Spotlight & Excerpt: Harrowing Roses, by Barbara Cooper

This is my post during the book blitz for Harrowing Roses by Barbara Cooper. In this suspenseful paranormal thriller book Dana tries to save a missing girl, but her own life is in danger too.

This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 7 till 13 March. See the tour schedule here.

Harrowing Roses

Harrowing Roses
By Barbara Cooper
Genre: Paranormal Suspense Thriller
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 16 December 2021

Lyrical novella, set in surreal marshes.
Illustrations by author.

Can our heroine save the missing girl’s life … and her own?

Dana feels the atmosphere of the marsh seeping into her skin with each day she spends in the cold unwelcoming mansion of her father’s estranged family.

When her young cousin, Debra Lee, mysteriously vanishes, Dana turns to Henry – an attractive neighbor in the isolated cabin nearby, to help her search for her.

Is her cousin dead? What are these strange visions and dreams that her new friend is having … could they be connected to the missing girl?

Despite the hint of something unnatural and strange, Dana is inexplicably drawn to the surrounding woods and to Henry himself.

Does he know more about Debra Lee’s disappearance than he’s revealing… and is it the right time for Dana to start being afraid?


You can watch the book trailer here on Youtube

Harrowing Roses contains 10 illustrations by the author.
Harrowing Roses illustrations graphic

Harrowing Roses illustration


The living room was golden. Just as Henry had imagined. There was a cosy atmosphere, soft carpets and gilded sofas.
The centrepiece was a fireplace, with marble columns. The lamps were jade-coloured and matched nicely to what he presumed were original Chinese vases.
With no windows to be seen, it seemed as though the room was in the centre of the building.
Everything was lit by a soft light. Even the pieces of art hanging on the walls, oil landscapes of foreign countryside scenes, with sheep and streams, had a light upon them.
This seemed to be their domain.
This is where they appeared to be at home.
An exquisite tea set rested on a low table, already prepared, with a wisp of steam coming from the teapot.
They both watched him with attentive eagle eyes.
But this was what he was prepared for.
Dana was standing near the fireplace, her mother seated by the tea.
It was the first time he had met her mother, Sheryl.
She extended her hand, as she got up from the sofa and greeted him nicely. She was polite, in control. From their brief conversation, he understood that she wanted him here, and probably in fact it had been her idea.
That meant she must believe in his abilities: that was good.
Perhaps her situation was too complex for him to understand, and that’s why she felt a pressing need to turn to him for guidance at this moment.
“Thank you very much for coming.” Her coral-painted lips were smiling.
Dana’s demeanour was a different story. She was just watching, quiet. Her eyes fixed on him.
The blood in her veins was boiling, anger rising.
She didn’t know how she felt about having him in the house.
She believed in the cause, as her mother had told her to, but still she didn’t need to be happy about it. To have him here, now, in her living room seemed too personal to her. Like he was invading a part of her she didn’t want him to see. Opening up to him, in this way!
Sure, Henry is such an odd and interesting character, one she was okay to talk to while on the outside, in the wetlands…but now?
Even though he was attractive and all, she didn’t like it.
He sensed her mood.
He mustn’t get riled up by her or get into an argument.
He mustn’t get pulled into this, even though he just as easily wants to.
He must keep in mind the reason he came here.
He was civilised.
But he couldn’t take his eyes off her.
She was beautiful.
Dressed in a red dotted skirt, with a flowing hem ending just above her knees, opaque white stockings and Mary-Jane heels.
Her blouse was cream, with a high neckline ending with a gleaming honey collar, set with rhinestones. Everything was properly buttoned up.
The stones were throwing reflections all around the room and onto her face…fiery silky red hair which was framing it ended in a rich wave just above her shoulders. She had kept it just out of her face, to show off her lovely contours to her best advantage.
She was dressed almost as a schoolgirl, extravagant, but with enough fashion sense to pull it off.
And it suited her very well.
Very different from how he had been used to seeing her in the marshes – yet here she was, in her natural element. Yet underneath still the same girl.
Sheryl had noticed the way he was looking at her right away. She didn’t say anything, what she thought about it she kept to herself. Nevertheless, being herself, she was probably already making a note in her head how she could use his apparent infatuation with her daughter to her benefit.
Mother and daughter both had the same eyes – but the mother’s eyes were deep icy cold, and they were watching him calmly and calculatingly. Unlike Dana who had fire in her blue eyes, or at least when she was watching him. The cloudy grey always moving, changing from light to darker tones: like in his dreams.
“Of course, thank you for inviting me.” He was looking around the room.
The mother, dressed in a soft peach-coloured skirt suit that was also proper and fitting, said, “My daughter told me that you would be able to help with the situation.”
He didn’t say anything.
He was still suspicious about all their intentions.
The vision of the police searching his rooms came back to his mind at that point.
“I of course believe in your abilities; you don’t have to doubt that,” she continued.
By hearing that, Henry was surprised.
Where does both their sureness of him come from?
Was it just desperation on their part, resulting in their making themselves believe it, wishful thinking?
“Of course, we – I would need more from you. We would need you to find Debra Lee.”
A pause mid-sentence, for a greater effect.
“Tell us what you know. Or what you are able to share with us.”
Dana smirked a little. She was obviously not so convinced. And something was making her nervous.
He must find out what it was.
Her mother was still leading this, steering the helm.

Barabar Cooper

About the Author:
Barbara Cooper believes there is more to life — and to love —than meets the eye.

A lifelong fan of beautiful writing, she educated herself in law at university, earning a doctorate degree, and making a name with her works on legal history.

Yet she could not escape the siren song of her imagination. When Harrowing Roses came to her in a dream, she picked up her pen and got to work. Barbara lives in a lake-house surrounded by a landscape imbued with history and magic. She often walks along the nearby water, accompanied by her cats, when they are in the mood.

She enjoys contemplating the unknown through the medium of stories.

Author links:

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