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Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne book tour #giveaway

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EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT
by Lisa Ballantyne

 

Lisa Ballantyne, international bestselling author of The Guilty One, delivers a compelling domestic thriller with impeccably observed characters and masterful edge-of-your-seat storytelling in a novel that leaps between past and present with page-turning finesse.

 

They’re calling it the worst pile-up in London history. Driving home, Margaret Holloway has her mind elsewhere—on a troubled student, her daughter’s acting class, the next day’s meeting—when she’s rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage. Just as she begins to panic, a disfigured stranger pulls her from the car just seconds before it’s engulfed in flames. Then he simply disappears.

Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something’s wrong. She’s having trouble concentrating. Her emotions are running wild. More than that, flashbacks to the crash are also dredging up lost associations from her childhood, fragments of events that were wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn’t merely forget—she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it’s got something to do with the man who saved her life.

As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth—from yourself…?

 

 

CHAPTER 1

Margaret Holloway

Thursday, December 5, 2013

 

Margaret Holloway wrapped her scarf around her face before she walked out into the school parking lot. It was not long after four o’clock, but a winter pall had shifted over London. It was dusk already, wary streetlamps casting premature light onto the icy pavements. Snowflakes had begun to swirl and Margaret blinked as one landed on her eyelashes. The first snow of the year always brought a silence, dampening down all sound. She felt gratefully alone, walking out into the new darkness, hers the only footprints on the path. She had been too hot inside and the cold air was welcome.

Her car was on the far side of the parking lot and she wasn’t wearing proper shoes for the weather, although she had on her long brown eiderdown coat. She had heard on the radio that it

was to be the worst winter in the past fifty years.

It was only a few weeks until her thirty-sixth birthday, which always fell during the school holidays, but she had so much to do before the end of term. She was carrying a large handbag, heavy with documents to read for a meeting tomorrow. She was one of two deputy head teachers at Byron Academy, and the only woman on the senior management team, although one of the four assistant heads below Margaret was female. The day had left her tense and electrified. Her mind was fresh popcorn in hot oil, noisy with all the things she still had to do.

She walked faster than she might have done in such wintry conditions, because she was angry.

 

“Don’t do this,” she had just pleaded with the head teacher, Malcolm Harris.

“It’s a serious breach,” Malcolm had said, leaning right back in his chair and putting two hands beside his head, as if surrendering, and showing a clear circle of sweat at each armpit. “I know how you feel about him. I know he’s one of your ‘projects’ but—”

“It’s not that . . . it’s just that permanent exclusion could ruin him. Stephen’s come so far.”

“I think you’ll find he’s known as Trap.”

“And I don’t think of him as a project,” Margaret had continued, ignoring Malcolm’s remark. She was well aware of Stephen Hardy’s gang affiliations—knew him better than most of the teachers. She had joined the school fresh out of college, as an English teacher, but had soon moved into the Learning

Support Unit. The unit often worked with children with behavioral problems who had to be removed from mainstream classes, and she had been shocked by the number of children who couldn’t even read or write. She had taught Stephen since his first year, when she discovered that, at the age of thirteen,

he still couldn’t write his own address. She had tutored him for two years until he was back in normal classes and had been so proud of him when he got his GCSEs.

“He was carrying a knife in school. It’s a simple case as far as I can see. He’s nearly seventeen years old and—” “It feels like you’re condemning him. This is coming at the worst time—he’s started his A Levels and he’s making such good progress. This’ll shatter his confidence.”

“We can’t have knives in school.”

“He wasn’t brandishing the knife. It was discovered by accident at the gym. You know he carries it for protection, nothing more.”

 

Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.


 

Lisa Ballantyne ap1 (1)Lisa Ballantyne is the author of the Edgar Award-nominated The Guilty One. She spent most of her twenties working and living in China, before returning to the UK in 2002. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

 

 

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Spotlight Trial By Fire by Christopher Nuttall

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Title: Trial By Fire (Schooled In Magic 7)

Genre: Fantasy

Author: Christopher G. Nuttall

Website: www.chrishanger.net

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Sample Chapter HERE.

Purchase on Amazon / OmniLit

 

About the Book

Three years ago, Emily killed the Necromancer Shadye before he could sacrifice her and destroy the Allied Lands. Now, the shadows of the past hang over Whitehall as Emily and the Grandmaster travel into the Blighted Lands to recover anything Shadye might have left behind, before returning to Whitehall to start the fourth year. For Emily, it is a chance to stretch her mind and learn more about new and innovative forms of magic … and to prepare for the exams that will determine her future as a magician.

But as she starts her studies, it becomes clear that all is not well at Whitehall. Master Grey, a man who disliked Emily from the moment he met her, is one of her teachers – and he seems intent on breaking her, pushing her right to her limits. In the meantime, her friends Alassa and Imaiqah are acting oddly, Frieda seems to be having trouble talking to her and – worst of all – Caleb, her partner in a joint magical project, is intent on asking her to go out with him.

As she struggles to cope with new challenges and to overcome the demons in her past, she becomes aware of a deadly threat looming over Whitehall, a curse that threatens her very soul. And when she makes a tiny yet fatal mistake, she finds herself facing a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose…

trialAbout the Author

Christopher Nuttall was born in Edinburgh, studied in Manchester, married in Malaysia and currently living in Scotland, United Kingdom, with his wife and baby son. He is the author of twenty novels from various publishers and thirty-nine self-published novels. His books have sold over 100K copies in the last year. His latest book, Trial By Fire (Schooled In Magic 7) is currently an Amazon bestseller.

Connect with the author on the web:

Website / Blog / Facebook

 

Read more »

The Hitwoman & the Family Jewels @jb_lynn_author #excerpt

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THE HITWOMAN AND THE FAMILY JEWELS

Book 4 in the Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series

How do you say “no” to a mob boss?

When bumbling hitwoman Maggie Lee is asked by her mob boss employer to kill a cop, she wants to say no.

When her sexy murder mentor, Patrick Mulligan tells her the cop in question is a guy she once dated, she REALLY wants to refuse.

But when her former date, Paul Kowalski tries to kill her, she changes her tune to “Hell, yes!”

Maggie and Patrick grow closer as they scramble to figure out what it is that Kowalski is looking for and what it has to do with her prison escapee father.

Maggie’s search is hampered by the presence of US Marshals hunting her father and her crazier-than-usual family.

Along with her snarky talking lizard, grammatically-challenged Doberman, and a pissy cat, she races to solve the mystery and protect her family. But nothing in Maggie’s life ever goes as planned….

This is an excerpt from THE HITWOMAN AND THE FAMILY JEWELS.
It takes place in the office of a veterinarian where the neurotic hitwoman, Maggie Lee, waiting for news about the well-being of her beloved dog, is sitting with a one-eyed, scarred cat.

Excerpt:
Doctor Felton strolled into the reception. He came to an abrupt stop, a look of shock on his face.
The cat’s comforting purring stopped.
Fear lanced my heart and I trembled. “What is it?”
“You’ve got piss on your lap!” he exclaimed.
Certain I’d misheard him, I asked, “What?”
“Piss,” the doctor insisted. “Piss is on your lap.”
“He means me,” the cat explained.
I looked down at her, then back at the vet. “You mean the cat?”
He nodded. “We call her Miss Piss because she peed in the spare set of shoes I keep in the back.”
“That’s a horrible name.” I looked down at the cat. “Tell me what your name is.”
“It’s a cat,” Patrick reminded me. “It can’t talk.”
The cat had the audacity to wink at me, at least that’s what I think she did with her one good eye, before jumping off my lap and stalking away. “I’m going to relieve myself in his shoes,” she purred naughtily.

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When a fan told her that she’s a “fabulous author”, a “great sport”, and a “very cool chick”, JB Lynn immediately thought, “that’s what I want my obituary to say!”.

A Jersey Girl transplanted to the Sunshine State, JB (you can call her Jen) writes laugh-out-loud suspense and mysteries, along with goosebump-raising thrillers.

She also guzzles coffee, spoils her dog, wastes endless hours daydreaming, and does her best to be a “cool chick” (but if you ever see her running, swimming, or biking, you’ll know how dismally she fails).

Find out more about JB and her books at www.jblynn.com

Website / Publisher / Twitter / Facebook / Killer Chicks blog

The Domestics by Mohana Rajakumar #excerpt #booktrailer @Moha_doha

I’m pleased to share the latest from author Mohana Rajakumar. Her latest release is one that sounds like another must for readers.

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

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Necessity is the mother of all friendships. The Dohmestics explores the ups and downs of six women thrown together by fate in the quintessential Middle Eastern compound; a neighborhood enclosed by a boundary wall with a security gate. Emma, Nouf, Rosa, and Maya are part of the sophomoric fish bowl no one can escape, where rumors can ruin marriages or jobs. Daily life is an array of coffee mornings, book clubs, and single parenting for Emma whose pilot husband is away more than at home. She can barely remember the workaholic professional she was before becoming a trailing spouse. Noof, a female Arab lawyer, struggles between her traditional values and Western education. She’s a mother, wife, and friend, like society expects of her, but she wants to establish an identity of her own. Rosa was the regional winner of a beauty pageant in the Philippines. Now, she is a full time maid and nanny for a family who treats her well. But will sacrificing her future for her sisters’ be worth it? Country girl Lillie is fired a few months into her first job as a housemaid. She can’t go back home; too many people need her income. Without a reference, no one will employ her. Maya, a seamstress in Sri Lanka, lost everything in the Asian tsunami. She bears her tyrannical boss’ demands, in hopes of rebuilding a life back home. Amira, the compound’s unofficial head cheerleader, appears to have it all. Yet, as everyone knows, because each is desperately trying to hide her own: we all have secrets.


The Dohmestics Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Chapter One

Dust laid a film of grit on the boxes in the entryway of the sand-colored duplex. Emma pulled straying pieces of elbow-length hair back into the bun, held together by a pencil spiked through the center. Dust, heat, desert. Their new life, waiting for Adam to become full captain. Four years. Maybe longer. The wilted plants in ceramic pots on doorsteps up and down the street were evidence the desert sun was winning. Emma tasted particulate on her tongue; the sandstorms would play havoc with Adam’s sinuses. Everywhere she looked, there were buildings similar to hers; whether villas, apartments, or duplexes, the exteriors were the same beige cinderblock front. Wider entryways for duplexes and three steps for the approach to villas distinguished the bigger units from the smaller ones. No driveways for the neighborhood existed inside the compound boundary wall. Four years was fast tracking in the airline industry, but Emma felt each of these early days pass like a month. At noon the parking spaces were empty; the beige canvas awnings melded into the adobe-colored walls of the buildings. Across the street were the wider front entrances of the villas; there was a bit more variety in these that more resembled houses back home. These were two story affairs, with wide fronts to the street, beige again with beveled glass, three actual steps for an entrance, rather than the flat approach to the rest of the buildings, like the one Emma lived in. She swiped at the sweat on the back of her neck. Her footsteps echoed on the tile, determined to unpack the next set of boxes. Adam was away. Alice was at school. The silence was deafening. “Why not get a job?” Adam had asked. “We could save that money too, for the house?” “I can’t tell them I have to leave halfway through the day to go pick up our daughter, now, can I?” “Hire a maid,” Adam replied with a shrug, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. “But that would cost money,” she protested. “We’re trying to save money.” Their love of entertaining had built up quite a pile of bills. “No one pays them that much,” he said. “A few hundred riyals.” “To have someone in the house with us, when we’re tight on space as it is.” She shook her head. “Plus, is that legal, a few hundred riyals?” She didn’t get a reply before he left for the gym, a workout an essential for the days he was home to balance so much time in the air. Gone was the routine schedule as co-pilot of a cargo plane, as regular as the post, bringing Adam home every night for dinner. The company had folded in the financial crisis. Commercial airlines were hiring—foreign companies anyway. Now they were in the Middle East with Adam flying anywhere from Hong Kong to New York, while she stayed at home. Her thumbnail broke as she ripped the tape off the next lid. She chewed off the rest of the nail, glad Alice wasn’t there to see the forbidden act. Emma’s eyes drifted to the pile of adverts left in the door overnight; a glossy one featured women with blow-dried hair sipping tea. Yes, maybe that’s exactly what she needed. She snatched up the house keys and made her way down the street towards the clubhouse. The weekly neighborhood coffee morning was one of those all-female, expat gatherings Emma had read about on forums before making the move to the Arabian Peninsula. She hadn’t planned on attending one, but the stifling silence drove her out of the house, looking for adult conversation that didn’t involve flight schedules or school pick-up routes. “Where are you from?” asked a woman with wire-framed glasses that made her brown eyes owlish. “England,” Emma said. She answered a string of familiar questions in every group she came to, the most common being, “How long have you been here?” Those who answered in the longest number of years to this question seemed to be mostly Indian, clustered together away from the other women. Everyone white wanted to know whether or not she worked. When Emma said she didn’t and confessed her school pick-up dilemma, the women had the solution: a full-time housemaid. “You’ll have so much more time to spend together, with your husband,” said a petite brunette with a waist the size of a teenager’s. “And you won’t spend it doing those tasks that you have to do again and again, like cooking or laundry. You can spend it with your child,” a blonde with perky breasts chimed in. “Do they steal things?” The blonde and brunette shook their heads as one, sharing a glance. “If they do, they’ll be jailed,” the brunette said, the dimples disappearing from her heart shaped face. “Or worse,” the blonde intoned. “Worse?” “Deported.” “But another person,” Emma fretted, another worry with the new concern about flight attendants. There had been none for airfreight. “Do I have to be with her all the time?” “She’s your employee,” the blonde emphasized. “She works for you. She isn’t your friend.” “But you have to watch the younger ones,” the brunette insisted. “Especially Filipinas.” “Watch them? They steal?” The women tittered. “That’s not the worst.” “Your husband is a pilot?” Emma nodded the affirmation. “Stop scaring her, ladies.” A statuesque woman interrupted the onslaught, waving her immaculate nails hello. “Amira.” Her manicured hand reached out for hers. “Emma,” she said stuttering at the sound of her own name. “I meant, would she need entertaining? Would the two of us watch television together?” Amira laughed, as if Emma had told her a funny joke. “You’re new. You’ll see. They make it so you can entertain yourself.” “Myself?” The word sounded lonelier than she had intended. Amira led her away from the group, motioning over to the tray of cookies. “Your maid is the least glamorous and last person to worry about. My husband is a pilot as well. They’re around gorgeous, young girls all the time. You know the airline. Men, women, everyone is impeccable.” She wiggled her eyebrows with a wink. “I had noticed,” Emma said with a laugh. “But is there someone else I should worry about?” She looked around the room of immaculately groomed women. “Should I lock up my husband?” Amira laughed.

 

2013authorphotoMohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had two sons, and became a writer.  She has since published eight eBooks, including a momoir for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me; a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies; a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories; and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.

Her coming of age novel, An Unlikely Goddess, won the SheWrites New Novelist competition in 2011.

Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. The Dohmestics is an inside look into compound life as well as the secrets kept between housemaids and their employers.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at www.mohadoha.com or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha. Mohana is currently working on her first historical novel, set in the East Asian country of Laos.

The Domestics can be purchased from Amazon 

 

Ava’s Wishes by author Karen Pokras

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About Ava’s Wishes

Ava Haines had big plans for her life. Her short-term goals included passing Statistics (on the third try), graduating college on time, and securing a job in the art gallery on Main Street. Her long-term goal was to one day own an art gallery of her very own. Oh sure, she would some day like to fall in love and get married, but all of that was secondary to making sure her other goals were in line. Fellow student Max Wallis and esteemed photographer Thomas Malloy were just minor distractions she was more than capable of handling. She was entitled to a little fun once in a while, right? However, as reality takes a tumble, Ava begins to wonder if she really can manage it all. Will all her wishes come true?

Excerpt

Ava took a step back and admired her sketch. If you’d seen one naked body, you’d seen them all. In the three and a half months since she’d been enrolled in the Figure Drawing class at Wolfenson College, she really had seen them all—tall, short, thin, fat, male, female. She was getting tired of drawing the human form and was ready to move on to something else … anything else. The models were mainly other students looking to make some extra money. She couldn’t blame them. She was tired of being broke herself, although you couldn’t pay her enough to pose nude. It’s not that she was ashamed of her body. She just thought that some things were meant to stay private.

Drawing live nudes had been awkward at first, especially when it was someone she knew, but after a while, they were just bodies—no different really than a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers. Still, she preferred to remain on her side of the easel and counted the days until the class was over.

The men were the worst. Ava hated to be judgmental, but most of the guys were full of themselves. They were okay in the looks department, however she’d seen better. She’d have liked to tell them so, but figured that would get her kicked out of a class she needed in order to graduate. Luckily, this was the final model of the semester. His name was Mark, or maybe it was Matt. She couldn’t really remember, nor did she care. The important thing was finishing this course—one of the many required for her dual art and business degrees. Her big dream was to open up an art gallery one day.

“Ava!” Ms. Senaca snapped, pulling her out of her thoughts. “A little less gawking, and a little more sketching, please.”

Feeling the heat rising to her cheeks, she returned to her drawing. The snickering from the other students didn’t help.

“As if,” she mumbled to herself.

About Karen Pokras

Karen Pokras writes adult contemporary and middle grade fiction under the names Karen Pokras and Karen Pokras Toz. Her books have won several awards including two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, the Grand Prize in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature. Karen is a member of the Society of the Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). For children, her books include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie is Not My Name, and Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. For adult readers, Karen’s books include Chasing Invisible, and her newly released, Whispered Wishes series. A native of Connecticut, Karen now lives outside of Philadelphia with her family.

Connect with Karen Online:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon / Smashwords / B&N.com / Kobo / Itunes