Bootleggers by Paul Rudd


Bootleggers
Book One
Paul Rudd

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Publisher: Ravenous Roadkill Publishing 
& Wild Wolf Publishing
Date of Publication: 15th December 2019
ISBN-10 : 1675816727  
ISBN-13 : 978-1675816721
Number of pages: 497
Word Count: 136,697
Cover Artist: Southern Stiles Design

Tagline: “We’ve gone from zero to apocalypse in six days.” 

Book Description: 

Welcome to 1987, part of the era of VHS and arcade games.

A time when teenagers on BMX’s create worlds of imagination.

The Four Horsemen, Tommy, Mikey, Kurt and Ted, need something new to spice up their gatherings, because, well, boys will be boys. When a stranger approaches Mikey with bootlegged tapes in the trunk of his car, Mikey isn’t interested, but the boardgame the man presents might just do the trick.

The Horsemen become Bootleggers to play this life-altering game, assuming avatars with a twist to every tale and forging into the realms created by a sadistic madman known as Mr. Nobody.

Everything is at risk, family and friends, and their entire town; they must play, or everyone dies.

When folk are murdered, the boys know there is only one way to end the game. It is time to change the rules and kick some ass.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/zSZJn9KDbj0

Amazon     AmazonUK      AudibleUS     AudibleUK

Excerpt:

Monday …

08:10 A.M.

THE DOWNPOUR eased up just before Tommy left home. Still, he chose to take the school bus rather than cycle. The teenager exited the bus and made his way up the driveway towards school, not caring that he was wishing away the day.

Some of the Mids, with their side ponytails, structured shoulder jackets, and baggy, cropped trousers mingled in the courtyard. The term ‘Mids’ came from Tommy and the other Horsemen, for the kids who were not geeky enough to be a nerd, and not cool enough to in the clique; so middling, somewhere in between.

A few jocks sat on the handrail lining the eight steps leading up to the mustard-colored entrance doors. The athletic teens were taking it in turns to knock books out of kids’ hands as they passed. When a kid bent over to pick them up, a kick up the backside sent the kid tumbling down the steps. Hilarity ensued for the brainless minority.

A fashion parade of cheerleaders, sporting big perms and hair, shared a mix of lace gloves, leg warmers and cut-off sweatshirts. Showing a little flesh over their high waist jeans, leggings and miniskirts, the clique watched the world go by from their perches on the Football team players car bonnets.

A few of the nerds were gathered under a tree, admiring something in a magazine. Oversized blazers appeared to be on the dork menu, with a side of one-tone shirts and thick-rim spectacles. Tommy squeezed his coat tighter round his chest, to hide his own blazer.  

He couldn’t see the magazine cover, which annoyed him a little. Rather than dwell on it, he looked for his friends within the few hundred kids currently converging on the high school. He couldn’t see Kurt or Ted, but he spotted Mikey sprinting across the courtyard, his ruddy features noticeable before he doubled over to catch his breath.

“Hey, Mikey, sorry I didn’t meet you at the park entrance this morning. I took the bus.”

Mikey shook his head, “You …  need …”

“To save little Timmy from the well?”

Mikey shook his head, “To …”

“Do the truffle shuffle?”

“To …”

“Learn the ways of the force? Give me a clue here, Lassie.”

“Hide.”

Tommy’s smile faded as he spotted, over Mikey’s shoulder, Zack’s car screeching into the car park. Skidding across the wet surface, the car came to an abrupt halt a few inches shy of a teacher’s parked car.

Mikey jabbed a finger at Zack’s Corvette, and then drew a thumb across his jugular. Tommy knew exactly what his friend meant.

“I didn’t do anything to upset Zack.”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”

“What did I do?”

“Daisy.”

“I didn’t do her.”

“You kissed her.”

“I didn’t kiss her; she kissed me. Wait. You told him?”

Mikey shook his head.

“Then who did?”

“West!”

Tommy swung towards a furious teenager. Zack was around six-foot, with wide shoulders, slicked back hair, and a George Michael six o’clock shadow. The kid never took off his beloved leather jacket, which would have been a good thing on any other day. Today he removed it, showing off a plain black t-shirt, and a look that said he wanted to crack some heads. He wore ripped jeans and happened to be the instigator of the trend that was now running throughout the school like a virus.

Like the courage crawling up his ass crack, Tommy had nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. And the beating of all beatings was headed his way at light speed.

EAGER to witness the early morning bloodshed, every kid in shouting distance surrounded the two boys.

“Fight, fight, fight …”

The chant seemed to get louder as the spectator’s circle started to force the boys towards each other.

Zack vaulted a school bench like a hurdler, leaving Tommy wondering if he would ever look so cool while doing the same thing. He spotted Daisy forcing her way through the crowd. She was shouting and trying to get to Zack.

The older kid ran towards Tommy, clenching his fists. “You think you can kiss my girl, and I wouldn’t’ find out.”

“Zack, wait, it’s not what you think.”

“I knew you had a thing for her. Well, it’s time to pay the price.”

Tommy held up his hands. Zack’s punch went through the middle of them, and the darkness descended faster than a closing Death Star blast door.

“I can see the light …”

THE DESIRE to be in Daisy’s arms came out of the blue. The tightness of their embrace, the thrumming of her heart as he pulled her closer, her hands clasping the base of his spine, her perfect eyes taking in the love outpouring from his devoted heart. His lips locking with hers, the smoothness of her tongue, the kiss, a moment hidden from time.

Tommy’s love for her he could not deny, even as the school prom quickly faded away, right before his eyes. Replaced by a dull, overcast cloud front, and raindrops, hundreds of them, running down his cheeks, his throbbing skull reminded him that he was just hit by a meat meteor.

Amid the downpour was Ted, smiling as manically as the Riddler.

“Ground control to Major Tom?” he said, shoving Tommy’s shoulder.

“Shut the hell up, Ted.” Mikey jostled Ted to one side and knelt next to his best friend.

It hurt watching Tommy hit the grass like a dead weight. And then to listen to every kid in the crowd laugh at the fight that ended before it even started.

“Where am I?” Tommy tried to lift his head, despite it feeling as heavy as a bowling ball.

“You’re on Mongo, Flash. And Ming just kicked your blonde ass.”

“Is everything a joke to you, Ted?” Mikey snapped.

“Not everything. Well, I say not everything, what I mean to say is …”

Mikey turned back to Tommy. “Are you okay, dude?”

“How long was I out?”

“About four centuries. You even overshot Buck Rogers,” Ted said, leaning over Mikey’s shoulder. “We had to wait until they created time travel, so that we could come back, tell you to duck. I guess we were too late. Damn time travel traffic. And don’t get me started on that Delorean. I mean, who chooses a Delorean over a Trans AM?”

Mikey turned in a flash. “Ted, as usual, you’re not helping.”

“Don’t bite my head off. It’s not my fault he felt up your sister.”

“Ted!”

“Okay, okay …” Ted started dispersing the crowd. “There’s nothing to see.

This is not the kid you’re looking for. You can go about your business. Move along, move along.”

Tommy struggled to take a knee. Most of the kids were still in the circle, pointing his way and ignoring Ted’s attempts to move them.

“Like the kids around here need any more ammunition to throw my way. Now they think I’m a love criminal.”

“Ignore them,” Mikey said.

“Did I do well?”

“If doing well is getting floored with one punch, then you aced it, dude,” Kurt said from over Mikey’s shoulder. “Oh, crap. Here comes the Whip.”

The gathering scattered, leaving Ted standing alone in the dispersing circle.

“Yeah, you better run. Next time I catch you all cheering, I’ll kick your asses myself.” Ted swiveled on his heels and almost collided with a grey-haired man in a pressed suit and waistcoat. “Oh, fu–”

“Don’t you have a class to get to, Theodore?”

“That’s an affirmative, sir.”

Whitmore looked down his nose at Ted’s rucksack. Ted smiled, leaned down to pick it up, and slinked off, grabbing Kurt on the way.

To the kids at Rosewood Falls High, Principal Marshall Whipmore ruled the corridors like this generation’s Wyatt Earp. Rumors were rife of the grey-haired disciplinarian’s horsewhip never being too far away from a pupil’s legs, or his trusty ruler from the back of a kid’s palms. The punishment rumors had yet to be proven legitimate.

“You two boys care to tell me what you were doing out here?” Whipmore asked.

“Nothing, sir. He just tripped,” Mikey replied.

“I didn’t ask you, Mikey. I asked Tommy. Well?”

“I tripped over a tree root sir. I didn’t see it. Damn things are everywhere.”

“It must have been some stumble, considering your eye?”
Tommy reached for his left eye and felt a lump the size of melon three inches from his eyebrow. “Er, yeah.” He glared at Mikey and mouthed, what the f***.

“May I suggest you go and see the nurse, and get some ice on that lump?”

“Yes, sir. I’ll go straight away.”

Whipmore waited until Tommy passed by before he said, “And if I catch you fighting again, it will be the whip, boy. You hear me?”




About the Author:

No, he’s not the actor, or Ant Man, Paul Rudd, the author, is UK based and tends to delve into Sci-Fi/horror/fantasy genres.
 
Sharks have been a passion since he first watched Jaws at an age far too young to print. Writing about sharks, and in particular, the prehistoric Megalodon sharks, seemed an obvious route to take, and so began the creation of Paul’s debut novel Sharc.
 
Released in 2012, Sharc led to Sharc Bait (book 2 of the series), London Warriors followed, and then Wild Wild Dead, along with the Chronicles of Supernatural Warfare. Shark Spawn and Bootleggers, the latest release (first published in 2020).
 
All of Paul’s releases can be found under the Ravenous Roadkill banner, and Ebooks available through Wild Wolf Publishing. Audiobooks for Sharc, Sharc Bait, Wild Wild Dead, London Warriors, Shark Spawn and Bootleggers are all available through Audible.
 
Please check out the Ravenous Roadkill website at www.ravenousroadkill.com













Black Moon Rising by Mila Nicks


Black Moon Rising
Paranormal Hunters 
Book Two
Mila Nicks

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: 23 April 2021
ISBN: 
ASIN: B08L8W4YCF
Cover Artist: Red Leaf Book Design

Tagline: Dreams aren’t always so sweet

Book Description:

Philadelphia. Boston. New York City. 

Selene Blackstone is finally getting the chance to explore like she’s always dreamed. Once stuck in her hometown Brimrock, with the curse broken, she’s a free witch. Together in their trusty caravan Ghost, she and her paranormal investigator boyfriend Aiden O’Hare are traveling cross-country filming for their show, Paranormal Hunters. 

Their first case brings them to the colonial town Maresburg, Virginia, where the Mhoon Hotel is said to be one of the most haunted in the country. At the century-old hotel, guests experience nightmares so frightening they’re heart-stopping—literally. Selene and Aiden only have a couple of weeks to figure out if this case is a scammer at work, or if there’s some truth to what they say: dreams do come true. And so do nightmares. 


Black Moon Rising Excerpt 1:

“We’re here. Time to get up,” Aiden said, but Selene didn’t budge. He draped her arm over his shoulder and lifted her into his arms, carrying her down the passage leading into the hotel.

The foyer lights were already off except for the desk lamp at the reception counter. He staggered up the stairs, keeping his balance while holding a dozing Selene. He had no clue where her key card was and didn’t have the energy to stop and search. Instead, he fumbled for his own, sliding it into the slot on his door handle. The lock clicked and the door swung open. He delivered Selene to his bed, figuring she would wake up once she realized they were no longer driving.

But she didn’t. Aiden spent the next half hour showering and shaving. He emerged in his glasses, T-shirt, and pajama bottoms and discovered Selene was still deeply asleep. A frown curled itself onto his lips as he debated if he should try waking her again. He lowered himself at her side on the bed and gave her a gentle shake.

“Selene,” he said. His insides knotted with a strange premonition. “Wake up. We’re back at the hotel.”

Selene was the lightest sleeper he knew. It was what made her insomnia that much worse; the slightest noise normally woke her. She needed a perfect temperature and often even the bed itself kept her up if not comfortable enough. She wasn’t someone who fell into a deep hibernation type of sleep.

Her only answer to him was another sleepy moan. She rolled onto her side and snuggled one of the bed pillows. She really was knocked out.

“I didn’t realize she was this tired,” he said, sighing. He unzipped her boots, tugging them off, and then pulled the bed comforter over her.

He dimmed the lights and picked up his book for some bedtime reading. Before he made it to the armchair on the other side of the room, he stopped short. Outside the door there was an unmistakable whispery sound, like the soughing wind.

It only grew louder as he stood still and listened. The low whispering noise transformed into something rougher—something borderline ragged—and then it dawned on him. The sound wasn’t the wind but one of lungs, intaking a breath. Who those lungs belonged to, he hadn’t the faintest clue.

Aiden’s heart started racing and he straightened his shoulders. The sound was going nowhere, hovering outside the door. He had to check it out, investigate what was going on. In two of his long-legged strides, he crossed the room and pressed his eye to the peephole.

The hall was blanketed in darkness. Staring into the peephole was like staring at the inside of your lids. Yet, as Aiden held his eye against the hole, another strange premonition panged in his stomach. Whatever was on the other side of this door was staring back at him. It was peering into the same hole.

Gooseflesh pricked Aiden’s skin and he backed away. The ragged breathing carried on for another few seconds, an ugly sound to Aiden’s ears, before it faded. Farther and farther away it drifted until the sound died out and silence weighed in.

Aiden hurried over to his desk, grabbing the spirit box, the flashlight, and his copy of War and Peace. The spirit box and flashlight were to detect any unusual activity in the area. The thousand-plus page book was to use as a weapon if necessary. He threw a glance over his shoulder at the bed. Selene was still fast asleep, buried under the covers looking cozy and comfortable. He marched to the door and pulled it open.

Shadows ruled the hallway. Aiden stepped over the threshold, shuddering at the arctic cold in the air. He flicked on both the flashlight and spirit box, which crackled to life. Shining the flashlight down the hall, the shadows scuttled away. Nothing was out of the ordinary. The hallway looked as it always did, a stretch of oil portraits on the walls and doily-like area rugs sprinkled throughout.

The spirit box continued to crackle, its green lights weakly blinking. Aiden scanned the hall some more, his brow furrowed. If there wasn’t anything amiss, then was he imagining the sound? Maybe he was more exhausted than he realized…

He was a second away from turning back and heading into the room. The lights on the spirit box flashed bright and the crackling noise intensified. His eyes snapped to what it had picked up on and his gooseflesh only spread across his skin in a cold wave.

Black ink dribbled from the vent in the hall. It trickled down the striped wallpaper in a slow descent. He walked over and shone his flashlight onto the vent. Selene had been right all along. Whatever it was they were dealing with wasn’t human.

 

About the Author:

Mila Nicks is on a mission to pen heartfelt and entertaining love stories featuring women of color. 

When she isn’t writing diverse love stories, you can find her globetrotting, sampling new cuisines, and spending quality time with her spunky pet Chihuahua, Zayden. 

For more on Mila, including news on upcoming releases and story freebies, check out her website and subscribe to her newsletter: https://www.milanickswrites.com/










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Co-Vid 2020 by Mike Scantlebury


Co-Vid 2020
Amelia Hartliss Mysteries
Book Twenty One
Mike Scantlebury

Genre:  Crime Fiction mystery thriller
Publisher: Draft2Digital.com
Date of Publication:  27th August 2020
ISBN:  9781393529453
ASIN:  B08SVPGY8K
Number of pages:  88
Word Count:   26588
Cover Artist:  Mike Ather

Tagline:  “It’s the biggest buried treasure in North West England. Who wants it?”

Book Description:  

Melia is facing yet another change of boss. Somehow the government doesn’t seem happy unless they’re shaking up British Security Services and making the agents uncomfortable and insecure. Captain Gibson isn’t around. Some say he has been sent for ‘re-education’. Meanwhile, a jumped-up little idiot from London has been sent up north to Salford to show the natives how to do stuff. So far, according to all reports, he has been a miserable failure.

Meanwhile, an older woman from Melia’s past, Jan Branch, re-appears after many years away. Jan’s mother has died and she is there to clear her old house and tidy up loose ends.

Unfortunately, she is not the same person she was when she left town. Where she lives now, in the East Indies, they call her the ‘Gun-running Granny’, for that is her new profession. She hadn’t planned on staying long back in England, but two things delay her departure. One, there is an Arms Fair in the city and she sees an opportunity to do some deals and make some money. Second, she hears that a successful property developer, Jimmy Batter, has amassed a fortune which he intends to divide amongst his ungrateful family. Unluckily for them, the ‘Treasure’ is hidden, and although various relatives are falling over themselves to find the money, Jan thinks she has a much better chance than most. After all, she used to be a film-maker, and captured Old Jim on video, back in the day. Those films, made by the group known as ‘Co-operative Videographers’, maybe provide all the clues necessary to unearth the fortune.

Melia might care, but she has other things to do. After the trauma of the last few months, a holiday in Spain led to a liaison with a young man who wants to save an unfairly imprisoned journalist. Melia is eager to help, and for one reason only – she is in love. She doesn’t want anyone to know, but John Lewis has stolen her heart. She would do anything for him, and before long, we find out exactly what that is.


Amazon


Excerpt

Jan Branch stared at this greasy little man. Him? Him? Surely he wasn’t capable of murder! Bim Turkay?

“Me,” Bim said, just so there was no misunderstanding. “I was offered the job, and I took it. I was handed a pre-prepared file, photos and everything. I am now an assassin. It fits in well. I’m here in Manchester for the Arms Fair, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone.”

Jan Branch was dumbfounded. She liked Melia. She couldn’t imagine anyone would want her dead. And yet this little weasel had promised to do it –

Then Bim Turkay said something even stranger, confounding her completely.

He said: “I’m sure you’re good for ten grand, Jan. You want to chip in to the pot? I’m sure you hate Ms Hartliss as much as the rest of them.”

Why? Jan demanded. What on earth would make you think that?

“Well, she did kill your husband.”

Jan blanched. That was never proved! she wanted to say.

Of course, she knew nothing for certain. She’d packed her bags and left the country before it happened. She heard – from old neighbours, keeping in touch – that Mark had been accused of murdering someone at the Irwell Arts Centre, down on Salford Quays, opposite the BBC complex. There had been several unexplained deaths, she was told, and Melia had been around at the time, looking into some other mystery.

Completely coincidentally, she had been with him that dark night, up on the roof of the Arts Centre, when he went over the edge and plunged to his death. But, so what – what happened? Was Bim saying he might have been pushed? By Melia?
That sounded completely unbelievable!

Bim went on: “Well, I can’t speak for you, of course, but I’ve been assured that his first wife hates Melia too. Oh, and her God-daughter. They don’t have the money to join the Consortium and pay for this job, but they’ve been told about the plan, and offered their approval, apparently.”

Jan couldn’t think what to say.

His first wife? She never discussed that bitch!

As for ‘hating’ Melia – No, she might resent her a little. Melia had been a bit standoffish, over the years. They weren’t really ‘close friends’, but –
Bim had only one more thing to say.

“Look, Jan, I’ve been honest with you. So, tell me, now you know what my contract is asking me to do, you want to stop me? Do you want to pay me to NOT do it?”
Jan Branch was floundering.

She supposed that if she’d known about this little ‘plan’ earlier, she might have had a chance to develop some sort of point of view about it, maybe some opinion. But, having it all sprung on her like this – she wasn’t really sure what she thought.
The only thing she was certain about was that this latest news only made her despise Bim Turkay more than before.

No, she wouldn’t be contributing to the consortium’s fund, purely because of that. She didn’t like the man, and wanted distance from him.
But he couldn’t let it alone.

“After all,” he said, “we both know we’ve done similar things in the recent past.”

She gasped. He was going to bring that up?

He was untrustworthy!

Sure, the Arms business was no ice-cream stall. There had been plenty of threats, rivalries and outright promises of retribution. Sometimes Jan Branch had been forced to act before someone acted against her. But she hadn’t killed anyone!

Not directly. Not with her own hands.

“When are you planning – ” she started.

“Oh, not immediately,” Bim assured her. “I have another ‘Mission’. Something personal. A private little obsession of my own to take care of.”
Jan noticed, for the first time, that he was holding a plastic carrier bag, down by his side. He lifted it now, and let her peek inside.

It was half-full of hand grenades.

“I need to get down to Irlam,” he said. “Time is wasting, and I need to get started.”

Jan Branch nodded, no longer surprised by anything the man said.

Except – that would make it ‘three birds’, she was thinking.



About the Author:

What can you say about Mike Scantlebury -that isn’t taught in schools already

Well, he says he was born in absentia (the small town on the Bay of Biscay), beside the dock of the bay, but moved to England when  young, and not yet able to navigate astutely. His family settled in the West Country of England, near a cross cultural crossroads called Temple Cheney, where his father became a map maker and mushroom farmer.

When the borders were changed in the 1980s, and old maps became outdated and invalid, Mike packed a service record and moved to an apartment in the nearby city of Bristol. This is where he first got involved in folking, flaking and faking. Later, he became disenchanted and moved to the other extreme, the North West of England, where he encountered education.

One of the books he read was by Raymond Chandler. It started him off in an exploration of Private Eye fiction, (which he doesn’t do), Police Procedural and cosy mysteries, (which he can’t write), and romances set in exotic parts of the world like Los Angeles. When Mike met the lost angels of Manchester he decide to set his novels around that area, using their stories as a bedrock. His action adventures have never strayed far from the North West of England, but then, what happens there today, happens elsewhere tomorrow, as they have always said.

Website:  http://www.Salford.me

Twitter:  https://Twitter.com/MikeScantlebury

Facebook:  https://www.Facebook.com/mikescantlebury99/

Blog:  http://www.mikescantlebury.blogspot.com/

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5404567.Mike_Scantlebury

YouTube:

 https://studio.youtube.com/channel/UChNCqTPL_K8u7wGBTGNw-0A/playlists


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