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Monday, 22 August 2016

☀ The Lost Eye Of The Serpent: The Rose Delacroix Files [1] - Jeremy Phillips

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for The Lost Eye Of The Serpent, a Young Adult Mystery by (, Limitless Publishing, LLC, 185 pages).

This is the first book in the The Rose Delacroix Files series.

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and excerpt below. Read the first two chapters with Amazon Look Inside.

The Lost Eye Of The Serpent
is FREE on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Author Jeremy Phillips will be awarding a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway

Synopsis

It may sound crazy, but Jonathan Delacroix is certain his sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes…

Girls are not detectives. But in the summer of 1893, in the small western town of Hope Springs, Rose Delacroix is bound and determined to prove them all wrong. When the famous Emerald Serpent Jewels are stolen from the Delacroix family hotel and the blame lands solely on her older brother Bill, Rose recruits Jonathan as her Watson-like counterpart to solve the case.

Proving your brother innocent is difficult when the evidence keeps stacking up against him… Before Rose and Jonathan can properly start their investigation, another robbery is committed. The rusty revolver purported to have once belonged to Wild Bill Hickok has been stolen from the general store and found hidden amongst her brother’s belongings. With Bill in jail, and the owner of the Serpent Jewels planning to sue the Delacroix hotel, Rose knows she has to find a lead, and soon.

A witness comes forward claiming they saw Bill steal the jewels, but Rose isn’t about to be bullied into ignoring the facts…

Rose and Jonathan must put their sleuthing skills to the test or witness their family fall to ruin due to…

…the lost eye of the serpent.

Teaser: Excerpt

Chapter One 


      I feel like a bandit making a quick getaway as I rush outside through the back door of the hotel. Moving as fast as I can, I disappear around the corner of the barn, to where I can no longer be seen from my mother’s kitchen window.
      Once I am safely out of sight, I undo the buttons of my shirt and peel it off. My denim work shirt is so wet with sweat that I can wring water out of it with my bare hands. The falling droplets seem to evaporate right before my eyes, before they even manage to hit the bone-dry ground beneath my feet. A breeze blows across my bare back, and although it is as warm as an oven, it feels good.
      In many ways, this is my favorite part of the day. Having finished my regular chores, I have the afternoon free to be outside and do whatever I want. I just have to remember to steer clear of Mom, or else she’s likely to find me yet another job that needs doing. She told me that I am done working for the day, and I mean to take her at her word.
      An enormous willow tree is nearby, and I walk the short distance over to it. That’s where I find my sister Rose, as expected. She is sitting beneath the willow tree’s thick curtain of branches, completely hidden from view, unless you know where to look for her. Nobody but us ever comes out here.
      Rose smiles as I approach, and I wave back to her. We are twins, so we are exactly the same age, which is fifteen.
      “Where have you been, Jonathan?” Rose says. “I was starting to wonder if you’d ever come out at all.”
      I have hardly seen my sister at all today, as I spent most of the morning with Dad unloading lumber from a wagon and bringing it into the hotel. My father even let me help him do a bit of carpentry, which my badly splintered fingers aren’t going to forget anytime soon. I don’t like carpentry much, I’ve decided. Although I know there is plenty of carpentry left to do if the Delacroix Hotel is ever going to be finished.
      “You bring the book?”
      “Of course I brought it,” Rose says, holding up a leather-bound volume.
      I can make out the writing on the front cover, which says The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I sit down on the ground next to my sister, glad to be off my feet. In that harsh August heat, it seems as though I’m never going to stop sweating. The wet shirt I took off is already starting to look dry, just from being out in the sun.
      And then Rose does the thing that I’ve been waiting for all day. For the next hour or so, she reads aloud to me from her Sherlock Holmes book. While Rose reads, I lean back against the trunk of that old tree and relax, watching the wind play over the rocky field of crabgrass out behind our hotel, our new home. Our family has lived in the Delacroix Hotel for a couple of months, but it is still pretty odd to think of it as home.
      The Delacroix Hotel is the name Dad gave the half-completed building we are living in. It’s August of 1893, and the Delacroix Hotel is still very much a work in progress. Lately, Dad has been busier than anything, trying to finish the interior of the Delacroix and really make our place shine. But the plumbing and everything already works, and we have been accepting actual, paying guests at the hotel for over a month now.
      Strange as it is, I am starting to really enjoy living in the hotel. Living in the Delacroix Hotel beats the heck out of living on the homestead farm, as my family did ever since my grandparents came out west in the 1850s. My new life in the hotel is much more interesting. Almost every day brings a batch of new visitors, and living in town means there is always something new to see or to do.
      “And that,” Rose says, finishing her reading, “is the end of ‘The Red-Headed League.’ I think it’s definitely one of the better ones. Don’t you agree?”
      I nod drowsily. The afternoon heat, coupled with the quiet summertime stillness, has lulled me almost to sleep.
      “You were listening, weren’t you?” Rose says, sounding irritated. Rose gets irritated quick, when she is going to. She carefully sets her book down, inside the protective hollow under the willow tree. Then she crosses her arms and glares at me. When Rose is angry like that, it always brings out all the color in her freckled cheeks.
      Although Rose and I are twins, we aren’t identical. Rose’s hair is auburn brown, and her face is heavily freckled. I have the freckles too, but for some reason my hair came out as a pale reddish color. “I mean, I’m not just reading aloud to myself, am I, Jonathan?”
      “Don’t worry, sis,” I say with a smile. “I was listening.”
      Well, Rose ought to have known that I was listening. I love Rose’s new Sherlock Holmes book almost as much as she does, and this is the first chance either of us has gotten to read much of it. We waited many months for this newest collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, written by Arthur Conan Doyle and published just the year before, to finally arrive. Dad mailed off for the book months earlier, but for all I knew, the book had to come to us all the way from London.
      It might seem odd (I know our parents feel it is a bit peculiar), but Rose and I are both really interested in that super-skillful detective, Sherlock Holmes. Rose and I devoured his earlier stories the year before, just as quickly as we could find them.
      “Oh yes,” I say again, wondering if Rose is going to turn a little thing like this into a fight. “I was definitely listening. You read it pretty well.”
      “Well good,” Rose says. “I’d hate to think that I was doing all that reading aloud and there was nobody around listening to it. So what do you think?”
      “I think,” I say carefully. “That if I had a choice, I’d rather be Watson.” Rose’s eyebrows lift all the way to the top of her forehead, either with surprise or irritation, I am not sure which. “Watson,” she says heavily. “You’d rather be Watson. Do you really think so?”
      “Oh, yes,” I say, thinking of the two characters. “Watson, definitely. Sherlock Holmes is pretty great. But if you think about it…”
      “Yes?”
      “Well. I mean, if you really think about it, Sherlock Holmes doesn’t seem very happy, does he?”
      Rose leans down to pick up her book, holding it against her chest in a completely loving way, as though she is holding the Holy Bible or something. She shakes her dress out a bit, making some dust fall away from it onto the dry ground. “You’re wrong,” Rose says briskly. “You’re just reading more into it than is there. Of course Holmes is happy. Honestly, Jon. Who wouldn’t prefer to be Sherlock Holmes?”
      I open my mouth, preparing to defend my position on our continuing Holmes-versus-Watson debate, when I hear a loud commotion from inside the hotel.
      The Delacroix Hotel is pretty big, containing a total of sixteen guestrooms, plus a kitchen, a lobby, and so on. But in that summertime quiet, the sound of someone yelling carries quite well to Rose and me, as though somebody were yelling from right on the other side of the barn.
      “My jewels!” bellows a man. A very angry, very loud man. He sounds so upset that for a moment I imagine he has to be yelling into a bullhorn or something, in order to produce so much volume. “Where are the Emerald Serpent jewels? What have you done with them?

***
[...]

The Lost Eye Of The Serpent
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About the Author

Jeremy Phillips has been interested in Buddhist philosophy for more than twenty years, and attends services at a Shin Buddhist temple in Spokane, Washington.

When he isn't writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a Respiratory Therapist at several different hospitals. He lives in Spokane with his wife, children, dogs, and bonsai trees.

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