Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton

 



It’s an offer she can’t refuse…and might not survive.

Charlotte has an unsavory past, but she’s on the straight and narrow these days. She was so young then—she married the wrong man, falling for Sam’s sweet-talking charm and charisma, and got caught up in his con artist games.

If only she’d left him before things went too far.

Now Sam is missing. But before he disappeared, he left urgent, cryptic messages about someone threatening him—someone who has been threatening Charlotte, too.
So Charlotte takes a job as a personal assistant for an engagement party aboard a private luxury cruise ship, the Cleobella, to get far away from anyone who means her harm.

But as the Cleobella sails through its glittering destinations, increasingly sinister events haunt the guests, and the turquoise waves and sun-drenched beaches give way to something darker. Someone knows what Charlotte did. Is it the blushing bride? The seemingly placid mother-in-law? Or the mysterious heiress?

Someone knows, and someone wants revenge—before the ship reaches its final port.


The Ex-Husband 

Author: Karen Hamilton

ISBN: 9781525811609

Publication Date: January 18, 2022

Publisher: Graydon House


Buy Links: 

BookShop.org

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s


Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @KJHAuthor 

Facebook: @karenhamiltonwriter 

Instagram: @karenhamiltonauthor 

Goodreads



About The Author

 

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. She has now put down roots in the UK to raise her three children with her husband and she also writes full time. Her books include The Perfect Girlfriend, The Last Wife, and The Ex-Husband, out January 2022.

 

My Review


 

Living on the edge, is Charlotte easily manipulated, or is she just in love?
Sam seems to be an elite con artist, is Charlotte? Who wants revenge, and Charlotte is being stalked?
We are along on a luxury yacht, such opulence, and yet, are we safe? These are a few of my questions, but I kept guessing as to whom was the culprit, including Sam. Was I surprised, yes, but even with the main questions answered the surprises kept coming!
Now I’ll be on the lookout for more by this author!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Harlequin, and was not required to give a positive review. 
 
Excerpt:
 

THEN


Eighteen Months Ago

Barbados




A TIP-OFF. THAT COULD BE THE ONLY EXPLANATION.

Dreaded realization filtered through the rows of passengers and crew in the cruise terminal via mutters about delays intermingled with curiosity and general resignation at the inevitable holdup. Sickening dread roiled deep in my gut. Surreptitiously, I glanced back at the queue snaking behind me. Still no sign of Sam. Where was he?

The person in front of me took a step forward, pushing his backpack with a foot. Reluctantly, I followed.

Sam had only darted back to the ship to pick up his watch, carelessly left beside the basin in his cabin. It should have taken him fifteen minutes—twenty max. He had insisted that I save our place in the line to save time. Our flight to freedom was less than four hours away.

I messaged him.


Where the hell are you? Hurry up! I am nearly at the front of the line.


Well, not quite, but it was true enough. 


No reply.

Indecision kept me rooted to the spot. Sam would be annoyed if I lost our place. It would break one of our rules about blending in. Then again, neither of us was thinking straight. Our nerves were frayed. We were both tense after a wakeful night dissecting what had gone wrong, each of us blaming the other. But he left me with no choice. We always disembarked together. We had each other’s backs. Rule number one.

I tried to calm my fears. The upheaval wasn’t necessarily anything to do with us. I was too quick to jump to worst-case scenarios, usually after my conscience had given me a good poke. Sam and I excelled at slipping beneath the radar, despite his popularity.

In the corner of the vast, high-ceilinged building, portable air-conditioning units blasted out woefully inadequate cool air. My heart pounded so hard it almost hurt. Sweat slid down my spine. I stepped out of line and walked back in the direction of the ship. James, head of the ship’s security team, was standing by the exit. Relief. He would know where Sam was.

Strangely, James didn’t acknowledge or return my greeting. His manner was uncharacteristically off. No, he said. I couldn’t go back on board.

“But Sam should have been back by now,” I said. “He only went for something he’d forgotten.”

James shrugged.

“Just wait for him in line. He’ll show up. There’s nowhere else for him to go. This is the only exit.”

“What’s going on?” I said, trying to cajole James into thawing his attitude.

I opted for a friendly, neutral tone. And why not? We were colleagues, after all. Friends, companions. Equals, really.

“There are searches, from time to time.”

“Not that I’ve ever seen,” I said. “I hope it doesn’t hold us up. What is it? Drugs? Weapons?”


I smiled, safe in the knowledge that I was carrying neither.

“Get back in the line,” said James. “Wait for Sam there.”

I had no choice. As I turned, I saw Sam up ahead. He must have joined a different line. His bag was already being searched. How the hell had we missed each other? Why hadn’t he called me? Why did he go through without me?

There was nothing I could do but rejoin the queue and watch. I couldn’t read the expression of the person searching his bag, but the body language appeared at ease. Jolly, even. Everything felt off, badly wrong. Fragments of our heated conversation last night started piecing together. Just wait until I get hold of Sam, I thought. I would kill him for breaking our rules and putting me through all this extra stress.

I watched as Sam exited into the outside world. I could imagine the sun brushing his face as he inhaled the warmth of the Caribbean air. I distracted myself by dissecting the type of people they were pulling over. Lone travelers. Fresh, bubbling red rage at Sam rose. I called him. Straight to voice mail.

I was now among the stragglers, recognizing some of the faces. God, this was torture. I fought the urge to push to the front, explain about Sam and ask to be whisked through so that I could catch up with him, find out what the hell he was playing at. Breathe, breathe, breathe, I repeated over and over in my mind. I can do this. It’s all about playing the game.

A calmness descended over me as I was beckoned forward. One step after another, a neutral expression on my face. I could see the sun through the glass doors. No sign of Sam in the crowds beyond. I focused on the large brandy or whiskey I was going to order on the flight. I thought about the type of movie I would watch, a comedy or something light and easy to absorb. Or maybe I wouldn’t bother with any distractions at all. I could use the time to think.

Half a yard, then another. The man in front was pulled over to my right, with a brusque wave. A harmless-looking elderly couple was also summoned. Not me. Not yet. I was so nearly there. Please, God. I know I’ve made mistakes. I know I’ve made bad choices, but just let me keep walking and I will make amends.

“Miss?”

Shit.

“Yes?”

“Can you come over this way, please, and place your bags on the table?”

I smiled. “Yes, of course.”

Everything turned numb, as though this was happening to someone else. Invincibility was Sam’s superpower, not mine.

Victimless. That is what Sam and I had always said about the people we befriended. Relax, I told myself. They won’t find anything. I’d triple-checked, hadn’t I?

My bag felt unusually heavy as I lifted it up. It was still covered in hotel, airline and cruise stickers. Funny, the inconsequential things I focused on. Sam often told me to scrape them off. “Bland and anonymous is always best. The smallest of details can offer up rich clues to the wrong people.” He would know.

“Open your bags, please.”

“Sure.”

My mouth was dry. I rotated the combination on my lock: one, eight, eight, my birth date and month, a small act of rebellion when it came to Sam’s insistence never to do the obvious. It clicked open. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to lift the lid, to display my personal belongings ready for public inspection. It was humiliating.

The officer lost patience and did it for me. Time slowed as he unzipped the bag. Nestling on top of my favorite red blouse was something that, although familiar, didn’t belong to me.

Blind panic.

“That’s not mine.” I reached to grab it, to remove the emerald necklace from its nest among my possessions. Someone had put it there.


“Stand back, please.”

I felt the fresh horror rise inside me as two other customs officers walked over and peered at the necklace.

“I said it’s not mine. Someone has been in my bag.”

Stony faces, bland expressions, dismissive words.

I tried again.

“You need to go through the CCTV, check who entered our cabin. Someone planted this.”

I looked from face to face.

Still nothing.

I should’ve kept quiet. They’d already decided that I was guilty. A thief. Someone without rights.

Anger replaced fear as my privacy was violated. My swimwear, toiletries, underwear, shoes, travel guides, my Spanish-language course books, my costume jewelry, my every-bloody-thing was removed and examined by careless rubber-gloved hands.

A glimmer of hope ignited when their search concluded. All they had found was something that was such an obvious plant. The necklace rested on the side of the counter, taunting me. Not for the first time either. Magpie-like, the moment I had first spotted the emerald-and-diamond choker with a teardrop pendant, I longed to own it. Green was most definitely the color of envy.

“Come with us, please.”

I was shown to an interview room. I could hear a baby crying outside. Alone, without my belongings, I had time to piece things together. Grim reality, like a blast of icy water. I had been sacrificed, thrown under the bus. Sam knew. He’d been tipped off. Instead of saving the two of us, he’d chosen to save himself. “For better, for worse” clearly no longer applied. It was a final act of cruelty. A brutal end, regardless of how rocky our marriage had been. All that mattered was himself.

       Time spooled and distorted. I sat, trying to appear nonchalant, yet as outraged as an innocent could be, robbed of her freedom. I felt watched. The heat stifled me. I wanted to plunge into a cold pool, swim below the surface, somehow wash away the dirty feelings that threatened to swallow me whole.

Anger took over as I sat there. I wasn’t taking the rap—no way. As two police officers walked into the room, I was prepared to embrace my inner canary. Whatever it took. But it became clear I wouldn’t need to sing that day.

I was free to go. It had all been a terrible mistake. Huge apologies. Strange, but true. My belongings—even the necklace—were returned.

Outside, despite the heat of the midday sun, I wanted to run. I had got away with it. I was free. Except… I wasn’t.

I didn’t like the person I had become—hadn’t for a long time. Something needed to change. Sam’s customary reassurances that “all would be well” had been my elixir. It smoothed away fears and doubts, the ones my conscience tried in vain to shove to the forefront of my mind during the darkest hours. The sudden and horrible unraveling of our gilded situation was the result of arrogance. His and mine.

But for now, I had to put myself first. I walked toward the shade and sat on a bench beneath a palm tree. I had less than two hours to catch my flight, but I could still make it. I sent Sam a message.

Call me. ASAP.

Nothing.

I hailed a cab to take me from the cruise terminal to the airport, deciding to make one detour to a friend’s house en route. I wanted to hide my pot of gold somewhere safe.

As we drew into the airport, fear took hold again. What if I was making a mistake? In a daze, I checked in. The airline staff wouldn’t tell me if Sam had checked in too. I called him again even though I knew, deep down, that there wouldn’t be an answer. As I placed my bag down to go through the X-ray machine, I heard my phone beep. I had to wait more painful minutes while my bag passed through the checks before I could snatch up my phone and read it. Sam!

One word.

Sorry.

What the hell was he doing?

Sam’s empty plane seat taunted me all the way to London as I planned the things I was going to say and do when I next saw him. Because I would see him again. He wasn’t the only piece of unfinished business, because there was someone else I needed to track down too. The real owner of the necklace and the catalyst behind our downfall and the death of our marriage. 


Excerpted from The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton, Copyright © 2022 by Karen Hamilton. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

 

To Disguise the Truth (The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency, #3) by Jen Turano

 


When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her . . . and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long.

Arthur Livingston's goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family--but he's left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case.

Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life--and the lives of those she loves--in jeopardy. 

Amazon 

 

About The Author


Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

 

My Review


I loved this read, and was happy to be back at The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, and what a joy this read was.

Keep turning the pages as we voluntarily enter an insane asylum, oh my, but never saw what happens coming! Then when we head to Montana, you, no I can't tell you, but surprises abound, and I loved this read. Only part I disliked was turning the last page, but we were gifted with an epilogue!

This wasn't my first by this author, nor will it be my last!

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Book Blast The Cape May Cozy Mysteries by Jane Gorman


The Cape May Cozy Mysteries
by Jane Gorman

BOOK BLAST
JANUARY 17, 2022
Spotlights Only

Scones and Scofflaws: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Cape May, New Jersey
Blue Eagle Press (December 19, 2020)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 278 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0999110047
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0999110041
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08PW7M9JC

When a gorgeous man dressed as Bridgette Bardot buys her a Scofflaw and asks her out on a date, Anna McGregor begins to suspect her murder investigation has taken a wrong turn. Her previous work as a medical anthropologist exposed her to a variety of unexpected situations, but none quite like this.

 

“The story does a great job of setting up the mystery and then anthropologist turned B&B hostess, Anna McGregor leads us through a merry chase and I thought I had it partially figured out but then realized…red herring. I would suggest you skip to the back of the book to find the scofflaw recipe and make one to enjoy while you armchair sleuth your way through this charming and cozy mystery.” — Tracy’s Tidbits

 

It all seemed so simple: fix up the Cape May Victorian mansion she’d inherited from Great Aunt Louise and re-open it as the exceptional B&B it used to be. Everything’s going great, until her very first guest turns up dead at the breakfast table, crumbs from Anna’s blueberry scones scattered on the lace tablecloth.

 

As the town’s gossip mill goes into overdrive, Anna leaps into the fray to save her reputation, her business and Great Aunt Louise’s legacy.

 

With help from a handsome handyman eager to solve all of Anna’s problems and a young police officer new to murder investigations, Anna does her best to convince the town — and her future guests — that while her scones may be killer, someone else was responsible for this murder.

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NAlibrisIndieBoundKobo –  Books2Read

Boats, Bodies and the Bee’s Knees: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Blue Eagle Press (April 9, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 270 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0999110063
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0999110065
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08TV5Y2Y9

When her friend’s uncle is accused of murder, Anna McGregor dives into the boating life to prove his innocence. She soon learns that while lounging on a luxury yacht might be fun, matching wits with a killer can be deadly.

Life has finally settled down for Anna. The Cape May B & B she inherited from her Great Aunt Louise is fully booked and Anna is looking forward to a successful summer. Her peace is shattered when a body washes up in Spicer Creek and the police focus their investigation on her friend’s uncle. Determined to find the truth, Anna turns to skills she developed in her previous career in medical anthropology.

Once again, Anna teams up with her best friend Sammy, her young cousin Eoin and the local librarian to use their knowledge of the town and its people to solve this crime. But the disappearance of two local teenagers reminds Anna this is the wrong time for free fishing trips or relaxing on a yacht enjoying a Bee’s Knees cocktail. She needs to find the missing teenagers and identify the killer before anyone else gets hurt.

Purchase Link – AmazonB&NAlibrisIndieBoundKoboBooks2Read – 


Killers and Kir Royale: Cape May Cozy Mysteries with a Twist
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Blue Eagle Press (December 17, 2021)
Print Length 241 Pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MV26RSS

When a love of wine becomes lethal, local B&B owner Anna McGregor discovers she’s the town’s connoisseur at defending the innocent and unmasking murderers. But if she goes after the killer, will the people she cares about most get crushed in the process?

Anna loves the new life she’s built for herself in Cape May, a town known for its historic beauty, picturesque beaches, developing wine culture and … murder? Thanks to some previous successes – and a close relationship with a local patrolman – Anna finds herself pressured into accepting the task of proving a new friend’s innocence in a tragic death at a local winery.

Her investigation reveals an embarrassment of suspects, not to mention one too many potential victims. As always, Anna relies on help from her friends to find the truth. This time, though, offering help means breaking the rules.

Now she must not only catch a killer but also save the reputation of one of her closest friends, all while getting ready to send her young cousin, Eoin, back to Ireland, trying to solve the riddle of her love life, and figuring out her future as a medical anthropologist.

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NAlibris  – KoboBooks2Read – 

About Jane Gorman

Formerly an anthropologist, then a diplomat, then a park ranger, Jane Gorman now writes murder mysteries. Building on her knowledge of Philadelphia (her home for many years) and her varied experiences, her Adam Kaminski mystery series features a Philly cop who manages to solve complicated murders in far-flung locales, both in the U.S. and overseas. Her Cape May cozy mysteries paint a light-hearted, fun picture of the Cape May life of a former anthropologist who just happens to be good at solving murders – and trying out new cocktails!

Author Links

Website       Facebook       Twitter        BookBub      GoodReads 


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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Celebrate Lit Presents: Buried Cold Case Secrets

 

Buried Cold Case Secrets

About the Book

Book: Buried Cold Case Secrets

Author: Sami A. Abrams

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: December 28, 2021

coverRecovering her missing memories…

Could be the key to solving a murder…

Searching for her best friend’s remains could help forensic anthropologist Melanie Hutton regain her memories of when they were both kidnapped—unless the killer gets to Melanie first. For her safety, Melanie must rely on Detective Jason Cooper, who still blames her for his sister’s death. Can Jason set the past aside to solve the cold-case murder…and shield Melanie from the same fate?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Headshot (3)Two-time Genesis winner Sami A. Abrams and her husband live in Northern California, but she’ll always be a Kansas girl at heart. She enjoys visiting her two grown children and spoiling their sweet fur babies. Most evenings, if Sami’s not watching sports, you’ll find her engrossed in a romantic suspense novel. She thinks a crime plus a little romance is the recipe for a great story.

More from Sami

What writer doesn’t grow up reading every chance they get? That would be me.

Until my thirties, I hated to read. Then someone told me about Terri Blackstock, and I decided to give her books a try. I was hooked. I guess there’s something to finding the right genre. Romantic Suspense is it for me. Of course, that makes sense. I love CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds. Over the years, I have expanded my taste, but there’s just something about suspense that keeps me coming back.

A little over five years ago, I decided to start checking off some of the items on my bucket list. I learned how to rock climb and got my scuba certification, among other things. When I got to the item, writing a novel, I sat down and pounded it out. Check the box; I was done. Wrong. God had other plans and placed some amazing people in my life.

One of those plans was attending MurderCon, a conference for writers where they learn from experts about, you guessed it…murder. Actually, it’s about police procedures, crime scene analysis…the list goes on and on. One of the workshops I attended was with a forensic anthropologist, and the idea for Melanie Hutton and Buried Cold Case Secrets was born.

I loved writing Melanie’s story. She’s a fighter and refuses to let anything stand in her way, including the man, Jason Cooper, who blames her for her best friend’s death. Jason holds on to the past and his hatred toward Melanie, but he soon learns that if he puts aside his assumptions and listens, he’ll discover the truth about the day his sister died. Letting go of his anger and blame is tough for Jason, but when he does, he finds the life he’s always wanted.

I hope you enjoy reading Melanie and Jason’s story as much as I did writing it.

I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my website at samiaabrams.com and sign up for my newsletter.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 8

The Avid Reader, January 8

Bigreadersite, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Bizwings Blog, January 9

Texas Book-aholic, January 10

The Sacred Line, January 10

Inklings and notions, January 11

Labor Not in Vain, January 11

Betti Mace, January 11

For Him and My Family, January 12

For the Love of Literature, January 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 13 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, January 13

Lights in a Dark World, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 14

Elly Gilbert, January 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 15

Mary Hake, January 15

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 16

Kayem Reads, January 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 17 (Spotlight)

Through the Fire Blogs, January 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, January 18

Britt Reads Fiction, January 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Blogging With Carol, January 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 20

Simple Harvest Reads, January 20 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, January 21

Pause for Tales, January 21

Blossoms and Blessings, January 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sami is giving away the grand prize package of a book, a coffee mug, a notebook, a pen!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/17198/buried-cold-case-secrets-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Ex-Husband by Karen Hamilton

  It’s an offer she can’t refuse…and might not survive. Charlotte has an unsavory past, but she’s on the straight and narrow these days. S...