Bookish News

First Lines Fridays #5

 

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. I first saw this on Life of A Literary Nerd  and decided this would be fun to start adding to my blog. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

*Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page

*Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

*Finally… reveal the book!

Continue reading “First Lines Fridays #5”

Book Features, Giveaways

#BookTour #SneakPeek Of Sound Mind and Somebody Else’s Body by William Quincy Belle

Of Sound Mind and Someone Else’s Body
by William Quincy Belle
Genre: SciFi Romantic Comedy
Alan Maitland is a successful businessman on his way up the corporate
ladder. Life is good, but life is also full of the unexpected. A
scientific experiment goes awry and Alan’s mind is transferred to
the body of Hana Toussaint, a high-class escort. Suddenly, he must
not only contend with a new identity, but with the eye-opening
experience of living as a female: how to walk in high heels without
falling; how to put on a bra without dislocating a shoulder; how to
deal with makeup without poking out an eye; and how to get along in a
society which in many ways is still male-dominated.
When Alan discovers that Hana has taken over his body, the two of them
must work together to find the scientist who can reverse the
experiment and give them back their respective lives. Along the way,
they must cope with living as each other and learn what it’s like to
be a member of the opposite sex. And as their adventure goes on, Alan
the woman must figure out his growing feelings for Hana the man.
Alan faces the biggest challenge of his life which Hana sums up with one
decisive question:
Are you man enough to be a woman?”

Chapter 1

Forty-eight hours. He was close. He was so close.
Alan stood at the balcony railing sipping a Scotch. He surveyed his domain: the buildings of New York City’s core, the lit billboards, and the non-stop bustle of the street below. He was ready for the most critical business deal of his career. If he pulled this off, he would cement his future as a significant player in the company. He was going places. He could taste it.

The vastness of the cityscape washed over him. Years of hard work and calculated moves had come to fruition, and he now lived in an eighth-floor condominium in an exclusive Upper East Side building with twenty-four-hour security, surrounded by designer furniture. He was on top of the world.
With a final gulp, Alan finished his drink and went inside, locking the sliding door. He sauntered across the open-plan living room to the kitchen and put his glass in the dishwasher.

After flicking off the light, he went to bed and gazed at the ceiling in the semi-darkness. As he mulled over his schedule for the next two days, he was more convinced than ever he was on the verge of something extraordinary. He rolled onto his side and drifted off to sleep.

***

Alan gagged. Something filled his mouth and throat. He couldn’t breathe and thought he might throw up. He brought both hands to his face and fumbled around trying to free himself.

His mouth became clear. He coughed as he gasped for air, then sat on his heels and braced his hands on his thighs. He shuddered.

“What’s the matter?” The male voice sounded concerned. “Are you all right?”

Alan focused and realized he was staring at a man’s legs with the trousers bunched below the knees. Confused, he looked up. There was the naked groin of a man sprouting an erect penis covered with a condom.

His eyes widened. What the hell?

He scanned his surroundings. He was in a hotel room, furnished as if it was one of the major chains. The man grinned at him. Alan gaped at the penis. Had that been in his mouth? A wave of nausea washed over him. This couldn’t be real.

“Take a breath and let’s try again.” The man stepped forward and placed one hand on the back of Alan’s head as he grasped the base of his penis with the other. He aimed his shaft and pulled.

Alan pushed the man’s hips away. “Stop!” he cried out. But it wasn’t his voice; it was a woman’s.
The man leaned back. “I don’t understand. You’ve always been able to take all of me with no difficulty. Throat problem?”

Alan blinked, dazed.

“Okay,” the man said. “We can skip the deep throat. A normal blowjob will do fine.”

Confused, Alan regarded him and said, “I can’t,” again in a female voice.

“What?”

“I’m not doing that.”

“Don’t get me all worked up for nothing! I’ll have blue balls for a week. I paid you the usual four hundred. Now, how about giving me a go?”
The man shifted forward again, holding out his erection. He grasped Alan’s head and pulled it toward him.

“Jesus!” Alan muttered as he pushed against the man’s hips. The two of them were at a stalemate. Horrified by the erection in front of his face, Alan slammed his fist into the man’s scrotum. The man gasped and released his grip on Alan’s head.
Alan scurried back as the man fell to his knees, both hands holding his groin. He flopped over into a fetal position, moaning. Alan staggered to his feet and stumbled as one of his ankles buckled under him. He looked down and saw he was wearing high-heels and nylon stockings. He gawked for a moment then wobbled over to the wall mirror. His eyes widened. The face reflected at him was not his: It was that of a woman.

He touched his face and saw in the mirror a slender hand move to the smooth skin of the woman’s face. Unfamiliar blue eyes stared at him. His mind reeled, unable to understand how this was possible. He had to be dreaming, but this didn’t feel like a dream. Was he going to wake up at any moment?

He heard a groan behind him. The man on the floor mumbled, “Oh fuck,” but didn’t move.

Alan again gazed into the mirror. He brushed aside shoulder-length blond hair and studied his features, focusing on the thick eye shadow and red lips. He was wearing lipstick. Was he in drag? That wasn’t his face, however. It wasn’t his face at all.

He pulled the blond hair. It wasn’t a wig. There was an odor. He held his hand up to his nose then grabbed his hair and inhaled. He was wearing perfume.

As he stood staring at himself, he glanced down at his chest. What were those? He ran his hands over the two protrusions. They were breasts. He had breasts.

An odd thought came to him. He passed a hand over the front of a short skirt. There was no bulge. He lifted the hem and reached between his legs. No penis, no male genitalia. His face scrunched up in horror. What the hell?

He pulled up the dress to expose a garter belt, stockings, and a pair of panties on top. He pulled the panties down and rubbed a hand between his legs.

“What the fuck’s going on?” Alan muttered. He had a pussy. He was a woman.

Queasiness welled up in him, and he felt light-headed. His stomach heaved, and he coughed up bile. The back of his throat burned. He had to figure out what had taken place and how he could get out of this situation.

There was a purse on the table. He dumped out the contents and sorted through them. The first thing he saw was a black rectangular box labeled Stun Gun. There was a wallet, so he opened it and flipped through the cards until he found a driver’s license. He looked at the photo and looked in the mirror. It was the same woman. The name given was Hana Toussaint with an address of 243 Charlton Street, Apartment 23.

His mind raced as he tried to make sense of this nightmarish situation. Who was this Hana Toussaint? What connection could there be between the two of them? How could he be in her body? How was it possible to end up in someone else’s body?

He froze. Where was his body? If he had taken over the body of this Hana Toussaint, had somebody taken over his? Was it Hana? Had the two of them switched bodies? He had to find Alan Maitland and confront whoever was in that body.

Alan shook his head. This was all too bizarre, and he couldn’t make sense of anything. He had to find the other Alan.

He examined the address on the driver’s license again. Thank goodness. It was in the same city. But he didn’t understand where in the city this hotel was located. He found money inside the billfold and counted out four hundred and fifty-five dollars. The guy on the floor had said he’d paid four hundred bucks for a blowjob.

The door to the room opened with an explosive crash. A slim, tall man in a suit and tie ran in and stopped in the center of the room. “Don’t you move!”

Alan whipped around to stare at this newcomer. The first man now sat in a chair. He had one hand on his groin, but the other rested on a small table beside a cell phone. Alan hadn’t been paying attention, too caught up in his dilemma.

The slim man glanced at Alan. “Are you all right? What happened? What did he do?”

The seated man said, “What did I do? What did she do! Hell, Marvin, she punched me right in the nuts!” He shifted in his seat holding his groin. “I was the one who called the answering service.”

Marvin turned back to Alan astonished. “What’s the matter with you? Mr. Smith is one of your regulars. Why in the hell would you do such a thing?”

Alan cowered against the wall. “Who are you?”

“Who am I? What’s going on? Is this a joke?” The newcomer nodded to the man in the chair. “I apologize, Mr. Smith. I’m sure all of this is explainable. Let me get this straightened out.” Then he walked up to Alan and spoke in a hushed tone.

“What’s gotten into you? Did he do something wrong? What’s the problem?”

“I’m confused. I don’t understand,” Alan said, scrutinizing the room.

“What?” Marvin squinted. “Are you okay? Are you stoned or something?”

“I don’t know.”

Marvin took hold of his arm. “May I speak with you out in the hall?”

Alan wrenched his arm away. “What are you doing?”
“We need to have a chat,” Marvin said. He retook Alan’s arm and led him toward the door.

Alan jerked free of Marvin’s grasp and scrambled for the black box. He pushed it against the tall man’s midriff and pressed the switch. There was a crackle of electricity as Marvin’s body spasmed. Alan let go of the button, and Marvin collapsed in a heap.

He stood over the man. How long would he be incapacitated? He shot Mr. Smith a glance. Mr. Smith stared wide-eyed, his gaze shifting between Marvin and Alan.

With little thought, Alan dashed to the table and stuffed Hana’s belongings back in the purse then rushed down the hall to the elevator. Twice he almost lost his balance. Frustrated, he muttered, “Christ, how do women walk in these things?”

William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy
who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope,
accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over evaluating his
contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is
some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to
recite the following, which so far he hasn’t been able to attribute
to anyone: “A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem.”
You will find Mr. Belle’s unbridled stream of consciousness floating
around in cyberspace.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!
Book Features, Giveaways

#BookTour #SneakPeek The Heart Collector by Barbara Russell

The Heart Collector
Auckland Steampunk Book 1
by Barbara Russell
Genre: Steampunk, Romantic Suspense
Auckland, 1884
The Supernaturals are frightened. Despite being able to do extraordinary
things like teleporting or lighting a fire with a stare, a serial
killer, the Heart Collector, is slaughtering them. He rips their
chests open and removes their hearts.
While other aristocratic, nineteen-year-old girls spend time dancing,
Isabel trains hard to become an MI7 agent—Military Intelligence
Seventh Division, a crime squad run by Supernaturals. The Heart
Collector murdered her best friend, and enrolling at MI7 is the best
way to help catch the killer.
Isabel senses other people’s feelings as if they were her owns. But MI7’s
leader is too worried about Isabel’s safety to let her join the team.
Eager to prove that her power is valuable, Isabel volunteers to meet Murk,
a dangerous Supernatural man who can turn himself invisible. MI7
desperately tried to recruit him and failed.
She believes that her power is enough to convince Murk to become an MI7’s
agent and help apprehend the Heart Collector. If he wants to attack
her, his feelings will broadcast his intention, and she’ll be ready.
What Isabel isn’t ready for is to fall in love with the man who will
collect her heart.

 


Chapter 1
Auckland, 1884

One of the perks of being a duchess and the lady of Hastings Manor was that I could make my own decisions.

Most of the time.

I bunched a corner of my long brocade skirt and climbed the sweeping stairs toward Victor’s office. The bustle, heavy with satin ribbons, bounced lightly, tapping on the small of my back.

On the landing, one of the little cleaning machines that roamed the house trotted around, buzzing as its brushes dusted the white marble floor. A puff of steam trailed behind it while its wheels and pistons whirred. I strode on, the star-bright tiles sparkling under my velvet slippers.

The butler bowed stiffly, carrying a tray with tea and cakes that smelled of cinnamon. “Your Grace.” He stepped aside to let me pass.

“Hollom.” My heels’ click-clacking noise died down on the blue rug covering the entrance in front of Victor’s office.

I raised my fist to knock but stopped inches away from the gleaming, polished oak wood, needing a moment to collect myself. Victor had to see reason. Convincing him that my role in the investigation was vital wouldn’t be easy, but I was nineteen and properly trained in combat. More or less. The point was, I could face danger.

My resolve wavered, and I bit the inside of my cheek. On light feet, I turned and slid inside my late father’s personal library. Victor’s supernatural hearing wouldn’t catch me in the room protected by thick walls, and the old leather-bound volumes calmed my nerves.

I cleared my throat before rehashing my speech.

“Victor, you’re the leader of Military Intelligence Seven, but as Duchess of Sussex, I have the right to . . .” I shook my head. This sounded patronizing. I took a deep breath to slow my pounding heart, glad that I wasn’t wearing a corset. Another perk of being a duchess.

I squared my shoulders. A wrong word and Victor would dismiss me. “Victor, I kindly request… would you… I would appreciate if you assign me to the ongoing investigation on the Heart Collector, since I believe my skills can be an asset.” There. Simple, polite, and to the point.

I jutted out my chin and smoothed my bodice. I should’ve worn my dark green dress. It made me look taller and older. This blue gown gave me a childish air with its velvet ribbons and budding roses.

Too late.

After another deep inhalation, I marched toward Victor’s office again and knocked on the door.
“Come in.” The thick door muffled his deep voice.
I wiped my sweaty hand on my skirt before turning the handle and stepping into the office that had once belonged to my father. Victor and his younger brother Jamie stood up from their stuffed chairs and bowed.

“Good morning, Victor, Jamie.”

After the dimly lit corridor, the sunlight streaming from the floor-to-ceiling window blinded me, and I squinted, closing the door behind me.

I walked to the desk that occupied almost half of the room, keeping my eyes on Victor’s frowning face. “I need to talk to you.”

Victor stretched out an arm, indicating the empty chairs. His serious expression added wisdom to his five and twenty years. “Of course, Isabel. Please, sit.”

I perched on the very edge of the chair and set my back straight to not crush my bustle. Victor sat at his desk while Jamie settled himself next to the fireplace.

“Is something the matter?” Jamie leaned forward, his blond hair swishing about his cheeks. “You are pale.”

I faced him. “Well, I—” A dark blue bruise marked his chin, his bottom lip was split, and a fresh cut marred his forehead. “What happened to you?”
Jamie clenched and unclenched his fists. “My encounter with one of the Supernaturals we’re trying to recruit didn’t end well.”

I focused on Jamie, unleashed my power, and reached out for his feelings. A rush of energy flooded me, and heat warmed my chest. His anger, annoyance, and humiliation washed over me. Physical pain stabbed him as well. I gently prodded his body with my mental strength. His ribs hurt, and a cut on his back throbbed. His feelings left the sour taste of unripe grapes in my mouth.

I swallowed. “This Supernatural must be particularly strong to hurt you.”

Jamie stroked his bruised skin. A new wave of mortification surged from him. “He is moderately strong.”

Moderately strong? Jamie could bend iron bars with two fingers and lift twenty times his weight. How strong was this Supernatural?

Victor shifted his gaze to me. “What did you want to talk to me about?”

“Exactly about this.” I nodded toward Jamie. “This Supernatural you want to recruit for the investigation on the Heart Collector.”

Victor knitted his blond eyebrows in the same way Jamie would. “You don’t have to concern yourself with that. Jamie will soon make another attempt to meet this Supernatural.”

“But.” I paused to read Victor’s feelings. His determination and mild exasperation reached me. It wasn’t a good start, but maybe my speech would convince him. “I would like you to allow me . . . I mean, to assign me to this mission since I request, kindly, I request kindly, that it would be me, myself, to do it.” Damn. So much for rehashing. I clasped my hands in my lap not to show how much they trembled. “I’d like it to be me.” I swallowed. If I weren’t so eager to get the job, I’d laugh at Victor’s scrunched face.

I searched his feelings again. Even without my supernatural empathetic power, the hard set of his jaw and his narrowed icy blue eyes told me he wasn’t pleased. I cleared my throat. “I want to meet this Supernatural.”

“You want what?” Jamie asked, propping an elbow on the mantelpiece.

I ignored him. “What did you say his name was?”

“I didn’t.” Victor straightened the pile of documents on his desk, arranged quills and inkbottles, and loosened his bow tie.

I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say
that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. Nature and books have
always been my passion. I was a kid when I read The Lord Of The Ring
and fell in love with fantasy novels.
When I discovered cosy mystery and crime novel, I fell in love with
Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Then I grew up and . . . Nah,
I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.
PS I hate gardening. There, I said it. Sorry fellow Kiwis.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
Book Features, Giveaways

#BookTour Alex Conner Chronicles by Parker Sinclair

Trust
The Alex Conner Chronicles Book 1
by Parker Sinclair
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Alex Conner’s memories of the vile man she exiled using supernatural
powers inherited from her mother are all but breaking into her living
hours, and nothing is working to keep her nightmares at bay.
Can Alex solve this mystery before it’s too late or will she be the one
responsible for bringing this horror back into her life?
Who can Alex trust and how is she to deal with the draw she has towards a
new man in her life – a man who is definitely more than meets the eye?
Alex Conner: Witch? Healer? Both? Joining this powerful female character
and a scooby-like cast including a seer, sexy book boyfriends,
devoted best friends, heros, villans and monsters, and magical
creatures. Enjoy the first book in this ongoing paranormal and
fantasy series overflowing with suspense, steamy and romantic scenes,
kick ass action, intrigue, adventure, mind-bending plotlines, and
laugh out loud humor. Trust is a coming of age story about a young
women who had to figure out her powers all on her own. The new adult
tale will get you laughing, crying, while also being a nailbiter as
supernatural powers and beings make this a page turner for
paranormal, mystery, suspense, and fantasy fans.
Trust is a unique twist on paranormal romance, contemporary & urban
fantasy for fans of The Hollows by Kim Harrison’s, with the humor,
heart, and horror of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the magic of The Weird
Girls Series by Cecy Robson, & the science and world building of
The King Killer Chronicles.
The Alex Conner Chronicles Reading order: Trust, Truth, Forbidden, &
Only with more to come! Contains explicit adult language and scenes.
The storyline was brilliant.” ★★★★★
“I ran the gambit of emotions with this book.” ★★★★★
“Original and Captivating.” ★★★★★
**Only 99 cents!!**
Truth
The Alex Conner Chronicles Book 2
Party time’s over; now it’s time to kick some ass.
Now that I can no longer deny my heritage as a powerful magic-wielding
Earthen Protector and healer, everything comes crashing down around
me. My estranged mother has enlisted my help in finding my Healer
father; a man who was presumed dead since before I was born.
While I wait and train with Dana, the Mistress of Weaponry and Potions,
innocent people, some who I dearly love, face unspeakable horrors. My
small, yet powerful, group of companions confront danger head-on
while we hunt down those responsible.
Is my father really alive and will the training prove to be enough for
me take on new ruthless enemies?
As if the threats in my life weren’t enough for me to handle, my
feelings for two men have me torn and tempted.
“A suspenseful storyline.” ★★★★★
“Original and entertaining fantasy.” ★★★★★
“An urban fantasy with a nice punch.” ★★★★★
Forbidden
The Alex Conner Chronicles Book 2.5
To be honest, my true power lies within my skills as a Seer. Alex says
that my vixen skills are just “icing on the cake.”
Sandra is a bombshell. She also happens to be a Seer, and Earthen Protector
Alex Conner’s best friend. When Alex goes missing, Sandra seeks
help from the one person she is forbidden to contact.
Can Sandra, and those she used to be closest to, finally move past all
the fear and mistrust?
Discover Sandra’s dark and hidden past, one that even Alex doesn’t know
about, in this intense novella, and get a peek at what is in the
cards for their future.
This story has action, excitement and suspense. It is about forgiveness
and the past colliding with the present.” ~ Amazon Reviewer
The Alex Conner Chronicles reading order: Trust, Truth, Forbidden, &
Only. Contains adult language and situations.
Forbidden is a unique twist on new adult paranormal romance and supernatural
suspense for fans of The Hollows by Kim Harrison; with the humor,
heart, and horror of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and the magic of The
Weird Girls Series by Cecy Robson.
“Full of magic, demons, and mystery.” ★★★★★
“This book blends reality and fantasy perfectly.” ★★★★★
“Gripping story full of jammed packed action.” ★★★★★
Only
The Alex Conner Chronicles Book 3
Sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut and play along; the quiet is
best for plotting, and I am getting out of here.
“This is a great high fantasy, sexy romantic read.” ★★★★★
“Full of adventure, love, betrayal, and magic.” ★★★★★
One would think the sassy, sexy hybrid Earthen Protector and Healer Alex
Conner deserves some downtime after all she’s been through. But no.
Instead, she finds herself trapped by the king of the Fae, and he’s
not letting her go until he gets what he wants.
As alternate realities tangle her in confusion and bring her close to
forgetting who she is and everyone she loves, will she unwittingly
give the king what he craves?
If she does escape, will she ever pick up where she left off with her
sexy Adonis Ryan?
And can she control the new power she never knew she could wield—one
over life and death itself—or will she be entangled in a realm
whose ruler is hell-bent on entrapping her and someone she holds
dear, forever?
Only is a unique paranormal/supernatural romance & contemporary
fantasy novel for lovers of the metaphysical, romantic fantasy, &
elementals with romantic and dark fantasy elements. Only is enjoyed
by fans of The King Killer Chronicles, Sunshine, The Hollows, The
Weird Girls, and The Shannara Series & Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Ms. Sinclair is an Amazon best-selling fantasy author with books crossing
into YA epic fantasy, NA Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, mystery,
suspense, and Sci-fi genres. Visit ParkerSinclair.net/followme for
FREE books and samples.
Parker gives credit to the development of her imagination and passion for
writing to multiple childhood destinations lacking indoor plumbing.
She would never trade the childhood her parents gave her, and she
thanks them for raising her to have her own thoughts, dreams, and
bountiful imagination. Oh and she wishes to thank them for teaching
her that one should never leave their jeans on the floor of an
everglades campground shower–lest she do the dance of the scorpions
in the pants again!
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!