Tag Archives: suspense

Barbara’s Redemption by Diane Saxon

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Blurb

Black Hawk pilot Captain Barbara Lynn Perry is running scared. Witness to an event too horrible to think about and too dangerous to talk of, she finds herself alienated from a world she has always had faith in.

With her Special Forces brother missing, she has only one other person to turn to. When her friend Flynn Swann isn’t available, Barbara is left with no choice but to trust the man Flynn sends to save her.

Psychiatrist Dominic Salter’s information from her superior officer’s file is that Barbara has gone rogue. Despite the damning evidence, every instinct tells him he’s dealing with an honorable woman, one who single-handedly saved Flynn from torture and a sure death. Dominic’s challenge is to delve his way beneath her tough, defensive attitude and coax the truth from a woman who’s too frightened to reveal her dark secret.

In his brand new facility containing a state of the art Dreampsych Transcender he’s experimenting with, a machine far beyond a simulator, Dominic has to gain the trust and confidence of Barbara while he resists the hard pull of attraction to this kick-ass woman.

Betrayed by a member of his staff, events take a sinister turn, and the pressure is on in a fight against time for Dominic to persuade Barbara to put her trust in him and reveal the truth before matters are taken out of his hands.

Pre-Order Links & Order Links

Amazon UK | Amazon.Com |  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/barbara-s-redemption   | iTunes

Excerpt

Her eyes flew open in a frenzied panic at the touch of a hand on her shoulder.

She surged to her feet and a red haze covered her vision from the violence of her memories. She knocked the dark figure above her onto his ass and spared him a brief, pitiful smile. She leaned in to appreciate the quick flash of surprise when he realized she’d relieved him of the gun he’d had tucked in his holster, neatly concealed under his thick cable-knit sweater. She held it to his temple. Ice formed to protect her heart. Self-preservation was paramount.

“It’s okay, Barbara. It was only a dream.” Her vision cleared while she stared into his tranquil features. “You’re safe, it was only a dream.”

But it wasn’t a dream. It was a memory, and nothing about it was okay.

Calmer, she scanned his face. Eyes soft as a rain-filled sky overflowed with empathy.

Barbara brought her face close to his. She’d seen fear many times and with varying degrees, but there was no fear from Dominic, just an innate patience as he waited for her to make her move.

Her mistake was touching him. She reached out her free hand and curved it around the back of his neck. The heat of his skin penetrated her iciness, warming the palm of her hand to remind her she was human and she held a human life at her mercy.

Not yet ready to acknowledge that humanity, she leaned in, her nose almost touching his. “What’s a good professor like you doing with a gun?”

The corner of his mouth kicked up as he kept his unwavering gaze on her. “Security. We have some very expensive equipment here. I am licensed.”

“You weren’t very secure, were you, Professor?”

“Dominic.”

“Yeah. That shit. Get me to call you by your name, we start to bond. Well, I’m not ready to bond, Prof.”

His low rumbling chuckle vibrated through her fingers. The guy had some balls to be able to laugh, even if it was a forced one. He leaned back on his elbows so she had to either let go of her hold on his neck or go with him. She rolled onto her knees so they pressed against his chest, surprised at the hard muscle she found there. Her position was a little precarious if he decided to flip her over, but she was still the one holding the gun to his head.

She gnawed at her bottom lip as she contemplated her options while the psychiatrist stared with endless patience in his deep, fathomless eyes until she made up her mind. With a regretful cluck, she shuffled back off Dominic’s body to rest on her haunches by his side. She should probably give him the benefit of the doubt.

She turned the gun around, offered him the handle, and as he took it, a thought occurred to her. “Is it loaded?”

His genuine smile spread wide, lightening his dark features as he sat upright to tuck the gun into its holster.

“It is.”

She came to her feet and offered her hand to help him up, unreasonably pleased when he took it and rolled to his feet, keeping a firm grip on her. His palm should have

been damp with sweat. Instead it was warm and dry. There was no softness to it, which was contrary to the rest of the image he portrayed.

“So, what do we do now, Professor?” She tilted her head to look up at him. It wasn’t difficult for anyone to be taller than she was, but he didn’t have the imposing height many of the soldiers she knew had. He was nowhere near as tall as the gorilla he employed, who probably topped six feet four. No, the solid professor was most likely just around the six feet mark, wide shoulders, his muscles were pretty well defined. She’d bet money he didn’t spend all day behind a desk in his cozy little gray-knit cardigan. She raked her gaze over him. He was a man of action.

Disappointed at the cool emptiness he left behind when he removed his hand from hers, she watched, intrigued, as he turned his back, apparently unconcerned that she could just whip the gun from him again. She’d made her point; he’d shown his trust. She didn’t feel the need to test him any further. It puzzled her why he should feel the need to carry a gun for security when the facility wasn’t commissioned and the only guest was her.

She studied him as he leaned over the desk, her opinion of the gentle professor evolving. There was definitely no need for him to carry a gun. Unless he knew something she didn’t. Unless Strachan had contacted him.

When he turned back, he held her file in one hand, his glasses in the other. “I think we can get to work. Come on. This way.”

Where to Find Diane Saxon

Author Website | Author Blog | Facebook  | Author Twitter | Goodreads Author |

Author Amazon Profile Page

About the AuthorDSC_0066

Diane Saxon lives in the Shropshire countryside with her tall, dark, handsome husband, two gorgeous daughters, a Dalmatian, one-eyed kitten, ginger cat, four chickens and a new black Labrador puppy called Beau, whose name has been borrowed for her hero in For Heaven’s Cakes.

After working for years in a demanding job, on-call and travelling great distances, Diane gave it all up when her husband said “follow that dream”.

Having been hidden all too long, her characters have burst forth demanding plot lines of their own and she’s found the more she lets them, the more they’re inclined to run wild.

Previous Books:

Loving Lydia -Atlantic Divide Book 1

Bad Girl Bill – Atlantic Divide Book 2

Finding Zoe – Atlantic Divide Book 3

Flight of Her Life

Flynn’s Kiss – Disarmed & Dangerous Book 1

Short Circuit Time

For Heaven’s Cakes

Banshee Seduction – Montgomery’s Sin, Book 1


Send Lawyers, Guns, and Roses by Heloise West

Send Lawyers, Guns, and Roses by Heloise West releases on April 19, 2016. It’s the sequel to Hitting Black Ice, so I recommend you pick up the first in Heloise’s Heart and Haven series right now (if you haven’t already) so you’ll be primed for book two next week. Both novels are action-packed and sure to please any MM mystery lover!

HeloiseWest_SendLawyersGunsandRoses

Blurb:

When Hunter and Alex (formally Shawn) are given the vacation of a lifetime, it’s a chance for them to pay attention to romance and get out of the path of danger. The tiny Caribbean island of Saba is gorgeous, the first to have marriage equality, and the Sabans are the nicest people on earth.

There’s lots of rum poolside for relaxing and a room with a mirror on the ceiling for passion. Hot karaoke nights, cold beer, and new friends.

Their new friends Orfeo and Max, and Max’s sister Talisha, share a troubling secret. Alex and Hunter want to help. As a hurricane bears down on them, a dead body surfaces, and a purple backpack loaded with stolen jewels leads a pair of dangerous men to the island.

Alex would rather poke his own eyes out with a pointy stick than call on his old enemy Nick Truman for help; he’d also do anything to keep Hunter out of danger. But even his nemesis can’t reach them now.

Once again, they only have each other to depend on as their paradise is about to become hell on earth.

 

Hitting Black Ice:heloisewest_hittingblackice

ER physician’s assistant Hunter guards his heart carefully, but that doesn’t stop him from falling for Shawn, the front desk clerk.  He keeps his distance from relationships for a reason, but just can’t help himself when it comes to Shawn.

Shawn is on the run from the law and love to protect himself and anyone else involved. One man is dead because of him, and his life now is simple and easily thrown into a bag at any hint of danger. Until he meets Hunter, and he no longer wants to run.

Forced into a hostage situation, buried passion explodes in the aftermath, and sex in the supply closet brings their hearts back to life. Tentatively, step by step, they begin to explore a relationship together until the past catches up with Shawn.

FBI agent Nick Truman has finally found his man, but when Shawn escapes, he focuses his attention on Hunter. Shawn returns, even though it means sacrificing himself to save Hunter from the man who framed him for murder.

Buy Links:

http://www.loose-id.com/hitting-black-ice.html

http://www.amazon.com/Hitting-Black-Ice-Heloise-West-ebook/dp/B00QJEJ7VO/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hittingblackice-1689874-340.html

 

About Heloise West:

Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of 10 years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.

Where to find Heloise:

Blogs: https://velvetpanic2.wordpress.com/

Website: http://heloisewest.wix.com/heloisewest

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heloise.west.1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heloisewest/

Email: heloise_67@hotmail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/velvetpanic

Tumblr: http://heloisewest.tumblr.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8188216.Heloise_West


You Can Bank on It! Guest Post by Liza O’Connor

 

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You can bank on it!

The formations of banks in England began in the 17th century (1694) when Parliament created the Bank of England as a source of funding defense spending.

Modern checks or cheques can be traced to Banker Lawrence Child in 1762.  The use of checks quickly brought the need for clearing facilities, security investments and of, course, overdraft protection. By 1893, many of Xavier’s clients pay by check for his services.

Two immigrant families (Rothchild and Barings) formed Merchant banks that catered to international trading. Due to Britain’s world dominance in trading, both families became very wealthy and soared into society.

Lady anne smallThe unfortunate Lady Anne that Vic rescues in The Troublesome Apprentice is a Rothchild, albeit far removed from the source of Rothchild power. It is no doubt why Lord Conrad had Chesterfield make her a prostitute serving an entire club of men. Naturally the other branches of the family would be horrified and cut all ties with her, thus leaving her without their potential protection.

The 19th century brought forth truly National banks with multiple branches in the first half of the century.  Thus, when Vic witnesses a crime committed at a branch office of a bank, you can rest assured they existed and poor Vic wasn’t drunk from her sip of brandy she had taken just before the crime occurred.

In 1866 and 1878, two banks collapsed causing a confidence crisis in banking. As a result, bankers began to take accounting and record keeping very seriously.  Huge bureaucracies formed requiring a board of directors and a great deal of supervision over the accounting clerks.  If Vic had chosen to go into banking as originally planned, given her time at Oxford, she would have probably spent a year as a clerk, learning the process and then moved into a supervisor role.  It would have been a very dull occupation and she would have hated it.  Thank goodness Xavier offered her a job as his secretary with the promise to not to fire her for three months.

I fear I would have been uninspired to write her story if she had gone into banking. Instead, Vic becomes a sleuth and never have I had more fun writing a story than this series.

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The Adventures of

Xavier & Vic

Book 1

The Troublesome Apprentice

By Liza O’Connor

Cases to be Resolved:

The Key to Aunt Maddy’s Death

The Missing Husband of Mrs. Wimple

The Disappearing Scarlet Nun

The Clever Butcher’s Wife

The Rescue of Lady Anne

 

blurb

While investigating the death of a friend and client, Maddy Hamilton, Xavier Thorn (reputed to be the greatest sleuth in England) is greatly impressed with Maddy’s nephew, Victor, and offers him a job as his secretary. Aware of Xavier’s history of firing secretaries, Victor garners a promise that for three months he cannot be fired. Vic then proceeds, in Xavier’s view, to be cheeky and impertinent at every turn. Xavier endures the impudent pup because Victor is most skilled in extracting the truth from clients and intuiting facts with little evidence to assist.

As they solve a string of cases, Xavier discovers a few more important details about his troublesome apprentice, such as her true gender, and the realization that she has awakened his long dormant heart.

An Excerpt

Vic sighed with relief upon sight of the Remington in Xavier’s office. Her science professor at Oxford had declared her handwriting illegible and suggested she learn to type. Instead of taking insult, she’d investigated the myriad of typing machines currently available and settled on the same one Xavier had chosen.

She had just finished retyping the third letter when Xavier’s hands settled on her shoulders and he leaned forward to study her work. He remained bare-chested and in his silk sleeping pants and smelled wonderfully masculine, a mixture of musk and tobacco.

“Did I give you permission to enter my office?” he asked, clearly in a better mood, despite his provoking question.

“Implicitly you did, for you told me to retype the letter and, since you possess the only machine in the office, one can reasonably presume permission to enter the room it resides in order to complete your request.” Vic stopped talking because his hands remained on her shoulders and they caused a stirring within her. When he did not counter-challenge her observation, she continued. “Now, if you will give me the combination to your safe, I will retrieve the checkbook, deposit slips, and money required to complete the other tasks.”

He laughed outright while his hands encircled her neck as if he planned to strangle her. “Not bloody likely.” He loosened his grip, but did not release her. “I understand your need of the checkbook and deposit slips, but would you care to explain your need to pilfer my money?”

“We are out of stamps.”

“Ah…a false assumption. If you had checked my desk drawer, you would have found the necessary stamps.” He returned his hands to her shoulders.

She turned and frowned at him, trying to ignore his naked chest and focus on his sparkling eyes and beautiful hawk nose. “I would have expected you to keep your desk drawer locked.”

“Right you are, and you will not receive a key to that either.”

“Perhaps you could remove the stamps from your drawer and give them to my care, since I have need of them and you do not.”

He retracted his warm hands from her shoulders and a chill settled in their absence. After making a great fuss over opening the drawer, he presented her with stamps, placing them into her hand. “Do not lose them.”

She laughed at him as she rose. “Are you always so obliging in the mornings? I would have thought otherwise.”

“I seem to find myself in better spirits than normal,” he admitted. “No doubt due to your early arrival.”

lINKS

The Troublesome Apprentice

Amazon

Read Free With Kindle Unlimited

About the author

I’m tired of telling my proper bio. So you get the improper bio.

Liza O’Connor was raised by feral cats, which explains a great deal, such as why she has no manners, is always getting in trouble, and doesn’t behave like a proper author and give you a proper bio.

She is highly unpredictable, both in real life and her stories, and presently is writing humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)

Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

Social Networking

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR, XAVIER & VIC:

Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

Prior Tour Sites

 

Don’t forget to enter to win one of the two $25 Amazon Gift Cards.

Enter Rafflecopter

 

 

 


Don’t be a Nit-Twit, Sparky. Or Suspense During Certain Armageddon.

Like how I did that?  The double title?  One to be all cute and crafty and one to let you know what the actual blog post it pertaining to?  I’d say the idea was all mine, but that would be a lie.  And I am a crap liar.  Also a shitty secret-keeper.  FYI:  If you tell me you have a secret, I will swear up and down that I will never breathe a word of it over my favorite dog’s dead body.  Then you tell me, and I blab it EVERYWHERE.  I don’t have a favorite dog, and I cannot refrain from spilling my (your) guts to random strangers on the street.  So do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.  Just sayin’.
But I digress.  How unusual.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the HBO show “Hung.”  It took me a week to figure out what program I have watched with any regularity that uses the dual title thing.  I should have known!  And to promo “Hung” (because they need me to do so on my piddly-ass blog thing) the male hooker, what’s his face–Thomas Jane, is hotter than a ball sack with a cup on for the whole nine innings.

Did you like how I did that?  I don’t even watch basketball.  Go figure.

So I’m twittering the other day and I come across this tweet about, “Can there be suspense when you already know everyone will die?”  Now, the author of said tweet provided a (now evident) link to his blog, which was a review of the latest Final Destination movie.  Gotta be number 12 or there-about.  So, I respond without looking at the link, thinking that this is a deep question for writers and quite in keeping with my (failed) plan to blog on suspense for a bit.  And BINGO was his name O.  Right?  Wrong.

Yes.  I am a Nit-Twit.  I’m getting better, though, and seeking online council from a variety of smut writers, beer brewers, and various other persons willing to “be friends” with me, or whatever the Tweet version of that Facebook shite is.

Anyway, I dive bomb in with an intriguing and well-thought-out answer (por supuesto).  I twat, “You can always play with the when,” and “If the reader cares about the characters, there can still be suspense, even in certain death.”

I thought I was onto something.  And the whole line of thought got me stuck on “On the Beach.”  You know, that old school book set in a futuristic 1960-something about a group of people living in Australia following a nuclear holocaust?  They are just waiting for the fallout to reach them and snuff their lives out slowly and painfully.  There are people starting relationships, babies, and gardens.  And offing themselves, if I remember correctly.

That was the play on “when” I was considering.  It’s been a while since I read it, and it may deserve a revisit just for nostalgia’s sake.  And while not the epitome of suspense, this dated book kept me reading, and crying, and wondering what will happen until the end.  Now, granted, I was a nerdy little kid when I read it.  Perhaps it would not strum me so hard today.  Was it white-knuckle material?  Not by a flower-pot, but it was moving, and thought-provoking, and stayed with me as an example of subtle horror done right.

And, while I cannot remember precisely thinking that “there must be a way for them to live” I know that I was.  That is my nature.  It is fiction (realistic for the time, yes) but where there is an imagination, there is always a way, no?  It is the nature of the pen.

Same with stupid sequels to a movie that never should have had a second.  It’s fiction.  And they defy death throughout.  At least in the first one, two characters survive, right?  My memory of that film is as foggy as “On the Beach,” but the hero and heroine make it, right?

Until next time when they are reborn with different faces and suffer most disturbingly for denying death his just cheese cake.

Well, the twitterer seemed to think the whole “when” thing was invalid and reminded me that he was referring to a specific blog post

(Yes; I am a twitter douche bag.  So don’t friend me if you think I am not worthy of following your book’s rise to mediocrity or your “too adorable for words” cat photos).

The tweeter added, within his allotted character count, to say that I was correct about the “caring about the character” part.  Unfortunately, that was the entire point of his post.  So no points for me.  And no one cares about the Final D 2011 characters, although people will still, apparently, pay money to see them in the theaters.

If only he realized I never even read the blog until after I felt like a jackass.
Oh wait…I guess he did.

So, that concludes my most recent rectal ramblings.  Stay tuned as I plan to denigrate the Holy Bible, or at least major parts of it, in a future post.  That, or write a poem about Clammy Clams.  Maybe both.


Necrophilia. How can something so wrong feel so right?

That was my catchy title to get your attention.  This post isn’t really about necrophilia.

Or is it?

Actually, I have been remiss in my blogging.  Not only that, but my posts have not been as bizrotic as I originally intended.  So, in an effort to kill two birds with one stone (and then have sex with them before making bird stone soup and feeding it to innocent travelers lost in the woods) I am attempting to illuminate more on the subject of suspenseful writing.

This is meant to help me as well as anyone else who stumbles into this trap I’ve set.  I do occasionally get wordy in my writing.  You see, I love descriptive and emotive writing.  Whenever I come up with a thought-provoking simile or metaphor I get closer to my happy place.  Of course, my editing pal cringes when she hits them.

So, I am trying to tone it down.  And one place where wordiness never works is action/suspense.  It kills it.  In the bad way.

Enough talk.  On to the exercise.  The key point here is that short, concise sentences (or even incomplete sentences) add to the suspense levels.  Long winded crap sucks the action right out of your scene.

First the long-winded business…

The body lay contorted and unnatural on the cobblestone path.  Her arms were up above her head like a ballerina en point, but instead of rod-straight legs, her lower half was alien.  A foot was completely missing on one leg and the other had something like an extra joint between the hip and the knee.  The leg stuck out, arced like the crescent moon that faintly illuminated the scene.

I leaned over the gruesome shape and breathed deeply.  The odor of chloroform assaulted my senses.  But there was another far more sinister scent pervading the body.  The musky smell of dog clung to the dead girl as thickly as the tenacious strings of saliva that dripped from her wounds like mutilated jellyfish.

I looked up in horror as the sound of a low growl rumbled in the still night.  Orange eyes met mine briefly before the wolf leapt through the air.  I watched its snowy underbelly close in on me in slow motion.  I pedaled backward like a crab but the beast was too fast and met its mark.

Air rushed from my lungs like the bellows of an accordion and I felt the beast’s hot breath steam across my cheek.  A runner of drool slid from his yawning maw and slithered down my cheek.

I knew I would share the same fate as the pathetic woman who lay mere feet from me.  Too bad I didn’t get to hit that first. —-There is was, folks.  Just as promised.

Okay, let’s take the last 3 paragraphs and try to tighten them up for better action/suspense pacing.

I looked up.  A low growl rumbled from the beast.  I backpedaled like a crab.

But it was leaping.  Desperate, I pushed myself back.

Too slow.  The wolf collided with my chest.  Air whooshed from my lungs.

Its rancid breath overwhelmed me.

Thick drool slithered down my cheek.

I was a dead man.

————–

So, anyway.  That was the lesson for the day.  My example was crap because I think the first one was better with the mood building/description.  Probably would have worked better with a fighting scene.  Kicking and punching and all that.  POW!  I’ll keep practicing.  Feel free to give it a shot in the comments or to make fun of me.  I’ll look for a good example from a literary master to lay on ya next time.


Creating Suspense in Writing

Well, it ain’t like the movies.  Queue the creepy out-of-tune piano.  Turn up the volume and speed of the hero/heroine’s heart beat.  Flash to a memory or vision of the future such as the word REDRUM scrawled on a mirror in blood-red lipstick or a tidal wave of sangria spilling out of an elevator.

Good.  Now we’re all shaking in our boots.  The blatant waste of that much wine certainly scares the crap out of me.

But in writing, we don’t get the benefits of sound effects or music, unless we describe them.  It is a delicate matter.  An author can’t be too overt with the auditory description.  Fine smatterings of sound clips sprinkled throughout do more to suck the reader into your world.  And therein lies the suspense.  The reader must feel that the action that is occurring is their own.  Your world building must be real.  The pounding heart rate, or rush of blood beating in the character’s ears, become the reader’s heart rate, the reader’s ears.

And when the shriveled up naked lady jumps out of the bathtub and tries to strangle the little boy, she is really strangling us all.

At least I hope so.

In the next couple of blog postings, I plan to explore different writing techniques used to add suspense.  So stay tuned (insert evil laugh).


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