Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Crime and Catnip VBT

Blurb:
While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him...


Excerpt:
“Well, Nick,” I murmured. “Looks as if you’re two for two tonight for valuable clues. Now we just need to figure out what they’re clues to.”

“Er-ewl,” mewed Nick. His tail went straight up, and his eyes gleamed in pure kitty satisfaction. The cat was good and he knew it, damn him.

“Okay, Sam Spade Junior. Let’s get back home.”

Nick suddenly tensed, tail straight, back hunched. His head swiveled toward the motel room door, and I heard a loud rumble, almost a grr sound, deep in his throat.

Someone was outside that door.

I tiptoed over to the window and moved the curtain a fraction so I could peep out. I could hear a gusty wind blowing, and I saw swirls of leaves flit across the parking lot. I saw a few cars, including my own SUV, but not a sign of a human anywhere.

Nick had stopped growling, but he still paced to and fro in front of the door, keeping his eyes fixed firmly on it. I stepped away from the window and moved back to press my ear against the door. I listened for a few minutes, but not another sound reached my ears. I slid the safety chain into place and opened the door a crack, peering first right, then left.

Nothing. The walkway around the motel was deserted.

I opened the door, walked back to the bed, grabbed Nick, and then got out of there and over to my SUV as fast as my legs could move. As I put Nick in the passenger seat, I thought I saw a shadow flit out of the corner of my eye. I whirled around, but the parking lot appeared to be deserted. The only shadows I saw were those of the trees, their branches swaying in the late autumn wind.

Imagination. It’s a wonderful thing, and the mainstay of every writer, but right now I had no time for it.

I buckled myself in, started up the car, and swung back out onto the main road. I could save time getting back to Hot Bread if I took a short cut, a little travelled road that ran along the coast. In the interests of time, I opted for that route. The road was narrow and quite dark, as there were no lights, and I sped rapidly along the road. I heard a sound beside me and spared Nick a quick glance. He’d risen in the seat, hackles up, and his head was cocked to one side, listening. Since a cat’s hearing is way more sensitive than ours, I didn’t doubt for a second he’d heard something.

“Hey, relax, buddy,” I said. “This is a shortcut. We’ll be home before you can say ‘Friskies’ – say what?”

The car had come up from out of nowhere. I saw the lights in my rearview mirror and heard the groan of its motor a second before the car’s front fender connected with my rear one.

“Hey!” I shouted, gripping the wheel tighter. “What are you doing, you lunatic?”

I cast a quick glance out the window. The road wound along the coast, and there were no guardrails on this stretch. If the other car should bump me along the side, and run me off the road…well, there would be nowhere to run. It would be a good fifty-foot drop down into the raging waters of the Pacific.

“Hang on Nick,” I said through gritted teeth. “Fasten your seatbelt, buddy, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”

I slid a glance in the cat’s direction. He had his head buried in my purse. “Don’t worry, boy,” I whispered. “I won’t let this nut hurt us.”

I pulled hard on the wheel and pushed my foot down on the accelerator, turning the car sharply to the left just as the car following me as about to smack my rear fender again. I made a swift ninety degree turn and started racing down the road back the way I had originally come.

“I guess this shortcut wasn’t such a hot idea,” I ground out. A quick glance in my rearview mirror showed the twin headlights boring down on us again. It closed the gap between us in record time. Now its grille was about ten feet away from my rear bumper.

I gritted my teeth and then a soft whirring sound made me look over. Nick had his paw down on the automatic window release and was lowering the passenger window. He had an object clenched between his teeth. The pouch!

“Nick! What in Hell—“

I slowed down just a fraction and Nick took that opportunity to leap out of the car. Headlights reflected in my rear view mirror blinded me for a second, and I gave the steering wheel a sharp twist to the left, sending my SUV up over a grassy knoll just as the other car whizzed past.

“Whew,” I murmured, glancing over at the taillights of my pursuer as it vanished, “that was close – CRAP!”

The tree loomed large in front of me. I pressed down hard on the brake, but it was too late. I braced myself as the hood of the SUV made contact with the tree, and the last thing I remembered was the airbag deploying and enveloping me as I slipped into unconsciousness…




Tis the season to read and be merry!  Christmas is a time of joy, and nothing brings more joy to the heart than Christmas tales filled with the spirit of the season!  Below, in no particular order, are ten of the most popular Christmas stories. How many have you read?

A Christmas Carol
By: Charles Dickens

The story of the miserly Scrooge and the visits of the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future that redeem him was first published on December 17, 1843 and has remained popular ever since.  Re-iterated many times over in film, this is probably, next to The Night Before Christmas, the most popular of Christmas Tales.


How The Grinch Stole Christmas
By: Dr. Seuss

The classic tale of the Grinch is now more than 50 years old. But that's just why it's a classic: Seuss' grumpy stealer of Christmas is as fresh today as it was when first published in the mid 20th century


Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
By: Robert Barry

Mr. Willowby, the unwitting hero of this Christmas classic, looks quite a bit like the little mustachioed mascot from Monopoly. But as befits a Yuletide tale, this diminutive millionaire turns out to be a good bit more generous.


The Night Before Christmas
By: Clement Moore, Tasha Tudor

In 1822 Clement Clarke Moore wrote The Night Before Christmas for his own children. Now, of course, his poem is read aloud to children around the world who are anticipating Santa's arrival.


The Polar Express
By: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg

A magical train ride on Christmas Eve takes a boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus. This holiday classic earned a Caldecott Medal.


Gift of the Magi
By: O. Henry

One dollar and eight-seven cents is all the money Della has in the world to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure -- her long, beautiful brown hair. Set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century, this classic piece of American literature tells the story of a young couple and the sacrifices each must make to buy the other a gift. 


Little Women
By: Louisa May Alcott

Alright, it’s not really a Christmas tale per se, but it starts out at Christmas, and the story of the March sisters typifies the meaning of Christmas as nothing else does. Little Women is the heartwarming story of the March family that has thrilled generations of readers. It is the story of four sisters--Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth-- and of the courage, humor and ingenuity they display to survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War.


Skipping Christmas
By: John Grisham

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That's just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they'll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won't be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren't even going to have a tree. They won't need one, because come December 25 they're setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences - and isn't half as easy as they'd imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition by an author who you woulnd’t expect to write such a lighthearted tale.


The Christmas Train
David Baldacci

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people's essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

The Christmas Train is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischief ... and shows how we do get second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles.


The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
L. Frank Baum

Every child knows about Santa Claus, the jolly man who brings gifts to all on Christmas. There are many stories that tell of his life, but the delightful version relayed in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is by far the most charming and original of all. Only L. Frank Baum, the man who created the wonderful land of Oz, could have told Santa's tale in such rich and imaginative detail.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.


Author Bio and Links:
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, is out this December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com.

Where to find them:
ROCCO’s blog     |     Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Amazon: Crime and Catnip     |     All Books Page

7 comments:

  1. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

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  2. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

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  3. What is the best book that you have read recently? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win.

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  4. Sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing :)

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  5. Judging by the excerpt, book sounds very intriguing, looking forward to reading it!

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