Book Blast: Kissing Persuasive Lips by Dale Wiley

Kissing Persuasive Lips

by Dale Wiley

July 14 Book Blast

 

Synopsis:

cover

Mick Lord had the world by the tail until his beautiful wife died. He was young, rich and handsome, a star in Hollywood and in the banking world. But when his wife was killed by a five-time loser driving drunk, everything changed. Mick is trying everything to tempt death, but nothing’s working. He’s even on an uncanny gambling streak that is just making him richer.

When Mick is attacked by a man claiming that Mick “stole” his home, Mick discovers that the company he sold his banks to has been forging his name in order to kick people out of their houses. Beautiful Kinley Baron wants him to keep quiet, but that’s against everything Mick stands for. And when a rich old man maims a young woman right in front of him, Mick decides to use his fortune and his desire for death to settle some scores.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller

Published by: Smashwords

Publication Date: July 2015

Number of Pages: 90

ISBN: 9781310490507

Purchase Links: SMASHWORDS Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

The Wynn Casino in Las Vegas is not flashy; at least not in comparison to the spastic neon and LED displays you find everywhere else along the strip. Its elegance and earthy style seem almost out of place. It may have vibrant red carpet running throughout the casino floor, but the shock of that regal red is covered by the acres of indoor trees (real, of course), baffling the noise and calming the senses.

At times, compared to the rest of the city, it feels like an oasis of calm and gentility.

A Tuesday afternoon in Vegas is like a Friday midnight anywhere else, but it was not usually the time for a high-stakes game like this one. But Michael Andrews Lord, known to the rest of the world as Mick, had prevailed upon the powers that be to open a blackjack table just for him, and had gotten them to agree to set the table minimum at $50,000 and the limit at one million dollars per hand. He had never played that much in one hand, but the opportunity was there.

Mick didn’t look like your typical high-roller. His wardrobe was strictly well-heeled beach bum. That day he wore a blue linen shirt, which brought out his eyes, a nice pair of Silver jeans and loafers without socks. That would come close to describing him on most days since he sold his banks and converted to his new life.

Most people would call Mick handsome, although he knew having money didn’t hurt. He was six-two and a little on the skinny side, with light brown hair a little bit wavy and cut fairly short. He had a short beard he had grown six months earlier and become kind of fond of. Tabloids gushed and wondered who his next woman was. Mick was revolted by this, considering how recently his life had so dreadfully changed, but he knew that playing an absolute fortune in a blackjack game in this open fashion wasn’t going to calm any rumor mill. Sometimes his wants and his actions didn’t match up.

Although they couldn’t say as much out loud, The Wynn was not in the habit of losing as much money as they had lost to Mick over the past six months. His streak was almost uncanny; he might lose the smaller hands, but when he bet big, hundreds of thousands of dollars, his winning percentage was way above normal, and at the amounts he was playing, the casino was in no means ready to shut down, but the winning was taking its toll on all those in charge of keeping losses in line with industry guidelines. Frankly, the winning was raising eyebrows up and down the strip; it was unusual if not unheard of for someone to have his sustained winning streak at such large amounts.

And that Tuesday, with every blackjack player within ear shot standing a respectful distance back, but watching intently, Mick was winning again. He had to be up close to half a million.

He rubbed his eyes and yawned. “I’m about done,” he said to the dealer and to the floor boss who had joined him. Mick knew they were probably worried about their jobs, although he would go to whomever he needed to and make sure they knew it was not their fault.

Mick looked around. There were the Vegas old-timers, clutching oxygen tanks and players cards, working girls scanning the crowd for possible play, two French men who looked like they had walked off the set of Miami Vice and numerous tourists, wearing knee-length shorts and fluorescent t-shirts. A shoeshine man named Frank, whom Mick knew and often took care of, was off to the side, clearly rooting Mick on. Some of these he knew and liked, most of them just liked the action. Mick was giving it to them.

“Here we go,” he said in the middle of a yawn. “Let’s play for some real fun and then let’s be done with it.” His mouth smiled and his eyes didn’t.

He pushed all the chips in front of him to the middle of the table.

The dealer looked at the pit boss. He had dealt some big hands, but this was by far the highest stakes he had ever dealt. The floor boss said something into the microphone in his cuff, then nodded. The dealer indicated that there was $512,000 in play.

“Hand me twelve of that. Let’s make it simple math.”

The dealer pulled off chips totaling $12,000. As the cocktail waitress who had brought him his gin and tonics all afternoon approached again, Mick took that money and handed it to her.

“Something for you and Charlie,” he said, referring to her three-year-old son. Mick asked about and remembered almost everybody. The smile reached his eyes this time.

Her eyes doubled in size. He had already tipped her very well, a hundred dollar bill every time she brought him a drink. “I can’t …” she started, but his look stopped her.

“Mike, tell her it’s okay,” Mick said to the floor boss. Mike nodded and she took a deep breath and looked at the money that was now hers. She wanted to say something, to cry, to leap in the air, but she felt the tension of the moment too. She didn’t want to leave, but she still had a job to do, and Mick had turned back to the table.

“Five hundred thousand it is.”

The dealer gave Mick a nine and placed his own card face down. He next dealt Mick a seven, giving him the worst possible blackjack hand, a sixteen. He turned over a ten. Mick exhaled loudly.

“Great hand,” Mick rolled his eyes. He wanted to stay on the hand, but even with his agenda, he knew that he would stick to his system. Anything else, any random play, would be highly suspicious. He tapped the table. “Hit me, Carlos.”

Carlos gave him another card, almost wincing as he did. It was a deuce. The crowd sighed. He had an eighteen. Not a great hand, but still in it. Mick waved off any other cards. It was Carlos’ turn.

Carlos took his ten and used it to turn over his next card. Everyone watching strained to see what was underneath. They gasped as they saw a five. The game was still alive. This was good for Mick.

The crowd wanted Mick to win. To a man. He may have had the life that almost all of them envied greatly, and for some that envy could at times be malignant, but you never root for the house in Vegas. Even if you work for them. And the people who actually knew Mick found him to be even-tempered and kind to them, even in the midst of what had to be a hellish year in which his wife had been killed and his life had been turned into a spectacle with all that had entailed. They all knew he had turned to gambling, and they all knew he was winning there and was parading a bevy of starlets through his bedroom, coping with his grief in a public, uneven manner, doing things that even he admitted he didn’t like.

Several men called out, “face!” More than half the deck was his friend now. Carlos nodded and pulled out another card. An ace.

Everyone groaned. Carlos looked like he had killed an old woman. Was this going to be one of those hands where the little cards mounted up and won the day for the house yet again?

He turned over the next card. There it was: Jack of hearts. The room erupted. Mick had just won half a million dollars!

Mick didn’t crack a smile. He looked unsteady. He turned to the floor boss. “One more hand? Winner take all?”

The guests couldn’t believe their ears. A true million dollar hand?

Mike spoke into his collar. Even though it was marked as a million dollar table, he wanted to check with his superiors. This was obviously a big deal to everyone involved. He nodded. They would play for the million.

Carlos took another deep breath and fetched a card from the shoe. He gave Mick an ace and then dealt his hole card. He dealt Mick another ace. Everyone gasped. His second card lay face up, a six. Advantage: Mick.

Mick looked at Mike. More cuff talking. There was no need to ask what Mick wanted. He wanted to split, which was the only thing to do in his situation. Problem was, he obviously didn’t have an extra million dollars on him. Both people knew this was just a formality, that Wynn would gladly spot him the money in hopes of finally winning some back. Mike nodded. He was good for it.

Carlos pulled the next card from the shoe. An ace of clubs. The crowd erupted. He would get to split again. Holy cow! Mike spoke into his sleeve. The answer was clear, but everyone had to wait. Finally, he nodded. The casino would lend him two million dollars.

Carlos arranged the aces a similar distance from each other, and the crowd moved in a few inches more. Some of the tourists had video cameras on. They could sell this video if they could get a good shot. Mick Lord was always newsworthy.

Carlos lay down a ten of clubs on Mick’s first hand. Twenty-one. The crowd screamed. A king of spades was next. Twenty-one. Finally, the dealer gave Mick a six on his third hand. Soft seventeen. Mick pondered his next move. He always played the cards the same way, although he didn’t want to. He hit it anyway, Ten of hearts. Hard seventeen. Mick waved the dealer off.

Carlos had one hand. He could tie Mick on two hands, beat him on one. Carlos flipped up his hole card. He showed a five.

This drew a gasp from the crowd. Now a ten, the highest probability in the deck, would set Mick back a million bucks. Mick had never heard such a quiet crowd in Vegas. Couldn’t remember a single time.

Carlos thumbed the next card, slid it across in front of him and turned it over. It was a four. He now had fifteen. Once again, the odds had shifted in Mick’s favor. Carlos drew his next card. It was a seven.

Twenty-two.

The Wynn erupted like you’d expect in a World Cup match. They jumped and cheered and hugged in a show of solidarity rare anywhere, especially rare in Las Vegas.

All except Mick.

He had desperately wanted to lose.

 

Author Bio:

Dale Wiley is a Missouri attorney who has had a character named after him on CSI, owned a record label, been interviewed by Bob Edwards on NPR’s Morning Edition and made motorcycles for Merle Haggard and John Paul DeJoria. He has three awesome kids and spends his days working as a lawyer fighting the big banks.

Catch Up:

 

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Mailbox Monday, July 6, 2015

Mailbox Mondays

I have gone kind of crazy lately and brought a sh*t ton of new (and new-to-me) books into this house. It’s out of hand, really. Since there are so many recent acquisitions, I’ve kind of lost track of them all. So I’ll only bore you with the ones that came in last week ….

Charm CityAs a practiced reporter until her newspaper went to that great pressroom in the sky, P.I. Tess Monaghan knows and loves every inch of her native Baltimore, even the parts being slobbered on by the sad-sack greyhound she’s minding for her uncle. It’s a quirky city where baseball reigns, but lately homicide seems to be the second most popular local sport. Business tycoon “Wink” Wynkowski is trying to change all that by bringing pro basketball back to town, and everybody’s rooting for him – until a devastating, muckraking expose of his lurid past appears on the front page of the Baltimore Beacon-Light. It’s a surprise even to the Blight’s editors, who thought they’d killed the piece. Instead, the piece killed Wink – who’s found in his garage with the car running.


 

NewtownNow the Blight wants to nail the unknown computer hacker who planted the lethal story, and the assignment is right up the alley of a former newshound like Tess. But it doesn’t take long for her to discover deeper, darker secrets, and to realize that this situation is really more about whacking than hacking. It’s just murder in Baltimore these days – and Tess Monaghan herself might be next on the list.

One year later, we remember the numbers: 20 children and 6 adults, murdered in a place of nurture and trust. We remember the names: teachers like Victoria Soto, who lost her life protecting her students. A shooter named Adam Lanza. And we remember the questions: outraged conjecture instantly monopolized the worldwide response to the tragedy – while the truth went missing.

One year later, here is the definitive journalistic account of Newtown, an essential examination of the facts – not only of that horrific day but the perfect storm of mental instability and obsession that preceded it and, in the aftermath of unspeakable heartbreak, the controversy that continues to play out on the national stage. Drawn from previously undisclosed emails, police reports, and in-depth interviews, Newtown: An American Tragedy breaks through a miasma of misinformation with its comprehensive and astonishing portrayal.

One ear late,r this is the vital story that must be told – today – if we are to prevent another American tragedy in the days to come.


 

 

A Cold Day for MurderShe’s a savvy investigator with the cool toughness of Sam Spade – and a smile that could melt a block of ice. Once the star of the Anchorage D.A.’s office, she’s gone back to her roots in the far Alaska north. But Kate’s taken her talent for detection along … and trouble knows where to find her.

When a young National Park Ranger disappears during the long Alaskan winter, everyone assumes the cold got him. But when an investigator goes in after him, and never comes out, the weather may not be all that’s killing. Or so thinks Kate Shugak. With her Husky-breed Mutt as an ally, she’s hunting for answers among the pipelines, Aleuts, and hardy eccentrics of the rugged American north. But she’s heading for thin ice between lies and loyalties … between justice served and the cold face of murder.

 

 

Celebrate with Me!!

Dun dun dun…. today I turn the big 3-0! I’ll admit, I’m a little depressed about this. I remember thinking that 30 was soooooo old. And now that it’s here, well it’s not so old anymore ;)

SO! I’m inviting all of you to celebrate my 30th birthday with me. I am hosting a giveaway!!

One lucky winner will receive a $30.00 e-gift card to the e-retailer of their choice. All you have to do to be entered is fill out the form below! Sign ups close July 11th, with the winner being chosen at 5pm central time (unless I forget … which is a distinct possibility!!)

April, May & June 2015 Wrap Ups

So um…. yeah, I know I’ve been more than a little MIA here on the blog. That’s what happens when you spend all of April in the fog of pregnancy brain and May welcoming a new little one and June seeing your daughter in surgery. So I wanted to spend a few minutes wrapping up the last 3 months of my reading (as if there’s that much to wrap-up…..)

April: 3 books (YTD: 15)

A Dream Called MarilynInnocent DamageLosing Faith

  1. A Dream Called Marilyn by Mercedes King – REVIEW
  2. Innocent Damage by Robert K. Lewis – REVIEW
  3. Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner – REVIEW

May: 1 book (YTD: 16)

Mr. Mercedes

  1. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King – REVIEW

June: 3 books (YTD: 19)

The Truth and Other LiesMiseryThe Silent Wife

  1. The Truth and Other Lies by Sasha Arango – REVIEW
  2. Misery by Stephen King – REVIEW
  3. The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison – REVIEW

Pages Read: 2,173 (YTD: 6,797)

Books Received: 42 (See list here)

  • Hard Copy Review Book: 2
  • Purchased new: 2
  • Purchased used: 21
  • E-Book purchased: 1
  • Paperbackswap: 9
  • Grandmother: 7

Not sure my reading is going to improve any time soon … my maternity leave is over after the 4th of July. But luckily I will only be working part-time. I have signed up for some challenges on my Goodreads groups that have me super excited to cross off some TBR books. Hopefully I can get into some kind of a groove now that Katelyn seems to be sleeping more at night now.

PS … spread the word. There’s going to be a giveaway here on my blog celebrating my birthday (July 5th). It’s going to be a good one you won’t want to miss!!! Stay tuned….

2015.19 REVIEW – The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

The Silent Wife
by A.S.A. Harrison

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 326
Rating: 3/5
Read: June 18 – June 27, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 19
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Series: N/A

The Silent WifeBlurb:
 Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.


Review: I purchased this book new in 2014. And then I proceeded to do as I always do … I let it linger on my shelf. I have no idea what made me pick this one up, but it caught my eye when I went searching for my next read after finishing up Misery.

So what did I think ….hmm. This is a tough one. What do you get when you absolutely hate both main characters? Because one is so stupid and the other is in such denial you want to slap her upside the head? Yeah. That’s where I’m at on this book. Todd is a class-A jerk wad. A cheater. Jodi needs to get her head out of the sand. Even after Todd leaves her for Natasha she’s in such denial that I wanted to strangle her.

But for some reason I kept reading this book. I was sucked in for whatever reason. I couldn’t tear myself away from the book (when I got the chance to pick it up … reading with 2 little ones is a whole different ball game). I had to know what happened. Little by little the book unfolds and I was left holding my breath until the very end. This is not necessarily a fast-paced thriller. It’s more slow-paced, but every bit as intriguing.

Bottom line … I enjoyed this one, but ultimately it was my distaste for Todd and Jodi that is keeping my opinion of this one more on the “okay” side than the “awesome” side.

2015.18 REVIEW – Misery by Stephen King

Misery
by Stephen King

Copyright: 1987
Pages: 356
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 1 – June 17, 2015
Challenge: #MiseryRAL
Yearly count: 18
Format: E-Book
Source: Purchased
Series: N/A

MiseryBlurb:
 Misery Chastain was dead. Paul Sheldon had just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery had made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wanted to get on to some real writing.

That’s when the car accident happens, and he wakes up in pain in a strange bed. But it isn’t hospital. Annie Wilkes has pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs.

The good news is that Annie was a nurse and has pain-killing drugs. The bad news is that she has long been Paul’s Number One Fan. And when she finds out what Paul has done to Misery, she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t like it at all.

And now he has to bring Misery back to life. Or else…


Review: When I first saw a read-along mentioned on Twitter for Misery I was intrigued. I had skipped over the few King read-alongs there have been in the past. Mainly because I’m not very social on Twitter. However, I’m trying to change that and I had been kicking around the idea of re-reading some of the old Stephen King books that I fell in love with. So I figured now was as good a time as any to join in on the read-along fun.

As I said at one point on Twitter … Annie is bat-shit crazy! Sometimes all I can do is just shake my head at what Mr. King has come up with for his books. I mean, you pretty much get the idea that Annie has to be crazy just by the book blurb, but you really don’t have any idea just how psycho she is until you get into this book. She’s really creepy psycho. And it makes for some great reading!

For the first time, clearly, the thought surfaced in Paul Sheldon’s mind: I am in trouble here. This woman is not right. (p. 14)

Oh, Paul … you really had no idea just how “not right” Annie truly was. You were her number one fan, you know. Creepy, right? I shudder just at the thought of everything that Paul went through with Annie.

I felt sorry for Paul. Annie really does a number on him psychologically and physically. She breaks him down. She makes him completely dependent on her and the drugs she has. But little by little he brings himself up out of the fog he’s in and it really begins to become a game of wits between the two. That’s when the book starts to get really good!

If he meant to get out of this, he would have to kill her.

Yes. That’s the answer – the only one there is, I think. So it’s that same old game again, isn’t it? Paulie … Can You? 

He answered with no hesitation at all. Yes, I can. (p. 201)

There’s not much I can say in this review that hasn’t been said a million times before. Personally, I enjoyed this book. However, I don’t think it would be at the very top of my list of favorite Stephen King books. It wasn’t scary to me … it was just downright creepy. And kind of gross in some places (okay … very gross!)

My copy had 356 pages. That’s relatively short for a Stephen King book. And it reads quickly (I would have finished it a lot sooner had I not spent a week dealing with Katelyn’s surgery and recovery). So I would definitely recommend picking it up if you’ve never read Mr. King and you’re intimidated by the size of most of his books.

Highly recommended.

Being a parent can be tough…

… especially when your little one is sick and you don’t really know why. For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably have some idea of what’s happened, but for those of you who don’t I wanted to pop in and post a little update.

Two weeks ago our sweet Katelyn started vomiting. And let me tell you, this went WAY beyond spitting up. This was forcefully splattering our faces, getting in our hair, drenching bath towels. Yuck. I didn’t know what had happened. My precious girl went from a happy not-at-all spitty baby to this vomit machine. In just a few days. It was ridiculous. We were both at our wits end not knowing what to do. I was afraid to even put her down because even when sound asleep she would open her mouth and formula would come back out! Without her ever waking up, I was afraid she would choke.

So I did what any parent would do after about 24 hours of her throwing up forcefully after every bottle (sometimes during a feeding while the nipple was still in her mouth!). I took her in to the doctor. Unfortunately, that first day I was only able to see a nurse practitioner. I didn’t care, I just wanted to get an opinion on what was going on with Katelyn. I knew something was wrong. Babies don’t just start randomly throwing up like this. It wasn’t normal. Her weight was fine. Her belly sounded normal. I was told it was “probably” reflux but to come back on Monday for a weight check (we went in on a Thursday).

After a very long weekend, Monday finally rolled around. I told my husband that I didn’t care what he had going on at work, I wanted him to come to the doctor with me. If I was going to have to make an ass of myself to get the help we needed for our daughter, I wanted him by my side. I knew this wasn’t reflux – we dealt with that with Garrett. This was something totally different and I was scared something was seriously wrong. Luckily we saw the doctor this time. And he immediately saw something different. He told us she had lost 4oz in 4 days, asked us a bunch of questions, felt around on her belly, and then calmly told us that he wanted us to go down the hall for an ultrasound, that he suspected something called pyloric stenosis. He also explained that if it was indeed pyloric stenosis then she would require surgery.

Wait, what?! Surgery?!? Yes, surgery. Our baby girl had to have surgery on the day she turned 1 month old. Very, very scary.

To explain, pyloric stenosis is, in the most simplest terms, when the muscle that connects the stomach and the small intestine gets too large to let food pass through for complete digestion. Since nothing or very little can pass through, the vomiting takes place. Dehydration and extreme lethargy can also occur. So the surgeon had to go in and cut through the muscle to make it where food can pass through again. So you know, this condition usually presents between 2 and 8 weeks of age. It is something that is seen in 3 out of 1000 babies. It is most common in males, especially first-borns. So for our girl to have it is even more rarer. It’s also hereditary… we’re still trying to figure out where it came from. In addition, now that she has had it her future children are 20% more likely to have it.

And while my daughter had to have surgery at 1 month old and will forever bear the scar on her belly, she is back to being her happy self. No more vomiting. Hardly even any spitting up. I can lay her down without fear that she will choke on vomit. It was scary for all of us. It was tremendously stressful. But our girl is happy and healthy again. I am just so relieved that what we went through was so easily fixed – a lot of parents and children don’t have it as easy as we did.

Think of this as a public service announcement. While you may never come across another parent dealing with pyloric stenosis … I want you to know to trust your parenting instincts. I was told my girl had reflux. I had my doubts. I knew it was something more serious than just plain old reflux. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Trust your instincts … no one knows your baby better than you.