"Once Humans: Volume 2 of the Daimones Trilogy" by Massimo Marino

NEW RELEASE
Once Humans:
Volume 2 of Daimones Trilogy
by Massimo Marino
This is the second in my special feature on Massimo Marino. Today we take a look at Once Humans, the second book in the Daimones Trilogy. You can also read my blog post on Daimones, the first book in the trilogy. The last book in the trilogy is in the works.
Description
Mankind is undergoing rebirth, the new arrivals closely watched by the Selected: the transgenic beings created by the Moîrai. The new communities thrive with the aliens’ support and peace and security reign on Eridu, as the planet Earth is known by the Moîrai and in the galaxy.
But peace and security of the cradle are suddenly shattered by acts of sabotage set to disrupt the fragile balance of the fledgling communities.
From the coldest climes to the deepest ocean floors, a cosmic conspiracy full of betrayal and fear is being hatched with the hope of pushing the world perilously close to the brink of self-destruction.
It is up to Dan Amenta to journey through dark and deadly alleys–even into the depths of the planet – to unlock the shadowy logic of alien minds.
Excerpt
From Dan Amenta’s Journal
We had the perfect life in the French-Swiss countryside until that mysterious windstorm in February. No one realized anything unusual has happened, but the next morning, while driving Annah, my daughter, to school, I discovered that vehicles littered the highway, with their dead occupants still inside.
Returning home, no one answered the phone at any of the emergency departments nor could I or my wife, Mary, reach our relatives and friends. Checking on the neighbors, I found them dead.
We soon realized we might be the only survivors of a global catastrophe. We stocked up on emergency supplies, turned the house into a stronghold, and collected food and medicines. The Internet still worked so I launched a large, online campaign to find other survivors with the hope of learning more about what we were facing. While waiting for any response at all, I managed to befriend some neighborhood dogs and we armed ourselves with survival gear.
At first, it felt weird and disturbing to go into stores and take things without paying but, of course, there was no one to pay. The whole world had become a ghost town.
At home, to keep a sense of normalcy, we went by the calendar and home-schooled Annah. After lessons and on weekends, we trained the dogs, practiced shooting with the arsenal I had gathered, and patrolled the surrounding area to nurture the hope of finding others alive.
More changes came as the months went by and our lives took some turns we couldn’t have predicted in our wildest dreams. Yet, now, it became a case of survival and adapting to what would come our way.
Finally, we discovered others had also survived and that some strange entities were behind the human extermination.
We met Laura, and her presence made us question what was right and wrong in our new existence. Mary chose to support Laura’s infatuation with me rather than chasing her away and possibly condemning Annah to an isolated life, waiting alone for her own death. We became a multi-partner family and Laura became pregnant to give birth to our daughter, Hope.
Those behind the extermination of humans manifested themselves to me, and my family experienced the horror of the first encounter. I learned from the aliens—the Moîrai Alaston, Mênis, and Algea—what the extermination entailed: the genetic transformation of a small group of people, the Selected, and a planned process for the creation of a new race with others survivors spared in the culling.
Through the Palladium, an alien artifact that modified us genetically and provided the Selected with a means of direct communication, I recovered the lost memory of the frightening history of mankind; a disturbing revelation I could’ve never envisioned.
Yes, I’m one of the Selected on the planet and I’m charged with the reconstruction of the race of man. Mary became the mother of my first transgenic baby and, together with Laura, we settled with the first survivors we met beside Laura: Jean-Claude and Liliana, Camille and Sarah, and others who joined us in the medieval city of Civita, Italy.
The communities of spared ones, each led by at least one of us Selected, grew under the benevolent eyes of the Moîrai. The aliens instructed the survivors thanks to the Palladiums and we all developed technical skills that were crucial in the initial months and years.
The final events brought some closure about the catastrophe to everyone… but also laid a heavy burden and responsibility on the Selected and myself.
We kept in touch with other communities and the Moîrai, the humanoid glowing aliens who culled the race of men with their twisted salvation plan. They became a constant presence although they tried not to become an intrusive one.
Early during the first year, another Selected, Marina, and her rescued people joined us in Civita; other spared ones found our community, too. They said they followed the Palladium’s beams, visible from afar. People still feared the future, the uncertainty, and the way the Selected had been changed scared many of the spared ones. We knew people thought of us as aliens—the same as the Moîrai—and suspicion took hold in the minds of those who refused to join us. They were suspicious…we are different…though, in many respects, we are all still the same.
We couldn’t verify the actual number of survivors and we had no way to tell whether only ten million spared ones lived on Eridu, as we called Earth. Communities founded by the Selected received support from the Moîrai and they allowed each community to become self-sufficient. Things looked promising and were moving along, so why did I have the impression the Moîrai pursued other goals than just helping us to settle in only a few years? At times, they showed urgency in their manners I couldn’t explain.
Book Trailer
Review
I absolutely loved Daimones, and have looked so much forward to reading this sequel. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed this book so much, it is packed with action, and there was never a boring moment. It is very interesting to see how the main character, Dan has evolved and continues to evolve throughout this book. If you, like me, love the post-apocalyptic/dystopian/sci-fi genre, this book is an absolute must! And, I think the Daimones Trilogy would make an amazing movie some day!
About the Author
Massimo Marino comes from a scientist background: He spent years at CERN and The Lawrence Berkeley Lab followed by lead positions with Apple, Inc. and the World Economic Forum. He is also partner in a new startup in Geneva for smartphone applications: TAKEALL SA. Massimo currently lives in France and crosses the border with Switzerland multiple times daily, although he is no smuggler.
Daimones is the first volume of the Daimones Trilogy and is based on personal experience and facts with an added “what if” to provide an explanation to current and past events. It is his first novel.
Daimones is the recipient of the 2012 Paranormal Romance Guild Award Reviewers’ Choice in Science Fiction, and the Seal of Excellence in Quality Writing from both the Awesome Indies and the indiePENdents.org association.
In September 2013 Daimones won the Hall of Fame – Best in Science Fiction Award, shortlisted by the Quality Reads UK Book Club.
The second volume, Once Humans, starts seven years after the events narrated in Daimones. The Communities led by the Selected are about to thrive and peace and security reigns on Eridu … not for long.
He also writes short chilling, twisted, horror stories, including Stranded Love.
Links

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"Daimones" by Massimo Marino

Daimones
by Massimo Marino
This is the first in my special feature on Massimo Marino. Today we take a look at Daimones, the first book in the Daimones Trilogy. You can also read my blog post on the second book in the series, Once Humans.

Description
Dan Amenta wakes up one morning to discover the world has changed … the Apocalypse has arrived.
Death, destruction, and disaster are spreading around the globe. Yet Dan and his family remain untouched. He begins to fear they are the only three people left alive on Earth. They are not. Efforts to survive and make contact with others reveal disturbing truths about the human extermination. Dan finds Laura who discloses even more. Her presence – a young, sexy, disruptive girl – adds questions about what is moral and ethical in this new reality.
Then supernatural experiences reported by other survivors force Dan to seek explanations from his own past. Memories of childhood hallucinations strike him with sledgehammer force, bringing him face-to-face with a secret millions of years old. Planet Earth is in the hands of an older power, one Dan never envisioned and dares not disobey…
“Even with the best of intentions, cruelty is just around the corner.”
Excerpt
Part One
The Purge
No hint suggested the day would be any different from all others. I arrived at work as usual, after leaving my daughter at school. A too bright Monday morning and sunny for early February. The weather had been mild during the weekend, much warmer than it should for the season.
My wife, Mary, complained about the warmth, worried this would be no good for plants and the garden.
“See, everything is waking up. All the buds on my wisteria? The poor thing will become…well, hysterical if the temperature should drop—and it will—below freezing again.”
Indeed, those days felt like early spring. I liked that.
The whole winter had been harsh with average temperatures way below freezing. To leave home and take my little princess to school on my way to work was an exercise of will—even more so when activities started at 6:15am and it was still dark outside.
“I go to bed and it’s dark. I get up, dark…yet again! You know how it bothers me,” I told Mary every time she asked, “What’s going on, sweet pea? You’re pensive.” She still called me that even though it had been years since we were high school sweethearts and I’d played quarterback for our school team.
Thank the Lord, she never said it in public. No one protects a “sweet pea” quarterback or fights to catch his passes! And let’s not even think about the harassment from team mates.
Mary had just turned sixteen when we first met. Something of young lovers remained between us, even after twenty-two years, a twelve-year-old daughter, and life in three countries. We had an easy way to keep count of the time the two of us had spent together: ten years of dating, ten of marriage and then our first and only child. Total number of years? Twenty, plus our daughter’s age.
When I got to work, I waited as usual for the gate to open. I kept an eye on incoming traffic and made sure nobody came out at the same time. The gate was a solid slab of metal and it stood next to the guard house, a bulky construction with tinted glasses and dark concrete walls. Sliding slowly on its rails, the mechanism gave a long enough pause to realize you had been accepted to a place not meant for everyone.
I could never tell whether anyone was seated in the guard house or not. The first few times I crossed that gate I wondered if I needed to wave good morning to some invisible man. Now I would simply drive through, conscious of my right to cross the thin threshold separating those inside from the rest of the world.
I drove into the underground garage; my place, Number 98, waited for me the same as every morning. I had to cross another barrier before entering the parking lot. Had to swipe the badge and be greeted by the welcoming green light. A beep confirmed the security system recognized me. I went down the ramp slowly, giving the gate below time to open, enough to let me pass without having to wait. With the years, my timing had become impeccable.
Inside the garage, people had to drive at walking speed to reach their numbered parking slot. Mine was in the last row so I had enough time to realize something obstructed my place. I slammed on the brakes refusing to believe it. I raised my hand ready to smack something and hit the steering wheel in exasperation. For, as I approached my slot, I saw that two wood crates had been left there.
The underground parking also served as a reception area for the Publications Department. Slots in the middle section had been eliminated to give room to the storage areas where all deliveries received by the Pub’s colleagues were collected and where confidential publications were packaged for expedition. No one thought that arrangement to be efficient and sustainable. At times, I had to wait for small crate lifters to operate. A short wait but frustrating when colleagues waited for me at a meeting. Complaints to Human Resources and Logistics & Operations had so far produced no results. And now this.
I stepped out of the car to check whether any of the storage workers were around. At 8:10, the place was still rather empty. A few cars were parked in the garage that morning. For sure, they belonged to colleagues on business trips who were accustomed to leaving their vehicles there and taking a taxi to the airport.
The crates were empty. I could move them away or park somewhere else. I chose the first option since no one could see me move them. They weren’t particularly heavy. I only had to slide them a short distance, zero risk of injuries or other silly things like tearing my trousers or jacket.
Although I didn’t train anymore, my body still enjoyed the results of those past years of football practice—semi-professional level—and the task took only a few seconds: no sweat. I drove into my parking spot. Weird. Things like that were not supposed to happen as workers had a list of unoccupied places which could be temporarily used rather than the ones assigned to personnel.
With my badge in hand, I walked toward the third security point to cross. I swiped it and entered the monthly code on the keyboard. Invisible eyes were witnessing and recording entries for that morning, the same as for every other day. The transparent bullet-proof glass doors opened and let me in to the buffer zone, a concrete walled box with a painted red little square on the floor.
The procedure asked for me to stand still on the red mark without moving while something or someone evaluated my credentials. I hated this last step. After all the security steps I’d gone through so far, I had to be indeed worthy of credit to be allowed into the premises. Maybe guards verified at the same time whether I looked suspicious or dressed nicely? I almost questioned the invisible guard about those crates but I hesitated. This was something to sort out with the Hospitality Team instead. They look after logistics and other annoying stuff.
Besides, if I had moved or wiggled too much while standing on the little red square, the glass door behind would have opened and I’d have to go through the whole procedure again, sometimes suffering the lecturing guard and waste even more time. I am sure they took pleasure in making us wait. I stood as still as I could…and waited. It took a few seconds more than usual and I thought to complain when finally a green dot appeared. I heard the welcoming beep as the opaque entrance glass doors—also bullet proof—slid aside and I was allowed in.
The view had always been spectacular, especially on sunny days. From the parking level entry, one accessed a hallway dotted with settees aligned along its gray walls. In front, a huge glass wall spanned the whole height of the building and showed a magnificent view of Lake Lemano and the mansions of rich Swiss and foreigners wealthy enough to enjoy the scenery from their large estates.
After a last glance at the glorious day unfolding outside the glass wall, I started down the stairs to reach my desk one level below. The entire organization believed in full visibility so, to foster collaboration and communication among personnel, it had no offices…just open spaces and vast halls filled with large desks.
No cubicles, a la North American style, but shared spaces in between with desks arranged in islands of four separated by panels with a transparent top-third. Though you couldn’t look at what your colleagues were doing, you had a clear view to establish eye contact; everyone sat in sight of everyone else. Hard to say whether this architect’s dream resulted in any real increase of communications between teams. I still have my doubts.
Entering the hall, I peeked to see whether my highest-ranked collaborator and friend, Rose, had gotten in already. We had an established tradition between us: the morning cappuccino.
“Hi, Rose. How’s it going?”
“As usual. The guys from Microsoft say they should be able to finish the sprint in time.”
“Good, good start for the day. Cappuccino?”
Sprint was the term used to describe the set of tasks to be implemented during a period of three weeks. I led and defined the effort for a major collaboration platform of the highest security. It included all possible technical bells and whistles, video conferencing, and social networking to support all the initiatives running worldwide with our constituents.
Highly confidential matters were discussed on our system, especially on the encrypted video conferences and we enforced an absolute off the records policy. Journalists and others, I am sure, would have loved to eavesdrop what we heard those days, particularly Arab League discussions with the Americans.
Everything we did to support and enhance the platform was required yesterday and costs or efforts were never a factor. High pressure constantly, criticisms always abundant, congratulations scarce. The kind of demanding task and thankless job anyone sane in his head would avoid. How in the world I ended up in that trap is still an open question. Anyway, as the only director who had been able to herd the cats, we had released a working platform in spite of everything and within the agreed timeline.
A few desks away, an American consultant sat, hired and imposed on the team to speed up the project and automagically solve all scenarios. He looked at his emails, showing no interest in our conversation or our whereabouts. The guy only knew one thing well and kept selling that as an IT panacea: A framework—and not among the best ones—to create websites. He advocated the solution as the ultimate silver bullet.
It proved no good for us; rather it had been the source of problems and discussions during many of the past months. Much time and money miserably wasted. Yet, somehow, he had secured the ears of influential characters. Despite the lack of promised working prototypes, and even with failing all tests and missing deadlines, he succeeded in imposing his view. A spin doctor, cum laude. Could not happen at a for-profit organization where pennies were counted.
“To a hammer, every problem is a nail,” we said on the team but we called him ‘the screwdriver’. We were confronted with stubborn nails and we needed a sledgehammer. Screwdrivers do not understand nails, so he wanted us to cut a slot on the head of every nail. Makes sense? Of course not. He kept neglecting crucial details about the project, things like ‘nails have no threads’. We judged his solutions and vision as simplistic. There were other forces at play so our judgment didn’t matter at all.
When we came back from our cappuccino, the consultant—even though now formally hired he still acted as such—had left the place for unknown destinations. Surely busy with bending people’s opinions and buying support at every occasion. Grinding his way, or ‘screwdriving’ around, and forcing some head rolling in the process: move away or get crushed.
The cell phone beeped: Time to start working and accomplish something, I thought. A message from the HR Chief: “Dear Dan, did you receive our meeting invitation?”
Our invitation? Who was he referring to? From the details, I had to be in the Board Room in five minutes…with him and the ‘screwdriver’.
“Rose, I just got summoned to an urgent meeting with Carl and Brad. If I don’t come back,” I said half-jokingly, “gather my stuff into a box, will ya?”
Rose looked at me with a worried expression. We’d had discussion after discussion covering the unsustainable situation we faced. The entire team, a group of twelve now about to arrive one after the other for their day of work, had envisioned every possible scenario involving changing jobs, projects, duty stations, or even resignation. Everyone expected me to prevent all this from happening.
I climbed the stairs to the level of the Board Room, thinking what would be my reaction if I had been shown the door. We’d recently had various meetings with big brass in the organization explaining why we were wasting our time and money, and had detailed the reasons, too. We received orders to halt an evolving project to favor some already failing chimera of an extremely quick solution requiring very little budget and exceeding functionality: the typical silver bullet. So annoying.
To think that not a single person on the upper floors had any idea what silver bullets were. They do not exist in computer science, or elsewhere. I hadn’t realized yet what strong external support the new hire had.
I entered the Board Room without knocking at the door. It was a large rectangular space with floor-to-ceiling wood panels; a grandiose oval table throned in the middle, capable of seating thirty people on leather chairs of the highest quality. Screens on the two long walls allowed for video conferencing. The side facing the lake had the usual glass wall overlooking the gorgeous scenery. The institution never saved money and spared no expense. It dealt with big heads used to luxury and, thus, needed to impress as part of doing business with them.
Carl and Brad were already seated and Carl greeted me first. “Thanks for coming, Dan. Please have a seat.”
“Hi, Carl…Brad.” Now I didn’t doubt what the meeting was for that early in the day: I knew the answer but I asked anyway. “Is anyone else going to attend?”
“No, just the three of us,” said Carl, “and allow me to go straight to the point…”
I interrupted him. “Brad is here so I think I can guess why we’re meeting. Brad and I have divergent visions on how to proceed and toward which goals.” I grinned. “I am surprised this comes right after some recent proofs of the weaknesses of his proposed solution.”
I didn’t even look at Brad. I cared only for Carl, with whom I had frankly exchanged opinions about the whole thing.
Carl went on describing how everything in the institution should perform as in a Swiss clock. All parts and wheels contributing and turning in unison so that the mechanism could do its job. I had been a great wheel so far but I didn’t spin with the others anymore.
An overused analogy and often strident with reality: the clock ticked before hiring the help so Carl threw out the baby with the bathwater. He seemed to recite from a lesson of a spin doctor. He kept talking, not sounding convincing at all, or even like he was convinced himself. He came to the conclusion of his speech.
“The Board has decided to terminate your work contract with us. Your last day of employment will be on the 31st of May, in accordance with the legal deadline outline in the staff handbook. So as to provide you with as much time as possible to plan your future steps, we agreed to free you from any obligation to work until your legal deadline as of today. We confirm this does not affect your rights to your salary through 31st of May as well as a prorated 13th salary and holidays not taken during the period. You will find more details in here.”
Carl handed me an envelope which I took without looking at it, smiling.
In a way, I felt relief. All these months seemed like fighting against windmills. The issue had nothing to do with aiming at a better platform. Someone wanted to achieve a firm stance in a power struggle which had begun in the previous months. The COO had been forced to leave only weeks before. I acted as his right arm in many initiatives, besides the one I led. I became an impediment for someone, or considered to be one, refusing to put lipstick on pigs.
Carl raised his eyebrows and caressed his chin. The hint of a smile raised his lips. “You’re reacting way better than I guessed. This morning, I tried to imagine how this meeting would unfold and nothing I could think of comes close to this. Are you…happy?”
“Look, Carl…” No one paid attention to Brad, who kept watching Carl and me having this conversation, acting as if he wasn’t in the room or had nothing meaningful to say. Probably the latter.
“We both know what is going on in here. We’ve discussed this endless times.”
I clenched my jaw and clutched the sides of the chair fighting the urge to stand up. I sighed. “We, nope, you guys will waste even more resources. I can’t tell you how painful it is to deal with this nonsense we are forced to pursue. It is not going to be my problem anymore and that is a relief, believe me.”
The meeting had undoubtedly come to an end. No further discussions needed, a scenario played already. Brad left the room without saying a word while Carl and I remained seated. When alone, Carl had been more sympathetic.
“What are you going to do now, Dan?”
“I’ll go home, relax, cure the acid reflux afflicting me these past months. Remember my words, Carl. At the next Global Meeting, there will be no system to show. Ours, de facto, is to be wiped out and retired. The new one will be recycled to do something else, much smaller in scope, less ambitious. Unable to work as intended or reproduce what we did so far. It falls short now, it will fall short then. At most, you get a new website.” I laughed bitterly. “The most expensive website ever with a newly hired CTO to act as its webmaster. Congratulations.”
Carl grinned and did not argue. “I need you to go through some formalities…”
Everything fit now, the parking place occupied with the wood crates; the delays in passing through the gates. Security knew that today I would have only a virtual presence on the premises.
“Your badge is disabled by now.”
How predictable. Poor Rose, I thought. She had to collect my stuff for me and put everything in a box. The rest of the list was quick: email account, the blackberry, various cards…
“We need those now. I am sure you understand.”
Of course I did. Badge, corporate credit card. I also handed him the lunch card. “I have still some 100 Swiss Francs on it. I guess you’ll be able to credit the next salary?”
“No problem.”
Carl chatted with me all the way to the wardrobe. Then we headed straight to the employee entrance at the garage level, as if to make sure that I would vanish without incident of any sort or wouldn’t talk unchecked to anyone. Still early in the morning, the entire meeting lasted no more than ten minutes; employees were arriving and starting their work day. No time for goodbyes. No one noticed.
“Is the Chairman in? I’d like to say goodbye.”
“He’s traveling. I’ll tell him.”
“I see. Well, nothing holds me here now. Have a good one, Carl.”
The sliding doors opened and I reached my car while texting Rose on my iPhone. “Rose, get that box. I’m fired. Leaving now. Talk to you later.”
“WHAT!!!!” I read her laconic answer, immediately received.
I repeated, “Talk to you later.”
I had mixed feelings. Had nothing to blame myself for, had done everything right. I refused to oil squeaking wheels or lick boots. If something was wrong in the project, I frankly reported all risks and listed the reasons why, too. I never took offense or anger from constructive criticisms, always considered the facts, trying to never get personal. And it led me to this end result. We were in a world where facts were being ignored and trains were leaving the stations, speeding up toward… Nothing.
Book Trailer
Review
Daimones is an unusual post-apocalyptic novel in that even the apocalypse occurs quietly. It is a book of reasonable believable reactions in the face of an unreasonable reality. Dan and his wife and child appear to be the only humans left alive. They prepare for the inevitable degradation of resources and search for other survivors.
The author immerses the reader in the thoughts of an intelligent, well-educated person facing the reality of living the rest of his life with all the “things” of our society, but without the society. It’s not just about how you survive, but how you live your life in terms of values and behavior. If you want zombies and blood-soaked violence, this is not the book for you. If you want a book that makes you think a little deeper about values and the continuous misbehavior of mankind, read and enjoy.
About the Author
Massimo Marino comes from a scientist background: He spent years at CERN and The Lawrence Berkeley Lab followed by lead positions with Apple, Inc. and the World Economic Forum. He is also partner in a new startup in Geneva for smartphone applications: TAKEALL SA. Massimo currently lives in France and crosses the border with Switzerland multiple times daily, although he is no smuggler.
Daimones is the first volume of the Daimones Trilogy and is based on personal experience and facts with an added “what if” to provide an explanation to current and past events. It is his first novel.
Daimones is the recipient of the 2012 Paranormal Romance Guild Award Reviewers’ Choice in Science Fiction, and the Seal of Excellence in Quality Writing from both the Awesome Indies and the indiePENdents.org association.
In September 2013 Daimones won the Hall of Fame – Best in Science Fiction Award, shortlisted by the Quality Reads UK Book Club.
The second volume, Once Humans, starts seven years after the events narrated in Daimones. The Communities led by the Selected are about to thrive and peace and security reigns on Eridu … not for long.
He also writes short chilling, twisted, horror stories, including Stranded Love.
Links

"Vortex: Return of the Effra 1" by Lindsey J. Parsons

Vortex:
Return of the Effra 1
by Lindsey J. Parsons
Vortex is a fantasy romance novel aimed at the upper teen / young adult market. It is the first book in the Return of The Effra trilogy. 
Also available: Wicked Game: Return of the Effra 2 from Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk. Shegal, the final installment in the trilogy, is in the works.

Description
Nineteen year old student Samantha White isn’t enjoying university life. she’s disillusioned with her course and having second thoughts about her future. It doesn’t help that she keeps having a scary, recurring nightmare and when she thinks things couldn’t get worse a creepy man follows her back to her room.
Damian is unique, he has silver eyes, horns and wings, he is also being visited by a ghost girl. She looks so sad and frightened he feels compelled to help her, but the night he reaches out to save her from a dragon’s fiery breath he gets ripped from his life, his world, from everything he knows.
Now it’s Damian who’s lost in an unfamiliar world that’s devoid of magic and full of strange monsters. His only connection with home is Sam who he recognises as the ghost girl. Sam has to put aside her fear and disbelief in Damian’s explanations about himself to try and help him find his way home. But, in a world without magic, is this possible?
Excerpt
Sam squirmed as flat as she could on the seat, pulling him down with her. He was pressed tight against her, she could feel the heat radiating from his skin and the warmth of his breath on her face. The fire and spice smell of him washed over her and a wave of heady dizziness blocked out everything but him. His untidy hair was hanging down, brushing against her forehead. She gazed up into his eyes, just inches from her own, smouldering in the darkness. He was staring down at her with such intensity it made her gasp. Her heart was doing somersaults in her chest and she lifted her face up closer to his just as a torch shone in the car window. There was a pause for about ten seconds while Damian’s eyes glowed down at her in the torchlight, and then the sound of someone knocking on the glass.
Review
Lindsey Parsons does an excellent job weaving a story that draws you in.
In her book we meet Sam, a college student with a past that shades her future, and Damian, whose very existence is a contradiction to nature. Through a series of unpredicted events, these two collide in an adventure that is not only fun, but creative and logical. Relationships build and are tested. The misconceptions and prejudice of both our world and Damian’s are explored. It is within these pages we discover whether true love can see beyond what is apparent, or are we doomed to always miss the connection.
A very enjoyable read.
About the Author
“My head has always been crammed full of horses, dragons, magic, and adventure, sword fights, castles, and impossible quests. Stories materialize when I least expect them to and take over my mind, desperate to get out. Finally a few years ago I decided to immortalize them in ink and so I write fantasy, because for me, fantasy is the ultimate escape.”
Born in Stratford upon Avon, UK, Lindsey J. Parsons grew up in nearby Solihull. She now lives in a crumbly old farm house in a small village in Warwickshire with her three children and an assortment of animal friends. She enjoys reading, writing, horseback riding, archery and looking after the numerous animals that live with her.
Lindsey started her writing career in 2009 and published her first book, Vortex, three years later in June 2012. Wicked Game was published August 2013.
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"Mihirabala" by Santosh Kumar Das

Mihirabala
by Santosh Kumar Das
Description
This is the story of trials and tribulations a young lady has undergone in her search for truth. Manisha is thirteen when her parents have committed suicide. Krupa, their servant, is the cause. From her childhood she has been learning that ‘Good’ wins over ‘Evil’. But opposite is the result in her parents’ case. Which one of the two is true? For this she has intended to undertake a search. Her plan is to marry a person who is more evil than Krupa and start her search. In case of her victory over him, she would take that to be the victory of ‘Good’ over ‘Evil’ and vice versa.
Excerpt
I was sure that Kumar would not have dared to do what he did to me if my parents were alive. But, what would have been my reaction then? Wouldn’t I be a bit accommodative, a bit liberal? Yes, there was chance because I wouldn’t have thought then that Kumar was taking advantage of my helplessness. See the paradox of life! When I would have been accommodative, Kumar wouldn’t have ventured and when I was on my guard, Kumar took me to be an easy target. While our relationship would have been intact in the former case, there was likelihood of its disruption in the latter case. The chance of relationship thriving between two equals is more probable than between two unequals.
Review
There are no reviews as yet for this recent release. Be the first to review this book after reading your copy.
From the Author
Formerly, prior to my father’s time, my forefathers were very famous. They were the landlords of our village then. Not a single leaf dared to shake without their permission. Such was their fame. With the passage of time, that renown had deteriorated and made us ordinary by the time of my birth. So I have been brought up in the surrounding of a lower middle-class family. There is nothing extraordinary in my educational qualification so as to make me boastful in that regard. I am, simply, a law graduate. Ten years back I have shifted my place of residence to the city of Cuttack to begin my law practice in the High-Court of our province and have been residing in this city since then. Though my law practice has no such charm, the city itself has a charm of its own which has induced me not to return back to my native village.
Notwithstanding my ordinary upbringing, ordinary education and my failure in law practice, I am an avid reader of English literature since my childhood. The ordinariness of my life must have instilled in me this extraordinary reading habit. Place a book of any sort in my hand and I’ll forget the whole world instantly. This interest has encouraged me to go for writing a novel. Mihirabalais my debut novel.
Links

"Everville: The Rise of Mallory" by Roy Huff

COVER REVEAL
Everville: The Rise of Mallory
by Roy Huff
 
Roy Huff’s new book, Everville: The Rise of Mallory, is due to be released 24 January 2014. You can enter the Goodreads giveaway to win a signed paperback copy (ends 24 December).
You can read my earlier blog post about Everville: The First Pillar, the first book in the series. 
Read my blog post about Everville: The City of Worms, the second book in the series. 

Description
With the help of his college friends, Owen Sage has won another battle in Everville, but the rise of Mallory presents a new insidious evil that needs to be stopped. Owen must now find answers to questions that continue to arise in both dimensions. His search for the truth will lead him to new journey’s and reveal surprising insights about himself and his friends at Easton Falls University. New creatures will be uncovered and old friends will prove invaluable in the epic journey that that has only just begun.
Excerpt
Owen had taken The Keeper’s advice to take a break, but it wasn’t easy. He had to force himself to relax after his victory. The events that occurred in The City of Worms were a constant distraction, but spending time with his mom helped keep him from thinking about what happened and so did the change in scenery. The holiday, however, was almost over, and Owen found it increasingly difficult to prevent his mind from wandering back to The Second Pillar of Truth and the destruction that he had initiated. Despite the difficulty, it was his last weekend home, and he was determined to do absolutely nothing of consequence.
About the Author
Roy Huff is the author of Amazon’s #1 international bestselling epic fantasy novel, Everville: The First Pillar. This is the first installment in the remarkable Everville series which combines elements of epic fantasy and young adult fiction in a form that nearly anyone will enjoy reading, young or old. The second book in the series, Everville: The City of Worms, was released August 2013. The third book in the series, Everville: The Rise of Mallory is due for release December 2013.
Roy is a man of many interests including but not limited to science, traveling, movies, the outdoors, and of course writing teen and young adult fantasy fiction. He holds five degrees in four separate disciplines including liberal arts, history, secondary science education, and geoscience. Roy Huff’s background includes work in art, history, education, business, real-estate, economics, geoscience, and satellite meteorology. He was born on the East Coast but has spent more than half his life in Hawaii, where he currently resides and writes his epic fantasy sagas.
Links

"No Shelter From Darkness: The Cruentus Saga" by Mark D. Evans

INTERVIEW, REVIEW, and GIVEAWAY
No Shelter From Darkness:
The Cruentus Saga
by Mark D. Evans
Bewitching Book Tours brings you the book tour for Mark D. Evans’ No Shelter From Darkness, the first book in The Cruentus Saga. Be sure to visit all the stops below. Today on Books Direct I will be interviewing the author as well as sharing an excerpt and my review.
Description
“Her hands began to shake as she looked down wide-eyed at the blood-soaked cotton that covered her.”
London emerges from the Blitz, and every corner of the city bears the scars. In the East End – a corner fairing worse than most – thirteen year-old Beth Wade endures this new way of life with her adoptive family. She also suffers the prejudice against her appearance, an abiding loneliness and now the trials of adolescence. But with this new burden comes a persisting fatigue and an unquenchable thirst that ultimately steals her into unconsciousness…
What happens next is the start of something Beth will fear more than the war itself. She begins to change in ways that can’t be explained by her coming-of-age, none more frightening than her need to consume blood. The family who took her in and the former best friend who’s taken refuge in their house can never know. Aware of the danger she poses to everyone around her, Beth has never felt more alone. But someone else knows Beth’s secret… someone who understands just how different she really is. He alone can decrypt her past and explain her future. But he’s been sworn to destroy her kind, and as Beth grows ever more dangerous, he’s forced to take sides.
Can Beth keep all of the secrets? Can she trust a man sworn to kill her? And can she stop the vampire within from taking her humanity?
Excerpt
Beth breathed furiously. She was exhausted, but the air she breathed had a new scent to it. It stopped her short. Her insides jumped in excitement at the rusty metallic scent. Her jaw twitched and her body flinched. She spun her head around, toward the aroma. Oliver had felt his way back to the uneven wall and leant against it cradling his arm. He sobbed and whimpered, while looking aimlessly at it. Beth could see what he couldn’t: a jagged edge of bone poking out from his forearm. He was slightly sheltered under the broken floorboards above him, and the rain wasn’t washing away the blood that now oozed freely. Beth didn’t need to see everything. She could smell it.
Beautiful, delicious, unparalleled and unbeatable human blood.
Her head tipped forward. Her nose flared involuntarily and her lips snarled into a sadistic smile. She felt the four pointed canines being pushed out; unsheathed. The tip of her tongue curled under one of the two fangs that slid down. Her heart deafened the rain and the approaching bombers. Almost subconsciously, she lowered herself into a half-crouch, ready to pounce, and though her nails were trimmed short, her fingers curled into claws. She couldn’t even feel the hole in her palm any more. She felt nothing at all except raging bloodlust. Her brother leant there sobbing, oblivious to the bloodthirsty creature no more than a yard away that wanted nothing more than to cover everything with his precious life force. To swim in his blood.
Beth could almost taste it.
Review

By Lynda Dickson

No Shelter From Darkness is set in 1941 in war-torn London. Beth, now thirteen, was adopted by the Wades when she was one year old, after being abandoned on the steps of a church. When next door neighbor, Mary, is orphaned, she moves in with the Wades. This leads to some interesting situations, especially when Beth starts noticing changes in her own moods, health, and behavior, and begins to crave something she can’t identify. What is happening to her? And what secret has her father been hiding?
This book provides a fascinating look at life in London during World War II. I loved the amount of detail and obvious effort the author has put into the story, along with his new twist on vampire lore. The story is told alternately from the points-of-view of Beth, her friend Mary, and her adoptive parents Lynne and Bill. It’s interesting to see how Beth changes and how, with help from an unexpected source, she learns to understand and cope with her situation.
The book is exceptionally well-written, the characters are well-drawn, and the author does a wonderful job of getting into the minds and bodies of his female characters. I guess all of that research paid off (see interview below). I look forward to the release of the next book in the series in 2014.
Interview With the Author
Hi Mark, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, No Shelter from Darkness.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Dean Koontz has influenced me in terms of style. It’s only recently when I read another of his books that I realized this. He’s such a great writer with an amazing way with words, I have no shame in saying I aspire to write like him.
As far as this particular novel is concerned, I wouldn’t say this was an influence as I had already written a few drafts of mine by the time I read it, but I sure was encouraged when John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In became so successful.
I love that book! It does have a similar feel to yours. What age group do you recommend your book for?
I know some readers classify my book as YA. I can appreciate that, I can see why that may be. In my mind it’s an adult book, written for an adult audience, but at the same time there are themes in this first book of the saga that would seem to lend itself to the YA market.
But then, how many under-18s watch 18-rated films?
I of course hope that the book reaches a broad audience. I think all the books in the series would appeal to late-teens and up, through the twenties and thirties and beyond. I’m not writing them for the YA market, but the YA audience will enjoy them.
I agree. What sparked the idea for this book?
A lifelong fascination with vampires helped. Among all the other ideas I have for stories, I think a vampire story was always going to be the one that would become my first book. However, The Cruentus Saga (of which No Shelter From Darkness is the first book) will be my only foray into vampires. No other ideas I have involve them.
Back to the question, though, and although I always wanted to write a vampire story, I was waiting a long time for that spark around which I could build a good vampire story. And the idea did come just like that. From out of nowhere, I suddenly asked myself what would happen if a vampire was brought up by humans.
I’m not saying that idea in itself was original, but the way I was visualising it was. It wasn’t a case of a human taking in a vampire. It was a case of a child growing up unaware of what she was, discovering she was a vampire, and exploring what that would mean for her and those around her.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
For me, it’s the idea that comes first. In everything I’ve written, it’s the idea that creates the character, and then it’s the situations that create the character’s story. The story for probably all of my characters has changed as I write them. There might be arcs that I want to cover and I’ll make sure that arc is part of the story, but for the most part I’ll be writing with a plan for the character, but then things happen, scenarios come about and the character’s story organically changes.
I think some of my better plot threads have come about this way, totally unintentionally but naturally coming out of some scenario or situation.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
It being set in 1941 and my insistence to myself on getting the details correct made a great many parts of the book difficult to write. But even then, probably the hardest part had nothing to do with the era. It was writing about the biological aspects of Beth’s transition into womanhood. It is a major part of the story, after all it’s what starts the whole thing off, in a way. I did a lot of research and asked a lot embarrassing questions of my female friends. It was important to me that like every other part of the book, I got it right.
Not that there is a “right” as I learnt; it’s different for every girl. But my concern was getting it realistic and relatable, and not shying away from it.
Well, I think you did a remarkable job. How do you hope this book affects its readers?
First and foremost, I would like for them to be entertained. I would be happy with that. Going a bit deeper, and I know this is asking a lot, I hope that it will leave people thinking about what is evil and what is good. I hope there’s a bit of a Dexter syndrome – he’s a serial killer but you like him. Is he evil? Likewise, Beth is a vampire. *Minor spoiler ahead* She’s killed animals. We know her kind kills humans. We know she almost did kill a human; that she wanted to. *End spoiler* But we like her and (hopefully) feel sorry for her. Yet, is she evil?
What does it mean to be evil?
I hope people are left a little confused, to be honest, as to who they should be rooting for. Real life is rarely black and white, so I hope to have a bit of that ambiguity in my novel, and for people to care enough about it to think about it.
As well as all this, there are various underlying themes and messages that I hope people will pick up on.
I always think a good novel is one that stays with you, that you find yourself thinking about it for days afterward. Again, I know it’s a tall order, but if my book stays with people like that (and for the right reasons, of course), it would make me a happy man.
I like your Dexter analogy, Mark. And you’ll be pleased to know your book has stuck with me. How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me a few years to write, from the first word of the first draft to the last word of the final draft. However, due to what I’m trying to achieve with the book and the series, I spent over a decade on research and development before I wrote that first word.
Wow, that’s impressive. What is your writing routine?
On the days that I get to devote completely to writing, I usually get up, go to a coffee shop, get my favourite latte and a panini and write until my battery dies. I’ll then usually go home, plug the laptop in and at the least finish the chapter I was working on.
How did you get your book published?
I actually started out the traditional way. I spent ages creating a cover letter and synopsis and sent them off with the first few chapters to numerous agents in the UK. Most of them replied, but all those that did said the usual thing, something along the lines of “it’s good but not for us”. It’s weird, but to get a rejection letter was kind of exciting in a way, a kind of rite of passage. But then it gets depressing when you get the sixth one.
But… I have a good FB/Twitter friend, Tracey Frazier, who is an author with Seattle based team publishers Booktrope, and she kindly got my foot in their door. I sent them my stuff, and the next thing I knew they were offering to publish my book.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Really, the only thing I could say is probably the same thing any other author would say: don’t give up. Keep on writing, and keep on improving. The old adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” is possibly more true for this vocation than any other – hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was created for this vocation.
But also, when (not if) you do get published, remember to stay realistic. It’s fine to dream about your book reaching millions of pairs of eyes, as long as it is your dream and not your expectation.
I think expectation is a bit of a fine line to tread, actually. I have dreamt (and still do) that No Shelter from Darkness will reach millions, but at the same time I know that the odds are against me. This is being realistic, but it’s very easy to fall the other side of the line into pessimism, certain that you’ll never sell more than a few copies.
Expect too much and you’re very probably setting yourself up for a nasty surprise, expect too little and your ambition, enthusiasm and drive will drain away.
At least, this is what I’ve found. Perhaps you’ll never have this problem, but it would be prudent to watch out for it.
It’s a great book. I hope it reaches millions, too. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Currently this is restricted to “free” activities (I’m an author, remember). Thus it’s the usual kind of things like reading, music and movies.
I was bitten by the travel bug many years ago, however, so am constantly itching to get out of the country and embark on adventures. Anything a little bit crazy is right up my street. Unfortunately right now I have to settle for walking around London and occasionally attempting to skateboard (usually with painful consequences).
What does your family think of your writing?
My sister is my beta reader. She has confided in me that when I gave her the first book to read, she approached it with equal amounts of excitement and fear. The fear was that she’d have to sit me down and tell me that I couldn’t write and that the book was crap. Believe me, she might be my sister, but I know that if she thought that, she’d tell me. It’s why she’s such a good beta reader.
Obviously I’m telling you all this now because she breathed a big sigh of relief when she realised she wouldn’t need to have that discussion with me (apparently she said to herself, “f#@k, my brother can write!”)
That’s great, Mark. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
It included the usual stuff; pre-school, school, wishing you were a grown up with no idea how bad a wish that was.
Did you enjoy school?
Not particularly.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I was a little odd as a child in so much that I was creative and imaginative, drawing and painting and, of course, writing. I showed promise when it came to words, being a good speller and grasping the concepts of word formation quite early on.
But I was too busy out playing with friends to read. I’m also not the best person at being told what to do, and throughout school we were given books to read and it made me not want to read them. To be honest, it wasn’t until I left school and was no longer told to read, when I started to read.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
There was no kind of “eureka” moment for me. It slowly developed over time. Ideas for stories occur to me all the time and always have, but it wasn’t until the idea for this novel popped into my head over a decade ago and I started to develop it when the desire to write really began to burn, even though I’d been writing stories most of my life.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Not that I’m conscious of, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my sister read this answer and said, “You’re kidding, right?”
What was your favorite book as a child?
After what I’ve said about almost actively not reading as a kid, when I did read I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and there was a book I remember reading and loving, but the title of it to this day escapes me (no prizes for guessing it was a book school didn’t tell me to read). I’ve Googled it, of course, trying to find it but to no avail. I thought it was called something along the lines of “Dark Planet”, but nothing by that name matches the book I read.
It was about a man who lands on a seemingly abandoned planet only to learn something has caused the machines to come alive and kill everyone.
To a nine-year old me, that was awesome!
Okay, we’ll put the challenge out there. Does anyone know this book?
What can we look forward to from you in the future, Mark?
I’m working on the follow-up to No Shelter from Darkness at the moment, which I’m aiming to get published sometime in 2014. If you go to the Cruentus Saga website you’ll see my plan is to get all five books in the saga published at a rate of one per year, with the last part hitting in 2017.
As far as the saga goes, I’m just so excited to write each one and get them out there, because I really do think and believe that I have a great story to tell. It all started as one book and my intention was to write one book. I didn’t expand it into a saga for the hell of writing a series, I did it because the story required it. It has evolved without me pushing it.
Beyond that, I have other ideas in gestation and I already know which one I’d like to write first outside of the Cruentus world. Whether I’ll manage to do it before or after Cruentus is complete, we’ll just have to wait and see.
But whatever I write, I always try to break convention. Even if it’s a common theme, I always try and come up with something different. They say there’s no originality left in the world. While that may be true, I will always try to prove them wrong.
That’s great, Mark. I hope you do prove them wrong. Thanks for stopping by today. I look forward to reading the next books in the series.

About the Author
Mark D. Evans was born near London, England. He graduated university with a degree in something not even remotely connected with writing and went on to become a successful consultant. Then he threw it all away to chase his dream of being an author, via a considerable amount of travelling. Today, his life largely resembles that of a nomad, and he can currently be found typing away in a tiny flat in north London, sustained by coffee.
He is the author of two short stories, Dead End Train and We Are GOD. His latest work is his debut novel, No Shelter From Darkness, which is the first book in his series, The Cruentus Saga.
Giveaway
Make sure you enter to win in the tour-wide giveaway. There are five paperback copies and five ebook copies of No Shelter From Darkness up for grabs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links
Book Tour Schedule

October 1 – So Much to Write – Guest blog
October 2 – Fang-tastic Books – Guest blog
October 3 – Roxanne’s Realm – Interview
October 4 – Lisa’s World of Books – Spotlight
October 7 – Book Worm & More – Spotlight
October 8 – Reading in Twilight – Guest blog
October 9 – Lis Les Livres – Spotlight
October 10 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – Interview
October 11 – Jodie Pierce’s Ink Slinger’s Blog – Spotlight
October 15 – Bewitching Book Tours Magazine – Interview
October 15 – Nicky Peacock Author – Review
October 16 – Pembroke Sinclair – Interview
October 17 – Ramblings of a Book Lunatic – Spotlight
October 18 – Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog – Spotlight
October 21 – The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom – Interview
October 22 – Bookworm Bridgette’s World – Interview and Review
October 23 – Fae Books – Spotlight
October 24 – Quill or Pill – Spotlight
October 24 – Hide the Matches – Review
October 24 – Rogue Reviews – Review
October 25 – Ebook Escapes – Guest blog and Review
October 26 – Sunshine & Mountains Book Reviews – Review
October 27 – Mythical Books – Review
October 28 – Mythical Books – Interview
October 28 – Cloey’s Book Reviews and Other Stuff – Review
October 29 – Books Direct – Interview, Review, and Excerpt
October 29 – Deb Sanders – Review
October 30 – Beverly @ The Wormhole – Spotlight and Review
October 31 – Share My Destiny – Spotlight and Review
October 31 – BK Walker Books – Review
October 31 – Booklover Sue – Spotlight and Review

"The Tulip Eaters" by Antoinette van Heugten

NEW RELEASE and GIVEAWAY
The Tulip Eaters
by Antoinette van Heugten
The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten has just been released. Read an excerpt below and make sure you enter the giveaway for your chance to win a paperback copy of the book (US/Canada only).
Description
In a riveting exploration of the power the past wields over the present, critically acclaimed author Antoinette van Heugten writes the story of a woman whose child’s life hangs in the balance, forcing her to confront the roots of her family’s troubled history in the dark days of World War II…
It’s the stuff of nightmares: Nora de Jong returns home from work one ordinary day to find her mother has been murdered. Her infant daughter is missing. And the only clue is the body of an unknown man on the living-room floor, clutching a Luger in his cold, dead hand.
Frantic to find Rose, Nora puts aside her grief and frustration to start her own search. But the contents of a locked metal box she finds in her parents’ attic leave her with as many questions as answers – and suggest the killer was not a stranger. Saving her daughter means delving deeper into her family’s darkest history, leading Nora half a world away to Amsterdam, where her own unsettled past and memories of painful heartbreak rush back to haunt her.
As Nora feverishly pieces together the truth from an old family diary, she’s drawn back to a city under Nazi occupation, where her mother’s alliances may have long ago sealed her own – and Rose’s – fate.
Excerpt
“Mom! Oh, Mom!” Gasping, she saw nothing but the hideous remains of her mother’s head and the slippery blood and brain matter on her own hands. The monstrous sight gripped her. She struggled up onto all fours and heaved waves of green bile onto the white carpet. Then she knelt, taking huge breaths, trying not to pass out. The silence felt endless. She heard only the ticking of the grandfather clock across the room, a relentless metronome to the macabre scene before her.
She roused herself. Her next thought was an iron spike into her brain. “Rose!” she cried. “Where are you?” Adrenaline shot through her as she jumped up and ran to the bassinet. No Rose! She raced into the nursery. The room was dark, the crib empty. “No!” Panic surged within her.
She rushed back into the living room and ran past her mother, desperate to search the other rooms. Running toward her bedroom, her heel caught on the rug and she fell. Pain seared through her right ankle.
Sobbing, she rolled over and found herself face-to-face with a total stranger. A man lay on his stomach, his right arm outstretched. His head was twisted toward her, right cheek pressed into the carpet. She screamed and tried to move away, but her ankle felt on fire. His face was so close that she could have felt his breath on hers – if he were alive. His black eyes looked as dead and cold as her mother’s. Then she saw the gun, dark and sinister, inches away from his outstretched arm and gloved fingers. Nora gasped, her heart in her throat. Who was he? And where, oh God, where was Rose?
She got to her feet, wincing at the pain in her ankle, and rushed into each of the other rooms. “Rose!” she cried. “Rose!” She limped back and knelt by her mother, sobbing. “Where is Rose, Mom? Where is the baby?” She appealed to Anneke as if she could still give Nora an answer. Anneke’s blank, unholy stare never moved from the ceiling. What in God’s name had happened? She rose unsteadily, favoring her ankle. Her body still shook. Who was the dead man? Why had he killed her mother? And Rose? Why would anyone kidnap her baby?
Ignoring the pain in her ankle, she ran to the front door and flung it open. She saw no one in the street, no one in the neatly groomed front yards. “Rose!” she screamed, as if her darling could answer her. She slammed the door and went back inside. Something on the carpet now caught her eye. As she knelt down and picked it up, she moaned. It was Rose’s tiny yellow hair band. Its cheerful flower had been ripped off and lay a few feet away. Then she knew. Rose was really gone. She clutched the flower to her breast and sobbed. One thought now pierced her mind. Was Rose still alive?
Text Copyright © 2013 by Antoinette van Heugten
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.
Review
Antoinette van Heugten writes in such a way that it makes you feel like you are following a bread crumb trail through the story…. little bits of the secrets revealed at a time, luring you through the pages with suspense, a rich and compelling story, thick history and intriguing characters. I adored van Heugten’s ability to suck you in, grab tight and take you on an emotional ride. She is brilliant, original and interesting. Such a great story told honestly, with integrity and truth. A must read this fall/winter and a 5 star read!
About the Author
A former international trial lawyer, Antoinette van Heugten spent 15 years practicing all over the world, primarily in Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in Houston, her hometown. She’s a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, where she earned her undergraduate and law degrees.
The Tulip Eaters is van Heugten’s second novel. Her debut novel, Saving Max, was a USA Today bestseller, translated into six languages and received much critical acclaim. Inspired by her real-life experience as the mother of two autistic children, Saving Max follows a single mother whose teenage son has Asperger’s syndrome and becomes the primary suspect in a gruesome murder case.
In her latest book, The Tulip Eaters, van Heugten follows Nora de Jong as she returns home from work to find her mother brutally murdered and infant daughter missing. The only clue is the body of a dead stranger, clutching a Luger in his hand. Launching a frantic search for her missing daughter, de Jong is forced to confront the roots of her family’s secret past in World War II, leading her to Amsterdam, where her own haunting memories flood back.
When not thinking up new ways to kill off her characters, van Heugten enjoys long hikes with her dog, gardening and traveling. She is currently working on her next novel, Finding Marianne, the sequel to Saving Max. She lives in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband, a former prominent oil and gas trial lawyer.
Giveaway
Enter the giveaway for your chance to win a paperback copy of The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten (US/Canada only).
Links
Amazon UK Kindle – not currently available