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Review and Contest: Splintered Lies by Karen Lopp

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Splintered Lies

Karen Lopp

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Publisher:  SilverTree Publishing

Date of Publication:   May 18, 2014

ISBN:  978-0-9903666-0-7

ASIN:  BOOK1FSEW

Number of pages:  223

Word Count:   70k

Cover Artist:  Karen Lopp

Available at Amazon

splinteredlies850x1362Book Description: 

Detective Rissa Marten sacrificed her only chance for a normal life to put a drug lord behind bars. Now, her life in the shadows has to be brought to life to save the man she has secretly loved for years. With a price on her head can she risk letting him know?

Detective Jerah Qassem has built his career as an undercover agent in the dangerous world of drug cartels. But when a ghost from his past is resurrected can he overcome his bitterness in time to save her life?

REVIEW: 

I love Romantic Thrillers, especially if the suspense is intense and the romance sizzles. SPLINTERED LIES delivers all that and more.

There’s a whirlwind of action in this story, and  more twists and turns than an amusement park roller coaster. Some readers may find Rissa Marten’s multiple alias’ a bit confusing in the beginning but the author is merely staging with a little backstory . . . necessary to understand the extreme measures Rissa has taken to keep her identity secret. Things soon smooth out and we know exactly who Rissa is, why she is in hiding and how much she loves Detective Jerah Qassem. In fact, the only person who is still in the dark about how much she cares is Jerah.

After believing for eight years that Rissa was dead, Jerah is more than a little confused, angry and excited when she wanders into the bar where he is having a drink. Within a few pages of their meeting, Rissa and Jerah are whisked off to Mexico on the yacht of a drug lord, shot at by Federalizes, and almost drowned in the ocean. As I said, there’s a lot of action in this book!

There are some violent scenes so if you are sensitive to physical brutality, you might squirm from time to time. I personally don’t like graphic violence but I wasn’t too put off by the detailed beatings. It seemed an appropriate way to show the villain’s  capacity for cruelty.

I would have liked a more realistic approach to Rissa and Jerah’s reunion. I felt Rissa was a bit too “offish” for the well written sexual chemistry playing out between her and Jerah, and he didn’t seem as curious about why she faked her death as most men would have been. These are minor issues and in no way take away from the fast pace and suspenseful plot.

If you enjoy thrillers or suspense with a healthy dose of romantic angst, SPLINTERED LIES is a good choice for your to-be-read list.

 Excerpt:

Jerah Qassem had never been more grateful for his years of undercover training than at this moment. Fingers tight around the tumbler to stop the tremors, he watched the apparition glide up to the bar, and wondered if someone had laced his drink with a hallucinogen. Mary was dead. He had nightmares or wet dreams about her most nights for the last eight years.

It wasn’t only the woman’s face that had his insides swirling like a hurricane. It was the way she moved. Long, smooth strides, shoulders straight and eyes darting around like a caged cat. Mary had always been casting looks over her shoulder as if she expected someone to jump out and chase her. But those legs were just as toned and shapely as Mary’s had been. She had been athletic and grabbed every chance she could to romp around the beach. Even the hair was the exact same color of ripened wheat and bounced just below her shoulders. Just like Mary had worn it.

Chills erupted all over his body and cold fingers caressed the nape of his neck. Unable to blink, Jerah stared at the ghost of Mary. The girl he had sent to her death in a fit of anger. The girl he had fallen in love with, yet had been too proud and ambitious to acknowledge until she was gone. Forever.

Jerah closed his eyes against the jarring memory of two firemen holding him back from the charred remains of the building he had sent Mary into as three body bags were carried out. A shudder rattled down his spine. He had relived that day too often. When he glanced back at the bar, the woman had taken a seat and smiled at the bartender. Jerah knew that smile. The same smile that once had almost melted his resolve to not get involved. He had had a career to build. Mary had stirred up thoughts of forever and love, things he hadn’t been ready for. The temptation had been great. But somehow, he persevered and tossed away the best thing that had ever happened to him.

Air exploded from his chest and Jerah shook his head. He did not believe in ghosts. Prickles sprang up his legs as if his blood had decided to flow again. He tugged his leaden body from the chair and stalked to the bar. “Give me a shot of Wild Turkey.” Needing the fortification, he gulped down the amber liquid. Fire burned down his throat. Nope, he wasn’t dreaming. Hands braced on the edge of the bar, he turned to the woman at his side.

“Jerah?”

A voice from the grave, soft and melodic, brushed across his ears. That face, resurrected from the dead, shimmered under the neon lights, a few years older, but still able to mesmerize him. Fear, anger, and profound sadness glittered in those honey-hued eyes as the color leeched from her face.

Anger and shock swelled like a wave and crashed over Jerah. That’s all she had to say? After leaving him to believe she had been killed?

Blood roared in his ears and he clamped a shaking hand around her arm. “Come with me.” A tiny voice told him this was a bad idea. That too many curious eyes watched this little exchange. But he couldn’t help it. Mary was alive and he damn sure wanted to know how. Carl and the risk of a blown cover be damned. Besides, this wasn’t the usual meeting place, and Carl wasn’t here yet.

“Let go of me, Jerah.” The sharp whisper of dismissal slapped him in the face.

He leaned in close and tightened his grip. “You are coming with me and I don’t give a shit if you cause a scene or not.” The bartender sat another drink on the counter and Jerah gulped it down in one swallow, ignoring the open interest of the bartender. The burn of alcohol on his throat was not enough to ease the utter chaos of his insides. “Come on.”

Mary catapulted out of her stool at his tug and stumbled into him. When she landed against his chest, sizzles and crackles exploded over his flesh like a bolt of lightning. Conscious control flew away as Jerah’s free hand snaked to the nape of her neck and he feathered his fingers through her soft tresses. Something he had dreamed of many nights over the years.

About the Author:

karen loppStories have always been a part of my life, from books to tales passed down from my ancestors that brought history to life. Danger, struggles and the will power to overcome are all found in the rich legacy of my family tree. Inspiration from their lives inspired me to write what I love. Branching out to contemporary suspense has been another dream come true. I hope my stories bring you entertainment and inspiration.

I love history of all times and places. And my second but equal love of suspense fills my books.

http://karenlopp.com

https://twitter.com/karen_lopp

https://www.facebook.com/authorkarenlopp

http://www.pinterest.com/karenlopp

 

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Spotlight & Interview: Karen Lopp – “Effie’s Outlaw”

UPDATE: Wow!!!! It doesn’t get any better than this!!!

Karen Lopp is hosting a GIVEAWAY! 

Prizes are: 

Grand prize -1 Custom made throw 
 
4 – $5 amazon gift cards
Entering is soooo easy! Just click on this link and complete the form.
And for those of us who have anxiously awaited Effie’s Outlaw release, here’s the “buy” link:

***

I love Historical Westerns. Love to read ’em. Love to watch movies about that era. Love to visit the places where it all started.  So naturally, I loved the opportunity to indulge in a fun conversation with author Karen Lopp who writes Historical Western Romance. And you’ll love the spotlight on her latest release, “Effie’s Outlaw” that I included after my interview .

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MEET THE AUTHOR:  Karen Lopp

As a transplanted Oklahoman, it is my extreme pleasure to welcome another native “Okie” to my blog today. I’m sure Karen will agree that Oklahoma provides a rich heritage which lends itself perfectly to her chosen genre, Historical Western Romance.

Karen, your bio reads you are ” . . . drawn to the courageous lives of the women who lived through the hardships of the past and triumphed.” I’m immediately reminded of the Pioneer Woman statue in Ponca City, Oklahoma. What do you find most inspiring about the women of that era?

The resilience that was required in their everyday lives. I really admire how they stepped up and took on many tasks that we, today would balk at. They not only kept the house going, they often assisted with outdoor chores and often had to be the doctor, bookkeeper, and gardener.

I’ve heard that you often draw on your family’s history to influence your writing, and especially your grandmother. Can you give us an example?

My grandmother grew up on a farm and married a farmer. They lived through the depression and one story she wrote down has stayed with me for years and reminded me just how good we have it. At one point she only had the means to purchase one piece of material for a new dress. She mistakenly cut it out wrong. Instead of giving up, she simply flipped the half of the material to the wrong side and made a two-toned skirt.

You currently reside in New Mexico, another enchanted land with a colorful heritage. What do you like most about the history of this state and do you plan to incorporate any of it into future books?

The green chilies of course. The smell of them roasting is wonderful and always let me know fall is in the air. My novel, Shotgun Bride is set in the northern part of New Mexico where I lived for a short space of time. And yes, adding some of the heritage of New Mexico into future books has been something I plan on doing. 

What projects are you currently working on?

I have another western that is mostly completed. Still trying to come up with a great title. I also have a completed romantic suspense that I have farmed out to beta readers.

I understand you have an ongoing competition with your father to see who can grow the tallest Hollyhocks. J Share some gardening secrets with us!

LOL, in my soil there is very little that will grow. Roses and hollyhocks do wonderful in this ground but little else does. So for here, we use a raised bed and imported soil to grow vegetables. So, I wish I had some good tips but in this high, dry desert climate, only  a few things will grow.

I found the most scrumptious gluten free recipes on your blog. Special diets require a LOT of research and taste tests. Trust me, I know. So I have to ask . . . how do you balance family, gardening, cooking and writing?

Special diets do require a ton of work. Much more than I bargained for when I was diagnosed with celiac.  And living in a rural area the options at the store are very limited and forget going out to eat. So I do have to make time to cook every meal which takes time management. My children are out of the house now, but my daughter also has it so we try to help each other with new recipes and ideas. We try to make items in bulk and premix what we can. This saves a lot of time. Other than that, I make myself sit and write event when the house is in chaos with dirty laundry, a sink full of dishes and weeds that need pulled in the garden. When I take a break from writing, that’s when I address those chores. 

And now for some fun . . .

You’ve found a magic stone with the power to transport you to any time, any place. Where are you going and why? (Since I know you love the Old West, pick a different time period.)

I would go back to the founding of America. There are so many people I’d love to meet and just sitting and listening to the debates would be fascinating. 

Thank you, Karen, for sharing a bit of your life with us. I’m looking forward to reading “Effie’s Outlaw”, as I know my readers will, too!

EFFIE’S OUTLAW by Karen Lopp

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Genre: Historical Western Romance

Publisher: SoulMate Publishing

Cover Artist: Devon

Book Description:

Boston heiress, Effie Sheridan, takes matters into her own hands when her fortune is being stolen. The last thing she expects is to be kidnapped by a gang of train robbers. Forced to pretend to be an outlaw’s lover to stay alive, she questions her sanity when she is drawn to the gruff, yet charming bandit who risks everything to save her.

U.S. Deputy, Alex Marshall is mad enough to spit nails when the beautiful, city-bred girl lands in his arms. Unable to abandon her to the cruelties of the gang, he searches for a way out of the responsibility. But her courage and sweet kisses begin to chip away at the bitterness inside his heart and he must choose between revenge on the gang that slaughtered everyone he loved or redemption for saving a women he can never have.

Excerpt:

“He can’t discover who I am.”

Something indefinable in the tone of her voice scared the hell out him. “And just who are you?”

A long minute passed before she glanced up. Tight lines edged her eyes. He tucked her hair behind her ear.” I need to know what I’m up against.”

“Get me out of here, tonight,” Was the only answer she gave him.

Lips compressed, he took her hand and stalked to their campsite. Maybe if he opened up a bit he could coax something out of her.

Reclined on the grass beside Grace, Alex locked his hands behind his head and stared at the sky. “My real name is Alex. What’s yours?”

She fiddled with her skirt and avoided eye contact for several minutes. “Effie.”

“That wasn’t so hard was it?” Alex rolled to his side and propped his head on his hand.

Grace hugged her knees. “No.”

“Now, tell me what has you so spooked.”

“I can’t.”

Alex curled his fingers tight. “Why not?”

“I don’t trust you much more than I do Ben.” She hugged her knees tighter.

That stung. “Haven’t I tried to help you?”

“You rob people for gain don’t you?” Sarcasm laced her accusation.

He sighed at the tangle of lies he was embedded in. “Not really.”

Effie scowled down at him. “Then what motivates you to steal?”

Alex doubted she could ever understand the loss of loved ones in a brutal mass murder. She’d never understand his need for revenge so he could ease the pain in his heart. It would be useless to try and explain it to her.

“Gives me a little excitement.” He added another lie to his list of deceptions.

“I don’t believe you.”

Alex jerked up, he wasn’t a knight in shining armor and he couldn’t afford for her to guess his real reason for being in the gang. “Keep your secrets then, but don’t blame me if you find yourself in a bind.” He marched off.

Let the sheltered city girl stew over his warning, he told himself. Memories of his family reminded Alex he still hadn’t discovered who pulled the trigger that fateful day, and Effie’s presence hindered his efforts. Alex was almost tempted to give her to Ben and let him figure out what to do with her.

Light but noisy footsteps followed him. He spun around. “What?”

“Please Alex, don’t be angry.”

“You want my help, my protection, with no concept of the consequences. I’m not some hired hand you can boss around. Dangling false promises of money under my nose won’t work. I take you away and I can never show my face around here again.” He thrust a finger at her. “You have no idea what that costs me.”

Hands balled on her hips, Effie glared at him. “Then you should never have brought me here.”

Guilt washed over him and he snapped. “Why don’t you hustle on down the hill and tell Sam you’d rather be his. Solve my problems.”

Effie threw herself at his chest and fisted his shirt. Panic bleached her face. “No!” she cried out, fear heavy in the one word.

Damn, the girl made him feel like a bastard.

About the Author:

karen lopp

Steeped in a rich family history, Karen Lopp has always been drawn to the courageous lives of the women who lived through the hardships of the past and triumphed.

A transplant from Oklahoma where she grew up on a farm just one mile away from where her great-grandparents settled in the land run, Karen now lives in the enchanted land of New Mexico and has a running competition with her dad on who can grow the tallest hollyhocks. Books and tales of ancestors were staples in her life and she fell in love with history. Enthralled with the short stories her grandmother wrote and passed down, she took the plunge (with encouragement from hubby and kids) into the world of writing.  Her inspiration comes from research into her family tree and their interesting lives.

http://karenlopp.com

http://karenlopp.wordpress.com

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http://facebook.com/authorkarenlopp

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