Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Inevitable Book Promo and Guest Post


Series - Oliveri Mafia


Genre - Contemporary Romance

Tropes - Alpha Hero, Diverse, Plus-Size Main Character, Forced Proximity, Bodyguard, Interracial, Second Chance, Mafia

Author - Melverna McFarlane

Release Date - March 25, 2022

#mafiaromance #romance #KindleUnlimited #darkromance #secondchance #bwwm #interracialromance #melvernamcfarlane #bwwmromance #newrelease #romancereader #darkromance #darkromancebooks #sexyreads #spicybooks #organizedcrime #irromance #melvernamcfarlane #oliverimafiaseries #inevitable #urbanromance #kindleunlimitedromance #urbanromancefiction



Four years ago, I made one mistake, and she left. I couldnt convince her to stay no matter how much I loved her. Still love her. But one day she turns up at my door asking for my protection. A rival family is threatening her life and the business she busted her ass for. No matter what unresolved issues lie between us, the heartache Ive carried, or the dreams I wish were reality, I wont let anyone threaten her or the family I had always wanted to be mine. I will always protect her. But I am more than just a temporary bodyguard. I have a second chance to show her my love is worth fighting for, and I will claim her completely. With this new chance, she cant escape the inevitable.


Asking Nico for help is the last thing I want to do. After breaking up with him four years ago, I am not ready to be reminded of all the reasons I fell in love with him, to begin with. Avoiding him becomes impossible when he is still the only man I trust to protect me and my family from a rival mafia boss intent on ruining our lives. His every touch reignites my passions. Though I fight it, and will never admit it, my feelings for my ex had never died. As the heat between us flames to new heights, he tempts me with the possibility of a second chance at love.

Excerpt (Chapter One) 411 wordsrated PG

Youve got this,” René told herself. She straightened her posture, and faced the door she had walked out of three years ago with no intention of ever returning. Its not like I am crawling back. If it werent for Onika I wouldnt even be here right now.

Although René was a first-generation American and had lived in the states her entire life, her family was big, loud, close, and international. With her childhood summer vacations spent in Jamaica, she and Onika, who had only moved to Felicidad two years ago, might as well have been twins. They spend almost every day of their breaks together.

Two years ago, René had offered to help Onika get settled, but her stubborn-ass cousin rejected her offer. Now René was a target with few options.

It was too late to lament her current circumstances, her business was at stake.

Okay, her life and Onikas were also at stake which technically was more important.

But damn, René had worked her ass off to become a hairstylist whose growing popularity resulted in two successful salons. Shed spent years renting chairs in other peoples salons while doing hair in her parentsextension. Nights, weekends, and friendships were sacrificed on the altar of her dream. Finally, success had started trickling into her life. And now there was a threat to everything she had poured her soul into building, not to mention her life.

She wanted to curse Onikas name, but Onika was only part of the equation. Who knew her friendship with Jessie would one day up the stakes to her dilemma?

There she went, hyping herself up when she needed a calm head to deal with that man behind the door. If anyone had gotten her wrapped up in drama she would have bet the bank on him—Nico Donini.

All this time she had avoided his name. In her mind, he was an abstract idea. Because thinking his name brought inevitable memories. Not the rip your heart out memories but the warm, cuddle sessions that plagued her after shed ended things. They whispered to her of the what-ifs she could never voice.

Desperation had driven her here but it didnt cancel out Nico as her wisest choice. Who was she fooling? She was not ready to face Nico. She spun to her car once again.

Before her first full step, the voice still haunting her dreams said, Running again? You havent changed, have you?

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Series Link—

Please Note: Both Inescapable and Inevitable can be read as standalone novels in the expanding Oliveri Mafia series

Guest Post

What drew you to the romance sub-genre you write? 

I think a lot of women’s secret fantasies involve falling in love with dangerous men, although in reality we avoid danger in our daily lives. That sense of the forbidden, of getting away with something, is a seductive lure for me as a reader and now as an author, which is why the first full story that came to mind was a mafia romance. I still love my wholesome romance, with lots of steam, and most sub-genres under romance. One day I may even venture into those stories, but for now I have a lot of mafia men in my head that are demanding their stories be told.

When did you start reading romance? 

I was probably 14-16 when I started reading my mom’s romance novels. They were the historicals, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, Jude Devereaux, and so many of the big names wrote in those days. I used to sneak them out of her room to read, not knowing she knew I was reading them until I was in high school. Then we would fangirl over the heroes and heroines. When I started feeding my book addiction, she started “borrowing” my books like I used to “borrow” her clothes. It made for a lot of fun debates.

How do you come up with your ideas? 

I’m a pantser, writing without a plan, for the most part. But there is one thing that always sparks my ideas: the meet-cute. When boy meets girl, I know nothing about them, but their first interaction, the chemistry I feel between them is so vivid that it helps me create their backstories and a plot that challenges their budding love.

When I decided to seriously write, I had a difficult time deciding what genre to write in. I love Romance, Epic Fantasy, and Young Adult Fantasy. I finally settled on Romance because it is by far the genre I read and love the most. It spans so many sub-genres that I couldn’t go wrong.

The idea for my first romance novel, Inescapable came pretty easy to me.

Writing was a different ball game. There was a huge learning curve for me, but I actually enjoy the process. Even the days where words hide from me and the story stalls because I haven’t quite gotten the right mix of plot and character to move the story on.

When it came to writing Inevitable, I initially had no intention of writing a series. The couple featured in this sophomore novel, René and Nico, kept hounding me for a resolution to their broken love story. My readers wanted to them to be happy, and they wanted to be happy. So I explored their personal histories and the reason for their previous relationship ending and came out with a book about two beautifully flawed people who needed each other. Of course, I mixed their love story in with action and the dangers of Nico’s mafia lifestyle.

I’m really excited for the reception of this book, and my other author friends keep telling me this won’t go away. It makes sense. Each book is my child and once it’s published my child is leaving the safety of my home for the brave unknown of the world. What matters is that readers find the book entertaining and they feel an emotional connection to the ups and downs my book babies go through.

Author Bio

Melverna McFarlane loves stories with Happily Ever Afters. After years of characters taunting her imagination with their potential, she decided it was time to write her own scorching hot romances. She moved to America from Jamaica at a young age, and has lived up and down the east coast most of her life. The bitterly cold winter of 2013 was the last straw, driving her back to island life—this time to Hawaii. When not writing, she is reading romance, YA, and Fantasy, country hopping, or vicariously obsessing over other peoples cats (she awaits the day her landlords succumb to the truth: feline domination should be everyones goal in life).

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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

An Angel's Wylder Assignment Review


An Angel's Wylder Assignment

A Wylder West Novel

by Tena Stetler

Genre: Paranormal Romance 

It takes a Warrior Angel and Native American Shifter to save the past and create their future.

Angel Killian Dugan’s annual trip to the family castle in Scotland is shattered by the arrival of Legion Commander North. Killian’s skills are needed for an urgent time travel assignment. A rogue demon has escaped back in time. He must discover the why and where then stop the demon before it can damage the past and change the future.

Killian’s girlfriend Chinoah Grace, a Native American shapeshifter is included in the mission, which takes them to the wild west town of Wylder, Wyoming in 1878. She will have her hands full fitting in and making friends. Nothing is as it seems. They encounter visions, spirit quests, and a mysterious shaman. On top of it all, blending in as a blacksmith is more physically difficult than he imagined. But not as challenging as keeping his hands off his undercover wife. Will they complete their assignment or run out of time?

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The brass door knocker echoed through the castle announcing visitors.

With a raised brow, he peered at Chinoah. “Expecting guests, are we?”

Not as far as I know.” She got to her feet and padded across the stone floor.

Wait.” Grumbling, he pushed up from the cozy warm couch, slipped his socked feet back into his boots, and clomped toward her. “Best let me answer the door since we don’t know who's waiting on the other side.”

She slowed her pace to allow him to catch up with her. “This castle is huge. By the time we get to the door, the visitors may be gone.” She giggled.

Way to keep in shape.” Chuckling, he kissed her. “Apparently, my cousin made the original great hall into their family living space.”

He smiled at the thought. “Besides, I didn’t hear you complain last evening when you thundered through the castle for a couple of hours on four paws.”

That was different. My wolf needed the exercise, and you didn’t want me to go outside.” Her lips formed a pout that he found irresistible.

Didn’t want to spring you from a trap.” He turned his attention out the window where the snow swirled in the howling wind. “Besides, who in bloody hell would be calling at this time of night and in this weather?”

She raised an eyebrow and shrugged. “Only one group of individuals I know.”

Oh, no. I’m on leave. They didn’t know where I was going. Besides, they wouldn’t expect me to be here.” The ancient wooden door groaned then made a squeeing sound when Killian yanked it open. “What in tarnation are you doing here?”

Readers who enjoy steamy paranormal romance with ample adventure and strong heroines will appreciate An Angel's Wylder Assignment. Warrior angel Killian and wolf shifter Chinoah are enjoying personal time at his family's castle in Scotland and determining if they wish to make their bond permanent. When angels mate, it's forever. Killian's commander interrupts them with an assignment to travel back in time to 1868 in order to stop a demon from changing history.

This story has an interesting premise and unique characters. I liked the fact that the author didn't linger too long on descriptive details such as settings or the physical appearance of each character, instead opting to move the plot forward. The book is written in a straightforward style with no flowery language or fluff. As someone who lives in a small town on the plains of Northeastern Colorado by choice, I appreciated the wild and windy Wyoming setting.

For those who like a bit of steam in their love scenes and who enjoy sexual tension between characters, there's plenty of both. I preferred the parts that focused on the adventures outside the bedroom, but that's down to personal taste. I enjoyed the unexpected plot twists. I also liked the dream and vision sequences. 

I give An Angel's Wylder Assignment four out of five stars. It is a well-written story and I have no complaints about it. I simply would have preferred a little more adventure and a little less lust. 

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance with an over-active imagination.  She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. Colorado is home; shared with her husband, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors.

Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure, and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

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Sunday, March 27, 2022

Exposure Book Promo and Guest Post


Exposure: Urban Erotic Noir

By Lisabet Sarai

Dark erotic suspense (Five flames, MF and FF)

Approximately 65,000 words, 218 pages

Ambiguous ending

ISBN: 9781005032845


#EroticSuspense #EroticNoir #Pittsburgh #Stripper #ExoticDancer #DirtyPolitics #Lesbian #Dominance #UrbanSuspense #Murder #Mystery #GreekHeroine #HighSchoolSweetheart


Sex, blood and betrayal: it's all in a day's work.

I strip for the fun of it. Don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s not the money. I could make nearly as much working at the mill and keep my clothes on, but then I’d have to suck up to the bosses. Up on stage, I’m the one in charge, and I like it that way.

Tony Pinelli hired me for a private dance. I was determined to give him his money’s worth. I didn’t expect to be caught in the cross-fire of a double murder. When his widow shows up at my door, I know I’m in way over my head. Now I’m everyone’s target. I can’t trust anyone – not even the police detective who was sweet on me in high school. My only chance at survival is to shift through the lies and expose the truth.


The next night I show up at the designated room number, at eight on the dot. I like to be professional. I’ve tried to dress as elegant as I can, in a nice peach linen suit that hugs my curves and makes me look dark and exotic. I’m nervous, though, as nervous as I was that first night I stepped onto the Peacock stage. Taking a deep breath, I rap three times on the door like Mr. Clean told me to do.

I recognize the man at the door immediately. I may be a stripper, but I read the papers. It’s Anthony Pinelli, leading businessman, local power-broker, candidate for mayor. Hey, I was planning on voting for him, in spite of the stories about his mob connections. Nobody’s lily-white these days. From what I’ve read, he seems to have the kind of strength that you need to run this tough town.

I’ve seen his picture lots of times, but in person he’s even more impressive. Big but not fat, with a shock of shiny black hair and bushy eyebrows to match. He has a nice straight nose, lips that look decisive, and dark eyes that seem to go right through me.

But more than his good looks, I’m impressed by the sense of power that he projects. Charisma, I think the word is. He looks me over, those firm lips curve into a warm smile, and I suddenly feel like I’d do anything he asks.

Please come in, Ms. Xanathakeos,” he says, standing aside so that I can enter the suite. His voice has a round, mellow sound to it. It slides over me.

Call me, Stella, please.” I look around the fancy suite curiously, noting the modern paintings on the walls, the horseshoe-shaped sofa, the bar set up in the corner. The closed door next to the desk must lead to the bedroom. My heels sink into the thick, plum-colored carpet. I’m afraid that I’ll damage it. Maybe I’ll have to dance barefoot.

Well, then, Stella, you must call me Tony.” He takes my hand in a kind of old-fashioned way. His touch sends shivers through my body. My nervousness is gone, replaced by a feeling of breathlessness. I won’t have any trouble at all getting turned on enough to dance, that’s for sure.

Can I offer you some refreshment?” Tony asks, gesturing toward the bar.

Just water, please.”

He hands me a long-stemmed glass full of carbonated water. I watch the bubbles dancing. It feels as if there are bubbles inside my chest, too.

He pours himself a tall scotch. We sit together for a few minutes on the sofa, not talking, sipping our drinks. I feel flushed and sweaty, as if I’ve already danced for him. His body gives off waves of heat. It’s like I’m lying under a sun lamp. I don’t know what to do next.

Finally, he puts down his drink. “Shall we get started? Let me get a bit more comfortable.” He shrugs off his suit jacket and places it over the desk chair. I gasp as I see that he is wearing a revolver in a shoulder holster. He smiles, just a little, as he removes this and hangs it over the chair on top of the jacket. “I’m a dangerous man, Stella, and I have many enemies. I have to take care of myself.” I nod vaguely. I’m not exactly reassured.

He seats himself back on the sofa. “The stereo is over there,” he says, pointing to a complicated pile of audio equipment next to the bar. Somehow, I figure out how where insert my thumb drive and how to start it playing. I turn to face my audience.

The first bars of the music free me from any anxiety. I fix my eyes on him and begin to move. Graceful. Sensual. I’m extremely turned on, but I want this performance to be classy, not raunchy the way I sometimes am.

The shoes go first. Now I unfasten my jacket, lingering over each button. Building the suspense. I’m wearing regular lingerie, flimsy and feminine, instead of one of my costumes. My breasts are like melons, encased in black lace. No padding or wires on this bra; my nipples are clearly visible, pushing the fabric into sweet little peaks.

Guest Post

Play It Again, Lisabet

I’ve been a published author since 1999. Although writing is not my primary occupation, that’s enough time for me to have produced a large number of books. I’d guess I have over a hundred titles to my credit. In fact, it’s a bit difficult to enumerate them, because I’ve seen many of them go “out of print” multiple times.

In twenty-three years, I’ve survived quite a few publishers. In fact, almost every company with whom I’ve worked ultimately closed their doors. It’s not me, I swear – I’m not a jinx! It’s just tough to turn indie publishing into a sustainable business.

When your publisher decides to throw in the towel, your book rights revert to you – but the books themselves become unavailable. If you want readers to be able to appreciate your hard work, you’ve got to get those titles back on the shelves. This can be a challenge; many publishers don’t want to bring out re-prints.

Fortunately, self-publishing has removed at least that obstacle. Furthermore, if you’re creating a new edition of a book, you can spruce it up in a variety of ways: better editing, bonus content, new cover and blurb, maybe even a new title. If you’re lucky, you may be able to attract new readers who never noticed you before.

Anyway, I’ve been busy re-publishing a lot of my back list books, many of which were orphaned by a publisher folding last year. My latest release, Exposure, is actually a fourth edition. This erotic suspense novel was first published by Phaze Books in 2010. For the current release, I’ve done some significant editing to make my heroine more believable. I’ve also added a sub-title which I hope conveys the genre: Urban Erotic Noir.

If you’ve already read Exposure, I don’t know if it’s worth a second pass. If you haven’t though – why not give it a try? You’re one of those readers I’m hoping to entice by publishing it – yet again.

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About Lisabet Sarai

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – more than one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (, along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (, she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Bookbub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list and get a free ebook, plus exclusive contents and other benefits:

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Tea and Sympathy


Tea & Sympathy

A Tea & Sympathy Mystery Book 1

by J. New

Genre: Cozy Mystery


Meet Lilly Tweed. Former Agony Aunt. Purveyor of Fine Teas. Accidental Sleuth.

When Lilly Tweed former agony aunt with the local newspaper is made redundant, she takes the opportunity to pursue a lifelong ambition, to open The Tea Emporium in the small market town of Plumpton Mallet.

But with her replacement making a hash of the column, it’s not long before she is once again being sought for valuable advice.

When the body of a local woman is found drowned in the river, the contents of her pockets reveal a letter from Lilly and she’s unwillingly drawn into the case.

But is it just a tragic accident, as the police think? Lilly isn’t convinced, but pursuing her own inquiry means it isn’t long before she gets into hot water.

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Excerpt from: Tea & Sympathy – Book 1 in The Tea & Sympathy series

Lilly looked up just as the bell above the door rang and a familiar face walked in.

Archie Brown!” she exclaimed, pleased to see him. “I wondered when I’d get a visit from you.”

Sorry it’s been so long, Lilly.” He said, removing his Trilby hat and giving her a peck on the cheek. “It’s a busy life as a crime reporter, you know.”

Have a seat and I’ll get you a drink. What do you fancy?”

Anything to take the edge off and stop me wanting to throw things.”

Lilly raised an eyebrow. This was unlike the Archie she knew. She perused her tea selection then nodded, picking a passionflower blend noted for helping with stress. She chose Rooibos for herself and with both teas made she asked him how life at the newspaper had been since she’d left.

Archie sighed. “Awful, if I’m honest. Abigail Douglas, your replacement, is a complete nightmare. She’s ruined your column and unfortunately has discovered people are still writing to you. She knows about your letterbox outside and she’s on the war path, I’m afraid.”

I realised there must be a problem when the column was missing from the paper, but it’s hardly my fault. I installed the letterbox because I was getting so many letters. I thought it would trickle off once they got used to Abigail. Looks like that’s not going to be the case though, doesn’t it?”

Archie scoffed. “Well, it’s hardly surprising considering she’s unintentionally ‘outed’ a couple of people in the column already. Infidelity and fraud, would you believe? Didn’t go as far as actually naming them, but gave enough clues so that they’d be recognised by their nearest and dearest. People won’t write in to her if she’s going to splash their problems all over the paper.”

But she can’t do that, Archie! Doesn’t she realise this is a small town? You can’t walk six feet without bumping into someone you know.”

Lilly broke off for a moment to serve a couple of customers who had come in for their regular supplies.

Try telling Abigail that,” Archie continued once Lilly had returned. “She’s from a bigger concern, remember. Dealing with large cities where people don’t know their neighbours and sensationalism sells papers. Her advice is dreadful. She’s peddling gossip rather than genuine advice. Between you and me, I think she wrote the last few herself. But don’t repeat that.”

Of course I won’t. So, if the column is failing, what’s she doing?”

She’s after my job.”

What? I saw the article about the thefts at the University, but I thought she was just covering because you were so busy.”

Oh no. She went behind my back. Unbelievable isn’t it. Apparently the agony aunt thing was just to get her foot in the door. She’s always wanted to be a crime reporter. Says she’s got unique skills and fully expects to win awards and have the nationals fighting to give her a job. She’s completely delusional if you ask me. She can’t get a decent quote anywhere because no one will talk to her, so she exaggerates.”

I’m sorry, Archie. Is there anything I can do to help?”

See, that’s why I’m here. For a bit of tea and sympathy.”

Lilly laughed. “You know, that would have been a great name for the shop.”

And talking of the shop… you’ve done a superb job here, you know. I’m so pleased you were able to put the redundancy money to good use. I don’t know why I felt so worried for you. You’ve got a knack for bouncing back.”

I’ve had a lot of support from the community though, Archie. The place wouldn’t have worked without them.”

Don’t sell yourself short, Lilly. There’s a reason you’ve got their support. You’re a good person and they like you. You give sound advice and never gossip. Plus, your tea is excellent.” He said, draining his cup.

Do you want a re-fill?”

Yes, but I’d better not. Look, there’s another reason I dropped in.”

Oh?” Lilly questioned, raising an eyebrow. Archie’s expression had changed. She’d seen that look before when he was working on a serious article. “What’s happened?”

It’s not common knowledge yet.” Archie leaned closer, his voice dropping to a whisper. “But there’s been a body found in the river.”

Lilly gasped. “A body?”

Archie nodded. “I’ve a contact at the police station, as you know. The body of a woman was found early this morning by a couple of joggers.”

What happened?”

Archie shrugged. “It could have been an accident, or maybe suicide. I don’t have much information at the moment. I expect the autopsy will be done over the next few days and we’ll know more then. But be prepared for a possible visit from the authorities. I wanted to be the one to tell you first.”

Me? But why would they want to see me? Wait, was it someone I know?” A nervous knot had formed in her stomach and she suddenly shivered.

I assume so. There was a letter from you found in her pocket.”

A Deadly Solution

A Tea & Sympathy Mystery Book 2

Meet Lilly Tweed.

Former Agony Aunt. Purveyor of Fine Teas. Accidental Sleuth.

It’s the height of summer and Lilly has been asked to demonstrate at a local book club. Not only is this her first event, but it’s for the crème de la crème of the town’s residents, a member of the aristocracy and a wealthy heiress included.

When the proceedings get underway Lilly notices underlying tension and competition between the members and it’s not long before tragedy strikes. The heiress is found dead.

As a prime witness Lilly is asked unofficially to help solve the crime, but with motives galore, animosity running rife and all the women having spent time alone with the victim, the culprit could be any of them.

The more she digs the murkier it becomes, and she soon realises appearances are deceiving when it comes to the rich and titled of Plumpton Mallet. 

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Excerpt from: A Deadly Solution – Book 2 in The Tea & Sympathy series

Although the demonstration was over, the ladies didn’t seem to want to leave. They stood on the terrace talking while Lilly cleared and packed everything away. Elizabeth had brought out glasses of champagne. Jane had slipped inside a few minutes before, but the rest continued to discuss their purchases and the surprising health benefits of tea while sipping an obviously favourite tipple.

Lilly packed up carefully, but efficiently and made several trips through the gate at the side of the house to load up her car. After she’d stowed away the last of her items she made her way back round to the terrace to say her final goodbye.

Elizabeth, Abigail and Isadora were the only ones left on the terrace when she returned. “Ladies, I just want to say thanks again for having me,” Lilly began, but before any of them could respond they heard a terrified scream from inside the house.

The scream had been ghastly and sent all four of them dashing inside in time to see a ghostly looking Lady Gresham running towards them from inside the house. She let out a second shriek, almost colliding with Elizabeth Davenport as she reached out to her, grasping her shoulders. “Elizabeth,” Meredith cried, tears streaking down her face. “It’s Jane. In the powder room.”

Jane? What about Jane, Meredith?”

She’s hurt. There’s blood. So much blood!”

Call the police,” Lilly shouted as she ran to the cloakroom. She flung open the door to find Jane Nolan lying on the floor, eyes closed and head resting in a small pool of blood. “Jane!” Lilly exclaimed, getting down on her knees next to the prone woman. Her lips were pale and Lilly quickly located a deep cut near her throat. Jane’s hands were covered in blood, and Lilly imagined she’d tried to hold back the flow before passing out. She lifted a wrist and tried to locate a pulse. There wasn’t one. “Oh, Jane…” she said, getting up in shock and looking away.

Her eyes fell on the white sink where a small pool of water sat in the basin, stained a pale pink as though someone had just washed their hands. Surely Lady Gresham hadn’t paused to wash her hands before raising the alarm?

Lilly hurried out of the room where she was met with a sea of frightened faces. Isadora was on her mobile with the emergency services. “They want to know if she’s breathing?” she asked Lilly glancing behind her into the room, eyes widening in shock at the grotesque scene.

Lilly shook her head. “No, she’s not breathing. I felt for a pulse. I’m terribly sorry, but I’m afraid she’s dead.”

Tiffin & Tragedy

A Tea & Sympathy Mystery Book 3

Meet Lilly Tweed. Former Agony Aunt. Purveyor of Fine Teas. Accidental Sleuth.

Invited to celebrate the wedding anniversary of two close friends, Lilly jumps at the chance. Not only is there to be a party, but as the family owns a luxury seaside bed-and-breakfast she’s looking forward to a well-earned break. 

Unfortunately, nothing goes to plan. Beneath the happy, carefree exterior, lurk secrets and lies, and as the tension mounts somebody reaches breaking point.

The party ends in a tremendous storm which causes a power cut and fells trees across the only access road, and the inhabitants of The Palms find themselves trapped with no way to call for help. Then a body is discovered and Lilly realises the danger outside is nothing compared to within.

There is a murderer among them.

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Excerpt from: Tiffin & Tragedy – Book 3 in The Tea & Sympathy series

The fight between John and Morris and the older man’s sudden departure had left an uncomfortable tension in the air, not to mention grave concern for Morris’s safety. The festivities were well and truly over. After listening to several apologies from both Robert and Joanne, Lilly assured them she was fine and not to blame themselves, before retiring. The party broke up and everyone else decided to go to bed, too. Frankly, she was relieved to be alone in her room.

She felt as though she’d only been asleep for a few minutes when she was awakened by shouting. As she came out of her sleep induced haze, the shouting grew louder, accompanied by banging, and she wondered what on earth was happening. She hurriedly got out of bed, flung open the door and ran down the hall, where she found Sarah pounding on a door.

Lilly wasn’t the only one who’d been awakened by the racket Sarah was making. Robert, Joanne, Chloe, Walter, Fiona, Dominic and Edward were all standing in the hallway with torches, trying in vain to calm her down.

What’s going on?” Lilly asked Chloe

Aunt Sarah thinks John is in there with Natalie,” the girl whispered.

Really? Oh, dear…”

Sarah, for crying out loud, please stop, you’re going to wake dad up,” Robert pleaded. “Not to mention our only paying guest.”

My husband is in there with our housekeeper, Robert! What do you expect me to do?” Sarah yelled. “This does it, John. I swear, you had better open this door, this minute.” She shouted, pounding on the door even harder. “I knew you were having an affair. I just knew it! Natalie Sampson, when I get my hands on you I’m going to ring your cheating neck. Do you hear me? Open this door, you cowards.”

Sarah?” a voice said from the end of the hall.

Lilly turned and saw Natalie Sampson in her nightgown, walking towards them with a torch of her own. She looked as though she’d just woken up.

What’s going on?” she asked, stifling a yawn.

Sarah’s face turned scarlet, and Lilly heard Joanne mutter, “Oh, Sarah,” under her breath.

Wait a minute,” Natalie said, as the words Sarah had been shouting suddenly registered. “You thought I was in there? With your husband? I dropped off the towels hours ago, Sarah.”

Sarah shook her head. “I… I thought you were. If you’re not in there, why won’t John answer me?”

You thought I was having an affair with your husband? How dare you? How could you think such a thing?”

I’m sorry,” Sarah said tearfully. “Why won’t he answer? I know he’s in there.” She resumed the banging on the door, shouting for John.

Lilly glanced at the number four artfully painted on the door, recalling John had gone in there to clean up after Morris had thrown soup at him. Had he not returned to his wife all night?

Do you think something has happened?” Lilly whispered to Joanne and Robert.

I don’t know,” Robert said. “Let me get the master key from reception and we’ll find out.”

He was gone less than a minute. He unlocked the door, only to find the security chain was in place.

John, let us in,” he shouted. When there was no reply, he rammed the door hard with his shoulder, breaking the chain and they all plunged inside.

A Bitter Bouquet

A Tea & Sympathy Mystery Book 4

Meet Lilly Tweed. Former Agony Aunt. Purveyor of Fine Teas. Accidental Sleuth.

Organising and catering for a local wedding means the potential to expand into events for Tea Emporium owner Lilly Tweed, and she’s pleased to confirm the booking.

But as the bride’s family let her down one by one, Lilly finds herself taking on more tasks than she’d agreed to. Luckily, she’s brought a local café owner on board to provide the food.

During the rehearsal, family arguments and spilled wine are the worst catastrophes, but the wedding itself ends in murder. For at the heart of this family lies a dark secret.

It’s up to Lilly, alongside her friends, Bonnie, the detective in charge of the case, and Archie, the local crime reporter, to solve the case. But while there are motives galore, clues are scarce.

When the family suddenly close ranks and the investigation stalls, Lilly is left wondering if blood really is thicker than water, especially when she discovers their secret.

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Excerpt from: A Bitter Bouquet – Book 4 in The Tea & Sympathy series

The food in the evening would be a help yourself style buffet available for an hour between seven thirty and eight thirty, catering as it would to additional friends and distant relatives. But the formal sit down dinner for the main wedding guests was really a lunch time affair. Drinks orders were being placed with the waiting staff and Lilly was happily mixing the signature cocktails and teas behind a makeshift bar, alongside two other barmen who had been hired by Bethany.

The meal was hard work for the staff, but in the end it was deemed to be a resounding success by everyone. A few hours later everyone dispersed to rest, freshen up or change outfits before the evening party, and Lilly, Stacey, Bethany and the rest of the staff made short work of clearing everything away and setting up the ballroom for the evening, before having their own lunch and well-earned break.

At seven o’clock Lilly was once again behind the bar, this time with Stacey at her side, as the first of the evening reception guests began to arrive, and by nine, after everyone had availed themselves of the food and the catering staff were starting the clear up, the ballroom was in full swing, with the live band, having played a slow number for the bride and groom’s first dance, now belting out tunes from the thirties and forties.

They look so happy together, Lilly. I’m so glad you were able to talk Yasemin round earlier. It could have been a disaster.”

I can’t take the credit, Stacey. That was all Edmund. But look at her face. She is blissfully happy. I think she would have regretted it forever if she’d run away.”

Can I have a pink gin fizz, darling?” an elderly man, ironically dressed like a Prohibition era gangster, asked her. Even more apt considering she also happened to be serving alcohol in teacups.

Of course,” she replied with a smile, reaching for the cocktail shaker.

Just at that minute, the ballroom was plunged into darkness. After a few faltering notes, the band stopped playing altogether and Bruce made an announcement. “Apologies everyone. If you all remain where you are for a moment, I’ll go and see what the problem is. Don’t worry, I’ll have the lights back on in no time.”

I bet a power cut wasn’t in Bethany’s meticulous plans,” Lilly said to Stacey. “She’ll go mad when she gets back to the kitchen as everything works on electricity.”

Hopefully Bruce will get the power back on soon.”

A few minutes ticked by and just when Lilly thought the party would have to end, the lights came back on. A split second later, there was a ghastly scream.

A Frosty Combination

A Tea & Sympathy Mystery Book 5

Meet Lilly Tweed. Former Agony Aunt. Purveyor of Fine Teas. Accidental Sleuth.

It’s Christmas in Plumpton Mallet, but it’s not all holiday cheer and goodwill.

The festive season brings with it the biggest and most important event of the year for Plumpton Mallet, the annual Christmas Market. Attracting visitors nationwide, this time it’s bigger than ever.

But there’s one unexpected arrival who’s not welcome, and he’s out to cause trouble.

When a lifeless body is found outside Lilly’s shop, she’s shocked. But the arrest of one of her staff changes the shock to anger and compels Lilly to turn sleuth once more to prove their innocence.

Yet proving one person innocent means another must be guilty and this time Lilly might not be ready for the truth.

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Excerpt from: A Frosty Combination – Book 5 in The Tea & Sympathy series

Several of the other vendors, shocked and saddened at what had happened to Laura’s beautiful inventory, also came forward to help, murmuring commiserations.

Anywhere there were larger pieces of glass, Laura sifted through to see if anything could be saved and repaired. Sadly, there was very little that could be fixed. As she worked, Lilly spotted among the debris on the table the little grey cat she’d been coming originally to purchase, and picked it up. One of the ears had snapped in half, but this made Lilly grin. She took it over to Laura.

I’d like to buy this, Laura.”

But it’s broken.”

I know, but so is my cat. I already thought it resembled him, but now it couldn’t be more perfect. Earl Grey has part of his ear missing, too. Courtesy of street fight when he was a stray, probably. Do you think you could touch up around the sharp bit so I don’t cut myself?”

Yes, of course I can, but, Lilly, you aren’t buying a broken ornament because you feel sorry for me, are you?”

Absolutely not. I was going to buy it anyway and now, for me at least, it’s better than it was originally. I’m so sorry this had to happen to you, Laura. I know how much money and time you’ve invested. I’m really heartbroken for you.”

Me too. It takes hours just to make one of these little animals. But on the bright side, I am insured. It just means I don’t have much to sell again this year. But now we’ve tidied up, I’ll display what’s left and see how it goes. Thanks so much for helping me clean up.”

It had taken over an hour to get Laura’s stall back up and running, then Lilly left her to go back to her tea shop. She needed to see if Stacey and James needed any help.

As she navigated her way through the vendors and back out onto the row where the shop was, she heard sirens, and by the time she got there, she found an ambulance parked outside. She hurried over and, to her relief, found Stacey and James standing outside the door.

What’s happened?”

I was helping a customer out to her car with a purchase when I saw a man had passed out on the pavement over there,” Stacey said, pointing to the back of the row of vendors. “So I called an ambulance.”

Who is it?” she asked, approaching the paramedics, who were lifting a loaded stretcher.

Her heart thumped as she briefly looked at the man they were carrying before one of them pulled up the blanket to cover his head.

I’m sorry,” one of the paramedics said to her, obviously recognising her distress. “I’m afraid he’s dead. Did you know him?”

Lilly nodded. “Yes.”

Steeped In Murder

A Tea & Sympathy Mystery Book 6

Meet Lilly Tweed. Former Agony Aunt. Purveyor of Fine Teas. Accidental Sleuth.

It’s all steam ahead as Lilly and Archie board The Lakes Express on their first official date. The train is full of writers travelling to a conference, which adds to the ambience and piques Archie’s interest.

But what starts as pure luxury ends in chaos. On the journey home, the train screeches to an unsanctioned stop in the middle of nowhere.

Night has fallen, it’s pitch black outside, and a body has been discovered. The scene staged to mimic one of the best loved crime novels of all time.

Currently on board a luxurious 1930s steam train, the homage is not lost on Lilly and Archie, who are asked to help. But its meaning eludes them.  

Can they discern the truth from myriad lies? Cut egos down to size while dealing with bouts of creative jealousy and finally unveil the culprit?

And can they do it before the police arrive?

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J. New is the author of The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mysteries, traditional English whodunits with a twist, set in the 1930's. Known for their clever humour as well as the interesting slant on the traditional whodunit, they have all achieved Bestseller status on Amazon. J. New also writes the Finch and Fischer contemporary cozy crime series and (coming in 2021) the Will Sharpe Mysteries set in her hometown during the 1960's. Her books have sold over one hundred-thousand copies worldwide.

Jacquie was born in West Yorkshire, England. She studied art and design and after qualifying began work as an interior designer, moving onto fine art restoration and animal portraiture before making the decision to pursue her lifelong ambition to write. She now writes full time and lives with her partner of twenty-one years, two dogs and five cats, all of whom she rescued.

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