Trailer Reveal – INKED MEMORIES (Montgomery Ink) by Carrie Ann Ryan

INKED MEMORIES Trainer Reveal

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Carrie Ann Ryan is revealing the trailer to INKED MEMORIES, the eighth book in her adult contemporary romance series, Montgomery Ink, releasing October 31, 2017. See below for information the book, pre-order links, and an exclusive first look at the trailer.

INKED MEMORIES (Montgomery Ink #8) by Carrie Ann Ryan

INKED MEMORIES (Montgomery Ink #8) by Carrie Ann Ryan

About the Book
Title: INKED MEMORIES
Series: Montgomery Ink #8
Author: Carrie Ann Ryan
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
The Montgomery Ink series by NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continues when the final Denver Montgomery sibling refuses to fall for his brother’s former flame—the company’s new plumber.

Wes Montgomery watched his entire family fall in love, and now finds himself ready to settle down. Except the one person he seems to find chemistry with is not only his twin’s ex, she also works for Montgomery Inc. But when the two find themselves in one compromising situation after another, Wes realizes he’s having second thoughts about the dynamic woman who’s burst her way into his life. Sure she sets off his temper, but she also makes him hot in every other way possible.

Jillian Reid never loved her best friend like everyone thought she should, so she pushed him away so he could have his future. Now, despite fighting it, she finds herself attracted to the one man she shouldn’t. When her father’s health takes a turn for the worse, and a danger no one saw coming show its face, she’s forced to turn to Wes for help. The two of them have fought off their attraction long enough, and each cave to the desire. But this enemies-to-lovers tale might have an ending no one ever dreamed of.

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Trailer

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Who is your Montgomery Ink hero? Find out here! http://bzfd.it/2qpxptV

Which Montgomery Ink heroine are you most like? Find out here! http://bzfd.it/2qwWazw

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Author Carrie Ann Ryan

Author Carrie Ann Ryan

About the Author
Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

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Where to Find Carrie Ann Ryan
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Twitter
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Sales Blitz – FREE! – BRUTAL OBSESSION (Safeguard) by Kennedy Layne

BRUTAL OBSESSION Sale Blitz

Welcome to the sale blitz for BRUTAL OBSESSION, the first book in the adult mystery/romantic suspense series, Safeguard, by USA Today bestselling author, Kennedy Layne. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBook for FREE!. See below for all the details.

BRUTAL OBSESSION (Safeguard #1) by Kennedy Layne

BRUTAL OBSESSION (Safeguard #1) by Kennedy Layne

About the Book
Title: BRUTAL OBSESSION
Series: Safeguard #1
Author: Kennedy Layne
Publisher: EverAfter Romance
Release Date: July 26, 2916
Genre:
 Adult Mystery/Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
From USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne comes a thrilling new military romantic suspense series that will leave you on the edge of your seat… 

Keane Sanderson never thought he’d survive to see a day past his latest deployment with the United States Marines in Iraq.  That was six years ago and he’s finally ready to ease off the accelerator.  A unique opportunity to work for a top-shelf security and investigations firm in Florida is right up his alley.

Ashlyn Ellis had everything she’d ever wanted—a high-profile career as a federal prosecutor, an upscale apartment in the city, and a beach house for when she needed to decompress from all the stress that accompanied the job.  All three are threatened when she realizes someone has been following her every move for a very long time.

When Ashlyn comprehends the lengths her pursuer is willing to take things, she calls in a favor.  She never expected her plea for assistance to materialize in the form of Keane Sanderson—the one man who had every reason to revel in her misfortune.  She’s finally given the chance to rekindle the flames of desire she never should have extinguished, just in time for it all to be taken away when the stalker takes his obsession a step too far.

Series Description: Safeguard Security & Investigations (SSI) is owned and operated by Townes Calvert, a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant who returned home to the States a bit more damaged than he’d care to admit. Not that anyone could tell outside of a very select group of former active duty buddies. It had taken Townes quite a while to acclimate to civilian life and he’d kept himself busy in the interim working in treacherous situations with even more dangerous friends. The final result is a close-knit unit of highly trained former military men who have the experience to protect the innocent, investigate crimes on the gritty edge, and aid local law enforcement when justice has taken a back seat to political correctness. Follow along as Kennedy Layne conveys each of their gripping stories as they work together on investigations that lead them down perilous paths of passion, intrigue, and suspense…

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Trailer

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Author Kennedy Layne

Author Kennedy Layne

About the Author
Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com.

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Where to find Kennedy Layne
Goodreads Website | Newsletter | Facebook Twitter | Instagram
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Teaser Reveal – THE OUTPOST (Jamison Valley) by Devney Perry

THE OUTPOST Teaser Reveal

Author Devney Perry is revealing a teaser from her upcoming THE OUTPOST, the fourth book in her adult contemporary romance series, Jamison Valley, releasing November 7, 2017. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, and the exclusive teaser.

THE OUTPOST (Jamison Valley #4) by Devney Perry

THE OUTPOST (Jamison Valley #4) by Devney Perry

About the Book
Title: THE OUTPOST
Series: Jamison Valley #4
Author: Devney Perry
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Genre:
Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
Trapped in his tiny mountain cabin, she didn’t expect to fall for his big heart.

Exposing a prominent criminal family with an investigative news report didn’t exactly work out the way Sabrina had hoped. Instead of basking in the glory of her article’s success, she’s on the run from a powerful man who wants her dead. To stay safe, she’s forced to trade one bad situation for another. Stuck in the Montana wilderness, she’s secluded from anything resembling civilization or the modern-day world. The only good thing about her situation is the gorgeous mountain man assigned to protect her. Too bad he isn’t the slightest bit interested in a city girl like her.

Beau likes his life quiet and simple. Give him a peaceful day hiking in the woods with his dog, and he’s a happy man. He has no use for large crowds, noisy cities or dramatic women. So when a hotshot reporter rolls into town, dragging her big-time problems with her, he should have run for the hills. Instead, he volunteered to keep her safe. Bringing her into his world won’t be easy, but if he can convince her that Montana isn’t as terrifying as she believes, they might just be the perfect match.

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THE OUTPOST Teaser

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Trailer

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Don’t miss the rest of the Jamison Valley series

Book 1: THE COPPERSMITH FARMHOUSE
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Book 2: THE CLOVER CHAPEL
Goodreads
| Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Book 3 – THE LUCKY HEART
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Author Devney Perry

Author Devney Perry

About the Author
Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.

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Where to Find Devney Perry
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – ARABELLA PARK (Season 1) by Meiling

ARABELLA PARK Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for ARABELLA PARK, the first season in the young adult mystery series, Arabella Park, by author Evan Tyler writing as Meiling. See below for information the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

ARABELLA PARK (Season 1) by Meiling

ARABELLA PARK (Season 1) by Meiling

About the Book
Title: ARABELLA PARK
Series: Arabella Park Season 1
Author: Meiling
Release Date: October 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo

Synopsis
Everyone knows that losing friends is a natural part of the high school experience. It’s all a game of musical chairs, really. Yet, what happens when a friend doesn’t intentionally “go ghost” but is abruptly taken away?

Kameron, Grayson, Mikey, Yasmin, and Jenna have been thick as thieves from childhood. Rightfully so—they make up the American minority in the German twin city of Arabella Park. When one of the five suddenly turns up missing, the remaining friends must find a way to bring her back while keeping up the facade of leading ordinary small-town lives.

As they search for their missing friend, they discover things about themselves and one another that will catapult them into an explosive climax and the ultimate revelation of who done it.

A multi-faceted mystery told from the alternating points of view of five friends, Arabella Park brings to life what it means to endure the most frightful, profound time of one’s life—the teenage years—while being stretched to the limits of what it means to be an adult, even a hero.

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ARABELLA PARK Teaser 1

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Excerpt #2
I thought about it the whole ride to school—I really could be a priest, given the right criteria were in place. I mean, I don’t mind listening to people’s problems and I’m sure I’d dig being in front of a crowd doing the priestly Mass stuff wearing one of those pimped-out robes. I could do all the priestly duties, given that I’d get a certain time allowance to play soccer on the side and if I could still scribe some verses, maybe perform them at some church gatherings or something. Oh, and last but not least, I couldn’t have eyes. Because the eyes—I mean, the cravings of these eyes of mine—would get me off track every time.

I’m not to be blamed for this. It’s not really my fault that I have a well-trained eye for hotness.

As I make my way through Senior Hall this morning, I blame the hotness of the girl in front of me for this magnetism that keeps me at her heels. If she weren’t so pretty, even from behind—if her waist wasn’t pinched in just so, if her hips weren’t like a hypnosis clock when they moved from side to side—I’d be alright. But as it is, she’s the flame, and I’m the moth. My being drawn to her is just a principle of nature, a law of physics. Trust me, physics is my area of expertise.

“Hey, I thought you had better taste,” I say to London Griffin, referencing the fact that she is walking beside Robert Schwartz, who is carrying her books for her. “I guess we’re all susceptible to acts of desperation at one time or another.”

She turns around to face me, shifting her weight to one side. “Where’s Mikey?”

“Why don’t you text him and find out.”

“Where is he?” She places her hands on her hips, while Schwartz stands beside her all dumb-looking as usual.

“Mikey had an emergency,” I say. “He won’t be at school today.”

“Well, then you must have my phone, you little cretin. Give it to me.”

“Cretin? Dude, even your insults are insult-able. ” I tag on a sly grin. “I mean, insult-able in an adorable kind of way. What makes you think I have your phone?”

“Because Mikey isn’t the kind of guy who would let me go days without my phone. I’m sure he gave it to you to give me.”

“How do you know what type of guy Mikey really is?”

“I just figure he’s your polar opposite, which would make him, at the very least, passable for human.”

“Ah, yeah, well, I guess that’s something to strive for in the future. Anyway, St. Michael your perfect archangel tried to give you back your phone yesterday, but you weren’t here to get it. So, that begs the question, where you were yesterday?”

“None of your business.”

Schwartz steps forward, using the two inches he has over me as intimidation. Too bad I’m not intimidated by anybody. Well, any guy, at least.

“I’ve got this,” London says to him, sliding her books from his hands. “I’ll see you in class.”

He gives me these growling eyes before turning his hulky back to me and walking off.

I begin walking in the opposite direction, toward Physics. I pull London’s phone from my pocket and hold it up to draw her on.

She scurries behind me. “Give me my phone, Blondie.”

I continue walking, a step ahead of her. I tuck the phone back into my pocket. “Why should I, Ballerina? You got my sister suspended. You’re officially my enemy now.”

“Your sister got herself suspended. And did you just call me ballerina, Blondie? You looked in my phone, didn’t you?” She fumes, stuttering for an epithet worthy of my audacity. “You, you, you—”

“Villainous pig? Douchebagette? Butt Munch? Penis breath?”

“Thief. You pathetic thief.”

Thief?”

“You accessed information in my phone that wasn’t yours to access. You’re a thief.”

“Thief—now that’s one harsh insult, little lady. You think because I broke the code to your phone, that I don’t have a heart or something? Well, you’re right. But you still owe me some civility, especially since I’m the current guardian of your phone.”

She takes a deep breath, her chest inflating dramatically. “What do I have to do to get it back?”

“Just say you’ll go to the Halloween dance with me. That’s it.”

“Okay, I’ll go to the Halloween dance with you.”

“You can’t just say it. You have to mean it. Otherwise, I’ll be forced to think of some even more annoying way to strike your fancy. It could get a lot worse than this, baby girl.”

“Don’t call me baby girl, Blondie.”

“Don’t call me Blondie, baby girl.”

“Whatever, Grayson. I’ll go to the Halloween dance with you. I’m not lying. Now, give me the phone.”

“Perfect. It’s in two weeks, so you’ll have plenty of time to find a perfect costume.”

Phone.

I tap my pocket. “You want it, come and get it.”

She first looks me in the eyes to see if I’m serious. In response, I lean back coolly against the wall. Straight-faced, she slides her hand into my pocket and pulls the phone out slowly, so slowly that it becomes like an artful striptease. I know for certain she’s hoping to elicit a rise from me, the kind of rise that will force me to walk into class with my physics books in front of my slacks. Despite my weak knees, I am of sound mind enough to hook my arm around her waist before she can bounce away. Standing chest to breast, I bring my lips to her ear.

“Good job, baby girl.”

I punctuate the statement with a light kiss to her earlobe and turn into Physics right as Headmaster Schumer is approaching, likely intending to break up our miniature tryst.

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ARABELLA PARK Teaser 2

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Author Meiling

Author Meiling

About the Author
I’ve lived the most ordinary life ever. Thus, I write for my own entertainment and hopefully, one day, the entertainment of millions of others. I’m a guitarist/singer/songwriter and above all, a hard worker. (At least, I’d like to think so.) Not sure what other clever thing I could say, so [insert clever line right here.] 🙂

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Where to Find Meiling
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS (The Angel Knights) by Mary Ting

THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS, the first book in the young adult fantasy series, The Angel Knights, by Mary Ting. See below for information the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS (The Angel Knights #1) by Mary Ting

THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS (The Angel Knights #1) by Mary Ting

About the Book – FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME
Title: THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS
Series: The Angel Knights #1
Author: Mary Ting
Release Date: March 19, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside. In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him.

There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen.

HIGHLY recommend to read prequel first–The Angel Knights

SOME BOOKS AREN’T MEANT TO BE OPENED

***City of Bones meets The Da Vinci Code. Urban fantasy lover’s dream! Demons, vampires, angels, witches, and fallen angels all set to the back drop of high school in Hawaii, and astral travel to the past to Knights Templar era.

*** SILVER AWARD WINNER 2016–YA FANTASY–READERS’ FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD***

A page turning mystery with a supernatural twist that entertains to the last page! ~InD’tale Magazine

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THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS Teaser 1

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Excerpt
Eli willed his sword away. It disappeared behind his back, just the way I would have done it. “You know nothing. Nothing about me is human. I won’t be a part of something that could kill any one of you.”

“How could it kill us if—?” Then I had a thought, recalling the first time I’d seen him in the cafeteria. I had no evidence but it was worth the shot. “You can astral travel, can’t you? You’ve done it before, when you first saw me in the cafeteria. You can travel in the present too. That’s why you took off.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you even know what that is?” His jaw clenched.

I knew he was lying. “Out-of-body experience.” I followed behind him when he started walking away.

“You have no idea of the consequences when you travel. Astral travel.”

“Then let it be my consequence.”

Eli whipped around. His face was just a breath away from mine. “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Then show me.”

Eli pierced his eyes into mine. His heart drummed a mile a minute. “You want to feel pain, Lucia? You want to know what happens to people when they astral travel?”

“I-I—” I didn’t know what to say. I certainly didn’t expect him to say the things he did.

Eli extended his arm to me. “Take my hand.”  

“No.”

“Take my hand, Lucia.” His tone was stern.

I shook my head.

“Last warning.”

“Last warning for—ELI.” I screamed. My stomach dropped, along with my body. Eli’s arms embraced me as we plunged through multiple layers of clouds with my back facing down. Hair whipped my face and the force of gravity made me dizzy.

“You didn’t heed my warning, Lucia,” Eli grumbled.

“So you’re trying to kill me?” The normal reaction for someone in this situation would be to fight back, but my instincts told me I wasn’t in danger. “What are you doing?” The clouds got smaller as we plummeted faster by the second. I began to have second thoughts. Wanting to believe so badly I could get through to him, I’d let it possibly cost my life.

He ignored my plea. Looking squarely in my eyes as air rushed against us, he said nonchalantly, “Get ready to die.”

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THE CHOSEN KNIGHTS Teaser 2

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Author Mary Ting

Author Mary Ting

About the Author
International Bestselling, Award Winning, Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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Where to Find Mary Ting
Goodreads | Website | Newsletter | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
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Release Day + Giveaway – THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

THE HEIRESS Release Day

Today is release day for THE HEIRESS, a stand-alone new adult romantic suspense novel, by New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

About the Book
Title: THE HEIRESS
Author: Cassia Leo
Publisher: Gloss Publishing, LLC
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Genre:
New Adult Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
A new heartfelt and suspenseful stand-alone novel from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.

How much is love worth?

Twenty-two-year-old Kristin and her single mom have always struggled to make ends meet. When her mother’s body begins to deteriorate after many backbreaking years of working as a housekeeper, Kristin must say farewell to her college dreams and hello to a full-time job waitressing. She doesn’t really mind. After all, giving up on her dreams will be her penance for that one horrible night.

Her luck begins to turn when she meets Daniel Meyers. Daniel is sexy and funny, but most importantly, he wants to get to know the real Kristin. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also extremely wealthy and intent on protecting her. Kristin feels safe with him. She wants to open up to him, to share the details of the awful night that changed her life. But she can’t shake the feeling that Daniel may be keeping a dark secret of his own…

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Excerpt #2
“I wish I were more observant.”

He turned to face me again, his eyebrows scrunched up in confusion. “How so?”

“I wish I could…” I swallowed hard as I reconsidered my words. “Nothing. I guess I just have a hard time reading people…sometimes.”

“Like me?” He smiled at my raised eyebrows. “I’m not that mysterious,” he said, rounding the island until he was next to me. “I want the same things you want.” He held his hand out for me to take, then he began leading me toward the glass doors overlooking the patio. “I want comfort and security. I want to feel needed…and I want to need someone.”

My heart raced as we stepped out into the brick-paved backyard garden. “It’s dangerous to need someone,” I replied, breathless as he led me to some stairs leading up to a courtyard on a higher level.

The courtyard was well lit with pathway lights and spotlights illuminating a few trees, which lined the back wall of the garden. We sat on a concrete bench in the center of the courtyard, a chill racing through me as he laced his fingers through mine.

“We’ve all been hurt, Kristin,” he said, his eyes focused on some distant memory.

“Who hurt you?” I asked, my voice a bit shaky.

He blinked and turned to me to refocus his attention. “Another time,” he replied with a smile that barely curled the corners of his mouth. “I promise.”

I nodded, gladly accepting this answer because it allowed me to postpone my own dark truth.

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THE HEIRESS Teaser

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Trailer

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Author Cassia Leo

Author Cassia Leo

About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time re-watching Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. When she’s not binge watching, she’s usually enjoying the Oregon rain with a hot cup of coffee and a book.

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Where to find Cassia Leo
Goodreads Website | NewsletterFacebook | Club CassiaTwitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Chapter Reveal – THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

THE HEIRESS Chapter Reveal

Gloss Publishing, LLC and New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo are releasing the first chapter from THE HEIRESS, a stand-alone new adult romantic suspense novel, releasing September 26, 2017. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, an exclusive first look at Chapter 1, and details on her giveaway.

THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

About the Book
Title: THE HEIRESS
Author: Cassia Leo
Publisher: Gloss Publishing, LLC
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Genre:
New Adult Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
A new heartfelt and suspenseful stand-alone novel from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.

How much is love worth?

Twenty-two-year-old Kristin and her single mom have always struggled to make ends meet. When her mother’s body begins to deteriorate after many backbreaking years of working as a housekeeper, Kristin must say farewell to her college dreams and hello to a full-time job waitressing. She doesn’t really mind. After all, giving up on her dreams will be her penance for that one horrible night.

Her luck begins to turn when she meets Daniel Meyers. Daniel is sexy and funny, but most importantly, he wants to get to know the real Kristin. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also extremely wealthy and intent on protecting her. Kristin feels safe with him. She wants to open up to him, to share the details of the awful night that changed her life. But she can’t shake the feeling that Daniel may be keeping a dark secret of his own…

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Chapter 1 – Taken Care Of
The dimly lit stairwells in our five-floor walk-up in the Bronx smelled even more like cat piss than usual.

The August humidity had a lovely way of extracting the aromas that were usually trapped inside the dingy walls of our building. I tried to breathe through my mouth as I climbed the final steps to the fifth floor. But when I stepped into the corridor, a bright yellow notice taped to the front door of apartment 502 made me gasp, and the sharp smell got sucked into my nose again.

I gagged, then marched toward my apartment. “What the actual fuck?”

My curse came out much louder than I’d anticipated.

Dropping my canvas bag of groceries on the floor, I quickly snatched the paper off the door, but not quickly enough. Mr. Williams walked out of his apartment as I bent over to stuff the notice into my grocery bag.

“Good morning, Mr. Williams,” I said, breathing far too heavily for a casual walk to the bodega. “How’s your day so far?”

He tilted his head a bit as his dark eyes remained focused on my bag. “Is that an eviction notice?”

I unzipped my purse and dug frantically through the receipts and half-used drugstore makeup, which had probably been there since I dropped out of college two years ago. “It’s just a mix-up,” I replied with a chuckle when I found my house key. “Same thing happened a couple weeks ago. At least this time it happened on a Monday morning instead of a Friday night. I’m heading straight to the property manager’s office as soon as I get these groceries in the fridge.”

“Is everything okay with you and your ma?” he asked through narrowed eyes.

“We’re fine,” I said, forcing a smile. “Thank you so much for asking, but we’re just fine. This is just a huge mix-up.”

Mr. Williams scratched his scraggly white beard, which sparsely covered his chestnut-brown skin. “Okay,” he said, slowly nodding. “Well, if you need anything, don’t you hesitate to holler at this old fool.”

My smile widened, and this time it was genuine. “Thank you, Mr. Williams. I promise I’ll do that.”

He stuck his chin out and beamed with pride. “That’s a good girl. You take care now,” he said, then ambled back into the apartment across the hall.

When I was five, I often wondered if I was invisible—not metaphorically speaking, but actually invisible. I would watch in complete silence as my mom came home from a fourteen-hour shift, cleaning up other people’s messes. She’d collapse onto the sofa, turn on the evening news, and eat her dinner with a tired smile. Then I’d retreat to my bedroom and dream of a world where I existed.

It wasn’t until a fateful evening in September two years ago, my fingernails peeling off as I desperately clawed my way up a highway embankment, that I finally realized how tangible I was, how heavily I was anchored to this merciless world.

Now, as I rushed inside the humid apartment I shared with my mother in the South Bronx, I wished I could be invisible again.

Closing the door softly behind me—so as not to attract the attention of any more neighbors—I power-walked into the kitchen and tossed my canvas grocery bag onto the counter. Yanking out the bright yellow eviction notice, I contemplated the ten-digit phone number scrawled on it in black marker.

No. I wasn’t going to give those incompetent pricks at the property management office the courtesy of calling before I showed up. No way would I give them time to come up with some trumped-up violation that my mother or I had supposedly committed.

Despite the fact that our building was more than a hundred years old and in serious disrepair, the bylaws consisted of a list of rules—I kid you not—at least sixty pages long. The list was mailed to us every year with an offer to renew the lease—with another rent increase, of course. And every year, the list got longer.

One rule actually stipulated we were not allowed to walk around in high heels after ten p.m. I supposed it was a good thing I had no social life. I was in no danger of violating that rule.

Of course, whatever bone the management was picking with us now was probably not due to anything I did or didn’t do. The eviction notice was almost certainly a response to what I had threatened to do. Three weeks ago, I threatened to file an ADA—Americans with Disabilities Act—complaint if they didn’t fix the loose handrails in the stairwells.

When my mom and I moved into this apartment more than ten years ago, my mom was in excellent physical shape. Despite the fact that she had spent most of her life working as a housekeeper, she had managed to take good care of her body. Until she fell off a ladder at home and shattered her kneecap. Three surgeries later, she was desperate to return to work so I could return to NYU, but no one would hire her back.

If the eviction notice was left on our door, that meant my mom wasn’t home when the notice was served, which meant our neighbor Leslie had come by to take her shopping.

I put the groceries away and stuffed the eviction notice into my purse before I left the apartment. I thought of leaving a message with Leslie’s family, but decided against it. I didn’t want to worry her or my mom.

Leslie was a stay-at-home mother with two kids in high school and a husband who drove a bus for MTA. She helped my mom up and down the stairs once a week to go shopping. Having amazing neighbors like Leslie and Mr. Williams was one of the many reasons I was hesitant to move to another apartment building with an elevator.

One subway ride and nine blocks of walking in the glaring summer sun later, I arrived, sweaty and determined, at the front doors of Golde Property Management. I entered through the glass double doors, which squeaked on their hinges as I pushed my way inside. The black and gold confetti design on the linoleum looked like something straight out of a ’70s discotheque. The faux oak furniture in the waiting room, with the wood-grain laminate peeling off the corners, confirmed that I had stepped into an office stuck in another century.

In the decade since we moved into our apartment, and ever since I began paying the rent a couple of years ago, I’d never had to visit Golde Property Management. I always paid the rent on time, and I always agreed to the new lease terms. If I had known that they were living in the ’70s, I wouldn’t have bothered asking them to bring our apartment up to modern building standards.

Nonetheless, I needed to clear up this eviction nonsense. The last thing I needed was for my mother and me to be thrown out on our asses over a clerical error.

The receptionist sat at a desk behind a sliding-glass window at the back of the waiting room. She watched me approach without even attempting to smile.

I slid the yellow eviction notice across the counter onto her side of the glass. “I want to know what this is about.”

She spun in her chair to face the computer on her left, positioning her fingers over the keyboard. “What’s the property address?”

“Twenty-four eighty-three Hughes,” I replied sharply.

She typed in the address, then her eyes scanned down to the lower-right part of the computer screen and stopped. “It says here that the eviction notice was posted today at 10:02 a.m. by the Bronx County Sheriff’s Department due to violation of the rental agreement. The violation listed here is nonpayment of rental dues in the amount of $7,050.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Are you kidding me? Our monthly rent is $1,175. That means $7,050 is what, like, six months’ rent? We’re not even late one month, let alone six. I want to speak to a manager.”

She rolled her eyes as she picked up the beige phone handset and dialed an extension. “Is Jerry in his office?” she asked the person on the other end. “I’ve got a tenant here who says she’s paid up, but she just got served.” She sighed as she balanced the handset between her ear and shoulder. “Well, tell him when he’s done with his meeting that I got someone waiting for him up here. Okay? Okay.” She hung up the phone and looked up at me with a bored expression. “He’s in a meeting with an investor. You’ll have to wait a few minutes.”

I wanted to protest for the simple fact that if I caused a scene it might ruin their chances with this investor, but I decided not to press my luck. “I’ll be waiting right over there,” I said, nodding toward the tweed sofa in the waiting area.

Taking a seat on the sofa that smelled like desperation, I picked up a copy of the NY Post from the coffee table. The paper was dated thirteen months ago. This place needed an investor more than my mom needed a disability-accessible apartment building with an elevator.

Of course, my mom would never admit that she needed anything.

The eldest of four sisters, my mom left her small hometown in South Dakota to make her way in New York City when she was just nineteen. After a brief brush with homelessness, she started cleaning houses and saving up money to start her own cleaning business. Not long after that, I was born, and her dreams of being her own boss were tossed out the window.

I had just finished reading a story about a feud between the hosts of two popular YouTube channels when a door leading into the back office opened. The first man who stepped into the waiting area—whom I assumed was Jerry—looked to be about sixty years old, and wore brown slacks and a short-sleeved blue button-up shirt, the fabric thin enough to show the dinginess of the tank top he wore underneath.

The second man who walked through the door looked more like a mirage than a man.

He was no more than twenty-eight years old, wearing a sharp navy-blue suit and a swagger in his step that said he didn’t just own the place, he owned the world. His dark hair was short, but not so short you couldn’t help but notice it held the perfect amount of wave. Every inch of him, from his prominent brow to his broad shoulders and beyond looked sturdy. This man was built to last a thousand lifetimes.

But it was his face that made me wonder if I was actually staring at a desert mirage.

His strong jaw and brilliant green eyes looked as if they’d been chiseled by Michelangelo. As a former student of sculpture at NYU, I could make that type of comparison in the more literal sense.

If this investor bought out Golde Property Management, I’d probably sign a hundred-year lease.

I shrugged off this ridiculous thought. It wasn’t as if this wealthy godlike man was going to send my next lease renewal along with a handwritten marriage proposal.

Will you be my wife? Check yes or no. Please send reply in the enclosed envelope with full rent payment by the first of the month.

“Are you Kristin?”

I snapped out of my absurd fantasy to find the man I suspected to be Jerry staring at me as he held the door to the back office open. “Excuse me?”

“Are you Kristin Owens?” he replied. “Here about the eviction notice?”

His question set my blood on fire with anger. “Yes. I want to know what this is all about,” I said, getting to my feet as I held the yellow paper in front of me. “We’ve paid our rent on time every single month for the past ten years. If this is about me threatening to—”

Jerry held up his hand to interrupt me. “Okay, okay. Let’s go into my office,” he said, his expression a mixture of shame and anger, probably because I just made a scene in front of his potential investor. He looked up at the man. “I look forward to hearing from you again, Mr. Meyers. Jennie over there can validate your parking.”

Mr. Meyers cocked an eyebrow as he looked me over. “Maybe I should sit in on this.”

Jerry waved off the suggestion. “Oh, no, this is just routine admin stuff. It will be over in two minutes. Don’t want to waste your time.”

I stared at Jerry, making no attempt to avoid looking directly at the huge hairy mole protruding from his temple. “So now I’m a waste of time?” I asked. “If you think you can get away with—”

“Excuse me,” Meyers interrupted, taking a step forward. “Earlier, you said you’ve paid your rent on time every single month for the past ten years. So, forgive me if I’m wrong, but that allows you to continue living in the unit until any further disputes are settled in court. Am I right?”

Jerry shook his head. “But she hasn’t paid her rent,” he insisted. “I thought it was strange when the computer spat out the notice, but they only come up when a tenant is coming up on six months past due. Computers don’t lie. People lie.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I shouted. “Are you calling me a liar? You piece of trash. I swear to God, I will bury you in so many legal—”

“Whoa-whoa-whoa…” Meyers interrupted again. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” he said, casting a calm, confident look in my direction, holding my gaze for a moment before he turned back to Jerry. “You said computers don’t lie, but they do sometimes glitch. You even said you thought it was strange the computer spat out her name.”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t randomly spit out names all day long,” Jerry objected.

Meyers nodded and pressed his lips together in an expression that said he understood where Jerry was coming from. This guy was good. He was refereeing this dispute like a seasoned mediator.

“But it’s possible the computer got it wrong,” Meyers continued as he looked back and forth between Jerry and me, smiling when I crossed my arms over my chest. “How about this? I’ll pay the past-due amount until you can figure out the glitch in the system. Does that sound fair?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Who the hell are you?”

His veneer of confidence cracked for just a fraction of a second before he regained his composure. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you,” he replied. “You’re right. It’s very presumptuous of me to think I could settle this with the swipe of a pen. Forgive me.” He turned to Jerry and gave him a curt nod. “I have some…thinking to do. I’m not sure your organization is a good fit for us. We’ll be in touch.”

“Wait!” Jerry shrieked. “I think she was just taken by surprise with your offer. Right, Christina?”

“Kristin,” I corrected him. “And I don’t need him to pay my rent. I already paid it. I need you to fix this!” I crumpled the yellow eviction notice and dropped it at his feet.

“I can’t,” Jerry replied as Meyers quietly made his way to the receptionist’s desk. “My lawyer handles the evictions. He won’t close the file until the rent’s paid in full. I can’t pay him if I don’t have your money.”

“You have my money!” I yelled so loudly I could almost hear my vocal cords snap.

I cursed myself as tears stung the corners of my eyes. Blinking them away, I glanced over my shoulder, expecting to find Meyers staring aghast at my lack of control. He probably wasn’t accustomed to that sort of thing in his perfect world of privilege. But he wasn’t there. He was gone. I didn’t know if I felt more relieved that he hadn’t witnessed my outburst, or disappointed that the only sure way out of this eviction mess—at least, temporarily—had just walked out of my life.

God, why didn’t I just let him help me? It wasn’t as if I knew the guy. I didn’t need to maintain some foolish sense of pride in front of him.

I was becoming more and more like my mother every day.

“It’s taken care of.”

I looked up at the sound of the receptionist’s bored voice.

She waved a piece of paper in the air, which looked suspiciously like a check. “He took care of your rent,” she said, looking annoyed.

I turned to Jerry, but all he did was shrug.

What the fuck just happened?

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THE HEIRESS Teaser

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Trailer

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Author Cassia Leo

Author Cassia Leo

About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time re-watching Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. When she’s not binge watching, she’s usually enjoying the Oregon rain with a hot cup of coffee and a book.

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Where to find Cassia Leo
Goodreads Website | NewsletterFacebook | Club CassiaTwitter | Instagram

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE DARK MERMAID (Cursed Water) by Christina L. Barr

THE DARK MERMAID Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for THE DARK MERMAID, the first book in the young adult paranormal/fantasy series, Cursed Waters, by Christina L. Barr. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE DARK MERMAID (Cursed Water) by Christina L. Barr

THE DARK MERMAID (Cursed Water) by Christina L. Barr

About the Book
Title: THE DARK MERMAID
Series: Cursed Water
Author: Christina L. Barr
Publisher: Ninja Dust
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Genre:
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis
“True love is not a myth. It’s mystic. It’s a force in the universe that draws two people together, resulting in incredible power, for either good or complete chaos.”

On the day Luna proves that she is powerful enough to be her father’s heir, she is banished for saving the life of an enchanting human boy. Her father, the king, gives her two options: kill Ian and regain her honor by the time she comes of age, or be destroyed.

Luna finds shelter in forbidden waters and comes under the protection of her father’s greatest enemy, the Sea Witch. As her ward, Luna becomes a fearsome warrior, but struggles with the fear of turning her powerful magic dark.

With only days remaining before her seventeenth birthday, Luna finds Ian sailing the seas in search of answers. Luna is determined to escape her father’s wrath, and the Sea Witch’s plot of revenge, but dark forces won’t allow her to live a human life without making an impossible sacrifice.

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Excerpt
Chapter 1

I was born with a serious defect. On the surface world, they call it “kindness”. My father first noticed it when I was a child. When we turn thirteen, we swim out of our territory with nothing but a small blade. I watched my king’s eyes dig into mine as violently as the knife that bleed my arm numb. He always told me that he had a lot of faith in me. It’s funny how faith only felt like heavy expectations on my tiny shoulders. And when I could feel the vibrations in the water from an oncoming threat, he made sure to leave me in the darkness, surrounded in a cloud of my blood.

I heard tales from my sisters of their glorious fights against the monsters of the deep. They only had to face one and return home with the corpse. They spoke of their fear boiling and bursting out of their hearts like a geyser rushing out uncontrollably, but they had a thirst for battle that was born as soon they saw their vicious opponents in the water. The victory shifted their terror into a satisfying thrill, but I was not as fierce as my sisters, and I was surrounded by three fish, three times my size.

I swam up fast and avoided two of them, but the third nearly took my bloodied arm off with its sharp and jagged teeth. I did manage to stab its eye as it swam past me, which was the only easy meat to get to. The rest of its body was covered in scales as hard as stone.

Taking on all three was impossible, and my little body was pumped full of fear. The adrenaline helped me swim faster, but they were made to chase and kill. They couldn’t hide their nature, and I couldn’t run from mine.

When I had about a thousand feet on them, I turned around and braced myself. I had little hope in my blade, but I gripped it firmly and told myself that I could defeat those monsters, if I truly believed in myself. My father would not accept me if I needed to be rescued. The rumors were that he’d rather have me dead than be a disgrace. I could not fail!

I closed my eyes and swung my blade forward. I put all my strength into that swipe, and I felt my energy leave my body and expand forward like a giant fin. I opened my eyes just in time to see their bodies disintegrate into ash, and glitter from the fading light that I somehow produced.

I was too stunned to move for a great while. I never had such an incredible power on my own, so I looked to the blue and red crystals embedded into the golden blade. It was an ancient weapon forged by my ancestors, but I had no idea that it could do so much damage. My sisters had never mentioned it, and I’m certain they would have boasted about their exploits.

Even though I had rightly fought for my survival and won, I was rattled. I was certain that I could do it again—in extreme circumstances—but I wasn’t changed like my sisters. They were

reborn as warriors, and I still felt like a child. Worst of all, I didn’t have any remains. I would have to find another creature to kill, but I needed to tend to my wounds.

I returned home, struggling not to break down from fear of what my father would do to me. When I entered the walls of our crystal palace, my people were my enemy. They once revered me as a princess, and now they sneered their noses from my repulsive presence. I could feel their eyes whispering tales of my cowardice, and they were not as subtle as they believed. And when I entered my father’s throne room, so I could properly explain, I was met with his trident pinning my arm against the wall.

I couldn’t afford to lose any more blood, and he had severely cut me again. I tried pulling the trident away, but I couldn’t even get it to budge. I took my eyes off my bloodied arm, and by the time I looked up, his coal eyes were peering into mine. “Father—”

“Silence!” His hand clasped tightly around my neck. “Do you think I’ll grant mercy to a failure? You are my blood, and you’ve disgraced me!” It was insane to me at the time, but beyond the intensity of his rage, I remember sensing that my failure wounded him.

I whimpered as he freed me from the trident’s grasp. I was overwhelmed with an unbearable guilt that his disappointment burdened me with. The only reason why it didn’t crush me, was because I saw my demise reflecting in the golden trident he raised to strike me down with. “Do you have any last words?”

“I did kill!”

“Then where is the body?” He glared with a hatred I thought he only reserved for his enemies. I didn’t understand how his disappointment in me could transfer into such violence. When I was smaller, he would often tell me that I was his favorite. What good did his favor do?

I held up the blade that he had given me, and out of my desperation, I was able to make it glow a radiant blue with speckles of golden dust. “I used this blade to kill them, Father. Their bodies were completely blown apart. I swear!”

His eyes moved to the blade. Then, he looked at me in awe. “You do hold the power.” He smiled and cradled my face. “You are my true successor.”

My sisters were gathered around. They were mildly jealous before, but I had a feeling they would rip the flesh from my bones, if it weren’t for my father’s praises and the fear of what he would do if they attacked.

My father was never affectionate toward me, but he’d always gaze upon me with a curious eye. When I trained with my sisters, I thought he was testing me and assessing my potential as a warrior. It was no secret that he wanted a son, but Fate gave him six daughters instead. He made us twice as fierce to make up the difference. I couldn’t have known that he was expecting me to have such great power. “I want to see what you can do.”

“Sire.” One of his warriors came into the throne room and bowed. “There are humans sailing in our waters. What are your orders?”

He looked down at me and smirked. “My daughters and I will handle this ourselves.”

My sisters all cheered. They apparently had enchanting voices, but I had never heard them, nor had I ever opened my mouth up to speak. I suspected that I shared a similar gift, but I didn’t want to use my voice to lead unsuspecting sailors to their deaths.

“Keep the blade,” my father instructed. “I want to see you in action.”

I looked at the dagger in my hands. I heard such terrible things about the humans. Everything they touched, they laid waste to. Father said we had to kill humans to keep their dark nature from destroying us, but I didn’t see how we could be any better than them. I didn’t know if my life served any purpose beyond hunting and defending my home.

“Come, my children.”

He must have been in a good mood, because he let my eldest sister bind my wounds before we followed him into battle. Each stroke of my tail made my heart pound faster. I had never been to the surface before. My sisters told me that humans didn’t have tails. They had legs to stand upon, and they loved to watch them run for their lives as they tried to save their ships from sinking. It was one of their favorite games.

The water illuminated the higher we rose. I saw something large and round far up into the sky, but it glowed and brightened up the world. And when I breached the surface, the light gently rested on my skin as I whipped my hair back.

There were hundreds—thousands—of lights far up into the sky, and the biggest one was radiating a foggy white. I took in air, and it filled my lungs with an odd sensation. I wanted to finally hear my own voice, but for some reason, I was afraid to speak.

“Scout the area,” my father encouraged. My sisters waded just a few feet below the surface and waited for my report.

I gulped and slowly swam to a boat not too far away. I had seen ships before, but they were sunken treasures abandoned by the humans and eroded over time. I don’t know why the mystery of the humans intrigued me so much. I heard they were an evil menace that threated our way of life. I had also heard they were cowardly weaklings that we could easily destroy. I didn’t know how to imagine weaklings with such power. Some of the stories must have been false or highly exaggerated.

But when I finally snuck close enough to see the faces of the terrible creatures, I saw they were just like us.

There was a boy running along the deck with some sort of white animal. His smile was infectious. He was making noises with his mouth that I didn’t quite understand. Spoken words were very different than thought. There were also other sounds coming from some sort of box that an older human male controlled. He sat beside a beautiful woman with golden hair.

The sounds coming from the box were magical, like the melody that the whales would sing to each other, except there were so many different noises to make it complete. It was fast, and his human feet moved along with it. It was incredibly strange, but so intriguing. The boy looked like he could have been from my world, if he weren’t having the time of his life on those legs. I moved my tail along with the sounds, but it wasn’t the same as his clumsy and wonderful feet.

When the boy smiled, the right side of his mouth curved just a little higher than the left, and it made his eyes shrink, just a smidgen. They were as vibrant as the blue lights flickering in the sky. His short but bountiful hair bounced with the rhythm of his body, and even though it was as dark as the deepest of the ocean’s depths, the white glow of the night reflected onto his locks so brilliantly that I wouldn’t have questioned if he held some sort of power over night sky. His skin wasn’t too different than mine, but he had a glow to his skin that made him look as if life itself had kissed him. I know that this sounds silly, but I found myself wishing that I could keep him as a treasure to gaze upon.

He had a pretty face, but his arms were frail and easily breakable, but threats could come from even the tiniest of creatures, so I closed my eyes and listened to his thoughts. I tried to connect his mind to the words he was speaking, and it wasn’t long before I could begin to understand his conversation.

“It’s good to know that those expensive hip-hop lessons haven’t paid off,” the older man teased.

He stumbled from the insult and his bushy brows furrowed against his sparkling eyes. “Aw, I’m not that bad,” the boy said.

“I think he’s wonderful,” the woman encouraged. “But stop dancing around on the boat. You’re gonna make the whole thing tip over.”

“How old do you think I am? Five? I can’t tip over this huge thing.”

“Maybe,” the man said. “We’re in the Bermuda Triangle. All sorts of weird things happen here.”

The boy rolled his eyes. “Those things aren’t true.”
“We’re here to explore the mysteries of the Atlantic.”
“Really? Because I thought we were sailing to Puerto Rico so Mom can buy shoes.” “And other things,” she laughed. “You’ll love Puerto Rico. It’s gorgeous. You might even meet a little summer girlfriend.”
“What makes you think I don’t already have a girlfriend?” he teased with a dashing smile. “You better not!” She got up from the comfort of her husband to tackle her son. He fought her off viciously, but he was laughing as if he enjoyed it. It was odd. I had never seen a family interact in such a way. A family was supposed to be a pack you could hunt with. They were supposed to look out for you while you slept, and you did the same for them when they needed to rest. What the humans were doing was completely different than anything I had ever experienced. They were enjoying each other’s company. They were…Happy? I think that’s the word I’m looking for.

“What are you doing?” My father’s voice rang in my head. He wouldn’t understand what I was seeing. I hardly did, but I yearned for it so badly. Why couldn’t he hold me in his arms like the human father did to his son? The boy didn’t fear his father as I did. He would probably never intentionally hurt him, yet I still ached from the wounds my father inflicted upon me. Any lessons the boy learned, was probably for his personal benefit, and not because of some war that I didn’t understand.

“I’m observing.”
“You’ve done enough observing,” he said. “It’s time we attack.”
“No!” Out of desperation, my words entered through my mind and out of my mouth. My voice was still weak, but I had finally heard it, and I thought it was beautiful. “Did you hear that?” the boy asked.

“Ian, don’t!”

He didn’t listen and ran over to the edge of the boat. I quickly dunked back under the water to escape his eyes, but I felt like such a fool. It was forbidden for humans to know of our existence. Anyone that saw us had to die.

I thought I had gone down far enough, but I felt a light shine on me. “Who’s there?”

I heard him speak to me, and I was at a loss of ideas. If only I could have convinced him that I were a human! It was either that, or I had to make him and his parents leave immediately. I slowly breached the surface, so he could see my face.

There was a slight pause as he laid eyes on me for the first time. My sisters told me that they were able to enchant humans with their beauty, before they dragged them into the ocean’s dark waters to drown. Perhaps I was doing that to Ian. I should have grabbed him by the back of the neck to finish him off. That was our way.

“You’re beautiful…” he mumbled very quietly, but in complete awe. I suppose I was right about him being enchanted.

But—for some mysterious reason—I found that I felt the same. My world was incredibly vast. It didn’t matter how far I ventured out in the water; there was always so much more to explore. Suddenly, my world was rapidly shrinking, until it was small enough to fit into a speck of light inside his eyes. “Ian…” My voice wasn’t strong enough. I tried reaching out to him through my mind, but he wasn’t ready to listen. “You have to—”

“How did you get out here? Are you hurt?”
I shook my head, hoping that was a sufficient answer.
“Mom! Dad!” he called.
“No.” My protest was only a whisper. “They can’t see—”
“Where did you come from?” his mother asked in a panic.
“Give me your hand.” His father got on his stomach to reach me better. He didn’t know

He should have assumed I was dangerous. In my world, we didn’t tolerate any threats. He was probably three times my age, so how could he have lived for so long being that naïve?

I wanted to know why they were being such fools, but I could feel the vibrations in the water from my family fast approaching. “I’m sorry…” I dove back in the water and waited for the worst to be over.

They called out to me, and I knew that if I didn’t come back up, they would dive back in to get me. They must have at least feared sharks. It boggled my mind as to why they would risk their lives for mine.

I heard Ian’s parents scream, and then, there was a splash in the water. I backed away and prepared to strike them—if I needed to—but it was young Ian that bravely came to my rescue. And when he saw that I did not need to be saved, he yelled something in the water and lost his air.

Was he afraid of what I was? Did I disgust him? I wasn’t sure. All I sensed from him was his confusion from the herd of mermaids coming to rip him into pieces. His father dove in the water next. I knew my sisters would attack him. We always tackled the biggest prey first.

I’m not sure why I did what I did, even to this day, but I grabbed Ian by his waist and swam as fast as I could. He reached out to his father, but I couldn’t stop if I were going to save Ian.

He screamed, and I knew he would not have enough breath to survive the journey to safety. I had no choice and pressed my lips against his. His eyes bucked, but he soon relaxed enough to close them, and he allowed me to breathe life into his weak and pitiful body.

Through that moment, his mind was open to me. I could feel his desperation to be reunited with his father and mother. What he felt for them was deeper than anything I had experienced my entire life. His father wanted to protect him because he loved his son, and he loved his son because he was his. There was nothing more to it than that. It was their bond of blood and a covenant they forged together from the first time his father held his newborn son in his arms. I didn’t understand how something so simple could be so definite and infinite. My father only wanted to protect his legacy. If it weren’t for my strange power, I would be dead, and he would have been glad to be rid of his weakling daughter.

I wanted to leave. I wanted to go with Ian and be with his family. If all the humans loved like he did, then that’s what I wanted to experience. If only I were born into their world…if only I had a pair of legs to stand upon—to dance! What a glorious life I would have.

Ian tried to swim back to his father, but my sisters had already gotten a hold of him, and they were using their daggers to slash him apart. I grabbed Ian to keep him from leaving, and we were compelled to watch as his father’s flesh was ripped in pieces.

My eldest sister jumped into the air and clear over the boat, returning with Ian’s frightened mother in her arms. Ian’s struggle to get away from me intensified, but I held him tighter. I was much stronger than him, and there was no escaping their fate.

My father enjoyed watching his daughters kill. It made him proud to know he had raised such ruthless warriors. But he couldn’t rest while his daughters did all the work. He was also a warrior, and he needed to destroy to feel powerful. “Stand aside.”

My sisters quickly separated and waited with glee. My father was king because he could control the most powerful of weapons that my ancestors left for us: a trident. He didn’t use its powers too often. He much preferred to kill with his bare hands. But when he outstretched his hand toward his victim, and summoned the might of the trident, it was a glorious sight to behold.

Ian’s mother began to swim toward her son, and he reached out his hands for her. But they were too far apart to ever touch again, even after she exploded in golden and red streams of light. His father was a bloodied corpse. His mother was eradicated from existence. Only Ian was left, and I had a serious choice to make. I could feel his broken mind. His tears were lost in the immensity of the ocean. He was screaming, so he was surely about to suffocate. It would have been a service to put him out of his misery. He couldn’t take care of himself. His mother and father were his entire world. It was only right to let him die like all the other humans my family had destroyed.

I still don’t understand why I swam away. I even rose to the surface for a jump, so Ian could catch a breath.

“What are you doing?” my father yelled. “Kill him.”

His furious command echoed in my head. When and if I returned home, he was probably going to kill me. My sisters chased me for a good while, but they eventually let up when I started approaching the shore.

I found a rock large enough to place Ian on. Someone was sure to find him. I only hoped that he could salvage what was left of his life and find people that loved him as much as his mother and father did.

“Ian?” The dawn was beginning to break. I didn’t want him to become crispy in the sun, but I couldn’t stay with him. “Ian?” I shook him, but he would not open his eyes.

I pressed my ear against his chest. His heart was still beating. “I think you’ll be alright, Ian.”

I brushed some hair off his face. Ian certainly was a handsome creature. I was desperate for him to open his eyes, and I think it was more than wanting a mental memory of his sea glass gems. I saw that my fingers were trembling as I stroked his cheek, and I realized that if he never opened them again, I would be lost without a world. His heart was pulling tightly onto mine, and I was being ripped into pieces. “Please, be alright.”

I pressed my forehead against his and looked inside Ian’s mind again. He was at peace in his mother’s arms as she hummed a pretty melody. She rocked back and forth while he drifted between consciousness. The sun lit the world in its gold and warm embrace, and the beams of light poured into his eyes every time he was close to finally resting them. I think he was in his home, surrounded by trinkets he had grown attached to, but none of it was as fulfilling as his mother’s touch.

I didn’t understand how he could retreat to a peaceful place after witnessing such horrific death, but I grew envious of him. If I were torn apart in my trial by those monsters, where would I go in my final moments? There wasn’t a hug or a tender kiss from my kin to draw from, and even though I was accustomed to not having affection or admiration, I was suddenly aware of how awful that was.

I was desperate to have what he had lost, and I was aching from the fact that I had taken away the people he loved. It was selfish of me, but I retreated into Ian’s memory to feel the comfort that we both desperately needed. I could hear his mother’s soothing voice just as clear as I heard my father commanding me to slaughter Ian. As I watched her holding her baby boy, I could feel her intentions of protecting him. I could feel the love that he felt, and in a few seconds, her lovely song was on my lips.

He began to open his eyes, and I stayed long enough for a swift peek. I knew that I’d never be able to keep him for myself, but I’d never forget his mystifying eyes.

“Wait!”

I couldn’t. I jumped back in the water and swam home to beg for forgiveness. I couldn’t stay with the humans as long as I wasn’t one of them. It was foolish to think differently, even for one second.

I was hoping that my father possessed even one ounce of love and compassion that Ian’s parents had for him. If he did, I had the smallest bit of hope that I would survive. I swam to where I believed my home was, but I didn’t see the crystal walls or my wicked sisters waiting to judge me.

“You won’t find Atlantis,” my father said from behind. “It’s hidden from outsiders.” I was too frightened to face him, but I needed to. “Father—”

As soon as I tried to turn my head, it snapped back from the force of his blow to my face. “You let one of them go.”

“I’m sorry! He was only a boy.”

“He’s a human,” he seethed. “He’s a filthy, disgusting human. Human explorers killed your mother. Did you know that?” He never spoke of my mother. How was I supposed to know?

“No.” I held my cheek and struggled not to sob from the pain. My father was large in stature and very muscular. He didn’t need to hit me that hard to get his message across. I could taste blood in my mouth.

“He’ll tell others of our existence. More humans will come. They’ll kill us, and we’ll kill them. They won’t be satisfied until blood fills our waters, and I won’t be satisfied until their cities are ruins at the bottom of the ocean. There will be no peace.” My father was masking his excitement, but I could see the intention in his mind. He wanted the end of humanity, and it didn’t matter how many of us had to die in the process.

I had to stop it. “No one will believe him, Father.”
“Where is the dagger?”
I clenched my fingers on instinct, and my eyes bucked. I knew I had it when the attack started. I didn’t remember dropping it in the water, but I hadn’t held it for a while. “I must have dropped it on the rock where I left him. I’m sorry. I’ll bring it back here and—”

“You’re not welcome back unless that boy is dead.” He yanked my hair and pulled me close to his face, so I could see his dark eyes. “I want that dagger to slit his throat and his heart in your hand. Do you understand?”

My family was harsh, but they were all I had. He couldn’t expect me to live on my own in the ocean. There was no crueler place in nature. Practically everything ate each other to survive. Safe territory was hard to come by, and it was only safe until something came along to kill you for it. Sharks and giant octopuses were the least of my worries. There were other creatures like me who were much more dangerous and even stronger. “Father, please—”

“You are no daughter of mine.” He threw me away in repugnance. “I am incapable of breeding weakness. You will never be one of us until you destroy that boy.”

I was literally shaking, even though I consciously tried to steady myself. It was disgraceful to be fearful of anything, but being alone in an endless world of predators was a death sentence. I wasn’t sure if I had anything to live for, but I knew that I wanted to live long enough to find a reason. “There has to be another way, Father. Please!”

“You would forsake your honor and your people over the life of a human boy?” Rage flashed in his eyes, and his trident pulsed with power like the jolt from an eel. The spark frayed my tail, and I whimpered. Every bit of pride he held for me deteriorated like a meal inside of a beast’s belly. “Has he infected you with his weakness?”

“No, but…” The image of Ian’s eyes opening as I sang to him completely overtook my mind. I tried to suppress it, because I didn’t want my father to experience the intensity of my memory, but it poured out of me. Ian was groggy and terrified. His world had been crushed. The love that I felt in his heart should have been replaced with a need for righteous vengeance. He inhaled from the shock of seeing my face, but the hate never flooded in. Instead, an exhale of relief and awe followed, as if being with me needed no explanation. We were together, as we were meant to be.

I know that I left as soon as I could clearly see his eyes, but I remembered seeing my reflection inside of them. I think I saw a different mermaid than I had ever seen before. Perhaps we were always the same, and I was only beginning to wake up to the truth that she knew her entire life.

I was living in a nightmare, and I wanted to be free.

I had offended my father too greatly to be allowed to live. He thought too little of me to be disappointed. Eradicating me was a matter of propriety. He gripped his trident, and its power rippled toward me. I raised my hands instinctively. The little hairs on my arms began to singe, but before I could burst into dust, I felt my skin beginning to harden. I had closed my eyes, but it felt so odd that I looked to see my skin darkening. I had heard that my father turned an enemy to stone once. I was certain he was doing the same to me, but he actually seemed startled once he noticed that I was changing.

I might have been mistaken. The light from the trident skewed my vision, and your mind plays tricks when you’re certainly about to die. I might not have been sure about what I saw, but my father did clearly see something that made him withdraw his attack.

“Your sisters are weak. You’re strong enough to be my heir. I have no respect for you, but I do value you’re potential.” Even admitting that terrible compliment was difficult for him. “You have until your seventeenth birthday.”

“To do what?”
“To regain your honor and kill that boy.”
My hands returned to their normal color and softness, but I was aching internally. “What if I can’t find the same boy? Can it be another?”
“No. It must be him.” His commandment rung through me like the crunch of a skull being crushed between his fingers. “It’s either him, or I kill you both.”
And once again, he left me. I had no friends, no family, no resources, and no weapons. I

could hear the sounds of whales singing in the distance, but I could feel other vibrations in the water. There was danger surrounding me for miles, and I wouldn’t have the protection of my family or my father’s subordinates.

I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I returned to where I had left Ian, but he was already gone. I probably could have deceived my father, if I found the blade, but it was missing as well. I swam around the shore, but he was nowhere to be found. I couldn’t blame Ian if he never returned to the water, but if I couldn’t find him, I would never be able to return home, the humans would bring war to us, and we would bring hell to them.

“I’ll find you,” I said to Ian, wherever he was. “I don’t care what I have to do, but I swear that I will.”

And that’s how my story began. I showed mercy to a human boy that should have died with his parents. His life meant nothing compared to the safety of our worlds. I had no choice but to search the ends of the earth until I found him. But finding him wouldn’t prove to be the most difficult matter. The man I swore to kill, also became the man that I loved.

Regardless, he still had to die.

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Trailer

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Author Christina L. Barr

Author Christina L. Barr

About the Author
As the daughter of sci-fi enthusiasts and a pastor, Christina L. Barr has been taught to believe that anything is possible. She’s been a serious composer as far back as twelve-years-old, and has had the opportunity to sing her songs around the world.

In 2007, she graduated from Holly High School number nine in her class and attended College for Creative Studies. She started a pop culture website called The Gorgeous Geeks with her two older sisters, and was even featured on Times Magazine.

Her addiction to writing emerged when she was eighteen and started her first novel. To date, she has nine novels published, fourteen completed, and her goal is to finish thirty books by her thirtieth birthday.

She is currently a Creative Director and spends her days making graphics and videos.

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Where to Find Christina L. Barr
Goodreads |Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – H.A.L.F. ORIGINS (H.A.L.F. Series) by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F. ORIGINS Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for H.A.L.F. ORIGINS, the third book in the young adult science fiction romance series, H.A.L.F., by Natalie Wright. See below for information on the book, buy links for all three books in the series, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

H.A.L.F. ORIGINS (H.A.L.F. Series #3) by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F. ORIGINS (H.A.L.F. Series #3) by Natalie Wright

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title:
H.A.L.F. ORIGINS
Series: H.A.L.F. Series #3
Author:
Natalie Wright
Release Date: August 24, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE
Book 1 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE
Book 2 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE

Synopsis
Alien predators attack Europe. A deadly virus spawns an epidemic. And a clandestine organization conspires to profit from chaos and forge a New World Order.

In this heart-pounding finale of the H.A.L.F. series, Tex, Erika and the rest are in a race against time. In books one and two they fought for their lives. Now they battle to save us all.

Tex and Erika are again fugitives and running for their lives. But when Tex falls gravely ill, a Navajo healer is his only hope for survival. Tex emerges changed in mind and body but with vital information: how to stop the predatory M’Uktah from destroying those he has come to love.

Erika Holt seeks a respite from the threats to her life but hasn’t given up. As she and Tex launch a mission to shut down the galactic highway used by the invaders, she grows closer to her troubled human-alien hybrid companion. But what about her on-again, off-again boyfriend Jack?

Jack Wilson, along with his new friend Anna Sturgis, is determined to put an end to the Makers’ schemes for world domination. Complicating matters, the valuable medicine to counter the alien virus has been stolen.

As both alien and human forces line up against them, the destiny of all mankind is hand the hands of these young warriors. And time is running out.

“The latest satisfying addition to the H.A.L.F. series has something for everyone: exciting action scenes; great love stories; fascinating new aliens; and relatable characters fighting to save the world and find their places in it.” ~Alyssa H., Red Adept.

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H.A.L.F. ORIGINS Teaser 1

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Excerpt
Erika

Raindrops pelted the windshield of the rust-bucket truck Erika had borrowed from Ian’s dad. Nearly an hour had passed since she’d seen the lights of the last police car recede in her rearview mirror, but her fingers still shook as she turned on the windshield wipers. They were little help. The spittle of rain turned the dusty windshield into a muddy mess, and the sun-rotted rubber of the wipers streaked the glass.

The jacked-up truck tackled the harsh terrain of the desert like a pro. The police cars were no match for barrel cacti and creosote bushes as large as small cars. The local Ajo police that had tried to stop them likely didn’t know that they were chasing a human-alien hybrid that had escaped, again, from a secret underground lab controlled by the clandestine organization known as The Makers. The Makers had surely spun the lies necessary to convince local law enforcement that Tex was a dangerous fugitive. Ironic. The lie had become the truth. Erika and Tex were, in fact, fugitives on the run and again fighting for their lives. It was like déjà vu all over again.

Erika’s bottom was bruised from bouncing on the seat. Her wrists ached from gripping the wheel. After nearly an hour of rough riding, they hit a two-lane road going east. Erika was heading to New Mexico, where her Aunt Dana, her father’s sister, lived. Without complications, they would get to Aunt Dana’s in about eight hours. If she’ll have us.

Tex had been quiet but awake as Erika navigated the bumpy ground. Once they reached the smooth pavement, he tucked his knees to his chest, hugged his arms around his legs, and became a silent egg-shaped blob on the seat next to her. Erika had seen him withdraw into himself before, but he was even more quiet and still than usual.

Erika wished he’d have stayed awake longer. She wanted to pry answers out of him. She had questions about his time with the Conexus, when he had been linked directly to their hive-mind collective. Ever since Dr. Randall had unhooked Tex from the Conexus, he was acting distant and short-tempered. Erika wondered what had really happened to him during his time with the Conexus. And what did he mean when he spoke of struggles for humans to come and the knowledge he got from the Conexus? She hoped he would answer these questions and more when they got to Aunt Dana’s.

The dribble of rain became a hailstorm. Peanut-sized ice balls pinged the metal roof of the truck. Within minutes, the hail turned into a deluge. Erika turned the wipers to full blast, but that only smeared the windshield faster. The Tex blob remained eerily quiet and unperturbed.

Erika’s swollen right eye, a gift from one of the Makers’ guards during their escape from the school, made it difficult to see. Both eyes were heavy with fatigue. She blinked rapidly and shook her head, trying to clear the drowsiness. She switched on the radio, and raucous Tejano music blasted. She wasn’t a fan of the accordion-heavy genre. The ancient truck speakers distorted the sound, making it nothing but noise to her ears, but at least the booming music helped keep her awake.

Erika had never been much of a life planner. Her current situation of living day-to-day did not bother her as much as it might have irritated some people. She was focused on her current task, getting Tex safely to a location where he could heal. She’d help him find a place to stay hidden from the Makers and Sturgis. She wasn’t sure what came after that. Just stay awake. And alive.

Tex didn’t stir or acknowledge the radio. Is he dead? She poked at him with a finger. “Tex? You okay?”

With his head still to his knees, his voice was muffled but cool and even. “I am alive if that is what you mean.”

“You’ve been so quiet. With the escape back there at the school, the dogs, and now the rain… I was just hoping that you’re all right.”

Tex raised his head slightly and turned toward her, his large eyes peeking over his arm. “I have been through worse.”

The understatement of the century. She’d been through worse, too: the days of fever she endured after the Conexus gave her the virus, the long hours of watching Ian wracked with pain when she could do nothing but watch him inch toward death, weeks of hunger and thirst. She had been forced to take the lives of others or lose her own, and she had watched her mom breathe her last breath. They’d all been through hell and back.

Tex’s indifference was still better than silence between them. The tinny horns and the beat of the music stopped abruptly.

The radio announcer broke in, speaking in Spanish. “There has been a massive terrorist attack in Europe. The entire continent is without power. Communication systems are down. Though reports are sketchy, US authorities state that the attacks appear to be focused on London and Paris.”

Erika’s chest tightened. For a moment, she forgot to breathe. “He said that communication systems are down in Europe and there’s been a massive terrorist attack. The terrorists hit London and Paris.”

Tex unwound his arms from around his legs. “I understood what he said.” He sounded condescending, as though everyone could understand Spanish as well as English.

“Oh. I just assumed that—”

“You assume a great many things.”

Erika didn’t know what he meant, but she was more worried about what the heck was going on in Europe than her traveling companion’s surly attitude. The radio announcer spoke of the apparent sophistication and coordination of the attacks. He stated that the terrorists had clearly used an advanced technology that took out the power grid across Europe. Terrorists with advanced technology? Could the Makers be behind this?

Continuing in Spanish, the announcer said, “The US has raised the terrorist alert level to high and has closed all borders, effective immediately. There are reports of disruption to GPS and cellular service in the United States, indicating possible destruction or interference with multiple satellites.”

“Just what we don’t need. First the virus to deal with, now terrorists run amok.”

“It is not a terrorist attack,” Tex said with total conviction.

“You just heard the guy say it’s a terrorist attack. He said the report came from NORAD.”

“Then this NORAD fellow is wrong… or lying.”

During her time at Casa Sturgis, Erika had lost most of her faith in the authorities. Getting locked up in an underground city run by crazy government scientists and black-budget military would do that to you. Even if The Makers were behind AHDNA, that didn’t negate the fact that, somewhere along the line, some important people were very corrupt. Maybe even a lot of people.

 

Even after all she’d seen, though, she still believed most of the people working for the government weren’t crooked, self-serving traitors who would sell out the lives of millions just for their own little piece of the post-virus pie. People like Dr. Montoya worked for the government. Dr. Montoya had risked her life to help them to keep the antivirus out of the hands of the Makers so it could be synthesized to help the masses rather than the elite few chosen by William Croft and company.

“Why would the military lie about terrorists?” she asked. “And if it’s not terrorists, then who would cause a massive power failure?”

“Something far worse than extremists with a vendetta. Pull over. I will drive now.”

“Have you ever driven before?”

Tex shook his head. “Pull over,” he repeated.

“And what do you mean ‘worse’?”

“Erika, I tire of questions every time I ask something of you. There is a helicopter on its way. You did not think that the Makers would send only a few local law-enforcement vehicles after me, did you? Shall we argue further? Or shall I attempt to lose those that tail us?”

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H.A.L.F. ORIGINS Teaser 2

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Trailer

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Author Natalie Wright

Author Natalie Wright

About the Author
Natalie writes adventurous fantasy and science fiction for teens and adults including her award-winning H.A.L.F. series and The Akasha Chronicles. Her first novel, Emily’s House, has been read over 2 Million times on Wattpad!

When not writing, reading or questing in Skyrim, Natalie meets readers and appears on writer panels at comic cons and book festivals throughout the western U.S. She and her mascot baby alien traveled over 10,000 miles in the past year!

Natalie lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, teen daughter and two cat overlords.

Sign up to my email list and receive a FREE PDF copy of book 1: http://bit.ly/SUBSCRIBE_Natalie

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Where to find Natalie Wright
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube | Wattpad | BookBub

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Audiobook Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – HENGE (Le Fay) by Realm Lovejoy

HENGE Audiobook Blitz

Welcome to the blitz for HENGE, the first book in the young adult fantasy romance series, Le Fay, by Realm Lovejoy, now available in Audiobook format. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

HENGE (Le Fay #1) by Realm Lovejoy

HENGE (Le Fay #1) by Realm Lovejoy

About the Book – NOW AVAILABLE IN AUDIOBOOK!
Title: HENGE
Series: Le Fay #1
Author: Realm Lovejoy
Release Date: June 5, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Audible

Synopsis
Inspired by one of the greatest legends of all time….

Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.

Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven – the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.

Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.

But Morgan has a secret – years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time – and Morgan’s powerful fire – will tell.

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Audiobook Sample

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Excerpt #1
After the audience stops clapping, the announcer looks down at his list. “Next… sixteen-year-old fire user Morgan le Fay from Tintagel!”

I swallow. I won’t have time to warm up after all. I rush toward the stage, trying to keep my head up though my legs are quivering. The crowd of people from all over the country is a sea of shadows below me. Camera flashes glimmer like stars. Below the stage, the King’s Cabinet members are seated, wearing fancy suits, gesturing with their cigars. Though they are chatting with each other, they eye me intently.

Music plays: aggressive drums and a flute that follow along with a woman’s haunting song. Putting my hands up, I focus on my fingertips turning as hot as coals. As I concentrate, I grow heavy as force accumulates throughout my body. This is my favorite feeling in the world. Hot energy spawns in my heart like the sun and travels through my arms. My veins burn. My body becomes like the earth, sizzling with flowing lava. The energy sails to my hands, down to my fingertips. Fssssttt—fire sputters to life centimeters from my fingernails. Instantly I become as light as a feather, all the weight having been channeled out of me. The crowd oohs and aahs.

I dance and whirl, trailing fire behind me. It arcs high into the air, drawing gasps from the crowd. Sweat trickles down my forehead, but I do my best to look elegant as I create brilliant, roaring ribbons of fire that hug and spin around my body. I have never performed fire in front of anybody before, and I feel like I’m revealing a big secret. Out of the corner of my eye a young man peers at me from backstage, his eyes full of wonder. I glance at him only once through a blur of gold and red sparks.

Letting the fire retreat back into my hands, I bow as the music finishes, making sure to keep my hot, and possibly still-sparking, hands away from my clothes. Setting my outfit ablaze would be an embarrassing finish. The crowd erupts in applause and cheers. I crack a smile and bow again.

As I walk backstage the young man who was staring at me beams with perfect teeth. Suddenly the temperature in my face rises, and it doesn’t help that I just got done working with fire.

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Author Realm Lovejoy

Author Realm Lovejoy

About the Author
Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently she lives in Seattle and works as an art director in the video game industry.

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Where to Find Realm Lovejoy
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – X. by Shelby Mena

X. Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for X, a stand-alone new adult contemporary, by Shelby Mena. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, the book’s trailer, and details on her giveaway.

X. by Shelby Mena

X. by Shelby Mena

About the Book
Title: X.
Author: Shelby Mena
Publisher: Continua Publications
Release Date: July 23, 2017
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis
Inspired by actual events, X. follows the story of Tamra, a young actress, during the days following her feature film debut. The week kicks off with the arrival of her childhood best friends, Maddy and Amelia, who have flown in to help her celebrate the most important milestone of her life. Home friends. L.A. friends. Fun parties. Exclusive clubs. Hot boys. It should all add up to equal the most unforgettable time. But Tamra is haunted by a dark secret. Unbeknownst to her friends, she is being stalked, and pressured by greater forces to keep quiet. Our leading lady has convinced herself that she needs no one’s help battling the anxiety that has only recently developed within her. Everything is only further complicated when Lucas, the boy who has appointed himself protector and guide to Tamra during her time in Los Angeles, threatens to act against her wishes and reveal her truth.

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Trailer

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Excerpt
Prologue

Lucas sat overlooking the hills below, contemplating as he always did, his presence at yet another house party he knew deep down he profoundly detested. He recognized, however, the necessity in keeping up appearances, and cultivating a sense of relevancy within the young Hollywood scene. This was his penance for having taken a hiatus from acting for nearly three years, and just recently deciding to crawl back out from under his rock.

He had arrived at the party with his main crew. The majority of his people had scattered, mingling with all their other sometimes friends and collaborators. Everyone would spend the night flitting around in the sleekly minimal main living room of a Beverly Hills mansion, taking Snapchats, posting Instagrams, letting their millions of followers know how fabulous their lives quickly advancing toward a level of concerning unsettlement. He decided to send a text to the group chat: seemed to be.

Andre, Lucas’ model friend, and one of only two people he could implicitly trust, was sitting next to him on the outside balcony of the home. He was smoking a blunt that had been given to him by some rapper he had hung out with during a studio session the night before.

“What’s on your mind, Luke?”

“Like… why am I even here right now,” Lucas griped, compulsively popping his knuckles.

“I don’t know why you come to this shit, if it really stresses you out so badly,” Andre replied, bringing the weed up to his lips.

“You know why.”

“No, I really don’t. You left the game for three years, and the girls are still obsessed with your pretty-boy ass. Like, you’re fine…Here, take a hit,” he said, passing him the blunt. Lucas did so, thoughtlessly.

“Looks fade,” he quipped.

“Not necessarily.”

“Oh no?”

“Betty White is still hella cute.”

“That’s true,” he agreed, chuckling.

“C’mon Luke, you never bitch about coming out…What’s really wrong?”

He took a deep breath before answering. “Fuck… I think I’m depressed.”

“Of course you are. Everyone in this town is depressed.”

Lucas knew his friend meant not depressed, but unsatisfied. That was the best way to describe the inhabitants of Los Angeles. Unsatisfied people trying to become otherwise, making the most of it during the time in-between.

But this was not Lucas’ problem. He had remembered being at a family dinner one night, attempting to explain to his movie producer parents that he was unhappy, but not being able to come up with a valid enough excuse as to why. He was ten then. It was a decade and a half later, and he was just now beginning to realize that he didn’t know anything about himself or what he actually wanted.

Suddenly, Lucas’ thoughts shifted to the only other important person in his life. Tamra. He had spent nights on the phone with her, trying to work through his never-ending stream of discontent. Tamra did not share his troubles, and was in fact oppositely steadfast in her goals and opinions. It had worked out for her well. Her debut as a film actress was fast-approaching, with the imminent premiere of a film she had spent the year working on, just weeks away.

“Have you seen Tam?” he asked Andre.

“Not for the whole party. I don’t think Sellers is here either, so your guess is as good as mine.”

Lucas sat for several minutes, twiddling a piece of his curly hair in between his fingers. He knew it was unfair to seek out Tamra at a party where she could potentially be having a good time, only to burden her with his problems as he so often did. But Tamra settled him, and he was

Tamra, where ya at?

No reply. “I’ll be back,” Lucas said abruptly, leaving Andre to sit alone with only his high to keep him occupied.

He scanned the expansive room behind him. The party of a hundred or so people wasn’t nearly enough to fill the open space of the house, making it easy for Lucas to search for his friend. He looked left into the kitchen, then walked downstairs to the tv room, which he realized to be mostly empty except for a couple of guys, who were making out on a brown leather couch. Lucas even checked the wine cellar down the hall, but Tamra was nowhere to be found.

The weight of the high from the weed was beginning to sink from the top of his head, through his neck and down into his shoulders. He managed to find his way back to the main floor, where he collapsed in an empty loveseat. Lucas concluded that Tamra had probably left the party with someone else, for which he was too high to be adequately bothered about. He set an alarm on his phone for twenty minutes later, and placed it next to his ear, allowing his lids to close over his eyes, which had become too difficult to keep open.

In what seemed like ten seconds, his phone began beeping obnoxiously. The noise was so sudden that it frightened Lucas awake. Disoriented, he checked his screen to find a text:

Miles: Can we go home now?

A few more messages popped up, and the following conversation ensued:

Miles: Can we go home now ?? haha

Andre: Yeah, this party sucks

Miles: Me and Ezra are in the kitchen when you guys are ready haha

Lucas: k

Andre: Luke do you have Tamra?

Lucas: Couldn’t find her. She probably left w someone. 

Andre: No, I tracked her on Friends. she’s still here.   

Lucas: oh fuckk. I’m not smart enough when im high lol I’ll find her. 

Lucas looked around, surprised that he had missed Tamra during his first sweep of the house.  Then, his eyes rested upon a wide staircase that he had not previously noticed, leading up to a third floor. With great effort, he pushed himself off the couch, and quickly made his way upstairs. The top story was less open, comprised mostly of a long hallway of doors. He called out Tamra’s name. No answer. Lucas dialed her number, calling her phone, pushing himself into rooms, one by one. He strained to hear ringing, as music from the party downstairs reverberated through his eardrums. He was, however, able to pick up a faint sound at the end of the hall passed a small office.

Lucas rounded the corner and reached the door to a bedroom, that he gently pressed against. It was dark, but he could see the silhouette of a rectangle on the floor in front of the closet. Tamra’s phone. He sighed, figuring that she had dropped it while looking for a restroom in which to fix her makeup. Lucas nearly ignored the bathroom off to the side, but decided it would be best to splash some water on his face and revive himself.

He opened the door and flipped on the light. In the corner, in front of the toilet was a figure in an oversized denim jacket, lying in fetal position.

“Fuck,” Lucas whispered. He sighed, and then walked toward the person, pulling them onto their back. For a moment he was frozen, as he considered the improbable possibility that the high was messing with him. Then he became frantic.

“Tamra, TAMRA,” he whispered anxiously. She had blood dripping from her nose and mouth. Lucas propped her up and held her in his arms as he stroked the side of her neck, checking for her pulse.

He grabbed some water from the sink and sprinkled a bit on Tamra’s face. Her forehead crinkled in strain, but eventually her eyelids trembled open. She was weak, but managed one request as Lucas helped her to her feet.

“Don’t tell anyone,” she pleaded quietly. “Please, don’t tell anyone.”

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Author Shelby Mena

Author Shelby Mena

About the Author
Hi there… third person author bios seem impersonal, so I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to let you know I’m a 21 year old college student who was put on this earth to tell stories. I’m a major fan of  music, contemporary art, and realism. I love books, movies and my mom. I don’t think I’m anything special, but I think my stories are, or else I wouldn’t bother writing them down. My heroes include Kathryn Bigelow (the filmmaker) and Brett Easton Ellis. I write stories about millennials, for millennials. I am a feminist. I think the colored and the colorful are what make our world special, and I love that we have an opportunity to experience different cultures and different points of view. I really hope you enjoy my debut novel, and the works to come. Thanks for taking the time to learn more about me, and thanks for reading my stories. I really appreciate it.

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Where to Find Shelby Mena
Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – BODY PARTS by Jessica Kapp

BODY PARTS Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for BODY PARTS, a stand-alone young adult science fiction thriller, by Jessica Kapp. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, the book’s trailer, and details on her giveaway.

BODY PARTS by Jessica Kapp

BODY PARTS by Jessica Kapp

About the Book
Title: BODY PARTS
Author: Jessica Kapp
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Thriller
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay | IndieBound | Audible

Synopsis
People would kill for her body.

Raised in an elite foster center off the California coast, sixteen-year-old Tabitha’s been sculpted into a world-class athlete. Her trainers have told her she’ll need to be in top physical condition to be matched with a loving family, even though personal health has taken a backseat outside the training facility. While Tabitha swims laps and shaves seconds off her mile time, hoping to find a permanent home, the rest of the community takes pills produced by pharmaceutical giant PharmPerfect to erase their wrinkles, grow hair, and develop superhuman strength.

When Tabitha’s finally paired, instead of being taken to meet her new parents, she wakes up immobile on a hospital bed. Moments before she’s sliced open, a group of renegade teenagers rescues her, and she learns the real reason for her perfect health: PharmPerfect is using her foster program as a replacement factory for their pill-addicted clients’ failing organs. And her friends from the center, the only family she’s ever known, are next in line to be harvested.

Determined to save them, Tabitha joins forces with her rescuers, led by moody and mysterious Gavin Stiles. As they race to infiltrate the hospital and uncover the rest of PharmPerfect’s secrets, though, Tabitha finds herself with more questions than answers. Will trusting the enigmatic group of rebels lead her back to the slaughterhouse?

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Trailer

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Excerpt
The exit door buzzes. My breath catches when I notice it’s not a trainer—it’s Ms. Preen. And, she’s holding a red file, which can only mean one thing.

One of us is getting out.

Her heels make quick, light clicks as she crosses the floor past the weight equipment and yoga mats. She crinkles her nose as she moves through the thick cloud of sweat. By the time she reaches us, Meghan’s out of the pool. We stand, two-dozen bodies huddled together, anxious to hear the news. I scan my friends’ faces, wondering whose turn it is to go. Parker wraps his free arm around me. I imagine this is how a gymnast feels after a routine, waiting for her scores. Did I perform well enough? Could I have done more?

Will I win the ultimate prize: a family?

Ms. Preen presses through to the pool area, but stands far from our group, as if she thinks we’ll throw her in.

It’s crossed our minds before.

The light shines off her blonde bob, and her face is flawless. Freeze-dried, we like to say.

“Where is she?” Ms. Preen looks at our group as if she can’t tell us apart, which is probably true. Even though she pops in at least once a month to check on our vitals, she isn’t interested in getting to know us. She’s the one in charge of pairing us with families, but all she knows is what we’re good at. Meghan is the fast one; Paige climbs like she’s part monkey; Parker’s built like a brick house; and me, I have the lungs.

“The redhead, where is she?”

All eyes turn to me.

“We have names, you know,” Paige says, her voice curt. “Hers is Tabitha. T-A-B…”

Ms. Preen pulls a piece of paper out of the file, holding it up toward the row of skylights to read it. “Yes. She’s the one.”

Parker tightens his hold on me and I clasp my hands together to stop them from shaking. Ms. Preen doesn’t need to know I’m nervous. I’m supposed to be elated, ready to go. Maybe I’ve been fooling myself.

I wiggle out of Parker’s grip to step forward. “That’s me.”

Ms. Preen shoves the paper back into the file. “Get dressed. I’m taking you for your final screening. If you pass, you’ll be out tomorrow.” Her voice is hard and she turns to walk away.

I glance back at the group, at the faces I’ve known since childhood. They’re excited for me, but I can see the disappointment in their eyes. I know the look, because up until today I’ve watched friends leave, waiting for my turn.

Now that it is, I can’t move.

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Author Jessica Kapp

Author Jessica Kapp

About the Author
Jessica Kapp enjoys writing Young Adult Contemporary and Speculative Fiction. Story ideas often strike at inopportune times, and she’s been known to text herself reminders from under the covers.

She lives on a small farm in Washington with far too many goats and an occasional cow.

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Where to Find Jessica Kapp
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Trailer Reveal – H.A.L.F. ORIGINS (H.A.L.F. Series) by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F. ORIGINS Trailer Reveal

H.A.L.F. ORIGINS Trailer Reveal

Author Natalie Wright is revealing the trailer to H.A.L.F. ORIGINS, the third book in her young adult science fiction romance series, H.A.L.F., releasing August 24, 2017. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, and the trailer.

H.A.L.F. ORIGINS (H.A.L.F. Series #3) by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F. ORIGINS (H.A.L.F. Series #3) by Natalie Wright

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title:
H.A.L.F. ORIGINS
Series: H.A.L.F. Series #3
Author:
Natalie Wright
Release Date: August 24, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE
Book 1 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE
Book 2 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE

Synopsis
Alien predators attack Europe. A deadly virus spawns an epidemic. And a clandestine organization conspires to profit from chaos and forge a New World Order.

In this heart-pounding finale of the H.A.L.F. series, Tex, Erika and the rest are in a race against time. In books one and two they fought for their lives. Now they battle to save us all.

Tex and Erika are again fugitives and running for their lives. But when Tex falls gravely ill, a Navajo healer is his only hope for survival. Tex emerges changed in mind and body but with vital information: how to stop the predatory M’Uktah from destroying those he has come to love.

Erika Holt seeks a respite from the threats to her life but hasn’t given up. As she and Tex launch a mission to shut down the galactic highway used by the invaders, she grows closer to her troubled human-alien hybrid companion. But what about her on-again, off-again boyfriend Jack?

Jack Wilson, along with his new friend Anna Sturgis, is determined to put an end to the Makers’ schemes for world domination. Complicating matters, the valuable medicine to counter the alien virus has been stolen.

As both alien and human forces line up against them, the destiny of all mankind is hand the hands of these young warriors. And time is running out.

“The latest satisfying addition to the H.A.L.F. series has something for everyone: exciting action scenes; great love stories; fascinating new aliens; and relatable characters fighting to save the world and find their places in it.” ~Alyssa H., Red Adept.

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Trailer

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Author Natalie Wright

Author Natalie Wright

About the Author
Natalie writes adventurous fantasy and science fiction for teens and adults including her award-winning H.A.L.F. series and The Akasha Chronicles. Her first novel, Emily’s House, has been read over 2 Million times on Wattpad!

When not writing, reading or questing in Skyrim, Natalie meets readers and appears on writer panels at comic cons and book festivals throughout the western U.S. She and her mascot baby alien traveled over 10,000 miles in the past year!

Natalie lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, teen daughter and two cat overlords.

Sign up to my email list and receive a FREE PDF copy of book 1: http://bit.ly/SUBSCRIBE_Natalie

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Where to find Natalie Wright
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube | Wattpad | BookBub

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Pre-Order Giveaway

In celebration of the release of ORIGINS, the third and final book in the H.A.L.F. series, all pre-order customers have the opportunity to receive the following exclusive goodies:

  • A full-color, digital book extra, Lost Chapter and Cut Scenes. This book contains the author’s commentary on cut scenes as well as photos illustrations. This book is only available to pre-order customers.
  • A video retrospective of the H.A.L.F. series, complete with “soundtrack” for the series, an author interview, and tons of photos and illustrations documenting the series.

INSTRUCTIONS:
It’s simple to obtain the goods. All a customer has to do is:

  • Buy the book in any format. Digital, paperback, hardcover, or audiobook, and at any retailer.
  • Email a copy of the receipt (again, in any format—photo, screenshot, email receipt, etc.). Email the receipt to: half.origins.book@gmail.com

That’s it. The author or her representative will follow-up and send the customer the awesome goodness of free gifts!

Additionally, every pre-order customer that avails themselves of the pre-order giveaway will automatically be entered into the ORIGINS Launch Mega Giveaway and have the chance to win the following:

  • GRAND PRIZE: 1 Winner will receive the following: $100 Amazon Giftcard + Signed, Hardcover copies of the entire 3-book H.A.L.F. series + branded book swag, including metal bookmarks, complete set of H.A.L.F. Character Trading Cards®, keychain, and buttons + non-branded, retail swag themed to the book. Retail value of this prize is $240+
  • FIRST PRIZE: 1 Winner will receive: $25 Amazon Giftcard + Signed, Paperback copies of the entire 3-book H.A.L.F. series + branded swag (as listed above) + non-branded swag. Retail value of this prize is $75+
  • 10 Runner-Up Prizes: 10 Winners will receive: A gifted copy of Amazon Kindle version of an eBook of the reader’s choice from among Natalie Wright’s published, single-book works (Emily’s House, Emily’s Trial, Emily’s Heart, The Deep Beneath, The Makers, or ORIGINS). Retail value of this prize if between 99¢ to $3.99 (depending on book chosen and price at the time gifted).

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Release Blitz + Giveaway – AMNESTY (Amnesia Duet) by Cambria Hebert

AMNESTY Release Blitz

Today is release day for AMNESTY, the second book in the adult romantic suspense duet, Amnesia, by award winning author, Cambria Hebert. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive teaser.

AMNESTY (Amnesia Duet #2) by Cambria Hebert

AMNESTY (Amnesia Duet #2) by Cambria Hebert

About the Book
Title:
AMNESTY
Series: Amnesia Duet #2
Author: Cambria Hebert
Release Date: August 18, 2017
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads
Book 1: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU – Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Synopsis
There’s freedom in remembering.

My past is a double-edged sword.
Damned if I do remember, damned if I don’t.
Remembering beyond the horrors I already have will change me. Change us.
But, what if I’m living a lie? What if everything I thought was wrong, what if who I thought I was is wrong?
If not her, then…
Who am I?
Eddie says it doesn’t matter, but deep down I’m terrified it does.
I’m trapped. Held prisoner by a past I can’t remember and a future that might not belong to me.
There’s a light though, not at the end of the tunnel… But wavering in the distance, calling to me from Rumor Island.
That light, it scares me far more than darkness. Am I brave enough to confront it?
So many questions, so few answers.
I don’t have a choice; the truth always finds a way to the surface. Finally learning who I really am will be a permanent life sentence:
Total punishment or absolute amnesty.

*Please note Amnesty contains subjects and situations that some readers may find disturbing.

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AMNESTY Teaser

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Trailer


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Author Cambria Hebert

Author Cambria Hebert

About the Author
Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

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Where to find Cambria Hebert
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – LINKS by Lisa Becker

LINKS Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for LINKS, a stand-alone adult contemporary sports romance, by Lisa Becker. See below for information the book, buy links, the book’s trailer, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

LINKS by Lisa Becker

LINKS by Lisa Becker

About the Book
Title: LINKS
Author: Lisa Becker
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Adult Contemporary Sports Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kobo

Synopsis
In high school, Charlotte Windham was a typical student going through an awkward phase — glasses and all. She harbored a crush on Garrett Stephens, the teen heartthrob everyone can’t help but fall for during that unfortunate ugly duckling phase of one’s teen years.

Flash forward fifteen years later, and Charlotte and Garrett have a second chance encounter at a Los Angeles restaurant. However, this time around, Charlotte has leveled the playing field. She’s a bestselling novelist and no longer “Glasses,” the humiliating nickname Garrett called her in high school. In short, she’s a catch now and, thanks to corrective eye surgery, it’s not just her eyes that see better…so does her heart! Garrett hasn’t fared poorly either, transforming from teen heartbreaker to adult lothario.

A now successful professional golfer, he’s recently suffered a major setback in the form of a possible career-ending injury. With the upper hand, can Charlotte forgive Garrett for his past ways, and for his more recent Don Juan lifestyle? Will she even want to? And, can Garrett change his ways for a second chance with Charlotte, who may just be the perfect fit for him?

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Trailer

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Excerpt
As I race to the restaurant, I scowl knowing Mom’s going to have my head. Actually, she’s probably used to it by now. I’m surprised they don’t give me fake arrival times knowing I’m always ten minutes behind.

I rush through the revolving door of the restaurant, through the bar, and smack into a woman. She brushes against my bum shoulder and the pain burns right through me. Minding the manners Mom hammered into me from a young age, I mutter, “Sorry,” when I’m honestly not. I look down and notice something familiar about her.

“Hi, Garrett,” she says, sharing a small smile. “It’s been a long time. How are you?”

“Um. I’m fine.” My brows furrow as I wrack my brain trying to figure out who the hell this woman is. She’s short, about five two and roughly my age. I glance down and notice full, round breasts, slightly wide hips and thick thighs. Not my usual type, so I’m pretty sure I haven’t slept with her. At least I don’t have to worry about that embarrassing scene. She’s got chocolate brown eyes, looking at me with warmth. “And…how are you?” Shaking my head I am still trying to place her.

“I’m doing well,” she replies, her smile growing.

“I’m glad to hear that,” I say, trying to be polite and end this awkward reunion that clearly has me clueless.

“Well…I guess I should go.” She turns back and waves to a woman sitting in a far booth of the restaurant. On further inspection, she’s waved to Lindsay, my sister, who of course made it to our family lunch on time. Seated with her are my parents, with Mom frowning at me and shaking her head. Like she didn’t expect I would be late. Marcus isn’t here yet either. Guess the twin thing really does run deep.

“You know Lindsay?” I ask her.

“Uh, yeah,” she says, with a small chuckle and a noticeable hint of sarcasm.

“My parents?”

“Of course,” she says, shaking her head slightly like it’s hitting her I have no damn clue who she is. Then she confirms my suspicions and just lays it on the line. “You don’t know who I am, do you?” Her eyes are alight with humor.

“Umm. I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage,” I splutter, rubbing my hand behind my neck — my tell — before flashing her my most charming, dimpled smile. Before she can respond, a lady in her mid-sixties with salt and pepper hair wearing an outfit appropriate for someone twenty years younger — but this is LA after all — walks over.

“Pardon the interruption,” she begins. “I would just be kicking myself if I got home and didn’t take advantage of telling you what a big fan I am.”

“Oh, thank you,” I say, turning on the faux charm I reserve for situations such as this.

“My husband and I loved your book.” The lady turns fully toward this mystery woman. “I wish I had it with me for you to sign. Maybe I could get your autograph on something else?” I cock my head to the side and watch Mystery Woman. She turns back toward the elderly lady and smiles sincerely.

“Sure. I’d be happy to sign something.”

The lady reaches into her oversized zebra-print bag and produces a pen and small notepad. She hands them to Mystery Woman and turns to me, smiling.

“Who should I make this out to?” asks Mystery Woman.

“Donna and Frank. Your dear friends, Donna and Frank.”

“My…dear…friends…Donna…and…Frank,” Mystery Woman murmurs aloud as she writes a note. Watching her autograph the note, I can’t help the grin spreading across my face. Once she finishes, Donna reads through the note, her eyes widening with delight.

“Thank you, Charley,” she says.

“My pleasure,” replies Charley — Charley? — who looks tickled.

“Charley?” I say, racking my brain to no avail.

“Yes,” replies Donna with pride. “You are standing with the brilliant novelist Charley Windham.” She turns back to Charley before walking away. “Thank you again, dear.”

“Charley Windham?”

“Uh-huh,” responds Charley, giving me a look like I should piece it together.

“Charley Windham. Why does that name sound so familiar?” I rub my hand on the back of my neck while Charley looks at me with amusement. “Wait, you’re Charley Windham. Who wrote The Crossing Guard?” Charley shakes her head and laughs.

“That’s me.” Charley giggles, unable to control the wide smile spreading across her face.

“Yes. Now I know. I read your book. In fact, everyone on the tour read it. You couldn’t walk around a locker room or airport terminal without seeing someone with it in their hands.”

“That’s nice to hear.” She grins at me with her head tilted and nodding her head slightly up and down, giving me the impression she’s waiting for me to say more.

“That explains who you are, and I get you would know who I am, but how do you know my family?”

“That is the question of the moment, isn’t it?” she says, smiling smugly.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

“Immensely.” She is grinning unabashedly.

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Author Lisa Becker

Author Lisa Becker

About the Author
Lisa Becker is a romance writer whose previous novels include Click: An Online Love StoryDouble Click and Right Click. The books, about a young woman’s search for love online in Los Angeles, have been called, “a fast read that will keep you entertained,” “a fun, quick read for fans of Sex and the City,” and “hard to put down.” The first in the series was optioned for a major motion picture.

Lisa’s writings about online dating have been featured in Cupid’s Pulse, GalTime.com, Single Edition, The Perfect Soulmate, Chick Lit Central and numerous other book blogs and websites.

As Lisa’s grandmother used to say, “For every chair, there’s a rush.” Lisa is now happily married to a man she met online and lives in Manhattan Beach with him and their two daughters. So, if it happened for her, there’s hope for anyone!

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Where to Find Lisa Becker
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
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Cover Reveal – BURN FOR YOU by J.T. Geissinger

Author J.T. Geissinger is unveiling the cover to BURN FOR YOU, an adult contemporary romance releasing October 17, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, pre-order links, and the book’s trailer.

BURN FOR YOU by J.T. Geissinger

BURN FOR YOU by J.T. Geissinger

About the Book – Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited
Title:
BURN FOR YOU
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
The marriage is fake. But for a sassy chef and an arrogant billionaire, the sparks are real… Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux is rich, gorgeous, and unbelievably rude to the staff at Chef Bianca Hardwick’s New Orleans restaurant. Bianca would sooner douse herself in hot sauce than cook for Jackson again, but when he asks her to cater his fund-raiser, Bianca can’t refuse, knowing the cash will help pay her mother’s medical bills. Then Jackson makes another outrageous request: Marry me. The unconventional offer includes an enormous sum—money Bianca desperately needs, even if it does come with a contract—and a stunning ring.

The heir to a family bourbon dynasty, Jackson knows the rumors swirling around him. The truth is even darker. Still, he needs a wife to secure his inheritance, and free-spirited, sassy Bianca would play the part beautifully. Soon, though, their simple business deal evolves into an emotional intimacy he’s built walls to avoid.

As the passion heats up between them, Bianca and Jackson struggle to define which feelings are real and which are for show. Is falling for your fake fiancé the best happy ending…or a recipe for disaster?

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Trailer

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Author J.T. Geissinger

Author J.T. Geissinger

About the Author
A former headhunter, J.T. Geissinger is the author of more than a dozen novels in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense.

She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and is a two-time finalist for the RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America®. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

Join her Facebook reader’s group, Geissinger’s Gang, to take part in weekly Wine Wednesday live chats and giveaways, find out more information about works in progress, have access to exclusive excerpts and contests, and get advance reader copies of her upcoming releases.

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Where to find J.T. Geissinger
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
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Cover Reveal – AMNESTY (Amnesia Duet) by Cambria Hebert

AMNESTY Cover Reveal

Award winning author, Cambria Hebert, is unveiling the cover to AMNESTY, the second book in her adult romantic suspense duet, Amnesia, releasing August 18, 2017. See below for the cover, information on the book, a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR, and links to purchase AMNESIA, book one in the duet. Or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

AMNESTY (Amnesia Duet #2) by Cambria Hebert

AMNESTY (Amnesia Duet #2) by Cambria Hebert

About the Book
Title:
AMNESTY
Series: Amnesia Duet #2
Author: Cambria Hebert
Release Date: August 18, 2017
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads
Book 1: GoodreadsAmazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU – Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Synopsis
There’s freedom in remembering.

My past is a double-edged sword.
Damned if I do remember, damned if I don’t.
Remembering beyond the horrors I already have will change me. Change us.
But, what if I’m living a lie? What if everything I thought was wrong, what if who I thought I was is wrong?
If not her, then…
Who am I?
Eddie says it doesn’t matter, but deep down I’m terrified it does.
I’m trapped. Held prisoner by a past I can’t remember and a future that might not belong to me.
There’s a light though, not at the end of the tunnel… But wavering in the distance, calling to me from Rumor Island.
That light, it scares me far more than darkness. Am I brave enough to confront it?
So many questions, so few answers.
I don’t have a choice; the truth always finds a way to the surface. Finally learning who I really am will be a permanent life sentence:
Total punishment or absolute amnesty.

*Please note Amnesty contains subjects and situations that some readers may find disturbing.

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AMNESTY (Amnesia Duet #2) by Cambria Hebert (Full Cover)

AMNESTY (Amnesia Duet #2) by Cambria Hebert (Full Cover)

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AMNESTY Teaser 1

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Trailer


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AMNESTY Teaser 2

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Author Cambria Hebert

Author Cambria Hebert

About the Author
Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

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Where to find Cambria Hebert
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
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Blog Tour – Excerpt – TRUST by Kylie Scott

TRUST Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for TRUST, the first young adult and indie published novel, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Kylie Scott. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.

TRUST by Kylie Scott

TRUST by Kylie Scott

About the Book
Title: TRUST
Author: Kylie Scott
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | iBooks AU | Kobo

Synopsis
Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen year old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other..

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TRUST Teaser 3

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Excerpt
“You were going to give it up to Duncan Dickerson?” he sneered. “Are you serious?”

I halted, staring at him. This was not good. “How do you know about that?”

“Anders overheard you and Hang talking.”

“Bastard.”

“Well?” he demanded, acting all authoritarian. Idiot.

“To be fair, I didn’t know his last name was Dickerson,” I said. “That’s unfortunate. Though, I wasn’t actually planning on marrying him, so . . .”

“Not funny.”

I shrugged.

“You barely know the guy.”

“Um, yeah. None of your concern. We’re not talking about this.” How mortifying! My face burned bright. People should just gather around and cook s’mores. “I appreciate that we’re friends. You mean a lot to me. But this is going to have to fall under definitely none of your damn business, so go away please.”

“We’re talking about it.” He advanced a step.

“No we are not.” And I retreated.

“You were going to let a complete stranger touch you.” Advance.

Retreat. “People do it all the time. You do it all the time.”

“But you don’t,” he said, taking the final step, backing me up against the side of his car and getting all in my face. “Edie, this is your first time we’re talking about. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, and it’s going to be messy and painful and probably horribly embarrassing and I just want it over and done with.” I tried to meet his eyes but failed, settling for a spot on his right shoulder. “You’re not a girl; you wouldn’t understand. Also, last time I checked, you’re not the gatekeeper of my hymen, John Cole. So back the fuck off.”

He said nothing.

Deep, calming breaths. “Look, someday I’ll meet someone I really like and we’ll have a deep and meaningful relationship and go at it like bunnies. But I don’t want to be the dumb virgin in that scenario.”

He slowly shook his head.

“Also, I do not want to die a virgin.”

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Hey, you and I both know death can occur at any time.”

“This is crazy.”

“I’m seeing a therapist!” I told his shoulder. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a little bit messed up these days. It’s hard for me to trust people. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”

He screwed up his face at me. “Wha—”

“I’m just trying to be practical.”

“Well, you’re being ridiculous. None of this makes sense.”

“It does to me.”

Again, he said nothing.

In fact, he said nothing for so long that I finally looked him in the eye. The anger had left him, replaced by an emotion I didn’t recognize. Worst of all, he still smelled like summer. A little sweat and the open night air, everything I loved. Liked. I meant liked.

“What?” I said, finally.

He let loose a breath. “I’ll do it.”

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Trailer

TRUST by Kylie Scott (Official Book Trailer) from FILM 14 on Vimeo.

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TRUST Teaser 4

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Author Kylie Scott

Author Kylie Scott

About the Author
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

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Where to Find Kylie Scott
Goodreads | Website |  Facebook | Fan PageTwitter | Instagram
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Chapter Reveal + Giveaway – SAVING MERCY (Fatal Truth) by Abbie Roads

SAVING MERCY Chapter Reveal

Author Abbie Roads is revealing a chapter from SAVING MERCY, the first book in the adult romantic thriller series, Fatal Truth. For a limited time, you can pick up the ebook for just $0.99! See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive look at Chapter 1, and details on her giveaway.

SAVING MERCY (Fatal Truth #1) by Abbie Roads

SAVING MERCY (Fatal Truth #1) by Abbie Roads

About the Book – ON SALE FOR JUST $0.99!
Title:
SAVING MERCY
Series: Fatal Truth #1
Author: Abbie Roads
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Adult Dark Romantic Thriller
Links: Goodreads | AmazonAmazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | GooglePlay

Synopsis
He’s found her at last…

Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man. His only redeeming quality? The extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch killers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his horrific past—and the one woman who might understand what it means.

Only to lose her to a nightmare.

Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful—and in terrible danger. The moment Cain finds her the line between good and evil blurs and the only thing clear to them is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood—but is their bond strong enough to overcome the madness that stalks them?

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SAVING MERCY Teaser 1

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Excerpt
It’s a sad testament to the state of humanity that we elevate serial killers to the level of mega-celebrity.
~Ellsworth Garyington, M.D, Journal of Human and Philosophical Studies

Chapter 1

The air reeked of dirty pennies and death. Days ago the bodies had been removed, but Cain Killion could still feel the desperate energy of the dying and almost—almost—hear the echoes of their screams imprinted on the bones of the house. He abhorred the sight of blood and yet here he was standing in another murder house, in front of another wall smeared, splattered, and sprayed with gore.

His heart banged against the cage of his ribs, trying to bust out and make a break for it. A bead of sweat slid in agonizing slowness down the center of his spine.

“You don’t look so good.” MacNeil Anderson stepped into his line of sight, diverting his attention away from the blood. The furrows around Mac’s eyes cut deeper than normal and three days’ worth of old man stubble fuzzed his cheeks, giving him a haggard and homeless appearance. Not exactly the look the FBI was going for when they promoted Mac to Senior Special Agent.

Cain almost smiled at his own thoughts, but laughter no longer existed in this place. Only horror could thrive here now.

“Do I ever look good when I’m about to…?” Yeah. There wasn’t a name for what he did. To the bureaucrats with their thumbs jammed up their asses Mac called it profiling—had to call it something. But it wasn’t profiling. Not at all. What he had to do with the blood was something worse than profiling. So much worse.

“This is different.” Mac reached up and put his dry palm on Cain’s forehead. “You sick? Have a fever?”

Cain might be thirty years old and lived on his own since he was eighteen, but Mac had never outgrown the role of his adopted dad.

“You can always walk away.” Mac made this offer at every kill scene.

And every time, Cain’s legs twitched with the urge to run. Only determination, masochism, and the promise of sick satisfaction kept him locked in place. “I’m staying. I always stay.”

“I’d stop calling you out for these cases, but I know you’d just find someone else who would.” Mac’s words were slow and glossed with sadness.

“No one else has the history I have. No one else can do what I do. No one else can give you the information I can.” Yeah. His profiles were more accurate, more detailed than anything a traditional profiler could come up with. In the majority of cases his work guided law enforcement directly to their perpetrator. “It’d be stupid not to call me.” Not to mention he needed to be around that dynamic duo—blood and death. They stripped away his mask of normalcy leaving him naked to the one truth about himself he could never forget.

He was Killer Killion’s Kid—Triple K—the media called him. The spawn of a killer with the genetic predisposition to be a murdering machine. One of the only ways he’d found to curb the ugly urges was to force himself to attend these murder scenes. Force himself to witness the destruction.

His deepest, darkest, dirtiest secret—the thing he would never utter out loud because it terrified him: Sometimes he enjoyed himself.

“Son, you don’t have anything to prove. Not to me.” Mac used a caring tone, but that word—son—threatened to transport Cain back to his childhood. Back to his biological father using that word like a curse.

Not going there.

Cain stepped around Mac and moved to look out at window. The Victorian home sat on a miniature peninsula of land that jutted out into a large pond. Such an odd place for a house. A beautiful place, breathtaking, and yet eerie in its loneliness and total isolation. Just the kind of place Cain loved.

Had location been a consideration for the killer? Had he finished with his bloody work then stood in this very spot staring out the window at the water?

Cain sucked in a breath, held it for as long as his lungs would allow then blew it out slowly. “I know I don’t have anything to prove to you. I do this for me.” He tried to make his tone firm, but it came out a little shaky. Mac the-FBI-guy would hear it, but Mac his-adopted-dad wouldn’t press. Time for a change of subject. “You notice anything odd about this place?”

“It’s not the typical.” Mac’s words were spoken on a sigh. “Not that there is a typical. This just isn’t like any other location I’ve been called to investigate.”

“Yeah. Victorian house. In the woods. On a pond. I get why our guy would like the isolation of this place. But there’s something more. It has to do with…” He had trouble finding to words to describe the gut-level truth inside him. “… all of it. The house. The woods. The pond. The family. It’s like this guy wanted the complete package.”

Mac nodded, his expression serious as a gravedigger. “You get that from the blood?”

“Just a feeling I have.” It was the kind of place he’d choose if he were going to plan a murder. Kind of like how salt and sweet tasted so good together—this was violence and peace in one location.

Enough stalling. He turned away from the window and faced the room.

Three walls were covered in Victorian era wallpaper—rich gold background, red blossoms on a vine, and fancy peacocks. Ostentatious was the word that came to mind. One wall, the longest, largest wall had been painted the same color as the paper’s background. Yeah. Four walls of peacocks and posies might’ve caused bleeding eyeballs.

Finally, he forced himself to look at the blood on the wall. Rosettes of red seeped into the wallpaper, the fat watercolor splotches almost blending in with the flowers.

Mac cleared his throat as if gearing up for a formal speech. “The techs released the scene this morning. They worked round the clock to get everything cataloged and bagged so we could get you on this ASAP. The blood is, of course clean, I wouldn’t have called you in otherwise.” He pointed to the three distinct blood pools. “The family—Dad, Mom, girl—were found here. Killed here, too. Forensics places their time of death at—”

“Mac.” Cain spoke the name loud enough to smother whatever the guy had been about to say. “Quiet.” He needed the absence of sound to see what happened. And he needed to do it now before he pussied out.

Mac clamped his lips closed, nodded, and moved across the room—out of the way.

Just fucking get it over with.

Cain knelt at the altar of blood. The sweet scent of rotting biological material an abomination to his nose and yet, foul anticipation crawled underneath his skin. His mind slid sideways like it always did when around the red stuff. Back to his childhood. Back to a time when he was very much his father’s son. Back to when blood covered his skin—the slick, silky, warmness of it so wrong and yet so horribly soothing at the same time.

He slapped his hands down into the congealed sludge. The coldness sent pleasant shock waves up his arms. He didn’t want to feel pleasure, didn’t want to enjoy this, but that other part of him had terrible intentions. Helpless to stop himself, he smeared his hands around in the red like a kid playing with finger paints. Only when they were coated with the family’s blood did he raise them to his face.

A miniscule part of him rebelled against what he was about to do, but the rebellion was quashed before it began. He spread the blood over his forehead, his cheeks, coating his skin in the thick, sweet, goo. He painted his neck, his bare arms, then lifted his T-shirt and wiped his hands on his chest.

His head fell back on his shoulders. His breath came in shallow, hyper-ventilating gulps. From a distance, he heard himself moan, only it wasn’t a moan—it was more like the yowling of a feral cat fighting for its life. Or getting ready to mate.

Blood did that to him—was a pleasure and a pain. A gift and a curse.

He had a complicated relationship with blood. He hated it. He loved it. Blood was a conduit, a link, a connection, between him and those who slayed souls. Blood opened a doorway, allowing him to step into the mind and body of those who found bliss in ending life. He became the killer. He saw what the killer saw. Did what the killer did. Felt what the killer felt.

An incandescent light flashed behind his eyelids. Cain was gone. He was now the killer.
He stood on a ladder, rolling simple white primer on the wall.
A song had been locked inside his head for months and only now was it time to give voice to the words.
Lift your feet when you
Dance around the old well,
Be careful or you’ll tumble pell-mell.
Look into the dark, dark, waters
For the blood of your fathers.
Show some courage young man,
Find your calling young man.

He loved the song. He hated the song. But that was life, wasn’t it? It was all one big paradox.

A breathy sound intruded. He turned on the ladder to see the ones on the floor.

They were laid out in a neat row in the middle of the room. Each of them on their stomachs, hands bound behind their backs and tied to the shackles on their feet, mouths obliterated by duct tape. The male’s wrists were hamburger, dripping blood from fighting against the metal cuffs. But none of them struggled now.

Their faces were wet from tears, or maybe sweat—didn’t really matter—and splotchy red and pale. The child grunted.

“Do you want to sing along?” He used a soft tone, the same as he would if he were cajoling a whipped dog. “I will let you, but you must sing it properly. No mistakes.”

More tears slicked the girl’s face and dripped on the drop cloth underneath her. A bubble of snot blew from her nostril and hovered there waiting to pop. She shrank from him. The female seal-humped herself up and over the girl as if to hide the child beneath her body.
Oh, well. He wouldn’t allow them to destroy the pure freedom of this moment. He turned back to his task, losing himself in his song once more.
Save pomegranate seeds
as payment for the ferry man,
Offer red, red wine
as payment to the bar man.
Carve some red, red meat
as food for the hungry man.
Show some courage young man,
Find your calling young man.
And then, the wall was done, the completion of it sneaking up on him like a surprise party. He stepped off the ladder, moved it to the side to have an unobstructed view and then unzipped his painter’s coveralls and let them slide down his body.
The cool air whispered over his naked flesh like an endearment, the sensation wonderful after the confines of the material. His head fell back on his shoulders and he stood there absorbing and savoring. Everything from this moment to his finish would be carefully recorded in his memory. No matter what happened, no one could erase his memories. They were his alone—safe and untouchable—to be lovingly replayed until his death.
The female sobbed, deep throaty sounds similar to gagging. He faced the ones on the floor and used a gentle voice. “I do understand this is distressing for you, but I—” He dropped his tone a couple of octaves to show his seriousness. “—need. Complete. Silence.” He took his time, meeting and holding each one of their gazes before he continued. “I need to rest now.”
Only when they all quieted did he sit on the couch he had moved to face the wall. The material he’d spread over the cushions—couldn’t risk leaving DNA when he left—scratched against his ass and testicles, but that couldn’t be helped. He laid back, stretched out, waiting for his body to relax.
The blank canvas before him was a beautiful thing. All the potential in the world was right here. A picture waiting to be born.
He emptied his mind of all thoughts and feelings and stared at the wall. He stared, unblinking, until his vision yellowed and then darkened into something that looked akin to an x-ray. He stared, until tears watered his cheeks and his eyes burned like hot coals in their sockets. Only then did he catch a flash of what needed to be created—all he needed was a glimpse.
Wings. He saw wings.

He was about to create a masterpiece in blood.

A sense of timelessness came over him as he killed and painted. Painted and killed. He lost himself in his work. Not thinking about anything, just letting his hands wield the brushes mindless of the image he produced. When the blood was nearly gone and an image had been born upon the wall he came back to himself.

He stepped away from the wall taking more and more of it in with each footstep until he stood on the other side of the room, taking in the full magnitude.

The color contrast of blood on white was as breathtaking and beautiful as a flock of cardinal against the brilliance of snow. Tears burned his eyes. His face stung, and a wild freedom he’d hadn’t experienced in years surged through him. He recognized the feeling. In this moment he was God. The author of destruction. And creation.

The image he’d painted was so… No words existed to convey the gloriousness. Words were small and meaningless compared to this wall.

On the wall—a man knelt, head bowed, hair falling forward, shielding his face from view. Even in that supplicant’s position, supremacy and authority radiated from him. He looked like the strongest of warriors after a great battle—exhausted, but not weak. No. Never weak. There wasn’t an ounce of vulnerability in his sinew, muscle, and bone. Nor was there any delicacy to the lacework of scars marring the skin of his arms. And on his chest, directly over his heart were two criss-crossed slashes that dripped blood down his torso.

Surrounding him were a magnificent pair of wings. Not the kind you’d see on a sparrow or even on a chubby cupid, but the kind of wings that conveyed power and strength and utter indestructibility.

He loved the picture as he loved himself.

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An incandescent flash and Cain returned to reality, to the stench of decomposing blood smeared over his face.

His brain re-categorized everything that he’d just seen and done into the it-wasn’t-really-me file. But that didn’t take the feelings away. The awe spreading through his chest at what he’d seen. The guilt sinking into his gut because he’d had no remorse.

A dull thumping started behind his eyes. Usually when he did his blood work, he was there for only a few seconds before skipping on to the next images and the next. Those flashes gave him a migraine every time, but seeing entire scenes like this…The migraine was gonna be a badass bitch today. He had maybe ten minutes before the pain ratcheted up to the level of axe-buried-in-his-brain.

Mac handed him a black towel—black concealed the blood better than any other color.

“You back?” Mac knelt next to him, his face full of concern, but Cain could see the concealed disgust in the way Mac’s mouth turned down at the corners, like he was fighting an outright grimace.

That look—especially when it was aimed at him—always took him back to the moment Mac found him. When Cain had been covered in snot and blood and shame. He had to give it Mac, the guy had tried to hide his horror, tried to pretend Cain was just a kid when he’d never been a kid. He’d been more monster than anything.

Cain scrubbed the material over his face, his arms, wiped his hands. The blood on his body—so thick and dry it smeared into his skin—would only come off after a good scouring down in a scalding shower.

He turned his attention to the image on the wall. But… There was no image, instead the wall had been painted gold, perfectly coordinated with the rest of the room. Mac must’ve called him back before the killer covered up his work with the paint.

Holy.

Fucking.

Christ.

His legs wobbled when he stood. His hand shook like an alcoholic in need of his jolly juice, but he pointed at the wall. “He painted a picture.” His brain bashed against the backs of his eyeballs. He wanted to press his hands to his eyes to keep them from exploding out of their sockets, but his hands were smeared with the family’s blood. The pain was only beginning.

“I… I don’t know what you mean.” Mac’s tone was full of question.

“He painted the wall white—made a blank canvas. Then he created a portrait—using the family’s blood—of some guy—” Cain closed his eyes, seeing on the back of his lids the scars lined up and down the man’s arms, the slashes over his heart, just like the ones on his—

“Fuck!” His lids popped open, his gaze automatically sought the wall, hoping to see the actual image again, but gold paint pulsed in his vision from the thumping inside his head. He held his arms out in front of him. Underneath the thin coating of blood on his skin, a network of white slashes ran from his wrists to his shoulders.

The wounds had healed decades ago, but the scars still remained. He pulled his shirt up high, and looked down at his chest stained with drying blood. A thick white criss-crossed scar rested over his heart—cut into his flesh by his father. Every scar on his body—placed there by his father.

“What is it?” Mac’s tone was full of question, mixed with a bit of suspicion. “You’ve got to talk to me. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Cain’s heart galloped up and down his rib cage, but he forced himself to speak slowly and quietly—in deference to the axe beating against his skull. He told Mac everything he’d seen and everything he remembered about the artwork in blood. “It’s there. You can’t see it, but it’s there. I’m there. Underneath that gold paint.”

It took a lot to catch Mac off guard and score one for Cain—he’d just done it.

Mac’s mouth was slightly open, lips twitching like they were trying to form words, until a one finally spilled out. “Infrared.” The word came out soft and hesitant. “We might be able to see the image using infrared photography.” Things went quiet for a moment while Mac stared at the perfectly painted gold wall. “Why paint you? Why not paint Killion? I mean people are obsessed with you both, but why choose you over him? And this guy made it clear it was you he painted. Without those scars we would’ve thought it was Killion.”

Yes. Cain was cursed with looking too much like his father—like one of the world’s most horrendous killers. It usually took a double-take and some head scratching before people realized he wasn’t Killer Killion.

Mac shook his head. “But then our guy covered up what he’d painted. Probably thinking we’d never know the image was there.”

“He even fucking signed it.” Cain didn’t realize until the words exited his mouth that he had seen a signature.

“He put his name on it?”

“Not his name. A symbol.” Cain wiped his hands harder on the towel then dropped it on the floor. He yanked his cell from his back pocket, and tapped on the art pad app. The white light from the phone lasered into his skull. It was all he could do to keep his eyes open and not groan out loud. He drew a Christian cross then put a hook on the bottom of it that looked like an upside down question mark “You’ve seen this before. I’ve seen this before.”

He showed the image to Mac and watched the guy’s face turn pink, then tomato with recognition.

“Yeah.” Cain voice was straight as a line. “It’s from my father’s last kill. But he didn’t do this. Not unless Petesville Super Max allows weekend furloughs.”

Mac snorted. “Only way he’s getting out of there is in a body bag.”

Couldn’t happen soon enough. His father was a stain on humanity. “So we know he didn’t do this.”

“But…” Mac’s words disappeared for eight thumps of Cain’s brain. “The girl—Mercy Ledger—made that mark on the wall as she was bleeding out from your father cutting… From her throat being cut. It didn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean anything.”

Didn’t mean anything until today. That symbol was at that scene twenty years ago and it’s here now.”

Mac shook his head slowly like an old dog with neck problems. “No one ever questioned her about it. The prints on the wall were hers. Jesus—we need to find Mercy Ledger.”

Mac didn’t say it, but Cain knew how the man’s brain worked. Mac thought Mercy must’ve done this. “She didn’t do this. She’s been locked down in The Center of Balance and Wellness for the past few years.” The words popped out his mouth before he censored them. And he really should’ve censored them.

He lifted his arm, pressed his eyes against a clean patch of material near his shoulder, and spoke without looking at Mac. “I—” Yeah. Just what was he going to say? It wasn’t like he could confess that he’d been checking up on Mercy Ledger for the past twenty years. That would make him sound like a damned stalker. And stalking was considered the gateway drug to killing. “Liz told me.” Bold faced, flat-out, flaming-bright lie. And Mac would know it. The guy was trained to spot a lie at thirty paces. And yet, Cain would rather endure the cost of the lie, than spend the truth. Call him chicken shit—he would own it. He kept his eyes closed against his shoulder.

“Isn’t that a violation of confidentiality or something?” Mac worded it as a question, but it sounded like a statement. “Liz could lose her nursing license.”

But Liz hadn’t actually told him. He’d guessed. He’d known Liz long before he’d met Mac. In those dark days of childhood, his father had forced Cain to work with him at The Center. Liz had been a night nurse and the only person to ever show kindness to him. Even after his father had been caught, she remained a part of Cain’s life—babysitting him when Mac was away for work. She was one of the few people he considered a friend and the closest thing he’d ever had to a mother. And now he’d tossed her in front of the bus because he was a pussy.

The quiet closed in around him. His head felt like it was about to burst off his shoulders. His stomach started rolling.

“The Center?” Mac finally broke the quiet. “That’s a horrible irony.”

And it was. That Mercy Ledger had lived the past few years of her life among the same hallways his father had roamed as a janitor was beyond irony. It was downright wrong.

In a recent online auction, the knife Adam Killion used in the Ledger family murders sold for a record breaking 2.3 million dollars. The Son of Sam Law prohibits convicted felons from profiting from their crime, but someone just made a fortune.

~J. C. Brown, www.criminalnewsinvestigations.com

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Trailer

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Author Abbie Roads

Author Abbie Roads

About the Author
Seven Things about Abbie Roads:

She loves Snicker Parfaits. Gotta start with what’s most important, right?

She writes dark emotional books featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages.

By day she’s a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. At night she burns up the keyboard. Well… Burn might be too strong a word. She at least sits with her hands poised over the keyboard, waiting for inspiration to strike. And when it does—the keyboard might get a little warm.

She can’t stand it when people drive slowly in the passing lane. Just saying. That’s major annoying. Right?

She loves taking pictures of things she thinks are pretty.

She’s represented by Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary.

Her first book RACE THE DARKNESS was a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Pick for Fall...

Where to find Abbie Roads
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Facebook GroupTwitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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Giveaway
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Release Day – TRUST by Kylie Scott

TRUST Release Day

Today is release day for TRUST, the first young adult and indie published novel, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Kylie Scott. See below for information on the book, buy links, a couple of exclusive teasers, and the book’s trailer.

TRUST by Kylie Scott

TRUST by Kylie Scott

About the Book
Title: TRUST
Author: Kylie Scott
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | iBooks AU | Kobo

Synopsis
Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen year old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other..

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TRUST Teaser 1

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Trailer

TRUST by Kylie Scott (Official Book Trailer) from FILM 14 on Vimeo.

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TRUST Teaser 2

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Author Kylie Scott

Author Kylie Scott

About the Author
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

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Where to Find Kylie Scott
Goodreads | Website |  Facebook | Fan PageTwitter | Instagram
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