Monday, March 9, 2015

#NewRelease The Second Lie (The Immortal Vikings #2) by Anna Richland

Anna lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. The perpetual drizzle is a good excuse to drink more coffee. She’s a former US Army officer who now writes The Immortal Vikings series from Carina Press and also the author of His Road Home, a novella which Publishers Weekly called “Tantalizing … a raw, emotional story” and the website SmartB*tchesTrashyBooks gave an A rating.

She donates a portion of her book proceeds to two charities: the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families of wounded soldiers in the US and Great Britain, and Doctors Without Borders, which delivers emergency medical care in more than sixty crisis zones world-wide.

To sign up for Anna's newsletter, find out more about her books, and read longer excerpts, please visit her website, her Facebook page, or her Goodreads page.

A woman desperate to achieve her dreams.

To reassure wealthy clients, Christina Alvarez Mancini invented a jet-setting British owner for her Napa Valley wine collection service. Success has brought her close to buying her own winery, when irregularities at a London wine auction threaten her business.

A man in love with a good plan.

Stig, an immortal Viking thief, knows he’s found the perfect role. The California woman who created his character won’t discover what he’s up to in England until after he’s pocketed the money he needs. Then Christina walks into the auction preview, ready to ruin his plans, and he knows his boredom has ended.

Secrets that turn deadly.

By the end of the night, these two rivals must cooperate to escape kidnappers, British authorities, media and a pair of mysterious watchers. That’s when a game Stig’s played for a thousand years puts Christina’s life at risk.

Can two people whose identities are based on lies trust each other enough to survive?

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“The lady is with me.” Geoffrey—or Stig, as these men called him—slid through the narrow opening to insert himself between her and the gray-haired man. He held one hand behind his back and curled his fingers into his palm as if he wanted her to get to her feet. “I hope you gentlemen have finished interrupting my private party.”

Her legs barely functioned. She had to brace on the back of the bar to heave herself to her feet, thighs screaming as muscles unfolded. Cramp or no cramp, she wouldn’t let go of the familiar heft of the wine in her other hand. She prayed her legs didn’t collapse and send her sprawling, prayed none of them could see her shake.

Now he wiggled his fingers as if he wanted her to move closer. She had the feeling he wasn’t the worst man in the room, and she couldn’t stay in the corner, so she slipped underneath his arm. His warmth was welcome after so long on the tile floor.

Her right hand with the bottle was trapped low behind his back, but he urged her closer and nudged her left elbow until her empty hand threaded itself under his tux jacket and across the starched white shirt. It was warm that close to his skin.

She understood what charade he had in mind.

“Geoffrey.” She drew out the final e sound and tucked her head against his shoulder as if she was tired. That part at least was true. “Can we go to the hotel? I picked a wine and waited like you told me to.”

The hand cupping her shoulder squeezed in what she suspected was approval. “As soon as I finish with this business, my dear.” He nuzzled into her hair, and she expected him to whisper instructions, but he just breathed.

Improvising was not her forte. She looked into his eyes and saw a spark of encouragement. The con man was daring her, but to do what?

She looked at the other two. “I didn’t know you invited—” she tilted her head and slowly licked her lips, an attempt to seem more intrigued than worried, before she smiled, “—friends.”

“They’re leaving.” Then he swiveled his chest enough that her hand brushed against something hard under his jacket, in the space over his rib cage.

She’d watched enough television to know it was a gun. In a holster.

This wasn’t her fight, so she reminded herself to exhale normally. There was no chance in hell she would pull that out. Using a gun wasn’t in her plan. “I think I’ll go now.” Too squeaky, she tried again. “I’ll get a cab.” That sounded better. She let her hand slip out from his jacket, away from the gun, away from the man who would carry one. “See you later, okay?”

“I’ll be right behind you.”

He meant something by that, but she didn’t know what, so she turned to walk past the man with the eye patch. This was the test.

“You’re not leaving.” He looked from Stig to her, one side of his mouth drawn up while he stared at her legs. “We can use her.”

That phrase put another layer on whatever she’d tumbled into.

“You’re becoming annoying, Skafe. Obviously, I have plans for what’s left of the evening. They don’t include a ménage.”

“I’m not sure about your luck.” The third man studied a paper in his hand. He had dark hair and his pronounced cheekbones combined with slightly elongated eyes to give him a Slavic look. “Since she appears to be an investigator.”

Her list. He raised it to shoulder level so they could see the two tidy columns comparing her original records of sale with total bottles listed for auction. His other hand held her phone.

She couldn’t have spoken even if she’d known what to say. Her throat was scalded raw by the acid of fear.

Then Stig sighed. “I chased that biddy away. Black dress, nose like a beak, pearls good enough that they nearly fooled me into missing her affiliation with the insurance industry. Surely you saw her stomp out from your lobby purgatory?”

She almost believed him, and it was her list, so she wasn’t surprised that both men looked confused. He was that good.

This was it.

“I’m really tired. And cold.” She didn’t have to act as she grabbed her purse and looped the gold chain around her wrist. “I hope the coat check isn’t locked.” One step separated her from the scowling older man. He’d have to turn slightly to let her pass, or she’d have to flatten her butt against the bar and slide sideways. She smiled with everything in her, the smile she’d used the first time her mother had brought Frank Mancini home for dinner at their tiny apartment, the smile she used when renewing her driver’s license, the expression she called her I’m so nice and tiny and cute that you need to be nice right back face.

He didn’t move.

Midstep, she shifted to slide to her left. Kept her sweet smile in place despite its failure. Kept going even when her dress snagged on a hinge that protruded from the raised counter panel. Screw her good black dress. If she got out of here, she’d buy a replacement.

She made it around the bar.

The dark one stepped to his left as she went right, and she forced herself to giggle like a high schooler in the hall as she darted to the other side.

He was too fast. Didn’t let her pass.

A commotion behind her. She didn’t have time to look. The door was open in front of her, and she had only one not-very-big guy between her and freedom.

She brought up her purse on its shortened chain and swung it fast and bingo, his eyes followed it for a second. Her other hand, gripping three pounds of thick glass and wine, came hard from her side, as hard as she could swing. Her brother had made sure she knew to aim for the temple and ear, but her grip was upside-down. She couldn’t put her whole weight behind her swing.

Fuck. The bottle didn’t break.

He stumbled to the side but didn’t fall. She barreled past, but he must’ve stuck out a leg, because suddenly she was on the floor and she knew she hadn’t made it.

Then a hand grabbed her hair and yanked.

Anna will be awarding a set of En Route notecards, gorgeously illustrated by Kate Pocrass (because falling in love with an Immortal Viking is a wild journey!) to a randomly drawn winner (INTERNATIONAL) via rafflecopter during the tour!
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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Anna Richland said...

Thanks so much for posting the excerpt from THE SECOND LIE! I'm excited to be on tour.

This weekend I was writing a note to friends who are moving, and I almost opened the gift swag notecards because they are so perfect for journeys, trips, etc.

In the excerpt, I was picturing Christina and the bad guy doing one of those awkward things where you both slide to one side, and then both to the other, when you're trying to walk around each other. I'm guilty of that all the time! Anyone else feel like they don't know how to walk down the street?

Dr. kold_kadavr_flatliner, MD, the sub/dude said...

Cool shoes. I absolutely love giving writers thots and ideers - maybe you have somebody who fits this description or who's unique in their exceeding subtlety. Dunno. Nevertheless...

Q: Why should you love our exploded plethora of produce which’ll plant the seeds for YOU to grow to great heights?? PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK:

A: Greetings, earthling. Not sure if we're on the same page if you saw what I saw. Because I was an actual NDE on the outskirts of the Great Beyond at 15 yet wasn’t allowed in, lemme share with you what I actually know Seventh-Heaven’s Big-Bang’s gonna be like for us if ya believe/accept: meet this ultra-bombastic, ex-mortal-Upstairs for the most extra-blatant, catch-22-excitotoxins, myriads of cogently-ironic-metaphors, guhroovaliciousnessly-delicious-endorphin-rush, pleasure-beyond-measure, Ultra-Firepower-Idyllic-Addiction in the Great Beyond for a BIG-ol, kick-off-to-kick-ass, party-hardy, robust-N-risqué, eternal-real-McCoy-warp-drive you DO NOT wanna miss the sink-your-teeth-in-the-rrrock’nNsmmmokin’-hot-deal: PLEASE KEEP HANDS/FEET INSIDE THE RIDE UNTIL WE MADE A CIRCUMFERENCE OF the OUTSTANDING, NEVER-ENDING, THRILLIONTH-RED-MARKER-POSSIBILITIES …with eXtra eXciting eXtroverts doing the most vivid, brazen congrewnts: flawless as pearls, baby, from the Toyster Upstairs!!! Gain altitude, not attitude, and take front-row-seats, as the inexhaustible, irresistible intimacy shall blow-your-fragile-mind to peaces, miss gorgeous. Meet me Upstairs. Do that for us. Cya soon, girl…

PS “It is impossible that anyone should NOT receive all that they have believed and hoped to obtain; it gives Me great pleasure when they hope great things from Me and I will always give them more than they expect”
-Our Lord to Saint Gertrude

Anna Richland said...


Is that last comment really bad computer-writing or really bad translation or just really bad drugs?

(I'm voting for a computer writing spam. Can't even tell what they're selling, though.)

bn100 said...

nice excerpt

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