Thursday, October 18, 2018

Spotlight-Excerpt & Giveaway: ENCORE by Tantra Bensko (The Agents of the Nevermind #3)

Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction Tour Graphic
A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction
Tantra Bensko
Series: The Agents of the Nevermind Book 3
Genre: Psychological Suspense, Romantic Suspense, Gothic Novel
Publisher: Insubordinate Books
Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Hypnotized to believe she's his wife.
A troupe in England performs the history of a gem which features in legends of Shambhalla and Atlantis. The troupe's hypnotist, Dune, has made them famous, especially his wife Susan, who is the star.
After the star's disappearance before the show, her standby, Miriam, takes Susan's place. Dune always hypnotizes the standbys to believe they are the actors they replace: the post-hypnotic suggestion ends when the final curtain lands, and they remember their identity. Before the curtain lands, Dune whisks Miriam to a castle.
Meanwhile, Miriam's friend, Colin, who just kissed her for the first time, seeks against all odds to rescue her, though she's told he's a crazed criminal.

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A cardboard rectangle blew against the gym window with a bang. A poorly drawn green stone dominated the sign, with the words spray-painted below it: “FREE THE MOLDAVITE!” It stuck in front of my face before sliding along the glass. Stragglers ran along the street, struggling to hold onto billowing signs with slogans like, “REGULATE GEM SALES.” A spidery tree branch flew through the blustery air. Though I saw the limb, bracing myself for the bang, I still jumped and grabbed my stomach when the wood struck the glass. My friend Colin and the others operating the exercise machines let out their breath in sync after the branch slid to the ground; the glass remained intact. 

Colin put a comforting arm around my shoulders. That very first time that I experienced his touch produced a startling buzzing throughout my body, coinciding with the biggest lightning strike I’d ever seen. I spun toward him and he hugged me tight. With my eyes closed, the thunder made me envision the golden shape of the branching electrical bolt in front of me — in Colin’s body, extending into my own. 

Exercisers yelled in surprise, then snickered, setting off an uneasy boisterousness I took too far. Weather wasn't the only thing on my mind.

“Did you feel that?” whispered Colin into my ear, his breath exciting me.

“Absolutely.” But did he mean what I hoped he meant? The charge between us. Intensity of light force flowing through us. 

I stared at Colin while we worked out with a pull-down weight machine before my last non-performance of my troupe’s season. Trying not to let my obsession with a married hypnotist blind me to the charms of the single fellow right in front of me, I willfully opened myself up to ask a question. Is there more to this friendship than I realized? I watched his sculpted pectoral muscles under his tee shirt: at thirty-five years old, he kept himself in good shape. Thirty-five and a half to be exact; exact was how he liked it. Precise movements. He did the proper number of repetitions on the machine each time. 

“Oh, come on,” I teased. “Live a little.” As he counted his reps, I said the wrong numbers out loud to throw him off. He needed some kind of adventure, even if it was playing with numbers. 

“Miriam! You rascal!” Colin’s silver watch glinted as he flicked my bum.

Next to him, I revised my exercise in the gym to include a spontaneous mime routine, rambunctiously chasing my errant eyebrows around with my facial muscles while the eyebrows avoided capture. I even knew how to wiggle my nose. When I was a two-year-old girlie, Papa taught me the artistic skills of a mime so I could entertain at art gallery openings. Even at age thirty-four, I had the knack of pretending someone else. 

Using that skill to bond with Colin distracted me so I didn’t cannibalize my fingernails, worrying about the performance that evening: I had to look my best at the theater, down to the tiniest detail. Long fingernails, taut face and body, curled hair. Our show dramatized the history of that green stone that played such a significant role in conflicting utopian legends. Seats cost double that night.

Colin’s face twisted, trying to look serious. He broke out laughing. 

Ha, I won. I can keep from laughing longer than you can. 

“Miming, huh. Clever way your father had to keep you quiet around the house. I should have thought of that.” He elbowed me.

“He made me be Charlie Chaplin,” I said, imitating the silent film comedic actor.

Colin mimed being sad.

“I fancied being Marcel Marceau, but Papa said he was dumb because he was French. So, I worked up a Cubist Marceau mime routine to get back at him.” I acted out an aggressively Cubist painting at Colin, angling my elbows, threatening with their edges as I bent my knees, ready to strike. 

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from October 13 - November 2, 2018.
Visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and more! To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction Book Page at Book Unleashed.

Other Books in the Series

In these contemporary psychological suspense novels, unlikely heroes work to expose how intelligence agents fund and perform social engineering. To end coups and proxy wars, the heroes must overcome the effects of gaslighting and discover who they are. Can their lovers help put the pieces together before it's too late?

Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense

Remember to Recycle: Psychological Suspense

About Tantra Bensko

Tantra Bensko, MFA, teaches fiction writing with UCLA Extension Writing Program and She is a manuscript editor with Book Butchers and her own Online Writing Academy. She won a gold medal in Intrigue from Readers Favorites. Hundreds of her stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. She lives in Berkeley.


Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
3 Sets of Books 1 and 2 in The Agents of the Nevermind series: Glossolalia and Remember to Recycle (eBooks)
Contest runs from October 13 - November 2, 2018.

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