Welcome to the book blitz for BOUNTY, the first book in the adult urban fantasy series, Kaliya Sahni, by K.N. Banet. 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.
Synopsis Kaliya Sahni. Tribunal Executioner. Bounty hunter. The last nagini.
Her reputation is larger than the desert she lives in.
Dangerous. Irresponsible. Antagonistic.
When a friend asks her to look into a supernatural bounty on a human, Kaliya finds herself taking the first steps into a conspiracy that had been in the shadows for nearly a decade. Too intrigued to get out before it’s too late, she dives straight into the deep end, ready to discover the truth.
When the mysterious bounty takes a personal turn, she knows there’s no turning back, no putting the lid back on the box.
It’s all or nothing in her world and Kaliya doesn’t like to lose.
Excerpt “Why did you even come here?” I demanded, not moving.
“To see how my favorite Executioner was doing,” he said with that cold smile he was known for. “I figured if you saw me here first, you would be less inclined to try to kill me on the streets and lose your job. Consider it a courtesy call. I’m in Phoenix for work and would like to finish it and leave as soon as possible.” He turned and walked out of the bar, leaving me standing alone, everyone watching me.
“Kaliya…” Paden’s warning tone came out. “Maybe you do need to just head home and stay out of this.”
“Funny. I was thinking I needed to join this little hunt for a stupid human. Ten million is good money.” I grinned over my shoulder. I never gave Sinclair a free pass. He was in my city, and I was going to win this time. Less than twenty-four hours back in Phoenix, and things were getting interesting. This seemed like it was going to be the most fun the supernaturals of Phoenix were going to see for at least a decade.
Sinclair, The Board, Mygi Pharmaceuticals, and one human stuck in the middle of it.
“You could lose your job,” Paden reminded me, walking close to say it under his breath. “Kaliya, they warned you off Sinclair fifteen years ago, the last time Cassius was able to get him to stand in front of the Tribunal.”
“He’s in my city,” I reminded my friend. “He wants to play? We’ll play.”
I walked out. I didn’t intend to follow Sinclair, but I needed to get home so I could start hacking into Mygi’s system. I needed to know what he knew if I had any chance of beating him to the prize. If this Raphael Alvarez knew anything important to my personal case, I couldn’t let that fucking vampire make him disappear.
Author K.N. Banet
About the Author K.N. Banet loves to read books that make people cry. She likes to write books that make people cry (and she wants to hear about it). She’s a firm believer that nothing and no one in this world is perfect, and she enjoys exploring those imperfections–trying to make the characters seem real on the page and not just in her head.
She might just be crazy, though. Her characters think so, but this can’t be confirmed.
You can find her reverse harem works under KristenBanet!
Check out her social media to catch what’s going on in the worlds inside her head. She drops teasers, new covers, and opens ARC reader slots through her Facebook group, The Banet Pride.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE DARK AWAKENING, the first book in the young adult paranormal romance series, Chosen Coven, by D.L. Blade. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE DARK AWAKENING (Chosen Coven Series #1) by D.L. Blade
Synopsis Get ready for a new kind of witch—she’s about to save humanity.
Haunting secrets, witches, vampires, werewolves, love, betrayal, & twists you won’t see coming!
Mercy’s life has devolved into a string of bad events. A brutal beating that nearly stole her life, a dangerous stalker lurking in the shadows, and a car accident, where the man who rescued her disappears right before her eyes.
But this man who she thought was a hallucination, tracks her down at a nearby cove, and claims they were once in love from another time. Another century. But Mercy has no memory of this world he shares, and instinctively doesn’t trust him. He also reveals to her a life-changing secret—she’s an ancient witch, vampires are real, and she’s destined to destroy them.
There’s also the troubling discovery that her blood is lusted after by the undead, and a sadistic vampire leader sets his eyes on her, and will stop at nothing until he takes Mercy as his own.
Mercy needs to fight. Fight for her life, fight to discover the truth, fight to remember who—or what—she really is before it’s too late.
Excerpt #1 They were there in the shadows again. This was the third time this week I had thought someone was watching me.
The last few weeks, I’d heard the rustling of leaves and the crackling sound of old fallen branches beneath someone’s feet, or the hairs at the back of my neck would stand straight because I knew someone stood silently behind me. Last night wasn’t any diﬀerent. I exited my car after an exhausting day at work and heard what sounded like a low, deep exhale coming from the forest next to Lily’s house. I swiftly turned around, fumbling with the ﬂashlight on my phone, but when the light pierced the darkness, the sound stopped.
Tonight, it was a silhouette behind my aunt Lily’s fence in the backyard. It wasn’t someone walking by with their dog or a neighbor taking out their trash. They were standing there, staring, as I walked to the sink to rinse my dinner bowl. I wasn’t going to tell her again. She’d just tell me what she’d told me last time I brought it up. She’d say I was just seeing things and that it was normal to feel this way after trauma.
“Your turn, Mercy,” Lily said. Her voice pulled my gaze from the window.
“I’m coming,” I said, taking one last glance toward the silhouette.
They were gone.
Author D.L. Blade
About the Author D.L Blade grew up in southern California where she studied at The California Healing Arts College for massage therapy, then working as a Massage Practitioner for thirteen years. She now lives in Colorado, where she worked in the real estate business for a time, before deciding to focus on family and writing.
She has always loved writing, concentrating on poetry rather than prose when she was younger. That changed however, when she had a dream one night that inspired her debut novel, ‘The DarkAwakening.’
In D.L. Blade‘s spare time, she enjoys a wide variety of hobbies, including reading, attending rock concerts, playing pool, wine tasting, and exploring new vegan restaurants in Denver.
In the future, she hopes to continue to write exciting novels that will captivate her readers and bring them into the world that she created using her imagination.
Welcome to the pre-order blitz for ACCIDENTALLY FAMILY, the latest release in the adult contemporary romance series, Pecan Valley, by Sasha Summers, releasing May 26, 2020. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, and an exclusive excerpt.
ACCIDENTALLY FAMILY (Pecan Valley Series) by Sasha Summers
Synopsis Welcome to Pecan Valley, where the town may be small but the townspeople will always lend a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on. Where good times, good humor, and good people will always lead to happily ever after.
Life for Felicity, and her teen children, is finally back on track. After her divorce, she wasn’t sure if her sweet family would ever be the same. But things are good––right up until her ex’s spirited toddler lands on Felicity’s doorstep. If the universe is going to throw lemons at her, thank God she has her best friend, Graham, to help her make lemonade out of them. How did she never notice how kind and sexy he is?
Graham is still recovering from his wife’s death years ago and trying to help his teen daughter get her life together. Who is he kidding? His daughter hates him. Forget lemons––he’s got the entire lemon tree. So when Felicity suggests they join forces and help each other, he’s all in. And suddenly he can’t stop thinking about her as more than just a friend. Too bad their timing couldn’t be worse…
Because life rarely goes as planned. Luckily there are many different kinds of family to hold you together and lift you up…plus maybe even a little love between friends.
Excerpt Felicity was too busy wondering how they managed to keep everything white with a toddler running around. There were no toys, no babyproofing, no books—no sign that a toddler lived here. It was gorgeous, in a stark Architectural Digest sort of way. High ceilings. Open concept. A massive abstract painting over a fireplace—a white marble fireplace. “It’s very white,” she murmured. And cold.
Charity laughed. “It’s sophisticated, Filly.”
Felicity shrugged and headed into the kitchen. The kitchen was the heart of her home—the place they all congregated on stools and around her beloved wooden farm table. This was all clean lines and chrome. It looked pokey. And cold.
She pulled the cart behind her, opening cabinets and drawers, pulling out all the child-size utensils, bowls, sippy cups, bottles, and bibs she could find, filling one grocery bag to the top. The refrigerator was empty, minus a few jars of organic baby food and some almond milk. Was the almond milk for Jack? Did he have digestive issues? Matt didn’t. That left Jack. Or Amber.
“Charity,” she called out. “We need to find Jack’s vaccination records. And any medical stuff—his pediatrician’s name would be even better.” The steel front of the refrigerator was blank, no magnets, no notes, nothing. “His birth certificate. All that stuff.”
“Maybe in her office?” Charity called back. “Looks like she worked from home a lot. I’ll see what I can find.”
“Thank you.” She already felt like she was trespassing. Digging through Amber’s things, learning about Amber and Matt’s life—thank God Charity was here. She flipped off the kitchen lights and tugged the wagon down the hall. The exterior wall was mostly windows, giving her a clear view of the outside world. A world she didn’t belong in. She hurried along, eager to find the nursery.
Considering how very white everything was, the grouping of photos on the interior wall stopped her. Amber and Matt on some snow-covered mountain somewhere. They’d gone to Paris and Italy… A picture of Amber pregnant. And one of the three of them. She knew Matt’s smiles like the back of her hand. These were real smiles. He’d been happy in this new, whitewashed world.
It hurt like hell. It shouldn’t matter that he’d worn that same happy smile for her. But, dammit, it did. There had been so many smiles and special moments and fun travels and real-life struggles they’d made it through together. Time, seventeen years, and there wasn’t a shred of evidence here that those years had existed. They’d been erased, leaving his past as blank as these walls. How empty that would feel to her. Whatever pain he’d caused her, their children deserved his presence in their lives.
Author Sasha Summers
About the Author Sasha Summers grew up surrounded by books. Her passions have always been storytelling, romance and travel–passions she uses when writing. Now a best-selling and award winning-author, Sasha continues to fall a little in love with each hero she writes. From easy-on-the-eyes cowboy, sexy alpha-male werewolves, to heroes of truly mythic proportions, she believes that everyone should have their happy ending–in fiction and real life.
Sasha lives in the suburbs of the Texas Hill country with her amazing and supportive family and her beloved grumpy cat, Gerard, The Feline Overlord. She looks forward to hearing from fans and hopes you’ll visit her online. Facebook: Sasha Summers Author, Twitter: @sashawrites, or her website: www.sashasummers.com
Welcome to the book blitz for HARD TRUTH, the fourth book in the adult contemporary romance series, Alpha Antihero, by USA Today bestselling author, Sybil Bartel. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
HARD TRUTH (Alpha Antihero Series #4) by Sybil Bartel
Synopsis I couldn’t escape the hard sins of my past.
I couldn’t unsee the truths in my mistakes.
Every breath she took was a reminder of the pain I’d caused.
Growing up at the mercy of a madman, I swore I would never give anyone that kind of power over me again. But here I was, on my knees, begging for a life I lost.
Except no amount of forgiveness would bring it back.
Excerpt #4 Her shoulders rose with an inhale, and she turned around. Her eyes met mine. “Please stop.”
Fuck. “Stop what?”
“Don’t do this.” She shook her head. “Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. I don’t want you to change. I never did. I don’t need you to be anyone but who you are. If that’s an angry biker with a street name, so be it. But please, just…” Her hand waved toward the stove. “Don’t do that. The man I dragged outta the swamp, he didn’t make tea.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “He never would’ve done that.”
She was right.
Lost inside my own damn house, hell, my fucking life, I laid it all out for her. “Everything I did, I did for you.”
Her gaze cut to the floor. “I thought I was doin’ the same.”
“He played us both.”
The waves crashed outside, the water on the stove boiled, and the air conditioner kicked on. We stood there. She stared at her damn feet. I stared at her.
“I don’t know what else to say to you,” I admitted.
“The Tarquin I knew wouldn’t have done that either. He wouldn’t have said that.”
I dared to fucking ask. “What would he have said?”
“Nothin’.” She looked up at me. “He didn’t waste words.”
Author Sybil Bartel
About the Author Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.
Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.
She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.
To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways.
Welcome to the book blitz for ORION, the third book in the adult contemporary romance series, Satan’s Pride, by A.G. Kirkham. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Orion – sign of the club and shield. He lost it all before he found the family he’s committed to now, Satan’s Pride. He survives the loss of his mother, the coldness of his father and the sudden death of his wife and child. He survived this all and the only casualty was his heart. He vowed to never love again, so he would never relive that pain. Can one woman make him learn to give all of himself one more time?
Viviana loved everything and everyone. She embraced life, even though her childhood was filled with turbulence and abandonment. She wanted a family to call her own and when she became pregnant, she believed her choice was to flee, giving Orion the freedom she thought he wanted.
Can these two souls leave the past in the past and listen to their hearts instead?
Excerpt #3 “I need to get to Vi,” I tell the nurse. The older woman looks at me sympathetically. The doctor in the emergency room stitched me up after checking that the wound was clear and just as I thought, it’s just a superficial wound. The nurse is just finishing up. War is sitting in the chair, making sure I don’t bolt to see Vi. Guard is with her.
I left Vi in a gurney being wheeled into a room. She regained consciousness in the ambulance. The paramedics treated her for shock and quickly put her on oxygen. Within a few minutes she was looking around the back of the ambulance for me. I took her hand with my good one. Hanna was taken in a second ambulance and Risk rode with her.
She was stable when I was separated from her. I would not have left her side if not for her words. “Baby, I need to know you are going to be okay. Please go with the nurse, get taken care of and come back to me as soon as you can.” She squeezed my fingers and, in that moment, she had her first major contraction. “Hurry,” she gritted through her teeth.
Hanna’s ex-husband is sitting in a cell. He should be in a morgue. He would be if the Sherriff didn’t show up. Risk had him on the ground, his fist hitting his face repeatedly. War threw him off before he killed him. Risk took one look at Hanna being strangled against her car with a gun pointed at her head and tore at him like a bull. Allan turned the gun on Risk. I tackled him just in time to cover and dive to the pavement with Risk. Unfortunately, the bullet nicked my upper arm. The blood made it look much worse that it was. When I looked up, I saw War had Allan subdued, and tore into the bakery to see Vi. I found her on her knees. Saint was running from the street, followed closely by the Sherriff.
Tears were streaming down her face. She took one look at me and then at Hanna being carried in by Risk and I knew that she was reliving the tragedy that happened to her. Guard and War came to help us stand. We steadied Vi on her feet and suddenly a gush of water splashed onto the floor. In that moment, Vi passed out. I panicked. Guard caught her, making sure she never hit the ground.
Now I am itching to get to her. I am finally released and race down the corridor to the elevator toward the neonatal ward. War is a step behind me. I step off the elevator to see Saint, Ava, Maddie, even little Gavin and the rest of my brothers filling the waiting room.
“Where’s Vi?” I ask as I approach the crowd.
“Her room is that one and Guard hasn’t left her side,” Ava says, smiling at me.
I nod and walk past the crew to Vi. She’s in bed, holding on tight to Guard’s hand and breathing deeply. “I got this,” I tell Guard and step in beside the bed to take my place. “Thanks, man.”
“Told you before, brother, we got your back. And Vi’s. Called Nate and he and Emily are driving in,” he informs me.
About the Author I was born in a small town in Italy. My parents are loving people; and true traditionalists. I grew up being a chatterbox of a child and evolved into a quiet and shy teenager. I was definitely not the life of the party. As a matter of fact, I never wanted to go to any high school dances or any activities the school offered. I was good with being alone. I had to grow into my own and I eventually became the fun loving, open-minded and creative person I am now. I love the me I have become and I am grateful that this is where I have landed.
Writing is my release and I have escaped in my imagination to some incredible places meeting the most awesome characters. I also wanted to be a rock star but anyone who has ever heard me sing kindly convinced me that I do not have any talent. (In other words, I suck at it.)
Although I have been writing since I was in grade school, I only just launched my first novel. I have had pieces published as short stories and such but “Guard: is my first novel, with many more to follow.
I am a hopeless romantic. I thrive on two individuals connecting in mind, body and soul. The understanding of wants and needs and placing them as a priority and not out of fear of losing them or because you feel you need to concede; you do it because it feels easy and right in your own heart.
I love to cook! I enjoy making meals for my family and friends and bantering around the table. I have colourful people in my life and they all add to my rainbow. I love music! I like it all, depending on my mood.
My other passion is travelling. I want to enjoy all that life has to offer. I want to meet people, learn from them and create the most fantastic, sexy love stories. If I can do this overlooking the ocean and feeling the breeze wash over me then I have my heaven on earth. I am so blessed! Thank you for reading!
Welcome to the book blitz for OATH SWORN, the first book in the adult urban fantasy series, Jacky Leon, by K.N. Banet. 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.
Synopsis Jacky Leon isn’t someone who goes looking for trouble. She owns a bar, pays her taxes, and serves her drinks cold outside a small town in Texas. The fact that she’s a werecat is just something she’s had to live with. Alone in her territory, she’s lived a secretive life for six years: under the radar, avoiding her past and the baggage that comes with it.
Trouble finds Jacky, though, in the form of an eleven year old girl and a werewolf turf war just outside her borders. Forced to honor an ancient treaty and the Laws of the supernatural world, Jacky swears an oath to protect Carey Everson, the human daughter of a local werewolf Alpha from Dallas.
When his enemies come after Jacky and her charge, she’s going to have to embrace the more dangerous side of who and what she is. She’s going to have to challenge the very Laws that govern her kind.
And nothing is going to stop her from honoring her word.
Excerpt I waited for her to load in, then went to the back door, keeping my eyes down respectfully. I couldn’t pose a threat to them now, not if they were taking me to the wolf I needed to see.
“You were prettier in the pictures, Jacky. Less…battered.” His voice was like a smooth brandy, somewhat chilled, and very secure, brimming with an arrogant element of confidence. I looked up to see the wolf next to me and found myself looking into the grey-blue eyes I already knew well.
Heath Everson was right next to me, and he didn’t look pleased to see me.
“Where’s my daughter?” he demanded.
I sat stunned for a moment. There were a couple of problems that kept me from getting my brain to function properly.
One, I wasn’t used to the power that filled the air around me. This wolf was powerful. It was in his scent. It was in his posture, leaning back half against the seat and half on the far door, with one arm stretched out over the back, which he could use to grab the back of my neck if I wasn’t careful. He’d positioned himself carefully, with his long legs stretched out into my leg space, an obvious play that I had no personal space he cared to respect.
Two, he was disarmingly good-looking. He hadn’t seemed like that in the pictures I had seen of him, quietly sitting in the back. His smiles in those had been soft. The one I was confronted with was sharp. He wasn’t a rugged man like most werewolves I’d seen. He was classically beautiful, with a sharpness that made me uncomfortable. The only thing about him that wasn’t styled to perfection was his hair, which looked like he’d run his hand through it too many times. It fell over his face, framing his dastardly grey-blue eyes. And that was all before I got to his broad shoulders, encased in a crisp black suit. He didn’t look like a man who was fighting for his life. Not in the slightest.
Three…well, it was time for me to tell him that his daughter was taken from me, and I was pretty certain he would try to kill me after that.
“Start talking, Jacky.” He didn’t remove his eyes from me as the SUV got moving.
Author K.N. Banet
About the Author K.N. Banet loves to read books that make people cry. She likes to write books that make people cry (and she wants to hear about it). She’s a firm believer that nothing and no one in this world is perfect, and she enjoys exploring those imperfections–trying to make the characters seem real on the page and not just in her head.
She might just be crazy, though. Her characters think so, but this can’t be confirmed.
You can find her reverse harem works under KristenBanet!
Check out her social media to catch what’s going on in the worlds inside her head. She drops teasers, new covers, and opens ARC reader slots through her Facebook group, The Banet Pride.
Synopsis After her husband is killed by a drunk driver, Kelly Harris and her son TJ move into a sprawling Victorian house in Ohio that her husband inherited from his grandmother. Dealing with her overwhelming grief is a struggle as she adjusts to life in a small town. And, just as she’s beginning to feel more comfortable, life takes another unexpected turn.
The Alexa unit in her son’s bedroom starts to cry, and a little girl’s voice comes out of it asking for help.
At first Kelly is unnerved by the presence of the voice. After ruling out all the other likely possibilities, she begins to put the pieces together, and suspects the girl is a ghost. Unwilling to be uprooted from another home, she decides to find out what the child wants. Maybe she can help.
Kelly isn’t the only one interested in the voice. Detective Rob Porter is investigating the disappearance of a child named Marilee. As the two cross paths, Porter is taken aback when Kelly’s ghost mentions Marilee’s name. In fact, the ghost says “Marilee’s with me.”
Whether that means the child is a ghost as well is a question Rob and Kelly hope to answer.
Excerpt #2 A frightened “Mom” roused me from a fitful sleep. I swung my legs off the bed, the hardwood cool against my feet. “I’m coming,” I called as I rushed to TJ’s room. I found him sitting up in bed, his eyes big and worried.
“What is it, sweetie?” I asked as I sat beside him. “Did you have a bad dream?”
“Mom, Alexa was crying again.”
“What do you mean?” I tipped his face up and looked him in the eyes. “Alexa can’t cry. She’s not a real person. Tell me what happened.”
“I was asleep and I heard a little girl crying. There wasn’t anybody in my room but I could still hear it.”
“Maybe you were dreaming.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at me. “I wasn’t dreaming, Mom.”
“Okay, then. Maybe it just sounded like crying.”
“There were words, too.”
He nodded. “I said, ‘is anybody there’ and the crying stopped. Then Alexa said Help us.” His serious eyes dared me to not believe him.
Author Pamela McCord
About the Author Born in Arkansas and raised in Southern California, PamelaMcCord started writing later in life when she was challenged by a friend to create a book out of his story idea. Since then, she’s become an internationally published author. Pam has spent over 40 years working as a legal secretary at a law firm in Orange County, California. Aside from writing, she follows the stock market, buying, selling and trading stocks and options. In contrast to that, she loves trips to Las Vegas where she can spend many happy hours at the Pai Gow tables. She shares a condo with her very own My Cat From Hell TV star, Allie, who manages to exude just enough affection to make her scary feral ways tolerable..
Welcome to the book blitz for OUTFOXED, the first book in the adult paranormal romance/urban fantasy series, The Fox Witch, by USA Today bestselling author, R.J. Blain, releasing November 3, 2020. See below for information on the book, preorder links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Death is a way of life outside of the safety of Inner Tulsa, and Jade means to keep flipping Mother Nature off until old age claims her. With one eye always on the sky, the last thing she needs is a pack of bounty hunters out for her living head. With no idea of why anyone would want her, her wits might keep her free, assuming she can resist the charming lures of Sandro, one of the men out to claim her as his own.
Left with the choice of being the evening snack of a tornado or taking shelter with the bounty hunter, she does what she does best: she lives on the edge.
Striking a bargain with the handsome bounty hunter buys her another day of life, but it also dumps her into the heart of a sinister plot, one meant to enslave the residents of the storm-tossed city—and the others brave and foolish enough to call the Alley home.
Excerpt #2 Yep, the bounty hunter knew exactly who I was, although I would’ve preferred if he’d addressed me as Jade. What sort of bounty hunter addressed their victim so formally, anyway? If I had to share a cellar with someone out for my head, living or otherwise, I was of the opinion we needed to be on a first-name basis. “Got a name, or am I going to have to give you one?”
“More leading, less talking,” he ordered. He cast a glance over his shoulder up at the entry for the cellar, which would be a bitch to escape from after we rode out the storm. “They’re coming.”
I could tell; the ground shook, the wind screamed, and the hail graduated to chunks of ice capable of slamming through someone’s skull with terrifying ease. I shouldered open the door, grimacing at the creaking wood; I gave it another storm or two before it gave up the ghost, too.
Fortunately for me, the slope on the other side made it hard for water to penetrate the cellar, and the third door was crafted of good steel. I scrambled up the incline, waiting long enough for the bounty hunter to follow me through. “Close it,” I ordered.
He did as told, and the tunnel fell into darkness. The wood did little to buffer us from the sounds of the storm tearing through the neighborhood above. I made my way to the crest of the incline by feel, patting until I located the top concrete step. “There’s a set of concrete steps at the top. If you’re not careful, you’ll crack your forehead in the ceiling and fall. It’s a long way down.”
I already regretted my decision to be a good person, as it would lose me access to the best storm cellar I’d found in Tulsa. I’d have to search for a new hiding place and hope it was half as secure and safe from the weather.
Then again, I had to get away from my new unwanted friend first, which would be a challenge considering we’d have to share space until the storm ended.
It could take minutes, hours, or days.
I’d only stashed enough food and water for one person for one week, so if it took days, we’d be in trouble.
The bounty hunter joined me, and I eased down the steps once certain he wouldn’t take a lethal tumble to the steel door below. At the bottom, I felt around for the hatch wheel, grabbed hold, and turned until the door popped open.
Light spilled into the staircase from the luminescent moss I’d cultivated on the walls, barely bright enough to guide my way to the crank-powered lamp. I sat on the concrete floor and went to work charging the device. It’d only last for a few hours before I’d have to charge it again, but it would give me a chance to set up my home away from home.
The bounty hunter entered, closed the steel door, and whistled at my shelter. “I definitely stand corrected. Your file didn’t mention you have a good cellar. You’re listed as a vagrant.”
I scowled; unless rich, wealthy, or a hell of a lot braver than I was, everyone in the Alley counted as a vagrant. We went where the storms were least likely to strike, although there were few places left safe from the weather’s fury.
If I’d been thinking, I would’ve taken him an extra block down the road to a shallower cellar, although I had no idea if it’d survive through an entire swarm of twisters. Sighing, I kept cranking on the lamp. “Who isn’t a vagrant here?” I finally asked, aware of him waiting for an answer.
“Those who live in Asylum.”
Asylum. The rich, the famous, and the powerful received invitations from its lord and master, Benedict Mansfield. He’d bought the land rights beneath Tulsa’s city center, digging deep and converting the sandstone and the underlying limestone into habitable space. I’d given up figuring out how people could live underground long ago; they did, and everyone with a grain of sense and a desire to survive wanted to live in Asylum.
Hell would freeze over before average folks like me were welcomed down there.
Author by R.J. Blain
About the Author RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.
Welcome to the book blitz for BASED ON LIES – THE WHOLE STORY, a stand-alone adult dark romance/psychological thriller, by Debarshi Kanjilal. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.
BASED ON LIES – THE WHOLE STORY by Debarshi Kanjilal
Synopsis A psychopath.
A child abuser.
A disturbed man.
A victim of his own mind.
Each one of these phrases can aptly describe Anurag Sanyal. This is Anurag’s story.
He has confessed it all to his diary. He has described every crime in vivid, nauseating detail. And each account is more surreal, more messed up than the last. There is only one problem – everything he narrates is based on lies.
And thus, we begin the eternal search for truth.
Excerpt #2 Anurag smiled hesitantly and said, “It’s okay. I know you are here to help. And I trust any choice that Aditi makes.”
“Good,” I said, as I stood next to him. I drew a chair for myself and sat down in front of him.
“You love Aditi, don’t you?” I asked.
“Of course, I do,” said Anurag. “Anyone else, I would have been struggling to keep paying exorbitant alimonies for years now. But Aditi is different. I wish I could have done more for her, given her a child, perhaps.”
This sentiment wasn’t new. I had read something similar in his diary. And that scared me; his diary couldn’t be dismissed as a madman’s blabbering if he can recall any or all of it.
“Does Aditi feel that way about the child? Are you sure that she even wishes to have a child with you?” I asked.
Anurag burst into laughter. “Which married woman in her thirties doesn’t want a child, doctor? Let me call you doctor, makes you seem important! Anyway, I don’t need to ask her that question, doctor. I have been with her long enough to know what her heart desires.”
I tried to stay calm. After the silence simmered for half a minute, Anurag added, “If I did ask her, she’d say ‘you’re the child in our marriage, Avi, we don’t need another one,’ but I know she would just be saying that.”
I was caught with my guard down. ‘Avi!’ I exclaimed as I turned to the door into the room to look at Aditi, who had been standing there calmly all along. She turned her gaze down to the floor and then silently turned and walked away. I tried to gather my composure—futile efforts. I looked back at Anurag and asked him, “I am sorry, I didn’t read your full name yet. That was really careless of me.”
“It’s okay, doctor. After all, you are not a real doctor, so you are allowed to make mistakes! It’s Kar, Avinit Kar.”
“Of course, Avinit. Avinit, do you know anyone named Anurag?”
“Yes, of course, I knew Anurag, but haven’t you heard?”
And with that preface, Anurag started talking. And before I couldn’t take any more of the ridiculous story he narrated, he had suggested that Anurag, who was someone other than himself, had died in a terrible road accident, and Aditi is now grieving his death.
Author Debarshi Kanjilal
About the Author Debarshi Kanjilal is an urban fiction writer based out of Bangalore, India. He published his first novella, Crimes of Love, just before the 2017 holiday season and it was touted as a gripping psychological thriller by several reputable reviewers.
DK ran the ‘God of Absurdity’ blog from 2012 to 2015, which published humorous anecdotes and reflection pieces. He is also an accomplished learning experience design professional who has help shaped adult learning content strategy for some of the most reputable organizations in the world.
You can keep up to date with his work on LinkedIn, Instagram, or his website.
Welcome to the book blitz for SMOKE AND RITUAL, the first book in the adult paranormal romance series, Beautiful Dark Beasts, by Melissa Sercia. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SMOKE AND RITUAL (Beautiful Dark Beasts Series #1) by Melissa Sercia
Their whispers taunt her with a war she never wanted…
But Arya Frost has more to contend with than the cryptic voices disturbing her sleep.
Protected inside the haven of Sanctum after losing both her parents in the Blood War a decade ago, Arya is different from other witches. She’s the only witch without a coven.
Or so she thinks.
As her powers accelerate, so do the revelations about her true lineage.
Destined to become the Aether—a witch who can control all four elements—the Elemental covens want her magic, power she didn’t even know she had.
And when the sexy and mysterious god, Chaos shows up, Arya’s place in the world is put even more at risk.
But learning who and what she is, and how to wield her power only tips the surface of the battle raging inside her. She’ll have to find a way to awaken her magic, deal with her growing attraction to Chaos, all while being thrust into the middle of a magical feud that has been building for centuries.
The Blood War might be over, but the war between witches is just beginning.
Excerpt #2 As I made my way toward Jane’s office, my newfound courage was starting to waiver. When I was a kid, they’d told us that war was something we’d never have to experience. The age of peace would last. We had the gods on our side. There were so many who had fought and died for us to be safe. Would their sacrifice be in vain?
Our parents grew up in a different time. Bloodshed and dark magic were all they knew. They were prepared for it. But my generation was soft. We never even thought to look over our shoulders. As I stood outside Jane’s door, I knew that was all about to change.
“Arya, please come in. We were just discussing you.” Jane sat still and stoic at her desk. Chaos paced back and forth behind her.
I ignored the nervous tickle that crept up my throat, praying that my voice didn’t fail me. “I’ve made my decision. I—I want to help. I will do whatever it is you want me to do.” My knees wobbled as the words left my lips.
“You can’t be serious,” Chaos snapped. “Have you ever even been off this island? I don’t care what your lineage is. You aren’t ready.” He folded his chiseled arms to his chest and leaned back against the wall, seeming satisfied with his assessment of me.
The way he looked at me without emotion, the dismissiveness in his tone, it was all I could do to not crawl under Jane’s desk and hide. “Thanks for the vote of confidence,” I mumbled.
Jane pressed her palms onto the desk, as if she were bracing herself. “Chaos, enough. We’ve been over this all night. She has to be the Aether. She’s the only one who can tap into that power.” Her voice softened as she looked back toward me. “Arya, dear, is there anything at all you can tell us about Echo? Anything you remember?”
I looked down at my scuffed boots, unsure of what was real or just imagined. “I—I don’t know. I’ve been having strange dreams for months. Echo—or at least who I think is Echo—calls to me in them. She tells me she needs me. At first, I thought it was just my own longing for a coven, manifesting in a dream…but then the birds came. The white crows.”
“So it’s begun,” she murmured. “Arya, tell me more about the birds.”
“I found one in my bed a couple days ago, it’s neck was broken…there was so much blood. Another one slammed into my window the night after. And then…last night, I had another dream. This time it was the ancestors calling to me. I could see them…in Purgatory.”
Jane jumped to her feet. “We have to get you away from here, Arya. It’s not safe anymore.”
Chaos threw up his hands. “Nowhere is safe, don’t you get it? They’ve marked her, and they won’t stop until they have what they want. I should have destroyed this realm when I had the—”
“Don’t you dare finish that sentence,” Jane snapped. “She will be safe with you, Chaos.”
My head pounded. Less than a week ago, my biggest worry was passing a potion test. Now, standing between a Crescent witch elder and an actual god as they argued over how I was going to become some all-powerful being, it seemed so trivial. How did my whole life change in just a matter of days?
Author Melissa Sercia
About the Author Melissa Sercia is an Urban Fantasy author with a passion for philosophy, mythology, and all things supernatural. She is the author of the Blood and Darkness and Beautiful Dark Beasts series’. Melissa lives in California with her man and her cat. When she’s not building dark fantasy worlds and slaying demons, you can find her in the kitchen cooking with a glass of wine in her hand.
Welcome to the book blitz for WARRIOR SAINTS – CREATOR, the first book in the young adult supernatural fantasy series, Stonehaven Academy Saints, by Carla Thorne. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
WARRIOR SAINTS – CREATOR (Stonehaven Academy Saints Series #1) by Carla Thorne
Synopsis “Hello. My name is Mary Antonia Hunter, and I picked up the snake.”
Strange days have come to the halls of Stonehaven Academy.
From brutal fights in the supernatural realm with a demon-like presence, to battling obstacles in the halls at school, Mary knows she’s different.
She just doesn’t understand why.
Then it gets even weirder.
As her supernatural battles increase, she is drawn into friendships with others who seem to be as confused about their bizarre abilities and encounters as she is.
Now that Mary, Deacon, Scout, and Ivy have found each other, what is their purpose and why? And who gifted these newly-named Warriors, and how do they manage their powers and maneuver the confusing maze of school, family, romance—and the occasional demonic force?
Excerpt Chapter One
I trembled in my bed.
Or so I thought.
Was it me? No. In my haze of half-sleep, I felt my cat, Paisley, sleeping beside me and breathing with a slight vibration in her chest.
But then I was falling, and fighting as I fell.
Darkness swirled around me and sucked the very breath from my lungs. With no air, I couldn’t scream, though I used all my energy to try. Help might come if they could hear me.
But who would come?
No one knew how I fought in my dream-sleep-half-awake state. How I left my body to fight on a supernatural plane where rules of gravity didn’t exist—until I was spiraling to my death.
Or clawing my way to the surface to breathe.
The darkness crushed my chest and pushed harder still. I scratched where I thought its face would be and peeled its skin until the metallic scent of human blood filled my nostrils. But the thing that smothered me wasn’t human, was it?
Logic managed to enter my thoughts, though breaths were hard to come by and oxygen was slow to reach my brain.
I wondered how someone got into my room, through the alarm, without detection. If it were a large human, why not finish me off?
But there was not a real human form. It was more of a presence, a blob, a changing force that covered my nose and mouth when it wanted …
But I fought.
I reached the supernatural space between my bed and the atmosphere, because if I’d learned anything through all those battles, it’s that there was no true in-between. I was either anchored and stable on the ground, in my earthly bed, and on my earthly feet—or I was not.
And when I was not, I was fighting for my life.
The other side is merely a door we walk through. The supernatural forces of evil exist just past the ends of our noses, across that invisible threshold, waiting…
I knew as much because that dark force fought with me to drag me into some deep space or pull me to an epic, Biblical-like hell and take my life.
I kicked. I flailed. I pushed imaginary hands from my throat.
The sudden stench of death and decay lingered in the air, followed by the sweet earthy smell of fresh dirt, newly mowed grass, earthworms, and spring rain.
That’s when I knew I was in trouble. It meant I’d lost my orientation in the battle. Because everyone knows a dead body stinks of rot as it’s put six feet under, but life stands by and waits and watches in the very ground that was disturbed to bury the deceased.
So, I fought harder for the earthy scent, the grounded feeling, and the light of life.
I dismissed the stench of death.
In a final push of life-saving strength, I concentrated on the spiritual realm.
Is this when I die again?
Another voice, not from that creature, answered me. No, this is not when you die.
With rage and determination, I twisted out of its grasp.
My heart raced as my breaths steadied.
I was asleep. I was awake. I honestly didn’t know what I was.
What I did know was that I fought for my life on a regular basis. What I didn’t know was why.
I gasped and bolted upright in the bed. Paisley stretched and rearranged herself against my cold feet.
I was a survivor.
I stayed alive.
Because Shanar was determined to kill me.
Author Carla Thorne
About the Author Carla Thorne is the author of the YA Fantasy/Supernatural mystery series, Warrior Saints.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE BEST MISTAKE, the first book in the new adult contemporary sports romance series, Southern U O’Brien Brothers, by Cookie O’Gorman. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE BEST MISTAKE (Southern U O’Brien Brothers Series #1) by Cookie O’Gorman
Synopsis Honor Tierney just wants one night with the playboy.
One hot, steamy, meaningless hookup, and then she’ll happily go back to reading her favorite books, studying to be an accountant and writing for the campus-paper-nobody-reads. Too bad she ends up in the wrong bed, with the wrong brother…who gives her the hottest night of her life.
Archer O’Brien just wants to play ball.
Well that, and for his brothers to stop acting out, so he won’t have to worry 24/7. As the oldest O’Brien and team captain, it’s his duty to make sure they don’t drink too much, party too much, or get in too much trouble. But when she walks into his bedroom—mistaking him for his brother—life throws him a curveball.
She’s determined to guard her heart. He’s not giving up.
And when Honor gets assigned to cover the Wolves baseball team, it’s game on.
This new adult sports romance features one hot (and hilarious) case of mistaken identity and a sexy set of brothers guaranteed to make you swoon.
Sometimes, the best mistakes are worth making.
Excerpt #3 “Good,” he repeated and took a step toward me. I took one back, matching him step for step, until I felt my shoulders rest against cool metal. “You think I look good?”
I nodded. “You know you do.”
If I was being honest, Archer looked more than good in that suit. He was every woman’s dream personified. Or maybe that was just me.
“Now, I feel underdressed,” I said.
His hand came up to my cheek. “No, you look perfect.”
I raised my brows, trying to keep it light even though all I could think of were his fingers running along my skin. “You probably didn’t even notice what I’m wearing.”
Without looking away, Archer said, “Dark blue sweater, red t-shirt that says, ‘All I do is read, read, read, no matter what,’ jeans that fit you like a glove, red sneakers.”
My jaw dropped.
“I notice you, Honor.”
He nodded, his eyes dropping to my lips. “How could I not?”
If I wasn’t already melting, that turned me into a puddle, my heart stuttering behind my ribs. He could’ve asked me anything right then, and I think I would’ve said yes. Without any forethought, I leaned up onto my tiptoes and pressed my lips to his.
Like Archer had said: How could I not?
Author Cookie O’Gorman
About the Author Cookie O’Gorman writes YA & NA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her novels ADORKABLE, NINJA GIRL, The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder, and The Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad are out now! She is also the author of NA sports romance, The Best Mistake.
Welcome to the book blitz for GRINDED, the third book in the adult romantic suspense series, The Invincibles, by Heather Slade. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
GRINDED (The Invincibles Series #3) by Heather Slade
Synopsis When the odds are against them, they fight for each other.
First loves torn apart… With a Tuscan backdrop of romance and innocence, sixteen-year-olds Miles “Grinder” Stone and Pia Deltetto learn of love and loss. After a whirlwind romance, they return to their separate lives with a hope of reconnecting someday.
Broken and battered… Severely wounded in battle, Grinder refuses Pia’s sympathy and pity. However, when he realizes the true danger Pia is in, Grinder will do anything to save the only woman he’s ever loved. With everything on the line, she’s forced to trust himr with her estate, her life, and her heart. But has too much time passed to bring to shattered souls back together where they belong?
Excerpt #3 Four hours later, I raced out of customs at the Florence airport and into Pia’s waiting arms. My heart raced as I touched her warm, opened her lips with my tongue, and the rest of the world went silent. There were no more birds singing, no sounds of the traffic that surrounded us. Even the wind stilled as I focused solely on the way her body shuddered as I brushed soft kisses from her mouth, down her neck, to the smattering of freckles on her bare shoulder.
“Tell me there’s somewhere we can be alone.”
“Sì,” she said, leading me outside to where a car sat waiting. “Do you want to know where we’re going?”
I shook my head. “I don’t care.”
When the driver opened the back door and we got in, I pulled her into my arms and devoured her mouth like a starving man. We spent the next hour with our lips fused together in one long kiss.
The driver pulled up to what looked like a resort. I got out and waited for Pia to put her hand in mine. I pulled her close and kissed her again. “I can’t get enough of you.”
“Come,” she said as I grabbed our bags from the driver and followed her down a walkway to a villa that looked like a miniature of the one at Valentini.
Once inside, she put her hands on the hem of my shirt; I grabbed the back and pulled it over my head.
“Santa Madre di Dio.” She rested her hand on my bare torso, leaned up, and kissed me.
“Pia,” I breathed. “If you want me to stop…tell me now.”
She wound her fingers in my hair and pulled me closer. My blood throbbed, and my heart beat frantically in my chest. All at once, I felt like we were melting into each other, our two bodies dissolving into one.
She reached up and slid her dress off her shoulders. It floated to the wood floor, landing in a heap at our feet and leaving her naked but for her pale pink knickers.
“Touch me,” she demanded, bringing my hand to her breast. I couldn’t resist a taste. My mouth covered her nipple, and we both groaned. Her skin tasted like the sweetest honey; I wanted to lick her everywhere.
About the Author I write stories set in places I love with characters I’d be happy to call friends. The women in my books are self-confident, successful, and strong, with wills of their own, and hearts as big as the Colorado sky. And the men are sublimely sexy, seductive alphas who rise to the challenge of capturing the sweet soul of a woman whose heart they’ll hold in the palm of their hand forever.
I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur.
I grew up an East Coast girl, and then spent half my life on the West Coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home..
Nash Nation loves zeroes and ones, over-sized monitors and late office hours. He’s too busy taking over the world to make time for relationships—that is, until his new neighbor Willow O’Bryant barges into his life, and now Nash can’t shake the feeling that this isn’t the first time she’s interrupted his world.
Then, the dreams start. And in the dreams—memories.
Memories of a girl named Sookie who couldn’t count on love or friendship, never mind forever. Memories of a library and a boy called Isaac and secrets made in private that destroyed his world.
The memories seem real, but who do they belong to?
When Nash and Willow discover the truth, life as they know it unravels.
The bridge between this life and the next is shored up by blood and bone and memory. Sometimes, that bridge leads to the place we’ve always wanted to be.
NOTE: This is a completely revamped re-release version of this title with new characters and is a standalone with a HEA
Excerpt #2 She was winter. The cold, cool stretch of emptiness that you think will consume you. The frigid bite you think won’t ever leave your bones, the one you try to pretend isn’t there, but can’t keep out of your head.
She was fall and the scent of a fire, the crackle of heat, the coming of change you try to pretend won’t come, but does anyway, that you wait for the whole year, that you wish away when it finally comes.
She was summer and the scorching warmth of sun and sin, the slick feel of lotion and the spray of ocean water, the salt of that taste on your tongue and the cool, crisp relief that comes over you when you dip inside the bottomless water.
She was spring, the fresh sweet smell of jasmine and the honeysuckle temptation of light and love and beautiful rebirth that cannot be ignored. Willow was the phantom spark of all those things I loved and hated. The things that tested me. The things that healed, all wrapped up in that tempting silhouette, in the sweet surrender of her body pressed against mine and the whisper of a tease in every syllable that formed my name from her full, thick lips.
“Nash.” It was a song sweeter than Coltrane. Hurt worse, too, my name, the hidden tone of promises and pleasure I’d stopped telling myself I didn’t want.
Four seasons laid out before me. Willow’s wild hair fanned against my pillow and her waiting body—pale skin and a trail of freckles that crossed her chest and dipped with the curves along her stomach.
“Nash,” she said again, reaching for me when I came to my knees, looking down at her, wanting her with an ache nothing had ever worked up in me.
There were two small lines along her hips, lightning on her skin and the round bends of her breasts, the sweet arches along her thighs when I touched her there. That look, though, went deeper, settled closer than the scent of her skin or rise in my body when I watched her shimmy out of her clothes and crawl on my bed, waiting, ready for me to react.
Now I was and I had to breathe deep, separate the want someone else held in my dream and the urge to take what was mine and mine alone; what I wanted for myself because of the sensation only Willow moved in me.
“Take off your shirt,” she said and I did, working one shoulder at a time out of that cotton, discarding it because it kept me from her. She touched me, nails against the lines and letters over my body, her mouth, her tongue warm and soft on my neck, over my chest, traveling like a wanderer, searching, seeking.
We came together like colors, moving into a gradient of light, of motion that reminded me of the sea, waves and water, sand and shore. We were sweeter than those Coltrane chords, went deeper than each note.
“Will… I could never get my fill of you…” I told her, moving closer, lips and tongue on her flesh, in the dips of her body. The invitation open, ready as she pulled me close. I took another bite, moving her apart with my knee, holding her tight until there were small marks from my fingers against her pale skin and she shuddered, gripping, clawing at me like she couldn’t get close enough. “I’m… I’m so sorry about that day at my building…”
“I don’t… Nash… it doesn’t matter.” She pulled me closer, like she didn’t want the words between us keeping our lips apart. “Nash… please…” And that melody spurred me on, had me forgetting control and patience and all the swagger I thought made me smooth. I was nothing but feeling, touch, and taste, and desperate, desperate want with her under me, with me slipping inside, deep, sweet.
Author Eden Butler
About the Author Eden Butler is a writer of contemporary, fantasy and romantic suspense novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum.
When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, reads, and spends too much time in her garden perfecting her green thumb while waiting for the next New Orleans Saints Superbowl win.
She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.
Welcome to the book blitz for BENEATH THE SURFACE, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance by Abbi Cook. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis I was born and bred to be a killer. It’s all I’m supposed to be.
I take no prisoners. Until Lily. For her, I make an exception. But only for a week.
When I walk in, time starts ticking down to zero. Her father has seven days to save her.
Until then, she’s mine. Mine to have. Mine to take.
Mine to keep.
Excerpt #2 Stuffing my hand into her hair, I tighten my grip on the soft strands and tug her head back. She doesn’t fight me at all, reaching out to run her hands over my chest and down my ribs.
Her need comes off her in waves, and it’s nothing less than intoxicating. But it’s not enough for me. I want her to beg.
So I pull my mouth away and look down at her to see her eyelids flutter open and her beautiful brown eyes staring up at me. Filled with confusion, that slowly morphs into a look of hurt, like she can’t believe I wouldn’t want her.
“What’s wrong?” she asks, every word laced with the same emotion that now fills her eyes. “Why did you stop?”
I know what she’s thinking. I can see it in her face, hear it in the panic that clings to every word. She’s set all her hopes for living on being able to make me want her. Smiling down at her, I can’t help but laugh at how wrong she is.
She can offer me her very soul, and it won’t change a thing. If her father fails to pay back that money by the seventh day, I’ll do to her what I’ve done to everyone else marked for death.
What I did to Creighton just hours ago.
And not even the best fucking sex of my life can stop that from happening.
“Let me hear what you want, Lily.”
Pressing her lips tightly together, she seems unwilling or unable to voice what she wants me to do to her. That needs to change. Now.
With a sharp tug of her hair that makes her wince, I give her a taste of what will happen if she doesn’t obey my command. “I told you once you come into this room, no is not allowed. So I repeat, let me hear you say what you want, Lily.”
In a tiny voice, she whispers, “You.”
But her eyes tell the real truth, what she wants more than anything else in the world, and it’s not me. It’s to stay alive.
For a moment, I consider pushing her away. It could be amusing to watch her desperation unravel in front of me before I send her back to her room to fret for the next six days.
That’s the sadistic part of me, but it’s not the part that’s controlling me tonight. No, tonight need has gotten the better of rage, and I want to know how good it will feel to be balls deep inside Lily.
So I don’t push her away, and I take her answer, even though it’s a lie. It’s enough that I’m going to make her mine tonight. I don’t need the truth from her, too.
My mouth crushes hers in a kiss meant to show her what’s coming when I take her. And that’s what it will be. Taking. If she has any illusions about what I’m after, she needs to forget them right now.
I am who I am, and whether that’s a killer or a monster, I’m always one thing. Merciless.
Her hands clutch the back of my neck, surprising me with how much she returns my kiss. I expected her to recoil at its hardness because she’s so small and so defenseless, but here she is standing on her tiptoes to meet my need with her own, pressing her lips to mine with the same intensity before sliding her tongue into my mouth to tease me.
Backing away, I smile at her efforts. “Be careful, little girl. I’m not one of those boys you play with.”
Author Abbi Cook
About the Author Abbi Cook grew up wondering if she was different because she always wanted to know more about the villain than the hero in the stories she read. When she got older, she found there were others in the world like her and devoured their writing, loving every dark word. She’s written her own tales for years, but in 2019 she decided it was time to take the next step and publish them. She’s never looked back since that day.
Welcome to the book blitz for ADVANCED HEALING SPELLS, the third book in the young adult urban fantasy series, Ember Academy for Young Witches, by L.C. Mawson. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
ADVANCED HEALING SPELLS (Ember Academy for Young Witches Series #3) by L.C. Mawson
Synopsis Keeping my head down shouldn’t be too hard… Right?
Unhappy with how everything with the Amazons went down, the Slayers are now investigating Ember Academy.
But not me. Not as long as I keep my head down.
Which would have been a hell of a lot easier if students hadn’t started dropping unconscious.
No one knows how to wake them, but I have ways to find answers that they don’t
The question is if I risk it with the Slayers watching me so closely…
Especially when it would mean reaching out to the very criminal the Slayers are trying to find.
ADVANCEDHEALINGSPELLS is the third book in the Ember Academy for Young Witches YA Urban Fantasy Academy series. If you love kick-ass heroines, Sapphic slow-burn romances, and magical boarding schools, you’ll love this latest fast-paced series in L.C. Mawson’s Snowverse.
Excerpt #2 We approached to see Sarah waiting outside the building, and she smiled as she saw us, holding up a bag.
“What’s in there?” I asked as I got close.
“The final ingredients I need to wake up Aaron.”
“Yes, really. Now, come on. We shouldn’t leave him waiting any longer.”
I nodded before eagerly hurrying after Sarah and through the portal.
“We should give you some privacy for waking up Aaron,” Willow said once we were back through the portal. “Unless, of course, you want us to come with you.”
I hesitated for a moment before shaking my head. “No, it’s okay. I can do this alone.”
Willow nodded before leaning forward and giving me a light peck on the cheek.
My heart squeezed at the gesture and I wanted nothing more than to take my words back and have her at my side.
But no, it would be hard enough for Aaron to wake up anyway, he should have my undivided attention when I apologised for everything that had happened.
For my part in cursing him.
I followed Sarah to the infirmary and waited patiently as she set up the spell, which involved setting up various runes and lighting candles around the room in an odd, disjointed pattern.
It was strange, most spells liked symmetry, but this haphazard arrangement.
“You’re trying to stabilise the spell,” I said as I remembered the arrangement from Maria Brown’s book. “The spell is keeping him trapped because he’s the last component to it and it needs him to stay stable, so you’re stabilising it without him before undoing it.”
Sarah turned to me with a frown before sighing. “Of course, Maria was tutoring you, wasn’t she?” She shook her head. “I should have probably asked you for help earlier. You might have helped come to this break-through earlier. But yes, I need to stabilise the spell first, and then I should be able to shut it down without risking any harm to Aaron.
“Do you want to help me with the spell? The more power we use to stabilise the spell, the less likely it is to want to cling to Aaron. And then I’ll need that same power to undo it.”
I nodded as Sarah finished her work and then picked up a notebook and handed it to me.
“There, it’s that incantation.”
She pointed to the words, but I frowned, unable to read them.
“Oh, sorry. Doctor’s handwriting,” she said with a shrug before taking a pen and rewriting the incantation in print. “I don’t usually cast verbally, will you be fine to follow along anyway?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I don’t like casting verbally, either.”
“All right, then on the count of three, think of the incantation and that should tie us into the spell. Then we need to stabilise the missing strands.” She indicated across the room, drawing lines in the air to where other candles would have needed to be placed to make the set-up balanced. “I’ll place the remaining candles if you focus on powering the spell, okay?”
I nodded once more as I took my wand from my pocket and re-read the incantation over and over again, determined to get it right.
“One… two… three.”
On the count of three, I thought the words and immediately dropped the notebook as the magic in the room hit me like I was a lightning rod, desperately searching for the missing parts it needed to stabilise.
Sarah moved over to the missing places, lighting a candle in each spot.
With each flame, I pushed back against the spell with my own magic, gripping my wand tight as I coaxed the spell to the flame.
As I did so, the flame shot up into the air, fuelled by my magic.
The spell’s pull on me mellowed as it chased after the flame instead, settling into a more harmonious shape.
The more flames Sarah lit, the more it settled, until eventually, the spell left me entirely, happily flowing through the room without trying to draw on living hosts.
I gasped as the spell left me, gripping the edge of Mr Stiles’ bed as a wave of exhaustion almost knocked me off my feet.
“Hold on, Amelia,” Sarah said as she made her way back over to me. “This spell won’t let him go completely until we undo it.”
“And how do we do that?”
“If we extinguish the flames all at once, it should shut the spell down too quickly, robbing it of the power it needs to find a new host to draw on.”
“Right. I can do that.”
I didn’t have to think about it much, the exhaustion shutting down my ability to think straight and letting something else, something more primal, in.
I snapped my wand-less hand into a fist and a gust of air shot through the room, extinguishing every flame at once.
About the Author Some say she’s an ancient creature of nightmare that was unleashed from beneath the ocean, come to devour the souls of men. Others say that she’s a cosmic being from the beyond the stars that has taken corporeal form to learn our ways for some unknown end…
In truth, L.C. Mawson lives in a tower in the middle of a haunted forest, far from civilisation and is definitely (probably?) not a witch who curses those who trespass upon her land. And she definitely cannot turn into a dragon that flies over cities in the dead of night and whose cries are often mistaken for an approaching storm. Where did you hear that? That’s absurd…
The only contact she has with humanity is publishing a book once a month, which is definitely just for fun and not part of an ancient contract with a trickster god..
Welcome to the book blitz for CAPTURING THE BRIDE, the first book in the adult historical romance series,The Kidnap Club, by USA Today bestselling author, Samantha Holt. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CAPTURING THE BRIDE (The Kidnap Club Series #1) by Samantha Holt
Synopsis If one is very, extremely desperate, then one may call on the services of a clandestine group of men.
The Kidnap Club—known to few—specialize in helping women out of difficult situations.
Arranged marriages to awful men, for example.
Miss Grace Beaumont is at her mercy of her uncle who is determined she marry the depraved Mr. Worthington. Desperate times call for…well, the Kidnap Club.
It seems insane. Perhaps it is. But anything is better than being married to that man.
Lord Nash Fitzroy has looked after many a kidnapee over the past few years, but none make him want to break the cardinal rules as much as Grace. Her determined spirit, quick wit, and, let’s be honest, her pretty looks have him struggling to remember his role in this.
Protector, defender, and occasional shoulder to cry on.
His way with women and the almost derelict offerings of his ancestral home as a hideaway make him a perfect pretend kidnapper. He doesn’t much mind the money involved either, seeing as his father cut him off.
Which means, he cannot afford to get this wrong. No matter how tempted he is to show Grace that Worthington is not a prime example of how a man should be and burn the damned rule book.
Excerpt #2 NASH SHOULD HAVE declined. Said no. Told her to scram. Nein. No. Nyet.
It would have been easy enough. But, no, he had to ask her to help and put himself in such a position that he was struggling hard to control his body.
He peered at the top of her head. There was nothing exciting about the top of a head, he told himself. In fact, Grace went out of her way to make the top of her head exceedingly dull. He never once saw her with an elaborate hairstyle or some curls gracefully touching her skin. Her dark, glossy hair remained tied tightly in a no-fuss sort of a knot and a parting down the center, revealing a pale line of scalp.
Exceedingly dull really.
However, being so close to her was anything but dull and no matter how much he considered how unexciting her hair was, his body would not listen.
Drawing in a long breath, he gripped the vine in his gloved hands. He’d had some thoughts that doing a little physical labor might dampen his needs but even after an hour of ripping and pulling at weeds, his desire would not be abated.
And there was no denying it now. Hell, he’d almost kissed her the other night. She’d been ready for it too, eyes closed, lips pursed. It would have been so damned easy to take what he wanted.
“Hold it firmly,” he ordered, groaning inwardly at the image that created. “And give it a little tug at first.”
Good Lord, what the devil was wrong with him?
He closed his mouth and they pulled on the vine together. The stubborn plant refused to give way, so he let go and used his knife to cut away some of the smaller offshoots that clung stubbornly to the window.
“This is harder than I thought,” she commented.
He stared at her.
Nash shook his head and took up his position behind her again. The woman had no idea what she was doing to him. First, he’d nearly broken his promise to the others that he would never, ever touch any of the women in his protection, and now he had taken up manual labor in some odd bid to impress her. The fact was, her words still grated—the idea that he did nothing aside from sit around and play the country gent.
Of course, her words still grated because they were somewhat true. He did whatever he could for these women and was not unproud of helping them but his role as protector had never meant doing much. He’d certainly never had to worry about awful uncles or violent fiancés potentially chasing them down.
He could not help but wonder if, perhaps, his father had been right too. He hadn’t done much with his life and would have continued to remain aimless had they not fallen out.
Author Samantha Holt
About the Author USA Today Bestselling author Samantha Holt lives in a small village in England with her twin girls and a dachshund called Duke. If you’re not sure where to start why not try…
▶ Amelia and the Viscount (Bluestocking Brides #1) for a fun, slightly hot shorter length read. Meet the Chadwick sisters and follow their adventures in each of their standalone stories.
▶ You’re the Rogue That I Want (Rogues of Redmere #1) is a longer read with heat, witty dialogue, a feisty heroine and adventure. All books in the series are standalone.
▶ Sinful Confessions is the first in the Cynfell Brothers Series. These are all novella length and standalone–ideal for a quick dip into the world of the sexy Cynfell brothers.
▶ Wake Me With a Kiss is a sweet, fairytale romance. Twists on Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are also available if you love a clean, fun read.
▶ To Steal a Highlander’s Heart is a full length dive into the world of sexy highlanders. For those who love braw Scots, some steamy scenes, and medieval romance, this series is a perfect escape.
Welcome to the book blitz for VOICES & VISIONS, the first book in the adult paranormal romantic suspense series, Touched, by Lashell Collins. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
VOICES and VISIONS (Touched Series #1) by Lashell Collins
Synopsis A psychic so powerful his abilities come at a cost. A woman so special she alone has the power to touch him.
Detective Isaac Taylor is a broken man. Isolated by his strange abilities and what others perceive as weird behavior, he keeps his head down and excels at his job. But he hears the whispers of his colleagues and family members, and he feels like a freak among them. Then one wrong number phone call changes everything.
Sidney Fairchild is no stranger to danger. She’s a woman on the run, in hiding and existing below the radar. Despite her efforts to stay invisible, she witnesses a crime she knows could get her killed. Then she answers a wrong number phone call that changes her life.
Bound by their undeniable connection, Isaac and Sidney forge a bond stronger than anything either has ever known. But will his psychic abilities save her or lead to their mutual destruction?
Excerpt #2 The further she drove the worse it got.
Rough-looking run down houses, many of them boarded up and abandoned. A few war-wary souls wearing expressions of despair walked the mean streets.
It was the kind of area that could get a person killed.
Hopelessly lost, Sidney knew she was in the wrong part of town with one glance out the windows at her surroundings. She drove on, dread hardening her stomach like quick-drying concrete.
She had to find a place to turn around and get back on the right road, and fast. The last remnants of daylight were fading and she didn’t want to be caught in this strange, scary neighborhood after dark.
She took the next right, her gaze darting all around.
Pop, pop, pop … pop!
The sound shot through the air.
Sidney jumped and slammed on the breaks. Her body lurched forward and crashed into the seatbelt. Through her windshield, she watched the kneeling man fall over dead in the street. The two guys with guns — perfectly illuminated by her headlights — looked up and stared at her.
Her heart stopped.
Everything around her seemed to freeze.
A perfect moment suspended in time.
One of the men raised his gun in her direction. Her heart exploded into a crazy fast uneven rhythm, hammering at her rib cage like it wanted out.
“Shit! Sidney, get out of here. Get the fuck out of here, now!”
She muttered the panicked words out loud, her brain suddenly remembering how to work again. Throwing the car into reverse, she stomped on the gas, not even stopping to check if there was anyone behind her.
Gunfire slapped her ears.
Instinctively, she ducked her head with the ping of ricocheting bullets.
She jerked the wheel, narrowly missing a parked car, and entered the intersection going the wrong way. She yanked on the gear shift and threw the car into drive. Then she floored it, tires squealing as she sped back down the street she had come.
“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!”
She sped through the streets like a formula one racer, zigging and zagging and weaving and wending.
“Wrong place! Wronger time, Sid. Way to go!”
She glanced up into her rearview mirror and her heart sank at the sight of a large black SUV racing after her.
“No! God, please no!”
She prayed out loud, begging for God to protect her.
She had to go faster.
Fear rose up like a monster and gave chase.
She stepped on the gas with all her might and fought to keep the car on the road. The unshed tears stung her eyes, but she couldn’t afford to fall apart right now. She weaved the car in and out of traffic, not giving a thought to other drivers or the police.
Cars honked. People gestured.
She didn’t care that they were flipping her off and yelling obscenities. Staying alive was her only concern.
She took an immediate right, hoping to put more distance between her and the sinister-looking SUV. The sign for I-90 West appeared like a vision.
“Yes. Thank you! Come on, Sid. You can do this.”
She swerved left, narrowly missing a car in the other turn lane. Then she shot across the road, onto the entrance ramp.
When she finally found her way back onto I-90, she stepped on the gas pedal with everything she had. Checking her mirrors every few seconds to look for the evil SUV, she fled downtown Cleveland under the cloak of night and headed back to Rocky River as the sky grew ever darker.
This is what she got for venturing into the mean, unfamiliar city.
Okay, so it wasn’t LA or New York, but it was a city. And she wasn’t exactly sure what she had witnessed back there, but she knew enough to know that she shouldn’t have seen it.
Enough to know she was now in danger.
She’d witnessed a murder, and the men responsible for it had looked dead in her face. That put her in very deep shit and she knew it. But she had to hold it together for a little while longer. She had to get away, and she had to get away clean.
Terror gripped her heart like a pit bull’s jaws clamping tight around torn flesh. She zoomed over the freeway with a lump in her throat.
She hadn’t seen the SUV in several minutes, but that didn’t mean they weren’t still back there. Growing up in a neighborhood ten times worse than the one she was currently fleeing had taught her a few things. She wasn’t stupid. She knew she had to make sure she truly lost the SUV before she went back home. She didn’t relish the idea of leading the killers directly to her front door.
For nearly a solid hour, she drove around aimlessly, taking back road after back road. At one point, she even pulled into a brightly-lit, busy fast food parking lot and sat there for several minutes just watching her surroundings. Watching for any SUVs that might be lurking.
That’s when she realized the wetness of her seat.
“Jesus, Sidney,” she whispered.
She might’ve laughed at the situation if she wasn’t so petrified.
When she was fairly certain no one was following her anymore she circled back, finally picking up State Route 6, and slipped into Rocky River to her own neighborhood. Turning off of Center Ridge Road, she made her way home, still scanning her surroundings. She pulled her car into the garage — something she didn’t normally do.
The automatic garage door came down behind her and she sat clutching the steering wheel for a long time.
“Stop shaking, Sid.” Her own voice sounded hollow and far away. “Take a deep breath and stop shaking.”
She couldn’t move.
The wet panties clung to her hidden places and the urine-soaked denim felt nasty against her skin, but her butt seemed surgically attached to the driver’s seat and she couldn’t make herself move.
“It’s all good, Sid. You lost the SUV. No one followed you home. No one followed you. You’ve got this.”
Author Lashell Collins
About the Author Lashell Collins is an American author of romantic suspense, paranormal romance and rockstar romance. She walks to the beat of her own drum, but that’s okay ’cause she’s got a pretty good sense of rhythm. Basically, she’s a geeky, quirky, laid-back, rocker-loving kinda girl who’s married to a retired cop, motorcycle-riding, bad-boy alpha all her own, and she likes to write about sexy police officers, werewolves and rockstars, or some inventive combination of the three!
When she’s not busy tapping away on her laptop and living vicariously through her characters, she can usually be found watching Grimm, rocking out to Slash, stuffing her face full of Chinese food, or riding on the back of her husband’s Harley-Davidson. Between her book characters and the ones she knows in real life, her plate stays pretty full. But she loves to hear from readers, so give her a shout sometime!.
Welcome to the book blitz for SCARS & SINS, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, Brooklyn Brothers, by Melanie Munton. See below for the cover, information on the book, preorder inks, an exclusive teaser, and details on her giveaway.
SCARS AND SINS (Brooklyn Brothers Series #2) by Melanie Munton
Synopsis We are the Rossetti’s. The exiled “sixth” family of the New York mafia. We’re the good guys. People don’t fear us…much. They respect us. The five of us? We’re the Brooklyn Brothers. And we protect what’s ours.
You know when you have a little sister and she has that one friend that always follows you around like a puppy? For me, that was Roxanna “Roxy” D’Angelo. That was years ago, back when our fathers didn’t hate each other. Then they became enemies and she went off to boarding school in Connecticut.
Now, she’s back…and looking nothing like the shy girl I remember.
Cavorting with anyone from the five families is strictly forbidden to someone like me. So, I can’t figure out why I keep finding myself in situations with Roxy that could bring the force of the entire mafia syndicate down on our heads. Even if those situations are the wildest, most intoxicating experiences of my life.
But with the Sicilians in town and out for blood, times have never been more dangerous. If they find out about our relationship, they won’t hesitate to remove both of us from the equation so they can restore order.
We’re not Romeo and Juliet. They both died. And I refuse to let anything happen to Roxy. I have to protect her. From my family. From hers.
I hope she won’t hate me for what I have to do.
Because it might just kill her before any bullet can.
Excerpt #2 Roxy
His eyes softened. “She’s good, other than being annoyed all the time. She’ll be a senior at NYU. Pre-law and she hates it.”
She and I had been best friends for our entire childhoods. Inseparable up until one disastrous night five years ago. That was why I’d been around Ace so much over the years. Any time she and I had hung out, I’d always begged to come over to her place. My house had never held much appeal because after all, Ace wasn’t in it. And knowing Gia as well as I did—or used to—she would have definitely hated going pre-law.
God, I missed her.
“I’m sorry to hear that. Um,”—I bit my lower lip— “can you tell her I said hi?”
His expression turned to that of an adoring older brother. “Of course.”
And that was why my crush had never gone further than a crush.
I was just another little sister to him.
Gia and I were the same age, three years younger than Ace. He had basically lumped me into the same category as her years ago: annoying younger sister. Trailing after him, hanging onto his every word, I had made a giant fool of myself. Even worse, I knew his four older brothers had teased him to no end about it. If Ace had ever been protective of me, it was always in an angry, brotherly way, not in a jealous, possessive type of way. Which was what I’d always secretly longed for.
Because I’d never—not once—thought of him as my older brother.
Not for one second.
“Maybe you guys could hang out sometime,” he added. “She’d love to see you.”
My heart ached.
There had been a gaping hole there ever since I lost her years ago to the rising tension between our families. Our fathers had once been good friends, then they had a falling out, and any connection between the D’Angelos and the Rossettis had been obliterated in an instant.
“I think you and I both know that’s not possible.” My voice was resigned. “Nothing has changed.”
To my astonishment, his eyes flared as they slowly raked down my body.
Okay, I’m definitely not imagining that heat.
Was he really looking at me like that? Like he did in my pathetic, hopeless dreams? But where was it coming from?
“Oh, I don’t know,” he rasped, his gaze once again landing on my mouth. “I’d say some things have definitely changed.”
Whaaaaaaaat actually is happening here?
His words knocked the air right out of my lungs.
The level of bafflement on my face was surely making me look like an idiot, but nothing could have been done about it.
He took a meaningful step toward me. “Have you been a bad girl, Roxy?”
I’d been staring at his mouth, the way the corner of it twitched with a hint of a grin, but my eyes flew up to his at those words.
Because they dripped with innuendo.
Since when did Ace speak to me with innuendo? Did he suddenly forget who he was talking to?
Embarrassingly, I felt my cheeks heat. He probably thought I was an inexperienced, naïve child at seeing how easily I could still blush.
But I was only one of those things, thank you very much.
My voice unintentionally came out as a whisper. “Excuse me?”
His eyes briefly flitted to the confessional booth. Then that grin came back. “What kind of sins does a girl like you need to confess?”
There was one thing about Ace that had always stood out for me above so many others.
That inquisitive expression of his I mentioned earlier was one that could swiftly turn very intense. Particularly when he was looking at a girl he was interested in. His eyes would go molten, his jaw would harden, his lips would tighten, and when his chin dipped almost imperceptibly lower, he really meant business. And by business, I meant he was turned on. It was like his signature look that he always gave pretty girls.
For years, I’d desperately hoped Ace would one day look at me like that.
That I would make his jaw clench, make his mouth firm. That I could cause the kind of visceral reaction in him that made his hands fist with the uncontrollable urge to grab me and haul me to him. I wanted his need to kiss me to light a fire in him so hot he’d do anything to relieve the burn.
I’d seen him look at so many other girls just like that, and it had broken my heart each and every time. I’d fallen asleep countless nights, praying that I would eventually be the recipient of his heated inspection.
And for the first time in my life…Ace was looking at me.
Author Melanie Munton
About the Author Traveler. Reader. Beach-goer. St. Louis Cardinals fan. Pasta-obsessed. North Carolina resident. Sarcastic. Bit of a nerd.
Author of the Cruz Brothers, Possession and Politics, and Timid Souls series, Melanie loves all things romance, comedies and suspense in particular because it’s boring to only stick to one sub-genre! From light-hearted comedies to sexy thrillers, she likes to mix it up, but loves her some strong alpha males and sassy heroines.
Go visit Melanie’s website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!
Welcome to the book blitz for REVEREND OF SILENCE, a stand-alone young adult, coming-of-age historical romance, byPamela Sparkman. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis A coming of age story about faith, love, and overcoming society’s prejudices during the American Antebellum period.
In 1810, Lucy Hallison suffered from a severe illness at the age of three, and later recovered, a deaf-mute. Unable to relate to the world in which she lives, she’s often ignored and sometimes treated with cruelty. Until a boy, Samuel Burke, steps into her life at the tender age of seven, coloring her world and showing her what it means to be seen, to not be invisible, to be understood.
The two become inseparable childhood friends, and as they grow and mature, there is the promise and hope of something more that also grows between them. But the hope of something more is put on hold so she can attend The American Asylum at Hartford for the Deaf and Dumb, the first of its kind, requiring her to leave the only home she’s ever known and the only boy she’s ever loved.
But while she is away, tragedy strikes, and Samuel is now the one unable to relate to the world in which he lives, unable to find his own voice, and withdrawing from everyone and everything he’s ever known.
When Lucy returns home from school, she has one goal in mind—to put color back into his world the way he had once put color into hers.
Because Samuel Burke had been her voice when she had needed him most.
Now, she is determined to be his.
Note: Inspired by real people and true historical accounts.
Excerpt #2 “He ordered me out?”
Papa Burke removed his spectacles, then rubbed a hand down his face. He looked like he had aged ten years in the last ten days. He pulled out a chair at the kitchen table and gestured for me to sit across from him as he put his spectacles back on.
I sat and waited for him to answer my question, the one I hadn’t asked him. Why? Why had Sam ordered me from his room? My hand came to rest over my heart. It ached from his rejection.
Days. I had spent days at his bedside, waiting for him to wake up, hoping that he would, caring not only for him but for his parents every second of those days. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think he would toss me out the moment he did. If he had kicked me in the teeth, I don’t think it would have hurt this badly. It took everything in me not to cry right here at this table.
Papa Burke leaned forward, his eyes searching mine. “I’m sorry,” he signed. “You didn’t deserve that.”
My eyes burned. I knew that. I wanted him to tell me something I didn’t know. I leaned forward as well and asked, “Why was I tossed out?”
He tapped his fingers on the table, a silent beat I couldn’t hear. He looked like a man trying to gather thoughts to put into words. I waited, watching his fingers as they moved up, down, up, down. Until his fingers went still. Then they formed the words, “Sam doesn’t want you to see him like this. He feels weak.”
I frowned, signing my response. “I don’t fault him for being weak. He’s injured!” I stood, feeling agitated. “He’s had a fever! He almost died! I know he’s weak!”
Papa Burke also stood and came to stand before me. “Not that kind of weak.”
I blinked, trying to understand his meaning.
“He doesn’t feel like a man.” Papa Burke eyed me pointedly. “He has no pride. He doesn’t want you to see him like that,” he emphasized, pointing above our heads to the second floor.
I reclaimed my seat and shut my eyes. Stupid, stupid man. Yet, at the same time, my heart broke all over again. For Sam. I knew from watching my father how hard men could be on themselves. I’d just never thought Sam would.
Papa Burke put his hand on my shoulder. I glanced up.
“Go home, Lucy.”
My breath caught. That was the first time I’d been issued that command. Everyone was tossing me out? No one needed me anymore? Noah had left without saying goodbye, and now the Burkes were telling me to leave?
“I don’t want to go home,” I signed with a trembling hand.
Papa Burke’s face was sad. He lifted me up to stand. His hug was sympathetic. He released me and said, “Then go back to school. Sam needs some time.”
My nose tingled. My jaw ached. My eyes stung. My chest felt like it was being cut from the inside. Sam needed time. He just didn’t need me. Message received.
I glanced around the room, taking in all the details and all the memories. I packed them all away, but I didn’t know where to place them. My heart felt too fragile. My mind too burdened.
So I left them right where they were and walked out the door.
Author Pamela Sparkman
About the Author Pamela Sparkman grew up in Alabama. She became an avid reader at a young age. The written word has always fascinated her and she wrote her first short story while still in elementary school. Inspiration for her stories always begins with a song. She believes music is the pulse of life and books are the heart of it.
When she isn’t writing, however, she’s spending time with her family and taking one day at a time.