Tag Archives: Noir

Cover Reveal: Conned by Kim Fielding

Conned | Kim Fielding

 A Bureau Story #6

Cover banner

Publisher: Tin Box Press

Release Date: Monday, June 1 2020

Length: approx 67k

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Buy Links:

Amazon | Smashwords

COVER - Conned

Blurb

World War I veteran Thomas Donne is new to San Francisco.

Always a stoic man, shell shock and a lost love have nearly turned his heart to stone. No matter—a private eye has no room for softness. Almost broke, he takes on what appears to be a simple case: finding a missing young man.

As a magician and medium, Abraham Ferencz cons his audiences into believing he can cheat death and commune with their dearly departed. Although his séances are staged, the spirits are very real, and they’ve brought him almost more pain than he can bear.

When Donne’s case becomes complicated and the bodies start to pile up, he and Ferencz must fight their way through a web of trickery and lies.

The truth is obscured by the San Francisco fog, and in their uncanny world, anyone can catch a bullet.

Bureau Series

Corruption

Clay White

Creature

Chained

Convicted

Teaser quote

Excerpt

When Abe was done with the slates, he would ordinarily have turned to the third and final act of the séance. It involved darkening the room, asking the audience to concentrate on their loved ones beyond the veil, and then operating a series of trap doors and curtains via hidden controls. Masks and gauzy drapery covered in luminescent paint would make flickering appearances. One key here was for his accomplice to have the first sighting. Rosie would gasp or scream before Abe had yet showed a prop, making everyone else eager for their own glimpses. The other key was to do this illusion after the guests had lost any lingering doubts.

It was a wonderful illusion, one that would send his guests away feeling as if their money had been well spent. But today one guest continued to have doubts, and Abe’s curiosity was too strong to resist. He decided to postpone the finale.

“Friends, I vill now move among you and see if I receive any messages from beyond.”

Rosie lifted her eyebrows, clearly surprised he was going to do a cold reading. He generally did that only during séances where he’d given the guests a brief refreshment break and Rosie had the opportunity to slip him notes about the people she’d spoken with at the beginning. It certainly hadn’t been part of today’s plan.

Nonetheless, Abe moved among the chairs with his head atilt, as if he were listening for a faint sound. He stopped in front of Rosie and closed his eyes. “Ah. I’m hearing a voice…. A woman. Mary? No. Margaret.”

Rosie gasped and clutched her chest. “My sister Meg?” she asked tremulously. “She passed five years ago from rheumatic fever.”

In fact, Rosie had two sisters—neither named Margaret and both quite alive—who she didn’t especially get along with and spoke to only infrequently. But she wobbled her chin convincingly as Abe nodded. “Yes. She says she misses you. She remembers the… the necklace you gave her for her birthday. It vas such a lovely gift, she says.”

Tears started to leak from Rosie’s eyes. Crying convincingly on cue was one of her many strengths. “She loved that little thing. We buried her in it.”

“She vants you to know that she’s very happy vhere she is now. She knows your life vill be long, but someday you shall see her again.”

“Th-thank you, Mr. France. Tell her I love her too.”

“She knows.”

Abe moved down the row to a man in his fifties, a Mr. Van Goethem. He was dressed moderately well but not richly, and his weathered face and battered hands suggested he’d once labored outdoors. He had an accent—Dutch or Belgian; Abe wasn’t certain—but it wasn’t strong, so he’d been in the United States for a long time. These observations and a general knowledge of human beings allowed Abe to make some safe guesses.

“I am hearing a woman again. She is…. I see the letter A?”

“Anna?” Mr. Van Goethem seemed confused.

“I am not sure. I believe the A is not at the beginning of her name.”

Mr. Van Goethem let out a noisy sigh. “Johanna. My mother.”

Perfect. Abe had chosen A simply because it was common in feminine names; after that, he could get the guest to lead him on the right path. “Yes, your mother. She says…. Oh.” He frowned deeply as if distressed.

“What? What does she say? Mama, I—”

Abe held up a hand to silence him. “It’s…. Oh, I see.” He bent so as to put his eyes on level with Mr. Van Goethem’s and lowered his voice as if to tell a secret. He knew his words would carry nonetheless. “She says she forgives you, sir. She knows you are a good man at heart. She is proud of you.”

Mr. Van Goethem didn’t cry, but he clamped his lips together and his throat worked. He gave a jerky nod.

This had been nothing but a guess. In Abe’s experience, nearly everyone had disappointed a parent at one point or another.

At last, heart pounding, Abe moved to the back row and came to a halt in front of Donne. Standing this close, he could see a bit of pale stubble on those broad cheeks and stubborn chin. Donne’s eyes were more fog-like than ever: opaque and chilling. The type of eyes a man could get lost in. He sat straight-backed but not tense, heavy muscles relaxed beneath his cheap suit and good shirt. But his hands—yes. They hung over the armrests and moved with the hint of a tremor.

Interesting.

Without truly intending to, knowing it might even be dangerous, Abe reached out and settled a palm on Donne’s shoulder. Although Donne flinched slightly, he didn’t strike out or move away. His jaw tightened, though, and his eyes narrowed.

The war, Abe thought. Yes. Donne was the right age for it, and his accent thick enough to suggest he’d come of age in England instead of the United States. Besides, there was something about the set of his body and the creases around his eyes. “I hear… a man,” Abe began.

And then he did.

As clear as if the person stood next to him, a voice spoke in Abe’s ear. It sounded young and sad and thin. Tommy. Oh, my darling Tommy, what have they done to you?

Abe unwillingly echoed a phrase, the words tearing his throat. “My darling Tommy.”

Donne leapt to his feet, jerking back so violently that he toppled the chair. One hand went into his coat pocket, and Abe was certain he was about to be shot. The idea didn’t frighten him, mostly because he was too deeply awash in the spirit’s sorrow. “Don’t hurt him, Tommy.” From his own mouth, but it wasn’t his accent or his voice. “Please don’t.”

The spirit… the man had been in his early twenties, perhaps. A pointed chin and sharp nose, thin mobile eyebrows, a wide mouth always a moment away from a cheeky grin. Ears that stuck out a little. Abe knew this although he couldn’t see the spirit. Just as he knew the spirit’s name. “Albert,” he said in his own voice.

Donne jerked again but held his ground. He was breathing hard.

Abe’s knees felt weak, his head swam, and Albert whispered in his head: tiny snippets and phrases that Abe couldn’t quite catch. Reaching out for a chair back to support himself, he became aware of the wide eyes and gaping mouths of his guests.

With considerable effort, he gathered his wits, giving Donne a quick apologetic glance before striding to the front of the room. He cleared his throat before falling back into his faux accent. “I am sorry, friends. Today the spirits have qvite exhausted me. I hope you have found some of the answers you sought.”

The guests seemed pleased as they gathered their coats and hats and filed toward the hallway and the door. They thanked Abe as they shook his hand. Soon only two others remained: Rosie, looking about as if perhaps she’d mislaid a glove, and Donne, towering and jut-jawed in the back of the room.

“I need to talk to you,” Donne growled.

Abe simply nodded. He took Rosie gently by the arm and led her down the hall, surreptitiously offering her five dollars at the door. She took it but paused with her hand on the knob. “Are you all right?” she whispered.

“I’m fine.”

“That was—”

“I’ll explain another time, sweetheart.”

She scrunched her mouth together. “But that big fella, he don’t look too safe.”

“Nothing worthwhile ever is. I’ll see you tomorrow, Rosie.” He gave her a gentle push out the door and locked it behind her. Then he turned and walked back to face Donne.

Kim Fielding author

About The Author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical.

Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls California home. She lives there with her family, her cat, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Social Media

Author Website: http://kfieldingwrites.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Author Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Author Instagram: @KFieldingWrites

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4105707.Kim_Fielding

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/?s=kim+fielding&search_type=authors

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kim-Fielding/e/B006FN2T78

Giveaway

Kim is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card AND eBook copies of The Bureau V1 and V2 to one lucky winner.

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Release Blitz: Tainted Love by T.S. Hunter

Tainted Love | T.S. Hunter

Soho Noir #1

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Publisher: Red Dog Press

Cover Artist: Red Dog Press

Release Date: April 18, 2019

Genre/s: Cosy Crime, Noir, Novella, Amateur Sleuths

Heat Rating: 1 flame – It’s all murder and crime solving, though there is a love interest.

Length: 125 pages

It is a standalone story. The first of a series of 6.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Red Dog Press

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Blurb

Some relationships are just murder

It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town Joe and Chris grew up in.

When Chris is found brutally murdered, the police write his death off as another rent boy fallen foul of a bad hook up. But Joe knows his best friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.

Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?

Tainted Love is the first book in the Soho Noir series of cosy crime novellas.

About the series

The Soho Noir series is set in the decade of big hair, shoulder pads, pastel suits and bright, cheesy pop, in a part of London which, on the surface at least, seemed to accept and adore people from all walks of life—a melting pot of gender, sexuality, colour and race, where celebrities rubbed up against the average Joe in cafes, bars and hair salons on every street.

But the 1980s had a darker underbelly, even in Soho. This was a time when gay rights were hard fought, where the police actively targeted gay men as easy victims for arrest and extortion, the government deliberately restricted gay rights and the tabloids screamed about The Gay Plague—the AIDS epidemic. And yet, gay icons who would go on to endure lasting fame and success were springing up all over the pop and fashion world.

The 1980s forms a strangely fitting, sometimes nostalgic, always entertaining backdrop to this colourful series of cosy crime stories.

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

SOHO, LONDON. 1985.

THE DANK WINTERY STREETS outside were a distant memory now. Tonight, this hot, sweaty, neon-lit club was Joe’s whole universe. Music pulsed through his body like a brand new heartbeat. London was already changing him.

Sweat sticking his T-shirt to his ribs, arms raised high above his head, grinning wildly, hips pumping to Frankie’s repetitive calls to “Relax”. Joe hardly recognised himself and he was happier than he’d ever been.

It had been a night of Bronski Beat, Sister Sledge, Culture Club and Madonna—the kind of upbeat pop Joe usually hated. He was into more brooding, melancholic stuff—miserable shite, according to his friend Chris—and yet these pulsing, happy beats felt like they defined him right now. The new him. His new start.

This whole weekend had been like none Joe had ever known. He’d always been the quiet one, never even daring to come down to London on his own. Not confident enough to admit who he really was. This year was different already.

His oldest friend from school, Chris Sexton, had called him out of the blue to invite Joe to join him in London for a long weekend. A friend is having a party, he’d said. It’s going to be wild. You should come.

Chris had been the only person Joe had stayed in touch with from his school days. His first and only love, though he knew that particular accolade was one-sided, and Joe had long since given up hope of anything happening between them, even if he was still—and always would be—a little besotted with Chris.

Chris wasn’t the kind of guy who went around falling in love, though. Handsome, confident, reckless, funny and the bravest man Joe knew—Chris had left a trail of broken hearts behind him of those who’d fallen for him before they realised he’d never settle down.

So Joe and Chris had stayed friends, meeting up less frequently now that they had both left their respective universities, and Joe had secured a boring but well-paid job with the council back in their old home town.#

Chris, on the other hand, had moved to London seven years ago to study Fashion at St Martin’s College. Two fingers up to his father, who’d wanted him to join the family accountancy firm. Maybe he’d go back to it, when he’d settled down a bit. Though there was no sign of that happening any time soon.

After college, Chris had hooked himself up in a partnership with a couple of other young designers, and had been making a name for himself on the fashion scene ever since.

He was renting a flat in the heart of Soho and seemed to have a wide circle of friends of all shapes and ages. Joe wished he had Chris’s life. Or his talent. Or his looks. Any one of those would do.

Joe laughed as his friend bounced across the floor in a series of typically ostentatious dance moves, deliberately bumping into a tall, skinny, blonde guy—exactly Chris’s type—and planting a sly kiss on his cheek before sashaying away again. Oh, for that confidence.

Joe hadn’t even come out to his family yet. In fact, Chris was the only person he’d ever confided in, though he was sure others knew.

His oldest sister suspected. She’d asked him outright once, but he’d just changed the subject. It was none of her business. She was like the mirror of their mother. She wouldn’t understand. She would just worry.

All of that felt a lifetime away right now. Here in this club, Joe had found his spiritual home. This was living. This was who he really was. “Like a Virgin” by Madonna blasting out of the speakers, bodies bouncing and writhing together, very few of them remotely like a virgin.

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About the Author

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his later teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.

He now lives with his husband in the country and is active on social media as @TSHunter5.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter: Red Dog or TS Hunter


Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win:

Main Prize: one personalised paperback copy (signed and dedicated), a rainbow pin badge, chocolates and tote bag (red cotton tote back with the words Go Away I’m Reading in black)

or

one of five ebook copies of Tainted Love.

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