Welcome to the book blitz for RE-VAMPING LAS VEGAS, a stand-alone adult fantasy/paranormal romance, by Jen Pretty. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99 or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.
RE-VAMPING LAS VEGAS by Jen Pretty
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: RE-VAMPING LAS VEGAS Author:Jen Pretty Release Date: July 12, 2019
Genre: Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon| Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Nia hates people.
She also hates vampires.
Too bad she is one.
An innocent bit of fun finds Nia tangled with a dangerous man and the powers that be send her to live with the vampire lord of LasVegas.
Their efforts to get Nia back on the straight and narrow are almost as ridiculous as her fathers attempt to make her this heir in his bid for world domination. It’s LasVegas, what trouble could she possibly find? Her life takes a sharp turn when someone tries to use her in a power struggle against her father, and her past sneaks up on her.
The past never stays where you left it, and sometimes the beginning is just the start of the end.
Excerpt #2 At sundown, I took a cab to the mall. There was a high-end electronics store owned by a local guy named Darren. He could hack, I was sure. He was the only person to suspect I was up to no good with my laptop. I replaced mine more often than average, but my continued patronage assured his silence.
My father thought he could buy me back by padding my bank account. He couldn’t, but he was rich, so I spent his money, and new laptops were my main purchase.
The mall was overrun with teenagers and old people pushing wheeled walkers with bags full of knitting supplies or whatever. No sensible person went to the mall when they could help it. The long wide hall with escalators down the center made way for the shops and department stores where well-dressed women and men rang through purchases of clothing and electronics. Beautiful women at cosmetic counters sprayed passers-by with perfumes that smelled like toilet cleaner. The teenagers hung around in a group like a cackle of hyenas, laughing raucously and shoving each other.
“Hey, Nia,” Darren greeted me as I walked up to the counter. He was geeky, in a cute way. His glasses made him look smart and his shirt and tie- professional. I had seen him in the club a couple of times though. Not a complete nerd.
“Hey, Darren. How’s it going?”
“Not too bad. What can I get for you today?”
“Something fast and pretty,” I smiled. He knew I didn’t tinker. I wanted a laptop ready to go, like usual.
He smiled and went into the back room.
I waited at the counter and watched a kid read the backs of all the video game packages by the front of the store. The kid was no more than thirteen years old and kind of motley. He wore an over-sized coat and his hair was shaggy and unkempt. He looked around and then tucked one game into his coat. I almost laughed but bit my lip. There was a security tag on everything in the store. Cue the fireworks.
Just as Darren came out from the back carrying my new toy, the kid walked out between the alarm sensors and lights and sirens went nuts.
“Hang on a sec, Nia,” Darren said as he went storming off after the kid. I walked to the doorway and watched as the kid raced down the hall towards the mall exit, Darren in hot pursuit. Mall security nabbed the kid before he made it out the door and he started screaming like a stuck pig. I laughed and watched as the kid squirmed trying to break free of the overweight security guard.
Once the guard had the kid well in hand, he told Darren he would call the police, but Darren just took his game back and told the kid not to enter his store ever again–probably scared him straight. Or set him up to be a career criminal. Either way, everyone settled down, and Darren came back to ring me through.
“Sorry about that, Nia. This has been happening more and more. I’m thinking about putting the games behind a glass case.”
“You’re pretty fast. I thought for sure that kid would make it.”
Darren looked at me and raised an eyebrow. When I didn’t respond, he chuckled and rang through my purchase. “You’re a strange one, Nia. I hope this laptop lasts longer than the last one.” He put it in a bag, I thanked him and walked back out of the mall.
Author Jen Pretty
About the Author JenPretty is a well- known and prolific writer of smart urban fantasies. Her novels are character driven, witty, often violent, and with a liberal sprinkling of course language. Some of her books genre-hop into mythology, pulling characters and situations from a variety of sources.
When not writing, Jen can be found in the barn with her horses, or knee-deep in the vegetable garden at her home in rural Ontario, Canada, which she shares with her husband, three children, and a white husky dog named Salt.
Welcome to the book blitz for MILLION MILES AWAY, the first book in the new adult science fiction romance series, Million Miles, by Alice Bane, releasing October 5, 2019. See below for information on the book, preorder links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
MILLION MILES AWAY (Million Miles #1) by Alice Bane
Synopsis For the past year, sleep paralysis has been little more than a thorn in Natalia’s side. That is, until she meets Korin, a strange but beautiful alien being who makes her question everything she knows about the universe.
Life-changing love almost feels like an invasion.
I won’t bore you with details about the mysterious medical issues I’ve had over the last year;
the sudden severe allergies to food and medication, the sleep paralysis. All I’ll tell you is that they turned my life upside down.
But I’m a rational person.
Naturally, I assumed that my mind was playing tricks on me when I saw the strange figures standing over me.
But it felt so freakishly real;
especially one face in particular that always stayed with me long after I woke up.
Something about him always drew me in and I knew he was different. He made me feel different.
All my life, romance has felt like something that was reserved for everyone but me. I’d accepted that the only love in my life would be experienced through my artwork.
Now I’m questioning everything I know about myself, about reality, and especially about love.
Excerpt The girls would always tease me about how put together my life was. Sure, it looked good on paper; top-rated artist in my department, an amazing house which I always kept immaculate, and when I wasn’t working, I was at the gym. They seemed to think that I had a perfect life. They had no idea how much I envied them. They both had incredible relationships with gorgeous men who doted on them endlessly. They were always commenting on how jealous they were of my body, but they also never missed a chance to eat delicious foods that I couldn’t so much as smell without getting sick. They didn’t realize that my house was always clean because it was empty and sterile; just like the rest of my life.
I didn’t even have a pet. Ever since little Ivan died, I accepted that I wasn’t pet owner material. If I couldn’t keep a goldfish alive, what chance did I have with a more complex and emotionally dependent animal? Besides, with my work schedule, it would be cruel to even try.
“Before we get started with what we’ve got on today, I need to ask you guys a really important favor,” Abiola said, circling the desk to take both mine and Laura’s hands in hers. “The two of you have been such a huge part of my life. You’ve been there for me through all my family drama and I couldn’t love you more if you were my flesh and blood sisters.”
“Abi,” Laura pushed out her bottom lip. “That’s the sweetest thing you could possibly say.”
“Well, I would be so honored if the two of you would be my bridesmaids this spring. Please say yes!”
The three of us all wrapped our arms around each other in a sickeningly sweet display of female solidarity. I forced a smile and swallowed the lump in my throat as I imagined walking down the aisle on the arm of some random groomsman who had a wife or girlfriend somewhere in the church. This would be the second time I was a bridesmaid at someone’s wedding. The old saying ‘three times a bridesmaid, never a bride’ rang out in my mind.
“I would love to be a bridesmaid at your wedding,” Laura crooned.
I mustered the minimal amount of excitement I could get away with for the situation and said, “Me too. I love you, woman,” then patted Abiola on the back.
Abiola nodded and wiped at eyeliner from beneath her watering eyes. She was an old soul with a soft heart. She spent her weekends volunteering at a children’s group home. That was where she met her fiancé Trevor, and they bonded over their dysfunctional family situations. They would probably adopt a bunch of foster kids right after their wedding and live happily ever after. She deserved that; it was all she ever wanted.
“Okay ladies,” Abiola clapped her hands. “Today we’re looking for something we can use for the promotion of the OSA campus, which will be opening next year in Portland, Oregon. Boss says our primary focus is to attract engineering and architectural students for the Lunar-retreat that’s in the works.”
“So, where do we start?” Laura said, looking right at me.
“I am going to need to work up some concept drawings for the Lunar Resort. Also, if you could give me the clearest photos of the most beautiful views the Lunar Surface has to offer, that would be cool to show exactly what the students should be aspiring to be a part of. I want to see some dramatic landscapes with visible craters, maybe some rock formations. Anything to pull people in.”
“I’m on it,” Laura nodded and sat down at her touch responsive computer.
“I’ll go to engineering to get permission to use blueprints of the resort that you can use to make the concept drawings,” Abiola said, then turned and headed towards the elevator.
It was an exciting project. I used to fantasize that by the time I was ready to retire, I would be able to cash in on all the vacation time I had accrued and maybe even spend a few of my golden years at that resort. The thought of waking up in the morning and looking out the window to see the Earth just as we see the moon from down here always gave me a sense of calm.
Four hours later, all final decisions had been made on what I wanted to use on the project. Right on cue, my trusty assistants started complaining that they were starving to death.
“If I don’t get some corned beef nachos in me in the next ten minutes, I might actually die,” Laura said and stood up dramatically from her desk.
“I want waffles and bacon,” Abiola rubbed her belly.
I sighed at the memory of bacon; I would probably just have some raw vegetables and berries. I was still looking at my screen and inspecting one of the photos, trying to decide on how I would alter the image to bring it to life. My eyes burned. I clenched them shut and rubbed them, forcing them to rest. Eye strain was the enemy and this day was proving to be particularly difficult since I had hardly slept the night before. I couldn’t shake my anxiety about today’s social gathering after work. Stress and lack of sleep usually meant a big fat migraine, which was the last thing I needed at Laura’s party.
“I’m going to head to the chill room. I need a nap more than anything.”
“You better be rested for tonight’s festivities,” Laura wagged her finger at me.
“I’ll bring my party face, I promise,” I said. I stood up but couldn’t stop the oncoming yawn. “The fatigue is killing me.”
“Yeah, no coffee or sugar in your morning will do that to you,” Abiola said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know how you do it.”
“Well, it’s easy since a cup of coffee could put me in the hospital again, I guess.”
“Jesus,” Abiola pressed her fist to her mouth. “I didn’t mean to…”
“It’s fine, Abi,” I assured her. “I just need to get a little rest.”
The two girls headed down to the food court while I made my way to the sleeping pods. White, plush, and stacked like a honeycomb, they were an inviting image that screamed comfort. I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief to find my favorite lower level pod was unoccupied. Turning on the sound system, I selected a playlist I knew I could sleep through. Sometimes I would choose guided meditation tracks or audiobooks. Today’s selection was soft cello. Something about the deep tones helped me unwind no matter what was on my mind. I settled in, turning on the heated cushions and closing my eyes.
I practiced the deep breathing exercises the doctor had taught me as I pictured myself floating through a dark endless sky toward the moon’s surface. The pictures I had looked at for over four hours served to be the subject of my meditation. I inhaled deeply, focusing on relaxing my arms and legs. Exhaling, I imagined moving further out into space. In… and out…
As soon as sleep found me, I was swept up in a flurry of blinding light. My stomach turned as the light began strobing violently, causing me to feel disoriented. My body tensed as I realized it had been several weeks since I’d had an episode. Right on schedule, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Oh no, no, no, no… I can’t deal with this right now, not at work!
I struggled to wake myself, I couldn’t move. The cold sensation of a smooth metallic surface beneath me was confusing. I felt my fingertips twitch as I tried desperately to flail any and all limbs that might respond to my will, but my body remained where it was. I strained to sit up or scream, but I couldn’t even open my mouth. I was trapped, overwhelmed by the weight of my chest collapsing in on itself. If I didn’t put every ounce of will I possessed into sucking air through my nostrils, I had a very real fear that my body would simply shut down, leaving my body as a cold stiff corpse which might be found hours later in my cozy little pod. Filling my lungs with intention, I gasped for air, breath after panicked breath, hoping someone would notice and wake me.
The strobing intensified for what felt like several minutes and when it finally stopped, there remained a constant blinding light that made my eyes water. Tears streamed from the outer corners of my eyes into my ears.
“Help… me…” I managed to whisper to no one in particular.
From the edge of my vision, a blurry figure leaned over me.
“Please,” I sobbed, trying to turn my head to get a better look at who it was, but I couldn’t.
My chest burned as my heart pounded out of control. I tried to calm myself by reciting the scientific facts about what I knew was happening.
During REM sleep, your muscles are essentially turned off to keep you from sleepwalking. When a person wakes up during REM, they are fully conscious but completely paralyzed. Usually, physical stimulation from someone rubbing or shaking them will pull the victim out of the purgatorial state. Unfortunately, living alone means I have no one to rescue me during these episodes, which can sometimes last for hours.
“Just close your eyes. Everything will be okay,” a distorted voice spoke through the fog of my half-conscious state.
Maybe my brain is morphing the cello music into a voice. Sleep paralysis is often accompanied by waking dreams or hallucinations, after all.
I thought I could force myself to come out of it but, instead, I moved even deeper into unconsciousness. It wasn’t like falling, but more like being underwater and sinking slowly. I struggled against what felt like a chemically induced calm. I tried again to force myself awake but couldn’t. The darkness swallowed me up and I finally surrendered to it.
To my surprise, I suddenly found myself vividly aware of two things; one, the fact that I was breathing without much effort, and two, I was no longer in my cushioned sleeping pod, but rather stretched out flat on my back on a cold metal surface. All efforts to move just made me realize that what I was experiencing was very different from the sleep paralysis I was familiar with. I could move my fingers and flex my wrists and feet. There were actual physical restraints fastened around my wrists, neck, forehead, and ankles that were preventing me from moving.
Blinking hard, I strained to look around at my surroundings. The entire room was reflective as if every surface and object was made from surgical steel. It was shockingly cold, almost like the inside of a walk-in refrigerator. I grunted, twisting my wrists in hopes that I could slip out the straps.
There was a continuous hum that was so low I didn’t hear it so much as felt it vibrating through my entire body. There was a spherical light that seemed to be floating in the air a few feet over me. The ceiling was high above that and almost too dark for me to make out anything but the vague shape of what might have been a reflection of myself and the rest of the room around me. I strained to see past the light so I could study what else I could make out in the reflective ceiling. My heart pounded in my ears as my attention was drawn to a distorted human shape in the darkness at my side.
A chill spread through my body as I realized that someone, or something, was quietly watching me struggle but I couldn’t for the life of me work out who, as the silhouette disappeared from my view the moment I noticed it. Even when I turned my eyes as far as I could, the dark corners of the room remained completely obscured. Regardless of the deafening silence and the fact that I couldn’t see anyone, I knew someone was there.
Welcome to the book blitz for MIDNIGHT, a stand-alone adult contemporary LGBTQ+ romance, by J.V. Speyer. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Brandon loved Adrian, so when Adrian abruptly moved out of their apartment Brandon was devastated. Six weeks later Brandon is ready to start to ease his way back into life again, but a chance encounter leaves him questioning everything he thought he knew – about Adrian, their relationship, and himself.
His friends are there to see him through it, especially his best friend Greg. Greg wants what’s best for Brandon. He’s always wanted what’s best for Brandon, even when it’s not necessarily what’s best for Greg.
As Adrian’s true nature is revealed, Greg starts to wonder if maybe what’s best for both of them wouldn’t be each other.
Excerpt Brandon sat down on one of the chairs. “Yeah. I mean I know he had to hide. I knew that going in. A lot of guys had to do that. Most of them figure it out. And I’m not mad at him or anything. I just want to move on.” He frowned. ”What are you trying to get at here, Greg? Why does Adrian have anything to do with tonight’s party?”
Greg inclined his head down, toward the spot on the street that he hadn’t been able to tear his eyes from. “Because he’s been here this whole time.”
Brandon choked on his gin and tonic. “What?”
“He’s been sitting outside the condo, watching the building, this whole time. I mean, I get it.”
“I don’t!” Brendon declared, standing up again. He clutched his drink in his hand and couldn’t decide if he wanted to hurl it at the ex standing on the ground or if he wanted to go inside and hide. Throwing the glass would be wrong. It would be irresponsible; it would get people hurt. He didn’t want to hurt Adrian, even if this latest stunt was creepy and stalker-ish. “He’s the one who walked away. Why is he hanging around outside my building like some kind of lonely ghost?”
“He wanted your attention. He didn’t know how to get it, and his ploy backfired spectacularly. I think he regrets what he did.” Greg sighed. “I’ve been watching him all night, trying to figure out what to do. I was thinking about bringing him in.”
Brandon spun, bringing himself face to face with his best friend. “Why would you do that?”
“Because you love him, Bran!”
“So what? I’m moving on, trying to rebuild my life. Something you have not been shy about encouraging, I’ll point out. And you want to just… what, drag him back in here? What could that possibly accomplish?” He pulled at his hair.
“I thought it might give you guys a second chance.” Now it was Greg’s turn to sit down, flopping into one of the other patio chairs like it was the only thing holding him up. “I want to see you happy, Bran. I keep hopping this fence – I know you weren’t with the people who made you happy, but you seemed so perfect for each other. And I desperately want you to be happy.” He sighed heavily, gesturing back in Adrian’s general direction. “But I didn’t do it. The guy’s in his thirties. If he wanted to come up he could ring the doorbell like an adult.”
Brandon shook his head and rubbed Greg’s shoulders. “I knew I could trust you.” Greg leaned into the touch, just a little bit, and Brandon grinned. “I thought we established that Adrian can’t make me happy at this point. We’re not right for each other, even if we thought we were.”
“I know. I just don’t know what to do here.” He leaned back. “I mean, this is kind of creepy. He’s just out there, watching. If I’m not going to invite him inside, I probably ought to call the cops.”
Technically, Greg was right. Brandon probably ought to call the police, because no good ever came from one ex staking out the other’s home like this. “Do you think he’s dangerous?” Brandon hedged. “Seriously, has he said anything that’s struck you as dangerous?”
“Other than creepily hanging around outside your house? Nah. Not that he’d say anything to me, you know?” Greg snorted. “I’m pretty much the last person he’s talking to right now, except maybe you.”
“What do you mean?” Brandon’s arms froze on his friend’s shoulders.
“He’s all pissy because I lit into him about stalking you through the rally.” Greg waved a calloused hand in dismissal. “Like okay, fine, he wants to be with someone new. Okay. And so what if the guy’s an undergrad – it’s a little weird, he’s a little young for a midlife crisis but who am I to judge? But that whole thing – like anyone didn’t know what he was up to.” He shook his head again, and Brandon could feel his shoulders tensing up again underneath his hands. “I wasn’t going to just sit there and not say anything.”
Brandon let his hands fall. “Oh, Greg. I’m so sorry.”
“What the hell for?”
“I never wanted to come between the two of you. You’re friends. You should be doing friend things, not arguing over me.” He turned away, clutching at his drink so he could do something with his hands.
Author J.V. Speyer
About the Author J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before making the greater Boston, Massachusetts area her permanent home. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem.
J. V. finds most of her inspiration from music. Her tastes run the gamut from traditional to industrial and back again. When not writing she can usually be found enjoying a baseball game or avoiding direct sunlight. She’s learning to crochet so she can make blankets to fortify herself against the cold.
Welcome to the book blitz for ACCEPTING AERIN, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, Beckley’s Daughters Romance, by Tinsley Sellers. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the ebook for just $0.99.
ACCEPTING AERIN (Beckley’s Daughters Romance #2) by Tinsley Sellers
Synopsis Former Chicago Cubs third baseman Chet Coakley needs a quiet place to write the last novel in his best-selling series.
When a freak accident ends his baseball career, Chet finds his second chance writing a series of retro-detective novels. He’s on a deadline and can’t afford a distraction—especially not in the form of a vivacious blonde innkeeper who challenges everything he believes about himself.
Professional chef Aerin Buckholtz owns a vintage lodge and fifteen cabins on a secluded lake in the Michigan woods.
Betrayed by her best friend and self-conscious about her appearance, Aerin believes that romance isn’t meant for her. She’s building her business—and working to earn good reviews seems safer than admitting her attraction to a handsome former athlete who feels far out of her league.
Can Aerin and Chet learn to see themselves through each other’s eyes and accept a love neither one saw coming?
Welcome back to Beckley, Michigan! Autumn is in the air and as the days get shorter, the air gets cooler and the trees begin to turn every shade of gold and red. The people are just as warm, friendly, smart, funny, and real as you remember. When you need a place to call home, Beckley welcomes you—and sometimes the family you choose is as strong as the bonds you’re born with.
If you like small-town romance, you’ll like Beckley. If you like smart heroines who balance demanding professional careers with a commitment to family, friends, and finding love, then you’ll definitely like it here. If you like strong, sexy, hard-working heroes who have not-so-secret soft spots for kids, kittens, and classic cars, you may find that you never want to leave!
Accepting Aerin is the second in the Beckley’s Daughters Romance series. This series is recommended for adult readers and contains explicit language and intimate situations.
Excerpt #1 Aerin. Nichelle had given me that much information, at least. Well, that and the part about owning the lodge and being the cousin of the best man, an enormous mountain of beard and muscle ridiculously named ‘Buck.’ However, the best way to gather information is always from the primary source. Unfortunately, the midnight-dressed, violet-eyed primary source was nowhere to be seen.
The music started, and the bridal couple took to the floor, dancing romantically close and whispering in each other’s ears. Nichelle left me and returned to the head table, where she leaned into a close conversation with the ginger-bearded best man. I strolled to the bar, scanning the room in vain. Optimistically, I asked the bartender for two glasses of champagne. I wanted a second chance to make a first impression.
Strolling the perimeter of the room, I scanned the crowd and failed to find her. Finally back to my original table, I noticed the lights. Along the lakeshore, one by one, lanterns flickered to life. I quickly found the door and followed my hunch. She was there on the beach and even more beautiful, barefoot and bathed in candle glow.
Smiling, I offered her the champagne flute. Three or four wise-guy one-liners flitted through my thoughts before I opted to go with the simple truth. “I was looking for you.”
Even in the diminished light, I could see her cheeks flush. She looked away, sipped nervously.
“Thank you,” she whispered. “For the wine.”
“No, thank you. For letting me crash your perfectly planned and expertly executed wedding dinner. That was a spectacular meal.”
Her eyes lit up with the compliment, so I gave her another. “You know, you’re very beautiful.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Her sapphire eyes flashed then narrowed slightly, and her lips pressed together.
“Excuse me,” she said, a slight edge in her voice. “I need to finish lighting these.”
She struck another match with a scratch-hiss-flare and a whiff of sulfur. Walking away, she carefully lit the remaining lanterns. What had I done? I wasn’t sure, but her guard was up. When you tell a woman she’s gorgeous and she runs the other way…I hurried to catch up and apologize.
“I said the wrong thing, didn’t I? Aerin, I’m sorry. I was out of line.”
“Not to be blunt, but who are you?” She waved the long match and the flame died, a thin stream of smoke wafting skyward. She pointed the burnt end at me. “You know my name, and I have no idea who you are or why you’re even here!”
I raised my hands slowly, taking a step backwards. There was an undercurrent of genuine fear in her voice, and I definitely didn’t want to frighten her.
“Sorry,” I apologized again, gently removing the charred stick from her fingers. “You could put somebody’s eye out with that, you know,” I chided in a humorous voice. There it was. A tentative smile.
“I’m Chet Coakley, and Nichelle and I have been friends forever. She’s been trying to get me up here for months, but she had no idea I was coming tonight, and I had no idea that I’d be crashing a wedding.”
“You’re…” she swallowed, her eyes uncertain. “Chet Coakley? As in Chet Coakley?”
“Chet Coakley,” she continued weakly, “As in Clubhouse Confidential? That Chet Coakley?”
“Christopher Ethan to my mother,” I nodded again with a grin, “but yeah, ‘Chet’ to my friends.”
“Oh my god!” she exclaimed. Then her brow furrowed and her plump lips pursed. She grabbed the 6-inch spent match from my grasp, poking me in the chest with it to punctuate her words. In her bare feet, the top of her head didn’t quite reach my shoulder.
I laughed out loud. So she did know who I was. Chet Coakley was my real name, but it was also my pen name and the name of my chief protagonist. The Clubhouse Confidential series of retro detective novels was my very small claim to fame. ‘Chet Coakley’ the character was a washed-out baseball-player-turned-clubhouse-manager for the Cubs who kept accidentally stumbling into mysteries while keeping his players in line. The series took place in 1950s Chicago, and ‘Chet’ was always falling for sultry brunettes who turned out to be bad news. He never learned.
Chet the author (me) was a washed-out baseball-player-turned-novelist who had turned a bad break (literally) into a fairly sustainable franchise. I wasn’t always falling for sultry brunettes, but there was definitely an aspect of art imitating life. My first sultry brunette was long gone from my life—and married to another man. I had tried to erase the bitter taste with a second, even sultrier brunette. She was smart enough not to want me on the rebound, and we had parted ways after only a few months.
The first ClubhouseConfidential novel had sold well enough to be optioned by a respectable film director, but in casting it had morphed into a vanity project for an aging Hollywood pretty-boy. When it bombed at the box office, the actor blamed the script. The screenwriter, in turn, blamed the source material. As a result, the last two books in the series hadn’t sold nearly as well as the first three.
And that’s why I was here, at the Starbrite Lodge in remote Beckley, Michigan crashing a stranger’s wedding on the evening of the autumn equinox. I needed a break from Chicago. I needed a break from my agent and my editor, and I flat-out fired my publicist (that she was my sister didn’t make it any easier). I had one book left on my contract, and I wanted ‘Clubhouse’ Chet’s sixth and last adventure to be his very best. But I was working with a deadline; the finished manuscript had to be on my editor’s desk by December first.
“So do you really have four older sisters? Or is that just ‘Clubhouse’ Chet?” Aerin derailed my train of thought.
“Oh yeah, absolutely. ‘Real’ Chet couldn’t possibly make that stuff up. ‘Clubhouse’ Chet’s sisters are about as real as I can make them without getting sued by my own family.”
She sighed wistfully. “It must be nice to have a big family. Is it fun to have a houseful of siblings?”
I shrugged, “It’s all I know. I was 18 and away at college before I was ever anybody other than so-and-so’s baby brother. Turns out I actually missed it.”
A cool breeze blew off the lake, and Aerin shivered in her sleeveless dress. I wasn’t wearing a suit because I hadn’t anticipated a wedding; I had no jacket to drape across her bare shoulders. I contemplated putting an arm around her but before I could make a move, she had already marched halfway back to the reception. Neither of us remembered the black satin heels in the sand.
About the Author Tinsley Sellers grew up in Chicago, spending her summers with her grandparents in a tiny town a lot like Beckley, Michigan. Life took her to Arizona, Washington, and Idaho before she finally found her home in Arkansas. She is married to an amazing, supportive (and handsome!) man, with whom she has rescued three dogs and two cats. When she’s not writing, she teaches physics and engineering at the local university. When she’s not writing or teaching, she’s probably trying new recipes. She enjoys fast cars, loud music, fine whisky, and big books. In no particular order.
Welcome to the book Blitz for THE YEAR I LEFT, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance, by Christine Brae. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis “A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.”
Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.
Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.
An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.
Excerpt #1 Sometime in the late summer when the air began to tingle and the leaves started to fall, I opened my eyes one morning and my view of the world had changed.
Just like that. I can still see it in my head. The way I let it all unfold. It was a train wreck waiting to happen, and I let it.
I left for a business trip that morning with my house in total disarray. I had no good reason for refusing to take Charlie to his school bus, and despite having some time to change our dog’s water bowl, I chose not to do it. There it lay, next to the unwashed food dish, crusted with the remains of last night’s dinner. I figured Jack would get home from the gym and handle it all.
Piles of paper gathering dust on the floor and debit card receipts busting out of a little white box screamed for my attention. I ignored them. My home office, the place where I used to hide all day, was like a war zone.
And it wasn’t like we had money issues. Paying our bills was the least of my worries. Jack had made a killing when his startup was bought out, and I was the head of client services at a global real-estate company.
I just stopped giving a damn. Nothing interested me. I was beset by indifference. I just couldn’t keep up anymore. The sleepless nights, the exhaustion, the constant streaming in my head. Everything seemed so insignificant, so mundane. My successes, my accomplishments, they had lost all meaning.
Author Christine Brae
About the Author Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Her second book, His Wounded Light was released in December, 2013.
Christine’s third book, Insipid, is a standalone that was released in June, 2014, and her fourth book, In This Life, released in January 2016.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin Literary Management..
Welcome to the book blitz for HEALING HEATHER, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Beckley’s Daughters Romance, by Tinsley Sellers. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the ebook for just $0.99.
HEALING HEATHER (Beckley’s Daughters Romance #1) by Tinsley Sellers
Synopsis She’s going 120mph in a 65 zone—and if driving even faster could change history, Professor Heather Harris would floor it. She’s on a collision course with Sergeant Brian Daniels, a state trooper determined to enforce the speed limit and slam the brakes on his own heartache. Can a fast-moving physicist find love with a laid-back law officer, or will ghosts from their pasts keep driving them apart?
“All relationships come with an expiration date. All of mine just happened to fall on the same two days.” —Heather Harris
After a long year of tragedy and loss, Dr. Heather Harris is finally ready to come to terms with the deaths that have left her devastated and alone in the world. Spending summer break at the lake cottage she inherited from her grandparents is the first step in coping with her crushing grief, but she soon finds herself on a collision course with Sergeant Brian Daniels, a police officer whose passion for classic cars won’t stop him from enforcing the speed limit.
Brian Daniels embraces his small-town, laid-back, lakeside life. After years of heartbreak at the hands of his first love, he’s finally free—and a fast-driving, karaoke-singing physics professor offers an exciting diversion. Opposites attract, but the sudden appearance of a blonde on a Harley threatens to throw a monkey wrench in the works. Will the pull of his past be stronger than the promise of his future?
Welcome to the small-town world of Beckley, Michigan. The two-lane roads are long and winding, the many lakes are cool and blue, and the dense forests are green and shaded. Summer days are warm and sunny and summer nights are clear under the glittering stars. The people are warm, friendly, smart, funny–and very, very real. When you need a place to call home, Beckley welcomes you—and sometimes the family you choose is as strong as the bonds you’re born with.
Excerpt #2 As I emerged from the ice cream parlor with my enormous probably-better-than-sex sundae, the first thing I saw was a fully-restored classic pick up. Parked directly in front of Johnson’s, right next to Violet, it was a Dodge, 1951 or ’52, five-window. From the pristine condition of the Sea Mist Green paint to the spotless whitewall tires, I surmised that it still had the original straight-line 6-cylinder engine and three-speed transmission. Brian stepped wordlessly aside while I handed him my sundae and circled the truck, utterly transfixed. I may have been drooling just a little. Clicking the latch, I lifted the driver’s side bonnet—and gasped out loud.
“Yeah,” he nodded over my shoulder, “it’s a 392 Hemi. Just like yours.” He grinned and started spooning my sundae into his mouth. “I bought her about eight years ago, and it took me six years to bring her back to life. I figured she deserved the Hemi.”
He scooped another generous spoonful of my ice cream into his mouth and savored. “Dang, did Lizzie make this? Just gets better every time.” He handed me back the paper bowl and closed the truck bonnet. “Wanna go for a ride?”
Did I ever. Girl Code or Common Sense 101 be damned, there was no way I was turning down a ride in that beauty-on-the-outside, beast-on-the-inside truck. Without a word, I climbed into the cab on the passenger side. The interior had been meticulously restored, and the tan leather bench seat had been customized with intricate stitching.
He roared the engine to life, and my heart skipped a beat. In seconds, he had turned off the main highway, and we headed east an empty two-lane, windows rolled down and radio turned up.
“So, if I remember correctly, this is the part of the country song where I kick my shoes off and put my pretty bare feet on the dash.” I smiled sweetly and licked the caramel from my spoon, a little more suggestively than was strictly necessary. Something about the rolled-up sleeves and half-unbuttoned casual shirt he wore over a plain white tee spoke to me on an almost cellular level, triggering a sensual response I couldn’t really control. I took another bite, swirling my tongue through whipped cream with an exaggerated innocence.
“Followed by the verse where I kick you out of my truck for spilling ice cream all over the leather,” he looked meaningfully at the paper bowl and its rapidly melting contents. The molten caramel and the summer heat had conspired, almost liquefying the butter pecan.
“Sorry,” I said meekly, sitting up straighter and corralling my wayward thoughts. “I won’t spill, I promise. But you may have to help me finish this, it’s a double.”
“Now that’s an offer I can’t refuse.” He kept his left hand on the wheel, and while I held the bowl, tried unsuccessfully with his right to secure a spoonful. “I’m a lefty. Help me out here?”
I slid over a bit closer and held the sundae-loaded spoon to his lips. Without taking his eyes from the road, he took the bite with obvious relish. I repeated the process, then helped myself to a spoonful. Sharing the single spoon felt intimate and little romantic.
About the Author Tinsley Sellers grew up in Chicago, spending her summers with her grandparents in a tiny town a lot like Beckley, Michigan. Life took her to Arizona, Washington, and Idaho before she finally found her home in Arkansas. She is married to an amazing, supportive (and handsome!) man, with whom she has rescued three dogs and two cats. When she’s not writing, she teaches physics and engineering at the local university. When she’s not writing or teaching, she’s probably trying new recipes. She enjoys fast cars, loud music, fine whisky, and big books. In no particular order.
Welcome to the blog tour for THEY’RE A MATCH, the third book in the adult romantic suspense series, Tough Love, by Chloe Liese. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THEY’RE A MATCH (Tough Love #3) by Chloe Liese
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THEY’RE A MATCH Series: Tough Love #3 Author: Chloe Liese Release Date: August 12, 2019 Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense Link: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis One blazing relational bond formed by two fiery lovers. And a new element just joined the formula.
Chemistry calls it covalence. Shakespeare named it the “marriage of true minds.” Historically speaking, Nairne never liked the impractical notion of marriage, and Zed never thought he’d live to see the day when tying the knot was even an option. After a decade of entanglement in the mafia, Zed’s now free to play the game he loves and love the woman who owns his heart.
Problem is, the spitfire’s been a loner her whole life. Independent, self-reliant, and driven. And she wants nothing to do with marriage, since statistically it fails more than it succeeds, which to her scientific mind is the universally acknowledged definition of an experimental bust. But the elemental pull toward matrimony between the sexy scientist and her dark and handsome soccer star is stronger than Nairne anticipates. Can she risk her heart for her perfect match, even if it’s a gamble rather than a sure bet?
In the game of life,
you win some, you lose some.
“And They Lived Happily Ever After” is theirs for the taking,
but for that pesky little word that so often gets overlooked…
Book Three in the Tough Love Series—a suspenseful romance, full of sexy Italians, feisty heroines, a house full of friends and family, and an ending that closes the chapter on these lovers, and paves the way for new ones.
Excerpt #2 Zed stood at the counter, chopping onions and dabbing his eyes with the back of his sleeve.
“Jesus Christ,” he said. “Where’d you get these? They’re killing me.”
I sat at the island across from him, segmenting oranges. “The market down the street. They seemed fresh.”
“No shit.” He laughed.
He finished the onion and slid it into the cast iron pan where it sizzled and popped in olive oil. He set the cutting board and knife in the sink, and I watched his muscles flex under his grey thermal. It fit him unfairly well, and it was all his fault, since the man was particular about his wardrobe. I’d never bought him a stitch of clothing. He blamed it on being Italian.
“You ever see an Italian man who looks like a slob? That’s right, because they don’t exist.”
I smirked to myself and felt a dull ache grow between my thighs as his round shoulders and arse flexed when he leaned for the soap.
“Like what you see, MacGregor?”
I scowled at his back. “You always know when I’m undressing you with my eyes.”
He peered over his shoulder and hit me with those pale tiger irises, along with a knowing smirk. “I don’t know it. I feel it.”
When he finished at the sink, he came over to me. His hands slipped around my waist until he got as close as my growing belly allowed.
“You know what I’m thinking about?” he asked.
I was a little preoccupied with how his hands had drifted down to fondle my arse. “Hmm?”
“Where were we this time last year?”
His childhood home in Beacon Hill. He’d left the dinner table abruptly after his father had heckled him about the life Zed had become entangled in, a world he’d felt no choice but to both enter and try to destroy. Problem was, it had been destroying Zed, too.
“I remember,” I whispered. “How you looked so forlorn. I watched the snow and felt like you were as desolate inside as the storm around us.”
He nodded. Kissed me tenderly. “I was.” His hands cupped my cheeks as he smiled. “But then a spitfire came along and blew it all to hell. Brought heat and light and demand. Made me look at my life and want so much more from it.”
Tears burned my eyes. Sometimes I forgot to look back and feel the immense gratitude I should for how far we’d come, what we’d both survived. The life we’d fought to share.
“Thank you, innamorata, for this life. For giving me your love. For giving me a baby. It’s all because of you.”
I clutched his shirt and pulled him to me, kissing him hard. “I didn’t do it alone. It’s always been the two of us, together.”
About the Author Chloe’s always been a sucker for a suspenseful steamy romance, ever since she managed to find the one saucy mystery series hiding in her high school’s prim little library. Nothing drives her crazier than a story that cranks up the heat, then closes the door on the reader’s face, so don’t read her books if you don’t want to know what actually happens when the lights fade to black…
When she’s not writing, Chloe’s busy reading books of all genres, rereading Harry Potter (which she can’t help but make her characters similarly obsessed over), and playing catch-up with her bad@$$ little girls. She’s also been known to scramble around the pitch for a pick-up soccer match and run along the river while dreaming up her next book.
Welcome to the book blitz for BEASTS OF THE FROZEN SUN, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Frozen Sun Saga, by Jill Criswell. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
BEASTS OF THE FROZEN SUN (Frozen Sun Saga #1) by Jill Criswell
Synopsis Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.
Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.
When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the FrozenSun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.
As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.
Excerpt Something made me stop.
There, sitting atop my father’s black warhorse, was a Westlander unlike any other. Long ashen hair trailed behind him. He was bare chested, as if he didn’t fear the threat of blades on his skin, and he radiated a sleek, savage sort of beauty.
His gaze locked on me.
The Savage prodded his mount. Leaning to one side, he brought his axe crashing down into the Sons of Stone who ran at him, wielding his weapon like an extension of himself. My clan’s warriors fell. Blood splashed in waves across his skin.
His eyes never left mine. My limbs were heavy as boulders, stiff as plaster.
A voice called my name. Rhys rushed toward me, sword in hand. His eyes darted from me to the Savage, trying to reach me first.
The horse was coming. My legs wouldn’t move.
The Savage veered at the last second, passing between Rhys and me, so close his calf brushed my arm, and I shivered. He circled his horse back in our direction, and Rhys grabbed me, yanking me forward. The warhorse’s hooves pounded, nearly on top of us. We only made it a few steps before Rhys stumbled and choked, eyes widening. His hand slipped from my arm. His sword fell into the grass.
A battle-axe was buried between his shoulders.
My scream was the raw, wrenching keen of an animal. I caught Rhys as he collapsed, lowering him to the ground. I looked around wildly, calling for Father and Garreth.
The Savage leaped off his horse.
“Stay away!” I let go of Rhys and picked up his sword.
With a swift kick, the Savage knocked the weapon from my grip. I drew the dagger, and he slapped it away too. He pulled me to him, smelling my hair, running his fingers through it. I hammered my fists against him, but it did nothing. This close, I saw every detail of his face, his body. I absorbed them through a haze of shock.
Older than Garreth, younger than Father. Tall, muscled, with thick hair hanging down his back in braided ropes of silvery-white. Eyes a shade of greenish-gold, like a cat’s. Black ink crawling across one entire side of his body: up his stomach, chest, and neck, then back down the length of his arm to his fingertips, coiling along one jaw and cheek, to his forehead, disappearing into his scalp. Knotted patterns, with intricately etched claws and tails and reptilian heads interwoven between the twisted links.
If the other Westlanders were frost giants, he was a leviathan; if they were beasts, he was their king.
I struggled feebly, my palms smacking his chest. Anguish had torn my mind wide open, left my abilities untethered; my consciousness plunged into the depths of his soul. Except what I dove into was nothing. Colorless, shapeless, void of sensation. The space was starkly, infinitely empty. A barren abyss.
The Savage had no soul.
I pulled my hands free, snapping back into my body as the Savage grasped my chin. “What you see, soul-reader?” The words sounded cumbersome to his mouth. He took hold of my wrist, bending it to expose the scar of flame Reyker had marked me with, laughing like my scar was a joke meant to offend him. “He is here.”
The Savage thrust one of his hands into my hair, holding my head still, and the other tightened around my waist, crushing me against him. He pulled a delicate knife from his belt, pushing my hair back and sliding the stiletto behind my ear. The blade bit into my flesh in short, deep cuts. He was carving me. Marking me, just as Reyker had, only this felt far more violent. I whimpered as blood dripped down my neck. “Mine,” he said.
A threat and a promise.
Author Jill Criswell
About the Author JillCriswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).
Welcome to the book blitz for HYBRID, a stand-alone adult science fiction horror novel, by Rebecca Henry. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Agent Van of the CIA is sent to an Australian underground military surveillance base called Pine Gap. Agent Van finds himself thrown in a conspiracy cover up of an ancient alien race known as species X. Agent Van falls in love with Annika, a mysterious and uncommon woman who displays unusual abilities, leading Van to question her own origin. Mystery and horror explode around Agent Van during a cave diving exhibition to search for a lost colleague referred to as Agent One. The only clue for Agent Van and his team is a cryptic message carved on a wall inside the bleak cave that reads “Agent One is gone. No more Agent One.” Terror arrives as the agents are trapped inside the ominous cave. Agent Van soon learns that there is more to Pine Gap than Species X.
Excerpt #2 I was the fourth in our group to go through the tunnel, and my insides twisted with fright. The Tomb lived up to its name. We army-crawled on our bellies through the hollow passage for what felt like forever, but was actually about ninety meters. There was hardly enough room to move; the space was so tight that there was only about three or four inches of extra space between by body and the sides of the Tomb I slithered through like a snake. I couldn’t imagine how the General was managing it. Sweat beaded on my forehead despite the cold. I stopped to gather my wits, preparing myself for the challenge ahead.
Annika’s soft voice carried from behind me. “Take shallow breaths. And move slowly, the rocks are sharp,” she instructed, her voice soothing. “Don’t panic. You can make it out. Just keep calm and keep going.”
I tried to duck my head to see her, but the space was too tight. I knew she was right; logically, I wanted to believe her words, but fear was tightening its grip.
“Maybe you should go first?” I squeezed through the tightness of my throat. “I don’t like leaving you back there alone.”
I could hear the smile in her voice. “Don’t think I’d fit,” she said with a low chuckle. The thought of the smile I knew she wore in this dark hell was enough to get me through this tomb.
“Don’t worry about me, Van,” she continued, “Caves are a second home for me. Don’t worry, I’ll meet you on the other side.”
It was quiet inside the Tomb, no wind, no noise, only the sound of my breathing, the shuffle of my teammates ahead lost in the echoing dark. My head felt heavy, my neck stiff from being cranked to the side. There was no space to relax, and sharp rocks lay all around me. I kept my eyes trained on the wall to my right, its surface mere inches from my face. Looking ahead made me dizzy; I could see nothing but a void of darkness. I moved my left elbow forward two inches, then my right, dragging my legs behind me. Rocks scraped and stung as I forced myself deeper inside the Tomb.
It was dead quiet; no other sounds accompanied me on my crawl, and it was easy to imagine I was alone—trapped. I fought the sensation and pushed down the fear. Is this tunnel getting smaller? I was breathing heavy from the effort it took to move. No breeze, no noise, no light, no other signs of life. Only the dark and my panting breath. Fear began to get the better of me, its icy finger trickling down my neck and back. What if I made a wrong move inside this death trap and unleashed a hell of rocks, and an entire mountain came down to crush me?
I shook my head to dislodge the horror from my thoughts. I focused on Annika’s words: Just keep breathing and I’ll make it out. I concentrated on my crawling, counting each slithering movement. One, two, three. Keep crawling, keep moving. Four, five six. It’s only nine meters, not a massive stretch. Seven, eight, nine, ten. Wait—what was that noise?
A strange sound interrupted my counting. I paused to listen, but only heard my breath. I tilted my head searching for its source. Sliding rocks? That wasn’t right. The sound was too steady. I wanted to call back to Annika to see if she heard it, too, but I didn’t want to scare her. Maybe it was some rookie hazing, but the General didn’t seem like the type to tolerate that stuff. You are panicking, Van. Chalking up the sound to my imagination, I continued to move. Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen. I stopped. There it was again. It wasn’t my imagination.
A sharp wind blasted my face, making me blink. How was that possible? The sound grew louder, and my heart raced as adrenaline flooded my system. I needed to get the hell out of there. I no longer cared about the dangerous rocks I was crawling through. I moved my arms faster and willed my body to get out of that death trap. The sound grew louder with each movement I made. Scrape… scrape. The sound was all around me. What is that? It sounded as if someone was in front of me scraping two stones together, but that was impossible.
The strange wind blasted me again, a sharp wind as if it was mixed with ice. My frozen eyes stung, and I fought to keep them open. I drew my elbows close to my body to fumble with my headlamp, trying to aim it up ahead, but I couldn’t get it to work. The space was too tight, and I couldn’t reach to click it on. Scrape… scrape… scrape… scrape… scrape. The sound was everywhere; it rang in my head, setting my teeth on edge.
Behind me, Annika’s headlamp clicked on. “Van I’m right behind you. You’ve got to keep moving.” No longer calm and musical, Annika’s voice thrummed with urgency, and I knew we weren’t alone. Something else was in the Tomb with us—something threatening. I could feel its menacing presence as dread crept over me.
“We’ve gotta get out of this tomb, Van! Go! Go as fast as you can!” Annika’s order kicked my ass into full gear, and I crawled as fast as the small space would allow, sharp rocks slicing my torso and forearms as I continued through the Tomb. I didn’t give a thought to my own safety— it was Annika. She was behind me, and if I didn’t get out of here, she’d be trapped behind me, like wine under a cork. Whatever was in the Tomb with us would get her soon. I had to get out—fast. Annika needed to reach safety. We were getting close; I could hear our teammates ahead of us, screaming for us to move, get out now! Behind me, Annika’s headlamp went out, and total blackness filled the space. I couldn’t see my hand one inch in front of my face.
That’s when I felt it. I heard a hissing in my ear as a putrid stench invaded my nostrils. I froze, petrified in sheer terror. I could no longer hear Annika behind me. I lost sight of the opening, where I was, what was happening. I couldn’t breathe, the small space closed in on me, suffocating me. A slithering tongue touched my neck, tasting my skin. Like a deer frozen before advancing headlights, I couldn’t move as I felt whatever it was taste my perspiration. When its tongue danced across the pools of salt on my face, I sprang into frantic action. I pounded on my headlamp, begging it to turn on while I reached for the creature in the pitch blackness. I swung my fist but it found only rock. I craned around to try to see behind me, only to feel the creature lick the other side of my neck, hissing and clicking mirthfully. I jolted my head it its direction, ready to pound my fist in its skull. Nothing was there.
From the opening ahead, Agent Austin lit a flare and shined it inside the Tomb. It was lit only a moment before it was snuffed out, but it was long enough for me to catch a glimpse of the creature. It happened in a flash, and I sensed it more than I saw it. It was behind my team members in the open space, a creature hunched on all fours. Not quite humanoid, but not animal either. Its ears were pointed up, as if it were listening to us. I couldn’t make out all its features, but it appeared to be hairless with shining, white skin. The creature dragged one of its claw-like hands against the rock wall—the noise I heard inside the tomb. It stared at me with white, bulging eyes. It drew back its hideous pale lips to drag a forked tongue over sharp dagger-like teeth.
The light blinked out, and we were again plunged into darkness.
Author Rebecca Henry
About the Author Rebecca Henry is a newly published author. Her debut novel is The Lady Raven, A Dark Cinderella Tale, which was published in 2017. The Lady Raven, is for those Rebecca Henry is a world traveler living abroad in England. Besides being an American author of two published books, Rebecca is also a podcast talk host on the show The Latte Talk. The podcast was inspired by her novel, Louisiana Latte and her diva sister Deb. Rebecca is a serious vegan, gardener, wife and mom who practices yoga.
Welcome to the book blitz for LOVE REPAIRED, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance, by Deana Birch. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Attorney Amee sets aside her own needs to juggle the broken pieces of her life and family until mechanic Ben repairs her heart.
Divorce attorney Amee Benton—who has an ex of her own—is pretty sure she’s a #MomFail. Showing up late on a Friday night to retrieve her car from the shop and finding the pink frosted cupcakes she forgot to leave at her daughter’s ballet camp confirms it.
When mechanic, Ben Mathis, confesses to stealing one of the confections and asks who is taking care of Amee, she knows he’s a unicorn—a magical, beautiful beast who surely only exists in fantasies. And she tells him just that. With an f bomb for good measure.
Amee has three things Ben finds irresistible in a woman—brains, a family, and a serious potty mouth. At a chance run-in at Ben’s own personal hell, AKA the mall, he summons the courage to ask her out. Though Amee is leery of dating a younger man, and Ben is more than aware of their social gap, the two take a chance.
But Amee’s life isn’t like his. And when her ex returns and the doubting divorcée blunders, all of Ben’s insecurities are piqued anew. Now, Amee must prove to Ben his worth is much more than stand-in dad and rebound boyfriend or she’ll watch magic gallop off into the forest forever.
Amee With my hands in the pocket of the cardigan that I’d grabbed, I sat on the steps of my front porch and examined my toes. I was going to need to revisit regular lady grooming if the thing with Ben went any further.
The purr of a motor came from down the street. The closer the headlights approached, the faster my heart raced. Is this feeling the same thing rule-breaking babysitters go through when they have their boyfriends illegally visit them while on duty?
Ben’s big black truck pulled into my driveway and the sound and shine died. I stood and walked over to the driver’s side where the window was halfway down.
“Hey, Cupcake.” He rubbed his beard and leaned back.
“You sure you won’t come in?”
He gestured to the other side of the truck and said, “Hop in.”
I closed the car door as silently as I could and tried to find any residual confidence the second-guessing of the prior twenty minutes hadn’t washed away. “I hope you weren’t in the middle of something.”
“Nah. Nate and I watched Laurel and Hardy all night and I had just put him to bed.”
“He doesn’t look like you.” I thought back to the little boy from the mall.
“No reason why he would.” When I tilted my head, he continued. “He’s not mine. Unfortunately. But I love him like he is.”
A man who steps up to the plate? Yes, please. I repositioned myself to get an eyeful of Ben Mathis. Between my front porch and the streetlight, there was enough of a glimmer to bounce in his blue eyes.
“He’s my cousin’s kid. His dad died in Iraq.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
Nate was another fatherless child. Between work and my personal life, I’d seen too many.
“What about you? What led you to want to do something nice for yourself? Which, as it turns out, sounds nice for me too.” His dimples deepened, turning me into putty in PJs.
I dropped my head behind me and exhaled.
“Every Saturday morning for the last six months, I’ve driven the girls to see their dad. The little one doesn’t want to go anymore and the big one would prefer if we lived across the street from the prison.”
“That must be tough.” He stared ahead at my closed garage door. “For him. For everybody.”
“It’s definitely not easy. And we can’t go next week, so he and Carly are pissed. And I’m their favorite punching bag.”
Ben turned to me and narrowed his eyes.
“So, you called your favorite unicorn? You think I can make you feel better?” He lifted one of his thick blond eyebrows as if he was daring me to be bold.
“I have a lot of baggage. Two kids, I work all the time…”
“Ah, the list. I knew you had one.” He chuckled to himself and stretched. His clothes were just as casual as mine, black sweatpants and a plain white T-shirt. He crossed his arms and smirked over to me.
List or no list, I needed to be honest. I continued, “I don’t have a lot to give. I mean, I don’t even know if I believe in love at this point. Not that I’m…” God, the horror. What am I assuming we would be?
“It’s okay. Get it out. Tell me all the shit inside your beautiful head. Then I’ll know what I’m up against.” His gentle words coaxed their way to the other side of my wall.
I pressed my palms into my forehead. “I just don’t—”
“Say it. Ask it. I promise. I’ll answer.”
“I don’t get it.” I dropped my hands as the curiosity bubbled. “Why me? I mean, you’re hot and sweet and single. Why would someone like you want all the fucked-up shit suitcase that is my life?”
“Fucked-up shit suitcase?”
“Yes. So why?” I slipped off my Flip-flops and tucked my foot under my rear.
He looked forward and blinked a few times.
Crap, maybe my sales pitch of how messed up I am worked.
“I honestly don’t know. That first night, I thought you were pretty, then funny. And I was sure you were going to be pissed at me for the cupcake. But instead, you called me a unicorn.”
“A fucking unicorn,” I corrected.
His eyes met mine and he smiled. “Exactly. Then, when I saw you in the mall, I just wanted to know you. Who the hell knows why there’s a spark? But there is. I’m just trying to figure out what it means and respect you and your family on the way.”
I let the words settle between us and used my thumbnail to push back a cuticle on my other hand. “What if this doesn’t go anywhere?”
“Then it doesn’t. I mean, I’ll probably still check out your ass when I see you again, but we’ll both live.”
The grin on my face was hard to hide. “You check out my ass?”
“Every chance I get.” He wet his lips. “Which leads me to your original message.”
“I have plenty of rooms with locks on the doors in that house.” I tried my sexiest voice, as rusty as it was.
“I told you…I’m not going in there.” His deep, breathy words dripped with ultimatum. “Whatever it is you want, you’re gonna have to come and get it.”
Unicorns were beautiful. Unicorns were magic. But they had no idea what two years of middle-aged sexual frustration and solitude could do to a woman. I climbed over the center console and wedged myself between him and the steering wheel.
Straddling him, I gazed down into his eyes as his hands skimmed my hips then traveled to my ass. As he squeezed, he tilted his head onto the headrest behind him. I played with the thick hair at the bottom of his neck. My breasts perked, and my old but ever-so-welcome friend arousal joined the party. I needed to taste him, to devour him, to breathe him. Aware of my thin cotton pajamas and the soft fabric of his sweats, I swayed my hips once.
He exhaled, leaving his mouth barely open. As gently as I could, I touched my lips to his. I peppered delicate pecks down his jawline to his ear. I flicked the lobe and pulled on it with my teeth. When I reached my hand under his T-shirt and caressed his hard stomach, it was way better than I’d imagined. Rock solid and ripped. Thank you, unicorn gods.
“I want to do dirty things to you, Ben,” I whispered in his ear. With another grind of my hips, I found the stiffness in his pants and rolled over it again. “Dirty things, with my dirty fucking mouth.” I kissed a trail to his lips and he strained to meet me. Instead, I pulled back and smiled. “You sure you don’t want to come in?”
Ben grumbled and he moved his hands from my ass to hips. With a sexy smirk, he asked, “Are you teasing me?”
I brought my other hand under his T-shirt and I shrugged.
He grinned. “One, I fucking love it. Two, sorry, Cupcake, I’m not coming in. Not tonight.”
I moved closer and kissed him once. I looked over his face for any signs to stop. He dug his fingers into my flesh and drew me nearer.
That time, the kiss was his. It was deeper, harder, rougher. His whiskers scratched my face and the friction and intensity of his movements were well worth the cost of the burn. I intensified the grind, eager for what might someday await. My skin tingled. Had kissing always been that fantastic? I honestly couldn’t remember.
He slowed, pulling back between the brushing of our lips, then withdrew completely. “You should go in.”
I slumped down and rested my forehead on his thick shoulder. “When can I see you again?”
When I sat up, he reached for the door handle.
“That’s a long time,” I protested.
The click of the release brought the cool night air and I climbed down.
“You’re worth the wait, Cupcake.” He winked.
“How do you know?” My arms crossed.
“You just showed me.”
We said good night and I walked to the door, hoping my pajama pants-clad butt was worth watching.
Author Deana Birch
About Author Contemporary romance and erotica writer Deana Birch was named after her father’s first love, who just so happened not to be her mother. Born and raised in the Midwest, she made stops in Los Angeles and New York before settling in Europe where she lives with her own blue-eyed Happily Ever After. Her days are spent teaching yoga, playing tennis, ruining her children’s French homework, cleaning up dog vomit, writing her next book, or reading someone else’s.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE CAVE, the seventh book in the adult romantic suspense series, Berry Springs, by Amanda McKinney. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99 or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Synopsis After getting trapped in a remote cave, two strangers must work together to survive while being hunted by a ruthless killer…
Life is full of surprises, rescue swimmer Owen Grayson knows that better than anyone, especially when he’s forced to take an indefinite military leave and return home to pick up the pieces of his dad’s latest mistake. As Owen struggles to settle back into his roots, he is called to a remote cave where he discovers the mysterious death of his uncle wasn’t an accident at all. As the clues begin to unravel, it becomes apparent that the cave is hiding secrets worth killing for… and everyone on site has a target on their back.
Coming off a bad break up and an even worse few days, Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Sadie Hart is brought in to excavate human remains found deep in the treacherous mountains of Berry Springs, in a cave rumored to be haunted, nonetheless. When her team stumbles upon a dead body before they even reach the cave, Sadie quickly realizes this is going to be no ordinary job—especially when she meets a particularly bull-headed Adonis who claims to be related to the victim.
A storm hits, trapping Sadie and Owen inside the cave with nothing but a flashlight and a small backpack with provisions… and someone who wants them dead. As the odds stack up against them, Sadie begins to fear she and Owen will become the next pile of bones found deep in the catacombs of Crypts Cavern…
THE CAVE is a standalone romantic suspense novel.
Excerpt #2 OWEN WATCHED DR. Sadie Hart pop open the trunk of her SUV and give orders to her team as they pulled packs and bags from the back.
He wasn’t sure what he expected when Colson had told him they’d called in a doctor to excavate the bones, but it definitely wasn’t the steely-eyed, brick-balled, smoking-hot stunner standing before him now.
He guessed she was somewhere in her early thirties—which was his first shocker—with dark, hooded, almond-shaped eyes that were as skeptical as they were beautiful. Chestnut hair against smooth, pale skin and a face with defined, strong lines that seemed to fit her personality. And the sexiest pair of pouty, come-fuck-me lips he’d ever seen in his life. Based on the worn khaki tactical pants and scuffed leather hiking boots, Sadie was no stranger to the woods. And, based on the curves in the back of her pants and the T-shirt that stretched against generous breasts, she wasn’t unaccustomed to getting looks from men. But the way she carried herself, the squared shoulders, no-nonsense braid of brown hair that ran down her back—occasionally falling over her shoulder, remedied by an annoyed flick of her hand—and look of determination in her eyes told him that she’d fought for her title as doctor, almost as much as she’d fought for the respect that came along with that title. A bit prickly on the initial impression, and perhaps one of those women who’d cut you at the balls just to prove she could? No doubt about it.
He watched her shrug on a blue backpack that was half her weight, and sweep her braid to the side.
Her gaze flickered to him again, as it had done a dozen times since she’d stepped out of her SUV. Subtle, stolen glances laced with questions—or interest, perhaps. He wasn’t sure.
But something inside him wanted to find out.
Author Amanda McKinney
About the Author Amanda McKinney is the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than ten romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, in 2017 after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries packed with steamy romance..
Welcome to the book blitz for NO GOOD DOCTOR, a stand-alone new adult contemporary romance, by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
NO GOOD DOCTOR by Nicole Snow
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: NO GOOD DOCTOR Author: Nicole Snow Release Date: July 29, 2019 Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Dashing. Jacked. Bad tempered. My new boss, everybody. Now what’s the cure for smitten?
Pinch me. I can’t believe I’m working under him. Dr. Gray Caldwell. Hottest, swooniest, stormiest bachelor ever. Insanely tall. Unfair perfection. Intimidating abs and X-ray glares. Doc puts the animal back in veterinarian.
My dream job should be all puppies and kittens. Turns out, my new boss hates three things:
1. Small town drama. Baby, we’ve got tons.
2. Pets in distress – and he’s their hero every time.
3. Anybody poking around his past. Like me. Oh, crud.
But how could I resist the best mystery in Heart’s Edge? I wish I had. Unraveling Gray is a dangerous game. One wrong move could end our little town. Plus this gorgeous, complicated grump plays for keeps.
I barely recognize the man he becomes vowing to protect me. A beastly shield who sets every rule on fire. Then one stolen, five alarm kiss sends my whole world spinning. Hello, trouble. Farewell, sanity. What if it’s not the good doctor who claims me – but the bad one?
From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow – two hearts on the line and a whole town’s fate. A badass vet slays his demons, saves pets, and makes the firefly he swore he’d never chase his. Full length romance novel with a Happily Ever After worth the purrs and wagging tails.
Whatever’s in that box is going to hurt itself if we don’t move. It’s flapping around frantically. So much the box is about to bounce right off the chair.
I glance at Doc worriedly. He’s standing there rigid, breathing hard, but finally he nods and joins me, striding toward the chair. I clasp the box and hold it still, and he gingerly lifts the lid off, both of us leaning back slightly just in case something comes blasting out.
The poor hummingbird inside flops on it’s one good wing, desperately trying to fly. It takes all of three seconds to see the reason why. Its the other wing, hanging at an odd angle, immobile. The bone looks clearly broken close to the main joint.
Poor thing! I nearly whimper with hurt sympathy, reaching in instantly to clasp its body in my hand, spreading my fingers around the broken wing while gently pinning the other wing to its jewel-toned, glittering side so it can’t thrash around and hurt itself more. It stops fighting immediately but opens its long, narrow beak in the saddest little squeaky sound ever as I cradle it in my hands.
“Gray!” I murmur pleadingly, not even thinking about the intimate use of his name.
He lets out a rough sigh, raking a hand back through his dark hair, then nods tightly, rising to his feet.
I want to know what’s happening, want to know why that woman is making veiled threats toward both of us, and how she knows Peters or what Peters might’ve told Doc about her. But this poor little feathered jewel’s life comes first.
He tosses his head toward the back and, cradling the crying hummingbird gingerly, I follow him as quick as I can. This bird’s life is in his capable hands now.
And honestly? So is my heart.
Because every time I look at him over the table as we gently bind and splint the bird’s wing, when our eyes meet, it happens. My pulse races. My breath catches.
My whole freaking world pops a screw loose and comes undone.
I remember him saying that he’ll protect me. Just as much as he’ll protect every small, precious thing that winds up in his care.
I’m not sure what’s racing faster – my mind or my heart.
Because the more I think about it, the more it frightens and thrills me, wondering what Gray freaking Caldwell would do to protect someone like me, if push came to shove.
Author Nicole Snow
About The Author NicoleSnow is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. She found her love of writing by hashing out love scenes on lunch breaks and plotting her great escape from boardrooms. Her work roared onto the indie romance scene in 2014 with her Grizzlies MC series.
Since then Snow aims for the very best in growly, heart-of-gold alpha heroes, unbelievable suspense, and swoon storms aplenty. With over a million books sold, she lives for the joy of making two people fight with every bit of their soul for a Happily Ever After.
Current fan favorites include her Enguard Protectors series, accidental love novels, plus long beloved MC romance thrillers like the Grizzlies and Deadly Pistols.
Synopsis I am the daughter of the first female POTUS, and today is about to become the longest day of my life…
24 hours—that’s how much time I have to save my mother before terrorists assassinate her. But now my father and brother are missing, too. This goes deeper than anyone thinks. Only someone on the inside would know how to pull this off—how to make the entire First Family disappear.
I can’t trust anyone, so it’s up to me to uncover the conspiracy and stop these madmen. Because little do they know, they picked the wrong person to terrorize.
My name is Sophie Washington, and I will not be a victim. No one, I repeat no one, is taking me or my family down. But the clock is ticking…
Author Shannon Greenland
About the Author Shannon Greenland, or S. E. Green, is the award winning author of the teen thriller, Killer Instinct, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers; the teen spy series, The Specialists, an ALA Popular Paperback and a National Reader’s Choice recipient; and the YA romance, The Summer My Life Began, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award. Her books have been translated into several languages and are currently on numerous state reading lists. Shadow of a Girl is her latest novel and due out 9.19.16. Shannon has participated in and served as a guest speaker at festivals and conferences around the country to include but not limited to the LA Times Book Festival, American Library Association, Book Expo of America, Bouchercon, Romance Writers of America, RT Book Convention, Young Adult Keller Book Festival, Southern Festival of Books, and many more. Shannon grew up in Tennessee where she dreaded all things reading and writing. She didn’t even read her first book for enjoyment until she was twenty-five. After that she was hooked! When she’s not writing, she works as an adjunct math professor and lives on the coast in Florida with her very grouchy dog. Find her online everywhere @segreenauthor...
Welcome to the book blitz for A DIVIDED MIND, a stand alone adult psychological thriller, by M. Billiter. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive guest post, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Sometimes that little voice in your head isn’t always yours.
What if the only friend you have isn’t real? When the voices in his head begin to make sense, high school senior Branson Kovac turns to the one friend he’s still got… only to discover he’s not really there.
“This tightly crafted thriller tricks you – it carefully assembles everything you think you know, and then reveals what you didn’t see coming. A smart, searing novel.” -Nina McConigley, author of Cowboys and East Indians, Winner of the Pen Open Book Award
“A Divided Mind is a raw emotional drama about a mother’s worst nightmare…A gripping page-turner I couldn’t put it down until I read the final gasp-inducing line.” -Tiffany Reisz, USA Today Bestselling Author
“An emotional page-turner, A Divided Mind redefines what a “normal” family looks like.” – Angela McQuay, Foreword Reviews
“A haunting psychological thriller that will stick with you long past the final chapter.” – Best Thrillers
Guest Post: The Stories We Live “A Divided Mind” started with a phone call. It was the day before a major college kickoff event I had helped plan for more than a year. I was crazily finalizing last-minute details when my son, Kyle, called saying he needed to talk. I still remember my exasperation from being bothered at work. What? What could it be now? With four children to support, I was finally getting my boots on the ground as an adjunct professor. My placement on the planning committee was a huge step forward in my career. An interruption at work meant a disruption in what I was trying to build.
When I pressed Kyle for an answer, he started to back away from the conversation. That’s when I knew. I knew it was more than a phone call. And suddenly, I couldn’t breathe or stop my mind from racing – pregnant girlfriend, drugs, failing a class? What I heard in reply wasn’t at all what I expected.
“I’m hearing voices.”
I didn’t understand what was happening to my son. I only knew I wanted it to go away. The campus event no longer mattered. In trying to build “something,” I let what truly matters – family, children, home life – break down. As I sat in the waiting room at the counseling center while my son saw an emergency intake specialist, my only focus was on my little boy. At, 6’1 my 18-year-old was far from little. He was my gentle giant, my brave heart. Together we navigated the world of mental health without any clue what was ahead. During this time, the journalist in me surfaced. I asked a lot of questions, which I wasn’t always sure I wanted to know the answer.
By delving into the darkness, Kyle shared with me demons I never knew he battled. It was heartbreaking and heroic. The story we lived became the story we told – with a twist. What started out as a quest for answers, turned into a fictionalized, chilling story of what could happen if a divided mind was left untreated.
The book wrote itself. Yet, the manuscript for, “A Divided Mind” stayed on my desktop for four years. Kyle wanted the book published the minute we finished, but I wasn’t as brave.
It’s taken me four years to allow this story to be released into the world. I wasn’t about to just place it in anyone’s hands. Every member of the publishing team at Tangled Tree is family to me and my son. They get it. I have been included and have had a voice in every aspect of this process.
So when I considered authors I’d approach for a cover quote, I was equally as selective. Two authors, whose work I have long admired and have met personally, which only heightened my respect for them, topped my wish list.
I knew it was a big ask. But it was one I was willing to make.
Tiffany Reisz and Nina McConigley answered my request with kindness, heart, and professionalism. It’s more than I asked for and nothing short of awesome.
The first person I shared their generous endorsement quotes with was Kyle, who texted back, “Hell yeah!”
Four years later, my son is set to graduate from the University of Wyoming in May. I’ve never known anyone who has worked harder for their future than Kyle. In July, “A Divided Mind,” the story we wrote during the darkest period in our lives will take flight.
I’ll let Tiffany and Nina’s advanced praise do the rest of the talking.
“A Divided Mind is a raw emotional drama about a mother’s worst nightmare… A gripping page-turner, I couldn’t put it down until I read the final gasp-inducing line.” —Tiffany Reisz, USA Today Bestselling Author
“This tightly crafted thriller tricks you – it carefully assembles everything you think you know, and then reveals what you didn’t see coming. Taut and deftly rendered, Billiter delivers a smart, searing novel. This well-paced story skillfully shows a mother’s love and the levels we will go to protect our families. The narrators keeping you reading, and questioning everything we hold true in our own minds. This book is an uncompromising view of the bond between mother and child, and the stories we tell each other in order to survive.” — Nina McConigley, author of Cowboys and East Indians, winner of the PEN Open Book Award
Author M. Billiter
About Author M. Billiter is the alter ego of contemporary, award-winning romance author, Mary Billliter.
After writing more than a dozen love stories, she is exploring the other side. Best known for her emotional honesty, Mary doesn’t write about well-adjusted people, but rather the wounds in life.
M. Billiter writes with clarity and raw emotion to explore difficult subjects and issues close to her heart.
Welcome to the book blitz for DEFYING GRAVITY, the second book in the adult contemporary sports romance series, Gravity, by K.K. Allen. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
DEFYING GRAVITY (Gravity #2) by K.K. Allen
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: DEFYING GRAVITY Authors: K.K. Allen Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance Release Date: July 25, 2019 Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Our greatest risk was the one we never took …
It was an accidental spring fling three years ago—one week spent in the mountains of Big Sur and no one was the wiser. Ignore the fact that Tobias James was my neighbor and my best friend’s older brother. Or that upon our return his hoop dreams were waiting for him, robbing us of any potential future we could have shared.
Now, I’m fulfilling my own dreams in L.A. and my biggest dream of all is about to come true. The last thing I expected was for my past and my present to collide.
Not now. Not here. Not him.
But he struts back into my life like he never even left. Unfortunately, I’ll never forget what happened after he did.
The ball is in my court, but Tobias isn’t below stealing—my power, my resolve, my heart… When he wants a second chance to reignite our connection, my answer is simple. We can’t.
Not unless we defy the rules our dreams were built on and risk everything.
*Defying Gravity is a STANDALONE sports romance in an interconnected series.
Excerpt #2 She ran a hand through my hair, roughing it at the top, while I gazed at her, soaking in the way her light-green eyes looked almost brown in the dim overhead lights. “I guess this is goodbye, huh?”
I shook my head as my brows pulled together. “No.”
“Tobias,” she said, her tone soft and scolding.
“It’s not.” I searched her expression, praying I wasn’t being an idiot. All this time together, the nights we’d shared, the secrets we’d kept. It couldn’t only be me. I swallowed. “The way I see it, I’ll be focused on basketball, and you’ll have dance. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk. That doesn’t mean we’ll never see each other again.”
She looked lost in her thoughts for a minute, and I knew she was considering my words. “So, what? We’re long-distance … friends?”
I leaned forward, placing my forehead against hers. “You know as well as I that you can’t put a label on what we are. We’re just Amelia and Tobias. We’re moon and earth, living among the stars and sun. We’re everything. And no matter the distance, we still make sense together.”
Her next breath hitched as she sucked it in. “That’s beautiful, but gravity weakens with distance, remember?”
I shook my head, refusing to accept her point. “Not when it comes to us.” I swallowed around the thickness building in my throat. “Not when we defy gravity.”
I kissed her hard, pulling her body close while her mouth molded to mine. We fit so well, not even she could deny that. And she didn’t. Not when I stripped her of her clothes and lay her down. Not when I buried my head between her legs and stroked her devilishly with my tongue. And not when my fingers pushed inside her, working her center until she screamed my name like it was a curse word.
A layer of sweat coated her body when I pulled her into my arms and wrapped her legs around my waist. Our mouths stayed on each other as I walked her to her bedroom and placed her on her bed. I yanked my clothes off next and kicked them to the side before sitting at the edge of her bed and pulling a condom from her nightstand. My cock was hard as stone as I rolled it on, already missing the feel of her wrapped around me.
And when I hovered above her, fitting myself to her body and readying myself for that first thrust, I leaned in to steal another kiss before placing my mouth on her ear. “I’ll find my way back to you, Amelia.” I bit down on tender skin and nudged against her entrance, relishing the moan that slipped past her throat. “I’m about to make sure you don’t forget that.”
About Author K.K. Allen is the author of Contemporary Fantasy and New Adult Romance stories. She loves manatees, learned to swim for the mere purpose of pretending she was a mermaid, and adores the beach so much she promises to one day live on one (in a tent if she has to) in Hawaii and serve shaved ice on the side of the road. K.K.’s Summer Solstice series (The Summer Solstice Enchanted, The Equinox, and The Descendants) are now available for individual sale or as a complete trilogy! Her short story, Soaring, is available for FREE. K.K.’s upcoming New Adult Romance, Up in the Treehouse is set to release on July 19, 2016. See below on how to keep up to date on new releases!
Welcome to the book blitz for THE NIGHT WE MET, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance, by Beth Rinyu. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE NIGHT WE MET by Beth Rinyu
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE NIGHT WE MET Author: Beth Rinyu Release Date: July 18, 2019
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis I’ve always been three things: Loving daughter, devoted sister, and cynical romantic. Okay, maybe not always the last one, that didn’t happen until my ex-boyfriend cheated on me, and not with just anyone…my best friend.
One year later, and I’m over relationships, only interested in the occasional one-night stand. I don’t fall in love with them, and I don’t expect them to fall in love with me. I won’t be waiting around for their call or stalking their social media—until I discover that one of my little trysts indirectly holds my family’s fate in his hands. So, with a little convincing from my older and much wiser sister, I break my own rules for the sake of my family.
He’s the exact opposite of me: Serious, detached and arrogant. Did I mention that he looks like he should be on a billboard for a cologne ad in the middle of Times Square, or the sexy way he botches up my name in his German accent? Well, he does…but I refuse to relent, remaining committed to my plan. Strictly business, no emotions involved, and nobody will get hurt…until nobody turns into somebody I find myself needing more than I ever thought possible.
What do you do when a one-night stand turns into so much more than you bargained for? And how do you stop one lie that’s getting bigger each time you’re with him from caving everything in around you? I know in the end someone is going to get hurt, but I’m powerless to stop it. And for him…I think I may be willing to have my heart broken all over again.
Excerpt “We don’t have that here. All of our German beers are listed—”
“How do you know it’s German?” He toyed with me.
“Well, I just assumed since you were German that the beer you asked for was German as well.”
“How do you know I’m German?”
“You assume a lot of things, Emmeline. Don’t you? Perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick in your assumptions.”
What the hell was his problem? There was no way in hell I could pretend to even like this guy, and judging by his self-important attitude, it wasn’t like I would even be afforded the opportunity to. Bridgette was going to have to go at it alone on this.
“You’re correct on one point, Emmeline.”
“My name is Emme!” I snapped.
He picked up my license still sitting on the bar and studied it keenly. “That is not what your identification says.”
“Emmeline is my proper name. My friends call me Emme.”
Even that stomach flipping smile that had spread across his face wasn’t making up for his arrogance. Look away from the dimples, Em. This guy is an ass!
“Well, since I’m always proper, and I’m not your friend…I call you Emmeline.”
My impatience and anger were escalating at an equal pace. “Okay, fine, since this will be the last time we ever speak, then you can call me whatever you want. Thank you for returning my license, and if there isn’t anything I can get you to drink, then have a nice night.”
His hand covered mine as I went to snatch my license from the bar. “There you go making those assumption again.” There was a spark to his eyes, hinting at amusement over my flustered state.
“Okay…and do tell, what are those assumptions I seem to be making?”
“The beer I requested is Belgian, not German.”
“Well, forgive me. I’ll make a mental note of that, in case another pompous German or whatever it is you are comes in and requests it.” I wanted to walk away and be done with the entire conversation, but his hand was still covering mine with a tightening grip.
Author Beth Rinyu
About the Author Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed Creative Writing. There was always something about being able to travel to a different place or become a different person with just the stroke of a pen – or in today’s world a touch of the keyboard.
My life is not as interesting as my books or the characters in them, but then again whose life is? I’m a mom of twin teenage boys,a crazy Border Collie and a cat with an identity crisis! I guess you can say writing is my form of Calgon!
Thanks for taking the time to learn about my books and me! If you decide to read them (and I hope you do!) please be sure to go on and review it for me – yes, even if you don’t like it!
Welcome to the book blitz for THE SIN SOLDIER the first book in the young adult fantasy scifi series, Fragments, by Tracy Auerbach. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Red compound makes them angry. Yellow exhausts them. Blue drives them into a state of ravenous addiction. The thief Kai knows about the chemically controlled soldiers of the Eastern forces and their savage, deadly nature. When a robbery attempt at Club Seven goes wrong, Kai is captured by a handler and his bestial soldier-boy. She wakes up inside the military base with no idea what happened to her twin brother, Dex.
Things go from bad to worse when Kai is started on a drug and training regimen, and forced to take injections of blue compound. The scientists in charge plan to make her into a working soldier who will mine the mysterious power crystals beneath the desert. Kai becomes a victim of the bully Finn, a handsome but nasty soldier whose years on red compound seem to have erased his humanity. Still, she begins to pity the Seven Soldiers, including the monstrous boy who tried to rip her to shreds at the club. They appear to be nothing more than genetically enhanced, drug-controlled teenagers.
On the outside, Dex and his tech-savvy boyfriend try to crack the soldiers’ chemical code to find a weakness that will break the system. But Kai has already been drawn deep into her new world. Strong feelings for the soldiers she’s come to know have started to cloud her judgment. Can she escape and find Dex without becoming a monster herself?
Excerpt Chapter One
The strobe lights and blaring music made Kai’s pulse beat along to their frantic rhythms. She and Dex had worked for Leo before, but never on a hit this big. To steal the night’s earnings from Club Seven took more than the kind of finesse that she and her brother were famous for; it took balls. She looked over at Dex, who squatted in a small patch of shadow by the three steps leading up to the club’s first marble floor. Only he could make squatting look graceful. She strained to see him clearly while the blue-white lights flashed like a detonated bomb with a pause button. The strobes were replaced by a dim red glow, and she held up two fingers to signal the all-clear.
Dex responded instantly, their timing down to an art form. He hoisted himself onto the cold marble and did a quick military crawl to where she was lying flat on her stomach beside the liquor bar, propped on her elbows. His long, spiky hair brushed against her. He smelled like hair gel, but his closeness brought her comfort. No matter what sort of situation Kai found herself in, Dex made her feel safe. He looked up and smiled broadly, showing off teeth so bleached, they nearly glowed in the dark. She narrowed her eyes in warning, and he quickly closed his mouth. He could always tell what she was thinking. Twin power or something like that.
It was important to stay out of sight until they had scoped out the whole scene and gotten a lay of the land. The small service entrance they had used to access the club was situated directly across from the longer of two bars, which ran the length of the club on one side. This bar wrapped neatly along the perimeter, hugging the large entryway’s shiny black walls. It slunk down two steps and kept going all the way across the dance floor. With its white, rounded stone finish and polished glass casings to hold bottles upon bottles of alcohol, it looked pristine. But where Kai was lying at floor level, its façade was shattered by thick patches of dust and some unpleasant-looking stains.
The crystals that powered the club, bringing it to life in all its pulsing, deafening glory, were housed in a nest of wires under the polished stone. They glowed through a transparent square in the bar’s surface with a soft, pale light that somehow stood out even in the midst of the chaotic strobes. Those crystals were the reason this club existed. The ongoing campaign for power over those precious fragments had made Seven Soldiers necessary. Sevens were the front line of the Eastern Forces; the heavy hand that held the public in place and kept all opposition at bay. At Club Seven they were paraded around as spectacles for citizens to gawk at. Kai glanced up toward the enormous body of a soldier walking by the bar, held tightly by his handler as they shoved through the raucous crowd of inebriated revelers. He was so large, he obscured the light from reaching down to where she lay in wait.
Kai shoved herself closer to the bar as a group of giggling women approached the protruding marble above her hiding spot. They surrounded the soldier and his handler, and she squinted up to see them running their hands all over the Seven’s body before leaning close to the bartender to shout for drinks. Kai pulled her hands out of the way of their high heels as they swayed and stepped in rhythm to the hypnotic movement, gyrating against the zombie-like Seven.
Dex reached a hand into his pocket and brought out the tiny camera he treasured. The crystal shard within it was no larger than a pebble, but it had worked for years. He edged his body along the floor away from the people around them and waited for the strobes to give way to red darkness again. When they did, he launched himself from the ground to his feet, fired off a round of pictures, and sunk back down. His movements were so quick, and so well-timed with the lights, that unless one of the clubgoers or bartenders who stood mere feet away were staring straight at him, they would miss his presence completely. Kai knew that from his vantage point, the arc of his leap gave him a clear shot of the club’s raised central stage. On the dance floor, a mass of writhing bodies clamored for a better view of the soldiers above them.
Kai glanced around to make sure nobody had noticed. In the clear, she gave him a thumbs-up to take another round, this time to the left of the club stage where a smaller bar wrapped around a mirrored pole. Lastly, he took some quick shots of the right side’s wooden buffet tables and then crawled back to the shadows of the entryway steps. Kai joined him, and they opened the heavy stone door just a crack before slipping back out into the night.
“I think you got some good ones,” Kai whispered when they were safely outside the club and leaning against the exterior wall. She could feel the vibrations of the music through the stone, and her hearing seemed to have taken a beating as her ears throbbed. But her pulse relaxed as the cool night air and sky of the desert took the place of the stifling sights and smells of the club’s interior.
“Let me have a look first.”
She studied the open plains before them while she waited for him to check out the shots he had taken. The halo of light that surrounded the throbbing stone edifice grew dimmer and dimmer until it faded into total darkness. The silhouettes of desert plants near the light’s border looked like shadowy sentries guarding the empty expanse of sand. Huge saguaros and short, thickly clumped agave cast a parade of midnight black shadows onto the scarcely-lit areas of sand beyond. Further in the distance, Kai could just make out the dimly twinkling lights of Eastern Pless. It was a few miles away, and night lights were a luxury that most couldn’t afford, but being the only other light for miles gave it the illusion of closeness. Above them, millions of stars blinked in and out of existence; only the small red moon and large orange moon remained constant. She shivered—a mixture of the cold air drying the sweat on her skin, and the thought of what could be lurking in all that darkness.
“Hold on a second,” said Dex, keeping the camera out of her reach as she tried to take it. Only a few inches taller, he was still skilled at taunting her by holding things just out of grabbing distance. He continued casually going through the pictures, one by one.
“I’m serious,” she said with a frown. “Give it to me.”
“Not yet,” he snapped. “I’m in man-candy heaven.”
She rolled her eyes.
“You disapprove, sister?”
“They’re SevenSoldiers, Dex. Barely even human.”
“That doesn’t mean they’re not fun to look at,” he protested. “I’m not going to date one. Just having a nice, long stare.”
She tried to glare disapprovingly at him, but he gave her the innocent grin that had always managed to keep him out of trouble. His big, dark eyes seemed to glow in the reflection of the moonlight, and the spikes of his hair cast a funny-looking shadow over his brow. Although they both bore the darker coloring of Northerners, their hair and eyes were so close to true black that their skin paled in comparison. Dex finally relinquished the camera, and she peeked. He wasn’t joking that the soldiers were hot. He nudged her, seeing her expression, and wiggled his eyebrows. She laughed. The two of them very rarely had the same taste in men, thank the Lord, but this was one of those times that it was hard to argue.
“Yeah, well I think the really attractive part of the scene is all the money being thrown at said man-candy,” she retorted. “It looks like the timing will work out in about five minutes. The collection crew should come through to get most of the crystal money out of the way of the dance floor. Clear enough path, right? And dark, so we should be able to blend.”
“Sure,” he agreed.
It was ladies’ night, and the whole thing was super creepy. Kai had known about the club scene forever, but she preferred to stay away. Not that poor-looking thieves like her were allowed in by the bouncers anyway, but it would’ve been easy to pass as a wealthy citizen and have a night out. Dex had done it often, and offered to give her a ‘Club Seven makeover,’ but the whole concept gave her the shivers. Her experience tonight served to confirm her instincts. There was a disturbing aspect to the pictures that sent chills up her spine. She couldn’t decide if it was the predatory, animalistic glare on the faces of the soldiers themselves, or the indifferent smirks of their handlers that unnerved her more.
“Let’s just get this over with,” she sighed. “I don’t like it here.”
“Alright,” agreed Dex, getting serious. He was a great thief because, in the end, he easily shed his usual air of arrogance and got down to business. “Just like we planned with Leo. I’ll go around the side of the smaller liquor bar, and you sneak around to the other wall by the food. That’s likely where a lot of the swept crystals will accumulate since the collection crew hovers around there.”
“Got it,” she said as they slid back through the side door and into the awaiting sensory overload.
This time, Dex walked casually across the stone floor and down the two steps to the dance area. Upon reaching the back of the dance floor, he waited for the strobe lights to give way to dim redness, and ducked into a crouch. He skittered across the last few feet of polished wood, situating himself between the club’s back wall and the smaller, circular bar. Kai watched him disappear behind the smooth rock before she ducked and ran along the nearest wall, cutting close to the guarded front entryway on the right. She slithered through the undulating crowd of eager ladies, and toward the stage.
She paused for a second to look at the young men being held there like circus animals. She had never seen actual Seven Soldiers this close before, and her curiosity got the best of her. Yes, they were attractive; perfectly built and handsome as hell. But they were dauntingly huge, and their eyes were empty; unseeing and unfeeling. Each one had a thick collar around his neck, buzzing with pale blue electrical energy. They were powered by a different sort of crystal, she assumed. Those collars were supposedly the only thing that could keep them docile. She shivered again.
Their handlers, who ranged in appearance from mildly attractive to downright ugly, had a wider range of facial expressions; some attentive and at-the-ready while others were apathetic and bored. The huge throng of screaming women threw small, flat crystals at the performing soldiers on stage, doling out more money than Kai had ever seen just for the chance to interact with a monster. The money they spent allowed them to climb up and pour a glass of liquor down a soldier’s throat or feed him food from the long table to the right of the stage. They could also have a dance with a chained, brain-dampened soldier, or do even less savory things in private rooms upstairs.
Supposedly the young men couldn’t resist the offerings. They were Seven Soldiers, which meant they were sinners, and this was a place to witness their unleashed gluttony. They opened their mouths each time, indifferent but accepting of the food and drink that gorged them through the course of the evening. Their rage, too dangerous to be put on display, was kept in check by the handlers, so supposedly they were as complacent as puppies in this state only. No sex, though. That was too much of a liability. That was the club’s cover story at least, but Kai knew that handlers could be paid off. She had even heard of women scoring tickets for backstage passes to the Eastern Fortress where the soldiers were kept.
She shimmied along the perimeter of the club beside the stage, shaking her hips to the music’s frantic beat, trying to blend in. She darted under the long, beautifully decorated food table once the strobe lights started up again. With quick, fluid movements, she settled herself centrally under the table, where a hanging silvery cloth obscured her from view. She saw Dex across the way, sweeping up handfuls of the crystals that had fallen to the floor, putting them into his cloth sack. Perfect timing was critical, because there had to be enough money to be worth Leo’s while, but not so much that the club collectors noticed something wrong when they came through to bag it up. She pulled out her own sack and started brushingin moneythat had fallen or been swept under the table by the collectors. Simple.
As she was shoveling the crystals into her take-away bag, the smell of the food on the table above hit her nostrils and her mouth began to water. The soldiers really did get the good stuff. What a waste. There was fresh fruit, cakes and chocolates, and platters of meat and cheese. She couldn’t remember the last time she had eaten something besides dry bread, and even that had been scarce lately. She continued to absentmindedly shovel money into the sack, but now her eyes were focused on a spot where the tablecloth had accidentally gotten tucked up in the corner, affording her a crooked view of the tabletop. There sat a huge piece of cake that hung precariously over the side, shaking as dancing women jostled by. Her breath caught in her throat as it slid off and landed on the floor about a foot to her left.
As her hand seemed to instinctively reach out and grab for the fallen treasure, she saw Dex shaking his head frantically out of the corner of her eye. She felt a boot-clad foot slam down hard on her hand seconds later, and a wave of pain shot through her body. Her head hit the underside of the table and food spilled all around her. Terror gripped her insides like a live wire, and she froze. Quickly, she shook herself out of it and tried to reclaim her hand, but it was too late. The black boot held tight, and she saw a hand reach under the tablecloth, getting ready to lift it and expose her completely. She had to think fast.
Kai shoved herself sideways, toward whoever was standing on her left hand, and bit into the person’s calf, right above where the boot ended. Her teeth sunk easily through the thin cotton uniform into skin and flesh. She didn’t hear any scream over the blasting music, but the booted foot slid sideways just enough as a hand clasped it defensively. That was all she needed. She saw the face of the person who had caught her for only a second. He was young and gaunt, with pasty skin and pointy features. A handler. He must’ve been in the process of escorting his soldier past the front of the stage when he had spotted her fool attempt to grab the damn cake. She could beat herself up later. Now, she had to run.
She darted past the table and away from the stage, choosing the back door across the dance floor as an exit point. She shoved around several club-goers, knocking a few to the floor as she fled through the crowd. She didn’t dare to glance at Dex as she practically jumped over him on her way out. The last thing she needed was the guilt of getting him busted, too. They could reunite back at the rendezvous point. She slammed into the door in her panic, frantically felt around, grabbed the exit bar and pushed, then bolted out into the night.
She was at least twenty yards from the building, sand rising to resist in slow, messy heaps with each crunch of her shoes, when she stole a glance behind herself. Her heart jumped into her throat. Not only was the handler chasing her; he had brought his soldier, too. The man-beast couldn’t have been more than seventeen or eighteen years old, but he was huge. He had to be at least seven feet tall and almost as wide, with muscles popping out everywhere as he bounded soundlessly after her. Taut muscles rippled over his entire body, highlighting the contrast of his distended stomach, and making him appear even more savage as he darted across the sand in his bare feet. He was clothed only in the gold loincloth that was his club outfit, but the blankness in his eyes had given way to something far more primal, his snarling face letting her know that the party was definitely over. Whatever the mental switch was that kept him calm—it had been flipped.
“Get back here, you biting little bitch!” yelled the handler.
She froze for a second, hoping his limping from her bite would slow both him and his monstrous soldier-boy down, but to her horror, the glowing chain slipped out of his hand. He cursed and made a grab for it as Kai screamed. She picked up speed as she headed across the desert sand in the direction of the outer wall of the city. Eastern Pless would hide her in its cesspool of overcrowded streets. She could go back to Leo’s place. The soldier might get his hands on a citizen or two, but he would be stopped. They were always taken down if they got loose inside the city’s walls.
Kai still had her heart and eyes set on the safety of the city’s distant lights when the snarling soldier dove and grabbed her around the legs. She screamed as she fell, and tried to claw at his arms, but he didn’t seem to notice. His fingernails ripped her skin as he flipped her over and dragged her toward his waiting mouth.
He’s going to eat me alive.
His face was very close to her now, and even in this dim light, she could see that he had the pale skin of a southerner, and ear-length blond hair. She was surprised again by how very young he looked. Then she saw his eyes. There was no humanity in the heavily dilated pupils; only death. His open-mouthed roar exposed a straight line of teeth, with four unnaturally sharp, piercing incisors. Now face to face, she saw that the tiny rings of iris around his pupils were light brown, but the pupils themselves weren’t black the way they were supposed to be. The spot in the middle of the brown glowed with an odd blue tinge that lit his face.
Flinching, she prepared to be ripped apart. Instead, a huge jolt that rattled through her body, from the base of her spine to the top of her head, making her teeth clamp down on a shriek. Her eyes flew open, and she saw that the handler had regained control. He grabbed the chain leash around his charge’s neck and pressed a button. Waves of electricity rocked the giant, sending his body into spasms. Kai breathed a sigh of relief, even as she felt the power surge pass through him and into her own body. The last thing she thought before she lost consciousness was that it was far better to be electrocuted than to be torn to shreds by that monster.
Author Tracy Auerbach
About the Author Tracy Auerbach is an author of science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. As an avid reader with a vivid imagination, she chose to study film, English, and education, and went on to teach and write STEM curriculum for the New York Department of Education. This helped to polish her writing skills and ignite her passion for science fiction and fantasy.
Her first scholarly article, published in Language Magazine, was about the value of active, creative learning in science. On the fiction side, Tracy’s work has been featured in the online literary journal Micro-horror, The Writing Disorder fiction anthology, and the “(Dis)ability” short story anthology, in addition to her novels.
When she is not teaching or writing, Tracy is usually reading or spending time with her family. She lives in New York with her husband and sons.
Welcome to the book blitz for LINEAGE the first book in the adult fantasy series, The Blood and Sacrifice Chronicles, by C. Vonzale Lewis. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
LINEAGE (The Blood and Sacrifice Chronicles #1) by C. Vonzale Lewis
Synopsis Smart-mouthed Nicole Fontane has a way of getting herself into trouble. She’s been fired from every job she’s had but still refuses to work in her father’s apothecary shop because of his practice of Earth Magick. On Tulare Island where Nicole grew up, Magick has always been a way of life—one she’s determined to avoid at all costs.
With less than two hundred dollars in the bank and rent due, Nicole is forced to take a job at Tribec Insurance as a last resort. Little does she realize, the moment she sets foot inside the building, she becomes a pawn. A sinister force has set its sights on her and will stop at nothing to use her in a sadistic game.
Tribec’s proprietors, the Stewart family, are curiously preoccupied with the Naqada, the mysterious pre-dynastic Egyptian society. Nicole finds it creepy, but on the bright side, the job reconnects her with her estranged friend, Marta. Yet the eerie atmosphere, disappearing Magick wards, and the smell of blood inside Tribec bring Nicole to a startling conclusion—the Stewarts are practicing Blood Magick, the deadliest of the Five Principles. By the time Nicole uncovers the truth, Marta and her four children have gone missing, and all signs implicate the Stewarts and an archaic blood ritual to an Old One, a Naqada god imprisoned on Tulare Island.
Battling the evil of Blood Magick will demand Nicole to confront a hidden past and unlock the Magick buried within. But can she set aside her deep-rooted fears to work with a team of vigilante Mages? Or will the clock run out on Marta and her children—and on Nicole?
Excerpt Chapter One
Looking for bright, responsible, career-oriented, self-motivated individuals who have excellent people skills and are able to take high volumes of calls while maintaining a positive attitude. Ability to work with others is a must.
I glanced down at the advertisement in my hand. I had none of those qualifications according to my last employer—and pretty much all my other previous ones as well. I was, however, a “foul-mouthed, bad-tempered, under-performing”—still didn’t understand that one—“sarcastic, waste of space.” Although, to be fair, only one of the previous employers actually called me a waste of space, and that was because I had stopped sleeping with him.
This unfortunate lack of options was the reason I stood in the parking lot of Tribec Insurance, smoking the last of my apple-flavored cigars—a habit I learned from my father—wearing a cream-colored dress suit and a pair of matching pumps. I couldn’t afford either of them, and I really hated pumps. But I needed the job, so I dressed the part of the career-oriented, self-motivated candidate the ad was searching for.
Most of the jobs in the area required a college degree, or at least several years of experience. I had no college degree, and the longest I’d ever been employed at one job was six months. Thankfully, Tribec Insurance was always hiring and had no such requirements—a rarity in the uptight community of Alice where Tribec was located.
Through a ring of cigar smoke, I took in the phallic structure that was Tribec Insurance. My eyes landed on the small, stone, pyramid-like shape at the top of the building. It reminded me of an Egyptian Obelisk—a symbol to the god Ra. The Egyptian word for it, “Tejen,” meant “protection” or “defense.”
Why would the occupants of Tribec Insurance erect a symbol of protection or defense on top of the building?
A slight breeze blew over my bare arms, carrying the salty scent of the ocean and stirring the beads of sweat that had formed on them. My new blouse had molded to my back, and my feet had started to sweat. I was generally used to Tulare Island’s oppressive heat, but the anxious jitters in my stomach had caused my skin to flush.
I tried to dispel the nervousness in my stomach. Despite the obvious, I didn’t want to show that I was desperate. My best friend Kara spent most of last night trying to prep me for the interview. She advised me to not ask annoying questions, make sarcastic comments, or let my disgruntled attitude show.
Essentially, she advised me to not be myself. There was a message in there somewhere, but I was choosing to ignore it.
Out of our original group in high school, Kara was the only one who was still in my life. The only one who actually gave a damn about me. Marta and I hadn’t spoken in years, and as for Steve… Well, it was a long time ago.
I glanced at my watch. Damn. I guess I had procrastinated long enough. I put out my cigar, grabbed my blazer from the front seat of my car, shoved the advertisement back in my overly large purse, and headed for the building. As I walked, I attempted to wrap my head around the fact that I was essentially asking Tribec Insurance to let me spend my days chained to a desk, listening to complaints from strangers.
Maybe I should look into prostitution. At least I’d enjoy the job.
Kara also told me to smile a lot, so I pasted one on, pulled open the glass door, and stepped inside. Only to stop dead in my tracks at the entrance.
The walls—painted a burnt gold color that reminded me of the sunset—were lined with Egyptian art. Four glass displays, filled with half-head replicas of deities and artifacts, sat in each corner of the room. Green foliage hung from black ceramic pots near the entrance and the elevator. Something was off about the elevator. It wasn’t stainless-steel. No, more like marble. Black marble with gold striations that, at first glance, appeared to be moving. Odd.
And everything, including the guard station—which sat sunken into the foundation in the middle of the floor—was set up in a spherical configuration. Directly behind the guard station was a set of mahogany double doors, with gold Egyptian hieroglyphs carved around the frame. They were also etched around the guard station.
Most people on Tulare Island either practiced one of the four principles of magick or knew someone who did. There was, however, a small group of people who, despite the evidence, still refused to believe in magick. They usually carried picket signs outside of herbal and occult shops, telling people they were going to burn in hell, not realizing they were actually practicing faith magick every time they went to church.
Judging from the set-up of the room, and even the obelisk on the top of the building outside, I could hazard a guess—more like an assumption—that the occupants of Tribec Insurance practiced magick.
Despite my assumption, I couldn’t figure out which of the four principles—earth, elemental, mind, or faith—the people at Tribec used. There was, however, a fifth principle—blood—that to my knowledge, no one practiced anymore. And sadly, I didn’t know enough about it to recognize any symbols associated with its practice. Yet, symbols from the other four were etched all over the walls. Odd. Especially since people only had the ability to practice one. Not all four.
If it was a job requirement for me to use magick, I was running the hell out of here. I would live in a cardboard box before I got involved with magick. And if I didn’t get a job soon, that was exactly where I’d be living. Especially since I refused to move back in with my parents. I had to grow the hell up sometime.
I moved farther into the lobby; the scent of desert sand wafted around me. It had that baked-on smell that emanated off the ground when the sun was at its peak. It was unusual, but the décor could explain the smell. Especially if they added sand to some of the displays for authenticity. The odor that was definitely out of place was the one directly underneath it.
Blood. It was faint. I could almost chalk it up to imagination. Almost. If it wasn’t so overpowering.
I moved forward cautiously, my heels clicking on the white-tiled floor, as I tried to pinpoint where the scent was coming from. But the farther away from the door I got, the less I smelled it. I turned and started back toward where I’d first detected the smell. A chair creaked, stopping me in my tracks. The space between my shoulder blades started to itch. I turned.
The guard behind the desk was watching me.
I stood there, debating whether or not I should just leave. Yes, I was desperate, but the smell of blood? Was I imagining it? I pulled in a deep breath, trying to find the scent again. Nothing.
Get it together, Nicole.
After a short pause, I shook myself mentally, and continued toward the guard station with the guard’s black eyes boring into me. Sizing me up.
“Can I help you, miss?” He rose to his feet and crossed his arms across his chest.
I placed him in his late twenties. He had a solid frame, close-cropped black hair, deep set black eyes, and no facial hair. The dark brown suit he wore looked as if it had been poured onto him. Had to be ex-military.
The gold tag on his shirt read “Oliver Strong.” It suited him.
“Yes, my name is Nicole Fontane, and I’m here for an interview with…” I set my purse on the counter, ignoring his pointed glare, and pulled out my tattered notebook. “…a Francine Delaporte at eleven.”
“Have a seat. I will call someone down to escort you.” He inclined his head in the direction of the red leather couch on the right.
“Okay, thanks,” I said as I mentally extended my middle finger. Everything about him rubbed me the wrong damn way.
I sat and placed my purse beside me on the couch—the damn thing weighed a ton—and picked up one of the brochures for Tribec Insurance. While I sat there leafing through it, another security guard walked up and blocked my view of the sun. Well, he would have if there had been one inside the building. This burly bastard had tree trunks for arms and a head that resembled a boulder. Did they chisel him from a mountain?
“Ms. Fontane?” the guard grumbled. It sounded as if his voice came from a gut full of rocks.
I stood, which put me at eye level to his massive chest and the name tag pinned to his shirt that read “Duncan Glass.”
Maybe when they hired their guards, they assigned them names as well.
“Yes.” I tried to push myself up a few inches more. I was already wearing three-inch heels, bringing my total height to five nine, yet this massive behemoth still towered over me.
“Follow me.” He spun around abruptly and led the way to the elevator.
I was tempted to salute him, or give him the finger—the damn bossy bastard.
Calm down, Nicole. You need this job.
Duncan pulled a card from his pocket and inserted it into a slot located on the right side. I guess that answered my question about the oddity of the elevator. Besides the strange composition, they didn’t have a call button. They sure did have a high level of security for an insurance company. Maybe they denied more claims than they approved. Greedy bastards.
When the doors slid open, Duncan extended his arm out. “Ms. Fontane.”
I stepped inside.
Once the doors were closed, he inserted his card into another slot, and a display lit up with a list of floors.
The number thirteen was among them.
I had once read somewhere that all older buildings either omitted the thirteenth floor or renamed it. It all stemmed from a superstition that the thirteenth floor was unlucky. I wasn’t superstitious, but I did find it interesting they chose to include it.
“They have a thirteenth floor,” I said.
“It comes after twelve.”
While I was no stranger to snide comments I really didn’t like others using them on me. Bastard.
A few moments later, the elevator doors opened and, thankfully, deposited us on the seventeenth floor. I followed Duncan to a set of offices in the center of the floor. He stopped at the first door in a row of three that faced the elevators. The silver name plate affixed to it read: Francine Delaporte. After he rapped on it three times, he planted his feet a few inches apart and placed his hands behind his back.
Maybe Duncan thought he was still in the military.
I took in the room while I waited. Cameras inside small black orbs dotted the ceiling. A hazy gray tint covered the windows, allowing minimal light to filter into the room. Industrial gray walls sported a few framed “inspirational” quotes that referred to “teamwork” and “having a positive attitude.” They even had the stupid “Hang in There” poster with a cat hanging off a wire.
Even the partitions that divided the employees’ desks were gray. The only break up in the ashen color were the fake wood desks.
It reminded me of a mental asylum.
The majority of the people in the office were women, with a few men thrown in here and there. Did they believe women were more suited to talking on the phone? Either way, everyone in the room was pasty, their eyes sunken in, wearing expressions that suggested they had given up on life. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they were all former tenants of the asylum, dressed up in over-sized clothes and forced into the role of “employee.”
The fact that no one looked up when Duncan and I got off the elevator supported my theory. They just sat there in their little black chairs, talking into their headsets, all repeating what sounded like the same practiced spiel in monotonous tones, a few minutes behind one another. Like a rolling set of waves crashing against the most boring shore imaginable.
I turned back to Duncan. He still stood at ease in front of Francine Delaporte’s door. What the hell was taking this woman so long? My feet were killing me. Like an idiot, instead of breaking the shoes in after Kara left last night, I had curled up on the couch with a bottle of Samuel Adams, contemplating my limited options. My little pity party of one ended at midnight when I realized my only option was one I wasn’t willing to entertain.
As I switched my purse from my right shoulder to my left, I caught sight of a faint circular line drawn around the cubicles. I stared at the ground, unsure if I was seeing things, or if there really was a line drawn on the floor. I straightened and moved to the left, trying to follow it. As I stood there transfixed, someone brushed their frigid hand across my exposed neck.
Coldness raced down my spine, and the scent of sand filled my nostrils.
I whipped around.
Duncan was gone.
In his place stood a woman wearing a red paint suit. Given that she was at least five feet away from me with her hands down at her sides… Who the hell had touched my neck?
Francine extended her hand and smiled. “Hello. Ms. Fontane?”
I stepped forward, my legs suddenly weak, and took her hand. “Hi.” I cleared my throat. “Yes, I’m Nicole Fontane.”
“I’m Francine Delaporte. Let’s get started.” She let go of my hand and walked into her office.
I rubbed the back of my neck, trying to warm the sudden chill that had settled there. I glanced around the room. The employees remained at their desks, staring rapt at their computer screens.
A cool breeze circled the room, pulling my gaze toward the ceiling. An air vent sat directly above me.
Before I entered Francine’s office, I glanced down at the floor. The markings were gone. Maybe I had imagined them. And maybe the air-conditioning explained the feeling of someone brushing their fingers across my neck.
Yes—for sanity’s sake, I was going to go with that.
Just my overactive imagination.
Author C. Vonzale Lewis
About the Author My name is Carla VonzaleLewis and I like my martini’s shaken…never stirred. I was born in Georgia but please don’t mistaken me for a Georgia peach. I’m more like a prickly pear. Speaking of being born, someone asked me recently if I remember my birth. And I have to say, yes, I do remember that handsy doctor pulling me out into the cold. Right Bastard!!!
Despite being born in the South, I grew up in the North. California to be exact. Every once in a great while we get to experience all four seasons. But mostly, it’s just heat. You should see our electric bill in the summer! I like the beaches, but not the sand. I enjoy being outside, but the sun gets on my nerves. Does it really need to send its death ray to a single spot on my skin! (I told you I was a prickly pear) And don’t get me started on the traffic.
The first part of my life, I worked in customer service. This line of work led to the discovery of my favorite drink, or, rather, several favorite drinks. I could list the many concoction but that would go on forever! Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy job. But I did enjoy talking with people. And when it came time to develop my characters, I drew on those experiences.
I have a degree in Fashion Design. Don’t ask. The only thing I gained from those wasted two years of my life, is being introduced to the love of my life, Bobby. He is truly my rock. Why do I write? Well my first book, LINEAGE, answered the question, “What does the big boss actually do all day?” I might have gone a little dark with my answer, but it was fun answering the question. But mainly, I love writing because it gives me power to create. And it also gives me the power to fix this broken world.
Truthfully, I’ve always loved the written word and the way a good book could take you to another place and time. Instead of hanging out in the lunchroom, I would go to the library and create stories or bury my head in a really good book.
I started writing my first novel in 2014 and 30 days later I had a collection of scenes that needed some serious revision. And that was where the fun came in. Over the course of several years my novel went through final draft after final draft until I finally came to…you guessed it, the final draft.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, binge watching shows on Netflix, and trying to convince my husband that getting a dog is a wonderful idea. And one day, I will discover how many licks it actually takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. .
Welcome to the book blitz for the SUMMER BUCKET LIST, a stand-alone young adult contemporary romance, by T.K. Rapp. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Recently graduated from high school, Holland Monroe had no expectations for her last summer before heading off to college to be anything but ordinary.
Until she got a job as a waitress at the local country club to make extra money for school.
Milo Davis was smart, cute, and absolutely not interested in Holland. At least that was what she believed. But the day she started working at the restaurant, everything changed.
Finally together, they were left with only three months to spend time together before she moved away.
Good thing they decided to make their time as memorable as possible.
But will they remain friends? Or will checking off items on their summer bucket list lead them to something they didn’t expect — Falling in love.
Excerpt #2 “Have you ever gone swimming at night?” he asked.
Slowly I shook my head and looked over at him. All my fears, real and completely irrational, were beginning to choke me.
“No.” It was the only thing I was able to eke out.
“You don’t like it,” he questioned, but it was more of an observation.
“I’m terrified,” I admitted.
“But you can swim, right?”
I laughed, thankful he had lightened the mood. I nodded and turned my attention toward the dark abyss in front of me.
“What scares you?”
“Whatever might be in the water. Like the Loch Ness Monster.”
Milo laughed and reached for my hand. “Not real.”
“I know that,” I scoffed. “Doesn’t make me any less scared.”
“I’ll protect you.”
Milo opened his door, and reluctantly I opened my own. As I stepped out of the car I felt the fear travel up my spine, but I wanted to overcome it. He stood at the front of his car and waited for me to join him. Every step I took toward Milo felt heavier than the last until I finally reached him. He took my hand in his and carried a large backpack over his other shoulder.
“What’s the bag for? Are you going to kill me?”
Milo threw his head back and laughed hard. “You’re awesome. And no. It’s towels and some snacks.”
“Why night swimming? Isn’t it dangerous?”
“Well yeah…that’s why it’s the perfect date,” he answered.
My stomach flipped, and not because he was holding my hand. I found my nerves were working overtime and a flood of possibilities came to mind.
“Doesn’t sound so perfect.”
“Trust me,” he said as we continued to walk.
When we got to the shore, the water looked like glass, barely a breeze to make the surface move. Milo spread out a large blanket and set the backpack on top of it while I looked out at the horizon. In the distance, I could see the lights shining from homes across the way. The lake had few public spots that were accessible, and the park always closed at ten. I glanced at my watch and sighed because it was only eight. We had plenty of time to drown before anyone found us.
Milo pulled off his T-shirt and tossed it to the side by the bag. I tried not to look, but when I was caught staring at his stomach, I was thankful for the moonlit darkness.
“Are you going to get in?” he asked.
“I’m not sure.”
I figured he would be frustrated or that he would sulk because I didn’t jump at the chance to go with him. Instead, he walked over and kissed my cheek before walking toward the water.
As he took his first steps into the inky darkness, I watched his figure, admiring the way the moon illuminated his physique. Milo was not one to show off the muscles that he wore beneath his clothing, but they were on full display for me. I wanted so badly to follow him and let go of my fears, but all I could think of were the wild creatures that I saw in movies.
“It’s a little chilly,” he said as he stood waist deep, looking back at me.
“Not helping,” I laughed.
“Not trying to,” he answered with a chuckle.
I grabbed one of the towels that he had set out and opened it up so I could sit down. The warm air covered my body and I started to sweat. Maybe I was sweating because I was nervous, but whatever the reason I began to grow increasingly warm. Milo was still walking deeper into the water when I took off my cover-up, revealing my black bikini.
“Grow up,” I muttered to myself, hoping to gain some courage.
“How you doin’ over there?” Milo asked from the water.
“Great,” I said unconvincingly before laughing softly. “How ‘bout you?”
“Not too bad.”
His body disappeared beneath the water and I watched, waiting for him to come to the surface. When he didn’t come up right away, I sat up a little taller to see if there were any ripples in the water. Panic began to course through my veins and I started to get up as I searched for him in the darkness.
“Milo?” I called out, trying to contain my fear.
I walked toward the shoreline, the water lapping at my feet. Just as I started to take a step in, he surfaced with a loud splash.
Author T.K. Rapp
About the Author T.K. Rapp is a Texas girl born and raised. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M and it was there that she met the love of her life. He had a contract with the U.S. Navy that would take them across both coasts, and ultimately land them back home in Texas.
Upon finally settling in Texas, T.K. worked as a graphic designer and photographer for the family business that her mom started years earlier. She was able to infuse her creativity and passion, into something she enjoyed, but something was still missing. There was a voice in the back of her head that told her to write, so write, she did. And, somewhere on an external hard drive, are several stories she started and never finished.
Now at home, raising her two daughters, T.K. has more time to do the things she loves, which includes photography and writing. When she’s not doing one of those, she can be found with her family, which keeps her busy, hanging with family and friends, and mostly relaxing. She is a lover of raunchy humor, gossip blogs and a good books.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE FOREVER GIRL, the first book in the new adult fantasy/paranormal romance series, The Forever Girl, by New York Times bestselling author, Rebecca Hamilton. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE FOREVER GIRL (The Forever Girl #1) by Rebecca Hamilton
Synopsis A young descendent of a true witch, Sophia discovers her familial curse can only be cured by entering a world of shifters, fae, and vampires who want her dead.
Sophia’s ancestor’s body went missing after a Salem Witch Trials hanging. Now, over three centuries later, Sophia is cursed, and the only way to free herself is to find out what happened to her ancestor’s body.
As Sophia uses magic to find answers, she unknowingly paints a supernatural target on her back, making herself a beacon for creatures of the night. And they won’t stop hunting her until they’ve collected what they want.
There’s one man who might be able to help her, but when Sophia finally decides to trust him, his own secrets place them both in more danger.
Fans of True Blood, Twilight, and The Craft are devouring Rebecca Hamilton’s witty, imaginative series.
Scroll Up and One-Click The Forever Girl to start the hauntingly beautiful adventure today!.
Excerpt #2 Once Circe disappeared into the crowd, Thalia smiled at Charles.
“That one”—she bit her thumbnail and indicated me with her pinky—“would be valuable.”
A vein pulsed in Charles’ neck, and a soft hum vibrated through his body. Why didn’t he just shift?
“Surely you aren’t attached?” she asked, dropping her hand away from her mouth.
“You’re outside your rights, Thalia.”
“Temper, temper.” She sighed, the sound sickening coming from her. “But, my sweet Charlie, we’ve missed you. And what of Adonis and Blake? Have you forgotten who your friends are?”
“These women know nothing.” His voice sounded rougher, more gravelly. “Do not cross me.”
“Cross you? Oh Charlie, I’d never cross you.” She patted his chest and winked. “You’ve already crossed.”
A young, scrawny vampire pushed his way through the crowd. He bowed toward Thalia. “I’m sure Charles can handle this…misunderstanding. He’s been around longer than both of us put together.” He arched his eyebrows.
Thalia stepped back, cocked her head to one side, and tapped a finger against her cheek. “Fine. We have their scents.” To Charles, she added, “Pray you handle this well.”
Author Rebecca Hamilton
About Rebecca Hamilton New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Harlequin, Baste Lübbe, and Evershade. A book addict, registered bone marrow donor, and indian food enthusiast, she often takes to fictional worlds to see what perilous situations her characters will find themselves in next.
Represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA, Rebecca has been published internationally, in three languages: English, German, and Hungarian.