Friday, January 21, 2011

Giveaway, Guest Post & Review ~ Senseless & Merciless by Mary Burton

SenselessSenseless ~ The vicious burns scarring the victims' flesh reveal the agony of their last moments. Each woman was branded with a star, then stabbed through the heart. With every death, a vengeful killer finds a brief, blissful moment of calm. But soon it's time for the bloodshed to start again. Ten years ago, Eva Rayburn and her sorority sisters were celebrating the end of the school year. That party turned into a nightmare Eva can't forget. Now she's trying to start over in her Virginia hometown, but a new nightmare has begun. Every victim is linked to her. And Detective Deacon Garrison isn't sure whether this mysterious woman needs investigating - or protecting. Only Eva's death will bring peace. Only her tortured screams will silence the rage that has been building for ten long years. Because what started that night at the sorority can never be stopped - not until the last victim has been marked for death.

MercilessMerciless  ~ When bleached human bones are identified as belonging to a former patient of Dr. James Dixon, Detective Malcolm Kier suspects the worst. Dixon was recently acquitted of attempted murder, thanks to defense attorney Angie Carlson. But as the body count rises, Kier is convinced that Angie is now the target of a brutal, brilliant psychopath. Angie is no stranger to the dark side of human nature. But nothing has prepared her for the decades-long legacy of madness and murder about to be revealed--or a killer ready to claim her as his ultimate trophy.

My thoughts on Senseless ~ 

Eva Rayburn is in her late twenties (although she looks like she's 16). She's strong, incredibly smart, beautiful, tough, and an ex-con. Ten years earlier, while partying with her sorority sisters, Eva was raped and branded with a star-shaped pendant. A fire is set and she barely escaped with her life. Unfortunately (or depending on how you look at it, fortunately), her rapist, Josiah, dies in the fire, and Eva is convicted of killing him. She is fairly certain she did not kill Josiah, but she can't remember much about that night. Is she a cold-blooded murderer, or did she take the fall for someone else? The fact that her sorority sisters testified against her didn't help much either. Neither are the nightmares and bits and pieces of memories that keep coming back. But she is now trying to rebuild her life by, moving back to Alexandria where she was born and raised. She is working nights at a halfway house as an attendant, afternoons as a bartender, and in between as a process server. While she has grown close to King, (the bar owner who has a secret of his own), and his foster son, Bobby, (who has his own issues, as well), she still hasn’t let her sister Angela know that she has been back in town for six months. A sister that she pushed away during her trial in order to protect her from Josiah’s father, hell bent on making the person who took away his son suffer.

Now someone is killing Eva’s former sorority sisters. Each time a body is found, it has the same star-shape branded into them. The killer leaves the body of the first girl at the halfway house where Eva works, torching the place to boot. Detectives Deacon Garrison and Malcolm Kier are assigned to the case. It soon becomes apparent to Deacon that Eva is not just someone who happens to work at the burned-down Halfway House, but that she has a connection to the victim as well. What Deacon can’t figure out is how Eva is involved. Is she seeking revenge for those that testified against her and cost her ten years of her life? What he does know is that there is definitely something going on between them. Something that is so instinctual, so deep, that it goes way beyond the cop/suspect/victim relationship.

Eva must now fight to not only save her own life, but to also prove her innocence. Can she do it before it’s too late? Or will she become the final victim of this maniac? Senseless is clever, dark, and full of suspense. The reader is pulled in from page one with a gruesome murder that will make you cringe yet have you turning the pages wanting more. The characters are well thought out, real and relatable. Senseless neatly fits into the “romantic suspense” category. What I love about what Ms. Burton has done is that while the reader knows who will end up with whom, it’s not forced on you right at the beginning, making it seem implausible; the relationship builds over time, making it more believable. Get your map handy. You’ll need it to follow all of the twists and turns Ms. Burton lays out for you all the way to the stunning, unbelievable, didn’t-even-come-close-to-see-that-coming ending. Senseless is a rock sold hit! Make sure to check out the next book in the series, Merciless (due out Jan 25th), featuring Eva’s sister, Angela, and Deacon’s partner, Malcolm.

Guest Post ~ 

 I love yoga. I’m up every morning at five so I can make the six a.m. class and I often stay and take the seven a.m. class. Yes, I’m a bit of a nut about yoga. I got into yoga because I was on deadline and hours and hours of sitting at a computer had left me tangled and stressed. I quickly realized just one class a week could undue the knots in my back and neck. Soon was taking three classes a week. Now I take ten.

I never really expected that yoga would help me with my writing but it has become a valuable tool in my writer’s toolbox. I started to notice that plot problems had a way of straightening themselves out while I was meditating. The pieces of the story that would not connect at my desk magically did on the mat.

Eva Rayburn, my heroine in SENSELESS, is a yogi. When times were tough she turned to yoga as a way to calm her mind and control her anger and frustration. In the novel, she often says to herself, Eyes Forward. This is her way of reminding herself that the future is hers for the taking. However, Eva cannot deny that evil exists. She’s been touched by evil, survived it and learned from it. At the opening of the book, she knows her brush with evil had shaped her personality. She no longer fears the worst because she’s lived it and consequently isn’t afraid to stand toe-to-toe with the Edge (a.k.a. challenge).

Okay, enough with my yoga ramblings. Don’t let all my yoga philosophy mislead you about SENSELESS. It’s a fast paced read with a truly evil villain and a heroine and hero worthy of the challenge. In fact, I would say there are moments that just might scare you so much, you’ll need a quiet yoga class to calm your mind!

About the author ~ 

MARY BURTON’s southern family has always enjoyed tall tales and a good yarns.  Early on, MB realized that Story had tremendous power to inspire strong responses such fear, laughter, love and even sorrow.   It didn’t matter if the tale was found in the pages of a book, spoken in hushed tones around a Girl Scout campfire, or spouted at an old fashioned southern family reunion.  This appreciation of story motivated MB to earn an English degree from Virginia’s Hollins University.

After decade of working in marketing and sales, MB became convinced she could write and sell one of the many stories buzzing around her brain.  Fingers crossed, MB left the marketing profession and devoted all her spare time to writing a novel.  Soon after, she sold her first manuscript to Harlequin Historicals.  Since that initial sale, MB had written twelve historical romances for Harlequin Historicals, four short romantic suspenses for Silhouette Romantic Suspense and a non-fiction book The Insider’s Guide to Direct Marketing.  Her first single title romantic suspense for Zebra I’m Watching You was a December 2007 release.

In 2005, The Unexpected Wife was a finalist Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest and Wise Moves was 2006 nominee for the Romantic Times’ Critics Choice Award.  I’m Watching You received critical acclaim from New York Times Best Selling author Carla Neggers who said, “Taut, compelling and emotional, I’m Watching You is romantic suspense at its most riveting.  Mary Burton delivers a page-turner.”

MB resides in Virginia where she enjoys yoga, cooking, hiking and the occasional triathlon.

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Thanks to the publicist, I have one (1) copy of each book to give to one lucky winner.

GIVEAWAY Rules for entering:

* This contest is open to residents of USA. No PO boxes.
* Please complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count.
* The contest will end on February 4th at 11:59PM EST; 1 winners will be selected and contacted thereafter.
* Once the winners are contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen (make sure to check your spam filters!).
* Book will be shipped directly from the publicist. 

Other books by Mary