Stolen Obsession by Marlene M. Bell (Excerpt & #Giveaway)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

This is a mix of suspense with a touch of romance as a curse is in play over some ancient artifacts...

Stolen Obsession
(Annalisse Series #1)
By Marlene M. Bell
Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 294 Pages
June 30th 2018 by Ewephoric Publishing


People die, but legends live on.

New York antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury recently lost her best friend to murder. The killer’s identity may be linked to her friend’s expensive missing bracelet—a 500-year-old artifact that carries an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a matching necklace at a Manhattan gallery opening. She begs the owner to destroy the cursed piece, but her pleas fall on deaf ears—despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate, Annalisse enlists the gallery owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. When the killer changes tactics and goes after Alec behind Annalisse’s back, can her plan to rescue Alec’s mother save them all?

Hold on for a heart-thumping, thrilling adventure through exotic lands in this fast-moving romantic suspense mystery by Marlene M. Bell.

Praise for the Book

"Debut author Bell delivers a great, slow-building romance, gently examining her characters' painful pasts." — Kirkus Reviews

"An irresistible page turner and a successful melding of thriller and romance. With a splash of international adventure and plenty of surprises, Stolen Obsession is an entertaining read and a great beginning to the Annalisse Series." — Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★½

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Exclusive Excerpt

ANNALISSE WOKE TO the snap of a log in the fireplace. One more compact but just as grand as the fireplace in Alec’s formal room. She was no longer lying on the green chaise lounge, staring at the forty-foot rock wall. Confused, she slid her hand across a grand silk coverlet. Turning her head, she checked the other side of the bed, her heart knocking in her chest. She’d slept alone.

“The perfect gentleman. Him in a guestroom and me in his bed,” she mumbled, with a pang of regret that she’d conked out so soon after supper.

As hard as she’d tried to convince herself she didn’t need him, he’d made himself indispensable with his concern for her since the party. The tug-of-war between his reputation and the way he’d lifted her spirits was exhausting to work through. She reminded herself every guy had weak spots that popped up later—egomaniac men who’d forgotten how to be kind once the relationship cooled off. And he was a veterinarian. That was hard to look past.

Birds chirped outside but no sounds came from inside the house. Alec’s digital alarm clock informed her that it was Sunday, seven thirty. Too early to shower and risk waking everyone. She didn’t have a change of clothes, anyway.

At the foot of the bed, a neatly folded flannel gown smothered in yellow and pink roses waited for her. Too prim to have been left behind by an ex. She wondered how many women had slept in the suite and never left the room long enough for the barn tour. Touching the soft, brushed cotton, she got a whiff of Helga’s fabric softener. Annalisse ran her hands over herself to reassure she still wore yesterday’s clothing. Still there. Why expect anything else? Alec wouldn’t take advantage of a sleepy, slightly drunk guest.

Scrunching the coverlet between her fingers, she studied the black hide rugs scattered about, and the profusion of live scheffleras in metal baskets near the windows. The plants stood as a silent tribute to the cattle and goats lying on the oak floorboards.

Being in Alec’s bed had such a relaxing effect, yet, at the same time, had her pulse skipping. He was so gentlemanly and so ----ed hard-body hot. The war with her head and her desires would eventually end up with a winner, and it wasn’t likely she could talk herself out of jumping his bones when she needed to so badly. Staying with Alec risked exposure, and she preferred to keep to herself.

The squealing of wheels not quite in sync approached the door, followed by three soft knocks.

“Annalisse,” Alec opened the door a crack. “You decent? I have breakfast.”

Giving her no time to answer, he entered like a butler, pushing a cart bearing a silver cloche and pitcher of orange juice.

The smoky aroma of bacon carried her back to weekends at the Walker farmhouse with Kate at her cast iron skillet, humming a country western tune. On the next burner, sunny side up eggs popped, splattering grease on the stove, and in the oven, homemade biscuits made with fresh-churned butter slowly raised to amber puffs on the baking sheet.

“Hello. Where are you?” he asked.

“Farm.” She smiled. “Good memories.”

“Helga wasn’t sure what you liked, so she punted. Eggs Benedict, fruit, hash browns, scrambled eggs—” He lifted the dome to reveal heaven.

“And bacon,” she gloated. “Helga’s an angel and a mind reader. I was ready to check under the cowhides for meat scraps. After Helga’s late feast I should be stuffed, but being around you makes me hungry.”

“Is that right?” He raised an eyebrow.

“For food, I mean.”

“Whatever you say.” Alec sat on the edge of the mattress. “Slide on over here.” He looked at the doorway. “C’mon, Boris!”

A flash of ginger color darted through the opening and hopped onto the bed. Boris bumped his head against Annalisse’s arm while he shook the base of his tail.

She dove into his fur and kissed his neck. “When did you get here, little man?” Annalisse rubbed his slick coat, warming both hands in the softness. “Chase is here, then?”

“Sleeping. He texted me after we ate last night. He said he couldn’t keep Boris from howling. The cat was going nuts in the carrier. I didn’t want to worry you, so I kept it to myself. Don’t be mad. They got here about eleven.”

“Poor Boris.” She gave the cat a bit of bacon, then turned her attention to Alec. “I must have been more pooped than I thought. How did I get in this room?”

He playfully flexed his muscles beneath the flannel shirt. “I carried you.”

Annalisse had been cradled against the expansive chest, his warmth had soaked into her skin. And she’d missed it.

“Eat up.” Alec glanced at his watch. “We have to get moving if we’re going to make the flight. Two hours on the road and at least two hours in security.”

“Alec, I shot a man yesterday. Mooney won’t let us leave the country with this mess going on. Besides, I don’t have any clothes or my passport.”

“Mooney’s kept me posted. So far, the shooter hasn’t been to an ER or clinic in this county or any adjoining one. Ballistics has your pistol, and they’ve verified your permit, as well as our story. As far as the detective’s concerned, he’s treating the break-in as an armed burglary-slash-self-defense shooting. You’re not a suspect. Neither am I. Agent Norcross recommended we stay clear because—” Alec opened his mouth then closed it.

Annalisse’s throat tightened. “What?”

“She told Mooney you’ll—” he quickly amended, “—we’ll get in the way.”

“Figures. Her Southern brand of sarcastic sucks. We didn’t exactly hit it off when she interrogated me about Sam. But my passport’s probably stolen with the rest of my stuff.”

“Camo guy went through the nightstands and flipped your mattress, but hadn’t touched the dresser and closet when I showed up. Chase said he’d get your passport from the bureau when I asked before the ride to the hospital.”

She dropped her jaw. “You planned to take me to Greece before the ambulance ride?”

“Planned, no. Thought about it.” He patted her leg. “No evil intentions on my part. Chase packed a few things for you before Mooney taped off the scene. We can hit the mall in Monticello on the way to JFK or shop when we make Athens and pick up anything else you need.”

“I haven’t said I’m going. Why not stay here?”

“New York’s no good, you’ve been right about those feelings of yours. I’ll try and be a better listener. Nothing like being followed…and hunted. The shooter somehow connected the necklace to you. How do we know he didn’t jump in a car on a side street, wait, and follow us to the hospital? He could be outside right now—watching. We didn’t exactly cover our tracks.”

“Thanks for the visual.”

Annalisse shook. She’d pushed those exact thoughts out of her head yesterday. Stay in New York or go, it didn’t matter.

“If that’s true, won’t we lead them to your parents? We’re going to hide out at the island villa for how long?”

“Detective Mooney contacted his buddy. He’s offered the family two fully-vetted bodyguards until the danger’s passed.

Once he’s set things up, we’ll fly them over. We should be fine on Crete until they arrive.”

“I’m not family.”

“Better together than apart.”

Annalisse smothered a giggle. In the middle of serious he could joke around with slogans. Another thing she liked about him.

“What?” he asked.

“A good title for a song.”

“Man. If you weren’t so ----ed—eat, please.” “So ----ed what?”

Alec cleared his throat and folded his hands.

She knitted her lips together to suppress the impulse to smile, pleased with herself at tongue-tying him, since he’d left her searching for words several times.

“And the answer is…” she asked, cocking a brow.

“-----, Annalisse. You’re haunting me, okay?”

His statement made her freeze. She’d expected a joke, not honesty.

Alec grazed her cheek with a finger and pulled her chin around like he’d done the night before, so she couldn’t look away and hide her blush.

“I see you every night. I have for months.” He blinked twice. Pure longing was etched on his face. “I’ll bring in your suitcase. Fresh towels in the cabinet above the sink. Help yourself to a shower.”

Alec speared her with a glance that wounded, then left the room.

Loni sighed. “Fine. I’ll check the place out.” A rich, buttery smell clung to the air, causing her stomach to growl. “I smell popcorn. Let’s go see if we can grab us some.”

All decisions came easier after a healthy dose of comfort food.

About the Author

Marlene M. Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at or Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

- 1 Grand Prize winner will receive: One signed copy of STOLEN OBSESSION, One lined Journal with handcrafted pen, One set of Wool Dryer Balls, a Pair of Stolen Obsession style earrings and a $50 gift card from Amazon
4 winners will each receive: One signed copy of Stolen Obsession, One sheep bookmark, One lined journal and a pair of Stolen Obsession-style earrings-Gold-various styles
- US only
- Ends July 25th

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