Sycophant Book Tour & Giveaway

Sycophant by Meagan J. Meehan Genre: Horror Publisher: Alban Lake Publishing LLC

Dawn Daniels has always been aware of the dark force within her; a possession that is both the bane of her life and her fierce protector, Dawn must find a way to accept her reality and embrace her destiny. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * B&N

Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist, and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Blasting News, KidskinthaBlog, and Entertainment Vine. She is also a stop-motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a Bachelors in English Literature, a Masters in Communication, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology. She is an animal advocate and a fledgling toy, game, and shoe designer. Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads * Muckrack

When I was little, everything seemed okay because no one noticed the pattern for years. My life
with gramma was stable and loving and pleasant. We were happy, so while we registered the misfortunes
that continuously took place all around us, we suspected nothing—hell, for all I know, gramma never did.
But I wised up right quick.
It started out slowly, unassumingly. First, my gramma’s friends started dying off. Heart attacks,
strokes, aneurysms; some were fatal and others were merely damaging, but all were very sudden and
severe. Granted, most of my gramma’s friends were around her age or older and most people chalked it
up to midlife health issues; such things are to be expected, especially in poor coal country. But then Lena
Harker—the mailman’s wife—took ill with cancer and wasted away before everybody’s eyes. She was
barely thirty. Chris, the aforementioned mailman, was never the same after that; he quit his job and spent
the last years of his life drinking himself to death. Two weeks later, gramma’s neighbor’s—a jolly couple
called the Parkers—three-year-old granddaughter tripped down the front porch steps and snapped her
neck; she was dead before she hit the ground. Two months later, her mother—the Parkers’ only child—
drowned herself. Some said it was an accident, others speculated suicide. Either way, grief was the
culprit. The Parkers were never jolly again.
All throughout my formative years friends, neighbors, and acquaintances had illnesses, had
accidents, went broke, went crazy, went missing—oddly, no one thought any of it was strange. It seemed
to be just a series of sad happenings over the courses of several lives. That was possible, reasonable even.
After all, I was just a baby back then. Who would have connected the dots and realized that all the
blighted individuals had been in my direct vicinity right before disaster struck?

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To Weave a Highland Tapestry Book Tour & Giveaway

To Weave a Highland Tapestry A Tale from the Order of the Dragon Knights by Mary Morgan Genre: Time Travel/Scottish Medieval/Paranormal Romance Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc Publication Date: December 9, 2019

Patrick MacFhearguis, hardened by battles won and lost, desires what he can never have—peace within his heart and soul. Yet, the ever-meddling Fae weave a new journey for him to conquer—a task this Highlander is determined to resist. When skilled weaver, Gwen Hywel, is commissioned to create a tapestry for the MacFhearguis clan she embraces the assignment. While seeking out ideas, she finds herself clutching the one thread that can alter the tapestry of her heart and life. A man conflicted by past deeds. A woman with no family of her own. Is it possible for love to unravel an ancient past in order to claim two badly scarred hearts? Or will the light of hope be doused forever? Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo * Website

Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return. Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories. If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time- travel within the pages of her books. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads * LinkedIn

“Where is the pain?”
“It’s tolerable.” She refused to appear weak, returning the same remark he had shared with her
earlier.
Patrick reached for her hand. His warmth and strength seeped through her skin. “Place both your
hands against the bark with your feet some distance apart.”
“And why am I doing this?”
The beginning of a smile tipped the corners of his mouth. “Trust me, lass. Ye are in pain from riding
stiffly for many hours.”
For reasons she couldn’t fathom, Gwen had faith in the man. Removing her hand from his, she did as
he instructed.
His presence loomed from behind her. “If ye will permit me, I shall roll my knuckles along your
back.”
Heat flared instantly up her neck, but Gwen nodded, giving him permission.
When the first contact of his fist swept across her back, Gwen let out a moan. Pain and pleasure
fought for dominance. She closed her eyes against the sensation of his healing and seductive touch,
allowing her body to ease from its rigid position.
“Let your limbs relax,” he urged.
“Feels so good,” she mumbled.
He splayed his fingers and massaged the knots along the column of her neck. Delicious pinpricks
trickled down her back, along with the melting snow on her head. Gwen knew she presented a wretched
sight, but she gave no care. His fingers caressed the top of her spine, and wove their way down to both
shoulders. By the time he finished, her body was on fire with another type of ache, but her muscles had
loosened up. There was no denying the man ignited a spark within her.
Gwen turned around slowly.
He placed his hand above her on the tree, trapping her against the rough bark with his body.
Lowering his head near her ear, he whispered. “Better?”
The word had her breathing rapidly. Gwen did the unthinkable and pressed her cheek against him—
his beard grazing her face. “Yes.”
“Good,” he breathed the word against her skin and withdrew.
He held her captive with the intensity of his gaze—compelling and magnetic. She had contained her
inner woman within a cocoon for so long she yearned to be set free. If this was a distorted nightmare, she
was determined to leave it on a positive experience.
When neither made a move to part, the butterfly emerged. Gwen lifted her hand and cupped his
cheek. His eyes darkened as he turned his face into her palm, pressing his warm lips against her skin. A
new and unexpected heat rushed inside her, and she gasped with the pleasure.
Patrick took a step back, breaking their connection. A slash of wind slapped across her face, cooling
the heat of their encounter.

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The Never Forgotten Series Book Tour & Giveaway

Never Forgotten The Never Forgotten Series Book 1 by Kelly Risser Genre: YA Paranormal Romance Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing Publication Date: June 29, 2014

In this coming of age story, Meara Quinn is about to find out there are worse things than moving to a tiny oceanside town before her senior year. Like discovering there’s a secret being kept from her and knowing it’s a life-changer. After experiencing vivid visions of her absentee father, Meara decides she deserves answers. With the help of her new friend Evan, a guy she happens to be falling for, she embarks on a journey in the hopes of unlocking family history and finding her true self. But when she meets a handsome stranger at a local club who knows far more about her than he should, her world is again shaken. In him, Meara may have uncovered the key to the very secret that will reveal not only who she is… but what she is. The Never Forgotten series starts as a light paranormal romance with an Irish/Scottish folklore twist and grows into an underwater urban fantasy where love, loyalty and friendship face the ultimate test. If you like mermaids, sirens, and other water fae you may not have met before, this series is for you.With over 300 five-star ratings on Goodreads, the Never Forgotten series is a Best Book Award-finalist young adult paranormal romance series that will appeal to fans of House of Royale by Jaymin Eve, Sirangel by Lucia Ashta, and Born of Water by A.L. Knorr.**FREE!**Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo

Current Impressions The Never Forgotten Series Book 2 Publication Date: July 16, 2014

Current Impressions is a Readers Favorite award winner and the second novel in the best-selling Never Forgotten series by Kelly Risser. After an emotionally draining year, Meara Quinn is not the same carefree and innocent girl. Her mom is gone. Graduation is over. Taking a leap of faith and temporarily separating from her one love—Evan—Meara joins her father’s world on a journey to learn more about who she is. Too bad life is not all starfish and seashells. Meara gains magical abilities, but she’s forced to undergo intense training so she knows what to do with them. Her father chooses her aunt and Kieran as her trainers. And Kieran—a powerful male who’s not from their clan— has the unnerving ability to infuriate and intrigue Meara at the same time. While Meara begins her new life, Evan endures with her memory and the knowledge that he will see her in July when his internship begins. Although excited about gaining real world experience, it’s the thought of seeing Meara that really drives him. Unfortunately, Evan finds it hard to focus on anything when he’s suffering from vivid nightmares and screaming headaches. When Meara and Evan reunite, everything seems to fall back into place. The summer appears to be perfect. Then two of her father’s guards are found dead, and foul play is suspected. The façade melts away. Someone is targeting them, and Meara must discover who it is and why. She turns to Evan to help her, but when he gives her the hot and cold treatment, she’s left feeling alone and confused. As the puzzle pieces move into place, will Meara be able to solve the mystery in time to save her clan and her relationship? Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo

Always Remembered The Never Forgotten Series Book 3 Publication Date: May 19, 2015

Always Remembered is the third novel in the best-selling Never Forgotten series by Kelly Risser. One clue… what does it mean? Ken, the leader of the Blue Men of the Minch, has kidnapped Evan. Before they left, Evan was able to leave a package for Meara—her grandfather’s necklace wrapped in a cloth napkin with one word written in blood. Azuria. Unfortunately, Meara doesn’t understand it and neither does her dad or Kieran. When Dad and Aunt Brigid attempt to rescue Evan, Meara and Kieran begin to train the clan on how to fight and defend their home. A war is brewing, and Meara is determined their people must prepare for the battle. The training sessions are long and arduous, but the Selkies work hard to learn. Meanwhile, Evan wakes and finds himself in Belle Tresor, the home of sirens. He’s bound to his blue form, unable to transform to human, and Ken has plans to use Evan’s powers to destroy the Selkies. Thankfully, he’s not alone. He befriends a siren named Deanna and several Blue Men. Can he trust them to help him escape or do they have ulterior motives? As both sides prepare for an ultimate confrontation, the stakes are high and friendships are tested. Some will rise to be victorious. Some will be destroyed. But love and loyalty will be always remembered in this exciting conclusion to the Never Forgotten series. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo

Sea of Memories A Novella Collection in the Never Forgotten Series Publication Date: November 3, 2015

Sometimes, we reach the end of a story and realize there is more to be told. This is the case with Sea of Memories, a collection of novellas set in the world of Never Forgotten. Fans of this series will not be disappointed! Travel with Meara and Kieran to North America where they visit her grandparents and his family. Along the way, stop at Mirage, the dance club where the couple first met, and see the encounter from Kieran’s point of view. Struck in the Club – On the orders of his father, Kieran travels to Nova Scotia to spy on David’s daughter. After an encounter in a dance club, he may have found more than he bargained for. Journey to the past and meet Kieran’s mom, Sera. Learn why she is no longer part of their lives. What Will Be – Sera is a Selkie who enjoys her family and her daily routine of solitude. While out on one of her morning swims, she finds an injured man floating in the ocean. Unable to see anyone suffer, she rescues him, even after the warnings she received as a child about the evilness of human males. He may be safe now, but is she? Go back to where it all started and discover along with Meara how her parents met and fell in love. A Rock and A Hard Place – Visiting his maternal grandparents in Nova Scotia, David is determined to find out who murdered his parents and why. He doesn’t expect the evidence to take him to a small fishing village called Peggy’s Cove. He certainly doesn’t expect to find love there, especially when it comes in the form of a spunky little brunette… and a human one at that. Finally, join Meara, Ula, and other friends old and new to remember the past, celebrate the present, and anticipate the future. Something Blue – Ula’s been invited to a banquet at Ronac in her niece’s honor. Because it will be Meara’s first Christmas without her mom, Ula convinces her boyfriend, Vesh, and others that they need to throw a surprise holiday celebration. Selkies don’t celebrate Christmas and neither do the Blue Men of the Minch. It will be a holiday full of surprises for all. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo

Kelly Risser knew at a young age what she wanted to be when she grew up. Unfortunately, Fairytale Princess was not a lucrative career. Leaving the castle and wand behind, she entered the world of creative business writing where she worked in advertising, marketing, and training at various companies. She’s often found lamenting, “It’s hard to write when there’s so many good books to read!” So, when she’s not immersed in the middle of someone else’s fantasy world, she’s busy creating one of her own. This world is introduced in her first novel, Never Forgotten. Kelly lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children. They share their home with Clyde the Whoodle and a school of fish. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

**5 year Anniversary Celebration!!** Five years ago, Kelly realized her dream of becoming a published author with Never Forgotten. She never imagined that first book would lead to three more and a complete series. She will be forever grateful to Clean Teen Publishing for taking a chance on an unknown writer, to her readers for loving Meara, Evan, Kieran and the full cast of characters that are so dear to her heart, and to the book community for supporting and promoting her work. As a thank you, Kelly wants to give something back and share her happiness with all of you. Purchase any book in the series (with the exception of the free e-book of Never Forgotten), complete the online form with your uploaded proof of purchase, and receive a signed paperback (first 50 submissions; U.S. only) or a limited edition swag pack (next 200 submissions, open internationally). Entry form: https://forms.gle/4rk4z69i4VP8auaE8

The sun was hot on my back, but it felt good. I always soaked it up in the
summer, knowing that I would be wishing for some of its warmth in the dead of
winter.
Icy cold dripped on my shoulder and made me jump. I looked up to the
source and saw Evan holding out a water bottle. “Sorry for startling you,” he said.
“I thought you might be thirsty.”
“Thanks.” I opened the cap and downed half the bottle. I didn’t realize how
thirsty I had gotten. “Did you get the paint?”
Evan held up one gallon of paint and two brushes in response. “Is the
sanding done?”
“Almost.” I pointed to the last board. “I just have that one to finish.”
“Okay.” Evan set the paint supplies down near the boards I’d already
sanded. “I’ll get started then, and you can join me when you’re done.”
I finished sanding as fast as I could, and then went over by Evan. He smiled
and handed me a paintbrush. “You’ve painted before, right?”
“A little.” Mom and I had painted the kitchen in our old house. I didn’t tell
him about the mess we made in the process. We were covered in paint, but
laughing when we were done.
“Why’d you come here today?” Evan asked.
I shrugged and dipped my brush in the paint.
“Just a little,” Evan cautioned as he watched me.

“I just wanted to hang with my grandfather a bit, I guess.”
“Is it hard?”
“What?”
“Getting to know them?”
“No… yes… I don’t know. It’s weird. I don’t understand why we never
visited them or why they didn’t come see us.”
“Yeah. That’s a little strange, although I can guess why they didn’t come see
you.”
I looked at Evan and waited for his answer. His eyes took in the boats
surrounding us before he gestured with his paintbrush. “This takes year round
dedication. Your grandfather can’t leave.”
“Sounds hard,” I said. Evan returned his brush to the paint bucket. In his
haste, droplets of paint flew, and one landed on my nose. Evan started laughing
before brushing it off with the sleeve of his shirt.
“Sorry about that.” He grinned at me, but it soon faltered. Once again, I was
locked in his gaze. We leaned toward each other. He brushed a strand of hair back
from my face and tucked it behind my ear. “Meara?”
“Yes?”
“Do you want to go to dinner?”
“Tonight?”
“Yeah.”

“With you?” I asked, realizing that was an incredibly stupid thing to ask.
Evan grinned again. “Yeah. That would be the general idea.”
“Okay.”

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The Dead Don’t Dream Book Tour & Giveaway

The Dead Don’t Dream An Ian McBriar Murder Mystery by Mauro Azzano Genre: Mystery

You are a Toronto police detective, lying in the gutter, shot by the man you were pursuing, and your life is slipping slowly away. The Dead Don’t Dream takes you back to the year 1973 and the world of Ian McBriar, a homicide police detective, as he investigates the brutal assault on two young boys, one of whom is the son of a local underworld figure. Haunted by the deaths he has investigated and the lives he has seen destroyed, Ian struggles with the memories that make him who he is. When he gets too close to the truth, the killer makes a desperate strike, and Ian ends up face-down in the street. Can he survive his attack and track down the gunman before more lives are lost? Add to GoodreadsAmazon * B&N * Smashwords

Mauro Azzano was born in the Veneto region of Italy. He grew up in Italy, Australia and eastern Canada, finally settling on the West Coast, near Vancouver. When he’s not writing he can be found teaching college or running half marathons. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads

I had an urge to make chicken for dinner, with salad- a second trip to the grocery store.
I bundled up and went back out. Go left, pass five doors, left again into the store.
The street was nearly deserted now; the cold had forced everyone indoors. Drifting snow and a brisk
wind kept me close to the buildings. I squinted, counting doors to the store.
The store was warm, but also deserted.
I picked up some chicken and salad fixings, then on a whim some Italian bread.
I squinted again, counting doorways heading home. Go past five doors, then turn right.
I’d passed two buildings. A small child stood at the doorway to the third.
He looked to be three, maybe four years old, well dressed, waiting for someone.
He hopped up and down on his front step, looking around and shivering in the cold.
He saw me and smiled. “Man, man. Mister. Hi?” He said. I stopped.
“Mister, are you a doctor?” It seemed like a casual question.
“No, I’m not.” I smiled, and kept walking. He looked sadly down the empty street again. That seemed
wrong. I turned back.
“Why did you ask if I’m a doctor?” I asked him.
“My mom got a boo-boo.” He patted his head. “She went ‘OW’.”
“Where is your mom?” I asked, urgently. “Show me.”
He grabbed my hand and led me into the building.
He had to lift his legs almost to his chest to scale the stairs, but he climbed eagerly.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Ethan.”
We stopped at the second floor landing. Four doors faced me, one was open.
A woman lay sprawled on the floor beside a sofa, face down. I rested my groceries by the front door.
“Wait outside, Ethan, OK? I want to check on your mom.”
He stood at the doorway, peering in gingerly as I approached her.
‘Some vacation.’ I grumbled.
I bent down to check her over. She could have been sleeping, but for a gash on her forehead that said
otherwise.
She had obviously tripped and hit the coffee table, then bled onto a rug under it.
A pool of red, the size of my hand, oozed over the rug and onto the wood floor.

I turned her over.
“Ma’am, are you OK?” I asked. Stupid question- of course she wasn’t OK.
I felt her hands- they were warm, and she wasn’t clammy.
She started to moan softly. I picked her up and lay her gently on the sofa.
“Ethan.” I called. He walked in slowly, hands behind his back.
“Where is your phone?”
“We don’t got a phone.” He shook his head.
I sighed.
“Stay here, OK, Ethan? Make sure she doesn’t fall off the sofa.”
I went to the nearest apartment and pounded on the door. No answer. I was deciding which one to try
next, when one of the doors opened a crack. A grey, wrinkled face poked out at me. I held out my
warrant card.
“Police: do you have a phone?”
The face faded back and I walked in. The owner of the face, an ancient man in a plaid shirt and
suspenders, pointed to a black phone on the wall.
“Thank you.” I said. He smiled silently.
I got the ambulance operator, gave her the information, and told her I’d wait.
The old man watched me, wordless.
“Thank you.” I said.
He whispered something in a language I didn’t recognize and nodded.
The woman was still unconscious, but now groaning restlessly.
The boy was patting her hand comfortingly.
“Ethan,” I said, “Would you please wait out front? An ambulance is coming, and they need help finding
your apartment.”
He smiled and ran back downstairs.
I moved the coffee table and slid the bloody carpet aside. It was my first chance to get a good look at
this woman.
She was very pretty, in her twenties, with curves in all the right places.
Her hair was shoulder length and auburn; her makeup was subtle but flattering, and she had no rings or
bracelets, but she did wear dangly earrings. She was tall and slender, with the legs of a dancer. Her face
was oval, with a slightly bulbous nose and high cheeks.

Not quite centrefold material, but very far from unattractive.
I realized I’d seen her before, on the street. She’d been with the boy, so I didn’t approach her- I figured
she was married. I hadn’t seen her close up before.
I did remember seeing her walk away, watching her hips sway.
She had on a navy skirt and a white blouse. Too cold to walk in today, I thought.
I found a coat and a shoulder bag hanging behind the door.
I checked the bag and found her wallet; one door key, three dollars, a subway token.
The coat pockets were empty, except for some gum and a transfer from Union subway station, issued an
hour ago. So, she worked downtown somewhere, and she had a son.
A pounding of footsteps got my attention. Two men in white pants and heavy white jackets clogged up
the stairs, lugging a first aid kit and an oxygen tank. I called to them from the sofa. They raced in and
squatted beside me.
“We’ll take it from here. Stand back.” One said. He had a baby face, curly red hair and freckles to match.
The other, somewhat older, had collar length dirty blond hair.
A stethoscope dangled from his neck.
The older one took the woman’s pulse, checked her for fractures and looked into her eyes with a
flashlight. He poked his chin out.
“Your wife have an accident?” he sneered.
I pulled out my ID.
“I was passing by. Her son stopped me.”
He read the warrant card.
“Oh, jeez, sorry. I didn’t mean..” his voice trailed off.
He looked at my badge again, then smiled at his partner.
“Hey, Carl. Remember the news- that cop and the restaurant robbery?”
His partner looked up.
“Yeah?”
The first one nodded at me.
“This is the cop.”
“Really? You’re Officer McBarr?”
“No,” I corrected, “I’m Detective McBriar.”

They seemed suitably impressed. The red haired one bandaged the woman’s forehead while the blond
one ran to the ambulance and radioed the hospital.
He came back a minute later, winded from the stairs.
They spoke quickly in medical jargon, indicating that said she was not badly hurt.
The woman had woken up by now. She looked around, bewildered.
She tried to get up, flailing at the coffee table to roll upright.
The red headed one put his hand on her shoulder.
“Listen, honey, you fell and hit your head. Do you know where you are?”
She nodded.
“Where are you?” he asked.
“I’m home. Who are you? Where’s Ethan?” she sat up fast and staggered back, woozy.
“He’s fine. He’s right here.” The blond one checked her pulse again and nodded, satisfied.
“What day is it?” he asked.
She thought for a moment.
“Wednesday.”
“What’s today’s date?”
“March seventh, nineteen seventy three.” She was angry now. It was a sexy look.
The blond one nodded and turned to me.
“Listen,” he started, “I called the resident on duty: she just has a mild concussion. We can take her to
Branson, but the ward’s full and she’ll sleep in the hall. If someone can check on her here, we can leave
her home.”
I turned to the woman.
“Do you want to go to hospital?”
She shook her head.
“No. I’ll stay home. I’m fine.”
“Do you have someone who can watch you?” I asked.
She shook her head. The blond one looked at his partner.
“We’ll bring up the stretcher and take you, then.”
“No!” She yelled. “I do not want to go to any hospital.”
He bent down and glared at her.

“We can’t leave you here alone.”
The woman stared at me, another sexy, angry stare.
“Who are you? Why are you here?” Now she was alert and indignant.
I showed her my badge.
“You hit your head. Your son stopped me; I called the ambulance.”
She looked at me with less suspicion. I smiled.
“Is your husband here?” She shook her head. I got a small thrill at that.
“Anyone else live with you?” She shook her head.
I sighed.
“Do you have a relative that can come over?”
Again she shook her head. Don’t say it, I told myself. Don’t say it.
“If you like, I could keep an eye on you until tomorrow.” I said, the words rushing out.
She shrank back a little,hesitant. Even that was attractive.
“I- OK, fine, yes, thank you.” She glared at the attendants.
“OK. That’s cool. Thank you. He can watch me. I’ll stay home.”
One man wrote a report as the other packed up.
She told them her name: Karen Prescott. It had a nice ring to it. I realized I was very strongly attracted to
her. I wasn’t entirely sure why, but I could feel I was. The man finished his report, then handed me an
invoice for the call out.
“Wake her up every three hours and make sure she’s coherent. Call an ambulance if she’s unresponsive,
delirious or confused, or if she starts to vomit.” The redhead said mechanically. They left, plodding
slowly down the stairs. I turned to the woman.
“I apologize for intruding, but you were in trouble there.”
She smiled, which warmed me up inside.
“That’s OK. You were a real help tonight.” She stood, unsteady on her feet.
She squinted.
“Do I know you?”
I smiled.
“I live around the corner. Are you sure you’re fine?”
She nodded, hesitantly.

“Yes, I’m fine. Sorry, can I get you a coffee or tea?” She looked at her watch and tsked.
“Six thirty. Ethan- do you want dinner? We have Spaghetti-Os, and we have soup…”
I cringed at the menu. She misunderstood the expression.
“Oh, I’m so sorry; can I make something for you, too, officer?”
I grinned, elated.
“Tell you what. How about if I cook dinner for you? And the name is Ian.”
She smiled.
“Sure, yes. I’d like that.” The smile lit up the room.
I retrieved my groceries from the hall. Ethan stood on a dining chair, watching in fascination as I
butterflied chicken breasts. We chatted about nothing- small talk.
She worked in a bank building on Front Street. The branch downstairs had been robbed once, and it’s
probable I was one of the investigators who responded to the call.
I didn’t remember meeting her. I assured her I would have. She blushed.
Karen set her table, a small square one in the kitchen, with paper napkins and a faded white tablecloth. I
sliced up cucumber and tomatoes for Ethan to snack on.
He sat on the counter, eating happily from a Tupperware bowl. Karen smiled at him.
“How is it?” she asked. He nodded and rubbed his stomach.
The chicken would be done in thirty minutes. That gave me time to clean up.
We lifted the carpet off the floor and washed out the blood stain in the tub.
I was puzzled by a hissing sound beside me. Karen read my expression.
“We have a noisy toilet.” She apologized. “And the tap leaks. I called the super a dozen times, but he’s
always busy.”
“Mind if I look at it?” I asked.
“It’s not a big problem. You don’t have to.” She shrugged.
“It would be my pleasure.”
I lifted the cover off the toilet tank. The copper float was half full of water, letting a trickle run from the
overflow into the bowl.
A wiggle confirmed that the washer in the hot water tap was loose. I got my coat.
“Tell you what; I need to grab some things- I’ll be right back.”
Ethan ran up and grabbed my leg.

“Don’t go, don’t go. Stay, please?” He pleaded.
I looked at his mother with embarrassment.
“I’ll be back in no time- I promise- and you can help me out after we eat, OK?”
He giggled happily. I turned to Karen again.
“By the way, do you want wine with dinner?”
She smiled and nodded. I warmed up again.
“And dessert?” I added.
Ethan jumped up and waved his arms in the air.
The walk home was far more pleasant than it had any right to be.
I often had this feeling when I dated Melissa. Now it felt the same, only more so.
I pulled my tool bag out of the closet, put a bottle of wine in the bag, and ran to the store before it
closed. I bought some pastries, then raced back to Karen’s.
Ethan opened the door, straining to reach the knob. He grinned at seeing me again.
I gave Karen the wine.
“Keep this cool, if you would.” I smiled.
I placed the pastries on the kitchen counter and handed Ethan my tool bag.
“Listen, sport, can you put this in the bathroom? Thanks.”
He struggled with the straps, dragging the bag along the floor to the toilet.
The smell of baking chicken and tomato sauce filled the apartment.
Karen and Ethan watched, fascinated, as I rinsed the lettuce.
“Do you eat many salads?” I asked him. He shook his head.
“Do you like salad?”
He shrugged.
I looked at him slyly.
“Do you eat worms?” He laughed.
Karen smiled. I smiled back.
As I shredded, she picked at random bits of lettuce on the counter.
“Where did you learn to cook?” she asked.
“I worked in my dad’s restaurant till I moved to Toronto.”

“What made you move from… where’d you move from?” She asked, curious.
“Esterhazy, Saskatchewan. Not the centre of the galaxy. I wanted to see the big city.”
“Do you ever miss it?”
“Not the place.” I shrugged. “I miss family. We lost my mom, but my dad’s still there.”
“Any brothers and sisters, a big family?” she asked, picking lettuce from the bowl.
I shook my head.
“One older brother- he went to Montreal to be in a jazz band.”
“Don’t you have a wife or girlfriend at home?” She reached for wedge of tomato and I smacked at her
hand, playfully. She grinned.
“Just me.” I said.
“Why the police force?” She frowned. “Did you always want to drive a squad car, what?”
She seemed amused by me now. The bandage on her forehead seemed almost invisible.
It was all I could to stop from bending down to kiss her. I shredded lettuce, looking away.
“I was studying to become a priest.” I almost mumbled it.
She put a fist in front of her mouth to stop from giggling. I frowned.
“Yeah, I know. Me, a priest?”
“So, what happened?” she asked.
“I came to St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto. I figured I’d be a parish priest or run a soup kitchen or
cure polio.”
Stop talking, I told myself, just stop talking, stupid.
“My mom was killed by a drunk driver. He blasted past our house as she crossed the street. My faith said
I should forgive him, but I only wanted to kill him. I realized then that I wasn’t cut out for a pastoral life,
so I became a policeman.”
Karen put her hand on my arm and looked sadly up at me.
“I’m so sorry.” She said.
I felt a warm rush. Ethan ran up.
“When can we eat?” He smiled.
Karen sat at the table, Ethan beside her on a thick pillow.
She poured wine for us and milk for Ethan, while I served dinner.
She ate politely, but heartily. Ethan was not so subtle.

Tomato sauce covered his face, and lettuce stuck to his bib like medals on his chest.
We talked between forkfuls of food and sips of wine, pleasant nothing conversation.
After dinner, Karen made coffee, apologizing that it was instant.
“That’s OK.” I lied. “I like instant coffee.”
I set out the pastries. Ethan scanned the treats.
“What’s that? “He asked, pointing to a cannoli.
“Well.” I started, very serious. “You know some spiders make tubular nests?”
He nodded, not knowing at all, but agreeing anyway. I held the cannoli up.
“This tube is the nest from the Amazonian cannoli spider. They find these in the Amazon jungle, kick the
spider out and fill it with mascarpone cheese and spider venom.”
I nodded sternly.
He stared for a moment, then laughed loudly.
“No! You’re fooling!”
He laughed again. Karen was smiling at us.
“You’re very good with children.” She said.
“You’ve met my partner?” I answered.
Ethan decided he would brave the spider venom and eat a cannoli.
He wanted to help with the plumbing repairs, so he dragged my tool bag out. I replaced the toilet float,
and the noise stopped. I repaired the hot water tap. This fascinated Karen.
“Now I can take showers without the whistling.” She said.
I felt another rush as I imagined her bathing. Ethan helped me pack up.
By now, it was after his bedtime, and he was tired.
Karen excused herself to put him in pyjamas. They came out of the bedroom a minute later, and Ethan
wrapped his arms around my neck to hug me.
“Thank you for dinner.” He said, politely. Karen nodded approval.
“Can you make food for us again?” He asked. She gasped, embarrassed.
“I guess that depends on your mom.” I looked up at her.
“Let’s ask Mr. McBriar next time you see him, OK? Say goodnight.”
The words ‘next time’ gave me a shiver. Ethan staggered off to bed.
Karen closed the bedroom door and sat beside me on the sofa.

“I really want to thank you. But, you don’t have to stay, honest. I’ll be fine. Besides, I’m sure you have to
work tomorrow.”
It sounded like a plea to prove her wrong. I smiled softly.
“I promised to watch you, and no, I don’t have to be anywhere.” I said. “I’ll sleep on your sofa. Give me
an alarm clock. I’ll check on you every few hours.”
She studied me, deciding something.
“OK.” She said. “But no funny stuff.”
I held up three fingers.
“Scout’s honour.”
We chatted until after eleven o’clock. She disappeared into the bedroom, returned with a blanket and
pillow and wished me a good night.
I lay on the couch, wide awake, wondering just what I was getting into.

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Passarinho and the Highlander Book Tour & Giveaway

Passarinho and the Highlander: Adventures in Love and War by Fran Connor Genre: Historical Romantic Adventure

A privileged young woman in 1730s Boston sets out on an adventure to rescue her father from a debtor’s prison in Jamaica. A dashing Scottish soldier offers to help her in return for her help in exposing a traitor. Shipwreck, spies, murder, war and a rival for the Highlander’s affections combine to thwart her mission. She finds the darker side of life in the Caribbean is a far cry from her sheltered upbringing. To survive and succeed in her rescue she must adapt and, on the way, she discovers a secret about herself that could have disastrous consequences for her future. Buy or download now through Kindle Unlimited and enjoy this gripping Romantic Adventure with a flawed heroine. Goodreads * Amazon

I live in SW France for the lifestyle after a career in a UK Police Force. I have six published novels, three more in the pipeline and six plays that have been produced on stage. My screenplays portfolio contains seven feature length scripts with one about to go into production. I write mainly Historical Fiction but I do other genres too. I don’t do cop stories, I had enough of the real thing. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

She could see the ship better now as it cut through the surf towards her. Had they seen
her? Pain shot through her legs as she lifted herself onto her knees. To stand up, she knew,
would capsize her makeshift life raft. She did not care if they were pirates or if they were
French, Spanish or British. All she wanted as she knelt looking at the ship was a drink of
water to slake her desperate thirst.
Susannah may have grown up in a sheltered environment back in Boston, but she was
no foolish or naive girl. A semi-naked woman appearing before men who may have been at
sea for months may invite disaster. But water… she needed water.
Now the ship was close enough for her to see the people onboard, though she could not
tell their nationality. A man stood on the poop deck with a telescope that she hoped was
looking at her. She pulled up her chemise to try to cover her breasts.
An awful feeling swept through her body when she saw the ship turn away from her,
and then elation. They lowered a boat over the side, furled the sails and dropped anchor.
Susannah looked up at the sky. “Thank you!”
Her eyes searched the boat party for an officer or gentleman as it approached. That was
more of a hope than a likelihood as she checked them out. Her mind flitted through available
options and found none.
Without a doubt the vision that the nearest sailor beheld must have been the strangest
he’d ever seen. Had he read Robinson Crusoe published twenty years before? His tarred
pigtail and scarred face did not suggest to Susannah a reader.

The boat pulled alongside Susannah’s raft. Still on her knees with one hand trying to
hold up her chemise, she looked at the sailors. “Hello, could you help me? I’ve had rather a
difficult problem. I would appreciate passage to civilisation.”
The men in the boat roared with laughter.
One of them seemed to have a slight resemblance to an English gentleman from the way
he held himself. His clothes, though well-worn, did have signs of quality, and he wore a
tartan sash.
“Glory be! And of whom do I have the pleasure?” said the man in a cultured Scottish
accent, much to Susannah’s relief.
“Miss Susannah Fitzpatrick of the Boston Fitzpatricks, sir. I am a survivor of the Diana
shipwreck.”
“Well, Miss Fitzpatrick, I do believe you will have a fascinating story to tell. It must
wait until we are aboard. We cannot anchor off for long for reasons that will become clear to
you. I am Donald Murray of the Auchterarder Murrays, Miss Fitzpatrick, at your service.” He
gave a slight bow while still sitting down in the prow of the boat and then offered his hand to
help her aboard.
Donald Murray, in Susannah’s brief assessment, was a man in his late twenties. Under
his sunburn, red beard and long, unkempt hair that matched the colour of his beard, he may
even have been handsome. His bearing, which she first mistook as that of an English
gentleman, was that of a proud Highlander.

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