Dirty Hearts Book Tour & Giveaway

Dirty Hearts Gangsters and Dolls Book 1 by Khardine Gray Genre: Mafia Romance

From USA Today Bestselling author Khardine Gray comes a sexy, delightfully devilish, seductive second chance Mafia Romance. Be prepared to take a walk on the dark side. Claudius Rule #1 of being mafia boss- Trust no one. Rule # 2– Keep your friends and enemies damn close. In the underground world, friends and enemies could be the same thing. My story started out with a guy who liked a girl. She looked like an angel to him. I was the guy, Ava the angel. But I got caught in a game I didn’t want to play. A game with the devil that destroyed me. My life turned into this world where I got married to her twin sister and Ava hated me. The situation became my weakness when my enemies used it against me, and killed my wife. Ava could have died too so I stayed away from her. It was safer that way. Year in, year out I tell myself the same thing, and I stay away. But, the universe had other ideas, and threw her right back in my path. I can’t have her. An angel like her doesn’t belong in the darkness of my world. I know this, except, I’m selfish. I should leave her alone, but I can’t. The problem is …history is repeating itself, and there’s an enemy in my circle. It’s the same game as before and this time losing could get her killed. Ava Avoid him… That was the most sensible thing to do. Besides, Claudius wasn’t any old guy. He was the don of the Chicago mafia. Ten years ago, when I’d first met him, I knew the man was trouble, but I didn’t listen. He’d made me love’s fool and broke my heart in so many ways when he married my sister. That was a lesson to learn. So, what was I doing running back into the arms of a man I shouldn’t be with? We were like darkness and light. Different. Too different. Coincidence reunited us, but my heart did the rest. My heart blinded me to sense and logic, and stifled the voice inside that told me to run away. My heart made me selfish… I wanted him for myself. I knew I shouldn’t be with him, but I couldn’t leave him alone. That very thing could be my downfall. This isn’t like any other second chance romance you’ve read before… If you loved Lucian Morientz from Mafia Boss, you’re gonna love his brother, Claudius. Dirty Hearts is a complete standalone, full length novel, with no cliff hanger and part of the Gangsters and Dolls series. The Gangsters and Dolls series is a spin off from The Accidental Mafia Queen series. Continue the adventure with these sizzling hot, drool-worthy Alpha males.**Only 99 cents!!** Goodreads * Amazon

Khardine Gray is a contemporary romance author who lives in England with her husband, two kids, and three crazy ferrets. She is well traveled, cultured, and a woman with a passion for dancing and ice skating. When not writing you can catch her shopping, indulging on pizza and hot chocolate, or hanging out with her family and friends. No need to spend money on an airline ticket. Simply pick up one of Khardine’s books to become immersed in the fascinating stories and characters she creates. Website * Newsletter * Facebook * Facebook Group * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

P R O L O G U E
Claudius
&
Ava

Claudius
I usually did what I wanted. As I damn well pleased, never caring what people thought.
After all, I was Claudius Morientz, now the new leader of the Chicago Mafia.
Proud owner of everything. A billion-dollar fortune inherited from the great Raphael Rossi. I got
the business and everything that came with it.
Money and power.
Yes, I had it all.
I had everything… Except the girl.
This day was always bad. It always felt the same no matter how much time passed.
This day always got to me. It got to me because it was a yearly reminder of what I’d lost, and
what I couldn’t have.
I stood in the bell tower of the church overlooking the grave site. My wife’s grave site. My wife,
Marissa. Kneeling next to the grave was Ava. Her twin sister. And like every other year, I did the
same thing. Cemetery first thing in the morning. Then stay in the shadows of the bell tower
watching Ava and her family mourn. Stay in the shadows watching Ava spend those last few
moments with her sister after her parents left. Allowing and respecting her time to be alone with
the one person who’d
shared everything with her.
I must have been a hundred feet away, but I could see the sadness in her. I could feel it. I could
almost touch it. Sadness and confusion. Sadness for her loss and confusion over what had
really happened.
What had happened to us.
Mine was a story that I was certain would confuse the shit out of a lot of people.
It confused me sometimes. One thing was certain though.
My feelings for her had never changed.
The sun was low, and the place had that feel about it. That feeling of anticipation.
Ava stood up and looked around. I knew she could sense me. It was almost like magic. There
was a time when I’d look at her and I didn’t have to say anything. She’d know what I was
thinking. She was the only woman to truly tame the beast in me.
The only woman to reach that place in my soul and make me want to try to be anything other
than I was. The standard mobster who was ruthless to the bone.
It was happening now. The lure of her. It grew stronger the more she looked around.

Ava
I was sure he was here. I could feel him.
Claudius.
He’d always leave a single white rose on Marissa’s grave.
Always before anybody else came. Ma and Pa would bring dahlias. I’d bring lilies. The pink
Calla lilies Marissa had loved so much.
The minute I saw the rose, I knew he’d been here, and I knew he still was. My parents and I got
here an hour ago. Like always, I’d asked for time alone. Time to grieve and talk to my sister. But
admittedly, I wanted this time to feel him too. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that. I’d be lying to
myself if I didn’t accept the truth of the matter.
His presence was so strong, he could have been standing before me.
And there was the confliction that would always fill my soul.
What was I supposed to think after the last time?
What was I supposed to feel?
Nothing?

It was simple. I knew the answer was simple. I needed to forget. That was it. Forget.
A person couldn’t keep living in the past. Worse when all the memories were just figments of
what my heart wanted.
Forget everything and move on. Not just from four years ago when Claudius and I had last seen
each other. It needed to be the whole thing. The whole damn thing from start to finish.
Us, before him and Marissa.
Forget it like it never happened.
I needed to forget him. It was making me feel like a hypocrite.
How was I supposed to grieve for my sister and at the same time fight the inner turmoil that
roiled within me for her husband?
It sounded like a colossal mess.
One damn mess that no one could really fix. I looked around for him, and my stupid heart
betrayed me as I thought of last time.
Last time was a mistake. I shouldn’t have…
I just shouldn’t have gone there again with her, but I did. I didn’t regret it. I just hated that I fell
prey to my selfishness. It made the situation so much worse and confusing.
More confusing for her.
More painful for me.
I didn’t know how I stayed away for so long, but it was for the best. It was torture to see her,
torture to be with her, torture to think that we could be more than we were right now.
She should hate me.
She should at the very least hate me because it was my fault her sister died. Everyone could tell
me I shouldn’t blame myself, but it was my fault.
Four years ago, I was selfish. I changed things up and made the situation messier than it
already was. I needed to stay away from her.
I hated what happened, and I should hate him for crushing my heart. But mostly, I wished he
wouldn’t stay away.
“Claudius… why do you still do this to me?” I whispered against the cool breeze that rustled
through the willow trees. It lifted the ends of my hair, pushing the white blonde strands to the
black velvet sleeves of my dress.
I looked ahead to the old bell tower on the top of the church and brought my hands up to my
heart.
My heart was breaking again, and I really needed to move on.
Some things were best left alone. Forever.
She was one of them.
As she looked ahead to where I was, we could have been staring right at each other.
I hoped she hated me. It would be easier. I’d put her in danger once before, and it nearly cost
her, her
life.
It was better this way.
She’d be safer.
Better to hate me and live than for her to love me and die. I was a selfish man, but I wouldn’t
make the same mistake twice.
Not with her.
Once was enough.

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Garrett’s Ghost Book Tour & Giveaway

Garrett’s Ghost by Pamela Ackerson Genre: Time Travel Western

What’s a time traveling Texas Ranger supposed to do? Garrett Houston is being harassed by a ghost. Trouble is brewing and her name is Margarite. She’s an unrelenting force determined to get his attention. It may be too late for her, but if she could get him to listen, she may be able to save some lives. A story of unrequited love, the power of healing, and the embracing need to never give up. Unforgettable moments and unforgettable characters will tug at the heartstrings with a myriad of emotions. Garrett’s Ghost is a touching story brimming with down-home Texas charm. **Free from May 6th to May 10th!!**Goodreads * Amazon

Wife, mother, author, and time traveling adventurer. Born and raised in Newport, RI where history is a way of life, Pamela Ackerson now lives on the Space Coast of Florida, a hop, skip, and jump from Orlando, where imagination and fantasy abounds. With the love of reading, she graduated to writing non-fiction, historical fiction, time travel, and children’s preschool/first reader books. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

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His Red Eminence Book Tour & Giveaway

His Red Eminence Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu by Laurel A. Rockefeller Genre: Historical Fiction

Priest. Lover. Statesman. From the author of the best-selling “Legendary Women of World History” series … Cardinal Armand-Jean du Plessis, duc de Richelieu is one of the most famous — or infamous politicians of all time. Made a villain in the popular Dumas novel, “The Three Musketeers,” the real man was a dedicated public servant loyal to king and country. A man of logic and reason, he transformed how we think about nations and nationality. He secularized wars between countries, patronized the arts for the sake of the public good, founded the first newspaper in France, and created France as the modern country we know today. Filled with period music, dance, and plenty of romance, “His Red Eminence” transports you back to the court of King Louis XIII in all its vibrant and living color. Includes eight period songs, plus prayers, a detailed timeline, and extensive bibliography so you can keep learning. Add to GoodreadsAmazon * B&N * Kobo * Smashwords

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty books published and self-published since August, 2012 and in languages ranging from Welsh to Spanish to Chinese and everything in between. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide. With her lyrical writing style, Laurel’s books are as beautiful to read as they are informative. In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and classic television series. Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * YouTube * Amazon * Goodreads

One hour later, the final prayer and the final hymn rang through the main sanctuary.
Rising, Bishop du Plessis turned to Anne, “I want to pray a bit longer. Will you help me to the
side altar? I want to light a candle and ask God to heal me.” Anne rose and offered her hands
and body to him to steady him. Taking small steps to help with the vertigo, she guided him to
where he wanted to go. Armand lit a candle and with her help, knelt down to pray, Anne dutifully
kneeling beside him and beginning her own, silent, protestant prayers, “Salve, Regina, mater
misericordiae: vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae. Ad te
suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle. Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc
exsilium ostende. O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.”
Worried for him, Anne quietly unleashed a bird-like note from her throat, uncertain what
the note meant or exactly why it escaped her.
Armand felt the resonance, “Anne? What are you doing?” Anne closed her eyes. The
note grew stronger. Interlacing their fingers, she met his eyes, a fire flashing across them, a
heat building in her hands. Fear filled Armand’s spirit, “No, Anne! No! You must not, not here!
They will burn you! Mon coeur! Mon trésor! I am not worth it!” Unable to control the rising power
inside her, Anne brought their entwined fingers down onto his head as she released the note
and power resonating through it. Anne fell onto the floor as all the pain in his body, every
lingering discomfort fell away, transferred into first her flesh, through every cell of her body until
it escaped into the cathedral, its walls alive and singing with her from the recent service. “Why?
Why, you fool? I am not worth it! My suffering is nothing! Why did you have to take it from me?”
“’Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,’” quoted
Anne simply. “I did not choose to do this, Armand. God chose it in answer to your prayer!
Remember that when you pray: God doesn’t always answer the way you want or expect. God
does what God wants to do.”
Armand held her against his chest as he closed his eyes in prayer, “Pater noster, qui es
in cælis, sanctificetur nomen tuum; adveniat regnum tuum; fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in
terra. Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos
dimittimus debitoribus nostris; et ne nos inducas in tentationem Sed libera nos a malo. Amen.”
“Take me home to rest, Your Excellency, and, if you would be so kind, perhaps some
water please?”
Ten minutes later, Armand laid Anne down on his bed to rest, his body fully restored and
feeling stronger than it had in many long months. Quietly he instructed his housekeeper to move
Anne’s belongings into his bedroom and to exchange the narrow servant’s bed on the far side of
the room with the much larger and more comfortable bed that Anne was sleeping on in her
guest room.
Ordering luncheon from his head cook, Armand returned his attention to Anne, joyfully
tending to her needs until she gained enough strength to sit at the small table at which the
servants were laying their luncheon. After a few uncertain moments helping her eat and drink,
Armand finally breathed a sigh of relief as some colour returned to her face and her breathing
normalized. Anne opened her eyes, “You are still with me.”
“Where else would I be?”
“In Paris at court.”
“Away from you?”
“I don’t know. That is up to you. I hope you will never banish me from your side, not even
for one day. That is perhaps not realistic though. A public life would be dangerous for me. But I
think a public life is in your future someday, Armand. I think you want a public life, to have the
opportunity to do more than serve this little bishopric hundreds of miles from king and court.”

“Do I really come off as so ambitious?”
“All young men are ambitious, mon coeur. Why should you be different?”
“You make me sound so … average if that’s the right word.”
“At least you are not in constant danger of the pyre like I am. If I could have conducted
that energy in private, I would have. I don’t know how I could even channel it like that. Your
abilities directly impact the physical world, not mine!
“You are suggesting that I wanted to heal myself and this is the way God made it
happen?”
“When was the last time you tried to heal with your touch, Armand?”
“Not since the convent.”
“That might be why. Each of us have talents from God. If we are wise, we listen to God
and embrace the way we were each made, knowing that each of us are special and made
exactly as God wants us to be. God doesn’t make mistakes when he gives us an ability like your
healing touch or my empathy. But so often we curse God when we find we are different from
others rather than thanking him and accepting the ways we are special.”
Armand kissed her, “You are special.”
“How special?” flirted Anne.
“I’ll show you when you are strong enough.”
Anne touched him provocatively, “How about right now?”
Armand picked her up and carried her to his bed, “Now it is!”

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Awakening Cocijo Book Tour & Giveaway

Awakening Cocijo by Thomas Juarez Genre: Metaphysical Fiction

Chaotic skies reveal untold prophecies. A storm rises. Can a boy quell the fury of a god?Join the Zapotec on a journey through time and across generations. Referring to themselves as the cloud people, their fierce warriors conquered and ruled the Oaxaca for centuries. Witness rites, rituals and incantations aimed at appeasing the divine in an attempt to gain favor; favor that would grant them greatness. So, where did it all go wrong? Why would such powerful gods allow their disciples to be conquered? These answers and more would be offered many centuries later by their descendants. Descendants of a civilization whose glory can only be revived by the awakening of the most powerful deity in Zapotec lore: Cocijo, the god of lightening and rain. Goodreads * Amazon

Thomas (Tom) Juarez is a retired United States Army soldier with about twenty-one years of active federal service. Hailing from Wetumpka, Alabama, Tom currently enjoys his military retirement with his wife in Sterling, Oklahoma. Tumblr * Facebook * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Beedxe’ felt as if his bones were bending. Crushing pain overwhelmed his
jaws where he felt large canines forming in the front of his mouth,
tormented in their need rip and tear flesh. His molars became enlarged,
jagged and sharp. Eyes became fiercely dominant, while whiskers erupted
through his cheeks.

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Author Spotlight: Linda Bennett Pennell + Giveaway

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel by Linda Bennett Pennell Genre: Historical, Contemporary Suspense

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930. Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by- one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan’s self-righteous vigilantism. Jack’s older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed. Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words “I love you”. Despite the entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever. Goodreads * Amazon

Miami Days, Havana Nights by Linda Bennett Pennell Genre: Historical, Contemporary Suspense

A follow up to Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, Miami Days Havana Nights tells the story of 1920-1960’s gangsters and the young female history professor determined to suss out their secrets. Sometimes our biggest debts have nothing to do with money. 1926. When seventeen-year-old Sam Ackerman witnesses a mob hit, he is hustled out of New York under the protection of Moshe Toblinsky, A.K.A., the mob’s bookkeeper. Arriving in Miami with no money, no friends, and no place to hide, Sam’s only choice is to do as the gangster demands. Forced into bootlegging, Sam’s misery is compounded when he falls in love. Amazingly, the beautiful, devout Rebecca wants only him, but he cannot give her the life she deserves. When Prohibition ends, Sam begs the mobster to set him free. The price? A debt, as Toblinsky puts it, of friendship. A debt that will one day come due. Present Day. History of American Crime professor Liz Reams has it all—early success, a tantalizing lead on new info about Moshe Toblinsky, and a wonderful man to love. Life is perfect. So what’s keeping her from accepting her guy’s marriage proposals? Confronting a long-standing personal debt sets her on a journey of self-discovery. While she delves ever deeper into Sam’s and Toblinsky’s relationship, her understanding of her own relationships increases as well, but the revelations come at a price. The emotional and physical dangers of her dual journeys may prove too big to handle. Goodreads * Amazon

I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work. As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, “Let’s pretend.” I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl. “History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire Website * Blog * Newsletter * Facebook * Twitter Pinterest * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

CHAPTER ONE
Saturday
June 14, 1930
O’Leno, Florida

Jack jammed a finger into each ear and swallowed hard.
Any other time, he wouldn’t even notice the stupid sound.
The river always sorta slurped just before it pulled stuff
underground.
His stomach heaved again. Maybe he shouldn’t look
either, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the
circling current. When the head slipped under the water,
the toe end lifted up. Slowly the tarpaulin wrapped body,
at least that’s what it sure looked like, went completely
vertical. It bobbed around a few times and finally gurgled
its way down the sinkhole. Then everything went quiet . . .
peaceful . . . crazily normal. Crickets sawed away again.
An ole granddaddy bullfrog croaked his lonesomeness into
the sultry midnight air.
Crouched in the shelter of a large palmetto clump,
Jack’s muscles quivered and sweat rolled into his eyes, but
he remained stock-still. His heart hammered like he had

just finished the fifty yard dash, but that was nothing to
what Zeke was probably feeling. He was still just a little
kid in lots of ways.
When creeping damp warmed the soles of Jack’s bare
feet, he grimaced and glanced sideways. Zeke looked back
with eyes the size of saucers and mouthed the words I’m
sorry. Jack shook his head then wrinkled his nose as the
odor of ammonia and damp earth drifted up. He’d always
heard that fear produced its own peculiar odor, but nobody
ever said how close you had to be to actually smell it. He
prayed you had to be real close; otherwise, he and Zeke
were in big trouble.  
The stranger standing on the riverbank stared out over
the water for so long Jack wondered if the man thought the
body might suddenly come flying up out of the sinkhole and
float back upriver against the current. Funny, the things
that popped into your head when you were scared witless.
The man removed a rag from his pocket and mopped his
face. He paused, looked upstream, then turned and stared
into the surrounding forest. As his gaze swept over their
hiding place, Jack held his breath and prayed, but he could
feel Zeke’s chest rising and falling in ragged jerks so he
slipped his hand onto Zeke’s arm. Under the gentle pressure
of Jack’s fingers, Zeke’s muscles trembled and jumped

beneath his soft ebony skin. When Zeke licked his lips and
parted them like he was about to yell out, Jack clapped a
hand over the open mouth and wrapped his other arm around
Zeke’s upper body, pulling him close and holding him tight.
Zeke’s heart pounded against the bib of his overalls like
it might jump clean out of his chest. 
With one final look ‘round at the river and forest,
the stranger strode to the hand crank of a Model T. The
engine caught momentarily, then spluttered and died. A
stream of profanity split the quiet night. The crank handle
jerked from its shaft and slammed back into place. More
grinding and more swearing followed until the thing finally
coughed to life for good and a car door slammed. Only then
did Jack relax his hold on Zeke.
“I want outta here. I wanna go home,” Zeke whispered
hoarsely.
Lucky Zeke. Before Meg left home to move into town,
Jack would have felt the same way. Now he didn’t care if he
ever went home.
Jack cocked an ear in the Ford’s direction. “Hush so I
can listen. I think he’s gone, but we’re gonna belly crawl
in the opposite direction just to be sure we ain’t seen.”
“Through that briar patch? I ain’t got on no shoes or
shirt.”

“Me neither. Come on. Don’t be such a baby.”
“I ain’t no baby,” Zeke hissed as he scrambled after
Jack.
When the pine forest thinned out, Jack raised up on
his knees for a look around. Without a word, Zeke jumped to
his feet and started toward the road. Jack grabbed a strap
on Zeke’s overalls and snatched him back onto his bottom.
“You taken complete leave of your senses?” Wiping
sweat out of his eyes, Jack pushed his shaggy blonde hair
to one side. “Check it out before you go bustin’ into the
open.”
“Why you so bossy all the time? I ain’t stupid, ya
know. Just cause you turned twelve don’t make you all
growed up.”
Zeke’s lower lip stuck out, trembling a little.
Whether it was from fear or anger, Jack wasn’t sure.
Probably both. Peering into the night, he strained for the
flash of headlights. Nothing but bright moonlight
illuminated the road’s deep white sand. Finally confident
that no vehicles were abroad, he grabbed Zeke’s hand and
pulled him to his feet. With one final glance left, then
right, they leapt onto the single lane track and ran like
the devil was on their tails.

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