Friday, September 17, 2021

Book Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Mountain of Flame by Diane E. Samson

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We're celebrating the release of the third book in the Gems of Fire series, Mountain of Flame! Today, the author shares an excerpt from the third book Mountain of Flame. If you missed her character interview with Anna, you can read that HERE. She also shared an excerpt from the second book Valley of Bones HERE. Plus, there's a giveaway to enter below. Enjoy!

Gems of Fire
(Gems of Fire #1)
By Diane E. Samson
Young Adult Fantasy
Paperback, ebook & audiobook, 276 Pages
November 6, 2018 by Clean Reads

Palace of Sunderland. Paradise to the peasants. Prison to sixteen-year-old Anna, daughter of the king. She can never escape the castle’s cold walls and scorning disapproval of her father and his brute royal counsel, Seamus. She’ll always live in the shadow of her late mother, the queen. Will they ever see her for who she really is?

A riding accident lands Anna in the hands of traders who sell her as a slave in distant Kasdod to none other than her father’s enemy, Lord Anwar. After overhearing a dangerous plot to conquer Sunderland and kill the royal family, Anna must escape and warn her father, even if it means facing her greatest enemy.

With the doom looming over her, Anna is approached by a dangerous man in the dark. He claims to want to help her, but can she trust him with her secrets? The perils of the journey ahead will push Anna to the limit and answer the one question that has always plagued her...

Will she ever be enough?

Praise for the Book

“What an exciting book to read. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The characters were very well developed, and it made me cheer for them all the way through. The cover is very dramatic and fits very well with the story. Great read.” - Goodreads Reviewer

“One Tough Princess…A princess who despite great suffering never gives up. I really loved Anna’s determination and heart. You’ll find adventure, high stakes and romance in the midst of such horrible circumstances. A solid plot with a story that stayed with me.” - Amazon Reviewer

“A breathtaking journey into royal courts, slavery, escape, war, and love. This book has it all…” - Amazon Reviewer

(Affiliate links included.)

Valley of Bones
(Gems of Fire #2)
By Diane E. Samson
Young Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 370 Pages
February 13, 2021 by Diane E. Samson

Princess Anna is left to rule Sunderland as regent when her father, brother and her presumed fiancĂ© Jack ride to battle devouring creatures in Jack’s home kingdom of Oclen. She must establish herself as a strong leader with the Sunderland council and a neighboring king who brings along two handsome princes to negotiate an alliance.

Trouble erupts as outlining Sunderland villages are attacked by pillaging marauders and the council loses confidence in Anna’s leadership. As Anna waits in trepidation for word from her father’s army, all she hears is silence. Her scouts never return. When the reports of a coming horror reach Anna, she forges an unlikely alliance and forgoes her father’s long-standing policies against gems of power. She trains Sunderland’s remaining soldiers to fight with gems. She’ll lead them to battle to rescue her family and the one she loves.

But first she must survive the treachery brewing in her own court.

(Affiliate links included.)
 
Mountain of Flame
(Gems of Fire #3)
By Diane E. Samson
Young Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 450 Pages
August 4, 2021 by Diane E. Samson

Reeling from Jack becoming king of Oclen, Princess Anna returns home as Sunderland’s Defender. Earning her title was a hard-fought honor, but Anna can’t escape the guilt of leaving Jack alone in that cursed, starving place.

When Jack comes to Sunderland seeking aid from Anna’s father, she must decide whether to return with him and help defeat the curse plaguing the cold northern land. If she remains Sunderland’s Defender, she knows her heart would never forgive her for abandoning Jack to rebuild a crushed kingdom.

Can Anna leave what she loves to become queen of a people suspicious of her and the gems? Joining Jack would mean battling an evil greater than anything she’s ever faced, for the curse’s roots grow deep. But if she doesn’t, Oclen will likely fall and Anna will lose Jack forever.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt from Mountain of Flame

A group of soldiers on the slope ahead halted their horses, their hands flying to their swords. Anna used her last ounce of strength to stop Farley before he ran right into them, the reins tearing through her water-softened hands. He half-reared and skidded to a stop, puffing and blowing. Anna patted his foam-flecked neck. Her arms and back trembled with exhaustion, and her side screamed in pain.

Zac launched over the hill behind her. “Anna!” He pulled up next to her. “Are you all right?”

She gave him an apologetic glance. Her breath hitched in her chest.

Twelve men in Oclen uniforms shifted their horses into a tight triangle formation. Two horses stood at the point and five horses down each side. Zac’s hand twitched to his sword as he moved his horse closer to Anna. She was faintly aware that Bart and Gavriella rode up behind them.

“Greetings,” Anna called, as she let the reins slide through her fingers. Farley strode forward a few steps before she halted him again, cringing at the pain in her hands. He chomped on the bit and tossed his head. She searched for Jack’s chestnut horse to no avail. “What news do you bring from Oclen? Is your king well?” Her heart hammered against her ribs. None of the men looked familiar.

“At ease,” the one voice Anna wanted to hear most spoke from the rear. The soldiers’ formation split as Jack’s chestnut horse, Avery, moved up the center of the triangle and halted in front of her. Farley nickered. Jack looked so different—thin with deep, purple circles under his eyes and pale, sunken cheeks. “The king is alive, at least.”

Excerpted from Mountain of Flame by Diane E. Samson, Copyright © 2021 by Diane E. Samson. Published by Diane E. Samson.

About the Author

Diane E. Samson grew up on acreage just north of Kansas City, Missouri, with horses and dogs in the backyard. She later pursued her love of words and earned a degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduation she worked as a reporter, managing editor, freelance writer and in public relations. After moving around the country, she's recently returned to the Kansas City area where she lives with her husband, children and golden retriever.

She's written fiction off and on her whole life and is the author of the YA fantasy Gems of Fire series including Gems of Fire, Valley of Bones and Mountain of Flame. The series centers on a girl traveling a journey of self-discovery in a world of powerful gems, supernatural forces, epic battles and of course, handsome heroes.


Tour Giveaway


Print copies of Gems of Fire and Valley of Bones by Diane E. Samson, a $25 Amazon gift card, three gem necklaces, and bookmarks (US only)

Ends September 19, 2021

Grab Our Button!






Thursday, September 16, 2021

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Help, I'm Drowning by Sally Clarkson

Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Help, I'm Drowning by Sally Clarkson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Help Im Drowning

Title: Help, I'm Drowning 
Author: Sally Clarkson
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Genre: Christian Women's Spiritual Growth

Life is filled with unexpected storms that take you by surprise.

In these storms of life, it's easy to feel helpless, exhausted, afraid . . . and alone. We can feel like victims to circumstances out of our control. 

Beloved author Sally Clarkson understands deeply. Through almost seven decades of life, she has found herself tossed about in overwhelming life storms through many different seasons. 

In Help, I'm Drowning, Sally identifies the challenges that took her by surprise and then leads you to the wisdom she gathered from her experiences. Finding grace to walk through the darkness and hope to make it through will give you the comfort and encouragement you need in knowing you are not alone. Though there are no easy, formulaic answers that apply to every situation, Sally leads us to the One who is with us and will see us through. 

Sally found the anchors that held her steady in the midst of every storm, and she wants to help you find your anchors too. She invites you into her own personal story of anchoring well, and then--with honesty, grit, and her trademark wisdom--she will help you heal and move forward with courage and strength.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

EXCERPT

I assumed that when I became a wife and mother, I would automatically be mature, healthy, loving, and successful at these relationships. I did not understand the demands and weight of being a mother at all. Then conflict in my own heart and life and the stress of living with so many needs and so many demands showed me my selfishness in new ways. I was so disappointed in myself when I lost patience, acted in an unloving way, even resented my children. But I longed for mercy. I wanted to be understood. I wanted someone to recognize that I had a heart to be good at these relationships, but sometimes I just couldn’t. I meant to be patient, giving, and loving, but I had my limits.

I learned that my children had all these same limits. It was through my children and the demands of everyday life that I learned the need for gentleness. Where does a woman find the ability to be gentle, to show mercy and understanding and compassion? I believe it comes as she understands that her heart is selfish, prone to making bad choices, limited in patience, and only just beginning to understand what love requires. Mamas long for grace and a gentle, sympathetic response from others in their lives. A mother learns and understands that she herself is fragile and needy. She then realizes that her children, too, have the same issues and needs. 

Excerpt from Help, I’m Drowning by Sally Clarkson provided by Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright Sept. 3, 2021. Used by permission.
 

ALSO AVAILABLE


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sally Clarkson

Photo Credit: © Steve Hixon

Sally Clarkson is the beloved author of many bestselling books, including Awaking Wonder, Own Your LifeThe Lifegiving Home with her daughter Sarah, Desperate with Sarah Mae, and Different with her son Nathan. As a mother of four, she has inspired thousands of women through Whole Heart Ministries. She advocates relentlessly for the power of motherhood, the foundational importance of family, and the influence of home through her Mom Heart conferences, speaking to audiences on several continents. Mentoring women to understand how to love God in a more personal way and how to live a satisfying Christian life are threaded through her messages. Sally's podcast, At Home with Sally Clarkson and Friends, has more than 14 million downloads.

CONNECT WITH SALLY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a four-book prize including Awaking Wonder by Sally Clarkson, The Happy Crab by Layla & Kevin Palmer, Make Their Day by Karen Ehman, and Prevail by Susie Larson!

Help, I'm Drowning JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 13, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 20, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.






Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Hangin' by a Moment by Andrea Christenson

Hangin' by a Moment JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Hangin' by a Moment by Andrea Christenson presented by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Hangin' by a Moment

Title: Hangin' by a Moment
Series: Deep Haven Collection #5
Author: Andrea Christenson presented by Susan May Warren
Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

He just wants to erase his past. She can’t seem to escape hers. But facing it might put their future in jeopardy.

The day Jack Stewart walked out of jail, he vowed to keep his conviction a secret. The whole thing was just a terrible mistake, and he did his time. Now he wants a new life in a sleepy town where no one knows his name. Deep Haven is the perfect place to start over as a chef. The last thing the former pararescue jumper wants is to get involved. But when Boone Buckam—the guy he owes for getting him out of the slammer—asks for help, how can he refuse? 

Colleen Decker has already escaped evil once—as a teenager, she was kidnapped by a murderer. But she’s put all that behind her as a trauma nurse in Minneapolis. Or maybe not, because a freak mistake in the ER sends her past crashing down on her. She needs a timeout in her hometown of Deep Haven. She doesn’t plan to stay—even when she’s roped into the job of flight nurse for the town’s Crisis Response Team chopper. Colleen’s not sure why she’s drawn to danger, but she’ll be safe enough—after all, she’ll need training, and her teacher is a handsome former pararescue jumper. What could go wrong? 

When Jack said he didn’t want to get involved, he especially meant his heart—but being with Colleen feels like a fresh start. He’ll even climb aboard a chopper again, despite his vows.  They’re headed for a happy ending… 

But secrets never stay buried in a small town. And when disaster strikes one snowy night, they’ll both have to decide if the past will destroy them…or if it just might lead them home. 

Cozy up to this perfect Deep Haven drama about discovering a season of second chances.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub

 

EXCERPT

Colleen picked at an onion ring. The door to the kitchen swung open as a man with dark-blond hair pushed through it. He wore an apron around his waist and made his way around the crowded tables, chatting with a few of the other diners before stopping at theirs.

“Is the food okay?”

He looked vaguely familiar. A five o’clock shadow brushed his cheeks. His blue VFW T-shirt strained against his muscular chest. Not that she noticed. She definitely didn’t notice. But even the sleeves of his shirt seemed to strain around his biceps. What was a guy like this doing in a kitchen? He gave a quick smile that didn’t quite reach his iron-blue eyes.

Wait, she knew him. “Jack, right? From the other day in Boone’s office?”

Comprehension dawned in his eyes too. “Right! And you’re Colleen. The one who wants the flight nurse job.”

Well, that wasn’t quite true…

“I told Boone that I could train you if you want. I know what certification you need.”

“No. I was just telling Ella here”—she gestured to her friend who had oh so conveniently chosen that moment to stuff a whole onion ring into her mouth—“that I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick around. They expect me back in the Cities sometime next week.”

Jack seemed unexpectedly crestfallen. Why did he care if she stayed or not?

“If you change your mind, I’ll be here.” He started back to the swinging door of the kitchen while the Blue Monkeys crooned the chorus of “Take My Breath Away” on stage.

She didn’t know why, but, “Wait!” Colleen called out. What was she doing?

Jack halted, turned back to her.

Um. “I just wanted to ask you to tell the cook that this is a great burger.” She held up her half-eaten sandwich.

A slow smile transformed Jack’s face. “It’s the onions, isn’t it?”

Was it her imagination, or did the room suddenly get weirdly hot?

“I…I was going to say the candied bacon, but you’re right. The onions really pull it together.”

Jack stepped back toward the table. “It’s definitely worth the time it takes to caramelize them before adding them to the burger. Going slow can be a good thing.” His magnetic eyes locked onto hers.

Gulp. “I didn’t realize you were the chef.” Sheesh, that definitely sounded like…flirting. What?

“Not a chef, just a short-order cook. But I take my job seriously. Speaking of which, I should get back. But thanks for noticing.” Jack winked, then wove his way through the tables to the kitchen.

What…just…happened?

She looked up to Ella’s wide grin. “What? Do I have something on my face?”

Ella laughed. “No, silly. Jack.”

She took a bite of the burger. “What about him?”

Ella made her eyes wide, deadpanned, “‘I didn’t realize you were the chef.’”

Colleen’s face burned. “What? I like a good burger.” She took a drink. “Just because I’m not sticking around doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a cute guy.”

“Colleen, you’ve got to be kidding me. If it wasn’t disloyal to Adrian, I would say Jack’s more than cute. He’s gorgeous.”

Colleen bit into an onion ring. “Yeah. I’d go there. But it doesn’t matter.”

“Oh, stop. I think you should rethink training for that flight nurse position. You could come home and live with me. You wouldn’t have to stay at your parents’ place. Besides, who wouldn’t want to spend more time with Muscles?”

Hmm.

If only coming back home didn’t smell a little too much like defeat. And Colleen never liked waving a white flag.

© Sunrise Publishing

BOOKS IN THIS SERIES


 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

 Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling novelist of 80 books. With more than 1.5 million books in print, she is beloved by reviewers and readers around the world. Visit Susan at www.susanmaywarren.com.
CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | FacebookInstagram | Twitter

Andrea Christenson lives in a Minneapolis, MN suburb with her husband and two daughters. When she is not busy homeschooling her girls, she loves to read anything she can get her hands on. She believes that a great loaf of artistic bread can turn a meal into a masterpiece. Andrea’s prayer is to write stories revealing God’s love.

CONNECT WITH ANDREA: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

Merging the creative energies of best-selling authors Susan May Warren and Lindsay Harrel, Sunrise Publishing is the matchmaker for established authors who want to build on their current success for future growth and aspiring authors looking to break out, build an audience, and hone their writing skills. 


 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive 3 Hangin' by a Moment ebooks (one ebook for the winner and two to give to friends)!

Hangin' by a Moment JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight September 14, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 21, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.






Book Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Mountain of Flame by Diane E. Samson

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

We're celebrating the release of the third book in the Gems of Fire series, Mountain of Flame! Today, the author shares an excerpt from the second book Valley of Bones. If you missed her character interview with Anna, you can read that HERE. Next, she shares an excerpt from the third book Mountain of Flame. Plus, there's a giveaway to enter below. Enjoy!

Gems of Fire
(Gems of Fire #1)
By Diane E. Samson
Young Adult Fantasy
Paperback, ebook & audiobook, 276 Pages
November 6, 2018 by Clean Reads

Palace of Sunderland. Paradise to the peasants. Prison to sixteen-year-old Anna, daughter of the king. She can never escape the castle’s cold walls and scorning disapproval of her father and his brute royal counsel, Seamus. She’ll always live in the shadow of her late mother, the queen. Will they ever see her for who she really is?

A riding accident lands Anna in the hands of traders who sell her as a slave in distant Kasdod to none other than her father’s enemy, Lord Anwar. After overhearing a dangerous plot to conquer Sunderland and kill the royal family, Anna must escape and warn her father, even if it means facing her greatest enemy.

With the doom looming over her, Anna is approached by a dangerous man in the dark. He claims to want to help her, but can she trust him with her secrets? The perils of the journey ahead will push Anna to the limit and answer the one question that has always plagued her...

Will she ever be enough?

Praise for the Book

“What an exciting book to read. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The characters were very well developed, and it made me cheer for them all the way through. The cover is very dramatic and fits very well with the story. Great read.” - Goodreads Reviewer

“One Tough Princess…A princess who despite great suffering never gives up. I really loved Anna’s determination and heart. You’ll find adventure, high stakes and romance in the midst of such horrible circumstances. A solid plot with a story that stayed with me.” - Amazon Reviewer

“A breathtaking journey into royal courts, slavery, escape, war, and love. This book has it all…” - Amazon Reviewer

(Affiliate links included.)

Valley of Bones
(Gems of Fire #2)
By Diane E. Samson
Young Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 370 Pages
February 13, 2021 by Diane E. Samson

Princess Anna is left to rule Sunderland as regent when her father, brother and her presumed fiancĂ© Jack ride to battle devouring creatures in Jack’s home kingdom of Oclen. She must establish herself as a strong leader with the Sunderland council and a neighboring king who brings along two handsome princes to negotiate an alliance.

Trouble erupts as outlining Sunderland villages are attacked by pillaging marauders and the council loses confidence in Anna’s leadership. As Anna waits in trepidation for word from her father’s army, all she hears is silence. Her scouts never return. When the reports of a coming horror reach Anna, she forges an unlikely alliance and forgoes her father’s long-standing policies against gems of power. She trains Sunderland’s remaining soldiers to fight with gems. She’ll lead them to battle to rescue her family and the one she loves.

But first she must survive the treachery brewing in her own court.

(Affiliate links included.)
 
Mountain of Flame
(Gems of Fire #3)
By Diane E. Samson
Young Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 450 Pages
August 4, 2021 by Diane E. Samson

Reeling from Jack becoming king of Oclen, Princess Anna returns home as Sunderland’s Defender. Earning her title was a hard-fought honor, but Anna can’t escape the guilt of leaving Jack alone in that cursed, starving place.

When Jack comes to Sunderland seeking aid from Anna’s father, she must decide whether to return with him and help defeat the curse plaguing the cold northern land. If she remains Sunderland’s Defender, she knows her heart would never forgive her for abandoning Jack to rebuild a crushed kingdom.

Can Anna leave what she loves to become queen of a people suspicious of her and the gems? Joining Jack would mean battling an evil greater than anything she’s ever faced, for the curse’s roots grow deep. But if she doesn’t, Oclen will likely fall and Anna will lose Jack forever.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt from Valley of Bones

“You have a kind heart, Princess.” He stared out the doorway. A shadow fell across his features. “But it will not save you from what’s coming.”

“What’s coming?” Anna whispered. He faced her. Pure horror reflected in his eyes.

“My men and I were on the North Sea. Our ship was destroyed by beasts off the north coast of Oclen.”

“Beasts?” Anna’s heart skipped.

“It’s the stuff of nightmares.” His voice was low, his tone measured. “They boarded my ship from another boat and went on a killing rampage. We had to abandon ship. A fraction of my men made it to shore in a few small boats. My beautiful ship sank in those bloody waves.”

Anna shuddered. More beasts.

He was silent a long time. He pursed his lips and studied her. “Sit down. I don’t want you fainting.”

Anna lowered herself to the fur rug. Her eyes didn’t leave his face as a slow roil churned in her gut.

“Hopefully some of the beasts went down with the ship, but many followed us to shore. They swam a mile in the cold North Sea in the dark.”

“How is that possible?”

“These things are not human.”

Anna blinked. The man from Oclen had warned them. Her head spun.

“Many of my men died. There was nothing I could do. Our swords bounced off their hides. Our arrows did not pierce their skin.” He grabbed the wine bottle and slumped down next to her.

Excerpted from Valley of Bones by Diane E. Samson, Copyright © 2021 by Diane E. Samson. Published by Diane E. Samson.

About the Author

Diane E. Samson grew up on acreage just north of Kansas City, Missouri, with horses and dogs in the backyard. She later pursued her love of words and earned a degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduation she worked as a reporter, managing editor, freelance writer and in public relations. After moving around the country, she's recently returned to the Kansas City area where she lives with her husband, children and golden retriever.

She's written fiction off and on her whole life and is the author of the YA fantasy Gems of Fire series including Gems of Fire, Valley of Bones and Mountain of Flame. The series centers on a girl traveling a journey of self-discovery in a world of powerful gems, supernatural forces, epic battles and of course, handsome heroes.


Tour Giveaway


Print copies of Gems of Fire and Valley of Bones by Diane E. Samson, a $25 Amazon gift card, three gem necklaces, and bookmarks (US only)

Ends September 19, 2021

Grab Our Button!





Monday, September 13, 2021

Book Tour & Giveaway: To Marry an Earl by Karen Thornell



Synopsis

Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes.

When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns that the girl he’s loved since childhood is being sold off like chattel, he’s determined to step in and save her. He makes an offer her father cannot refuse and insists on a proper engagement. But when Kate meets James again, her old friend cannot bring himself to admit it is him whom she is to marry. Soon, an intricate charade and a past that cannot be escaped jeopardize James’s chance at rekindling their friendship, to say nothing of winning Kate’s heart. Can love truly conquer all, or was this a match doomed from the start?

About the Author
 
 
Karen Thornell grew up reading when she should have been sleeping, but it wasn't until 2019 that she started writing. Tired of ending books and saying 'goodbye' to beloved characters, she wondered what it would be like to have her own characters that lived in her head always. It was probably a mark of sleep deprivation that she wanted people living in her head, but the idea was planted regardless.

Karen lives in Utah with her husband and kids. When not writing contemporary or regency romance, she spends her free time doing endless loads of laundry, playing board games, and, yes, talking to those characters in her head. 
 
 
  Giveaway
 

Book Tour & Excerpt: The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen






Synopsis


London, 1885

Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple's blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe―a grieving widower and a member of Amelie's book club.

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman's body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman's husband―Harold Radcliffe―of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe's innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.

ADVANCE PRAISE

"Allen pairs a matchmaker and a detective in this charming Victorian romance. Allen expertly combines mystery and romance into a fast-paced tale complete with plenty of surprises and a central relationship founded on mutual admiration and respect. Readers are sure to appreciate the strong, well-shaded heroine and twisty plot." —Publishers Weekly

"Allen's chaste tale of Victorian romantic suspense will also appeal to historical mystery readers, and it would be great for mother-and-daughter reads. This has great appeal for teens who like historical fiction laced with mystery and romance." —Booklist

“I was immediately drawn into the characters’ lives and enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery and the development of the romance.” —Mystery and Suspense Magazine
 
EXCERPT


A single lamp offered scant light over the trim green lawn, and as she stepped toward it, he called out to her. “Miss? Detective Baker, Criminal Investigations Division.”

She gasped and whirled around, clearly startled, only to stumble and land hard on the ground. As she attempted to stand, she stammered, “Leave me alone! I shall scream!”

He opened his jacket to reveal his badge. “I mean you no harm! I am a detective, and I must ask you a few questions. Here—” He extended his hand and took long strides toward her as she scrambled along the ground. “Stop!”

She finally obeyed, gulping down a breath. “What do you want with me? I’ve done nothing wrong. Rarely am I alone after dark, I mind my own business, and I . . . I do not walk the streets!”

He blinked. “Miss, I am hardly accusing you of anything, much less of walking the streets. Please, take my hand.”

He reached down and clasped her fingers, which were cold through her thin gloves. Her lips were blue, and she’d dropped her umbrella. Her hat had fallen off, and the rain made quick work of her coiffure. He might have known a moment’s pity if he didn’t suspect her of dubious association with a man he firmly believed was a criminal.

He pulled her to her feet, bracing her elbow as she stead-ied herself and shook her sodden skirt. She looked at him with dismay in her wide eyes, and then back down at her clothing, which was smeared with mud and dead leaves.

He picked up her umbrella and hat, handing them both to her, wary, as the look in her eyes shifted from fear to indignation.

“What is the meaning of this? I have done absolutely nothing wrong!” Even bedraggled, she was a pretty girl. Marie Verite Radcliffe had also been pretty. Radcliffe seemed to gravitate to-ward a certain type of woman, and Michael suspected the man’s handsome face and artificial charm went a long way toward aiding his efforts.

Michael was soaked to the skin. He’d foolishly left his umbrella at the Yard, and his hat shielded him only so much. “Come with me, just back a few steps into the trees.” He put one hand under her elbow again and extended the other. “As I said from the beginning, I only want to ask you a few questions.”

Her eyes narrowed, and she sniffled, fumbling with the closure on her reticule. She withdrew a lacy handkerchief and wiped her nose.

“Please, miss, I am drenched, it is late, and I am cold.”

She met his eyes for another prolonged moment before finally nodding once. “Only just right there,” she said as they began walking back to the trees.

“Of course.” He dropped his hand once they were better shielded from the rain. He removed his hat and ran a hand his hair with a sigh, shivering involuntarily at the cold droplets that slipped down his neck and soaked into his collar.

He let his breath out on a short sigh and offered the woman a tight smile. “Again, I am Detective Baker. Might I have the pleasure of your name?”

She shook her umbrella to the side, her eyes darting to his face and then away. “My name is Miss Amelie Hampton.” She attempted to place her hat on her head, but it wouldn’t stay. She muttered something under her breath.

Michael caught the soggy thing as it fell. “Haven’t you a hatpin?” he asked, handing it back to her.

“I forget them.” Her brows drew together in a light frown.

“Now, then, Miss Emily Hampton, is it?”

“AHmelie, not EMily.” She shook raindrops from her hat, frowning at the broken feather.

“‘Hampton’? As in the Hamptons?”

Her lips tightened. “I fear ours is the Notorious Branch of the Hampton family.” She paused, then hastily added, “I am not notorious, however! Quite the opposite. I am the picture of circumspection and obedience to the law.”

He frowned. “Miss Hampton, I’ll be brief. What is your association with Mr. Harold Radcliffe?”

She stared, mouth dropping open, and then she swallowed. She took the slightest of steps away from him, and he braced himself to pounce should she try again to run. His instincts had been correct; the young woman definitely knew Radcliffe.

She didn’t run, but shook her head. “I do not know what you mean.” Her eyes dropped from his face to his chest.

“I believe you do know what I mean. Perhaps you would be more comfortable continuing this conversation at the Yard.”

Her eyes were huge, and even in the dim light, he noted her additional pallor. He was growing less sympathetic by the moment. She knew Radcliffe, she was reluctant to reveal their relationship, and she was playing him for a fool. The innocent act was truly just that.

“No! No, I did not mean to learn his identity, truly! Or even see him. That is, I did not know beforehand who he would be, but just now I realized he was someone I recognized . . .” She trailed off and swallowed hard. “I wanted only to be sure the couple got on, that their meeting was agreeable. Miss Franklin has high hopes for this dinner, but she was afraid she would faint on the spot when meeting the gentleman. I wanted to be sure she was happy, and I couldn’t force myself to wait for her report tomorrow. I assure you, I never intended to learn anything beyond that!” She paused in her ramblings and took a breath. “Are you tailing Miss Franklin? Did her mother retain you?” She frowned. “Would the woman truly hire someone to follow her daughter?”

He looked at her in confusion. What was she babbling on about? “Explain yourself, please. Who is Miss Franklin, the young woman dining with Radcliffe?”

“You do not know who she is?” She blinked. “Then why . . . what is your purpose?”

He held to his patience by a thread. “Come with me.” He wrapped his fingers around her arm, deciding to hail a cab and cart her back to the Yard.

Chapter 4, Pages 26-29 


AUTHOR BIO

Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of fifteen published novels and numerous novellas, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. In 2005, her work won the Utah Best of State award, and she received a Whitney Award for My Fair Gentleman. She has presented at numerous writing conferences and events since her first book was released in 1999. Nancy received a BS in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She loves to read, write, travel, and research and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She is married and the mother of three children.



Join the virtual book tour of THE MATCHMAKER’S LONELY HEART, Nancy Campbell Allen’s highly acclaimed historical novel, September 6-19, 2021. Thirty popular on-line influencers specializing in historical romance, mystery/suspense, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with a spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in London, England.


TOUR SCHEDULE


Sept 06 Timeless Novels
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