Coming Soon: Best in Show

Best in Show is the second title I have releasing in July! This story is one of my favourite things I’ve written. It’s cute and funny and has a little mystery wrapped around a sweet love story. Or the beginning of a love story. I have more adventures planned for Julian and Mac! It’s also the first time I’ve written paranormal and I had a lot of fun with Mac both as a house cat and as the sweet human being he is in between times.

Alexandria Corza designed the cover for this book. I’m so thrilled with it. I wasn’t as sure of what I wanted for this story, but she took my ideas and came up with the perfect blend of fun and mystery!

Best in Show is available now for pre-order on the Dreamspinner website. You can also add it on Goodreads. Read on below for the cover copy and a brief excerpt!

Solitary mystery writer Julian Wilkes doesn’t want a pet, but his sister persuades him to visit Lingwood Animal Rescue, where he is immediately taken with a large ginger tabby cat. Before he can settle into the joys of cat ownership, however, he discovers something very unusual about his new companion.

Macavity Birch is cursed. By day he is a large tabby cat. At night he can be himself—a human male with ginger hair and oddly yellow eyes. He didn’t mean to end up in the animal rescue, but he never meant any harm when playing the prank that resulted in his curse, either. Happily, Julian adopts him. But while exploring his host’s home, he discovers the diary of a long-dead relative.

Unfortunately, not all of Mac’s ancestors are dead and buried. His great-great-great-grandmother is very much alive, and she’s a powerful witch who doesn’t take kindly to the sharing of family secrets. When Mac reveals himself to Julian in order to save him from bigger trouble, he achieves just the opposite, plunging Julian deeper into a magical mystery with him.

Coming July 27, 2016. Available now for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press!

(And elsewhere: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | ARe)

Excerpt

No way was he adopting a female dog. Julian could too easily imagine the canine version of Alicia following him around his house, nosing him away from his desk chair or comfy chair, pantry, TV remote, Kindle, or Madeleine Lingwood’s diary. Anything that brought him joy. She’d stand by the door with a coiled leash dangling from her mouth, tilt her head, and make her eyes go all gooey. Guilt him into walking her through the neighborhood, or worse, to the park near the woods.

He didn’t want any sort of moth-eaten mongrel, either. The only thing worse than having his sister harangue him about his social life—or lack thereof—would be owning an ugly dog. Nope, he absolutely was not going to get suckered into adopting a three-legged, blind dog with no ears or tail. Nor would he be taking home any glossy showpiece of a thing. If he was going to do this—get a dog and walk it and try to meet people while out walking it—he needed one as unassuming as him. Brown-eyed, brown-haired, average height, a touch on the cuddly side, with a stubborn curve across his belly because he liked doughnuts (and danishes and muffins, but only the bite-sized kind) and the only sit-ups he ever did were getting out of bed in the morning.

There were no dogs on the other side of the window. He could hear them barking—a faint chorus of yaps and howls—but the cats lazing about on various towers and platforms, draped across carpeted tunnels and curled into the corners of litter trays, seemed unconcerned. They also appeared completely uninterested in the face at the window. Julian had never felt more invisible. Well, except to the cat staring at the window with wide, slightly panicked eyes.

Sitting at the top of the highest tower, the big ginger tabby wore an expression of quiet desperation. Its—his?—large amber eyes said: Get me out of here. A kitten clawed its way onto the platform beside the big cat. It clung precariously close to the edge for all of a second before the ginger tabby nudged it off with a distracted swipe of a rather large paw. The kitten tumbled from view. Julian thought to check that it didn’t lie broken on the floor, but he couldn’t shift his gaze from the ginger tabby. Forget the kitten, the large cat seemed to communicate. A darker patch of fur over one eye lifted slightly. Just take me home.

Julian touched a fingertip to the window. “I want that one.”

 

Coming Soon: Counting Fence Posts

I have two new titles releasing with Dreamspinner in July! The first is Counting Fence Posts, a contemporary romance featuring two guys who are forced off the road during a blizzard. Trapped together in a rental car, they begin to talk and soon discover that the undercurrent of tension between them isn’t really hostile. More, it stems from layers of misconception, and given the chance to talk… Well, first they quarrel. Then they talk some more. As the snow surrounding the car deepens, so does their conversation, and they figure out that the tension between them is really a mutual attraction.

Bree Archer designed the cover for this book and I love it! As always, she really captured the feeling of my story and my characters. She is such a joy to work with!

Counting Fence Posts is available now for pre-order on the Dreamspinner website. Read on below for the cover copy and a super brief excerpt, which is one of my favourite snippets of conversation. Oh, and that second title? Watch this space. I’ll be doing another post for Best in Show in a couple of days. The cover for that one is super cute!

CountingFencePostsORIG-final-01

There are over two hundred thousand fence posts between Syracuse and Boston. Henry Auttenberg likes numbers—it’s his job—but he isn’t going to count them all, even if the view outside the rental car is less confounding than the driver, his attractive but oh so obnoxious colleague, Marcus Winnamore. It’s Christmas Eve and Henry would much rather be home with his family. When the blizzard that grounded their flight forces them off the road, however, he’s stuck with Marc until the storm passes—or a plow digs them out.

As the temperature outside plummets, the atmosphere inside the car slowly heats up. Henry learns the true reason for Marc’s chilly distance—he’s not exactly straight…maybe…and he’s been fantasizing about Henry’s mouth, among other things. Confession laid out, Marc is all for sharing body heat…and more. Henry isn’t interested in being an experiment, but as the night and cold deepen, he could be convinced to balance certain risk against uncertain reward.

Coming July 23, 2016. Available now for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press!

Excerpt:

They’ve collected their luggage from the trunk so they can get into some warmer clothes while they wait out the storm. I love this snippet because it’s a great example of how their conversation goes for the first half of the story. The snappishness and frustration. Them trying to figure each other out.

“Are you going to get changed right there?” Marc was giving him an odd look.

“No, I’m just going to put this over top. Like layers.”

“You’re going to look ridiculous.”

Henry shrugged. “At this point, nothing we do is going to detract from the fact we’re stranded on the side of a country highway, where we ended up in defiance of a travel advisory. I don’t think me being stuffed into two or three layers of clothing is going to make a difference.”

“It’s Christmas Eve. Like anyone was going to stay put. And Boston is only—”

“Two hundred miles away. I know.” Henry kneaded the space between his brows before glancing sideways at Marc. “Are you always this stubborn?”

Marc’s jaw set, his chin lifting slightly, and a muscle flickered somewhere toward his ear. He looked mad, bad, and dangerous to know—and despite being half-numb, Henry’s cock twitched in interest. Dammit.

“You’re pretty stubborn yourself, Auttenberg. And I prefer determined.”

“I prefer Henry.”

Re-release: The Circuit: Executor Rising by Rhett C. Bruno

Last year I reviewed the exciting near future space opera, The Circuit: Executor Rising by Rhett C. Bruno. The book had all the ingredients I look for in science fiction adventure – an apocalypse, a compelling mystery, mercenaries and assassins, and artificial intelligence. All it needed was a sequel.

The re-release will hopefully fix this issue. New publisher Diversion has given Executor Rising a brand new cover, and Progeny of Vale, which will complete the story, should release this fall.

Circuit300The Circuit: Executor Rising (Published by Diversion Books)

“A hard-charging opener to a promising, if bloody, space-opera series.” – Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis: Centuries after Earth was rendered an uninhabitable wasteland, humanity was forced from its homeworld and founded the Kepler Circuit, a string of colonies throughout the solar system. These settlements provide resources to the remnants of humankind, the most important resource being the newly discovered element—Gravitum—found only in the Earth’s unstable mantle.

But a powerful religious faction known as the New Earth Tribunal has risen to preside over most of the Circuit. Though there is barely a faction left to challenge them, a string of attacks on the Tribunal’s freighters causes them to suspect their mortal enemies, the Ceresians, of foul play.

Tasked with solving the problem is Sage Volus: Tribunal Executor. Spy.

Sage quickly infiltrates the ranks of a roguish, Ceresian mercenary named Talon Rayne, seeking to discover the truth behind the attacks, but the longer she works amidst Talon and his squad, the more she finds her faith in the Tribunal tested.

While her quest for answers only unearths more questions, a new threat is on the rise, and it plans to bring down the Tribune once and for all. Join the fight for the soul of humanity in the first installment of The Circuit Duology.

Purchase Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | Kobo

For more information visit http://diversionbooks.com/ and http://rhettbruno.com/

View my review here.

Review: Peripheral People (A Ylendrian Empire Novel)

Peripheral People (A Ylendrian Empire Novel)

The cover copy could have said nothing more than ‘psychic detectives in space’ and I’d have still picked up Peripheral People by Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore. By the end of the first chapter, I applauded my decision. In the Ylendrian Empire, two teams of detectives work together to solve crime. The physical evidence is collected by the Inspectors and the psychic evidence is examined by a Reader/Ground team. It’s not a foolproof system. A case cannot be tried on psychic evidence alone but a Reader can help narrow down a profile and offer clues for location and motivation. The Ground is integral to this process as the psychic’s anchor. The Investigators take care of the more traditional aspect of the case: the legwork.

The story begins with a routine investigation and a trip to the morgue. Senior Investigator Corwin Menivie and his partner, Nika Santivan, have a theory regarding the untimely death of a young woman. Reader/Ground team Westley Tavera and Gavin Hale are asked to determine if the physical evidence matches the psychic trail left behind by the deceased. At the morgue, Westley inadvertently reads a different body first and is quickly consumed by the victim’s last terrible hours. Reading the body of the actual victim is comically restful after that and the pronouncement of accidental death is confirmed.

The more horrible death of the first body haunts West, however, and he puts in a request to investigate the case. The rest of the team isn’t exactly thrilled by this. Gavin, because he worries for his partner’s mental health and this case promises to be deeply tricky and sticky. Corwin, because he’s not a fan of Psy Agents, for many reasons. Nika, because everyone else is being contrary. One thing they can agree on is this case will not get the attention it should, because the victim is one of those peripheral people. Homeless and most certainly missed by no one.

Another body matching the profile of the first – abuse, torture and death – makes it an official case. While Reading the second body, West falls into a psychic trap left by the killer and the team realises that not only are they looking for one sick and twisted individual, he knows they’re on his trail and seems to be playing with them.

Following the killer is not simply a matter of investigation. Spliced in between engrossing chapters of police procedural is the story of four people learning to work together. Each brings a different strength to the team and each has definite weaknesses. Two of them are hiding secrets that could be detrimental to their performance as agents and investigators. These mysteries and their resolution are as enthralling as the case itself. When Nika and Gavin give in to the physical attraction between them, this only causes more problems for the two more irascible members of the team. West can hear his partner’s sexual escapades on the psychic channel. Corwin appears just as disturbed. They indulge in a little itch scratching of their own, but it’s clear Corwin is uncomfortable with intimacy.

Put four people in a closed environment, pump in some eau de sexual tension, add in some past indiscretions and a serial killer with an over-inflated ego, and tempers will more than fray. But when another member of the team proves they’re not invulnerable to the psychic traps left for Westley, all four must pull together to solve the case. Despite personality clashes and differing procedural preferences, they need to have one another’s backs or they’ll lose more than a wanted killer.

I really enjoyed Peripheral People. The authors don’t spend so much time world building you’re left too numb to read the story. I always appreciate that. But there is enough detail thrown in along the way that readers new to the Empire won’t be lost. There is a sense of scope and history to this world I found both interesting and grounding. The characters are the definite focus, though, even beyond the mystery. The case is fascinating and gruesome and West’s trips through psychic hell are very well written. But I might not have enjoyed that aspect as much if I hadn’t liked Westley as much. He’s a wonderfully engaging character. Annoying in some aspects, conceited regarding his fantastic abilities and often too flippant, but genuinely good-hearted. Characters without flaws aren’t that interesting, anyway. Putting him against the curmudgeonly Corwin was inspired. The two are like the proverbial chalk and cheese. Corwin, himself, is a fascinating character. I’d love more of his history. The story of his past is teased out in slow drips and it’s integral to the plot. Nika and Gavin are the secondary characters here, but they often don’t feel that way. They’re as important a part of the team and story as Corwin and Westley.

The mystery/thriller aspect is also handled well. I did figure out whodunit before the end of the book, but there is enough complication toward the end that I did doubt my conclusion. The final showdown is thrillingly long and twisty and demands to be read in one straight sitting. Then, for those who like all their loose ends tied off, there is a final chapter that does just that, leaving the reader with a nice sense of satisfaction.

Peripheral People is the fourth book in the Ylendrian Empire series. It is a fully stand alone novel, however, requiring no prior knowledge of the world.

Written for SFCrowsnest.

Here’s a lot at the entire cover image by artist Simoné. It’s just gorgeous: