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Excerpt and Giveaway: The Grave Tender by Eliza Maxwell


THE GRAVE TENDER
by
By Eliza Maxwell
  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: April 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 248
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A chilling psychological suspense novel, The Grave Tender explores the dark boundaries people cross to save loved ones, and the limits of family bonds tested by the deepest of betrayals.
Endless questions from a shadow-filled East Texas childhood haunt Hadley Dixon. People said her mother, Winnie, was never quite right, but with one single, irreparable act, life as Hadley knew it was shattered. The aftershocks of that moonlit night left her reeling, but the secrets and lies had started long before.
When a widowed and pregnant Hadley returns years later, it’s not the safe harbor she expects. The mysteries surrounding a local boy’s disappearance remain, and the townspeople still whisper about Hadley’s strange and reclusive Uncle Eli—whispers about a monster in their midst.
But Hadley’s father and grandmother, the cornerstones of everything safe in her world, avoid her questions. If Hadley stays here, will she be giving her children the family they need or putting their lives in danger?
The hunt for answers takes a determined Hadley deep into the pine forests, in search of sunlight that will break through the canopy of lies long enough to reveal the truth.
“The Grave Tender will grasp you in its hooks from the beginning as you try to figure out the truth behind each character, because no one is truly what they seem … Addicting, easy to read, and hard to put down.”Shelbi LeMeilleur, Insite Magazine
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4a231-excerpt

Most people, if asked, would tell you that Cooper Abbott had surely had some sort of accident.  Maybe he’d been bitten by a snake, or fallen into the river and hit his head on a rock.  There were as many rumors as people to spread them, and a thousand possibilities to choose from.

The one thing they all agreed on was that tropical storm Jolene had been a true misfortune, carrying off any clue to finding the boy.  Probably carrying off the boy himself, down the river toward the Gulf of Mexico.

No one suspected anything more sinister.

Not at first.

By Thursday night the skies had cleared.  On Friday, the clean-up began.

The Dixon’s power was still out, as it was in many places across town, but Hadley didn’t care.  She was happy to be outside, helping to haul downed branches into a pile and picking up dropped nails while Walker took the boards off the shutters.  Light slowly came back into the dim house.

It was just after lunch when the Sheriff’s car pulled slowly up the drive, gravel crunching under the tires all the way.

Ben Hammon was an old friend of Walker’s.  They’d gone to school together way back when, and still met up for poker night every other Friday.  But it wasn’t a social call that brought Sheriff Hammon out to the Dixon house that day.

The Sheriff wasn’t alone.  One of his deputies got out of the passenger side of the car.  The deputy looked forbidding in his brown uniform and hat, his eyes scanning the trees behind their home.  But he smiled and gave Hadley a wink when he caught her watching him.

“Hey, Ben.  Any news on the Abbott boy?” Walker asked.

The Sheriff shook his head.  “Nothing yet.  We’ve picked up the search again, but frankly Walker, I don’t expect to hear anything until we get a call from somewhere downriver.”

Walker cleared his throat and motioned in her direction.

“Hadley, you remember Sheriff Hammon, don’t you?”

She knew good and well the reminder was for the Sheriff, so he wouldn’t say anything else that meant something.  Cooper is my friend, Hadley thought, tired of being treated like a baby.

“Actually, Walker, we’d like to speak with Hadley, if you don’t mind.”

Walker’s eyebrows shot up.

“What’s this about, Ben?”

“Dan Abbott was in to see us soon as the weather let up,” the Sheriff said.  “He says the kids had a run in with your brother last weekend.”

The camp out.  An image of Eli looming over them in the doorway of the tent filled Hadley’s mind.

“Eli?” Walker asked, glancing down at Hadley, clearly confused.  She’d never told him what had happened last week, and so much had happened since.

“What’s Eli got to do with anything?”

The Sheriff tipped his hat back and scratched his head, not looking entirely comfortable in his own skin.

“Probably nothing, to tell you the truth.  But a boy is missing, Walker, and we have to do our jobs.”

All three men turned to Hadley then.  Her eyes went wide.

Walker squatted down next to her.

“Hadley, honey, you don’t have to be scared.  You’re not in any trouble.  Just tell the men here what happened.  Nobody can be hurt by telling the truth.”

Hadley knew that wasn’t true.  If it were, her father wouldn’t look so worried.  But she couldn’t see another option, so she did as he asked.  She told the truth.

 

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband, two impatient kids, a budgie named Sarah, and a bird dog who lives a tortured existence.  She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict.  A former bookseller with a lifelong love of the written word, she can often be found barefoot on the front porch lost in a good cup of coffee and a great book.
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Grand Prize:The Bookworm Basket ($150 Value)
Signed paperback copy of THE GRAVE TENDER
$50 Amazon gift card
Plush decorative throw blanket (Smoke Grey)
Greatest opening lines of literature coffee mug
Taste of Texas Coffee variety pack
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Library card socks
Paperback copy of THE LIFE WE BURY by Allen Eskens
Paperback copy of SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE by Nancy Star
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Signed paperback copy of THE GRAVE TENDER
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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
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Review
4/12
Excerpt
4/13
Review
4/14
Book Trailer
4/15
Review
4/16
Promo
4/17
Author Interview
4/18
Review
4/19
Deleted Scene
4/20
Scrapbook
4/21
Review
4/22
Playlist
4/23
Promo
4/24
Review
 
 


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Freed to Forgive by Julie B. Cosgrove





Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours

presents
 
Freed to Forgive
 
by 
 
Julie B. Cosgrove
 
Genre: Inspirational/Suspense
Shackled by her past, can she be freed to forgive?
 
Abused in her Mexican village, Marisol’s anger is her ticket to freedom in America or so she thinks. But her temper lands her in worse and worse situations. Trafficked and pregnant, she gives up the baby so it can have a better life.
 
Now, ten years later, her past returns to haunt her, just when she has caught the eye of Jesse, the one man who wants to know her…and not just her body. Marisol has struggled hard to disguise her past, but will the unforgiving spirit she harbors prevent her from embracing her future?
 
Though delicately worded with veiled descriptions, this faith-based novel does depict some disturbing, yet unfortunately all too common, sex trafficking scenes necessary for the plot.
 
 
BUY LINKS
 
 
 
Praise for Julie Cosgrove
 
I’ve bought Julie B Cosgrove‘s new book and will read it when released. After reading others from Julie, I know this one will be a dynamite read too.
Gay N Lewis, author of the Sara books
 
Ms Cosgrove writing style weaves into a descriptive story demanding not to be put down. The story arc and the character development are well-toned. Julie B. Cosgrove holds the reader in the palm of her hand. Just when you think all might go well for the main character, another event far worse than the one before befalls her all delivered by the expertly crafted and well-accomplished Ms. Cosgrove. 
Victoria Caine Pitts.
 
The author takes a very real, very dire situation and educates you about it through this book, intertwining edge-of-your-seat twists and turns along the way. She stabs your heart with a strong awareness of the horrific human trafficking problem our country faces by putting it right in front of you.If this story doesn’t tug at your heartstrings and inspire you to get involved, nothing will.
 


And in the midst of all that, Julie manages to subtly teach a lesson in faith – faith to give God control and wait for his timing, 
no matter how powerful your storm.
 

 

Believable characters, a plot that never ceases to shock and intrigue, and descriptive visuals are just a few elements that make this book worthy of your time. I highly recommend it to anyone who…well, to anyone, really.  
Emily Skeen, romance author
 
 I really enjoyed the way the issues was woven into the story without feeling it was thrown in my face. Cosgrove spent the time to develop the characters enough to make me have that deep connection with them but not get bored, a fine line that a lot of authors cross.  
Jessica Higgins, ereader
 
Julie B. Cosgrove is a great author who knows how to pull at your heart with her writing. 
Author Mary Ball
 
Author Julie Cosgrove has used her amazing word-weaver-skills to paint a story full of intrigue, suspense, and humor… 
she has raised the bar for us other authors.  
DiAne Gates, author of Roped
 
Julie Cosgrove is a talented story teller who knows how to create realistic plots and not drag them on and on with needless verbiage.
Violet Wickes, reader



Shoes shuffled towards her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you. You speak English?” 

She bobbed her head.


He bent down to meet her face. A black shirt came into view as a whiff of woodsy men’s cologne filled her nose. A small, wooden cross dangled from beneath his open collar. Marisol dared to raise her eyes, just a touch. They were met by a warm smile. Two strong hands gently clutched her arms. “Come into the church. We can talk. Perhaps I can help you.”


Alarms went off. No. Never go anywhere with a strange man—ever again. 

Marisol twisted from his grip, gaze returning downward.


The man released his hands and held them out, palms up. “My name is Pastor Jake. You can trust me.”


One eye cocked enough to peer into his. Honesty oozed from them, as did reverence, etched by slight crow’s feet. He appeared to be in his late thirties now. A gold band glimmered on his left ring finger.


A shudder raced under her skin. She willed her shoes to move—away from the man, the marquee, and her memories. But they locked to the sidewalk.


His eyes narrowed. “Do I know you?”


Marisol inhaled a shaky breath. Yes, you do. But she’d never reveal it. To do so would dredge up too much sorrow. 



Freelance writer, author and speaker Julie B Cosgrove leads retreats, workshops, and Bible studies. She writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications and has been published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul, Faith Filled Family Magazine, Upper Room’s Devozine and Alive Now, The Secret Place, Light from the Word,The Journey and Good News Daily. 

Besides freelance writing and editing for clients, Julie has personally published three Bible studies,two inspirational works, a devotional and several novels – Focused (2012), Hush in the Storm (2014) and Legitimate Lies (2015), Freed to Forgive (2015) with Greener Grasses, Navy Blues and a three book cozy mysteries series, The Bunco Biddies coming in 2016-2017. 


She is a member of North Texas Christian Writers, Texas Association of Authors, Advanced Writers and Speakers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Toastmasters International, Daughters of the Holy Cross and several web-based author groups Julie has one grown son and lives in Fort Worth, TX with two cats. 

 
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