New Release: Maple Summer Wallace, by Jessica Calla – A Uniquely Suspenseful Women’s Fiction Debut

New TODAY from Jessica Calla:

Maple Summer Wallace

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Adventure/Suspense
Release Date: April 30, 2019

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Available on Kindle Unlimited for Free!

About Maple Summer Wallace

After learning she has only six months to live, twenty-two-year-old socialite, Maple Summer Wallace, plans to spend her remaining time hanging over a roulette table in Vegas and squandering her family’s fortune. Her plan takes a wrong turn when she finds Veronica, her twenty-year-old housekeeper and daughter of her beloved nanny, Lola, hovering over the dead body of octogenarian Randolph Brentwood, the fifth richest man in the world.

Maple, hardened from her own personal loss, resists involvement until she learns that Veronica is pregnant with Lola’s grandchild, an heir to the Brentwood estate. To make good on an old promise, Maple vows to help Veronica. With the assistance of Michael, a handsome and savvy PI, they journey up and down the East Coast, dodging the authorities, a shady lawyer, a cold-hearted hit man, and the powerful widow, Mrs. Brentwood. As Maple’s bitterness about spending her last days saving Veronica dissipates and her friendship with Michael develops, she realizes that on the way to death, she’s found something she’s never had—life.

(Please note: This is not a Romance. It is the author’s Women’s Fiction debut. Further, this book contains serious situations which may affect more sensitive readers.)

Get Your Copy of Maple Summer Wallace Here:

Amazon link:

Goodreads link: Add MAPLE to your TBR list HERE!

An Excerpt from Maple Summer Wallace

Chapter One

What struck me the most about the elderly man bleeding out on the floor of my parents’ multi-million dollar Manhattan penthouse wasn’t that he was the fifth richest man in the world. Nor did it strike me odd that his old, wrinkled body lay naked as a newborn. And I didn’t even care that my housekeeper, Veronica, hovered over him, almost nude and clearly shaken.

No.

What struck me the most was the color of the blood pulsing from his body. Deep, rich, red blood. Healthy blood. He must have been close to a hundred years old, but I’d give anything to trade my twenty-two-year-old blood for his, which now flowed into the cracks of the imported hardwood floor that my parents had installed the year before they died.

Veronica was frozen in place, crouched down next to the body. I scanned her from behind, and despite the blood splattered over her skin, she seemed intact. She didn’t acknowledge me. Of course, it appeared she’d just killed a man—an extremely well-known and connected man—so who knew where her brain was at the moment. Certainly wasn’t overlooking Central Park in the fifteen thousand square foot penthouse on the Upper East Side that I’d inherited. I cursed myself for picking that day, that moment, to walk into my home for the first time in two years—and for the last time ever.

“Did you call nine-one-one?” I asked.

Startled, she twisted and looked up at me from her unflattering position. A knife I hadn’t noticed fell from her hand into the pool of blood, clanking onto the floor and splattering the rich liquid onto her cheek. Her long, black hair stuck to her face, and her dark, tear-streaked eyes widened at the sight of me.

“Sunny?” she whispered. ….

Maple Teaser 1

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My Review of Maple Summer Wallace

Maple Summer WallaceMaple Summer Wallace by Jessica Calla
My rating: 4.5 Stars

 

Maple Summer Wallace, Jessica Calla’s first women’s fiction novel, is a riveting, suspenseful story about a young socialite, faced with a terminal illness, who decides to go on one last, wild, adventure and gets much more than she bargained for: a murder, a pregnant housekeeper, a mysterious rescuer, and a plot to destroy them all. From the first sentence to the last, it’s not only packed full of action and suspense, it weaves in some hard-hitting universal truths about life, death, family, and loss. Full of breath-taking, heart-pounding plot twists and painful back-stories, it’s dark and sometimes hard to read, but I couldn’t put it down.

This is not a romance, and the ending is not your typical happy-ever-after, but then you know that going in: Maple Summer Wallace is destined to die. Nevertheless, her journey is meaningful, and in the end, she leaves a legacy far different and thought-provoking than what you might expect. The supporting characters are well-developed and compelling, each with their own motivations, fears, guilt, secrets and desires.

It took me awhile to even begin to like Maple, the reluctant heroine of the story; and several chapters to understand and sympathize with her partner in crime, Veronica. Early on, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to sympathize or appreciate the perspective of either of these women. But that’s what makes this story so unique, dramatic, and emotional. The conflicts within and between each principal character are relatable, even if the characters themselves are not. For me, there was only one drawback, and that was the author’s occasional deviation from showing to telling, which momentarily pulled me out of this otherwise riveting story.

I’ve enjoyed every one of Jessica’s novels, especially her romantic and emotional Sheridan Hall series. And while I can’t say I exactly “enjoyed” Maple Summer Wallace, it was well worth reading, a unique and welcome departure from typical women’s fiction tropes, with an unforgettable storyline, compelling characters, and a meaningful message. It was a bold, worthwhile leap for the author, and I look forward to more.

View all my reviews

About Jessica

Author Pic She Laughs in Pink Jessica Calla

Jessica Calla (THE LOVE SQUARE, The Sheridan Hall Series) is a contemporary romance and women’s fiction author who moonlights during the day as an attorney. If she’s not writing, lawyering, or parenting, you’ll most likely find her at the movies, scrolling through her Twitter feed, or gulping down various forms of caffeine (sometimes all three at once). A Jersey girl through and through, she resides in the central part of the state with her husband, two sons, and dog.

Social Media links:

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FACEBOOK: <https://www.facebook.com/JessicaCallaAuthor/

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WEBSITE:www.jessicacalla.com

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Murder Girl, by Lisa Renee Jones – A Walk on the Wild Side

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Title: Murder Girl

Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Release Date: July 10, 2018

Series: Lilah Love #2

About Murder Girl

Murder Girl Book CoverNew York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones returns with the second book in her electrifying series featuring Lilah Love, an FBI profiler who doesn’t fight her dark side—she embraces it.

It’s Lilah Love’s job to inhabit a killer’s mind. The unapologetically tough FBI profiler is very comfortable there. But her latest case is making her head spin. It’s a string of brutal assassinations carried out across the country, each tied to a mysterious tattoo. Body by body, she’s followed the clues all the way back to her hometown. And every step of the way, the killer has been following her.

Here, beneath the glamour of the privileged Hamptons community, is a secret long buried but never forgotten. It’s bigger than Lilah. It’s powerful enough to escape the reach of the FBI. And it’s more personal than anyone can imagine. Because it’s hiding in Lilah’s own past. To fight it, she’s forced to turn to her lethally tempting ex, Kane Mendez. He’s an expert at bringing out Lilah’s darkest impulses. If she plans to survive, she’s going to need them.

**You MUST read book one, MURDER NOTES, in order to read this book.

Teaser quote and photo from Murder Girl

Buy Murder Girl Now…

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Photo, quote from Murder Girl

An Excerpt from Murder Girl

I enter the building and ignore the pretty brunette behind the triangle-shaped stone desk and head to the stairs.

“Excuse me,” she calls out, but I ignore her. Kane knows I’m coming. He has people watching me and this building. He knows I’m in the building by now. I don’t need “sweet thing” down there to announce me in yet another way. I’m at the top of the stairs before she finishes her fourth excuse me, which is now a bit louder, as if I just haven’t heard her the other three times. I turn down the hallway and walk toward the desk outside Kane’s office where Tabitha sits, minus any more originality today than the last time I was here. She’s still bleached blonde, with her fake, giant-ass boobs hanging out of a silk blouse with numerous buttons undone that turn it into a slut show that could have been professional.

I pass her without a word, approaching Kane’s double doors, when she says, “Drama follows you, Lilah Love.”

“No,” I say without looking at her. “Dead bodies follow me.” I glance over my shoulder at her. “You should remember that.”

And with that statement that really had no purpose other than it felt really damn good, I open Kane’s door.

I step inside Kane’s office and find him sitting behind his desk, just in time to hear him say, “She’s here,” into his intercom and then release the button.

With exaggerated drama that I reserve for moments when I want to be a smart-ass or simply announce my fucking presence, I use my body to shut the door, but I don’t hang out and wait for it to grow roots. I rotate and charge toward Kane and that King Mendez desk of his that he doesn’t get to use as shelter. By the time I round the wooden atrocity, he’s standing, towering over me in a charcoal suit and a purple shirt with black stripes and some sort of black-and-gray tie. It’s flashy, expensive, and works on him when it would not on nine out of ten other people. But then, while I keep a low profile—aside from the door drama, of course—and favor my black nondescript looks, his entire persona says “look at me” with the intended message of “I have nothing to hide.” A lie he tells the world and, after he drugged me to keep me from knowing what happened last night, apparently me.

We stand there for a beat or ten without words before he says, “Lilah,” and the very fact that he says it like sex is all it takes for me to snap.

I slap him in the face because my bare fist is too small to hurt him the way his jaw would hurt me. It’s also a disgrace to a man to be slapped, which is why one UFC fighter I’ve watched here and there does it to his opponents. And Kane is my opponent. He turns his head with the force of the blow, my palm stinging in the aftermath.

“Well now, beautiful,” he says, fixing me with a brown-eyed stare. “I know you like it rough, but is now the time? We both have questions we want answered.”

I slap him again, and this time he catches my wrist before I pull back. I try to slap him with my free hand, and he catches it as well, this time before contact. “You get two, not three.”

My gaze flicks to the handprint on his right cheek that matches the one on the left before I meet his stare and say, “Two was pretty damn satisfying.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about your stalker?” he demands, his question low, lethal, his anger banked just beneath the surface, while mine is the cherry on top of every lie he’s told me. “Because we both know that’s what we’re dealing with here,” he adds.

“Let go of me, Kane,” I bite out, my voice taut with impatience. No. Make that a desire to smack him again.

“After you tell me about your stalker and the notes.”

“Let go of me, Kane,” I repeat slowly, “or my next move will be a knee to your family jewels. And I promise you, it will be hard enough that neither of us will have to worry about our urge to fuck ever again.” My jaw sets hard, but he doesn’t release me. “You drugged me,” I remind him, “and then searched my house before leaving me with a gun that I was too drugged to use. So if you think I won’t do it—”

He releases me but doesn’t step back. “I didn’t leave you with a gun you couldn’t use. I kept you at my house until sunrise, and I left a team guarding your place, front and back. I protected you, like I always do.”

I don’t analyze why that makes me angrier. That’s for later. For now, there is this: “I’d pull my gun on you and back you off, Kane, but I swore the next time I did that, I’d shoot you. And I need information from you.”

“I’m all yours, beautiful,” he says, holding his hands out. “I always am.” He motions to the sitting area to his left and behind him. “Let’s sit and make this peaceful.”

“Peaceful, my ass,” I say.

Photo and quote from Murder Girl

My Review of Murder Girl

Murder Girl (Lilah Love, #2)Murder Girl by Lisa Renee Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you love mystery-thrillers with twists and turns that will leave you questioning everything and everyone, the Lilah Love series, by Lisa Renee Jones, is your perfect summer read. If you crave dark, seductive, alpha men pitted against smart, strong, capable heroines, Kane and Lilah will absolutely rock your world.

I can’t say enough about how much I love this intelligent, complex, seductive thriller. Murder Girl, as the heroine calls herself, is a force to be reckoned with – a take-no-prisoners, in-your-face heroine with a spine of stainless steel and the determination to overcome anything or anyone who gets in her way. She takes perverse delight in disrupting the high-society status quo, relentlessly pursuing an assassin whose next target might be Lilah herself. As the trail heats up, it becomes more and more apparent that all roads lead back to one night, and one dark secret, shared by Lilah and Kane. But it’s so much deeper than that, bigger than anything Lilah and Kane can begin to imagine – and so much more than I expected.

This novel – and this series – is truly unique in its complexity and depth. The characters are layered and authentic. The theme is all about trust: who has it, who deserves it, and who uses it as a tool to manipulate the unsuspecting masses. The threads of suspicion so cleverly woven throughout the story make it impossible to know who you can trust – other than the heroine – from start to finish (and even beyond, since the series will continue).

Lilah, Kane, and a cast of complicated secondary characters take you for a long, dangerous walk on the wild side down a narrow, treacherous ledge – the fine line between good and bad, right and wrong, truth and deception, light and darkness. It leaves you reeling with questions and grappling with feelings that will push your boundaries nearly to their limit, but also leave you wanting more.

This is not a stand-alone – you must read book one, Murder Notes, first. There are some very difficult scenes with violence that might be disturbing for some readers — but are dangerously addictive to fans of the dark romance, mystery-thriller genre. If you love complex, multi-dimensional characters and compelling storylines that will make you obsess over a series long after you close the book, give the Lilah Love series a chance to thrill you. It’s amazing.

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About Book One – Murder Notes

Read it today…

Book Cover, Murder Notes by Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones’s heart-pounding thriller of a woman’s secrets—and a past that’s about to come out of hiding…

As an FBI profiler, it’s Lilah Love’s job to think like a killer. And she is very good at her job. When a series of murders surface—the victims all stripped naked and shot in the head—Lilah’s instincts tell her it’s the work of an assassin, not a serial killer. But when the case takes her back to her hometown in the Hamptons and a mysterious but unmistakable connection to her own life, all her assumptions are shaken to the core.

Thrust into a troubled past she’s tried to shut the door on, Lilah’s back in the town where her father is mayor, her brother is police chief, and she has an intimate history with the local crime lord’s son, Kane Mendez. The two share a devastating secret, and only Kane understands Lilah’s own darkest impulses. As more corpses surface, so does a series of anonymous notes to Lilah, threatening to expose her. Is the killer someone in her own circle? And is she the next target?

Read my Murder Notes Review & Release Post here!

Buy Murder Notes

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Meet Lisa Renee Jones

Lisa Renee Jones, Author of DenialNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling WHITE LIES and LILAH LOVE series.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Connect with Lisa

Facebook ➜ https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLisaReneeJones

Newsletter ➜ http://lisareneejones.com/newsletter-sign-up/

Twitter ➜ https://twitter.com/LisaReneeJones

Instagram ➜  http://instagram.com/lisareneejones

Goodreads ➜ https://www.goodreads.com/LisaReneeJones

Start Your Summer with Speakeasy (True North #5), by Sarina Bowen

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Now Available!

Speakeasy

A new standalone contemporary romance from the True North Series by bestselling author

Sarina Bowen

About Speakeasy…

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…
May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.
Alec
I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.
Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

Links…

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Promo banner for Speakeasy by Sarina BowenExcerpt…

Someone appears in my peripheral vision. I get half a glance at a lithe body and long hair as a woman appears and then just as quickly retreats.

Wait. Was that…?

I ease my way down the aisle, past the snowboard bags and ski duffels, and then I peer around the corner just in time to spot May Shipley exiting the store.

Several lengthy strides carry me right out the door after her. May has exquisite long legs, so she’s making good time escaping from me across the parking lot. I put two fingers in my mouth and make a cat-call whistle.

May halts midstride. Busted. She turns around and regards me with a sheepish smile.

God, just one smile from her and I feel better already. I raise a finger and beckon. Then I lean against the brick exterior of the shop and wait.

She lifts her chin and walks toward me.

“May Shipley,” I complain as she approaches. “Am I crazy or did you just leave the building to avoid me back there?”

She puts one hand over her pretty eyes and laughs. “Okay, you caught me. Don’t make me feel worse.”

“Do we have a problem, here?” I reach out and tag her hand, then pull her closer to me. We’re toe to toe, though several layers of winter clothing separate us. Still, my whole body hums at the memory of her riding me in my truck. Gawd. So hot. “I get that our lawyer party date got a little crazy.”

“You think?” she squeaks. “I’m so embarrassed.”

“Why? So we had a little spur-of-the-moment sex. You really enjoyed my spur for a moment.”

“Omigod, stop.” May throws her head back and laughs. Her eyes dance, and I’m wearing a giant smile and feeling much more like myself.

“Don’t be embarrassed. I had a lot of fun.” That’s an understatement. I can’t stop thinking about it. Spontaneous truck sex with a long-legged beauty moaning on my dick? That night has made my personal hall of fame.

“Okay. I’ll try.” But the color in her cheeks is unmistakable. It’s cute as fuck.

“Come here.” I pull her into a hug, and she feels terrific against my body. “Let’s not be weird.”

May lifts her face in surprise. “I said that same thing to a good friend once.”

“Did it work?” I whisper because we’re so close together.

“Nope. Still weird.” She grins.

I laugh. And then I kiss her. I don’t even know how it happens. One second I’m just appreciating her smile, and the next second I’m owning it with my mouth.

May lets out a surprised whimper before her mouth softens under mine. I take my time kissing her until her hands spread the two halves of my jacket, finding my chest, gripping my flannel shirt. I need to taste her, so I part her lips with my tongue.

Suddenly my shoulder blades hit the bricks as May presses me up against the wall.

No, ma’am. I’ve just spent five nights imagining a scenario where our next encounter plays out in reverse—with me in charge. So I spin her around and back her up against the wall instead. And for good measure I pin her questing hands in mine, just because I can.

She makes a hungry noise, and I feel it in my balls. And then I dive back into her kisses, one of my thighs between her long legs.

May fights me, if by fighting me you mean she presses her hips against mine and gives me a nice, dirty grind.

I never liked the Shipleys, but now I realize I was hanging out with the wrong ones.

We lose our minds for several amazing minutes until the door of the ski shop opens suddenly. I take a quick step backward to preserve what’s left of our dignity.

Not that it works. We’re both flushed and panting, and I look like I’m trying to conceal a ski pole in the crotch of my jeans.

The young woman exiting the shop gives us a quizzical look as she bleeps the locks on her car.

“Jesus,” May breathes as we blink at each other.

“I know.” Every part of me is horny now. It’s cold outside, but I’m hot everywhere. My clothes feel constricting. I want to drag May back into my truck and have my way with her again.

“What are we doing?”

“Well, babydoll, we’re dry-humping each other in a parking lot.”

“Alec!” She reaches up, clapping a hand over my mouth. “That was a rhetorical question.”

I nod to show her I understand. But then I stick out my tongue and lick her palm where it’s pressed to my lips.

“Omigod, stop.” She removes her hand and wipes it on my flannel.

“You don’t really want me to. Admit it.”

“No, really I do.” Her embarrassed smile comes back. It’s so fucking cute. “I don’t need to be arrested for indecent exposure.”

“Fair enough. But that’s why you’re going to come over tonight. Late. Like eleven.” I’m supposed to be tending bar until ten and then closing up early, because it’s Sunday night.

“Why?”

“Why do you think? So I can strip you down and lick you all over until you’re screaming my—”

May puts that hand over my mouth again. “Anyone could hear you.”

“Nah,” I say from under her hand. She removes it. “I have brick walls at home. It helps with sound control. So even when my headboard starts to bang while I’m fucking you—”

She tries to cover my mouth again, but this time I catch her hand in midair, because I’m a sex ninja. And I hold it in mine. “Just come over. I’ve been thinking about you all week. Once wasn’t enough.” I lift her palm to my mouth and kiss it tenderly.

“Apparently not.” Her cheeks pink up. “But I really can’t get involved with anyone right now.”

“Duh.” I actually roll my eyes. “I’m your rebound lay. Relationships aren’t my style, and I’m allergic to commitment. So we’ll have exactly the same expectations—some very athletic sex.”

Her lips part on a dreamy expression, but then she snaps them closed again.

“Don’t overthink it, counselor. The judge orders you to his chambers at ten.”

Add Speakeasy to Goodreads and Check Out My Review:

Speakeasy (True North, #5)Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Speakeasy is a beautiful, insightful, sweet, sexy, and utterly heart-warming story from the truly exceptional True North series by Sarina Bowen. It is redemptive, hopeful, full of humor and just enough emotional angst to keep it real. It may easily be read and enjoyed as a standalone, but I recommend reading the series in order to fully understand the perspective of important secondary characters and to appreciate how each of their individual stories contributes to the ones that follow.

Speakeasy features two characters referenced but not developed in the previous books: May. the dynamic, passionate middle child in the Shipley clan; and Alec, who owns the local bar in the small town that anchors the series. It’s an unlikely pairing, for multiple reasons: May is a recovering alcoholic who needs to steer clear of all things liquor-related; she’s also bisexual and on the rebound from a failed relationship with her cheating girlfriend; Alec is known to be a player; he’s no fan of the Shipley’s, and the feeling is mutual. But when Alec jumps in to head off a catastrophic confrontation in his bar and ends up helping May leave her ex and move back in with her family, he goes from friend to rebound lover in a heartbeat, and all bets are off.

Their chemistry is off-the-charts hot; their banter is delightful; and they are perfect together — as long as no one finds out the truth about their relationship. And therein lies the conflict.

As their relationship grows and their feelings develop, May is determined to keep Alec at arm’s length. She’s afraid to let go and trust her own judgment for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with him. He understands her reticence, and for a long time, he’s patient, grateful for every stolen moment, determined not to pressure her for more. But he also fears that she is ashamed of him because of his history with her family and because of his own self-esteem issues. He feels that he doesn’t deserve her, that he will never be good enough, again for reasons that have nothing to do with May. The tension between them is exquisitely painful, accurately depicting the insecurity and fear we experience when we feel unworthy to accept love, be it from within ourselves or from that special someone. And when the tension becomes unbearable, it inevitably leads them to a breaking point. But is it a point of no return? Or merely another obstacle on the path to a well-deserved HEA?

You’ll have to read Speakeasy to find that out for yourself (and to understand the title of the book, too — it’s brilliant).

I didn’t find May an easy character to love, so I applaud Sarina for giving me at least a dozen reasons to care enough to keep reading. The passages of the story that are told from her point of view reveal a woman of substance, compassion, honesty, and resilience. Her POV is crucial to understanding what drives her to behave as she does from beginning to end, and the same is true of Alec. Sarina is a master at using dual POV to make her characters stand out and resonate with readers. All of her stories are a joy to read, and Speakeasy is no exception; it’s a perfect addition to a wonderful series.

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