The Merchant of Death by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hiya guys, we have Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock stopping by on their The Merchant of Death blog tour, we have a great guest post, a fantastic excerpt and a fantastic giveaway. So check out my review and the rest of the post then leave a comment with some way for the authors to contact you! ❤ ~Pixie~

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 The Merchant of Death

 by

Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock

All’s fair in love and war.

There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.

But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man.

You can check out THE MERCHANT OF DEATH at Riptide.

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Lisa & J.A. Chat The Merchant of Death

Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, the authors of THE MERCHANT OF DEATH. We’re touring the web taking about our influences, our processes, anything we can think about actually, and even giving you guys a sneak peak or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? Check out the details at the bottom of the post to see what you can win!

There is sometimes a very fine line between a conman and a prankster. Henry Page, our MC in THE MERCHANT OF DEATH, is both. He cons because he needs the money, but he lies for fun as well. At heart, he’s a prankster. He loves dressing up. There is no doubt he would have loved to meet one of the most famous pranksters of all time: William Horace de Vere Cole.

Cole was born in 1881. While at university, he posed once posed as the Sultan of Zanzibar and made an official visit to his own college. He also once organised a party in which every guest had the word “bottom” in their surname.

His most famous hoax, however, was the Dreadnought Hoax. On February 7, 1910, the officers of the HMS Dreadnought received a telegram to prepare from a state visit from members of the Abyssinian royal family. Meanwhile Cole, claiming to be someone from the Foreign Office, was busily commandeering a special train to take the “princes” from Paddington station to Dorset, where the Dreadnought was moored.

The princes were five friends of Cole, including Virginia Stephen who later married and became Virginia Woolf. They’d been dressed up in robes and turbans, and had their skin darkened with cosmetics. This meant they couldn’t eat or risk ruining their makeup, so they declined all food and drink for imaginary cultural reasons.

On board the Dreadnought, the princes were welcomed with all due pomp. Nobody could find an Abyssinian flag though, so the navy used the flag of Zanzibar, and played that national anthem as well. Funnily enough, the princes didn’t seem to notice.

They stayed for a while, with Cole acting as their escort from the Foreign Office, and Virginia’s brother Adrian acting as their “interpreter”. The language they spoke was mostly a mix of Greek and Latin, not that anyone picked up on that.

Possibly the best part of the prank though, is that one of the important naval types on board that day was a Commander Willie Fisher, who was on the staff of the Admiral, and was also the cousin of Virginia and Adrian Stephen. While Virginia might have been made up as a foreign prince, Adrian, remember, was the English interpreter. His disguise was pretty much just a fake beard, but even his own cousin didn’t recognise him.

Which just goes to show, really, how much confidence really does count when you’re pulling off a prank. Act like you know what you’re doing, and people will believe it.

Henry would definitely approve.

You can read more about some of Cole’s hoaxes here.

Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock - Playing the Fool series

Excerpt

Mac stared up at the framed newspaper article on his wall. Rasnick stared back down at him. Creepy to think of him dead. And not as satisfying as Mac would have thought. Not with all those ruined lives he’d left behind.

Somehow his death seemed to sour the memory of his arrest. Mac had won the battle with Rasnick; had held on to that victory and gloated over it. And now it was as if by dying, Rasnick had gotten the last laugh. Mac remembered so clearly the thrill of that win: he and Val and their team had finally pinned Rasnick to a house in Meridian-Kessler where he reportedly lived with his wife, Flora. But Jimmy hadn’t come by for days. The AD had wanted to bring Flora in for questioning; Mac and Val thought that would send Rasnick running. Flora seemed timid—Jimmy’s little shadow—but Mac had no doubt that if they questioned her, she’d shut up, lawyer up, and find a way to warn Jimmy.

In the end, Val had proposed the idea of using Flora. By drawing from phone conversations of Flora’s they’d tapped, the team had put together a recording in which Flora sounded like she was in trouble. She’d actually been calling a financial hotline about her debt trouble, but she’d been panicked enough, and she’d said the right things: “I’m in trouble” and “I’m scared” and “I don’t want my husband to come home to this”—which they’d edited to “Come home.”

It had been a gamble, but like Mac had told Henry, bad guys did crazy shit for love. Or for a warped idea of love. They’d placed the “call” to Jimmy. And he’d come home.

Flora had been out when he arrived, so the team had been able to storm the house before Rasnick even realized he’d been duped. He’d tried to run out the back, but Mac had grabbed him. Rasnick had fought. Mac could still feel that frenzied determination as he held Rasnick—Not gonna let you go this time, you fucker.

And then he’d slammed Rasnick’s head against the wall.

Left a dent.

In both the wall and Rasnick’s head.

He wouldn’t have given have given any more thought to “excessive use of force,” except that Flora had started making noise a couple of months into Jimmy’s prison sentence. “Police brutality,” “abuse of power,” that kind of shit. Someone must have told her to shut her mouth before she got arrested, and she’d quieted down.

He opened his email. His attention was caught by an item about halfway down the list. It was from Dom Wolman at the BCA. Subject: Request: Sebastian Hanes. Henry’s juvenile record, routed to Mac’s email at last.

Fucking Jeff.

Mac had told Henry he wasn’t going to look at the record. That he’d be satisfied with whatever Henry chose to reveal about his past. At the time he’d said that, he hadn’t actually had the record in his possession, but now . . . It was tempting to read the report now that he was face-to-face with it. Besides, he might be breaking his promise to Henry, but Henry had broken his promise to Mac to stick around.

Mac opened it.

He didn’t know what he expected. Something more horrible than what he found, or something less horrible? Maybe he just wanted what Jeff would have been looking for: an address. A background. A family.

There was only one entry on the record: Sebastian Hanes, sixteen years old. Prostitution.

Mac wasn’t surprised. Henry had admitted as much when they’d been sheltering at the cabin outside Altona. Admitted it only because he’d thought Mac already knew. After Mac had asked him when he’d realized he could make money from conning.

“When do you realize? Shit, I don’t know. The first time you spin some fucking john a sob story about your poor, sick baby brother who hasn’t eaten in days, and he’s so hungry, mister . . . And they get so guilty they suddenly don’t want their cock sucked anymore, and they’re shoving more money in your hands than you asked for in the first place.”

Yeah. There were no surprises in the report, except for Mac’s visceral reaction to it. He felt sick. Henry had been sixteen. Just a kid. And logically he knew that kids that age, and kids much younger, worked the streets every day. But now he was imagining every one of them with Henry’s face.

Dom was nothing if not efficient. He’d attached the arresting officer’s report as well. Mac didn’t read that. Wasn’t sure that he wanted to know which street corner Henry had been hanging around on, whose car he had climbed into. Wasn’t sure he wanted to know the name and address of the asshole who’d paid a kid for sex. He felt a hot rage well up in his gut. The sort of rage that didn’t need a fucking target, not if he wanted to keep his job.

He scrolled through the report looking for something else. Henry’s next of kin.

Brenda Louise Hanes. An Indianapolis address at the time of Henry’s arrest.

He entered the name in the database and tapped his fingers impatiently on the edge of the keyboard while he waited for a result.

Brenda Louise Hanes: deceased, a year later at a Kansas City address. Drug overdose.

There was nothing in the file that would help him locate Henry now.

Mac closed his eyes. What had Henry mentioned about his past? That his mom had been an actress. That she’d been the one who inspired his love for Shakespeare. And that, like Mac, he was from Altona.

He hadn’t believed that. He still didn’t, not really. But he picked up his desk phone and dialed anyway.

Three rings, and then: “Hello?”

“Mom, it’s Ryan.”

“Are you okay, honey?” His mom’s voice rose. “Do you need us to come back to the city?”

“I’m fine.” His parents had only just gone home after dropping everything to be there for him after he’d gotten shot. “Listen, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“This is kind of a long shot, but do you remember anyone called Brenda Hanes?”

“Brenda Hanes . . .” She exhaled slowly. “Gee, I’m not sure. Someone from town, do you mean?”

“Yeah.” He twirled the phone cord. “She would have had a son, maybe about five or six years younger than me. Sebastian.”

“Oh, you mean Louise Hanes,” his mom said. “She worked at the market one summer. Oh, that’s going back a ways now. Such a pretty girl. She didn’t stay in town very long though. She had these gorgeous kids. Just beautiful. A boy and a girl. Twins.”

“Twins,” he said. Fuck. Of course.

Twins.

Shakespeare.

Henry on the phone the night before: “Don’t go anywhere, Vi.”

It all conspired to tickle something in Mac’s memory that a quick Google search confirmed. Twelfth Night. Sebastian and Viola.

“They were such cute kids,” his mom said. “I wonder whatever happened to them.”

He stared at his computer screen. Sebastian Hanes. Sixteen. Prostitution. “Do you know where she moved to?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t think anyone really knew her that well. Did you just call me to take a trip down memory lane?”

“No!” He made a face when he realized how defensive he sounded. “I wanted to thank you for coming to look after me.”

“Uh-huh,” his mom said. “You’re just like your father. You can’t stand it when people make a fuss. But too bad. If my baby gets shot, you can bet I’ll be there being embarrassing and mom-like.”

“Summer camp all over again.”

“That was one time, and you forgot your underwear.”

“You didn’t need to come running through the camp waving it around like a flag. I was fourteen. Do you have any idea how mortifying that is when you’re fourteen?”

“Oh, please. What else were the girls and I gonna have to laugh about at book club?”

“I knew you did it on purpose.”

“Is this line recorded? Because I’ll deny it otherwise.”

“Yeah, it’s recorded.” Mac smiled.

“Damn.” She hesitated. “Honey?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t you ever get shot again, okay?” Her voice wavered somewhere between laughter and despair, as though it had started out as a joke but she’d lost her way somewhere in the delivery.

His heart clenched. “I’ll try not to, Mom.”

“And you shouldn’t be back at work already,” she said. “You should be on leave. You need to rest and recover. Come home for a while. It’s been too long since you were in town.”

“Ah.”

“What?” Her tone was immediately suspicious.

“You and Dad haven’t been to the cabin this week, have you?”

“No. Why would we? Why are you asking that?”

Shit.

“Um . . . It happened at the cabin. That’s where I got shot. Sorry, I thought we’d already had this talk.”

He distinctly remembered discussing this with his parents, right about the time the talking dog was in the room, and Shakespeare kept interrupting to ask if there was really spanking in Kiss Me, Kate, and how kinky it got. Mac had been on a shitload of morphine.

“You got shot in our cabin?”

“Well, outside.” He winced, recalling the damage. “But it’s cleared up now. I mean, as far as I know all the crime scene guys are done. And I’ll replace the bedroom rug.”

Shit shit shit.

“Why? What happened to the bedroom rug? Ryan?”

He rubbed his hand across his forehead and tried his very best to explain in a way that would not cause his mom to freak out entirely. Half an hour later, chalking that up to a failure, he finally disconnected the call and turned back to his computer.

This time he typed in a different name.

Viola Hanes.

He got an address in Zionsville.

Check out more at Riptide Publishing, just click the excerpt tab: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/merchant-of-death

About Lisa & J.A.

About Lisa:

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly. 

She shares her house a log-suffering partner, too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa:

About J.A.:

J.A. Rock has worked as a dog groomer, knife seller, haunted house zombie, standardized patient, cashier, census taker, state fair quilt hanger, and, for one less-than-magical evening, a server—and would much rather be writing about those jobs than doing them. A lover of m/m BDSM romance, J.A. lives mostly in West Virginia, and always with a beloved dog, Professor Anne.

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Giveaway

The Giveaway: Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away an awesome prize – an ebook copy of a novel of your choice from either of our back catalogs. We’re also giving away a $20 Riptide gift voucher, and Mac’s favorite coffee mug. What? It’s not like he’s supposed to be drinking coffee.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On February 12, 2015, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!

(Just leave a comment below, with some way for the authors to contact you if you win)
(Ends 12th February 2015)

Review

Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock - The Merchant of Death 300x450Title: The Merchant of Death

Series: Playing The Fool 02

Author: Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Suspense

Length: Novel (222pgs)

ISBN: 978-1-62649-221-9

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (2nd February 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: All’s fair in love and war.

There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.

But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man.

Purchase Link: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/merchant-of-death

Review: This book is part of a series and must be read in order. Con-man Henry runs to the rescue when his sister calls in distress, he decides the only way to keep his sister safe is to go undercover at the care facility where she lives… dressed as a girl. Mac has more to worry about than Henry’s latest disappearing act, someone is trying to set him up and he now has the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) on his back digging for something Mac has no clue about. Chasing Henry down and keeping him safe would also be a lot easier if he wasn’t so distracted by Henry’s disguise. Mac discovers that Henry has information about the man who was planning on feeding false information to the OPR, and as they go on the run Mac has to wonder if he can really trust Henry or if his love for the man is clouding his judgement.

This is a great second instalment of the Playing the Fool series, Henry’s danger has passed but Mac now lands in someone’s sights and Henry lands himself in the middle of an Angel of Death case. The story picks up where The Two Gentlemen of Altona ends, Henry is rushing to his distressed sister and hoping he can find out what is going on. Mac is upset that Henry has run yet again, but soon learns that he isn’t actually running but in his own skewered way is trying to help his sister. Mac also discovers that someone is out to destroy him and is completely puzzled as to who it could be; all he knows is that it must have something to do with Jimmy Rasnick, a man that Henry knows more about then he wants to admit.

I loved how this story continued on from The Two Gentlemen of Altona picking up right from where the other book ended. We again see cheeky con-man Henry using his acting skills this time to discover what has his sister, Viola, running scared, we see Mac desperately trying to keep tabs on Henry and trying to discover who might be setting him up. We find out more about Henry’s background and his sister Viola, and we also get to visit the Court of Miracles! (There are some interesting characters there for sure.) So this story isn’t quite as light hearted as the first but there are still some great caper filled moments, a dash of danger and still a hint of thriller.

I also loved how we got to see a different side of Henry, the guilt that lays heavy on his shoulders over his sister, the love and care that he showers on her gives us a deeper glimpse of the sort of man he would have been if their lives had taken a different turn. Mac is still gruff and tough except the chink that Henry has wormed his way into, Mac also finds himself floundering at keeping a tight rein on his frustration as Henry keeps pulling away. While the story is mainly from Mac and Henry’s perspective we do also have Viola’s perspective at times as well, and I must admit that J.A. Rock and Lisa Henry have done a wonderful job of showing us Viola’s personality and how she sees the world.

I recommend this to those who love intriguing characters, fantastic character development, a great storyline, humor, a dash of danger, a touch of thrillers, hot horny sex and a great ending that leaves you reaching for the next book.

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Check out the other blogs on the

February 2, 2015 – Cup O’ Porn
February 2, 2015 – Boys In Our Books
February 2, 2015 – Sinfully Sexy Books
February 3, 2015 – My Fiction Nook
February 3, 2015 – MM Good Book Reviews
February 3, 2015 – Love Bytes
February 4, 2015 – Crystal’s Many Reviewers
February 4, 2015 – Nautical Star Books – Spotlight
February 4, 2015 – Smoocher’s Voice
February 4, 2015 – It’s About The Book
February 5, 2015 – Creative Deeds
February 5, 2015 – La Crimson Femme
February 5, 2015 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
February 5, 2015 – Prism Book Alliance
February 6, 2015 – The Novel Approach
February 6, 2015 – TTC Books and More
February 6, 2015 – Joyfully Jay
February 6, 2015 – The Jeep Diva
February 6, 2015 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews
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16 thoughts on “The Merchant of Death by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!”

  1. Thanks for the great post & review! This is so true: “Act like you know what you’re doing, and people will believe it.” That’s how I get through work sometimes. 😉

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

    Like

  2. Great post about cons. I loved the show Leverage just to see what new idea they would come up with next. Thanks for the excerpt and review.

    Waxapplelover (at) gmail (dot) com

    Like

  3. I have done that with my kids. Answer a question with authority and they believe you.
    debby236 at hotmail dot com

    Like

  4. Great informative post. I guess it’s true what they say about confidence. As long as you show it no one will question you.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    Like

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