10 December, 2018

The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond Book Tour and Giveaway!

The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond

The Winner Maker

by Jeff Bond

on Tour December 1-31, 2018


Bob Fiske — the 74-year-old dinosaur who’s taught Honors English and coached varsity football for five decades — is missing.
To his Winners, class favorites Fiske designated over the years for their potential to “Live Big,” it’s heartbreaking. Fiske did more than inspire with soaring oratory; he supported their ambitions into adulthood. Four of his brightest former stars reunite to find him, putting high-octane careers on hold, slipping police barricades, racing into the wilds of Northern Michigan for clues about the fate of their legendary mentor.
Others don’t see a legend. They see an elitist whose time has passed.
When a current student — female — disappears just hours into the Winners’ search amid rumors of inappropriate meetings, the Great Man’s reputation is a shambles.
Feints, betrayal, explosive secrets from their own pasts: as facts emerge, each Winner must decide how far they’ll go for Fiske. Can the truth redeem him? Or has this cult of hyper-achievement spawned a thing so vile none of their lives will survive intact?

"An exhilarating and emotionally astute mystery." ~ Kirkus

Book Details:

Genre: Upmarket Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: December 1st 2018
Number of Pages: 332
ISBN: 1732255202 (ISBN13: 9781732255203)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
  Read an excerpt:
Bob Fiske stalked out onto a glass-bottomed observation box of the Sears Tower, appearing to join the sky. His hair, wild and white, whorled with the passing clouds. His strides were at once rickety—owing to seventy-four-year-old joints—and resolute, each footfall seeming to make gravity, to seize its own plane of air.
He planted the portable lectern before his students with a leathered fist. “Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning brightly, poetry is just the ash.”
The entire honors English class, and more than one passing tourist, considered this in reverential silence. The students’ faces glowed with a mishmash of excitements. They were out of school on a field trip! They had to recite a poem by heart; would they remember?
Being here with Fiske—Coach Fiske, Fiske the Great, Fiske the Feared—made them feel the way all high-school seniors should at least once during this final, never-to-be-forgotten year: special. Sure that every important thing in life was happening right here, right now, to them uniquely.
Marna Jacobs (left side, midway back) felt all this too, but more pressing was the weight of dual backpacks on her shoulders. What had Jesse put in this thing, lead? She shifted to resettle the load more comfortably over her five-one frame.
A voice behind her said, “Ooh, Marna, carrying your boyfriend’s bag for him? How old-fashioned. Part of the new vintage motif?”
It was Caitlyn of the perfect cheekbones and 4.5 GPA, a surefire Winner when Fiske’s list came out.
“Jesse’s not my boyfriend.” Marna crossed her ankles, suddenly less psyched about her thrift-store oxfords.
“Didn’t you two go to homecoming together?”
“We, um, broke up.”
“And you’ve accepted the demotion to pack mule?” Caitlyn said with a grin of ice.
Marna and Jesse were outsiders here, AP English being their only honors class. While the others elbowed for brownie points, Marna tried to fly under the radar—a strategy that had worked until last month when Mr. Fiske had praised her Brave New World essay as “refreshing, primitively honest.” Now Caitlyn ridiculed her at every turn.
Still, the question was legit. Marna had been standing around waiting to board one of the tower’s shockingly fast elevators when Jesse nudged her, asking if she’d leave his backpack on the glass bottom for him. Without waiting for an answer, he’d heaved the pack onto her shoulder. When she’d complained it was heavy, he had said all she had to do was leave it on the glass—then he slipped away as every ligament in Marna’s neck and upper back croaked under the burden.
“We’re friends,” Marna said now. “Friends do each other favors.”
Caitlyn sneered around the observation deck. The first student was approaching the podium, stealing a last peek at her crinkled notes. “What’s inside, a bomb? You two always were quiet. Maybe too quiet.”
Marna squirmed underneath the pack. It couldn’t be a bomb. Right? Everyone had gone through security. Jesse’s pack had been X-rayed.
She thought. Was pretty sure.
“Marna brought a bomb?” Todd Bruckmueller said, overhearing.
Caitlyn opened her shoulders to a larger audience. “Maybe.”
“This is really mean, you guys, I—”
“Let’s see!”
Todd, right tackle for the football team, reached for the pack. Marna hunched like a threatened armadillo but couldn’t keep Todd from dislodging one arm. They struggled. Marna dug an elbow into the oaf’s ribs. He lost his grip, and the pack crashed to the glass floor.
Driven less by loyalty to Jesse than rage, Marna grabbed one strap. Todd grabbed the other. Security personnel moved dimly in the periphery.
The word boomed forth, sucking all air from the fight. Marna first thought Todd had said it—so loud, his meat-pie face right here—before spotting the pair of Illinois State 6A Championship rings against his neck. The rings belonged to Fiske. The septuagenarian had his 230-pound lineman in a half nelson.
“Poor form, Mr. Bruckmueller.” Fiske unhanded Todd, then turned to Marna with a wink. “I cordially invite you to Wildkit Stadium this afternoon, four o’clock sharp, to witness your tormentor ascending and descending the east stairs in rapid succession. Two hundred flights or heatstroke, whichever comes first.”
Before Marna could respond—was she supposed to respond? could Fiske get busted for laying hands on a student like that?—a metallic clunk sounded nearby. Jesse’s pack began sliding in the direction of the noise.
“Hey, what—what’s happening?” Todd said, scurrying back.
Marna instinctively raised her hands. Three guards were beelining her way, fingers pressed to earpieces. Students and tourists alike scattered. The backpack moved seven inches across the glass floor before locking into place with a small, intense shimmy.
Directly below, on the underside of the glass and suspended 103 stories above Wacker Drive, a hook protruded from a squat black cylinder.
A magnet.
That’s why the backpack was so heavy. There’s a gigantic magnet inside.
The hook was closed, and now a hand—a hand?—emerged from the void to clip what looked like a fat red ribbon onto it. The backpack’s fabric strained about the glass in a circle, the magnet inside perfectly mirroring the magnet below.
Marna squinted to make sure this wasn’t allergies messing with her eyes. Also, the day was overcast; up here, they were literally in the clouds.
“Oh. My. God.”
Suspended upside down, staring at her with that wobbly grin. The diamond-check soles of his shoes visible through the glass, he held on by a short length of the ribbon—which Marna saw was a bungee cord. The rest of the cord dangled far below, lilting now back against the skyscraper, now out over the Chicago River, twisting and kinking, rippling, the greatest part shrouded in fog.
Marna staggered into a row with the security guards. How did he get up there? Are those magnets seriously gonna hold? Will the guards shoot him, or Tase him? Can you Tase through glass?
The guards barked into walkie-talkies. When one stepped toward the pack, Jesse felt for something behind his waist and gave the bungee two sharp tugs.
“No!” Marna screamed. “You stupid jerk, no! Whatever you’re thinking!”
But she recognized the sequence he was rushing through: the harness buckling, the strap cinching, his rawboned fingers jittery but unhesitating. Technical rock climbing was Jesse’s thing—he actually taught yuppies at a downtown bouldering gym. He could do it in his sleep.
Marna flattened her whole body to the glass floor, fingers splayed, nose squished. “Why? What is the point, J? Stop!”
Into the misty chasm, her words were weak and scrabbling and basically nothing.
Jesse glanced past her. As his wild pupils settled on Fiske, his face took on a dreamy, near-euphoric blush.
The venerable teacher stood with arms folded. Impassive. Like Marna, Jesse had been encouraged by Fiske—had won kudos for his “exuberant prose style,” even been assigned an extracurricular joint project with one of Fiske’s pet students. In recent weeks, Jesse had even talked about making Winner.
“Respect your life!” Fiske called down. “Cherish it. Be the keeper of its sanctity.”
He knelt beside Marna and, placing both hands on the glass, glared down. She had a fleeting notion that the Great Man could grab Jesse, that those gnarled fingers were capable of parting glass—or transmuting through, or willing matter around, something—and rescuing him.
The blush heightened in Jesse’s face. His eyes pulsed. The sinews of his neck became taut and grotesque.
He plunged. Leading with his forehead, Adam’s apple slicing the clouds. He was a falling, twisting, shrinking blur.
Smaller, smaller…very small.
Marna had almost lost the dot when an enormous white tarp exploded upward through the fog. A block-print message snapped into view across its expanse:
Excerpt from The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond. Copyright © 2018 by Jeff Bond. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Bond. All rights reserved.
  Jeff Bond

Author Bio:

Jeff Bond is a Kansas native and graduate of Yale University. He lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters, and belongs to the International Thriller Writers association.

Catch Up With Jeff Bond On: Website Goodreads Twitter Facebook!


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!  


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on December 1, 2018 and runs through January 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


Return of the Lycan King by Candace Blackburn Book Tour and Giveaway!

The biggest fight for the new Lycan King is convincing his Queen that
he is committed to her forever.
Darren has already fought to convince Cass to give him a chance,
but a new Monarchy is just the beginning of the changes to the
Lycan Kingdom. But as secrets and challenges to Darren's crown
emerge,his inner circle must close ranks to protect their Kingdom,
and to make sure the newly-returned LycanKing keeps his crown.
Candace Blackburn returns to the world of the Lycan King in this
epic, edge of your seat third installment!

Rafflecopter for Return of the Lycan King: Book 3: Darren and
Cassandra Blog Tour Giveaway:

Candace is offering two lucky winners their choice of either a $25
Amazon Gift Card of $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! To enter,
simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

About Return of the Lycan King: Book 3 Darren and Cassandra:

Title: Return of the Lycan King: Book 3 Darren and Cassandra
Author: Candace Blackburn
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 11, 2018
Publisher: Candace Blackburn
Series: Return of the Lycan King #3
Format: Digital eBook
Digital ISBN: 1-7328151-0-0

Darren chases Cass to Ireland, determined to make up for his
mistakes. When they return to North Carolina to build their lives
together, nothing is the same. Darren has already fought to convince
Cass to give him a chance, but a new Monarchy is just the beginning
of the changes to the Lycan Kingdom. Secrets and challenges to
Darren's crown emerge, and his inner circle closes ranks, to protect
their Kingdom, and to make sure the newly-returned Lycan King
keeps his crown.

Available at:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble  | Goodreads

Copyright © 2018 Return of the Lycan King: Book 3 Darren and
Candace Blackburn

Chapter One
Adult Language and Situations
Liam's completion of flight training had rather fortuitous
timing. Liam was one of the members of Lex's security team before
Darren moved in. Darren snagged the other Lycan on the way to
the airport with the subtle threat to "move your ass and don't
breathe a word to anyone." Darren looked out the window of the
Konstantine jet and didn't see ocean, but he didn't know how
close they were to Dublin Airport. Reading Liam's thoughts
would have been easy enough, if Darren hadn't happily discovered
that he could block that ability. So, he hadn't been subjected to
the "have you lost your fucking mind" lecture that Liam likely
received from Lex. Or the "you let anything happen to him, I'll
kill you, myself" that undoubtedly followed said lecture. Darren
spent the entirety of the flight thinking of his mate. The pain in
her voice, on her face, and the tears in her eyes, all as a result
of Darren not claiming her. Pain, he had his own. Not claiming her
was a physical, mental hell--it was pain from head to toe. But,
he had reasoned that he'd rather live with that pain, than put
Cass through one second of his impressive--or not--collection of
screw-ups. Not to mention, all the bullshit that came with being
King. I'd rather cut off my own head than cause her pain like I
saw that day. Which is why they were over European airspace,
because Cass was in Ireland. She left to escape him.Because seeing
me hurt her. "Darren, we're ten minutes out from Dublin."
Liam's voice cleared his guilt-filled thoughts. He ran his hands
through his hair and realized he needed to go splash some water
on his face.
"Thanks.""No problem."
A minute later, he stood in front of the mirror and frowned.
One of his buddies in college looked like he was in a perpetual
hangover. Darren's roommate used to tease the guy, telling
him that he looked like he'd been ridden hard and put away
wet. That saying pretty much summed up the reflection in the
Maybe I should stop off and get a haircut, buy a new shirt and
He probably would do that, if it didn't take much time. His
primary objective was to find Cass and get them back to the
plane as soon as possible. Hell, he might as well tell Liam to
file a return flight plan for, what, five hours from now? Yeah,
that should do it. He hated the thought of claiming his mate
in the bedroom on the plane, but damned if he was going to wait
to get back to Raleigh. And, they wouldn't be in Ireland for
very long. Oh no. In and out, that was his plan. They'd be back
in no time.


Liam kept up with Darren's footsteps, barely.
"Still don't understand why you wouldn't want another beer.
That may have been the best I've ever had. We should take a
European beer tasting trip, just for comparison, though.
German ales are pretty damned good." They'd only gone in the
last bar because Darren caught Cass's scent.
"Not interested." Glancing around the crowded Temple Bar
section of Dublin, Darren wondered why Cass would be there.
She was private, definitely not the type to hang out in tourist
spots. "Or we could just stay here and sample whiskey. All
the whiskey."Technically, that didn't sound like too bad of
a plan, if he weren't searching for his missing mate. "You
should get on your knees and thank God that you can't get
Liam snorted just as Darren thought he'd, again, picked up on
Cass's scent. He froze mid stride and almost took out a group of
people. Peering inside the closest bar, he inhaled deeply and
looked for her glossy black hair. Nada. Shit.
Darren turned, making a complete circle so he could visualize
everything around him. His frustration was growing. Cass was
so close, and he needed to see her. Feel her. Wrap her in his arms.
Drop to his knees and apologize for being a colossal ass. Spend
the next century begging her forgiveness. Then spend the rest of
his life making her happy. The sounds of barf splattering the
pavement shook him out of his thoughts. "This"--he pointed down
at the moaning human in front of him--"is what all the whiskey
gets you."
Liam glanced down with disdain as they stepped around the
human. "Not me." He waved a
negligent hand. "Higher tolerance and all that."
"Mmm hmm." Looking around, again, Darren barely restrained a
growl. Cass's scent grew fainter, and he was no damned closer to
finding her. Going to lose my motherfucking mind.
Material brushed his arm, and Darren snarled as his head
snapped around. "Hey, do you mind holding my jacket while
I tie my shoe?" What the fuck? Darren snatched the jacket and
Liam bent, after casting a pointed glare toward Darren's hands.
Claws had already punched through the tips, and if he were a
betting person, he'd put money on his eyes glowing. Taking a
deep breth and closing his eyes, he slipped on his polarized
Ray Bans, covered both fists with the jacket and willed himself
to calm."No problem." Biggest white lie ever. If Darren spent
two more seconds out there without Liam's assistance, he'd
likely have shifted and torn abloody path through the Temple
Bar district. They needed to get out of public, check into a
room and Darren needed to sleep off any jet lag. Then come
sunrise, he'd try again. Liam stood and cast a worried glance
at Darren. "Okay?"Not in the slightest. "Fine. Let's get
something to eat, go find a room, and search again tomorrow."
Liam almost seemed to slouch in relief. "Sounds good. We'll hit
the roads in the morning."
He confirmed that with a small nod. And I'll spend another
sleepless night without her.

Other Books in the Return of the Lycan King Trilogy:

Return of the Lycan King: Book 1 Nicholas and Kristen

One life, one mate.  Nicholas Konstantine has been waiting over
a thousand years for his mate. But when he finds her, she's
completely unaware of her Lycan biology, and she's battling
her own personal demons.Kristen O'Connor is a recovering addict,
with some major trust issues. By not letting anyone get close,
she won't get hurt. Yet after one meetiing with Nicholas, her
walls are crumbling, and she wants more with this man.

But Nicholas reveals his Lycan side, and hers as well. In
addition, ghosts from both of their pasts come back to
haunt them. Will they face everything together, or will
Kristen's fears be stronger than her love?
Available at:  Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | Kobo  | Goodreads

Return of the Lycan King: Book 2 Lex and Elizabeth

Lex thought he'd lost her, but Elizabeth is back and she is his mate.
But between her getting used to life as a Lycan, threats from
dangerous elements looming over their heads and very odd changes
in the Lycan kingdom happening all around them, nothing will be
easy. Lex and Elizabeth's love has to be the strength to pull them

Available at:  Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | Goodreads

About Candace Blackburn:

Candace makes her home in North Carolina with her high school
sweetheart husband and their two sons.  She's an indie author who
has published two previous romances (with a bit of fantasy in each),
Tristan's Redemption and Nate's Forgiveness.  Her current works are
all paranormal romance (her favorite genre to read!) and are set in
her home state.  She loves coffee, cold weather, the Boston Red Sox,
the Carolina Panthers, and hearing from fans.

Connect with Candace:
 Website  | Facebook  | Twitter  | Goodreads  | Amazon

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The Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan Blog Blitz and Giveaway! @Susan_Buchanan

The Christmas Spirit
Christmas is coming, but not everyone is looking forward to it.

Rebecca has just been dumped and the prospect of spending the

holiday period with her parents is less than appealing.

Eighty- two year old Stanley lost his beloved wife, Edie, to cancer.

How will he cope with his first Christmas without her?

Jacob’s university degree hasn’t helped him get a job, and it looks

like he’ll still be signing on come New Year.

Workaholic Meredith would rather spend December 25th at home

alone with a ready meal and a DVD box set. Can anything make
her embrace the spirit of the season?

The enigmatic Natalie Hope takes over the reins at the Sugar and

Spice bakery and café in an attempt to spread some festive cheer
and restore Christmas spirit, but will she succeed?
Purchase Links

Author Bio – Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband and
their two children. She is the author of four novels: Return of the
Christmas Spirit, The Christmas Spirit, The Dating Game, and Sign
of the Times. She is currently working on books five and six:
The Proposal and Just One Day.

Susan is also a proofreader, editor and translator, and when not

working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, loves
reading,the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily
in that order!

Social Media Links
Twitter – susan_buchanan
Blog – Sooz’s journal – www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk

Giveaway – Win e-copies of Sign of the Times and
The Dating Game
(Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. 
Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. 

The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid
entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response
is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an
alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any
personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for
this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with
the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the
giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after
which time I will delete the data.  
I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
          (Jacob has left university and can’t get
          Jacob hated signing on. It was so degrading. Even as a twenty-two year old, he could feel the shame. He knew that for people in their fifties who had worked all their days, then found themselves out of work due to this damned recession, that it galled them to have to ask for help from the state. But they needed to, and so did he. It wasn’t much, but it helped.
           No matter how many interviews he was invited to, and there weren’t that many in comparison with how many applications he had made, he had never been offered a job. Four years of university and no job. He had struggled through university, working in bars and even as a bingo caller at one point, but he couldn’t even find that kind of work now. And for what, he had a 2:1 degree in Politics and Sociology. What use was it to him? He couldn’t even get a second interview at a call centre. What kind of failure did that make him? He was well turned-out, had a nice manner, and he thought he was relatively charming, yet the job offers were unforthcoming. To top it all, there was the not so small matter of twenty thousand pounds of student loans to pay back in the future.
           Jacob’s family were rich, not just well off, but properly, stinking rich. You would think that would mean money wouldn’t worry him, but his parents were of the belief that you had to earn everything in life. So, no, they hadn’t paid his way through university. When he’d asked for help, they’d reminded him that they’d parted with enough money in the years when he had attended Gordonstoun. If they told him one more time that not everyone was lucky enough to go to the famous school attended by Prince Charles and Prince Philip, he’d do them a serious injury. So, Jacob had found himself jobs whilst at university and paid his own way. Why he ever thought his family would help him, was beyond him. Hadn’t they shipped him off to Scotland at the first possible opportunity? His parents lived in rural Bedfordshire, with apartments in London, Hong Kong, New York and Dublin, as well as condos in North Carolina and Santa Monica. His father had worked for the diplomatic service and his mother, although a trained lawyer, had chosen to travel around the world with her husband, doing some freelance work when she got bored, but mainly playing the part of diplomat’s wife, hosting dinner parties and attending tennis club events. A pity, then, that they didn’t see fit to include their son in their plans.
           In the beginning Jacob had loathed boarding school. He hated being away from home, but over time he had felt more at home at Gordonstoun and when on holiday at his friends’ houses than he did in his own house. When he had then gone on to study at the University of Glasgow, some of those alliances had been broken, or perhaps not upheld as well as they had all expected. Life sent them in different directions.  Many of his peers had parents who employed them in their firms; some owned their own companies at the forefront of technology, were inventors, or had made canny investment choices long ago. Others came from old money, so had no need to work, enabling them to pick and choose their role.
           Jacob was an exception.


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