Friday, November 6, 2015

Accused by Wendy Byrne | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

The Blurb

Spawned from the depths of every parent’s worst nightmare, Jillian Beckett’s 16 year old troubled son is charged with murder. He’s unable to remember what happened and swears he’s off drugs, but should she believe him? Her ex-husband doesn’t. The high-priced lawyer she hired doesn’t. Where does motherly instinct intersect with reality?

Afraid and alone, she reluctantly enlists the help of her son’s football coach to find the truth of what happened. As they battle to uncover the guilty party, confidences are shattered, lives are on the line, while her son is one step closer to spending his life behind bars.

Accused by Wendy Byrne
Series: Troubled Boys, Strong Men, #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense  
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Paperback: 220 pages
ISBN-10: 0692506756
ISBN-13: 978-0692506752
eBook File Size: 2191 KB
Amazon | KindleGoodreads

The Excerpt

Jillian tumbled into an open elevator and leaned against the back wall. Tears rolled down her cheeks and sobs hiccupped through her chest. Catching her breath seemed like a formidable task with depleting energy.

“Are you all right?” The voice sounded familiar, but she couldn’t raise her eyes to see who it came from. “Let me give you a ride home. We can come back later for your car when you’re feeling better.”

She raised her head. “You’re... hiccup... Coach....”

“Sam. I’d be happy to give you a ride. You’ve had a rough morning.”

For some reason, she couldn’t get her head around why he’d offer her a ride. Yes, she was a mess. Yes, she couldn’t string more than two words together coherently. “I’m fine.”

“Forgive me for saying this, but you look like you might pass out any second.”

She wanted to say something flippant like, ‘Having a son accused of murder would do that to any gal’ but couldn’t manage to get out the words. Instead, she repeated the one word she could.  “Fine.”

“Do you remember where you parked your car? I’ll walk you there.”

Her car. Where had she parked? For the life of her, she couldn’t recall even pulling into the parking garage. Jillian wiped the tears that continued to roll down her cheeks and struggled to extract keys from her purse. “I’ll hit…,” she sucked in a breath and tried to compose herself, “the panic button.”

“Before you do that, what level did you park on?”

Oh God. She couldn’t fall apart the way she had when her parents died. Travis needed her. Finally, she remembered.  “Three. Level three.” Maybe she hadn’t slipped down the slippery slope to crazy after all.

The Review

I just read a really good book, y'all — Accused, by Wendy Byrne. Let me tell you a little about it.

Accused, a romantic suspense novel, is Book One in the Troubled Boys, Strong Men series. This is the first book by Wendy Byrne that I've read, but it won't be the last. [Commercial Break: I just purchased her Hard Targets Trilogy Boxed Set (published by Gemma Halliday) which is sale-priced (as of this writing) at $2.99 — that's less than each book sells for individually!]

Accused is a really good book. (I just said that, didn't I.) From the very first sentence, I was hooked. I finished it in two days, only because I very reluctantly put it down so I could get some sleep. You can get hooked, too — go to the Excerpts section of Author Wendy Byrne's website, to read the first chapter of Accused.

The main characters are Jillian Beckett, her son Travis Beckett, and his football coach Sam Carter. The story is told in third person, mostly from these three characters' points of view. All of the characters are realistic and believable.

The suspense at the beginning of the book is quite suspenseful and mysterious. I kept wondering what happened to Travis and who framed him. The romance is nicely romantic, behind closed doors. The book is fast-paced, with plot twists every so often to keep the readers on their toes. The suspense at the end of the book — WOW! What a climax!   

I really enjoyed Accused by Wendy Byrne, and award it Four Kitties out of five! I recommend it to all fans of Romantic Suspense. 
Four out of five kitties
Note:  I received a complimentary copy of Accused in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Follow the tour here, plus read interviews and other reviews and guest posts. 
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. 

Author Guest Post

Strong Women in Books and Movies

I, for one, am so happy with the move toward strong women. Every day I see examples of how our culture is changing and women are no longer considered accessories to a man or valued based on the looks. They are in charge of the situation. Examples: How to Get Away with Murder on ABC. Viola Davis as Annalise Keating is a woman who’s revered for her legal expertise, her intelligence, her take-charge attitude, but as the series went along we also saw a vulnerable side to her as well. We saw her as multi-dimensional. Then there’s Scandal also on ABC starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope. She’s definitely subtler about her take-charge attitude, but she’s the person people look to for the answers. Although she is a good-looking woman, the focus is on her expertise and intelligence. Okay… and that whole affair with the president thing. 

Now, those of you who look at this on the surface might argue that there were always strong women in TV and throw out examples such as Charlie’s Angels (the original). But we know that was really about sexualizing women rather than being in-charge. Remember there was always Charlie who was the mastermind telling them what to do. 

Movies have evolved as well. Women began to appear in what might have been considered ‘traditionally masculine-type roles’ like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raiders and Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight. Both portrayed strong women who kicked butt and took names. 

Women in books have likewise changed as a new genre emerged called women’s fiction. These stories are about women taking charge of their lives and circumstances and figuring it out on their own. There might be a romance storyline, but it is peripheral to the heroine’s journey. The first book I read in this genre was Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter. It was about a heroine’s journey to find herself after a recent divorce. Barbara Samuel (O’Neal) also features strong female heroines going through a journey of self-discovery. My personal favorite is Lady Luck’s Map of Vegas. We also have the cozy mystery genre featuring female sleuths who solve the mystery.

All the heroines in my books are strong, independent women. They get involved romantically with a man, but they also make their own decisions, and are strong in their convictions. When the son of the heroine in my book Accused is jailed and charged with murder, her life is thrown into a tailspin. She suffers from second-guessing as any parent might do, but has an inner strength that’s visible to everyone but her. So sometimes heroines aren’t outwardly large and in-charge, but there’s an undercurrent that lets the reader know they are going to figure a way out of their dilemma. 

Who is your favorite female protagonist portrayed in a book?

The Author

About Wendy Byrne

Wendy lives in the Chicago area. She has a Masters in Social Work and worked in the child welfare field for twelve years before she decided to pursue her dream of writing. Between teaching college classes, trying to get her morbidly obese cat to slim down and tempering the will of her five-year-old granddaughter, who's determined to become a witch when she turns six so she can fly on her broom to see the Eiffel Tower and put hexes on people — not necessarily in that order — somehow Wendy still manages to fit in writing. She spends the remainder of her days inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy.

She has written three books in the Hard Targets trilogy, Hard to Kill, Hard to Trust and Hard to Stop. In addition, she has a contemporary romance through Entangled Publishing called The Millionaire’s Deception, a self-pubbed Christmas short story called The Christmas Curse and two interracial romances, Fractured and Mama Said. 

Find Wendy on the web at

The Giveaway

Wendy will award a $20 Amazon/BN gift card 
to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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