Posted in Blog Tours & Blitzes, Book Reviews

Blog Tour Book Review: The Watson Girl by Leslie Wolfe

Hey there bookworms!
Today’s post is a book review as part of the blog tour for The Watson Girl by Leslie Wolfe. I hope you enjoy reading my review as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I also hope that this tour stop makes you want to add this one to your TBRs. Here we go!

about the book

the watson girlTitle: The Watson Girl
Author: Leslie Wolfe
Series: Tess Winnett Book #2
Genres: Crime & Thriller; Police
Format: Kindle eBook
Synopsis:

A GRIPPING SERIAL KILLER THRILLER

An entire family is murdered and, by a quirk, a young girl is left unharmed. For fifteen years, she believed the killer had been caught, and he’s now on death row, awaiting execution. While trying to be content with her adoptive family, she’s living in relentless uncertainty and the fear of remembering what really happened that night when she was five years old. She’s The Watson Girl. A therapist has asked her to participate in regression session treatments to attempt to bring back those lost memories. The closer she gets to the truth, however, the less time she has to remain alive. Now, the real killer is going to silence her, before she can remember the details of that horrifying night, when she was an innocent witness. Laura Watson is young, she’s beautiful, and she’s a serial killer’s loose end. Join the smart, relentless, and short-fused FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett and her team in a heart-stopping search for the serial killer who has managed to stay hidden for many years. Explore the inner workings of the murderer’s mind, and find out what motivates such predatory, blood-lusting behavior, while following every twist and turn of an existence spent taking lives.

Laura Watson’s family was murdered fifteen years ago.  That was only the beginning. His beginning. If you’re the apple of his eye, you’re already dead.

Special Agent Tess Winnett will hold nothing back to stop the killer before he takes another innocent life. She never fails, no matter what’s at stake. Even her own life.

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about the author

Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe is passionate about writing fiction, despite spending a significant number of years climbing the corporate ladder. Leaving the coveted world of boardrooms for the blissful peace of the Florida-based “Wolves’ den,” Leslie answers one true calling: writing. 

Leslie’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields, that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style. 


Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.


Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you

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my review

The Watson Girl grabbed my attention from the very beginning. I loved the sound of it, crime thriller, serial killer story. Although this book is the second book in a series about the FBI Agent, Tess Winnett, I had no issues reading it, as it works as a stand-alone as well as a series. However, I am interested to go back and read the first book, which I believe is called, Dawn Girl and see how Tess developed into the woman I read about in The Watson Girl.

This book follows three main characters – Tess, Laura Watson, and the murderer. Each chapter is a different person, however, the chapters that are from the killer’s point of view, are all written in first person, where as the others are all in third. I found this really interesting as it meant I was really in the ‘mind’ of the killer.

Tess Winnett is sent to interview a serial killer who is weeks away from death. He confesses that three of the murders he was charged with – including the Watson family – were not his. Tess is then pushed into finding the real killer before he strikes again.

Tess was a tough character, she found it hard to trust anyone, she tended to not worry about the feelings of those around her, as long as the cases get solved. She begins to soften as the book goes on, and I enjoyed following her in this story.

The Watson Girl kept me interested throughout the entire story. I needed to find out who the real killer was and how they caught him. When I did find out who it was, I was a little bit shocked. although I was half expecting a twist and for it to be someone else. Wolfe finished the story well and tied up all of the loose ends. I quite liked the way she ended it, it really felt finished, I didn’t sit there guessing afterwards.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime mystery/thrillers!

Thank you to Leslie Wolfe for sending me a copy of this book, and thank you to Silver Dagger Blog Tours for giving me the opportunity to be part of the blog tour.

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Posted in Blog Tours & Blitzes

Blog Tour Spotlight Mouth Watering by L. P. Maxa + Excerpt

Hey there bookworms! 

Today’s post is a spotlight stop for the blog tour of Mouth Watering by L. P. Maxa! I am so happy to have been chosen to be part of this tour, the book sounds amazing!

mouth watering

Title: Mouth Watering
Author: L.P. Maxa
Series: St. Leasing, book 1
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing
Genre: Romance
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Synopsis: 

Corey Cooper, the new guidance counselor at all boys prep school, St. Leasing, discovers nothing is what it seems, especially the mouthwatering coach, Dominic Hardy.

EVERYTHING SHE NEEDED…

Looking to change her life, Corey Cooper moves across the country to a remote town in Colorado to become the new guidance counselor at St. Leasing, a prestigious all boys prep school. But soon she learns her attraction to the gorgeous head coach, Dominic Hardy, is more than the usual chemistry, and that her students are more than the typical randy teenage boys.

WAS WRITTEN IN HIS SOUL

Dominic Hardy loves his life at St. Leasing. As head coach, he’s fulfilled by his career, and in the small Colorado town outside the school’s gates he has all the entertainment a man could desire. No complications, no attachments, life was good. Then Corey Cooper comes to St. Leasing and Dominic’s instincts kick in – she is his, and that’s for life. Throw in a troubled teen, a tyrannical parent, and a mysterious disappearance, and all of a sudden everything at St. Leasing has become a matter of life or death for his kind.

Excerpt:

His truck pulled in behind her SUV in the driveway and he was out of his vehicle opening her car door before she’d even turned off her engine. Eager, wasn’t he? He held his arm out, and she smiled as she hooked her hand around his large bicep. “How chivalrous Coach Hardy.”

“I try.”

When they reached the front porch she turned toward him with what she hoped was her sultriest grin, kind of innocent with a hint of fire. “Thanks for everything today, Dominic. The directions. The drinks. The companionship. I’m so glad that you were the first person I met here.” He hadn’t seemed to like the word friend when she’d used it back at the bar, and she’d bet the word companionship was setting his teeth on edge right about now.

“Seems like I was at the right place at the right time. It was a pleasure meeting you Corey Cooper.” He leaned in with his whole body, but went for her cheek instead of her lips.

“Mmmm, you smell amazing.” She all but purred. She was playing the game, but in truth he really did smell fantastic. “What kind of cologne are you wearing?”

He moved away a fraction of an inch and kissed her other cheek softly. “I’m not wearing any cologne. But I’m glad you think I smell good considering I didn’t have time to shower after practice.”

She laughed, “Really? You smell mouthwatering, like all my favorite scents rolled into one. I noticed it earlier today. I smelled you before you even said a word to me.” And she had, it was like he had filled the air before she’d known he was behind her.

His body was close to hers, but still not touching. Corey knew what his game was, leaving it up to her, letting her make the first move. Did he think he was clever? A visionary? And hardly the first guy to use that tactic. But okay Dominic Hardy, you win this one. When he went to pull away again, she grabbed his shirt in her hands and fused their mouths together. She felt herself immediately melt into him. The kiss was the most perfect first kiss she’d ever had.

His lips were soft but demanding and when he fisted his hands in her hair, tugging lightly, she gave in. She opened for him and let his tongue invade her mouth. God this was amazing. A perfect kiss mixed with his yummy scent, she could hardly stand it. Yeah, life at St. Leasing was well on its way to wonderful.

About the Author:

lp maxa

L.P. Maxa lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter, 3 rescue dogs, 1 cat – the fish died – and one bunny who doesn’t seem to like them. She loves reading romance novels as much as she love writing them. She says, inspiration can come from anywhere: a song lyric, a quote, a weekend with friends. The tiniest things can spark amazing stories. She loves to hear from readers.

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Missing You by Harlan Coben

missing you

Title: Missing You
Author: Harlan Coben
Published: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Orion Publishing
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible with Credit
Read By: Kerry Shale
Genre: Fiction; Mystery; Crime & Thriller
Goodreads’ Rating: 3.95 / 5 stars
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
♥♥♥♥♥
Synopsis:

It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiance Jeff, the man who shattered her heart 18 years ago, never to be seen or heard from again.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved – her former fiance, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.

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Book Review

I have had this book in my Audible Library for a while now, and I thought that I would give it a try. I have only read one other book by Harlan Coben, which was Six Years and I really enjoyed it. (You can read my review here)
In this one we are following Kat Donovan, an NYPD Detective. As she is on an online dating site that her friend set up for her, she comes across the profile of her ex-fiancé Jeff. She decides to contact him, only to get the reply that he wants to leave the past in the past.
She then has a teenager come to her desk claiming that his mother is missing and she needs to investigate because the mother left on a ‘holiday’ with a man she met online, non other than Jeff.
As the investigation continues, Kat questions everything she knows about this man, when more people go missing. There is something not right, she just cannot work it out.
This book had me hooked from beginning to end! I listened to it any chance I had, I just needed to know what was happening.
While Kat is trying to figure out this missing person case, she is also hell bent on figuring out who killed her father 18 years before, the man who confessed just didn’t seem right and she needed answers.
Having essentially two storylines in this book was really interesting, you didn’t just get caught up in the one mystery. I thought that I knew who had done the kidnapping, but I was wrong, but I am glad about that, but the twist at the end of who ended up being the father’s killer? OH. MY. GOD. I just didn’t see it coming at all. The ending felt a little unfinished to me, I would have liked maybe another few paragraphs, but I think that is the only real issue that I had with this book, the rest of it was fantastic! I really enjoy Coben’s writing style and the way he sets out his writing from all different angles and characters, and all of the different characters stories all meet up and make sense.
This is only the second book I have read by Coben, but I already cannot wait to get my hands on another one!

About the Author:

harlan-coben

With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive novels, MISSING YOU, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Coben is the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – and he has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. His novel TELL NO ONE has been turned into a hit French film of the same name. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications.

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

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Thanks for coming by to read my review of Missing You by Harlen Coben. Have any of you read this one, or any of his others? I would love to hear from you in the comments box below!
Until next time, happy reading

Kim x

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Posted in Weekly Posts

Down the TBR Hole #3

Hey there booklovers!
Welcome to another week of Down the TBR Hole. I am really enjoying this feature, as I have needed to go through my TBR list for a long time and this is a pretty good reason to do so.
Last week I only got rid of one of the books that I featured, therefore my TBR list has 274 books on my list.
This is how the feature works:

Down the TBR Hole is a (very) bookish meme, originally created by Lia @ Lost In A Story. She has since combed through all of her TBR (very impressive) and diminished it by quite a bit, but the meme is still open to others! How to participate:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order by Ascending Date Added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or let it go?

JoylandCollege student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever.

The Verdict: This one is by one of my all-time favourite authors and I actually own it, so therefore I am going to keep it.

________________________________________________________________________

lovely bonesThe Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.
The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

The Verdict: This one has been on my shelf for a long time. I watched the movie when it first came out, but I don’t think I liked it all that much. With that in mind, I think this one can go.

________________________________________________________________________

under the domeOn an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

The Verdict: This one is a massive book and it is going to take a while to read, but again, it is by one of my favourite authors and I own this book, so I am going to keep this one!

________________________________________________________________________

breakfast at tiffany'sIn this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm.

The Verdict: This one is a bit of a classic, however I don’t think I will ever read it..so I think this one can go!

 

________________________________________________________________________

perks of being a wallflowerCharlie is a freshman.
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor

The Verdict: The Perks of Being a Wallflower still sounds like a good read, so I think I will keep this one.

 

So, this week I ditched two of the five books that I featured, which is relatively good I think. That brings my list down to 272 books..slowly getting there I guess.
Thanks for popping in and reading this week’s Down the TBR post. Until next time, happy reading!

Kim x

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Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

July 2017 TBR

Hey there bookworms!
Today’s post is a look forward to the books I am to read in the month of July! over the last few months I haven’t managed to read all that much..I was in a bit of a slump, plus I moved house and went on Practical Placement for my nursing studies, it has been super full-on. However, I am back on track and really hoping that July is going to be an incredible book month for me! So here are the books that I am hoping to read in the month of July (note: some of them I am currently reading/listening to so I am hoping to have them finished very early in the month..)

Currently Reading..To Be Finished In July

book cover  missing you  mime order

nos-4r2

Sublime Karma by Peyton Garver (eBook)
Missing You by Harlan Coben (Audible)
Mime Order by Samantha Shannon (Paperback – owned)
NOS – 4R2 by Joe Hill (Hardback – Library)

Other Books To Read in July

room  nevernight    the couple next door

Room by Emma Donoghue (Paperback – Library)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (Paperback – Library)
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (Audible)

Those are my books for the month of July! What have you all got on your TBR lists for the month of July?? I would love to hear from you all in the comment box below!
Thanks for popping by, until next time, happy reading!

Kim x

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Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Tour Book Blitz Sublime Karma by Peyton Garver

Hey bookworms!
Today’s post is a book blitz for the book Sublime Karma by Peyton Garver. I am actually on the review tour for this one as well and I am a few chapters in, and it has my attention, its a really good read so far, so without further ado, here is the book!

book coverTitle: Sublime Karma
Author: Peyton Garver
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 30, 2016
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Summary:
When Brie’s stepfather moves the family for what he calls a new beginning, it’s not the new beginning the beautiful, yet guarded, senior would have hoped for. Brie is instantly targeted by jealous girls at her new school, and the only available seat on her bus is next to the school’s star wide receiver, Jake, who for some reason, finds her offensive. After a humiliating article and picture of Brie is posted in the online school journal, a demon she thought she’d overcome resurfaces, and her life unravels. A newly compassionate Jake has finally taken an interest in her, but can Brie learn to trust her heart, or will she miss out on the best thing that ever happened to her?  Jake has his own secrets and has built his own walls, but eventually his curiosity about the new girl gets the best of him. Unfortunately, now there is competition: the captain of her cross-country team. Jake’s romantic histories with the girl next door and the school’s queen bee, adds tension to a simmering tempest when all he wants is Brie. Is he strong enough to help the one he loves weave sense into her crumbling new reality while overcoming his own tainted past?

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About the Author:

author - peyton
As a child, Peyton called places like Livorno, Italy; Orléans, France; and Augsburg, Germany home. She has since settled in Maryland, where she earned her degree in education at Towson State University, married her sweetheart of two years, and became an instant mother to three spirited young boys before adding another son to the brood. And, with their yellow lab George, it’s no stretch to say she’s outnumbered.
 When not writing, Peyton is a full time teacher. Inspired by the individual spirits, heartaches, and triumphs of her students, Peyton has developed characters who resemble real world teens dealing with real issues: relationships, jealousy, bullying, and depression. Her newest novel, Sublime Karma, is a contemporary story filled with emotion, depth, wit, and suspense. Sublime Karma will be published in the fall of 2016 by Soulmate Publishing.  When asked if she actually involves her students in her stories, Peyton answered that her stories are completely fictional, but then admitted to an activity in which she does involve them. “One quirky, fun thing I like to do with students who have read my book is develop a dream cast for my characters. That all started when a group of girls were arguing over which actor they thought best fit the character Four in Veronica Roth’s novel Divergent. They then turned their efforts to my manuscript. I’ve since added those dream casts to my website.”  When she’s not teaching or writing, Peyton enjoys traveling. The Caribbean Islands have become a favorite vacation getaway for Peyton and her husband. “Nothing is better than sitting on a beach, in front of the crystal clear sea, enveloped in the warmth of the tropical sun with a frosty piña colada and a good book that I just can’t put down.”

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Excerpt:

The bus snaked its way through the country roads and then to the lavish development that backed up to the woods behind his house. Upperclassmen from this neighborhood had their own cars. This bus collected the underclassmen: those few who weren’t chauffeured, as minions of the privileged.
Jake leaned back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest, not looking at the kids coming down the aisle. None dared to ask if they could sit in the empty space next to him. They’d sit three to a seat rather than make that request. Just the way he wanted it.
The over-filled bus pulled to a stop midway down Belmont Circle. New stop? Jake looked out his window at the estate with a circular drive. Huh. It finally sold. He watched as a single figure headed toward the bus. What, so now they get door-to-door service? He rolled his eyes.
Seconds later, she stood in the aisle waiting. From his seat, his eyes skimmed up passed her faded jeans and plain, loose sweater, and his breath caught in his throat. Her long blond hair was pulled to the side in a loose braid. Her face? Ethereal. But then, his flustered gaze became an annoyed glare.
Her bleak gray eyes seemed to look right through him before they darted to the space next to him. Did she even register his indignation? She must have. Yet, she stood there in the aisle twisting the loose adjustment strap on her backpack tightly around her fingers.
“May I sit here?” her meek voice broke the silence that had fallen around them.
Noticing the hush of conversation, Jake’s eyes skimmed the crowded bus. There was no doubt he and this new girl had an audience. Not something he relished.
His eyes swept back to her. He could tell she was nervous. He heard it in her quavering voice and saw it in the way she avoided his eyes. He could just say no. But, as long as she was standing, the bus wouldn’t budge. Becca looked at him from her seat across the aisle then whipped her phone out and started her eager texting. He narrowed his eyes at her, and then with a smirk, he stood.
“Really?” he bit out at her under his breath, leaning close so only she could hear. He grabbed his backpack from the seat and football bag off the wheel well and then moved his six-foot-one frame into the aisle. With a jerk of his head, he directed her to the space by the window.
She slipped by him with lithesome poise, maneuvering in the small space without so much as brushing against him. He watched her settle into the seat with perfect posture, even though her feet were raised up on the wheel well. Her vacant eyes never returned to his. So, why was his heart suddenly beating faster? Was it because of his rudeness and the fact that she ignored it? Could it be remorse? She didn’t seem to have that presumptuous, stuck-up attitude that so annoyed him. She looked almost . . . empty.

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#ReleaseTour & #Giveaway Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh (@ShewandaP)

Hey there bookworms!
Today’s post is a stop on the Release Tour of Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh! It sounds like a great book, so keep reading for more info!

about the bookCrimson footprints cover

Title: Crimson Footprints
Author: Shewanda Pugh
Genre: Romantic Suspense
First Published: May 1, 2011
Goodreads’ Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Summary:
On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through her neighborhood in a Porsche will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief.  Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her mother killed her father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge, her fast-growing love for Tak. And had he never made love to her in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way, she could’ve done the same. But loves a devil that way. So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. Anyone.  Tak understands this for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss: his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had—and away from him.

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about the author

author crimson footprints

Shewanda Pugh’s a tomboy who’s been writing romance since an inappropriate age. While she’s been shortlisted for a few awards and snagged a bestsellers list or two, there’s nothing she enjoys more than hearing from her readers.   In another life, she earned a BA from Alabama A&M University and an MA in Writing from Nova Southeastern University. Though a hardcore native of Boston, MA, she now lives in Miami, FL, where she sulks in the sunshine, guzzles coffee, and puzzles over her next novel.
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Givaway

There is a giveaway associated with this blog tour! You can enter for the chance to win a SWAG PACK with a book, a bookmark and some cosmetics! Click HERE to go into the draw!

excerpt

At the front of an empty church, Takumi ran an appreciative hand over the brass cymbals of a drum set. It was a Tama Swingstar, good quality at a great price. When he was seven, he fell in love with the sound of a birch Yamaha, and had remained true ever since. He didn’t get to play much anymore though, as the crashing sound was counter conducive to being neighborly. These days, Takumi relied on the guitar or keyboard for a bit of melodic retrospection. But none of that had a thing to do with the price of dairy in Denver. So why the hell did he linger?
The doors of the sanctuary opened and he looked up. Just then, his reason for lingering stepped in and made her way down the aisle. Takumi stood up straighter.
She didn’t so much walk as flow, the black silk of her dress like a caress against curves. Ample in that perfect way only a woman could be, the undulations of her body reminded Takumi of the Salween, the last free-flowing river in South Asia.
 “It’s you,” she whispered. She looked up at him with eyes that were blue: a shimmering shock of blue under long, thick lashes. He didn’t even see how they were possible.
 “I was thinking the same thing.”
She hesitated. “What are you doing here?”  
Takumi looked away. He couldn’t tell this woman whose name he knew only from a funeral program that he’d not come to pay his respects, but because he knew she’d be there.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I saw what happened in the paper and…I’m sorry.”
They fell silent. Finally, she gave a rough nod and blinked back tears. When they fell anyway, she dashed them away in impatience. He wasn’t sure what to do.
Suddenly, she looked up at him. “Why were you there? In Liberty City that night?”
He hesitated, not sure why he felt embarrassed. His work had never embarrassed him before. “I was, uh, looking for inspiration.”
She raised a brow. “Inspiration?”
“Yeah.” He shifted his weight. “I’m an artist. I paint.”
“Paint what?”
Takumi shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know. Hope. Happiness. Regret. Stuff like that.”
An almost-smile crept to her lips, lips that were fuller than he remembered, like strawberries ripe to bursting. Her eyes widened.
“Fascinating,” she whispered.
He couldn’t have said it better himself.
“So…Did you find it? Did you find your inspiration?” And there it was—a twinkle. A twinkle behind weary ocean eyes. She was teasing him. And he liked it.  
Takumi grinned. “Like you wouldn’t believe.”

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