Excerpt: Grind by Sybil Bartel

Excerpt: Grind by Sybil Bartel

Title: Grind 

Author: Sybil Bartel 
(Thrust, #3) 
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Excerpt: Grind by Sybil Bartel
About the book:
I’m silent. I’m trained. I’m lethal.
My hand skimming down your thigh, my gaze a weapon—I know more ways to kill you than please you.
But you’re not paying for my aim. You’re paying for my control. Bringing you a breath away from ecstasy, watching you beg as I hold back your release, I’ll show you exactly what you’ve been missing. Your hunger is my currency and five thousand is my price. I only have one rule—no repeats, because I’m not for keeps. I’m for sale.
One slow grind and I’ll give you exactly what you paid for.


“I don’t have any money to pay you.” He knew I didn’t, but I wasn’t saying it just to remind him.

“I don’t want you to pay me.” He held his hand out. “Come on.”

My heart raced and the whisper of his scent through the rainwater drenching his body filled my head. I ached to touch him. “Where?”

“To bed.”

“I can’t… with you.” I had reasons, but I was rapidly forgetting them.

His hand never wavered. “I need sleep. You need sleep. I’ll rest better if I know where you are. Come.”

Knowing I shouldn’t, knowing I was crossing an invisible line I would never return from, I gave him my hand.

He didn’t hesitate. He pulled me to my feet and took a step.

I panicked. “Wait.” Oh God, don’t say it, don’t say it. “I can’t do this. This will mean something to me that it doesn’t to you.”

Cool gray-brown eyes stared down at me without mercy. “Do not speak for me.”

“I just meant—”

“I know what you meant.”

I gave him the truth because it was all I had left. “You’re taking what I don’t have to give.”

His shoulders dropped, his frame leaned toward me, and he lowered his voice to a barely audible whisper. “Trust me.” Rain dripped from his cheek and landed on my arm. “This is what I ask of you, only this. Nothing else.”

If you could fall in love in a single moment with a perfect stranger, I fell in love. “You will break me, Dane Marek,” I whispered.

“You are already broken, Irina Tsarko.”


Excerpt: Grind by Sybil Bartel
About the Author:
Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.

Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…

But Seriously?

Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.

She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.

To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.

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One Routine Any Aspiring Writers Should Develop

One Routine Any Aspiring Writers Should Develop, guest post by Brian McGilloway

If I had to pick one routine that I think any aspiring crime writer should develop, it would be the habit of writing daily.

One Routine Any Aspiring Writers Should Develop, guest post by Brian McGilloway
I believe writing is both obsession and compulsion. Something drives me to write, compels me to sit at a desk and tell stories, never quite sure whether anyone will want to read them. The problem is that compulsion can come and go. The initial enthusiasm for a new book dissipates after the first few chapters and by the 30000 word mark it’s becoming a slog. It is at that point that you most need to keep at it every single day, chipping away at the narrative. In fact, it’s on the days you least feel like writing that you most need to do so. And often, on those days, you surprise yourself with what you write.

I say this for a number of reasons. Firstly, I think crime fiction depends on forward momentum. Writing every day creates that sense of driving forward, pushing the narrative onwards. It doesn’t matter if what you write is rubbish – first drafts often are. The key thing is that the story has kept moving. The craft of writing really kicks in on the rewrite anyway, once you’ve got the bones of it down on the page. The second draft is a major one – often involving structural changes and certainly requiring a rewrite of the start when you realise that the themes and ideas you thought the book would explore ending up being different from the ones the narrative eventually involved. Writing is a process of discovery for the writer, after all.

Secondly, for me, crime writing requires intricate plotting. Writing everyday helps keep events fresh in your mind as a writer. In fact, it helps feed that obsessive aspect of writing that means you think about the plot and characters constantly, immersing yourself into the world of the story in a way that makes that world all the more authentic when you describe its sights and sounds and textures. Dropping in once a fortnight for half an hour won’t make an immersive experience for either the writer or the reader. Leaving a book longer than that makes it even harder to renter that world.

In a purely practical way, the danger for me in not writing each day of a book’s composition is that if I leave it for a while, I need to re-read the book to remind myself where each plot strand and character had left off. Once you re-read you start seeing the mistakes and the urge is to correct it or redraft it. Doing so means you spend more weeks reworking the same part of the story and another month can pass without the narrative having moved forward an inch. That discovery can be crushing, especially if you are at that midpoint of the story and it appears to be going nowhere fast.

For myself, I work full time as a teacher, so when I get time to write, it’s often no more than an hour a day. Over the course of nine books, I’ve trained myself to use that time wisely. Discipline is needed not to waste time on Facebook or answering emails when you should be writing. In that hour or so, I aim to write a chapter (normally between 1000 – 1500 words). I end each writing session with the end of the chapter because it end on a hook of some sort, which gives me a launching point the next day. I tend to listen to music, often the same piece to get me into the book, almost like a tuning fork sounding the opening note. Hurt/Someone You Know was written to the tuning fork of Family Life by the Blue Nile. Preserve the Dead/The Forgotten Ones was written to Mark Lanegan’s Imitations. Bad Blood was soundtracked by Hans Zimmer and Max Richter.

Ultimately, writing requires determination in spite of everything.  We each find tricks to help us get through it and, by the end of the book you are exhausted and sick at the thought of ever writing again. Yet, the following day, that familiar itch, that compulsion to create, starts anew. And’s that always an exciting moment.

One Routine Any Aspiring Writers Should Develop, guest post by Brian McGilloway
Brian McGilloway was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling Lucy Black series, all to be published by Witness. Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife and their four children.

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Interview with Kristen Kittscher

Interview with Kristen Kittscher

What genre do you write and why?
I write mysteries for readers aged 8 to 12. There’s something so exciting about writing for kids right as they’re discovering the joy of escaping into novels. When they love something, they really love it. They’ll read it over and over and be inspired to write their own fan fiction. I love that pre-teens are old enough to understand larger truths about the world, but still have great enthusiasm and a sense of wonder. It’s also fun to be a little silly! And let’s face it: my own development might have arrested at age twelveJ

Interview with Kristen Kittscher
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is another funny mystery for kids – a sequel to my debut, The Wig in the Window, which features seventh grade best friends and wanna be spies, Sophie Young and Grace Yang. In this adventure, Young & Yang must go undercover in their town parade catch a murderer before he—or she—strikes again. It’s a bit like Miss Congeniality set in middle school – with plenty of fast-paced action and a good dose of silliness! (The alleged victim in the case was killed by a giant fake marshmallow in the S’More animatronic feature of the Girls Scouts of America campfire-themed float, if that gives you any sense of things…)

When and where do you write?
I constantly change writing locations. Am I confirming stereotypes about neurotic writers? If the going was tough one day, the next I’ll pick a different chair or view or entirely new location. There is one constant, though. I always bring my “writing knight” with me. A dear friend’s father -- a writer and scholar I looked up to --used to keep it on his desk when he was still alive.  My friend passed it along to me when I sold The Wig in the Window. I like to think it brings me luck.

What are you currently reading? 
I’m currently deep into Ruth Franklin’s new biography of Shirley Jackson (Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life). It’s a stunning reclamation of her legacy – and of writing that was sidelined as mere “women’s” literature at the time. It’s chock full of great inspiration for writers, too.  I highly recommend it, even if you’re not as big of a Shirley Jackson fan as I am.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“Writing is a friendship with your own mind” – Natalie Goldberg. I highly recommend her books on writing, especially Writing Down the Bones.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Besides getting to stay in your pyjamas a good bit of the day? Getting to surprise yourself over and over again. There’s something purely magic about creating something where there wasn’t before, and I’m addicted to it.

Interview with Kristen Kittscher
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little bit of both. I didn’t outline my first book, The Wig in the Window up front but instead charged ahead blindly. I made a mess of things, took ages, then wrote an outline after the fact that helped me shape the story. I took the opposite approach with the sequel because I do think that outlining saves a great deal of headache (and heartache?). I wasn’t entirely right about that: having such a detailed outline might have helped with the plotting of the mystery, but I lost some of the joy in the actual writing and would sometimes be forcing illogical decisions upon my characters. I had to toss that outline and “pants” much more to get it right!

Do you believe in writers block?
I do, in the sense that if you are having difficulty writing, there’s a reason for it – there’s something you need to attend to. I had a great deal of difficulty writing after the sudden death of my father. I pushed myself, which only made matters worse: that’s when I realized that my mind was protecting myself and letting me know I had to deal give myself space to deal with my grief.

I also think perfectionism and an overactive inner critic can throw up a great deal of unnecessary, imaginary obstacles. They need to be kept at bay!

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
While I always wanted to be a writer, my seventh grade English students were my inspiration. It wasn’t until I imagined writing a story that they would enjoy that I followed through on my vague notions and actually wrote regularly.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Stop worrying about whether anything will come of your writing. Just let go and enjoy doing it!

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Book Showcase: Beyond Reason by Kat Martin

Book Showcase: Beyond Reason by Kat Martin

Title: Beyond Reason
Author: Kat Martin
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Book Showcase: Beyond Reason by Kat Martin
About the book:

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin raises chills as danger stalks a woman determined to make it in a man’s world . . .

Five weeks ago Carly Drake stood at her grandfather’s grave. Now she’s burying Drake Trucking’s top driver, and the cops have no leads on the hijacking or murder. Faced with bankruptcy, phone threats and the fear of failure, Carly has to team up with the last man she wants to owe—Lincoln Cain.

Cain is magnetic, powerful, controlling—and hiding more than one secret. He promised Carly’s granddad he’d protect her. The old man took a chance on him when he was nothing but a kid with a record, and now he’s the multi-millionaire owner of a rival firm.

But Linc’s money can’t protect Carly from the men who’ll do anything to shut her down, or the secrets behind Drake Trucking. If she won’t sell out, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close . . . and fight like hell.

Book Showcase: Beyond Reason by Kat Martin
About the Author
Kat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of sixty-five books across multiple genres. Sixteen million copies are in print and she has been published in twenty-one foreign countries, including Japan, France, Argentina, Greece, China, and Spain. Her books have been nominated for the prestigious RITA award and won both the Lifetime Achievement and Reviewer’s Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews.

A resident of Missoula, Montana, Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She and her author husband, L.J. Martin, spend their winters in Ventura, California. She is currently writing her next Romantic Suspense.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

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Excerpt: The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline Hunter

Excerpt: The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline Hunter

Title: The Most Dangerous Duke in London
Author: Madeline Hunter
Genre: Historical Romance

Excerpt: The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline Hunter
About the book

Name and title: Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton. Affiliation: London’s elite Society of Decadent Dukes. Family history: Scandalous. Personality traits: Dark and brooding, with a thirst for revenge. Ideal romantic partner: A woman of means, with beauty and brains, willing to live with reckless abandon. Desire: Clara Cheswick, gorgeous daughter of his family’s sworn enemy.

Clara may be the woman Adam wants, but there’s one problem: she’s far more interested in publishing her women’s journal than getting married—especially to a man said to be dead-set on vengeance. Though, with her nose for a story, Clara wonders if his desire for justice is sincere—along with his incredibly unnerving intention to be her husband. If her weak-kneed response to his kiss is any indication, falling for Adam clearly comes with a cost. But who knew courting danger could be such exhilarating fun?


Clara quickly read her morning mail while eating breakfast in Gifford House, the family’s London home. Two letters in particular received very brief attention.
Her grandmother had written a scold. I am told that you have refused to receive Stratton twice since you went up to London ten days ago. I must insist that you cease such provocations.
Theo’s letter said much the same thing. We are unlikely to make progress with Stratton if you continue insulting him. Think of Emilia’s future. Think of mine. Surely you can find a modicum of gentility where he is concerned.
She was thinking of Emilia’s future. And the family’s. This whole idea of bridging the divide between her family’s and Stratton’s struck her as ill-advised and disloyal. Let them try it if they wanted to, but she was not going to cooperate. Grandmamma knew that. It was why no one had told her about this plan before embarking on it.
Donning her pelisse and her bonnet, she lifted a wrapped package and descended to the reception hall. Eschewing the family carriages, she told a footman to get her a hackney.
She took some air on the portico while she waited. Unfortunately, while she did, a carriage pulled into the drive. She cursed under her breath.
Stratton again. And here she was in plain view. She could hardly have the butler tell him she was not at home.
On the other hand, it should be obvious she was leaving. A few polite words and he would be on his way.
The duke stepped out of his carriage and approached her. After a greeting, he stopped with one foot on the lowest step of the portico and eyed her.
“You go out a great deal.”
“I may be in mourning, but I am not dead.”
He gestured to his carriage. “Allow me to take you to your destination.”
“Very kind of you, but my carriage is on its way.”
“It may be some time before it arrives.”
Indeed it might. With an inward groan of resignation, she turned to the house. “Since you have called on me, let us go inside and have a proper visit while I wait.”
She led the way into the house and deposited her package in a footman’s hands. Up the stairs she led the duke, and into the drawing room.
She perched herself on a chair and hoped she appeared at least half as formidable as her grandmother.
The duke took a seat in the chair closest to hers and settled in comfortably. His hair had been styled since she last saw him on that hill. His now disheveled cropped locks brought more attention to his liquid dark eyes and to that sensual mouth and hard jaw.
“It is kind of you to receive me, Lady Clara.”
“Since you saw fit to report to my family that I did not receive you previously, I now feel obligated to pretend I am amenable to this inexplicable desire of theirs to form a friendship with you.”
“You are a very direct woman.”
“You are a most persistent man.”
“Persistence in man is a virtue, while directness in a woman—”
“Is a nuisance. Which begs the question of why you have bothered being so persistent with this nuisance of a woman.”
“That is an excellent question. If you had seen me on my first call, by now you would have a full understanding of my intentions.”
What an odd way to put it. Whatever his intentions were.
“Perhaps you will enlighten me now, and quickly, so I can resume my own plans—plans which you have interrupted.”
He laughed quietly, as if at a private joke. “Your brother called you shrewish. I can see why.”
Shrewish? Why, that spoiled, disloyal boy. “I prefer being called direct. As a gentleman, I am sure you prefer
that word too.”
“Of course. Allow me to be direct in turn, so you can be about your day’s business.” He leaned forward and set his arms on his knees. It brought his fine face quite close to her. “You know your grandmother’s plan to have me marry Lady Emilia.”
“I do.”
“I have decided to decline the offer.”
It was all she could do not to cheer with relief. Thank heavens someone in this sorry business was using some sense.
“I have decided that you will suit me, and the dowager’s plan, much better.”
A stillness rang in the chamber. It took a good long moment for her mind to absorb what he had said. Even then it sounded too bizarre to be accurate.
“Your sister is too young for me, and whatever settlement is offered with her, it will never be as good as a wife with her own property and income.”
Good heavens.
She gathered her wits, but it took some serious groping through her stunned reaction. “Have you even met Emilia?”
“No, but it does not signify. I am quite sure that while she is lovely, she is not the bride for me.”
“How can you say that when you have not even—”
“I know.”
“You had better know differently, and quickly, because I am not available instead.”
He sat back in his chair, not the least impressed by her definitive rejection. “It is understandable that you are surprised by my proposal. I am confident that you will come around, however.”
Too agitated to sit, she stood and glared at the presumptuous idiot. Regrettably that brought him up too. Instead of what had been a satisfactory staring down, she now had to look far up at a face that hovered over her own.
“I heard no proposal. I heard an edict. I cannot imagine what gives you cause to think I would obey it. You are the last man I would marry, should I marry at all. Indeed, my father would turn over in his grave if I even considered the idea. Now, sir, I thank you for your call, but I must be about my day’s business. Already I will be late.”
She pivoted and strode out of the drawing room and down the stairs. She retrieved her package from the footman and headed outside. She sensed the duke on her heels the entire way.
Her hackney coach waited behind the duke’s carriage.
He gazed hard at that hackney. “Why are you not using the family’s equipage?”
“I chose not to.” She descended the stone steps and aimed for her coach.
He walked alongside her. “You are going to a secret assignation, I assume. One that you prefer the family servants not know about. There is no other explanation for using a hackney instead of a family carriage.”
She truly wanted to hit him with her package for saying that within hearing of the footman waiting to hand her into the coach.
She settled herself on the seat while the footman closed the door. The duke rested his forearm on the window’s edge and waited while the servant walked away.
“I will not demand an explanation now,” he said. “However, if you are going to meet a man, that liaison must end immediately, now that we are engaged.”
She stuck her face to the window. “We. Are. Not. Engaged.” She was almost yelling by the end of it, but the coach had rolled away by then, and only the air heard her.

Excerpt: The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline Hunter
About the Author

Madeline Hunter is a New York Times bestselling author with more than six million copies of her books in print. She has twenty-nine nationally bestselling historical romances in print, including most recently, The Wicked Duke, Tall, Dark, and WickedHis Wicked Reputation, and The Accidental Duchess. A member of RWA’s Honor Roll, she has won the RITA Award twice and been a finalist seven times. Her books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York TimesUSA Today, and Publishers Weekly, and have been translated into thirteen languages. She has a PhD in art history, which she has taught at the university level. Madeline also writes the Romance Unlaced column for USAToday.com’s Happy Ever After site.


Excerpt: The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline Hunter

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