Monday, October 19, 2020
SPOTLIGHT - PNR SUSPENSE - TRICK OR TREAT AT CAYNHYAM CASTLE by Jeanne Adams, Morgan Brice, Caren Crane, Nancy Northcott
Jeanne Adams, Morgan Brice, Caren Crane, Nancy Northcott
Publisher: Rickety Bookshelf Press
Genre: PNR, Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Date of Publication: 9/25/20
ASIN : B08JZJ69YN
Come to western England’s Welsh Marches and the wickedly, spookily fun Halloween Ball at Caynham Castle. Let the Earl of Caynham and his fiancé welcome you into Halloween fun.
Lovers from Cape May, New Jersey, take a Halloween holiday at the magnificent Caynham Castle in Secrets and Ciphers. As their love and trust deepens, they also stumble across and solve a 700 year old mystery! Enjoy this M/M Romance with Morgan Brice’s Erik and Ben from Treasure Trail.
Follow an archeologist witch from Idaho as she tangles with a sexy photographer from the witchiest town in America, Jeanne Adams’s Haven Harbor, Massachusetts. In Trouble Under the Tower, they discover a hidden chapel, fend off thieves, and help put a dark entity to rest. Somewhere in all that trouble, love sneaks in!
In Mr. Never Again, spies from Nancy Northcott’s Arachnid Agency come to Caynham Castle to guard a weapons designer and her family. When her son goes missing, her loyalty may be at risk. Hunting for him offers Blaine and Dana a second chance at love if they’re brave enough to take it.
In Caren Crane’s tale, Murky Waters, a landscape architect from Massachusetts finds much more than he expects, both in a floral designer from his friend’s shop, and in the woods south of Caynham Castle. Discovery of an evil waterborne spirit threatens the new love he has found, unless his lover figures out how to set him free.
Four spooky, witchy, spirit-filled stories set against the stunning background of Caynham Castle’s epic Halloween Ball and Bonfire Night!
Excerpt Secrets and Ciphers by Morgan Brice:
“So when you said ‘castle,’ you really meant—holy shit! That’s a friggin’ castle!” Ben Nolan’s eyes went wide as the hired car pulled into the parking area at Caynham Castle.
Erik Mitchell laughed. “What did you think I meant?”
Ben shook his head, still staring at the large stone building partially hidden within the inner bailey walls. “I thought you meant like Biltmore. Or San Simeon out in California. You know—a big, fancy house built by a gazillionaire. But this is an actual castle!”
“Parts of it date back to the eleven hundreds,” Erik replied, nudging Ben to get him to open his door so their driver could retrieve their luggage. “The fortifications were meant to withstand warfare. It’s been continually inhabited by the Mortimer family for nine hundred years.”
“Wait until I tell my sister-in-law. She thinks it’s extra special that she lives in the same house her grandparents built.”
Erik paid the driver, and then he and Ben stepped to the side of the lot, awaiting the golf cart that would take them closer to the entrance. Caynham Castle had been converted to a hotel back in the 1930s, combining history, fine food, exceptional comfort, and aristocratic flair for those who yearned for a memorable destination.
“For the U.S., that’s an accomplishment,” Erik said with a shrug. “Different places, different times.”
“And you’re friends with the guy who owns it? The duke?”
“Earl,” Erik replied distractedly, checking his text messages to assure that they were in the right place to catch their ride.
“Oh, earl. My bad.” Ben rolled his eyes.
“And I’d say we’re more friendly colleagues than drinking buddies,” Erik answered. “He was the patron of the task force I served on around a fraud investigation in a major museum. We hit it off. He’s very down-to-earth. You’ll like him.”
“Are you on his Christmas card list?”
Erik gave him a weird look. “What?”
“You heard me.”
“I get a holiday card from my mailman too. It’s a polite fiction. Doesn’t make us besties.”
“So you do get a card from the earl?” Ben pressed.
Erik sighed and gave him a look of fond exasperation. “Yes. Are you happy now? It’s a very fancy card with foil stamping and laser die-cuts, and the signature is printed on the card. In case you were keeping track.”
“My dad always got a Christmas card from Earl Denning, the guy who ran the lawnmower repair shop near our house in Newark,” Ben said. “Not quite the same thing.”
Erik laid a hand on Ben’s shoulder as if he could guess what was bothering him. “Relax. I never thought you’d feel uncomfortable. I just wanted to spoil you a little.” He gave Ben a coaxing look that usually melted any hesitation.
“I’ve been to fancy places, just not quite this fancy,” Ben admitted, wondering if any of the clothing he had brought with him would be suitable. Well, at least there’s the tux Erik had me get for Jaxon’s big gala. But I don’t think I can wear that all week.
“Think of it as a museum,” Erik cajoled. “And remember what I told you about the food and the cake at the castle tea shop.”
Ben smiled, forcing his insecurities to the back of his mind. Erik had planned this trip to give them both some much-needed time off together, and Ben didn’t want to dim that glow.
“I’m looking forward to all of it,” he assured Erik. “The castle part just took me by surprise.”
“Because I totally tricked you into coming to a castle by telling you we were coming to a castle,” Erik said, but Ben could see his partner’s worried frown had eased.
“Yeah. You’re sneaky like that,” Ben teased.
Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!
Facebook Group: www.Facebook.com/groups/WorldsOfMorganBrice
Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a new release: http://eepurl.com/dy_8oL
Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/js6x0fq8
Follow me on BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/morgan-brice
Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/Morgan-Brice/e/B07CKVZSR1
ExcerptTrouble Under the Tower by Jeanne Adams:
Jeanne Adams writes award-winning romantic suspense, paranormal and urban fantasies, as well as space opera that’s been compared to the works of Robert Heinlein and Jack McDevitt. She’s also a sought-after speaker, teaching classes on body disposal for writers, worldbuilding and collaboration, plotting for pantzers and how to write a fight scene that works!
Jeanne lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two growing sons, as well as three dogs – two Labs and an Irish Water Spaniel. Don’t tell, but she’s prone to adopting more dogs when her husband isn’t looking.
Featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and other publications, her books have been consistently hailed as “One of the best Suspense Books of the Year!” by Romantic Times and “Stunningly realistic space adventure” by Amazon reviewers.
You can find her books on all major platforms, and connect with her on the web at:
Twitter at www.twitter.com/JeanneAdams
Excerpt Mr. Never Again by Nancy Northcott:
Even a babysitting assignment could go horribly wrong. Especially when you were watching an engineer to be sure she didn’t illegally sell a government-backed weapons system. In the wrong hands, well…World War III, anyone?
Even so, there would be tiny moments to enjoy the perks of the situation. Like several days staying in an actual castle, The Caynham Castle Hotel, on the boss’s dime.
Dana Gresham swung her rented sedan around a curve, and the town of Caynham-on-Ledwyche came into view. A few minutes later, she was driving through a charming mixture of half-timbered, medieval buildings interspersed with Tudor brick, Georgian stone and more modern styles. If she didn’t get to see more of it while on duty, she would stay a day or so after and explore.
There was only one fly in the ointment, and she absolutely would not think about him until she had to. Which would be when she checked into the hotel in approximately ten minutes and informed him she was here. Until then, no harm in admiring the quaint little town. Or the castle now looming above the trees ahead on her right.
Her cell phone buzzed, the tone a signal that the call came from her employer, the multinational, covert agency known as Arachnid, or from another employee. The car’s dash display read, Harris, and Dana grimaced. She’d jinxed herself by thinking about him.
Pressing the button on the steering wheel, she took the call. “Gresham.”
She turned left on Caynham Castle Road. The castle drive lay a little way ahead on her right.
“What’s your ETA?” Blaine Harris’s deep voice still sent ripples through her, and wasn’t that aggravating? Dana grimaced. She needed to get her hormones under better control.
It wasn’t like him to be so abrupt, though. Frowning, she replied, “About ten minutes. I just drove through town. Why?”
“Vidhur Mahajan has gone missing.”
The ten-year-old son of their subject. Personal considerations dropped away, and Dana mentally summoned an area map. “How long ago?”
“Nobody’s sure. Apparently, he wanders off every once in a while. The family was in the group touring the castle garden and beehives—lots of shifting positions to see things, a bunch of kids along, and everybody feeling safe on the Earl of Caynham’s private land. With his private bees.”
That dry tone hinted that he found Caynham-on-Ledwyche’s bee products industry baffling. She swung into the car park for a church and stopped.
“When they returned to the hotel,” he continued, “they realized Vidhur and this other kid had taken a powder. The family seems more exasperated than worried.”
The family being Dr. Kara Mahajan, her widowed sister, Bhavna Chaudry, and Vidhur’s fourteen-year-old sister, Aaliyah.
“She feels safe here,” he added. “Even the kid wandering off doesn’t especially worry either her because he likes to do that. She encourages it as fostering his independence.”
“Yeah, well, there are limits.” As the eldest of five, having been responsible for the younger ones while her widowed dad worked two jobs to keep food on the table, Dana wasn’t exactly lacking experience with kids.
“Maybe they just wandered off, but how do we know?” she asked. “Could the group who want to buy his mom’s weapons system be looking for a little insurance? We know they want to buy, but nothing we’ve seen gives me a strong feeling she wants to sell.”
“Wouldn’t you at least think about it in her shoes?”
“Probably. Wouldn’t you?”
Mahajan’s husband had been tortured and murdered by Pakistani intelligence. If she carried a grudge, nobody could blame her. Acting on it by selling India a weapons system underwritten by the British government, however, would take that too far.
“But if she doesn’t want to sell,” Dana continued, “what better leverage than one of her kids?” If that was the case, this assignment had just become a clusterfuck.
“Yeah. So we need to find that kid asap. If we can’t, well…”
“I know. I’m at the church. Where should I go from here?”
“Officers from MI5 masquerading as local detectives are questioning the family while the rest of their team fanned out to search,” Blaine said.
The Security Service had point on this with Arachnid, meaning Dana and Blaine, as backup. The British government thought no one would suspect two Americans of working with them.
“I’m on the path to Saxon Hundred, northwest of Caynham-on-Ledwyche,” he informed her.
“Because Vidhur Mahajan’s into gaming and there’s a game store there.”
“Got it in one. Meanwhile, you swing through Caynham and see if you spot them. One more set of eyes always helps.”
“On it. Keep me posted.”
Blaine wasn’t one for phone etiquette, so the sudden absence of sound was her only cue that they were done.
Heading back onto Caynham Castle Road, Dana frowned at the picturesque buildings. What in this quaint town would draw a ten-year-old interested in robotics and gaming?
Was searching in the town a waste of precious time?
If someone had snatched the boys, any useful information lay back at the castle.
Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the romance and high stakes (and sometimes the magic) she loves in the books she writes.
She’s the author of the Light Mage Wars paranormal romances, the Lethal Webs and Arachnid Files romantic suspense series, and the historical fantasy trilogy The Boar King’s Honor. With author Jeanne Adams, she co-writes the Outcast Station space opera mystery series.
Excerpt Murky Waters by Caren Crane:
Jason Wetherell eyed the limestone castle walls with a weary, appreciative gaze. As a landscape architect, he appreciated how Caynham Castle rose in stately elegance from its environs on the hill. As a traveler, he was grateful for the staff that opened the door of his airport transport, pulled his luggage from the trunk and escorted him to a waiting golf cart.
“Welcome to Castle Caynham, Mr. Wetherell,” the smiling porter said. Though the fact that he knew to expect Jason at this time was a surprise. “Ben will see you to Reception and they’ll get you checked right in.”
He gave the man a baffled nod and folded himself into the golf cart. The young man wasted no time getting him through the imposing stone archways and down the passage to set of very modern-looking entry doors. He saw signs directing guests to Reception on the driver’s side and a busy-looking gift shop on his own side.
“I’ll stay with your bags until you get checked in, sir,” Ben said. “The Reception desk is right through those doors.”
Jason figured he probably should have done some research on Castle Caynham before he got here, but he trip had come up so suddenly he hadn’t. He’d been waiting for an opportunity like the one the Mortimers had in mind for the Caynham property for a long time. His whole career, really. When his old college roommate, Tom Greenbury, called to tell him what the Earl of Caynham had in mind, Jason felt like it was the chance of a lifetime. Even if it meant he had to attend a costume gala happening on Halloween, of all things.
Jason approached the substantial desk and the smiling receptionist, whose name tag read Angela. “Jason Wetherell, checking in,” he said with a smile. “Or did you know that already?”
“Actually, I did know that, Mr. Wetherell,” she said with a smile of her own. “Lord Mortimer gave us your itinerary, so we were tracking your progress. I know there were delays leaving Boston, but we’re glad you’re with us now.”
That explained the personal attention, at least. Jason found it disconcerting to be the center of attention, but he understood the Earl’s interest in his arrival. He was anxious to meet the man. He’d never met anyone with a title before. Then again, he’d never taken on a project with the scope of what the Earl wanted, either.
“You’ll be staying in the Challenge Tower, Mr. Wetherell, which is to the left of the Great Hall,” Angela said, marking his room’s location on a handy map of the Castle. “As you can see, you’re on the top floor of guest rooms, so you’ll have a splendid view of the grounds.”
“Very good,” he said, not knowing enough about the area to appreciate what the view should be. “Who do I need to see about when I’ll be meeting with Lord Mortimer?”
“Ms. Wellbern, Lord Mortimer’s assistant, has left information for you regarding your meeting,” Angela said. “It won’t be until tomorrow, though, so you’ll have today to rest and familiarize yourself with the Castle. And with Caynham-on-Ledwyche, if you’re feeling like going into the town.”
“I think I’ll try to get settled in first and get my bearings,” Jason said, taking the slim folder of information she handed him and tucking it into the inner pocket of his coat. He hadn’t been sure he would need the overcoat, but brought it from an abundance of New England caution. He was glad he had. Not only was the sky gray and threatening more rain, but there was a distinct chill in the air outside. It reminded him of home.
He shook his head and headed back out to the golf cart, not wanting to ruin his first day here with memories and regrets about his home and family. Ben was waiting on him, just as he had promised.
“So where are we headed, Mr. Wetherell?”
“The Challenge Tower, apparently,” Jason said. “I’ll admit to being curious about that name. I’m sure there is a story attached to it.”
“Indeed there is, sir,” Ben said, navigating carefully through the light foot and golf cart traffic to a broad path leading toward a formidable-looking set of towers set into a looming walled fortress.
Jason was a bit floored by the sheer scale of the place, not to mention the impressively-maintained stonework. It had to take a full-time crew just to keep up the point work. Amazing.
“Back in the late 17th century,” Ben said, driving slowly and carefully, “the 6th Earl challenged his daughter's lover to a duel on a landing of the staircase in the Tower. They battled long and hard, up and down the stairs. The young man kept telling the Earl all through the duel that he loved the girl and wanted to marry her, but the Earl wasn’t swayed. The Earl won the duel, but he didn't kill the young man. He was so impressed with his sword work that he had the man bandaged and brought to his library. The men had some brandy and the Earl agreed to the marriage. Ever since then, that tower has been the Challenge Tower.”
“That’s quite a story,” Jason said, amused. “Any grain of truth in it?”
Ben threw him a surprised look. “Of course. You can see the cuts their duel left in the stone for yourself.”
Jason shook his head, astonished that a place with that sort of history was still standing and occupied. At times like this he realized how young America was, even the old parts, like his hometown in Massachusetts.
He was glad to be here and for this chance to do the work he’d dreamed of since he decided to study landscape architecture. But finding project suited to his degree in cultural landscape studies and design was apparently a challenge. He huffed a laugh to himself at the irony of staying in the Challenge Tower.
Caren Crane began writing warm, witty contemporary romance and women's fiction to save herself from the drudgery of life in the office. An electrical engineer by training, she longed to create worlds where things were any color except cube-wall gray. She still works in a cubicle, but gets to hang out with witty, fabulous people whenever she's writing, which greatly encourages butt-in-chair time.
Caren lives in North Carolina with her wonderful husband. She has three fiercely intelligent, gorgeous grown children, having neatly side-stepped her mother’s threat that she would have children Just Like Her.
You can find info and excerpts at:
Sunday, October 18, 2020
HAUNTED HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR GUEST BLOG - A WARRIOR'S KISS (Cupid Dating Agency, #3) by Celia Breslin
“Think he’s dead?” The whispered question quieted his internal whining.
Nice voice. Soft and smooth, like velvet. Feminine. Clearly, he wasn’t alone.
“He sure looks dead.” A second woman replied, louder and with a chuckle.
He suppressed a scowl and kept his eyes closed. She thinks this is funny?
Bodies shifted behind whatever his head had cracked into, edging closer to either side of him.
“There’s no blood, though,” she of the velvet voice murmured. “Shouldn’t there be blood? […].”
Ah, their business neighbor. She came to a halt near his head, her body heat and peaches-and-honey scent saturating his senses. He should open his peepers and say something, see if the female looked as good as she sounded and smelled.
Shit. Where had that reaction come from? He had no room in his life for a woman, especially not a mortal woman.
“Maybe we should check for a pulse,” the one Peaches had called Maya suggested.
“I’m not touching his body.”
Fast reply from Peaches. Jesus, did he look so horrible? And double Jesus, why did her opinion matter? He must have hit his head harder than he imagined.
“C’mon, girlfriend. It’s a big, beautiful body. How can you not want to get your hands on it?”
Listen to your girlfriend, Peaches. No. Wait. Belay that order.
“Really, M? One-track mind much?”
He tensed to haul his ass upward, but a soft, gentle hand landed on his shoulder, feather light, then slid down his bare arm, kicking up a riot of electric sensation along his skin. He should move, but damn if he didn’t want to see what she would do next. Or touch next.
Warm fingers palpated his inner wrist, right over his madly beating pulse. Racing for her? A human female he hadn’t even laid eyes on? Shit. […]
Eyes shooting wide, he sat up.