoming weapons fire and the short, sharp explosions of impacting mortar rounds. From the perimeter came a steady rattle of outgoing weapons fire and the sharp crack and ‘whoosh’ of mortar fire. He splashed through the muddy rain puddles as he wound his way past the sand bag protected Morale, Welfare and Recreation bunker, the Mobile Field Kitchen, and one of the many reserve ammunition bunkers.

Dominick thought that while they were short of everything else, fortunately the lack of munitions was never a problem.

The blare of an air raid siren sounded across the lonely, rainy outpost. He looked around and spotted a pair of dark aircraft coming low out of the north. The turret containing four Longclaw anti-aircraft missiles whined and swiveled like a hungry beast. With a loud WHOOSH! amid clouds of sand, mud, and oily smoke, a pair of missiles leaped into the drizzling air. Glowing fireballs dropped from the aircraft; one of the Longclaws exploded against a fireball and the other blew up one of the aircraft. The stricken aircraft did a flaming cartwheel across the desert.

The rumble of the approaching jet rolled across the outpost as did the sharper cracks of shoulder fired Shortclaws. A trio of smoky trails raced toward the lone Eurofighter Typhoon as it dropped more flares and veered to one side, then whipped back to its original course.

The Shortclaws exploded against the flares…

 

authorbio

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is a serving member of the Army National Guard with the rank of staff sergeant, with prior service in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007); he has recently been told that he must retire from the Army National Guard on 1 July 2013. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Melange Books
http://www.melange-books.com/authors/sshampton/index.html

Musa Publishing
http://www.musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=50

MuseItUp Publishing
http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=514&category_id=60&manufacturer_id=249&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

Amazon.com Author Page
http://www.amazon.com/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Amazon.com. UK Author Page
http://www.amazon.co.uk/SS-Hampton-Sr/e/B00BJ9EVKQ

Goodreads Author Page
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888342.S_S_Hampton_Sr_