Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Spotlight/Excerpt/Giveaway!! Replacing Gentry, by Julie N. Ford

Welcome to the Replacing Gentry
Book Tour, sponsored
by Bewitching Book Tours!!

About the Book

Replacing Gentry
Julie N. Ford
Trade Paperback, 286 pages
WiDo Publishing
April 9, 2013
Gothic Fiction, Suspense, Women's Fiction

Goodreads SynopsisWhen Marlie agrees to attend a cadaver ball at Vanderbilt Medical School, she did not expect to actually see any cadavers. Or, that a strange apparition would issue her a chilling message.

Despite the cadaver's warning, Marlie is married a year later to Tennessee State Senator, Daniel Cannon, and living in a plantation-style mansion with two step-sons. Add to the mix her growing suspicion that something is amiss with the death of Daniel’s first wife, Gentry, and newlywed Marlie is definitely in over her pretty Yankee head.

What begins as an innocent inquiry into her new husband’s clouded past ends with Marlie in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy.

A modern twist on the classic Gothic romance novels of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, Replacing Gentry follows Marlie’s precarious journey as she learns the truth about the man she married.

Chapter One Excerpt
   The loud clank of the door fastening shut behind me gave me a start.  My steps skidded to a stop in the sudden darkness, and I pulled a breath deep into my chest.  The air was heavy like icy needles probing my throat.  I rubbed the chill bumps on my arms with the heat of my moist palms.
   Where am I?
   Squinting against the hazy glow of a single bulb,  I scanned one way, then the other, unable to determine the end of the passageway in either direction.  From the other side of the door, the steady drumming of the bass from the Cadaver Ball sounded miles away.  The perceived distance was a welcome relief.  I needed some time to think, to center, and to get a grip.  What had just happened between Daniel and me?  One minute he'd been leading me around the dance floor, the next I'd lost track of how many dances we'd shared and found myself kissing him.  Sure, I'd considered the possibility, but fantasizing about kissing a total stranger and actually going through with it were two very different things.  I'd only known one man who'd been able to draw me in so quickly.
   I'd also met Finn at a ritzy Nashville party I had attended with my best friend Anna-Beth.  Only that had been years ago, back when she and I were still in college.  Like Daniel, Finn had been handsome and wealthy.  My time with him had ended in heartbreak and loss.  Tonight, being back in Nashville, it was like I could feel him all around me -- a cagey presence deft at staying just beyond my line of sight.  And then I'd met Daniel.
   Paul leaned forward to rest his elbows on the table.  "Next question."  His eyes took a discerning turn around our dinner guests as if he were about to say something profound.  "Do you believe in love at first sight?  And if so, if you met the man of your dreams and he asked you to marry him right then and there, would you say yes?"
   As had been the case the entire night, my thoughts rushed to Finn, how I'd fallen for him the first time we'd met.  And how two weeks later I had boarded a plane to Vegas where I'd become his wife.
   Obviously, my true answer would be yes.
   "I'd like to send the dilemma to the social worker."  Paul's voice sailed across the table, bringing everyone's focus to me.
   "Marlie is a therapist for the California Department of Corrections," Anna-Beth corrected.
   Her reproach was polite, as always, with a touch of perkiness.  She slanted another salacious look to the dark-haired fair-eyed plastic surgery intern she'd introduced earlier as Steven. 
   "Psychiatric social worker," I clarified.  "And, my training and experience have taught me that a man  willing to jump quickly into marriage is more than likely hiding some unfortunate character flaw, something he's afraid he can't keep hidden for long," I answered, feigning a professional confidence.
   I was looking into the black hole of my thirty-first birthday, doubting with every day that slithered by I'd ever again meet a man I could pledge my heart to.  Besides, what woman, over thirty or otherwise, doesn't secretly fantasize about a chance meeting with the man of her dreams?  
   Paul considered my answer with a shrewd stare.  "I don't believe you.  I think you, like all women, would jump at the chance to be married,"  his drawl stained with a hint of headiness.
    Despite the fact he was wearing a platinum band on his left ring finger, Paul had been ogling me all evening, and I could sense a growing affinity.  But I was one hundred percent sure I wanted no part of it.  I inwardly groaned.  This impromptu game of Scruples was getting on my last nerve. 
   I fixed him with a cold stare.  "I'm wondering why you bothered to ask me the question when you'd already made up your mind as to my answer?"
   Paul's smirk, downright creepy now, tugged at his lips again.  "Fair enough," he conceded.  "Your boss congratulates you for a brilliant suggestion and hints at a promotion.  One of your subordinates gave you the idea.  Do you mention this to your boss?" 
   Clearing my throat, I offered up an answer.  "Of course I would give my subordinate his or her due credit."
   Paul leaned forward.  "Even if it meant you'd get passed up for the promotion?"
   I squared my shoulders.  "How could I feel good about a promotion I hadn't earned?" 
   Shaking his head, Paul grunted out a snort.  "I'm sorry, Marlie, but no one subscribes to such outdated, bogus ideals of integrity anymore."  He sent his gaze around the table for confirmation.  "I say she's bluffing."
I rolled my eyes in return.  "So, outdated stereotypes regarding women are perfectly alive and well, but showing a little integrity....that's old-fashioned?"  I retorted, though an announcement had everyone shifting toward the front.....Then, after a minute of silence, the emcee introduced the band and invited everyone to the dance floor.              
   Gazing down at me, a hint of a smile on his lips, was a man Anna-Beth had introduced as her cousin, Daniel something or other.  In his early forties, he had thick black hair tapered neatly around his neck and ears but longer on the top and combed back.  His nose was slightly crooked, his chin distinctive.  A trace of gray at the temples gave him the look of striking maturity, a man accustomed to the finer things in life.
   His dark blue eyes conveyed a subtle insistence as he stepped to the side and motioned to the dance floor.  "After you," he said, with all the graciousness of a Southern-born gentleman.
   "Back at the table...your answers, were they sincere, or were you playin' devil's advocate?"
   My head spun under the heat of his gaze.  At the moment, I couldn't recall each and every response, there had been so many, but thinking back, I was fairly certain  I'd meant them all.
   "As hard as it may be to believe, they were all my true opinions."
   Pulling me closer still, his mouth was just a kiss away as he whispered, "Just so you know, I don't think integrity is outdated."
   Why am I so inanely attracted to all the things I'm not?  I mused as I began to pace the tight circle of light that fanned out into the darkness.  Even more puzzling, why had Daniel been attracted to me?  I wasn't particularly tall, and while my face and figure were not unfortunate, I tended to blend easily into a crowd.  But then, he had said that I reminded him of a slightly older Emma Stone, which I modestly denied, while secretly I'd kind of thought so, too.
  I stopped pacing and started chewing my thumbnail while the toe of my sandal tapped the floor.
   I should go back in.  Only now I felt like an idiot for running out the way I had.  It was too frigid out here to spend any more time second-guessing my reaction.  How should I play it when I see Daniel?  Act casual?  Ignore him?  I was mentally pounding my head when another sound joined the echo of my tapping foot.  Slamming my shoe to the floor, I held it still and listened to the darkness.  I couldn't hear a thing, not even the muffled drumming of the band.
   Turning in a circle, my eyes searched the shadows, unable to see anything beyond the thick blanket of blackness my solitary swath of light.  An unsettling feeling began a slow crawl up my spine.  Was it the sudden quiet or the complete blackness that had me feeling on edge?  I couldn't be sure at first, but then there was noise, or maybe just a feeling as the presence of something unseen crept over me, and I realized I wasn't alone.

   "Hello," I called, my voice echoing down the dark passageway.  "Who's there?"

   The only reply was the hiss of my own breath, the rush of my blood as it beat against my ears.  "I know you're there," I said.  I thought I heard something -- a sigh or a brush against the far wall.

   "Hello?" I tried again.  Nothing.  Maybe my imagination was getting away from me?  I mean, who wouldn't be creeped out in a dark, frigid hallway?  Nothing to worry about.



Purchase Links

Julie N. Ford

About the Author

Julie N. Ford graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in English Literature.  In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama.  Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a Marriage and Family Counselor.

In addition to Replacing Gentry, she is the author of two women's fiction novels, The Woman He Married and No Holly For Christmas, published in 2011.  She also wrote a romance/chick-lit novel, Count Down to Love, also published in 2011.  Count Down to Love was a 2011 Whitney Award finalist.

Currently, she lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, two daughters, and one baby hedgehog.  For more information, or to see what Julie is working on now, you can visit her at JulieN.Ford.com. 

Online Links

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  1. Thanks Maria for letting me know that you'd been added to the tour and for participating =D I really appreciate it!

    1. Hi, Julie!

      Oh, you're more than welcome!! I've already bought your book, too -- in paperback. I could have had a PDF sent to me by Bewitching Book Tours for free, but I don't like to read either e-books or PDF documents. I prefer REAL books, even if I have to pay for them. And I DEFINITELY want this one!!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!! I GREATLY appreciate it!! : )

  2. I read this book earlier this year for a blog tour. It was pretty good. If you ever have the chance to read it, I highly recommend it.

    1. Hey, Vonnie!

      Oh, I LOVE what I read in the excerpt above! I've already ordered it from Amazon, and should be getting it pretty soon!

      Thanks so much for such a nice comment!! : )

    2. Have you read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier? This book has some aspects of the classic, which made the reading for me very entertaining.

    3. Oh, I didn't see your comment right away. Sorry about that! Yes, I've read "Rebecca". What a GREAT book!! That's one of the reasons I was interested in this novel. I wanted to see what the author did with the premise of "the second wife". Sounds like it will be interesting reading!!

      Thanks for coming by again!! : )


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