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Beyond The Page & $20 GC Giveaway: “Deceived” by Stella Barcelona

Jun 11
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Deceived cover

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Today it’s my pleasure to welcome debut author, Stella Barcelona, to CABR 🙂

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Learn more about her romantic suspense novel, DECEIVED, 

then enter the eBook & $20 gift card giveaway!

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CABRBTP

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Deceived cover 2Blurb:

Their destinies have been set in motion by their ancestors.

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Taylor Marlowe Bartholomew carries three of the most notable names in New Orleans society. She hoped to forge her own path in the world as an Assistant District Attorney, but that dream is dying as obligations pull her into the family shipbuilding business. In Taylor’s final days in the DA’s office, she receives a murder assignment that could unravel her perception of reality.

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Ghosts of the past shadow every step they take.

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Brandon Morrissey is haunted by demons that force him to keep his life simple and detached. He pours all of his energy into his thriving legal practice, until, overnight, he becomes the single father of an infant. For the sake of his son’s future, Brandon searches for a killer and faces the truth about his family’s unfortunate past.

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Together they have to find the truth…before it’s too late.

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Someone is willing to kill to use the past for their own ends. Thrust together, Brandon and Taylor have different views of their families’ intersecting histories. As they confront a sea of uncertainty, one thing is sure…no one is safe until they discover where the truth lies.

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BUY Links:

Amazon | B&N |

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Welcome to CABR Stella 🙂

Thank you, Sasha, for inviting me to participate in your wonderful blog. I write romantic suspense and my debut novel, DECEIVED, is now available in print and eBook at Amazon.

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How would you describe your book using 10 – 20 words?

Deceived is romantic suspense, set in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the present day. It has a historic twist – – the protagonists must solve a decades-old mystery that is based upon occurrences in World War II.

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What inspired you to write this book?

Deceived was inspired by my background as a lawyer and former history teacher. I’m also a reader who loves romance, suspense, and history, and New Orleans, my hometown, provided inspiration for each of these story elements.

The mystery in DECEIVED was inspired by contributions of real-life New Orleanians to the Allied effort in World War II.

I created characters, Taylor Bartholomew and Brandon Morrissey, whose identities are tied to the mystery. Taylor and Brandon have very different backgrounds, but they’re both local New Orleanians, so their viewpoints give readers a glimpse of the real, not touristy, New Orleans.

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How has your life changed since the book was published?

I’m busier, but in a good way. Previously, my stories only lived in my imagination and my computer. Now that DECEIVED is available to readers, one unexpected pleasure is that I’m actually hearing from readers on Facebook and through my website, http://stellabarcelona.com/ I’m finding that I love to hear from readers.

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What’s next for you?

Black Raven Private Security Contractors and Sebastian Connelly were introduced in Deceived. I’m currently writing Shadows, a Black Raven novel that features Sebastian. Stay tuned to http://stellabarcelona.com/ and my Facebook page for news regarding the release of Shadows.

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Tell us about your favorite moment in DECEIVED.

For fear of revealing too much, I’ll only talk about the beginning. Taylor and Brandon meet in chapter one, after (in the prologue) there’s been a murder. From the start, and throughout the book, Taylor and Brandon make assumptions about each other that are proven to be wrong.

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Here’s an extended excerpt from Chapter One:

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Upon seeing his home, Taylor Bartholomew received her first clue that her expectations of Brandon Morrissey were off. At eleven a.m. she approached the address that she’d been given by New Orleans Police Officer Joe Thompson and his partner Tony Abadie, the homicide detectives who were working the prior night’s murder of Lisa Smithfield. The address was in a tree-filled neighborhood of spacious homes and meticulous gardens, a few hundred yards outside of Orleans Parish. Taylor double-checked the number that she had scribbled, glanced again at the residence that bore the address, and parked on the street, behind Joe’s unmarked white sedan.

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Morrissey was a lawyer. He defended high-profile criminal defendants and represented plaintiffs in class action, personal injury cases. He used television commercials to feed his firm’s personal injury practice. Every night, in the middle of the local news, he sponsored “The Morrissey Minute,” in which he reduced complex legal problems to understandable terms, then asked the public to hire his firm. Taylor shuddered at the thought of his commercials. The very nature of a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer was antithetical to Taylor’s old-line, well-bred world. Morrissey’s manner of practicing law had led her to expect crass and tacky, yet his modern-styled residence blended green-gray flagstone, creamy stucco, and etched glass windows into a subtly elegant and tasteful home. The house was centered on a corner lot with sprawling oaks, camellias, azaleas, and clusters of white caladiums.

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Taylor checked her reflection, wiped away a faint smudge of mascara, ran her fingers through her long hair, and applied a fresh swipe of coral-colored lipstick. Once out of the car, she smoothed the knee-length skirt of her butter-yellow linen suit, checked to make sure that the kick-pleats were folded, buttoned the sleek bolero jacket, and reached for her purse and matching portfolio. If she had known that she’d end up at a murder interrogation, she might have chosen a suit in a more conservative color, and maybe she wouldn’t have worn nude patent peep-toe shoes with six-inch heels. She shrugged. At least the style of the suit was conservative. She breathed deeply, pushed her shoulders back, went to the front door, glanced at the security camera that was poised above it, and rang the bell.

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From inside the house, there was a baby’s cry. The sound was jarring, loud, and unhappy. The door opened and the star of the Morrissey Minute barely glanced at her as he tried to console a baby who was nestled in the crook of his arm. The baby wore nothing but a diaper. Bare feet, balled-up hands, and fat legs were exposed. He had a plump belly with a tiny bellybutton and a face that was red from crying. The unhappy infant presented a human package that seemed improbably tiny next to Morrissey.

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Tiny, but loud.

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“Thank God you’re here,” Brandon said. “I can’t calm him. I changed him. He ate.” Light green eyes glanced into hers for a second, then returned to the baby. “Here. Let’s trade.” At first, she had no idea what he meant, but it became obvious fast. With his free hand, he reached for her purse and portfolio and took them from her, then leaned forward with the arm that held the wailing baby, so that the baby and his arm almost touched her chest. Surprise at the quick exchange momentarily robbed Taylor of the ability to react.

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“Take him,” he said. “You’ve got to be better at this than me.”

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Her arms closed around the wriggling baby, whose miserable state became more important than introducing herself. The baby weighed ten, maybe twelve pounds. He had fat cheeks, full lips, and a full fringe of eyelashes that would have made a supermodel envious. His face was flushed, and tears flowed from his unfocused, gray-blue eyes. She held him against her shoulder as she turned her face to his ear.

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“Awwwww, you’re going to be fine. You’re okay, sweet little thing. All good,” she said, inhaling the sweet scent of baby lotion. She pressed her palm against his tiny back, attempting to soothe his warm, bare skin. Taylor wasn’t a mother, but she had volunteered throughout high school in church nurseries. She drew upon that experience, and after a couple of seconds where the only thing she did was hold him tightly and whisper to him, his cries became less desperate. Her hair had fallen over the baby, and when she tried to push it back with a head shake, she discovered that he had grabbed a clump. She let him hold onto it.

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Taylor continued whispering to the baby as she followed Brandon into a living room with flagstone floors, cream-colored walls, high ceilings, crown molding, and soft light. Modern furniture alongside antiques provided an eclectic feel, but the large room was too sparse to seem finished. No pillows were out of place on the creamy linen couch. There were no photographs or other personal touches. The room overlooked a pool and gardens. She could see silver reflection orbs of a tall garden sculpture moving in a slow, graceful dance that reflected the pool’s glistening water, and lush green gardens, under a bright blue summer sky.

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Either the Morrissey family consisted of neat freaks, Taylor thought, or they had other issues. There was no hint that an infant lived there, but for the moment, the baby didn’t seem to mind. He was quiet, his head was turned to hers, and his eyelids were getting heavy.

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She looked at Brandon, who was looking at the baby, and she whispered, “Success.”

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“Amazing,” he said, studying her hold on the baby, how the baby’s chest hit right above her chest, and how his fist was entwined in her hair. When Brandon glanced at her, his green eyes captured her attention. Serious, tired undertones flooded his eyes, as his gaze travelled over her suit, the rings on her fingers, and his eyes fell to her high heels. “The set-up for him is in the kitchen and the casual living room that’s next to it, for now,” he said. “The nanny service said it would be at least two hours before someone could get here, but they’d try to be faster. I appreciate that you got here so quickly.”

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Forget that his home far exceeded her expectations. The man was nothing like what she’d expected. She met his gaze, where there was none of the cocky bravado that he showed on his commercials. Instead, he looked like a man who had more than a healthy dose of frustration and fatigue. In person, Brandon seemed nothing like the slick, uber-confident man who appeared on television in crisp white shirts, subtle silk ties, and expensive business suits. Faded jeans and an untucked, close-fitting t-shirt revealed a lean, yet muscular, body. He was as sturdy and rugged as his home was neat. He was tall, with broad shoulders and a narrow waist, and looked younger and slimmer than he did on television. A large, multi-colored fleur-de-lis art-like tattoo covered the part of his right bicep that was visible beneath his short sleeve. The tattoo was bordered in black, or something lighter, maybe midnight blue, while the inside resembled an intricate, stained-glass mosaic. The colors shimmered, as though layered with gold dust.

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Keeping her voice just above a whisper, she shook her head and said, “I’m not with the nanny service.”

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“If you’re not with the nanny service, who are you?”

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“Taylor Bartholomew,” she said, keeping her tone soft as she kept a firm hold on the baby. “I’m an assistant district attorney, and I’m here for your interrogation. The police are already here, right?”

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He frowned. He still held her purse and portfolio. “I’ll take him. Sorry.” He reached towards the baby, gently pried her hair from his grasp, and took him from her with one strong arm. “I made an assumption that I shouldn’t have.”

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Stella Barcelona pictureABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Stella Barcelona has always had an active imagination, a tendency to daydream, and a passion for reading romance, mysteries, and thrillers. From her early days of reading, when she first escaped reality through the pages of a well-written novel, she knew that her daydreams needed an outlet, and she knew that her outlet would be writing.

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In her day-to-day life, Stella is a lawyer and works for a court in New Orleans, Louisiana. She previously was an Assistant United States Attorney and, before then, a litigator in private practice. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she was a history teacher. Both of these careers have found their way into her writing. (Read more here)

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CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Website | Facebook | Twitter @StellaBarcelona |

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