Friday, September 20, 2019

#GIVEAWAY Showcase Rival's Break by Carla Neggers

Rival's Break is the 10th book in Carla Neggers fantastic Sharpe and Donavan series. My copy of the book is anxiously waiting for my next free moment.
And one lucky reader can win a copy thanks to Carla's publisher details below

Publisher: Mira

Release Date: 8-27-2019

Sharpe & Donovan #10
 Publisher for review (coming soon)


A deadly poisoning, a stolen painting and a criminal mastermind challenge the skills of FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan as never before in their latest high-stakes case. New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers has crafted a gripping novel of international intrigue and suspense not to be missed.
Emma Sharpe is recovering from a shattering loss while her husband, Colin Donovan, is deep into his latest undercover mission. So they’re grateful to enjoy a peaceful autumn weekend together on the southern Maine coast to celebrate Colin’s brother Andy’s wedding.

But the peace is short-lived when Kevin Donovan, a marine patrol officer, receives a call to check on suspected food poisoning at a party aboard a yacht. Colin decides to tag along. He is surprised to recognize one of the victims as an undercover British intelligence officer, and it quickly becomes evident they’re dealing with something very sinister. At the same time a valuable painting by Irish artist Aoife O’Byrne—a friend of Emma and Colin’s—is missing from the yacht, and the connections make the investigation international and extremely personal.

Emma and Colin discover they are up against a deadly foe who plans to strike again. With the help of HIT, their small, elite Boston-based FBI team, they must foil an attack that will have devastating effects. It’s a case that will alter their lives beyond anything they’ve ever imagined…

Carla's Publisher Mira is sponsoring a #Giveaway
For 1 print copy US ONLY
Please use Rafflecopter form below to enter
Good Luck!

Read an excerpt:

Emma Sharpe opened all the windows in the small Maine coastal house she shared with her husband of almost four months, ending with the stubborn one above the kitchen sink. A crisp, salt-tinged breeze blew in on her, and she shut her eyes, taking it in, relishing it after her slog of a drive up from Boston. She’d left her FBI office early, hoping to beat the worst of the foliage traffic. Maybe she had. Maybe it was even worse now, at rush hour.
The weather forecast called for a sunny, cool weekend, perfect for leaf-peeping, hiking, kayaking—or a family wedding.
I’ll be there for the wedding, Emma. Promise.
That was three weeks ago. Long weeks, Emma thought. Hard weeks. The details of Colin’s whereabouts were on a need-to-know basis, and in her role as an art crimes analyst, Emma didn’t need to know.
But tomorrow, after many ups and downs, her brother-in-law Andy, a lobsterman and third-born of the four Donovan brothers, and his marine biologist love, Julianne Maroney, were finally getting married in their small hometown of Rock Point, Maine.
A fresh, gusty breeze caught the calendar Emma had bought in Ireland and hung on the wall by the refrigerator, one of her touches in the Craftsman-style house. Colin hadn’t objected. They’d met a year ago...fallen in love fast...married in June...a whirlwind of a love affair, every second etched in her memory. But the last weeks of summer and first weeks of autumn had been a blur of grief, work and long walks in the Irish hills with her grandfather, mourning his only son, her father...gone too soon...and Colin, the hardheaded, hard-driving man she loved, away on his latest FBI undercover mission...
Emma noticed the calendar was still set to August. She pulled it off its prosaic nail and flipped past September to October. The blank weeks reminded her of the passage of time since she and Colin had last been here, in the house he’d bought before they’d met. She’d added a few touches of her own here and there. In time, she’d add more.
She hung the calendar back on its nail and admired the photo of Moll’s Gap on the southwest Irish coast. She and Colin had stopped there in June on their honeymoon. Holding hands, taking in the stunning views of the mountains and lakes, it was as if time stood still and nothing bad could ever happen to them.
Faintly unsettled, she took off her lightweight leather jacket and hung it on the back of a chair at the table. She was in black slacks and a white blouse, but would change into something more casual for tonight’s rehearsal dinner, a casual affair at Hurley’s, a favorite Rock Point watering hole on the harbor. Would Colin get back in time?
Emma yanked open the refrigerator. Three bottles of a local craft beer sat on the top shelf. Colin wouldn’t mind not coming home to actual food in the fridge, but beer? A staple for any Donovan. She wondered how many times in the past weeks he’d thought about the beer waiting for him when he finally made his way back home.
Then she spotted a glass jar of local, whole-milk yogurt tucked on a shelf in the door. Had she left it on her last visit?
She shook her head. “No.”
As she shut the refrigerator door, she felt the flutter in her stomach she always felt when she knew Colin was near.
And he was, she thought. He was here.
Footsteps sounded on the back stairs. She saw him through the screen door as he pulled it open and came into the kitchen. Her heart skipped a couple of beats. The tousled dark hair, the blue-gray eyes, the small scar on his upper cheek. The broad shoulders. The slight, knowing smile. He wore jeans and a dark blue sweatshirt. His Maine clothes, his undercover clothes—it didn’t matter.
He shut the door behind him. “Hey, there. Did you see I got you your favorite yogurt?”
“I did see that.”
“I got your favorite granola, too. It’s in the cupboard.”
“You’re the best, Colin Donovan.” Emma smiled as he slipped his arms around her. She’d pulled back her hair, fair and straight, but a few strands came loose as she took in the feel of him, his warmth, his strength. “When did you get back?”
“After lunch. I went for a walk.”
Of course. “Felt good?”
“Not as good as this.” He drew her closer, opening his palms on her hips. “How are you, Emma?”
“Happy you’re here, safe and sound.” She eased her arms around his waist, settling them where sweatshirt and jeans met on his back. “How did you get here?”
“Mike picked me up at the airport in Portland. I didn’t want to fly into Boston and risk not getting here in time.”
Mike was the eldest brother, a Maine wilderness guide and an occasional security contractor. “You didn’t want to miss tonight’s rehearsal dinner,” Emma said.
“And you. I didn’t want to miss tonight with you.”
Heat spread through her, a contrast to the cool late-afternoon breezes blowing through the small house. “Now here we are.”
“Yes.” Colin’s eyes held hers. “Together again.”
“And you are safe and sound, yes?”
“I am.” He pulled her closer. “Our lives won’t always be like this, Emma.”
“Thinking about doing puffin tours again?”
“Cap’n Colin. I have three brothers in Maine. We’d make puffin and whale tours and such work.”
He was at least half-serious. Emma was familiar with this reentry mood, understood the appeal of a quieter life here in his hometown. “No doubt in my mind. Whatever you decide is next for you is fine with me. Right now, the work you do, the absences...” She leaned into him, solid, warm, here. “That’s fine, too.”
“I love you, Emma,” he said, as his mouth lowered to hers.
He lifted her and carried her into the front room and on to the entry. He was a strong, fit man, and although Emma could see the fatigue in his face, he continued up the stairs without a pause.
Their thing, from their earliest days together.
He carried her up the stairs without breaking stride, ducked into their bedroom at the back of the house and laid her on the bed. She sank into the soft quilt. He wasn’t the least bit winded, but she could hardly get a decent breath. Nothing to do with exertion, everything to do with having him here again, with her.
“I’m sorry I had to leave when I did,” Colin said. “Your dad... Emma...”
“I needed that time on my own. You knew that.”
“Because I know you.” He kissed her softly. “It’s good to be home.”
“I’m glad you’re here,” she managed to whisper, before speaking became impossible, and unnecessary.

Julianne and Andy chose to have their wedding at the old sea captain’s house the Donovans had converted into an inn out on the harbor, and Emma couldn’t imagine a more perfect day for the hometown pair. The bright, clear autumn weather continued through last night’s rehearsal dinner and the wedding, held outside on the inn’s expansive lawn, with colorful leaves reflected in the quiet water and coordinating with Julianne’s golden-brown hair and warm white dress. The Donovans and Maroneys had simple tastes and a modest budget, but they knew how to have a good time.
Even gloomy Franny Maroney, Julianne’s widowed grandmother, couldn’t find much to complain about. “Beautiful wedding,” she said next to Emma at the cake table. Her white hair in tight, neat curls, she wore a flowing burgundy dress and sturdy shoes. At seventy-five, she was a bundle of energy. She sighed, eyeing the rows of cake slices on small plates. “No Donovans in tuxes, though. Andy nixed them. I think Julianne was in on it, though.”
Emma smiled. “Disappointed, are you?”
“I’m not the only one. We had powder blue tuxes at my wedding. It was at the church. It seems like yesterday.”
“Weddings bring back memories. Have you had cake yet?”
“I tried all three kinds.”
“That’s my plan, too.”
Unable to decide on just one cake, Andy and Julianne had opted for three. Coconut, apple spice and chocolate. There were autumn-decorated cookies, too, but Emma had to draw the line at overindulging somewhere. She wore a deep coral knit dress, comfortable and forgiving even with how much food she’d been consuming, both last night—fish chowder, rolls, pie, whiskey—and today with the generous buffet and, now, cake and cookies.
Franny wandered off, and Emma helped herself to a small slice of the apple spice cake. Maybe she’d stop there, after all, or maybe she wouldn’t. Colin was at the outdoor bar, looking sexy in his dark suit as he engaged in what appeared to be an intense conversation with his youngest brother, Kevin, a state marine patrol officer.
In another moment, Colin nodded and started across the yard to her. “Kevin’s heading out to check on possible food poisoning at a yacht party. I’d like to tag along. Okay with you?”
“Of course. He looks as if he’d appreciate the company.”
“He’s miserable. He’s feeling sorry for himself because he came to the wedding alone.”
Emma grabbed a fork for her cake. “He’s the only unattached brother.”
“He’s also the youngest. I told him he could have brought his dog. No one would have minded.”
“And he was unamused?”
“Was he as rough on you when you were unattached?”
Emma was getting used to the banter between the brothers. She’d rarely seen it go too far, but she imagined sometimes it did, not that anything would ever break the bond between them. The Donovans were a tight-knit lot. In their own way, so were the Sharpes, but now it was just herself, her grandfather, her brother and her mother.
“Kevin’s trying not to inflict himself on the rest of us,” Colin added cheerfully. “Drunken partiers puking off the sundeck of a fancy yacht will give him perspective.”
“Lovely,” Emma said. “Wear gloves and a mask. And a gown. Maybe goggles, too.”
“Kevin’s got gear in his truck, but I’m letting the medical types deal with any bodily fluids. Fun talk at a wedding, isn’t it?”
“You’re a good brother. I’ll save you and Kevin cookies.”
Colin kissed her on the cheek. “Save us a good Irish whiskey instead.”
He crossed the lawn to join Kevin, already at his truck on the narrow outer harbor road. Colin had started in law enforcement with the state marine patrol. He’d know the drill, not that either of them needed to respond. But she loved seeing how relaxed Colin was, so soon after a weeks-long deep-cover mission.
As she ate her cake with its not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting, she noticed Finian Bracken, the Irish priest and friend who’d officiated the wedding, peel away from several guests and walk toward her. In his late thirties, blue-eyed and handsome with his angular features and dark hair, he’d also officiated at her and Colin’s wedding in June.
“Emma,” Finian said, kissing her cheek. “It’s good to see you.”
“It was a beautiful wedding, Finian.”
Across the yard, Andy, with his strong Donovan frame and ocean-gray eyes, swept his bride into his arms and started up the front steps into the sprawling early nineteenth-century house, presumably to get ready to leave on their Irish honeymoon. Julianne laughed, the autumn sun catching the golden highlights in her hair. They’d known each other forever and had settled some epic battles between them before discovering how much in love they were, and how enduring that love was.
“They’ll be at the cottage in time for lunch tomorrow,” Finian said, obviously pleased.
Emma knew he was referring to the traditional Irish stone cottage he owned in the Kerry hills, with stunning views of Kenmare Bay. He seldom, if ever, stayed there given the bittersweet memories it held of his wife and two young daughters, who’d died in a sailing accident eight years ago, a tragedy that had ultimately led him to Rock Point.
He looked preoccupied as Emma set her cake plate on a stack of other empty plates. “I’m finished here,” he said. “Why don’t we drive to the rectory together? I could use your opinion on something.”
She eyed him. He obviously didn’t want to provide details. “Sure. Let me grab a few cookies.”
She placed a dozen cookies in one of the boxes set out for that purpose and followed Finian to his BMW, the one obvious symbol of his past as a successful whiskey man, owner with his twin brother, Declan, of Bracken Distillers back home in Ireland. It was just a few minutes’ drive to the residential streets above the harbor, and he said little before parking at the homely vinyl-sided Greek Revival house that served as the rectory for St. Patrick’s, Rock Point’s struggling, and only, Roman Catholic church. The small, granite-faced church was next door to the rectory, a short walk from the house Emma shared with Colin.
As she got out of the car, she saw what had prompted Finian’s troubled mood, and his invitation to join him.
More specifically, who.
Henrietta Balfour stood in the middle of the rectory’s front walk, twirling a red leaf by the stem, her reddish curls pulled back loosely with a large clip. She wore a long flowered skirt, a denim jacket and ankle boots, looking more like the garden designer Finian would know her as than the MI5 officer she was.
Behind Henrietta, Oliver York looked on from the front steps. Tawny-haired and green-eyed, he was a mythologist, a gentleman farmer, a former art thief and, lately, an MI5 asset.
They were all friends, after a fashion.
Henrietta greeted Emma with her infectious smile. “What a stunning day for my first visit to Maine. I love the sea air this time of year. We left a dreary rain in London.” She shifted her attention to Finian as he started up the walk. “Do you rake the leaves once they’ve fallen or just leave them on the ground through winter?”
“We rake,” Finian said. “I should say, volunteers from the church rake.”
“I love raking.” She tossed her leaf into the grass. “It’s relaxing, unless one gets blisters, which is utterly tedious.”
Emma pinned her gaze on her priest friend. “What’s going on, Finian?”
“Henrietta and Oliver are here for a visit. Oliver texted me as Julianne and Andy were cutting the cake.”
“We didn’t want to distract you and Colin from the wedding,” Henrietta said. “We hopped on a plane and here we are. Sometimes one needs to do things at the spur of the moment.”
Oliver got to his feet, his graceful movements suggesting his expertise in martial arts. He and Henrietta were in their late thirties, and they’d known each other forever but only recently had become a couple. He gestured to the bags at his feet. “We accepted Father Bracken’s gracious invitation to stay here at the rectory.” He settled his cheeky gaze on Emma with the slightest smile. “Separate bedrooms.”
Henrietta nodded to the box Emma had tucked in one arm. “I hope that’s wedding cake.”
“Cookies,” Emma said.
“Cookies, then. Brilliant. Shall we put the kettle on?”
Oliver picked up his and Henrietta’s bags by the steps. “Where’s your charming husband, Emma?”
Colin had warmed up to Oliver in the past year, but it was a stretch to call them friends. “He’s checking on food poisoning aboard a yacht in Heron’s Cove.”
Just the slightest flicker in Oliver’s eyes, but it was enough to arouse Emma’s suspicion. Henrietta, on the other hand, didn’t give 
anything away.

The Series

About the author:
Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sharpe and Donovan series featuring Boston-based FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan and the Swift River Valley series set in small-town New England. With many bestsellers to her credit, Carla and her husband divide their time between their hilltop home in Vermont, their kids' places in Boston and various inns, hotels and hideaways on their travels, frequently to Ireland. Learn more at

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  1. Intriguing and captivating mystery. Thanks for this lovely feature and giveaway.

  2. This sounds like a series that I would certainly enjoy! Have a great weekend.

  3. Thanks so much, Debbie! Hope you're doing well. Happy autumn!

  4. My kind of stories. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could have participated in the giveaway.

  5. I love the way Carla intertwines family, mystery and a little bit of history in this series. "Rival's Break" sounds like another great "chapter" in Emma's and Colin's life adventure.

  6. I've read several of her books and loved them. I need to pick her books back up and start reading her again. This sounds great.

  7. Yes to this one and one day I might go back and read the first ones, the characters were sufficiently interesting.

    1. yes I think you miss a bit if you don't read this in order Kathryn

  8. I like the family mystery and some history. Love the series. Thank you for the chance

  9. How have I missed this author? This sounds like my kind of book.

    1. Oh I don't know :) just because there are hundreds of thousands of them and just one of us LOL
      She does write fabulous fiction