Tuesday Tales: From the Word WEAK

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Welcome back to Tuesday Tales. This week, as we continue with The Price of Courage,  Murielle continues to play hostess for her uncle and the surprises abound. Enjoy!

Pouring from the Côte du Rhône flagon, she handed the silver goblet to the man, noting he was both exquisitely dressed and groomed. No doubt he’d bathed even though such behavior wasn’t common at this time of year.

“I have friends in New France, your grace,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper, “although I doubt you would know them.”

The intendant chuckled. “You might be surprised, madame. The colony may be vast in size, but its population is small. Whom do you know?”

“A seigneur—Guy Poirier—have you heard of him?’

“Heard of him? Madame, Guy is one of my closest friends. How is it that you’re acquainted?” he asked, moving his head so quickly that his perruque danced across his shoulders, the brown curls falling into place as before.

“The seigneur grew up near Caen. He was close to Pierre Gaudier youngest son of the Viscount Gaudier who wed one of my charges. His mother was also a friend.” She’d almost said Isabelle, which would have been a grave error, especially now that a new Isabelle was on the scene.

He sobered. “Such a terrible miscarriage of justice. I had the honor of meeting Pierre Gaudier’s widow, Sophie. One of the things I intend to do while I’m in France is clear Lieutenant Gaudier’s name. He’s a hero, not a traitor, and those who besmirched his name are enemies of the colony, men I would see punished for the crime.”

Murielle claimed the empty chair beside her uncle before her weak knees collapsed. Sophie was safe.

Talon sipped his wine. “Sophie has yet to remarry, but she’s opened an inn with the help of Guy’s mother and step-father.”

“Aline remarried?” she said surprised. “I would’ve thought her past her prime.”

Talon laughed. “Hardly, madame. I made the mistake of saying as much and she disabused me of the notion. She’s quite outspoken and has put me in my place more than once, but the woman is an incredible cook. Now that she’s settled—the inn doing well—she and Henri intend to adopt a couple of the colony’s orphans. Guy brought his fiancée, Izzy, with them from France, a cousine, Isidore Leroux—any relation?”

Murielle almost choked on the mouthful of wine she’d taken. Izzy was the nickname, given Isabelle by Sophie when they’d been young children and the name too big a mouthful for the toddler.

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

 

 

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished or Unrewarded! Revised Version Now Available

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It’s done! The last of the books whose rights I reclaimed from my publishers has been revised and released! I paid attention to those who left reviews, added action to set the pace, changed what were sticking points for some and added lots of action packed scenes. The results? An extra 30,000 action-packed words. No Good Deed follows in the footsteps of On His Watch, Fire Angel, and In Plain Sight.

Set largely In Quebec and Ontario, the story is filled with Canadianisms to  give you a taste of the flavor of my country and my hometown. Here’s the blurb:

No Good DeedWhat you see doesn’t always tell the whole story.

While escaping from her abusive fiancé, Alexa O’Brien pulls into a gas station only to walk in on a gang-related execution that leaves her alive but severely injured. Alexa swears she saw the killers’ faces, one of which tuns out to be Nicolai Zabat, Montreal’s mob boss, a man the police have been after for years. The problem is her account of the events don’t jive with the facts on record. But, someone did try to kill her, and where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Lieutenant Mike Delorme of the Sûreté Du Québec has spent the last eighteen months working undercover trying to take down Zabat, the man he blames for the death of his wife and unborn child. After his cover’s blown and he’s almost killed a second time, his boss wants him to lay low and gives him a new assignment. The last thing Mike wants to do is babysit a woman whose story is as full of holes as Swiss cheese—but he’s a team player, and if she can somehow help take down Zabat, so much the better. Finding a feisty gun toting brunette in a wheelchair is a surprise, but discovering that her so-called safe house is a carefully crafted prison has him rethinking the situation.

There’s more to Alexa and what she witnessed than meets the eye, and Mike will do whatever it takes to keep her safe, but when the enemy is faceless, doing so maybe harder than he thinks. Personalities clash and hormones collide as they escape from one trap to another, knowing the fate of the world could be in their hands.

Here’s the new opening to the novel!

It’s not the bruises on the body that hurt. It’s the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.

 Aisha Mirza

Chapter One

November 25—St. Catherine’s Day

Lieutenant Mike Delorme hissed in a breath, his body a seething mass of pain, fighting not to succumb to the darkness that beckoned. Loud, heavy metal music, the kind of crap he hated, pounded in the background, no doubt coming from the nightclub overhead. Those kids would all be deaf by the time they reached thirty. Another blow to the ribs elicited a groan he fought to stifle. No way would he give them the satisfaction of seeing him beg for mercy. He forced his mind away from the pain.

Today was the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the martyr and patron saint of single women. His mind flitted to the past. His mother had always made molasses’ taffy using the family recipe handed down by the first Delorme woman who’d chosen to make New France home over three hundred years ago. Now, sadly, he was the last of his line. He would never have the chance to teach his son to pull the taffy the way he and his father had done, their hands slick with butter, pulling, twisting, and pulling again until the rope of taffy was shiny and stiff. Then, Maman would cut it into small pieces and twist each inside a scrap of waxed paper. He could just imagine the sweetness on the tip of his tongue.

Reality brought him back as one of Zabat’s goons struck him again. Sacrament. The bastard didn’t pull his punches. His mind returned to the taffy. No one made it now. There was no one left to follow the recipe—another French Canadian tradition lost to the twenty-first century. Progress could be a bitch.

In honor of the saint, the bar was offering half-price drinks to all the ‘vieilles filles’ tonight. When he’d been up there earlier, until Xavier had called him downstairs and like the fool that he was, he’d gone down not realizing he was walking into a trap, he could’ve sworn he’d seen a couple of divorcées he’d humped in the past claiming to be ‘old maids’—anything for cheap drinks. Nobody really cared how virtuous they were. Did they even remember him? They would probably be warming some guy’s bed tonight—but not his. Never his again.

He could use a good stiff drink right about now. How the hell had it come to this? He tried not to scream, tried not to give them the satisfaction of knowing they were getting to him by thinking of other things than the pain, but a man could only hold so much agony inside.

Peering through a curtain of blood at the man he hated more than anything, his eyes barely open, Mike fought to stay conscious. Where the hell was his backup? A guy could only have so much fun before he didn’t want to play anymore. Anatole should be here by now. Had he noticed him missing?

“I asked you a question. How did you know that deal was going down tonight?” Nicolai Zabat barked, pacing in front of him as if he were the caged animal.

Mike tried to grin at the image playing through his mind, despite the pain it caused. Sooner or later the guy would be just that, another piece of scum in a cage.

Zabat stopped in front of him and leaned forward, his spittle sprinkling Mike’s face.

“I want a name,” he yelled. “Only my most trusted men were in on it. Give me a name, and I’ll tell the boys to stop.”

As if they would. Mike tried to smile. The would-be leader of Montreal’s underworld was pissed. Good. With a little luck, the confiscated merchandize would bankrupt the bastard, stop him from taking over the coveted position of godfather—not that any others in the running were any better.

“The tooth fairy told me,” Mike answered, his voice slurred thanks to his swollen lips. Before he could add anything, Xavier hit him in the face once more, knocking him off the chair onto the cement floor. “Is that all you’ve got?” he mocked, earning himself a kick in the ribs.

A second boot caught him on the opposite side, lifted him six inches off the cold floor, and dropped him again, his head bouncing off the ground before settling in place. That was going to leave a mark.

Va t’fourrer,” the curse slipped from his mouth, as the room whirled. He tried to laugh, but ended up choking and spitting out blood and another tooth. There was no way he would reveal his inside man. That drug-pushing asshole might be the scum of the earth, but since he’d become a father again, a freaking miracle for a man in his forties with a taste for both booze and cocaine, Four Fingers was trying to clean up his act. He’d made a deal, one Mike would honor to the death—which considering his current shape might not be too far away.

The goon Mike hadn’t recognized yanked him up and tossed him back onto the chair.

“You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that, Detective. In another world, another lifetime, we might have been friends, but here, now, you’re just another piece of garbage, a cop who wasn’t smart enough to mind his own business. You thought I didn’t know who and what you were when you insinuated yourself into my affairs? I’m a frigging Greek god, you stupid son of a bitch. I know everything. If you’re waiting for someone to come running to the rescue, you’re shit out of luck.”

Mike inhaled, the pain slicing into his chest like razor blades. Maudite merde! So, they knew. Someone had blown his cover. How? When? Eight months of hard work gone down the frigging toilet. And if they knew about him, did they know about Anatole? His partner had infiltrated the gang shortly before he had. He hadn’t seen him upstairs earlier, but Anatole kept vampire hours. Ten o’clock at night was too early for him to be out and about. That was why they made such a good team. Mike was a creature of the day, Anatole, a creature of the night, but he’d been down here at least a couple of hours. The man should be looking for him by now.

“It’ll take more than the half-assed efforts of the Sûreté du Québec to best me,” Zabat snarled, clearly annoyed that Mike wasn’t talking. “That shipment was barely a drop in the ocean. Will it inconvenience me? Temporarily, but with you and your turncoat partner out of the way, I’ll double my profits on the next shipment.” He laughed, the sound piercing what was left of Mike’s bravado, almost destroying it.

“Isn’t that how the law of supply and demand works?” Zabat continued, reaching down to pat Mike’s cheek as if he were some kind of pet.

The mocking words danced on the edge of Mike’s consciousness. The man was close enough for the scent of the French cigarettes he preferred and the floral cologne he used to tickle his nose, mixing with the coppery aroma of his own blood seeping out of him. Was Anatole dead or was this just another bluff on Zabat’s part?

“You blame me for your wife’s death, eh, Delorme? Yeah. I even know your real name, asshole. Think I’m the one who pulled the trigger? Think again. I didn’t kill her. You did. The minute you stuck your nose into my business, you signed her death warrant. If she’d gone home that night, like a good little wife, instead of sticking her nose where it didn’t belong—well, you would be home now, wouldn’t you? Sitting in front of the fire, playing with your brat, maybe even holding a second one in your arms. You were warned to stay out of my business, you should’ve told her to do the same.”

“I’ll see you burn in hell,” Mike mumbled through lips so swollen they barely opened.

Zabat laughed. “Perhaps, but you’ll be there long before I will. In fact, I hope you delivered your Christmas present early this year because you won’t make the staff party.” He turned to the men in the room, the ones whose fists and feet had inflicted most of the damage. “Finish off this piece of shit. Load his body into the truck out back. The driver leaves for Toronto at dawn. I’ll have him dump the carcass in the Don Valley. The cop will fit right in—another pig amongst the butchered hogs in Hogtown.” He laughed at his own joke. “Let me know when it’s done. You know where to find me.” Heavy footsteps on the stairs signaled Zabat’s departure.

Mike barely registered the ropes being tied around his ankles. He gasped when he was hoisted feet first, his head striking the seat of the chair, as if he were some damn punching bag. The blood, not seeping from his wounds, rushed to his head, the pulsing adding to the pain. The goons went another round, left, right, left, right, a frigging army on the march up and down his body, each blow adding to his agony. Maybe he would see Thea tonight after all. Would she be pregnant still or would she have had the baby? The priests never quite explained that part. He would give anything to apologize to her, tell her he’d been wrong, but Zabat was right.

He’d failed so many times, he didn’t deserve to go to heaven, not even if he spent half of eternity in purgatory. With each blow, the faces of those he’d wronged materialized in front of him—that young kid he’d shot when the damn fool had pulled a gun on him, that abused woman he hadn’t been able to talk into leaving—the same one they’d carried out in a body bag three days later, Thea and her coworker dead on the warehouse floor, Anatole, barely twenty-six with his entire life ahead of him and dead because Mike hadn’t been able to stop Zabat. The faces moved more quickly, indistinguishable one from the other. He was a man of violence, a man who like Zabat, deserved to rot in hell.

God, he regretted so many of the choices he’d made, the decisions he’d followed, the words he’d never said. If he’d refused to give their marriage a second chance and had let Thea leave him, would she still be alive? Guilt replaced the pain and mercifully, the darkness overtook him as the music blared louder than ever. If this was what he had to listen to in hell, that would be the real agony.

Read more at  https://www.amazon.com/No-Good-Deed-Vengeance-Mine-ebook/dp/B07TVVJ3TX

No Good Deed is available exclusively from Amazon retailers and is free to read with Kindle Unlimited!

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog Post for July

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeWelcome summer. Glad to see you here. I hope wherever you are that the weather is cooperating. We had a long winter, a wet spring, and now we’re hoping for those wonderful summer days.

July 3 question: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

This is an interesting question because I don’t think I write my own characteristics into my characters, but I do write characteristics I see in family and friends. If I do write any of my own, it would be those I wish I had–for example, I’m a wimp. I like to give my female characters gumption. I’m also short, so it’s not unusual for me to make my heroines taller than I am, although, in the case of Forever and Always, my ballerina, Brandi is petite.

What I do occasionally write into my stories and the lives of my characters are events that impacted my own life. For example, in Hello Again, Charlie suffers a devastating miscarriage. Being able to relate to that pain makes it easier to write about it.

I do use many of the actions and personality traits of those around me in my stories, expressions I hear them say that I attribute to the characters. I also use bits and pieces of current events and my knowledge of the past to add depth to the stories I write. A trip to a restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska, made it into The White Iris, Book Three of the Harvester Files, and my hometown makes it into No Good Deed.

The closest I’ve come to putting any of myself into one of my novels would be Same Time Next Year, not because what happened to the heroine happened to me, but because i was seventeen that year and got to relive the music and nostalgia.

What about you? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Check out other posts here!

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

 

Tuesday Tales: From the Word HARDLY

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Happy Canada Day and happy Independence Day to my American readers and friends. Posting early because I’m on my way to the celebrations and won’t be back until after the fireworks. Summer’s in full swing and I  do hope you’re among those enjoying awesome weather. My sympathies to others who aren’t.

Things are coming together nicely in France. Here’s this week’s post from The Price of Courage  based on the word HARDLY. Enjoy.

After settling into the room she used when she stayed overnight at her uncle’s, Murielle changed her footwear and added the final touches to her toilette before descending the stairs, entering the salon at the exact moment that the English wall clock, her uncle’s pendulum clock far more accurate than most of its day, struck six.

The eerie sensations from her walk forgotten, she smiled at her uncle rushing toward her. Had he feared she wouldn’t arrive in time?

“There you are, my dear. Right on time as always,” he said, reaching for her hands and kissing her once on each cheek. “Murielle, allow me to present, Jean Talon, Count d’Orsainville, and until recently intendant of New France, an old friend from my youth. He’s returned from the colony to attend to some legal matters personally. Jean, my niece Murielle Dalbec Leroux.”

Murielle curtsied, hoping her heart’s pounding wasn’t evident. “C’est un plaisir de faire votre connaissance, mon seigneur.”

Nicholas Dalbec smiled at his niece. “Murielle has spent the last twenty-five years in the employ of the Count de Caen, but with Michel’s death and his daughter and niece adults now, she’s returned to us.”

Enchanté, madame,” Talon said, bowing deeply. “I met Michel a few times at Versailles. As I recall, the count wasn’t fond of life at court, much to the disappointment of his young wife. Why he chose to marry Solange when he had such a treasure in his own household is a mystery to me.”

Murielle reddened. Such two-edged gallantry was unexpected, considering her age.

“Your grace is too kind, but I was never anything more than the governess.” She smiled. “Can I offer you some wine? My uncle has a fine Beaujolais on hand or there’s a Côte du Rhône you might enjoy. His vineyards have done well the last few years.”

“Thank you. Either one will be fine. The last few weeks aboard ship rarely provide a traveler with the necessities, and we hardly had any decent wine left. One of my traveling companions tended to imbibe a little too freely,” he said, the distaste evident in his pursed lips and furrowed brow.

As Sophie busied herself filling wine glasses, she chewed her lip. He was from New France? What were the chances Talon might have met Sophie? It was more likely he would know Guy, since the Sieur de Poirier was a colonial aristocrat.

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

 

Friday’s Featured Author: Heather Renee Is Back!

BannerNew Academy Release!

 

Book: Delayed Admission, Book One

Series: Shadow Veil Academy

Author: Heather Renee

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Buy Links:

http://smarturl.it/ShadowVeilAcademy1

 

DA CoverBook Synopsis:

 

Some secrets are better kept.

To Raegan Keyes, she’s the only one of her kind but has no idea what she is. Until one night, when she finds out her unexplainable abilities aren’t the only thing she needs to worry about. Suddenly, her world becomes much bigger than she ever could have dreamed.

When a mysterious man named Enzo arrives, too striking to be human, Raegan learns she’s not as alone as she believed. As more secrets are revealed, she’s swept off to an academy for others like her thousands of miles away from home by a complete stranger whom she’d rather stab than travel with.

As tension builds between Raegan and Enzo, she begins to find her purpose as she settles into her new existence alongside elves, witches, vampires, and shifters. With a group of new friends, she’s finally feeling alive again. That is until something sinister comes along, once more throwing her life into mayhem.

Teaser 1
Scroll up and one-click your copy today!

 

Available exclusively on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!

 

Author Bio:

Heather Renee is a USA Today Bestselling author who lives in Oregon. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels with a mixture of adventure, humor, and sass. Her love of reading eventually led to her passion of writing and giving the gift of escapism.

When Heather’s not writing, she is spending time with her loving husband and beautiful daughter, going on their own adventures.

 

Release Week Giveaways!

 

There are several giveaways happening during release week. Check out my reader group and author page to enter each of them.

 

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/HeatherReneeAuthor

 

 FACEBOOK FAN GROUP

https://www.facebook.com/groups/289215264847266/

 

NEWSLETTER:

http://smarturl.it/HeatherReneeNL

Tuesday Tales: From the Word CARTON

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Summer’s here!  Welcome sun and heat. Great day today. Eldest grandson graduated from eighth grade, his youngest sister, sixth grade. Where have the years gone?

As far as my writing goes, we’re still in winter and in France as story lines converge. Today’s word is CARTON, and since to most of us that describes a cardboard box. Since that material didn’t come into use until the nineteenth century, and we’re in the seventeenth, I needed a little poetic license. Mea culpa, but I’m also 30 words over the limit. Enjoy.

Murielle stepped outside, her mind awash with memories of the past and her girls. Lyon was very different from Caen, where the scent of the ocean, never very far away, permeated the air. The smaller dowager house, the edifice her uncle had chosen as his home now that he was on his own, was twenty minutes away, as the crow flies. Moving at a steady pace, she had plenty of time to enjoy her walk in the cool, crisp, clean air before assuming her hostessing duties tonight.

The full moon shone down on the rough stone path, turning it into an enchanted river of silver running between the trees. The pear orchard marked the western limits of the original estate. Many years ago, when her grandfather had wed, her grandmother’s dowry had included the lands below the small cliff, those now covered in vines, where his house was located. Her uncle’s estates produced some of the finest wines in the region.

She stopped and glanced over her shoulder. From this small rise, she could see the main house, the lights ablaze in the windows. As she neared the crest of the slight hill, the ruins of an ancient pagan temple rose out of the darkness, but here, the silvering effect was strangely chilling.

As a child, on those rare family occasions when everyone had gathered to celebrate a birth or a marriage, mourn a death, or enjoy a holiday together, despite warnings not to, she’d played among the stones, remnants of a civilization long gone—Gauls? Romans? Or another barbarian invader who’d sought to claim the land as his own? But she’d never ventured even this close to it alone at night. According to her grandmother’s tales, in the darkness, the spirit of those who’d lived and suffered at the hands of their oppressors, walked the ruins again, bemoaning their fate.

Tonight, she sensed her grandmother’s words rang true. Eyes she couldn’t see watched her, watched the house. The sensation made her flesh crawl. Stepping along at a brisker pace, a whiff of fetid fish filled her nostrils.

“Foolish old woman,” she grumbled. “Your mind’s still at Caen. Not rotted fish, but a carton of decayed fruit someone forgot in the rush of the harvest.” She shook her head at her own foolishness. “Mon Dieu!” The words came out on a rush as a shadow moved. “Who’s there? Show yourself.”

An owl hooted, it’s great wings flapping overhead. Crossing herself, Murielle hurried her footsteps, praying she wouldn’t slip and fall before being well and truly away from this accursed place.

That’s it. Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales

Fun Vacation Read Released in Time for Summer: Just for the Weekend

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They’ve got snow in BC and Alberta and we have rainbows around the sun. Amazing I could get this good a picture with my Samsung 7 phone. The temperature was in the low eighties, with a slight breeze. Today, we have rain again, but that is so much better than snow!

Are you getting ready for the onset of summer? Tomorrow’s the big day, and we are expecting temperatures around 66 degrees. How’s that for a disappointment?

If that lets you down, my new release, Just for the Weekend won’t. Previously released with Crimson, this is a summer read that will keep you entertained.

Have you ever imagined doing something just a little risque?  C. C. James, kindergarten teacher, working with an ultra conservative, right wing  school board never steps outside the box, but when her best friend, Mitch, offers her a free long weekend in Vegas, how can she say no? After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right?

Attending a sci-fi convention can’t be that bad, but when Cleo’s costume turns out to be green paint and wisps of fabric, things heat up. Why not grab a copy and see what happens for yourself? This book does contain adult situations.

Melinda De Ross has outdone herself with this funky new cover! Love the green tinge to Cleo’s skin.

The blurb:

Just for the weekendSchool’s out and it’s time to play with the grown-ups.

Kindergarten teacher Cleo James is in a rut and needs a change. For the last three years, she’s been at her widowed dad’s beck and call, but enough is enough. When her best friend suggests a weekend in Vegas at a sci-fi convention, she sets aside some of her inhibitions, and agrees to visit Sin City. After all, it’s just for the weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Multimillionaire Sam Mason is sick of gold diggers. He’s looking for someone who’ll fall for him, not his wallet. The opportunity to disguise himself and mingle might just be the distraction he needs before embarking on his next big job. And, what harm can come from playing make-believe for a few days?
When he meets a shy, green-skinned slave girl, he’s entranced, and it gets even better when he realizes she’s mistaken him for a Chippendale. Between the sexual attraction and too much alcohol, he wakes up two days later married to his green-skinned beauty.
Sam’s head over heels in love with his bride, but she’s vanished. Finding her will be a lot harder than he thinks, especially when she’s played the name game, too.

Just for the Weekend is available from Amazon and is free to read in Kindle Unlimited.