Welcome to the book blitz for DARK BLUE WAVES, a standalone adult historical time travel romance by Kimberly Sullivan. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99.
Synopsis When you wake up in Bath, England two hundred years in the past, how far can a love of Jane Austen get you?
Janet Roberts dreams of an academic career in literature, so she can hardly believe her good fortune when she’s accepted into a Jane Austen graduate seminar in Bath, England. Settled in Georgian splendor among her seminar colleagues, Janet and her classmates live, eat and breathe Jane Austen.
An accident interrupts this idyll when Janet regains consciousness in her own room—back in Regency England. For a scholar of nineteenth-century literature, this should be a dream come true.
But Janet quickly learns there’s a world of difference between scholarly knowledge of the written page and maneuvering real life as a reluctant time traveler.
Her burgeoning friendship with Emma Huntington eases her entrée into nineteenth-century society. However, Emma’s brother, the handsome, proud and frustratingly magnetic Sir Edward, is far less welcoming.
While desperately attempting to make sense of her dilemma, Janet treads a thin line between trying to blend into her new world and not being unmasked as the imposter she is. Can she discover the way to return to her twenty-first century life? After working so hard to create a rewarding nineteenth-century life for herself and opening her hart to friendship and love, does she even want to?
Excerpt #2 In her room, Janet sat at the window seat, watching the people wandering the narrow streets of Bath. She read a few pages of her book before giving in to her exhaustion and crawling into bed. After setting the alarm, she drifted off to a troubled sleep.
A piano played in the distance. Mozart. Voi che sapete. Janet struggled to breathe. Something constricted her chest and waist, yet her feet still carried her forward at a brisk pace, through candle-filled hallways she didn’t recognize. Full-length portraits lined the walls. Thick velvet brushed against her legs as she walked.
An inexplicable sense of relief washed over her when she reached a room. Her hand clasped the doorknob and turned. She slipped inside, closing the door behind her.
Darkness enveloped her. Her heartbeat slowed as she looked up to something familiar. Individual, disjointed images captured her gaze. A billowing pink cloth. An alabaster face, slightly turned. Arms reaching up to the sky. A splattering of green. These flashes seemed to calm her, but she struggled in vain to see the single parts in their entirety.
A movement under the soothing images caught her attention. A chair was positioned before a fireplace. Someone stood. A man, his back toward her. He was tall, dressed in fine, old-fashioned clothes. There was something so familiar about him. Now he was turning and taking long strides across the room to where she stood. Her heart beat faster.
Janet tried in vain to make out his features but quickly gave up. It was as if she were glimpsing him through a fog. She longed to retreat, but her feet remained firmly rooted in place as his confident gait narrowed the distance between them.
Although he was mere inches from her, she could still not distinguish the features of his face. Only the depths of his blue eyes were distinct. As she gazed into them, she felt an unfamiliar fluttering in her stomach. The man slipped a book into her hand. She opened to see shadow words scrawled in thick, black ink. Squinting did not help bring them into focus. He began to speak. She watched his lips move. She heard his voice as if she were under water, not comprehending the individual words. Oddly soothing, but indecipherable.
He reached up and stroked her face before enveloping her in an embrace. Who was this stranger who was overly familiar with her? She knew she should scream and flee, but her thoughts did not control her body. Her legs made no attempt to move from this unknown man.
Inexplicably, she felt safe in his arms, with his heart beating solidly beside hers. Now he was pulling back, stroking her hair, searching her face.
Janet still only saw the shadow version of him, soft and out of focus. She gave up trying to reconstruct his face. His gaze mesmerized her. It seemed so familiar, made her knees feel weak. Those piercing blue eyes kept coming closer and closer to her own face until firm lips brushed against her own. A warmth spread throughout her body. High-pitched yells rang out. Her knees buckled.
A burst of pain exploded at her temple, and she woke with a panicked start. Her eyes flickered around the room in confusion. Deep breaths.
It was nothing. Her hotel room in Bath. A dream. Only a dream.
As her heartbeat slowed and her breathing calmed, she realized it was most likely the jet lag or all the silly talk of romantic literature. Her head throbbed. Willing the pain to stop, she closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep.
Author Kimberly Sullivan
About the Author Kimberly grew up in the suburbs of Boston and in Saratoga Springs, New York, although she now calls the Harlem neighborhood of New York City home when she’s back in the US. She studied political science and history at Cornell University and earned her MBA, with a concentration in strategy and marketing, from Bocconi University in Milan.
Afflicted with a severe case of Wanderlust, she worked in journalism and government in the US, Czech Republic and Austria, before settling down in Rome, where she works in international development, and writes fiction any chance she gets.
She is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) and The Historical Novel Society and has published several short stories and two novels: Three Coins and Dark Blue Waves.
After years spent living in Italy with her Italian husband and sons, she’s fluent in speaking with her hands, and she loves setting her stories in her beautiful, adoptive country.
Welcome to the book blitz for LOVE, NOT WAR, a charity anthology for Ukraine by various authors. See below for information on the book, a collection of adult romances in a variety of sub genres, buy links, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
LOVE, NOT WAR- A Charity Anthology for Ukraine by Various Authors
Synopsis LOVE, NOT WAR — A charity Anthology for the Ukraine Crisis Fund
17 authors have come together to write 16 different romance stories of all sub-genres and tropes.
LOVE, NOT WAR releases 05.24.22
All proceeds will go to benefit affected communities in Ukraine, with a focus on the most vulnerable, including children, who need access to food, medical services, and psychosocial support. It also supports humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled.
EMERY LEEANN & ELIZABETH ST. JOHN
SARA A. MOSIER
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Julia Kent is unveiling the cover to LOVE YOU AGAIN, the second book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Love You, Maine, releasing July 19, 2022. See below for the cover, information on the book and series, pre-order links, an exclusive excerpt, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
LOVE YOU AGAIN (Love You, Maine Series #2) by Julia Kent
Synopsis Set in the woodsy small town of Luview, “Love You,” Maine – a tourist favorite where every day is Valentine’s Day – local police officer and single dad Luke Luview has spent the last two years making his young daughter his priority after his wife’s death. When first-love Kylie Hood comes back into town under bizarre circumstances, he learns that nothing’s a coincidence – and maybe second chances are possible after all.
If you’re looking for a fun read about first kisses, second chances, featuring a hot single dad small town police officer and his accidental nanny, set in a small town in New England, with a golden retriever named Jester, a heroine whose dream in life is to run a fairy camp, and a hero who wants to build a place where everyone belongs – then this is your book.
Grab a cup of coffee, tea, and maybe some edible glitter, and get your happy meter ready as you read the second book in the Love You, Maine series – where love isn’t just a feeling – it’s a way of life.
✓Small town romance
✓Local police officer and his last-minute nanny
…and a Golden Retriever named Jester
Excerpt: A white puff of air filled the space between him and the steering wheel, and he realized he’d sighed. How long had he been sitting here, mind and memory in the past? Shoving his hands into gloves, he opened the rear door, grabbed the white plastic bag, and made his way to the front of the bin.
Determined, focused, and grim: That was Luke Luview these days. A bad match for a town that existed to make people feel good about love.
Living in Love You, Maine–heck, being a Luview–was never harder than when you had a broken heart.
Time to let go of some of the pain.
“AAAAAAooooooooo,” called out a band of coyotes in the distance, making Luke jolt. His personal weapon was at home. He didn’t carry it in the glove compartment or on his body when he was off duty, but as the coyote population grew in the area, maybe he should.
A few feet from the donation bin’s front, he looked at the lever to pull down, squeezing the bag slightly. A whiff of Amber’s perfume caught his nose, so faint he almost imagined it.
Colleen had washed all the clothes a few weeks ago, so he knew he imagined Amber’s scent. Didn’t matter. He’d take the illusion. That was how much he hurt.
A skitter inside the box made him frown.
Damn animals. They got in those bins all the time. He felt sorry for the poor sap who emptied these metal boxes, carting all the goods to the warehouse in Manchester where they cleaned and sorted, getting it all ready for the second-hand retail stores.
Just do this, he thought, swallowing hard as the coyotes mated in the distance. The sound was violent and creepy, but for whatever reason, it felt fitting.
Throwing the tangible reminders of that terrible day into the donation box felt dangerous, too.
“I love you, Amber,” he murmured. “But I have to let you go. Have to let that day go. Harriet needs a daddy who isn’t tied down by grief. Just because I’m doing this doesn’t mean I love you any less, though.”
Tears pricked his eyes. “Why is this so hard? Because it’s hard,” he said with a huff. “That’s what you would say if you were here. You’d hug me and comfort me and tell me feelings are meant to be felt or they’d be called something else. You’d have all the right words. I don’t have any. I just have a big hole in my life, Amber. And you’re never going to fill it. Colleen says I can’t feel guilty for moving on. I don’t. But I sure do feel weird.”
And then he reached for the handle, pulled it down, and threw the bag in while calling out loudly, “I love you.”
To his utter shock, she replied from the darkness of the box, “I’m in here!”
About the Author New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge, and new adult books that push contemporary boundaries. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.
Welcome to the book blitz for RIVER OF ASHES, the first book in the adult psychological thriller series, Saint Benedict, by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor, releasing August 2, 2022. See below for information on the book, preorder links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
RIVER OF ASHES (Saint Benedict Series #1) by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
Synopsis “A psychological portrait akin to Lord of the Flies.” ~Midwest Book Review
SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET. SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.
ALONG THE BANKS OF THE BOGUE FALAYA RIVER, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.
And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.
The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Star quarterback. Handsome. Charming. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.
He is also a psychopath.
A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the haunted abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.
As the victim toll mounts, it becomes clear that someone must stop Beau Devereaux.
And that someone will pay with their life.
Excerpt #1 A howl came from the direction of The Abbey.
Andrea leaned away from him, listening. “What’s that?”
Beau nuzzled her neck. “Wild dogs. They live on The Abbey grounds. There’s a couple of legends about them.”
“What legends?” She stepped out of his embrace.
He watched her hips beneath her coat. “They say the dogs stay around The Abbey waiting for the lady in white. She was a gamekeeper for the seminary school and a lover of one of the monks. She died on the grounds, betrayed by the man she loved. Her dogs were kept to manage the varmint population. The wild dogs are said to be their offspring.”
Beau slipped the coat from her shoulders. “The gamekeeper was found hanging from a tree in a white hooded cloak. It was all kept very hush-hush at the time. After the woman’s death, the dogs roamed the grounds and lived off the land. They’re said to only appear when death is near.”
Beau looked at Andrea to see if she was sufficiently unnerved.
“That’s just creepy.” She glanced at his hands as he tugged at her jeans. “But a guy who brings girls to these abandoned cells is into creepy.”
He liked the image the cells portrayed. It was his laboratory, like he’d read about in Frankenstein, where he could experiment and create his own monsters.
Author Alexandrea Weis
About the Author Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes mystery, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.
About the Author Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.
He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.
Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.
One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird).
Welcome to the book blitz for THE LOVE LIST, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Hilton Head Island, by USA Today bestselling author, Elana Johnson. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE LOVE LIST (Hilton Head Island Series #1) by Elana Johnson
Synopsis Beatrice Callahan loves lists. Sometimes she even makes a to-do list of things she’s already done, just to go check, check, check and feel accomplished. So it’s easy to understand why, when her divorce is finally final and her ex is all moved out, Bea takes a cool, close look at her life…and makes a list.
It’s not exactly a bucket list.
It’s a love list.
Bea loves the outdoors, so she puts visit 10 National Parks on the list.
She loves animals, and on goes get a puppy.
She loves the beach, and she adds take a dream vacation to the list, and decides to do that one first. After all she’s been through and all she’s lost, she needs time to relax, rest, and reset.
On the first day she arrives in Hilton Head Island, she meets Grant Turner, the man whose house she’s renting for her fabulous beach vacation. He’s just there to make sure she settles in properly and has enough towels.
But when Bea asks for recommendations around the island, Grant quickly becomes her tour guide and then a friend and then…more than friends.
Bea turns to her lists when things get confusing and her love list morphs once again… Can she add fall in love at age 45 to the list and check it off?
Excerpt #2 The front door opened as she stood from the couch. Grant poked his head into the house. “Bea? Oh, there you are.”
“Come in,” she said.
He did, his frown appearing and deepening as he did. “You’re right. The air’s off in here.”
“Yeah.” She ran her hands through her hair, getting a momentary shock over its length. The style was still so new, she’d forgotten she didn’t have any hair to push back. Having Grant in the house brought a new kind of electricity she didn’t quite know how to hold. One couldn’t contain such a strong current anyway, but Bea really wanted to try.
Let him handle the air conditioner first, she told herself as he went through the house and out the back door. She followed him at a safe distance, still getting plenty of musky, male notes of his cologne.
Bea honestly felt like a twenty-year-old meeting the man of her dreams for the first time. The racing pulse, the nervousness in her chest that reached up and clouded her thoughts. Her life had been a whirlwind of fun when she’d first started dating Nort. New places, different friends, a world of possibilities opening before her.
She felt the exact same way now, after a couple of decades of normalcy, with predictable—code for boring—days, generic conversations, and stale kisses. Her children had brought a new challenge every single day, but her romantic relationship had chilled quietly on the back shelf while the kids grew and then moved on.
She hadn’t realized Nort had done the same, and she wondered as she watched Grant kneel in front of the air compressor at the back of the house if anything would’ve been different if she had paid attention to how unromantic their relationship had become.
Maybe he wouldn’t have cheated on you with his secretary, she thought. The oldest situation in all the books and movies she’d watched her whole life had happened to her. She’d never given any thought to how the women in those fictional stories must’ve felt—until she had to deal with the crushing reality herself.
And crush it did. Hopes, dreams, plans, lists.
But she had a new list now, and while she’d only been on Hilton Head Island for just over a day, she felt wildly behind in accomplishing the items her friends had starred for her.
Visit the beach and listen to the ocean.
Fly a kite you don’t think you can control.
She’d listened to the ocean this morning, and the waves whispered things like, Choose to be happy, and Let yourself breathe again.
Not only that, but she sure had felt like she could fall in love again that morning, with the sunshine bathing her and her thoughts rumbling around how to text Grant and get another meal with him.
Author Elana Johnson
About the Author USA Today bestseller Elana Johnson writes adult contemporary beach romance. She is the author of over 130 books across two names, and there’s nothing better than sun, sand, and swoon-worthy kisses! Unless it’s a sweet-and-sexy cowboy – read those under her pen name of Liz Isaacson. Learn more about her sweet beach romances at www.elanajohnson.com. Join her texting group by sending the word SAND to 474747 and get exclusive sales, freebies, and more.
Welcome to the book blitz for SHADOWED HORIZONS, the first book in the adult paranormal horror series, The Guardians, by Reily Garrett. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SHADOWED HORIZONS (The Guardians Series #1) by Reily Garrett
Synopsis Fate can have many paths. Which would you choose?
Kiera’s capacity to face death stems from training, begun when old enough to wield a knife. Befriended by wolves and raised by a group of psychic men sworn to protect humanity, she now faces mercenaries intent on reshaping the world using equal talents.
Prodigious keyboard skills and innate curiosity has led Wyatt McGlauklin to invent the unimaginable. He’s long since claimed status as the top computer science geek. Little do people know, there’s much more to Wyatt.
When a blonde spitfire steps out of nowhere to prevent his assassination, his life’s direction takes an extraordinary turn where his analytical mind can’t validate paranormal phenomena.
Fate decrees Kiera find her life partner, but she learns you don’t always get to choose whom you love. Wyatt’s arrival challenges destiny as they combine forces to preserve the world as they know it.
A must-read for fans of for fans of CM Sutter, Dale Mayer, Dean Koontz, LT Ryan, and Fiona Quinn.
Excerpt #1 Each flip of the key ring around his index finger tallied another reason to quit the world of high stake’s business. Work stemming from a far-fetched theory had taken form and flourished beyond his imagination.
Unlike the soundless steps of his bodyguard’s booted strides, Wyatt’s tennis shoes pealed squishy squeaks through the dimly lit parking garage.
“Adam, this does not make my list of top favorite places to visit. Next time I help an old college friend, maybe we could pick a drier day and find parking other than a creepy garage?”
A rat skittered across the floor in the shadows, its gimlet-eyed stare marking the intruders’ positions. Air redolent of filth, gas, and pizza from a nearby restaurant clogged Wyatt’s sinuses, reminiscent of the alley apartment occupied during college. Since those lean years, digital fluency and hard work had jettisoned him to the top of his field.
The clash of artificial dingy light and murky silhouettes added an ominous, prophetic feeling he couldn’t shake. Water stains mingled with shapeless apparitions to create fleeting two-dimensional monsters between vehicles, ready to attack unwary travelers.
He was not a fan of inkblot tests.
I haven’t been spooked like this in years.
Adam shrugged. “As far as security is concerned, it’s not an ideal location since the street side is open, but it is the closest available. Roadside parking leaves you too vulnerable. As much as you cherish you privacy, I’m surprised you offered to help him. Why couldn’t you do it over the net?”
“Hardware issues require hands-on assistance. He’s my ex-roommate. I felt sorry for him. Modern advances in technology left him in the dust.”
“Next time, suggest a meeting during daylight hours and a place of our choosing?”
Adam narrowed his eyes and tilted his head as if listening to a far-off sound. The combination spelled trouble. His steps slowed and adopted a deliberate edge even as his shoulders tightened in preparation to strike.
“A graveyard walk would be less creepy, and a proctologist’s exam more fun.” Sweat beaded Wyatt’s forehead despite the cool spring breeze drifting over the graffiti-covered knee wall.
“This place feels off to me. Let’s get the hell out of here—” Adam stopped, holding out his right arm to halt their progress.
Wyatt’s slip on a crudely patched piece of concrete necessitated his bodyguard’s steadying hand. Dirt and loose crumbles skittered underfoot, their audio report echoing off the walls.
“Watch your step, boss. No need to broadcast our location.”
“You know,” Wyatt muttered. “People think of me as a good analytical, concrete thinker. I guess whatever higher power gifted me with intuitive abilities for logistics and computers exacted a mental tariff—common sense.” His penchant for talking when nervous filled the quiet atmosphere.
“My instincts say trouble’s GPS has locked on. Stay close.”
The soft glide of his bodyguard’s gun from his shoulder rig compelled Wyatt to suck in chilled air that seared his lungs. Each step forward carried the expectation of death.
“Intuition is your best survival tool and seldom wrong. For an athletic geek, yours is pretty good.”
Wyatt didn’t argue the conciliatory assessment. Routine sparring with Adam revealed the bodyguard had reflexes that boggled the mind.
Sudden sharp beeps shattered the silence. A sequence of long and short chirps denoting binary code identified Wyatt’s caller. His heart rate shot into overdrive. Hair on his nape prickled as he fumbled the device. Swiping to ignore didn’t recall the audible beacon.
Massive pillars supported the five-story concrete structure that supplied parking space for the attached office building. Rounding one to his left, Wyatt stumbled as Adam snatched him sideways.
The colossal brute they almost bounced off had detached from the shadows with a stealth befitting a sixteenth century ninja. Colossal mass defied speed but personified malice with a savage gaze and gap-toothed smile.
“Jesus!” Wyatt’s split-second observation induced a rush of adrenaline with the hand holding his cell thrusting forward in self-protection. “Damn. You’re big.”
Deep chuckling inspired images of the worst villains in horror movies.\
Brown hair pulled back in a ponytail swept the shoulder of the man bearing a gold tooth. A ridge of pitted, tanned skin separated the straight bushy unibrow deepening with a tilt of his head. Dark eyes retained terrible knowledge embracing and calculating endless methods for the most efficient kill.
After flicking a glance over the bodyguard in silent disregard, the brute’s appraisal raked Wyatt’s body head to toe. Thin lips widened in obvious glee.
“Time to meet your maker, prodigy.” He mimicked Wyatt’s sidestep in a lightning-fast move and knocked Adam’s gun from his hand. The pistol ricocheted under a nearby Toyota producing multiple tin-like clinks.
Time shattered into bits and pieces where each fractured instant unfurled another fragment of the ominous scene. Wyatt’s thoughts stuttered on a long blink.
Author Reily Garrett
About the Author Reily Garrett is a writer, mother, and companion to three long coat German shepherds. When not working with her dogs, she’s sitting at her desk with her fur kids by her side.
Author of chilling suspense and snarky romance, her stories span the distance of romantic thrillers, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. Regardless of genre, each book delves into a dark and twisted imagination yet is tempered with romance and a touch of humor.
Reviews by Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Bay Review, and BestThrillers.com best describe her work:
“This could be James Patterson, Lee Child, and Tess Gerritsen rolled into one, but the dark, twisted methods used by the serial killer could surprise even those readers…” – San Francisco Bay Review
Welcome to the blog tour for CURIOUS OBSESSION, a standalone adult contemporary romance by Elora Ramirez. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
Synopsis One moment Juniper Reese existed, and the next she vanished into thin air.
This is how it feels for Lavender, her twin, when she receives the call that Juniper didn’t show up to her job one morning. Still adjusting to Juniper’s cross-country move to run from the ghosts of their mother’s death, Lavender knows something is wrong — but she also knows her sister is still alive.
As she follows Juniper’s footsteps in an unfamiliar town, she begins to uncover a plot that seems to suggest her sister was being stalked before her disappearance. Now it’s on her to find Juniper before time runs out and convince those around her that her disappearance wasn’t an attempt to “get away.”
What she doesn’t know is that she’s being watched by someone who just realized perfection came twice. He begins to hone in on Lavender, his attention never satisfied until he can have them both for himself.
Will Lavender be able to find her sister before time runs out? Or will she be the next target in an obsession gone wrong?
Excerpt #2 My brain tries to grasp at the clues that we do have and nothing happens — just a blank space where the answers should be. I feel an exhaustion settle in my bones and find myself collapsing into one of the desks, resting my head on my arm.
No one warns you about the crazy-making urgency of looking for a loved one who has disappeared. It’s only been a few days and still I am convinced Juniper will walk around the corner any moment, frustrated that we’re in her space and questioning why we’re freaking out about her brief vacation.
“I told you I was leaving.” She would look at me in that way of hers, where suddenly I wonder if we really did share the same space — the same everything — for nearly 22 years.
“Oh.” I would remember a conversation with clarity and then flush with embarrassment. “You’re right. I forgot.” I’d wave my hand, a can you believe me? type of gesture, and laugh it off.
That’s just a twisted sort of fantasy though, a way my heart is handling this separation that feels more like an amputation. A make-believe world filled with stories of pretend. I don’t know how to exist in this world without my sister taking up space next to me, and so I am creating one where she is still here. Still present. Still bossing the hell out of everyone around her and making me feel less like her identical twin and more like the forgotten and annoying little sister.
I rest my hands on my hips and roll my shoulders, feeling the knots constrict and separate. My stomach growls, a low murmur that grows exponentially. I grimace, realizing I haven’t had anything to eat since the banana I grabbed from my kitchen yesterday afternoon.
I open my eyes and notice Jasper watching me from his perch against one of the desks.
I blush a little, embarrassed by his concern.
“I’m fine. Don’t you have classes or something?”
“I took a long weekend to prep for the gala. It was an agreement between Juniper and me. I would take today off and then she would take next Monday off to wrap everything up.”
“Oh. Is it really that big of a deal?”
He laughs and rolls his eyes. “Like you wouldn’t believe. Think prom times ten.”
“Yeah.” He rubs his face. “There’s way too much money floating around here.”
He pushes off the desk and stretches his arms above his head, his shirt lifting just enough for me to get a peek of his stomach. I bounce my eyes away quickly.
“I don’t think I’ve eaten in over 24 hours,” I respond. I’m running my fingernail against a notch in the desk, avoiding looking in his direction. The air seems to have shifted in the last few minutes, and I can’t place it. It’s not attraction. I don’t even know this person. Maybe it’s just chemistry. But whatever it is, I’m not doing it. I shut down, waiting for him to leave.
“I was planning on grabbing some Mediterranean for lunch if you want to join. There’s a decent place off Thayer St.” He shrugs and keeps his face nonchalant.
I think for a moment.
“Yeah. Yeah food sounds amazing, actually. Do you mind driving?”
We make our way down the hall, and I tell myself it’s just lunch — it’s nothing — it doesn’t have to be something because he’s a guy and I’m a girl and we’re going somewhere. I twirl my keys, trying to find something casual to talk about, when I feel like someone is watching us. I turn around suddenly, expecting to see someone following behind, but I only catch a brief shadow disappear around the corner by Juniper’s door. I frown, craning my neck to see if I can catch any other movement.
“Everything okay?” Jasper’s voice cuts through the silence and I can feel his breath on the back of my neck. I didn’t realize he was so close and I jump.
So much for casual.
“Sorry,” he says, stepping back.
“No. It’s fine. I’m just…I thought I saw something. It’s nothing.”
But it’s not nothing. I know it like I know the hairs still standing at attention on my neck and the way my insides bounce against each other, threatening a gag reflex. I try to stay calm and keep my hands from shaking, but it doesn’t work. My nails leave indentations against the palms of my hands and I can feel a sheen of sweat gathering on my upper lip. I glance behind me again as we walk through the door outside, but there’s nothing to prove what I know.
Someone is watching us.
I just wish I knew who.
Author Elora Ramirez
About the Author Elora Ramirez has always been a word girl.
It started when she was four, when she taught herself how to read and write as a way to entertain herself while her grandmother kicked and danced in aerobics class. She cut her teeth on books from Dr. Seuss and writing anywhere she could find the space — including her Fischer Price kitchenette, the pages of picture books, and Highlights Magazines.
She’s matured a bit since then, now choosing to write in the margins of her books and on the mirrors of her bathroom ideas and thoughts surrounding story and what makes us human. By day she leads a team at a tech company, waking up before the sun rises to get in her love for words before stepping into her role of helping others see the plot line of their own story under development.
Intuition and beauty get her through the day, as well as her chef-husband and their little lion son. Curious Obsession is her fourth novel.
Welcome to the blog tour for OATH BREAKER, the first book in the adult paranormal romance series, The Angel of Death & Demons, by River Starr. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
OATH BREAKER (Angel of Death and Demons Series #1) by River Starr
Synopsis No one survives their meeting with the Angel of Death—except for me.
After being accused of rallying citizens to revolt against him and breaking the rules of engagement with demons to save my best friend—guilty as charged on both accounts—the Angel of Death demands to personally oversee my sentencing in his obsidian castle of demons and death.
I’m done for. This is the end. But my death won’t be in vain—I’ll die a martyr to the Paladins Order’s cause, and I’ll rescue my best friend at the same time. She’ll be safe and the paladins will pick a new leader. They’ll thrive and continue the fight.
Or so I think. When judgment day arrives and I’m knelt before the Angel of Death, with his onyx eyes, his ebony hair, and his seductively imposing stature, my soul doesn’t leave me.
Because when I dare to look the Angel of Death in the eyes, everything changes. And what unfolds in my anger and vengeance’s stead is a thread of events I never could have foreseen.
I survived my meeting with the Angel of Death. But can I survive his love?
OATH-BREAKER is the first of a M/F paranormal demon romance duology full of steamy goodness.
Excerpt #2 The Angel of Death chuckled. He actually chuckled. “Your previous leader was weak and died to demons along Alastia’s border before I had a chance get there. To accuse me of murdering not only the leader of the Paladins Order but, in doing so, also destroying the precarious truce between our people, is perhaps not the smartest move while you and your people are within my grasp.”
My blood boiled. Screw playing nice. I wished Jessa weren’t in the room. But I also knew that my pain right now—emotional though it was—would feed her power enough to help me fight if one broke out.
I glanced up to meet the Angel of Death’s stare. “Merek was not weak—”
I froze as our eyes met. It was like someone or something had punched me right in the gut. My breath hitched. My heart stopped. For a moment, it even felt as though time had, too.
The Angel of Death was breathtaking. Gorgeous. And it wasn’t just his fathomless onyx eyes and tussled ebony hair, although those had drawn me in first. It wasn’t the hard cut of his jaw or his statuesque features. Not even the faint scar along his chin that brought questions to my mind. No. None of those things were anything in comparison to the aura around him—power, position. Nor even his scent—earthy and smoky—that slammed into me a moment later. It also wasn’t the way his eyes widened a fraction the longer this moment drew on, as if he had realized it, too, now that our eyes had met.
They say that when you meet the love of your life, you just know. That that was how it also worked with your fated mate.
Now looking the Angel of Death in the eyes, not only seeing him for the first time, but feeling the weight of his presence and power, I knew what I’d always assumed to be true: Fate had never been on my side, and She was not funny.
Merek had been my mate. I’d known it the first moment we’d met. We’d clicked immediately and loved fiercely until the night of his death.
And here I was, staring down the Angel of Death, the demon king of this city, begging for him to let Jessa go, and realizing that he, too, was somehow my mate.
My fated mate. A stronger pull. An impossibly powerful connection.
The recognition was instantaneous. The bond as powerful as the sun.
I’d heard you could have more than one mate. I’d even known a few paladins in the Order whom it had happened to.
But this—now, after Merek’s death—was too much to process. This aura flitting between us was stronger than anything I’d ever felt in my entire life.
The Angel of Death growled, his lips curling. I stood straight and met his anger with my own, my fists curled and ready to attack, clunky as it might be with my wrists bound as they were. It wouldn’t be graceful, but I wasn’t going down without a fight.
“I’m glad I’m not the only one pissed about this,” I said as I drew up my bound fists. I refused to believe fate had given me another mate—especially one responsible for killing my first.
Before the Angel of Death or any of his soldiers could react, I swung wide at his face.
Author River Starr
About the Author River Starr writes books that help you escape, especially fantasy romance full of magic and supernaturals. Favorite things: coffee, wine, chocolate, and a heavy dose of books to chase away the dark… or invite delicious darkness in.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE OMEN OF CROWS NEST, a standalone young adult fantasy by Cathrina Constantine. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
That’s what the police found after Penelope spun her bizarre tale. In a hysterical state, she said her father was butchered and eaten by a mob of birds ~ in her bedroom.
They claim she’s crazy.
That she suffers from delusions.
Penelope is dead set on proving them wrong.
After being institutionalized for eight months, Penelope is out and more determined than ever to find answers to her so-called hallucinations. With her father’s untimely disappearance, she’s convinced her family is hiding something sinister.
THE OMEN OF CROWS NEST is the latest masterpiece by the award-winning author Cathrina Constantine, and is sure to leave fans of fantasy gasping!
Excerpt #2 I returned to Crows Nest searching for hope, only to find ghosts.
Gone for eight months, give or take a few weeks, there had been a drastic change in the house. Perhaps, I’d overlooked the turrets I once imagined as a stairway to Heaven were scarred— like me. Cylinder peaks somewhat askew and shingles hanging in disarray correlated with my life thus far.
Some things remained the same. The worn exterior didn’t discourage flocks of birds to hover above and roost on the turrets and power lines.
Dad declared he was the cornerstone of the household, but we all knew it was Gramma. When her fancy tickled her, she told us myths and legends whence our house got its name because crows infested the land. Circling crows, like today, was an omen of death. I shivered. Heedful of that premonition all too well.
“Crows are inherently clever, intelligent,” Gramma would say, “Pay attention, they bring messages. They’re a symbol of magic, mystery, and destiny.” Her fowl wisdom had been indoctrinated in me since I toddled around the Nest.
What message are they bringing today? Welcoming or cautioning?
I should’ve carried a machete to cleave through the scrub, yellowing stalks. Snaking ivy coiled the pillars and canopied the second story balcony, which precariously bowed. On the long drive, Dean had informed me that the unforgiving winter had taken a toll.
My boots crunched on mulch and brittle leaves as I stepped onto the wraparound porch. It had been my responsibility to sweep it, a chore that should have been handed down to my younger siblings. The ornate beveled picture window was cracked. Something had smashed into it, creating jagged veins in the glass.
Planting indecisive legs at the front door, my toes grew into unyielding roots, wrestling into the tongue and groove boards. Heartier roots to replenish those that had been trimmed, uprooted, and torn to shreds.
Will my brother and sister despise me? Considering all those weeks before I was sent away, they’d never given me any reason to doubt their trust or their love. Nevertheless, in all these months, I seldom saw them. Gramma could have brainwashed them against me. She maintained that kind of authority.
I stared at the tarnished door knocker. Still scary and still life-like. A crow’s head with a gaping beak. Emotionally fraught, I turned, searching for Dean. He was body-deep in the trunk of the car grappling with my baggage.
“Need help?” I asked, voice squeaky.
He peeked his head around the car. His expressive, honey-amber eyes flashed as he flicked his arm, a signal to go in. Many nights I’d dreamt of him and those eyes. It shouldn’t be this hard. I veered to the door and thought, I’m home.
Author Cathrina Constantine
About the Author I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.
I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I’m devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.
I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.
Welcome to the book blitz for CHASE HER, the third book in the adult contemporary romantic suspense series, Come for Me, by Kelly Finley. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Famous. Imposing. Mysterious. Daniel Pierce hides so much behind his A-list celebrity fame. Has that secret and that fame cost him the love of his life? The most incredible woman he’d ever met?
A force to be reckoned with, Charlie Ravenel was never supposed to fall in love with him—the one man she shouldn’t. While she followed no man’s rules, he convinced her to follow her heart. And him. Together they found a life of such promise, such passion… but also grave threats.
Did he commit the worst sin? Doubting her strength, her mission and her darkest fear? He loves her so much, he will chase that answer to the very end. Because their love was destined; a fierce desire they couldn’t resist.
And now the consequence, the collision of every force. A perfect storm. Of secrets revealed. Of pasts returned. Of the question everyone dares to ask…
Does love survive… even past our last breath?
CHASE HER, Book Three in the COME FOR ME series is a thrilling, steamy, romantic suspense novel that takes you to the very edge.
*This book is not for the fainthearted. This deep romance explores the dark theme of stalking.
Excerpt He scooped her into his embrace on the gym floor. “I’d ask you what’s wrong”—he wrapped his hand over her sweaty belly—“but I know.”
With every week of her possessed workouts, the swell had disappeared to her strong abs showing back through. But Daniel knew—this wasn’t about weight or vanity. Not his wife. She had none.
This was about the shooter.
For two months, Daniel had watched her. How, if she wasn’t smiling at the twins, she was lost in thought. What was she plotting? It concerned him.
She wrapped her arms around his neck. “I’ll be okay.”
He didn’t believe her. “I know what’s driving you, but you’ve got to pace yourself. If you don’t, you’ll tear something, and then we’re fucked. The last place we want to be now is in hospital, not with this virus out there.”
The baby monitor he set on the bench cried out. He glanced at it. Caroline stirred. Of course she was awake again.
“I’ll get her.” She pecked his cheek. “You get your workout in.” She stood up from his arms.
“Fran’s got them.” He grabbed her hand gently. “Stay with me, just for a minute.”
He stood up, watching the monitor while he nestled her against his chest. Fran appeared on the screen in front of the cot, softly shushing Caroline back to sleep.
Thank God for that sweet woman. Fran gave them the breaks they needed. Charlie had protested at hiring a nanny, but he searched anyway and she was glad he did.
He called Fran for a phone interview from the hospital. She was perfect, from London, ending a job in Nashville with celebrity musicians whose teens no longer needed her. She had the experience and fifty-two years of wisdom.
Once Daniel explained to Fran the situation, fully disclosing the risk, she didn’t hesitate. She met them at the dock in Bluffton for the trip out to Daufuskie Island and hadn’t left since.
“See.” He nodded toward the monitor. “She’s got them.”
Charlie’s body relaxed against his, and a need, a tension started stirring within.
She had welcomed his hugs, his kisses, but that was all. He tried a few times after the six weeks they were told to wait. Fuck, he was desperate for her. But each time, Charlie gently removed his hand from between her thighs. Now, he didn’t even try, digging deep for patience instead. It was hard.
His cock didn’t receive the patient message, tenting his thin black gym shorts with a stiffy.
“I feel you, Sex God,” she murmured against his chest.
His hand pressed down to the small of her bare back. “I feel you too, Sex Goddess.” Her workout clothes always turned him on. Hell, she could wear a Hessian sack and make him horny as hell.
“I’m not ready yet.”
“Your patient husband knows that, but his lonely cock doesn’t.”
“Should I leave you here for a workout and to rub one off?”\
“Only if you watch me… and you do the same.”
“You little shit.” She pulled back with a sly smile. “You tryin’ to tempt me?”
“I’ve got to. I know you’re not ready, babe, but I’m going to break my dick off wanking without you.” He meant it. It had been months, a lonely hell.
She sighed, eyes half-rolling. “I’m not trying to starve you. I know we can now, but I don’t feel like myself.” Pulling her body away. “I don’t know how ‘mom’, ‘wife’ and ‘Charlie’ come together now. It’s fucking weird. It’s like I’m out of my body and need to get back in it, but I don’t recognize it. And now… I’ve got this.”
Her gesture took his gaze, only turning him on more. Staring down at the pussy he missed, knowing its hidden beauty, he didn’t give a damn about a Cesarean scar, even though he hadn’t seen it yet.
“Good God, babe, you’re even more beautiful to me now.” His hand smoothed over her hourglass waist. “All I do is admire you and want you but you’ve been hiding from me for months.”
His finger lifted her chin, asking her eyes to meet his. “Let me at least hold you, in the shower, in our bed, with nothing on.” He kissed her lips, aware how his new beard tickled them, dusting over their sexy slope, confessing, “I miss us.”
They needed this. It was their connection, their love. The instant they met, the urge for the other was so powerful it overwhelmed their senses. The greatest desire thrilled his flesh from the moment he touched Charlie.
And he’d almost lost her.
He needed to cherish every inch of her, lavishing her with tender touches, fucking her so hard. He had no choice; he had to show her how much he loved her and would until his dying day.
“Even if we tried that, just being naked,” she said. “I won’t be able to relax. I don’t think I’ll have an orgasm again in this house, not with the twins and Fran down the hall.”
“Fran’s not uptight. Have you heard her talk? She’s an old-school feminist. I assure you when her wife can travel here from London, we will hear them down the hall.”
“Okay, fine. But what about the twins? Between Caroline, who never sleeps, and Duke, who demands my attention when he’s awake, I don’t get a second to relax unless I’m in the gym.” Her hand caressed his hard bicep. “It’s not fair between men and women. Your cock is a hot light switch, but my vag is a cold oven, it’s gotta warm up, and it can’t with all this baby stuff going on.”
That amused him. And challenged him. “Give me a chance, babe.” His lips climbed up her neck while he murmured, “You always switch my cock on, and you know I can melt you into the wettest heat you’ve ever dripped.”
He took gentle bites before she snapped her neck closed. “Fuck, your beard tickles.”
Nuzzling into her, he made her squeal, squirming from his snatching embrace—a futile effort. He wouldn’t let her go.
“Quit it.” Her eyes twinkled. “Or I’ll tie you down and shave that thing off.”
He ceased the tickle, but not his smile. Fuck’s sake, he loved her like this. Laughing. Playful. Warming up to him, he could tell, her nipples pebbled under her sports bra.
His dirty mind devised a plan; his hard cock signed off on it. “I’m getting us an afternoon, alone, in the house for a few hours. We’ll just shower and cuddle, I promise.”
“How do you propose to do that?”
“Those two cherubs have grandparents on this island ten minutes away. Pop and Evelyn would jump at the chance to have them for a few hours. And Fran could visit with them or take the time to herself.”
“I feel like shitty parents sending our babies away for an afternoon so we can fuck.”
“Yes! Are we finally going to fuck?” That was all he heard. Not the “shitty parent” part, because that, he didn’t buy.
“I’m serious, Daniel. How does that look? We send our kids away so we can have an afternoon of sex?”
“Since when does my fit wife give two shits for what people think?” He gripped her hand. “I’m serious, Charlie. We’ve been through enough. If we don’t stay connected and strong as a couple, we are no good to them as Mum and Dad.”
“Quit trying to make that stick, Pierce.” She tongued her teeth, smiling. “I’m not gonna be ‘Mum’ and you’re not gonna be ‘Dad.’ More like ‘Mama’ and ‘Daddy’ in these parts.”
“You’re off your trolley. Fran and I will see to it that they have proper English accents.”
He teased her, relishing how it pissed her off, adoring when she fired back…
“Bless your heart, Pierce, and count heads. You’re outnumbered.” She wiggled against his cock. It was begging for her. “I’ve got you beat.”
Yes, she does, Pierce. Grinding on you. That’s your wife.
“So, it’s a plan then, Mrs. Pierce?” He seized her firm bum, pulling her harder against his raging hard-on, wanting to take her now.
“That’s not my name.”
Deploying the grin that inspired millions of thirsty posts, “It is when I’m fucking you,” he knew it wet her pussy too.
That naughty truth flashed across her eyes. The last time they made love, months before, he made her moan that name while rousing her with slow thrusts from behind.
“All right, Mr. Ravenel. Give my body a few more weeks to heal before you come at me with all this hard hotness. Then we’ll see if you get lucky.”
Breaking from his embrace, she delivered a swat to his arse before swishing out of the room. Minutes later, she appeared on the monitor with Duke, kissing his forehead before lying him down to change his nappy.
He watched the spectacle, a smile taking his entire being. Gawd blimey, I love her.
About the Author Kelly Finley is fiction author of contemporary romances featuring bada** women and grown-a** men. She lives in the Carolinas with her husband and family. A rebel with many causes, she fancies black leather, dirty jokes, and smart mouths.
Thrilled by a flipped script and ticked off by women portrayed as weak, she noticed how many steamy, sexy heroines were missing, particularly from suspense and military romance. Her friends shared the frustration and told her to practice what she has taught for twenty years. Her books feature characters we champion and love—ones with shameless heat, brave hearts, and whip-smart minds.
She’s most likely at her keyboard right now, putting the next heroine on the page.
Rosewind Books and author Anna Gomez are revealing the cover to EIGHT GOODBYES, a standalone adult contemporary romance/women’s fiction, releasing January 31, 2023. See below for the cover, information on the book, preorder links, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
Synopsis “A heart-wrenching tale of two people destined to be together. Simon and Tessa are fantastically portrayed as star-crossed lovers whose lives are worlds apart. Even those who are not fans of romance will enjoy the relationships, scenery, and beautiful prose of this book. Five stars!” ~San Francisco Book Review
One universe, nine planets, 204 countries, 809 islands and 7 seas, and I had the privilege of meeting you.” –Unknown
When Tessa Talman first meets Simon Fremont, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded. She’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they meet in places around the world, while continuing to live in different countries.
Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.
Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways she never imagined.
To move forward, she must let go of the past and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.
“A beautiful story of a woman’s quest to open her heart and let love in. It made me want to travel and fall in love all over again.” ~Willow Aster, USA Today Bestselling Author
Author Anna Gomez
About the Author Anna Gomez was born in the city of Makati, Philippines and educated abroad. She met and married her best friend who whisked her away to Chicago over twenty years ago. She is Global Chief Financial Officer for Mischief and No Fixed Address, a consolidated group of advertising agencies. Gomez was recently selected for the 2020 HERoes Women Role Model Executives list, which celebrates 100 women who are leading by example and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace. Gomez has championed various ERGs for Black and API colleagues as well as resources essential to address challenges of ageism. She has sat on several boards, most recently serving as treasurer for Breathe for Justice and The Jensen Project, both focused on socio-economic issues, particularly violence against women and human trafficking.
Most recently, her novel MOMENTS LIKE THIS, co-authored with Kristoffer Polaha, was optioned for Film/TV. www.AnnaGomezBooks.com
Welcome to the book blitz for LIQUID FOUNDATIONS, the third book in the young adult/new post-apocalyptic adventure, Hell in a Handbag, by Lisa Acerbo. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
LIQUID FOUNDATIONS (Hell in a Handbag Series #3) by Lisa Acerbo
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: LIQUID FOUNDATIONS Series: Hell in a Handbag Series #3 Author: Lisa Acerbo Publisher: DLG Publishing Partners Release Date: April 13, 2022 Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Post-Apocalyptic Adventure Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR
Synopsis Even the most solid foundation can be shaken.
No place is safe anymore, and I’m on the run from something new.
The putrid stink of zombies has been replaced by sulfur, feces, and wet dog. The High Point Inn has been abandoned, the landscape plagued by the unimaginable, animal-hybrids. Wolves and bears rise from the grave or maybe they never died. Sure, the hordes of undead humans are diminishing, but whatever lies in wait is faster, smarter, and spurned by the devil himself.
With Caleb, Lilly, and Eric at my side, I search for friends and suFictiorvivors. But the new evil has arrived.
I can’t run quick enough.
The wolves are here, and they’re hungry, not to mention cunning and cruel. Endless rains force my group underground and into a cave system. Lost in the interminable, pitch-black subterranean tunnels, I struggle to keep my sanity and my life. There’s only one place in the world that makes sense anymore, and that’s where my friends are.
If I can survive the dark and the zombie wolves, Hopewell, Maine, here I come.
Excerpt #2 “It’s really dark. The flashlights don’t even make a dent,” Lilly said. “Let’s hope the batteries last.”
“Stay here for a second.” Caleb strode forward, leaving the rest of the group huddled in inky black‐ ness. “I can see it narrows ahead. Let me check it out. Don’t want us all to go stumbling around in the dark.” Caleb’s footsteps receded, taking the shadows of the flashlight beam with him.
Jenna bit her thumb nail. It tasted of dirt but the small pain from ripping off her flesh stifled her fear for Caleb. Relief flooded in waves when his voice preceded the watery beam from the flashlight.
“It’s a tight squeeze for about a hundred feet before it opens into a chamber. And it appears the underground river Lilly mentioned might be waiting for us too.” Caleb passed the beam of light over them.
A soft rumble, like a swarm of bees, echoed in the tunnel behind them.
“What the . . .” Eric’s words trailed off.
A cascade of rolling rocks had Jenna hopping forward. “Move!”
“Cave in.” Eric’s words bounced around like ricocheting pebbles.
Jenna ran deeper into the tunnel. Pain lanced her arm, a sharp rock ripping through her clothing and snagging her backpack. She stumbled, the rock bouncing away, and righted herself. Heart thudding, loud in the chaos entombing her, she sprinted, coughing up dirt.
Lilly twisted her flashlight. “Eric?”
“Help.” His voice diminished, dim as their surroundings. Muffled swearing and the thump of rock clashing hit the air. “I’m stuck!”
“Calm down,” Caleb said. “You’ll be okay. We’re coming back.”
“I can’t see anything. I’m not okay. I can’t move. Something’s coming. It’s behind me.”
“Be calm, Eric,” Lilly crooned. “They’re not coming. Take a deep breath.”
Eric huffed, coughed, and huffed again. “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t breathe. They’re coming.”
“Stop. I’m here. Listen to me.” Lilly’s flashlight lit Eric’s face. She put a hand to his cheek. “You’re good.”
“I can’t move, and they’re coming. Not again. Not another time like the movie theater. I won’t survive. I’d rather be dead than stuck and defenseless. They’ll rip me apart. Don’t let it happen.”
Jenna moved close. “Eric, look at me. The most horrible thing that could have happened to you is over. Done. You survived. There are no Streakers here. You’re so much stronger than you give yourself credit for.”
“You can, and you will,” Jenna scolded. “For Lilly and me. We need you.”
Lilly aimed her flashlight into the shadows behind Eric. “Can you slip out of your backpack?”
“Maybe? My leg. I think I’m bleeding.” Eric shifted sideways, grunting. After a few lunges, he stumbled forward minus his pack. “Free.”
Lilly hauled Eric in for a hug. “Told ya so. Never doubt me.”
Caleb tugged the backpack. “It’s stuck on something.” He heaved but it didn’t budge. “Maybe we can twist it. Hold this.” He handed the flashlight to Jenna.
Redirecting the beam, the light hit the cave ceiling. Bats exploded, sinking low. Caleb hugged Jenna against him. She threw her arms above her head, hugged her scalp in hopes of protection. The draft of bats lifted after a minute and they spiraled high, consumed by the funnel-shaped black chasm.
Caleb stepped back and tugged on Jenna’s jacket, arms still protective. “Please tell me you’re not going to adopt a wounded bat, tame it, and bring it along.”
“I’ll pass, but where is our dog?” Jenna twisted away. “Louie? I hope the bats didn’t scare him.”
A warm tongue licked her hand. “There you are. Good boy.”
About the Author LisaAcerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at a local community college. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, two dogs, and horse. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and fosters dogs.
Welcome to the release blitz for MAYBE WE WON’T, the third book in the adult contemporary romance series, Silver Harbor, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Melissa Foster. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
MAYBE WE WON’T (Silver Harbor Series #3) by Melissa Foster
A sexy and soul-stirring novel about love, family, and rediscovering what matters most by Melissa Foster, the New York Times bestselling author of Maybe We Will.
When workaholic Boston attorney Deirdra de Messiéres is passed over for a well-deserved promotion, she takes a two-month hiatus to show her boss just how much he needs her and heads home to Silver Island. But beyond seeing her sisters happy, home is not where Deirdra’s heart is. She has no interest in their family restaurant, the Bistro, or reliving hurtful childhood memories, and absolutely no interest in spending a single second with Josiah “Jagger” Jones, the Bistro’s too-laid-back musician and chef. Sure, the hippie is hot, but he drives her nuts. The guy lives in a van with his dog, and he can’t even commit to a solid work schedule. To make matters worse, he’s always around. She needs to get off the island, stat.
Jagger has overcome his own personal trials to place stock in life’s pleasures: family, friends, peace…and if he has his way, one positively beautiful, absolutely uptight attorney. Jagger knows he’s the perfect person to help Deirdra deal with her hurtful past and find her way back to being happy.
A chance encounter leads to deep conversation, and night after liberating night, Deirdra lets down her guard. But neither has plans to stay on Silver Island. Free-spirited Jagger has wanderlust, and Deirdra has a career to return to. They’re on different paths, and plans for a future together don’t stand a chance. But when has anything gone according to plan?
The Silver Harbor series is published by Montlake Romance and is available in paperback and audio formats at all book retailers, and exclusively in digital format for Kindle and Kindle apps. Download a free Kindle reading app here: http://bit.ly/FreeKindle_App1.
Excerpt Deirdra de Messiéres lay in her childhood bedroom on Silver Island thinking about her upended life. She’d worked her ass off for the last several years as a corporate attorney for a tech firm in Boston, and after her promotion to assistant general counsel last year, she’d thought she was on the fast track to becoming general counsel when the slot opened up—until the GC had a heart attack and her slave-driver boss, Malcolm, had hired a referral from outside the company through his good-old-boy network.
He’d sprung that little nugget on her three days ago, after which Deirdra had announced her two-month hiatus, effective immediately. Everyone had been shocked, including Deirdra. She’d never taken time off and had made herself available in the evenings and on weekends since she’d first started with the company. She’d had to. It was a dog-eat-dog industry, and with six other attorneys on board—four of whom were men—she’d wanted to stand out. Yes, she was well aware that she was putting the company she’d given her all to in a pickle, especially since the new general counsel couldn’t start for another two months. But that was the point. Let them suffer without her impeccable mind handling everything under the sun. She was confident in her game plan and certain Malcolm would quickly see the error of his ways.
The truth was, she’d thought he wouldn’t let her walk out the door after her announcement. But her stern sixty-year-old boss had simply wished her a relaxing time and said she needed it. She’d already received dozens of calls and emails from colleagues who were shocked that she’d taken so much time off, but she struggled with disappointment over the ones that hadn’t come from her boss.
She still couldn’t believe Malcolm had said she freaking needed the break. As if she’d ever produced subpar work? That was a laugh. He’d had nothing but accolades for her jobs well done, and last year’s promotion had been proof of that.
Her frustration simmered to the boiling point. Ugh. She needed to stop overthinking the situation. Fat chance of that happening for a self-professed control freak. Deirdra not overthinking would be as weird as her younger sister, Abby, not seeing the bright side of things or their older half sister, Cait, trusting everyone at face value. Deirdra had a better chance of trying to transform into a bird and fly away.
If only . . .
She and her sisters were quite the trio, and they’d had a whirlwind few months. She and Abby had only discovered Cait existed in the spring, when they’d come back to the island to go over their mother’s will with one of their mother’s best friends, Shelley Steele. While Abby had embraced and trusted Cait unconditionally from the moment she’d met her, Deirdra had been cautious, given that their family house, restaurant, and meager inheritances were on the line. It had taken Cait some time to open up and trust them as well. But they’d gotten through those trials and tribulations and had become close. Cait was a wonderful addition to their family, and like Abby, she’d found solace and love on Silver Island.
Deirdra would not be following suit.
Beyond seeing her sisters happy, Deirdra had no interest in their family restaurant, the Bistro, or in the island on which she’d spent too many years trying to hold together the pieces of her alcoholic mother’s disheveled life, helping to run the Bistro and keep a roof over their heads. Deirdra had fled immediately after high school to attend Boyer University in Upstate New York with her bestie, Sutton Steele, and had finally started living her own life. But self-preservation had consequences, and Abby had been stuck caring for their mother in Deirdra’s absence. That sucked, but what choice had Deirdra had at the time? Stay on the rinky-dink island running a restaurant she resented and putting her drunk mother to bed while her dreams went to pot? Besides, Abby had encouraged her to go, and Deirdra had clung to that support like a lifeboat in her sea of guilt as she’d set out to prove herself to Abby and maybe even to stick it to her mother and show that she couldn’t hold her back.
Deirdra stared at the ceiling, discomfort simmering inside her. She’d thought her resentment toward the island and all that it represented might ease now that her mother was gone, but painful reminders lingered like ghosts in the wind, and the house and her bedroom were filled with them. Abby and Aiden had done a great job of sprucing it up. It was absolutely gorgeous. To anyone else it would seem warm and inviting, but there wasn’t enough paint on the planet to obliterate Deirdra’s painful memories. How many nights had she snuck out the window just to sit on the hill and look out at the water to keep from drowning in her mother’s wake?
Maybe she shouldn’t have come back, but she couldn’t do that to Cait. The start of her impromptu hiatus had lined up with the day Cait and all their friends were fixing up her new tattoo shop. Deirdra wasn’t big on manual labor, but she loved her sisters, and she’d needed to get out of Boston. She was glad she’d come, even if being on the island was uncomfortable. She’d gotten to witness Cait’s boyfriend, Deirdra’s childhood friend Brant Remington, get down on one knee in front of all their friends and propose. Deirdra couldn’t be happier for them, but come hell or high water, she was getting off this island tomorrow and going on a well-deserved vacation, the destination of which was yet to be determined.
The sound of the front door jarred her from her thoughts, and Abby’s giggles floated upstairs. She and her fiancé, Aiden Aldridge, couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Deirdra glanced at her phone. It was almost one o’clock in the morning. In the spring, Abby had moved back home from New York, where she’d worked sixty-plus hours a week as a chef. She’d met and fallen head over heels for Aiden in a whirlwind love affair. Together they’d revived the Bistro, and they were getting married in November.
Deirdra tried to focus on the distant sounds of Silver Harbor sneaking in through the open window instead of the cacophony of laughter, low conversations, and prolonged silences, followed by loud lustful sounds coming from downstairs. If only she were back in Boston. She preferred her noisy neighbor’s stereo blasting classic rock and oldies at all hours over this. At least that she could dance to.
Needless to say, she was a little jealous of her sisters’ love lives. Not that she’d had time for a man, or anything else besides work, these last few years. More noises floated upstairs. She closed her eyes, willing them not to have sex in the living room or, worse, in the kitchen. She had to eat at that table. Oh God, that’s probably what Aiden is doing. She squeezed her eyes shut. Deletedeletedelete!
What was she thinking, staying in her old bedroom? She should have stayed in the apartment over the garage. Why hadn’t she thought of that from the get-go?
A loud thud rattled the walls, followed by more laughter.
Deirdra flew out of bed. She was not going to listen to a play-by-play of Abby and Aiden having sex. She put on her silk kimono and headed downstairs, praying she wouldn’t catch them in a compromising position. She stopped on the bottom step, eyeing the trail of clothing that led past the steps and down the hall to their bedroom. Thank God. Hurrying into the kitchen, she snagged the key to the apartment off the hook by the side door and quietly slipped outside. She crossed her arms against the brisk September air as she climbed the steps to the apartment above the garage.
A streak of moonlight lit a path down the hallway to the bedroom. She took off her kimono and slipped under the warm covers, closing her eyes as she sank into the mattress. Something moved beside her, and her eyes flew open just as that something licked her face. She screamed and jumped out of the bed, flailing for the light switch. A bark rang out, and a cold nose hit her crotch. She swatted at it as she flicked on the lights, illuminating an amused Josiah “Jagger” Jones pushing languidly from the bed as his dalmatian, Dolly, nosed Deirdra’s privates. The twentysomething hippie worked at the Bistro as a part-time musician and part-time chef.
“What are you doing here?” She twisted away from Dolly, her eyes catching on Jagger’s naked body. Holy mother of hotness. Broad shoulders and a few wordy tattoos on his ribs vied for her attention, but her eyes locked on the dusting of dark chest hair trailing down lickable abs, and her thoughts skidded to a halt at the impressive cock dangling between his legs. She couldn’t look away. Her loneliest parts clenched with desire, while her boggled mind tried to make sense of the perfect manscaping, which didn’t fit the image she held of the hemp-clothing- and sandal-wearing, too-damn-laid-back guy for whom she had no patience. Not that she’d ever imagined him naked. Well, not too often anyway. He may not be her type—give her a man in a suit any day—but she couldn’t deny that Jagger was hot, and he had a great voice, the kind that fantasies were made of. His hair wasn’t bad, either: dark, thick, and wavy. The kind of hair she’d love to hold on to while his face was between her legs.
Dolly licked her, snapping her back to the moment.
Holy crap. She was losing it. She was thirty years old, and he couldn’t be more than twenty-four or -five. She needed to get off the island and scratch that particular itch with a man who was more her speed . . . age . . . Holy cow, his body . . .
Dolly licked her again, jerking her mind back into submission.
“Dolly!” She turned away, glowering at Jagger, who was watching her with a big-ass grin.
“Like what you see?” he said far too casually. He lazily raked a hand through his hair, his leather and beaded bracelets slipping down his wrist.
About the Author Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Readers adore Melissa’s fun, flirty, and sinfully sexy, award-winning big family romance collection, LOVE IN BLOOM featuring the Snow Sisters, Bradens, Remingtons, Ryders, Seaside Summer, Harborside Nights, and the Wild Boys After Dark. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented.
Melissa also writes sweet and clean romance under the pen name Addison Cole.
Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.
Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on social media or her personal website.
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