Release Blitz & Excerpt: Plenty of Fish in the Sicilian Sea + Giveaway

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Plenty of Fish in the Sicilian Sea
by Stefania Hartley

Heat Rating: Simmering

Sexometer: 1
Word Count: 43,630
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 179
Genres: CHICK LIT, COMEDY AND HUMOUR, CONTEMPORARY, EROTIC ROMANCE, THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

 

Sicilian marine biologist Serena Ingotta has never understood men, but when she uncovers a mafia factory polluting the sea, it only adds to the things that confuse her.

Twenty-four-year-old Sicilian scientist Serena Ingotta has always misunderstood men, from her workaholic anti-mafia judge father to the Catholic seminarian she’s hopelessly in love with. Interning in a marine biology lab alongside her irritating colleague Enrico, she discovers an illegal polluting factory that is possibly connected with the mafia.

When it turns out that their boss is going to cover up the story, she publicly denounces him at a science conference and gets expelled from the lab. Alone and ostracized, Serena’s attempts to find love and expose the factory seem to be failing epically until she finally realizes that everything she has been searching for was just under her nose.

Reader advisory: This book contains instances of minors with firearms.

Excerpt

Serena jangled the lab keys inside her bag and smiled. The cheerful clink told her that, even without a salary, a job description or a coat peg, she belonged there. The sound echoed in the silent corridor. There was no tapping of wooden soles, no irritated voices, no whispered gossip at that time in the morning. There was just her, the pickled coelacanths and the embalmed, startled pufferfish to greet her through the glass cabinets.

She stuck the key into the lab door and tried to turn it, but it was already unlocked. Strange… I’m usually the first in. As she opened the door, she found the tall green shutters gaping open and a gust of wind slammed the windows shut with a tinkling of glass.

“Hi, Sery!”

“Enrico?” He was perched on his stool, hunched over the wooden workbench with his grubby lab coat unbuttoned, as attractive as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. He straightened, turned toward her and blinked as if he were only just waking up. He usually turned up around ten o’clock. “How come you’re here so early?”

“Just to spook you. No, not really. I just suddenly thought, Shit, we have to finish our research by the end of the week, and I freaked out. Are you freaked out too?”

“A bit. Mostly about your sudden interest in our work. I thought I’d never get any help from you.”

He smiled. “I’m here to the rescue, baby.” He thrust a fist in the air, and Serena groaned inwardly. He was even wearing a Superman T-shirt.

She took off her motorbike helmet and put it down on the floor under the coat pegs. “Maybe we’ll get our own pegs after the conference.”

He shook his head. Coat pegs were for staff, not unpaid interns. “I wouldn’t hold my breath, Sery. We’re out of filter paper and we can’t order more until next year’s funding arrives. I don’t think either of us is getting a job here anytime soon.”

“Hold on. If we’re out of filter paper, what are you using for filtering?” she asked, pointing to the funnel dripping a red liquid into a conical flask on their workbench.

“Hand towels.” He grinned.

She clutched her head. “You can’t do that! No wonder our results—”

“Just joking.” He grinned, winking. “I’ve cut the discs in half so we have enough. If you pour carefully, they do the job just fine.”

“Please, don’t make a joke like that again. Not now.” They only had until Friday to persuade their boss to submit their research to the upcoming Marine Biology Conference. If they presented their research at the conference, they could put it on their CVs and maybe they’d get a research bursary or—if dreams ever came true—a permanent research position. Two years of unpaid work in Schettino’s lab would not have been in vain. “Right. Let’s get to work.”

By the time Giovanna and Titti arrived after dropping their kids off at school, Serena and Enrico had dissected the fish samples, isolated the gill tissues and filtered the extracts. Giovanna and Titti were research associates—with coat pegs, name badges and monthly salaries—but they were too nice for Serena to wish that they accidentally cut their own heads off while dissecting a fish so that she could have their jobs.

Cornetti to see us through today,” Giovanna announced, putting down a parcel wrapped with the paper from the café downstairs on a nearby bench. The heavenly buttery scent of the Italian croissants temporarily flushed the smell of the fish samples from the room. Yes, Giovanna is definitely too lovely to hate.

“Shall we have a break?” Enrico suggested hopefully.

“I want to see the spectrophotometer’s results first, but you can,” Serena said.

Enrico hesitated but picked up a cuvette with fish juice instead of a cornetto with custard and walked over to the spectrophotometer in the far corner of the room. Enrico called out the machine’s readings and Serena entered them into her laptop.

“How are things going here?” Professor Schettino suddenly appeared behind them. The boss never arrived before eleven o’clock. He must be early because of the conference deadline.

“We’re getting together the last results,” Enrico said confidently.

“Great. I want to see all your results by lunchtime.”

“Sure.”

After that deadline was issued, the cornetti weren’t mentioned anymore.

Just before midday, Schettino shouted from his office, “Enrico, Serena, are you done?”

They looked at each other. “Almost!” Enrico called back.

It was a very early ‘lunchtime’ for Italy. They entered the last few results into their table and clicked on the button that would create a curve of best fit. But what came out was not a curve by any standard.

“I’ve calibrated the machine three times!” Enrico protested, waving his arm in the air.

“I don’t think our results are wrong. The repeats are very close to each other.”

“Then why does our data make no sense?”

“It does make sense. Negative results disprove the hypothesis.”

Enrico twisted his mouth. “Negative results aren’t exciting enough to be presented at a conference.”

“Schettino will agree that science doesn’t have to be sensational. Come… Let’s show him.” She got up with her laptop and marched to Schettino’s office-cave. Enrico followed her. “Here are our results,” she announced, putting her laptop down on their boss’ desk, which was scattered with printouts crossed through and scribbled on in red pen. Enrico stopped on the threshold and leaned against the door jamb.

Schettino adjusted his reading glasses, put down the red pen and looked intently at the graph. “Ah,” he said, pushing his wheelie chair back and dropping his glasses to look intently at Serena.

Serena waited for a more comprehensive comment, possibly with some indication of his appreciation.

“So, what’s your conclusion?” he asked, shrugging.

“That there’s no correlation between heavy metal concentration in fish and distance from the shore.”

Enrico stepped into the room. “We’ve calibrated the instruments before every batch of measurements, we’ve repeated each reading at least three times and…we’ve worn gloves.”

“Uhm”—Schettino pursed his lips—“perhaps you need to plot against depth instead of distance from the shore.”

“Why? What’s wrong with our results as they are?” This was not how she had imagined the conversation would go.

“Not impressive enough to go to a conference. The selection committee won’t give you even a five-minute slot to present it. Nobody is interested in you having an idea and proving that it was wrong, Serena. I don’t care what you plot your results against, so long as you find a correlation of some sort. Otherwise, I won’t submit your work to the conference. It’s as simple as that.” He stood up, which made him a lot taller than her—but not Enrico.

“But the submission deadline is on Friday,” Enrico protested.

“You don’t have to come to this conference. There’ll be many others.”

But we’ve worked for two years with the promise of being allowed to submit to this conference.

“We’ll turn the research around by Friday.”

Schettino smiled. “I’m looking forward to seeing it.”

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About the Author

Stefania Hartley

Stefania Hartley, also known as The Sicilian Mama, was born in Sicily and immediately started growing, but not very much. She left her sunny island after falling head over heels in love with an Englishman, and she’s lived all over the world with him and their three children.

Having finally learnt English, she enjoyed it so much that she started writing stories and nobody has been able to stop her since. She loves to write about hot and sunny places like her native Sicily, and she especially likes it when people fall in love.

Her short stories have been longlisted, commended and won prizes. Plenty of Fish in the Sicilian Sea is her second novel, after Sun, Stars and Limoncello.

You can find out more about Stefania on her website, and on the Sicilian Mama’s Blog. You can also listen to Stefania’s podcast.

Giveaway

Enter to win a fabulous gift package and a FREE Stefania Hartley romance book!

Stefania Hartley’s Plenty of Fish in the Sicilian Sea

STEFANIA HARTLEY IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GRAB YOUR FREE STEFANIA HARTLEY ROMANCE BOOK! Notice: This competition ends on 26th January 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Spotlight & Excerpt: Caught in His Webb + Giveaway

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Caught in His Webb
The Love Connection Book 2
by Sean D. Young
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Sara Simmons has no desire to go into law or politics, so her brothers will continue the family’s legacy of prestige and honor. Making her mark on the world with high fashion has always been her dream. Taking her shot, she is threatened by a situation that could not only ruin her career, but her family’s reputation. There’s only one person she can run to for help and keep her secret too…Derrick “Spyder” Webb.
 
Being the man of the house at the age of twelve when his father died unexpectantly, caused Spyder to grow up quickly. It made him a little unforgiving and demanding, but it also made him one of the greatest problem solvers this side of the Mississippi. Now, when people are in trouble, they come to him, but Sara is another story. He’d helped his best friend’s baby sister one night so many years ago. What he didn’t expect, however, was pulling her in his arms to comfort her and feeling things he hasn’t since. Now, she’s older, more mature and gorgeous as hell. The problem is she’s off limits, but lately he can’t deny that her presence makes him want to pull her inside of his web of protection …into his web of desire.
 

Hearing the pain in Sara’s voice moved him greatly.

He’d watched her grow into a beautiful and talented woman. He was proud of her progress and wanted to be sure that this episode didn’t thwart her efforts to seeing her dreams realized.

He gently pulled her to him, looking down into her startled eyes. He didn’t give himself time to think, he simply said. “I’d never hurt you, Sara.” He searched her eyes for understanding. “I know you know that, but just in case you’re wondering.” He stroked her hair, and his eyes didn’t move from hers. “You’re my friend and if you’re hurting, that bothers me.”

She rushed back over to him and hugged him around the waist. Being so much shorter, she stood on the tips of her toes and kissed him on the cheek. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
With no thought as to what he was doing, he wrapped his arms around her, lifting her off the floor, and planted a kiss on her forehead. “You know I’d do anything for you.” Their eyes fused and Sara made matters worse when she wrapped her arms around his neck.
Their bodies were flush against each other her familiar scent surrounded him and Spyder’s body reacted, his manhood lengthening. He was stepping over the line, but her soft skin felt so good. Looking out for his friend’s sister was one thing but taking her on the couch and making sweet love to her was way over the definition.

Sean Young has always been an avid reader. This Gary, Indiana native joined her first book club at the age of seven. A lover of the happily ever after, Sean uses her vivid imagination to craft heartwarming and passionate family love stories that deal with forgiveness, promise, romance and redemption. A certified wedding planner by trade, Sean continues to help brides plan the wedding of their dreams.
 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
 
$10 Amazon giftcard, 
Swag Pack with Print Copy of Caught in His Webb 
– 1 winner each 

Spotlight & Excerpt: Mostly Dangerous + Giveaway

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Mostly Dangerous
(The Women of Ambrose Estate #1)
By Kimberley Montpetit
Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 270 Pages
August 18, 2019 by Spellbound Books

An old mansion with secrets. A deadly curse. Can their love overcome her dark legacy, or is it doomed from the start?

Sofia Ambrose is on the brink of a new career, far away from the opulence and dark secrets of her family’s historic Texas estate, when she and her five sisters are summoned to the Ambrose Estate for a reading of her grandmother’s will—a grandmother who, at 88-years-old, is still alive and kicking. Sofia is both bewildered and intrigued. But the truth is more shocking than she could have imagined. Her grandmother has turned Ambrose Estate over to Sofia, and she must give up every hope of a regular life in order to run it and protect her family’s legacy.

When an oil well disaster strikes, Sofia must act quickly to save the family fortune. Unfortunately, this means working with the rude and insufferable Gavin Spencer who assumes Sofia is just a spoiled, rich oil heiress. But once she gets to know him, Sofia discovers Gavin’s charm, intellect, and incredible bravery, and soon enough she is falling hard for the rugged firefighter.

Despite her feelings, Sofia knows their love is doomed. Ambrose Estate’s mansion, with its Hall of the Dead and an old family curse stands between her and happiness, and she must sacrifice Gavin’s love to save his life.

Desperately, Sofia searches for answers in her great-great-grandmother’s journal. Does it contain the key to breaking the curse—or will her heart have to break into a thousand pieces?

If you like enchanting chemistry, intriguing legacies, and moody mysteries, then you’ll adore Kimberley Montpetit’s sweet and smoldering love story.

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Excerpt

“Oh, my,” Sofia gasped under her breath as she suddenly, and irrevocably knew what it was like to be in Gavin Spencer’s arms. She could feel his hard chest muscles and the biceps outlined by his coat jacket. He smelled incredible, musky and masculine. A heady scent that made her so distracted she missed a step on the dance floor. “Oh, oops!”

“I’ve got you, Sofia,” he whispered into her ear.

“Sorry I’m distracted.”

“You’re distracting me to no end,” Gavin said without missing a beat. “I’ve wanted to hold you like this for the last two weeks.”

“I’m a dangerous woman,” she said lightly, but little did he know that her words were a double entendre.

“Nope, just mostly dangerous.”

After a couple of swing dances, the music changed into a slower two-step. Gavin’s lips were against Sofia’s ear as he leaned in close. “Your instincts were right.”

“About what?” Sofia was trying to stay upright, his breath tingling against her ear. If Gavin asked her to follow him to the moon, she’d go without a second’s hesitation.

“I was a little bit jealous.”

“When were we talking about jealousy?” Then, Sofia remembered Daniel Gentry’s earlier phone call. “Oh, right,” she added.

“When I heard a man’s voice through your cell phone, I was envious because I’ve never been completely sure you were even available. Or didn’t have a secret boyfriend. The night I first saw you coming out of your front door, I was so happy to learn that you weren’t married.”

Sofia pulled back to look into his face. “Are you serious?”

“Dead serious. You might have had a husband and three kids in that big house.”

“I’m glad you’re not married either,” she said with a coy smile. “Because if you were, I wouldn’t be dancing with you right now.”

“Good point,” he chuckled, his cheek pressing against hers. “I’m falling for you, Sofia,” he added gently. “And you’re driving me insane.”

“How in the world am I driving you insane?”

“Because you’re gorgeous and smart and sexy as hell. Pardon my language.”

“I’ve never heard a compliment like that before.”

“The rest of the world’s males must be blind then, but I’ll be happy to tell you every single day, if you don’t mind keeping me around.”

Sofia’s throat closed up. She wanted him desperately, but a relationship could never happen between them. Of course, Gavin didn’t get the memo on that piece of information, and she didn’t have the nerve to tell him the truth. He’d think she was insane.

Gavin would forget about her on his next overseas work trip. He had to. Because she wasn’t meant to have happiness.

Excerpted from Mostly Dangerous by Kimberley Montpetit. Copyright © Kimberley Montpetit. Published by Spellbound Books.

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About the Author

Kimberley Montpetit spent her childhood reading a book every day and writing stories while playing dress-up with her best friend. She loves all things romantic and adores turning her daydreams into novels. Kimberley once spent all of her souvenir money at the La Patisserie shops with their beautiful and delicious pastries. Traveling gives her lots of inspiration for new book ideas. She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland and didn’t sleep a wink, sailed the Seine river in Paris, rode a camel in the ancient world wonder of Petra, shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

Kimberley grew up in the fabulous city of San Francisco, loves all things chocolate, and now lives on a dirt road along the Rio Grande with her engineer husband and three sons. She even has a writing cottage in the backyard!

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Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they’re scheduled.)

December 8th: Launch
December 9th: Krystal M. AndersonLove’s Sweet Return
December 10th: Julie Coulter Bellon – The Marquess Meets His Match
December 11th: Delaney Cameron – Because You Loved Me
December 12th: Rachelle Paige CampbellLove Overboard
December 13th: Raneé S. ClarkFinding Taylor
December 14th: Chrissy ElliotFinding Home on Winslow Island
December 15th: Aspen HadleySuits and Spark Plugs
December 16th: Shanna HatfieldThe Christmas Bargain
December 17th: D. E. MaloneLove, Lies and Mistletoe
December 18th: Melissa McCloneSweet Yuletide
December 19th: Sarah L. McConkieThe Promise of Miss Spencer
December 20th: Kimberley MontpetitMostly Dangerous
December 21st: Kate O’KeeffeDating Mr. Darcy
December 22nd: Regina ScottAlways Kiss at Christmas
December 23rd: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $70 (USD) Amazon eGift Card

Open to US and internationally to those who can receive the gift card through one of Amazon’s branches
Ends December 27, 2020

ENTER HERE

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