Thursday, 24 June 2021

Third Time's the Charm by Loran Holt

 

 


Deco Desk Mystery, Book 1

Paranormal Mystery

Date Published: August 24, 2021

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

 

Jamie Whitehall Olivian has received a mysterious letter from her Uncle James. She is named after him, but she has never seen, met, or heard him mentioned in any way. Until now. And he has died and left her his entire estate.  But it seems Uncle James wants her to investigate a murder. His, that is. It also seems the estate is contingent upon her acceptance of this commission. Jamie wants no part of the investigation or of the estate. She gets along perfectly well, thank you very much, a fact she emphasizes to his lawyer, who just happens to be gorgeous, making it a little harder to say no. Things take a strange turn when the victim himself asks her to reconsider. For reasons unknown, Uncle James has been unable to depart for the afterlife and is stuck in his Art Deco desk. Jamie decides to take on the job of niece and sleuth, with no experience at either, and she and Uncle James set out to find the killer. They are aided by the lawyer and a not-as-gorgeous and slightly rumpled homicide detective whose interest seems to be more than just finding a murderer.

 

About the Author

If you live in Southern California, you’re either a writer or an actor, right? As Professor Emerita from California State University, Long Beach, Loran Holt chose the writing path. Third Times the Harm is one of the results of her efforts, the first book of a series featuring reluctant sleuth, Jamie Whitehall Olivian. Holt is also the author of Nightmasters: Doubles Talk, a sword-and-sorcery epic, published by Acorn, as well. You will find her non-fiction, film-and- fashion books under the name Lora Ann Sigler.

  

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Monday, 21 June 2021

The Hellion is Tamed by Tracy Sumner

 


League of Lords, Book 4

Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Paranormal Regency Romance

Release Date: June 22, 2021



Time-traveling lovers navigate the sinister streets of London—while denying their enchantment and desire. If you like THE NEVERS, this series is for you!

He’s a viscount’s bastard who sees more than he wants to...

Rescued from the slums and molded into a gentleman, Simon Alexander lost the love of his life to a mystical world he’s always spurned. Still searching for the time traveler who stole his heart, he’ll stop at nothing to find her. When he does, he finds he can’t trust her—or his desire. Will he be able to tame his fear, and his hellion, once and for all?

She's a time-traveling socialite...

Transforming Emma Breslin from a poverty-stricken termagant into an aristocrat is easier than anyone imagined. Nearly overnight, she delights society as a trendsetting sensation. Torn between her obsession with the man who’s never forgiven her for leaving and her fight to safeguard the magical gem she stole from him, Emma battles to survive without the man she loves. But when her life is threatened, Simon Alexander is the only person in any time she can trust.

Come along for a passionate story where passion defies time and love conquers betrayal.

Ready for Simon's story of forbidden love, time travel, and intrigue? The Hellion is Tamed is #4 in the steamy Victorian paranormal romance series Publishers Weekly calls, “A superpowered twist on Victorian romance!"



Other Books in the League of Lords series:

The Lady is Trouble

League of Lords, Book One

He’s a viscount with a dark past who yearns for the one woman he can’t have. She’s a psychic firebrand! Rebellious, spurned by society and determined to change his mind.


The Rake is Taken

League of Lords, Book Two

A gorgeous psychic. An unwanted betrothal. A tantalizing compromise.


The Duke is Wicked

League of Lords, Book Three

Leagues and lives apart, Delaney and Sebastian navigate a world they're not destined for together. Can she let down her guard and learn to trust a WICKED Duke?

Amazon



Excerpt

Although, he’d no clue what to do with her now that he’d found her.

Shouldering through the throng hovering around the hazard and vingt et un tables like London’s impenetrable fog, Simon ignored the shouts of patrons deep in their cups, the grasping hands of mistresses men liked to have by their side while they squandered their time and, often, their birthright. He disregarded the impulse to steal, then sighed and paused to filch a half sovereign resting on the baize before a boozy baron who had his hand tucked inside his paramour’s bodice. Sliding the coin beneath his sleeve, he waved off his guards with a rigid shake of his head that said, I have this. Like he’d handled the episode last night, though this time, he wasn’t expecting a fist to his face for his trouble.

But a fist to the heart was possible.

Emmaline Breslin was, like it or not, his problem.

She had been from the moment she stepped into his life, hushed presence before a lonely boy or not.

He forced aside the pinch of emotion in his gut, ignoring the emphasis he’d unintentionally placed on the very possessive his.

Halting before the cloakroom door, Simon glanced over his shoulder at the haunt who’d followed him down the stairs. An older gent, Henry, who seemed to want nothing more than someone to occasionally talk to. “No,” he whispered, “not now. Later.” Henry blinked his watery green eyes once, gave a sharp salute, then continued down the unlit hallway and out of sight. Simon snicked open the door and stuck his head inside, immediately spotting the toes of the grubby boots Emma had traveled to 1882 in peeking from beneath a puddled mound of wool and linen.

Clever time traveler, yes; able spy, no.

As he closed the door gently behind him, the air shifted, the faintest hint of rosemary and lemon capturing the dimly-lit space, shoving aside the baser fragrances of brandy, sweat and cigar smoke that had come in from the hall with him.

Halting two paces from the coat rack, Simon dragged a rickety stool over with the heel of his boot and sprawled on it. Braced his elbow on his bent knee, took a silver cufflink he’d lifted from a baron two hours ago from his trouser pocket and began to rotate it between his fingers, gaslight from the sconce above his shoulder winking off the tarnished metal. Releasing a shallow breath he cared little if Emma heard him release, he settled in. Just him, the Dark Queen of the East End and a thousand glinting dust motes. She had no idea, Miss Breslin, but he was the patient Alexander. The brother with the fiercest temper perhaps…but also the one who could wait.

He’d gladly sit all night in this stinky little room if that’s what it took to break her.

Luckily, he didn’t have to wait long.

With a scrunch of wool and linen, her head gradually emerged from amidst the rack of coats, her muffled complaint echoing off the walls. The cufflink fell still in his hand. Her hair was a marvel, a wondrous surprise every time he got a look at it. Unbound and flowing across her shoulders. Gaslight sparked off the auburn tresses, hints of ginger like the inside of a chestnut, an unforeseen blaze in the darkness. Adding to the allure, those cobalt eyes traveling the length of him, leaving fiery eruptions in their wake.

She stepped out with an impatient huff and unladylike shake of her skirts, completely giving up her ruse. She gave a bashful tuck to her hair, placing the loose strands hanging in her face neatly behind her ears. Simon rocked back on the stool, his breath stuttering. Beneath her shabby brown cloak was a gown he’d never seen. New, created for an evening event, unfinished, the ragged hem trailing along the warped floorboards, the bustle yet to be added, the final piece of the alteration process. A plunging neckline, which he didn’t need to make his life or his cock harder at the moment. The curve of her hip highlighted as she stepped forward, her long legs enchanting beneath clinging silk.

He felt the surge. Lust, umbrage, sympathy. A crushing trifecta for any man.

Silly to feel indignation when the gown was everything current style dictated. In a glorious shade he would have pegged as plum or eggplant, so opaque it was almost black, a flash of violet in the murky light.

But it wasn’t the color, although that was a dazzling choice with her creamy skin and vibrant tresses.

It was the fit.

The rags he’d seen her in had been hiding a delicious body. He longed to strip that threadbare cloak from her shoulders and slide her gown in a deliberate exhibition to her feet. Then watch her step out of the puddle of material as she crossed to him.

Caught outside his fantasy, she smoothed her palm shyly down the bodice, her glorious lips curling in what could only be construed as delight. So, she liked the new clothing. Even if she protested, which Delaney had told him she’d done. Mightily.

They stared for a long moment before recognizing the pointlessness of such an endeavor. His shaft hardened a notch further, causing him to shift slightly to hide the reaction. Her eyes were wide, so damn blue, and amazingly easy to read. Layers of pain and sorrow, and like icing topping a cake, garnished with a glimmer of hope. His heart thumped once in his chest, his erection withering.

He’d never held someone’s happiness this close—or been truly responsible.

In a way he wasn’t sure he wanted to be responsible.

Compelling him, she stared. Right at him, right though him. He hoped like hell he’d cloaked the thoughts racing through his mind before they showed on his face. He hadn’t done well hiding what being this close to her had done to his body.

Then with a daring glance, she stepped out of the shadows and into his space. Into his life. Unapologetic, fearless Emmaline. And Simon realized with a surge of some deeply held emotion that she wasn’t meant to be tamed.

Not this girl.

She would run free until a man just as formidable was courageous enough to seize her.


About the Author

Award-winning author Tracy Sumner’s storytelling career began when she picked up a historical romance on a college beach trip, and she fondly blames LaVyrle Spencer for her obsession with the genre. She’s a recipient of the National Reader’s Choice, and her novels have been translated into Dutch, German, Portuguese and Spanish. She lived in New York, Paris and Taipei before finding her way back to the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

When not writing sizzling love stories about feisty heroines and their temperamental-but-entirely-lovable heroes, Tracy enjoys reading, snowboarding, college football (Go Tigers!), yoga, and travel. She loves to hear from romance readers!


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Friday, 18 June 2021

The Awakening of Rae by Sananda Allsgood

 


The Rae Series, Book One

Romantic Erotica, Lesbian Erotica

Published: January 2021



Two years ago, Rae had a chance to bring joy and adventure into her life. After her husband’s death in Afghanistan, her friend, Andrea became a light for her, until fear took over and Rae ended any hopes of a relationship with Andrea. With her son, Mark getting ready to graduate from high school, she is awakening to the realization that she might have made a mistake by letting Andrea go. Rae tried to stay busy helping other military spouses who had lost their loved ones in the war, but it only went so far. One day, the phone rang, and the door reopened to the passion and love she had known so briefly before.


Other Books in The Rae Series:


Her Heart's Awakening

The Rae Series, Book 2

Published: January 2021

Rae was a highly conservative, 38-year-old woman, married to a U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel with two teenage children, and it wasn’t until her husband was shipped over to Afghanistan for nine months that she was able to find herself. She was alone, the world on her shoulders once again, but she was trying to stay strong for the sake of her children.Andrea was a free spirited, 28-year-old, vibrant woman wanting to fulfill her life for the next nine months with something worth-while.To keep some modicum of sanity, Rae decided to try a yoga class. During her efforts to find one, she met Andrea at the recreation center on base. A friendship was struck, and the two women began walking down a path of exploration and growth.

Amazon



About the Author

Sananda Allsgood is a new author who says his inspiration comes from his soul. The story line playing out in his mind and then transcribing it to the written word. This is the fifth such book he has written in this manner, although different genres. Sananda started writing after a huge shift in his life and an experience of Spiritual proportions that took him in the realm of Near-Death-Experiences, although he maintains it wasn't Near Death, but actual physical death only to return moments later, after the experience completed.


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Monday, 31 May 2021

Midnight's Star (Shades of Night #1) by Shilpa Suraj


Meet Dev Arya & Avni Desai


Visually impaired author and current flavour of the Indian literary scene, Dev Arya, has not just triumphed against the odds in his life, he's annihilated them. He's got fame, fortune and floozies in abundance. And yet, he's lonely.
Cafe owner and only child to her differently abled father, Avni Desai is broke, heartbroken and a true survivor. But no matter how hard she hustles, she's still struggling to stay afloat.
And then, one day, Dev walks into her cafe... and everything changes for both of them. From excellent tiramisu to earshattering singing, from dramatic friends to accident prone sexcapades, they embark on the ride of a lifetime.
Will it all be worth it though? Will two broken souls find a way to heal each other? Or do the fractures go so deep that there is no way for either of them to find the love they so deeply crave and yet can't seem to have?



Read an Excerpt from Midnight's Star


She sounded…warm. I’d gotten into the habit of identifying people by the way they made me feel. This determinedly cheerful, husky voiced cafĂ© owner definitely made me feel warm. She was also honest. Her tiramisu was exceptional.

Across the table from me, I heard her spoon scraping the bottom of her own plate. At least she wasn’t one of those girls who was on a perpetual diet. I could never understand people who existed by just sniffing at their food and then swallowing one tiny nibble of it.

“You were right,” I said. “Your tiramisu is amazing.”

“I know,” she replied. “Actually, pretty much all of my stuff is amazing.”

“So modest,” I murmured, amused at her confidence.

“Except for my carrot cake.” She sounded perplexed.

I grinned. “I’m sorry but in my opinion carrot and cake are two words that shouldn’t go together.”

“Right?” she exclaimed. “And yet, people love it. Mine tastes pretty awful. I’m still trying to figure out why.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean why? I make horrible carrot cake. That’s why.”

“So,” I shrugged. “Don’t make carrot cake. Make something else. Something that you’re awesome at.”

“A menu of only tiramisu would be a bit restrictive, don’t you think?”

I laughed. Her sarcasm had me feeling lighter and more free than all the cloying sweetness I was usually surrounded by.

“I’m Dev Arya.” We hadn’t even gotten around to introducing ourselves to each other.

“Avni Desai. Nice to meet you.”

I smiled. There was something about her voice that made me want to wallow in it.

“So what do you do, Dev Arya?” she asked now.

“I’m an author,” I said, twirling my cane and waiting for her to make the connection. I usually didn’t want people to recognize my name and fawn all over me but some small childish part of me wanted to impress this woman.

“Hmm. What kind of books do you write?” she asked.

My cane froze. “What kind of books do I write?” I repeated. Was she for real? I was currently one of the most recognized names in the commercial fiction world.

“Psychological thrillers,” I said and waited for the squeal of recognition.

It didn’t come.

Disgruntled, I shifted in my seat. “Thank you for the company but I need to go now.”

She pushed her chair back. “I have to get back to work too. It was nice meeting you, Mr. Dev Arya. Good luck with your bride search.”

I grimaced. “It’s more my mother’s bride search. Anyway, good luck with your ex boyfriend thing,” I said lamely. How exactly did you describe what her ex had done to her? And I was supposed to be a writer and good with words. I mentally rolled my eyes.

I heard someone come up at that moment. Two someones, if I wasn’t wrong.

“These are my friends, Sehar and Diana and this is Dev Arya,” she said,

“I know. It is such an honour to meet you, Mr. Arya. I’m Sehar and I’m a huge fan.”

The voice was sleek and smooth. She sounded like expensive crystal, I reflected.

“Me too. I’m Diana. I’ve got a minor role in the OTT adaptation of your book, Just one more.”

An actress. She sounded like it too. If Sehar was crystal, Diana was champagne.

“Oh,” Avni said, sounding strange. “You’re a big deal?”

I grinned. “Clearly not a very big deal if you’ve never heard of me.”

“I don’t really read books.”

My heart stopped. “What kind of monster doesn’t read books?”

Sehar and Diana started to laugh.

“Not everyone is a reader.” Avni sounded miffed but I was enjoying teasing her.

“I don’t think we can eat Tiramisu together again,” I said, consideringly. “I have standards to maintain.”

Did she just growl? It certainly sounded like it but her friend’s laughter drowned it out. I decided not to push her any further.

“So, Diana, what role are you playing in Just one more?” I asked, trying to change the topic.

There was a brief pause and then she said, “The dead body.”

Uh. I wasn’t sure how to respond. The dead body appeared on my first page and just lay there while the detectives poked and prodded at it.

“I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job,” I said, finally.

“Oh she will,” Avni said, matter of factly. “She’s very good at lying in one place and not doing anything.”

The three of them erupted in a riot of bickering and heckling. I let it all wash over me and soothe the sting of the earlier rejection. Everything felt a little warmer and brighter in that moment.


About the Author:




Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.






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Thursday, 27 May 2021

Insincerely Yours by Manasi Singh

 


All Ray wanted was to have some fun. Little did she know that what began as a harmless midnight adventure would soon end up being the most terrifying night of her life.


Shuttling back and forth between the States and whichever obscure Indian town her civil servant father was transferred to, Atreya ‘Ray’ Sen’s life has always been on the move. When she comes down to sleepy old Visakhapatnam and befriends Mira, Ray hopes she could be a successful means of whiling away her summer. When Mira invites her to a late-night adventure with Mira’s boyfriend and his pals, Ray jumps at the chance for some excitement. When one of the boys suggests they take a detour to one of Vizag’s most famous haunted houses, the night takes a turn for the dark. The spirit of a mean old man seems to be following them, killing them off one by one.
A near-death experience reveals to Ray that she is the only one who can bring peace to him. Now, Ray must race against time to find a way to save her family and friends, or else the once-peaceful town of Vizag would witness a bloodbath like never before.
An old Victorian mansion with a dark history…a spirit with a vengeance…a girl with no memory of her past…
Will Ray be able to stop the killings in time? Or will she be left with no friends and no family yet again?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com


Read an Excerpt from Insincerely Yours


Ray surveyed the interiors of the Victorian mansion in awe. The person who had inherited it had hit the lottery, although they didn’t seem to do anything to maintain the grandeur of the place. Everything was coated with a thick layer of dust, revealing that nobody had come by in years. The house, although beautiful in a vintage way, looked like it had seen better days, when there were butlers maybe to take care of the humongous living room. Ray’s eyes fell upon a portrait that hung on the far right off the hall. She walked up to it, noticing every detail she could. The portrait was that of a man who looked like he was in his mid-sixties. He had a proud posture, standing upright, with his moustache pointed to perfection. He had a stern look about his face, save for the smile. He had a kind smile, which made Ray’s lips curve upwards. It almost felt as though he was looking at her, welcoming her to his abode. She felt the picture tug at her heartstrings, the familiarity of the warmth in that face throwing her off. He looked like someone she knew, but who? She wasn’t sure. Perhaps his face was one that was common, like that of a mathematics teacher, they all looked so similar.

As Ray turned around, taking in the room, she noticed two sets of stairs running parallel, towards the middle of the room, to what looked like a catwalk of the first floor. Her eyes fell on a grandiose piano that was half-hidden behind one of the stairways.

“So, what’s the story behind this place?” She asked, mesmerised by the beauty that seemed to surround her.

“They say that an old man lived here, a retired colonel from the army,” Mira said, and Ray’s eyes immediately went back to the portrait, “Apparently, he was a well-respected guy around town until – well – until one fine day, when he lost his mind. He just randomly went batshit crazy and fired all his staff. You could hear him walking around the house all alone in the evening, his cane tapping against the wooden floors. He would play Kishore Kumar songs on his music system for hours. At nights, if you were close enough, you could hear him crying and wailing out loud. One fine day, the tapping and wailing stopped. The music went on for hours, though. When some neighbours came to complain about the constant music, they found him dead on the floor.”

“The version I heard says that he was a paedophile, that they found a picture of a little girl clutched to his chest when they found the dead body. The old man was found by the bar, in this very mansion, and he had drank himself to death. The neighbors were so aghast at him, they let the body lay as it is, saying he didn’t deserve a proper burial,” Karthik remarked.

Ray wrinkled her nose delicately.

“They say his ghost still occupies this house. The watchman of this area has sworn he sometimes still hears the cane tapping away at night, as though the old man still walks these halls. One time, he heard some music playing, and ran away so fast, he swore never to return again,” Karthik continued in a conspiratorial whisper, “They say nobody has ever made it out of here alive. The ghost of the old Colonel makes his presence felt by playing his favorite Kishore Kumar song.”

“Which is…?” Rohan asked, stepping closer to Ray subconsciously, looking a little nervous. 

Is he scared by this absurd legend?

The room was so silent, she could hear his breath coming out short and fast, the fear in it unmistakable, blending well with the sentiment of the room.

Suddenly, music blasted from somewhere in the room.
Ek Haseena thiii…Ek Deewana thaaa…

Mira was the first to shriek, holding her hands to her ears. Ray felt her blood running cold in her veins, as the room’s temperature seemed to drop a couple degrees.

A Kishore Kumar song. Could the legend be true?


About the Author:


Manasi Singh is a lawyer, graduated from one of the top law schools in India in 2019. Lawyer by day and reader by night, Manasi always had a lot of stories to share, which she did by publishing short stories and articles in newspapers, magazines and journals. In 2019, she began writing short snippets on social media under the name “The Vanilla Writer”, shortly after which she published her first novel “As Fates Would Have It”, which was received warmly by readers of all ages. Manasi is a firm believer in art and creativity not being restrained in any way, which is why she writes short stories, fiction novels, screenplays for short films, and much more.





Manasi on the Web:
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Tuesday, 25 May 2021

The Fourniers by Vera Jane Cook

 

 


Women's Fiction

Date Published: 5/26/2021

Publisher: Indies United



When Hannah Reilly steps off the ship on the shores of Ellis Island in 1912 she has no idea that it is not a convent that awaits her. It is a man who finds her far too beautiful to marry God.

Hannah turns her back on the church and she and Wade settle in Jacksonville, Florida, where the world holds the promise of sunshine. They have two wonderful children before life changes and Wade insists that Hannah abort her third child. When Hannah refuses, light turns to darkness and fate unfolds before Hannah with the cruel consequences of her choices.

A story told against the backdrop of the Depression, Hannah struggles with anguish and despair highlighted by brief moments of triumph, lost love returned, deep friendship and the cruelty of laws so unfavorable to women.


About the Author


Vera Jane Cook enjoys writing in a variety of genres. As Olivia Hardy Ray, Jane is author of the dark, suspenseful scifi novel, Pharaoh's Star. In the fantasy genre she is the author of Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem, Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau. She has numerous forthcoming titles in this genre which include Annabel Horton and the Demon of Lodun, Fox Hollow and Nobody's Road.

As Vera Jane Cook, she often explores her southern roots and complex family dynamics in her women's fiction. Her novel Dancing Backward in Paradise won the Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction when it was first released in 2007 and an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence that same year. Dancing Backward in Paradise received a five-star review from ForeWord Clarion. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, first released in 2012, was a finalist for the ForeWord Clarion Book of the Year Award. Additionally, Jane has published the southern fiction novels Where the Wildflowers Grow and Pleasant Day. Her newest women's fiction novel, When Hannah Played Ragtime, Book One in a family trilogy will be published this year.

Jane lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her spouse, her Dachshund, Karly, her Chihuahua, Peanut, and her two pussycats, Sassy and Sweetie Pie.


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STATUS-6 by W. Craig Reed

Status-6 by W. Craig Reed Banner

STATUS-6

by W. Craig Reed

May 1 - 31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Status-6 by W. Craig Reed

Deep beneath the Arctic Ocean, a covert team of Chinese operatives uses stolen U.S. technology to capture Russia’s newest attack submarine. Loaded with 100-megaton nuclear torpedoes, the sub is headed west. The Americans want to sink her, the Russians want her back, and the Chinese claim they’re not responsible.

NCIS agent Jon Shay is a former SEAL Team Two operator. Still shattered by the murder of his wife a year earlier, he places the barrel of a revolver against his temple, spins the cylinder, and squeezes the trigger. He hears only a click—and the chime of his phone. Activated for a mission in the Arctic, Jon pairs with British scientist Kate Barrett to battle a ticking clock, trained operatives, and top government officials. Together, they must find and stop the world’s most lethal submarine. The stakes are raised when they learn that the Russian sub is controlled by an infected AI system bent on completing its mission to create a nuclear winter.

Praise for Status-6:

"W. Craig Reed's Status-6 is my vote for Thriller of the Year. The protagonist is Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan meets Lee Child's Jack Reacher." -- Grant Blackwood, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy's "Under Fire"

"W. Craig Reed's latest novel, Status-6, is the best book I've read this year—a ripped-from-the-headlines military technothriller that literally left me awake at night, fearful of where we're headed as a nation and a species. What's next after the nightmare coronavirus pandemic? Don't miss this first book in the NCIS Special Ops series that promises to shatter the thriller genre." -- James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of "The Demon Crown (Sigma Force)"

"W. Craig Reed's Status-6 grabs you from page one and doesn't let you go. The global security crisis revealed in this book is all-too-real and could well be tomorrow's headlines. The characters are well-nuanced and provide a powerful urge to root for or against them. Don't read this thriller before going to bed—you'll be awake all night!" -- George Gladorisi, New York Times bestselling author of the Tom Clancy Op Center series

Status-6 Book Details:

Genre: Military Thriller
Published by: Post Hill Press
Publication Date: April 13th 2021
Number of Pages: 256
ISBN: 1682619354 (ISBN13: 9781682619353)
Series: Status-6 is the first book in the NCIS Special Ops Thriller series.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt from Status-6:

With his legs sore and lungs burning from the cold, Jon arched his back and stretched when the group finally stopped marching thirty minutes later. To his right, about a quarter-mile distant, the bright blue stripes covering the mess tent signaled the location of the ICEX camp. Two holes, three feet in diameter, had been carved into the ice a few feet from where the group now stood. Jon surmised they were the spent practice torpedo holes drilled by Navy Divers. Liang and company must have parked the ASDS nearby and used the holes as infiltration points. Also, Liang must have had some inside help to deactivate the intruder detection system surrounding the holes. But who? Rinaldo? When would she have had access to that system? More unanswered questions.

Rinaldo approached and said, “Since you’re the former Navy SEAL, why don’t you help our female guest suit up?”

Jon crossed his arms. “This has gone far enough. Time for some answers, Rinaldo.”

Rinaldo pointed her M-16 at Kate’s head. “How’s this for an answer—she suits up or dies.”

Jon uncrossed his arms and fought to quell the ire-stoked coals in his chest. He turned toward Kate. “Are you a certified diver?”

Kate’s nose and cheeks were red. She shivered. “I hate water.”

“Drinking or swimming?” Jon said, hoping to diffuse Kate’s angst.

It didn’t work. Kate looked like a small child being forced to brave a dark alley. “I can’t do this.”

While donning a dry suit, Rinaldo cocked an ear. “What’s the problem?”

Kate stared at the hole in the ice. Frigid blue water lapped against the sides. She backed up and turned away.

“I think she has a water phobia,” Jon said.

“Get her over it,” Rinaldo said.

Jon bristled. The muscles in his face tightened. He grabbed Kate’s suit and brought it to her. Facing her back, he said, “Turn around.” Shaking, Kate remained facing away.

“Please, turn around.”

Kate turned.

“Good,” Jon said. “Now look at me.”

Kate’s eyes met his. Though full of fear, they were riveting, like a blue morning sky touching the edges of a Nebraska corn field. Jon felt his heart flutter. He tried to hold on to the feeling, but it refused to linger. A year had come and gone since he’d lost his wife, but the pain in his chest still held the high ground.

“I’m not setting a foot in that water,” Kate stammered. Her eyes burned with defiance.

“What about a toe?”

Kate crossed her arms and said nothing.

“Just put on the suit to keep the witch happy while I think of something,” Jon said.

“Something?”

“Yeah, something.”

“Like what, mate?”

Rinaldo called over from the other side of the ice hole. “Five minutes, Shay.”

Jon held up the suit. “Just put it on, please. I promise I’ll think of something.”

Kate rolled her eyes and held out her arms. “Fine, but you’d better not be lying to me.”

“Who’s your colleague?” Jon asked as he moved in close to help Kate don the dry suit.

“Bobby Ruppert. He’s a bit rough around the edges and goes into panic mode in stressful situations, but he’s a brilliant engineer.”

While Jon zipped up Kate’s dry suit, the scent of her perfume conjured a memory. He shivered.

“Now what?” Kate said. Her bottom lip quivered. Annelia had also done that when she was frightened.

Jon pulled on his suit. He stepped toward Kate and said, “Let’s just put on our SCUBA gear and then I’ll make my move.”

“Your move?” Kate shot back.

Jon said nothing as he helped Kate into a BC vest, saddled up her tank, and held a Kirby Morgan diving mask in her direction. “Put this on.”

Kate’s tone turned urgent as she grabbed the mask. “You said you’d think of something.”

“Just follow my lead.” Jon pulled on his tank and ran through a system check. The action felt like a visit from an old friend and reminded him of dozens of missions survived.

Kate shook her head in defiance as she sucked in a breath. The hiss of compressed air echoed off nearby shards of ice pushed skyward by Mother Nature.

One by one, Liang’s men entered the water. Jon watched Kate recoil with each splash.

Rinaldo approached. “Ready?”

Kate’s eyes widened. She held her palms up as if to say, “Something?”

Now fully suited, Jon led Kate toward the water. He had to drag her the last few feet. He turned toward her, lifted up his mask, and said, “I’ll hold your hand all the way. This will all be over in five minutes.”

Her eyes still wide, Kate tried to step backward but Jon held onto to her hands and gently kept her in place.

“Just follow me,” Jon said. “I’ve done this hundreds of times.”

Kate shook her head as she dug her heels into the ice.

Rinaldo slapped Jon’s back. The gesture did not feel friendly.

Jon slowly guided Kate toward the hole’s edge. She fought to pull away. He held on tight and looked into her eyes, assuring her in silence that she could do this. Tears streamed down Kate’s face and dripped onto the mask’s rubber lining. Her breathing was erratic. Jon’s heart ached with compassion and guilt. He felt like a jailor forcing an innocent victim into a torture chamber. The bitter taste of choler filled his mouth as he stole a glance at Rinaldo. The beast in his gut grumbled and demanded to be set loose. Jon closed his eyes and slowly breathed in and out to quell the angst.

He opened his eyes, lifted his mask again, and focused on Kate. Softening his voice, he said, “Close your eyes.”

Kate stared at him through her mask. Jon could tell she wanted to trust him, but fear remained her master. He had seen this kind of panic before on the faces of green wannabe SEALs learning how to dive the Navy way. None of them had ever made it through training. For sure, none of them would have survived a dive in Arctic waters.

“Close your eyes and trust me,” Jon said. “Don’t open them until we’re out of the water.”

Trembling, Kate closed her eyes. Jon pulled on her fins and helped her into a seated position with her legs dangling into the water. He did all this with slow movements so as not to make a splash. Rinaldo stood by and watched with impatient indifference. Jon slipped into the hole…

***

Excerpt from Status-6 by W. Craig Reed. Copyright 2021 by W. Craig Reed. Reproduced with permission from W. Craig Reed. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

W. Craig Reed

William Craig Reed is the New York Times bestselling author of thrillers and non-fiction military and business books including Spies of the Deep: The Untold Story of the Most Terrifying Incident in Submarine Naval History and How Putin Used The Tragedy To Ignite a New Cold War and the critically acclaimed Red November (HarperCollins). Also, The Seven Secrets of Neuron-Leadership (Wiley), an award-winning business book, and Tarzan, My Father (ECW) co-written with the late Johnny Weissmuller, Jr.

Reed served as a U.S. Navy submariner and diver during the Cold War and earned commendations for completing secret missions, some in concert with SEAL Team One. Reed’s military experience and inside contacts help infuse his writing with intrigue and realism, and inspired his next non-fiction book, Also, this novel: STATUS-6 about a former SEAL Team Two operator turned NCIS agent that teams with a British female scientist to stop a Russian submarine controlled by an infected artificial intelligence.

Reed holds an MBA in Marketing and was a former vice president and board director for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association. Reed is the co-founder of Us4Warriors, an award-winning Veterans Non-Profit and serves on the Board of Aretanium, a wellness firm that leverages the neuroscience he wrote about in his leadership book to provide personalized wellness and professional development programs to accelerate brains, careers, and relationships.

Catch Up With W. Craig Reed:
WCraigReed.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @wc14
Instagram: @wcraigreed
Twitter: @wcraigreed
Facebook: @wcraigreed

 

 

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