Review Excerpts


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Promo - Carnivora #1, by Lea Bronsen



Today, I'm exciting to be featuring Lea Bronsen's latest release, Carnivora Part 1. As I told her, thrillers are popular in the Landen household (with the two adults, anyway), and we spent the summer reading a bunch and comparing notes. I'll turn things over to Lea for a bit, and then be sure to keep scrolling for her awesome trailer and an excerpt that's sure to grab your attention!

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Hi, and thank you for having me on your blog!

I’ve always been fascinated by dark psychological thrillers that mess with your mind and keep you on the edge of your seat. I toyed with the genre writing my debut novel Wild Hearted, but labeled it a crime drama. Its sequel, Carnivora, evolved over six years to become a full-blown hold-your-breath thriller that deals with grave issues such as kidnapping, child sex trafficking, and self-harm.

Telling five parallel stories with as many voices, it gives you the perspectives of a police informant, a hunted gangster, a mad avenger, an inconsolable girlfriend, and a psychotic kidnapper. I pull no punches weaving these stories, so be prepared for a dark, gritty, and graphic read – a little dirty on the erotic side – that I hope will play with your strings and stick with you for a long time.

Please note that this is part 1 of Carnivora and I am currently working on parts 2 and 3, so if those cliffhangers at the end are killing you, don’t despair. The continuation is right around the corner!




Blurb:
Fight evil with evil.

TOMOR
Crime lord Tomor is serving a life sentence behind bars. Without warning, he’s abducted by mysterious men. A sick manhunt is on, with people around him dying like flies. He will need all his street flair and gangster skills to prevent his loved ones from ending up on the death list.

LUZ
Luz grieves the loss of her lover while striving to take care of their baby. The last thing she needs is to fall for the new neighbor.

DAVID
A year after he betrayed his adoptive father and sent him to jail, David is slowly rebuilding his life. Then everything falls apart again: he learns that Tomor has escaped, and his police connections lead him to a child sex trafficking ring involving cold, powerful men.

The cops are in over their heads with “Project Carnivora” … Perhaps the only one who can help bust the pedophile predators is an equally vicious devil: Tomor, the country’s most hunted criminal.


Excerpt:
“Time to change your bandage again,” the nurse mutters, voice cool, and pulls my orange-colored sleeve up to the elbow.

She unrolls the long strip of bandage from my wrist and tugs at one corner of the gauze plastered on my wound. It sticks as if glued to the freshly grown skin, and instead of removing the gauze carefully, she tears if off hard, discharging pain through my arm, wrist-to-shoulder.

I open my eyes and lift my head off the pillow. “What the fuck are ya doing, trying to reopen the wound or something?”

“Like you care.” She stops pulling and glares, gauze between her fingers. “I can see who you are inside. You’re playing tough, aren’t you, bad guy? But you can’t fool me.”

“Shut up.” I lay down again, huffing, and stare at the white ceiling above me with its rows of long neon lights.

“You’re a good man.”

I glance back. “I said, shut the fuck up.”

Her eyes shine. She rips off the remaining gauze, ignoring my grunt of pain, and throws it in a bin. “Look.”

No fuck.

“Look at it,” she insists, voice low and demanding.

No. I know what I’ve done, and I can imagine what it looks like. A six centimeter-long deep, reddish, scratched-up ridge along my artery. Layers of skin, fat, meat, and whatnot must be visible and sweating a pinkish liquid from the reborn pores. I don’t need to see it.

I guess the girl wants me to be so horrified, I’ll never attempt suicide again. That’s right. She wants to shock me into acceptance.

You gotta be fucking kidding me, little thing.

She shakes her head. “I don’t understand why they gave you the life sentence.”

“You mean they shoulda given me the chair?”

Instead of responding to my sarcasm, she pivots to look up at the clock and widens her eyes as if realizing she forgot an appointment. Face tense, she returns to her work, applies some cool, gel-like liquid on the wound, and bandages it with quick routine moves.

What’s up with her? In my three days in this woman’s company, I’ve noted the things that make her tick. Maybe she’s upset because I’m leaving the infirmary soon. Earlier, she said she didn’t know when I’d be ready to go back to my cell. She probably knows now, but doesn’t want to tell me.

The door opens. She jumps.

A uniformed guard pokes his head in, checks the small room, and exits.

She seems frozen in place, features tense. Staring ahead and taking deep breaths as if trying to regain composure.

I cock my head a little. “What’s going on? They gonna transfer me?”

She visibly swallows and fixes her gaze on some point on the wall.

I snicker. “Are you sad ‘cause I’m leaving?”

Ha, I can be so ugly, when the girl clearly likes me.

As she sits there avoiding me, I take the time to check out her tits, and drink in the amazing sight of their pressing against her green blouse with each breath. She doesn’t have a name tag. Come to think of it, none of the personnel do. Evidently, so the inmates can’t identify their ‘caretakers’, and should they by some miracle leave the premises, track them down.

I nod to her blouse. “What’s your name?”

She twists back to me, brows raised, before shaking her head. “I can’t tell you that.”

“C’mon, I’ll never see you again.” I grin, then add with an ironic snicker, teasing her, “They’ll never let me slash my wrists, or hang myself.”

She looks away and busies herself collecting the medical stuff, throwing a quick, almost invisible glance to the door. What the hell is making her so nervous?

Coldness fills my chest. Something’s up.

“Come on, Babe,” I coax with my most gentle, sensual voice, wanting to buy time. “Tell me your name.”

“Why?” she whispers, fidgeting with the roll of bandage.

“’Cause I want a name to your pretty face when I jack off in my cell."



 Available From





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About the Author:

Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After a deep dive on the unforgiving world of gangsters with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between romantic suspenses, dark erotic romances, and crime thrillers.


Meet Lea Bronsen on

Friday, October 4, 2019

Fire Beyond the Frost - Release Day!



Happy Release Day to Fire Beyond the Frost. We're trying something new for a change, and for at least 90 days, the book will be available for free if you're a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited. As such, it's exclusive to Amazon for the time being, but depending on how things go, we may go wide in a few months.

Here, have the blurb again, plus a different excerpt!

Blurb:
Following a failed relationship with her supervisor at work, Dr. Catalina Frost volunteers her services with a charitable organization providing medical aid to those in need. In her first journey away from her home planet of Earth, she travels to the opposite end of the galaxy to the icy world of Ruvuk. Dismal weather conditions and an unfamiliar species of aliens take her far outside her comfort zone, but she’s determined to fulfill her obligations.

When Sari, a human settler on Ruvuk, first heard about a doctor being assigned to lend assistance to her health clinic in a remote village, she never expected the gorgeous woman who walked through her door. She introduces her to the planet’s ways of life and is impressed by her skills and experience. Though she drops hints about her growing attraction to Catalina, she’s shocked when those feelings are reciprocated.

The pair embarks on a romantic fling, but the definitive end date of Catalina’s assignment approaches quickly. She wants to plan for the future, but Sari has been hurt by false promises before and asks that they simply enjoy the time they have left. Will they each return to their separate lives or can they find a way to reunite somewhere in the galaxy?



Excerpt:
Sari pulled Catalina’s hands away from her face. “Sometimes we need a little change of scenery. Earth wasn’t working for you at the moment, so you came here. There’s nothing wrong  with that.”

“But my reasons for leaving—”

“They don’t matter. You’re here now, and we’re glad to have you. You’re going to do good things here, and when it’s time for you to leave, you’re going to march right back into your hospital and tell those people all sorts of amazing stories, and they won’t have a single bad thing to say about you. And while you’re doing it, you’re going to look that old doctor right in the eye, and he’s going to know he wasn’t good enough for you.”

Catalina blushed. “Maybe.”

“Maybe?” Sari placed her hands on her hips and flashed a coy smile. “I’m always right. You just ask anyone around here.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Catalina rubbed her eyes again. This time, the yawn escaped. “I’m sorry I kept you here so late. I didn’t mean for everything to spill out. You’re the first person I’ve told about any of this and—”

Sari cut her off with a wave of her hand. “Don’t worry about it. I could tell you needed to get something off your chest. Sometimes we get so caught up in taking care of our bodies, we forget about our minds and hearts. I’m sure you’ll sleep better now it’s out.”

“I hope so.” She glanced back at her new companion. “What about you? You mentioned a father and brother, but do you have a husband and kids hiding around here somewhere?”

Sari laughed. The merry tones were becoming more endearing with each passing moment. “Not quite. I love Dad and Sean and everything, but beyond familial love, men have never held much appeal for me.” With a mischievous wink, she stood up from the table and moved toward the door. “Have a good night, Dr. Frost.”

Friday, September 27, 2019

Cover Reveal - Fire Beyond the Frost

Here's another winner from the fabulous artists at Decadent Publishing!
 

This one went through a number of versions, but I love the final result. All the little details are amazing! For now, we're still on track to release next week, so here's the blurb and excerpt again to tide you over until then!

Blurb:
Following a failed relationship with her supervisor at work, Dr. Catalina Frost volunteers her services with a charitable organization providing medical aid to those in need. In her first journey away from her home planet of Earth, she travels to the opposite end of the galaxy to the icy world of Ruvuk. Dismal weather conditions and an unfamiliar species of aliens take her far outside her comfort zone, but she’s determined to fulfill her obligations.

When Sari, a human settler on Ruvuk, first heard about a doctor being assigned to lend assistance to her health clinic in a remote village, she never expected the gorgeous woman who walked through her door. She introduces her to the planet’s ways of life and is impressed by her skills and experience. Though she drops hints about her growing attraction to Catalina, she’s shocked when those feelings are reciprocated.

The pair embarks on a romantic fling, but the definitive end date of Catalina’s assignment approaches quickly. She wants to plan for the future, but Sari has been hurt by false promises before and asks that they simply enjoy the time they have left. Will they each return to their separate lives or can they find a way to reunite somewhere in the galaxy?


Excerpt
The music stopped. Hundreds of heads tilted back, excited faces turned skyward in a synchronous movement threaded with palpable anticipation. Four incandescent orbs loomed overhead, shining in radiant shades of orange and gold. The spaces between them measured a similar distance, yet Catalina couldn’t understand why the lopsided figure was cause for such a tribute.

A near-imperceptible shift in the spheres’ positions removed all traces of her skepticism. Murmurs fluttered through radiating circles around her as the moons locked into place, creating a flawless square with the plateau at its center. In that instant, she was struck by the magnitude of the perfect alignment and its effect on her. While her journey to Ruvuk had been arranged due to her professional expertise, it turned out to serve many other purposes. The magnificent sight erased her doubts regarding her reasons for leaving Earth. Her decision had proved to be the right one.

Someone’s hand rested on the small of her back. Catalina looked away from the moons, her head swiveling to the side. All sets of eyes were focused on the sky, save one. Sari stood at her shoulder, her face bathed in the lunar glow. Beneath the edge of her knit hat, her round eyes gleamed with their usual liveliness. There was a slight change, however, something darker in their depths.

Her sly remarks and pointed comments had always been couched in a tone of flirtatious teasing. Tonight, there was no denying the hunger revealed in her sensual expression. Berry-red lips parted, silently asking the remaining question. The harmonious combination of the symbolic moment and her alluring charm made the plea impossible to refuse.

Catalina turned her body to allow Sari’s arm to circle around her waist as she leaned forward. She hesitated, letting the proximate warmth of the other woman’s mouth dispel the cold air between them. Another hand settled on her hip. Its blazing intentions were clear, even through the thick padding of heavy outerwear.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

On Fire!

Mark your calendars, Fire Beyond the Frost has a tentative release date of October 4th. I hope to have a sparkling new cover to present to you in the next couple days, but in the meantime, have this picture of me jumping over some burning logs.


I did complete that obstacle course race I mentioned in my previous post. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done and the thought of quitting absolutely crossed my mind at least once, but I hauled my butt over that finish line (and then made a beeline for my free beer). I also climbed that big cargo net you see in the background, which was another triumph considering I'm afraid of heights. Well, not necessarily afraid of heights, but afraid of falling. Same difference here.

I crashed hard when I got home and went to bed earlier than my kids that night. As everyone had promised me, I went from "Okay, that's over with and out of my system, don't need to do that again anytime soon" to "Weeeeeelllllll, the Long Island course in November is probably flatter..." within, like, two days. So yeah, of course I eventually signed up. But I vow to get some new writing in between now and then!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Making Up For Lost Time

Hello, my lovelies! I'm just briefly checking in here because guess how much writing I've done since the last time I posted - NONE. ZERO. ZIP. NOT A SINGLE WORD TO BE SEEN. The first round of edits for Fire Beyond the Frost should be coming in soon, but other than that, I've barely even thought about writing.

To be fair, I did spend almost the first half of the year stuck on the couch, not doing much of anything. It sucked. I know everyone says they could use sometime camped out at home doing nothing (and trust me, I could use a few days like that right now), but six-ish months is too much. There's only so much reading, knitting, and TV watching one can do.

So what have I been doing? In no particular order:

Work! Work work work work work. Some interesting stuff, some not so interesting stuff, and one annoying trip an hour away into the middle of New Jersey, where there was a lot of traffic in both directions. Also, a lot of stuff involving cell towers. Go figure.

Exercise! I got back to the gym, and while the first few classes were frustrating, it actually didn't take me as long as I'd expected to at least get close to the level I was at when I had to stop. I guess your body does remember what to do. Before I got sick, it had been a goal of mine to do an obstacle race/mud run in 2019, and then I figured I'd have to put it off until 2020, maybe. But nope! I was feeling good enough that I took the leap and signed up for one. It's in two days. My goal is to just get across the finish line in one piece. (Okay, and hopefully in less than two hours, since it's only four miles and twenty obstacles. "Only." Ha. Hahahaha. Ha.)

Vacation! This entry on the list is a bit of a misnomer, and one of my coworkers summed it up perfectly: When you have young kids, it's not a "vacation," it's a "family trip." Yuuuup. We had our ups and downs, and I wouldn't necessarily say I relaxed, but overall, we did have fun. Plus, my mom and I bought a pair of inflatable stand-up paddleboards for ourselves and considered them a worthwhile purchase. (No one drowned, and Harbor Patrol only showed up once, but that's another story.)

Reading! I never get any good writing done while on vacation anyway, so I figured I might as well read some books. I stuck with the thrillers I got for free with my Amazon Prime account (I'll Never Tell and What You Did by authors I can't remember) and enjoyed both of them, which isn't always the case with free books. Mr. Landen read the same ones, so it was fun to compare notes and opinions.

So summer is winding down. The girls go back to school in less than two weeks, and I'm hoping to get a lot done with that added free time, writing included. I hope you all are having a great summer!