Thursday Teaser: The Wife Line

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You could WIN a free copy of this Sydney Rye Kindle World mystery.

WifeLine-final-smallBy Scott Bury

Find out how at the end of this excerpt.

Chapter 1: A simple assignment

Provence, France, May 2010

The mansion seemed to Sydney the epitome of France: originally constructed of light grey stone probably hundreds of years ago, it had new, modern windows that showed polished wood floors, bright lamps and modern furniture inside. The light spilling out the windows added to that from modern fixtures that lit up the manicured gardens inside the wall. Two cars sat on the gravel, a black Peugeot and a bright red Lamborghini.

While she couldn’t see them from her vantage point in the tree, Sydney was certain there was also state-of-the-art security and surveillance technology that kept a better eye on the grounds than she had.

Sydney glanced down to the ground. She couldn’t see Blue in the shadows below her, but she could feel him there. Blue — her rock. Always there for her. He had saved Sydney’s life more than once, even took a bullet meant for her.

Blue was the size of a Great Dane with the long, thick fur of a wolf, the markings of a Husky and the elegant muzzle of a collie. He was better to her than she was to him, Sydney knew, but she also knew she could always rely on him.

She turned her attention to the manor house. Two men entered the front room. One was her target — no, make that subject, Sydney reminded herself — Nigel Willem, wearing a suit without a tie, one button of his white shirt open at the collar. The other was a short, broad man with dark hair, cropped short. He had a round, blunt face, heavy eyebrows and a short, thick neck. He wore a golf shirt and casual pants, and as he sat in an overstuffed leather sofa and crossed one ankle over the other knee, Sydney could see he wore deck shoes.

Okay, so Willem is meeting with someone from the Russian mob. Maybe. Or maybe it’s just a movie star.

But why? And why sneak here to do it?

Movement in the front yard caught her eye. A shadow slid down the wall. A tall man dressed all in black crouch-walked to the Lamborghini, keeping it between himself and the front door. The slim figure vanished into the car’s shadow, then re-emerged a few seconds later. It took a run at the wall, sprang up, gripped the top and swung over, vanishing into the night.

Sydney jumped off the branch, landing ten feet below beside Blue. “Hunt,” she said, pointing along the wall toward the front of the estate. Blue sprang ahead, disappearing into the darkness under the trees.

Sydney ran as fast as she could behind him. She rounded the corner of the wall, arriving in a small clearing, still invisible to anyone in the manor. She had expected to find Blue pinning the shadowy figure to the ground, standing on his chest and growling into his face.

Instead, the wan light showed Blue in classic play posture: butt high in the air, tail wagging furiously, front paws and head low to the ground, head tilted slightly to one side.

In front of him was a man in the same posture, or as close as a human being could get to doggie pose: on his hands and knees, butt high, head low. He and Blue looked at each other, sprang up simultaneously, collided, fell together on the ground, rolled over and over. Blue jumped away, giving a little, happy bark, turning to look back at the man lying on the ground. Blue’s tail was a blur in the dark.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Sydney stepped close, getting down on one knee to touch the barrel of her gun to his head and said “Freeze.”

The man did not freeze. Instead, he rolled over onto his back and smiled up at her. He had large, light-colored eyes under heavy eyebrows, high cheekbones, a perfectly straight nose, a full mouth and a slight dimple in his chin. The woolen cap on his head hid his hair.

Sydney leaned over to keep the gun in his face, and turned to Blue. “What is the matter with you?”

Blue’s ears drooped, his tail stopped and fell. He whined softly.

Sydney turned to the man in black. “Who the hell are you and what have you done to my dog?”

“Dogs like me,” he replied with an American accent. His deep voice stirred something inside Sydney’s chest. She swallowed. She could feel sweat on her upper lip.

He smiled broadly, his teeth shining in the wan light. That smell again, she thought. What is it? It was so faint, she wondered whether she was imagining it. Soft but irresistible. Her mouth suddenly felt too full of saliva.

About The Wife Line

Human traffickers are selling young women from eastern Europe as sex slaves and killing them when they become inconvenient. Sydney Rye’s job is only to protect her client, until a mysterious, aggravating and irresistible young crusader pulls her and Blue on a far more dangerous path: taking down the whole slaving ring.

If you like Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye series featuring a strong female character, her canine best friend, Blue, tons of action and a dash of sex, you won’t be able to put The Wife Line down.

Following Sydney, Blue and Van across the seamiest part of Europe.

Get is exclusively on Amazon.

How to WIN a free copy of this Sydney Rye Kindle World mystery

It’s easy: in the Comments below, name any other title in the Sydney Rye Kindle World. The author will draw two winners from the correct answers.

Don’t forget to leave your name and contact information when you leave your comment.

About the author

Pic-ScottBuryScott Bury cannot stay in one genre. As an award-winning journalist, he has published articles in Macworld, The Financial Post, Marketing, Graphic Arts Monthly, Applied Arts and other magazines in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. His first published fiction was a children’s story, Sam, the Strawb Part. His next was a paranormal/occult thriller, Dark Clouds, followed by the bestselling historical fantasy, The Bones of the Earth.

His other titles include a parody, One Shade of Red, and Army of Worn Soles, a memoir of World War 2 seen through the eyes of a man who fought on the Eastern Front.

Most recently, he has been writing mystery-thrillers in three Kindle Worlds:

  • Torn Roots, a Lei Crime Kindle World mystery
  • Jet: Stealth, a JET Kindle World thriller
  • Palm Trees & Snowflakes, a Lei Crime Kindle World story
  • The Wife Line, a Sydney Rye Kindle World thriller

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He holds a BA from Carleton University’s School of Journalism. He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.

He is a recipient of Maclean Hunter’s Top 6 Award and a member of a team that won a Neal Award for business reporting.

Scott can be found:

BestSelling Reads Author page    |  Website   |   Blog    |  Facebook    |   Twitter

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Monday Musings: Banned Book Week

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By Kathleen Valentine

bannedSeptember 25 through October 1, 2016 is Banned Books Week, a celebration of books that were at one time considered too objectionable for the average reader. Here is a partial list of banned books and the reason for their banning according to BannedBookWeek.org:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, 1884
The first ban of Mark Twain’s American classic in Concord, MA in 1885 called it “trash and suitable only for the slums.” Objections to the book have evolved, but only marginally. Twain’s book is one of the most-challenged of all time and is frequently challenged even today because of its frequent use of the word “nigger.” Otherwise it is alleged the book is “racially insensitive,” “oppressive,” and “perpetuates racism.”

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley, 1965 (Grove Press)
Objectors have called this seminal work a “how-to-manual” for crime and decried because of “anti-white statements” present in the book. The book presents the life story of Malcolm Little, also known as Malcolm X, who was a human rights activist and who has been called one of the most influential Americans in recent history.

Beloved, Toni Morrison, 1987
Again and again, this Pulitzer-prize winning novel by perhaps the most influential African-American writer of all time is assigned to high school English students. And again and again, parental complaints are lodged against the book because of its violence, sexual content and discussion of bestiality.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown, 1970
Subtitled “An Indian History of the American West,” this book tells the history of United States growth and expansion into the West from the point of view of Native Americans. This book was banned by a school district official in Wisconsin in 1974 because the book might be polemical and they wanted to avoid controversy at all costs. “If there’s a possibility that something might be controversial, then why not eliminate it,” the official stated.

The Call of the Wild, Jack London, 1903
Generally hailed as Jack London’s best work, The Call of the Wild is commonly challenged for its dark tone and bloody violence. Because it is seen as a man-and-his-dog story, it is sometimes read by adolescents and subsequently challenged for age-inappropriateness. Not only have objections been raised here, the book was banned in Italy, Yugoslavia and burned in bonfires in Nazi Germany in the late 1920s and early 30s because it was considered “too radical.”

Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961
A school board in Strongsville, OH refused to allow the book to be taught in high school English classrooms in 1972. It also refused to consider Cat’s Cradle as a substitute text and removed both books from the school library. The issue eventually led to a 1976 District Court ruling overturning the ban in Minarcini v. Strongsville.

 

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 1953
Rather than ban the book about book-banning outright, Venado Middle school in Irvine, CA utilized an expurgated version of the text in which all the “hells” and “damns” were blacked out. Other complaints have said the book went against objectors religious beliefs. The book’s author, Ray Bradbury, died this year.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway, 1940
Shortly after its publication the U.S. Post Office, which purpose was in part to monitor and censor distribution of media and texts, declared the book nonmailable. In the 1970s, eight Turkish booksellers were tried for “spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state” because they had published and distributed the text. This wasn’t Hemingway’s only banned book – A Farewell to Arms and Across the River and Into the Trees were also censored domestically and abroad in Ireland, South Africa, Germany and Italy.

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936
The Pulitzer-prize winning novel (which three years after its publication became an Academy-Award Winning film) follows the life of the spoiled daughter of a southern plantation owner just before and then after the fall of the Confederacy and decline of the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. Critically praised for its thought-provoking and realistic depiction of ante- and postbellum life in the South, it has also been banned for more or less the same reasons. Its realism has come under fire, specifically its realistic portrayal – though at times perhaps tending toward optimistic — of slavery and use of the words “nigger” and “darkies.”

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, 1939
Kern County, California has the great honor both of being the setting of Steinbeck’s novel and being the first place where it was banned (1939). Objections to profanity—especially goddamn and the like—and sexual references continued from then into the 1990s. It is a work with international banning appeal: the book was barred in Ireland in the 50s and a group of booksellers in Turkey were taken to court for “spreading propaganda” in 1973.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
Perhaps the first great American novel that comes to the mind of the average person, this book chronicles the booze-infused and decadent lives of East Hampton socialites. It was challenged at the Baptist College in South Carolina because of the book’s language and mere references to sex.

 

Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 1855
If they don’t understand you, sometimes they ban you. This was the case when the great American poem Leaves of Grass was first published and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice found the sensuality of the text disturbing. Caving to pressure, booksellers in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania conceded to advising their patrons not to buy the “filthy” book.

Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851
In a real head-scratcher of a case, a Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it “conflicted with their community values” in 1996. Community values are frequently cited in discussions over challenged books by those who wish to censor them.

 

Our Bodies, Ourselves, Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, 1971
Challenges of this book about the female anatomy and sexuality ran from the book’s publication into the mid-1980s. One Public Library lodged it “promotes homosexuality and perversion.” Not surprising in a country where some legislators want to keep others from saying the word “vagina.”

 

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred C. Kinsey, 1948
How dare Alfred Kinsey ask men and women questions about their sex lives! The groundbreaking study, truly the first of its scope and kind, was banned from publication abroad and highly criticized at home.

 

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams, 1947
The sexual content of this play, which later became a popular and critically acclaimed film, raised eyebrows and led to self-censorship when the film was being made. The director left a number of scenes on the cutting room floor to get an adequate rating and protect against complaints of the play’s immorality.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
Harper Lee’s great American tome stands as proof positive that the censorious impulse is alive and well in our country, even today. For some educators, the Pulitzer-prize winning book is one of the greatest texts teens can study in an American literature class. Others have called it a degrading, profane and racist work that “promotes white supremacy.”

 

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, 1963
Sendak’s work is beloved by children in the generations since its publication and has captured the collective imagination. Many parents and librarians, however, did much hand-wringing over the dark and disturbing nature of the story. They also wrung their hands over the baby’s penis drawn in In the Night Kitchen.

The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez, 2002
The works of Chavez were among the many books banned in the dissolution of the Mexican-American Studies Program in Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Unified School District disbanded the program so as to accord with a piece of legislation which outlawed Ethnic Studies classes in the state.

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Thursday teaser: A Case of Sour Grapes

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You could WIN a FREE e-copy of this Cass Elliot Companion Novel. See the details at the end of the excerpt. By Gae-Lynn Woods TO TELL THE TRUTH, even after reading the internet articles I was clueless about how to find someone. So I did what every … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: Micro-Genres?

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by Kathleen Valentine Recently I received an email from Audible.com in which they offered a list of what they called “micro-genres” in their audio books. I found it pretty interesting and it got me thinking about quirky trends that I had been … [Continue reading]

Thursday teaser: Collateral Damage

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(Annie Ogden Series Book 3) By Frederick Lee Brooke Sometimes it bugs the hell out of me. She calls, I jump. She knows I’ll do anything for her, anytime. She takes advantage of me. We’ll have a fantastic time, laughing together, kissing, and … [Continue reading]

Book Launch Tuesday: The Girl with the Gun

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Monday Musings: The [Write] Right Word

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by Kathleen Valentine It happens to all of us—we comb through our manuscript looking for the teensiest mistake. We have our first readers, our editors, our friends who owe us a favor—anyone we can think of—read that manuscript and let us know of any … [Continue reading]

Monday Musings: The Author & Social Media Hang-Outs

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by Kathleen Valentine As I continue my never-ending quest to navigate the ins and out of social media marketing for books, I, like most independent authors, spend a lot of time wondering what on earth I'm doing. Lately I have been reading about … [Continue reading]

Thursday teaser: Awakening

Awakening

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Monday Musings: Writing Advice To Blissfully Ignore

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by Kathleen Valentine “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” - Will Rogers For several years now I have begun my writing day by creating a little graphic that consists of an attractive photo and a quote from a writer that I find interesting. I … [Continue reading]