Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Spotlight: This Is How You Get Your Next Job by Andrea Kay

Even in a bad economy, companies have job openings they can't fill. Considering the millions of people who are out of work or unhappily employed, how can that be? What are job seekers doing to turn off employers? And what is it that employers want but aren't finding? Leading career expert and syndicated columnist Andrea Kay asked employers one simple question: Why didn't you hire the last ten people you interviewed? What it came down to, every time, wasn't a matter of skills or experience, but how applicants seemed based on what they said or did. From lack of preparation, to pushiness, to a subtly defensive attitude, it's the simple behaviors prospective employees exhibit before, during, and after interviews that stand between them and job offers. Based on candid insights from real-life employers, and featuring a foreword by Richard Nelson Bolles, bestselling author of "What Color Is Your Parachute?", this book helps job hunters take control of how they come across to the people in charge of hiring. From "20 Things You Should Never Do" to a "Would You Hire You?" test, "This Is How to Get Your Next Job" helps readers show hiring managers who they are and why they're the perfect fit for the job they seek.

Andrea Kay is a career consultant and syndicated columnist who has helped tens of thousands of people find new jobs and take charge of their careers. She is the author of six books including Life's a Bitch and Then You Change Careers, and her syndicated column, "At Work," appears weekly in more than 80 newspapers and countless websites, including the online edition of USA Today. She's been interviewed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Money, Kiplinger Personal Finance, and Redbook, and on radio and TV across the United States.

Visit Andrea online at http://andreakay.com/

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: AMACOM (April 17, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0814432212
ISBN-13: 978-0814432211

Blogger's note: I'm almost done reading this book. Look for my review coming soon!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Spotlight: Control: Exposing the Truth About Guns by Glenn Beck

When our founding fathers secured the Constitutional “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” they also added the admonition that this right SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

It is the only time this phrase appears in the Bill of Rights. So why aren’t more people listening?

History has proven that guns are essential to self-defense and liberty—but tragedy is a powerful force and has led many to believe that guns are the enemy, that the Second Amendment is outdated, and that more restrictions or outright bans on firearms will somehow solve everything.

They are wrong.

In CONTROL, Glenn Beck presents a passionate, fact-based case for guns that reveals why gun control isn’t really about controlling guns at all; it’s about controlling us. In doing so, he takes on and debunks the common myths and outright lies that are often used to vilify guns and demean their owners:

The Second Amendment is ABOUT MUSKETS . . . GUN CONTROL WORKS in other countries . . . 40 percent of all guns are sold without BACKGROUND CHECKS . . . More GUNS MEAN more MURDER . . . Mass shootings are becoming more common . . . These awful MASSACRES ARE UNIQUE TO AMERICA . . . No CIVILIAN needs a “weapon of war” like the AR-15 . . . ARMED GUARDS in schools do nothing, just look at Columbine . . . Stop FEARMONGERING, no one is talking about TAKING YOUR GUNS AWAY.

Backed by hundreds of sources, this handbook gives everyone who cares about the Second Amendment the indisputable facts they need to reclaim the debate, defeat the fear, and take back their natural rights.

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Threshold Editions; Original edition (April 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476739870
ISBN-13: 978-1476739878

Release date: April 30, 2013, but can be pre-ordered now.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Review: Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia & My Magnolia Memories and Musings by Patricia Neely-Dorsey

Life in the south is fascinating to me. Having lived in the Northeast my entire life, I'm used to the fast pace, the Boston dialect, and New England Clam Chowder with its thick, creamy broth. But when we visit North Carolina or Florida, the slow pace, the Southern drawl, and sweet tea are a nice change. That's part of the charm that keeps us coming back on a regular basis.

In her two poetry books, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia and My Magnolia Memories and Musings, native Mississippian, Patrica Neely-Dorsey celebrates Southern history and culture in a moving way.

Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia blends southern life, country living, childhood memories, family history, and personal reflections to come up with a beautiful collection of poems. From "Mississippi Morning" to "Baptismal Sunday," from "Nature Lovers" to "One Room School," and from "Bookworm" to "Our Place," Neely-Dorsey captures the charm, beauty, and simplicity of the south.

My Magnolia Memories and Musings follows the sentiments of the poet's first collection. Some poems appear in both books. In this new volume, readers find a mixture of poems on the seasons, bygone days, and some glimpses into Neely-Dorsey's childhood and old neighborhood. In addition, she gets personal by writing about love, loss, friends, and faith.

The descriptions used in these two volumes allow me to feel like I am at home with the poet in Mississippi. I look forward to more of Neely-Dorsey's collections.


Paperback: 90 pages
Publisher: GrantHouse Publishers; 1 edition (February 22, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 097962942X
ISBN-13: 978-0979629426

Memories and Musings

Paperback: 114 pages
Publisher: Patricia Neely-Dorsey (February 17, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935316478
ISBN-13: 978-1935316473

Purchase Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

Purchase My Magnolia Memories

Patricia's Website / Facebook
Add Patricia’s Books to Your Goodreads List:

I received a free copy of both books from the author through Worldwind Virtual Book Tours. These reviews contain my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Pump Up Your Book! Announces May 2013 Authors on Virtual Book Tours


Contact Information:
Dorothy Thompson
Founder of Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours
Email: thewriterslife@gmail.com

Pump Up Your Book! Announces authors on tour in May 2013.

Pump Up Your Book is thrilled to announce their May 2013 authors on virtual book tour. In May, Pump Up Your Book features 37 authors in a variety of genres. From paranormal mysteries and romances to fantasy novels, from children’s picture books to young adult novels, and from Christian memoirs to non-fiction crime books and more, you’re sure to find a book of interest. Follow our authors to see how you can enter for a chance to win fabulous prizes like Amazon or Starbucks gift cards or the Kindle Fire HD!

Look for Book Blasts from Rita Antoinette Borg and Milly Taiden this month. Book Blasts are just one of the ways you can win great prizes.

Christian fiction titles come to you from Sandra D. Bricker, Jim Kraus, Sherry Kyle, Cynthia Ruchti, and Linda White. Kraig Dafoe tours with his fantasy adventure novel, “Search for the Last Realm,” and Julie Flanders shares her suspense/urban fantasy novel, “Polar Night.” A variety of paranormal books come to you from Mark All, Christine Amsden, Ann Gimpel, Joshua Graham, and Joseph Spencer. Richard Stephenson talks about his dystopian thriller, “Collapse,” while Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue discuss their post-apocalyptic romance novel, “After the Ending,” the first book in a planned series.

For younger readers we have a middle grade fantasy novel by Yves Robichaud, and children’s picture books from Anne Sawyer-Aitch and Nancy Stewart. And don’t miss Carlos Nicholas and his young adult paranormal, “The Sixth Power.”

Other novelists on tour in May are: Dilbruba Z. Ara, Michael Bigham, Veronica Frances, O.S. Gill, Harris Gray, Allan Leverone, Morrie Richfield, Scarlett Savage, Val Stasik, and Alana Terry.

Memoirs come to you from Emma Clay and Ash Hoden, while Tami Goldstein shares her autism awareness book, “Coming Through the Fog.” Mark Geragos and Pat Harris discuss their non-fiction crime book, “Mistrial,” and Robert Henry continues his tour for his health/fitness book, “Age-Redefined.”

Visit YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGI-MhH33r0 to view a video trailer introducing our clients on tour in May.

Pump Up Your Book! is a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service at an affordable price. More information can be found on our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

First Chapter Review: A Man of Indeterminate Value by Ron Felber

A Man of Indeterminate Value is a thriller by Ron Felber. This book is due to be released in June and is now available for pre-order. The first chapter was submitted by his publicist. Felber's book, Il Dottore is the basis for the FOX TV series The Mob Doctor.

BLURB:  In a world plagued by corrupt corporations and sinister forces that prowl the global landscape, John "Jack" Madson seeks salvation from deep within the man he is today and the man he aspires to be.

In the tradition of Raymond Chandler, John Grisham, and Michael Connelly, this crime fiction series launches with three noir thrillers bristling with authenticity, insight, and social commentary. From the boardrooms of Wall Street, to the steamy backstreets of Bangkok, to the secret Triads of Shanghai, award-winning author Ron Felber, originator of the FOX television series The Mob Doctor, takes his reader into the violent, surreal, and sex-crazed underbelly of 21st century America, the "empire in decline."

Witty, riveting, and diabolically clever, the heart-pounding pace, exotic locales, and unforgettable characters make the "Jack Madson" series a welcomed innovation within the genre of crime fiction.

A Man of Indeterminate Value (Book 1), introduces ex-cop Jack Madson as a disgraced Wall Street take-over artist and target of a failed suicide scam that leaves him the "most wanted" man in the Garden State of NJ. Madson is on a personal mission to take on corporate forces hell-bent on his destruction as they seek to IPO game-changing bio-medical technology to the Street worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

COVER: Dark, mysterious, edgy--everything a book in this genre should be. I like the contrast of the bold red text against the black cover. The hardened face of the man speaks to what the main character is up against and what he personally has at stake. Fabulous cover!

FIRST CHAPTER:  A cab parks opposite the Benedictine Brothers monastery in Newark’s Central Ward. Slipping the driver two large bills, Jack Madson says, "You never saw me." A wounded Jack climbs the steps of the monastery and rings the bell. When the door opens, he is face to face with Father Jeremiah, his former teacher.

KEEP READING: One difference between a good writer and a great writer is how much they can say in the span of a few words. Though I've read nothing else by Felber, I already see a masterful storyteller. In under 400 words, the author provides action, suspense, mystery, and a bit of backstory for his main character, Jack Madson. His tight writing is edgy and crisp. The few details speak volumes about who Jack is and why he's arrived at the monastery. A Man of Indeterminate Value looks like it will be a fabulous read. I'm immediately adding it to my wish list.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Barricade Books (June 16, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1569804907
ISBN-13: 978-1569804902

I received this first chapter from Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inc. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

First Chapter Review: One Year Lived by Adam Shepard

Adam Shepard, the author of One Year Lived, contacted me to ask if I would feature his book. I liked his presentation, so I requested a free sample of the book from Amazon for my Kindle. That's where it gets confusing. There really aren't chapter headings for this one. The book opens with a map, followed by the Prologue. Then there's a heading called "The List." After that, the rest of the book is broken up into mini-chapters for each country the author visited. Trust me, it will make sense as we go along, but this is more than a First Chapter Review; it's more like the first chapter plus.

BLURB: During his 29th year, spending just $19,420.68, less than it would have cost him to stay at home, Adam Shepard visited seventeen countries on four continents and lived some amazing adventures. “It’s interesting to me,” he says, “that in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe, it’s normal for people to pack a bag, buy a plane ticket, and get ‘Out There.’ In the U.S., though, we live with this very stiff paradigm—graduate college, work, find a spouse, make babies, work some more, retire—which can be a great existence, but we leave little room to load up a backpack and dip into various cultures, to see places, to really develop our own identity.” Shepard's journey began in “the other Antigua”—Antigua, Guatemala—where he spent a month brushing up on his Spanish and traveling on the “chicken bus.” During his two months in Honduras, he served with an organization that helps improve the lives of poor children; in Nicaragua, he dug wells to install pumps for clean water and then stepped into the ring to face a savage bull; in Thailand, he rode an elephant and cut his hair into a mullet; in Australia, he hugged a koala, contemplated the present-day treatment of the Aborigines, and mustered cattle; in Poland, he visited Auschwitz; in Slovakia, he bungee jumped off a bridge; and in the Philippines, he went wakeboarding among Boracay’s craggy inlets and then made love to Ivana on the second most beautiful beach in the world. His yearlong journey, which took two years to save for, was a spirited blend of leisure, volunteerism, and enrichment. He read 71 books, including ten classics and one—slowly—in Spanish. “If you can lend a hand to someone, educate yourself about the world, and sandwich that around extraordinary moments that get your blood pumping, that’s a pretty full year,” Shepard writes. Can everybody take a year to get missing? “Maybe, maybe not,” he says, “though that’s not really the point. I’m just concerned that some of us are too set on embracing certainty. We want life to be cushy and regimented, but that’s not how we can create a lasting impact on our lives or the lives around us. There’s only so much you can learn in the classroom. Sometimes you have to get out there to experience it, to touch it, to feel it, to see it for yourself. It’s fascinating the perspective we can gain when we step out of our bubbles of comfort, even just a little bit.”

COVER: Fabulous. No idea what the picture is from, but this guy, arms outstretched, in front of the water with the mountain in the background seems to be embracing life. Simply perfect.

FIRST CHAPTER +: I moved quickly through the Prologue that shared the story of Adam bungee jumping with his girlfriend, Ivana, and went to "The List." That list shares the author's reasons and motivation for his decision to spend a year traveling. He talks about "The List" he had made and still not put even a dent in. He opted at the age of 29 to make a dent and live a life worth meaning.

The reader swiftly moves with Adam to his first location: Antigua in Guatemala. There is some funny backstory woven in, but mostly the author spends his time painting a lot of nice pictures for the reader.

KEEP READING: Definitely. Shepard has a nice style. He's sharp and funny. In his words, you can see the man who would passionately seek to make a difference and enjoy life to its fullest. As he says early on in this section, "I wanted more than a full memory card. I wanted something deeper." And you feel that as you move with the author through his first experiences in Antigua. his descriptions are so vivid, you truly seem to be there with him. I would love to read more of his adventures.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Scratch Beginnings Press (April 11, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0979692644
ISBN-13: 978-0979692642

I downloaded a free sample of this book to my Kindle. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias is a moving story that blends past and present into a carefully woven tale of one woman's journey to happiness.

Mazie Hartford doesn't know why she can't commit to her boyfriend, Edward Clayton. He has agreed to patiently await the answer to his marriage proposal, but it isn't easy. When Mazie's great-grandmother, Mimi, decides to share her story of the Moses Quilt and the life of Harriet Tubman, Mazie's life will change forever.

There is so much to love about The Moses Quilt. The amazing story of Harriet Tubman's life is shared in a new and unique way. Macias does a fine job of blending the past and the present that allows both stories to co-exist nicely throughout the novel. As I mentioned in my first chapter review, the author drops you right into the middle of Mazie's conflict, which compels the reader to continue.

I did, however, have some challenges with this novel. Though this book is told with Macias's award-winning style, the situations of the main characters lead to some monotony. Mazie is between the end of school and the start of her new job, so her two main activities are taking care of Mimi and spending time with Edward. She doesn't seem to have any other friends. Lilly, Mazie's mom, is busy as a hairdresser and alternate caregiver for Mimi. Again, this woman has no life outside of these duties. Most times, she comes home, eats, and collapses into bed. Not that this is surprising for either character, but it makes the story drag a bit. And when you combine that with Mimi's character, who at ninety-three is pretty much bedridden, the majority of the novel is eating, sleeping, and storytelling.

My other challenge is there was so much build up to the reason Mimi felt the need to share Harriet Tubman's story and the story of the Moses Quilt before she died, that the resolution for Mazie and Edward comes too quickly. Twenty-eight chapters build up the suspense as to what could be causing Mazie's hesitation to marry Edward and the motivation behind Mimi sharing the story of Tubman and the quilt. Then in the next chapter, everything is revealed and wrapped up. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. There was little time to explore how Mazie and Edward felt about what they learned.

The Moses Quilt is the first book in a planned series. Though this wasn't my favorite book, I'm looking forward to the next two installments of the series because I know Macias is a consistent deliverer of books that touch the heartstrings. A lover of history, I enjoy books that connect past and present. All three of these books feature modern-day women and the stories of groundbreaking women of the past. I'm eager to see how the series evolves.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: New Hope Publishers (January 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596693584
ISBN-13: 978-1596693586

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

This is the 6th book I've read for the following challenge:

David's Song by A. R. Talley Book Blast & Giveaway

davids tour

David's Song

Taken from the book cover: Annie only ever really loved two men in her life. One broke her heart, the other married her. Four children and fifteen years later, Annie’s marriage is in jeopardy. Money is tight and her husband questions the very foundation of their relationship. When Annie is unexpectedly given the opportunity to see the young man who broke her heart — a man who is now a megastar in the music industry — Annie is faced with choices. Choices that will determine what is of more value — a second chance at lost love and unfulfilled dreams or commitment, trust, and love built on years of experience.

A psychologically subtle, yet compelling tale about how the instinct and need for love overcomes self-doubt and personal inadequacy.

Author A.R. Talley

April R Talley was born and raised in the Rubber City, Akron, Ohio in 1959. She is the youngest of six children. She attended Brigham Young University for a time, but withdrew to work fulltime for Osmond Productions in Orem, Utah as a member of The Osmond production staff. After a brief stint working in television, she returned to Akron to finish her education. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Mass Media Communications in 1981. April later worked as vice president and part owner of a dance and sportswear boutique. Married in 1982, she is the proud mother of seven children and is deeply involved in volunteer work for her church. April spends her time working on future projects, caring for home and family, and traveling. David’s Song is her debut novel and the first of a trilogy.

Praise from reviews on Goodreads.com

"Not just your typical romance novel" - Tracy Williams

"David's Song is great read that leaves you thinking about the story and pondering your own relationships". - Anna Pavkov

"Sucked me in from the 1st page" - Jill Walker

"Loved this book . . . could not put it down!" - Dana Vieira

Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/12/13

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Sneak Peek: The Past Defines Chapter One - #BeNotorious Blog Tour Day Six

Sneak Peek: The Past Defines Chapter One - #BeNotorious Blog Tour Day Six

Welcome to Day Six of the #BeNotorious Blog Tour! We are revving up to the release of the highly anticipated sequel of Katie Jennings’ family drama When Empires Fall, aptly named Rise of the Notorious!

Follow along on this notorious blog tour from April 2nd till release day on April 23rd, and be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win some AMAZING prizes!

Today’s stop is a sneak peek at Chapter One of Rise of the Notorious. A true blast from the past, learn just one of the many dark and dirty secrets of the Vasser family in this tempting excerpt! Enjoy!

* * *

United States Army
Criminal Investigation Division
Quantico, Virginia
October 2, 1944

While the world destroyed itself with war thousands of miles away, Paul Morgan sat back comfortably in his desk chair and smiled. He had, thanks to his well-connected father, avoided the overseas conflict. It wasn’t that he couldn’t handle the violence of war or that he was anything less than a true patriot, he just felt his unique skill set was better suited on the home front. And with war crimes on the rise, how could anyone say that he was anything less than necessary?
His job was a simple one. He was a military man who brought other military men to justice.
One thing he knew without a shadow of a doubt was that war was hell. But regardless of this fact, America still expected her men of arms to maintain civility. It was his job to take the cases that were forwarded on from the commanders overseas and see to it that the soldiers who committed war crimes be dealt with accordingly.
It was a job his training as a New York City police officer had primed him for before he had enlisted in the Army to help fight the war. Only, after boot camp, his father had insisted on his removal from the general ranks and his placement in the CID as a warrant officer. It wasn’t the position he had been looking for, but now that he was here he couldn’t be happier.
While the friends he had made in basic training died bloody deaths upon foreign soil, he rested comfortably in Quantico, ready to investigate them if they made a mistake. Sure, it gave him some sleepless nights, but it would be foolish of him to regret his good fortune.
Not that he didn’t have other regrets, of course. In fact, it was becoming much too difficult to not regret one, nagging little thing in particular.
It was the inconvenient string that had come attached to the woman he had decided to marry three years earlier. Not that he had known at the time that this string would be a burden; he had married her in part for this important string.
His wife was affluent…very affluent. Her great uncle had created an American empire, one that had grown into a flourishing, world-renowned business. One that shined like a beacon on the hill for all to admire and envy, eager to feel even some small part of its glory.
It was an empire that was not only monumental, but magnificent and respected.
It was an empire of hotels. The Vasser Hotels.
When he had married her, she had carried the prestigious name Vasser. Now, it appeared that name was going to haunt him until the day he died.
The phone call had come unexpectedly days earlier, an unwarranted intrusion of the quiet peace of his work environment. It had shattered his resolve, weakened his confidence, and shaken him to the core. How could they ask this of him? How dare they even assume he would play a willing role in the cover up of something so undeniably heinous?
Yet they had demanded it. Who was he to deny the whims of a force he had no hope of defeating?
His earlier smile faded as sweat began to bead on his forehead. He wiped it away nervously with the handkerchief from the breast pocket of his suit jacket, his nearly colorless blue eyes darting to the door of his office. Any minute now that wench would walk in, primed for their scheduled appointment. What he wouldn’t give to throttle her for what she was making him do.
What she was giving him no choice but to do.
Lazy afternoon sunlight poured in from the window at his back and highlighted the auburn of his neatly combed hair. It pierced through the half open blinds so that slats of light shone golden on the white wall across from him. Decorating the wall were his awards, achievements, and family photographs. He turned his eyes away from the photograph of his Major General father, feeling sick to his stomach.
If he got caught then it was all over. Everything. He was a doomed man if this ever, ever came back to him. He just had to pray with everything he had that the Vassers had the situation on their end under control. If that man ever killed again…Paul shuddered to even think of it.
Blood was going to be on his hands now. Blood of men he had never met, distant relatives of the wife he should have never married. Damn the Vasser name for carrying its prestige and allure. Damn them all for forcing his hand on this godforsaken cover up!
A sharp, brisk knock on his office door had his heart stalling in his chest. Struggling for words, he attempted to clear the sudden lump in his throat and remove the fear from his expression. He’d be damned if the Vasser woman knew he feared her…
“Come in.” Paul watched as the door slid open and the woman entered, all long, slender legs and vivid red silk. Her golden hair was perfectly styled to curl around her softly angular face, her expression coldly detached and ruthless. It was like the devil himself had just ascended from Hell disguised as an angel, ready to collect his due.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Morgan. So nice to finally meet you,” Stella Vasser purred, her lips curving into a cat-like grin as she shut the door at her back and faced him, her dark coat draped over her arm. “I appreciate you agreeing to see me to discuss the matter at hand. My family will be eager to learn what the status is on the investigation.”
“Don’t play coy with me,” Paul growled, slamming his fist down upon his metal desk in a wave of sudden fury. “I know why you’re really here.”
Stella’s grin remained, but her expression notably hardened. Her eyes of rich cobalt examined him as a spider would a fly trapped in its web. Oh, and what a web she had weaved. Until she had this particular little fly snared and secure, her husband and her family faced terrible consequences for what had been done. For what Cyrus had done…
“I know you do. However all pretenses must be carefully maintained.” She sauntered forward on sharp heels and took a seat gracefully in one of the armchairs facing his desk. Folding her hands primly in her lap over her coat and purse, she eyed him once more. “My husband anxiously awaits his flight back from France.”
“He should have died there,” Paul spat viciously, his earlier fear subsiding as his anger over the whole situation boiled over and claimed him.
Stella’s stunning red lips curled into an angry snarl. “How dare you say such a vile thing?”
“How dare he commit such vile acts?” Paul cried out, the urge to jump to his feet and leave her and the whole mess behind exploding through him.
“His reasons are none of your concern,” she replied through gritted teeth, eyes flashing dangerously. “I don’t expect you to understand.”
Paul forced himself to be calm, sucking in deep breaths through his nose in an attempt to quell the uneasiness and anger coursing through his veins. The nerve of these people…
“So what exactly would you like me to do?” he asked finally, avoiding her eyes. Such cold eyes…he had never met the husband, but he must be a crazy bastard to marry a woman like this. It irked him that despite everything else about her, he couldn’t deny that she was one of the most beautiful creatures he had ever laid eyes upon.
And when she smiled at him with all that ruthless power in her eyes, it made him feel a foot tall.
“I want you to bury it.”
He laughed, a dark, forced cackle that was borderline hysterical. “You think it’s just that easy?”
“Of course it is. You’re in charge, are you not?”
“Damnit, woman, this is the Army!” He threw his hands up into the air, exasperated as he glared at her again. “Incidents of this magnitude do not just get brushed aside!”
“Sure they do.” Stella stared him down with all of the conviction she could muster. She had to hold strong, had to protect her husband. She was his only shot. “This is war, Mr. Morgan. Men die. Record the deaths as casualties of war and we will be done with this.”
“And what of the evidence, Mrs. Vasser? It is already a matter of record, as are the witness statements and the commander’s report.” Paul reached for a manila folder at his side, thrusting it across the desk. It landed before her and she eyed it with amusement.
“It is your word that determines the fate of my husband, not the evidence nor the witness statements. If you choose not to pursue this investigation, then it will be filed away, never to be looked upon again. That is all I ask of you.”
“And what happens when it is discovered that I covered up one of the most heinous war crimes committed against fellow American soldiers in the history of the Army?” he asked, the heat in his voice mixing with a bitterness he couldn’t shake. “Will my wife’s family somehow protect me when it’s my head on the chopping block?”
“We take care of our own,” Stella replied easily, her head tilting to the side as she smirked at him. “At least those who serve our purpose.”
A cold chill settled in his gut at her words, sending a shiver down his spine. He didn’t need to ask what was done with those, even inside the family, who did not serve their purpose. There were three dead bodies being shipped back from France who would be a testament to that violent truth.
“Then consider it done.” He settled back against his chair, numb now to the fear, to the anger. There was nothing he could do; he couldn’t refuse her request. If the Vasser family fell under the weight of this horror, his wife and consequently he would fall with them. It was a connection he despised, and yet could not ignore.
He, by all association, was a part of the Vasser family. As a limb of the empire, roped by a foolish little string attached by marriage, he had now become an unwitting player in the elaborate cover up staged by Cyrus Vasser and his cunning wife, Stella. It was one that she had assured him the rest of the family was completely unaware of, which only made the truth that much easier to keep hidden. He wondered briefly how Cyrus Vasser’s parents would react if they ever learned that he had murdered his own brothers in cold blood, all so that he could assume control over the family empire. He had to pray that day would never come, for all their sakes.
Stella rose to her feet, extending her hand to his. “Thank you, Mr. Morgan. I will inform my in-laws that the deaths have been ruled an accidental consequence of war. You have mine and my husband’s sincerest appreciation. We will not forget this.”
He stared at her hand blankly for a moment before accepting it and rising from his seat.
“Have a safe trip back to New York, Mrs. Vasser,” he said dully, watching as she turned and swept from the room, the scent of her sultry perfume lingering in the air. He shuddered once as he sank back into his chair.
He was right when he realized this moment would haunt him for the rest of his life. Only what he didn’t know at the time was that it would even further haunt, and even attempt to destroy, the life of his unborn son.
If he had known that then, perhaps he would have crashed and burned with the truth instead of covering for it. It would have been the noble thing to do.

* * *

Rise of the Notorious
By International Bestselling Author
Katie Jennings
Coming April 23, 2013

Click HERE to Enter the Giveaway!
Don't forget, you get an extra entry for each blog you comment on during the tour!
Giveaway runs from April 2nd until April 24th. The winners will be announced here on this blog and will be contacted via email.
Good luck!

Meet Katie Jennings…

International bestselling Author Katie Jennings is the author of six full length novels, including the popular fantasy series The Dryad Quartet as well as the bestselling family drama series The Vasser Legacy.

She lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and cat, who both think she’s the biggest nerd ever. She’s a firm believer in happy endings and loves nothing more than a great romance novel.

You can find out more about Katie on her official website, www.katieajennings.com.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: A Step in the Write Direction (Student Edition) by Donna Clark Goodrich

Volunteering in our local schools, I'm amazed by the ability of many of the students to create meaningful stories and articles. Some express a desire to write professionally in the future. Thankfully, for budding Christian writers, multi-published author Donna Clark Goodrich has created an excellent resource.

In A Step in the Write Direction, Goodrich has compiled helpful information on many aspects of publishing:
  • How to get started,
  • Where to get ideas,
  • Manuscript formats,
  • Fiction writing, nonfiction, poetry, and more
  • Editing tips,
  • How to sell what you write,
  • How to tackle obstacles,
and helpful resources all writers need. I've been writing almost ten years and I found information within this book's pages I could put to good use. A variety of "Assignments" help the reader learn more about her motivation to write, compile a list of important resources, spark inspiration, and more.

What I loved most about this book is Goodrich's encouraging style. Her passion for writing and helping others become successful writers shines through on every page. If you're serious about a writing career, pick up a copy of this book to help you get started. If you're already writing with the goal of being published, A Step in the Write Direction can help guide you along the way.

Highly recommended.

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Upwrite Press (June 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414119992
ISBN-13: 978-1414119991

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I was not compensated in any way.

This is the 5th book I've read for the following challenge:

First Chapter Review: Lifetime of Achievement by Jordan Maylea Ramirez

Today I'm reviewing the first chapter of Lifetime of Achievement by Jordan Maylea Ramirez. She is currently on tour with Pump Up Your Book.

BLURB:  There are too many people going through life content with mediocrity. People going to jobs they hate, to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like. People who are dreading Monday, looking forward to hump day and praying for Friday; and let’s not even talk about those two weeks of paid vacation… those are gold!

How long have we been this way? Is this really what life is all about? I don’t believe we were created to be content with a mediocre lifestyle we never wanted in the first place. What happened to being a rock star, an astronaut, or an actor? What happened to the hopes and dreams we each had as children? Perhaps, over time, our dreams have changed… but our propensity for dreaming is still inside us.

Lifetime of Achievement outlines seven goal-setting strategies to help get you from where you are to where you want to be. In its chapters you will find knowledge from some of the worlds most popular personal development masterpieces, taken down to a level that is easy to read and simple to understand.

Learn the steps to discovering who you truly are, creating goals in perfect alignment with that discovery and implementing an action plan that, when followed, has been proven to produce results. Learn how to conquer fear, to activate the powers of the human mind and discover two of the most important factors shared by virtually every successful individual throughout history.

This book takes proven strategies and puts them into an easy-to-read, easy-to-implement format that can be read in as little as a few hours. Discover the steps, put them to work, and become prepared for a Lifetime of Achievement!

COVER: This cover has me totally confused. Why the off-centered bird on the water? How is this supposed to motivate me to set life-changing goals? Perhaps I'm thinking about it too much. Perhaps it's the symbolism of a bird spreading his wings about to fly that is supposed to grab my attention and make me think if I follow these strategies I'll be that flying bird spreading my wings and achieving my dreams; but then why not a bird in flight over a mountain top instead? I'm sorry, but I simply don't get the cover choice at all.

FIRST CHAPTER: This book opens with the topic of clarifying your goals. It covers the relationship between your core values and goals you set, in addition to the need to understand the root issue of goal setting. There is a short exercise to help you identify your top five core values and a discussion on attitude versus philosophy.

KEEP READING: What I think the author does well in the first chapter is start off in the right place. The opening chapter helps readers understand how they are going to get from Point A (setting goals) to Point B (working toward obtaining those goals). Ramirez has an open, conversational style that draws readers in. She provides examples from her life to illustrate her meaning and let the reader know she understands some of the issues they struggle with.

Lifetime of Achievement is definitely a book I would like to read more of to see how the author moves readers from the writing of their goals down on paper to achieving them.

Jordan lives with her husband Robert in Lubbock, Texas with their 3 dogs and two horses. Because both her parents have always been self-employed, she had an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age and began her first business at the age of 17. It was at that time that she first became fascinated with the subject of personal development and the impact a personal education can have on a person’s life. She grew up riding horses and competing in Dressage shows all across Texas and New Mexico. The sport continues to be one of the primary passions in her life and if she is not working or spending time with her family you can usually find her at the barn. Jordan has two younger siblings, Clayton and Paige, whom she is very close to, and she greatly enjoys spending time with her family. She and Robert enjoy entertaining friends at their home (especially during football season – Go Red Raiders!) and they love to travel the world and experience new countries and cultures together.

I received the first chapter of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First Chapter Review: No Hope for Gomez! by Graham Parke

The first chapter of No Hope for Gomez! was sent to me by author Graham Parke. I've featured Graham more than once on my blog. He's known to run all fun kinds of promotions for his book. He actually toured with Pump Up Your Book when this book first came out. Since then, he's run other promotions on his own, which have kept me curious about No Hope for Gomez! 

BLURB: It's the age-old tale:

Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

We've seen it all before, many times, but this time it's different. If only slightly.

When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. What Gomez isn't ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, the phone-sex salesman who hounds him day and night, the super sexy research assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science. But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced delusions, he decides it's time to go underground and work out a devious plan.

Now, years later, his blogs have been recovered from a defunct server. For the first time we can find out firsthand what happened to Gomez as he takes us on a wild ride of discovery.

COVER: This cover has always intrigued me. It's simple black and white with a dash of color, so normally, I would say, blah, yuck, too bland. But as I read the first chapter, it fit. Gomez is a big thinker, so the thinker statue on the cover matches perfectly. I'm guessing the sombrero is hint at the character's ancestry, but I could be way off. And maybe, the black and white cover is a good symbol for black and white thinking.

FIRST CHAPTER: As a test subject for an experimental drug, Gomez has been instructed to blog about everything, leaving nothing out. While reading the paper, Gomez discovers a man he knows has turned up dead. Suddenly, he fears the same fate awaits him.

KEEP READING: Definitely. Parke knows how to attract an audience and bring them along for the ride. This opening chapter captures the attention of the reader with its odd style and immediate conflict. Written as a series of blog entries, you're immediately pulled in by the (possible) ramblings of an experimental drug subject. Because you don't know what the drug is--neither does Gomez--and you're unsure of his mental state before or while being a test subject, you don't know what to make of Gomez. You're not quite done digesting that information when you discover the same subject is afraid for his life after reading an article about the death of another participant in the drug test. It's a zany premise for a book, which is partially why you're captivated by it. The main draw, however, is that Parke's writing has caught you--hook, line, and sinker.

Paperback: 194 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (January 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432752480
ISBN-13: 978-1432752484

This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

The author is offering a free sequel to anyone who purchases one of his novels. You can find the details here.

Book Spotlight: If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones

When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she’s shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer—until the terrifying final entry.

Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca’s life. Soon she’s working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca’s friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she’s going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she’s not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.

Read an excerpt!

When the gallery comes into view, I pause to watch a group of elegantly dressed visitors pour through its double glass doors, which are lined in shiny silver for the black-tie affair. Artsy swirls of red letters, displayed above the entry, spell allure.

Nerves flutter in my stomach, though I can’t say why. I love the contemporary art Allure specializes in, love their mix of local new artists who I can discover, as well as the established names whose work I already appreciate. My nerves are ridiculous. I’m uncomfortable in this world, but then, this isn’t my world. It’s Rebecca’s, and Rebecca is the real reason I’m here.

A glance at my dainty, handmade, gold wristwatch, also bought at the pier, confirms I have plenty of time to spare. It is seven forty-five, fifteen minutes until Alvarez will be unveiling a new painting that will be displayed in the gallery and up for silent auction through the end of the week. Oh, how I’d love to have an Alvarez original, but they don’t come cheap. Still, a girl can dream.

Excitement filters in with nerves as I rush toward the door. A young brunette woman in a simple black dress holds it open for me and offers me a smile.“Welcome.”

I return the smile and enter the gallery, noting the nervous energy bouncing off the twentysomething girl as I pass, an energy that seems to what I am doing.” This isn’t Rebecca, who I know will be daringly bold and confident. In fact, the hostess brings out the schoolteacher in me, and I fight the urge to give her a hug and tell her she’s doing fine. I’m a hugger. I got it from my mother, just like I did my love of art, only I wasn’t talented with a brush as she had been.
The girl is saved from my mothering when the sound of a piano playing from a distant corner filters through the air and draws my attention to the main showroom. I am in awe. This isn’t my first time visiting the four-thousand-square-foot wonder that is the Allure gallery, but it doesn’t diminish my excitement at seeing it again.

The entryway opens to the main showroom of glistening white wonder. The walls are snow-white; the floor glistens like white diamonds. The shiny divider walls curve like abstract waves, and each of them is adorned with contrasting, eye- popping, colorful artwork.

I turn away from the showroom, attending to business before pleasure, and present my ticket to a hostess behind a podium. She is tall and elegant with long raven hair.“Rebecca?” I ask hopefully.

“No, sorry,” she says. “I’m Tesse.” She holds up a finger as she glances through the glass doors at an approaching customer she needs to attend. I wait patiently, hoping this young woman can connect me with Rebecca. I listen attentively while she directs the new guest to a short stairway that leads toward the music and, apparently, the location where Ricco Alvarez will be unveiling his masterpiece.

“Sorry for the interruption,”Tesse finally says, giving me her full attention. “You were looking for Rebecca. Unfortunately, she isn’t attending tonight’s event. Is
there something I can help you with?”

Disappointment fills me. To miss an Alvarez event is not something someone in Rebecca’s role is likely to do. I just want to know, for certain, that Rebecca is safe. Painting myself as a stranger doesn’t seem the way to do that. “My sister’s an old friend of Rebecca’s. She told me to be sure and say hello to her and pass along her new phone number. She seemed to think Rebecca worked big events like this one. She’ll be disappointed I missed her.”

“Oh, I hate that you missed her,” Tesse says, looking genuinely concerned. “I’m not only new, but I also only work part-time, on an as-needed basis, so I don’t hear much of what’s going on internally, but I think Rebecca took some personal time off. Mr. Compton would know for certain.”

“Mr. Compton?”

“The manager here,” she says. “He’ll be tied up with the presentation soon, but I can introduce you to him afterward if you like?”

I nod.“Yes. Please.That would be perfect.”

The piano stops abruptly. “They’re about to start,” Tesse informs me. “You should grab a seat while you still can. I’ll be sure to help you connect with Mark after the presentation.”

A thrill shoots through me. “Thank you so much,” I say, before I head toward the seating area. I can’t believe that I am about to see an Alvarez original presented by Alvarez himself.

A tuxedo-clad usher greets me at the bottom of the stairs and offers me some help finding a seat.And boy did I need help. There were at least two hundred chairs lined up in front of a ministage, set in front of a bay window that was essentially the entire wall, and almost every single chair was taken.

I squeeze into a center row, between a man that has artsy rebel written all over him from longish light blond hair to his jeans and a blazer, and a fifty-something woman who is more than a little irritated to have to let me pass. I can’t help but notice the man is incredibly good-looking, and I’ve never been one to be easily impressed. I know too well that beauty is often only skin deep.

“You’re late,” the man says as if he knows me, a friendly smile touching his lips, his green eyes crinkling at the edges, mischief in their depths.

I figure him to be about thirty-five. No. Thirty-three. I am good with ages and good at reading people. My kids at school often found that out when they were up to mischief. I smile back at the man, feeling instantly comfortable with him when, aside from my students, I’m normally quite reserved with strangers. “And you forgot to pick up your tux, I see,” I tease. In fact, I wonder how he pulled off getting in here dressed as he is.

He runs his hand over his sandy blond, one-day stubble that borders on two days.“At least I shaved.”

My smile widens, and I intend to reply but a screech from a microphone fills the air. A man I recognize from photos as Ricco Alvarez claims the stage and stands next to the sheet covering a display, no doubt his newest masterpiece. Suave and James Bond–esque in his tuxedo, he is the polar opposite of the man next to me.

“Welcome one and all,” he says in a voice richly accented with Hispanic heritage, as is his work. “I am Ricco Alvarez, and I thank you for sharing my love of art and children, on this grand evening. And so I give you what I call Chiquitos, or in English, Little Ones.”

He tears away the sheet, and everyone gasps at the unexpected piece of art that is nothing like anything he’s done before. Rather than a landscape, it is a portrait of three children, all of different nationalities, holding hands. It is a well-executed work appropriate for the occasion, though secretly, I had wished for a landscape where his brilliance shone.

The man next to me leans an elbow on his knee and lowers his voice.“What do you think?”

“It’s perfect for the evening,” I say cautiously.

“Oh, so diplomatic,” he says with a low chuckle. “You wanted a landscape.”

“He does beautiful landscapes,” I say defensively.

He grins.“He should have done a landscape.”
“And now,” Ricco announces, “while the bidding begins, I’ll be circulating the room, answering questions about my many works displayed tonight and hoping to have the pleasure of meeting as many of you as possible. Please feel free to walk to the stage for a closer look at Chiquitos.”

Almost instantly, the crowd is standing.

“Are you going for a close-up?” I ask the man next to me.

“Not much on crowds,” he said. “Nor Ricco’s attempt at portraiture.” He winks at me. “Don’t stroke his ego when you meet him. It’s big enough as it is.” He starts moving down the row toward the exit. I stare after him, feeling this odd flutter in my stomach at his departure, curious about who he is.

I frown as I repeat part of our conversation in my mind. Ricco. He’d called Ricco Alvarez Ricco and spoken of his ego as if he knew him. It’s too late now to find out how he knows Ricco, and portrait or not, I am eager for an up-close look at the featured painting. I have not met Ricco yet and it is disappointing, but I am still thrilled at the opportunity to see his work.

Sometime later, I am enjoying a lingering walk through the gallery, exploring the full Alvarez collection on display, when I spot a display for Chris Merit, whose work I studied in college. He, too, had once been a local, but I seem to remember his moving to Paris. Excitedly, I head toward his work. His specialties are urban landscapes—mostly of San Francisco, both past and present—and portraits of real subjects with such depth and soul they steal my breath away.

I join an elderly couple inside the small room, where they debate over which of several landscapes to purchase. Unable to stop myself, I join in.“I think you should take them all.”

The man scoffs.“Don’t go giving her ideas or you’ll both put me in the poorhouse. She gets one for above the fireplace.” “Stingy man,” the gray-haired woman says, shoving his arm playfully and then eying me. “So tell me, honey.” She motions between two pictures.“Which do you think is a better conversation piece, of these two?”

I study the two choices, both black-and-white, though Merit often uses color. One is a downtown shot of San Francisco in the midst of hurricane-like weather.The other is of the Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in clouds, the skyline of the city peeking out from behind it. “A tough choice,” I say thoughtfully. “Both have a bit of a dark edgy feel to them, and both have the ‘wow’ factor.” I indicate the stormy downtown scene.“I happen to know that one depicts the impact Hurricane Nora had on the city back in 1997.To me, that makes for a conversation piece, and a little bit of history to boot, right there in your living room.”

“You are so right, dear,” the woman says, her eyes lighting up. “This is the one.” She casts her husband an expectant look. “It’s perfect. I have to have it.”

“Then have it you shall,” her husband declares.

I smile at the woman’s joy, but not without a bit of art envy. I would love to be going home with the piece, as she will be, tonight.

“I understand you had a question for me,” a male voice says, pulling my attention toward the display entryway where a man with neatly trimmed blond hair stands. He is tall and confident, an air of ownership about him.And his eyes—they are the most unique silvery gray I’ve ever seen.

“I’m Mark Compton,” he says, “the gallery manager. And it looks like I owe you more than an answer to whatever your question is. It appears I need to thank you for assisting my customers.” He glances at the couple. “I take it you’ve made a selection?”

“Indeed we have,” the husband says, clearly pleased to have his wife make a decision. “We’d like to take it home with us tonight if possible.”

“Excellent,”he says.“If you’ll give me a moment,I’ll have it packaged for you.” He motions for me to walk with him, and I shake my head.

“I’m in no rush. Help them with their purchase, and you can find me later.”

He studies me a bit too intently, those silvery eyes of his rich with interest, and I am suddenly self-conscious. He is, without a doubt, classically handsome by anyone’s standards, but there is also something raw and sexual about this man, something almost predatory about him.

“All right then,” he says softly, “I’ll find you soon.” It isn’t a statement that alludes to a double meaning, but yet, I feel one there. His gaze shifts to the couple.“Let’s go ring you up.”

The couple thanks me for my help and hurry after Mark. The minute they are gone, the minute Mark Compton is out of sight, I let out a breath I hadn’t known I was holding and shake myself inwardly. And not just because of the way his eyes had assessed me so . . . so what? Intimately? Surely not. I still have this overactive-imagination thing going on from reading the journals. I do wonder if he is the he from the journals. He certainly has the animal magnetism Rebecca’s words painted him with. But then, so does Ricco Alvarez. Good grief, I’m making myself crazy.

A staff member interrupts me before I can go on another “crazy” thinking spree, and removes the couple’s purchase from the display. I force myself to stop overanalyzing and relax, basking in the solitude as I discover Chris Merit’s newest work.

“You like Merit?” comes another male voice, this one familiar.

I turn to find the man who’d sat next to me during the presentation standing in the doorway. I give a quick, eager nod. “Very much. I wish they had some of his portraits, but his urban landscapes are magnificent.You?”

He leans against the wall. “I hear he doesn’t have an over- inflated ego.That scores points with me.”

I tilt my head and study him, relaxing into the easy conversation.“Why are you here if you don’t like Ricco?”

Mark Compton appears in the doorway. “I see you didn’t venture far,” he says to me and then eyes the other man. “Don’t tell me you’re pimping your own work at Ricco’s event?” He glances at me.“Was he pimping his own work?”

I gape. “Wait. His own work?” I shift my gaze to my nameless new friend, who looks nothing like the Chris Merit I’ve seen photos of.“Who are you exactly?”
His mouth quirks at the edges. “The man with one red shoe.” And with that, he turns and walks away.

I shake my head. “What? What does that mean?” I turn to Mark.“What does that mean?The man with one red shoe?”

“Who knows,” Mark says, his lips thinning in disapproval. “Chris has a twisted sense of humor.Thankfully, it doesn’t show up on the canvas.”

My jaw goes slack.“Wait.Are you telling me that was Chris Merit?” I rack my brain over the pictures of him I’ve seen and I remember him differently. Do I have his image confused with another?

“That’s Chris,” he confirms. “And as you can see, he has an odd way about him. He was standing in his own display room and didn’t even tell you who he was.” His hands settle on his hips. “Listen, Tesse tells me you . . . I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name?”

“Sara,” I supply.“Sara McMillan.”

“Sara,” he repeats, his tone low, as if he was trying it out on his tongue, trying me out on his tongue. Seconds pass, and the small display area seems to get smaller before he adds,“Tesse was right. Rebecca is on a leave of absence.”

His tone shifts back to all business now, and I wonder if I imagine the raspier tone. I am, after all, excelling at making myself crazy.“I see,” I say.“Is there a way to reach her?”

“If you figure out a way, let me know,” he says. “She took a two-week cruise with some rich guy she was dating and that turned into the entire summer. I agreed because she’s good at her job and the clients love her. But depending on interns who don’t know what they’re doing is killing me. I’m going to have to get someone in here to cover for her who actually knows what she is doing.”

“The entire summer,” I repeat uncomfortably, focusing on the oddity that
represents. All summer is a long time for a working girl to leave her job behind. And Mark’s comment about the “rich guy” hit me just as wrong for some reason, though it could have been merely his frustration over Rebecca’s extended leave.

Or maybe . . . could he be jealous over this rich man? My brows dip.“Leaving you high and dry like this—that doesn’t sound like the responsible Rebecca my sister described.”

“People aren’t always what they seem,” he says and motions toward Chris Merit’s displayed art. “The art does not always mimic the artist.You never know the real person until you slide beneath their surface.”

Or look in their dresser drawer, I think guiltily. But Rebecca didn’t seem like someone to run out on her job to me. She loved her job. Then again, I might be wrong. As seduced as Rebecca had been by this world she’d created, she’d been scared, too. And I want to know why more than ever. What created such obsession, such fear?

A sudden burn for answers, a need to leave here tonight with something more than I came with overcomes me, and before I can stop myself, I blurt, “I can cover Rebecca for the rest of the summer. I’m a teacher, so I’m on break. I have a masters of arts from the Art Institute and a bachelors in business. I interned for three years at the Museum of Modern Art, and I know art.All art.Test me if you like.”

His eyes narrow a fraction, the silence crackling between us for several long seconds. “You’re hired, Sara McMillan.You can start on Monday. I’ll let you enjoy the rest of your evening.” He lowers his voice. “Then you’ll be all mine.” He turns and walks away.

I blink, stunned. He’d just hired me, but he hadn’t even asked me one single question. I hadn’t asked about hours or pay. I inhale a sharp breath. I’d come here to find Rebecca, to make sure she is alive and well. Instead, I am about to be Rebecca, or rather, be the marketing director for the gallery. So I can find Rebecca, I tell myself. Something has happened to Rebecca, and I have to prove it.That’s why I’m here. No other reason.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT TRILOGY which has sold to more than ten countries for translation with negotiations in process for more, and has now been optioned by STARZ Network for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland).

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 30 books with publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Avon, Kensington, Harlequin, NAL, Berkley and Elloras Cave, as well as crafting a successful indie career. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website at http://www.lisareneejones.com/ and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.