12 May 2022

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger by Chiuba E Obele Book Tour and Giveaway!

 

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger by Chiuba E Obele Banner

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger

by Chiuba E Obele

April 18 - May 13, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger by Chiuba E Obele

Solving mysteries is never easy. Dealing with an infuriated mob boss and acute amnesia only makes it worse.

Dylan Woodger is a college student who is captured and tortured by the mafia. After amnesia obscures the last three years of his life, Dylan learns that he has stolen three million dollars from a ruthless mafia boss. When, how, and why – he doesn’t remember. But someone betrayed him and gave him a drug that erased his memory. He was then given over to be tortured.

Determined to recover his memory, Dylan begins delving into the events of the past. As he struggles to put the pieces of his past back together, Dylan finds himself wrapped up in a path of vengeance made even more perilous by the presence of assassins, gangsters, and detectives. But as each new piece of the puzzle falls into place, Dylan realizes that no one is who they seem, especially himself. He now has links to rapists, white supremacists, and murders. People who claim to be his friends are hiding secrets from him. And his girlfriend is beautiful, but that’s all he knows about her. Who are these people? And who is Dylan? Even he doesn’t know!

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger is the story of a young man who is torn between his capacity to do evil and his desire to do what’s right. This book explores racism and feminism, and addresses controversial topics such as male rape, hate crimes, and misogyny toward women. The characters are disturbing, but the book aspires to be hopeful, as these characters ultimately succeed in finding some measure of humanity.

There are so many unanswered questions . . . But first, Dylan must survive the torture.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Fischer House Publications
Publication Date: April 19, 2022
Number of Pages: 377
ISBN: 9798985146400
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 3

WHO WAS I? Dylan J. Woodger

Where was I? I wasn’t sure.
What time was it? I had no clue.
Why was I here? I didn’t know

What I did know, was that it was fucking cold. I could feel undergrowth beneath me. My eyes darted around. There were trees as far as the eye could see. I had a raging headache. I couldn’t move my hands or feet. I looked down at my prone body and saw rope wrapped tightly around my ankles. I couldn’t move my hands — they were tied behind my back. My wrists hurt, and whatever bound them also cut into my arms. I had a pain in my shoulder. It hurt bad. But it was nothing compared to the pain that I would suffer once I fell into the hands of the Utica Mafia.

But we’re not there yet.

In my mind, it was yesterday that my mother dropped me off at Hamilton College. I went to sleep, then woke up in the woods. It was warm and sunny when Mom left me. But now, I woke up in the freezing cold. I thought it was August and I couldn’t figure out how it could get so cold. And why was I tied up? And could the pain in my shoulder be…a bullet wound? But how could it be a bullet wound? I’d never been shot at!

I knew I had to get outta there, or else I’d freeze to death. Most people aren’t experts in rope tying. Usually, the average person without formal training doesn’t know how to do a good job. And this rope tying definitely wasn’t the work of a professional. So I felt confident I could escape. I managed to free my arms with some wriggling though it took more skin off my wrists. Then I focused on freeing my legs. I kicked off my shoes and pulled my feet out of the rope. Once my feet were free, I used my hands to pull the leg bonds down. I was now free, but still clueless. Who had done this to me? One thing I knew for sure: this was the work of an amateur who didn’t know how to properly tie someone up.

Oh, and I noticed something strange about myself. I grew facial hair and had put on some muscle. But when did that happen? I hadn’t looked in a mirror, but I doubted I was the same baby-faced boy my mom had dropped off that morning.

Just then, I heard a group of men shouting out of sync. “Hello, is anybody here? Hello?”

I felt relieved. Did the police send out a search party for me?

I was eager to get out of the cold, and my first instinct was to shout, “Over here!”

That was my first mistake.

As the men approached, their boots crunching on twigs and fallen branches, I rushed over to them. I kept my left arm still — the pain of

moving it alone caused my vision to flash white and my ears to ring. I stumbled a bit, but soon I could see them clear enough. The men wore plain clothes, just any random winter jacket and jeans someone might get at the nearest Walmart. They weren’t uniformed as you would normally expect police to be.

“Thank goodness you’re here. I thought I would freeze to death.”

The men looked at each other in confusion, until one of them finally said, “Are you here with anyone?”

“No,” I replied. “I found myself tied up and managed to escape, just before you got here.”

“This guy is lying to us,” one of them said. “This must be an ambush.”

“An ambush? What are you talking about?” I struggled to keep my voice even. “I just woke up, and I haven’t seen another person until you guys showed up. I’m glad you got here, though. Can you please take me home?”

Just at that moment, one of the men pulled out a gun and pointed it at me. My hands flew out in front of me, and my blood ran cold when I saw the barrel. “Wait, hold on! What are you doing?”

“You better tell us right now. Is this an ambush? ’Cause if bullets start flying, you’ll be the first one to die.”

“No, sir. I promise, this isn’t an ambush.”

“So where’s our money?” he demanded.

I was confused. Then I thought I had pieced it together. “Yeah, okay. You guys obviously want money for going through the trouble of finding me. That’s fair. My mother’s pretty well off, and she probably offered a reward to find me. I’ll make sure you get it. That’s how these things work, right? So can you please take me home now?”

The man kept the gun pointed at me. I heard a click and knew he had cocked it. I realized then, that this was no ordinary search party.

“What’s going on here?” I asked, with fear creeping in.

The man with the gun shouted at me. “Stop playing games and tell us where our money is!”

I furrowed my eyebrows at him. He was an olive-skinned man. I pegged his age at around forty. He was bigger than average with shaggy black hair and unkempt facial hair.

“You’ve got me confused with someone else,” I said. “I don’t have anybody’s money.”

“Nice try, kid, but I’m not a babbeo. Whatever tricks you’re trying to pull, they won’t work. Stop acting like we’re suckers and tell us where our money is! I’m not gonna ask you again.”

Babbeo? I wondered. What language is that? Could it be Italian?

“Look, I already told you that if you take me home, my mom will be glad to help you with some money. Now can we please—”

Before I could finish speaking, the man with the gun slapped me with it. I grabbed my jaw and fell backward. My head exploded with pain.

One of the men said, “Shit, Tony. This guy is useless. Let’s finish him off and get outta here.”

Another man replied, “Wait, Tony. The boss sent us to collect the money. We can’t kill him. We have to make this kid talk.”

“All right,” Tony said. “Let’s take him back to the warehouse. And then we can really start having fun.”

I knew what he meant by “fun.” They were going to torture me. “Help!” I screamed. “Somebody help me!”

A loud bang rang out. Before my ears could even begin ringing, the bullet ripped into my thigh, stopping like red hot steel somewhere inside of me. My vision flashed white, and I fell to the ground. Pain pulsed out from the wound. I wasn’t aware of myself at that moment. Maybe I cried out, or maybe it was more of a scream. What I knew, though, was that Tony had shot me in the leg.

“Shut the fuck up!” he said, waving the gun around. “I better not hear one more word outta you, or the next bullet is going straight through your head. Don’t test me!”

The men grabbed the ropes I had untied and started binding me. All the while, I felt my pants getting soaked with warm blood. My temples pounded with my racing heart as I begged for my life. “Please, you have

to believe me. I haven’t taken anyone’s money!”

One of the men said, “Well, if you didn’t rob us, then explain how you got that bullet wound in your shoulder. Huh?”

The men paused and waited for me to answer. For a moment, I forgot about the pain in my leg. I looked over my shoulder, and I could see someone had bandaged me up.

“I don’t know where I got this from,” I said.

“Don’t lie! I specifically remember shooting someone in the shoulder when the guys who robbed us were running away. You mean to tell me that’s a coincidence?”

“Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please let me go.”

Tony went into a rage and began kicking me relentlessly in the gut. I tried to curl into a ball to protect my stomach which was near impossible thanks to the rope bonds. “Stop pretending to be dumb!” he said. “You’re getting on my fucking nerves!”

“Tony, relax!” one of the men said. “Remember, we gotta keep this guy alive until we know where our money is.”

The men gagged my mouth with a dry kitchen cloth and carried me into their van. Then the van drove off. The windows were tinted black. I tried kicking. I tried screaming. But none of it worked. After they placed me into the van, one of the men pulled a bag over my head. I couldn’t see a thing, but I could still hear them speak. One of them sounded like Tony—a baritone smoker. He was apparently speaking on the phone.

“Yeah, Vinny,” he said. “Tell the boss we found someone…I don’t know who it is…I already told you, I don’t know who he is! It’s just some kid who’s putting on an act.”

I heard Vinny shouting on the other end of the call. “You didn’t even ask him his for fucking name, Tony?”

Tony jerked the bag off my head and yanked the gag from my mouth. “What’s your name, kid?” he asked.

I scrambled for a plan. Should I give him a fake name? What if they catch me in a lie? That wouldn’t be so smart. I thought about whether I should cooperate. Then I simply said, “I’m not saying a damn word.”

At that point, Tony pulled a knife from his pocket and repeatedly stabbed my leg wound. White-hot pain seared through my mind. I nearly passed out from the pain and the sight of blood pouring out of me.

“Stop! Please, stop!” I cried out.

One of the men said, “You could make this a lot easier, kid, if you just tell us your name.”

“Dylan!” I screamed. “My name is Dylan!” “Dylan who?” Tony asked.

“Dylan J. Woodger!”

The pain in my leg was so bad I could barely breathe. I trembled uncontrollably. Soon, I felt lightheaded. “Can you please wrap my leg?” I

begged. “I’m bleeding badly. And I—”

Before I could finish speaking, Tony gagged me again and pulled the bag over my head. He continued talking on the phone.

“Okay, Vinny. He said his name is Dylan…Dylan Woodger…Yeah, we’re on our way to the warehouse, and—”

At that moment, I heard the shriek of a police siren. “Shit!” the driver muttered.

“What is it?” Tony asked

“It’s a cop! We’re being pulled over.”

A wave of obscenities reverberated throughout the van. “Everyone, calm the fuck down!” Tony yelled.

I felt something hard being shoved against my crotch. It was the familiar feel of a gun.

“You better not say a word, kid,” Tony said, “or I’ll shoot you in the balls.”

The van halted abruptly. A minute passed. I heard footsteps outside on the road, the glide of shoes on gravel.

“Hello, Officer,” the driver said calmly, “What seems to be the problem?”

“License and registration,” said the cop.

“Sure. Not a problem.” The driver gave the cop his license and registration.

“Do you know why you’re being stopped?” “Was I speeding?”

“No. Your van has tinted windows. Tinted windows are illegal in the state of New York.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know that,” the driver said. “I just bought this vehicle last week, and the car dealer failed to mention that. I’ll be sure to get the windows changed.” The driver laughed nervously. “So, I guess I’ll take that ticket and be on my way.”

“Not so fast,” the cop said. “I still have a couple of questions to ask you…Where are you coming from?”

“Oh umm…We’re just a few fellas going out hunting in the woods.

We just got finished not too long ago, and now we’re heading home.” “And where’s home?” the officer asked.

“Utica, sir.”

“Well, you’re only allowed to hunt animals between November first and December twentieth. Hunting season ended last week.”

“Yeah, sorry about that.”

“I’d like to check your vehicle.”

“Sure Officer. Go right ahead. I’ll unlock it for you.”

When I heard the rear door unlock, I nearly let out a cheer. It was as if the officer could hear my heart pounding its way through my chest. But as soon as I heard the rear door of the van creak open, a barrage of bullets tore open the air. I heard a body drop to the ground.

One of the men inside the van hissed, “Shit, he’s still moving. He’s probably got a vest on.”

Another man said, “I’ll go finish him off.”

“No! Hold on.” Tony stopped him. He pulled the bag off my head and said to me, “I want you to see what happens to those who get in our way.”

Tony stepped out of the van. Through the open door, I could see the officer on the ground, writhing in pain and begging for his life. “Please,” he said, “Don’t do this…I have three kids and a wife.”

At that point, Tony fired two gunshots straight into the officer’s head. Blood splattered onto the pavement. Tony got back into the van and said to me, “I wanted you to see that, so you know we’re capable of killing anyone. If you fuck with us, you’ll end up joining this guy here.”

***

Excerpt from The Orientation of Dylan Woodger by Chiuba E Obele. Copyright 2022 by Chiuba E Obele. Reproduced with permission from Chiuba E Obele. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Chiuba E Obele

CHIUBA EUGENE OBELE is a poet, writer, and author of The Orientation of Dylan Woodger: A Central New York Crime Story. He can usually be found reading a book, and that book will more likely than not be a crime fiction novel. Chiuba lives and works out of his home in Boston, Massachusetts. When not absorbed in the latest page-turner, Chiuba enjoys spending his summers vacationing with his parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews.

Catch Up With Chiuba E Obele:
ChiubaObele.com
Goodreads
Twitter - @ChiubaE
Facebook - @chiubaobele7

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11 May 2022

Book 2 in the Mephisto series by @nadiablairauthor Book Blitz and Giveaway! #XpressoTours @XpressoTours #NadiaBlair

Unchain My Heart
Nadia Blair


(Mephisto, #2)
Publication date: May 10th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

What’s a bad girl to do when the world won’t let her be good …

With her thirtieth birthday looming, actress Natasha Bernard wants to reinvent herself as something other than Hollywood’s favorite villainess. When she hears rumors that a tell-all exposĂ© reveals details of her love life with her rockstar ex, she decides to put a stop to it. Even if that means confronting his bandmate, Richard Mac—the man who let the world brand her with a scarlet ‘A.’

She’s his nemesis … his secret obsession … and the only woman who can incinerate his life …

Guitarist Richard Mac is a control freak, whether he’s working on a new album or using his custom leather toys in the bedroom. When “Hurricane” Natasha storms back into his life, he risks everything to claim her. But he can’t risk losing control and letting her guess his darkest secret … that she’s the one woman he’s always wanted and could never have …

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Mac dug his cigarette case and lighter out of his pocket. For a while he smoked in blessed silence.

Movement caught his eye. A woman wandered up the beach, flirting with the waves teasing around her bare feet. In the light of the rising moon, she was all ember-bright hair and pale skin. The wind plastered her short white dress to her long legs. She waded knee-deep, laughing softly, her head tilting back as she watched a seagull gliding overhead. Something about the purity of her profile in the silver moonlight caught him. He paused for a second look, cigarette smoldering forgotten between his fingers.

A high wave crashed over her. With a yelp, she staggered back. The sodden dress clung to her skin, the white fabric gone transparent. Mac told himself he wasn’t a crude sod and he shouldn’t look.

But he did. He had a pulse, didn’t he? Her braless breasts were clearly visible beneath the flimsy fabric, the rosy nipples puckering into hard points. The sight was more erotic than if she’d bared it all to go skinny-dipping.

“Oh, bollocks! Bloody fucking fuck.” Her curses, uttered in a posh English accent, made him chuckle.

Mac strode forward as she squelched across the sand. “Here.” He offered his jacket.

She gaped at him. “Where the devil did you come from?”

“Melbourne.” It was an asinine response, but her husky voice, so at odds with her prissy accent, was doing strange things to him.

“You’re laughing at me,” she muttered as she draped the jacket over her shoulders.

Altruistic impulses were overrated. Her gorgeous curves, those lovely pink-tipped breasts, were now hidden beneath black leather.

“I am.” Somehow, a statement of the obvious seemed necessary.

“Thank you,” she murmured. “I never imagined the Pacific would be so cold.” She swept windblown hair from her face and met his eye.

As he finally got a good look at her, that tight, tangled knot within him came loose, and for the first time in ages, he could breathe. Mac tossed away his half-smoked cigarette. It spun, glowing, into the darkness.

He wanted to say, Oh, it’s you.

What he said was, “Who the fuck are you?”

She cocked her head. “Of course, you’re Richard Mac. I should have known one of Sloan’s mates would have the looks of a Viking and the manners of a caveman.” She offered her hand. Her palm was cool against his, but her touch seared straight through him. Her breath caught, as if she felt it too. When he skimmed his thumb across the pulse fluttering at her inner wrist, she trembled.

“I’m Natasha,” she said. “Sloan sent me to fetch you. Said you should stop chain-smoking and pretend to be sociable for a bit.” She glanced down at her hand, still clasped in his. With a gasp, she tugged free.

Natasha. The name roused a dim memory—Sloan going on and on about his new girl, with legs up to here and long, red hair.

Christ.

Never in all his twenty-nine years had he begrudged Sloan anything—not his poster boy good looks, or his voice, or even his effortless charm. Mac had always known his own talents complemented his mate’s. He’d always been content to let Sloan have center stage.

For the first time in twenty years, he contemplated taking something of his.


Nadia Blair writes steamy contemporary romance featuring outrageous bad boys and gutsy girls who give as good as they get. She has a thing for snappy dialog, humorous situations, and swoon-worthy happily-ever-afters.

When she's not having conversations with fictional people, she enjoys summer thunderstorms, top-shelf whiskey, and rockin' out to a classic guitar solo.

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The Admiral’s Wife by M.K. Tod Blog Tour! @MKTodAuthor @maryanneyarde @mktodauthor @coffeepotbookclub #HistoricalFiction #DualTimeline #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

 


Book Title: The Admiral’s Wife

Author: M.K. Tod

Publication Date: 11th April 2022

Publisher: Heath Street Publishing

Page Length: 390 Pages

Genre: Dual-Timeline



The lives of two women living in Hong Kong more than a century apart are unexpectedly linked by forbidden love and financial scandal.


In 2016, Patricia Findlay leaves a high-powered career to move to Hong Kong, where she hopes to rekindle the bonds of family and embrace the city of her ancestors. Instead, she is overwhelmed by feelings of displacement and depression. To make matters worse, her father, CEO of the family bank, insists that Patricia’s duty is to produce an heir, even though she has suffered three miscarriages.


In 1912, when Isabel Taylor moves to Hong Kong with her husband, Henry, and their young daughter, she struggles to find her place in such a different world and to meet the demands of being the admiral’s wife. At a reception hosted by the governor of Hong Kong, she meets Li Tao-Kai, an influential member of the Chinese community and a man she met a decade earlier when he was a student at Cambridge.


As the story unfolds, each woman must consider where her loyalties lie and what she is prepared to risk for love.


Trigger Warnings:
Brief sex scenes


“Family secrets and personal ambitions, east and west, collide in this compelling, deeply moving novel." -- Weina Dai Randel, award-winning author of THE LAST ROSE OF SHANGHAI

“Irresistible and absorbing.” Janie Chang, bestselling author of THE LIBRARY OF LEGENDS



Amazon (Universal Link): https://books2read.com/u/mg70YX

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09XRCKX7F/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09XRCKX7F/

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09XRCKX7F/

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09XRCKX7F/


Excerpt


“But it’s your fault I’m American.”


Patricia Findlay heard the pinch of exasperation in her voice and smiled at her father to reduce the sting of her words. The arrogant way he looked at her over the brim of his reading glasses made her think of an aging monarch guarding his empire. And this wasn’t far from the truth. Li Jianyu was the major shareholder of Lotus Commercial Bank, one of Hong Kong’s largest commercial banks. He was a heavyweight in Asian financial markets. If she wanted to work in banking, her father’s connections were crucial.


How had an innocent remark about having coffee with two American women created conflict between them already? 


“You aren’t American, you’re Chinese,” her father said, his lips flattening, which she’d learned as a child was a clear sign of displeasure. “Li Mingyu, not Patricia Findlay. It offends me that you don’t use your proper name.”


They were speaking Cantonese, which put her at a disadvantage. Although fluent as a young child, Patricia had lived her entire life in the U.S. and had lost proficiency in speaking the language. As for reading it, she only knew a few of the three thousand characters in everyday use.


“And does my husband offend you too?” Patricia said. “He’s a proper American with a proper American name.” She spoke without thinking and instantly regretted her words.


Her father raised his chin and glared, his black eyes sharp and penetrating as if he wanted to squeeze her soul with his bare hands. He was accustomed to having his way. After so many years apart from him, Patricia thought herself immune to his brand of coercion and control. Yet here they were arguing already, just like they always had.


A year earlier, when Patricia and her husband Andrew had been planning the move to Hong Kong, she hadn’t imagined how difficult it would be to leave everything behind—her demanding job, an intimate group of friends, her husband’s two children, her mother- and father-in-law, who in many ways had become closer than her own parents. Nor had she imagined how disorienting Hong Kong would be. 


It was at about the five-month mark when Patricia’s enthusiasm had screeched to a halt, replaced by loneliness and depression and the realization that her life had spun out of its orbit. The gravitational pull of her personal sun and planets—Andrew’s children, her friends, her work, and the city she’d lived in for fifteen years—had disappeared. Other than Andrew, her brother David, and her parents, she was left with nothing familiar, no touchstones to buoy her spirits, no sense of purpose. 


In this strange, new world, she wanted her father’s help to regain at least one familiar element of her life. Patricia had enough connections to find a job with one of the western banks located in Hong Kong, but she wanted to experience the Asian banking world. Furthermore, working at Lotus Commercial Bank—LCB—would offer an opportunity to demonstrate her skills to her father and earn his respect. Ultimately, when the time came for her father to step down, she would be able to contribute in a meaningful way.


She loved her father. She really did. She admired his dedication to family, his business acumen, his fierce loyalty to Chinese culture. As a little girl, she had done everything she could think of to compete with her older brother and earn her father’s approval. During her teenage years, he had acknowledged her academic achievements and, unlike Patricia’s mother, encouraged rather than criticized. It was her insistence on remaining in the U.S. that had set them on a collision course.


“Andrew no longer offends me,” her father said. “In the banking world, having an American son-in-law is proving to be an asset.” A thin smile crossed his face. “If he spoke our language better, he would be even more valuable.”


“Is that all people are to you, Ah Ba? Assets or liabilities? I suppose you consider your son a liability.” Why do I always confront him? Nothing good will come of the conversation now.


Li Jianyu removed his glasses and set them next to the bonsai display anchoring one corner of his desk. The black ceramic dish contained pure white sand, a few artfully placed rocks, and a miniature tree leaning heavily to one side as if buffeted by endless winds. There were many days when Patricia felt like that tree.


“Your brother has chosen a different path,” her father said. “I don’t approve of his lifestyle, but a son is a son. And he’s my heir. Perhaps if you’d returned home earlier, his situation would be different.”


Patricia closed her eyes. She took a slow breath in and exhaled completely, a calming technique she’d learned at qigong. “You can’t blame me for David’s ‘lifestyle,’ as you call it. People don’t choose to be gay, Ah Ba. They’re born that way. Whether I lived in New York or Hong Kong, he would still be gay.”


Regardless of the original topic, their conversations often collapsed into the same ratholes—family duty, Chinese superiority, America’s flawed culture, her brother’s way of life. Her father agonized about the future of the bank that his grandfather had founded, and a small part of Patricia sympathized with his disappointment that his only son was gay—a man who would never produce an heir, unless one of her father’s schemes to trick David into marriage proved successful.


As a young adult, Patricia had been the one who wanted to follow her father into business, and at first this had pleased him. When her parents and David left the U.S., she had argued that industry connections and knowledge of American practices would be valuable to the family bank. Her father had reluctantly agreed, and she’d taken a job with Bank of America after graduation. By any measure, her success had been impressive, and as time unfolded, she’d been seduced by opportunities to further her career while resisting her parents’ pleas—her best friend Lesley called them commands—to come home. As far as Patricia was concerned, home had never been Hong Kong. Home had been Chicago, San Francisco, and then New York, where she’d met Andrew Findlay.


Marrying outside her family’s culture and ethnicity had been a severe blow to her parents. During one acrimonious phone call, her father had declared that he was ashamed of her. He’d called her a traitor, a schemer, and a disappointment. After that, they hadn’t spoken for months. It was only Andrew’s efforts to placate her mother and father that had brought about an uneasy truce.


“If you hadn’t been so rebellious, your brother might have taken up a normal life,” her father said now. “You took all the attention away from him. Your mother agrees with me.”


Patricia stifled the obvious rebuttal. “Well, that’s not why I came to see you this morning, Father.” She deliberately used a more formal term of address. “Andrew and I moved to Hong Kong, just as you wanted. We’ve settled in now and I’m grateful you’ve given him a senior role at the bank—”


“But,” her father interrupted, joining his fingers together beneath his chin like a skeptical lawyer.


“Yes, Father, there’s a but.” She took another calming breath. “I have nothing to do. If there isn’t a role for me here at the bank, can you help me find a job somewhere else? You have so much influence in Hong Kong. You can’t expect me to go from an all-consuming career to being a housewife. I’m your daughter. I need—”


He interrupted again. “Your mother does a superb job of looking after our home and social life. Why shouldn’t I expect you to do the same?”


Patricia could never live like her mother—days full of shopping, attending ceremonial teas, receiving reflexology treatments, arranging flowers, visiting ancestral graves, planning twelve-course dinners, consulting with the housekeeper, the cook, and the gardener. Her mother was a true tai tai, a woman of privilege with money to spend and lots of leisure time. As far as Patricia was concerned, those activities filled up the hours but offered no challenge, no feeling of contribution, and nothing to nourish the spirit.


She rose and, as she walked towards the window, touched her father’s prized possessions: a jade Buddha that had once belonged to her great-grandfather; the life-sized figure of a warrior from Xian; a lacquered prayer table, which her father claimed was more than a thousand years old. In one corner of the office, a waterfall spilled down miniature granite steps with a gentle trickling sound. She knew that each of these had been selected and positioned according to feng shui principles to honor both past and future power.


Patricia picked up one of the black stones from her father’s Go board and fingered its smooth surface, an action she knew would irritate him. “Because you raised me to have different expectations,” she said at last, while gazing at the commanding view of mountains, skyscrapers, and a bustling, boat-filled harbor. “Because you encouraged my interest in banking. Because I’m . . .” She’d been about to say, “Because I’m like you,” but she hated the thought that she could ever be as ruthless and manipulative as her father. “Because I’m your daughter.”



M.K. Tod

 

M.K. (Mary) Tod’s interest in historical fiction began as a teenager immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy, and Georgette Heyer. In 2004, her husband’s career took them to Hong Kong where, with no job and few prospects, Mary began what became Unravelled, her first novel. The Admirals Wife is her fifth novel.

 

Mary’s award-winning blog, www.awriterofhistory.com, focuses on reading and writing historical fiction. She’s an active member of the historical fiction community and has conducted five unique reader surveys on topics from readers’ habits and preferences to favorite historical fiction authors. Mary is happily married to her high-school sweetheart. They have two adult children and two delightful grandsons.

 


Website: https://www.mktod.com 

Blog: https://www.awriterofhistory.com 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MKTodAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mary.tod.3/ 

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Tour Schedule Page: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2022/03/blog-tour-admirals-wife-by-mk-tod.html


Bratva Darling by @sabinebarclayauthor Book Tour! #XpressoTours @XpressoTours #sabinebarclay

 

Bratva Darling
Sabine Barclay


(The Ivankov Brotherhood, #1)
Published by: Oliver Heber Books
Publication date: June 28th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mafia, Romance

I wasn’t prepared for her…
She just got me to pay three times as much as I wanted for a company I’ll buy and destroy.

She knows who I am. The bratva doesn’t scare her.

Intelligent, brave, and unstoppable.

I’ll make her mine.

She doesn’t know it yet, but we’re soulmates.

I’ll take her to her limits. Then give her all her heart desires.

The Bratva Darling is an interconnecting, standalone Dark Mafia Romance with a HEA and no cliffhanger. It contains extra-steamy scenes that will make your toes curl and your granny blush. This is book one in The Ivankov Brotherhood, a six-book series that’ll keep you warm at night.

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Sabine Barclay, a nom de plume also writing Historical Romance as Celeste Barclay, lives near the Southern California coast with her husband and sons. Growing up in the Midwest, Sabine enjoyed spending as much time in and on the water as she could. Now she lives near the beach. She's an avid swimmer, a hopeful future surfer, and a former rower. Before becoming a full-time author, Sabine was a Social Studies and English teacher. She holds degrees in International Affairs (BA), Secondary Social Science (MAT), and Political Management (MPS). She channels that knowledge into creating engrossing contemporary romances that will make your toes curl and your granny blush.

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Oath-Breaker River Starr Book Blitz and Giveaway! @river_starr #XpressoTours @XpressoTours

 

 Angel of Death & Demons


(
 Angel of Death & Demons Book 1)
Publication date: May 5th 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

No one survives their meeting with the Angel of Death—except for me.

After being accused of rallying citizens to revolt against him and breaking the rules of engagement with demons to save my best friend—guilty as charged on both accounts—the Angel of Death demands to personally oversee my sentencing in his obsidian castle of demons and death.

I’m done for. This is the end. But my death won’t be in vain—I’ll die a martyr to the Paladins Order’s cause, and I’ll rescue my best friend at the same time. She’ll be safe and the paladins will pick a new leader. They’ll thrive and continue the fight.

Or so I think. When judgment day arrives and I’m knelt before the Angel of Death, with his onyx eyes, his ebony hair, and his seductively imposing stature, my soul doesn’t leave me.

It soars.

Because when I dare to look the Angel of Death in the eyes, everything changes. And what unfolds in my anger and vengeance’s stead is a thread of events I never could have foreseen.

I survived my meeting with the Angel of Death. But can I survive his love?

OATH-BREAKER is the first of a M/F paranormal demon romance duology full of steamy goodness.

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Excerpt

“What do you mean you can’t kill me now?” I asked as soon as we were alone. Alone with the Angel of Death.

“I cannot,” he said, his tone curt.

“Isn’t that more reason to swiftly see my end?” I asked.  “You need to kill me quickly before they have a chance to mount a rescue. Otherwise, you’ll be seen as weak, won’t you?” About as weak as him acknowledging and acting upon our bond as fated mates to the court. Maybe that is why he hadn’t clarified his choices to his court.

He smiled weakly. “On the contrary, I think keeping you alive will force the paladins to hold off. Two leaders of their Order killed within months of each other isn’t good for morale.”

My jaw clenched. “I hate you.”

“I know,” he said. “But you will not always. Fate has brought us together.”

I chuckled darkly. “Until you kill me in three days. What do you hope to accomplish in that time? Why not one day?”

Had I not been so close to the Angel of Death, I might not have noticed the twitch in his lips as I said that, or the nervous blink in his eye. “We will accomplish much.”

We,” I spat, “won’t be doing anything.”

He stepped closer to me, fully enveloping my space. I took several steps backward until my back slammed into a wall. Curse this tiny room. “You made a deal.”

I stood straighter. The Angel of Death was taller than me and owner to power I wasn’t sure I could match. But I would not stand down or cower beneath my fiancĂ©’s murderer. “I made a deal to trade myself for Jessa.”

“And I let her go,” he said so matter-of-factly, with such an edge of calm that it made me want to punch him. I might’ve had being this close to him not utterly stolen the breath from my lungs. His scent, the aura of his power, his very presence made it hard to breathe. His gaze burned me, through me, as if I could hide nothing from him.

Every part of him was all-consuming.

I breathed in his scent. Every move I made curled his very magic around me, sending coils up my arms and down my legs. It was as if he were touching me without physically doing so, holding me in an embrace I didn’t want, but my body did. Part of me, small as it was, craved this demon king’s hold and power, and I couldn’t deny it to myself. But I’d sure as hell fight it.

I’d already had a mate. I didn’t need—or want—another one, least of all in this ruthless overlord.

“How do I know she’ll make it to past the city line?” I asked, hating how breathless I sounded in the presence of this demon.

He licked his lips as his gaze dropped. Watching me be breathless. Watching my form start to lose some of its stiff determination to stand up to this man. This demon. “I gave you my word.”

“You’ll excuse me if your word means nothing to me,” I spat, a little more power behind the words this time. “You’re the Angel of Death.”

His cold, dark gaze lifted back to mine and he closed what little space remained between us. We were both nearly flush with the wall now. The cold stone pressed against my back, keeping me trapped between it and this demon.

The Angel of Death lifted his hand as if he were going to touch my face but stopped just short of doing so, the tips of his fingers a hairsbreadth from my cheek. “Lucius.”

My brow furrowed even as my gaze darted to his hand. Watching it. Waiting for any indication an attack was imminent. I could stun him, maybe. At least get to the door. But between his personal bodyguard and the other demonic soldiers, I doubted I’d get far. No, if I was going to escape this castle, I’d have to be much sneakier about it.

I surrendered to this realization, but such surrender must have registered on my face, because the Angel of Death—Lucius—relaxed. “Is that your name?”

“Yes,” he said casually.

“Why are you telling me this?” Normally, sharing personal information was a captive’s tactic to stay alive. A way to form a relationship with your kidnapper. He was no captive, and I was in no way going to give this demon king anything more than he’d already taken from me.

Lucius leaned in, our foreheads barely inches apart. “Because we are mates.”

I was suddenly aware of how much space he was taking up around me. Of how small I was now pressed between him and this wall. And although there were instincts within me to run from or fight demons, they were quiet in the wake of Lucius’s presence. Not just his demonic powers, but the fate bond that did exist, as much as I hated it. And I thought he’d hated it too. Lucius had certainly appeared pissed by this turn of events. But nowhere he was, head inclined toward me. And here I was, my gaze dropping to his full lips. Before I knew it, I was wetting my own.

A magnetic force held me in place, a desire to run my hands along his chest. To pull him in. An invisible electricity seemed to zip between us where our magic met. My cheeks warmed with the growing awareness of how much I didn’t at all mind how close we were. How he’d not dropped his hand, as if he were waiting for any indication it’d be okay to touch me. And gods, a part of me wanted it.

Disgust washed through me with the realization, stifling this growing bond between us. Curse the fates who had decided mates should be a thing and curse the fates that’d chosen to give me two.

I batted Lucius’s raised hand away and slammed both bound fists into the center of his chest, shoving him backward. Lucius barely moved backward, and his eyebrows rose in surprise, but the motion had created more space between us, small as it was. That was all I’d wanted.

River Starr writes books that help you escape, especially fantasy romance full of magic and supernaturals. Favorite things: coffee, wine, chocolate, and a heavy dose of books to chase away the dark... or invite delicious darkness in.

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