Rockstar Tours: THREE DROPS OF BLOOD (Gretchen McNeil) Excerpt & Giveaway! ~US ONLY

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THREE DROPS OF BLOOD by Gretchen McNeil Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:


Author: Gretchen McNeil

Pub. Date: March 21, 2023

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it: Goodreads


A Good Girls Guide to Murder meets Hitchcock in this novelfrom celebrated author Gretchen McNeil. A
mundane office job takes a dark turn when a girl witnesses a double murder
through the window.

Being an actress, Kate is no stranger to drama. And when her chance at a
leading role gets cancelled, she is willing to do whatever it takes to get her
acting career back on track even if that means getting a boring office job at
her best friend’s father’s law firm so she can prove to her parents she can to
support herself rather than go back to high school. Now, rather than living
life on the big screen, she is stuck filing mundane contracts and watching the
people in the office across from hers live their equally boring lives.

But when Kate sees things heat up between a woman and her assistant, her new
source of entertainment take a turn for the worse when she witnesses a double
murder. Now, she must get anyone to believe her and find out who this mystery
woman is to get answers. But as she learns more and more about the
circumstances leading to the gruesome act, she begins to realize there is a
bigger mystery under the surface…

In this voyeuristic thriller filled with twists and turns, can Kate get anyone
to believe her before she becomes the next victim?





KATE SAT AS STILL AS SHE COULD IN THE FAUX LEATHER ARMCHAIR, sweat pilling up on her forehead and chin beneath the intense heat  of the two thousand-Watt open face Tungsten flood lights while Marielle,  her makeup artist, stood at her shoulder, powder brush poised and ready.

Kate was used to these moments of forced stillness. After three months  in production on the Dirty Pretty Teens series, she’d gone from acting  novice to seasoned pro, and she’d learned to sit quietly between takes and  let the professionals do their jobs.

At first, she’d wondered why they couldn’t, like, turn off the d*  lights so it wasn’t as infernally hot while the actors held in place, but since  the rest of the cast—all television veterans—were unfazed by the uncomfortable heat, Kate kept her thoughts to herself. Eventually, she realized that the grips frequently scuttled around resetting and rearranging the  entire lighting apparatus during brief interruptions as the A.D. and cinematographer tweaked their setup. These pauses in the action were only a  pause for the actors. Everyone else was still in motion.

But this hold was different. Instead of the usual flurry of movement,  most of the crew was focused on a corner of the coffee shop set where the  director and producers were huddled around a small playback screen.

Even blonde, teen sensation Belle Masterson, the star of Dirty Pretty  Teens who rarely paid attention to anything that wasn’t directly related to  Belle Masterson, was interested in this coterie. Sure she’d whipped out  her phone the moment the director yelled “cut” and had pretended to  swipe through screens to avoid human interaction, but though her chin  was tucked down, her pale cheeks had flushed pink and her blue eyes were  fixed on the production team.

Or on Dex Pratt’s ass.

Which was essentially the same thing.

Kate was new to the entertainment industry, but she was pretty sure  that seventeen-year-old actresses throwing themselves at their married,  thirty-eight-year-old show runners was frowned upon. Not that it stopped  Belle. She took every opportunity to touch Dex—a hand on his arm, a  brush against his shoulder, a playful shove like prepubescent kids who  were learning that even negative touching was still touching. When Belle  wasn’t eliciting skin-to-skin contact with Dex, she was flirting with him  from afar with signals even Kate’s cataract-ridden great-aunt could have  spotted from fifty paces.

That girl was wild bananas.

Marielle made her finishing touches on Kate’s nose, her eyes straying  to the brain trust in the corner. “They’d better made a decision soon.  You’re going to pumpkin at the top of the hour.”

Kate wasn’t supposed to move when getting her face touched up, but  she always smiled when someone on set used “pumpkin” as a verb. It  meant she, as a minor, was about to hit the end of her work day when the  director would lose her for the next twelve hours. She was the only official  minor on the production—Belle Masterson had miraculously passed her  California High School Proficiency Exam at sixteen which meant she  could work on set as “legal eighteen” without fear of pumpkining—and  working around Kate’s availability under California labor law was a huge  concern for the production. Usually, everyone moved at lightning speed  as Kate’s pumpkin hour approached.

But not today.

Marielle swept her long jumbo box braids behind one shoulder and  stepped back to check her work. “All set.”

“Thank you!” Kate said, smiling. Marielle had been a huge help to  Kate throughout the production, especially the first week on set when  she’d offered gentle nudges and suggestions when Kate had no idea what  she was supposed to be doing. Kate was pretty sure she’d have been fired  if not for the kindness of her makeup artist.

The scene they’d just shot was a poignant reminder of Kate’s bewildering first day on set. She and Belle—or rather their characters Noelle  and Piper—at a coffee shop, arguing over their romantic entanglements,  a mirror image of the first scene they’d ever shot together. She and Belle  had sat in those same sticky, slick chairs, morphing from near strangers  to BFFs the second the cameras started to film. Kate recalled how desperately nervous she’d been sitting across the table from the former Disney  Channel star in her form fitting body con mini dress while Kate’s size  sixteen curves were camouflaged by an open plaid blazer that couldn’t  have buttoned over her ample chest without popping a seam. Even with brand new highlights in her reddish-brown hair and

Marielle’s contouring skills, Kate had felt like a double-wide trailer parked  beside a Ducati, and she was positive someone would realize she wasn’t  actually an actress and that casting her had been a horrific mistake.

Kate kept trying to remind herself of how awesome this opportunity  was—the role of Noelle in the Dirty Pretty Teens books was certainly not written as a plus size person, and how often did actresses who looked like  Kate get to indulge in frothy, soapy roles like this? But instead of calming her down, Kate had only increased her stress, feeling the pressure of  representation. She’d been sick to her stomach with it and the only thing  that had saved her were her dad’s parting words when he’d dropped her  off that morning:

“All the world’s a stage, Katie-Bear,” he’d said in his deep, booming  bass-baritone. “When in doubt, look to the Bard.”

Usually, Kate rolled her eyes at her dad’s insistence that every situation  in the entire universe from asking someone on a date to negotiating global  disarmament treaties could be solved with a simple “look to the Bard,” as  if Shakespeare was a soothsaying prophet like Nostradamus and his plays  were merely blueprints for the centuries that followed. Mack Williams— Shakespearean scholar, former amateur actor, and adjunct professor of  Jacobean literature—was biased, but that day, his advice had struck a  chord with his daughter. As she’d sat nervously at her makeup station,  frantically going through the upcoming scene in her head, she’d started  to panic. She was dropping words, reciting her lines out of order, for

getting her blocking. What was her motivation? Why was her character  doing any of this bullshit in the first place? None of it made sense. When in doubt, look to the Bard. 

Kate had focused on her character Noelle Wagner, spunky best friend  of Belle’s Piper Payne. Noelle was trustworthy and brave, though she harbored a secret crush on Piper’s on-again off-again boy toy Sebastian who had once asked Noelle out before falling for Piper. Meanwhile, Wyatt,  the guy Piper really wanted, was pretending to be interested in Noelle in  order to make Piper jealous, driving a wedge between the two friends that  fueled most of the series’ plot points. It was a ridiculous and convoluted  soap opera, and Kate was thankful that she’d never read the young adult  novels on which the series was based because there was no way she’d have  been able to keep a straight face at the audition if she’d known what was  coming.

Still, convoluted or not, the story lines were reminiscent of the four  Athenian lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Piper, Sebastian, Wyatt,  and Noelle were easily juxtaposed onto Hermia, Demetrius, Lysander,  and Helena.

Helena, whose boyfriend falls in love with her best friend. Helena, who sees her best friend turn on her after the gods make both  of the men lust after her.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, 

And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. 

In an instant, years of Kate’s dad drilling Shakespeare into her unexpectedly paid off as the entire role of Noelle had come into focus. What  she wanted, why she wanted it. For the first time since Kate had been cast,  it all made sense.

Maybe Shakespeare really was a prophet?


Time and again over the past few months, Kate had returned to  Helena and A Midsummer Night’s Dream when she felt lost. Even now,  on the last day of shooting, in this final scene, a pivotal confrontation  between best friends, Helena was a beacon.

Is all the counsel that we two have shared, 

The sisters’ vows, the hours that we have spent

When we have chid the hasty-footed time 

For parting us? Oh, is all forgot? 

“Act three, scene two,” she said under her breath.

“What?” Belle turned to her sharply, eyes narrowed, as if she’d caught  Kate talking shit behind her back.

“Oh, um, nothing.”

“Did you say something about my acting?”

Not everything is about you. “I was quoting Shakespeare.” “Why?”

As someone who didn’t care how the sausage was made, the word  “why” never came out of Belle’s mouth. Kate was momentarily thrown.  Most of their interactions had been Belle monologuing about herself or  giving unsolicited advice to her co-star, neither of which required much  of a response. Which was fine. When Kate wasn’t sure how to respond,  she usually stayed quiet, and that seemed to be what Belle wanted most  of the time anyway.

Now Belle was looking at her intently, eyes pinched with suspicion,  waiting for an answer.

“I just . . . I use Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as inspiration  for Noelle.” She paused, wondering why she felt the need to explain herself, but couldn’t stop talking. “My dad says you can solve almost any  problem by looking to the Bard.”

It sounded super corny when she said it out loud.

Belle was silent for a moment, eyes still locked on Kate. “Hot or not?” “Shakespeare?”

“The chick. Helen.”

Belle’s priorities were so out of whack. “I guess Helena’s hot?” “You guess.” Belle dropped her phone to her lap, suddenly interested.  “And who am I?”

That was a loaded question, but Kate decided to stick with Shakespeare.  “I suppose that makes you Hermia.”

“Awful name,” Belle said, wrinkling her upper lip. “Is she hot?” Kate needed to extricate herself from this conversation before her  brain exploded. “Well, she has two different guys in love with her at the  beginning of the play.”

Belle gasped. “That sounds just like me!” Then she picked up her  phone and went back to watching Dex while pretending to swipe. And I have to shoot a whole second season with her . . . 

Movement and raised voices from the corner of the coffee shop forced  everyone to attention. Dex shook hands with the A.D. then slapped the  director on the back before turning around to address the entire room.  He smiled broadly, an unfamiliar expression and one that made his overly  tanned face seem more cheerful than shrewd. For half a second, Kate got  what Belle saw in him. He was handsome—sure, like, whatever. This  was L.A. Everyone was hot. And Dex’s brand of hot was “white frat boy”  laced with a privileged douchebaggery which negated the hotness. But his  authoritarian power on the set was, at the very least, arresting, and paired  with a cheerful smile, Kate kinda sorta understood the appeal.

Except, no, ew. He was, like, almost as old as her dad.

“Well—” Dex began, then paused dramatically, stretching his arms  wide, holding everyone’s attention in his embrace. “That’s a wrap on sea son one!”

Belle bolted to her feet, rapidly clapping her dainty hands like a mad  pair of hummingbird wings, and let out a high-pitched cheer. It was the  signal to celebrate, and the rest of the crew hugged and high-fived on a  job well done.

Dex made his way through a shallow sea of assistants and technicians,  shaking hands and slapping people on their backs as if they were all his

close, personal friends. He caught Kate’s eye and made a beeline for her. “Excellent job, Kate,” he said, flashing that Hollywood smile—dazzlingly white teeth against overly tanned skin.

“Thank you.”

He opened his arms, inviting a hug. “Bring it in.”

That’s a first. Dex usually kept his cast at arm’s length, which was fine  because Kate wasn’t exactly the touchy-feely type, and as he squeezed her  shoulders, she felt her body tense.

“I, uh, can’t believe it’s over,” she said awkwardly.

“Only season one!” Dex lingered, holding Kate in place long after  she’d have been comfortable pulling away. “I get the pleasure of seeing  you again in just a few months.”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Belle snarl.

Dex tugged on her shoulders, pulling her body into his. A fatherly gesture, but Kate didn’t love how her double d’s smushed into his abs. “I’m so  glad your friend dragged you to that audition.”

“Uh, me too.”

“So. Glad.” He tightened his embrace with each word, his arm drop ping from her shoulders to her waist.

Kate tried to express “I’m stuck here against my will” with just her  face, but Belle was all daggers as she rounded the small table that buffered  Kate from her rage.

“Are you done?” Belle practically spit out the words.

Kate wasn’t sure if they were meant for Dex or herself, but Dex took  his time releasing Kate from the forced embrace, slowly letting his arms  fall away. She scampered aside, smoothing down the lines of her shirt.  “Thanks, Mr. Pratt,” she said, intentionally formal. “I appreciate all of  your guidance.”


Belle stepped between them, honed on Kate like a cheetah on a wilde beest. “I’m sure you do.”

“You’re very welcome,” Dex said, ignoring the starlet’s jealousy. “See  you at the wrap party tomorrow, yes?”

“Of course.” Suddenly, the Dirty Pretty Teens wrap party was the last  place on the planet Kate wanted to be, but she couldn’t no show. She’d  promised to take Rowan as her plus one and her best friend would never  forgive her if she backed out. “See you then.”

Dex opened his mouth to respond, but Belle tugged on his arm, shut ting him up. Kate headed for her trailer, her actor’s high from shooting  the final scene of the season dimming as she struggled with the weirdness  of her encounter with Dex and Belle.

She ventured a glance back at them as she slipped through the door  into the tepid February sunshine. Belle was still pouting, hands crossed  over her chest like a toddler on the brink of a meltdown. Dex leaned  down, whispering, his lips close to her ear. Then just as he was about to  pull away, Dex paused.

And Kate thought she saw him plant a kiss on the arch of Belle’s porcelain neck.



About Gretchen McNeil:

Gretchen McNeil is the author of #MurderTrending, #MurderFunding,
#NoEscape, I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Possess,
, Relic, and Ten which was adapted as the Lifetime
original movie Ten: Murder Island in 2017, as well as Get Even
and Get Dirty, adapted as the series “Get Even” which is
currently streaming worldwide on BBC iPlayer and Netflix.  You can find
her online at, on Instagram @Gretchen_McNeil, and on
Twitter @GretchenMcNeil.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub




Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of THREE DROPS OF BLOOD, US Only.

Ends April 7th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Kait Plus Books

Excerpt/IG Post


Books and Kats



YA Books Central

Excerpt/IG Post


The Momma Spot


Week Two:






IG Review


The Litt Librarian

Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Review/TikTok Post



Review/IG Post



IG Spotlight

Week Three:



IG Review



Review/IG Post


Emily Ashlyn

IG Review/Facebook Post


A Dream Within A Dream

Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Spotlight


Lisa Loves Literature

Review/IG Post

Week Four:


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic


a GREAT read

Review/IG Post


to the nth

Review/IG Post


Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Review


Just Another Reader

Review/IG Post

Week Five:



Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Review/TikTok Post


Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer




IG Review



IG Review/Facebook Post


5 thoughts on “Rockstar Tours: THREE DROPS OF BLOOD (Gretchen McNeil) Excerpt & Giveaway! ~US ONLY”

  1. ldittmer says:

    My students love books like this!

  2. Cori says:

    WOW this looks fantastic

  3. Autumn says:

    I like the Hitchcock/YA matchup

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