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The Gift by @barb_avon is a Toasty Reads pick #romanticthriller #thriller #mustread #giveaway

Title: The Gift

Author: Barbara Avon

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Book Blurb:

Brooding, sexy, restaurant owner, Michael Rossi is determined to unravel the mystery behind the lady in the red coat. One secret can speak a thousand truths. Michael Rossi has an extraordinary talent. Every day, he sets out with his grandfather's camera to capture incredible images like the ones his Nonno used to take in Italy. His girlfriend recently left him with a broken heart and he's grateful for the distraction.

One day, he sees through his lens, a beautiful woman kneeling at a headstone. He quietly snaps her picture and retreats to his two-bedroom home in the city, developing the film in his darkroom. He returns to the cemetery daily and every day, the woman is also there.

Finally, Michael gathers the courage to approach her. Once Nicole tears down her walls, it doesn't take them long to fall in love.

She harbors a secret, however, a secret that she is ashamed of and that has changed her in ways she can't describe. If spoken, it would threaten the love she shares with Michael.

In time, Michael becomes aware that something isn't right. The words unspoken between them, become the most powerful of all. Is their love strong enough to survive? Or will Nicole's secret take them down a dark hole that spirals deeper and deeper into uncertainty and into the hands of a killer?


The high-pitched beeping of her neighbour’s smoke alarm pierced the silence that ensued. Michael was leaning forward, his elbows on his knees while Nicole stared straight ahead, brushing the tears from her cheeks. Finally, she turned to him, “You don’t even know me, Michael.”

“I know enough,” he reported, leaning back in the chair.

“Why me?”

“Why not you?” he asked her, wishing he could light a smoke. “What makes someone choose one person and not another? Honestly, Nic, I don’t think we’re supposed to ask the heart questions.”

“You mean the hard questions?”

“No. I mean the heart.”


“Nic? I warn you that I’m coming over there now, okay? I’m getting up now,” he said, seriously.

A smile formed on her lips and despite herself, she laughed at his play-by-play. When he was sitting next to her, he took her hand and held it by placing his other hand on top, so that she was sandwiched between him. “May I have the honour of courting you?”

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What makes your featured book a must-read?

This book is for anyone who enjoys stories featuring enemies-to-lovers, enjoys reading about Italian food, or has an interest in photography, but what really makes this story a must-read is the way I transport the reader to a different time (1980), thrusting them into a suspenseful tale with thriller undertones making the love story that much more emotional. Michael Rossi is one of my readers’ favourite protagonists, and because of that, there’s a standalone sequel as well! “The Gift” doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but if you want more of Michael, a sequel is available.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs February 3 – February 13, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on February 14, 2023.

Author Biography:

I am a wife, sister, daughter, an aunt, and a friend. I am a lover of words and a firm believer that if you "lose your dreams, you might lose your mind." (The Rolling Stones).

Barbara Avon was born in Switzerland and immigrated to Canada when she was two years old. She grew up Italian in the Niagara Region and attended Notre Dame High School, and then Brock University. She moved to Ottawa, Ontario, in 1999 to pursue work. She has worked for two major Ottawa area magazines and is a published poet.

In 2018, she won SpillWords Author of the Month, as well as FACES Magazine “Favourite Female Author”. Her work appears in various anthologies including Steering 23 Publications, Storytime for Grownups, and Beyond the Levee. In October of 2022, “Revived” was chosen as “Horror Book of the Year” by the “Feed My Reads” community.

When she's not writing, she's experimenting in the kitchen, reading, watching 1980s movies, or engaging with her peers on Twitter. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband Danny, their tarantula Betsy, and their houseplant, “Romeo”.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @barb_avon


Feb 14, 2023

My fave cozy book is Driven by K Bromberg!


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Feb 07, 2023

Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your book in our Toasty Reads Bookish Event!

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