Release Blitz – Return To Zero (Shatterproof Bond #2) – Isobel Starling (excerpt and giveaway)

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Release Blitz – Return To Zero (Shatterproof Bond #2) – Isobel Starling

 
Author: Isobel Starling
 
Release Date: June 6 2016
 
Price: £4.99/$4.99
 
Buy Links:
 
 
Length: 71,000 words
 
Previous Books In Series: 
 
Blurb:
 
Pulled into a world of secrets and lies for the man he loves, Declan Ramsay’s life has changed immeasurably in the eight months since meeting, and falling for his boss’s son, Sam Aiken.  Declan journey of personal discovery is about to take a darker turn, and for Sam, the world becomes more treacherous than he could ever have imagined.
 
Two agents are missing — presumed dead, while on a reconnaissance mission at an outdoor adventure centre in the Scottish Highlands.  Sir James Aiken sends his son and Declan to follow the trail, and discover the fate of the agents.
As the mission offers his first chance to use the skills he learned on the MI6 training course in Morocco, Declan is keen to get started. However, Sir James sees to it that the seeds of doubt and discord have been sewn between the couple, as they begin their mission.
 
The journey to their Highland location, and the discoveries they make when they reach the G’wan Adventures centre, prove that Sir James Aiken has been less than honest with his son.  Events in the Highlands force Sam and Declan to face their greatest fears, and understand what they both really want from life — and from each other.
 
Author Bio:
 
Inspiration strikes at the strangest of times. 
Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art.  She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved it more than making art. 
 
Isobel’s first novel “Schonling” was a best seller in the GLBT-Bisexual genre on the ‘All Romance ebooks’ site.  She mainly writes M/M Romantic comedy thrillers and has just completed her sixth book.  Isobel has also signed French translation rights for novella “As You Wish”. 
 
Isobel adores the M/M genre and enjoys writing about wounded souls and the complexities of personal relationships.  Despite not having found proof yet, Isobel believes in love at first sight and endeavors to give her men a thrilling journey and a satisfying ending!
Social Media links

http://isobelstarling.wix.com/books
https://www.facebook.com/isobelstarling
https://twitter.com/isobel_starling
https://isobelstarling.wordpress.com

Excerpt from “Return to Zero” (Shatterproof Bond #2) By Isobel Starling


“Hullo,”


“Parcel for Samuel Aiken” The gruff male voice said. Declan peered at the CCTV image on the wall tablet screen of a courier wearing a Swift Co tabard.


“Hang on a minute” Declan replied “You expectin’ anythin Sam?” He hollered. He would not be fooled a second time. Sam sauntered out of the bedroom, bare
chested, with dark grey jersey pyjama trousers hugging his prominent hip bones.


“Let him in,” He directed, so Declan did as he was told and pressed the button to unlock the downstairs door. Sam and Declan stood either side of the closed front door, both on edge, expecting… something. Had James sent them a message at last?


They both startled and sniggered at each other, at hearing the hard thump on the front door. Sam took a quick look through the peep hole to see the courier — a grey haired, slightly obese Asian man in his early fifties, with Fred Flintstone stubble on his chubby face. He held a package the size of a shoe box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, in an old fashioned way. Sam opened the door, and was immediately knocked back by the scent of sweat and cigarettes. The man smelled like he had bathed in kebabs. If this was an attempted assassination, the courier’s armpits would surely do the job. The man shoved a clipboard in Sam’s direction. He browsed the delivery note attached. The ‘sender’ address box was empty.


“Where d’ya pick this up from mate? I weren’t expectin’ nuffink,” Sam said in a rangy East London accent.


“I picks up from the depot, and delivers. Don’t know nuffin’ abaht where vu packages comes from, not my business,”


“Well, it had better not be tickin’” Sam joked, his expression gormless. The courier snickered and put the box to his ear.


“Nah, prob’ly a pair of shoes, or somefink — nice surprise from your lady love?”


“Yeah, prob’ly,” Sam mimicked. He signed an illegible squiggle, took the box, and was immediately surprised by its lightness. “Cheers mate, have a good one,” he said, giving the clipboard back, and then closing the door.


Declan observed the wall mounted tablet screen as the courier left, and the main entrance door sealed behind him. He then opened the apartment front door and checked the hallway and staircase. Nothing had been left behind. Declan felt a little melodramatic and over cautious with his behaviour, but he had a strange gut feeling that something was afoot, something that would bring more sweeping changes to his life. He couldn’t put his finger on it. Declan had felt this tinge of something ever since coming back from Morocco, like he was still in a holding pattern, waiting for permission to land. Sam didn’t seem to be unduly concerned about James lack of contact, but the past few months had seen a huge shift in the way Declan lived his life, and his self-esteem. Long hidden memories had been uncovered by the ‘interview’, and the flashes of remembrance that Declan couldn’t dare talk about, made him feel unnerved and uncomfortable.


Sam sauntered into the kitchen and retrieved a pair of scissors from a drawer filled with miscellaneous kitchen implements. He put the box on the kitchen island worktop and cut the string. There was one branded Swift Co courier label on the front of the box, and no return address. Sam made an incision at the side of the brown wrapping paper, and then cut along one side, so as to keep the adhesive tape and any fingerprints or DNA that may have gotten stuck to it, intact. He slid out a cream coloured shoe-sized box. Sam looked curiously up at Declan, who stood silently beside with his arms folded.


“Would you like to do the honours?” Sam asked witheringly. Declan held his palms up in surrender,


“Nah, yer grand. I think The Amazing Sam’s got this one” he snickered.


The box displayed no visible wires, there was no ticking sound, and the box was feather-light. Sam thought that he would feel completely foolish about the cautious way he approached opening a package if it were empty, but he’d been trained to be cautious. He returned to the drawer filled with kitchen implements, and retrieved a pair of plastic barbeque tongs.


“You know I love you, right?” Sam said dramatically, as if they were to be his last words.


Declan shook his head at the ridiculousness of the charade and pursed his lips.


“On three. Ready?” Declan nodded,


“One…” Sam flicked the lid up and Declan reflexively stepped back covering his head with his arms.


“Ye said on three,” Declan whined, feeling like an idiot. Sam snickered with relief at the lack of fireworks. He used the tongs to remove a sheet of white tissue paper that covered the contents. When Sam saw what the box contained, he gasped and stepped back.


“What?” Declan said in alarm, seeing Sam’s complexion turn ghostly pale.


“Nothing” Sam flattened his expression and then reached to replace the lid. Declan stilled his hand, and took a look. The box held a noose made from red paracord rope. Just like the rope that had been secreted into his pocket at the Coburg Bar, nearly three months earlier.


“I’m going out. I’ve got to get this to the lab” Sam said coldly, his stare detached and light-years away.


Declan was suddenly overcome by a wave of frustration. “What the hell’s this about Sam? Jesus, I don’t even know where the fucking lab is!” he roared furiously.


Sam was shocked by the anger in Declan’s tone. He felt a prickle of guilt for behaving all ‘cloak and dagger’ with his partner — the one person he was supposed to trust. Declan had every right to know about the A.L.L lab and warehouse.


“Get dressed,” Sam directed, and then he turned and left the kitchen.
 

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Guest Post: Shira Anthony, Mega Contest Time and the Release of Encore!

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“Moving on from Music” by Shira Anthony

Thanks, Melanie, for hosting the Encore release day party on your blog! It’s such a pleasure to be here today. I’d crank up the music, but I’m not sure if we should play Tchaikovsky or The Who. Roger and John might be just as conflicted. They love just about any kind of music.

Those of you who have read any of the Blue Notes Series books probably know that the books are loosely based on people and events from my own life as a professional musician. I’m a former violinist and professional opera singer who gave up my music career about 15 years ago. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I don’t regret the decision. But having no regrets doesn’t mean “no pain.”

Ask yourself how many people you know who have studied music at the college level or beyond. I bet you can name a few (you may even be one!). How many professional musicians do you know? I know a lot of former professional musicians. There’s a reason for that: it’s an incredibly demanding career that requires total focus, pays poorly (unless you’re a superstar), and often means a nomadic lifestyle (not great for long-term relationships and family). There are many more former musicians than there are professionals. But how do you give up something you love nearly as much as you love the people in your life? The grief is very much like the grief you’d feel over the loss of a loved one.

I know. I’ve been there.

Two of the Blue Notes Series characters are former musicians: Jason Greene from Blue Notes, and Roger Nelson from Encore. Each deals with his grief over the loss of his music differently. For Jason, the perfectionist whose fear of performing became overwhelming, he finds a way to make peace with himself and accept his imperfections. Roger, however, is a different story. Roger loses the physical ability to play the violin. His musical voice aches to be heard, but his body (his hand) can’t translate the music of his heart into sound. It’s the most devastating loss of his life, and one he struggles to come to terms with over many years.

I don’t think it’s a surprise that it took five Blue Notes books for me to finally write my own loss into a Blue Notes character (Roger’s character). A musical soul needs to express itself, but it’s difficult to move forward when you aren’t sure how to do it or where to go. Roger tries to forget about his music and deny his grief. It’s only when he realizes there are other forms of self-expression that he can move on with his life and truly love. I’ve found a new outlet for my own self-expression in my writing and learned how to incorporate my love of music into my books. Even better, readers can still “hear” that musical voice in my books. So I guess in some sense, I haven’t really given up performing, have I?

Encore’s release will be followed on Christmas Day by the release of a Blue Notes holiday novella, Symphony in Blue. SymphonySymphony in Blue-build (1) will be my 10th Dreamspinner Press release, so I’m celebrating the release of both of these books with a blog tour contest ending on New Year’s Eve at midnight! Grand prize is a Kindle loaded with many of my Dreamspinner Press titles. You can get more entries by commenting on blog tour posts, tweeting, and buying the books. Here’s the link to the giveaway:

Contest Details for Blue Notes Series Holiday 2013 Giveaway:

  • Begins on release day for “Encore,” November 11, 2013
  • Ends on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2013, at midnight
  • Drawings are open to both U.S. readers and international readers, but physical prizes (Kindle, necklace, book, and t-shirt) are for U.S. readers only. I will award a virtual set of the first 4 Blue Notes Series books to one winner from outside the U.S.

Prizes (U.S. Only):

  • Grand Prize: A Kindle loaded with the first 4 Blue Notes Series books and some of my other back titles
  • 1st Place: A sterling silver music themed necklace
  • 2nd Place: Winner’s choice of one of my back titles in paperback (i.e., not including the 2 new releases)
  • 3rd Place: Blue Notes t-shirt, cover of the winner’s choice

Encore-BuildBlog Stops Currently Scheduled :
November 11th (release day – Encore): Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (Melanie Marshall)
November 12th:   Live Your Life, Buy the Book
November 14th:   Michael Rupured’s Blog