Title: The Olive Conspiracy
Author: Shira Glassman
Series Title and Number: Mangoverse 4
Publisher: Prizm Books
Cover Artist: BS Clay
Release Date: 7/20/16
Heat Level: 2
Pairing : Female/Female, with significant Female/Male supporting characters
Genre: Fantasy, Lesbian Romance, Multi-Cultural, Espionage, Political, Chick Lit
When Ezra tries to blackmail Chef Yael about being trans, she throws him out of her restaurant and immediately reports him to the queen. But when police find Ezra stabbed to death, Queen Shulamit realizes he may have also tried to extort someone more dangerous than a feisty old lady.
Shulamit’s royal investigation leads her to an international terrorist plot to destroy her country’s economy—and worse, her first love, Crown Princess Carolina of Imbrio, may be involved. This is a love story between wives, between queen and country, and between farmers and the crops they grow.
“What’s that one? It looks like a map.”
Shulamit shifted papers around. “Mmm,” she agreed, turning the paper slightly and studying it more closely. “It’s a map of Perach. But I don’t know what all this mess is.” She squinted and shook her head. “I don’t know; it looks familiar, somehow.”
“Well, you do run the country.”
“This line… these patterns…”
With one arm folded across her midsection and the other arm upright so that her fist rested against her nose, Shulamit raked her memories. Those swirly bits. That pair of streaks. Why did they look so familiar? Why did she feel like she’d seen it before, what seemed like ages ago before the emotional upheaval of visiting Imbrio again and seeing Carolina?
“Oh, my God!” Heat flared in Shulamit’s cheeks. “Rivka, this makes no sense, but—Guard! Who’s out there?”
One of the guards appeared at the doorway. “Majesty?”
Shulamit held out one pointing finger. “Can you please bring me my latest notes on our agricultural pests?”
“Absolutely, Majesty.” He disappeared into the sunlight.
Rivka squinted at her. “I don’t get it.”
“You think I do?” Shulamit skin tingled as she waited for the papers to show up and either prove her wrong or show that she was absolutely right, thus opening up nothing but a cartload of further questions. Both hands fidgeted with the ends of her filmy yellow scarf.
Shulamit felt like every second was bloated and lazy until the guard reappeared. Where was he? Finally, the requested papers arrived, and she tore into them with such ferocity that several fell onto the floor and had to be retrieved.
“There!” she finally exclaimed triumphantly.
“What?” Rivka leaned over her shoulder eagerly, and Shulamit heard a soft thud as Isaac leapt off Riv’s shoulder onto the back of her throne to get a better view.
“The olive blight,” said Shulamit, her lips barely moving as she tried to make sense of the completely unexpected connection. “Ezra drew a map of the olive blight, and put it in the middle of his blackmail notes.”
“Is there anything else on the paper?” said Isaac in his normal voice.
Shulamit turned it over. “Oh, I’m so nervous, I’m not thinking straight. This is the map I already had.”
She flipped over the correct parchment. In Ezra’s lazy scrawl, it said,
Imbrian man (Name: Rui?) *possibly leader
Imbrian man with missing tooth. Drinks like a fish.
Perachi woman (from Lovely Valley?) Money-minded.
Unknown man (Light skinned. Imbrian?)
Unknown woman (Perachi?)
Who is “André?”
“There is no way this means anything good.” Thoughts whirled through Shulamit’s mind, thoughts that she was afraid to put to words. What did Imbrio have to do with agricultural pests? What about—what about Carolina?
“Malkeleh,” said Isaac, interrupting her mental maelstrom. “Let me see Ezra’s map again.”
Shulamit flipped the paper back over.
“Look,” said Isaac. “His map—the infestation goes down the river straight into the Lovely Valley.”
Shulamit shook her head slowly and groped around for Rivka’s hand. She clung to her friend’s arm with both hands like it was a bellpull, then hugged it tightly to her chest. “Whatever this is, we have to stop it. We have to stop them.”
Shira Glassman is a bisexual Jewish violinist living in North Central Florida. She is best known for her Mangoverse books, four fluffy queer fantasy novels (and accompanying short stories) set in a tropical Jewish fairytale kingdom ruled over by a young lesbian and her “family of choice”, including a dragon. These books have reached the finals list of multiple years of the Bi Book Awards and Golden Crown Literary Society Awards. She writes other short contemporary and fantasy fiction as well, including two contemporary romance novelettes about professional musicians. Shira’s greatest inspirations are French and German opera and Agatha Christie novels, as well as her own family life and closest friends.
Rafflecopter Prize: One winner will be selected to win an eBook copy of The Olive Conspiracy.